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Mail 370 July 11 - 17, 2005






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Monday  July 11, 2005

As usual there was some very good mail over the weekend...

Subject: Al-Qaeda in Briton.

Leaked No 10 dossier reveals Al-Qaeda’s British recruits
 Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan police chief, revealed separately last night that up to 3,000 British-born or British-based people had passed through Osama Bin Laden’s training camps.


Douglas Colbray

That is somewhat frightening. The barbarians are within the gates. Gibbons rejoiced that cannon and strong fortresses had finally saved the west from the barbarian invasions. An early form of "the end of history"...


Subject: Upgrade To ClearType Tuner - Recommended

Dr. Pournelle,

The latest version of Microsoft's "ClearType Tuner PowerToy for Windows XP" has made a remarkable and readily apparent improvement in the display of my Dell Inspiron 600m laptop. If you want to try it you can find it in the right hand column at their site:



-- Donald W. McArthur http://www.mcarthurweb.com



On the Programming Languages debate:

Subj: Flon's Law

For some reason, recent postings reminded me of Flon's Law:

=There is not now, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be, any programming language in which it is the least bit difficult to write bad code.=

Rod Montgomery==monty@sprintmail.com


Harry Erwin's Letter from England

OK, the news:

There's no real news on the London bombings over the weekend, but that's not a bad thing. The thing operatives hate is being watched, and the security agencies/police are keeping the investigations quiet to spook them. The things to notice about the attack are that the planning and necessary support infrastructure were comparable with that for other al Qaeda operations, but the bombs were under ten pounds and then were set off in locations where their effectiveness was low. As an old operations researcher, you know what that means. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4670555.stm>  <http://edition.cnn.com/ 2005/WORLD/europe/07/11/london.attacks/index.html>  <http:// www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/0,16132,1525813,00.html>  <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22989-1689497,00.html>  <http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/ tm_objectid=15722002&
britain--unbreakable--name_page.html> .
A local lad: <http:// www.sunderland-echo.co.uk/ViewArticle2
.aspx? SectionID=1107&ArticleID=1080919

I understand we might have been getting close to someone: <http:// news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-07/11/content_3204847.htm> . I wish we had the deployable assets to flood the area and take whoever it is out.

Charles Clarke continues his campaign for a UK sans privacy: <http:// www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/0,16132,1525846,00.html

The usual NHS problems: <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/ 0,,2-1689230,00.html

The Church of England carries on: <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/07/11/nbish11.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/07/11/ ixhome.html> .


<rant> This fight has been going on in the church since the first Pentecost--the picture of Mary Magdalene as an adulteress and repentant whore is entirely inaccurate and a deliberate libel of a prominent disciple who was as important in the Jerusalem church as any of the Twelve. It is accepted that she was the *first* witness to the Resurrection, and the overriding importance of Resurrection appearances in affirming the right of disciples to lead and teach in the earliest church is clear from the Gospels, Acts, and Paul. When you examine early non-canonical Christian texts, particularly the very early (ca. 50 AD) Gospel of Thomas, it becomes clear that this was just part of an early war over church leadership that left otherwise incomprehensible signs scattered through the New Testament. </rant>

-- "Truth is the intersection of independent lies." (Richard Levins, 1966) Harry Erwin, PhD

And see below


Subject: Orphaned because of Meth,

Why oh why can't we offer these folks free sterilization (not forced, but access to). What will society do with all these children who are, at a tender age, already dysfunctional?



A Drug Scourge Creates Its Own Form of Orphan By KATE ZERNIKE

TULSA, Okla., July 8 - The Laura Dester Shelter here is licensed for 38 children, but at times in the past months it has housed 90, forcing siblings to double up in cots. It is supposed to be a 24-hour stopping point between troubled homes and foster care, but with foster homes backed up, children are staying weeks and sometimes months, making it more orphanage than shelter, a cacophony of need.

In a rocking chair, a volunteer uses one arm to feed a 5-day-old boy taken from his mother at birth, the other to placate a toddler who is wandering from adult to adult begging, "Bottle?" A 3-year-old who arrived at dawn shrieks as salve is rubbed on her to kill the lice.

This is a problem methamphetamine has made, a scene increasingly familiar across the country as the number of foster children rises rapidly in states hit hard by the drug, the overwhelming number of them, officials say, taken from parents who were using or making methamphetamine.

Well, blame it all on Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. ?



Subject:  Adobe Reader warning unnecessary for most of your readers


Shame on you, the Adobe Reader vulnerability only affects the UNIX versions, which should at least have been mentioned in your warning. Most of your readers are on Windows or Mac, I'm sure...


-- Angus Scott-Fleming http://www.geoapps.com/

I do not accept shame. Indeed, it is the UNIX version that is affected, and I could wish I had more time to look into this; on the other hand it does no harm to do the upgrade, and I would rather be warned than not when there is any doubt.





This week:


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TuesdayJuly 12, 2005

Day after the column. Lots of catching up to do.

Subject: Bombing News

See <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4674463.stm>  <http:// edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/07/12/london.attacks/index.html>  <http://www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/ 0,16132,1526712,00.html>  and <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/ 0,,22989-1690672,00.html> . Apparently they've tracked the operation back to Leeds and Yorkshire, where they made six raids. Rumor has it that they found some evidence on the bus.

Subject: Latest on London Bombing

The police are busy rolling up the organisation. There were four terrorists who died in the bombings, but I sure hope they catch the master bomb builder. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4674463.stm>  <http://www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/ 0,16132,1526712,00.html>  <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/ 0,,22989-1690672,00.html>  <http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ L1245156.htm>

 US military are now allowed back in London.

-- Harry Erwin, PhD, Senior Lecturer of Computing, University of Sunderland. Computational neuroscientist modeling bat bioacoustics and behavior. http://osiris.sunderland.ac.uk/~cs0her

Good news. Thanks.


