A Daybook about a day’s work, and other matters. Ball Lightning,

Chaos Manor View, Monday, August 8, 2016

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

James Burnham

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983



It has been a busy day, mostly making progress on fiction, and in the exercises that are turning me back from vegetation. The news is bizarre and I’ve ignored it. Trump didn’t throw a supporter with a crying baby out of his rally, although the fair and neutral news reported that he had, after which the news debate seemed to be, is a man who threw a crying baby out of a political rally fit to be president? Now if they asked, did he encourage bully boys to make Hillary supporters drink Castor Oil, while his opponents jumped up and down on police cars, bullied Trump supporters with fists and sign, and looted a few stores because it was easy to do, that might be interesting. The right wing opponents of Mussolini used clubs; his socialist Black Shirts preferred Castor Oil. The press could debate which was worse. But Trump’s people have used neither clubs nor laxatives on their opponents, much to the disappointment of the press, so we can’t have that discussion.

I did work hard most of the day, some in computer stuff and some in fiction.


A New Explanation for One of the Strangest Occurrences in Nature: Ball Lightning.

Tesla could generate ball lightning upon demand.



Roland Dobbins



I always wondered why the Orlando killer was able to kill so many.

On 7/23/2016 4:34 PM, Jerry Pournelle wrote:

> And really, we still don’t know

Dear Jerry,

Well now we damned well do. And it turns out those (of us!) who deduced the (lack of) police response was the major factor in the body count were right.

And alas, your dismissal of the Orlando PD culpability was erroneous.

And premature.



One money quote:

Mr. Voss again sheds some light on that decision making process: “This is not military combat where there are acceptable casualties on both sides. Law enforcement doesn’t have that conversation. No casualties are acceptable.”

The two sides he is speaking of are the shooter and law enforcement. The unacceptable casualty rate is for law enforcement. The conversation that law enforcement doesn’t have is how many law enforcement casualties are acceptable. Who’s missing from that equation? The victims. The dying.

Those are the “acceptable” casualties


This article links to the WaPo article on the subject which includes a very revealing graphic on the club layout and the timeline of the action.


Two pieces of goodthink in the articles deserve special attention:

“According to their chief, _these men followed their training_.”

(emphasis mine) – i.e. the Kop Kultur’s Nuremberg Defense. The magic words LEO’s have been taught to regurgitate over and over to make anything they do wrong go away. They get away with it FAR too often.

The Puppycide epidemic comes to mind.

“Let’s not second-guess the cops.” – The Kop Apologist’s mantra #2.

Effectively a blank check for any police blunder. You NEVER hear this attempted in culpable misconduct in any other profession. Ever.

Jerry I’m a long-time fan of your blog. Please know I don’t denigrate you personally for so abruptly absolving the Orlando PD’s conduct. Your reasons for doing so are your own.

Indeed many of us conservatives were raised to believe that to support the Rule Of Law, you have to support the Kop Kultur. Perhaps there was a time that was valid. But now such an attitude is naive at best and suicidal at worst.

But you are a significant opinion leader of (us!) freedom-loving folk. I do request and advise that you apply the same level of skeptical and critical thinking toward the Kop Kulture that you do toward the bunny inspectors and climate-change hacks.

Much depends upon it.

God save the Republic.

Very cordially (still),


Alas I can’t do everything no matter how hard I try; but I do try.


More adventures in computing; this is a journal, and I don’t yet have a happy ending to this story, so it won’t yet go into Chaos Manor Reviews until I do. Eventually a final copy will go there.

(I note that Microsoft Word in its new campaign to see just how much misery users will tolerate, has changed the way I insert the link to Chaos Manor Reviews. Until a week or so ago, it was simple: mark Chaos Manor Reviews or whatever text I wanted to be the link title, choose Insert in the list of menu items listed across the screen at the top of the ribbon, and lo! A list of items would appear, one being a big icon labeled Hyperlink. Click that, paste in the hyperlink address, and it’s done. You could even use control-f1 to collapse the ribbon; the Insert menu item was still up there and easy to find, and little work was involved. Alas, no more. The Hyperlink icon is gone. Eventually you may notice a world icon and the label “Links”. Click that and you get a menu, one item of which is Hyperlinks. Isn’t that a clever improvement? The team responsible for that deserve exciting new careers in concrete breaking. This was a major interruption in my work on this daybook; we’ll get to that later.)

As most of you know, I had a stroke in December. 2014, spent much time in the Providence rehab facility in San Fernando, and have been recovering for the past 18 months. It’s working. My head still works, and I get around in a walker or with a cane, and while I have no sense of balance I do manage. I can drive, although by preference I do not drive at night or on freeways, or often for that matter. Everything takes a bit longer, but most of my problems are physical and can be overcome; all except one and we’ll get to that in a bit.

My primary mental problem is that it takes longer to change the subject. I seem to focus well on one thing at a time, and it isn’t really changing the subject to follow notions to things related to them; in other words, I still think in an orderly manner, and I have some evidence for still having that ability. The big problem is interruptions. This has always been a problem for writers, and some are notorious for their tantrums when interrupted for dinner or to take the garbage out; but for me after the stroke it is a serious concern. Even minor problems with typing or computer problems tend to yank me out of what I was doing to make me think about them, and once I do it takes a while to get back into the previous task.

