THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 262 June 9 - 15, 2003
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 - 7,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here.
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June 9, 2003
The last of the May column is up at www.byte.com and I have filed the June column, and I have errands. There's mail over at mail.
For more information on the Paypals request for information scam see
|This week:||Tuesday, June
There is a lot of new mail today. And I am still cleaning up things. I have put screeds on conscription and NASA in mail.
And Roland and many others recommend:
And if you are looking for something else to read, try the mail on China and Air Power
I have a lot of work to do. Meanwhile I have opened a new TOPICS page on SPACE ACCESS, prompted by something in today's MAIL. In putting all that space access stuff together, I had to go through some of the recent mail.
I am astonished at just how much good mail, over what a wide variety of topics, I get. I like to think my replies add something to all that, too.
The statistics for this site indicate a lot of traffic. It's not entirely reflected in the subscriptions, and I suppose that's no accident since we run this place like public radio, you pay if you want to, but it isn't required, but I do have the right to nag you a bit and lay a guilt trip or two on you.
But when I read in the newspapers about prominent "bloggers" and the like I find many of them have fewer readers than we do. Many of those support themselves with advertisements. I don't intend to do that -- it's a lot of work and would require a staff, and there's the conflict of interest issue. I am more interested in why no one outside the readership seems to have heard of this place. Not that we have an uninfluential readership, and I am sometimes astonished at the places I get mail from. I suppose I'm merely grousing here: I spent more time organizing the space access topics page than I had intended, saw all the mail and realized how much of that needed organizing, and thought I probably ought to get better software that organizes things on its own.
And that will require work and time I don't have, and that's depressing. Anyway, I have done some organization on space access, and I think it represents the best you will find on prizes, x projects, and space access technology you are likely to find anywhere.
Maybe next project will be to organize the war material and what to do in Iraq; but at least we have a head start on that.
Meanwhile, if you have an idle moment, go find a couple more readers, and get one of them to subscribe so I can justify the work I've just been doing here...
The newspapers today have much about Israel and the Road Map given the terrorist attacks and the Israeli retaliations. Bush is "upset" and unhappy with Israel for their reactions. I can understand his frustration. I also suspect this is not the last time he will have those feelings.
It takes two to make peace, and when the principal organizations among the Palestinians make it clear they intend war, and send their minions out to bomb civilians, there's not a lot of negotiation to do.
Hamas and Hezbollah have to be defeated.
Unfortunately, I doubt Israel can do that on its own; but it is that path that those recent retaliations imply. Israel has said "we will take care of the matter" and did not ask for cooperation from the Palestinian Authority, doubtless because they didn't think it would do any good.
They have reason to be skeptical. The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister may be sincere in his desire to come to some peaceful resolution, but it is not clear that he will be allowed to do what that takes, which is wholesale suppression of the groups called "freedom fighters" by many Palestinians and "terrorists" by all Israelis and most of the non-Muslim world. By suppression I mean military operations, apprehensions and confinements in prisons and concentration camps, executions, and assassinations; and I can't think any Palestinian official can do that. He won't have the loyalty of his own police and fighters, and cooperation with Israel will be seen as treason by most of his own people.
A referendum in the Palestinian territories, and probably in most of the Arab areas of pre-1968 Israel as well, would, in a secret ballot, be for the extirpation of Israel and the transportation of all Israeli Jews to Florida and New York: to drive Israel into the sea. Since that isn't going to happen, "democracy" in the West Bank isn't going to happen, at least not democracy with government power. And since the Arab elements within Israel have far more children than the Israelis, over time Israel itself is going to have problems remaining both Jewish and democratic.
So I wonder if there is any possible "Road Map" that doesn't involve ethnic cleansing under some other name. At some point Jews from the settlements are going to have to either get out, or forcibly move their neighbors to Lebanon and Jordan; and at a later time, Arab citizens of Israel will themselves have to be expelled, either to a walled off Palestinian area that may or may not be called a state, or again to Lebanon and Jordan and Syria.
