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Mail 453 February 12 - 18, 2007







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Monday  February 12, 2007

Subject: Letter from England


Iran's nuclear programme and the US-- <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6351137.stm>  <http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2258884.ece

Iraq stories-- <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article1364760.ece>  <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/09/ wirq09.xml>  <http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article2251340.ece

Putin attacks US-- <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2010462,00.html>  <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/10/ nputin110.xml

Bird flu miss-steps-- <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6351489.stm>  <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1367284.ece>  <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2010583,00.html> <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?
xml=/news/2007/02/10/ nflu410.xml

Tory leader Cameron and drugs in school-- <http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2258901.ece>  <http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2258902.ece>  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6351331.stm>  <http://www.guardian.co.uk/Observer/politics/story/0,,2010584,00.html

Blair/Brown argument-- <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/
main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/10/ nlabour10.xml

The investigation of the prime minister continues-- <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,2010646,00.html>  <http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2258881.ece

Prosecution of IRA fugitives "not in the public interest"-- <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,2010544,00.html>

Status of road pricing petition-- <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/

More on Russian spy case-- <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?
xml=/news/2007/02/08/ npoison108.xml

Home office-- <http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/this_britain/article2255718.ece

House of Lords plans-- <http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2248781.ece

British Airways charging a lot for extra luggage-- <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/09/ nba109.xml

Candy company Cadbury recalling Easter Eggs due to missing warning about nuts-- <http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health
medical/article2258880.ece>  <http://www.guardian.co.uk/uklatest/story/0,,-6406819,00.html

NHS problems continue-- <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/09/ nhs09.xml>
health/ healthmain.html?in_article_id=434840&in_page_id=1774>  <http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2251360.ece

UK university funding-- <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2010586,00.html>  <http://education.independent.co.uk/news/article2251373.ece

Is the UK a police state?-- <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,2010588,00.html>  <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/leaders/story/0,,2010492,00.html>  <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/02/10/ nrights10.xml>  <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/michael_portillo/ article1364671.ece

Blair, Reid, and civil liberties-- <http://observer.guardian.co.uk/7days/story/0,,2010412,00.html


I'm currently looking at wireless options for my home. By the end of the month, I'll have access to the following hardware: -A new Apple Airport Extreme base station (pre-N) -A new Check Point Safe@Office 500W box (G) -A UK-compatible ADSL modem.

I'd like to set up the following: -A household secure wireless network. This is to be available to family members and guests, but should be secure against outsiders. -A second secure wireless network for sensitive work-related information. The household network involves mostly Macintoshes and some Windows XP Pro systems; the work-related network consists of Windows XP Pro systems. There is adequate physical security for the work-related network.

I'm envisioning two network domains--the first a DMZ based on the Airport Extreme box, which will run the household wireless network. The Check Point box will then connect via an ethernet LAN to the Airport Extreme box and protect a work-related domain with both wireless and ethernet connectivity. Alternatively, I could base a DMZ LAN on the modem, with both the Airport Extreme and Check Point boxes attached. The Airport Extreme box would then run the household network, while the Check Point box would run the work-related network.

I'm looking for advice, although I suspect I'll end up doing something so that the general public doesn't have to. The Check Point box is being provided free to me; I'm purchasing the rest. Whatever I learn will become a series of lectures for the security MSc that I run.

-- Harry Erwin, PhD, Program Leader, MSc Information Systems Security, University of Sunderland. <http://scat-he-g4.sunderland.ac.uk/~harryerw>  Weblog at: <http://scat-he-g4.sunderland.ac.uk/~harryerw/blog/index.php>


Subject: Global Warming Influenced by Solar Magnetic Field?

Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, has an article in the Sunday Times describing a Danish scientist's theory of non-anthropogenic global warming... and cooling... and his fight for funding and publication.


"... "The sun’s brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.

"He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

"The only trouble with Svensmark’s idea — apart from its being politically incorrect — was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

"In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year."

-- ben capoeman

So much for the value of consensus.


It seems Jules Verne knew a thing or two, after all.


- Roland Dobbins


Biggest H1B Visa Use: Outsourcing To India.


-- Roland Dobbins


Subject: Czech President Vaclav Klaus Calls Global Warming a "Myth"

It's nice to see a politician with the huevos to say this. Via Drudge <http://www.drudgereport.com/flash.htm> :

President of Czech Republic Calls Man-Made Global Warming a 'Myth' - Questions Gore's Sanity Mon Feb 12 2007 09:10:09 ET

Czech president Vaclav Klaus has criticized the UN panel on global warming, claiming that it was a political authority without any scientific basis.

In an interview with "Hospodárské noviny", a Czech economics daily, Klaus answered a few questions:

Q: IPCC has released its report and you say that the global warming is a false myth. How did you get this idea, Mr President?•

A: It's not my idea. Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment. Also, it's an undignified slapstick that people don't wait for the full report in May 2007 but instead respond, in such a serious way, to the summary for policymakers where all the "but's" are scratched, removed, and replaced by oversimplified theses.• This is clearly such an incredible failure of so many people, from journalists to politicians. If the European Commission is instantly going to buy such a trick, we have another very good reason to think that the countries themselves, not the Commission, should be deciding about similar issues.•

Q: How do you explain that there is no other comparably senior statesman in Europe who would advocate this viewpoint? No one else has such strong opinions...•

A: My opinions about this issue simply are strong. Other top-level politicians do not express their global warming doubts because a whip of political correctness strangles their voice.

