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Mail 410 April 17 - 23, 2006






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Monday April 17, 2006


Subject: More About Rootkits...

Interesting thoughts by a possibly non-objective source, Dr. Pournelle.


"Rootkits are becoming more prevalent and difficult to detect, and security vendor McAfee says the blame falls squarely on the open source community."


Charles Brumbelow


And see below


Subject: Royal Welch Fusiliers--what about loyal toast?


O the sadness. Without the Royal Welch Fusiliers who will sit through the music playing after the Loyal Toast, which that Regiment drank but once a year?

Do you suppose the men of the new Battalion will retain the Royal Welch' "flash" of ribbons at the back of the collar?

Mark Seecof

The regiments that never die. Are dying. From 1689...


Subject: peter glascowsky's copyright letter in view misses big point-

Good morning Jerry,

Peter Glascowsky argues that because musicians rarely outlive the economic benefit of a 50 year copyright, 50 years should be enough. What is missing it the fact that most musicians who are successful don't actually own the copyrights to their material-they are owned by corporations. (The Beatles and Michael Jackson's company spring to mind.) And much of the other "content" created today is also owned by corporations, produced under "work for hire" agreements.

Corporations DON"T DIE! (Well, at least it's safe to say they don't HAVE to ever die.) Corporations can continue to extract value from copyright forever. Some people have called this the "Mickey Mouse Effect." Whenever the copyright on Mickey Mouse is due to expire, all copyrights get extended.

Corporations, not individual authors/creators are driving the copyright extension process. This creates the situation where in order to protect a few very successful and lucrative properties, all copyright holders are affected.

Personally, I would not like to see beloved characters like Mickey or Donald or Bugs and Daffy in the public domain. For many people these characters are real personalities with a long history of behaving in a consistent and lovable manner. They have a life of their own. Maybe there should be a different class or tier for properties that have achieved a life of their own? (And yes, I do see the irony of a company that based many of their works on content in the public domain now wanting to make sure their own works don't end up there.)

So in the end, it's a straw man argument. No one is trying to protect the rights of the drug abusing, live fast die young musician's heirs, they are trying to protect Sony's ability to continue to exploit and profit from his work--"to infinity and beyond!"

Keep up the good work...

Best regards,

Bill Zukley


Subject: A long test question

I can see this question appearing, with suitable modification, on a chemical engineering thermodynamics class homework assignment. What I find interesting is that no one has posed and answered it in the open literature.

"Mahmoud is the president of a peaceful Middle Eastern nation, that seeks only to do their part in reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions, by converting their domestic energy production from oil to nuclear, and so he is is setting up an isotope separation centrifuge cascade, to enrich naturally occurring uranium ore for use in pressurized water reactors (PWRs).

"Natural ore contains about 0.5% U235, 99.5% U238. For use in a PWR, the material must be enriched to about 3% U235. The enrichment requires fluorine, to make the raw ore into uranium hexafluoride (UF6). Sketch the process flow graph, showing inputs and outputs.

"Mahmoud's cascade will eventually contain 54,000 centrifuges. While analysis of a cascade is not quite this simple, for the purpose of this exercise we can treat each centrifuge as though it operated completely independently, receiving raw (0.5% U235) UF6, and delivering 3%-enriched material and waste directly. Assuming conservatively that 14,000 of Mahmoud's centrifuges are down for maintenance at any given instant, and assuming that each centrifuge can accept and process <mumble> grams of material per hour, and assuming he runs the cascade continuously (24x7), how much 3% U235F6 can Mahmoud produce per year?"

The second part of the question goes into pressurized water reactor engineering, and asks for the amount of electrical power that can be produced annually from that amount of enriched uranium.

The third part is where it gets interesting. That's for the upper-division public policy class, where we ask them to compare the demand for electricity in Mahmoud's country with the supply that Mahmoud is building.



Subject: No Child Gets Ahead

As I think about it, Dr. Pournelle, I realize that for some reason the "No Child Gets Ahead" rules don't seem to be applied to the "money sports" such as USA football, basketball, and baseball...and probably not to the other sports either. Wonder why (he asks rhetorically)?

This is a sore point with me from the education standpoint, as athletics is one place where I certainly was/am below average. If it is reasonable to maintain an academic pace such that there is "No Child Left Behind" why isn't such a strategy equally appropriate in athletics?

For that matter, I don't see "Affirmative Action" and "mainstreaming" much in evidence on athletic teams either...

Charles Brumbelow


Re: the new science curriculum in San Diego.

 I rather like the idea of teaching physics by direct experience. I have two little booklets here that I like very much: Physics in Everyday Life, and Physics in a Glass of Beer. What bothered me about the story was that the physics experiences proposed for high school were of elementary school caliber.

Re: Warming: Ever notice how many trends reported these days go back only to the 1970's?

The O'Floinn


Proto-CoDominium patch?

I saw this on Space.com:


and I thought it might make you smile.

There was enough coincidence to start me thinking about the stories.

Ron Booker





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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Subject: Ensuring that No One Gets Left Behind

Dr. P:

Apparently, entire states are gaming the NCLB game, leaving out entire racial groups from the testing:


Methinks the system is being futzed with so the social engineers won't have any of their pet theories demolished.

