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Mail 262 June 16 - 22, 2003






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Monday  June 16, 2003

Dan Spisak says watch out for AMD:

Looks like ATI is going to give Intel a run for the money against their 865 chipset:

"ATI’s new RS300 P4 chipset will feature dual-channel DDR400 and 800MHz FSB support, along with an integrated ATI Radeon 9000-based graphics core. The RS300 will directly compete with Intel’s 865G chipset but undercut it on price. Its price will be at a level similar to that of products from the Taiwanese chipset makers. First-tier motherboard makers, including Asustek Computer and Gigabyte Technology, said that they are already incorporating the RS300 into their next batch of products. "

Slated to ship in July or August.

-Dan S.

Which is good news. But I have to say I have great regard for the 865 and 875 chipsets, and I currently recommend the 865 boards as the right thing to build for upgradable "sweet spot" general purpose office systems. But we'll be getting the AMD systems and I'll have a look.

Envrionmentalists now attacking hydrogen

Morning Jerry,

I just shook my head over this one. Finally we get a President (Republican no less!) who's willing to fund a non-fossil fuel energy source, and of course the environmentalists attack it: 

I'm convinced more than every that what these people are really attacking is capitalism. It seems that they expect wind and solar to provide all our power - I'm not sure that I see how a windmill on a car would work though *g*.

One question for you though - as I (vaguely) recall from my high-school chemistry class, free hydrogen doesn't last very long in an oxygen atmosphere. Wouldn't it 'burn' and combine with O2 long before it would rise into the stratosphere?

As always - enjoy the site.


Doug Lhotka

"Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free."

alterius gratia numquam vive nec pete ut alius tui gratia viva

Actually some respectable people have some concerns over hydrogen. But it's still worth some research. Fuel cells offer an interesting technology.

We will be discussing this all week.

Remember Russell Seitz? He's still around. Here's his latest:

Seems that a hydrogen economy might be dangerous.

Ed Hume

Russell is always worth listening to. He nearly drove me mad during an expedition into the back jungles of Guatemala 30 years ago, but I am not sorry to have taken the trip.

And see below.



Don't we feel safer already:

Subject: David Nelson, Enemy of the State.

--------- Roland Dobbins

I mean, this is efficiency!

And Dafydd has a story:

Dear Jerry;

Here's a new one on me; it might be old hat to old hands at computer repairs. At least it has a happy ending.

A few months ago, I replaced my motherboard. Immediately, I started having all sorts of problems with Windows 98 being unable to find itself. I eventually tracked this down to the way that Windows assigns drive letters to partitions; I solved that problem -- but it was only masking another one.

I started getting multiple blue screens of death (BSODs) per day, plus an uncounted number of page faults, which occurred in different programs. Remembering your advice, I checked all the cables first, but they were fine.

I checked my RAM, and it was all right. I called Microsoft, but they were helpless, as they so often are when it's *my* problems. (I did discover that if they ever hear the magic words "PartitionMagic," they will cease communicating with you and hang up. If you want tech support from MSoft, and you have ever used PartitionMagic in your life, on any system in the known universe, keep it to yourself.)

I thought maybe it was some corruption in my registry; so I bought Registry First Aid and ran it. It found about 1300 errors, which I told it to correct. I didn't spend the scores of hours it would have taken to review each change beforehand, even if I could have understood what it was going to do... I simply took a leap of blind leap of faith. Fortunately, Registry First Aid is well behaved, and things got a little better.

For a time; then it started all over again. I tried upgrading to Windows ME. I changed hard drives. I upgraded to Windows XP, telling it (via Microsoft tech-support instructions) not to add any drivers for any hardware. Then I loaded each driver, the newest ones from the hardware company's Website, one by one, manually. I still couldn't identify if there was any correlation between any particular driver and the BSODs, which were now coming at the rate of a DOZEN per day.

Finally, in desperation, I thought back to the beginning. It all started going south on me when I installed the new motherboard, an ASUS P4S86 with a Pent IV 2.4GHz. The reviews said it was a good board. But what if...?

On a wild hunch, I downloaded the flash ROM BIOS onto a floppy and reinstalled it on the motherboard. It was a microversion newer, but essentially the identical ROM BIOS.

Voila... every single problem ceased abruptly! Evidently, the hardware of the board was fine... but there was something funky and rank about the ROM BIOS. When I re-flashed it, it worked perfectly. And I haven't had a single BSOD or page fault in the last two weeks.

Maybe I'm the last person to figure this out; but just in case I'm not, and if all else fails, it's at least one more thing to try!


Dafydd ab Hugh


Dafydd ab Hugh


WANTED: Young Woman to Pick Fruit and Produce at Night

There are several morals to this story. I'll let the readers draw some of them since I am getting late for an appointment.

And Ed Hume sends

Subject: Martha Stewart's New Digs

 Martha Stewart's New Digs.jpg (28968 bytes)

and I have no comment.

Subject: Let her fly! 


Looks like David has finally slung his stone. Wonder if Goliath has invested in a really good helmet with a face mask? 

Mark Gosdin

I think SCO has lost whatever sense it ever had, but perhaps there are things I don't know.

DI-604 and other router tricks

Dr. Pournelle,

I just read your column and figured I could toss out some expanded comments on the DI-604 and my experiences with it.

First, if you need more than 4 ports, just connect a switch to one of the router's 4 LAN ports via the switch's uplink port. I did this with an 8-port switch to ensure that the computers on my lan could communicate without troubling the router, and also to make sure I always had a free port. It works just fine.

Second, I finally made the leap to 802.11b and did that by buying the DI-604's wireless brother, the DI-614+. I have no idea what the plus means, but the whole thing is essentially a 604 with 802.11b added. It has all the same features as the 604 but now I can remove 2 unsightly cables that could not be routed through walls or against baseboards. Setup tips for the 614+ include making sure to turn off SSID broadcast and turn on 128 bit (or 256 if using all D-Link adaptors) WEP encryption. I manually set up IP addresses and disable DHCP to further lock things down, and then I have a software intrusion detection solution running inside the LAN to warn me if any new IP addresses attempt to use my LAN or internet connection. I have not gone so far as to do MAC address filtering on the wireless side, but I suppose I'll do that if I ever get burned by trusting WEP encryption. The router SSID should be changed away from "default" and that will also help block a good number of casual wireless passers-by who tend to scan for the various factory-set SSID values used by each brand.

There are now 802.11 "repeaters" that seem interesting as they can also act as access points (no routing features, just a way to get wireless onto your lan) so you can just set these things around your house (one in attic, one in basement, one at cable modem) to provide you all the coverage you need. If you need one pointed at the top of the hill, make yourself a directional antenna out of a pringles can and get up to 5 miles or so line-of-sight range out of otherwise standard 802.11b. Tons of antenna designs on the web nowadays. One of the best is made from a cookie tin which has a metal tube with the correct ratios and a plastic lid that is transparent to the correct frequencies, so the complete assembly is weatherproof unlike a pringles can which needs to be protected.

Enough rambling...

Sean Long


And we have

In mail 262, Doug Lhotka asks

"One question for you though - as I (vaguely) recall from my high-school chemistry class, free hydrogen doesn't last very long in an oxygen atmosphere. Wouldn't it 'burn' and combine with O2 long before it would rise into the stratosphere?"