Israel's problem is not military means and military might. They have all they need to do that. It's the total intransigence of an alienated population that no longer believes there is a future. When teen-age girls study martyrdom rather than motherhood, you have reached a turning point.
We can wish Bush well with his Road Map, and God knows he sincerely wants to see peace in that troubled area of the world; but I have no idea how to get there, and I don't think he knows how either.
This Saturday we are having lunch with the retired Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem. He is the first Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem born there, of Arab Christian ancestry. I have known him for some years. We will see if he has any notion of a way out. I can hope.
On taxes and taxation, the following exchange in a discussion group I am part of:
Yes, that is ballpark. I posted some data on this a month or two ago in response to a similar question by G. C. It is pretty easy to google up more data on it. Try stuff like
The data for 1999 show:
The top 1 percent of taxpayers earned 19.5 percent of all adjusted gross income, but paid 36.2 percent of all federal personal income taxes. *
The top 10 percent of taxpayers earned 44.9 percent of all adjusted gross income, but paid 66.5 percent of income taxes. *
On the other hand, the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers earned 13.2 percent of all adjusted gross income, but paid only 4 percent of income taxes.
Also see the report here: http://www.taxfoundation.org/prtopincome.html where for 2000 it was only 3.9%
Scroll down to Share of Federal Individual Income Taxes Paid by Income Group, 1999
Although to be technical, I think it should say "bottom 50 percent of households"; many of those households don't pay income taxes at all, so they're not "income tax payers." They may of course pay sales, payroll, or property taxes.
Now let's talk again about "tax cuts for the rich" given you CANNOT give a tax cut to the poor (although you can of course pretend that a handout check is a 'tax cut' as apparently they are about to do).
Ah well. The glories of democracy.
Regarding the Iraqi War, from listening to talk radio and country music stations, I get the impression that the war is over revenge: they blew up some of our buildings so we broke some things and killed some people and now we're going to pump enough oil to make them all pay for it.
June 12, 2003
First, on pop-up advertisements, I don't use them and neither does www.byte.com . If you experienced one after visiting either this site or it is likely that your system has been visited by Gator or some other web tracking program which you got from another web site. Some of those delay activation until you've gone other places so that you won't know where you got that plague.
The proper remedy for these is Ad-Aware or Spybot. I use both because sometimes each finds things the other did not. You ought to run those at least weekly, and if you do a lot of web surfing, daily. I think I have told the story of my wife's machine that had 40 running spyware processes that among them ate 60% of her system resources, and my son Frank had well over 100 spyware programs running: his machine took over five minutes to boot because of all these things.
All right, I am sure it has been explained to me before, but will someone tell me precisely what are the advantages (to me) of blogging software over what I am doing now with FrontPage? I gather it does a better job of keeping track of threads and topics, which I tend to do by hand with links and once in a while by consolidating things into a topic or a report; but does it really make it easier to find things when the topics are spread out all over the intellectual spectrum as they tend to be here?
I am used to what we do here and it works reasonably well, although sometimes I find that some really good stuff got posted and passed over because other news ate its lunch. Not much one can do about that, or if there is I don't know it.
But I'm open to advice. I don't promise to remember the answers any longer this time than last; when I am in the throes of a novel or even a column I tend to have an interrupt driven memory and O find I have more fits of absentmindedness than I used to. Oh. Well.
And I still find the term "blog" ugly, even if I can claim to have been one of the very first "bloggers".
Of course one advantage would be a lot of cross posts which would increase my standing with Google, and thus the readership. On the other hand, I'd far rather have quality than quantity, and I particularly don't want to see a huge pile of comments; I typically don't read those when I encounter other pages, and I don't really want this place filled with them. I try to select mail that interests me. I get a LOT more than I post...
June 13, 2003
Friday the 13th falls on Friday this month
On blogging: one reader tells me the big advantage is the simple software that will let you get post from many places. I don't really have that problem with FrontPage, because I have copies of FrontPage on all my portables including Lisabetta the Tablet PC.
And I have a number of readers who say "It ain't broke, don't fix it, and by the way, I'm renewing my subscription," which is a pretty good indication of satisfaction...