Also: regarding competition and productivity in the classroom, I've communicated with several teachers, and they all seem to agree that performance-based teaching is a bad idea. The reason? According to one teacher, teachers stop sharing their methods with others, become very secretive and competitive, and in general urinate in each other's rice bowls come review time so they look better than others. A member of a serious learning culture should turn to his (or more likely her) more effective neighbor and ask what goes on in some classrooms. And an honest, confident member of the same culture should be interested in raising the bar for everyone and mentoring those who need help. Admittedly, this is coming from only a couple of examples, but it seems no matter who you talk to in a public school bureaucracy, the individual's position automatically guarantees that "the problem" lies elsewhere. Looks like I'll be recommending Mrs. Pournelle's reading program for my nieces and nephews.

Bart D. Leahy


Subject: Greenpeace founder appeals FOR  nuclear power

Dr. Pournelle,

Has logic and common sense found an open mind at last?


Yea the article is full of the usual environmental propaganda, but it doesn't change the fact that a major environmental player has quite literally switched sides on a big issue. From acknowledging that the 3-mile island "disaster" was in fact a containment success story to recognizing the limitations of the popular wind/solar alternatives, this article is very close to something you or your peers could have written.

On an almost completely unrelated topic, at this moment I find myself thoroughly enjoying listening to my legally purchased copies of Simon and Garfunkle "The essential Simon and Garfunkle" and "Simon and Garfunkle's Greatest". It's like having everything good about being an intellectual elite liberal without having to buy the birkenstocks. Quite soothing.

Sean Long

Well we can hope for good sense, but I suspect we will not get it.

Here's an interesting turnaround and may hold some promise... I can only imagine the flack he's going to be getting from the 'greens'.




Subject: A few thoughts on education

Dr Pournelle:

You wrote:

My thought in suggesting a University ... school that took in the local pupils ... was that demonstrating success might have some impact on at least some of the more thoughtful professors of education. I still think something of this sort could be done if a university and a philanthropist were to cooperate.

Brilliant and Simple. I love it.

Perhaps when our new catholic university http://www.naples.avemaria.edu/  gets around to adding an "education major" they would do well to follow your suggestions.

Thanks for a great site.

Mark Hartwell

The important part is that it's a school that demands results from the teachers, and doesn't impose methods on those who get results. Pay the teachers, pay them well, but they have no tenure. Results or out; no "know the reasons why". Of course that requires a bit of judgment; give a teacher a class of IQ 70 and it will be very hard work getting them to learn to read, and they won't learn much else -- but they WILL learn to read if properly taught.

It can be done; but first you have to believe it can be done (what my wife has done others can aspire to) and second you have to insist that it be done. As a first cut I would offer first grade teachers a bonus of 100% of base salary if 100% of the pupils could read at the end of first grade; 50% bonus if 99% (or all but one) can read; 10% bonus if all but two; no bonus otherwise. It would make first grade teaching interesting...


Subject: Copyright thought, followup to letter

Afternoon Jerry,

I just read the letter about the 'Mickey Mouse Effect' with some interest, and agreement. I'm not sure I'd like Mickey Mouse, Ringworld, or Frodo Baggins in the public domain, although eventually they should be. However, I do believe that the previously created works should be released. Perhaps there's a two-tiered expiration of copyright: One for the expression of a particular work, and a separate schedule for the ideas/characters in a work. That would, for example, allow the early James Bond novels to be in the public domain, but the rights to create new novels would remain with the Fleming estate for some additional period of time.




Subject: asteroids and mining 


Some time back I wondered about the reality of mining asteroids. It seems a staple of science fiction, that someone “rescues” the failing economy of earth by mining asteroids. This kind of science isn’t my business, so I’ve wondered for years in casual way if asteroid mining was possible. I still have no real idea, but this site maintains that it is…. http://www.permanent.com  <http://www.permanent.com/>  .

It is interesting stuff, but I’m not sure of the science.

Mark Huth

There's not much science needed; it's engineering and economics. If the metals are to be delivered to Earth orbit, or to the Moon, or to Mars, then asteroid mining is highly economic. For delivery to Earth, the problem is to get enough infrastructure up there to build the asteroid mines. There are some environmental and considerable safety complexities in getting it down to Earth, although none insurmountable, particularly if you do most of the shaping and casting in orbit so what is delivered is finished product, with all the pollution left in space. (Polluting space! How horrible! Alas, I have heard some say that. But that's neither science nor engineering...)


Subject: Iran and U-235

FYI, Dr. Pournelle....


A discussion of this site and Iran's progress is at


By "coincidence" I noticed in Washington Post that the USA is going to (re)build nuclear weapons.


Cause and effect?

Charles Brumbelow


Space Access '06 April 20-22, Phoenix Arizona Conference Information

This is our final mailing on the Space Access conference getting underway this Thursday in Phoenix, with useful last-second info plus the definitive conference agenda (subject only to on-site changes needed.)

Quick notes:

- Space Access conference style ranges between casual and business casual. The forecast for our dates is sunny, breezy, and dry, afternoon highs in the high eighties to low nineties, overnight lows high sixties to low seventies. Bring your swimsuit and sunblock, and a hat isn't a bad idea either if you plan any long walks in the sun.

- Speaker info: If you have a computer presentation, we'll have a video projector with sound to plug your laptop in to, native resolution 1024x768 and it can fake moderately higher resolutions. We'll also have a DVD player, a VHS VCR, and a viewgraph projector. Talk to our A/V volunteer ahead of time if you have any questions.

- Hotel Details: The Grace Inn address is 10831 S 51st St, Phoenix Arizona, and its local phone is 480 893-3000. The Grace has wireless internet coverage in the public spaces with some coverage in the lower floors. Other than that, they tell us some rooms have wired net access and some don't - call them or ask at the desk.