Molecular hydrogen is very stable in an atmosphere of molecular oxygen at standard temperature and pressure. You could prepare a stoichiometric (just enough for the reaction to make water) mixture of H2 and O2 and store it at STP in a clean nonmetallic container for a looong time without any appreciable progress of the reaction 2H2 + O2 -> 2H2O. I hesitate to assign numeric values to "looong time" and "appreciable progress," but I'm guessing multiple half-lives of plutonium and < 1%, respectively.

It's true that the oxidation of hydrogen generates a whacking big lot of energy, and thus tends strongly to run to completion eventually, but there's another issue not likely to have been covered in high school chemistry: the activation energy, or barrier to getting the reaction started in the first place. At STP (1 bar at 20 C) the molecules don't bump into one another hard enough to jostle the chemical bonds into the excited state necessary for the reaction to proceed (OK, I'm oversimplifying here). The energy yield of the combustion of just a small amount of H2 is enough to start a chain reaction in a stoichiometric mix though, so once combustion is started the reaction runs rapidly to completion.

I don't know about mixtures of O3 and H2, but it's plausible to me that O3 would react a lot more readily (i.e. with an activation energy lower by many orders of magnitude) with H2 than O2 does, even at the low pressure of the stratosphere.

Of course there's a lot more to the issue than that. The Science paper authors are talking about leakage of 10-20% of H2 used for energy, which seems pretty tough to credit: if 10% of our gasoline or LNG leaked into the environment we'd take steps to reduce that fraction. The other big problem I see with the Science paper is that H2 released at sea level is not in a clean glass container with pure O2: there are lots of particles and droplets of all kinds of stuff in the lower atmosphere, and I suspect free H2 at sea level would have lots of opportunities to be catalytically oxidised before it percolated up to the ozone. In fact, venting some H2 into the air might be a good way to deal with sea-level concentrations of O3 and NOx on smoggy days, hmmm...

Sorry for the length of this, if you've kept reading this far.

Wade Scholine

And see below





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why am I not surprised at this?

Subject: Red Haggis.

--------- Roland Dobbins

Nor does this astonish me:

The expected has happened: after SCO demanded that IBM pay lots of money, and IBM said they were not interested in doing that, SCO has announced that they are terminating IBM's license to UNIX. IBM says their license is paid up, permanent, and irrevocable. SCO thinks otherwise.

Here's the really wild part. SCO says this does not just block future sales; it also applies to all customers currently running AIX!

Just last week, SCO spokesman Blake Stowell said this:

"We would also have the right to make all the AIX licenses (that IBM's) customers have invalid, but at this point in time, we have chosen not to exercise that option," Stowell said. "We view the customers as innocent bystanders in this, but that doesn't mean we won't invoke that right at some time." 

Well, that didn't last long. A quote from Chris Sontag of SCOsource:

"This termination not only applies to new business by IBM, but also existing copies of AIX that are installed at all customer sites. All of it has to be destroyed," Sontag said. 

An interview with Darl McBride makes it clear: SCO thinks it can collect royalties on anything remotely based on UNIX, and that includes Linux. Free software? Nope, you gotta pay SCO.

"We think of this as a tree. We have the tree trunk, with Unix System 5 running right down the middle of the trunk. That is our core ownership position on Unix.

"Off the tree trunk, you have a number of branches, and these are the various flavors of Unix. HP-UX, IBM's AIX, Sun Solaris, Fujitsu, NEC--there are a number of flavors out there. SCO has a couple of flavors, too, called OpenServer and UnixWare. But don't confuse the branches with the trunk. The System 5 source code, that is really the area that gives us incredible rights, because it includes the control rights on the derivative works that branch off from that trunk."


"Are we trying to shut Linux down? No, that is not our attempt. Are we trying to make sure our intellectual-property rights are protected along the way? Absolutely." 

SCO has bet their company on an attempt to make money by suing other companies. They have started with IBM, a company with lots of lawyers, but they said they will sue Red Hat and everyone else in turn. It's like climbing into the tiger cage at the zoo, walking up to the biggest tiger and whacking him in the nose, and loudly announcing that you are going to whack all the other tigers in the cage too. I don't think they will be able to pull this off.

However, Wall Street doesn't seem to agree with me: SCO stock is up to almost $11 as I write this. -- Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"

So SCO stock rises on credible threat of lawsuits. They can't sell products but they can exploit what they call their intellectual property. What they are doing is giving intellectual property rights a bad name. And I expect government will get into this act. SCO hasn't the kind of influence IBM can bring to bear. They must know that.

Eric Raymond (and co-authors) wrote a position paper on why SCO's claims are absurd. For example, SCO is claiming that Linux stole features from UNIX... features that do not exist in the version of UNIX that SCO claims to own! 

Excellent article in Byte:

A Linux kernel developer has given notice to SCO that they are in violation of the GPL. Because SCO is claiming that Linux includes SCO intellectual property, SCO has given up the right to distribute Linux, but they are still distributing it.


"I've granted everyone the right to sell, distribute and use my work under the condition that they obey the restriction of the GPL. The GPL requires that a work that is based on a works that is licensed under the GPL must be put under the GPL. I've never authorized any other use of my work.

"This means that your distribution of the above given file, and any sale of OpenLinux 3.1.1, is not authorized by me and infringes my copyright." 

-- Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"

I suspect SCO will lose big time; this is probably all done in hopes of getting the stock high enough to dump out...

SCO has gone completely nonlinear. Now they are asking for THREE billion dollars. 

But they don't rule out asking for even more later. They say IBM might be liable for as much as FIFTY billion dollars (5e10 dollars!) 

Also, Sun Microsystems is starting to run ads: hey, AIX customers, why not move to Solaris so SCO won't sue you? 

Why 3 billion dollars? Or 50 billion? Why not one hundred million billion trillion dollars? -- Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"



Subject: Water "jackhammer" robot


-- Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"

And thanks for that one, too.

Jessica Lynch: The view from a month or two later.

You and I have disagreed on how to interpret the fragmentary evidence around the Jessica Lynch story. The following item seems to sum up both sides of the story into a fairly coherent whole (including Mohammed Odeh Rehaief's version - with suitable skepticism). They mention "fired explosive charges meant to disorient anyone inside." -- flash-bang grenades, which could easily be described as "blanks" by a naïve observer. The Washington Post description matches what I have concluded about the story. I hope that it also matches what is known by my "opponents".

(Minimal questionnaire sign-up required. Then a cookie is kept so you don't need to do it in the future)

Wade Scholine

Yes, that does look to be a good story. The Washington Post is a good newspaper even if I don't much care for all of its editorial policy. But as a paper it can be very good indeed.

And the account seems real enough.


D-Link wireless "plus"

Your correspondent (Sean Long) was unsure what the "plus" meant in D-Link product names. From the product description at the manufacturer's site "The D-Link AirPlus series of high-speed networking products is capable of wireless transfer rates up to 4 times that of standard 802.11b." There is an arms race outside of the official specs. My USR WiFi router is willing

to go to double the specification speed to other USR clients. The D-Link page seems to support the same speed as the new USR, but somehow CALLS it four times the speed. Perhaps there is a half-duplex to full-duplex transition there as well? Like USR, they say that they only get the top speed if every unit within range is their own brand. This link <> describes D-Link's interpretation of the standards.