Subject: LEADERSHIP: Arab Women with Guns


July 12, 2005: There aren’t too many women in the armed forces of Arab nations, much less female generals. One exception is Jordanian brigadier general Aisha Bint Al Hussein. Actually, she’s a sister of the current king, which makes her other title Her Royal Highness Princess Aisha Bint Al Hussein. That explains part of it, but the 37 year old general al Hussein, as a teenager, persuaded her father, who she took after in many ways, to let her undergo military training. She excelled at it, especially marksmanship and commando exercises. The late king Hussein survived so many years by having trusted family members in military and police positions, so Princess Aisha was allowed to remain in the army. Aisha’s mother was the kings second wife, and the daughter of a British army officer. Aisha got the military interests from both sides of the family. Aisha went to school in the United States for ten years (from when she was eight years old) and completed military parachute training while still a high school student. She married at age 22 and had two children, but returned to the military when the kids were old enough for school. General Aisha has been instrumental in getting more women into the Jordanian armed forces. Combat training for everyone is actually something of a Bedouin tradition (the Hussein family are considered Bedouins), and for a long time, Bedouin women learned to ride horses and camels, and use weapons. In the 19th century, when firearms became common among the Bedouin, women became even more lethal as warriors, because firing a rifle did not require the muscle of the older weapons (swords, spears and bows.) In Saudi Arabia, where women are not even allowed to drive a car, the older women still remember the freedom women had as recently as the 1950s. During that time, Islamic conservatives began imposing more restrictions on women as the Bedouin nomads settled down. But in Jordan, the women still have much freedom, in the ancient Bedouin tradition. This causes some friction, as the urban and rural Arabs adopted a much more restrictive attitude towards women. However, the old ways are remembered, and are increasingly being seen as the future for women in the Middle East.

John Monahan


Subject: Kennewick Man Gives Up His Secrets.


-- Roland Dobbins

I followed this story from the beginning. For a nation that won't let you display a manger in the public square our courts seem to have extraordinary concern for the sensibilities of Native American religions.

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide. When we cannot even defend science, which is in theory the basis for our doubts about religion, against Native American creation myths (there can't have been any people here before us because we know we were created here, therefore all bodies found here are our kin and there's no point in looking to see if they were here before we were or what race they were since they have to be our kin because we were created here." So Ordered.) -- when that prevails over science you know that the West is trying to kill itself.

The end of history indeed...


Subject: You have nothing to lose but your . . . $100K underpants?


-- Roland Dobbins


Subject: Fighting real problems.


---- Roland Dobbins


Subject: Fw: Failure of Bio-Fuels

I remember a book published roughly 25 years ago that talked about alternative energy sources and how they wouldn't be cost effective, such as burning garbage. A very well written book and every so often I take it out to smite worshippers of the "Environmental Agenda" gods as it is still pertinent even today.

If that author ever writes "A Step Further Out II" perhaps he can reference this report on bio-fuels and their costs.



Yes: getting Another Step Farther Out, and A Step Farther Out, in shape for publishing is another of those things I ought to have got done a year ago. Sigh. Some things have changed. Many alas have not.


Subject: Faked Research Results on Rise?


Ted Kodluboy


Subject: Contra CAFTA.


-- Roland Dobbins

As always, I have mixed emotions about unrestricted free trade agreements. Most of the benefits to Mexico vanished after campaigns to close the sweat shops (where Mexican were making more money than they had ever made in their lives) got that work sent to China, where you have no idea of what the working conditions are and the local news talking heads aren't going to make surprise benefits; meanwhile the Mexican workers are out of work and coming here.


Subject: Cometary Accretion.


--- Roland Dobbins


Subject: Civil war in Iraq?


-- Roland Dobbins


From another conference:

> TOKYO, July 1 - As a soprano sings "Ave Maria," a Japanese couple
> march down the center aisle of a hotel chapel, past white trumpet
> lilies, to the altar where an American "pastor" stands, gold cross
> gleaming on white robes.

I confirm that every word of this is true. There are zillions of wedding "ceremony halls" in Japan now. Almost every regular hotel has one. Non-regular hotels are business hotels and love hotels.

Weddings in Japan were traditionally Shinto and funerals Buddhist, but Japanese don't think much about religion, although they pray a lot. --- I was just down at city hall registering my change of visa/passport and there was a poster on the wall stating that ONE in 108 babies born in Japan now has dual nationality. Yikes! Japan is becoming a mixed-race country. And no one much cares!



From another conference:

Lets see, students who go to schools that serve inner-city high-poverty children get lower scores than those that go to affluent high income / education communities, so the difference is .... school quality???

What happens when you take a low scoring student from a low scoring school and put him / her in a high scoring school?

Somebody isn't getting it.



Despite law, some pupils left behind District study raises questions on transfers By Chris Kahn Education Writer Posted July 8 2005

Broward County students who transferred out of low-performing schools last year under the federal No Child Left Behind Act didn't gain a significant academic boost by changing classrooms and teachers, according to a report released by the school district on Thursday.

The analysis of 842 transfer students shows they did no better on state tests than their peers who decided to remain at their old campuses.

It's the first study to evaluate President Bush's signature education reform program, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Broward Schools Director of Research Services Cary Sutton said the study was meant to be an early look at the federal act and help determine whether the $1.5 million to transfer students last year was well spent.

"Probably in three or four years we'll understand better what benefits, if any, might be associated with No Child Left Behind," Sutton said. <snip>


Jon Wiener: Chutzpah and free speech

Civil liberties lawyer Alan Dershowitz is out of line in challenging the decision to publish a book that harshly criticizes him.

By Jon Wiener

Jon Wiener is professor of history at UC Irvine and author, most recently, of "Historians in Trouble" (New Press, 2005).

July 11, 2005

Governors are asked by members of the public to do lots of things, but the request Arnold Schwarzenegger got from Alan Dershowitz in December was unique: to intervene with the University of California Press' plans to publish a book. Why does Dershowitz care? Because the book in question - Norman Finkelstein's "Beyond Chutzpah," due out next month - is harshly critical of Dershowitz.

Schwarzenegger, to his credit, answered with an unequivocal "no." The governor's legal advisor wrote Dershowitz: "You have asked for the Governor's assistance in preventing the publication of this book," but "he is not inclined to otherwise exert influence in this case because of the clear, academic freedom issue it presents."

Thus the star of "The Terminator" sought to teach a lesson about academic freedom to a Harvard law professor.

But Dershowitz's campaign against the book went beyond his letter to Schwarzenegger.

He had his lawyers send belligerent letters to dozens of people who might have power over the process. A letter from attorney Rory Millson of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, for instance, was dispatched to Lynne Withey, director of the UC Press, declaring that "the press's decision to publish this book" lends "legitimacy to the wholly illegitimate" and is "part of a conspiracy to defame" Dershowitz. It concludes, "The only way to extricate yourself is immediately to terminate all professional contact with this full-time malicious defamer." In a letter to members of the faculty editorial committee, Dershowitz calls on them to "reconsider your decision." <snip>

Why I am shocked, shocked...


