Climate Change; Warthogs Again; Ptolemy

Chaos Manor View, Saturday, June 20, 2015

Friday, June 19, 2015 went out to Costco to get a microphone thing that Bluetooths to my hearing aids. Worked fine in the store, but I can’t make it work at home. Somehow the Bluetooth hookup got lost in taking it home: at least that’s what the troubleshooting guide says. But reestablishing the relationship seems complex, so I suppose I will have to get Michael to drive me out there Monday. It’s a good half hour trip each way. I was hoping that this thing would solve some of my problems. Meanwhile new earpieces and programming have made the things work better.

Saturday: Disappointed that my microphone thingy doesn’t work, and discouraged a bit. Thursday night I actually wrote nearly a thousand words, and thought of some subplots that really improve my asteroid civilization novel.

Also, having studied the Holy Father’s disquisition on Climate, it’s not just a blast about climate change, but it does show that science politics reaches the Vatican. For some of the history of science and the church

Subj: Just what was Galileo accused of, again?

Since the old Church-Hates-Science canard is again (or still) abroad in the Land, perhaps it would be useful to link to Mike Flynn’s “Great Ptolemaic Smackdown”, beginning at

Rod Montgomery

The link leads to an essay by my erudite friend Michael Flynn writing as TOF, The O’Flynn. It is an interesting and somewhat detailed account of why heliocentric theories seemed so absurd prior to Tyco; and an observation on the intelligent view of scientific theory and the evidence. If you have two theories, both of which seem to explain all the evidence, but which are incompatible and cannot be merged, what, exactly, is truth, and what are the rules. (And yes, I understand that this is not a settled question; what is settled is that you cannot ignore valid observations, and you cannot inflate the accuracy of the ones you have in determining the value of your theory.

Lost in the noise of all this debate seems to be the generally agreed fact that simply reducing the US contribution to CO2 growth will have essentially no effect on trends.

As to the weight to be given the encyclical:

Dear Mr. Pournelle:
Your correspondent asserted: ” Ed Morissey, also a Catholic, explains it this way using the quote of a commenter on his site: “cthemfly: “Thus, we as Catholics need to explain that this encyclical cannot be dignified as anything other than an opinion piece one might read in the NYT.”
As a Lutheran, I can’t speak on the import of a papal encyclical with anything like authority. However, I don’t think this assertion is credible. As I understand it, a Papal Encyclical is one step below an Apostolic Constitution, and over the last few centuries several have served as major social statements speaking authoritatively for the Roman Catholic Church. The equivalent of the weekly column from a paid journalist? I think not.
Allan E. Johnson

Obviously Papal encyclicals command more attention that a weekly column from a paid journalist; but they stand on their own merits and evidence. They are not ex cathedra. I don’t intend to comment on the doctrine of “infallibility”. For those interested, is readable. But in any event. The encyclical is not under that doctrine. Much of it concerns itself with human choices, and most of that is not new, nor exclusively Roman Catholic, or Orthodox:

Ode, Inscribed to William H. Channing

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Though loath to grieve

The evil time’s sole patriot,

I cannot leave

My honied thought

For the priest’s cant,

Or statesman’s rant.

If I refuse

My study for their politique,

Which at the best is trick,

The angry Muse

Puts confusion in my brain.

But who is he that prates

Of the culture of mankind,

Of better arts and life?

Go, blindworm, go,

Behold the famous States

Harrying Mexico

With rifle and with knife!

Or who, with accent bolder,

Dare praise the freedom-loving mountaineer?

I found by thee, O rushing Contoocook!

And in thy valleys, Agiochook!

The jackals of the negro-holder.

The God who made New Hampshire

Taunted the lofty land

With little men; —

Small bat and wren

House in the oak: —

If earth-fire cleave

The upheaved land, and bury the folk,

The southern crocodile would grieve.

Virtue palters; Right is hence;

Freedom praised, but hid;

Funeral eloquence

Rattles the coffin-lid.

What boots thy zeal,

O glowing friend,

That would indignant rend

The northland from the south?

Wherefore? to what good end?

Boston Bay and Bunker Hill

Would serve things still; —

Things are of the snake.

The horseman serves the horse,

The neat-herd serves the neat,

The merchant serves the purse,

The eater serves his meat;

‘T is the day of the chattel

Web to weave, and corn to grind;

Things are in the saddle,

And ride mankind.

