Airpower, Temperature, Dragon, NATO, and much other Mail

Chaos Manor Mail, Saturday, February 21, 2015


Roberta is singing at a funeral that I didn’t wake up in time for. The newspaper is outside, down five brick steps in front. Needless to say I don’t go out the front way. Sometimes a neighbor will toss the papers up on the patio, where I can get at it, but no one seemed to be walking their dog when I looked out. Which makes this a good time to catch up on some of the mail; I’ll try to put current topics first, but it’s all interesting.



Airpower and IS

Respectfully, I would point out to Joe Zeff that air power never managed to shut down the Ho Chi Mihn trail.
Air power people keep claiming (in effect at least) that it can win the war for you. Where and when has that ever been true?
The 8th Air Force did not relieve Bastogne; Patton’s 3rd Army did.
Strategic bombing invited the Luftwaffe to destruction; the Wehrmacht needed to be defeated by armies. Air superiority is useful and important, but that does not equally winning.
Naval gunfire for days and air strikes did not win Iwo Jima. It took boots on the ground and many casualties.
I suppose we could plaster an area with nuclear weapons and make it uninhabitable, but how is that “winning?”
I am sure you know all this; you have said as much. What part of this is not obvious? Why does this keep coming up?

Michael J Schuerger Sr

“Winning” is a concept that isn’t studied enough, in my judgment. In the Cold War, surviving without a nuclear war was a win. I did a study on Stability and National Security that was used in the Air War College, and may still be. But at any level below Central Nuclear War other definitions apply. USAF matured under that condition, and requirements tended to be dominated by the necessity of survival in Big wars; small wars got less attention, which led to Viet Nam where it never escalated to the level USAF was really prepared for. The Russians never trusted their allies with real air power, so local air supremacy was relatively easy to achieve; but they never learned what to do with it.

You can fly over the land, you can bomb it, you can kill everything in it, but you do own it until you stand an 18 year old soldier with a rifle on top of it. General Powers thought that USAF should never give up a mission, so close support of the ground army was kept which meant all fixed wing aircraft. Over time the Army developed rotary wing craft, but they cannot perform all the requirements of real ground support. The primary mission of USAF (other than Strategic Nuclear capability) is and should be gaining and keeping local air supremacy. In this era of SAMS and electronics that is tough to do; and when it comes to design decisions this tends to dominate. The result is obvious.

This subject requires a longer essay than I can write with my present typing skills. I am going to try Dragon and see what that does. It’s an important subject.


I’m not that crazy about turning our military in to a mercenary contract coordinator, but in some respects that’s exactly what it is already. However, maybe it’s time for a private company to purchase all the A-10s and sub-contract their services to the U.S military. There are more than enough people who are willing and able to drive warthogs, and that way they can by-pass all the commissioned-warrant-non-commissioned BS over the people flying them, as well as which service has the authority to use or dispose of them. It wouldn’t be that much different from the way the government subsidizes the airline industry today.

Michael D. Houst

I do not think I agree, but it is an interesting notion.


Leaving NATO

You wrote yesterday, and have done so in days past, that the US should leave NATO. You state that NATO has done its job, shutdown the Soviets, so now we are free to leave. However, NATO has another job just as important as shutting down the Soviets was: keeping Europe disarmed and occupied by a friendly force.
Prior to the US occupation of Europe, there had seldom been peace in Europe. This was fine for the young United States as it kept European powers busy with each other, wasting lives and treasure 3,000 miles from our shores. A peaceful Europe would have left the European Powers able to conquer the US. This state of affairs suited the US just fine until industrialization gave the European Powers the ability to fight global wars.
The United States was no longer safe from a warring Europe. Their wars spilled out all over the globe. The incessant warring in Europe had to stop. The European Powers had never been able to stop on their own, so after World War II, the United States occupied Europe. We established huge military bases throughout and around the region. We convinced the European Powers that we could act as their military, defending them against the “external” threats of the time (the Soviets were sure convenient), so we got them to largely disarm. The European Powers were happy with this — they could spend their treasure on rebuilding after WWII and then on social programs that make politicians happy and bribe the people into quiescence.
The United States realized after the two world wars that it was much cheaper in lives and treasure to occupy a disarmed Europe than it was to arm itself for another European invasion. If we leave NATO and let Europe rearm for serious warfare, we will have to rearm for serious European invasion. We will have to have the capacity to meet and defeat major industrial powers in global warfare again. And this time, we cannot count on the oceans to keep the bombs and missiles, or even the armies, off of our land. We will have to prepare to be invaded as well. This gets ugly.
I say it is cheaper in lives and treasure to stay in NATO, keep justifying it, and keep Europe occupied and disarmed.

