picture of me

CHAOS MANOR MAIL

Mail 361 May 9 - 15, 2005

 

HOME

VIEW

MAIL

Columns

BOOK Reviews

read book now

emailblimp.gif (23130 bytes)mailto:jerryp@jerrypournelle.com

CLICK ON THE BLIMP TO SEND MAIL TO ME. Mail sent to me may be published.

LAST WEEK                Current Mail               NEXT WEEK

FOR THE CURRENT VIEW PAGE CLICK HERE

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

Highlights this week:

 

  If you send mail, it may be published. See below. For boiler plate, instructions, and how to pay for this place, see below.

line6.gif (917 bytes)

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

read book now

TOP

Monday  May 9, 2005

Continuing:

Subject: Letter from England

Well, the election is over and Labour ended up with a 65-seat majority. The UK system is good at avoiding the gridlock and horse- trading seen in proportional voting schemes and the corruption of coalition governments. On the other hand, Labour back-benchers are getting restive <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/vote_2005/ frontpage/4526435.stm> . Blair is reshuffling ministers--incidentally bringing Blunkett back in--and an attempt to parachute one of his aides into Lords as schools minister got shot down by the education secretary. See: <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1602733,00.html>  for general coverage.

Some economic bad news was deferred during the campaign. After Austin- Rover closed down, the Government jawboned Marconi into delaying their layoff announcement until after the election. Then there was this story about the retail economy turning pear-shaped during April: <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,1478830,00.html> .

An elderly friend of mine is rather irritated with the NHS. The UK system is similar to that seen in France and Germany--general practitioners (with about the same training as US advanced practice nurses) serving as gatekeepers, backed by specialist clinics and consultants for more complicated and serious problems. In France and Germany, this system provides medical care at least as good as is provided in the US to people with medical insurance for about half the cost. In the UK, the bureaucracy is Stalinist and specialist clinics and consultants are much thinner on the ground, so the system has serious problems. Both my wife and I have been advised by (young) doctors that conditions that we were aware were treatable would not be treated due to our age. (We're in our fifties.) My friend is experiencing problems with minor strokes, and she was told this week that the NHS proposed to send her to South Africa for treatment. She went non-linear, so they're now planning to send her to Europe (where in Europe?...) for her treatment.

The following story is--ah--interesting: <http:// www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1602578,00.html> .

Panic about the Gulf Stream slowing: <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/ article/0,,2087-1602579,00.html> .

About time! <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/ 0,6903,1479279,00.html> . Labour has been looking at wind turbines to take up some of the slack, but the effect on bat and bird populations is beginning to emerge as a major downside.

Part-time students to become extinct? "Tuition fee rise leaves part- time students on brink of extinction"--Times Educational Supplement <http://www.thes.co.uk/latest_news/main.aspx> . Central planning often has unexpected consequences. Labour has been tinkering with the university system to increase participation without spending any new money. They had been taking the approach of dumbing down degrees, increasing faculty teaching workloads, and eliminating expensive courses, but employers and foreign academia have become very concerned. So they recently introduced a tuition increase of about $3000 per semester. <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/ 0,6903,1479078,00.html> . In the US, part-time classes are how professionals maintain their skills, but most UK graduates assume they're set for life.

Bushmeat trade may introduce ebola and marburg to the UK: <http:// observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1479113,00.html

-- Harry Erwin, PhD "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." (Catherine Aird)

At least they are feeding them. Perhaps another time that too will be considered a waste of resources. It's the logic of single payer health care...

Jerry

you have bemoaned the problem of backing up a large .pst files over a number of columns, I can't see why this is an issue in this era of cheap hard drives. I have a 2 gig + .pst file backed up daily why I work - How? Powerquest Drive Image is a daily scheduled task backing up my entire system drive to a couple of internal hard drives on an alternate day pattern. This process backs up a "live" XP NTFS raid 0 drive C 40gig of data in 15 minutes without interrupting my work, mainly outlook focussed I should say.