Subject: France claims the title for most ridiculous lawsuit in the history of the world:

A French company is suing ten cleaning women who stopped using their bus service to travel to work and is now car-pooling instead. It wants a judge to order the women's cars confiscated. I am not making this up.


-- Robert Bruce Thompson thompson@ttgnet.com http://www.ttgnet.com/thisweek.html http://forums.ttgnet.com/ikonboard.cgi

I hesitate to publish this lest some American lawyer see it and start a class action suit with the usual results of class actions, millions of the lawyer and some kind of worthless certificate for the actual clients.


Subject: Kagan the Younger grows more out of touch with reality.



Second, the American lead is so great on the military front that it can only discourage others from attempting the almost impossible task of trying to catch up.


What hubris!

--- Roland Dobbins

I can recall being an admirer of his views before he became a certified pundit; and of course his father is still the Thucydides scholar and translator to read...


Subject: Firefox Updates on "Patch Tuesday"

Dr. Pournelle:

Mozilla Firefox 1.0.5 released (for Windows, Linux, Mac), quoting: "Firefox 1.0.5 is a security update that is part of our ongoing program to provide a safe Internet experience for our customers. We recommend that all users upgrade to this latest version." http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/releases/1.0.5.html

As I write this (3:24pm PST), there is no description of what they fixed, although the above link may have that info later.

Regards, Rick Hellewell







This week:


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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Subject: "It is terrifying."


--- Roland Dobbins

Clearly he deserves life, or perhaps a death by AIDS sentence. That's justice, no? Of course it's a Guardian article. But I do wonder, is it not "cruel and unusual punishment" to put people into a place where they have no protection whatever?

Gary McKinnon.


The UK MOD has always tested its security officially and otherwise and this is sometimes found wanting. As when the CO of a highly secret airfield arrived in his office to find the words "blown up" on a neatly printed notice in the middle of his desk, followed soon afterwards by an acerbic telephone call from his superior. Or, less officially, the high speed waterline that was painted on a destroyer the night before an Admiral's inspection.

More seriously the MOD also detail their more able computer people to visit other sites with similiar equipment to their own to try and break into secure networks. Any flaws are quickly corrected and it is a safe assumption that a system that withstands attack from an skilled insider is unlikely to be penetrated by a self taught dope smoker using the internet.

I therefore argue that Gary McKinnon should be dealt with lightly. He has made some important people look very foolish but has done the United States a great service merely by demonstrating their foolishness.

In short, emperors do not like to be told that they are wearing no clothes, but it is good for the rest of us when they are.

John Edwards

Interesting point.


Subject: Voting reverse-tax suggestion

Dear Dr. Pournelle: as regards the concept of someone who would sell their vote for a bottle of Scotch not deserving the vote, I generally agree, but, as noted, a poll tax is not an option.

I would like to suggest another (equally unlikely to happen) option - a reverse tax. Give every registered voter a choice, when they arrive at the voting station, of either being handed a ballot - *or* a check (say for 5-10$).

This would have several immediate negative effects. First, a lot more money spent by each voting district, which may or may not be countered by less government spending elsewhere. Also a wide increase in voter fraud, which would, one hopes, be countered by an increase in registration security...

The positive effects are, presumably, similar to having a literacy test or other filters, and would take longer to manifest.

I hesitate to suggest that the government spend more money (being generally in agreement with the libertarians), but given that the money is going to be spent anyway...

John Crawford

It might just work. One can see beneficial effects...


Subject: Faking it.


----- Roland Dobbins

Of course you can prove anything if you make up your data. And recall the David Baltimore case, where the investigators seemed to be determined to prove something no one else believed. A tangled web...


Subject: It could never happen here, of course.


--- Roland Dobbins

If melting pots are not encouraged to melt, the result will be empire, not Republic. Depend on it.


First the railroads, now the oil wells.


 Roland Dobbins


Subject: Mother of Connections Buffy Willow


Summary/snippets (from www.boortz.com, click Nuze, for 7/12/05)

* In 1998 there were a series of payments from Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden's No. 2 goon, Ayman al Zawahri in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. This was happening at the same time the U.S. was putting increased pressures on Saddam for more inspections, and at the same time Bill Clinton was actually making speeches at the Pentagon that some viewed as preparing the nation for war against Iraq. * Other documents recovered from Iraqi intelligence show that there were meetings between a high-level Al Qaeda operative and Iraqi intelligence officials in Baghdad. It was also at this very time that Osama bin Laden issued a Fatwa for the "killing of Americans wherever you find them." Not only were these meetings referenced in the documents recovered from the bombed-out Iraqi intelligence headquarters, these meetings were also detailed in the 9/11 Commission Report ... a section of the report never, or so it would seem, released to the Democrats. * You want more? How about evidence that a former Iraqi soldier who was recruited by the Taliban to fight in Afghanistan was found to have participated with Iraqi intelligence in a plot to blow up an American embassy in Pakistan .. with a chemical bomb. Chemical Bomb? That would be a WMD, in case you didn't know.

<snip>. There was a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda. There was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. And .. yes, connections can be shown between Iraqi intelligence officials and the people who actually carried out the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Jim Woosley

This is just emerging? Why? My suspicions are aroused simply because it seems to have been hidden for so long when everyone was desperate to find something like this; and of course the source is the people who desperately want this to be true.

Which doesn't mean that it isn't.

And given that we are there now, and there is no substitute for victory -- which is as true for juhadists as anyone else -- it would be well if it were true.

Dr. Pournelle:

I don't think that this is matter of "this is just emerging," but more a matter of selective reporting by the media. The information regarding links between Saddam and Al Quada have been in the public records for years, but the story just can't "get traction."

This is similar to the claims from the Left (tm) that "Bush lied about WMD" as the pretext for invading Iraq. If Bush lied, then what about Senators Clinton and Kerry (and the Brits, French and Germans) who also made public statements before the war that they believed Saddam had WMD before we invaded?

See, I.E.,

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security."

Senator Clinton, Oct. 8, 2002 statement; http://www.rightwingnews.com/special/xyz.php

My understanding is that the 9/11 Commission found that there was no direct link between Saddam and Al Quada regarding the 9/11 attacks. This is entirely different than "no links between Saddam and Al Quada" or "no links between Sadddam and terrorists." Nonetheless, the current line from the Left and the media tends to conflate the later two statements with the first statement.

