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Mail 467 May 21 - 27, 2007
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May 21, 2007
APOLOGIES: I haven't time to clean up the links. JEP
Sometimes an e-mail client inserts white space into a URL for formatting purposes, and cutting and pasting URLs into other programmes may have the same effect. According to RFC 2396 (URI Generic Syntax, <http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt>), if the URL is enclosed in angle brackets (<>), it should still be parseable despite being spread over more than one line. As an experiment, the first news story below has the URL inserted four different ways, so that we can see which ones work after this letter is in the blog. The remaining URLs in this letter have been inserted using a single approach, so they should all work or all fail.
Gordon Brown has baggage:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/ article1811270.ece <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/ article1811270.ece> <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/ matthew_parris/article1811270.ece> http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/ article1811270.ece
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/michael_portillo/ article1814153.ece Vision of a nuclear future for the UK
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/20/nbenef20.xml> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/20/ nbins20.xml http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/20/ nhips20.xml http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/19/ nmotors19.xml
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/20/ nimm20.xml http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/20/ npolice20.xml http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/transport/article2562759.ece http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article2562741.ece
The past of the NHS
The BAE scandal approaches the prime minister
Blair under fire in Iraq
Prince Harry and the Ministry of Defence.
(Historically, the role of the upper class lieutenant in the UK is to die bloodily in front of his men, thus showing them that God truly has a sense of justice, or at least a sense of humour.)
MPs vote to remove themselves from the Freedom of Information Act requirements.
Exams in UK schools
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2083851,00.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/19/ nedu19.xml
Social mobility in the UK (cf. Lake Wobegon...)
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/minette_marrin/ article1813865.ece http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/20/ nrclass20.xml http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/ guest_contributors/article1813866.ece
Return of the Cold Warriors
UK coverage of the latest Michael Moore story
Mars bars to eliminate the recently added animal products
CO2 risk factor--decreased absorption by the Polar Ocean
Bird flu back in China
Contaminated blood story
Speculation on a comet strike about 13000 years ago
Computing stories from Slashdot
-- "If they do that with marks and grades, should they be trusted with experimental data?" Harry Erwin, PhD
The Prince Harry story has elements of tragedy as well as farce. Alas.
May 22, 2007
L.A. gang members go union.
--- Roland Dobbins
Subject: Vanderbilt today
I did my undergraduate physics at Vanderbilt University, and it was a scholarship and merit based institution when I was there in the 60s. For the last few years I have been sending them a contribution for the A&S college (the science majors were found there). I stopped sending money in 2006 because the new Chancellor was busily hiring black faculty members because they were black -- not because of any academic merit.
Also programs such as diaspora studies and other voodoo sciences seem to be the rage now.
If Fred Thompson took a look around the campus today he would find more than military history missing.
LCDR Jim Dodd, USN (Ret.)
Honorable Doctor J.,
In the reports I have read of the immigration bill passed this past week in the Senate, I noted that there is one rather glaring and obvious line item missing.
While there is provision for the hiring of up to 18,000 (eighteen-thousand) new Border Patrol officers, there is not, so far as I have been able to ascertain, any provision whatsoever for the several thousand Federal penitentiary cells that will be required.
Required, I mean to say, for the incarceration of that sadly inevitable percentage of those 18,000 (eighteen-thousand) new Border Patrol officers who will take their oath seriously and actually attempt to prevent illegal entry of these United States.
I think a modest proposal for such a line item is in order when the bill goes into those joint committees for revision, don't you?
Some comments in support of JDow (as she used to be called on BIX)
I've seen her comments as referenced in your page, I've always have had great respect for her since BIX days as everything she says and I've been able to check is supported by fact, at least to the degree I was able to check it.
Of course this goes for most of your correspondents so this would seem to show that people that send their mail to you are unusually well informed and smart in their choice of subject matter.
However this article throws additional light on points she has already made on the moslem religious education process, how can we ever be certain of what they are really saying? Well these people seem to be working on that and as far as I'm able to ascertain what they say makes sense. I use the qualifier because my knowledge of arabic is minimal, but I do know the region and I do know for a fact that many arabs are trying to move into israeli controlled territories due to the simple fact that life is better (and more predictable) there than in any of the palestinian controlled areas, much might be said for a kleptocracy that at least keeps the roads open and hospitals working (besides maintaining some semblance of law and order, if only to skim the top) but it seems that in their internal civil war the palestinians have lost even the power to do that, assuming they ever had it.
