THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 453 February 12 - 18, 2007
Highlights this week:
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February 12, 2007
I am almost caught up with all the detail work.
I have for some time tried to show that the "consensus" on human activity and Global Warming is enforced: if you can't publish contrary data, then there won't be any contrary data.
Subject: global warming and cooling
This article, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1363818.ece , briefly describes an experiment supporting the hypothesis that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation and thereby global warming or cooling. Here's a quote:
"He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun's magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier."
It's interesting that the scientist, Henrik Svensmark of Copenhagen, who proposed this hypothesis did an experiment in 2005 which supported this idea, but was unable to find a journal to publish his article until late last year when it was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.
I have several letters about this. Note what happens: a theory with evidence casting doubt on the "Global warming is due to human activity" hypothesis can't find any journal to publish it, even though the theorist has impeccable credentials. Are we astonished? I certainly am not. This is the kind of thing that set Michael Crichton off. And it's not science, just what a lot of scientists do...
I have sent a notice to subscribers. If you subscribe and didn't get it, please let me know when and how you subscribed and under what name and email address. Some of you didn't get it because your mailbox is full. I can't do much about that, you know.
I am very nearly caught up; now to get upstairs and do some fiction.
Has anyone else noticed that the Internet has been slow and jerky for the last week? Ftp uploads to my site take considerably longer than has been the case for years now.
If you didn't see Sir Richard's prize announcement, look here. This is significant.
I have no data on the reliability of this site or the data, but alas, I can't rule it false on the face of it. If anyone knows more I'd like to hear it.
Is this where we are going in the US? Anarcho Tyranny manifests itself in many ways.
February 13, 2007
I have said for years, both here and in various conferences and at speeches, that if the Chinese decide to seize Formosa (Taiwan, Taipei, the former Republic of China, whatever name you care to give it), the first move will be the detonation of a sub-megaton nuclear device about 100 miles above the interior of China.
This will effectively remove all US space assets; some temporarily, some permanently. Since we have no sortie capabilities for replacing them, the US Navy will be effectively blind and unable to operate in the Taiwan Straits and Yellow Sea. Taiwan will fall.
That may not be the most probable scenario. My old mentor, associate, and partner, Stefan Possony, was once chosen by the Republic of China to argue their case before the World Court; he did well. He was, like me, inclined to favor the Chinese Nationalists over the Communists back in the days when those designations were current and didn't sound quaint. He once told me this:
Possony was one of the most astute analysts of historic trends who has ever lived. He was one of the architects of the eventually successful Containment strategy (See The Protracted Conflict) and was of course the principal co-author of The Strategy of Technology (The chapter on Surprise was very much his); his views have always been worth taking seriously.
Whatever the future, we have a lot at stake in the Far East.
If you have any interest in that subject, go read:
This was recommended to me by both a high tech entrepreneur and a serving naval officer. My entrepreneur friend said
This subject is important.
Strategy of Technology in pdf format:==========
I'm now headed to the Monk's Cell to work on Inferno 2.
Subscribers should have received a mailing yesterday. If you did not, let me know the name you subscribed under, and the email address of the subscription, and what you recall about when and how you subscribed.
February 14, 2007
If you are male and have not discharged your Valentine's Day Obligations, GET TO WORK. There is yet time, but time is short... It is later than you know...
Time to get ready: Niven will be over for a hike and lunch. We're barreling along on Inferno 2 and I have reached the stage where I really want to see what happens next. I know, sort: we have the major scenes in mind that gets us to the end of the book. But sometimes filling in between scenes leads to even better scenes we hadn't thought of: it has always been that way with our books. I can't wait...
If you didn't see the China material yesterday, it's worth a look.
Of course, all bets are off on these predictions if we surrender to the Ludd/Malthus Warmies or the Islamofascists. Without free minds, there can be no progress. Without progress we slide back into the ooze.
We used to estimate that the halflife of an engineer was about 5 years. (I.E. half of what was learned in E-school was obsolete in 5 years.) It may be shorter now. Worse, even techniques are becoming obsolete. When I learned to use a slide rule in high school the same techniques worked in engineering classes. Of course I had to learn other functions and get a better slide rule -- Log Log Decitrig for those who remember -- but what I had learned earlier was not obsolete. Now my slide rule hangs on the wall with a "In Case of Power Loss" sign.
But are our schools better now than they were in the 1940's when I went to high school? I am certain the grade schools now are not really better than Capleville consolidated with 2 grades to a room and 30 students to the grade; at Capleville we all, including the village idiot, could read, and we got real books we had to read. We learned poetry and recited in front of the class (both classes). Much of what I learned in 4 - 8 is not yet obsolete.
There's a lot to think about.
Is the Singularity coming? Will we last that long?
February 15, 2007
I have a note from a subscriber saying that Mail is far too repetitious. Perhaps he is right. At the same time, we have new people coming here every month. I am not quite sure how to deal with that. It's a legitimate complaint.
Of course I don't suppose that everyone reads everything in Mail, and that it's easy enough to skip over redundancies. I also try not to be too redundant, although I admit to posting examples of trends demonstrating the destruction of western civilization and drawing the appropriate conclusion more often than may be optimum. And perhaps I refer to my Iron Law of Bureaucracy too often. I can only plead with Samuel Johnson that people seldom need educating but they often need reminding -- and that the choir needs sermons too. I am not sure what to do about that.
