THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 400 February 6 - 11, 2006
Highlights this week:
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February 6, 2006
This is View 400: 400 weeks of The View From Chaos Manor.
We are now rated at 6/10 on the Google importance rating (Instapundit is 8/10 for comparison). My thanks to all of you who not only read this page but link to stories in it.
I'd like to get that rating higher, I suppose, although I am not sure why. We certainly have a quality readership, and that's more important than sheer numbers. Also, I don't know how to do it. I don't intend to change much, and there's no way to manufacture more time to spend working here. Periodically I am asked to change the format, but again I am not sure I see why I should. This seems to work. I am open to suggestions, but the time I have to make radical changes is limited as is my learning capacity (I can learn new habits, but there needs to be a good reason; making habits happen is a major key to productivity, and relearning new habits is the hard part of retooling to do new kinds of work).
In any event, thanks to all of you, and particularly to subscribers. I had not intended this to go on for 400 weeks when we started it. Thanks to subscriptions and renewals -- we recently had a spate of renewals, for which thanks -- we're able to keep this place going.
There were several important items over the weekend, including where you can see copies of those Danish cartoons which have caused all the mischief. You may note that a great number of explicitly anti-Christian works including Peter Blume's Eternal City hang in the New York Museum of Modern Art, and have for decades, and we don't seem to be burning cars in the streets over that. Apparently we need some cultural diversity to teach us the appropriate way to behave when our prophets are blasphemed. Perhaps that will be taught in the diversity lessons in our public schools. How to burn flags, torch embassies, overturn cars and burn them: our youth needs to learn diversity and to learn that no culture is superior to any other. What better way than to learn how to imitate what is going on in Syria and Lebanon? Is this not what diversity is about?
There was also an FPRI Report on future strategy. I am working on a revision of The Strategy of Technology (Possony, Pournelle, and Kane) to include the modern situation regarding China and the "War on Terror". The principles remain the same. The examples will be different. For those not familiar with The Strategy of Technology, it is available in html form here, or you can buy
Strategy of Technology in pdf format:
The subtitle of Strategy of Technology is "Winning the Decisive War". That was true in the Cold War, and it is true now: the "silent and apparently peaceful war" is really the decisive engagement, and China may become a far more dangerous challenger in that war than the USSR ever was.
You might find http://face-of-muhammed.blogspot.com/ interesting.
You will also want to bookmark http://www.gethuman.com/us/. Believe me you will.
|This week:||Tuesday, February
He sank exhausted... Still grinding out the column, and it's very late. Dealing with some fairly important matters, or at least I think so...
Should be good for furniture sales... I'd feel better about this if the prime minister had told them to go to hell, and started building some long ships. Sacking Damascus could be fun.
Mini Ice Age predicted.
-- Roland Dobbins
So here we go again? As I have said many times, the important thing is to know what is happening before we begin to squander resources to fix the problems. Of course those with a huge vested interest in their grants and salaries and free trips to Rio and Kyoto want to begin to fix things and insist they (if not the rest of us) know what's happening: and what they know is that we have to spend a lot of money the way they want us to.
But in fact we don't know what's happening, and we aren't trying very hard to find out. Thanks to Henson and company. We already know....
Is this important? Beginning or end?
And if you have never seen this, it's worth a visit. We had some of this posted here several years ago:
And this one has odd implications. Don't way I didn't warn you:
And we can now find out what kind of humor goes over with Arabs:
Apologies for the blog-like content, but most of this really is self explanatory, and I do have deadlines.
February 8, 2006
The column is in. Meanwhile, there is a lot of interesting mail.
And thanks to all the new subscribers.
Regarding the new ice age, see mail.
Alas for Paul Craig Roberts. Although I am sure some of his friends say the same of me.
February 9, 2006
I'll be away for a couple of days, although I'll be able to check in in the evenings.
Tried to get a Viewsonic 19" flat panel at Fry's yesterday. Took them a long time to find it although it was advertised, then the checkout clerk could not find any rebate, then she couldn't find a supervisor, and I said to hell with it.
Is Fry's into bait and switch? They sure advertised something that I couldn't buy. I wanted the darned thing for a trip.