I'm still not sure the invasion of Iraq was the right thing for us to do (that is, in the best interest of the United States). But I'm sick and tired of people selectively remembering the past to take pot shots at our President while we are at war.



Subject: Fluoride-cancer link info suppressed?


-- Roland Dobbins

Here's a howdy do. Can you imagine the class action suit against Harvard from everyone whose kids were exposed to fluoridated water?


Subject: A Passage from India.

I disagree with him on the larger issue of trade and outsourcing policy, but he's spot-on when talking about educational standards and hypocrisy:


---- Roland Dobbins


These came while I was on the road and I missed them:

Subject: Don't You Feel Safer Now?

I know this will make you even more appreciative of the TSA, Dr. Pournelle....

"...a federal audit...calls into question $303 million of the $741 million spent to assess and hire airport passenger screeners for the newly created Transportation Security Administration after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The audit, along with interviews with people involved in the passenger-screener contract, paints a rare and detailed portrait of how officials at the fledgling agency lost control of the spending in the pell-mell rush to hire 60,000 screeners to meet a one-year congressional deadline."


Charles Brumbelow


Subject: Maxwell's demon


Anyone who thinks they found a way to implement a real Maxwell's demon should look at volume 1 of the Feynman lectures on the "Ratchet and Pawl" as a way to extract useful work from a heat bath.

In my experience, all engines that purport to reverse entropy can be reduced to this simple model. In this model, thermal fluctuations in a heat bath cause a shaft to oscillate in small bits of random rotary motion. A ratchet and pawl is used to rectify this rotary motion into a sustained rotation in one direction, thus converting random thermal fluctuations into useful work.

However, Feynman's analysis shows that the rectifying component, the ratchet and pawl, is itself subject to thermal effects that reduce the unidirectionality of the motion. When the ratchet and pawl heat up, as they must when they absorb the energy of the reverse rotations, the rectification is reduced in precisely the right way to destroy the "free lunch" extraction of random thermal fluctuations into useful work. The ratchet and pawl works fine as a Carnot engine, but doesn't get around thermodynamics.

As Jim Woosley points out, "a quick review of the paper suggests that the authors completely ignored the energy dissipated by the magnet both in sustaining the magnetic field and in the (admittedly modest but still physically manifest) recoil of the magnet from the electrons". I think this will turn out to be exactly analogous to the heating of the ratchet and pawl in Feynman's example. Again, this field emission/magnet system might have some interesting applications as yet another Carnot engine, but that's all it will be.

Chuck Bouldin


ATTRITION: More Dangerous Than Washington D.C.

June 30, 2005: The death rate of American troops in Iraq has, so far, been about 188 per 100,000 troops. The murder rate in Washington DC is 88 per 100,000. While that’s lower than the death rate for American troops, it’s higher than it is for Iraqi civilians (about 35).


John Monahan

In fact, National Guard units lose, generally, more troops to traffic in the US than to combat in Iraq. But of course the risks are not equal, depending on the units.


Subject: al Qaeda Attacks Mapped,

al Qaeda Attacks: A Flash Presentation

by Bill Roggio at July 12, 2005 09:50 AM

The following visual presentation is a compilation of the major al Qaeda attacks since the creation of the International Islamic Front and their subsequent declaration of war in February of 1998.

Click this link to view the presentation <http://windsofchange.net/flashplayer.php?media=alqaeda&w=640&h=480> .

You will need to install Macromedia Flash Player, which can be downloaded here

<http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=S hockwaveFlash> .

From Sue




CURRENT VIEW    Wednesday


This week:


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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Subject: More Testing, More Testing

Soon teachers will have no time to teach for the tests because all they will be doing is administering these evaluations. Let's guarantee that Every Child Will Be Left Behind in some manner.



Feds force state to test 3 more grades next year Funding for extra exams must be found Thursday, July 14, 2005 BY JOHN MOONEY Star-Ledger Staff

The number of public school students taking state exams will nearly double next year, although it is uncertain where the money will come from to pay for the extra tests.

As required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, testing in language arts and math will expand to the fifth, sixth and seventh grades, ensuring that students will be tested every year from grades 3 to 8. The tests are now administered in Grades 3, 4, 8 and 11.

But during last month's budget talks in Trenton, the Legislature, with the approval of the Codey administration, cut $7 million from the state Department of Education that was earmarked for the new testing.

State officials said this week that the money will be found once a contract for the new tests is awarded, but they could not say where that money would come from. Making the situation more difficult is the fact that some legislators have expressed little support for the additional testing, especially if the federal government won't pay for it.

The uncertainty comes as the state is reviewing proposals from private testing firms to develop and administer the new exams.

Given over the course of a week each spring, the standardized tests of multiple-choice and open-ended questions are big events in many schools and are used to gauge both student and school progress.


No Child Left Behind == No Child Gets Ahead

I cannot recommend the public school system as a general proposition. There may be exceptions, but as a general rule, don't put your children into the maw of that monster.


 A very disturbing Intellectual Property question:

Subject: Archiving Lawsuit

How can people expect to post on the web and eventually make the posting disappear???



Philadelphia health care advocacy firm sues search-engine operators Lawsuit against company that locates old Web postings is the first legal challenge to Internet archiving, experts say Tuesday, July 12, 2005 BY KEVIN COUGHLIN Star-Ledger Staff

The Wayback Machine is a search engine for finding old stuff on the Internet.

But some people don't want Web postings to last forever.

A Philadelphia health-care advocacy company is suing operators of the Wayback Machine in a case experts described as one of the first legal challenges to Internet archiving. Healthcare Advocates contends the Internet Archive, a San Francisco nonprofit that runs the Wayback Machine, botched Healthcare's request to block access to archived materials from its Web site during a trade secrets dispute in 2003.

A Philadelphia-area law firm obtained the old Web postings by hacking its way past the Internet Archive's blocking technology, the suit charges.

That violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans tampering with technologies meant to protect copyrighted digital materials, alleges the suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.

Healthcare Advocates also says its Web postings were copyrighted, so the Philadelphia lawyers could be fined $30,000 under federal copyright law for each of 92 alleged infringements -- nearly $3 million.

"Presumably, they knew better than anyone else that this is not the proper way to do things," said Scott Christie of McCarter & English, the Newark law firm representing Healthcare Advocates.

