THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 458 March 19 - 25, 2007
Highlights this week:
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March 19, 2007
I am running late again, sort of as usual. Inferno II is now to a critical scene; while not the dramatic climax of the story, it is the denouement of a number of threads, and wraps up much of the "philosophical" part of the story. Of course we don't want you to know there IS a "philosophical" part of the story, at least not while you're reading it. Anyway, it's a tricky scene.
Thursday morning Niven and I are off to Phoenix for the Space Access conference to find out what's going on in the private space business. We should finish plotting out the rest of the action scenes, and I expect to have a first draft of Inferno II ready to send to our editors by the end of April. Then in May we're going to DC, for a conference on the future of security and terrorism or something of the sort followed by BALTICON where Niven and I are the guests, followed by a couple of days in DC with our editor. We'll be discussing our next big book: we've done well by hitting the Earth with large objects, and it may be time to do that again...
The mailbag for Chaos Manor Reviews is up today. I am still working on the column, which I hope to have ready for posting tomorrow. Meanwhile there is a special report by Peter Glaskowsky. If you aren't following the mail at Chaos Manor Reviews, you should; there's often as much substance as you'll find in the columns. I do believe that both at CMR and here I have the best mail section on the web. On that subject, I have a lot of mail on many topics for this site. I'll get some of it up now, more when I get back from a couple of errands and before I go upstairs to work on Inferno. Once I get into the fiction world I don't pay a lot of attention to this one.
Good news: EarthLink has come through and it is once again possible to subscribe to this site (and Chaos Manor Reviews; one subscription covers both) by credit card. You can also buy Roberta's reading program. The secure connections once again are working. I'll have more to say on this in the column.
|This week:||Tuesday, March
I'm still grinding away on Inferno. I have done this week's column and it will be posted tonight or tomorrow, and meanwhile there are two special reports at Chaos Manor Reviews. I think the subscribers are getting their money's worth...
March 21, 2007
I first read this not long after it was written in 1940. I've remembered parts of it, including the last verse, ever since. I'm not sure why I am putting it here except that I found it again and it ought not be lost.
Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, fine soldier,
In your dandy new uniform, all spick and span,
With your helmeted head and the gun on your shoulder,
Where are you coming from, gallant young man?
I come from the war that was yesterday's trouble,
I come with the bullet still blunt in my breast;
Though long was the battle and bitter the struggle,
Yet I fought with the bravest, I fought with the best.
Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, tall, soldier,
With ray-gun and sun-bomb and everything new,
And a face that might well have been carved from a boulder,
Where are you coming from, now tell me true!
My harness is novel, my uniform other
Than any gay uniform people have seen,
Yet I am your future and I am your brother
And I am the battle that has not yet been.
Oh, where are you coming from, soldier, gaunt soldier,
With weapons beyond any reach of my mind,
With weapons so deadly the world must grow older
And die in its tracks, if it does not turn kind?
Stand out of my way and be silent before me!
For none shall come after me, foeman or friend,
Since the seed of your seed called me out to employ me,
And that was the longest, and that was the end.
They are now burning American Soldiers in effigy. So far have we come.
We hear that there are tumults and riots in Rome, and that voices are raised concerning the army and the quality of our soldiers. Make haste to reassure us that you love and support us as we love and support you, for if we find that we have left our bones to bleach in these sands in vain, then beware the fury of the legions.
Subj: John Backus, Father of FORTRAN and BNF, R.I.P.
Circulating the Internet:
I got all of them "correct" but some of the questions are badly framed and I had to figure out the biases of the testers.
The subject was, "Is The 'Surge' Doomed To Final Failure"
My remarks are in plain text. Col. Couvillon's are in trebuchet.
If there's a single individual responsible for debacle it was Bremer. Reading his book is painful. I cannot imagine someone that na´ve taking the job in the first place. I also can't figure out why they chose him. Anyone would know he didn't know what he was doing. He didn't even have his own team.
-The Iraqis (in the street) thought Bremer was a joke (while I was there). The man rarely left the Green Zone and when he did it was carefully orchestrated - ergo, no insight on what was going on with the people. Shoot, the man wore suites with desert combat boots! The Iraqis laughed tremendously at this (shoes have status), where even the poorest Iraqi will try to wear leather shoes if he can obtain/afford a pair no matter what the status of the rest of his clothes.