I guess one gets the ratings by how many link to your site? But in my case it's generally linking to either View or Mail, not the main page; which, I suspect, costs me in the Google "ratings". Perhaps it is time to reorganize but I am not sure how to do that. Of course I am not all that sure I need the ratings to begin with...
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide. By liberalism I specifically include the “diversity” and political correctness memes that liberalism has sprouted. One wonders just how many reminders we need of this basic truth, and just when those not entirely enthralled with these imbecilities will wake up and do something about it?
And perhaps we never will recover. It is difficult to see how England can recover, given how far gone is that land of hope and glory. Mark Steyn, on the back page essay in the February 15 edition of National Review, gives two examples. One is merely upsetting. The other shows we are well past the beginning of the end.
The upsetting example is the trial of Finsbury Park Mosque Imam Hanza, known to his detractors as “Hooky Hanza” because he lost his hands in an unfortunate accident that seems to have involved incendiary devices, on nine counts of soliciting to murder. Hanza’s defense, presented by the eminent barrister Edward Fitzgerald, QC, is that Hanza is merely following the Koran. “It is said he was preaching murder, but he was actually preaching from the Koran itself.” If that’s the best Fitzgerald can do for the defense, it’s astonishing that he took the case. What’s upsetting is that apparently he believes it will work: so far are we into diversity now that preaching murder, provided only that the preaching is true to the Koran, is no crime.
I would take it as evidence that being a Muslim makes one a dangerous and suspicious character, someone to be put under surveillance since the presumption is that a good Muslim believes that there is no peace with the House of War, only truce, and a good Muslim must be committed to jihad: to eternal war for the Faith against the infidels. If those propositions are not true, then Sheik Hamza has no defense at all. You can’t have it both ways, since he certainly was preaching jihad. He says he was advocating “fighting”, not murder. His barrister tells the court why he was advocating “fighting” for Islam. It is nowhere explained why fighting with weapons is not murder.
But that is merely irritating, not an unmistakable sign of a civilization in an unrecoverable attitude.
The more startling case is also in trial at the Old Bailey, where Nick Griffin, leader of, as Steyn put it, the “highly non-multicultural British National Party,” is on trial for “using words or behavior likely to stir up racial hatred.” A speech crime: but the hooker is that the jury has been instructed that it is not to consider the truth of Griffin’s remarks. The criminality of the statement is not mitigated by factual accuracy.
This isn’t as new as you think. There was a prosecution in the 1950’s in Illinois over an article in a scholarly journal that claimed that the average IQ of Negroes is lower than that of whites. Truth of the assertion was not allowed as a defense, because the statement is derogatory to a race, therefore a hate crime (although in 1956 I do not think the term “hate crime” had been invented). Those of us in experimental psychology graduate schools in those times were a bit concerned about this case. As I recall it was dismissed on technical grounds having to do with the wording of the indictment, and the prosecution didn’t pursue the matter further, while the team that published the article made haste to issue apologies. The implications were clear then, and have been getting clearer ever since.
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” When BYTE was owned by McGraw Hill, every now and then I would get a call from McGraw Hill legal pointing out that if I said certain things in the column, we might be sued. In every case the legal staff added, “We just want to be sure you can prove it’s true. If it’s true and you can prove it, we’ll handle it from there.” Indeed they seemed eager to take on someone threatening libel when we could prove truth. One such threat came from a New England contractor over remarks I made about the inadequacy of the computers in the then prevalent NASA space suits. They even asked McGraw Hill to fire me in apology to them. Instead, legal advised me on just what I’d need to prove the truth of what I’d said, I said I had all that, and that was the end of it. No law suit. I could prove what I said was true.
What Nick Griffin said, a year before the July 7 bombings, was that “We all know that sooner or later there’s going to be Islamic terrorists letting off bombs in major cities, and it might not be London, it could as easily be the White Rose Center” [which is located in Leeds, where Griffin was speaking at the time]. He added that the bombers would prove to be asylum seekers or second generation Pakistanis.” And lo! Three of the four July 7 bombers were second generation Pakistanis from Leeds.
But since the jury is explicitly not allowed to consider the truth of the statements, that is no defense.
And that, I put it to you, is a sign that the land of the mother of parliaments is far gone indeed; and that if it can happen in England, it can happen here.