• Q: But you're not a climate scientist. Do you have a sufficient knowledge and enough information?•

A: Environmentalism as a metaphysical ideology and as a worldview has absolutely nothing to do with natural sciences or with the climate. Sadly, it has nothing to do with social sciences either. Still, it is becoming fashionable and this fact scares me. The second part of the sentence should be: we also have lots of reports, studies, and books of climatologists whose conclusions are diametrally opposite.• Indeed, I never measure the thickness of ice in Antarctica. I really don't know how to do it and don't plan to learn it. However, as a scientifically oriented person, I know how to read science reports about these questions, for example about ice in Antarctica. I don't have to be a climate scientist myself to read them. And inside the papers I have read, the conclusions we may see in the media simply don't appear. But let me promise you something: this topic troubles me which is why I started to write an article about it last Christmas. The article expanded and became a book. In a couple of months, it will be published. One chapter out of seven will organize my opinions about the climate change.• Environmentalism and green ideology is something very different from climate science. Various findings and screams of scientists are abused by this ideology.•

Q: How do you explain that conservative media are skeptical while the left-wing media view the global warming as a done deal?•

A: It is not quite exactly divided to the left-wingers and right-wingers. Nevertheless it's obvious that environmentalism is a new incarnation of modern leftism.•

Q: If you look at all these things, even if you were right ...•

A: ...I am right...•

Q: Isn't there enough empirical evidence and facts we can see with our eyes that imply that Man is demolishing the planet and himself?•

A: It's such a nonsense that I have probably not heard a bigger nonsense yet.•

Q: Don't you believe that we're ruining our planet?•

A: I will pretend that I haven't heard you. Perhaps only Mr Al Gore may be saying something along these lines: a sane person can't. I don't see any ruining of the planet, I have never seen it, and I don't think that a reasonable and serious person could say such a thing. Look: you represent the economic media so I expect a certain economical erudition from you. My book will answer these questions. For example, we know that there exists a huge correlation between the care we give to the environment on one side and the wealth and technological prowess on the other side. It's clear that the poorer the society is, the more brutally it behaves with respect to Nature, and vice versa.• It's also true that there exist social systems that are damaging Nature - by eliminating private ownership and similar things - much more than the freer societies. These tendencies become important in the long run. They unambiguously imply that today, on February 8th, 2007, Nature is protected uncomparably more than on February 8th ten years ago or fifty years ago or one hundred years ago.• That's why I ask: how can you pronounce the sentence you said? Perhaps if you're unconscious? Or did you mean it as a provocation only? And maybe I am just too naive and I allowed you to provoke me to give you all these answers, am I not? It is more likely that you actually believe what you say.

[English translation from Harvard Professor Lubos Motl] [Emphasis added by JEP]

-- Dave Markowitz


Googlegate in North Carolina.


- Roland Dobbins


Subject: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Livestock's Long Shadow

This sounds like it should be a major concern and focus right now. How come it doesn't get any press, while the IPCC is everywhere?


"Summary: This report aims to assess the full impact of the livestock sector on environmental problems, along with potential technical and policy approaches to mitigation. The assessment is based on the most recent and complete data available, taking into account direct impacts, along with the impacts of feed crop agriculture required for livestock production. The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Livestock's contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale and its potential contribution to their solution is equally large. The impact is so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency. Major reductions in impact could be achieved at reasonable cost."

Brian Moore

Have you turned Vegan yet?

Jerry Pournelle Chaos Manor

Subject: Re: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Livestock's Long Shadow

Haven't even considered it, but it is interesting that you asked. The first that I heard of this report is when a Vegan reporter wrote an article about it. http://www.times-standard.com/opinion/ci_5106355

While I can see regulations, probably just enforcing the ones on the books now, would help a lot with things like the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, I don't really see how going Vegan would help much in the short term. The livestock would still be there in large numbers. Can you imagine the outcry if you just tried to slaughter them to solve the problem? If you outlawed meat eating, how would you deal with the huge herds of "worthless" animals? I can't imagine too many people wanting to tie up there land, let alone actually caring for them.

I just find it hard to believe that with all the global warming hoopla, that a report that covers an industry that is "responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent", as well as several other problem areas, gets almost no media coverage. In fact in a recent online discussion on global warming, I was told that this report was "unrelated".

Brian Moore

Global Warming is an industry, and the consensus is intended to pump more money into the consensus position studies. Telling people they are villains for eating meat is not in their interest.

As the President of the Czech Republic observers, none of this is science.


Are you better off being an illegal alien?

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

Mr. McG's letter leads me to note a personal experience:

My brother married a woman of Mexican nationality who had been in the USA for 15 years before he met her. She had come to the USA to help her sister who had contracted cancer and who subsequently died. I'm not certain how she ended up in California but after his divorce my brother met and married her.

She was in every way a wonderful woman. And if you knew my brother you'd well know that she must have been a saint. During the time they were married my brother was injured on the job, then suffered a heart attack and was put on permanent disability. Since he had been working for the railroad he wasn't very worldly and allowed them to buy him out of his railroad benefits package with a cash sum. And of course he rapidly spent this amount in a very short time.