Kevin L Keegan

NATO primarily threatens Russia and makes it difficult to exploit our common interests with Russia in dealing with China. It embroiled us in the Balkan mess where we had no interests at all other than sentimental – the participants there were no more vicious than many African conflicts produce.

The French want us to sit on Fritz. Europe need not spend so much on defense. The US subsidizes Europe that way. While I have considerable sentimental regard for the Balkan republics, they are hardly vital allies against – anyone. It is time for Europe to grow up.

Again this is a larger subject than my typing permits just now.


Hello Jerry this is written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 12 on a Microsoft Surface Pro 2. I would suggest you look into using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to help you use your computer and do speech to text for writing. I am using a Buddy microphone in the USB port. This is a flexible microphone and can be twisted into any shape. Using this system I can sit in my easy chair using the Surface Pro on battery power and dictate into the computer.
You might want to look at the KnowBrainer website, this is where I buy my versions of the software and microphones. On this website there is an excellent set of software to accompany Dragon, KnowBrainer Command which helps you command your computer. It was written to assist people with handicaps to control a computer. Dragon has three high level versions, one for medical, one for legal, and one for professional writers. These three versions come with the ability to program commands into Dragon (macros). Larry Allen has written a book on writing macros and Dragon which is a good book to start off writing these commands. KnowBrainer Command was written to allow you to control computer using voice commands. I have not tried this software but I understand it’s easy to use for people that have difficulty using a keyboard.
The owner of the KnowBrainer website is a good resource for utilizing Dragon. I use Dragon daily as I am a physician and use it for medical dictation. I have also written macros which allow me to insert boilerplate or activate voice commands for use in an electronic medical record system. I also use a recorder, an Olympus WS-700M (older recorder and a newer version is available which has the same features), to capture dictation on the go. This recorder has a USB plug that pops out and you can plug it into the computer. It also accommodates micro SD cards that you can easily remove. Dragon NaturallySpeaking has software, Transcription Agent, that will automatically download files from the recorder and transcribe them for you, placing them in a folder of your choosing.
I think you might find this beneficial software to try for dictation. Dragon NaturallySpeaking does not have to be trained anymore, indeed a lot of people simply open Dragon up and start using it. One recommended way to improve dictation is to take text files that you’ve already written up and allow Dragon to analyze them for your writing style. This will improve Dragon probably more than any voice training that might be done. I have a set of files of medical dictation and medical terms which I have Dragon analyze. This seems to make Dragon much more accurate, at least for me.
I’m sure you have many consultants that are much more versed in Dragon NaturallySpeaking and other types of software than I. You might have been look into it for you and see what they can come up with.
Keep doing what you do so well. I appreciate what you do, your website is a unique one on the Internet where a person can find rational discussion about many of the issues affecting us all today. As I have said before I believe you are national treasure take care of yourself and live long and prosper.


I have much mail recommending Dragon, and I have the Surface Pro and am getting a dispatch case to carry it. We’ll find out what happens. As it is I spend more time correcting a sentence than I did typing it. Thanks for the suggestion.


The Face of Things – The Jewish (Demographic) Superpower


Long term demographic projections can be hazardous. However; this article raises some interesting questions about what is in the long term interest of the US and might explain Netanyahu’s invitation to European Jews to immigrate to Israel

It appears that the earlier reports of Israel’s demographic demise as a Jewish verses Arab state were premature. In fact it is Israel’s Muslim minority and Muslim neighbors who appear to be on track for demographic decline. Egypt might be the exception, but their economy is so fragile and their population so dependent upon food imports that a sudden, catastrophic drop in population is quite plausible. (we will not contemplate the carnage that could result from breaching the Aswan dam.)

If Israel can successfully recruit and assimilate Europe’s Jews and inspire them to resume procreating rather than just fornicating, this brings the Israeli state decades closer to parity with its neighbors in the critical demographic of young, adult males who fight wars. This of course also brings Europe closer to a Muslim youth majority.

James Crawford=

We can go on with business as usual with everyone but ISIS, but the Caliphate is at war with us.


Law enforcement, Florida-style.


Roland Dobbins


“Inter Jovem et Martem Planetam Interposui”

They’ve reclassified Ceres again.  Now it’s a “dwarf planet”.

(I thought it was from “Space Cadet”, but a quick Google shows it to be from “The Rolling Stones”.  I’m getting old…

–John R. Strohm


The big list of failed climate predictions | Watts Up With That?


