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Mail 350 February 21 - 27, 2005






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Monday  February 21, 2005

President's Day

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers
to harrass our People, and eat out their substance

Subject: Jeff's comments re TSA


The problem is - it's too big for any one individual. Make a stink, and you know you'll just be detained, miss your flight, and it will make no difference whatsoever. So we all look after ourselves. Gridlock.

And the TSA people - however they are trained - are inevitably subject to all the problems that having direct power over other individuals brings with it. Abuse is inevitable.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Benjamin Franklin)

But it's not only TSA and Homeland Security. It's the "Patriot Act". Refusing to abide by the Geneva Conventions. Preemptive warfare. Nuclear weapon policy: first strike on "surprising" military developments. Prisoners detained for months with no charges and no access to counsel. Utter fiscal irresponsibility. All pieces of the same puzzle.

I have been living outside the USA for some years now, and from here the view is simply horrific - a government barreling along out of control. And yet, since 9/11 and the Patriot Act, many Americans seem to have accepted that criticizing government policies is unpatriotic.

What can we do? Hope for a huge turnaround in public opinion, and help it along any way we can. Unfortunately, there are currently few signs of any such change...

Brad Richards

Perhaps it is fitting to contemplate this on the day on which we no longer honor the man who said that a nation cannot live indefinitely half slave and half free. I would add that we cannot live half citizen and half subject. We are citizens of a Republic, or subjects of a command government: an empire by whatever name it is called and whatever the exact structure of the Chief Executive office and how that is selected. Either you have Rule of Law or you do not. Clearly the Patriot Act, with Officers blowing up luggage to punish someone for a remark, is not Rule of Law. But the empire was merciful in this instance: the lady was not charged, and could feel well off at having suffered only the loss of her luggage as punishment for maiestas. If you wonder at that term, it loosely means "having contempt for the sovereign power of the state," and in particular of the Imperium. (If you want to buy a term paper on the subject, it is available; otherwise you are unlikely ever to have heard of such things as Tiberius and his use of the charge of maiestas as a means of consolidating power.)


On GPS and Time:

These letters are in response to a request last week. To skip past this, click here.

Subject: Uganda Time


Your correspondent should be able to get a usably accurate time from the onboard clock in the computer. My limited experience is that these used to be mildly inaccurate but are now much better. The person installing the computer could use radio time signals to check their wristwatch and so transfer the time to the computer. Digital watches are very cheap especially when bought in bulk.

John Edward


Subject: Inexpensive time source

Dr. Pournelle,

Regarding obtaining a cheap, reasonably accurate time source.

There are clocks (and clock/radios, etc.) available now that receive VLF transmissions from NIST, and are probably accurate to a couple of seconds. A couple of months ago I got one from WalMart that displays date, time, indoor temp, and outdoor temp (via a wireless sensor), for about $25.

The display is standard 7 segment LCD, so it wouldn't take much digital hacking to pick off the right lines and send them to the PC, which could then run its own NNTP server. I wouldn't be surprised if The ARRL Handbook (www.arrl.org)  doesn't have an article on this already.

Come to think of it, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody already makes one of these that plugs directly into a USB port.

A GPS-based solutiion, to me, sounds like overkill. The only thing I'm unsure of is the range of the NIST signals; I have no idea if they are strong enough to reach Africa.

Regards, Dave KQ3T


Subject: GPS time source


Regarding Tracy and his need for a GPS time source, the last time I set up an RF engineering lab I used...


...and their Model 100. I don't know what their pricing is like now, but he should check them out.

===== Thank you, Alan Aslett Peterborough, Ont., Canada alan@aslett.ca


Subject: Subject: GPS time source

Hi Jerry

I've had a look at the support pages for the DeLorme Earthmate. It looks pretty straightforward. The UTC time is output in plain text.

I'd gladly write a little utility which would keep a PC clock updated with the current time. I wouldn't charge as it sounds like a very good cause.

Best Regards Brian Hughes


Subject: reading GPS time

Any GPS with an rs232 (serial port) interface can be polled using the NMEA standard (National Marine Electronics Association) for the current time at 4800 baud. (the slightly more expensive Serial Delorme unit is $159

There is an informational page about this from O'Reilly books at:


Visual Basic has a nice serial port control (MSComm) if you want to write your own program.

If it was worth enough, someone could generate fake serial port data and make it look like a different time. It would be more trustworthy to get a USB device and use the internal virtual COM port which Delorme has written to help older software applications use USB devices. This would also let you use the originally specced cheaper $129 version.


I would also be worried about a valuable small item that can be put in a pocket being attached to a public computer. You would almost want a long cable leading to a secure installation location (of course it has to be able to receive satellite data.) If the 3 computers in each building were networked to each other, you could have one for all of them.

If all records generated had a continuously updated code number, then any attempt to move time backwards would be caught. It could also flag any large discrepancy between computer time and gps time or just log both for analysis later.

Another way to reconfirm time would be to have a password protected router on a UPS with its own time setting. This could be Pinged to get another time value for confirmation.

Stephen Hart


Subject: Alternatives to GPS and NTP time sourcing

Dr. P,

After seeing Tracy's request for assistance in finding an affordable source for coarse time synchronization in today's Mail, a couple of quick Google searches for information on LORAN as a time source turned up the following information/software sources:

U.S. Traffic Corporation :: Time Source Products <http://www.ustraffic.net/control.htm>  <http://www.ustraffic.net/control.htm

Radio Clock listens to radio time signals from your radio and corrects the time on your PC clock.

Radio Clock enables you to decode the time signals sent by various LF and HF radio stations in the standard frequency and time service. Radio Clock uses your PC to display the time code received from the radio station, using a suitable receiver, and compares it with the local time on your PC. <http://sapp.telepac.pt/coaa/radioclock.htm>  <http://sapp.telepac.pt/coaa/radioclock.htm

Manufacturers of Time and Frequency Receivers <http://www.boulder.nist.gov/timefreq/general/receiverlist.htm>  <http://www.boulder.nist.gov/timefreq/general/receiverlist.htm

ClockCard <http://www.beaglesoft.com/clcahome.htm>  <http://www.beaglesoft.com/clcahome.htm

The Radio Clock and U.S. Traffic links looked most promising, but I was unable to locate any hints of pricing for U.S. Traffic's products.

I hope this helps.


Bill Clardy

Subject: GPS Time

Motorola /Nextel makes at least one series of cellphones (i710, i730, i733) which contain a GPS chipset. The i730 has a java applet which allows you to use the cellphone as recreational GPS. I don't have one of these so I do not know if 'time' is an output. Trimble (www.trimble.com) has a software package which works with a Nextel phone which it sells to turn that cellphone into a better recreational GPS, with more capabilities. These phones are a lot cheaper than the other hardware proposed.

Whether or not these programs (or a freeware extra) can strip out the actual GPS GMT time is unclear, but some contact with Trimble directly should get an answer. I would be surprised if it were not possible. Even if the cellphone is NOT connected to the computer, it will provide an external trusted timesource.

If the accuracy required is in fact only plus or minus a minute, then you could always work backwards: use one GPS (or a map!) to determine the latitude and longitude of the site, and calculate a diary of sunrise/sunset (or moonrise/moonset) times. (A programmable calculator is useful. Astronomical ephemera are available online). Then observe the event and calculate the deviation in the computer clock. Adjust. (This technique may require some adjustment for the height of the local horizon).