In the event that I manage to screw up my outlook.pst file I simply fire up the image browser part of drive image & restore the errant .pst file from one that is known to have worked in the image file. My own selective system restore if you like. And as a bonus if I screw the entire system I can boot from the driveimage CD & restore my system in 30 minutes.

Points to watch? You cannot restore your system to a partition smaller than the one the image is taken from: hence my set up 2 x80gig raid 0 partitioned into two 80 gig stripes. Backup is to two SATA 80 gig drives so that any drive can have the latest image restored to it & be booted from regardless of whether raid or or not. This type of set up is incredibly easy with built in raid 0-5 & "jabod" built into most medium high end boards these days, I use an ASUS K8N-E, hardly "bleeding edge" kit!

Seriously though, this enables me to take risks that would be madness on a "normal" single pc set up - remember the entire shooting match can go from being unable to boot into safe mode to 100% restored to normal in 30 minutes - this kit will save your ass one day - highly recommended!

Regards Andy Gibbs Business Consultant - Positive Solutions

I will look into this when I get back. Thanks.

Subject: Northern Part of Gulf Stream Slows...

The UK newspaper link was down, but I think this is pretty important, since the northern gyre of the gulf stream warms a number of U.S. allies. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0415gyre.html

Ray van de Walker

I know little about this. There have been Gulf Stream shifts in the past. Causes are not known to me.

Thermal depolymerization

Hi Jerry

I'm wondering if you've come across the hype over thermal depolymerization. This is touted as a technique that converts any form of biomass into crude oil! This by creating a simulated environment that mimics the prehistoric conditions that did the same thing for fossil fuels way back when. (Hey, if it works for diamonds...) Some of the claims:

* #2 and #4 crude is produced (convertible into diesel and industrial heating oil) * Only 15% of output energy is needed to run the process. * Sewage, abattoir remains and plastics can all be converted. * Running costs are approximately equivalent to those of "a mid-sized oil exploration company". * U.S. currently produces a total of 4bn barrel-equivalents of biomass each year (U.S. oil consumption: 4.2bn barrels).

See wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_depolymerization 

The process has been favorably reviewed by Discover magazine, Scientific American (I think - can't get hold of the article), and the MIT technology review. Also, Warren Buffett's son has invested a few million in the company.

TPD seems to get past the basic credibility filters (there is a real plant in operation processing turkey remains). The main questions would seem to be the ultimate cost-effectiveness of the process, and how much biomass could realistically be converted (4bn barrels sounds a *tad* high).

But I would be very interested what you make of the issue. A Step Farther Out made a huge impression on me when I read it many years ago, and so of course you came to my mind when I started reading up on the topic.

Michael Prytz

It's my understanding that the process works, but it may not be economical. Of course lots of things are economical at $60/bbl oil

National ID about to pass Senate - already has passed house - Priority One

Morning Jerry,

A measure has been attached to the Iraq funding bill being voted on in the Senate - Real ID. This attempt to back-door a national ID is a serious policy issue that requires real debate. The unfunded mandate to the states has been estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars, and the worst part is that there will be *no* increase in real security. There are better ways to spend that much money. National ID's simply won't work.

For those who care about real security as well as protecting our own liberty, it's important to urge your Senator to vote to remove the Real ID amendment to the Iraq funding bill. If it isn't removed, as much as we support our troops, please urge them to vote against the entire bill.

I find it ironic that a critical limitation on our freedom has been attached to the bill funding freedom in Iraq.

For more information on why this is a bad idea, see Bruce Schneier's weblog: http://www.schneier.com/blog/

To contact your Senators: http://www.unrealid.com/ 

Best regards,

Doug

--

doug[@]douglhotka[.]com

"Do something you like. Forget about the pay, for Christ's sakes. Regulate your style of living to fit your income. Just have fun in your job, that's the main thing." ~ General Chuck Yeager

===========

 

 

d

TOP

CURRENT VIEW     Monday

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

read book now

TOP

Tuesday,  May 10, 2005

Subject: DREAD

From Defense Review comes information on the DREAD - a new type of small arms "gun" that doesn't use gunpowder for propulsion but uses centrifugal force. http://www.defensereview.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=52 <http://www.defensereview.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=526>  6

KEG

Paging Gordy  Dickson

g

TOP

CURRENT VIEW    Tuesday

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

read book now

TOP

Wednesday,

Travelling

 

 

 

 

TOP

CURRENT VIEW    Wednesday

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

read book now

TOP

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I get some very strange email:

Subject: Jerry Pournelle

I hope you don't mind that I have taken the liberty of assuming that you are newpagan on stormfront.org, since newpagan's profile points to your web site?