Hydrogen leakage rates.

Wade Scholine is skeptical at estimates of "10-20% of H2 used for energy" . He contrasts this to minimal rates of hydrocarbon leakage in the existing gasoline economy. One of the problems I have seen described for hydrogen is the extreme difficulty of keeping it contained. Gasoline will sit comfortably in a plastic jerrycan for years. Hydrogen loves to slip through packaging materials. I don't think you can compare one material to the other. High leakage rates, especially while the technology is young sounds likely to me.

Wade Scholine

Hydrogen is hard to contain, as I noted in my 1974 articles on the Hydrogen Economy.

Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Pitfalls

Jerry, The new concerns about the potential impact of escaping hydrogen on the ozone layer echo something I picked up from your Step Farther Out columns years ago: at the scale on which our civilization operates, virtually nothing we do is without adverse effects.

Even wind power now seems less pristine than originally thought, at least if you are wealthy and the windmills block your view. Last year the New York Times coined a phrase for this, "Not in my viewshed." That's what seems to be on the minds of Walter Cronkite and RFK, Jr.: 

If the speculations about hydrogen's impact on the upper atmosphere are correct, it may argue for keeping it chemically bound until just before use. An example of this is reforming gasoline or methanol (which has its own problems) on board a vehicle to feed a fuel cell, rather than toting around compressed or liquid H2. You still get some vehicle emissions--of both H2 and "criteria pollutants"--but there should be an efficiency gain from the fuel cell vs. running an internal combustion engine on the original fuel. Otherwise its going to be very difficult to control evaporative and diffusion losses of H2.

Regards, Geoff Styles

Hydrogen is a distribution system, and it is unlikely that we will have hydrogen pipelines; natural gas works just as well, and there is a lot of it, and if we had the energy we could make more if needed.

Hydrogen in fuel cells may be a decent source of mobile power. It may not be. It's worth pursuing.

But since there are no hydrogen wells, we will definitely need sources of kilowatts. Of those nuclear fission is the cheapest and most easily installed, and looks to have the fewest long-term environment problems since you can encase the wastes in glass and drop them into a subduction zone, or simply stack them in a desert until they decay. The really hot stuff is all gone in 600 years or so, and the rest is actinide which may even be useful (argument for stacking in the desert) but aren't any real problem (argument for subduction zone disposal).

Until we have the kiloWatts it's interesting to look at alternative distribution systems but the vital thing is more energy.

As for a hydrogen economy, of course it means nuclear, with current technology. I personally would like to see a "busbar lane" where I could pull on, have a multiple- redundance contact arm (induction?) lowered onto the busbar, and let my electric motor in my car propel it while my batteries recharge. My encrypted credit card, in my dashboard, would lead to a bill from my power company every month. Heading off the busbar lane, I would re-engage my combustion engine, lift my contact bar, and exit.

I also wonder about safer nuclear power, and how to achieve it. Having worked for some years in petroleum drilling, I've come up with a preliminary concept for a new form of reactor construction. A large borehole is drilled to depth desired, for example 20,000 feet, and the fuel is lowered into the hole, and water circulated to depth, returning in the up-portion of the hole as steam. I note that thermal-insulating concrete foams for geothermal pipe cementing have been developed already. The advantages are in the extreme savings in containment structures, as well as no serious problem caused by nuclear series altering chemistry of the containment, as it's deep and abandonable. Yet probably would not have to be abandoned even if the walls near the fuel become quite radioactive. I should mention that access to nuclear material by terrorists at a subsurface 20,000 feet might be made a very formidable task.

This is an idea not invented "here." I sure wish someone would take it, though.

Russ Newsome

That may work but it may not be necessary.

And of course space solar power is renewable and relatively benign.




The Tariff Debates

> I make no doubt there will be discussion.

And you might be surprised by some of the people who are becoming convinced by your arguments. I, for one, although the libertarians may rip off my epaulettes and drum me out of the corps.

In fact, I might go further by allowing protective tariffs in some circumstances. NAFTA has devastated North Carolina, which used to have a solid middle-class based on textiles. The plants are now nearly all closed, and those that remain are hanging on by their fingernails.

I am coming to believe that the ultimate effect of laissez-faire free trade is to bring everyone to the same standard of living. Granted, the average standard of living will be higher under laissez-faire free trade, but I'm selfish enough to see that as undesirable. I want to maintain the higher standard of living that I and other Americans currently enjoy. If that means letting the third world remain poor, I'm all in favor of it.

So perhaps what we need is a tiered series of tariffs. One level that is as you suggest intended to raise revenue for the government. And a second level, tied very specifically to the particular product and country of origin, that is designed to remove the competitive advantage those countries enjoy because of their lower wage scales.

If we import, say, clothing from the UK, only the standard 10% or 15% revenue-raising tariff applies. If we import clothing from Indonesia or China, the tariff would be set at whatever level was needed to make those items no less expensive than similar items produced in America.

-- Robert Bruce Thompson

I prefer across the board to keep the political interferences out of it as much as possible.

Understand that any protective tariff is going to encourage some "inefficiencies", but those may take the form of OSHA and EPA regulations and the like, as well as middle class pay to blue collar workers.

Aristotle held that a republic is rule by the middle class and it is a Good Thing. But if you don't have most of the citizens in the middle class -- Aristotle defined it as "those who possess the goods of fortune in moderation" -- you will have class warfare, and soon no democracy or republic.

This ought to shake up a few folks!! 

Is it too wild to want to get into Space?

Mark Huth mhuth at

It should, but will it?

And on global warming

Subject: Another link to solar increase causing global warming

March 4 Geophysical Research Letters contains report from a group of scientists out of Columbia University that solar radiation increases over the past 24 years "could account for a significant component of the climatic warm-up that is typically attributed to human-made greenhouse gases."

-- John Bartley, K7AAY, telcom admin, USBC/DO, Portland OR - Views are mine. Wireless FAQ for PalmOS(r) Handheld Cellular Data FAQ Ne pas prendre garde au primates capitulards et toujours en quête de fromages. **Dilbert is a documentary.**

The point being that we don't know what to remedy or what to prepare for, so we really ought to be spending to find out, not rush to adopt expensive remedies like Kyoto.

And from Russell Seitz

Dear Jerry; Thanks for referring to my Hydrogen column, 'Cold Burn' on Tech Central Station. Those who wonder how H2 can transit the lower atmosphere without getting oxidized to water and raining out should remember that the durable Freon's likewise endured, and for much the same reason- hard UV gets absorbed way upstairs by ionized oxygen recombined into ozone. Above the troposphere short wave UV photochemistry can dissociate H2 and O2 alike, and make water vapor in situ in the otherwise desiccated stratosphere.

As with water punched up through the tropopause by volcanic blow-outs , this can make for noctilucent clouds way upstairs, and significantly alter both ozone chemistry, and albedo.