- Getting there: The Grace Inn is a bit under ten miles from the Phoenix Airport, depending on the route. They have a free airport shuttle available from 6 am to 10 pm, by request rather than on a regular circuit - call the hotel at 480 893-3000 to make arrangements once you're in the airport. If you're in a hurry or if you have one or two other people to travel with, a cab isn't a bad deal either.

- Driving there: Elliot Road is at I-10 exit 157, about twelve miles east of downtown Phoenix. From I-10 east, take the Elliot Road offramp, turn right at the top of the ramp onto Elliot, take the first left onto 51st st, take the immediate next left off 51st, drive a hundred yards, and you're there.

- Rooms: Latest word is our hotel is sold out for the nights of our conference. If you don't yet have a room, it's still worth calling to see if something has opened up (keep in mind the Grace Inn's cancellation policy is 72 hours notice; if you are unable to come, be sure to cancel in time so you don't get charged, and to free the room up for someone else.) Call 1 800 843-6010 for room reservations, and mention "space access" for our $99 taxes-and-breakfast-included rate.

- By far the most convenient overflow hotel is the Clarion, right across Elliot Rd, a short walk away. (Old hands may recognize the Clarion; it used to be the Quality Inn South Mountain, where we held Space Access a couple of times earlier in the decade.) The Clarion is at 5121 E La Puente, 480 893-3900 for reservations.

Final Conference Agenda

(Subject to change in emergency - speakers who hit a travel snag or otherwise can't make your scheduled time, contact us ASAP via email to space.access@space-access.org, or after Wednesday at the hotel direct via 602 432-5022 and we'll try to figure out a way to fix it.)

Thursday April 20th

1 pm - Registration and Hospitality open (we may have them open as early as noon, depending on how setup goes, but no guarantees.) 2 pm - Space Access '06 sessions open with a brief welcome 2:10 - Henry Spencer with a survey of Space Access Basics. Interested in this field, but not sure what all the Isp's and delta-V's mean? Catch this session. 3:30 - midafternoon break 4 pm - George Herbert, Venturer Aerospace: One Approach To COTS 4:40 - Andrew Turner, Space Systems-Loral: Trading Off Reliability And Cost - A Different Approach 5:20 - Sam Dinkin, SpaceShot Inc 6 pm - break for dinner 8 pm - Leik Myrabo: Beamed Energy Propulsion Prospects And Projects 8:40 - Andrew Tubbiolo, Old Pueblo Instruments: New Entrant In The Biz 9:00 - Alex Bruccoleri: Microwave Thermal Rocketry at Caltech, and Collegiate Rocketry Regulations - Two Brief Reports late - Hospitality closes

Friday April 21st

8 am - Registration and Hospitality open 9 am - Jess Sponable, FALCON Program Chief Engineer, AFRL/VA, Wright Patterson AFB: FALCON Quick Reach Project 9:40 - Secretary Rick Homans, New Mexico Economic Development, New Mexico Spaceport 10:20 - midmorning break 10:50 - John Carmack & Co, Armadillo Aerospace 11:30 - Chuck Lauer, Rocketplane-Kistler 12:10 - Special Announcement, from the new Teachers In Space initiative 12:20 - break for lunch 2 pm - Jeff Hamilton, Marshall Space Flight Center 2:40 - Jeff Greason, XCOR Aerospace 3:20 - midafternoon break 4 pm - George Nield, FAA AST 4:40 - Dave Masten, Masten Space 5:20 - Barbara Thompson, Goddard Space Flight Center: Space Weather - Situational Awareness For Commercial Operators 6 pm - break for dinner 8 pm - Jerry Pournelle 8:40 - Timothy Bendel, Frontier Astronautics 9:10 - Reda Anderson: A Customer's Perspective 9:30 - Panel: Common Economic Fallacies - Sam Dinkin, Kevin Greene, Joan Horvath, Joe Pistritto, Rand Simberg late - Hospitality closes

Saturday April 22nd

8 am - Registration and Hospitality open 9 am - Steve Harrington, Flometrics 9:40 - Panel: Alt.Space Investing: From Leaps Of Faith Toward Solid Metrics - Esther Dyson, Stephen Fleming, Joe Pistritto 10:30 - midmorning break 11 am - Len Cormier, PanAero 11:40 - Mike Kelly, Personal Spaceflight Federation 12:20 - break for lunch 2 pm - Will Pomerantz, X-Prize Cup/Lunar Lander Challenge 2:40 - Brant Sponberg, Centennial Challenges, NASA HQ: Commercial Opportunities In The VSE 3:30 - midafternoon break 4 pm - Pat Bahn, TGV Rockets 4:40 - Berin Szoka, Institute For Space Law & Policy: The National Security Case For Space ITAR Reform 5:10 - Panel: ALL The Regs, From Local Zoning To International Tech Transfer - Randall Clague, Jim Muncy, Berin Szoka, TBA 6 pm - break for dinner 8 pm - Jim Muncy, PoliSpace, on various subjects 8:40 - Panel: Policies & Politics, Where To Next? Jim Muncy, Rick Tumlinson, Lee Valentine, TBA 9:30 - Conference Wrapup with The Usual Suspects late - Hospitality closes

Space Access '06 registration once again holds steady at $120 at the door, $10 off for anyone who's ever been a paid SAS member, $30 Student rate, no member discount. Day rates available. We'll be accepting credit cards, checks, or cash at the door. (If you haven't already sent your preregistration, might as well pay at the door - it'd have to be at our mailbox tomorrow Wednesday the 19th, and the difference won't cover the cost of overnighting it.)