If that is the case, then I am wondering what inspires you to post on a well known internet hate site? Although stormfront is not rated as the largest hate group in the world, I think that it is by far boasting the largest online membership, or at least the largest of those that I have seen.

I think I noticed the reference somewhere to a title of Dr., referring to you. I am wondering doctor of what, since I haven't taken the time to read far enough to figure that out for myself. I am interested in doctors since my son is a medical doctor specializing in anaesthesiology.

Anyway I am quite interested in groups, such as stormfront, as examples of man at his worst. I have posted from time to time on stormfront.org, but invariably, if I express any opposition to the views of the moderators there, I am banned. While I have managed to acquire new email addresses and new on-line identities, I have only been somewhat successful in staying on the site for any length of time.

I am sure that most people think of stormfront and their allies as comical relief, but when one sees that known hate mongers such as David Duke, Don Black, Paul Fromm, David Lane (does he post from prison or is he just quoted by others?) are the leadership of such a group, one has to entertain the possiblity that stormfront is for real.

I'm sure that you will agree with me that most white people would not even consider the ideas that stormfront promotes, much less actually promote them, however it is somewhat disconcerting that groups such as stormfront are even permitted to use the internet for such purposes, other than comic relief that is.

Fortunately, most white people in the world are more civilized than to promote animosity against other people. Both my country, Canada, and the United States are well-known world-wide for their multi-culturalism, although Canada has somewhat of a better reputation than America in that regard, at least to some people. Also Canada takes a somewhat less tolerant stand with racists and bigots, and certain types of promotion of racial hatred are discouraged and even banned here, eg Ernst Zundel.

I would have been quite happy to permit my taxes to help pay for Zundel's incarceration for the remainder of his life, however the powers that be saw fit to send him back to his beloved homeland to face hate charges there. We can only hope that the Germans decide to give him the very maximum punishment that his actions deserve.

Anyway, I just thought I would drop you a line, as it is not every member of the hate groups that provide an email address where they can be contacted. Forgive me that I am attempting to hide my identity, but the truth is I get tired of being kicked off hate sites so frequently so I thought disquising myself might slow down that process a little.

comfeiy [hqitel702@sneakemail.com]e.

I have never heard of stormfront.org. I do know know who Zundel is.

I do think that "multiculturalism" is pernicious; I have always thought that the melting pot Americanization process worked just fine so long as it is not overwhelmed with too many immigrants. America is unique or nearly so in that you can study to be an American no matter what your origins; that is not true of many civilizations. But multiculturalism is a way of destroying the entire process; the problem is that when you go beyond tolerance to encouragement of disruptive elements, you find yourself disarmed when it comes to defense of civilization vs. barbarism. The barbarians come within the gates: you can civilize them or give in to them. But that has not a lot to do with white vs oriental vs black.

As to my personal credentials why do you ask? If you don't take the trouble to find out to whom you speak, or whether the people you speak are who you think they are, do you really expect personal answers?

Subject: I NEVER KNEW BRITAIN WENT TO SPACE

I NEVER KNEW BRITAIN WENT TO SPACE <http://www.spaceuk.org/>

I was having a drink with my brother the other day when the conversation turned, as it does (with us anyway), to space travel. He told me that in the 70s Britain launched our own satellite but Whitehall, being Whitehall, never mentioned it.