In any event here is the post's reference:
Thanks and keep up the good work
May 23, 2007
Mercenaries in Al Anbar Province
You've mentioned mercenaries several times when you expound on your ideas for stabilizing Iraq. This article: http://fightin6thmarines.vox.com/ (it was up on 22 May '07) about the new PSF forces being put together seems to indicate a step being taken toward just that. The central Iraqi government is starting to pay and train locals to defend themselves. I would be interested to know what you think about the matter.
I don't have enough information to know. It certainly sounds like a good idea, but the details are always important.
Predicting Horse Race Outcomes
Bud Goode, who did significant work analyzing NFL statistics using multiple regression analysis, attempted to use the same techniques on Horse Racing. He discovered that he could not explain enough of the variance to overcome the amounts taken out of the pari-mutual pool by the Track and the State. If there were no money removed from the pool it would be possible to develop a betting strategy that would be profitable. This would NOT predict individual races with any reliability.
Essentially, attempting to provide weather forecasts or forecasts of weather producing events is similar to attempting to predict the outcome of an individual horse race. If there were no random events affecting the weather then it might be possible to provide reliable long term weather and climate forecasts. However, there are many random events that affect weather and climate. In this case any unknown or unaccounted for phenomenon could be considered a random event.
And we cannot predict solar variability and undersea volcanic activity. We can't even predict El Nino events. A high tech reporter from Physics Today wanted to interview us and probably will tomorrow; but it was a bit depressing because he spent the day talking to Global Warming people. The attack is relentless.
Black Holes Merge
"Scientists have pinpointed the precise locations of a pair of supermassive black holes at the centers of two colliding galaxies 300 million light-years away."
Found a pretty good breakdown of this activity in a past AutoWeek editorial. However, it doesn't answer your question about criminality. Several decades ago there were nomadic operators who "hired" (I'm not certain they ever actually paid them) young adults to pretend to be college students and hawk bogus and/or overpriced subscriptions door to door. I wonder if these can be the very same...
No the "subscription service" that sends me bills seems unrelated to the others. I recall sending them money a couple of years ago. Now I just toss their stuff. The are not silly enough to send postage paid envelopes, alas.
Subject: Prince Harry
Since Harry was supposed to be a ground troop, I don't imagine it would have taken the various unfriendlies in Iraq much time to learn where he was stationed. As soon as this information was learned, I imagine that everyone stationed with Harry would have been at significantly higher risk. This could have been avoided if there had not been a huge hullabaloo when Harry was originally scheduled to deploy. If the U.K. treats Harry differently (huge press release), it's no surprise that the enemy also would treat Harry differently (hoping for huge press release). Lesson to future serving notables -- serve quietly.
Possibly. The troops I have known would be proud to have a prince in their regiment.
Waldo...Or Outsourcing Surgery
Since Nashville is home to Vanderbilt University Medical School and Hospital, it has fairly frequent medically-related conferences, Dr. Pournelle.
Here is a report on one held recently, where remote surgery and remote diagnostics were demonstrated.
"In a hotel exhibit hall, an engineer from SRI International, a nonprofit research group based in Menlo Park, Calif., controlled a remote-controlled surgical robot under 65 feet of water off the Florida Keys to operate on simulated blood vessels.
"Each time he moved a robotic arm in Nashville, it triggered a similar action in a robotic arm underwater off Key Largo, Fla., where six researchers are stationed.
"The mission marks the first time an ultrasound or imaging tool has been manipulated from a distant site, said Doarn, principal investigator and project manager.
"The technology demonstrated Monday, however, won't be commercially available for another five to 10 years, Doarn [Charles R. Doarn, associate professor of surgery and biomedical engineering at the University of Cincinnati] said."
"BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state's largest health plan, for instance, considers telemedicine "investigational," meaning there's not enough scientific evidence that supports effects of the technology on health-care outcomes, said Mary Thompson, a spokeswoman.
"The health plan, however, pays for X-rays read in another location by radiologists, for transmissions of heart beat signals to a recorder that produces a visual record, and for recording and transmission of electronic brain activity, she said."
"Before physicians can begin treating large numbers of patients from distant cities, more doctors will have to switch from old-fashioned paper files to electronic medical records that can be viewed online anywhere in the world..."
There are a couple of pictures currently on this site.
The ash heap of history?
- Roland Dobbins
I do not thing the solution is enforcement or border fences. The solution is enforcement of employment laws so major corporations cannot benefit from extreme low cost labor. If you have been to a construction site in Southern California, commercial or high rise, it is hard to find anyone below foreman level who speaks English.