See you there!


Alas, Babylon.


--- Roland Dobbins

Alas indeed. It's a heavy butcher's bill.


Subject: Root Kits - Windows vs UNIX response

Dr. Pournelle,

As a former UNIX System Administrator I find the recent discussion on the necessity of re-installing the Windows OS once it has been rooted rather bizarre. In the UNIX world once it has been determined that a server has been compromised (rooted) reloading the OS is the only responsible thing to do. After all, if an unauthorized individual has had administrator level access to a system then it has become, by definition, unreliable. Data may have been manipulated, backdoors into the system created, logic bombs left, and Trojans installed. Even the system backups are no longer considered reliable, which is why one of the most important aspects of the response to such an incident is determining when the system was first compromised so that we know which backups can be used for a restore. The common response to a Windows compromise (fix it as well as you can and forget it) as always been inadequate; since most Windows users are routinely logging in with Administrator level privileges almost all Windows viruses had root level access to the OS anyway. I believe the ever increasing amount of concern is related to the increasing sophistication of the root kits themselves, the exponentially increasing number of home users with broadband connections who keep personal information on their PC’s, the rise of BotNets, and the use of Windows based servers by (smaller) businesses for mission critical purposes. (Hopefully mid to large size businesses will have an IT staff that is already taking regular backups, installing patches on a regular basis, and knows that if a system is compromised it needs to be taken off line and re-imaged immediately.)

Ralph Hyatt




This week:


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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Subject: Re: Greenpeace "founder"

Patrick Moore has about as much relevance to Greenpeace as Paul McCartney has to the Beatles. Greenpeace gave him the bum's rush in 1984, and he basically sold out to the energy industry in 1991. While what he's saying is true and accurate, it is _not_ accurate to describe this as "Greenpeace Founder Sees The Nuclear-Powered Light". It's more along the lines of "nuclear power industry pays former Greenpeace member to write a press release extolling the virtues of nuclear power".

-- Mike Powers

No data. I have not followed the politics of the Greenpeace movement, and I've been in favor of nuclear power all along...


BBC Climate Change Experiment Cocked Garbage in, garbage out


With around 200,000 PCs running the experiment non-stop for two months, it looks very much as if the BBC experiment is making more of a contribution to global warming than scientific knowledge.

john g. ruff.


Here's a chap who needs some help:

FROM: Sgt. Richard D. Baron

Important Message

To President / Managing Director.

Good day,

My name is Sgt. Richard D. Baron, I am an American soldier, I serve in the Military of the 1st Armoured Division in Iraq, as you know we have being attacked by insurgents everyday and car bombs. We where lucky to move funds belonging to Saddam Hussein?s family hopping it was a bomb in the box, later we find out it was a fiscal cash .

The total amount is US$25,000,000 Twenty Five Million United State dollars in cash, mostly 100 dollar bills which is still in our co sturdy at the military base camp, now we find it as a Big Risk on us if our commandant nor the Iraqis People get to find out about this box of money because we are not allowed to have any money in our position for that We are seeking for a trustworthy foreign business partner who can help us in receiving this box of money

so that He/She may invest it for us and keep our share for banking. This is our plan of sharing my partner and I will take 55%, you take the other 45%.

No stress attached, for we have made all necessary arrangement for shipping it out of Iraq, Iraq is a war zone. We planed on using diplomatic courier service for shipping the money out in one large silver box declaring it as family valuables using diplomatic immunity.

If you are interested I will send you the full details, my job is to find a good partner that we can trust to assist us. Can I trust you? When you receive this letter, kindly send me an e-mail signifying your interest including your most confidential telephone/fax numbers for quick communication also your contact details. This business is risk free. The box can be shipped out in 48hrs. Please send your reply to my private mail box: richardbaronsgt@netscape.net 


Sgt. Richard D. Baron.

- sgt richardbaron

Invasions can be profitable.


Subject: Sgt: Richard Baron:

Dear Jerry:

Surely you realize that this letter is yet another variation of the Nigerian 419 scam?


Francis Hamit

No! Really? I am shocked.

 Apologies to all, I thought this obvious. My Thanks to the numerous friends Who were Concerned enough to warn me.  If you Can't tell, I am doing  this with the pen. Pens have some problems with me and capital letters since I often print rather than write. The program recognizes my cursive handwriting usually but when I am in a cramped position I write capital and lower case about the same except for size.

In any event I thought it more than obvious that this could not not possibly be real, and that it was amusing that the Spanish Prisoner/Mexican Jail Chest scam described in The Big Con and used in World War I and after has been transformed to Iraq.

I suspect that no one was actually confused but some thought others might be. There may or may not be something to think about in that.



CURRENT VIEW    Wednesday


This week:


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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Subject: Re: Greenpeace "founder"

Mr. Powers is being a bit disingenuous with his description of Patrick Moore. Patrick Moore is indeed /one/ of the founding members of Greenpeace. They parted ways over a difference of opinion. Partrick Moore felt that by the mid eighties they had achieved much of what the organization had originally set out to do.(i.e. Raise public perception of the importance of protecting the environment.) and felt it was time to change strategies and switch from a confrontational methodology to one of consensus. Basically reaching out to industry and try to give them ways to still operate profitably but in an environmentally friendly way. Most of the rest of Greenpeace did not agree with this and they parted ways. Whether he was kicked out or quit or a bit of both depends on who tells the story. Also Patrick Moore has been an advocate of Nuclear energy for quite some time and this is not a sudden switch or change of heart on his part.. He has also come down firmly on the side of developing Genetically Modified foods and expanding the use if wood in conjunction with responsible forestry techniques. Basically Patrick Moore decided to travel the rode of concensus while Greenpeace as a whole choose to move even farther into environmental radicalism.

