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Mail 466 May 14 - 20, 2007

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Monday  May 14, 2007

WinHEC opens today. This will be SHORT SHRIFT. Apologies.

Letter from England

Gordon Brown's policies and policy proposals:

<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6650639.stm

 <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/article1776540.ece

<http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,,2078595,00.html

<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?
xml=/news/2007/05/13/ nlotto113.xml

<http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/
simon_jenkins/ article1782087.ece

<http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/
michael_portillo/ article1782102.ece

The nanny state:

<http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2078600,00.html

Education:

<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6593089.stm

Health:

<http://society.guardian.co.uk/health/story/0,,2076850,00.html

<http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?alias=experts
-warn-of-global- ga&chanId=sa003&modsrc=reuters

<http://politics.guardian.co.uk/publicservices/story/0,,2076371,00.html

<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/13/ ncuts13.xml

<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/13/ nhs313.xml

<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/
news.html? in_article_id=453815&in_page_id=1770

<http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article2536868.ece

 This is goofy:

<http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/11/media_rights_letter/

<http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2078503,00.html

<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/13/ blairg.xml

Blair is leaving and Gordon Brown is succeeding him. What this means is a bit unclear, particularly after the Labour election disaster a week ago. My experience with Brown is that he likes to fiddle the figures, but then he has to sometimes. He inherits a large collection of intractable problems, ranging from an unmanageable NHS to the endgame in Iraq. To me, as an American normally resident here, the general UK problem seems to be an unwillingness to question one's assumptions--to think outside the box. I suppose this is also the case in America, and I just don't see it, but you can explain a lot of the problems you encounter in the UK that way. For example, the ID card program continues to spiral up in costs, with the Home Office (responsible for it) unwilling to consider all the implications of what they want to put in place. "Penny wise and pound foolish." Systems thinking has never gained a foothold on the British Isles.

-- 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>

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

Withdrawal from Iraq

Dr. Pournelle:

An interview with Churchill's grandson from the Sunday edition

www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?
id=b4f02a7a-3a8f-45c1-9a1f-5fb7c6d8f93c 

"If the Americans admit failure and withdraw soon from Iraq, I see the writing on the wall," Mr. Churchill told the Citizen in a phone call from Britain. "Our friends and allies in the region, as well as nations throughout the western world, including North America, will end up paying a terrible price."

People mistakenly equate a U.S. exit from Iraq with the withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975.

"There is an essential difference that people forget," Mr. Churchill said.

"The United States was able to walk away from Vietnam in the sure knowledge that the Vietnamese were not about to follow them -- but no such knowledge is available to the Americans in this current situation."

He went on to say that the insurgent forces now fighting in Iraq would "establish in that country the base that they've been denied in Afghanistan, with an additional advantage in having access to one of the largest oil reserves in the world, easily able to fund bigger and better acts of terror across the world."

Robert Patton

The alternative view is that a tactical withdrawal from an untenable position allows us to regroup our forces and restructure to deal with possible threats.

It is clear to me that what we are doing can't work. If we can pump oil, get money and use the money to hire auxiliary light infantry to be employed in Iraq, we can keep a lid on that situation; but keeping the Legions in a meatgrinder does not seem like a very good idea to me.

We may need those Legions in a real war one of these days. And to those who say that the Global War on Terror is a Real War, I can agree: but we are not acting as if it were. If we believed that we would be recruiting the kind of army needed to occupy Iraq instead of destroying the Legions in work they were not trained to do.

Good soldiers do not make good occupation troops. The NEVER HAVE. But neither the Republicans nor the Democrats know as much history as was once taught in 8th grade in rural Tennessee.

==

Billions in Oil Missing in Iraq, U.S. Study Says.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/12/world/
middleeast/12oil.html?_r=2&hp=&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all

--- Roland Dobbins

Of course this may be relevant...

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

Ancient eruptions of carbon dioxide traced to oceans 

Interesting article.

Ancient eruptions of carbon dioxide traced to oceans Researchers say the gas may have accelerated Earth's warming after an ice age.

The oceans burped Ö twice.

About 13,000 and 18,000 years ago, carbon dioxide poured into the atmosphere in two giant belches that drove concentrations of the greenhouse gas from 180 to 265 parts per million, where it held relatively steady until the Industrial Revolution.

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-warming11may11,0,6077723.story 

-- Bryan "This Universe never did make sense; I suspect that it was built on government contract." -- Heinlein

Global climate models don't include Vulcanism as a forcing function. Solar variability and volcanic activity are very likely the main drivers of catastrophic climate change, but that doesn't fit the "peer review" models that one must satisfy to get any kind of funding.

So far they can't predict the next El Nino, or determine why sometimes that happens and sometimes it does not. One would think there might be more effort devoted to such matters.

==

Subject: Nuclear power running out in ten years?!

Thatís true only for political reasons.

Natural uranium is ~ .75% U-235. Reactor fuel is ~3.5% U-235. With current separation technology, the tailings contain about .25% U-235.

The reactor then burns 1/3 to maybe 1/2 of the U-235.

So we are actually using roughly .75% times 1/3 times 1/3 or .083% of the uranium metal.

At this rate, of course we run out quickly.

Recycling U-235 from reactor fuel doubles the amount of usable fuel. Breeder reactors that can convert U-238 into usable fuel increase the usable fuel 1200 times. Doing both, 2400.

We have not yet seen fit to undo Jimmy Carter's ban on fuel reprocessing, let alone the bans on breeder reactors.

I do not fear for the human race, though. Other countries do not so limit themselves.

++PLS

Other countries can use the Global Warming Terror Tactics to impede our development while then continue. Not everyone believes in comparative advantage and that world politics is a non-zero-sum game.

Liberalism is a philosophy of compensation as the West commits suicide. I know you are weary of hearing this; but it remains true, as it remains true that Europe and increasingly the United States are in the grip of the forces of the Iron Law of Bureaucracy. I wish I had much better news.

========

Scott Adams on how to handle Iraq.

http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/
2007/05/iraq_withdrawal.html

- Roland Dobbins

Who knows? It might even work!

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w

Paul Hogan wept.

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/
05/14/1178995042035.html

-- Roland Dobbins

==========

Google's Chinese Room.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/05/15/
google_translation/print.html

- Roland Dobbins

=========

Subject: Art Bell and global warming

I listen on kind of an irregular basis, but I think George Noory, the weekday guy on "Coast to Coast," has a more skeptical outlook on the current global warming hysteria.

Note that anything that restricts US productivity is very good for a number of countries that have absolutely no intention of restricting anything.

Yeah, that's been pretty obvious. It's also obvious that if environmental clampdowns result in shortages, economic collapses and depressions, or shutdowns of large-scale industries, that the major leaders pushing Green Marxism are somehow still going to be flying their personal jets, living in their dachas, and never missing a meal.

Tom Brosz

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