I'm still listening, but for the moment my inclination is to continue this way. Now if I can just get some pictures into the system... (That's not a FrontPage problem it's time management. But Dvorak was over to Chaos Manor the other night and that ought to go up. As well as new pictures of Sable.)
I was cleaning out the "ALL" box (where I keep a copy of everything that comes in) and found I had about 18,000 emails last month, of which 60% were pure spam and rejected by my filters. I suppose there were a few real letters in there, but I do periodically do a random sample of the rejected mail and lately I have found almost none. Note that Mazin/Rocket with Spam Assassin filters out an enormous amount of spam before it can ever get to my filters; much of what I get comes in through Earthlink.net which does an absolutely miserable job of filtering spam. At one time the Earthlink Spaminator was pretty good, but no longer.
And I still get a fair amount of stuff with key words like penis and viagra and organ enhancement in the subject line. And more that tries to evade the filters by having subject lines that make sense until you look at the message (why do they DO that? Do they think someone who filters out their subject will then be pleased to see they evaded the filter, and now will send them money?) I am more and more convinced that public execution of about 100 spammers is the only possible solution to this. Of course the authorities would like it to get so bad we will be willing to pay taxes to the government in the form of email postage. Actually I would be willing to pay a tenth of a cent for every email I send after the first 1000 a day, but not to the GOVERNMENT, which will just use the money to hire people who will dream up other ways they can put their hands in my pockets. Maybe to a charity? You can choose one of a list of charities, and your ISP collects the money. A tenth of a cent for all over the first 1,000 a day would cost me little, and it would at least make the spammers pay something...
Subject: E-Mail Postage
While I, too, wouldn't be bothered with a 1mil e-postage rate beyond 1000 pieces per day, the problem arises in collecting the fee from the spammers.
As I understand it, most e-mail is originated by spammers locating and using "open-relays"... e-mail servers which do not verify that the sender is a proper client of that server.
Unless a non-forgeable "stamp" could be attached to the message, and the message blocked before it entered the system, then I fear that the problem will remain with us. The USPS, for all it's problems, does a pretty good job of not delivering mail unless there's postage affixed.
Dave Ballentine, KQ3T Export PA
And I agree; there needs to be some way to deal with that, and perhaps it is impossible. On the other hand, having the ISP collect would stop the casual spammers. The hard core spammers (of whom I am told there are fewer than 200), protected by the DMA and its lobbyists, are going to be with us until we can hire the Godfather Corporation to deal with them. Publicly and painfully.
Security warning for NETSCAPE, OPERA, and MOZILLA users!
Outlook 2000 Is especially obnoxious today, taking forever to download some long file, probably spam, and eating most of the rest of the resources of the system as it does it. I am installing Outlook 2003 and that's a bit better. And I can live with 2000, usually, but today I must be getting a lot of long spams.
And you will all find this interesting:
and in fact it's rather important.
June 14, 2003
Last night an ATI 9700 board died. It just started doing crazy things. Reinstalling the drivers didn't help. Today I will take the machine apart and see if I can see anything. I have been happy enough with the board, and I'd like it to work right. ATI boards have better text than almost anything else I have seen, and I spend a lot of time looking at text. And the colors were good on that ATI 9700. Of course I didn't have any real need for a board that fast, but it was nice to know the speed was there if I needed it.
I'll look into warranties, but I don't have any paperwork. I think the board was sent by an ATI PR firm anyway. Since it will work for a short time after rebooting, I suspect heat, but we will see.
The 9700 problem was heat. The case is cool, it has two exhaust fans in addition to the power supply fan. The 9700 has a small fan on the board. Not enough. I put a muffin fan into the system to blow on the 9700. That stopped the blow ups.
June 15, 2003
Father's day, and two of the boys came over and planted a lemon tree to take the place of one I had for a long time until it died. Family day, a good day.
I have cut the links to Paypals so that the image it was going after is now local, as it should have been. Thanks to readers who pointed that out. Now the only way you'll have any connection with Paypals is if you clink on one of the Paypals Subscribe boxes. They're not too obtrusive...
AT&T Worm Warning, See Security Page
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