We do NOT always need technology to answer our questions. In fact, the astronomical method may be the most dependable.



Subject: Uganda Time


I’d like to thank you and your readers for the overwhelming response to my query for help regarding extracting time from the GPS data stream. I’m running down all the leads you have forwarded, and it looks like several of the options are excellent solutions to the problem.

Your site continues to amaze me, Jerry, and is a daily “must-read”. Thank you and your readers very much.


We can hope that it is a Must Subscribe also... 

And that should suffice. Thanks to all.

New Topic: On Ocean Warming

Subject: Ocean warming v.2005

Here is a discussion of the 2001 results on the ocean is warming and that warming being consistent with a bunch of climate models.

"Tortured Data Confesses" by Patrick J. Michaels http://www.cato.org/dailys/04-23-01.html  <http://www.cato.org/dailys/04-23-01.html

In time the data analysis procedures in the new paper by Barnett and others will be read and analyzed. From the abstract:

"The observed data set of oceanic temperatures in the upper few thousand meters is relatively sparse over most of the world’s oceans. It is becoming common practice in oceanography to overcome this situation by infilling the data voids by either optimal interpolation or more formal assimilation techniques. We have found that the infilled data generally have different statistical properties than the observed data. These differences can be unacceptably large. In contrast, the regridding necessary to examine covariability in observed and modeled heat content changes has a relatively small impact." http://php.aaas.org/meetings/MPE_01.php#374  <http://php.aaas.org/meetings/MPE_01.php#374

Meanwhile the press releases go on: "According to the Scripps researcher, political leadership was now needed to avert a global disaster." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4275729.stm  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4275729.stm

Joe Hennessey

But SEE BELOW on accuracy of this estimate.


Subject: Fwd: Temperature tracking using proxy data only

Dear Jerry,

If keeping the climate model algorithms secret gets your goat, how about changing temperature measurement methods at a key time and portraying it as though it is simply "less uncertain".

Cheers! Mike Ballantine

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Stephen McIntyre" <smcintyre@cgxenergy.com> Date: February 18, 2005 10:45:56 EST To: "Michael Ballantine" <mikeballantine@sympatico.ca> Subject: RE: Temperature tracking using proxy data only

This is an excellent point and one which I'm working on. Most of the reconstructions segregate the proxy portion; they are only combined at the sales pitch. I'll be putting some blog comments and will try to let you know.

I'm going to go on a campaign to get the governments to require that the proxies be brought up to date so that the comparisons are more appropriate. This should be very controversial.

-----Original Message----- From: Michael Ballantine [mailto:mikeballantine @sympatico.ca] Sent: February 18, 2005 9:32 AM To: smcintyre25 @yahoo.ca Cc: Jerry Pournelle Subject: Temperature tracking using proxy data only

Mr. McIntyre,

I found http://www.climateaudit.org/  through a link at Chaos Manor which is run by Dr. Jerry Pournelle. It is a great site for cutting through the bull that permeates the "sciences" these days.

I have a simple question that may have been answered elsewhere but it is not obvious to me. All of these hockey stick graphs appear to use a combination of proxy information for old temperatures and thermometer data for recent data.

Question: Is there a temperature reconstruction that uses only proxy data? If so, what does it say about the 20th century?

Regards, Michael Ballantine


Subject: If you don't share my opiniion, you're an idiot  [wd-vc]

Maybe you already have read this:




"The debate over whether or not there is a global warming signal is now over, at least for rational people," he said.

Sounds very much like a rational scientist, doesn't it?


******************************************************** Dieses E-Mail und allfaellig daran angeschlossene Anhaenge enthalten Informationen, die vertraulich und ausschliesslich fuer den (die) bezeichneten Adressaten bestimmt sind.


On Hogan

Subject: James P. Hogan's "AIDS Article" URL ...

Hi Jerry !!


Regarding: http://www.jerrypournelle.com/view/view348.html#Saturday 

You're right, it's buried pretty deep -- I'm not surprised that you weren't able to find it, at least not easily.

On his homepage: http://www.jamesphogan.com/homepage.shtml 

it's under "Bulletin Board": http://www.jamesphogan.com/bb/bb.shtml 

then about halfway down it's titled "AIDS Article":


finally it's linked to at the very bottom of that page.

Anyway, here's the final URL:

"AIDS Heresy In The Viricentric Universe"


I'm attaching the "PDF" to this email for your convenience. Thanks for all that you do.

best regards, Sam Olson


Subject: Mann's data and algorithm


Tony Rose Little Rock

Interesting. I have not read it very closely: is this really his data and algorithm? In which case why has he explicitly said he did not provide it to those asking for it?  I confess confusion. Can I duplicate his results using what is published in this article?






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Tuesday,  February 22, 2005

Subject: Fact checking

From Monday’s Mail:

Subject: If you don't share my opinion, you're an idiot [wd-vc]

Maybe you already have read this:

1&u=/nm/20050217/sc_nm/environment_climate_dc>  753&e=1&u=/nm/20050217/sc_nm/environment_climate_dc  <http://story.news.


Sounds very much like a rational scientist, doesn't it?



From the article linked:

“Greenland's ice cap, which contains enough ice to raise sea levels globally by 23 feet, is starting to melt and could collapse suddenly, Curry said. Already freshwater is percolating down, lubricating the base and making it more unstable.”


My almanac says:

148,236,600 Area of the worlds oceans

840,000 Area of Greenland

From which I calculate

176 Ratio of the two

4,059 The thickness of ice cap necessary to raise the oceans by 23 feet.

But the almanac reports the average thickness of Greenland’s ice cap is around 1,000 feet

Thus making the potential rise around 5 feet from a complete melt.

5 minutes - The time it takes to check such elementary facts.

-- Cecil Rose Apex, NC

Well, but why do that when everyone knows... BUT SEE BELOW on accuracy

Subject: TSA - Time to Move

Regarding problems with the TSA, the half-subject half-citizen twilight we seem to live in and so forth.

It's time to move.

* Go up - there isn't anywhere to go, yet. We're working on that, and things look good, most days.

* Go elsewhere - if 'freedom' and 'rule of law' mean anything then other places should see the value providing those services, if the US does not. I know an ex-pat who lives in Panama and he swears up and down it's becoming a libertarian paradise.

The best and brightest will see the opportunities and go. Which is sad for those left behind, but such has been the pattern going on 300 years now.

-- Brian Dunbar System Administrator Liftport

brian.dunbar @liftport.com aim: bdunbar1967

Remember. But move forward, too. Light a candle, yes. But also drive a rivet.

Or we can simply stop whining and take it. Yes, I know.


Subject: What did Mann et al. disclose?

Subj: What did Mann et al. disclose?

There is a voluminous discussion of what Mann et al. did and did not disclose at http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?cat=2 

It is, of course, hard to read, being arranged in the conventional-bloggian most-recent-at-the-top order. But if you start at the beginning -- which is, of course, at the bottom -- you'll see what was missing from the original MBH98 article, what was eventually extracted, and what is still missing.

Rod Montgomery==monty@sprintmail.com

I take there are some things missing? I have not the time or energy to go through it today.


Subject: Iraqi & American soldiers

Well worth the read. First few paragraphs are included below, follow the link for the whole article.

