Medical Update

Alex Pournelle reports today on Dr. Pournelle’s current health status:

As of this morning, Dad is improving still. More motor skills, more speech improvement (at least to me). He is also annoyed at his inability to express himself by typing, though I suspect he will be back to banging away pretty quick, at least with 2 fingers.

Tomorrow starts the long term intensive physical therapy and then home adaptation. Will update as that happens.

Thanks again for all the good wishes.

Here’s a picture of Dr. and Mrs. Pournelle:

Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Pournelle

Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Pournelle

Note that comments are enabled on this update, for expressing good wishes and encouragement.

Dr. Pournelle Health Report

From Alex Pournelle, Dr. Pournelle’s son:

“Jerry had a small stroke. He is recovering well at a local hospital. Prognosis is good, though they’re running more tests and he’s expected to stay at least another day or two.

“He felt well enough to call Mom [Mrs. Pournelle] from the hospital.

“Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. More updates when we have them.”

Note that Dr. Pournelle cannot respond to emails at this time, although he and his family are grateful for your concern and well-wishes. If you wish to express your thoughts, we are allowing comments on this post only. All comments are moderated, so will not immediately appear. (To view comments, or add your own, use the link on the right of the byline under the title. Scroll to the bottom to enter your comments.)

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UPDATE – 19 December 2014

“Update: Jerry continues to make much progress. Even in the last day the differences are marked. He has moved yet again to a long-term acute rehab assignment for speech/throat and physical therapy, where he will stay at least through the holidays.

“In a twist of fate far too strange to put into fiction, Jerry ended up in the exact same room as did Harlan Ellison a month earlier, after his own stroke. Harlan related this in a call today to get an update on Jerry. Harlan, by the way, sounds completely recovered on the phone—another good sign.

“We expect Jerry to start updates on the website presently, but they will be short at first. He’s re-learning to type, now just with one finger ‘and a claw’, so patience is appreciated.

“He called after the transfer, to say it was 17 minutes by car from the one facility to the next. Not the sign of someone out of touch with his surroundings or the passage of time.

“His cognition appears little affected. He keeps answering the many ‘do you know where you are?’ questions straight, but he’s sorely tempted to start embroidering the truth…”

Comments are still open if you wish to express your thoughts. Just click the Comment link at the top right of the byline area.

Mail June 27 -2

SUBJ: Should We Expect Moties?


Cecil Rose



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The Great Daylight Fireball of 1972.






Roland Dobbins

It is my understanding that events of this magnitude take place fairly often, several a year, but are seldom observed. They take place at high altitude and over water and there’s no one there to see them. Like the tree falling in the forest…

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Earth’s temperature.



Interesting article and comments:


I can’t help thinking that it may get cold around here …


Love the new format.


Andrew McCann.


I continue to insist that I just don’t know. I know something about temperature measurements, and models, and combining multiple observations, but I have no idea how to combine all the various temperature measurements to get an average temperature of the Earth, and I do know that what we see in most “annual averages” is a slow steady rise since 1800, which squares with almanacs and general observations. I keep looking for a good introduction to temperature measurement and averaging models, but I haven’t found one I can recommend.

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Elderly woman asked to remove adult diaper during TSA search


    A woman has filed a complaint with federal authorities over how her elderly mother was treated at Northwest Florida Regional Airport last weekend.

    Jean Weber of Destin filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security after her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.

    Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search.


I know I feel a lot safer now.




Think of the courage required to Do One’s Duty Despite Harassment, and thus to Serve and Protect and Guard Men from Harm. We can only sit in admiration with folded hands…

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On people videotaping police


Dear Dr. Pournelle:


Radley Balko is a journalist who’s been covering this sort of thing for awhile now. Given your recent interest I thought I’d send you a link to his website. I hope you feel better soon.



Tim Scott=


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‘Apart from appreciation and investment, it might be an alien concept for laymen outside the Chinese system that one of the most essential functions of art works is corruption.’




Roland Dobbins

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The Lordkin and the Burning City.




This article is astonishing.


The lack of response by police is even more reprehensible than the aggression of the mob.


KelTec has introduced a new bullpup design, pump action, 12 gauge shotgun with twin magazine tubes that you can select from. Imagine being able to switch from slugs to double ought buck at the flick of a lever. I’m going to get me one of these. It will be a great companion for my HK-91, Dessert Eagle .50, and Barrett 0.50. I think it is getting time to clean out the hippodrome again.


Jim Crawford

It may come to that, but I am not eager for it. Long ago I noted that many in the survival movement could hardly wait for the collapse of civilization. I kept pointing out that the goal was to keep it; that it was all very well to be ready for a collapse, and to have the organization and training and abilities to survive that collapse, but the best way to survive a nuclear war is not to have one; I chose to work on Assured Survival as a national strategy, and ballistic missile defenses, even as my friend Mel Tappan established a base in Oregon. I do believe that civilized households ought to be armed; but I am not eager to have live action practice with survival guns.

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Dear Jerry,


The basic problem confronting germ warfare, chemical warfare and dirty nukes is dispersion. (Aha! a physics issue) It is very difficult to get wide dispersion, especially in cities, and it is probable that a terrorist attack in a large city would only affect a couple of blocks.


There is also the problem of control. The Dept of Defense was happy to get rid of biological and chemical weapons because experience had shown that their direction of spread could not be predicted.


Bioweapons, of course, have the potential for wider spread because of infection. But, a bioweapons manufacturer has a difficult virulence/infection problem. High-virulence microbes like Ebola do not spread very far because their victims do not live long enough to infect many people.


The best examples of “biowarfare” are the Black Death in Europe and the spread of Eurasian diseases in the New World. The Black Death killed about 30% of the European population it affected. Moreover, in the New World, although some people have claimed that 90% of the population died off, the true figure is probably less than 50% and might have been as low as 30%.


You remember that smallpox, a highly effective pathogen of world-wide spread, was in fact eliminated.


In short, bio-, chemi- and dirty nuclear weapons are greatly overrated as terrorist tools. Plenty of highly local destruction and terror, but not Katrina-level effects.





I do not discuss technical details of biological warfare with some exceptions when speaking of preparedness; but I can tell you that a good high school biology class could in fact come up with a, if not Katrina, then 9-11 level event involving multiple outbreaks and claiming disproportionate casualties among First Responders and some emergency room workers. If I can work that out, then others can. It is not a trivial matter.

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