Climate and El Niño; And other matters.

Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It rained last night and this morning, heavy rain which is unusual in September. That may or may not affect expectations for ending the drought; I would think so, but I am not a meteorologist, and our expensive climate models are required to predict global warming and are not much use. There is a strong “el Niño” development in the south Pacific , and meteorologists expect that to bring heavy rains to California this Fall and Winter, but no one really knows. The BBC, quoting the climatologists, says the next two years could be the world’s hottest ( Next Two Years Hottest Says Met Office ) but it might be cooler in Europe, but don’t worry, it’s really all about CO2 and manmade global warming even if el Niño events have been happening for a long time and we can’t predict them, but they really know:

An external reviewer, Prof Rowan Sutton, from the University of Reading, confirmed: “Unless there’s a big volcanic eruption, it looks very likely that globally 2014, 2015 and 2016 will be among the very warmest years ever recorded.

“This isn’t a fluke. We are seeing the effects of energy steadily accumulating in the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere, caused by greenhouse gases.”

You can believe as much of that as you want. There has been warming since before 1800 and CO2 buildup, which is still relatively small. Arrhenius thought doubling the CO2 percentage would cause some warming, but we haven’t had that much yet, and no one has shown any connection between El Niño and C02.

Anyway, the rains were welcome, and while strong were not heavy enough to cause mudslide problems; and they may help put out the forest fires. The severity of the fires is often attributed to global warming, but in the 70’s I wrote articles about how our forest management practices pretty well guaranteed uncontrollable fires, and I’d never heard of global warming then. At all the AAAS meetings I went to in those days, the big science gurus mostly talked about global cooling and the danger of a new ice age.


1750  I just finished a session in the Monk’s Cell.  I didn’t accomplish much, but I did some sit-ups, discovered that I cannot as of now do pushups; did three of the five Tibetan rites  ( ) to 7 repetitions.  One of the five I cannot do at all, and one requires I be able to do pushups; it will take a while to get there, but it appears I will be able to work up to it.  And I did ten sit-ups.  Not a lot of writing because I need Logitech 360 keyboard or some other that separates the keys well preventing me from hitting two at once every time. I’ve ordered one for taking upstairs. It may come tomorrow.

I have email from Castaglia: stories are pouring in.  I have not seen them so I cannot speak of their quality.  I can fill this book with reprints, so I am not worried, but it would be good to discover some new writers…


There Will Be War

Can you tell me what the deadline is for submission.
I am working on a screenplay that involves a Time traveler from the 30th Century, who ends up, by mistake, in the year 9986.
I’d like to write a story that occurs “outside the script” in that time.
Is there a minimum size for the story? I’d like to do about 10 pages – 2,500 words. Will that be OK?

Please do not send me email about the new volume of There Will Be War. Please do not send me inquiries about submitting to There Will Be War. Send story submissions to We buy only nonexclusive anthology rights. We will publish a notice when submissions are no longer wanted. To get an idea of what the anthologies are like, see the already published volumes. Please do not ask me for advice on how to write for this anthology.

When I did the original There Will Be War anthologies, I had the services of Mr. Carr to work with prospective authors, and he was responsible for starting many new careers. Alas, John is on his own in Pennsylvania now, and I have neither time nor energy, nor do I have John’s talents.

Submit stories to Previously published is acceptable and far more usual than original. Alas I have not the time to discuss story ideas by mail.


Last April, Mike Glyer did a good piece on There Will Be War. There was discussion and some of the commentators wondered why I went with Castaglia Press to publish these  reprints of old anthologies.  It’s simple: after my agent declined to find a publisher who would handle the paperwork of paying the contributors their royalties (and certainly didn’t want that responsibility herself) Castaglia offered to do it. That was the best offer I had. The contributors get paid, and I don’t have to do it. They are doing well enough that Castaglia offered to publish a new volume and do all the paperwork. including an advance payment on acceptance.



I HAVE A SURFACE Pro 2 that occasionally loses its ability to see Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. I’ve fixed the problem by purchasing USB accessories that allow me to see wired connections. The problem with my Surface Pro 2 (a tablet loaned to me by a colleague) is its Marvell Avastar Wireless Composite Device often fails. I follow Microsoft’s advice and use various steps to disable, uninstall, power down, reinstall and enable the driver. Sometimes that works. When it doesn’t, I now use a Manhattan USB Hub with gigabit Ethernet adapter to connect to our campus network where speeds normally exceed 100 megabits per second. I still need to get a cabled mouse because when the Marvell driver fails, Bluetooth is inoperative. The Microsoft USB Ethernet adapter is smaller and less expensive than the USB hub version. The USB hub recognises everything I throw at it. It is the fastest way I have discovered for swapping files between the Surface, my phones and OneDrive. That ease of file maintenance has improved my workflow and enhanced collaboration. So from the headache of “this device is not configured correctly” came a better and faster way of managing my collaborative workflow. The Surface Pro 2 headache was worth it. [Photo of two Ethernet adapters snapped with my Lumia 1520 and sent from Outlook Mail for Windows 10.]    



Fortunately I have never experienced that problem; of course Surface Pro is next to useless without wireless. I have the docking station, but generally I use wireless even in that.


My Surface Pro with the Microsoft wireless mouse.


I am a clinger…

Since I retired from the business world (chief financial officer for a small entity) I have absolutely no reason to upgrade Windows or any other Microsoft product. Still using XP and Office 2003, which can do far more than I currently require.

