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Mail 869 May 28 - June 3, 2007
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May 28, 2007
Luttwak: Dead End.
-- Roland Dobbins
Gloomy, but it is hard to refute. Armies break things and kill people. Constabularies occupy territory.
Subject: How the Pentagon was built
There's a very interesting article at the Washington
Interesting indeed. Thanks
Following repeats last week but gets the URL's better.
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. See <http://danwarne.com/the-
(http://preview.tinyurl.com/yug496) and <http:// www.hawkwings.net/2005/07/26/broken-hyperlinks-in-apple-mail/> (http://preview.tinyurl.com/27wkfm) for a discussion of the problem. 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, but most older e-mail clients fail to support that. As an experiment, the Matthew Parris news story below originally had the URL inserted in four different ways, and all four failed due to inserted white space. Starting with this letter, I will separate each URL to its own line, and provide a 'tinyurl' <http://www.tinyurl.com> for any URL longer than about 60 characters. With luck that will address the problem.
Gordon Brown has baggage:
Vision of a nuclear future for the UK
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 was 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. Prince Harry may not be known for his brains, but he's not afraid to play the role.)
MPs vote to remove themselves from the Freedom of Information Act requirements.
Exams in UK schools
Social mobility in the UK (cf. Lake Wobegon...)
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
May 29, 2007
The Last Sunrise.
- Roland Dobbins
The Earth stood still and the heavens wept.
May 30, 2007
- anne jacobs justified - they were terrorists on Frontier Flight 327 from Detroit to LA in 2004
the article begins
"May 30, 2007 Dry Run Confirmed
A declassified report confirms that Annie Jacobsen accurately recounted suspicious activities on a Northwest flight from Detroit to Los Angeles in the summer of 2004, and that a number of Syrians attempted a dry run for a terror attack. Eight of the 12 had already been flagged for criminal or suspicious behavior, and the apparent leader was involved in a similar incident later as well"
As usual TSA/ Homeland security isn't worth the ink needed to print their paychecks.
A Hole in Mars:
Is there a face in there?
Feds nab "Spam King"
Some good news today.
"If convicted as charged, Soloway will face a maximum sentence of more than 65 years in prison and a fine of 250,000 dollars."
Hmmm. Sounds too lenient to me.
John Harlow, President BravePoint
I had 740 messages yesterday. Over 600 were spam. That's after Spam Assassin filtered the, at the server.
FWIW, Dr. Pournelle, I have been a voluntary blood donor since the mid-1960s and have given gallons to the local American Red Cross. During that time I have been rejected twice. The first time was many years ago and was because of a low red cell count. The second was week before last, when I was turned away for a year because of a recent visit to the Copper Canyon in Mexico, where there is some risk of malaria exposure. If I had been selling my blood, would I have even mentioned the trip?
If there were enough voluntary donors there would be no need to buy blood.
We wandered Washington today.
June 1, 2007
Unraveling the cosmos in the depths of Antarctica.
- Roland Dobbins
Half Science and Hafnium Bombs.
- Roland Dobbins
On Georgie Anne Geyer
The most prevalent bit of Conventional Wisdom among the anti-war and anti-Bush types is that terrorists are being "created" in Iraq by the thousands where none were before.
I can't lay my hands on the lists of al Qaeda members and "most wanted" websites without going back and doing a lot of research, but as I recall, there were damn few al Qaeda leaders or other movers and shakers on those lists who did not date back to at least the Russian war against Afghanistan.
There are a lot of newbies among the bomb jockeys--the drugged and brainwashed types who actually drive the bomb cars or wear the belts--but the ones who are calling the shots were terrorists long before Iraq. There may be a major terrorist who was a grocery clerk before the invasion of Iraq, but I have yet to hear about him.
That they have moved into Iraq from Pakistan and elsewhere is beyond doubt. But these people did not come out of the ground in Iraq as though dragon teeth had been sown. And if we had never gone into Iraq, these same people would have gone into Afghanistan instead, or wherever the "Crusader" was making a stand.
Good point. I've known GeeGee a long time, and I have high regard for her views, but I do need to think about that article. One problem with being in exile is you don't think as well. I will be home shortly. Deo gratia
How Online Criminals Make Themselves Tough to Find, Near Impossible to Nab
Long, but interesting. Bill Shields
You have to read this article to believe it. It's a very interesting take on the mac vs. PC argument, and it looks like 1986 would have been a fine time to switch to Mac...