It is well to understand that none of the expensive – very –expensive models employing many people at high pay – has ever predicted anything that Arrhenius didn’t know in 1900, or that you didn’t know in grade school. It is warmer now than in 1776, ad seems to heating at about 2 degrees F per century. You also learned that it was warmer in Viking times than now. We certainly would not call Nova Scotia “Vinland” now; perhaps in fifty years. We do not know why temperature cycles. There are many theories, but we do know Mars has temperature cycles, and we can guess it has to do with the Sun.


Mars’ Massive Erupting Clouds Still Puzzle Scientists

Editor’s note: The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research.

Enormous cloud-like plumes reaching 260km above the surface of Mars have left scientists baffled. This is way beyond Mars’s normal weather, reaching into the exosphere where the atmosphere merges with interplanetary space. None of the conventional explanations for such clouds make sense—neither water or carbon dioxide ice nor dust storms nor auroral light emissions usually hit such heights.

These “mystery clouds” came as a surprise, in particular when considering they were first spotted by a string of amateur astronomers in 2012. After all, an international fleet of five orbiters and two rovers is currently operating on and around Mars, and one may be excused thinking the red planet has little left to hide and its exploration has become routine.

A survey of images from the Hubble Space Telescope and amateur astronomers revealed massive clouds had been seen on Mars before, but none as prominent as the 2012 observations.

So what caused these clouds? An international team of scientists led by Agustin Sánchez-Lavega has now published an investigation in the journal Nature.

There’s considerably more.


Americans Befuddled by ‘Net Neutrality’ (MC)

Survey Finds 74% Are Unfamiliar With the Term

2/19/2015 3:15 PM Eastern

By: Leslie Jaye Goff

Only a quarter of Americans are familiar with the term net-neutrality and among those that are, only 38% view regulation of the Internet by the Federal Communications Commission under Title II reclassification favorably.

That’s according to phone survey conducted last week by Hart Research Associates for the Progressive Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank founded during the Clinton administration..

“Net neutrality is near net zero understanding,” Peter Hart, founder of Hart Research Associates, said.

The survey of 800 adults age 18 and over also found that 73% of Americans want greater disclosure of the details of the FCC’s proposal to regulate the Internet, and 79% favor public disclosure of the exact wording and details of the FCC’s proposal before the agency votes on it Feb. 28.

Broken down by political party, Democrats generally favor Internet regulation by the FCC, with 51% saying they believe it would be more helpful and 33% saying it would be more harmful. Independents and Republicans were more likely to go the opposite direction; only 28% of Independents and 11% of Republicans said they thought FCC regulation would do more good than harm, while 55% of Independents and a whopping 80% of Republicans said Internet regulation would be more harmful..

“These findings suggest that the FCC’s bid to impose outdated telephone regulations on the Internet is driven more by professional activists than by the public, which seems instinctively to resist the idea,” Will Marshall, PPI president, said. “That’s why Congress should take a closer look at what the FCC is up to and make sure these issues get a thorough public airing.”

The full results of the survey, conducted Feb. 13-15, are available at PPI’s website.


Global Warming Propaganda

As someone who is not an atmospheric scientist, or even a physicist, I make no claim of expertise with regard to the effect of CO2 on the atmosphere. I know it has some effect, but I’ve never read as to what the limits might be. However, I have worked in a greenhouse. So here’s my problem: Posit a greenhouse constructed of clear glass plates, one inch in thickness. The result will be a warming of some amount within the greenhouse, call it “T”, above the outside temperature. If we then add an additional 12 inches of glass to the structure, will the inside temperature become “12T?”
Having only had a year of high school chemistry, it strikes me that the answer is “No.” As I recall, the infra-red radiation is trapped by the glass only within a fairly narrow band-width. Once it breaches those limits, then it passes through the glass and the warming ceases to rise. Have I missed something?
One caveat: For simplicity’s sake, I have limited this thought problem to one atmospheric variable. Given what I’ve read over the last 15 years, I don’t believe that it’s possible to model a system as chaotic as the earth’s biosphere and the inter-relationship with our sun in such a comprehensive manner as to come to any worthwhile conclusions.
Thank you,

: Bob Smith


Can you write more about why a War Department is preferable to a Department of Defense? I’m too young to know much about the War Department, though I know of it. I don’t think I’m the only one…

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

Hopefully when I learn dictation I can write longer essays.