No need to send money to Microsoft for even more features and functions I don’t need and probably would never learn or use. Certainly don’t want to become involved in an arrangement requiring periodic payments to them seemingly forever.

Charles Brumbelow

I utterly agree. Outlook and Word 2007 are good enough for me; I don’t want improvements. I’d pay an annual fee to Microsoft if they’d continue to support Office 2008.


Microsoft updates

Dear Jerry,
I’ve found that MS launched a few horrible updates when getting things set up for the Great Windows 10 Experience. On one memorable occasion, after installing ~6 optional updates it managed to screw up MS’s update engine, disabled Malwarebytes Antimalware application, and made Pale Moon hard to use. I fixed that mess with a restore from my backup drive, though I’ve since learned that updates can be uninstalled.
Since Microsoft has been rather uninformative about some of its updates, I’ve learned to search for articles on ones that aren’t clearly defined. The “optionals” come under extra scrutiny. I’ve found the update articles in Infoworld by Woody Leonhard to be useful.
I’m looking forward to the continuation of There Will Be War. My paperbacks did not survive a move some years ago, but Volume II was one of my favorites. I see it’s now an eBook…
Pete B

The first four volumes are out now; the others will be forthcoming in 2016.


We are all Moties now

In the classic science fiction novel “The Mote in God’s Eye”, which you co-authored with Larry Niven, you created a fictional race of aliens called “Moties” that were biologically incapable of restraining their breeding. Nothing in this universe can grow exponentially for very long, and as the old saying goes, if it is physically impossible for something to continue it will stop. So when a rapidly growing population hits the limits of resources and the speed of technological innovation, it stops growing – and bad things happen when population growth is stopped the hard way.
Thus the fictional Moties were condemned to cyclic patterns of expansion and collapse.

However, we human beings should not be so smug. We also have our population-created cycles. It’s just that in our case, the cycles are not due to biological limits, but to the rich deliberately creating population explosions in order to drive wages down and profits up – at the expense of long-term stability.

An excellent current example is Syria, whose government deliberately engineered a massive population explosion. They propagandized that women had to have six kids each, and even made the sale and possession of contraceptives a crime! (See “Demographic Developments and Population: Policies in Ba’thist Syria (Demographic Developments and Socioeconomics)”, by Onn Winkler).
So the Syrian population rose at an extremely rapid rate, going from 5 million in 1970 to over 20 million in 2010. At that point the aquifers had been drained dry (they had been falling precipitously for a long time even during abundant rainfall: no Virginia this is not about ‘climate change’), food ran out, and things fell apart.

We may blame the Syrian government’s brutal crackdown on the food riots, or the (typically) incompetent Western response (arming Islamic jihadists: yeah that’s going to work out), but the bottom line is that when a society hits the limits, bad things happen, one way or the other.
And yet the simple fact of Syria’s artificially-created population explosion has been totally suppressed from the news media. Talking about economics without including demographics is like talking about space travel without taking gravity into account: it’s insane.
But the rich want cheap labor. So any mention of the real forces behind the misery in Syria must not be mentioned, because that might cause people to not allow themselves to be bred like cattle, or to resist the importation of massive numbers of third world refugees to accomplish the same end, which would result in the right people not being able to buy their second yacht this year, and that would never do.

Syria is just one small example: most of the current population explosion has been due, one way or the other, to deliberate government policies. As this forced population growth adds ever more billions to the world, and as crop yields per acre have not increased in over two decades, and fresh water cannot be mass produced by any known technology (and robots don’t change this!), things will start to fall apart. The collapse will be slow, and erratic, but, increasingly, inevitable. There will be more and more refugees, centralized governments will have a harder and harder time keeping control, and states will tend to dissolve into warlordism and ethnic conflicts.

Welcome to the beginning of the end of the current great cycle, my fellow Moties.


Refugee and mathematical question 

Dear Dr. Pournelle, 
I’m sure you’ve seen in the news the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria and western Europe. 
While no one wants to leave refugees to drown , there are significant problems when a country takes in too many immigrants.  You get unassimilated ghettoes in which crime is rampant. People from an alien culture , economically disadvantaged, are ripe for recruitment by fanatics. See Sweden.
There’s also the issue in Germany. Germany, in a burst of generosity, agreed to take in 800K refugees per year. All to the good, but they are projecting to receive one MILLION refugees this year, so they are re-establishing border controls, to the consternation of liberals everywhere.
Charity demands we not turn away ALL immigrants.  Reason and common sense tell us we can’t take them all , either.
Which raises the question: How many is “too many”? Is this a function of a country’s population?  Can a nation readily absorb up to one percent of its population per year in terms of immigration?  Two percent? Ten?  Half a percent? 
Or is there some other factor? Might a country with minimal social benefits be able to absorb more immigrants than a welfare state? 
I think the entire question of immigration would benefit greatly by asking just what is the capacity of a state to absorb immigrants. So what I’m asking you and your readers is: How do we model that, and how can we test that model?

Brian P.

There might first be a debate on the ethics of saying a nation has the obligation to import people who hate it and have no intent of assimilation. The Melting Pot worked; I’ve seen no indication that diversity does.



“Around 470 million years ago, two large asteroids collided in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and many fragments were thrown off in new orbits. Many of these crashed on Earth, such as these two in Jämtland.”



Roland Dobbins


Stephanie Osborn

“The Interstellar Woman of Mystery”


I have removed by popular request a picture of the celebration of the attack on America on 911 2001.


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



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




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