Arondell Hoch


Dear Dr. Pournelle,

Last I checked Paul McCartney was quite relevant to the Beatles, and while Patrick Moore _was_ given the bum's rush, and has changed his tune regarding energy (otherwise known as sold out to...) he _was_ a founding member of Greenpeace. I ought to know, I was a member in the early days of Greenpeace. There were two major founders: Paul Watson and Patrick Moore. Watson was also given the bum's rush due to his radical anarchy, while Dr. Moore was shown the door for daring to offer reasonable compromise.

For the record, I still believe in living "greener" which to me means less garbage, smaller fuel efficient cars, responsible use of electricity (turn off the lights you don't use), conserving water by going to a xeriscape garden, and re-using what you can, recycled what you can't and composting kitchen waste for the garden. By no means mistake me for the wacko Greenies you wrote about in Fallen Angels!

I've always been in favor of nuclear power, but can't say I care much for nuclear bombs...

Take care!

Bill Grigg


Subject: Subject: Greenpeace founder appeals FOR nuclear power

Patrick Moore, the author of this article has been pro-nuclear for many years & is one of the good guys. He was a founder of Greenpeace but was driven out when the Luddites took over.

I suspect, as somebody whose love of the outdoors was clear in Lucifer's Hammer that you & he would think the same way on enough things to be interesting.

His site http://www.greenspirit.com/index.cfm 

Neil Craig

One of my first published articles was a pro conservation article, I was a member of the Sierra Club  when the goal was to go up into the Sierras, I believe that what we have is all we will ever have in the way of wilderness. I also think that wars are not good for environments, and energy is vital. And I do believe you can reclaim some areas, and resources are important. Which is to say I believe in sanity. And in fact I had a lot in common with early Greenpeace.


Subject:  "four thirty three"


One of the Avant Garde “composers” was John Cage <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cage>  , who put atonality and street noises into his work. His best-known piece was four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence; or, as I like to say:

Now his 4’33” is the rage / It’s his best ever blest on a page / For those minutes of silence / Are better than violence / Of sounds from a John, or a Cage.

So this <http://archives.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Music/09/23/uk.silence/>  has to be the “golden standard” of copyright cases …

-- Bill Kilner

# =============

Subject: : Windows Vista

This guy apparently didn't get his morning caffeine.


Tiomoid M. of Angle


Subject: Network Solutions disaster

Dear Mr Pournelle

I wondered if your readers might be interested in my recent experience with Network Solutions.

I am a UK citizen and a customer of Network Solutions of Virginia, USA, who hold my domain name orleton.com

On April 4, 2006, I tried to get into my NS mailbox <mailto:peter@orleton.com>

and failed. On looking up the NS site I learned that they were "moving" various mailboxes to a "new system" in an "email migration" and would be operational again soon.

I tried a few hours later and successfully got into my mailbox....only to find that all the data from my folders stored on the Network Solutions website had gone missing.

This amounted to about four years of emails, 49% of my mailbox quota, roughly 248 mb.

I telephoned Network Solutions and an operator told me that engineers would look into the problem and would retrieve the missing emails. They didn't sound very concerned.

Over the next ten days I exchanged several more calls and emails with Network Solutions. Then, on April 14, I received an email from Network Solutions briefly apologising that they were unable to retrieve any of my emails.

In other words they had lost the lot.

I fun a multi-million dollar family property company ion the UK. Much of my correspondence was stored in my Network Solutions webmail folders and I had backed up very little on the basis that Network Solutions are a huge internet service provider offering a gilt-edged service and I never imagined for a moment that they would lose data like this. I am numbed by this. Shattered. I am amazed that this could have happened. I am told by a friend in the computer world that this is virtually unheard of and the fact that NS failed to back up their data amounts to gross negligence on their part.

I have had verbal apologies from a NS operator as well as an emailed apology. One of their operators also told me that I was the only customer whose data they had lost. He said I was a unique case. I found this difficult to believe. But when I mentioned compensation and operator told me they could refund some of my service charges but no more.

Then, urged on by my friend in computers, who told me that companies like NS simply do not lose data, and that they back everything up, I emailed NS again pleading with them to find the data. .

On April 20th I eventually received the following email from Ricky Rabuk of Network Solutions Executive Office. He apologised but confirmed that all the backups failed and I have lost everything.


Rabuck, Ricky <RRabuck@networksolutions.com>


&xsl=ab.xsl&file_as=Rabuck,%20Ricky&email>  ] To:




Thursday, April 20, 2006 01:29 pm


Network Solutions Service Request #1-227337999

Dear Peter Holt,

Thank you for contacting Network Solutions. Your issue was forwarded to the Executive Office for resolution.

Unfortunately, the Engineering Department has determined that we were unable to recover the messages that were lost. Your issue has reached the highest level of our organization and we worked diligently to recover the lost e-mail. We do apologize sincerely for any inconvenience that this may have caused and appreciate your patience.

The Engineering Department is working diligently to ensure this does not occur again.

If you wish to contact me regarding this issue, please respond directly to this e-mail or call 570-708-8700 ext 8109 Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM eastern time.

For all other issues, please call our regular Customer Service line between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST. To reach us, call 1-888-642-9675. If you are calling from outside the U.S. or Canada, please call 1-570-708-8788. Or, e-mail us at

new=&xsl=compose.xsl&to=customerservice@netwo>  .