Glad we survived Guatemala- they're having a gala celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Panzos massacre, and I'm glad to have missed both it and the original. Those interested in the denoument of Harvard's Mesoamerican Jade Project ( Dr. J.E. Pournelle Associate Field Director0 will find some links at the end of my homepage: <A HREF=" "

>Russell Seitz</A>


Anhydrous ammonia is the best/highest density means of storing hydrogen. If your storage container leaks you will fix it: odor threshold is ~ 1 ppm. 10% leakage isn't going to happen! Farmers use it all the time, there are tanks everywhere for farming purposes, so the handling difficulties have, to some extent, been dealt with. It is easily reformed to produce hydrogen gas for fuel cells. A car running on reformed ammonia will have viable range, unlike gaseous hydrogen. Byproducts of reformation are - nitrogen. My $0.02.

Chris C.

Farmers certainly use a lot of it. Thanks










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Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Roland finds another thing to worry about:

Subject: Another reason I've opted out of the Intel/TCPA world . . .

Hell, why don't we just extirpate them and their families unto the third generation, live on CSPAN?

I presume he means we extirpate the music pirates and is being sarcastic rather than extirpate the RIAA and Congress...

Can we compromise and, no, I suppose I had better not say it, someone in Homeland Security might think I was serious. But we were born free.

Intellectual property protection is a serious subject, but I do not think we prevent burglary by having good squads with sledges go demolish the getaway cars. While destroying the computers of those illegally downloading music might be an effective deterrent, automating such a process would inevitably lead to unwanted acts of destruction, law suits, people jimmying their system just to get destroyed so they could engaged in a law suit, and a lot of other activates not particularly useful to anyone.

Dvorak says the recording industry is doomed, and artists had better get used to the notion of being paid per performance, not living off recording residuals. He may be right. ASCAP was able to salvage some payments from radio broadcast of artist work (and then the radio stations had to set up BMI in competition with it because ASCAP was causing problems; another long story), but it wasn't impossible to enforce ASCAP payments since there were a finite number of meaningful radio stations, they were all easy to locate, and and at that time they had to keep detailed logs of what went over the air. The Internet "broadcasters" can be anyone anywhere, and don't keep logs, and the record sharing software can also be used to share legitimate information. It may be there is no way to stop the practice.

And in fact, any measure that will "destroy" a computer through on-line instructions is pretty well subject to filters, while those sending such instructions are likely to be themselves victims of some pretty sophisticated interference. Note that latter is a prediction, not advocacy. I feel I have to say that to avoid misunderstandings with the Authorities. But we were born free.

We'll see. But talk like that in the link merely generates contempt for our masters.

I'd think it requires an interesting definition of Fifth Amendment due process to deprive people of property by remote control? If a hearing no remote control need apply; if administrative convenience is to overpower due process artificially created copyrights appall me as the issue to justify such actions.

Clark Myers

In old Rome the authorities were too busy doing things, so they had a system of self help for law enforcement: if you won a judgment you could go try to take the property you had won. Of course if the other guy had more clients than you have...

This could prompt some interesting interpretations of a lot of things.

And devil take the hindmost.

"Congress wants to destroy your computer?"

As a security engineer, I find the risks mind-boggling. It's already hard enough to sort out the bad guys from the good guys. Can you imagine someone hacking up a malicious script to do the same thing? Naturally, the first targets would be the most public ones--like J Random Congresscritter's office system.

Harry Erwin

Well -- yes. And see below.


From: Stephen M. St. Onge                                                  
Date: June 18, 2003                                                                      subject: SCO and Unix
Dear Jerry:
        I will not even attempt to decide whether or not SCO has a chance with their lawsuits, but after reading some of the articles you linked, one aspect of this imbroglio is worth commenting on.
        Apparently, when Unix was first developed, AT&T licensed it with a sort of RIAA/DMCA dream agreement: 'anything you create related to Unix, AT&T owns, forever, for free.'  What kind of person would sign that contract?
        The answer seems to be, a thief.  According to Eric Raymond et. al., nobody paid any attention to their license agreement anyway.  Because various people rewrote large amounts of Unix code, they decided they owned it.  The fact that they signed agreements with Bell Labs, giving up ownership, was not important.
        So the attitude seems to be the same as that of the music file-sharers: if I can take this, I will, and I won't pay you a dime.  Be interesting to see what society looks like when that attitude becomes general.






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Thursday, June 19, 2003

Dear Jerry:

Hatch's proposal is pretty close to the one made by Rep. Howard Berman last year. I believe I previously described this as " a wacko idea". No disrespect to the the Congressman or the Senator, whom I think are probably the victims of really bad staff advice. This is a variant of the Engineer's Disease. People think that because we can do something like that, we should. Always very satisfying to smite the wrongdoer, eh?

Carried to its logical extreme this tactic would destroy a lot of innocent peoples' equipment, including that at public libraries, where a lot of the articles provided in electronic databases are pirated. The libraries don't know this and neither do the firms who put together the databases. They rely upon written assurances in contracts. The publishers know but hope that no one else will notice. There are millions of articles in each database, and probably less than one percent of them are suspect. Do we then destroy a public good to satisfy the desires of an extreme minority? I don't think so.

Nope, there are better ways. The RIAA actually has come up with an effective tactic. Based upon law, not technology. The music business, as we know it, may well be permanently changing. I once made my living as a professional photographer. Had my own studio and a half dozen employees. What put me out of business was K-Mart and their 99 cent color portrait. My break-even was about fifty bucks. I found out how little people cared about quality work. I was simply priced out of the market and closed up shop. I signed up for a real estate licensing class...and two of my close competitors were also there. Out of eight people in the class.

That was slightly less than 30 years ago. In the time since we've all seen the way technology can steamroller an occupation or an industry. I'm a fierce defender of copyrights, but I believe the solution to these problems lies with the law, not with cybervigilantism. The law is very clear but it seems most people can't be bothered to read it, much less comply with it.

Sincerely, Francis Hamit

Dvorak thinks the recording industry is pretty well over that high profit margin spree, and artists will have to make most of their money in concerts now. I haven't studied it enough to have a real opinion.

and there is this

Hi Jerry,

You should find this link amusing, as well as the page format..

(  )

best, jer




I read the Harvard commencement speech by President Larry Summers with interest, and perhaps you will too:

"It is plainly not enough that our students at some point have 'exposure' to science and its methods. They will need to achieve a reasonable working knowledge of, and facility with, its means of measurement, analysis, and calibration.

"... Having nations with incomes that double in a decade is unprecedented in history and has never happened in this country, but it is a realistic possibility. The consequences of such outcomes will rival the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution.

"But there are alternative futures suggested by such terms as 'ethnic cleansing,' 'Iraq,' 'AIDS,' and 'global warming.' ... If Harvard students are to make a difference, they will need to understand and think about parts of the world remote from themselves."

In other words, Summers is saying that he wants Harvard graduates to be able to think like ... hard science-fiction writers!

Eric Schwarz

Well, why not?


Subject: MS lowers prices (almost to 0) in Thailand to compete with Linux

XP and Office for $22. Wonder how they can produce and sell it so much cheaper in Thailand than here.,,t272-s2136259,00.html 

I hope the EU commission notices this (since we know the Justice Department here could care less.)


-- John Harlow, President BravePoint Voice: (770)449-9696 Fax: (770) 449-9003 Progress,Web and Java Specialists

A mind is like a parachute; it works best when fully opened....