In particular, I am no longer a touch typist. It used to be that I would look at the screen while typing, and I was fast and accurate enough to keep up with my thoughts. No more. Now I type with two fingers and stare at the keyboard while I do it. Thus it’s important to have the right keyboard, because I am a bloody sloppy typist now and often hit multiple keys. One frequent mistake is to hit alt and the spacebar at the same time. It turns out that alt-spacebar starts a command sequence that can do strange things. Also, imbedding ; or [ into words does odd things to the spell checker. There can be many other problems.

When I first started back to work using my old setups with Microsoft Comfort Curve keyboards, I would have typos in every word, and I’d often lose all my text to some obscure sequence of keys hit after I managed to hit alt-space. It was all discouraging, and I would try to avoid writing, which is not something a writer can do and stay happy.

I spent a year trying for a technical solution and I found one: the ASUS 15” ZenBook desktop has a keyboard designed for me; the keys are large and while not as well separated as I wish they were, does have some spacing between keys. The keyboard is illuminated. The screen is large enough that I can see it without looking very far up, and thus often observe the appearance of the wavy red line indicating an error. Add to that a big BENQ LED high resolution monitor with HDMI input and I have a winning combination. I can look up and edit on that screen, then go back to productive writing. It is no longer so painful that I hate to write and try to avoid it.

I keep that setup in what I call the Monk’s Cell, upstairs away from the telephone, and I’ve been turning out fiction on it, as well as writing some of this day book.



Monk’s Cell

I like it so much that I bought a second ZenBook with the notion of using it as the key input device downstairs in the front office where I do everything but production writing. Expensive investment, but in my experience anything that aids productivity pays off quickly.

There have been problems. In particular, I could not – still have not been able to – install Outlook on ZEN, the upstairs ZenBook. It just won’t install. Neither will LiveWriter, which is what I use to post the daybook writings onto the web site. This is not fatal. The internal network at Chaos Manor works quite well, and I can write up here then send stuff out from a downstairs machine. Still, it was annoying that I could not install Outlook, so Saturday afternoon I tried installing it on the downstairs ZenBook which for various reasons I named Grasshopper. There was already an Outlook 2016 icon in the all programs task list, and clicking on that invoked an install wizard that seemed to do the job. Pretty soon I was looking at what appeared to be an up to date mailbox, with all the mail jammed into the Input box. Over on the main machine I noted a test email to myself.

Next thing would be to import some of the subfolders from the main system. I mildly wondered if the difference here was that Grasshopper is on the local Ethernet, while ZEN is wireless only; there was, after all, a lot of mail to be transmitted. Then things went all to hell. I tried to send/receive on Zen. He trundled forever and the program was no longer responding. Use Task Manager to stop Outlook. Outlook wouldn’t restart. Try again. Box comes up, Outlook didn’t start properly, want to try safe mode? Sure, try that – and up it came, but the latest mail it had was an hour or more old. Fuss about with it a bit more, decide that’s enough, shut Grasshopper down.

Sunday afternoon – my birthday – I asked Alex to look at it. He spent a lot of time updating systems and drivers; the systems were on auto update but Microsoft seemed to have new updates; and the drivers needed attention. Did that, updating all the machines. Eventually Outlook came up on Grasshopper; latest mail was a day old. Send/receive produced endless trundling. Worse. Over on my main desktop/ send/receive produced lengthy trundling and enormous downloads, with not much indication of what files were downloading.

[draft continues but there are details to be added, and following is a summary]

Eventually Alex discovered that ZEN was on as an IMAP, not a POP3 account. He supposed that Eugene, the main machine, and Precious the Surface Pro were also IMAP. Not so, I asserted. I have never installed anything but POP3 on anything in twenty years. Except yesterday I must have. I recalled that the installation wizard never asked or told me about IMAP or about POP3, and must have chosen IMAP.

Meanwhile Outlook on Eugene, and now on Precious, was behaving strangely. Understand we had changed nothing on them; the only change was the addition of Grasshopper which Alex determined was using IMAP. Yet they were downloading old files in big chunks.

Since having some machine properly run Outlook is vital to Chaos Manor, something had to be done. As it was not obvious how to change Grasshopper from IMAC to POP3, the solution was to uninstall Outlook on Grasshopper. That worked. Outlook began behaving properly on Eugene and the Surface pro.

And that’s where we are. I suspected Blue Host, but my advisors have convinced me that was an unfounded suspicion. I note that when I go to WorldCon I can take the Surface Pro to handle email. It won’t be comfortable because the screen and keyboard are small, but technically it will work and I don’t expect to be online a lot there anyway. They have me on six panels, and there are lots of dinner engagements, and friends I have not seen in years. I may not do anything else until I get back home.

