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Mail 335 November 8 - 14, 2004






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I try to answer mail, but mostly I can't get to all of it. I read it all, although not always the instant it comes in. I do have books to write too...  I am reminded of H. P. Lovecraft who slowly starved to death while answering fan mail. 

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Monday  November 8, 2004

Column time. There was lots of good mail over the weekend, as usual.

Subject: Let's see: 27 + 31 is somewhere between.........

If you wondered why the cashier couldn't make change...or the college freshman had to take a remedial math course ... or why we look to India, China or perhaps an African nation for tomorrow's engineering and other technical talent, you might take a look at this teacher's forum all about 4th graders struggleing to learn something called "front-end estimating".

Julie Woodman



Subject: Another Bush Administration Failure

This clearly shows another example of the lack of foresight present in the Bush administration. First the flu vaccine shortage, now this!


What next?

David Marchman


Hello Dr. Pournelle,

Greetings from Qatar! Got deployed here a couple of weeks ago, and itís quite an eye opener. Iím in the C-130 world and we fly into all the hot spots that they donít put civilian contract air. Many missions, every day `round the clock. Itís amazing what 30+ year old aircraft can do if you really need them to do it. The amount of maintenance isnít much more than home station, but the Hercules is getting a bit long in the tooth (E and H models). It would be nice to see some Jís show up, but that isnít budgeted quite yet. Have to get the nice new fighters before Tactical Airlift gets money. That, and the fact that the J still has some problems with the airdrop mission. Software bugs, something Iím sure you can appreciate. Still, we do what is necessary, in a way that no one else can do.

I have one small issue with your assessment of us being in Iraq. Yes, there are several good points that can be made as to why we should not be there. There is one chilling one, though, that I as a father of six, can see as a compelling reason to be here. A mass grave site, exhumed several months ago. You wonít hear of it from CNN, because it would have cast a different view of why weíre here on the war. It would have made Kerry look like the putz he is prior to the election. They found a body of a 5 to 6 year old girl there, hands bound behind her, shot through the head. Her crime? Her family ran cross of Saddamís regime. As a father of a 5 year old daughter, I know why Iím here, and quite proud of it. Say what you will about us being here, but if you look at the Iraqi people and see how the average person is benefiting from us being here, it is worth the cost. To have children not live in fear of monsters like Saddam is cause enough for me. But then Iím prejudiced, Iím a father.

Respectfully, Paul Freed

Which is why I have had mixed feelings about the war. The problem is, there is no end to the dragons that need slaying, the countries that need rescuing, and the monsters who need having their necks wrung. At least Uday and company are not roaming the streets.






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Tuesday, November 9, 2004


Subject: IMPORTANT - Email Virus via Link

Dr. Pournelle:

Readers should be aware of the prevalence of emails that will infect your (unpatched) computer by just clicking on an link in the email. Some anti-virus vendors are calling it a MyDoom variant, others are calling it "Bofra". The exploit used was publicized late last week; it started becoming widespread yesterday (Monday). One alert about this problem is here: http://www.sophos.com/virusinfo/articles/bofra.html .

One version will purport to be a purchase verification from PayPal, another will tempt you with an "adult" link. Note that the infection is not from an email attachment, but via a link in the email.

If you click on the link in the email message, it will connect to the infected computer that sent you the email and try the "IFRAME" exploit to install itself on your computer. Your computer will send out email to harvested addresses from your computer. Anyone who clicks on your email link will become similarly infected.

Anti-virus companies have new updates available today. Although today is "Microsoft Patch Tuesday", initial reports don't indicate an included fix from Microsoft yet. If you are using Windows XP with SP2, you are not vulnerable. If you are using any other version of Windows, you are vulnerable, even if you use alternate browsers or email clients.

So, protection is:

- keep your computer patched (especially install Windows XP with SP2)

- keep your anti-virus current

- be very wary of any email message with a link in it. If the message was unsolicited, even if it came from someone you know, be careful about clicking on links. (Which I suppose could include this email, but the message content is another clue that you should use to verify the autenticity of the message.)

Regards, Rick Hellewell


Subject: Day-0 Windows exploit


--- Roland Dobbins

Pay attention. These will get you even if you are hiding behind a firewall.