If they'd given me the job I would have insisted on enough money to pay the generals who would then pay the Iraqi Army to mostly stay in barracks, but BE there. (Dock the generals for each trooper who vanishes and for any incidents in their sectors. Here, general, is the pay for your troops. If you steal it all they'll desert and then we won't pay you any more. If they riot we'll stop the pay. But here's the money for this week....)
But that's another story. I still don't see how to keep Sunni and Shiite from each others throats. Not now.
-It's possible, but we have to engage the Imams and Sheiks and provide THEM with incentives to tolerate the others. My inclination is that the 'people in the street' will readily accept their Muslim brothers were they not vilified by their religious leaders. Our support for a moderate religious leader is radically tempered by our abhorance to church/state issues. Allah be praised, Barak Obama can go from state legislator to viable presidential candidate based on media adulation only - couldn't the great country of Madison Avenue do the same for some amenable Ummah?
But we could still recruit sepoys. Auxiliaries. Keep the Legions for linear war. But will we do anything like that?
I get discouraged.
Which means this: we are agreed that if we recruit a long-term auxiliary army of occupation; and get the US PR machine behind the concept of peace and a republic in Iraq; the mission is possible.
But are either or both of those possible? And if we can't do either?
March 22, 2007
Niven and I are off to Phoenix this morning. I'll try to keep this site up while I am there, but no specific promises other than a report on the Space Access Society conference and some words on the future of private space.
We expect to have Inferno II scene by scene outline done before we get back, plus some anecdotes to insert into the narrative, plus probably some pretty good lines. We work well on long trips together.
I may have pointed to this before, but you'll like ithttp://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2007/
March 23, 2007
We're in Phoenix. It promises to be a busy weekend. I am speaking tonight. There are tons of bloggers. You can probably find one if you look. I guess. I haven't been able to.
http://www.space-access.org/ is where I am.
I'm writing this during a panel.
We just heard Carmack. Keep watching the Armadillo Aerospace web site. His flight pictures are great and will be posted Real Soon Now. They've done an inspiring film.
The Heinlein Prize was supposed to be $500,000 a year for the advancement of commercial space. That's about the annual budget of Armadillo Aerospace. If that prize money were awarded to actual commercial space efforts, it could have a very significant impact in keeping this work going.
March 24, 2007
Subject: Could you mention the bloggers reporting on Space Access '07?
Jerry, would you be willing to mention some of us who are reporting on Space Access '07?
Thank you for your consideration
-- -- * * * * Henry Cate III <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others." -- Jacob M. Braude
I am listening to a pitch on getting gamers to play games with space prizes. The Man Who Sold The Moon becomes a text book. But the games and lotteries have to be free and get revenue from advertisements. State lotteries want no competition...
Win a trip to space by playing StarCraft?
Speaker: Barbara Morgan who graduated from high school the year I was born has been selected as an astronaut and has been waiting 22 years for a mission. Maybe the lottery system has a higher expected value of payoff than the government model.
Another blog source on Space Access Society meeting:
Here is the beginning of Clark Lindsey's coverage of Space Access -- with links to Jeff Foust's and Rand Simberg's --
In case anyone here misses anything, this is even better than sitting in the room and taking your own notes --
Last night Robin was showing me around Second Life. You can find her there as Rocket Seller.
NASA out of the NACA business. NASA is no longer in the R&D business.
Where can we put R&D? NSF? Back into NASA? DARPA? NSF grants to private industry?
Something has to be done. The Congress probably doesn't know that NASA is dumping the Research mission. They need to be told; but it's also important to think on where this function ought to be.
It's off. NASA ought to get out of operations, but should support both science and R&D. That's not where it is going. It is not at all clear that Congress knows this.
Joanne Dow has new diatribes.
Interesting conversation at the coffee stand. Buzz Aldrin is between events and dropped by the Space Access Society meeting. Haven't seen him in a while.
|This week:||Sunday, March
Up early, drove home. Uneventful. All is well.
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