Registration (free) required - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A42460-2005Feb21.html 

Humvee Tragedy Forges Brotherhood of Soldiers

Iraqis Persevere to Recover Dead Americans

By Steve Fainaru

Washington Post Foreign Service Tuesday, February 22, 2005; Page A01

BALAD, Iraq -- When the Iraqi troops arrived that morning, three American servicemen lay dead at the bottom of the Isaki Canal.

The body of a fourth, Sgt. Rene Knox Jr., 22, had been recovered from a submerged Humvee. Patrolling without headlights around 4:30 a.m., Knox had overshot a right turn. His vehicle tumbled down a concrete embankment and settled upside down in the frigid water. \During the harrowing day-long mission to recover the bodies of the Humvee's three occupants on Feb. 13, an Air Force firefighter also drowned. Five U.S. soldiers were treated for hypothermia. For five hours, three Navy SEAL divers searched the canal before their tanks ran out of oxygen.

What happened then, however, has transformed the relationship between the Iraqi soldiers and the skeptical Americans who train them. Using a tool they welded themselves that day at a cost of about $40, the Iraqis dredged the canal through the cold afternoon until the tan boot of Spec. Dakotah Gooding, 21, of Des Moines, appeared at the surface. The Iraqis then jumped into the water to pull him out, and went back again and again until they had recovered the last American. Then they stood atop the canal, shivering in the dark.

"When I saw those Iraqis in the water, fighting to save their American brothers, I saw a glimpse of the future of this country," said Col. Mark McKnight, commander of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, which had overall responsibility for the unit in the accident, his eyes tearing.

The dramatic events offer a counterpoint to the prevailing wisdom about the nascent Iraqi security forces -- the key to the Bush administration's strategy to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. U.S. commanders have said repeatedly that when the Iraqi troops are ready to stand and fight, American forces will pull out.

To date, the reputation of the Iraqis among American soldiers has been one of sloppiness, disloyalty and cowardice, even though thousands of Iraqi soldiers, policemen and recruits have been killed by insurgents.

Many U.S. soldiers say they fear even standing near the Iraqis because of their propensity to fire their weapons randomly. At Camp Paliwoda in Balad, where Americans from the 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment are training a new Iraqi army battalion, the soldiers work at adjacent bases but are separated by a locked gate, razor wire and a 50-foot-tall chain-link fence.

Pfc. Russell Nahvi, 23, of Arlington, Tex., a medic whose platoon was involved in the accident, said he arrived in Iraq this month with preconceptions about the Iraqi forces. "You always heard never to trust them, to never turn your back on them," he said.

The actions of the Iraqis that Sunday "changed my mind for how I felt about these guys," he said. "I have a totally different perspective now. They were just so into it. They were crying for us. They were saying we were their brothers, too." <snip>

Kerk Phillips


Subject: Interesting process machinery

Hello Jerry,

The first thought that crossed my mind when I start reading this was a quote from a Charlton Heston movie.

"Soylent green! It's people!"






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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Yesterday I was pretty well laid out by tetanus shots, aspirin, and anti-biotics, so I did not not check the math on one letter:

Subject: Error in ocean rise estimate

Dr. Pournelle,

Just lost an argument on how far the ocean would rise from the melting of Greenland’s icecap. I believe Cecil Rose has made a math error. Here are my sources and figures:

Surface area of Greenland: 2,166,086 square km (http://open-site.org/Regional/North_America/Greenland/

Surface Area of Earth’s Oceans: 335,258,000 sq km (http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/oceans.htm

Volume of Greenland Ice Cap: 2.85 million cubic km (http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn4864

Let’s ignore the fact that the area of the oceans expands as the water rises.

2,850,000,000,000 m^3 / 335,258,000,000 m^2 = 8.5 m (over 27 feet).

Using the 1,000 foot (304.8 m) average depth of Mr. Rose’s calculations, I get this:

2,850,000,000,000 m^3 / (304.8 m * 2,166,086,000 m^2) = 4.3 m (just over 14 feet).

Or, have I screwed up?

Robin K. Juhl


Subject: Thickness of Greenland's Ice Cap

Hi Jerry,

Your correspondent Cecil Rose cites "an almanac" as giving the average thickness of Greenland's Ice Cap as only 1000 feet. All the Google sites I have checked say that it is much thicker than this, for instance the Encyclopaedia Brittanica http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=9037979  which gives it as 1500 metres.

I applaud Mr Rose's double-checking of facts, but in this case I don't think his source was accurate.

Thanks for your site, I love it.


Julian Treadwell

My apologies to all: I wasn't up to doing the math checking yesterday. I do point out that it is unlikely that the entire Greenland Ice Cap will vanish; and that melting sea ice does not change the depth of the water (see Archimedes, et. al. for details). Only melting land ice changes ocean depth. Also, ocean ice is a considerable heat sink having a similar effect on temperature rises as a large condenser does in electrical surges. (And please, I am aware of circulation, local effects, etc.; indeed that's part of my point: we don't have very accurate models.)

re: Math error in ocean level estimate

I think the Mr. Rose's math was closer than Mr. Juhl, who has mixed up the numbers on the final line (he's divided the NS ice volume by Mr. Rose's ice volume, not Mr. Rose's ice volume by the ocean surface area).

Surface Area of Earth.s Oceans: 335,258,000 sq km Surface area of Greenland: 2,166,086 sq km.

The ratio is 156:1. If the estimate of a 305m ice sheet is accurate, it would be a 1.97m increase, or about 6ft. Since Greenland is only about 85% ice sheet, you can reduce the 6ft by 15%.

The more important question is, where does the 305m estimate come from? A Google search for data on the ice sheet turned up numbers ranging from 1000m to 2800m for average thickness, but nothing as low as 1000ft.



Hi Jerry,

In Robin Juhl's Greenland ice melt calculations, incorrect conversion factors are used. 1 sq km = 1 million sq m, not 1000, and 1 cubic km = 1 billion cubic m, not 1000.

In his first calculation, the conversion factors divide out, so his answer is correct.

The second calculation is incorrect-he is essentially calculating the ratio between the ice volume from the New Scientist article vs the value from the almanac. The corect calulation is:

(0.3048 km * 2,166,086 sq km)/ 335,258,000 sq m = 0.001989 km =~ 2m.

Using a 1500 m thickness as Britannica notes raises it to 10 m.

Thus the importance of having accurate data.

Cheers, Rod Schaffter

-- "Three principles should be observed in legislation on this subject. ... Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age. It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans."

--Franklin Delano Roosevelt, January 17, 1935


It's clear I am going to have to do this myself. There are variables here including assumptions on how much will melt. During the aftermath of the Ice Ages, much of the land rose as the weight of the ice was lifted. Now I need a reliable estimate of the "average" thickness of ice on land in the north. Floating ice need not concern us except as it acts as a heat and fresh water sink/source.

We do think that the oceans have been much lower in historical times (lost and sunken cities), but I am not aware of anything showing how high they have been. Waterworld isn't going to happen in any event. We will still have dry land...

And definitively:

Subject: Greenland ice

Your correspondent is incorrect. From Bamber et al, New ice Thickness data set for Greenland, JGR atmos, (in press) , the volume of Greenland ice ( obtained from an ice-penetrating radar system) is 2.93 million cubic kilometers. Since the surface area of the oceans is something like 361,419,000 sq km, melting all of the Greenland ice would raise sea levels by a little more than 8 meter: somewhat less if you consider how the effective size of the oceans will increase as lowlands flood.