Being somewhat flabbergasted I asked him for a link & here it is:

http://www.spaceuk.org/introduction.htm

What of the Black Knight development? The Black Arrow project was put into hand. Prototypes were built. Then this too was cancelled. A satellite was launched in 1971 with the hardware left over. British Government involvement in space research came effectively to an end at that point. There was to be a Services satellite communication system, Skynet, that relied on US launchers, but that was it.

There are several infuriating aspects to all of this. To produce a missile, and then realise it was the wrong missile. To convert it to a satellite launcher, one that looked to be highly successful, and then to cancel again. And the cancellation took place in the late 60s, when the uses of satellites in TV [the Tokyo Olympics of '64 were the first to be transmitted by satellite], telephone communications, weather observation were becoming apparent and obvious.

I like the understatement about several infuriating aspects. To be fair to Whitehall this programme was always aimed at giving us a nuclear capacity against the USSR. The problem with this (well the technological problem) is that Britain is a geographically small country 4 minutes missile time from Russia (the US is 15). To make a retaliatory strike, since there is no way a launch could be made before theirs got here, would require serious numbers of hardened silos spread around our island, some of which would inevitably be near cities. Polaris, when it became available, was a better option. Of course if you regard the technological future of humanity as important then it is still well worth doing.

Amazing the things that don't get reported.

============================

Subject: Re: Dread

I am skeptical of the "no recoil" claim. Recoil might be reduced by the absence of muzzle blast, but you're still putting mass downrange, and Newton says, at those velocities, there'll still be significant recoil.

Joe Veazey

I expect so: the third law holds so far as I know.

==================

Subject: Mozilla notes

Dear Dr Pournelle, As various people have predicted, notably Rick Hellewell, as Firefox became more popular the number of known exploits has increased. Someone's girlfriend or similar leaked a proof-of-concept exploit under investigation by a white hat team to the trade press, and as a result the Mozilla foundation have scrambled to issue a quick fix.

This one is particularly dangerous - Secunia has for the first time issued its highest degree of criticality to a Mozilla vulnerability. It potentially hijacks the security update process. There have been no exploits in the wild - yet - of "MFSA 2005-42 Code execution via javascript: IconURL". A history of the security vulnerabilities is available at

<http://www.mozilla.org/projects/security/known-vulnerabilities.html#Mozilla>

- Note that at this writing this most recent vulnerability has no fix, although Mozilla has been able to take some steps. On past history there will be an update within days. Keep examining the above link if need be.

Regards, TC

-- Terry Cole System Administrator, OU Physics tcole@physics.otago.ac.nz tel: 64 3 4797801

=============================

Subject: IMPORTANT - Firefox Updates, Microsoft Spam Fighters, SpamCapital in Florida

Dr. Pournelle:

1) An update to Firefox (to version 1.04) is now available to fix two 'extremely critical' vulnerabilities. Firefox users should immediately apply the update. They can do this by clicking the 'red arrow' that is displayed (rather obscurely, I think) in the upper right corner of the Firefox window.

It is noted that Firefox doesn't emphasize, IMHO, the availability of updates. Some browsers (and add-ins, like the Maxthon add-in for IE, which has tabbed browsing and groups) will tell you about an uninstalled update when you start the program. Although FireFox has an option in the Tools menu to check for updates, it is not an automatic check. You don't get an alert unless you manually click that "update" button (or if you happen to notice the red arrow in the screen corner).

2) Microsoft assisted in the 'bust' of a spam ring based in Boston. (Readers can find info in their favorite news site.)

3) A report from an South Florida paper indicates that 25% of the top 180 spammers are based in Florida. (Boca Raton seems to be the 'spam capitol'.) And the reduction in spam last fall seems to be due to the series of hurricanes that hit Florida during that time. Story is here: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-sbspammain08may08,0,7702631.story?page=1&coll=sfla-news-sfla ("TinyUrl" is http://tinyurl.com/8tmmn -- no funny business apparent at the TinyUrl site).

Hope you are enjoying your trip, TSA notwithstanding.