Eventually, I will get everything I do running on ASUS ZenBooks, and have stations with big screens above then; everything networked. I am finding the new Microsoft OneDrive to be very useful, both for collaborating with myself, and working with Niven and Barnes. The master copy of our book resides on Steve Barnes’s MacBook Air on his OneDrive, to which Niven and I also have access. I open Word, open the current copy on his OneDrive (obviously I need a high speed Internet connection, but ZEN is only connected by wireless and has no problem with it), and start editing or writing new text. It magically appears on Barnes’s machine.

Eventually I do “Save As” and save a local copy on a hard drive, and because I started back in the old days of “save early and often” I do another ‘save as’ onto a thumb drive so that I have local copies, but I have never had to retrieve one. The Master Copy is always there, even if Steve is in Atlanta with his machine turned off. Kudos to Microsoft for One Drive. I started with suspicions, but I can hardly live without it now.

I note that Microsoft has changed archiving and added an archive icon to the Outlook ribbon; it works fast and efficiently but I only found it by accident. There was no trouble in figuring out how to use it. Select one or more files in a folder (control-a will select them all, even megabytes) and click the Archive icon. Within seconds the files vanish into whatever archive file you’re saving to now. There are ways to change archive files or create new ones, but I will leave you to figure that out for yourself; it’s quite logical. I have been using it all morning, and that button plus compacting the pst files has noticeably improved outlook efficiency on Eugene.

I am developing this into a Chaos Manor Reviews column; it will continue when I have a happy ending. I see that life is still interesting for users…


The So-Called Alien Megastructure Just Got Even More Mysterious The So-Called Alien Megastructure Just Got Even More Mysterious

Last fall, a little-known star called KIC 8462852 became our planetary obsession when astronomers said that its erratic flickering could be the result of an alien megastructure. Further observation of Tabby’s Star yielded no signs of aliens, but the sudden dips in luminosity continue to defy explanation. Now, things just got a bit weirder.


Lee King



Endgame Turkey

What does the Turkish president care if Daesh overruns his country since his family is buying their oil anyway?


Meanwhile, images on social media of conscripts’ being slapped and taunted have shocked a country that venerates the common soldier, as haveallegations by Amnesty International that military detainees have been tortured.

“With its main pillar, the military, broken, the Turkish state will no longer be able to check a divided society or effectively counter security threats,” said Halil Karaveli, a senior fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program.

That is a blow, not only to the country, but also to NATO, of which Turkey is a member. The Turkish military is a crucial ally in fighting terrorism, reining in the Islamic State, and in controlling the migrant tide that has overwhelmed Europe. Chaos within the military symbolizes not only its waning power in the country — and the rise of the police, which Mr. Erdogan built up as a bulwark to the military — but its diminished reliability as a partner to the West.



The West is diminished! The operative phrase here is: “That is a blow, not only to the country, but also to NATO..” of which the United States is a member! Hasn’t anyone else noticed most of our other “allies” are either not paying their fair share or have decided they no longer care for their own sovereignty? Has any major country in NATO not been hit with Daesh terrorist attacks?

Does anyone really think any of these countries are worth half a turd in combat? The English and the French could not initiate and sustain a war on their own even if they wanted to do so! Neither has a complete navy. Germany didn’t even have small arms sufficient to train with in a comparatively recent NATO exercise.

I said it when I was a kid and my Dad explained the concept of alliances and told me who our allies are. I said, “But those countries are all bad; they all would have lost without us. What do we get from them? If we need them, they can’t help us. Why do we help them?” He had no answer; nobody has ever had an answer. They either remain silent or stare at me in disgust. My position on alliances has not changed; if we’re not getting something, what is the point?

I wasn’t born to save the maladjusted foreigners from themselves any more than I was born to save the manatees or cry about the dodo. I’ve got my own maladjusted citizens to work with and I’m starting to wonder if the number of potential mental health referrals is larger than I estimated.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC


It is certainly the end of the Timocratic system built by Kemal Ataturk to modernize Turkey and encourage tolerance and adherence to the Constitution. I mourn it.



Diversity Continues


But when students return to campus next month, the lounge’s women’s-only status will be gone, replaced by a gender neutral space open to all students. It’s a change that’s upset students who say the lounge was a “safe place” free of male hostility.

“If I felt like I was being harassed or scared, I could go there and I would be safe,” said Elizabeth Dziedzic, a sophomore who visited the lounge about once a week during her freshman year.

“Women need a safe place to go, and sometimes dorms aren’t even the safest place.”


What we can’t have “male hostility” in the new “diversity” movement?

So what do you want exactly, special rights for anyone who isn’t a white male? In other words, they want to discriminate against white males as if white males are the source of all their maladjustments?

Women need a safe space? Yeah, it’s called a domicile. We buy or rent those in this country. Get one and keep your ideological madness to yourself. What’s next are these clowns going to get on bicycles and carry about some big blue book with an equal sign on it and ask me if I have time to talk about “Diversity” today?

Are we going to have little churches where we hold hands and sing and talk about the a great achievement of every single class of human recognized by that religion so everyone can “feel included” and “special” in our “safe space”?

It’s like a bunch of folks broke out of a nut house and took over the country.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo





Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.



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