Rick Rabuck| Network Solutions Executive Support Specialist Phone: 570-708-8700 ext 8109 Fax : 570-708-3077 E-Mail: rrabuck@networksolutions.com Website: www.networksolutions.com

I telephoned Mr Rabuck who admitted that I was not the only NS customer to whom this had happened.

Why didn't you have hierarchical backups of everything stored on your computers?

"We did," he said. "But the backups failed too."

When I said that this was absolutely astonishing, he replied, "I agree."

I asked him who was to blame. He said, "I don't want to point the finger."

He added that I should have backed up my emails on my own hard disk. I replied that that was not the point and that Network Solutions' should not have allowed this disaster to happen in the first place. He agreed with me.

He added that NS offer no form of monetary compensation although they would refund the subscription for my mail boxes.

My reaction? Big deal.

So has this happened to any other of your readers? Has anyone else had this unfortunate experience with Network Solutions? And can you recommend a good lawyer who would pursue a negligence claim on a no win, no fee basis?

Kind regards,

Peter Holt, Shropshire, England.

My first reaction is to repeat, endessly, Have local Backup! I am sure there is more to say, but start with that!


Subject: Patrick Moore

On rereading a bit of his site after my previous email I saw that he was horrified to find that shortly after he left Greenpeace instituted a pension plan for employees. Pournelle's Iron law of Bureaucracies in action.



"It's easy to see that the mainstream of the environmental movement has fallen prey to misguided priorities, misinformation, dogmatism, and self-interest. Soon after I left Greenpeace in 1986, I found out that they had initiated a pension plan. I knew I had got out just in time. In the early days many of us realized that our job was to work ourselves out of the job, not to give ourselves jobs for life."


Subject: Always Another Dawn


I was saddened to see that Scott Crossfield died, though surely in a way he would have approved. One of my fondest memories is his book, "Always Another Dawn: The Story of a Rocket Test Pilot," which I received on my 12th birthday. I see that Amazon has used copies of the original 1960 edition, and new copies of the 1972 version. Perhaps it is time to revisit that book.

Alan Biddle




April 20, 2006

Storm Evacuees Strain Texas Hosts


HOUSTON, April 15 - To the long list of adjectives used to describe Texans since last summer's hurricanes - munificent, intrepid, scrappy - add one more: fed up.

Seven months after two powerful hurricanes blew through the Gulf Coast, elected officials, law enforcement agencies and many residents say Texas is nearing the end of its ability to play good neighbor without compensation.

Houston is straining along its municipal seams from the 150,000 new residents from New Orleans, officials say. Crime was already on the rise there before the hurricane, but the Houston police say that evacuees were victims or suspects in two-thirds of the 30 percent increase in murders since September. The schools are also struggling to educate thousands of new children.<snip>


Two Literary Festivals Will Highlight Endangered Languages http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/21/books/21worl.html 


SOME 6,500 languages spoken in the world today. And, according to the 2000 census, you can hear at least 92 of them on the streets of New York. You can probably hear more; the census lumps some of them together simply as "other."

But by the end of the century, linguists predict, half of the world's languages will be dead, victims of globalization. English is the major culprit, slowly extinguishing the other tongues that lie in its path. Esther Allen, a professor of modern languages at Seton Hall University, calls English "the most invasive linguistic species in the world." Spanish and Hindi are also spreading, subsuming the dialects of South American Indians, and of the Indian subcontinent.<snip>



CURRENT VIEW    Thursday


This week:


read book now


Friday,  April 21, 2006


In Phoenix for Space Access meeting






This week:


read book now


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Space Access; coming home in afternoon.





CURRENT VIEW     Saturday

This week:


read book now


Sunday, April 23, 2006

This was forwarded by Colonel Haynes; I have not seen the original. I presume it is a true account, as I have other sources who say the same things.

Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2006 6:58 AM
Subject: Work Permits in Mexico

Can any of you relate????

This makes some very interesting reading:

The following was from a director with SW BELL in Mexico City:

I spent five years working in Mexico.

I worked under a tourist visa for three months and could legally renew it for three more months. After that you were working illegally. I was technically illegal for three weeks waiting on the FM3 approval.

During that six months our Mexican and US Attorneys were working to secure a permanent work visa called a FM3. It was in addition to my US passport that I had to show each time I entered and left the country. Barbara's was the same except hers did not permit her to work.

To apply for the FM3 I needed to submit the following notarized originals (not copies) of my:

1. Birth certificates for Barbara and me.

2. Marriage certificate.

3. High school transcripts and proof of graduation.

4. College transcripts for every college I attended and proof of graduation.

5. Two letters of recommendation from supervisors I had worked for at least one year.

6. A letter from The ST. Louis Chief of Police indicating I had no arrest record in the US and no outstanding warrants and was "a citizen in good standing."

7. Finally; I had to write a letter about myself that clearly stated why there was no Mexican citizen with my skills and why my skills were important to Mexico. We called it our "I am the greatest person on earth" letter. It was fun to write.

All of the above were in English that had to be translated into Spanish and be certified as legal translations and our signatures notarized. It produced a folder about 1.5 inches thick with English on the left side and Spanish on the right.