Regards, Rick Hellewell

===================

 

TOP

 

CURRENT VIEW    Thursday

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

read book now

TOP

Friday,  May 13, 2005

A 1904 Fox Typewriter Nancy Pastor (THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

A 1904 Fox Typewriter<http://images.washtimes.com/photos/full/20050510-104510-7196.jpg

See http://insider.washingtontimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20050511-120109-1159r 

You and your CP/M computer -- what was its name? -- contributed to this, Dr. Pournelle... As did I and a host of others.

Charles Brumbelow, CFO Nashville Public Television

Ezekiel is still on display in the Smithsonian...

=======

From another conference:

The Fragility of Marriage The Chronicle: Colloquy Live Transcript http://chronicle.com/colloquy/2005/05/marriage/ 

Thursday, May 5, at 1:30 p.m., U.S. Eastern time

The topic

Although much has been made in the last couple of decades about the decline of the traditional family, the historian Stephanie Coontz writes, in this week's issue of The Chronicle Review, that nonmarital sex, out-of-wedlock births, divorce, and even same-sex marriage are nothing new. "But when it comes to the overall place of marriage in society and the relationship between husbands and wives," she says, "nothing in the past is anything like what we have today, even if it may look similar at first glance." When marriage started to be based more on love than on economic or political expediency, it became more optional, more fragile, and -- to the dismay of some and the indifference of others -- less predictably linked to child rearing than in the past. We "can never reinstate marriage as the primary source of commitment and caregiving in the modern world," writes Ms. Coontz. But was something lost when marriages became increasingly based on love? How can we adjust our personal expectations and social-support systems to account for the new reality? Should employers and political leaders develop policies to support marriage, and what are the implications of such policies for other committed relationships? Ľ [43]The New Fragility of Marriage, for Better or for Worse (5/6/2005) The guest Stephanie Coontz teaches history and family studies at Evergreen State College and is director of research and public education for the nonprofit Council on Contemporary Families. She is the author, most recently, of Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage, published this month by Viking.

==

This topic is one of great interest to me, so I have taken the time to enhance your post with the text of the article that spawned the discussion thread you posted.

I continue to believe that we are going to at a minimum have to discontinue reproduction by males not ready to carry out all the duties of fatherhood, including the economic one. But we may well have to do something positive to get the taxpaying classes reproducing at replacement levels as well (though not necessarily--supporting an extra child of an irresponsible male for every child you have of your own is quite a burden, so removing that burden might well be enough; I just don't know).

Jim

==

The larger problem, Jim, is that there are all those who live off programs to uplift the poor. Milton Friedman once calculated that only ten cents out of every dollar to help the poor gets to them in the form of cash. And being poor is, by definition, being short of cash. Most people are very surprised when they learn how little the poor get from the government, though it does provide them with most of their income. They are still not very well-to-do by the standards of even the poorest on this list.

And there are also all the teachers *and* educrats who get jobs on the belief that education is a panacea. It's all these other taxeaters that eat away more than the poor.

Friedman also calculated that were the amount spent on uplifting the poor just handed over to the poor, every poor person could be raised to twice the poverty level. These figures go back thirty years, but I have no reason to think they have changed much one way or the other.

And the biggest question is how many fleas can fit on one dog.

Frank

Has the American dog reached the limit of the fleas it can support? Who will be the future taxpayers, given the low birth rates among taxpayers?

 

 

=============

Subject: Dread weapon system recoil

Hi, Jerry.

After looking at that article, and the illustration of the DREAD, I think the lack of recoil claim comes because the pellets are being spun and then released (like a sling). All the energy to get the pellets to speed comes when the device is spun up. To launch the pellet, it's just released at the proper time in the loop and it leaves tangentially to the spin cycle. The conversion from rotary motion to straight-line motion shouldn't have any recoil. Balance issues at that RPM, though, could be significant.

