Business as Usual

View 845 Saturday, October 11, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


I am hard at work on the October column for Chaos Manor Reviews. I hope to have a release candidate draft by tomorrow night. We’re covering Wi-Fi updates, the Surface Pro 3, and a bit about Windows 10, including mail from readers sent after I asked what would make you love Windows 9.


That hasn’t left me much time for this day book, or for that matter for following what’s going on out there. I gather that the US is still breaking things and killing people, but without clear objectives; if that were done by a random person we’d call him a homicidal maniac. One of my major papers during graduate school in political science was on the subject of Reasons of State, and can it be moral for a government to do things that would be condemned if an individual did them?

The subject is more complex than you might think, and I certainly won’t go into it now.


It’s pledge week time at KUSC, the Los Angeles Good Music Station, which makes this pledge week for Chaos Manor as well. This site and Chaos Manor Reviews operate on the Public Radio model: they are free, anyone can listen and watch and read them, but they won’t last if we don’t get support from the readers. We have operated this way for more than a decade, and so far we have been successful.

I let Chaos Manor Reviews sleep for a couple of years, but I have brought it back and intend to keep it going, provided that we continue to get support.

Subscriptions and support: I certainly don’t intend to lay guilt trips on those who like this place but simply don’t have the resources to support it. I’m not asking for rent or eating money. But if you think this place is useful, then consider subscribing. As to when to subscribe, if you never have, obviously this will be a good time to do it. If you can’t remember when you last renewed your subscription, this is a good time to do that.

More about that in PAYING FOR THIS PLACE.

Chaos Manor Reviews is mostly concerned with technology; in the old BYTE it was The User’s Column, Computing at Chaos Manor, and it tells what we have been doing in high tech. We also have reviews of books, movies, entertainments, and games.

The View from Chaos Manor is my day book, and is concerned with the effects of technology on history, particularly American history, as well as more personal matters.

Neither will exist unless without your support.

And if you know anyone with children from 5th Grade up through Junior High School, let me recommend


as something appropriate. It contains stories and poems that once were considered essential for citizens to have been exposed to. The values of Western Civilization in general and America in particular have been conveyed through literature and the public schools since the earliest days of the Republic, and this reader was in use in the days when the California school system was considered one of the very best in the world.


‘The automators will continue to get very, very rich, while the automated will have to find something else to do.’



Roland Dobbins


I am following with fascination the Steve Koonin story, for two reasons.

1) He was a professor when I was a student at Caltech. Scary smart, and the author of the classic text on Computational Physics, by that same name.

2) But here’s the real reason: <> , some months ago. I had been wondering what became of the APS review, which certainly sounded interesting at the time. The head of the APS committee? Steve Koonin.

If the APS turns, it would be a gamechanger.



The Future of Warfare Dr Pournelle

RE: 20YY The Future of Warfare @

"The Pentagon can make smart investments now to prepare for the future, . . . ."

No, it bloody well cannot.

The Pentagon can RECOMMEND smart investments to prepare for the future, but the purchasing decisions will be made by the Congress.

Example 1: M1A1 Abrams panzer. The Army specifically rejected the prototype because of its turbine engine. The Army preferred the competitor with the diesel engine they knew and loved. Congress voted them the turbine.

Example 2: PA-48 Enforcer Piper Aircraft came up with the idea to stick a turboprop engine in a Mustang fighter, load it with hardpoints, and make it a COIN aircraft. Shades of the old A-36 Apache Piper lobbied Congress, and Congresscritters voted $4 million to explore the idea. The Air Force detailed no one for that nonsense and returned the money at the end of the fiscal year. The next year, Congresscritters voted $11.9 million for the Enforcer and ORDERED the Air Force to spend the money. The Air Force program manager began all his briefings with "Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear . . . ."

(For the few who like the Enforcer, the A-1 SPAD (Skyraider) was several times better in the COIN mission, the OV-10 was at least as good, the A-37 was better, and the A-10 Warthog was several orders of magnitude better than all of them.)

Example 3: F-35 Lightning II (aka MacNamara’s Zombie Revenge). The Air Force-Navy-Marine Joint Strike Fighter is built in three versions — A, B, and C — ’cause the version that meets Air Force requirements does not meet Navy requirements and the version that meets Marine requirements does not meet Air Force requirements. About the only thing the three versions have in common is the canopy and the F-35 designator. The whole project is an excuse to transfer money from the public treasury to Lockheed-Martin. You think the Air Force, Navy, and Marines wanted this abomination? (The Marine version makes sense. The others? Pffft.)

The chances of the Pentagon making smart investments for the future is zero.

Live long and prosper

h lynn keith



Foreign Legions

I am wondering since the Supreme Court has ruled that the draft is perfectly constitutional if we can kill two birds with one stone…

Draft any illegal alien found. They get six years as a soldier, an inflexible course in being an American (including English and Civics), and citizenship with their honorable discharge (but not with general or less characterization).

We get someplace to deal with all of the illegals, end the enclave-colonization they bring and troops that no voter will cry about should they die.

Seems like it’s full of win.




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




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