23 feet sounds right on the money.

Gregory Cochran






In El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Mexico U.S. deportees have wrought havoc. In Jamaica, UK deportees have had the same terrible consequences. By contrast, the extreme violence of Columbia is very much home grown. Note the many references to "La Violencia" in the article. This was the civil war fought in the late 1940s.

I have spent some time in Columbia (for fun). The place is a serious mess. Real economic development is a long, long way off. The capital, Bogota is essentially cut off from the rest of the world, except by air. Road, rail, and water links to the global economy more of less don't exist. Yet, one sixth of Columbia's population lives in the capital with essentially no economic base (the air is remarkably clean). Essentially the government vacuums up the wealth of the nation (actually income) and squanders it on the capital city. Totally third world.

Countries like Columbia were seriously uncompetitive in the decades following the oil crisis of 1973. With the rise of China, the window of opportunity for the Columbia's of the world to do anything but produce raw materials is closing. With high productivity export industries and a low population, Columbia could thrive anyway. It won't happen.
Peter S

 Well, when we are through with Mesopotamia we can reform South America. You think?

> The organizers from New Mexico attribute part of
> Republicans' success to Latinos' belief that the
> military is the best career choice for their young.

We really do need some more job choices for low-normal (e.g., IQ 90) males that lead to being able to support a family (with health insurance). It's one thing for us capitalist masters to crush the unions. Quite another to come up with absolutely nothing to replace what they once did.

Not that an ordinary soldier can support a wife and kids all that well. I sold the nearly-new Toyota Avalon I had given my mother when she was still driving to her caretaker when Mom realized she was no longer competent to drive and said caretaker's own car broke down. As it happens, this woman, who has 2 children and is married to an ordinary Marine struggled mightily to make the payments, but really couldn't.

I could check with my accountant for the details, but my guess is that I essentially have made a gift of the vehicle to that family.


Astonishing. Has NO ONE read the history of the Roman Republic??

Also from another conference:

> I recently had an email from an 11th grader taking issue with one of
> my homophobic rants.  >  J

Have you gotten around to commenting on methamphetamine and the creation of new less treatable strains of AIDS? A topic made for one of those rants. I don't usually imagine God talking, sending down commandments, etc--but in this case could just imagine Him saying, "you really didn't get it the first time, did you? well let me make it real simple... ." S

Which does raise the subject of a new invisible epidemic.




CURRENT VIEW    Wednesday


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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Subject: Will a woman want to be Pol Pot?

Will a woman want to be Pol Pot?

As usual, Fred nails it:




Fred often gets things right. I particularly like his observation that we cannot see that no child is left behind, but we can see that no child gets ahead,  which we prefer anyway.


Subject: Greenland and the oceans

Okay, I think I've got it. Using my handy-dandy 2002 World Almanac and an Excel spreadsheet, I did the following (keeping everything in miles instead of those kilometer-things):

1) I multiplied the area of each ocean/sea (listed in sq mi) by it's listed average depth (converted into miles) for volume of each. 2) I added all these up and came up with 308,382,069 cu mi for everything. 3) Greenland was listed as 840,000 sq mi, and for the sake of simplicity I just used 1 mile as ice thickness. thus, 840,000 cu mi. 4) divide those out and the volume ratio is 367:1 5) then, I figured what the percentage each body of water is (Pac 46%, Atl 24%, etc....) and multiplied that by each respective average depth (going back to feet), and added them up (it seemed the right thing to do, anyway). 6) this came to 11779 ft as the average ocean depth for the entire world. 7) then, I just figured what 1/367 was of that and came up with 32 ft.

Again, that's with a ONE MILE thickness for the ENTIRE island.

Stuart in Tucson

That's about right. Now how much will actually melt?



I have a suggestion of how to reform South America and yes, it does involve the U.S. Army. However, no need to send troops overseas. How about using them to enforce our southern border?

In Columbia along with a long list of other third world countries in South America, Africa, and the Middle East, the idea (fantasy generally) of immigration has replaced a serious effort to fix what ails these nations. Immigration has become the de facto "safety valve", both substantive and psychological, allowing these nations to avoid the very real economic and social (birth rates) reforms they urgently need.

A tough policy of ending mass migration will send a harsh but necessary message that the Columbia's of the world need to look to themselves for their salvation.

Note that my comments definitely apply to Mexico.

Peter S

Yeah. I keep telling the Navy, no, we won't have to fight them over there to keep from fighting them over here so long as you do your job...

I have just heard one Dr Richard GUNN [not Garnett], Visiting Research Professor at Adelaide University (or was it Royal Adelaide Hospital??) speaking on ABC Radio National's "The World Today" about recovery rates from whiplash injuries (the kind you get when your head is jerked back and forwards in a head on motor car accident). He said that his research has shown that the rate of return to work was five times greater amongst those who did not see a lawyer compared with those who did. Recovery times, although little detail was given, seem to correspond with the former finding. He didn't give detailed reasons for thinking so, but did say that the evidence pointed to the lawyer being an independent causal factor and that the explanation could not be found entirely in the nature of the injury or the predisposition of the injured. An important comparison was that recovery times, and, specifically return to work, were *not* related to the magnitude of the impact (measured presumably in units of energy).

James G


And we continue to spread sunshine...



Jerry Pournelle wrote:

>Astonishing. It never occurs to anyone that there are consequences to
>unrestricted capitalism. And that banding together --

> >HAS NO ONE read the history of Rome?

Or of the Abbasid Caliphate.

Rome---Germans; Caliphate---Turks.



I quote about my experience with my EV1? Sure.......here goes:

The EV1 is a unique vehicle that clearly addresses an important need that is not serviced by any of the new hybrid automobiles. A 'proper hybrid' is one that can be charged at home to provide the vast majority of commuter needs without using any gas at all. A proper hybrid's fuel tank should only be depleted when a driver needs to take a long range trip, say more than 60 miles. My historic use of my EV1 over the six years that I drove it, would require a gas fill-up only 4 or 5 times a year, thus making gas prices essentially irrelevant!

The EV1 configuration as it was leased by GM (all electric) can serve the needs of the majority of Los Angeles commuters and its operation is unaffected by gas prices. My years driving the all-electric EV1 were my most satisfying experience with any automobile. I always found it "full" in the morning and I never ever went to a gas station. That is the best definition I can think of for "infinite range"!

I miss "Sparky" very much and if I could get it back I would either continue to drive it like I did starting in 1997, or convert it into a 'proper hybrid', a configuration that has been ignored by every automobile manufacturer in the world.

 Burt Rutan, Developer of SpaceShipOne

Of course it helps if you live in Mojave and don't go to LA much



CURRENT VIEW    Thursday


This week:


read book now


Friday,  February 25, 2005

Catching up with mail:

Life, the universe...and nothing

August 01, 2004 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-525-1197661-525,00.html 

Did Francis Crick, who died last week, discover the secret of life? It will take more than DNA to do that

'Francis," wrote James Watson in his book The Double Helix, "winged into the Eagle to tell everyone within hearing distance that we had found the secret of life."

The Eagle is a pub in Cambridge. With the aid of Abbot Ale, I too have often found the secret of life there. It was in March 1953 that Francis Crick, who died last week at the age of 88, had "winged" in there to announce his discovery of life's secret - the molecular structure of DNA. Brilliant, arrogant and tactless, he was 36 years old and for two years had been working in partnership with Watson, a 25-year-old American.