-- Roger Ritter (roger@rogerritter.com) PP-ASEL, AGI 1946 Luscombe 8A N71983 "Rocky"
"Sheep do not so much fly as plummet!" - MPFC

=============

Subject:  DREAD

I read the defensereview blurb on DREAD. I think it sounds like the writer was listening a little to closely while the inventor tooted his own horn. For example:

While it might be possible to build a device that uses a centrifuge to hurl 10,000+ .50 cal steel ball/sec at 3,000 fps, the "no recoil" claim has to be dismissed. Maybe the weapon doesn't jump around as every round exits, but a .50 ball has a volume of just about 1cc and the density of typical steel is 8g/cc. That's 80 kg/sec coming out of the weapon. The initial velocity of the balls is supposed to be 3000 ft/sec: for back-of-the envelope calculations call it 1000 m/sec. I get 80,000 N of thrust from those numbers, or just shy of 18,000 lb. Does somebody see an error in that? I think it would be pretty scary to be riding in the Suburban, or even Humvee, that was firing one of these things of full auto.

I suspect that the projectiles don't go in a straight line for very long after they leave the weapon, either. There were good reasons for abandoing ball ammunition in the 19th century, and a muzzle velocity of 1 km/sec would only make those worse. I'm visualizing an endless stream of little golf balls hooking and slicing, and fading in every direction.

I watched the "world-exclusive video" linked from the site, and found it to be 4 minutes of computer animation. There was about 1 second of what looked like actual camera footage of some kind of target being perforated by a couple of short bursts, but no imagery of any actual hardware.

I won't be investing in Trinamic Technologies any time soon...

Wade Scoline

=====================

==========

AIDS Now Compels Africa to Challenge Widows' 'Cleansing' http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/11/international/africa/11malawi.html 

By SHARON LaFRANIERE

MCHINJI, Malawi - In the hours after James Mbewe was laid to rest three years ago, in an unmarked grave not far from here, his 23-year-old wife, Fanny, neither mourned him nor accepted visits from sympathizers. Instead, she hid in his sister's hut, hoping that the rest of her in-laws would not find her.

But they hunted her down, she said, and insisted that if she refused to exorcise her dead husband's spirit, she would be blamed every time a villager died. So she put her two small children to bed and then forced herself to have sex with James's cousin.

"I cried, remembering my husband," she said. "When he was finished, I went outside and washed myself because I was very afraid. I was so worried I would contract AIDS and die and leave my children to suffer."

Here and in a number of nearby nations including Zambia and Kenya, a husband's funeral has long concluded with a final ritual: sex between the widow and one of her husband's relatives, to break the bond with his spirit and, it is said, save her and the rest of the village from insanity or disease. Widows have long tolerated it, and traditional leaders have endorsed it, as an unchallenged tradition of rural African life.

Now AIDS is changing that. Political and tribal leaders are starting to speak out publicly against so-called sexual cleansing, condemning it as one reason H.I.V. has spread to 25 million sub-Saharan Africans, killing 2.3 million last year alone. They are being prodded by leaders of the region's fledging women's rights movement, who contend that lack of control over their sex lives is a major reason 6 in 10 of those infected in sub-Saharan Africa are women. <snip>

=======================

 

 

 

 

TOP

CURRENT VIEW     Friday

 

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

read book now

TOP

Saturday,

Subject: DREAD

Jerry P:

No the third law hasn't been repealed. But you must understand the difference between linear and angular momentum. You can convert angular momentum to linear momentum, and the necessary force is applied by the wheel that holds the balls into a circular path. Once released they are no longer subjected to the centripetal force and are allowed to continue on the straight line they desire. Imagine a primitive slingshot and you have the mechanism; that is a stone in a cup of a sort attached to two leather thongs. Spin it about your head and then release one of the thongs. The stone becomes a deadly missile. Accuracy may not ideal but multiple projectiles will be subject to drafting effects from the leader and it is a quite interesting idea.