Once they were completed Barbara and I spent about five hours accompanied by a Mexican attorney touring Mexican government office locations and being photographed and fingerprinted at least three times. At each location (and we remember at least four locations) we were instructed on Mexican tax, labor, housing, and criminal law and that we were required to obey their laws or face the consequences. We could not protest any of the government's actions or we would be committing a felony. We paid out four thousand dollars in fees and bribes to complete the process. When this was done we could legally bring in our household goods that were held by US customs in Laredo Texas. This meant we rented furniture in Mexico while awaiting our goods. There were extensive fees involved here that the company paid.

We could not buy a home and were required to rent at very high rates and under contract and compliance with Mexican law.

We were required to get a Mexican drivers license. This was an amazing process. The company arranged for the licensing agency to come to our headquarters location with their photography and finger print equipment and the laminating machine. We showed our US license, were photographed and fingerprinted again and issued the license instantly after paying out a six dollar fee. We did not take a written or driving test and never received instructions on the rules of the road. Our only instruction was never give a policeman your license if stopped and asked. We were instructed to hold it against the inside window away from his grasp. If he got his hands on it you would have to pay ransom to get it back.

We then had to pay and file Mexican income tax annually using the number of our FM3 as our ID number. The companies Mexican accountants did this for us and we just signed what they prepared. It was about twenty legal size pages annually.

The FM 3 was good for three years and renewable for two more after paying more fees.

Leaving the country meant turning in the FM3 and certifying we were leaving no debts behind and no outstanding legal affairs (warrants, tickets or liens) before our household goods were released to customs.

It was a real adventure and If any of our Senators or Congressmen went through it once they would have a different attitude toward Mexico.

The Mexican Government uses its vast military and police forces to keep its citizens intimidated and compliant. They never protest at their White House or government offices but do protest daily in front of the United States Embassy. The US embassy looks like a strongly reinforced fortress and during most protests the Mexican Military surround the block with their men standing shoulder to shoulder in full riot gear to protect the Embassy. These protests are never shown on US or Mexican TV. There is a large public park across the street where they do their protesting. Anything can cause a protest such as proposed law changes in California or Texas.

Please feel free to share this with everyone who thinks we are being hard on illegal immigrants.

I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of this account.


Work Permits and Immigrants in Mexico:

Fred Reed has an opposing view on living in Mexico, he likes it. His viewpoint is interesting and his comment on the FM-3 is, "...and with no hassle you can then get FM-3 residence status ..."



I've read Fred's stories and I correspond with him, and he certainly makes it sound simpler. I suspect it's a matter of time, place, and bureaucracy.

But we also have:


Mexico has a lot of problems but the letter forwarded by Colonel Haynes has many inaccuracies and some fallacies.

First of all the process to obtain a working permit in Mexico is long and convoluted, no doubt about it. However it is mostly set up that way to benefit Mexican nationals, as it should. Could someone be so king as to forward us a letter with the procedure to obtain a green card? A procedure no doubt much simpler, faster and much more streamlined than the Mexican one... Please let him be so kind to include the expensive, convoluted and very arbitrary procedure for a simple US tourist visa... By the way just let me say that I don't need a US Visa since I'm a E.U. national.

"...we were instructed on Mexican tax, labor, housing, and criminal law and that we were required to obey their laws or face the consequences. We could not protest any of the government's actions or we would be committing a felony." Does that sound like the Patriot Act? Sorry but since the Patriot Act was instituted I've avoided going to the US (something I did at least twice a year before that). I don't want to end up in Guantanamo just because Bin Laden's brother in law is named like me. As a foreigner to the US I have absolutely no rights while in US soil.

The driver's license part I didn't get. Is he (the writer, not the Colonel) complaining because it is... too expensive? too hard? or just because he didn't have to take a driver's test. Today any legal resident or Mexican national over the age of 18 can get a PERMANENT driver's license in Mexico City in about 30 minutes time and paying a $30.00 USD fee. No exam, test or anything required. You are supposed to take responsibility for your actions. Is that so frightening to SW Bell directors? And the part about not giving your driver's license to a cop is just bull... they will only require a bribe if you actually break the law AND you don't want a ticket. Last time a cop pulled me over I had run a red light but I refused to give him a bribe and requested my ticket. Ten minutes later I was on my way with my ticket and my driver's license.

"We then had to pay and file Mexican income tax annually using the number of our FM3 as our ID number. The companies Mexican accountants did this for us and we just signed what they prepared. It was about twenty legal size pages annually." ?????? I don't get it. Does the IRS exempt legal foreign workers from paying taxes?

But the worst part is this: "The Mexican Government uses its vast military and police forces to keep its citizens intimidated and compliant. They never protest at their White House or government offices but do protest daily in front of the United States Embassy. The US embassy looks like a strongly reinforced fortress and during most protests the Mexican Military surround the block with their men standing shoulder to shoulder in full riot gear to protect the Embassy. These protests are never shown on US or Mexican TV. There is a large public park across the street where they do their protesting. Anything can cause a protest such as proposed law changes in California or Texas."

The Mexican "vast military and police forces" are but a tiny fraction of the US Military force and it has been decades since the Mexican military has been openly used in large urban areas (the underdeveloped rural south and other hot spots could fill volumes in the why's, when's and how's). I've lived five blocks from the US Embassy on-and-off for at least 25 years and I can tell you that there has never been a park in front of the Embassy (or behind, for that matter) since it sits in one of the largest streets in Mexico City,"Paseo de la Reforma, something like the Champs-Elisée in Paris or Recoletos in Madrid.

