Chaos Manor View, Wednesday, September 09, 2015
After this great glaciation, a succession of smaller glaciations has followed, each separated by about 100,000 years from its predecessor, according to changes in the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit (a fact first discovered by the astronomer Johannes Kepler, 1571-1630). These periods of time when large areas of the Earth are covered by ice sheets are called “ice ages.” The last of the ice ages in human experience (often referred to as the Ice Age) reached its maximum roughly 20,000 years ago, and then gave way to warming. Sea level rose in two major steps, one centered near 14,000 years and the other near 11,500 years. However, between these two periods of rapid melting there was a pause in melting and sea level rise, known as the “Younger Dryas” period. During the Younger Dryas the climate system went back into almost fully glacial conditions, after having offered balmy conditions for more than 1000 years. The reasons for these large swings in climate change are not yet well understood.
“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
“This is known as ‘bad luck’.”
– Robert A. Heinlein
Apple had their announcements today, but I had story conferences so I could not watch them live. I finished my fiction work about lunch time, so I thought to view some reports, and it is time I learned more about the new Windows and get more use to my Surface 3 Pro; a fitting machine to view new Apple products, particularly their new iPad Pro which is I expect their answer to the Surface Pro and Windows 10.
My usual browser is Firefox, which has features I don’t love but by and large I get along with it; but with the Surface it seemed appropriate to make a serious effort to use Edge, the new Microsoft Browser. Of course it has Microsoft Bing the default search engine. It also doesn’t really understand the size of the Pro. It gave me horizontal scrolling, even though I had Edge full screen. I looked up Apple announcements, and Bing gave me a nice list. Right click on the nice bent Microsoft pocket wireless mouse, and open a repost in a new screen. Lo, I have to do horizontal scrolling; Edge makes sure there are ads on screen at all times, so you have to horizontal screen the text to see all of it. Line by line. But I can always see some ads. Edge makes sure I don’t miss ads. It doesn’t care whether I can read the text I was looking for, but it is more careful about the ads. I’m sure that makes the advertisers happy, but I’m not so sure about the users. I thought I went looking for an article, not for ads.
Edge also kept doing things I hadn’t asked it to, and I’d lose the text. Eventually I found if I closed the window and went back to the Bing screen and right clicked to open that same window in a new tab, I was able to – carefully – screen through the text, and adjust the screen so all the text was on screen even though there was still horizontal scrolling possible. This is probably a function of inexperience, but using a touch screen and Edge is a new experience.
Even so it was a rough read. I gave up and went to Firefox on the Surface Pro. Firefox has Google as its default browser, and the top selections it offered me – all I could see on one screen – were different from the ones I saw with Bing. I had to do a bit of scrolling to find the article I had been trying to read, but eventually I found it. Right click to open it in a new Tab. Voila. All my text in the center. I could read it. Much easier. For the record: same site, adjusted to width in Firefox on the Surface Pro, horizontal scrolling of the same article viewed in Edge. Probably my fault, but I don’t know what I did wrong.
Now in Microsoft’s defense, I don’t know Edge very well; but if you are going to a Surface Pro, you may well find Firefox easier to use than Edge. A lot easier to use.
As to Google vs. Bing, in this one case I found Bing superior; what it offered me had more content. But Edge is advertiser friendly, not User friendly.
So it goes. I am going to practice with the Surface Pro – I got my workspace organized so it’s easier to work with, and I am determined to like it because I really want to be proficient with OneNote and a tablet. I will therefore practice with Edge, but I am sure not going to erase Firefox! So far, Edge approaches awful. My fault for using it pretty cold, but it should tell you that you have to learn Edge; it’s not intuitive – not to me – for one accustomed to Firefox and Windows 7.
Every time I update Alien Artifact, my main machine which uses Windows 7, Microsoft offers me a free copy of Windows 10. I refuse. I am beginning to live with 10 on Swan, a more modern machine I keep in the back bedroom, and I will eventually get used to it, but I see no obvious advantages over 7, and some very obvious disadvantages. And Swan has Office 365, which has a Word version I hate – it too does things I did not ask it to do, as well as having eliminated some commands I was used to – the “improvements” have yet to appeal, but the ruination of some features I liked are obvious.
Windows 10 no longer is the disaster that Windows 8 was. You can live with 10, and some parts are edible; I suspect it’s a matter of getting to know it. Office 365 Word is not as good as Word 2008 or Word 10, and by a long shot. Their improvements were detractions, and I am sure put in to show they did something, not from user requests. Tell you what, Microsoft: bundle up an Office package containing Word 10. I’ll buy it for the same yearly fee as I pay for the current abomination. I’d prefer you fire the Word 365 designers because I don’t really want them working on anything else, but I’ll compromise if I just don’t have ever to use Word 365 so long as I live.
My ancient ThinkPad needs replacing, and I don’t know what to get. Perhaps an Apple portable, either a Mac Book Pro or a new Air. They both look good, and I can scrape up some money from new royalties on There Will Be War. Those are like finding the money in the street: I told the publishers to be generous with the contributors and there’s still money, and we’re only at number four in the series. Indeed I am contemplating a new Volume to come out next year, but of course that means work, and I’m in manic mode because the book with Niven and Barnes is going so well.
Anyway, there is a lot to like about the new iPad pro; it is certainly the main competition for the Surface Pro, and if experience be any guide, it will be easy to use right out of the box, with lots of features to learn but productive from hour one. I don’t go on the road much now, so I suppose I could get by with the ThinkPad, but he really is getting old and cranky. And his Ethernet port socket has something mechanical broke. And I have to be careful with him and I’m no longer good at careful except about myself.
