THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 440 November 13 - 19 2006
Highlights this week:
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This is a Day Book. Pages are in chronological, not blogological order.
November 13, 2006
Friday the 13th falls on Monday this month.
Column is up over at Chaos Manor Reviews along with a new mail bag. Both pretty good if I do say so. Subscriptions are coming in.
I am doing a NEW SUBSCRIPTION DRIVE: I need 100 new subscribers to get the newest Mac using Intel Core 2 Duo. I realize that some of you are shaking your heads and saying "Well, who doesn't?" and I can hardly blame you. I can only say in my defense that I'm pretty well convinced this is the way to go with new machines just now, and eventually I'm going to get one anyway: the benefit to you is that with enough new subscriptions I start doing silly things so you don't have to before the end of the year instead of sometime next spring.
Meanwhile, I think I have solved plot problems in both Inferno 2 and Mamelukes. I have to deal with certain forms of heresy in Inferno, and there are a number of subplots in the Janissaries series that none of you are aware of; I dare say there are a few even I am not aware of. I am aware of Inspector Agzaral's plans, more or less, which gives me an advantage over my other characters...
We got our flu shots today.
Over the weekend I heard some radio talk show hosts talking about the US defeat in Viet Nam. This annoyed me enough that I wasted time sending them email, none of which received a reply, but it did cause me to copy the following out of Col. Harry G. Summers On Strategy:
Note that this was in 1972, and it was an invasion from the North, not some kind of insurgency or guerrilla warfare or civil war. This was flat out invasion by World War II sized forces, equipped with Soviet trucks and armor and ammunition; and the result was total defeat for the North (many fewer than 50,000 of those sent south ever got home again) and a total VICTORY for the United States and our South Vietnamese allies.
Why would anyone call this a defeat for the United States?
Because, of course, in 1975 the North did it again. Not an insurgency, not a guerrilla war, not a civil war, but a flat out invasion by more than 12 divisions, a World War II sized operation; and this time, instead of supporting our South Vietnamese allies, the United States, on orders from the Congress of the United States, did not give any air support and limited our materiel aid to twenty (20) cartridges and two (2) hand grenades for each South Vietnamese soldier. South Viet Nam accordingly fell, the United States bugged out with the pathetic scenes of escapes from the roof of the embassy and pushing helicopters off the decks of carriers to make room for incoming. We bugged out, and the Reeducation Camps, Boat People, Killing Fields, and other horrors began.
But we were not defeated. We withdrew on orders from the Congress. That wasn't defeat.
The last time we engaged in Viet Nam we, with our South Vietnamese allies, won a great victory.
Breaking an alliance with phased withdrawal is not defeat. It only feels that way. Perhaps it ought to feel that way -- but our troops were ready to engage the advancing North Vietnamese armored divisions. They didn't cut and run. They were ordered to stand down and watch the slaughter of their former allies and friends and soldiers they had trained.
God help us. God forgive us.
November 14, 2006
Zune is out. Brown is the new black. We'll see, won't we?
November 15, 2006
A good day. Niven was over and we hiked to the top of the hill, about 3 miles and 800 feet up, then our usual Wednesday lunch. Inferno 2 goes well. It's a more serious book than the first Inferno, but it's still fun. It's going well.
Subscriptions are coming in, perhaps not quite as fast as I had hoped, but I should be able to survive until I'm done with one or the other book. Actually that's assured, but just barely.
Made up a Full Monty DVD. Pair of them, actually. This contains everything I have written that I have in digital form, as well as the programs I wrote them on. I'll hand one to Niven and another to my son Alex, so if the house burns down I still have all that.
November 16, 2006
The editorial page of the Los Angeles Times this morning was odd. One columnist, whom I dare say never lived in Iraq and has probably never been there, says we ought to pick a faction -- Shiites -- and back it in the Iraqi civil war. I don't know if that means we should cheer when the death squads go out, or merely stand by twiddling our thumbs.