Note that having your mail program deliver all mail in plaintext will prevent automatic following of links, but the links will still be there to be followed. This is a worm that looks like phishing...

The yahoo news story says that the virus has not appeared in the wild. However:

Dr. Pournelle:

Regarding your latest "View" .... that virus *is* in the wild. I've received several reports from McAfee, Sophos, Internet Storm Center, and various computer publications that indicate the evil email *is* widespread.

McAfee rates the "MyDoom.ah" variant as "Medium Risk ... due to an increase in prevalence". (See http://us.mcafee.com/virusInfo/default.asp?id=description&virus_k=129631 )

It's a harder one to catch with the mail/spam scanners, since it doesn't have an executable attachment. (Here at our "major local govenment agency", we block all incoming executables. But other sensing techniques (message 'word' analysis) may not find this one. And the home users are the likely targets.

As mentioned before, I believe that the purpose of most viruses is to let spammers use an infected computer as a mail relay. They just need to do port scans of IP addresses looking for viral ports. The resultant list will be used by the mail spammers for mail relaying, making it harder to catch/block known spamming servers.

There are some viruses whose purpose is to send back captured (financial/passwords) information, but the destination (collection) site is usually shut down in a few days. Mail relays are harder to get shut down, since they are usually on user's computers.

Regards, Rick Hellewell









This week:


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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Subject: For once, I agree with Kristof.


-- Roland Dobbins

Indeed. There are sometimes reasons for exceptions to the journalist shield laws, particularly in the case of fraudulent information, but not many. The whole issue needs discussion.

Subject: You look GREAT in Firefox 

I haven't done a complete scan of all my sites yet, bur yours looks awesome (better than in IE)!

 -- Dave

Good!  Thanks.


Whether or not one believes in stem cell research in the US it will happen somewhere in the world. It has far too much potential to cure disease to allow it to languish.

I think this an important article from the current New England Journal of Medicine on Proposition 71 in California. I'm in strong support of continued stem cell research at the federal level, and the article gives a very brief primer on stem cell research and outlines why it is necessary. Well worth reading. I'm sorry for the length of the URL. Perhaps one of your readers can instruct me how to make it shorter? Tinyurl??


Mark Huth

Well, it wasn't hard to convert: paste special does that so long as you double space between paragraphs.

I will read the article with interest; but I think there is misunderstanding of the nature of this controversy. The question has never been whether or not to conduct stem cell research, or even to fund it. There is funding, perhaps not enough, perhaps enough; I am not privy to the allocation decisions although in my opinion AIDS research is overfunded and that overfunding is having an impact all the way down the line in education and specialization decisions as well as absorbing money better spent elsewhere. But the federal government does fund stem cell research.

It does not fund stem cell research in cases where the cells were taken from an embryo (fetus, blastopod) created for the purpose of generating those cells. There are exceptions to that for the lines that already exist: this is analogous to using the data from research that is forbidden because inhumane on the theory that the lives taken should not have been in vain.

There is also funding for adult stem cell research. It is my understanding that adult stem cell research has resulted in just about all the things we have learned on the subject, while fetal stem cell research hasn't been so productive -- one reason why private research investment goes to adult stem cell research and not fetal -- and that funds that go to fetal stem cell research will come out of the budget for adult stem cell research.

I have no expertise in allocation of research funds in these areas, and my opinion on whether fetal stem cell research into cell lines other than those already in existence would be greatly productive, but I do know that the question is never debated on those terms, and that always bothers me: when one side asks for a great deal of money that will come from the budget of the other side, the arguments ought to be made in scientific terms and reasons for expecting the alternate research to have a higher payoff, and I don't hear that in this discussion at all. One the one side we have the issue of whether or not it is ethical to create embryos in order to kill them and harvest their stem cells: this gets us into all kinds of issues, like "quickening" and such, and ultimately into the abortion issue, none of which has much scientific content. On the other we have not heard what the payoff is.