One gram of DNA can potentially hold up to 455 exa

Like you, I believe that over time the cost of storage in this medium will come down. Here’s my question: At what point is the cost low enough that all of that information is included in the price of a computer, at time of purchase, without regard to the form the computing device may take.
Question number 2: When that day arrives, what impact will that have on the search engine markets? Education?

Bob Smith

You raise interesting questions. We are part way there now: look at what comes with most systems. Of course some of that is crapware. But facts are cheap, data are cheap, and prices are falling..


A French Soldier’s View of US Soldiers

Dr. Pournelle,
I couldn’t remember if you had seen this and I couldn’t find it in a cursory search of your daybook. It’s a translation of the original French article of a French soldier’s experience with US soldiers in Afghanistan. It’s a good read and I like finding out what our allies actually think about us.
–Bill Retorick


From the March 2015 Harper’s Magazine, p. 12:

“Indeed, this paradox can be observed so regularly that I think we are justified in treating it as a general sociological principle. Let’s call it the Iron Law of Liberalism: Any market reform or government initiative intended to reduce red tape and promote market forces will ultimately increase the number of regulations and bureaucrats, as well as the amount of paperwork, that the government employs. Emile Durkheim was already observing this tendency at the turn of the twentieth century, and fifty years later even right-wing critics like F.A. Hayek were willing to admit that markets don’t really regulate themselves: they require an army of administrators to keep them going.”
Note that the ‘liberalism’ described here is classic liberalism; let the free market decide. But it seems that Market and State are joined at the hip.
This reminds me of the expansion of paper printouts for every ‘paperless’ office


An interesting assertion, and probably true. I should have thought of it. But it may we can derive it from the Iron Law of Bureaucracy


Was Big Bang disproved?


But no, that paper in no way disproves the Big Bang. For starters it doesn’t begin to explain all of the phenomenae we see, and of those it does “explain,” the end result is in essence no different from current accepted Big Bang theory. And as our favorite Vulcan was wont to say, “A difference which makes no difference IS no difference.”

Second, they’re playing serious games with the geometries, and I’m not at all sure those games are warranted.

Third, Dr. Ross does well when he states that their “conclusion” is really just a restatement of their initial conditions: if you go into a situation with a predetermined conclusion, it isn’t surprising when you reach that conclusion. In other words, if I wanted to disprove the Big Bang, the first thing I would do would be to set up the geometries and any other pertinent initial conditions such that it was impossible to produce a singularity. This also would tend to “disprove” black holes in general, and if I recall correctly, there was a paper recently by another quantum physicist who claimed to have disproven those too.

Aha, here it is, and in Arxiv, which isn’t peer-reviewed, but is merely a paper repository. ( I would be very interested in knowing how much interaction she may have had with Faraq Ali. A cursory review of her references does not reveal any of his papers, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t cross-pollination. Then again, she is coming at it from a different direction than Fariq. And again, her hypothesis fails the test of being able to predict all observations.

Dr. Ross’ summary is really pretty good IMHO, and points out the flaws in the conclusion that the Big Bang has been disproven.

I’m trying to remember where the conversation occurred, but recently I did have a conversation with another scientific-minded person (it may have been Jim in email; it may have been a friend in my special Facebook group, we discuss much science there), and it was explained to me that this Farag Ali apparently has a somewhat questionable background. It seems that he has his own pet theories and is constantly propounding this, that, and the other strange notion, publishing them someplace or other (NOT necessarily peer-reviewed, e.g. Arxiv), and then referencing them in subsequent papers, thereby appearing to substantiate the most recent paper(s). Jim may know more about this; I had not to my knowledge heard of the guy (or at least not sufficient to recognize his name) until this Big Bang thing was brought to my attention. This is not to say that I have not read any articles about his various pet theories, as my fans are apt to dredge up some really interesting stuff (in EVERY sense of the word) and post it for my comments, on Facebook in particular.


Please send some Southern Cali warmth our way; where I live, just outside Huntsville AL, went down to at least 8F last night, with wind chills down around -5F. My heat pump can’t keep the house warm in these conditions, and I’m bloody well freezing.
Stephanie Osborn

“The Interstellar Woman of Mystery”

= = = =

Dear Jerry:

You may have seen the news stories about the Big Bang being disproved by a quantum model. For example,

Astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross at Reasons to Believe explains how the theory in question certainly does not explain away the Big Bang. In fact, it merely assumes it out of existence as a starting premise.

His article is understandable by the well-read layman.

Best regards,

–Harry M.


Rot Springs Eternal

As with many Taki columns, the comments are as interesting as the column.

Charles Brumbelow




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




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