"This lawsuit is baseless," said John Earley III of Harding, Earley, Follmer & Frailey of Valley Forge, Pa. Earley said his firm legally obtained Healthcare Advocates' Web information through routine searches using the Wayback Machine.

"We did what anybody can do," said Earley, who is vice president of the Philadelphia Intellectual Property Association.

I need not point out the disturbing elements of this. On the one hand it is contended that the material should never have been posted. Example: someone posts a pirate copy of a novel. The author goes through hoops to get it taken down.

On the other it is contended that this is legitimate history. It was up on the web, therefore it must always be on the web.

This needs thinking through.


Subject: An American Hiroshima


From searchs initiated after hearing the intro to "The Savage Nation" today (www.michaelsavage.com; no references to article yet on web site but considerable other information regarding Islamic terrorism).

Mr. Savage noted that he does not have any independent information regarding this scenario and cannot judge the veracity, but there are a number of web sites which come up when searching on the phrase "American Hiroshima."

Thiis appears to be the original cite on www.worldnetdaily.com (consider the source)


WASHINGTON – As London recovers from the latest deadly al-Qaida attack that killed at least 50, top U.S. government officials are contemplating what they consider to be an inevitable and much bigger assault on America – one likely to kill millions, destroy the economy and fundamentally alter the course of history, reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

According to captured al-Qaida leaders and documents, the plan is called the "American Hiroshima" and involves the multiple detonation of nuclear weapons already smuggled into the U.S. over the Mexican border with the help of the MS-13 street gang and other organized crime groups.

Al-Qaida has obtained at least 40 nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union – including suitcase nukes, nuclear mines, artillery shells and even some missile warheads. <snip>

But the most disturbing news is that high level U.S. officials now believe at least some of those weapons have been smuggled into the U.S. for use in the near future in major cities as part of this "American Hiroshima" plan, according to an upcoming book, "The Al Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime and the Coming Apocalypse," by Paul L. Williams, a former FBI consultant.

According to Williams, former CIA Director George Tenet informed President Bush one month after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that at least two suitcase nukes had reached al-Qaida operatives in the U.S. <snip>

According to Williams' sources, thousands of al-Qaida sleeper agents have now been forward deployed into the U.S. to carry out their individual roles in the coming "American Hiroshima" plan.

Bin Laden's goal, according to the book, is to kill at least 4 million Americans, 2 million of whom must be children. Only then, bin Laden has said, would the crimes committed by America on the Arab and Muslim world be avenged. <snip>

This is the most recent article in the stack of follow-up:


WASHINGTON – Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., a staunch critic of the federal government's lax immigration and border enforcement policies, said yesterday he would request a briefing from the Justice Department on information it has on plans revealed by WND this week for a nuclear attack on the U.S. by al-Qaida terrorists.

Tancredo said he was greatly alarmed by the report and would seek whatever information he could get from the nation's law enforcement authorities – either in classified or unclassified reports.

Al-Qaida's plans, known as "America's Hiroshima" according to captured terrorists and terrorist documents, calls for the multiple detonation of nuclear weapons, already in the possession of Osama bin Laden's operatives currently inside the U.S. <snip>

It is certainly a matter of concern. There's only one way to top the 911 attacks. But of course we are not really in a war with Islamic jehadists. And it has been longer since we declared war on terror than we participated in World War II. Of course we haven't precisely mobilized for this war. And see the Gerecht article about Gitmo.


Subject: An American Hiroshima

I don't know about anyone else, but my first thought was that this is unlikely. Given that the newest of these former Soviet warheads is now about 15 years old, and that none of them has been stored properly, I'd guess the chances that any of them will actually detonate is probably very small. (I've read estimates that even when the Soviets were actively maintaining and remanufacturing their warheads they had an expected fizzle rate of >50%. What must it be now?) Of course, even a fizzle results in a mess of plutonium all over the place, but that can be dealt with.

-- Robert Bruce Thompson

I think the Russian data indicate that the Secondary (fusion) part of their devices had about 50% failure rate. I am not aware of the numbers regarding the primary, nor is my expertise sufficient to form an actual estimate. I know that we assigned a pretty high number to the probability that our weapons would detonate once they reached the target when I did war analysis models. I had no way to evaluate that number, but I sure made it clear that I needed the real numbers, not something to make Sandia look good.

Nor do I know much about the shelf life of fission (as opposed to fusion) weapons. A fission weapon would be enough to ruin your whole day: see Hiroshima as an example.

I also know that the Company used to buy fissionables, no questions asked, at pretty high rates, but I have no idea if (1) that program has continued, or (2) if they have raised their bids now. It used to be you could sell enough fissionables to make a fission weapon for $4 million cash on the barrelhead, no questions asked, no identification required. But that was a while ago.


Subject: "It always helps if you actually read what your enemies say"

Al Qaeda said from the beginning that their major concern was US troops in Saudi Arabia.

We put troops in Saudi Arabia because the 1991 Coalition members were unwilling to take out Saddam Hussein completely; we stopped the war after chasing Iraq out of Kuwait.

One more instance where winning the war, rather than failing to lose it, would have paid off big dividends. American troops occupying Iraq in 1991 would have had a much easier time than 2001 (we hadn't yet betrayed the Kurds and Shiites). The signt of Americans in Baghdad would not have been as strong an image for murderous recruiters as the sight of Americans on the Arabian peninsula, within hailing distance of the holy places.

Foreseeable? Some of it certainly was. A lesson re-learned? I hope so.

Steve Setzer

There is no substitute for victory.


Subject: SpaceCom 'High Frontier' (ironic, that) on seizing the LaGrange Points.


-- Roland Dobbins


Subject: 60 years and counting . . .


-- Roland Dobbins


Subject: Combat Deaths in Iraq - misleading comparison

Why would someone compare murders in Washington, DC with combat deaths in Iraq? Or traffic accidents? Presumably you are trying to put combat deaths in “perspective” and show how insignificant they are compared to daily life in the US. Doesn’t Washington, DC have one of the highest crime rates in the US? How about comparing the rate with Baker City, OR where some of the 116ACR comes from, or some of the other small towns in the US where NG units call home?

How many casualties have we had? How many people are maimed for life, rather than killed? I think it’s a much higher percentage now because fewer of those people are dieing, and being wounded in combat is totally unlike being hurt in a traffic accident. How much does it change a person when you spend 12 months driving back and forth on roads where people plant bombs trying to blow you up? How many of those people are going to come back and be unable to return to normal family life?