Cbsimkins

 

Jerry P:

I think that the problem with people understanding the DREAD is the fact that you don't solve the problem with momentum but energy. Many ME problems do not yield to one law but the other. The fact that a chemical weapon like a M-16 produces a rapid burst of energy which is transferred to the projectile. But a rocket like a bazooka produces no recoil to the launcher, because of the expulsion of mass at high velocities in the reverse direction. You then can either look at force vs momentum, the relative masses etc. For the DREAD, you look at the kinetic energy stored in the balls. For a 2 foot diameter wheel, you then calculate the circumference, slightly over 6 feet, and then figure out how fast the wheel needs to rotate to achieve a 2000 fps velocity. To evaluate the imbalance you need to design it with sufficient mass that the ejection of a ball has minimal effect on the overall balance of the wheel. You will get a rotational speed of around 19,000 RPM which is not trivial, but can be done. Smaller wheel rotates faster, and larger wheel rotates slower. The design needs to keep the wheel rotating as it would take time to reach the higher speed. Sealed bearings etc. would be needed as the Iraqi sand would be a problem. Balance would be difficult but remember you have a large gyroscope you are turning and the overturning couples can be a problem in manipulating the weapon.

Cbsimkins

You would be astonished at how difficult it is to think clearly when in Rome and jetlagged and subject to appliances that almost work but not quite. Still: if I throw something out the back end at velocity, surely the rocket equation holds and there will be accelerations in both directions? Throwing mass overboard at velocity is going to produce a force on the system as a whole. Sure, 'recoilless' rifles and rocket launchers throw stuff overboard in both directions at once so that you get cancellation of the forces on the stationary system (you in the case of shoulder fired). It wouldn't be hard to calculate the mv^2 for the projectiles and thus the total force from each, except that my head isn't working.

==================

Dr. Pournelle,

I read the mail you received from a reader that seemed to think you were someone calling yourself NewPagan on a website that appears to advocate anti-social behavior. I did a little digging, and there is indeed a user on that system called NewPagan and his message and email signature(s) include an html link to your web site as well as a quote attributed to C.A. Beard. He or she lists their location as Brooklyn New York but that's all the information I could obtain, and it is certainly not validated. Why this person has chosen to place a link to your site in their signature is unknown to me, but it could be misconstrued as reflecting the fact that he or she is claiming to be you.

As for the actual readers email to you, that was indeed bizarre in the extreme. Hope Rome is good to you, have a safe happy trip!

Cheers,

Robert Porter

Thank you; I have no idea what is happening on that. I am not likely to call myself a pagan whether new or old. Since I have never visited the web site in question I don't know any more on the subject at all. Ah well.

==============

Subject:  Thermal depolymerization

Mr. Pournelle, from the long-ago days of my Engineering school time, the equivalent cost per barrel (1981 dollars) was in the $250-500 range. We used a thermal-cracking scenario not dissimilar from Texaco plant in Port Arthur where my Grandad worked. It's not a new tech by any means.

Jeb

Yes: I wrote about the subject in A Step Farther Out, and in a Galaxy column in the 1970's. At the time the expense was prohibitive, but I didn't recall the details. I can well believe there are new efficiencies in the conversion that might make it more economical.

===

Subject: Thermal Biomass Conversion

Random thoughts (not having studied the process in detail but having seen most of the referenced articles)

> The basic chemistry seems sound.

> Random organic waste will actually probably be most economical to process; the more highly refined a product is, the more expensive it likely will be to process.

Only the simplest plastics will work (PVC and teflon need not apply, or if they do the process will be spitting off a lot of acid or chlorine/fluorine gas; the same consideration applies to most organohalides, which constitutes the vast majority of most organic hazardous waste). The least economical to process will be high molecular weight compositions (tires, etc.) and highly refined products (probably counting paper, thought that's harder to guess, because the fibrous nature of the refined product will be different than natural plant fibers).

> As you note, cost is the major factor here. It will probably be different for different waste streams particularly as preparation and breakdown times are considered. However, costs also have to include the negative costs of alternative disposal methods -- most waste reconversion processes take payments from the generator for disposal as well as selling product out the back side. Plus of course scale is a factor -- capital costs of most chemical plants scale as V^(2/3), where V is the product volume, with maintenance scaling about the same way and operations manpower approximately fixed or scaling even more slowly -- so larger plants become more economical (the big problem with most point recycling plants is that they are an order of magnitude or more smaller than equivalent raw production plants and can never compete economically). Energy costs are the basis of the 15% figure, which means that it takes the energy equivalent of 1 barrel of raw crude to generate 7 barrels of their refined product, which is probably not a bad comparison, but if the economic basis is at all "cooked" in their sales material (that is, 1 barrel of refined oil to generate 7 barrels of their refined product, which would yield about 3 barrels of a fuel-grade product), the economics go to heck in a hurry.