Comparative advantage?


And another twist to the SCO kamikaze saga:

Subject: Prediction made in 2000

Here's the test from the post in question:

Bill Baxter - Subject: Not Open Source, I'm afraid. ( Feb 23, 2000, 00:01:50 )

Note that these releases are not open source. SCO retain rights to the source code. Maybe they even hope that some of their code will wind up in linux, so that they can then sue, and render the Linux license terms invalid. Or would they be that spiteful? My guess == yes.

He called this three years ago.


Jay Aldrich


Subject: A growth industry for the backers of SCO

Interesting article (from Forbes-via-Slashdot) on the backers of SCO.

Their main product is 'lawsuits'. They buy Intellectual Property and then sue over it. They've left an interesting trail behind them.

Only in America.


-- John Harlow, President BravePoint Voice: (770)449-9696 Fax: (770) 449-9003 Progress,Web and Java Specialists

A mind is like a parachute; it works best when fully opened....

With about as much social value as the Nigerian Oil Money scam, no?

And a warning from Roland

Subject: Redfang.

Thankfully, I've stayed away from this stuff - without knowing much about it, I knew that the lessons of the past vis-a-vis 802.11b would be promptly forgotten, and that once again, we'd end up with a horribly insecure initial implementation: 

Imagine how great it'll be to have your PalmPilot or iPaq rifled through silently and undetectably as you stroll down the street . . .

------------- Roland Dobbins

Yes that always did concern me. And then there is the connection between your cell phone and your earphone.


Subject: Imperial Military

Karl Gallegher

Indeed. A well done article. Excerpt

Already this relationship is openly celebrated. Before the Iraq War, servicemen asked by the media about impending war invariably replied: "We're good to go when our Commander-in-Chief gives the word." The intimacy of the Commander's relationship with his military has become a casual part of presidential presentation. Often he prefers to address the people from afar, surrounded by his troops. Front-page pictures show the Commander, almost like pater familias, surrounded by rapt young soldiers reaching out to touch him.

Ave! Ave Caesar! And make no mistake, such builds very good armies indeed. But I am not entirely sure I agree with his Old war/New War analysis, or even understand it all.

I do know that being bogged down in Iraq is not proper Imperialism. The proper way for an Empire is to have Legions -- Heavy Armor and Mechanized Infantry Divisions -- that can defeat anyone who seriously challenges it. That includes client states. Then use the clients to do the actual police work once the conquest has been made, and only employ the Legions when necessary or when you think it time to blood the troops. Feeding a trooper a day to the Iraqis is not a proper use for US troops. Let one of the allies who now wants some of the spoils furnish the MP's.

None of this looks like the army the Framers had in mind, but then The United States doesn't much look like These United States did in 1820, or even in 1932. And the trend accelerates. Dole and Bush the Elder decided to feel good by passing the Americans With Disabilities Act federalizing every parking lot in America and putting every building under the jurisdiction of federal inspectors. Since all that was clearly left to the States we can conclude that the 10th Amendment is no more. The second is about to fall. The First seems to be gone in large part: a juvenile was recently jailed for writing poetry about his alienation from his school. Another was jailed briefly for writing a story about killing teachers until he pointed out that he was assigned to write a scary story.

But the first juvenile, it is noted, was studying Hemingway in school, not poetry, and thus can be jailed for writing alienation poetry. That ought to insure his loyalty, or at least that of the others in his school.

And this may be more relevant to the new model army than is at first apparent. Vlahos goes on:

All comparisons to Rome, of course, are mere metaphor. But the transformation the American Military needs to think about has three passages: from serving a republic to serving an empire, from a national-tribal identity to a world-cosmopolitan identity, from being a defender to being an enforcer.

The Coast Guard is an example. And of course the Marines used as border guards who shot a teenage goatherd because the boy was potting tin cans with his .22 rifle, precisely as I used to do when I was younger. Dangerous thing, to stop that charging tin can in its tracks, particularly when there are Marine sharpshooters hiding so well you don't know they are there.

From being defender to enforcer.

The mission of Rome was To Protect the Weak and Make Humble the Proud. Defending Rome became secondary.

As to Old War/New War: sure we need to be able to practice New War; but we also need to make it clear we can defeat any opposition and that client states have independent policies only at our sufferance.

That is the essence of Empire. Some of us may mourn the old republic. But then so did Cicero, and his head and hands were displayed at the Roman Forum rostrum from which he had so often spoken, and from which, once, he had saved the Republic. And Marc Antony's wife pierced with a hatpin the tongue of the greatest orator Rome had ever known.

But that was a long time ago. And we were born free.

And see following.

Gore considering starting his own cable news channel

Morning Jerry,

Interesting article:,2933,89895,00.html 

I've seen this type of thing come and go here locally, and the simple fact is that there isn't much of a commercial market for a liberal bent news network (hence his need for wealthy donors) on either radio or television. Besides, I thought he already had one in CNN (or was that just the Clinton News Network?).

Also - thanks to all who responded on my question about free hydrogen in the atmosphere. Amazing how much we forget over the years - the refresher is much appreciated.


Doug Lhotka

"Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free."

alterius gratia numquam vive nec pete ut alius tui gratia viva

This was being discussed yesterday by Larry Elder among others. The fact is that they have NPR, and commercial liberal talk shows have been tried many times. Donahue keeps trying to make a comeback on TV but little comes of that. For reasons not entirely clear to me given the election returns, most of the people who pay attention to politics in this country tend to support more conservative talk shows.

We did have Michael Jackson, mildly left but usually very sensible, here in LA for a long time. He married the daughter of a conservative newscaster and became himself more conservative over time and now seems to have vanished.

And A Lengthy Announcement from Space Adventures:

Dear Dr. Pournelle;

The most significant Space Adventures' news for me to report in this letter is our announcement yesterday of our contracted acquisition of two tourist seats to the International Space Station (ISS), and our plans to execute the first dedicated tourist mission to the ISS in early 2005. Space tourism is assured to return to the ISS now, and in a manner that benefits all involved parties.

There has been a lot of press in the last 24 hours covering our joint announcement with the Russian Aviation & Space Agency and RSC Energia, including New York Times, AP, Reuters,, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR and AFP coverage of our press conference (where both Dennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth participated), and great television coverage all throughout the day including the Today Show. A few highlights are below:

1. From the MSNBC home page: 

2. From the BBC: 

3. From CNN: 

4. From 

With the ability to provide seats to orbital space tourists back in full force, it is more important than ever for those that are interested in flying in space to step forward and to do so, as never has there been such a unique opportunity for one to realize their own dreams while at the same time providing great benefit to the ISS program and becoming an inspiration to people everywhere. Space exploration is so important for our future, and human space flight, both commercial and otherwise, is perhaps the most critical aspect of long-term space exploration.

It would be appreciated if you would refer anyone whom you may think is a qualified candidate to participate in the private Soyuz mission, dubbed Space Adventures-1 (SA-1), to me as you see fit.

Anyway, allow me, as usual, to update you on the other happenings with our company in this latest CEO Report (as you know, I do this three or four times per year via e-mail).