There are two laws discrete,

Not reconciled,—

Law for man, and law for thing;

The last builds town and fleet,

But it runs wild,

And doth the man unking.

‘T is fit the forest fall,

The steep be graded,

The mountain tunnelled,

The sand shaded,

The orchard planted,

The glebe tilled,

The prairie granted,

The steamer built.

Let man serve law for man;

Live for friendship, live for love,

For truth’s and harmony’s behoof;

The state may follow how it can,

As Olympus follows Jove.

     Yet do not I implore

The wrinkled shopman to my sounding woods,

Nor bid the unwilling senator

Ask votes of thrushes in the solitudes.

Every one to his chosen work; —

Foolish hands may mix and mar;

Wise and sure the issues are.

Round they roll till dark is light,

Sex to sex, and even to odd; —

The over-god

Who marries Right to Might,

Who peoples, unpeoples, —

He who exterminates

Races by stronger races,

Black by white faces, —

Knows to bring honey

Out of the lion;

Grafts gentlest scion

On pirate and Turk.

The Cossack eats Poland,

Like stolen fruit;

Her last noble is ruined,

Her last poet mute;

Straight into double band

The victors divide;

Half for freedom strike and stand; —

The astonished Muse finds thousands at her side.

Until the discovery of penicillin (well possibly sulfa about the same time) physicians could only aid their patients to heal themselves. Do No Harm. Now. With wonder drugs, they have more choices. The same is true with agriculture and production: without modern technology, most of what we think of as international charity – including simply getting there to help after a disaster – would be impossible. Yes, the things of technology are a new temptation, and capable of tempting many more people to put possessions first, if only because so many more can have possessions. His Holiness reminds us that accumulation is not the goal of life. We all understand that, but we often need reminding.



Iraq: Situation Desperate, Send More Kurds


This is really about incompetent Iraqi officers:

“After 2003 the American strategy in Iraq was simple; hold elections and get the elected government strong enough so that it could take care of itself without American troops.” Indeed. If you are going to rebuild a country or an army, you have to start from the bottom. Hold municipal elections, select sergeants and begin training lieutenants. Then provincial elections, and in the army let competent NCO’s and officers advance. You ought to have a functioning government and a competent army in about 20 years. Mot willing to make that sort of commitment? Then don’t start the enterprise.


If you don’t know what you are trying to accomplish…




I was just floored and am nearly speechless over an Arstechnica article

It seems our esteemed (NOT) POTUS’s government including the OPM has subcontracted our national IT security to the Chinese. They didn’t have to hack anything. They had root access from the beginning.

Encryption “would not have helped” at OPM, says DHS official Attackers had valid user credentials and run of network, bypassing security.

I’m utterly aghast at this. What does it take to get a POTUS removed for gross utter incompetence? What does it take to get the House to do its job? (What does it take to get the House to never again pull a massive shrink wrap law on us like ObamaCare and the even larger trade agreements?)


One attempts what can be accomplished. I do point out that electing a junior Senator with no other experience in either government or business or military on the basis of one speech in a time of crisis is not usually the optimum move in any political history.


Needs of the battlefield

Pay particular attention to the section entitled, “Two Dangerous Assumptions about Future War” 

This is critical to ALL military thinking and planning on future battlefields.  Failure respect your enemy will ultimately result in your defeat, or withdrawal from the field without advancing your political goals.

Oh, by the way.  KEEP THE DAMNED A-10 in our inventory!



David Couvillon
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; 
Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; 
Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; 
Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; 
Chef de Hot Dog Excellance;  Avoider of Yard Work

= =

Why not build a new A10?

The A10 started production in 1975 or so. It’s 40 years old. We should be able to build an even better one today. If congress would force the army and air force to renegotiate their agreement of who owns what, we could let Army build a replacement A10. How about a modern A10 with a rail gun? Now that would make the troops happy!

Phil Tharp

Well, yes, but we already have some. We could use Stukas for that matter. USAF can protect the ground support aircraft.




One thing that is missing is that Ptolemy’s model show the moon to sometimes be twice as close to the earth as other times.

Yet the moon never appears twice as big.


I don’t think I ever heard that.  Surely someone would have noticed? Really all the actual details I know (as opposed to general concepts – come from TOF, who has proved so far to be a very good scholar of the history of science.


Just so you will know…

I really enjoy your columns!

Thanks. Charles

I also have pretty good mail.  I just wish I could type faster


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




Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.