Tyson Foods, Wal Mart and others’ business model require low labor costs that only the undocumented can provide. That coupled with not having to pay benefits is a real boost to the ‘ol bottom line.
Remember the summer job you and I had as kids? Ever worked at a car wash? Small town grocery as a box boy? Delivered papers? Those entry level jobs are gone to undocumented workers. Inner city young adults have no entry level employment opportunities. Undocumented do not take jobs that Americans do not want; they take jobs at wages that Americans find is not a living wage.
Big Business and their PACS equals major campaign contributions’ to both political parties. Neither party can bite the hand that feeds them.
I am not a fuzzy headed liberal by any means, I just am amazed at the hypocrisy over immigration.
I was astonished at Burbank airport: there was not one single black porter. Last time I flew out of there all the Skycaps were American blacks. They were efficient, too.
Dr Pournelle, I see the media has once again discovered that Hezballah is active in South America. This has been open source information for between ten and fifteen years now, so I'm not quite sure why it warrants rediscovery, but perhaps they simply didn't notice.
It is the operations in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands that make some believe this conflict warrants the name of WWIV. I don't think we are there yet, but considering the power of demography, it could go that far. As I've said before, population is the oldest, and most powerful, weapon of mass destruction known.
I'd have been more impressed if they'd noted the attempts to build bridges between the Islamic world and Latin America over the last five years or so, but that would require the news media to actually care about news instead of the more important task of molding public opinion.
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation...
If we cannot educate the bright kids, then we will not be able to sustain a first world economy. Period.
May 24, 2007
I have to wonder what the malpractice/liability considerations are for a surgeon overseas doing an operation in the US via robotics. When something goes wrong, who gets sued (and who can you reasonably expect to collect from)? Will any commercial internet carrier want to be part of the process, when dropped packets might kill a patient?
-- Roland Dobbins
One immigration lawyer's view.
This is important:
--- Roland Dobbins
Well, he may be smart but that line wasn't Iago's
I am a frequent traveler who usually takes at least two plane-routes every week. Even thou some times I do take out my laptop to work on email or some presentations, I usually try to relax on the plane by listening to music on my iPod and reading a book.
For many years I hauled with me those thick paperbacks which are impractical to carry or, even worse, a hard-cover book which is heavier and can get badly damaged in the process.
Well, the last 40+ books I have read on airplanes I have read them on my Palm PDA, using their eReader program with books I bought from the eReader.com site. I have a 256MB SD card on the Palm which easily can hold more than 300+ standard books. I don't have to carry a heavy book with me and still I can readily access all my collection at any time. I don't have to throw away my books or send them to boxes where I will never find them again until I move. I can even write notes and have an infinite amount of bookmarks in each book.
While in my house I still read the hard-cover books which I buy not only for me but for future reference for my kids; but I have not bought a paperback in more than two years.
So, I agree with you, the paperback business is going to change dramatically if more and more people start carrying PDA's or ultra-portable computers.
Just my two cents.
Subject: Remote Viewing
Deepak Chopra and David Morehouse offer a couple of training classes in Remote Viewing:
Or you can buy the home study program for $249:
I am certain that many will sell you the secret. I do not know if there is a money-back guarantee. I have not met anyone who can DO it, although I know people who know people who know someone who can
I would suppose that reliable repeatable evidence of psychic power would be worth a Nobel prize.
|This week:||Sunday, May
- Roland Dobbins
Pryce-Jones: The Distance from Seven to Ten.
-- Roland Dobbins
“We don’t know how he survived so long, but his body was preserved in ice for nearly a month and now he is back to normal."
- Roland Dobbins
Cold sleep. With they have ice on their minds?
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IF YOU SEND MAIL it may be published; if you want it private SAY SO AT THE TOP of the mail. I try to respect confidences, but there is only me, and this is Chaos Manor. If you want a mail address other than the one from which you sent the mail to appear, PUT THAT AT THE END OF THE LETTER as a signature. In general, put the name you want at the end of the letter: if you put no address there none will be posted, but I do want some kind of name, or explicitly to say (name withheld).
Note that if you don't put a name in the bottom of the letter I have to get one from the header. This takes time I don't have, and may end up with a name and address you didn't want on the letter. Do us both a favor: sign your letters to me with the name and address (or no address) as you want them posted. Also, repeat the subject as the first line of the mail. That also saves me time.
I try to answer mail, but mostly I can't get to all of it. I read it all, although not always the instant it comes in. I do have books to write too... I am reminded of H. P. Lovecraft who slowly starved to death while answering fan mail.
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