86 Mac Plus Vs. 07 AMD DualCore:
" . . . for the majority of simple office uses, the massive advances in technology in the past two decades have brought zero advance in productivity."
Well, now, I wouldn't say THAT...
I posted that without reading it. I am now in the Admiral's Club and have had a chance to read it, and, uh, well, the test is contrived. To begin with, I would not call multitasking entirely without benefit. I would not call the ability to run Photoshop entirely unproductive. The test conditions were for stuff that the old Mac could DO, and nothing it cannot do was tested. In practice that meant WORD. They didn't even try big spread sheets.
I recall the Mac of that era. I kept one to run MacInTax, which was eventually bought out by TurboTax and ported to the PC. The Mac used the same chip for disc controller, graphics rendering including page formatting, and as CPU. The result was that when you wanted to PRINT a tax form, it would take a LONG time. As an example. By long time I mean well over an hour for a big tax form; my system does them in minutes. Is that not an increase in productivity?
I could continue, but it's pointless. To say there is zero increase in productivity may be fun, but it's a result of choosing the tests with considerable care. And I prefer my large screen to the little Mac screen, thank you...
In view of your opinion of TSA, you need to check out Gary Varvel's TSA cartoon at http://blogs.indystar.com/varvelblog/
There are a number of cartoons and comments there, every one of them worth looking at. Thanks!
For decades, it has been clear that average European heights have been increasing while those on the other side of the Atlantic have not. But why? A new study says it might have to do with health care and the social net.
... Also IQs seem to be dropping in the 1st world. Could it be all that 3rd world immigration? Naaaah, we just need more socialism.
That ought to do it.
As to productivity, school loans chop hell out of low income high IQ types; they have to take lucrative rather than creative jobs, no?
NYT: Airline passengers exposed to incurable strain of TB
If/when we develop new antibiotics to get the upper hand on these new strains, the wise thing to do is not allow these antibiotics to be used in the Third World. They can (and have) developed new drug-resistant strains faster than we can develop new drugs. We must restrict treatment to the First World and people brought to the First World for *proper* treatment with the new drugs (which we had all better hope are developed soon--I typed this email on a flight from Boston to Paris and was listening for the sound of coughing around me)
THE NEW YORK TIMES
June 2, 2007
Subj: TB and the End of the Antibiotic Era
Your contributor "Jim" proposes to restrict the use of new antibiotics to the First World.
Sorry, that doesn't go anywhere near far enough. The misuse of antibiotics by non-compliant First World patients -- particularly, but not exclusively, "homeless" HIV-afflicted Americans -- is quite enough to end the Antibiotic Era.
We're going to have to reenact all the old quarantine laws *and*enforce*them*. We're going to have to rebuild the sanatoria with modern negative-air-pressure and ultraviolet air-sterilization technologies. The scandal is not that we have a couple or three people in involuntary quarantine, it's that we don't have tens of thousands.
Wanna get scared? Try this:
_The Forgotten Plague: How the Battle against Tuberculosis Was Won - and Lost_ by Frank Ryan, M. D.
Reminds me of Vietnam, actually: we had the victory, and then we ... simply ... threw it away.
But we won't do all that, will we? No one flies the yellow q flag any longer.
FDA warns consumers to throw away toothpaste made in China.
- Roland Dobbins
Actually the same page of the LA Times that carried that story has another story of how we are exporting drug research labs to China.
No Quarantines! Open Borders! Free Trade! My God how the money rolls in.
I am in a fairly foul mood what with my head stopped up and two weeks on the road. I probably should not post this:
RE: I'm confused...
I saw this up in your "currrent view" section of the site today. I am confused.
Now I don't think you wrote this, (I hope you did not write it), but it strikes me as horribly racist, and I don't use that word lightly.
A failing school is one with "more than zero "Third World"-type children attending it" ? I'm shocked! Perhaps you understood his comment differently, but to me JIM's words simply scream that he "just don't like Chinks, Niggers and Spics".
Fortunately JIM's remarks have nothing to do with reality. My son is lucky enough to go to Roberts Elementary, a public school here in Houston Texas.