I don’t think comparing combat deaths in Iraq with traffic accidents or murders in Washington, DC is relevant to the cost of this war at all.

Steve Crandell

I am not sure I take your point. Certainly everything you say is true enough; but does that mean that the statement by an NG commander should not ever be noticed?

As to Washington DC crime rate, I would presume most people know this; and think about it when Washington begins to tell the rest of us how to run our police departments and judicial system...


The LA papers today are full of a study showing that the LA Black Community has not done well, with many statistics on where it all lags behind. There was also a story on how the staff at King/Drew hospital (which failed its recent accreditation) is paid higher than any other county officials with the exception of the Sheriff and a couple of others.

I then got this email from someone who doesn't want to be identified. It consists of a pointer to a Norman Porhoretz essay and an excerpt:


The almost complete abdication of black responsibility and the commensurately total dependence on government engendered by so obsessive and exclusive a fixation on white racism has been calamitous. It has undermined the very qualities that are essential to the achievement of independence and self-respect, and it has spawned policies that have had the perverse effect of further discouraging the growth of such qualities. It has thereby contributed mightily to the metastasis of the black underclass—a development which, in addition to destroying countless black lives, has subjected more and more whites to experiences like the ones I described going through as a child in "My Negro Problem."

In 1963 those descriptions were very shocking to most white liberals. In their eyes Negroes were all long-suffering and noble victims of the kind who had become familiar through the struggles of the civil rights movement in the South—the "heroic period" of the movement, as one if its most heroic leaders, Bayard Rustin, called it. While none of my white critics went so far as to deny the truthfulness of the stories I told, they themselves could hardly imagine being afraid of Negroes (how could they when the only Negroes most of them knew personally were maids and cleaning women?). In any case they very much disliked the emphasis I placed on black thuggery and aggression.

Today, when black-on-white violence is much more common than it was then, many white readers could easily top those stories with worse. And yet even today few of them would be willing to speak truthfully in public about their entirely rational fear of black violence and black crime. Telling the truth about blacks remains dangerous to one's reputation: to use that now famous phrase I once appropriated from D.H. Lawrence in talking about ambition, the fear of blacks has become the dirty little secret of our political culture.

All of which reminds me of conversations I have had with my sometimes collaborator Steve Barnes. It is not a topic one can talk about very much.

And while we are discussing forbidden topics, here is another that is of a piece with it:

This is fascinating on several levels--the Muslim sense of sexual honor which as resulted in several suicides, ostracisms, and a price on Servaty's head; the fact that Servaty was ultimately fired for criticizing the Muslim religion ("in contemporary Europe making rude remarks about a group of people is a crime while willfully and malignantly wrecking the lives of individuals is not if these individuals have been so stupid as to trust sweet words and empty promises"), and finally, Belien's comment that "I have come to the conclusion that it has to do with the nature of Belgium, which is an artificial state combining Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. Belgium is not a genuine nation; it is nothing but a political construction. Political power corrupts. To keep the country together the regime has to buy the adherence of a significant part of the population. Corrupt voters do not care about corrupt politicians and corrupt politicians do not care about organised crime. Brussels is marked by an absence of morality. There is a lesson here for everyone. If Europe ever “belgianises,” i. e. becomes a state without a real nation, it will end up as the same moral cesspit that Belgium is today."



Avenging Muslims Seek to Kill Belgian Journalist

From the desk of Paul <http://www.brusselsjournal.com/user/2> Belien on Wed, 2005-07-13 19:03 philippe-servaty.jpg <http://www.brusselsjournal.com/files/philippe-servaty.jpg> Philippe Servaty For decades Tintin has been the world’s most famous Belgian reporter. But now it looks like he may have a competitor. Philippe Servaty is the 42-year old chief economics correspondent of Le Soir, Brussels’ most influential newspaper. This modern Tintin’s adventures took him to Morocco several times over the past years. There dozens of women ended up in his bed and naked in front of his camera lens.

One of them is 42-year old Samira, a teacher in Agadir. Servaty told her that he loved her and asked her to pose nude for a souvenir picture. He had her stand on all fours with a leash around her neck while he took her doggy-style. “These sluts are so naive. If you promise to marry them and take them along with you to Brussels they do whatever you ask,” Servaty wrote on a website where he posted Samira’s picture. Another woman, 23-year old Amina, was photographed while Servaty urinated on her. He had promised her that he was going to help her flee the husband of her arranged marriage and use his media connections to make her a movie star.

Once Servaty had gone home, however, the women never again heard of their Brussels “Manneken Pis.” Neither did they know that he made them stars on the internet. Samira eventually abandoned her dreams of a new life in the heart of Europe as the wife of one of its major journalists and got engaged to a local Agadir man whom she was to marry later this year. On 22 April, however, her fiancé recognised her on a cd-rom that had been made of the modern Tintin’s Moroccan adventures and was for sale in the souks of Agadir. He beat her up and threw her out. Servaty’s photo collection contained over 80 Moroccan women aged between 17 and 45, some tall, some fat, some beautiful, some ugly, some single, some married, and all but one depicted in the most degrading poses.

servaty-pictures.jpg <http://www.brusselsjournal.com/files/servaty-pictures.jpg>  servaty-pictures-2.jpg <http://www.brusselsjournal.com/files/servaty-pictures-2.jpg>  Servaty's pictures, as published by Moroccan newspapers

Samira went to the police to lodge a complaint against Servaty. This was only the beginning of her ordeal. To pose for pornographic pictures is a crime in Morocco and she was immediately arrested. A judge sentenced her to a heavy fine and a prison sentence of one year. Her school fired her, her family cast her out, all her friends abandoned her, while the police began a search for Servaty’s other models. So far, 13 have been convicted to prison sentences, the husband of one of them went insane, two attempted to commit suicide in gaol and some, whom the police cannot find, are thought to have killed themselves or to have been murdered by their disgraced family. Even 30-year old Hafida, the only woman in the pictures who had not taken her clothes off, has become a social outcast. The neighbours call her a whore and the local shops refuse to let her enter.

When the Moroccan police authorities asked their Belgian colleagues to arrest the new Tintin, they were told by Thomson and Thompson in Brussels that this was impossible. I would say even more, according to Belgian law Servaty had done nothing wrong: the women had freely consented to having him take the pictures.

