[Editor’s Note: A status report on Dr. Pournelle from his son Alex:
Dad is now ordering stuff from Amazon.com, writing short essays, asked me to look out for adaptive gear at CES, and looking forward to coming home. He still needs a walker and probably will continue to but the therapists are setting up ever more complex obstacle courses to keep him out of their hair.
[We start off with a typical message of support for Dr. Pournelle, and his reply that his recovery appears to be progressing well. Then we continue the discussion of Bitcoins and the CO2 levels in the oceans. The Contact Jerry page is best to let Dr. Pournelle know about interesting new topics, or comment on past topics. Use the Well Wishing page to send your messages of support for Dr. Pournelle’s recovery.]
Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for the years of enlightened
sharing you gave through Byte Magazine and other venues. I started my
exposure to the PC world while at Intel from 1980 to 81, when the group next
to us were developing assembler code for the caching boxes used with IBM
mainframe hard drives (3330 drives if I recall). Their boxes used rejected
chips where one one of the 4 quadrants failed QC inspection. 🙂
I was fascinated by the CPM operating systems they used for development as
well as the 8″ floppies. One of the guys recommended Byte Magazine to gain
more knowledge about it. So you, Steve, and the other authors and
contributors became my tutors and mentors.
I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in this field and have you to thank in
no small part.
Best wishes to you and your family.
Thanks for the kind words. I will get home next week.
I noticed the following in the 1 January 2015 edition:
“Advisor Dan Spisak notes:
I would point out that a combination of increased temperatures and greater CO2 levels is contributing to making the oceans more acidic and this is having the effect of putting coral reefs into danger as the very ocean they live in dissolves them. So while there can be positive effects in other parts of the system I fear that the sheer size, complexity, and scope of what is involved means it will be important and challenging to see what the total balance of this is, be it positive, negative or neutral.”
In response I would like to post this chart I retrieved from an article ” Are the Oceans going to boil”?
by Steven F. Hayward in Power Line (29 December 2014):
(with reference to another interesting article about ocean acidification I found at http://www.cfact.org/2014/12/22/what-if-obamas-climate-change-policies-are-based-on-phraud/ – the comment section is well-worthwhile reading barring the trolls.)
Ocean Chart 2 copy<http://2-ps.googleusercontent.com/xk/EE6I3Peu9SaPzfsTuiEsBNjN4w/www.powerlineblog.com/i1.wp.com/www.powerlineblog.com/admin/ed-assets/2014/12/Ocean-Chart-2-copy.jpg,qresize=580,P2C433.pagespeed.ce.zqzFRmp7wc1Cfte-WSSo.jpg>
Please note that Michael Wallace’s chart appears to show that over the past century or so, the oceans, rather than acidifying, are becoming more basic, thereby supporting the claim that we are in a period of global warming, if the dissolution of oceanic carbonic acid is the only cause of this phenomenon and the slope of his line is correct: both open to question.
Gary D. Gross, DDS
I am hardly an expert but I thought the oceans were acidifying. Surely we know at least that. But on thinking about it, measuring acidity over the whole Earth is surely tougher than temperature.
In response to Peter Glaskowsky’s points about bitcoin and fiat currency:
Fiat currency is a term used for currency that has value based on the faith of the government that prints it. China started this exercise many centuries ago and, like all other fiat currencies, it returned to it’s actual value — zero.
I understand your argument about bitcoin, and — really — that could apply to any currency, money, or commodity since it’s all only worth what people offer for it. I’m not trying to marginalize your point; I agree with you on this but I think the focus could be more broad.
However, certain commodities e.g. gold, silver remain useful tools for trade and commerce and were welcome throughout much of human history. No fiat currencies can make this claim and I believe this is the spirit in which bitcoin argues.
And, given the history of fiat currency, their argument against it is sound, but does cryptocurrency offer a viable alternative? What if the networks go down? I understand theoretical solutions exist, but will these work in practice and without electronic devices? The idea needs more thought, more time, and more activity before it would truly replace fiat currencies. Even then, something is only worth what the market offers as you pointed out.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
Joshua Jordan, KSC
Yes, of course the value of a thing is what that thing will bring. Bitcoin is unique in that it requires a high tech civilization to be worth anything at all — or even to use, for that matter. Obviously it is not useful as a survival stash in a high tech crash. More probable — how much is another discussion –is a sort of stagflation, especially under some liberal regimes. Bitcoin may enough under the radar to escape redistributing. Obviously government is what to worry about. Too much or not enough, rule of law some areas and others simply abandoned.
The Woodward Effect: http://boingboing.net/2014/11/24/the-quest-for-a-reactionless-s.html Clearly a lot of money was spent on this lab, yet the alleged drive mechanisms are cheap and not very deliberately designed. Not a good sign.
I will believe in reacti0nless drives when I have one. Or at least see one.