Probably the best thing we could do while we remain in Iraq is forced ethnic cleansing of trouble areas. Perhaps we could arrange some property swaps. Separating the tribal and confessional opponents would make partition a great deal easier and a lot less bloody. The Swiss did that in their last civil war, with good results. I'm not advocating that; just observing that much of what is written about the Iraqi situation is nonsense, with the occasional addition of nonsense on stilts.
It's time for our morning walk.
Subject: Physics promises wireless power
I'd imagine I'm not the first to send this to you, but just in case...
Actually I hadn't seen that. Thanks!
We have appointments tonight, starting in about five minutes. I have several mailings announcing
Milton Friedman, RIP
I only met him once or twice, but I am pleased to call his son David my friend. I do not think anyone will have a problem finding his biography. The nation owes him.
Subject: Milton Friedman, RIP
A nice piece about a TV interview and his Casio calculator watch:
November 17, 2006
Subject: Milton Friedman and spending
I have been lurking on your site for many years, and enjoy it very much.
Regarding the article you gave a link to, the budget deficit gre by about T$3 since president Bush came into power. I would like to know how much of that was used to fund the war against Iraq, and how much America would have been further along the path of energy self sufficiency if that money could have been applied to space utilization the way you suggested.
Regards, Chris Els
When I first went to work as an engineer at Boeing in Seattle, our unit was in Plant Two, which i was where we made airplanes. The supervisors used to have the engineers and analysts go out on the plant floor once in a while. "Hear than noise? That's the sound of your paycheck being printed."
One thing I noticed was that across the street from plant two was a place called The Tool Crib. This place sold tool kits for aircraft mechanics. Boeing gave workers a tool allowance but expected them to own the basic tools of their trade, supplying only specialized tools. The Tool Crib loaned money -- that is, it sold tools on time payments. All you needed was a job requiring the tools.
The point here is that buying the tools with borrowed money made sense: it was an investment.
Similarly, national deficits make sense if borrowing that money is used to develop means for making more money, employing more people not in public works but in "making two ears of corn grow where one grew before" : that is increasing production and jobs. In our case it's hard to see just what it is that we gained from the enormous expenditures under the late Republican administration.
If I had a Trillion Dollars -- just one -- I'd have nuclear power plants, synthetic fuel plants, and be on the way to transformation of the whole transportation system. We would also have a Lunar Colony we built on weekends and third shifts from the construction of Solar Power Satellites. But instead we have - well, I am not sure what we have for the $T3. Of course Pelosi will spend a similar amount for no more.
The purpose of government is to hire and employ government workers, to collect money from the citizens and spend it; and the goal of politicians is to stay in office and avoid having to go back to work.
November 18, 2006
Why no announcement?
I was just over at Baen's WebScription Ebooks site and discovered they are selling a collection of nine works by you and Niven and at an excellent price. I assume you receive something from this and don't understand why you haven't announced it here on your site.
Nobody tells me anything...
Subject: Up to 60 whales trapped in ice will be killed
One wonders how the ‘global warming’ spin will be modified to be the cause of this….
November 19, 2006
Last night we went to the movies, and when I came back Satine was dead. Off and would not turn on, and it's not the power supply. More in the column, but that, plus today's matinee opening of Engelbert Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel was enough to delay getting the mailbag and column done in time for Brian to post it tomorrow morning. It will be up by Tuesday. I have to replace my Main Writing Machine (no data lost). Actually I suppose I could do everything on this communications system, but I'm used to working in a somewhat different way. Again, more in the column.
The LA Opera production of Hansel and Gretel is wonderful, and if you have any notion of introducing children to the opera, this is the one to take them to. Well staged, in English, and the leads look like children, not like adults playing children.
I was out at Fry's Saturday afternoon, and I looked at the new Mac Book Pro with the Intel Core 2 Duo chips. Filled with memory this is the machine that can take over being just about every machine I use. I'll still need to keep one for Niven, and I do find it convenient to have one communication and one writing system so that I can work on both at once, but the new Intel Mac systems will do it all.
While I was there I looked at the new 24" iMac. That has about the same internals as the Mac Book Pro, about the same speed, and is about the same price. The 24" screen is gorgeous.
Now back to work on getting the mailbag and column done.
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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