And see Fred on religion over in mail. Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.
February 10, 2006
The modern economist take on the trade deficit is found
A bit like a neo conservative restatement of "we owe it to ourselves" with regard to national debt.
The same issue of TCS has a memorial to the telegram. http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=021006E I've been meaning to write one myself. Telegrams were important once. "The Department of War regrets to inform you..." And one could always get a job delivering for Western Union. No more telegrams. It had to come, of course.
I have mail, and remarks, on Fred on religion over in mail.
And on that score, I invite you to consider that most of the acts of the liberals are based on an extreme view of equality that reaches egalitarianism. There is zero objective evidence for the equality of human beings, and the arguments for assuming equality tend to be either religious or based on the intellectual capital of religion. Were we to attempt to prove that all are equal and equally deserving (assuming we can find a non-religious basis for the concept of justice and dessert) without using religious arguments we would likely fail, and almost certainly fail to convince most of our citizens. Plato tried to rescue justice from religion in The Republic, and there are those who think no one ever bettered his arguments; but they are compelling only to a very few.
February 11, 2006
We came down to the beach for the weekend, but it appears we have to pack up and head for home again.
I'll catch up tonight.
We're home now. The weather at the beach is wonderful, but Roberta wasn't feeling up to it, so here we are back in Chaos Manor.
The good news is that Abe's of Maine sent me precisely what I ordered, brand new, boxed, and I have my new camera.
There's a lot of mail and stuff to deal with.
February 12, 2006
There is a long piece in the LA Times today about bureaucracy and military technology and the new devices for sweeping an area of Improvised Intelligent Devices. The writer doesn't quite understand the arguments, which are pretty complex, but it comes down to this: if you hand regular troops a new device, they have to come up with doctrines and tactics for using it, and some of them are likely to get hurt; and they almost certainly won't use it effectively at first.
Do we then test the holy hell out of it back in Nevada, and let troopers be killed who might have been saved by the new technology; or do we put it in the hands of the troops and let troopers be killed by misusing it when they might have been saved by more traditional ops and tactics? The development and deployment of weapons includes development and deployment of doctrines for their use.
The obvious solution to this problem is an all volunteer elite unit whose job it is to live fire test new equipment and devise doctrines and tactics for their use. Send them in along with the regulars. We've done all this before, and it generally works pretty well. The problem is the career path for the officers in charge of such a unit -- it's generally a dead end, just as being a pilot was a dead end for all but a few in the Army Air Corps. If the officers of the special unit are not regular combat officers, they won't be effective and won't be ingenious in devising usable doctrines. You don't want a lot of eggheads in charge of troops, and you don't want doctrines and tactics designed by people who have no idea of how to lead troops; nor do you want tactics designed for all-elite units if they are to be incorporated into the regular forces. None of these problems are insoluble, but they need thought and design. Meanwhile, troopers are being killed by IED's when we have technological means for saving a lot of them.
We went into some of these factors in Strategy of Technology (html version here), and I really need to revise the book to take account of developments since the end of the Cold War. The principles remain the same. The examples and applications change. It's the job of eggheads like me to turn those into ideas that can be useful to those who have the responsibility of leading young troopers in harm's way; and when the eggheads like me get critical of those people, it's time we stepped back and thought about what we are doing. We don't have to write letters home.
Meanwhile, the promise of the new robot IED detonator ("Joint IED Neutralizer, or JIN) seems high: so high that a bureaucracy is being created. A four star general is suddenly put in charge because the one-star who supervised it's development won't have enough clout. Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy takes over. Those looking out for the interests of the bureaucratic JIN organization gain influence, those looking out for the interests of the troops the JIN is designed to help lose influence. Officers concerned about the situation are afraid to speak.
Fortunately the Marine Corps, an elite all volunteer outfit, wants to deploy JIN now, and develop doctrines and tactics on the fly. But then the Marines have always been the outfit of choice for such actions. Semper Fi.
Strategy of Technology in pdf format:
While I am doing commercials, it's allergy season again (when isn't it an allergy season in Southern California?) and I can repeat my endorsement of the nasal pump that makes my life bearable in times like these.
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, 8,000 - 12,000 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. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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