Let me pose you a question: let us suppose that there is a chance that dismembering anesthetized babies born alive with Down's Syndrome (i.e. those formerly known as "mongoloid") would lead to really important medical results including cures for many kinds of heart ailments. What should we do? But of course, if it's all speculation on what this would lead to, we aren't even tempted; it's only when we see what the payoff might be that we might be tempted to get out the carving knife.

Of course the argument can be made that until we do the fetal stem cell research we can't know what the payoff will be, but I suppose I might make the same case for dismembering mongoloids.

I'll go read your article. It may change my mind.

I have now read it. It doesn't say anything new, and gives me no new data for a decision. It marshals the arguments for tax support of this kind of research, but has only speculation and arm waving about results.


"Passage of the initiative [California Proposition 71, which did pass] is important because opposition within the Bush administration remains stalwart. Faced with appeals to relax the restrictions on stem-cell research signed by 264 members of the House and Senate, ranging from Senator Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), a Bush spokesperson asserted that the president "continues to believe strongly that we should not cross a fundamental moral line" by condoning new derivations of stem-cell lines. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson argued that before the current policy is relaxed to permit broader use of stem cells, "we must first exhaust the potential" of the lines approved in 2001. In view of the new lines that have already been derived and that are now available for research funded by nonfederal sources, as well as the findings that are sure to emerge from such research, Thompson's stance will increasingly be analogous to requiring the exhaustive use of slide rules for all computations before allowing computers to be powered up. "

What does that mean? Findings from new lines are "sure to emerge" but we can pooh pooh the findings that may come from what is already being funded? Do I detect here the moans of someone whose project wasn't funded? Or what am I reading?

It may be that massive funding of research on new fetal stem cell lines will do wonderful things. If so, I make no doubt that the University of California will have people competent to do that, and if $3 billion in California new debt is not enough, just how much money will be?

I confess that I am puzzled by your position on stem cell research. I don't know much about it, but is it really a question of harvesting fetuses for that particular purpose? Surely there is an abundance of aborted fetuses which are otherwise simply disposed of. Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, that state of affairs is certain to persist.

Whether or not one supports abortion on demand, doesn't it make sense to make use of the aborted fetuses rather than simply discarding them? It's not as if a shortage of such fetuses would encourage more abortions simply for the purpose of harvesting stem cells. Or, if it is, I don't understand how.

As to the Mongoloid issue you raised as a straw man, it occurs to me that we as a society willingly sacrifice people every day toward the greater good. The armed forces are the obvious example, but it goes far beyond that. Every time a bridge or a skyscraper is built, there are two budgets, a money budget and a death budget. We know going in that building that new bridge is going to cost X number of lives, and yet we build the bridge. How can we not?

Perhaps you believe that designating a particular person to be killed is unethical, while at the same time believing that it is ethical to engage in activities where luck of the draw determines who specifically dies. Or perhaps it's because infantryman and bridge builders voluntarily assume the risk while fetuses and infants do not. I'm not saying you're wrong, but only that I've not spent any time thinking about the question.

-- Robert Bruce Thompson

thompson@ttgnet.com http://www.ttgnet.com/thisweek.html http://forums.ttgnet.com/ikonboard.cgi

It is my understanding that the federal prohibition is against funding research on fetal stem cells collected from fetuses created for that purpose. That is certainly what the President said. I don't have the actual policy statement. I do not know what would happen to a grant application in which the stem cells were to be collected from frozen embryos already in existence but doomed because no longer wanted (fertility research produces many of these). I do find it interesting that there is private funding of research on adult stem cells, apparently because the people who expect to make money from it find that more promising; why I do not know, but then I haven't invested in either, and I am not part of an investment research teams.

As to the difference between sending an infantryman, even a conscript, into battle and deliberately dissecting him for the higher good, I would hope you wouldn't have much problem seeing these are not quite the same thing. Now one might say that a young infantryman is worth more than a mongoloid baby: but surely you can see there may be some pretty hefty ethical reefs off in that direction?

In any event, isn't the question moot? If California is to spend $3 billion of borrowed money, isn't that enough? At least for a while? Why must every funding agency in the land conform? It looks to me more like an abortion issue than anything else. Abortion opponents don't want such things left to the states, because while most states would do nothing if Roe v. Wade were overturned, some would regulate abortion and a few would forbid it, and minding other people's business seems to be the order of the day.