Le Soir, however, forced Servaty to resign in early June when it became known that Servaty had added “anti-Islamic remarks” to some of the pictures, like “there is no better drug than to ejaculate on the veiled face of a woman” or “I met her walking down the street in her djellaba. A few minutes later the f***ing bitch did everything I wanted. Miracles do happen, even in a muslim country!” Abusing the credulity of women to get them to engage in obscenities is one thing, “insulting” Islam is another. Last year Le Soir, the voice of the Brussels francophone establishment and a pillar of the Belgian regime, had loudly applauded the suppression of Belgium’s biggest party, the Flemish-separatist Vlaams Blok, as a criminal organisation because some individual VB members, including a Turkish-born woman who criticised the treatment of women in fundamentalist muslim societies, had made remarks which according to the Belgian judiciary “contributed to a campaign of racial hatred.” Since one of its senior writers has been proved a “racist,” Le Soir even claims to be “one of Servaty’s victims” along with the poor Moroccan women. <snip>

Note what is happening here: Belgium is an artificial nation created largely along a confessional fissure in the breakup of the Spanish Netherlands, then in the various wars of the 1700 - 1800 period. The question raised is, can there be a true free state without it becoming a nation?  The US experiment was to create a nation -- from many one -- through the melting pot process. Origins didn't matter, but immigrants were expected to become American in culture and loyalty and largely in religion.

The new model is "diversity" which rejects the melting pot and in essence say from one, many. This is an experiment whose outcome has some real consequences for America. Is it working well?

And more on the suicide of the West:

Why do these mass-murdering commies get such a good press?
 By Boris Johnson (Filed: June 30, 2005)


It is not given to us to know whither the Almighty has dispatched the soul of Melita Norwood, who died quietly last week in Bexleyheath at 93. Whether she is reading her obits from above or below, I reckon she will be pretty pleased. There she is, sniffing a rose, or smiling with hair-clipped innocence, like some author of wholesome books for children. Her deeds are reported in the affectionate tones that obituarists reserve for the practitioners of some romantic but moribund faith. She might be the last speaker of old Cornish, or the last person to have consecrated her life to proving that Stonehenge was built by spacemen as an observatory for the study of worms.

As it happens, she was "the most important British female spy ever recruited by the KGB". From the 1930s she used her position as a secretary at the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association to pass ever more vital atom secrets to Stalin's Soviet Union. In other words, she was a tool for one of the most murderous regimes ever seen, and continued blissfully betraying this country throughout the Cold War, and, as she later admitted, in full knowledge of Stalin's slaughter. File after file she shovelled to her KGB handlers, to the point where she is credited by some with accelerating Russia's acquisition of nuclear weapons by two years. She was only unmasked in 1999, thanks to the testimony of a Soviet defector; and after a brief hubbub it was decided by the then home secretary, Jack Straw (himself a former Trot), that at 87 she was too old to prosecute. I do not quarrel with that decision, but there is something in the eirenic tone of her valedictions that reminds me of the amazing indulgence we show - now that communism is meant to be dead - to commies, socialists and Lefty tyrants of all kinds.

Cycling through London, I check out the words on people's T-shirts, and I was amused the other day to see the letters CCCP on someone's chest. Yup, folks, that's what the fashion-conscious British youth is wearing, a celebration of the great doomed Soviet experiment of 1917-90.

Remind me: who was the greater mass murderer, Stalin or Hitler? Well, Stalin is thought to have been responsible for about 50 million deaths, and Hitler for a mere 25 million. What Hitler did in his concentration camps was equalled if not exceeded in foulness by the Soviet gulags, forced starvation and pogroms. What makes the achievements of communist Russia so special and different, that you can simper around in a CCCP T-shirt, while anyone demented enough to wear anything commemorating the Third Reich would be speedily banged away under the 1986 Public Order Act? <snip>



CURRENT VIEW    Thursday


This week:


read book now


Friday,  July 15, 2005

Subject: Boy Scouts Under Fire

Meanwhile, the culture war at home continues...

From the Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0715BoyScouts15-ON.html#

Aug. 3 deadline set for Valley Scouts to sever school ties

Associated Press Jun. 15, 2005 07:29 AM

The Boy Scouts of America has ordered groups across the nation to split from schools by year's end, and officials have set Aug. 3 as the deadline for the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The Boy Scouts are severing formal ties to schools, fearful the American Civil Liberties Union will sue because the boys pledge allegiance to God.

The decision will affect dozens of Phoenix-area Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs and their roughly 2,300 members.

Scout officials made the move because they anticipate the ACLU would file lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of having government entities sponsor an organization that makes boys swear allegiance to God.

Most Phoenix-area Scouts are chartered through private groups, such as churches, charter schools or civic groups.

The minority of school-chartered units will need to find similar groups. They can continue to meet on school grounds, however, just as any nonprofit group can.


Lee Keller King leekellerking(AT)hotmail.com

Well, that ought to make us a lot safer.


Subject: 10 year old MS Certified professional


Tracy Walters

Chief Technology Architect

Rocky Mountain Technology Group

Now there's one smart cookie...


Subject: Columbia's final launch left lingering sky glow, cast doubt on global warning


It seems we keep getting returns on our investments in space, even when the origin is a sad event:

Columbia's final launch left lingering sky glow, cast doubt on a measure of global warming:





I was an advancement chairman and board vice president for a scout troop sponsored by my church for many years. Unlike the scouting movement in the rest of the world, the BSA had made a number of quiet agreements with various American religious groups to get them to sponsor scouting, and that was beginning to cause problems. (Do you know what the ten points of the Scout Law are outside America and why there are only ten?) At the time, about a third of the troops were associated with military bases, another third (and decreasing at the time) were what we might regard as 'main-stream' scout troops, mostly sponsored by schools and religious bodies, and the last third were sponsored by Mormon churches and served as their youth organisation. The Mormon scouts were not allowed to mingle with the others, and had their own program, while the military and main-stream troops worked together. The issue of worship (like a number of related issues involving those agreements) produced a situation where kids learned to dissemble about their beliefs--probably an undesirable outcome. I would have a quiet chat with each Eagle Scout candidate prior to his board of review to make sure there weren't any show-stoppers or issues that might foul things up. My church was a good deal more tolerant of diversity than the BSA, so I had to do this to make sure the two didn't come into open conflict. (The church was in a multi- denominational parish, and we usually had Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and none-of-the-above in addition to the usual Protestant and Catholic scouts.) Most of the kids were reasonably canny, so we rarely had one of those unfortunate stinks about a scout's religious beliefs that the BSA is prone to, and we were always careful to be inclusive in our troop religious services. Still, we had problems getting the church to sign up for the charter renewal each year. It sounds like the issues continue.