The end result was that he was living on disability alone without any medical coverage when his wife contracted cancer. The treatments for this cancer were prohibitively expensive and since she had never worked a regular job she had no medical coverage of any sort.

She was about to be dismissed from the hospitals when they discovered that the way she had entered the USA was to use her sick sister's passport. She was an illegal alien. At that point the Federal Government stepped in and paid 100% of her medical bills for the treatment of her cancer and it was a whopping sum at that time when a single bag of chemo cost $1,500.

I don't want to imply that I'm not entirely thankful for her treatment. She had a good decade more of life inclduing a couple of years in which she had gotten over her fear of a return of the cancer before the cancer returned and she died of it - and again the Federal Government paid 100% of her bills.

I mention this because a good friend of mine is presently in Arizona trying to deal with his father's illness of old age. Although my friend worked his whole life as a Federal law enforcement officer, his father had always had low level employment that never paid very well. The father and mother lived in a modest house in a modest suburb and supported themselves though with nothing to spare.

My friend has been forced to put his father into a care facility to deal with his many illnesses that his wife cannot handle in her own growing age related infirmities. He has gone through all of the required paperwork to try to get federal aid to pay for these facilities only to discover that because he and his wife own a home they do not qualify for any aid. In order to qualify they must sell their home and pay down their gross worth to essentially nothing. This would appear to me to be a bit inconvenient for his living wife who has been sharing his Social Security payments to live on.

I am somewhat ambivalent about Medicare and the like which promises health coverage but which is likely to so economically encumber the next generation as to be unworkable.

I don't pretend to have any answers to these important questions but I have to admit that being an illegal is more likely to be beneficial in the eyes of government than not.

Please leave my ID off of the message if you decide to post this.


The Associated Press February 11, 2007, 5:49PM EST text size: TT

Intel details teraflop-capable chip


SAN JOSE, Calif.

Intel Corp. has designed a computer chip that promises to perform calculations as quickly an entire data center -- while consuming as much energy as a light bulb.

The world's biggest chipmaker said Sunday it developed a programmable processor that can perform about a trillion calculations per second, or deliver a performance of 1.01 teraflops. It accomplishes this feat while consuming 62 watts of power when the chip is running at a frequency of 3.16 gigahertz.

A similarly powerful supercomputer in 1996 at Sandia National Laboratories took up more than 2,000 square feet, used nearly 10,000 Pentium Pro processors, and consumed more than 500 kilowatts of electricity.

Intel's latest chip is still in the research phase, but it marks an important breakthrough for an industry obsessed with obtaining the highest amount of performance for the lowest energy consumption.<snip>


Pardon My Skepticism - Is music copy protection really no longer the apple of Jobs's eye? By PAUL KEDROSKY February 10, 2007;

As supposed deathbed conversions go, this one was more unusual than most. Midweek we had Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the current king of media (sorry, Howard Stern), under pressure and releasing an online essay, "Thoughts on Music," where he seemingly recanted on his former fondness for music copy protection (generally called DRM).

As most Apple fans know, a copy protection technology called FairPlay is at the core of Apple's wildly successful iTunes digital download service. While FairPlay has largely prevented Apple-related music piracy -- thus satisfying music companies nervous about a copying-fueled collapse in their declining business -- it also means that Apple's customers are treated like criminals: They are prevented from making more than a small number of copies of their music. More insidiously, and more important from Apple's point-of-view, they are also prevented from playing music purchased on iTunes on anything other than Apple iPods.

That Microsoft-style lock-in to iTunes/iPod has been good for Apple and its shareholders -- the company sold more than 20 million iPods in the Christmas quarter -- but others have been less impressed. First up has been Norway (an admittedly tiny market), which last month gave Apple until March 1 to explain how it would untangle iTunes and iPod and open up the music market. Similar complaints have now come from groups in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Enter Mr. Jobs with this week's anti-DRM essay. We're less than a month from when Mr. Jobs needed to respond to European complaints, so he seemingly had a deathbed conversion. Let's open it all up, he says, eliminating DRM altogether.

Whoa, Steve Jobs saves us from online copy protection. Happy days!

Hang on, however. People have a tendency to temporarily find religion while in extremis, only to forget later. Does he really want to get rid of FairPlay and open up iPod-based music collections to all players, or is this just a transient conversion -- or even a diversionary tactic?<snip>


February 10, 2007 Off the Charts Looking for a Paycheck? Don¹t Look to the Internet By FLOYD NORRIS

THE Internet is the wave of the future, the technology that changes everything.

Just don¹t try to get a job in it.

The United States government has released new employment numbers for the last several years, showing there were 933,000 more jobs than previously thought. A handful of them ‹ 6,300, to be exact ‹ were in Internet companies, including publishing and broadcasting. But that did not alter the trend.<snip>


Mike Lalor RIP

It is my sad duty to inform you that Reginald Michael (Mike) Lalor passed away at noon today in Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati. This appears to be a continuation of the circulation problems and infection that has kept him in and out of hospitals and extended care facilities for the past year.