If someone can make a scientific case for spending more than $3 billion on fetal stem cell research, I will listen; but so far I have heard absolutely no scientific arguments to the effect that it's not enough that California do it, the Federal Government must do so also, presumably so that as large a group as possible of those who don't like the idea can have it rammed down their throats. As Mr. Jefferson long ago noted, to have one's money taken by force in taxes and used for purposes one considers immoral is seldom a good thing for a nation to do. It may have to be done, but surely one wants to minimize, not maximize, the instances?

Why in the world cannot more matters be left to the states? Consent of the governed is a powerful idea.


Dr Pournelle,

On the Treaty of Westphalia

You tell us that ..."The United States has explicitly repudiated the notion of sovereignty as regards nations that sponsor terrorism and harbor terrorist enemies of the West."

Perhaps so, but it's worth noting that al-Qaida has declared that "the international system built-up by the West since the Treaty of Westphalia will collapse; and a new international system will rise under the leadership of a mighty Islamic state."


Such mutual rejection of Westphalia would certainly seem to signal its end as a living doctrine.

Or perhaps not. The American repudiation of the sovereignty of nations harbouring and sponsoring terrorists is not so new as all that. On the one hand this is no more nor less than the US did with the Barbary pirates some two centuries ago; on the other, it can be seen as simply a modern interpretation of the more tradition declaration of war--something that seems to have gone out of fashion since the end of the Second World War.

What is new is the increasingly common belief in certain quarters around the world that one nation can only conduct military operations against another with the explicit authority of the United Nations.

Jim Mangles

Yes, of course, and we have some examples in the suppression of the slave trade. As you say, the UN seems to have assumed a role never envisioned by Hugo Grotius. It makes for some tricky discussion in graduate classes in International Law, and did so even as far back as when I participated in Dr. Manders' seminars while in graduate school at the University of Washington. Incidentally, I got an A for my paper although Professor Manders did not agree with my views. But those were days when liberals and conservatives could disagree in a gentler fashion.

It seems clear to me that something other than the Westphalia system will evolve. It had, actually, by 1900, when Great Powers had rights that others did not have, and that was incorporated into the UN with the Permanent Members of the Security Council and their vetoes. All sovereignties are equal, but some are more equal than others.

We can speculate on what the next steps will be; and perhaps, as Dandridge Cole observed, we cannot predict the future, but we can invent it. In any event it's a discussion worth having.


This is typical of many letters:

Hi Jerry,

Just my 2 cents, but I like your site the way it is. If changing it makes it easier for you, then great, but simpler is better as far as I'm concerned.

If you like the fly-out menu approach, my wife runs the Intel Technology Journal, (developer.intel.com/technology/itj) and she can tell you what they do and what tools they use.

On your comment on today's view about Arabs thinking we are weak. My parents spent 77 and 78 in Kuwait bringing American fast food to the Middle East (talk about cultural weapons of mass destruction!) and returned with much the same opinion. The Arabs think we are weak because:

1. We did not conquer, kill, or enslave them - we paid them for their oil
2. We made a lot of them very rich
3. They see America through the media

Like you, I suspect the Marines will re-educate a small group of them shortly. Of course, no matter what happens, the media will make it look like a failure.

Phil Tharp
 Mountain View, CA


Subject: More on Ramadan

Your correspondent's notes on Ramadan were interesting, but somewhat brief. As someone who spent much of the last 25 years working in the Middle East, may I expand slightly? The most important thing, as far as I am concerned, is the sheer hypocrisy of it all. Ramadan is a month of fasting, right? Yet their own published figures show that they eat and drink more during Ramadan than any other month of the year.... they just do it during the night, rather than during the day. As noted, basically, they just (well, those who can) change everything around, day is used for sleeping and night for feasting, partying and carousing. Since the day is used for sleeping, no work gets done during the day at all. Office workers, taxi-drivers, students, fall asleep very very easily during the day, so it's not a good time to attempt to travel (or to teach, or to get anything official done). And then, come the end of Ramadan, all the gyms do a roaring trade with people coming in to get rid of the extra pounds they've put on during Ramadan (the month of fasting)!