* * * * * * * * *

In the wake of the Columbia accident, there was a rise of pundits who pontificated that human space flight wasn't worth continuing by the government, and was not worth the money or the risk for industry to pursue. We know differently; and so, of course, do our partners and clients. In the last few months, I am proud to point not only to our own acquisition of the two Soyuz seats mentioned above, but many other accomplishments by other companies as we push on with space activities.

* On April 18 came the announcement by famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan that for the past two years he had been secretly developing a sub-orbital passenger spacecraft to serve as a test-bed for future commercial space tourism flights. Burt announced at that debut, which I attended on behalf of Space Adventures, that he would be beginning the test phase of his program in the near future.

* Newsweek revealed that Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, had also created a Seattle start-up, Blue Origin, to develop a sub-orbital vehicle. Dubbed 'New Shepard' after Alan Shepard, the first American in space, Bezos' plans are still under wraps but nonetheless, the very fact that he has joined the companies competing to build private spacecraft made national headlines; and is a testament to the caliber of people who are turning their sights on commercial human space flight and space tourism.

* For many of the thousands of youngsters who attend U.S. Space Camp each year, venturing into space is just a dream. But now, the dream is within reach thanks to a new partnership between Space Camp and Space Adventures, Ltd. On March 6, we announced that we will work together on a number of initiatives, including joint marketing and co-sponsored events, Space Camp alumni benefits and exclusive tours. Details can be read here: 

* On May 1, Space Adventures was recognized as the Top Service Company (i.e., fastest growing) in the state of Virginia, at the annual awards banquet held at the Richmond Marriott. Space Adventures also won a spot on the "Fantastic Fifty" list of the fastest-growing companies in the state, by demonstrating 430% revenue growth through the period: 

* Several times in April and May, the media has looked to Space Adventures as an example of the future of space flight and our commitment to keep it going, two highlights are below:

o Forbes journalist James Clash writes about Space Adventures and his experience flying with us to the Edge of Space in his new book, "To the Limits: Pushing Yourself to the Edge--In Adventure and in Business". An excerpt came be read online here: 

o Brad Stone, writing for Newsweek, included Space Adventures' and our partners' accomplishments in his article about Jeff Bezos, Burt Rutan, and their new spacecraft: 

If you would like to learn more about any of the above programs or future Space Adventures developments, visit our web site at  and please feel free to contact me directly at any time.

And if you know anyone would have the interest and the wherewithal to participate in a Soyuz flight to the ISS, please let me know.

Very Best Regards,

Eric Anderson President and CEO 







This week:


read book now


Friday, June 20, 2003

The days are getting longer....

From: Stephen M. St. Onge                                                  
Date: June 20, 2003     

 subject: I feel more secure already

Dear Jerry:
        How's the Homeland Security dept. doing?  Just fine.  Look here:
        "Alaa Gaber Mito, was a prominent business executive in Egypt, and fewer than two months ago he came to America to begin a new life with his wife [a native born citizen] and her family.

        "To say Mr. Mito kept his in-laws waiting at the airport is an understatement.

        " 'He arrived in Atlanta on April 26, 2003, and was kept for nearly five hours,' . . . He was fingerprinted and a mug shot was taken of him, yet his passport was not even stamped as it should have been.' . . .

        " 'Then, when we went back to Atlanta on May 7, 2003 for his first follow-up interview at the INS, they had no record of any fingerprints or photos that were taken at the airport on April 26, 2003.' "

        Well, if they can't even keep track of their own files, we don't need to worry much about them violating our civil rights.


I sure feel safer. Thanks.

Subject: Livestock burp tax sticks in throats

This reads likes one of RAH's "Crazy Years" new headers!

Randy Storms

The Crazy Years. Indeed The Crazy Years...

and more

Sen. Orrin Hatch ought to be happy his idea about remote-triggered computer destruction hasn't been implemented yet.,1283,59305,00.html 

-- Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"

And we have:

Dear Dr Pournelle;

 Economist being thoughtful again:


"The rise of the Straussians suggests that American conservatism has shifted its focus from liberty to virtue... Straussians show what a strangely intellectual place Washington is. It may be led by a man who regarded Yale as a drinking competition (which he damn-near won).

But it is a place where PhDs are a dime a dozen and where people seriously debate everything from “rules and tools for running an empire” (the topic of a seminar on June 16th) to the cultural contradictions of capitalism. In what other world capital, except perhaps Paris, could 60 Plato-worshipping politicos and academics have a picnic?

The rise of the Straussians also illustrates an odd point about modern American conservatism. Despite all their bile about Old Europe, the American right has repeatedly found its inspiration in European thinkers. A few years ago, it was an Austrian libertarian called Friedrich Hayek. Now it is a German Jew who regarded ancient Greece as the fountain of all wisdom. With European constitution-makers seeking inspiration in the Philadelphia Convention, and American conservatives embracing European philosophical tracts, perhaps transatlantic relations aren't quite as bad as all that."

Regards, TC -- Terry Cole System Administrator Dept. of Maths and Stats, Otago University PO. Box 56, Dunedin tel:64-3-4797739 NEW ZEALAND fax:64-3-4798427

Well, I never really bought the notion that Strauss was the inspiration for most of the neo-conservatives. The beginning of that movement was Trotskyite. The problem is that if you abandon Marx as the fountain of justice, what is left as the basis of morality? Why is one action "bad" and another "good" if everything is mere mechanical motion, the dance of the atoms? It is the answer to that question that determines much of the rest of one's life. To be a principled conservative you need principles, and principles in general require some source. Ultimate you end with a leap of faith, but faith in what?

You may define justice in any way that you like -- the ancient one, "Justice consists of a fixed determination to render unto each person that which is his by nature" only sets you back to an earlier question, but also begs the question of why is justice virtuous in the first place? 

I had difficulty reading Strauss, but I came to him late, in graduate school, after some years of knocking about in the army and other places; and I found him difficult indeed, because I thought much of what he said rather obvious, and the rest I didn't really believe. But I can see how he would be a strong staff to lean on for one who encountered him earlier in life -- or just after a breakup with Marxism.

American conservatism never pretended to be deep in philosophy. Russell Kirk tried to add some philosophical underpinnings to what was, at bottom, a form of Christian Whiggery. C. S. Lewis would call the American religion "Christianity and water" as opposed to "Mere Christianity."

The United States starts with the Whig notion that governments derive just powers from the consent of the governed, and couples that with a believe in Divine Providence: that the universe was created by Good and expects us in some way to be Good, and the details of religion aren't relevant: be Deist, or Quaker or Calvinist or Congregationalist or Methodist or Anglican or Anglo-Catholic or Roman Catholic or Jewish; accept that Divine Providence cares at least a little, and provides us with a road map to determine that some things are Good and we ought to pursue them, and that is enough.

Kirk hoped to add some scholarly stuffing to what is, after all, a not entirely rational belief: one cannot prove any religious belief entirely by reason. Although Thomas Aquinas reduced the element of faith to a rather small leap, it's still a leap, larger than stepping across a crack in the sidewalk.

Strauss, as I understand him, didn't want to take that leap. He did anyway, but it was the leap of the ethical culturalists: one can believe in virtues and the value of a virtuous life without reference to any source of virtues. There can be justice without a fountain of justice. 