Their specific project was the deciphering of the structure of DNA, a long and apparently boring molecule found in living cells. But their true project was the overthrow of religion. Both, as Watson has explained to me, were militant atheists and they wished, by exposing the material basis of life, to reveal that there was no transcendent trickery involved.

Life was extraordinarily well organised matter, but it was still just matter. The mechanism of its organisation was explained by Darwin, the details were worked out by Gregor Mendel and, finally, by Watson and Crick.

What they found was, on the face of it, staggeringly simple and weirdly topical. The search for the genetic messenger - the material that transmitted characteristics down the generations - had been long and fraught. Neither Darwin nor Mendel had any idea what was involved; indeed, Mendel's discoveries about inheritance in plants were, at first, taken to be a refutation of Darwin. <snip>


Could this be the start of a grass-roots movement?

Bozeman Daily Chronicle

"Lawmakers in the Montana House of Representatives collectively thumbed their noses at the federal government Monday by approving two bills exempting guns from federal regulations and driver's licenses from national standardization requirements. The bills by Reps. Diane Rice, R-Harrison, and Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, do different things but are driven by the same concern: the erosion of personal liberties by the federal government." (02/14/05) http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2005/02/15/news/anti.txt

Not likely.


Subject: Re: 10 Million iPods, Previewing the CD's End (Wash Post)

Sean Daly of the Washington Post wrote: > > Indeed, Napster's To Go subscription service allows buyers to essentially > rent an unlimited amount of music for $15 per month. A subscription-based > service will be built into the latest version of Microsoft Windows; for > between $10 and $20, users will access songs for a monthly fee but will be > unable to burn them onto CDs. The only way they'll be able to listen to them > is via a digital music player such as the iPod, or on a computer.

The article was very good overall-- reasonably accurate and surprisingly insightful. This paragraph made me laugh, though. The iPod can't play songs from Napster To Go, but that's not an unreasonable error. Even Napster is confused on this point. Its Super Bowl ads repeatedly mentioned "MP3 players," but MP3 players per se don't work with Napster.

Actually, Napster requires Windows Media Audio (WMA) support, but most WMA players aren't compatible either. Napster's customers have to have one of the new WMA players that understand the digital rights management scheme Napster uses. Some players may be upgradable but apparently most aren't.

Microsoft spent all this time and money getting a bunch of music player makers to adopt WMA and release WMA-compatible players in 2004, and now they're making many of these older players obsolete. Brilliant.

. png


Looks as if we need to follow the rules even if they aren't the rules, but we all believe they are the rules...


"Steve, a freelance photographer, was stopped while taking pictures in a San Francisco MUNI station, told that he was breaking a post-9/11 law against photographing San Francisco's public transit. He challenged the MUNI cops to name the law he was breaking, aware that such a law was unconstitutional, and they -- unsurprisingly -- couldn't identify the law. That is because there is no law. They were lying. So then they called the real cops, who proceeded to dress Steve down for breaking this nonexistent law -- for being a troublemaker who wanted to exercise his constitutional rights and ply his trade -- and threaten to trump up a trespassing charge and jail him for the weekend if he didn't meekly acquiesce." (02/13/05)


But of course.

A number of items on climate research etc.

Subject: Another good link regard Mann vs. McKitrick and McIntyre

You will also want to carefully peruse the following link to understand why McKitrick and McIntyre have no scientific credibility.


Thanks, Mark Schaffer

I would not draw that conclusion

Subject: Global warming and the hockey stick algorithm

Hi Jerry,

I had seen this article ( http://www.techcentralstation.com/012705C.html  ) on TechCentralStation last week and automatically assumed that you had as well. The author cites a study and the key paragraph is:

"McIntyre & McKitrick found that the Mann et al. methodology included a data pre-processing step, one which was not reported in the original study, that essentially guaranteed that a hockey stick curve would result from their analysis. They demonstrated this by applying the same methodology to many synthetic temperature records that were constructed with random noise. In almost every case, a hockey stick curve resulted. The claim of unprecedented warmth and the hockey stick shape appear to hinge on the treatment of one species of tree, the bristlecone pine, from North America in the 1400's. Further statistical tests showed that this critical signal in the early 15th century lacked statistical significance. This suggests that the results of Mann et al. were simply a statistical fluke, which greatly exaggerated a characteristic of the bristlecone pines, which may or may not be related to global temperatures." Perhaps ridicule and shame should be directed to Mann and his kind? Or employment re-direction to roadside debris retrieval?

Sincerely, Jim Laheta


Subject: A Distributed Climate Modeling experiment

This project isn't likely to produce better predictions of the climate than what comes out of the major computing centers, which aren't particularly good to begin with. None of these models model water vapor in the atmosphere, stuff like clouds and humidity. The last I read, it's just put in by hand. Considering the huge effect that these have on the weather, the climate is just the average of the weather over the long term, it's hard to understand where the validity of these models comes from.

The other problem which is never discussed is the fundamental physical nature of the atmosphere, it's a compressible heated fluid that is modeled by coupled nonlinear partial differential equations, very nasty beasts. As Ed Lorenz discovered in 1963 while studying these very equations, this gives rise to chaos, i.e., a deterministic system that is unpredictable in the long term. The popular description is the "butterfly effect." More formally this is known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Small differences today in temperature, pressure, and so on lead to wildly different futures. Not only does the weather behave that way, any true model of the weather will have to have the same unpredictable nature. At best, the models, even if they were perfect representations of the physical world, would have to be run many times with many different input conditions to give a range of outcomes, not the small number of trials that they seem to run. But of course, they are far from being good models of the world.


Paul S. Linsay


Subject: Tim Barnett and David Pierce of Scripps Institution

"The first clear evidence of human-produced warming in the world's oceans" is now more than four years old.

Has Dr. Barnett come up with something new? In 2001 he was unconvincing, see discussion at the following link:


The above referenced article is also instructive because it shows, in part, how the modelling game is played.

-Joe Hennessey

Indeed. Modeling is difficult work, but unlike sausages you should watch it being made.


Subject:  Nuclear Power Comeback?

Some light at the end of the approaching dark tunnel?



"As the Kyoto Protocol comes into force, some scientists are suggesting that nuclear power could make an unexpected comeback as a "cleaner" alternative to conventional energy sources."


If France can do it, why can't we?

p.s. We just got back from a year in Italy. I'll be sending my renewal along as soon as I get through a year of old mail.

p.p.s. Finding time to read my copy of "Burning Tower" is proving a bit difficult also, but one only really needs 2 hours of sleep per night, right? I'm telling everyone I know to buy a copy.

At least some environmentalists are beginning to understand nuclear power...

Subject: Global warming is far FAR worse than you think.

I recently read an article in the Times Online <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1489955,00.html> about the US NOAA report which cited a figure of 0.9 degrees F increase in the average world ocean temperature. That would be 0.5 C in my local currency, quite a lot actually.

In fact, this got me thinking. If the oceans had warmed by 0.5 because the average air temperature has increased, which is the assumed correlation between rising ocean temperatures and CO2-caused rising air temperatures, by how much must the air temperature have increased?

Well, that's an easy question to answer. The formula for the heat in a temperature changes is simple.