Jim Woosley

I recall that SCE was doing some research on this back when it was an energy company before the California legislature decided to get into the energy act.  I am not in a position to find out what they learned if anything. I did a quick look at the process in A Step Farther Out in the 70's...

===================

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

A quick point re: backing up your Outlook PST and MS ActiveSync. If you remove your iPAQ from the cradle when you shut down Outlook, your PST should be available for backup. I use Retrospect (it came with my Maxtor external USB drive) daily. If I remember to shut down Outlook and remove my iPAQ, my PST backs up; if I forget either one, it doesnít. I donít need to reboot, however.

Enjoy your trip!

John Prideaux

Of course, and I should have thought of that. Thanks. I am sure that's the problem with the pst file staying open. I'll try it when I get back home.

===========

 

 

 

 

TOP

 

CURRENT VIEW     Saturday

This week:

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

read book now

TOP

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Still in Rome

==============

Subject: American Intellectual Bankruptcy: How The World Will Look Back On This 30 Years From Now

More "insight" from "scholar" Kagan:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn
/content/article/2005/05/13/AR2005051301405.html 

Kagan is decidedly pop thinking masquerading as deep insight. And on the other hand we have Tom Barnett's best-selling Star Trek TNG vision of a Federatation of Powers all wearing tight uniforms and talking earnestly about attending to quantum metaphasic flows of the Core and Gap. Yet both are examples of what passes for intellectual analysis and policy leadership today.

So much economic, political and military power (albeit fading and sadly transitory). So much vacuity.

Interestingly, the Chinese may well be asking how they will cope with and manage the US decline. From their eyes, perhaps, nothing is as dangerous as a bloated American confronted with loss of a SUV and falling over extended lifestyle . . .

Dave

====================

 

 

  TOP

CURRENT VIEW     Sunday

The current page will always have the name currentmail.html and may be bookmarked. For previous weeks, go to the MAIL HOME PAGE.

FOR THE CURRENT VIEW PAGE CLICK HERE

If you are not paying for this place, click here...

IF YOU SEND MAIL it may be published; if you want it private SAY SO AT THE TOP of the mail. I try to respect confidences, but there is only me, and this is Chaos Manor. If you want a mail address other than the one from which you sent the mail to appear, PUT THAT AT THE END OF THE LETTER as a signature. In general, put the name you want at the end of the letter: if you put no address there none will be posted, but I do want some kind of name, or explicitly to say (name withheld).

Note that if you don't put a name in the bottom of the letter I have to get one from the header. This takes time I don't have, and may end up with a name and address you didn't want on the letter. Do us both a favor: sign your letters to me with the name and address (or no address) as you want them posted. Also, repeat the subject as the first line of the mail. That also saves me time.

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. 

Day-by-day...
Monday -- Tuesday -- Wednesday -- Thursday -- Friday -- Saturday -- Sunday
 

 Search engine:

 

or the freefind search

 
   Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
 
  Site search Web search


Boiler Plate:

If you want to PAY FOR THIS PLACE I keep the latest information HERE.  MY THANKS to all of you who sent money.  Some of you went to a lot of trouble to send money from overseas. Thank you! There are also some new payment methods. I am preparing a special (electronic) mailing to all those who paid: there will be a couple of these. I have thought about a subscriber section of the page. LET ME KNOW your thoughts.
.

If you subscribed:

atom.gif (1053 bytes) CLICK HERE for a Special Request.

If you didn't and haven't, why not?

If this seems a lot about paying think of it as the Subscription Drive Nag. You'll see more.

 

Search: type in string and press return.

 

 

 

 

Entire Site Copyright, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Jerry E. Pournelle. All rights reserved.

birdline.gif (1428 bytes)