For instance: on the Global Warming front, I seldom have anything new to say: I haven't radically changed my views in some time. From time to time some new data appear; this must be considered. From time to time more headline arguments appear. Those could be ignored if one had been paying attention, but the "consensus" picks up more and more political supporters to the point that we have people proposing to make "Global Warming Denial" a horror on the same scale as Holocaust Denial, and in Europe Holocaust Denial is a criminal offense punishable by years in prison; apparently there is a serious movement to do the same with Global Warming Denial.
As to anarcho tyranny, I hate seeing more examples of this, but the best weapon against the trend is exposure and ridicule. At the risk of yet another repetition, Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
But thanks for the warning; I'll try to keep things more interesting. And of course one need not read everything... (One of my objections to RSS Feeds is that it's harder to ignore, meaning that if I am stuffing things down people's throats I have to be a lot more selective; but selective means passing up items that won't be interesting to most readers, but some readers will really like a lot.)
And on reflection, it's easy enough to skip past that which isn't interesting; and while some people may not want to see more instances of the Iron Law, others do. And I do tend to be a bit proud of developing that hypothesis. It's not as important as Parkinson's Law, but it ain't trivial.
Niven is off to a convention in Pasco, Washington. I was invited as one of the guests of honor, but I am way short of time. I told them a couple of months ago I couldn't make it, and I'll be working on Inferno 2 all weekend. We're at the stage where I am actually eager to work on the book.
I suppose it had to happen. Dame Edna now wants to adopt Anna Nicole Smith's daughter. We have an ersatz prince, a show business lawyer, a drag queen, and a grandmother whom Mrs. Smith actively detested. Plus an old boy friend. And possibly half the male population of Hollywood. Anna Nicole Smith lived here in Studio City for years, including the time when the baby was conceived, and I have a confession. I never met her. Not even at the local Trader Joe's where everyone meets everyone.
Control of that infant is good for tens of millions of dollars, and I suppose all this is predictable. I could think up a good Travis McGee story about all this. I don't suppose anyone is actually concerned about the inevitable mess this will make of the little girl's life.
Much of America is a disaster area. Where is Global Warming when we need it?
I have done some updating of the Global Warming page, and I'll try to put most of the new stuff over there. The page started a couple of years ago, was neglected for a year, and without going back over the old stuff I have put up some of the new there.
And there are more developments in the German Home Schooling story
His example: did you want your kids to grow up to work in an auto factory, or to have some nice job in the service sector like being a nurse or an accountant or a professor of economics?
I wonder if he understands the absurdity of what he has just said?
Leave out that if all we do is service each other it's a bit like getting rich by taking in each other's washing.
There are very few who can be accountants who choose to go to work on an assembly line. The skills and talents are different. The service jobs available to well over a third of the population do not include being nurses and accountants. The service jobs available to most of those on the left hand side of the bell curve may or may not have more dignity and value than working on an assembly line or in factories in general, but that is not instantly obvious.
Intellectuals think like intellectuals. Sure I would rather that my children have jobs as intellectuals than as, say, master mechanics or reupholstering furniture or making fine furniture (to choose some of the more intellectually demanding manual labor); and we have been blessed (or fortunate as you choose) in that all my children are able to do intellectual work and are gifted at the abilities to do abstract thinking and symbol manipulation. But suppose one had been born with lower intellectual gifts? Suppose you have a child with IQ 90; what job do you want? Service or industrial?
Williams also says that protective tariffs benefit the industries protected, this to the detriment of consumers. Therefore we screw the consumers for the benefit of the protected industry. All true: but of course we screw the consumer anyway: we tax them in order to "retrain" and give unemployment benefits to those who don't work.
Which is why a more serious proposal is for a reasonable tariff across the board. Ten to fifteen percent may be reasonable. This is revenue; but it also makes it possible for US workers to compete given Americans with Disabilities, environmental regulations, worker safety, retirement, etc., etc. which we have decided to impose (and this is not an essay denouncing worker safety regulation and proposing unrestricted laissez faire in the workplace). The American worker can't possibly compete with someone not so restricted; we can eliminate the regulations, or impose a tariff. I think of no other alternatives. I do not suppose Williams will look at this, however. Once the Free Trade Mania strikes, it seems all pervasive.
Yeah: it will all be better when all those who used to work in the auto factories have jobs as accountants; which they will get because of the superior education our unionized schools provide.
Williams is also saying that any war would be nuclear and we will not need boots and rifles and ammunition, because the war will be over in two days. And his examples he likes to give assume we are all children and fools. I do not think I can listen to this condescending voice much longer.
Interesting. I think I will go to breakfast.
Subject: Fred on Audible/Visible Security Measures
By George, I think he's got it (as most everyone probably does by now).
I have long said that the purpose of TSA is to convince us that we are subjects, not citizens. I doubt that most people involved know this. Most TSA employees probably truly believe they are heroically trying to keep Americans safe. What this says about their intelligence and/or gullibility I leave as an exercise to the reader.
Example: on my last trip I used the wrong size of plastic bag to put my toothpaste and deodorant in. The TSA chap who was inspecting toothpaste and deodorant kindly rolled up my too-large plastic bag and its contents, and stuffed it into the proper size bag which he supplied. This was kind of him since it saved my having to throw away my possessions, but how was the United States now safer because my too large plastic bag was now inside the proper size bag? He knew how absurd this was. He knew that I knew how absurd this was. Thus was a decent man made to cooperate in folly; and thus was I made to submit to an arbitrary and senseless rule. My alternative would have been not to go to the convention where I was GOH.
The purpose of TSA is to make us accustomed to being subjects. We have long lost the notion of citizenship and self government.
Are we safer for this?
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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