But will the iPad Pro do, and will it be better the Surface Pro with OneNote? I figure with thee (available at extra cost) keyboard and the (available for $99) stylus pen, the whole package is about $1200, and while that’s not cheap, it should be good for four years. And I got a phone call saying the War anthologies earned me more than that in the last six months, and it will be something to write about here — I’d have ordered it if it were available to order. But it won’t be until November. By then there may be even more unexpected royalties…
As to a new laptop as opposed to a tablet, I’m open to suggestions. Probably nothing, although Barnes is very happy with his new Air, as is Dr. Jack Cohen with his; and I liked Khloe, the Mac Book Air that got me through the 2008 radiation treatments for brain cancer, so I admit I’m a bit partial. We’ll see.
Apple is said to have improved the iPhone 6, but I’m very happy with the one I bought last summer, and I can wait a while for improvements. I love the big screen iPhone 6. It’s all the phone I need for a while, and better than what Larry and I envisioned in the pocket computers Rod and Sally carried in The Mote in God’s Eye back when we wrote it in 1972. I do note that the link to the website said to list the ten worst things about the new iPhone gets a ‘File Not Found’ error.
I have just tried to get the Surface Pro to tell me more, but it keeps going places I did not ask it to go, and giving me horizontal scrolls, and it’s too much like work trying to outsmart it. I have better things to do, and I’ll read the stories on a big screen and Firefox on Windows 7. Microsoft, why do you hate your customers? Because you can? Can I pay you more money to get you on my side? I bought this machine from you. The hardware works. But the software?
I see an article on how Uber needs regulating so that they have to take care of customers in wheel chairs thus making the drivers get out of the car. If people in wheel chairs cannot use Uber, then of course no one can. The wheelchair people of course could call a taxi, with a driver used to putting the wheel chair in the trunk, but no, if you won’t get out of the vehicle and put the thing away, you are not fit to drive anyone, and you can’t work. We’ll regulate you, by gollies, to make the world fair. If the wheelchair guy can’t use Uber, then nobody can.
Now let me tell you about my friend in the iron lung. And we wonder why we are still in a depression.
Apparently they amended the Constitution while I was not watching. Obama can make deals which become the law of the land so long as 41 Senators will approve a resolution closing debate on the subject after the House approves a bill denouncing his deal; or if both houses do condemn him, he can veto the condemnation, and his deal with a foreign country is then the supreme law of the land. This is so absurdly opposite to what the Constitution says that it would be laughable if it were not deadly serious.
The House somehow has to fund implementation of the deal unless the Senate disapprove of it, or something like that. The President gets to spend the money. And the House country club Republican leadership goes along because they are afraid or something.
Taking Responsibility for the Iran Deal
Congressional Democrats and the White House are working to avoid having a vote. That’s a bad idea.
Thank you for publishing the link to the Eurocivilwar blog. It is a poorly written hybrid of fiction and history, but it describes a very real and alarming possibility. The fact that France and Great Britain already have sophisticated nuclear arsenals makes this scenario terrifying.
The continuing flood of Muslim refugees into Europe reminds me of the tactics employed by the Saurons on Haven in your Warworld series. Attacking one group would trigger a mass migration of refugees who would invade and destabilize their neighbors. Obama’s incitement of the Arab Spring allowed ISIS to become a potent military and political force. The depredations of ISIS are creating a tidal wave of refugees. Aside from the certainty that many of the refugees actually are ISIS operatives, there is a significant risk that even moderate Muslims will not assimilate to European culture and become radicalized. The fact that the recent wave of refugees are overwhelmingly young, adult males ensures that there will be conflict. One has to ask if Hillary and Obama intended to destabilize Europe when they incited the rebellions against Ghadaffi and Mubarak as well as Asad while abandoning Iraq. If this was the intent, then we have a Manchurian candidate in the oval office.
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
The Vise Tightens Further
A well oiled vise doesn’t make sounds as it tightens, but I hear the sound of bones starting crack:
Two top Senate investigators floated the idea of immunity Tuesday to Bryan Pagliano, the staffer who set up the email server in former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s home, in exchange for testimony about her activities.
And this incident wastes precious resources:
The U.S. State Department plans to move about 50 workers into temporary jobs to bolster the office sifting through Hillary Clinton’s emails and grappling with a vast backlog of other requests for information to be declassified, officials said on Tuesday.
The move illustrates the huge administrative burden caused by Clinton’s decision to use a private email address for official communications as secretary of state and a judge’s ruling in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that they be released.
Meanwhile, at the law offices of whomever:
A new lawsuit is demanding that the State Department explain how Hillary Clinton’s private attorney, David Kendall, got permission from the State Department to retain copies of Clinton’s emails after the agency determined some of them were classified.
“That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that.” –Hillary Clinton
Now, look at the video where she says that or see the screenshot I’ve uploaded:
Notice her snarky expression and the smirk on her face as she apologizes?
More importantly, look at how she’s sitting. It appears to be a relaxed position, but it isn’t. It’s a complete lockdown. The legs are crossed at the ankles to anchor her legs. Notice her hands are clasped over her lap; this is another lockdown position.
This is significant because she is much more open in most of her other interviews, while she often locks her ankles, she normally starts off very open, using her hands a lot, and leaning in with her balsamic smile.
I would iterate that you cannot detect deception — no matter what ex-CIA and ex-police authors’ books may say — but you can detect stress. However, I am not claiming that I’ve detected stress in this instance; I’m simply saying that I’ve noticed variations from her baseline behavior.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Joshua Jordan, KSC
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.