As you may know, Mike has had a difficult few years since his father passed away, and has largely been out of touch with fandom for the past few years. The last time I saw him was in 2003 when I was through Cincinnati on a business trip, and the last time we talked was in his hospital room when Judi died last year. He has apparently, according to Deb Oak, been in nursing homes and in and out of the hospital ever since.

I really hate to say this, but Deb is particularly concerned that nobody knows any of his extended family. If anyone remembers anything about his family, could you please contact her at d317oak@aol.com and make arrangements for contacting them.

I met Mike for the first time when he was guest at -- what was it, Concave 4 -- at the old Park Mammoth Resort in 1983, and met his parents when the whole family came to Xanadu in the late '80s. We became close friends and Jann and I shared suites at Mike at a number of conventions, taking care always to meet at least for Rivercon and Concave. For most of the '90's, it was a rare week we didn't talk by phone two or three times, covering science, technology, computers, science fiction and fandom, and politics. Mike was a good friend and I've been sorry that circumstances have kept us from communicating.

Rest in Peace, say hi to Jann and Doc, and hold a table at the perpetual convention for the rest of us, old friend.

Jim Wooseley





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TuesdayFebruary 13, 2007

Subject: The Mote and the Beam...

One might think the United States Department of State would have plenty to keep it busy, Dr. Pournelle. But, NO, they have become involved in telling Europeans they should get along better with their Muslim immigrants.


"The growing Muslim presence in Europe is "a fascinating issue and one that the American government is just now trying to get its mind around," Mr. Fried [Daniel Fried, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs] told editors and reporters at The Washington Times. "It's a huge problem, we are thinking about it seriously, and we've tried to do some intellectual framing-up."

Charles Brumbelow


Subject: Adm Grace Hopper's ship.

I have read quite a few articles on Adm Hopper and admired her greatly. Your article was one I hadn't seen, and was not aware a ship had been named for her, but I think it's quite appropriate. I have one of her feisty sayings taped to my computer screen: "Go ahead and do it. It is easier to apologize than to get permission." After 42+ years with the Government, I couldn't agree more. Thanks again for your article.

Mary L Shaw 


Will Being Vegan help?


You posted mail, on Monday 12th February, from Brian Moore who said "I don't really see how going Vegan would help much in the short term. The livestock would still be there in large numbers. Can you imagine the outcry if you just tried to slaughter them to solve the problem? If you outlawed meat eating, how would you deal with the huge herds of worthless animals? I can't imagine too many people wanting to tie up there land, let alone actually caring for them."

I'm surprised that you posted this without comment. But then again maybe not, given that you expect enough intelligence in your readers to spot such an obviously fallacious argument. Brian says "I don't really see how going Vegan would help much", presumably referring to himself or possibly the small number of people who have heard of the "Livestock's Long Shadow" report, but then he goes on to talk about "large numbers" and then makes the unwarranted jump from your question about becoming vegan to statements about "outlawed meat eating" and "huge herds of worthless animals".

That's nonsense. Nobody is suggesting making meat illegal, and if a few people go vegan it does not create "huge herds of worthless animals", it creates huge herds of slightly less valuable animals. The direct consequence of a few people going vegan is a small glut of meat in the market and a slight drop in prices. If this continues as a trend, over a number of years, a few farmers go out of business or switch to other crops.

There are very few groups in the world expecting everyone to become vegan overnight, not even the Vegan Society expects that. The report itself even says that going vegan in large numbers is not the solution because of the large number of people worldwide whose livelihood depends upon the meat industry. But just because it's a gradual process that doesn't mean that some of us shouldn't lead the way.

And if the science is ever proved, which of course is still the big question, and we are given the choice between continuing our love affair with oil and eating soy burgers or eating meat in a world without any of the benefits that petrochemicals bring, then I know what most people would choose. But that's not a choice that most people will ever be given because what they are shown by the media is not environmental science it's green politics.

After discussing this with many people I usually find they mostly fall into two schools of thought - the "stubborn" and the "green". The "stubborn" take the attitude that it's all media hype and we should just carry on regardless doing what we've always done. And the "greens" have made up their luddite minds in advance having already divided the world into two categories - natural is good and man made is bad. And no scientific argument, no evidence to the contrary, will persuade them otherwise. So it's always refreshing to find, reading the mail that you post, that there are still people who think that we should consider all of the alternatives and do all of the science first, including radical suggestions like co2 scrubbing and power satellites, before we give up on the future.

Best wishes

Paul Dove


Subject: The price for nuclear blackmail has been set 


The price has been set - Touch off a nuke built with funds received in response to a broken promise that you won't build nukes, and the US will give you 1 million tons of fuel oil (or equivalent aid) if you make a promise not to do it again. This time, for sure they're not lying to us.

Seriously. You can't make this stuff up.


Nuclear blackmail is profitable, a proven money maker. I wonder what we're going to have to pay Iran after their planned April "announcement". What will we have to pay the first non-state actor that gets a nuke? Will we have to give them a country in order to have a mailing address for the ransom check?

Sitting a few dozen miles south of that particular country which can't fail to be emboldened with a new sense of moral authority having successfully blackmailed the most powerful nation in the world into paying a rich ransom, and remembering that it took less than a dozen years from the LAST ransom payment before they touched off their first nuke, I wonder if I'm supposed to feel any safer.