The fact that the US Embassy looks like a fortress has nothing to do with the Mexican Government. That was inflicted in the US Embassy by the US Government, and it wasn't done to avoid "terroristas suicidas mexicanos" (has anybody heard of Mexican suicide bombers lately?). I can attest that the Mexican military has never surrounded the US Embassy, at least after 1968. Whenever there is a protest in front of the Embassy, it is protected by Mexico City's police, civilian police and not military style police like Italy's Carabinieri or Spain's Guardia Civil. It isn't even some kind of national Mexican police; it is purely local. Is it wrong for the police to protect a foreign Embassy? It is also done for other countries, like Japan's Embassy whenever the Greens protest the killing of whales. Whenever protests occur, those are freely shown on newscasts in ALL Mexican TV channels at regular intervals, on radio stations, newspapers and the Internet, peaceful or not. If they are shown on US newscast or not has nothing to do with Mexico or its Government.

Last but not least, I can tell you that we have at least two orders of magnitude (that is a hundredfold for the mathematically challenged) more protests in front of the "Palacio Nacional" (the official seat of the President) and "Los Pinos" (the President's official house) than in front of the US Embassy.

Truly yours

Francisco -- Francisco Garcia Maceda maceda@pobox.com

As for myself, I haven't had any experience of travel and work in Mexico since the 1970's when I was chancellor of a campus of an American University down in lower (very lower, almost to Cabo San Lucas) Baja. We did drive down for the eclipse, and that was pleasant enough. I have never had any problems with Mexican officials. I did smuggle in a case of .22 ammunition at the request of the Mexican Commandant of Marines in Cabo; he needed the ammunition for his rifle team practice, and the paperwork for getting it was impossible. It was simple enough for me to buy some in San Diego and stuff it under the marine sample collection equipment...

But I wasn't a permanent resident nor did I try to be one.

And perhaps the last word:

Dr. Pournelle,

Fred has an interesting column on the Mexican Immigration Laws at


in which he says "Further, I think the law entirely reasonable—provided that you realize that the Mexican government exists for the benefit of Mexicans, not gringos."

Should we ask that the American government exist for the benefit of gringos, not Mexicans?


-- Earl Everett


Subject: "Mobbing" Academic Opponents

An academic studies how supposedly rational, thoughtful faculty can (and do) turn on outsiders.


The Chronicle of Higher Education The Faculty


From the issue dated April 14, 2006 Mob Rule

In departmental disputes, professors can act just like animals


When songbirds perceive some sign of danger — a roosting owl, a hawk, a neighborhood cat — a group of them will often do something bizarre: fly toward the threat. When they reach the enemy, they will swoop down on it again and again, jeering and making a racket, which draws still more birds to the assault. The birds seldom actually touch their target (though reports from the field have it that some species can defecate or vomit on the predator with "amazing accuracy"). The barrage simply continues until the intruder sulks away. Scientists call this behavior "mobbing."

The impulse to mob is so strong in some birds that humans have learned to use predators as lures. Birders play recordings of screech owls to attract shy songbirds. In England, an ancient duck-hunting technique involved stationing a trained dog at the edge of a pond: First the dog got the ducks' attention, and then it fled down the mouth of a giant, narrowing wickerwork trap, with the mob of waterfowl hot in pursuit all the way.

Birds mob for a couple of reasons. One of them is educational: Youngsters learn whom to mob, and whom to fear, by watching others do it. But the more immediate purpose of mobbing is to drive the predator away — or, in the words of the eminent Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz, to make "the enemy's life a burden."

Sometimes, especially in winter, Kenneth Westhues can hear a flock of crows tormenting a great horned owl outside his study in Waterloo, Ontario. It is a fitting soundtrack for his work. Mr. Westhues has made a career out of the study of mobbing. Since the late 1990s, he has written or edited five volumes on the topic. However, the mobbers that most captivate him are not sparrows, fieldfares, or jackdaws. They are modern-day college professors.

Social Syndrome

In the early 1980s, Heinz Leymann, a German psychologist working in Sweden, was conducting clinical studies of workers who had encountered violence on the job. At the time, plenty of research had already been done on the "mental insufficiency" experienced by soldiers after wartime and the survivors of major industrial disasters. So Leymann set out to study some of the less obvious cases of post-traumatic stress. He carried out longitudinal studies of Stockholm subway drivers who had accidentally run over people with their trains. He studied the psychological effects of robberies on bank tellers. But he stumbled upon an even less obvious group that showed the most surprisingly acute measures of stress. These were people whose colleagues had ganged up on them at work.<snip>


Robert Jordan diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease.


-- Roland Dobbins




The redesigned Hostogos.com is now online at our usual address: www.Hostigos.com

I'm really pleased with the new site and we all owe the Hostigos Webmaster, Mark Richardson, a big Hostigos round of thanks! Mark put a lot of work and time into the Hostigos.com redesign and it shows.

We, also, have a lot of room to grow. In the future, I plan to put add major features for Paratime, Home Time Line, Styphon's House, the Five Kingdoms, the Middle Kingdoms and Styphon's House on the site.

The new Gallery includes a brand-spanking-new shot I just received of the new dust jacket for "Great Kings' War," as well as a number of Alan Gutierrez's working color sketches for the new "War World: The Battle for Sauron" hardcover edition, which will be coming out before the end of the year. Plus, we've finally update the About Us feature with photos of Beam, myself and Alan.

Another feature highlight is the Road to Hostigos, which has it's own button. The Kalvan Genesis essay is on a PDF file on the last page. This piece contains everything Piper ever wrote on the subject of the beginnings of Hostigos, Lord Kalvan and Great King Kalvan that I've ever run across -- 90% of this material (some 15,240 words) has never previously been published.


John F. Carr













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