Q = c m dT

where Q is the heat, c is the specific heat of the substance, m is the mass of the substance, and dT is the change in temperature. A quick google turned up the following quick facts.

specific heat of water is 4.2 J/gC specific heat of air (at sea level temperatire and pressure) is 1.0 J/gC mass of the world's oceans is 1.4 x 10^24 g mass of the worlds atmosphere is 5.3 x 10^21 g

plugging those numbers into the formula, and the answer is (I grab my slide rule at this point since it's quicker than finding the calculator desk accessory)

dt(air) = 4.2 x 1.4 x 10^24 x 0.5 / 1.0 x 5.3 x 10^21

which boils down to 5.6 x 10^2.

So, the answer is that the air temperature has risen by just 560 C (a little over 1000 degrees F) in the last 40 years or so in order to explain the "observed" NOAA phenomena in the ocean, which "can be explained only if greenhouse gas emissions are responsible...."

Run for the hills!

-- Stephen M. Webb stephen.webb at bregmasoft.com


And finally:

Subject: down with the dams!

Hi Jerry,

I guess it is time to stop all forms of power generation because of the harm it causes...

- Paul

=== Contrary to popular belief, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate


Now What!!!???


Subject: Magnetar!


--- Roland Dobbins

Good Heavens!





This week:


read book now


Saturday, February 26, 2005


From: Stephen M. St. Onge 
 subject: Wireless problem, and Solution
Dear Jerry:
        Earlier this week, my new laptop suddenly stopped finding my wireless modem.  I'll skip over details (they're here http://stevesdumm.blogspot.com/2005/02/computer-madness-wireless-edition.html if anyone cares), but I will pass on the solution.
        If your XP machine suddenly starts reporting that it can't find your home network, try this:
right click on the wireless icon in the tray
click on View Available Wireless Networks
click on Change Advanced Settings
Wireless Network Connection Properties window opens
click on Wireless Networks tab
click on Properties button
specific Network window opens
click on Authentication tab
find the 'Enable IEEE 802.1x authentication for this network box'
Uncheck the box if it's checked.
        Very simple, once you know it, but it took several hours of tech support, involving five different people, before we found that.  And I still have no idea how the box got checked in the first place.  I never clicked on the "Authentication" tab before the problem manifested.



I see one factor that appears to have been omitted from all of the calculations, with unknown but possibly significant consequences. Solid, freshwater ice melted to water would occupy about 92% of the original volume. This is probably not the critical error factor in most of the estimates. However, I'm certain the Greenland icepack is not "solid ice". There must be considerable voids. To my best recall, a typical melt ratio for snow is on the order of 7:1. So what is the "void factor" for the Greenland icepack? Another unknown (to me, and not evident from the other responses) is how the relative densities of different phases of salt water differ from fresh. Since the 9% expansion in the volume of fresh water upon freezing can increase to 13% under sufficient pressure to lower the freezing point to -20 C., perhaps this needs to be accounted for as well.

Scott Miller

Indeed. Of course floating ice will release the same volume as it displaced, so the 8 - 10% that appears on the surface vanishes, but when on land, of course ice occupies more space than the water that went into it. But I have no idea of the packing/compression at, say, 500 meters depth.


From: Stephen M. St. Onge                                                                   
subject: Climate Science, Dams and Methane
Dear Jerry:
        I haven't studied the Mann vs. McKitrick and McIntyre controversy, so I can't say if McKitrick and McIntyre are without scientific credibility, as Mark Schaffer contends http://www.jerrypournelle.com/mail/mail350.html#Friday.  I did follow the link Mr. Schaffer gave, though, and noted that one of the authors allegedly proving the incompetence of McKitrick and McIntyre is Mann.  I suspect that Mann may not be the best judge of attacks on his work.
        The New Scientist article about dams and methane release was interesting http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7046, but I can't help but noticing that at least two things are missing.
        First, plants have been decaying and releasing methane into the air for geologic ages, while the methane concentration remains low.  The only conclusion I can see that follows is that there are processes at work that destroy methane.  Since the ground isn't covered in soot, I presume they turn the methane back into carbon dioxide and water vapor.  In short, methane in the atmosphere is a normal part of the carbon cycle.  This suggests that before we draw conclusions about dams causing global warming, we need to know how much methane is being released anyway, how long it stays in the atmosphere before being destroyed, and how much dams affect all this.  I didn't notice anything about such research in the article.  (By the way, Freeman Dyson has been calling for detailed studies of the global carbon cycle since the mid-seventies; He points out that roughly half of all CO2 emitted into the atmosphere just disappears, and at last report, nobody knew where; see his book _From Eros to Gaia_.  )
        The other thing I noticed missing from the New Scientist article was the question 'Assuming that this is a problem, what can be done about it?'  I mean, we are talking hydro dams with lots of power.  Could we use some to mix the reservoir up a bit, getting oxygen down to the plant matter?  Find a catalyst to speed methane oxidation?  Vacuum the plant matter out of the reservoirs?  Capture the methane?
        Gee, you'd almost think some people would rather cry doom then find solutions.


From Sue:

Subject: NCLB Under Attack by States

CHHCS News Alert – 2/24/05

State Legislatures Call for Change in Bush Education Law:

In the strongest opposition yet voiced to the Bush administration’s education reform law, the No Child Left Behind act, a task force of the National Conference of State Legislatures charged in a report released yesterday that the federal law is an “excessive intrusion” into day-today operations of public schools; is an unconstitutional usurpation of states’ control of education; and is in direct conflict with another federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.


Well we can use the new Army to crush this rebellion


The article below fits with the dual paradigm of China and India. This is the model where China dominates "blue collar" trade via manufacturing and India targets "white collar" trade via services. There is only one problem with this theory. It is wrong. The reality is very different. A few notes:

1. China's success in manufacturing trade dwarfs India's results in knowledge industries. China's goods exports are roughly 20 times larger than India's service revenues. There is simply no comparison.

2. China's economic growth has dwarfed that of India. China has sustained 8-10% GDP growth for decades, since the shift to capitalism started. India has only attained similar rates of growth in the last few years. It is not yet clear if India can sustain its growth because of how narrowly based it is. Note that the narrow base in this case is agriculture, not information services. India's recent growth spurt has been rural, not urban.

3. China has created vastly more jobs than India. The migration of Chinese workers from the hinterland to the coastal cities is the largest movement of people in the history of the world, all in the last 20 years. And those Chinese workers aren't living in shantytowns, selling cigarettes, and looking for a real job. By contrast, India's IT sector employs roughly 1 million workers.

4. Many countries have created equal or better educational systems than India. China, with 16 million university students, is only one example. Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, etc. have all attained higher levels of literacy and higher education than India.

What then can be said about India's quite real successes in knowledge work? Essentially, they are a product of failure. The knowledge industries aren't a failure of course. However, their success is a consequence of the failure of India's economy to "soak up" its college graduates in a broadly based developing economy. For example, Korea produces any number of brilliant engineers. However, in Korea Samsung, Hyundai, LG, SK and a zillion smaller companies provide lucrative employment opportunities for these folks. In India, you either get a job with Wipro, Infosys, etc. or you starve.

To state this directly, India's success in IT is a reflection of India's failure in manufacturing. Why has India failed in manufacturing? There a number of reasons. However, the post-WWII socialist government of India imposed draconian restrictions on private investment, supposedly to protect small scale village producers (look up "homespun" and "License Raj" for some tragic examples). These restrictions have only been very slowly and partially removed. A good article on the subject can be found at http://www.matthewsfunds.com/asianow/india/license.htm . India has also failed to create the physical infrastructure needed for development as a consequence of low national savings and high budget deficits.