I expect such things vary from community to community. After all, Mardi Gras is supposed to be preparation for Lent, but in modern times, Lent is the excuse for big Mardi Gras carnivals...


Subject: Credentialism in action


The story of "Dr. Zoe D. Katze, Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA". In detail

John R. Strohm

It was bound to happen...








CURRENT VIEW    Wednesday


This week:


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Thursday, November 11, 2004

 Veterans Day

Subject: And so it begins...

"More than 20 ABC affiliates around the country have announced that they won't take part in the network's Veterans Day airing of "Saving Private Ryan," saying the acclaimed film's violence and language could draw sanctions from the Federal Communications Commission."


Ken McIntyre

Congress shall make no law...

Subject: [RBT] ICANN Changes Transfer Policy Importance: High

If you own a domain name, this is important. In the past, if anyone attempted to transfer a domain name, the current registrar notified the domain owner and waited for approval before transferring the domain to the new registrar. If the domain owner did not respond, the domain transfer was denied.

Under new (and inexplicable) ICANN rules that take effect tomorrow, if the domain name owner does not respond, the transfer must be approved. This raises the very real possibility that domain "slammers" will be able to hijack your domain. Note that if you respond to the notification email and explicitly deny the transfer, that still prevents the domain from being transferred, but in this age of spam filters it's quite possible that you'll never receive the notification and will lose your domain.

Nor is the risk only that your domain will be transferred to another, more expensive registrar, but remain under your control. If I'm reading the rules correctly, a malefactor could transfer ownership of your domain as well.

I have all of my domains at GoDaddy.com. GoDaddy offers free "domain locking", which prevents any unauthorized transfer. If your domain is registered at GoDaddy.com, I strongly recommend that you update your account information to enable domain locking. If your domain is registered at a registrar that does not offer such a feature, I recommend that you transfer your domain immediately to GoDaddy.com or another registrar that does offer domain locking.

Under this new and unjust ICANN policy, I foresee a flood of bogus transfer attempts to hijack desirable domain names. Make sure yours isn't one of them.

Best regards.


Robert Bruce Thompson

Mine are all with GoDaddy also, and I have done this. One of mine, Pournelle.com, was snatched away from us and it took legal action and a payment to get it back; the original demand was high enough that it was worth the money to get lawyers involved.


Subject: Good review of Barnett's book.


--- Roland Dobbins

Indeed. I have not yet read the book but I suppose I must. I am supposed to be working on a book called HIGH TECH WARS and I guess it is time for me to do it.



Detonating artillery shells falling on Dunkirk echoed in the distance. It was late May, 1940, my father was only eleven years old. He was in a small restaurant with my grandfather, the two of them perplexed by the French soldier sitting next to them having a feast. The soldier's meal was lavish, far in excess of what virtually all Europeans were used to in those days of rationing.

My grandfather struck up conversation with the soldier. "Excuse me, but you are using up all your ration coupons on this one meal. What will you eat later if you spend them all like this?

The soldier smiled forlornly and explained, "Tomorrow the Germans will attack."

He would have no further use for his coupons. He had no intention of retreat. This was his last supper.

For that soldier who died protecting my father and all the rest of us. For all the others I could never begin to name or even know of. For all those who stand the wall. Thank you.

Peter Cohen



Why did I bother getting a PhD? I should have just made headlines.



Former radical causes rift at Hamilton Woman sentenced for having explosives will teach course on memoirs at college. Thursday, November 11, 2004 By Glenn Coin Staff writer

Hamilton College has hired a 1980s radical who was convicted of having more than 600 pounds of explosives and who was indicted in a bank robbery that killed three people.

The appointment of Susan L. Rosenberg, whose 58-year sentence was commuted by President Bill Clinton in 2001, has roiled the campus on the hill in Clinton. The "visiting artist/activist" will teach a half-credit class on resistance memoirs.

"If you're going to bring Susan Rosenberg here and say her minimal credentials are sufficient to teach a course on activism," said history professor Robert Paquette, "why not bring in David Duke on race or O.J. Simpson on the sociology of sports?"