-- "The data (or the marks when teaching) are sacrosanct--they tell us what actually happened." Harry Erwin, PhD http://osiris.sunderland.ac.uk/~cs0her

Baden Powell was careful to Keep Scouting Non-denominational  and we have always had Jewish and Buddhist Troops. This recent hoo hah is artificial. Melting pot or Empire. There are no other choices.

I am Not sure what ACLU thinks It is Accomplishing. Self importance I Expect. Note This is done in handwriting On airplane

and see below



A bit more from Professor Pape. The last paragraph of the interview is quite interesting...

Regards, Craig


Indeed. I recommend the article.




This week:


read book now


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Suicide Bombers.


The Prof. Pape article http://www.amconmag.com/2005_07_18/article.html cited in Friday's mail seems highly important because it appears to be based on carefully collected facts and not on instinct or assumptions. In the absence of a convincing refutation of this data it seems that we have only three choices. Either we maintain the status quo in the face of increasing attacks by suicide bombers, we withdraw from the Middle East, or we simply eject the Moslem immigrants and those that look like Moslem immigrants irrespective of where they were born. The third course is clearly the most expensive in the short run, but might have enough long term benefits to be worth considering. An influx of relatively well educated and healthy people from the West would be of benefit to the home countries. The introduction of identity cards, the cavortings of the TSA, and so on, are merely an expensive irritant to the general population but no deterrent to the malefactor. The suicide bomber will always get through

I am surprised by how quickly the typical woolly liberal changes his mind when his personal comfort is threatened and my fear is that that the non-Moslem world may drift into a position where it is generally felt that extirpation of Moslems is the best policy. It is reasonable to assume that Osama and like minded groups either have nuclear weapons or could get them if they wanted them. Half a dozen nuclear explosions in Western capitals plus Delhi and Moscow might be enough to bring this change of attitude about.

Morally, I have a lot of sympathy for the Palestinians. The Israeli tank commander in my front garden would have my effusive thanks if I were given time to put a coat on before leaving. However my gratitude would not extend to transferring the right to dispose of my property as I saw fit. If the resulting explosion some months later when I excercised this right caused human casualties I would certainly express pro-forma regret but would refer complaints to the tank commander so that they might be passed up the chain of command.

John Edwards


I had a screed on Boy Scouting all prepared, but then I found this set of clippings from Baden-Powell's writings:


And what I had to say didn't seem so important any more.

"It is only by its results and not by its methods, however good they may be, that education can be judged."

"But education has fresh difficulties to contend with to-day, in the shape of increased herd-instinct, undesirable teachings of a sensational Sunday press, immoral cinemas, and easy access to cheap, unhealthy pleasure, and gambling."

Steve Setzer

and see below


Subject: Devils of Mars.


- Roland Dobbins

People are very vulnerable when they're eating. Remember that.

-- Ian Foo




CURRENT VIEW     Saturday

This week:


read book now


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Subject: A Poverty of Dignity and a Wealth of Rage.


----- Roland Dobbins


Subject: The populist moment.


-- Roland Dobbins


Anything ever come of this, Dr. Pournelle, or was it unfounded speculation?


"Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 15:22 GMT Nasa to go nuclear

Charles & Dorothy Brumbelow

Don't know. Probably the war. It seems to have eaten everything else.



Concerning the following material from your web site on Sunday July 17.....


Anything ever come of this, Dr. Pournelle, or was it unfounded speculation?


"Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 15:22 GMT NASA to go nuclear

Charles & Dorothy Brumbelow

Don't know. Probably the war. It seems to have eaten everything else.


Project Prometheus did in fact become an official and funded NASA project. It was to develop nuclear reactors and high Isp electric propulsion systems for planetary exploration. The first Prometheus mission was to have been the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO), which would have sent a spacecraft to Jupiter space where it would have spent several months in orbit around three of Jupiter's Galilean satellites. {Io would have been excluded from this mission because of the extreme radiation environment that close to Jupiter.}

As you can imagine it takes a great deal of Delta V to go into orbit around one of the Galilean satellites of Jupiter and even more if you want to later break orbit and go to another such moon. But the use of a nuclear reactor and high Isp propulsion would have made this possible - and as a side benefit would have provided more power for operating scientific instruments than any previous spacecraft.

JIMO would have been a very challenging mission. The flight time would have been quite long -years - even with high performance propulsion and the radiation environment around Jupiter makes the environment around the reactor look like a nice spring day. {Yes, I know that Galileo survived that environment for several years but its highly elliptical orbit kept it out of the worst of the radiation for most of the time. And even with that, by the time the mission ended it had far exceeded its radiation dose margin.) There were also concerns over the ability of NASA to develop a reactor system that could operate without maintenance for the time required.

Prometheus, like most NASA projects, is morphing to better support the Vision for Space Exploration. The exact form the project ultimately takes will depend on decisions made back at NASA Headquarters. Official news on the status of the project is expected sometime soon. Only time will tell.


--- Warren W. James

---  wwjames@earthlink.net
--- www.hour25online.com   Science Fiction Radio for the World over the Internet


Project Prometheus

Prometheus is still on the table and getting considerable funding, though I understand that the proposed prototype mission, the Jovan Icy Moons Orbiter scheduled for 2010, has been scrubbed.

What I hear on the grapevine, however, is that the project is having technical difficulties, which may or may not be related to the management overhead and technical constraints associated with NASA's current 100% EPA compliant / 100% OSHA compliant / 100% EEO / 100% "management sensitivity training is more important than technical performance" culture.



Dear Jerry:

The Wiktionary defines quagmire in part as "a hopeless tangle" - whether that is truly the case in Iraq (that's it's hopeless) has yet to be seen. Definitely we are mired and need to do more to change the status quo.

But the real story behind the Wilson story is the way the major networks continue to pop his puss up on the screen and let him run his gums as if they do not know he himself and his account are as compromised as you have detailed. Very tricky: they themselves may not lie, but they trumpet the lies of others which suit them on the evening snooze without rebuttal. A distinction without a difference, methinks.


Tim Loeb

And perhaps it is not a quagmire and the best thing we can do is simply see it through. I have thought on this, and I have no firm conclusion. My temperament is against being in a meatgrinder. I like to win. But it may be that this is better than the alternatives. =========













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