It is worth noting, that most (almost all) Indian's agree. They reject the idea that India can develop via services and deeply envy China's success in manufacturing. A common statement is "we must either import China's goods or China's methods". However, India has failed to undertake the reforms needed to make either choice possible.

Peter S

According to /NewScientist/: ³There's a *revolution afoot* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524876.800> in India.
*Unlike any other developing nation, India is using brainpower rather than cheap physical labour or natural resources to leapfrog into the league of technologically advanced nations.* Every high tech company, from Intel to Google, is *coming to India* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524871.100> to find innovators. Leading the charge is Infosys, the country's first *billion-dollar IT company* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524871.900> .²

³But the revolution is not confined to IT. Crop scientists are passionately *pursuing GM crops* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524876.900> to help feed India's poor. Some intrepid molecular biologists are pioneering *stem-cell cures for blindness* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524877.100> , while others have beaten the odds to produce *vaccines for pennies* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524871.500> .²

"And the country is getting wired up as never before. *Mobile phone
networks* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524871.300>
have nearly blanketed the country and the *internet* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524872.000> is even reaching remote villages".

³Looking skyward, India's unique *space programme* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524871.000> has fought international sanctions to emerge as key player in India's development.
Meanwhile, India's nuclear industry is boldly building cutting-edge *fast-breeder reactors* <http://www.newscientist.com/special/india/mg18524877.000> .²

There are those who ask: ³But why is India, a country that still has so many development problems on the ground, aiming for the heavens? To Indian scientists, the question is not only patronising of their scientific aspirations, it betrays an ignorance of the Indian space programme¹s greater purpose and successes against the odds.²

/NewScientist/ provides the answer: ³India¹s political leaders say the country cannot afford not to have a space programme. Indira Gandhi, who was India¹s longest-serving Prime Minister, believed it was not only important for science, but also vital to India¹s development.²

The special issue dated February 19, 2005 (http://www.newscientist.com/special/india
<http://www.newscientist.com/special/india> ) has *a dozen well researched articles covering developments in Indian science and technology, *all worth reading.

Ram Narayanan

US-India Friendship



Canada catches up in the imperial game

Subject: - Stripped B.C. woman vows to take cops to court

Personal message: Re TSA Excesses

believe it has been said that "God creates foreigners for our amusement" I read your recent TSA misadventures and thought "Thank heavens it can't happen here" Then this. Any illusions of moral superiority are so soon destroyed.


mytelus.com Story - Stripped B.C. woman vows to take cops to court



CURRENT VIEW     Saturday

This week:


read book now


Sunday, February 27, 2005

An alarming story from Kentucky

Subject: Even S.F. writers are not safe...


I wish only that the actual subversive writings were posted somewhere, so we would all know what not to write in Kentucky.

--Christian J. Schulte

Best to write nothing at all. Safer that way.

This is frightening but not surprising.


Papers, please

"He's unable to travel because he refuses to present a government-approved ID"


David P.

Even more important is a secret law. The Plebs made the Patricians write down the laws so all could see them. Now we have secret laws again. This is frightening but not surprising.


Dr. Pournelle,

This is interesting. www.tenbyten.org/10x10.html . It takes the top 100 news articles online and automatically creates a 10x10 grid of images from those articles. Supposedly it's automated and unbiased. Without seeing the code and lists of sources it's only as believable as anything else on the intardnet, but it's still interesting.

Sean Long



Subject: Surprise, surprise.


-- Roland Dobbins



I have a fair amount of mail on the Schiavo case. I don't care to have it dominate next week. Here are some representative letters:

Subject: Terri Schiavo

From newspaper accounts, her "chemical imbalance" was hypokalemia, a dangerously low level of potassium. According to those accounts, Mrs. Schiavo had previously had a weight problem for many years and was deathly afraid of becoming fat again. She had been starving herself, eating very little real food but drinking lots of watery drinks. That washed the potassium out of her body, which stopped her heart. Alas, some bastards came along after a few minutes, when the important parts of her brain were dead but the brainstem was mostly revivable, and they "saved" her.

I find it hard to get worked up over Mrs. Schiavo. For one thing, her "life" has only been strung out this long because of malpractice insurance money. She went to doctors with the complaint of missing menstrual periods. (Starvation--go figure.) Naturally she forgot to mention that she drank many glasses of tea every day and ate an absurd liquid diet. Completely slipped her mind, I'd imagine. The courts apparently found that the proper procedure for that complaint is to instantaneously throw every chemical test at the patient. As we are all no doubt aware, menstrual irregularities are a dire medical emergency.

For another thing, you have to draw the line somewhere, and the difference between passive and active killing seems to be a pretty good place. They stop using extraordinary technology to keep her body going, and it does whatever it does. Maybe she dies, and maybe the horse learns to sing. In any event, this is her botched suicide and whatever part of her is left to complain has no cause.

-- DN


I cannot help but find your posting on this to be totally callous. Michael Schiavo is following his wife’s oral request that she not be kept alive by machines. Obviously she left no written record or a DNR statement in a will, but I believe that her desire was not to be kept alive artificially.

My father-in-law was kept alive by a hospital for 1 year after a major stroke left him in more or less a similar state. He was in a coma unable to communicate and showed no signs of recognition. I cannot believe that this was his wish. However since he left no written statement to the contrary, the Medical Machine (hospitals) were able to keep him “alive” via machines until he suffered an additional stroke and mercifully, died. You cannot imagine incredible emotional state his family went through watching him suffer a living agony.

My wife and I have discussed this, and neither of us wish to be kept alive artificially if there is no hope of recovery. I trust her to follow my wishes, and I know she trusts me to do the same.

The Schindler’s (parents) are clinging to the forlorn hope that there is a chance of recovery even though Doctors have equivocally stated that there is no hope of recovery. They have, I feel, abused the legal system and legislature in Florida to prolong her daughter’s agony, without any regard for her stated wishes. The Governor of Florida and the legislature attempted to intervene in an area which was not their concern purely for personal political gain.

The Schindler’s statement yesterday, "I don't see it as a victory, the victory is when we take Terri home and we get her therapy, “ indicates to me that they feel the medical malpractice award which is pending should be theirs not their daughters shows me how callous they have become in the name of religion.

Ask yourself how you would feel if kept alive artificially? Tubes down your throat pumping air and nutrients into a body which has lost all independent functioning. How would you like it? How could you put your family through the agony of watching you suffer and wither away?

Which entirely begs all the questions. I hadn't thought anyone was questioning the validity of living wills.  When it comes to unwitnessed expressions of intent, I would have thought it a different matter. As to the rest, might others come to different conclusions about the motives of those involved?

Who gets to decide these matters, and why would one want to be the one deciding them?

Subject: Terry Schavo

I found your comments on this issue...well, interesting.

First off, both my wife and I have (we hope, depending on the competence of our lawyer) unambiguous, signed and witnessed legal documents, provided to our family physician, that if we are ever in anything close to Terry Schiavo's state, any and all measures, including nutrition and hydration, are to be withdrawn precisely because, to modify a quote from you a little: "She's [we are] no use to herself [ourselves] or the world, so turn her [us] off for her (and our) [any everyone else's] good."