The smart money is on nK sealing the reactor through the end of next winter, spending all the cash on ipods, porn, and fake ids, and touching off another nuke before showing back up at the table with their hands out for another payment. They built the nuke under our noses, why do we think they can't or won't hide one or more for the next time the Jonger wants a new car or palace?

But of course, nK actually collapsing would probably cost a minimum of 2 full orders of magnitude more than a mere 1 million tons of fuel oil, and would also likely directly lead to a few hundred thousand refugee deaths from starvation and the harsh Korean winters. So what's a superpower to do?

Oh yea, I forgot. It's really a UN problem since UNC is allegedly in charge of the armistice and defense of the Korean Peninsula. So the UN should really be the ones doing the negotiating and making the choice between paying the ransom or watching another million nK civilians die before the country collapses and refugees flood into China and South Korea, most likely wrecking South Korea in the process. Surely the UN would help out with that, right?

Did the UN even participate in the talks? Are France and Russia helping us come up with the ransom?

Please withhold my name...


Subject:  global warming and cold cash

Hello Dr. Pournelle:

I am certain that you will get dozens of mails to this link; but just in case you don't:


In part, the article reads:

"Maurice Strong is a founding director of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP), a division of the U.N. that has grown into a bureaucratic monstrosity with an annual budget of $136 million. Mr. Strong left his post at UNEP in the 1970s but kept his ecological credentials and helped organize a 1992 environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, which become the forerunner of the Kyoto Accords. While Strong has spent a lifetime parlaying his UN contacts into business associations, nowhere has he done so more successfully than with his ecological “credentials.”

Recently Strong has been spending most of his time in China, where he’s been linked, among other things, to planned attempts to market Chinese-made automobiles in North America. But his presence there raises some awkward questions for Russell and Rosett: “For one thing, China, while one of the world’s biggest producers of industrial pollution, has been profiting from the trading of carbon emissions credits – thanks to heavily politicized U.N.-backed environmental deals engineered by Strong in the 1990s.”

Could Mr. Strong be benefiting from deals that he helped put together while he was working at the U.N.? We don’t know. What we do know is that Mr. Strong is now on voluntary leave from the U.N. while questions are sorted out concerning a $1 million check that was passed to him by South Korean businessman Tongsun Park, who was convicted last summer in New York Federal Court of conspiring to bribe U.N. officials on behalf of Baghdad."

There is really not much interpretation here. The facts fairly well shout for themselves.

Neal Pritchett




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Wednesday, February 14, 2007



Click on this, and be amazed. How soon before a space launch rail gun is finally operational? Aircraft will have to develop a new, megawatt on board power supply. Putting field windings around the after burner and "seeding" the exhaust could do it. But recoil would be a stopper.




Dr. Pournelle:

With reference to your concerns regarding the origins of the story alleging that Arafat ordered the killings of American diplomats, Power Line http://www.powerlineblog.com  is a source for this story, crediting their own Scott Johnson, author of a recent Weekly Standard article on the subject, with a Freedom of Information Act inquiry uncovering what your reader brought to your attention. Some people these days regard neoconservatives and the Weekly Standard as the kook fringe, but this is not from the authentic kook fringe, your grievance with neoconservatives notwithstanding.

It doesn't surprise me that Arafat would have done such a thing, and it doesn't surprise me that State Department would have covered it up. Taking hostage or killing diplomats is not only an act of war (by a stateless actor in this instance), it is in a way to signal that one wants to conduct war with the no quarter given -- murdering diplomats is like murdering a truce delegation during battle. To have made this public would have proscribed interactions with Arafat, and the belief in the U.S. along with Israeli leadership was that Arafat was the person to broker some kind of peace because the alternatives to Arafat were complete off-the-deep-end sorts.

Your reader drew moral equivalence to the diplomatic smoothing over of the attack on the Liberty. The issue with the Liberty was not only that it was attacked, it was savagely reattacked at great loss of life when it was attempting to surrender to Israeli forces. The conspiracy theorists posit that the Israelis knew it to be an American spy ship, didn't want anyone spying on them during battle, even their American allies, felt they could get away with it, and reattacked the ship in an effort to murder all witnesses this. I am of the mind that it was one of those Clausewitzean fog of war, Napoleonic "never ascribe to malice what can be ascribed to incompetence", and the savage nature of the attack was revenge for the loss of the Israeli destroyer Eliat to Egyptian forces. The Israel fed the conspiracy by offering the limp excuse that it was hard for their jets to see and acknowledge a surrender, but what were they supposed to say: we were not going to accept a surrender because we thought you were Egyptian?

It didn't help that our policy was to send out these little "spy ships" without any proper kind of force protection (think Pueblo) - the story was that we were going to scramble some jets from a carrier to beat off the attack on the Liberty, but it took too long to offload the tactical atomic munitions and they may not even had conventional munitions for those jets at that time. What were we suppose to do, drop a nuke on Israel? What was Israel supposed to do to make up for this, drop a nuke on itself in reparation as in that stupid "Fail Safe" movie?

Paul Milenkovic Madison, Wisconsin

I have no idea. I do know that General Graham was never satisfied with the Libertuy case, but declined to discuss it further even with his closest friends and advisors. Your explanation is about as good as any: incompetence followed by incompetent coverup. By "good as any" I mean that it covers what is known about as well as any other explanation, and is probably better accepted than continuing to brood about actual conspiracies which would be hard to keep hidden for this long. On the other hand, http://www.ussliberty.org/ the survivors don't accept it.