But the professor who brought Rosenberg to Hamilton said Rosenberg is a model of how people can transform themselves.

"I think she is an exemplar of rehabilitation," said Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz, professor of comparative literature. "Her story is about how you can make something productive out of something that was really awful."

In January, Rosenberg will begin teaching "Resistance Memoirs: Writing, Identity and Change." It meets for four hours on each of five Friday afternoons. <snip>









CURRENT VIEW    Thursday


This week:


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Friday, November 12, 2004

Subject: Barnett's book _The Pentagon's New Map_

Please note that the Book is derived from the Brief.

The Brief is a work-in-progress, and has been for ten years or more. A recent version of the Brief is available from C-SPAN.

There is also a massive Web site, including a massive Weblog and "directors notes" and "outtakes" from the Book. The Weblog includes multiple reviews and Barnett's responses to them.

http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/index.htm  Thomas PM Barnett Website 

The D-N-I review missed some important nuances that are perhaps clearer in the Brief. For example, in the Brief, Barnett says N Korea is a vestige of the Cold War, and that Kim Jung Il has a major contribution to make to World History, to wit: as the irritant that stimulates the formation of a northeast-Asia counterpart to NATO, consisting of the US, Japan, China and S Korea, for the initial purpose of taking him down, but with potential for Gap-reducing cooperation beyond that initial purpose.

I must admit to being somewhat bemused that the D-N-I reviewer never even mentions the Brief, and its importance, given that the reviewer is clearly (like all the D-N-I-ers) a disciple of John Boyd, and that Boyd, just like Barnett, was a Brief-monger rather than a book-monger.

I don't fully comprehend Barnett's product yet myself. I caught parts of the Brief on C-SPAN, viewed the C-SPAN video once, and caught the live performance Barnett gave at Princeton earlier this month, I'm about half-way through the Book, and I've done some digging in the Web site.

But several things seem clear:

1. Barnett's importance is not limited to the content of his ideas; it also extends to how he's spreading them. If he's not lying about how large a fraction of the O-4/O-5-level Pentagonians he's been reaching with the Brief, he stands a fair chance of establishing the grand-strategic mind-set of a substantial fraction of the next generation of flag officers. He's also been testifying before Congressional committees and briefing Congressional staffers. That makes his ideas important, whether they're good or bad. If nothing else, he may replicate John Boyd's founding of a rather permanent insurgency, within the Pentagon, with Congressional support and an external think-tank or five.

2. Barnett's vision of the future is rather like the Pournellian CoDominium, just with the G-20 as the basis for the Grand Senate, instead of a US+Soviet duopoly, and without the space travel.

3. Barnett's vision is distinctly non-Conservative. His attitude is optimism rather than hopeful pessimism. That is: he thinks things will tend to go well, unless we screw up badly, whereas Conservatives tend to think that things will tend to go to Hell, but that if we work and pray hard, God may grant His Grace and things will go better. Example: China doesn't really aspire to become the "near peer competitor" the Pentagon fears; all the Chinese really want is to integrate with the Core economically, and that economic integration will pretty much automatically produce political liberalization in due course.

4. If conservatives want to compete with Barnett's ideas, they're going to have to compete on the same ground. That is: they need a Brief (or two or ten) and a showman-briefer of Barnett's caliber to spread it around to the future flag officers. I suppose the fact that I have not heard of such does not prove there isn't one.

5. It would be very educational for Barnett, the neocons, the Clinton-Albright interventionists, the Possony-Pournelle-Kane Technology Strategists and the Paleoconservative anti-interventionists to try to reach what Herman Kahn called "second-order agreement" -- that is, agreement about *what they disagree about*, with each party able to state the other parties' positions in language *the other parties* find acceptable. And that attempt would be at least as educational for the audience as it would be for the participants.

Rod Montgomery==monty@sprintmail.com

Well, Duke and I still have a few readers, but it's probably someone else's turn. But the kind of meeting Herman used to try to get would be interesting.

I presume that everyone understands that the CoDominium was a dystopian setting that eventually collapsed. It was just the best they could do.

I am supposed to do this book on High Tech War. I suppose I ought to get at it. I have ordered Barnett's book. Is he kin to Frank Barnett of the old American Security Council?