But how much of Strauss people like Frum, who wants to read many conservatives entirely out of the movement, have actually embraced is a bit more of a question. 


Subject: At least when they do this stuff, they aren't trying to bleed me dry.

Roland Dobbins

The mice will play...

Dan Duncan says

Subject: Liberals in the media


As a radical middle-ist (but radical, to be sure), I take liberal criticism of the media with as much salt as I do conservative complaints.

At the same time, any of the talk shows that I dial past are generally so shallow and shrill that there is nothing to be gained listening to them. There is as little content in Rush Limbaugh as in Phil Donahue. Both preach to their respective choirs.

We dearly need reasoned discussion in American discursive life again. Aside from Buckley, the last time I heard an intelligent exchange on controversial matters was in the confirmation hearings for Justice Souter, and the give and take between Biden and Justice Souter were models of exchange. You could actually learn something, and ponder something, and come away with a sense of possibility instead of a sense of siege.

What's needed is a liberal version of William Buckley (whose interview program on TV was one of the best forums going, and damn, I miss him). Buckley has had the guts to really provide a forum for controversy, even to the point of allowing his guests (including Eldridge Cleaver) to fill the auditorium with their partisans.

Which brings me back to The Soul of America, now out in paperback, in which Needleman touts the kind of heatedly respectful exchange that provided the crucible in which our Constitution was crafted. Our founders had learned, beyond the terror of the French Revolution, how to compromise without capitulation, and thus create a durable society.

So, in addition to having say, a Bill Moyers, we need to bring Buckley back into the arena, if he can be persuaded. In fact if we haven't been too dumbed down, a weekly Moyers-Buckley forum would help feed the struggling public intellect with more than slogans.


You tend to have more respect for Moyers than I, but I see your point.

And I got this:


Thank you for your WESTERN DIGITAL purchase.

To confirm the eligibility of your rebate submission click on

If you have trouble clicking on the above link, go to  and enter your tracking number: 41423806

Please keep this email for future reference.



You will be unable to reply to this email because it has been automatically generated. You have not been added to an email list. This message was sent in response to your rebate submission and will be the only email you will receive regarding this rebate.


Of course I don't have any Western Digital rebate coming. Indeed, I don't buy Western Digital because in four attempts to get a rebate from them the above is the closest I ever came -- and note that is to the wrong person. This certainly inspires confidence in Western Digital.

And I got this:  Center for Immigration Studies

Green-Card Soldiers Don't Pass Muster Using Noncitizens for Our Defense Raises Security and Allegiance Issues By Mark Krikorian Los Angeles Times, May 6, 2003

Name withheld

But I don't think I want to comment now. But I do have this comment from another discussion group:

I notice this article by Mark Krikorian is a typical propaganda piece.

He hasn't met any "green card soldiers" or even any officer or enlisted man who can comment on their actual performance.

He just made it up. But that probably sufficed to encourage his troops.

Which generated this comment

Who wouldn't be happy to be defended by the Anglo-American Foreign Legion with a brigade or two of Ghurkas at its core, an armoured brigade of sober tank men from the former Soviet Union et al.? Maybe not in higher level intelligence but certainly at the front. It should be considered seriously for the more active international peace enforcing roles in future because (a) the TV images and, very likely, the local reception, would be better if large Americans weren't centre stage, (b) body bags wouldn't be a constant political fear and (c) it would save money.








This week:


read book now


Saturday, June 21, 2003

Happy Summer Solstice Day

Took the day off for home stuff. There will be a lot of mail posted tomorrow.






This week:


read book now


Sunday, June 22, 2003

This will be a mixed bag. There's a lot of mail and not a lot of time.

Dear Dr. Pournelle,
 I saw your allegations against Costco and Walmart for getting books from some shady Isreali publisher. I can't speak to Walmart but if Costco is doing this I am very surprised. I am (and I am sure many other readers are) members of Costco. They seem to try to appeal to business people rather then being a strictly retail store. If what you claim is true is there any redress through the court? Please substantiate this claim so I and other member readers can voice our complaints to Costco management.
 Thank You,
 James Hickey

It happened a few years ago, and it was at Price Club that I found my own books, but many big chains had bought what they thought were a good deal. We didn't have a lot of problems with the book chains once we made them realize the copies were pirated. This practice comes and goes. Sometimes the remaindered books at the big discount stores really are remaindered copies from a legitimate edition. Sometimes they are not.

My point in that was that these things have to be stopped at the border, and inspections cost money, and have to be paid for. Tariff is a legitimate way to pay for the inspections, and seems peculiarly appropriate. "Free Trade" imposes costs not paid by the importer or his customer, but by the general public. This seems unfair.

As usual Harry Erwin has found some interesting places:

A few articles of interest on the Guardian website <  ,particularly the one on Hussein <

Note that the UK government has recently been launching trail balloons about a major tax increase. Give that the governmental sector of the economy is the least efficient in the UK, I suspect that the outcome would be almost everyone poorer. They had an increase this year and that was the net outcome. It caused a big stink about the schools being worse off after a supposed funding increase. The "tax clampdown on foreign tycoons" <
> would make it reasonable for me to return to the US, since I would qualify. The article on the shuttle problems <
> looks well-researched. --

 Harry Erwin, PhD, Senior Lecturer of Computing, University of Sunderland. Computational neuroscientist modeling bat bioacoustics and behavior. <> Anything worth doing is worth doing for money. (Tell that to the UK Govt!)



Reading the discussion about Mr. Hatch and SCO and copyright, I'm struck by the idea that this all sounds familiar. So I turned to my bookshelf and pulled down "Adventures in Microland", written in 198x by some guy named Pournelle, and turned to Chapter 5, "Publishers, Pirates, and Problems." As far as I can see, all the same factors are there today, with two exceptions: 1, the technology has broadened the war to areas it wasn't in 20 years ago, namely music, movies, and books, and 2, the new areas are politically savvy enough to use their bought Congresscriters to get Government involved.

Everything else is the same: The license agreements are still written so that only people who don't take them seriously are buying content. The companies are trying ever-more complex tech solutions that end up rendering devices unusable. And so it goes....

Oh, and one other difference: you appear to be a lot more sympathetic to the content providers vs the users caught in the middle than you used to be. Is that because of your own experiences with piracy (the conservative as mugged liberal theory)?


Steve Nelson

Well, first, I am not sure I have changed my views that much. I did then and do now think the "licensing" model for software is wrong. My own personal experience hasn't been all that bad: most of my books can be found for free on line but I don't think it harms sales, and Jim Baen actually believes putting a book -- the entire book, not an excerpt -- on line will increase the sales of the hardbound. No one is making a lot of profit from paperbacks now anyway.

The Internet has reduced honesty to about ten bucks and five minutes: if it takes more than ten dollars or 5 minutes, a lot of people will go for the free copy. Given that this place operates on an entirely voluntary payment system, clearly that can't apply to everyone; but it does seem to apply to a fair number.

The recording companies have I think priced themselves well beyond honesty,  and are now paying the price for it. And my sympathies have always been with both the users and the creators. But if I have learned one thing since the times when I wrote that, it is that I know more than most people about this game and I still have much to learn.