As to the State Department knowing about Arafat, I am so appalled that I have trouble thinking about that. There was a time -- think the RB-47 Incident -- when Army special forces would have been sent to avenge such acts. If there were not Army people available, the Company would find contract agents. One result of Eisenhower's retaliation for the RB-47 was the unofficial pact between CIA and KGB: we treated each other's direct agents entirely different from the way we treated their minions. But that was in another time and between two other countries.


Subject: Light and matter united,




Dr. Pournelle

The nuclear club expands:


Too late to halt Iran’s nuclear bomb, EU is told

By Daniel Dombey and Fidelius Schmid in Brussels

Published: February 12 2007 22:18 | Last updated: February 12 2007 22:18

Iran <http://www.ft.com/iran> will be able to develop enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb and there is little that can be done to prevent it, an internal European Union document has concluded.

In an admission of the international community’s failure to hold back Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the document – compiled by the staff of Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief – says the atomic programme has been delayed only by technical limitations rather than diplomatic pressure. “Attempts to engage the Iranian administration in a negotiating process have not so far succeeded,” it states.


Subject: Apocalyptic predictions and modest prescriptions


I hear all manner of dire predictions lately about global warming: 25-ft sea level increases, the island of Manhattan flooded, Bangladesh destroyed, "total meltdown of the ice caps", "global catastrophe", killer hurricanes, cats and dogs living together, oh my!!! (Actually, I think that last item came from the movie "Ghost Busters").

Driven by these dire scenarios, and the release of the latest IPPC report, we now are hearing calls from some circles for "radical" changes to our way of life. So it was with interest that I listened to a TV appearance by Michael Oppenheimer, one of the lead IPPC authors, on that cultural bell weather, "The Colbert Report".

It was a little bit of a let down compared to what I've seen from Al Gore, and the National Geographic channel. Mr. Oppenheimer seemed to indicate that we aren't doomed in the short run, but the long run isn't looking so good. He thinks it is therefore imperative that we "Do Something Now" to avoid real pain later on. And what is it that we need to do? If I am to believe Mr. Oppenheimer's reassuring remarks, relatively little: get a car with better gas mileage, buy energy star appliances, change my regular bulbs for energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. WOW! Who knew if was so easy to prevent a global melt down.

Of course, Mr. Oppenheimer's bland prescriptions are hardly going to avert the most dire scenarios described in the IPPC report. But it does reassure me somewhat about concerns I have regarding ill-considered solutions that would serve mainly to wreck the economy for no good purpose.

Perhaps this is the best we can hope for: copious amounts of anguish, hand wringing, industry flogging, and self-flagellation followed by largely symbolic, low cost nostrums that sooth the collective guilt of the prosperous. At the very least, this will buy more time for the scientific consensus to be tested by further data and the dedicated deniers.

I expect to live long enough to see China and India roar ahead economically to become the largest CO2 generators on the planet. Then, when they refuse to cripple their economic juggernauts out of collective concern for the climate, I will await with baited breath the call from the left for "invasion and regime change", to install environmentally responsible governments in those countries......

CP, Connecticut.

It would be prudent to develop technology to control CO2 levels; they are high, and running an open ended experiment is never a very good idea. Of course we are not doing that, except for Sir Richard's wonderful prize. http://www.jerrypournelle.com/mail/mail452.html#global4


Subject: Bryson on global warming 


I am pleased that Professor Reid A. Bryson of the University of Wisconsin has agreed to post the guest weblog below on Climate Science. He is a Global 500 Laureate Senior Scientist, and Center for Climatic Research and Emeritus Professor of Meteorology, of Geography, and of Environmental Studies. His vita   <http://ccr.aos.wisc.edu/contacts/reidbryson.html>  (see also http://www.alumnifriends.mines.edu/photo_gallery
/2003/hon_degree_medal_200305/bryson.htm  ) documents his many invaluable contributions to climate science, as well as to other sciences. His expertise is summarized on his vita as “Much of Bryson’s work has dealt with climate in relation to human ecology, and this has led him into extensive travel, especially to Asia where he worked primarily on anthropogenic changes of climate and landscape in general.

His best-known laboratory works are in the development of new approaches to climatology, such as airstream analysis and quantitative, objective methods of reconstructing past climates. Dr. Bryson is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Meteorological Society, and a charter member of the World Council for the Biosphere.” He is eminently well qualified to present a weblog on Climate Science. The weblog follows below.

GUEST WEBLOG: HISTORY!! (Getting Back To What It Sort Of Used To Be) by Professor Reid A. Bryson

Remember Otzi, the Ice Man? The fellow that was found in the mountains between Austria and Italy a few years ago? He had been shot a little over 5000 years ago, and then covered with snow, and more snow, until a few years ago the snow melted back enough for Otzi to be found. Between his burial under snow and his exhumation by nature there was more snow and ice than before, or now. Are we just getting back to what the snow climate used to be?

