Coming To America; Iraq; Polar Ice Cap Data Revision

Niven and Barnes are here, and we have a story conference.

Here is an account by my friend and former student Peter Schramm. You should read it.


Back from lunch but you should read Peter’s account of coming to America. It’s worth your time


Humiliation in Iraq:

Losing in Iraq Again

Pentagon spin can’t hide that the U.S. strategy is failing.

No matter how much the Pentagon and White House downplay it, the fall of Ramadi to Islamic State on Sunday shows that President Obama’s strategy is failing. The question now is whether Mr. Obama has the political courage to change or watch Iraq descend into more chaos and perhaps a Sunni-Shiite civil war.

For now U.S. officials prefer the sunny days school of military analysis. “Regrettable but not uncommon in warfare,” says Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Secretary of State John Kerry added that “I am absolutely confident in the days ahead that [Ramadi’s fall] will be reversed.” This recalls the generals who said in 2006 that Iraq was making progress even as hundreds turned up in the morgues each night.

In reality, the fall of Ramadi is a military humiliation and humanitarian disaster with large political consequences. The city is the provincial capital of Anbar province, Iraq’s Sunni heartland. U.S. forces waged a block-by-block battle to reclaim Ramadi from insurgents during the 2007 surge because it is crucial to the sectarian geography of Iraq. Winning there proved that the U.S. could prevail anywhere, and it provided the psychological momentum to swing the Sunnis to America’s side.

The Wall St. Journal article estimates that it will now require 10,000 men – about a division – to drive ISIS out; but they must go in now.  I would undertake to rid Iraq of the Caliphate with the 101st Airborne and the remaining Warthog close support aircraft; it might need some USAF anti SAM squadrons as well. But that would be true only if we act now.  With the Caliphate war feeds war, and each success makes expansion easier.

What we must not do is what we are doing; treating this as more of same, not a crisis. If we wait until after the election it will require a good bit more than a division with air support.


Global warming

Dear Dr. Pournelle;
Eric Gilmer

Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

The multi-billion dollar climate models will not operate properly without accurate data.



LG Display shows off press-on ‘wallpaper’ TV under 1mm thick

LG shows just how thin the “wallpaper” TV is during an event Tuesday. LG Display

LG Display, the screen-making subsidiary of LG, is dedicated to OLED panels, and it has unveiled an impossibly thin television to prove it.

At a press event in its home country of Korea on Tuesday, LG Display showed off a “wallpaper” proof-of-concept television. The 55-inch OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display weighs 1.9 kilograms and is less than a millimeter thick. Thanks to a magnetic mat that sits behind it on the wall, the TV can be stuck to a wall. To remove the display from the wall, you peel the screen off the mat.

The unveiling was part of a broader announcement by LG Display to showcase its plans for the future. The company said its display strategy will center on OLED technology. According to a press release, the head of LG Display’s OLED business unit, Sang-Deog Yeo, said “OLED represents a groundbreaking technology” not only for the company, but also for the industry.

The comments echo the refrain consumers have been hearing for years as display technology has evolved. The HD craze kicked into high gear years ago with technologies like LCD (liquid crystal display) and plasma, but has since been moving increasingly toward LED technology.

OLED is widely believed to be the next frontier. The technology adds an organic compound layer that allows not only for exceedingly thin screens, but for those displays to be curved. The organic material also emits its own light, eliminating the need for a backlight. That allows for such thin screens and has made OLED a desirable choice not only for televisions, but for a wide range of wearables and other mobile products. LG Display believes OLED could be the de facto display technology in all products in the future.

While some OLED screens have been used by companies like Samsung, LG and Sony, the costs are still quite high to produce the displays. Part of that cost is due to a historically low yield, or production of displays that are actually functional. More waste means higher costs on the screens that do make it through production. Those costs are then passed on to consumers. LG’s 65-inch, 4K OLED TV, for instance, costs $9,000.

On Tuesday, however, LG said that it has made significant headway in developing OLEDs. The company touted its position as the first to mass-produce large-screen OLEDs for televisions and said that its yield has hit 80 percent — a strong showing, but still lower than LCDs.

Those issues with yield, coupled with price, mean televisions like the “wallpaper” display might not make their way to store shelves at a reasonable cost anytime soon.

LG Display said Tuesday it expects to sell 600,000 OLED TV panels this year and 1.5 million next year. The company also cited comments made at the press event by Ching W. Tang, a professor at the University of Rochester in New York and “the father of OLED.” He said OLED displays will not become ubiquitous for another five to 10 years. At that point, Tang said, they could outpace LCDs in total shipments.


I never use ATM’s except in my bank itself, but if you do this is relevant:

Criminals are stealing card data from U.S. automated teller machines at the highest rate in two decades, preying on ATMs while merchants crack down on fraud at the checkout counter.

The incidents, in which thieves steal information from debit cards to make counterfeit plastic, are taking place at ATMs that are owned by banks as well as independently owned cash kiosks in shopping centers, convenience stores and restaurants, according to industry executives.

There’s a lot more. If you and tour family don’t use ATM’s it’s of no concern (although the methods described may be interesting).


I am not sure I want my computer to be this concerned with what I do.

Huawei launches ‘internet of things’ operating system    ft

Charles Clover in Beijing

Huawei, the Chinese telecoms group, has launched an operating system designed to work exclusively with internet connected objects — from cars to watches to toothbrushes — which it predicts will number more than 100bn by 2025.

William Xu, Huawei’s global head of strategy and marketing, said the company’s “Lite OS” was part of the group’s strategy to take advantage of the “internet of things”, the smart gadgets designed to connect to each other and share information about their use.

Even the humble electric toothbrush, he said, could one day “record how often and how effectively you brush your teeth, and could tell you when to do it and how to do it better”.

Mr Xu added that Huawei did not plan to join the race to make any of the dizzying array of connected devices being planned by smartphone competitors, such as smart air purifiers or smart cars.

Instead, Huawei is offering device suppliers its open source technology to connect their gadgets to the internet. “We want to provide the connections, not the devices,” he said.

An analyst who covers the company said that Huawei’s strategy was a defensive one: “Building a platform is safer when you don’t know what to build.”


The traditional lament about the lack of basic research can be found at

It is not obvious to me that the remedy is more money for peer reviewed expensive studies.


Say goodbye to your clunky air conditioner — this kitchen table uses no electricity to regulate the temperature of your apartment

Read more:

This might actually be useful if the price were reasonable.













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




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