* Statistics from 2001 * 50.7% Caucasian * 20.8% Asian * 14.4% Hispanic * 14.1% African American * 21% are learning English as a second language * 18% are in the Gifted and Talented program * 13% receive Special Education services * 19% come from economically disadvantaged households * 153 are Magnet transfer students
With kids from 40 countires, and only 50.7% caucasian this certianly meets JIM's definition of a Failing School... there are plenty of "Third-World Type Children" at Roberts.
Amazingly enough, despite what JIM says, the houses near there are some of Houston's most expensive, and people are fighting to get INTO Roberts.
* Magnet Schools of Texas Merit Award, 1998 * HISD Exemplary School in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000 * Texas Exemplary School in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2004 * Texas Recognized School in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005 * Mayor's Award for Educational Excellence in 1995 * Governor's Award for Texas Successful Schools 1993 * Mayor's Beautification Award
It also has IB Authorization Roberts Elementary is an authorized International Baccalaureate - Primary Years Programme school. Roberts received authorization on March 10th, 2005. The IB program is administered by the International Baccalaureate Organization <http://www.ibo.org/> . About an IB education: "The International Baccalaureate Organization aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect." "To this end the IBO works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment."
This was done, in no small part, due to pressure from the "Third World" parents who come to Houston with their Cardiologist Dads or their Physics Professor Moms, and who will be going back to their "Third World" country at some point... and THEY want to make sure that their "Third World" student will be able to keep up when they get back to their "Third World" schools in India, Taiwan, Qatar, Japan, Kuwait, Korea, Singapore, etc.
In fact, I could be wrong, but it is my belief that on the recent TAKS test Roberts had a 100% pass rate. (I know my son's class did.)
I don't think Roberts is "Failing" in the eyes of anyone who isn't wearing a white hood.
I for one would have thought that you,would not have tollerated a comment such as that. I certianly would have thought that, given your excellent understanding of economics, you would have commented on the fact that the housing boom has more to do with low interest rates and strict zoning laws than the presence of "more than zero Third World Type Children" in the local public school.
(Incidentally you may want to study Houston on the housing issue. We are the largest city in America with NO ZONING, and I personally feel that this has a lot to do with why our housing cost is almost exactly 1/2 of what it is in California, with all the zoning, envorinmental impacts, Water Quality boards, etc.)
Still though, I am shocked to see VERY thinly disguised racisim on your blog. Am I misunderstanding something here? Did you not post this?
I could not have been more shocked if I had seen porn at Chaos Manor. What is up?
I don't quite trust myself to comment, but I will try.
I do not much appreciate the language you impute to others whom you do not know. I have not edited your letter.
First, of course I didn't write that myself; it was an observation by someone who thinks a lot about this, and who has enough experience to be taken seriously. Second, it was obvious to me that it was intentional hyperbole, but hyperbole can include some real truths. The national statistics show that middle class flight from public schools is very real. We also understand that much of the housing bubble is due to the unintended consequences of making low interest rate government backed loans, which is bound to push up the cost of houses, just as low cost low rate student loans will push up the costs of college education and for exactly the same reasons. Give people money to buy a good and the cost of that good will rise. Always.
Third, it is still something to think about. Perhaps Houston has escaped and congratulations to you, but the blacks in Los Angeles full well understand the costs of Third World invasions of their schools. Now we have black flight from Watts. It is a matter little thought about and less spoken of, and perhaps we would be best acting as if such things do not exist.
Fourth, the term "Third World" last time I looked referred to cultural attitudes including contempt for education and resistance to assimilation. I would have thought that imputing those cultural attitudes to people by race would be less than scientific.
As to what is going on, I thought the letter contained a thought. I also thought my readers were mature.
What could a terrorist do with one of these!?
It was called SLAM, and it's not easy to make. It was once seriously proposed back in the SNARK days. It turns out that you probably don't need warheads. And you sure don't want it back. The nuclear ramjet is simple in theory, but building one would be hard to do, whether in a cave or under a palace.
Noonan: 'The beginning of my own sense of separation from the Bush administration came in January 2005, when the president declared that it is now the policy of the United States to eradicate tyranny in the world, and that the survival of American liberty is dependent on the liberty of every other nation.'
- Roland Dobbins
Peggy Noonan is always worth reading. As for instance:
The Rockefeller country club Republicans thought the same thing about the Goldwater Republicans. G H W Bush and his people had the same attitude toward the Reagan Republicans. Is anyone astonished?
Peggy Noonan is always worth listening to.
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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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