When the Vikings settled part of Greenland circa 900 CE, they established a settlement that lasted longer than the United States has been around. There was a considerable amount of traffic between Greenland and Europe, by the standards of the time, so some skippers were making their first trip. The directions were, at first, to sail two and a half days west from Iceland to the shore of Greenland where there stood the landmark Blasark (black shirt) Mountain. Then sail down the coast to Eriksfjord, a beautiful broad straight passage across southern Greenland. Reaching the west coast they should turn right up the coast to the navigation marker on Herjolf’s Ness. (About “Bluie West 3”in WW II.) Turning in to Tunugdliarfik Fjord Erik’s homestead Brattahlid was only 75 miles at the end of the fjord (across from Bluie West 1, for you old timers).

After 1200 CE the directions changed. Sail one and a half days west from Iceland to the edge of the ice pack. If it is clear you might see the mountain Hvitsark to the west (snow covered now?), then go all the way down around hazardous Cap Farvel and up the other coast to Herjolf’s Ness. Eriksfjord was no longer open, nor is it now. As of a decade or so ago there were two valley glaciers blocking it from the sides. Yes, I saw them. If Greenland ice diminishes some, will we be getting back to conditions like it used to be?

One of the well known climatic episodes (to well-educated climatologists) is the Little Ice Age. The hemispheric cooling started in the 1400s, really got going about 1570 (see Frobisher’s journal) and was full-blown by mid-1600s. The Pilgrims picked a lousy time to come to America. After a little amelioration, things got worse culminating in the “Year Without a Summer”. Since then the hemispheric temperature has risen, and we even have thermometers to attest to it. Gee, getting back to what it used to be sure doesn’t sound like the sky is falling and catastrophe looms. Besides, warmer weather reduces the Climatic Overhead and we get more income per unit of energy used.

Incidentally, this sequence can be modeled without even referring to anthropogenic carbon dioxide.

[] The Northern Hemisphere temperature history as modeled using Milankovitch variations in solar radiation modulated by volcanic aerosols, using oceans and carbon dioxide only as minor dependent variables. BP means before 1955 CE.

This figure captures very well, the “little ice age”, the Medieval Warm Period, and other known variations of late BCE and early CE times. The drivers of this model are Milankovitch calculations (average for the entire Hemisphere) and the observed volcanic record described above. Carbon dioxide is treated as a very minor dependent variable. It is unlikely that a general circulation model which assumes a major role of carbon dioxide can duplicate this known climatic sequence.

« Political Correctness For State Climatologists In Order To Force These Positions To Embrace Global Warming As Summarized By The IPCC – A Chilling Development <http://climatesci.colorado.edu/2007/02/07/

Glacier Advance and Retreat - Another Example Of The Compexity Of This Climate Metric <http://climatesci.colorado.edu/2007/02/09/
-of-the-compexity-of-this-climate-metric/>  »



This story from the WPost has such sad and profound implications for the future.



Love's Labor's Lost What Young Women Are Saying About Their Aversion to Emotional Ties

By Laura Sessions Stepp Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, February 14, 2007; C01

Today on Valentine's Day, high school hallways and college courtyards will be scattered with flowers. Young women at work will peek at the personal ads online, and dish about who got what.

They may confess to having a crush on their chemistry partner, or confide to a friend that the guy in the cubicle next to them is "really hot." What they probably won't say is "I love him" or anything close to it. Because while they may enjoy the trappings of love, many young women believe that being in love, at least right now, is impractical, foolish, a sign of weakness or even unattainable.

Evie Lalangas, a communications specialist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is talking about this over lattes on a Sunday afternoon with several friends in their early 20s.

"Love is constant effort," she sighs, settling herself into a couch at Tryst, a coffeehouse in Adams Morgan.

"It's so annoying," Carolyn McGee agrees.

"A waste of time," Alyx Ackerfield says.

Heather Schell, an assistant professor of writing, picked up similar attitudes when she taught a course called "Love, American Style" at George Washington University. Her female students loved to discuss the chick-lit book "Bridget Jones's Diary" and the sexual follies of Jones and her boss, Daniel Cleaver. But they were not enthralled with Edward Rochester's lengthy courtship in "Jane Eyre." Quick flings, or hookups, were okay, "but love was rarely mentioned in class discussions," Schell says.

Their favorite assigned reading? A poetry anthology called "The Hell With Love."<snip>

And they found a couple buried holding each other. From 5,000 years ago.




CURRENT VIEW    Wednesday


This week:


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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Joel Rosenberg on Arafat and the State Department

I finally caught up with some of my reading on the website, and got to the commentary about how State had covered up the Arafat-ordered murder of two US diplomats in 1973.

As one of your correspondents suggested, it's solid information, and hasn't been a secret for some time. See http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/192ioiwy.asp  and particularly http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/016333.php  <http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/016333.php>  and http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=10855  . (Full disclosure: I know two of the Powerline guys slightly -- I've been on the radio with John Hinderaker a few times, Very bright, scrupulously honest guys -- when I caught them in a minor but inadvertent factual error on something -- they'd believed something they read in the NYTimes that I knew firsthand to be untrue -- they posted a correction within about an hour.)

Another suggested that Secretary Rogers may not have known about it.

That's hard to reconcile with the March 13 1973 cable from him that says, in part, "Fatah leader Yasser Arafat has now been described in recent intelligence as having given approval to the Khartoum operation prior to its inception." (It was, of course, more than that -- Arafat's was caught on tape giving the kill order. Understandable that Rogers would not have put it that explicitly, then.)