We are both organ donors and, we hope and have given instructions (again, depending on the competence of our lawyer). that if we come to such a state, anything that is useful to a fellow human in our bodies will be speedily removed and used as a gesture of mercy to our bothers and sisters.

We are both Christians (Methodists); she has always been such; I, once a member of a Roman Catholic religious order, left the church because I thought that, with the papacy of John Paul II, we had finally crossed the border from dogmatism to insanity, but that's another topic for another time.

Because we had the good fortune to be reasonably well educated and to be able to pay for a lawyer to draft the relevant documents, and are generally pathologically over-organized in all our affairs, we have some reasonable hope that our wishes will be carried out (we have also provided copies of the relevant documents to our executor and family members, and taken pains to ensure that there is no misunderstanding..

I would suggest that most people, including Terry Schiavo and her family, are not so fortunate or so organized. I would further suggest that, given the contrast with the clarity with which we have tried (perhaps with eventual success, depending on the competence of our lawyer), to make our wishes known, the courts are the only forum, within our system of laws, that have the power (if not the competence) to decide the matter. I would rather have it there than in the hands of a governor with political ambitions and a legislature whose members may have political ambitions. If that makes me an elitist, so be it; but I would remind you of the concern that the founding fathers had with "faction" and the negative influence it might have on rational public policy.

All of which is a very long-winded way of saying that you are mixing moral and legal issues, to the detriment of both.


Charles MacKay

Gosh. Well, you have more faith in lawyers than I do. As to the ultimate power of judges, I do not think you will find that in The Federalist.

Uh -- please tell me how to separate law from morality without destroying the basis for attracting voluntary obedience to law? Law with no moral basis is command. Your distrust of politicians is hardly unique, and one reason why it is astonishing to me that "democracy" is now to be exported on the points of our bayonets after the Framers rejected it here, but that too is a matter for another time.

Hard cases make bad law. We have a hard case here.

And a view from an emergency room physician (in Florida):

Good morning, Jerry; hope this finds you well.

On the Schiavo matter: you wrote...

"... Point One: the only evidence we have of the victim's wishes come from the husband, an interested party; and the parents, not entirely rational; and her religion, which is ambiguous since the doctrine of the Church on heroic measures is not entirely clear to me: it forbids suicide but not risky actions, and the usual summary for others is "thou canst not kill but needst not strive, officiously to keep alive."

One of the reasons I haven't spent a lot of time weighing in on this matter is that it's very VERY difficult to actually sort out fact from propagandizing, from either side. However, I spent enough time under Jesuit and Dominican tutelage that I am at least comfortable with my comprehension of the Church's basic positions in these matters.

First: suicide, if undertaken by someone in full possession of their wits, is held to be sinful because, in essence, it is despair in action; killing oneself because there's no hope of anything better. Risking one's life in a good cause is held to be the antithesis of that: one acts in hope that the risk is avoided, the good achieved, and one survives. If not? One acted in hope of the good, trying to achieve the good, rather than succumbing to despair and rejecting any possibility that God might have better in store.

(There's a very interesting discussion, which has been going on for decades with no resolution whatsoever, about whether a Catholic spy who uses a "last resort" to avoid giving secrets to an enemy is a suicide or no, given that whole matter of intent. Me, I decided to avoid intelligence work in the field... ahem.)

In contrast, Church discussions on heroic measures don't, as a rule, tend to revolve around despair. The reason that Church teaching is often "murky-in-the-application" is because heroic, or extraordinary, measures, are thought about with the same terminology with which "heroic virtue" is discussed. That is, "heroic" or "extraordinary" is defined as acts which are laudable, praiseworthy, exemplary... but which require one to perform or endure things that one is not expected to do in the course of a normal life. In the medical sphere, that is perforce defined by technology *and* economics: a detail which most theologians acknowledge, but are ill-equipped to discuss.

For example: Intubation and ventilator support is a routine emergency department intervention. It does not constitute "extraordinary" measures. However, if a patient had a rare form of cancer, which MIGHT be treatable by an experimental surgical regimen which is quite rigorous, potentially hazardous, ONLY available in one city, across the continent, at monstrous expense which there is no reasonable likelihood of meeting without bankrupting the family... that would constitute an "extraordinary" measure, and neither the patient nor the family is obligated to seek out that treatment.

The ends of the spectrum are easy enough: but "the devil is in the details", however, and one can easily see that the middle of the spectrum becomes murky. In Schiavo's case, she is apparently capable of breathing on her own, but cannot take food nor water without ongoing technological interventions, some of which will intermittently require surgical or para-surgical procedures to continue being useful. Further, those interventions do absolutely nothing to procure a cure; they only "buy time", maintaining the body against the possibility that there MIGHT be some degree of recovery. That possibility is so remote that there's no likelihood of change, short of direct Divine intervention. And these procedures are cumulatively quite costly, not to mention the cost of nursing home care for someone in a persistent vegetative state; the cost would bankrupt all but the wealthiest families.

On the grasping hand, Ms. Schiavo is not in a third world country; there are governmental means to sustain the economic burden. Such surgical procedures and tubes maintenance as are necessary are not technically THAT difficult to perform.

For any Church medical morals specialist, this is *right in the middle* of the ordinary <<-->> heroic/extraordinary spectrum. It's not a wonder to me that such Churchmen as have spoken out have tended to focus on issues such as Ms. Schiavo's wishes, and the purportedly sleazy nature of Mr. Schiavo; one doesn't have to weigh pros and cons to pontificate.

Does this help any, at least in understanding *what* the Church teaches in this area? (I'm doing exposition here, not apologetics...) If not, let me know, and i'll take another swing at it...

Hopefully helpfully, Bill Ernoehazy, MD // dedoc@mac.com _______________

Do not anger a bard; for your name is silly, and it scans to "Greensleeves".

Legally perhaps we must concentrate on her wishes in the matter, since that in itself would seem to settle the matter: we have no corroboration and the parents and husband contradict. Morally, as you say, this is right in the middle: a hard case indeed, and one for those with more authority than I posess.



Subject: Norman Dean

FYI Norman Dean's device worked. I used the information on Dean's device that I got off the internet . Dean's device (US patent 2886976) was combined with the knowledge from patent's in class 74/84s such as Laskowit's '' centrifugal variable thrust mechanism '' (1953964) . Dean's device would have produced a trust of 100% at top center and a trust of 90% to 70% at bottom center. The problems Dean had came because he choose to show that the device could produce lift instead of trust. According to the information from your web site it produced a lift of .1g . The trust would have been 1.6 times the mass of it. Also if the device had been run at 2000 rpm it would have levitated it self. The people who attacked Dean made assumptions on how the device and did not know that it had 100% trust at the top and less at the bottom. The real question is if a device such as this is going to be energy efficient enough to replace rockets. Some other people of interest are : Cook (4238968) : Culf (3968700). The people mentioned above have multiple patent issued to them.

Dan Owens

I am not sure what use was made of the information got off the Internet? And all one needs to do to get filthy rich is to produce an actual reactionless drive. I'd love to see that done. Alas, if anyone has made it work, that secret has been well kept. And, I don't think there is any evidence other than Harry Stine's memories that Dean's device produced thrust. Stine thought it had, but what he remembers was not the device in the patent.

Build one. The world will flock to your door.





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