I have a lot of mail about


Maybe people think the American colonists in rebellion could have done without the German and Irish immigarants who had not been five year residents when they joined the Continental Army? Maybe the Union would have been better off without even more German and Irish immigrants who often died in battle only months off the boat? The Southern and Eastern Europeans who served in Doughboy green were obviously no help in 1918, were they? All of those non-citizen immigrants that volunteered and fought Vietnam--obviously less dedication than the born citizens who dodged the draft, right?

As for the Greencard Marines I served with? I don't know of a one whose loyalty or dedication was ever in question by those that had to risk their lives alongside them.

Finally, I find it truly bizarre that Krikorian would take the army that fought in Iraq as his starting point. The steadfast and often heroic actions of its non-citizen soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are the reason that servicepersons' citizenship qualifications are being revisited, not any failures to measure up. And does anyone truly think those "resident aliens" who died in the line of duty demonstrated a measurable lack of loyalty? The very thought insults their service and their memories.

Tony Evans


Subject: Green Card Soldiers


Regarding the posting on “Green Card Soldiers”, when I went through U.S. Navy Boot Camp in 1974, we had about 20+ Filipinos in my company. They were an excellent group generally, although, just like the other recruits, some were a little lazy, some never got it, and others were outstanding. They were somewhat cliquish, which is probably understandable, although it did cause a few problems, as the three top recruit officers were Filipino, and there was some favoritism. We persevered, though, and most of the “Green Card Sailors” were a lot better than the rest of us at spit and polish.

Under some agreement the U.S. had with the Philippines, their young men could join the U.S. military, get training, and ultimately be considered for U.S. Citizenship. With the poverty that existed in “the P.I.”, this was one of the best things that could happen to an 18 year old from there.

A couple of the guys were among my best friends in boot camp, which, if you have been through that ordeal, is usually for life. I would have gone to war with any of them beside me as readily as anyone else there.


And clearly I have not been as clear as I usually am. I do not question loyalties or effectiveness of hired soldiers, no matter what their origins. I do wonder about the long term consequences of decoupling defense and citizenship; and I am hardly the first to have done so. Nor is this the first nation to face this.

Roman citizenship passed through the mothers, precisely so that children born to Roman soldiers far from Rome would not automatically be citizens. Citizenship earned many things including pensions and free grain. Today we do not couple welfare payments to citizenship. How long that will last I don't know.

I have high regard for the troopers who are willing to fight for the United States no matter where they come from. I also have considerable concern for the adventurism that an army of volunteers and non-citizens may generate. 

But I also suspect it doesn't matter. I suspect the old republic I grew up in is gone; it is up to this generation to salvage as much of freedom as we can. That may require paid soldiers.

Incidentally, note that the qualifications for the Presidency were either to be a natural born citizen, or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, precisely to cover the Continental Army veterans. (Although if fact the provision was largely written to cover Alexander Hamilton, born in the West Indies, and a Colonel of Artillery and Aide to Gen Washington.)

On Education and grades

I'm given to understand by radio coverage today that ALABAMA did (marginally) better than California did on the reading exam.

Question -- I notice that Alabama did better than Arizona and one other western state also. Could the Hispanic population have had a role in keeping down reading comprehension in English? Or were students offered a first choice of language?

(I know what Mr. Heinlein had to say about that factor in Expanded Universe, but that was 20 years ago; could bilingual education have created a generation of children functionally illiterate in either language? That does seem the sort of feat that the NEA would be capable of....)

Jim Woosley


Hi. There were three different trial balloons floated this last week concerning internet regulation. I've been short on time, and wasn't able to finish a response to the first one before the next two were made, so I just wrote a consolidated response to all of them: 

I wish I knew why all three of these hit the same week.

-- Phil Fraering 

No Data

subj: Interesting article on Iraq and the 'net

"Following a two-month war hiatus, Iraq's Uruklink website is expected to return to the Internet this week.

Formerly the official homepage of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime, the site has been scrubbed clean of any traces of the fallen dictator, according to officials with Iraq's State Company for Internet Services, or SCIS.",1283,59183,00.html 

Henry Stern Dayton, OH



And a pile of letters from Roland

Subject: More bad ideas.

-------- Roland Dobbins

Subject: Fits and starts.

Subject: The treason of the librarians.

Subject: Prepare to comply.

Subject: Amazing commercial. 

Subject: Paul Johnson on the new 'Great Awakening'. 

----- Roland Dobbins

As usual a mixed bag and all interesting. Paul Johnson is always worth paying attention to.

Subject: Derivative works.

Subject: Some history. 

Subject: The USB speed scandal. 

Subject: People are stupid. 

-- Roland Dobbins

On another subject:

Subject: The crux of the DDoS problem, in a nutshell.

--- Roland Dobbins


And on yet another subject:

Nice article on the end of the world. (For those who haven't read it: ). I can always count on you for a bit of ol' fashioned English doom mongering ;


If you are interested in DOOM, this should be bracing.

The next may not be your cup of tea, but some will find it interesting:

Subject: Tales of the Plush Cthulhu

The Horror! The Horror! 

Ralph Moss

But mixing Conrad and Lovecraft may be a bit much.

And while we are on horror:

Subject: Is the Third World a Breeding Ground for Drug Resistant AIDS?  BBC NEWS | Health | Warning over drug-resistant HIV

Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 01:41 GMT 02:41 UK E-mail this to a friend Printable version Warning over drug-resistant HIV By Richard Black BBC Science correspondent

The unregulated supply of Aids drugs in the non-industrialised world threatens to accelerate the development of drug-resistant HIV strains.

Misuse of Aids drugs is common in Africa That is the conclusion of a study from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, just published in the British Medical Journal.

The study urges governments and international agencies to deal with the problem now.

Drawing on evidence from Africa and Asia, the study shows that uncontrolled prescribing of anti-retroviral drugs is widespread and rising.

Where the state sector cannot or will not provide drugs, patients who can afford them naturally purchase where they can - from doctors, pharmacies, market sellers, or relatives abroad.

Wrong dosages

The study's author, Dr Ruairi Brugha, says that often patients do not take their drugs as they should.

"These drugs are not being used according to the correct regimens. For instance, monotherapy - just giving one anti-retroviral drug - is definitely bad practice. And we see evidence of that both from Zimbabwe and Uganda, and I'm sure it's happening in other countries too."

Dr Brugha also found that in some places patients are changing medication frequently, taking the wrong dose, or stopping treatment in periods when they cannot afford it.

This is exactly the set of conditions in which a virus quickly becomes drug-resistant.

Even in the rigid treatment patterns of the affluent west, HIV is becoming resistant to established anti-retrovirals - and this study says that governments and health authorities cannot afford to wait for more dangerous resistance to emerge in the developing world.

Doctors and clinics need treatment guidelines, they say, supplies of drugs need to be stable, and the public sector needs to compete more effectively in providing the services that people want.

A spokeswoman for UNAids confirmed that the problem is serious, and needs to be addressed urgently by scaling up structured treatment programmes.


But then Russian jails are breeding grounds for incurable TB, so perhaps it is poetic justice? We may all live to see Plagues. After that, read Algis Budrys SOME WILL NOT DIE for one projection...


Which should be enough for one weekend




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