What's clear is that both: a: Arafat personally ordered the operation, and the murders, and b: State institutionally covered up for it, and buried the memory.... until after Arafat was safely dead.

It's vaguely possible, I suppose, that nobody went looking for the buried cables . . . until Scott Johnsons FOIA request forced them to, and then only admitted what they proved after Arafat was safely dead. (Hmmm... I wonder what's buried in State's basement about Mahmoud Abbass...)

But, if so, it's only because folks with sufficient authority to unearth them didn't want them found. Back when Jimmy Carter's UN ambassador, Andrew Young, got caught negotiating with Arafat behind the scenes, the subject came up publicly, after all, as it did again around Camp David, and Oslo, and . . .

Part of the initial coverup makes sense. The smoking gun, after all, was Arafat's voice on tape; to prove that publicly over the expected denials (it was, after all, still the pravda that "Black September" was a rogue terrorist organization, rather than being run directly out of Arafat's office) would have compromised methods and sources, and while that maskirovka was crumbling, it hadn't totally fallen apart, then, publicly, and was maintained by State until after Arafat was safely dead. As recently as 2002, a State spokesman was claiming that "...though Black September was a part of the Fatah movement, the linkage between Arafat and this group has never been established."

While the information that, in fact, Black September was Arafat's operation -- if not the sources and methods -- was widely disseminated throughout State at the time, it was dumped in the memory hole after Kissinger took over, and his top aide, Vernon Walters, apparently worked out a deal with Arafat where State employees would be left alone by the PLO, in a quid pro quo for continuing the coverup.

Why? Well, you point to the reason yourself, indirectly -- I'm sure you're right that Ronald Reagan didn't know about it.

I can't imagine that his Chief of Staff -- a fellow named James Baker, say -- would have let it come to his attention, assuming that he knew it himself. (And, whether or not he knew it then, he certainly wouldn't have let it out when he ran State under George HW Bush. I'm very curious whether or not he knew it or avoided finding out -- we'll probably never know.)

Institutionally, State takes a long view of both the value of negotiations, and its own institutional importance. (There's this guy I know who pointed out an Iron Law of Bureaucracy . . . :))

If it were public knowledge -- particularly if the President were known to know it -- negotiating with Arafat could only have been done behind the scenes to stay behind the scenes, rather than to move toward some public deal. The way for recognition of Arafat and the PLO was already being paved at least by the Carter Administration, and revealing Arafat's role in the murders publicly would have foreclosed a lot of avenues of negotiation, then and later.

I think, from the POV of the Arabists in State, it made sense then and makes sense now. I just think that they overvalue their own importance, and the usefulness of negotiations. (I'm not saying that it's impossible for Americans to negotiate usefully with murderers of Americans -- I just think it's not as useful a tool in that situation as, say, James Baker and Colin Powell did.)

What's surprising to me is that Johnson was able to pry the cables loose, and get the historical record corrected, although I'm not surprised at all that State didn't let that latter happen until Arafat was dead.

-- Joel Rosenberg

"Miscellaneous is always the largest category." -- Walter Slovotsky

I suppose such things happen, but I confess I am astonished that this one went on for so long. Sharon once had Arafat in his sights and let him go. He always regretted that.


Subject: you were asking about LifeSiteNews.com

Dear Jerry,

I was directed to the question on your site about our news service LifeSiteNews.com.

You linked to our story about the homeschooling situation in Germany and added: “I have no data on the reliability of this site or the data, but alas, I can't rule it false on the face of it. If anyone knows more I'd like to hear it.”

Well just as you were one of the original ‘bloggers’, before the term was coined we were one of the original alternative news services on the internet providing originally written news content from a perspective which many call morally conservative.

We offer a free (free daily email subscription too) daily news service focused mainly on issues of life, faith, family and freedom. We’ve been running online since 1997 and one email since 1995.

As to the latest on the German homeschooler situation, here it is:

German HomeSchool Teen Moved, Parents not Informed, Local Media Refuse Coverage


Thanks for your interest, and I hope you make use of and enjoy LifeSiteNews.com.


John-Henry Westen








CURRENT VIEW    Thursday


This week:


read book now


Friday,  February 16, 2007

Subject: diss-lecksia, 


Today I interviewed an inmate at a county jail who told me he was dyslexic. When he was young he would misbehave so that his classmates did not know he could not read and tease him.

However, when he was 19 years old, a woman at a literacy project taught him how to read in 3 months.

I asked him how she did it.

"Phonics," he said.


Precisely. It could have happened here, or anywhere, except Columbia University and other learned departments of education.






This week:


read book now


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Subject:   You can't make this stuff up




Real airline security.


--- Roland Dobbins


Subj: Land Warrior: Program dies, concept lives on


INFANTRY: Land Warrior Died For Our Sins

=... While some of the gear was useful, the overall ensemble was not, which is what killed Land Warrior. ...=

=... The most insurmountable problem was a rather mundane one, battery power. Expected advances in battery technology did not appear, so even if all the technology worked, there was no way to carry sufficient batteries, much less keep Land Warrior users supplied with them.=

Rod Montgomery==monty@sprintmail.com










CURRENT VIEW     Saturday

This week:


read book now








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