Subject: In addition to the reviewer's comments

and Mr. Montgomery's email, I'd like to add that I found Barnett's combination of naivety, hubris, arrogance, and sheer pollyannaish chutzpah to be both breathtaking and profoundly unsettling in both aims and scope.


 Roland Dobbins

I have ordered the book...




Subject: on domain locking/hijacking

Dr. P:

I queried my ISP regarding the possibility of locking my domains to prevent hijacking. They pointed me at a clear explanation of what the new ICANN rules mean, and why I shouldn't be concerned.

You may be interested...

I've converted to clear text rather than point you at a link at an unknown ISP.

Rob Philip


Domain Locking

There has been some concern about a recent ICANN decision revising the procedures for transferring registration services from one provider to another. Various notifications have been sent to domain owners giving warning about the new procedures. As some of these notifications are somewhat alarming, Sonic.net is providing this document as an overview for how this new ICANN decision affects domain owners.

The full policy document is available online at http://www.icann.org/transfers/policy-12jul04.htm . How a registrar transfer works

1. The new transfer policy still requires the "gaining" registrar to get positive confirmation from the domain owner before submitting the request to the registry. They do this by sending a conformation request to the domain's admin contact. This has not changed.

2. The domain owner must confirm the transfer as valid by replying to the confirmation request as noted in step 1. This has not changed.

3. Once the domain owner has confirmed a valid request, it is sent to the registry and they pass it along to the "losing" (or current) registrar. This has not changed.

4. The current (losing) registrar sends a second confirmation request to the domains admin contact. This has not changed.

What's changed:

Currently, if the domain owner does not or cannot reply to this "2nd" confirmation request, the losing registrar can, at their discretion, decline the transfer.

As of Nov 12th, the transfer WILL complete even if the domain owner does not reply to the 2nd confirmation request.

Why this matters:

It's important to note that the current and long standing policy of OpenSRS, Sonic.net, and some other respectable registrars is exactly the same as that which will be imposed on all registrars beginning on November 12th, 2004.

Many other registrars used the older policy to hinder the transfer of domains away from their companies. They used all kind-o sneaky tricks to keep domain owners from confirming the second transfer request.

This new policy does not increase the risk of domain hijacking and if fact hinders it because it also imposes requirements that the "gaining" registrar maintain "proof of domain owner authorization" for domains transferring to their system. Further, if the gaining registrar cannot provide proof, upon request, they are subject to a fine of $1500 per incident (domain) plus the possible loss of ICANN accreditation.

Thanks. I had a domain snatcher try to hang on to one of mine after I tried to transfer. I told the bums they could keep the money but let my domain go. Eventually they did, but it was a fight.


Submarine Recycling Program

Hi Jerry,

Interesting page with photos...

"Nuclear Submarines Undergoing SRP (Ship/Submarine Recycling Program) at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton Washington."

< http://www.donshelton.net/djs-srp1.htm >


Rod Schaffter

-- "1918's now just another year we won the World Series." -- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.













This week:


read book now




I took the day off.





CURRENT VIEW     Saturday

This week:


read book now


Sunday, November 15, 2004

Subject: Dulce et Decorum est

 Dr Pournelle,

 Dulce et Decorum est

 Today is Remembrance Sunday, when the people of what was the British Empire

remember those who died in the wars of the 20th Century.


 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, 

 Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, 

 Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs 

 And towards our distant rest began to trudge. 

 Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots 

 But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; 

 Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots 

 Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.


 Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! ≠  An ecstasy of fumbling, 

 Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; 

 But someone still was yelling out and stumbling, 

 And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . . 

 Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, 

 As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

 In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, 

 He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


 If in some smothering dreams you too could pace 

 Behind the wagon that we flung him in, 

 And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, 

 His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; 

 If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood 

 Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, 

 Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud 

 Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, 

 My friend, you would not tell with such high zest 

 To children ardent for some desperate glory, 

 The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est 

 Pro patria mori.


October 1917 - March, 1918

Wilfred Owen


"Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori" is from Horice (65 - 8 BC) and means

"It is sweet and becoming to die for one's country."


Jim Mangles








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