EM DRIVE? Should Hillary be in jail? And other important matters.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

If Republicans want to force through massive tax cuts, we will fight them tooth and nail.

Senator Elizabeth Warren

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

James Burnham

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

“Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Immigration without assimilation is invasion.



Windows 10 seems to changed the privilege rules for local internal networks, and while there may be some logic in what they have done I haven’t found any explanations I understand. I see all my other computers and RAID storage devices; I can read some of them, but I can’t copy them. When I try to change sharing, one approach seems to say they are already shared. Another says the folder can’t be shared. This is nuts. It was easy enough under Windows 7, but now they have improved it all to the point of unusability. Thanks, guys. You really make sure Windows Gurus have jobs. Unfortunately I have always been a mere user, and Microsoft never gave a tinker’s curse for mere users.

I can use the cloud as a sort of sneaker net, but that seems absurd; and my network of storage devices has become unusable, or nearly so. Fortunately I still have big multi-terabyte hard disks and easy external connections, and that’s easy to use, but I’m back to sneaker net; which is a protection from ransomware, but great heavens. Why is this an improvement?


The news from Washington depends on who’s telling it. Of course it always did: CNN always did have a picture of Washington that didn’t have much to do with what I saw when I was there, and the other media sure had more of the Ted Kennedy “Star Wars” notion of Strategic Defense and SDI than I saw, even when I was chairman of the group that was inventing SDI, and my view from Newt Gingrich’s office had little resemblance to what the media was reporting. There doesn’t seem to be much improvement since. The media reports what it wants you to believe, which may or may not reflect the real world, and it seems more subject to the belief of the reporters and editors that to what’s happening.

As an example, during the campaign Mr. Trump said that Hillary Clinton ought to be in jail. That’s pretty extreme, but the plain fact is that if I or anyone I knew had abused the security regulations on classified information in the way she did, I’d have certainly been fired, never again entrusted with classified briefings or documents, and I certainly would have violated laws that carried incarceration as a possible penalty. Now Mr. Trump has said he has no intention of prosecuting her. That’s a policy decision that certainly squares with my view of history. Prosecuting elected chiefs of state usually ends badly, and criminalizing political decisions has never been a good idea.

It has been an exhausting two days. Roberta is getting better. We need to do a lot of preparation for her to come home.


Trump Will Not Prosecute Clinton

I can see your response already, “Did you think he was really going to appoint a special prosecutor?”


President-elect Donald Trump won’t subject Hillary Clinton to a criminal inquiry — instead, he’ll help her heal, his spokeswoman said Tuesday.


“Look, I think, he’s thinking of many different things as he prepares to become the president of the United States, and things that sound like the campaign are not among them,” Conway, who is now on the Trump transition team, said in her interview.



So, what’s on his mind right now is not what he was saying during the campaign. Business as usual. And he wants to help Clinton heal?

What planet are these people on?

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

I will repeat: prosecutions for former chiefs of state for official actions has seldom ended well, No one has asked me for my opinion, but I would be very wary of doing that; and I would certainly not call the last few days business as usual.


The possibility of the existence of a reactionless drive overshadows even the election.


Mr. Trump has expressed his intention to re-focus NASA away from LEO navel-gazing and towards deep-space exploration.

He needs to be made aware that we may very well have the keys to the Solar System in our hands; and all NASA efforts, including the shilly-shallying around we’ve been doing with the so-called ‘space station’ should be redirected towards figuring out if this is indeed what we hope and pray it is.


Roland Dobbins




So the EmDrive produces 1.2 mN/kW. If my dimensional analysis is correct, that’s about 120 mg at 1 m/s^2. That’s pretty good return for 1000 Watts. In the Conclusions section, the authors note that a Hall thruster will produce about 60 mN/kW, but that requires a reaction mass.

One thing, though: in illustration 19, without extrapolations it looks like the thrust tops out at about 88 micronewtons/kW, about 0.088 mN/kW – both at 60 watts and 80 watts. I don’t trust made-up curves (I see a lot of them in my business). Curve-fitting depends on your choice of curves. So I’d like to see a machine scaled to deliver 1 kilowatt before I decide what an EmDrive can do at that power.

Other than that, I can only wonder what the US Navy and the Chinese have discovered.


Reactionless drive rough calculations

Hi Jerry:

I ran some back-of-the-envelope calculations on the reactionless drive, and it looks pretty disappointing for interstellar work, but promising for the solar system, at least with current technology.

The GHRS-RTG radioisotope thermoelectric generators used in the Cassini and Galileo missions have the highest power-to-mass ratio of any RTG: 5.2 to 5.4 W/kg. With the thrust of the drive at 1.2 mN/kW, if you neglect the mass of the drive and just count the mass of the power source, this works out to an acceleration of 6E-7 m/s2. Because the thrust force scales with the mass of the power source, mass of the power source falls out of the equation–i.e, building a larger, higher power (more massive) power source does not improve acceleration, assuming power source mass is proportional to output power.

So an RTG powered craft, accelerating at 6E-7 m/s2, would achieve the following velocities and distances over time:

1 year; 18 m/s (about 40 mph); 540,000 km (to the moon and beyond)

10 years; 180 m/s; 54 million km (over half way to Mars at closest approach)

The amount of time it would take to get to relativistic speeds (say c/10) is 1.7 million years. Unfortunately the half-life of the 238Pu in the RTG is 87.7 years, so it would never reach those speeds.

Things are better with solar panels, limited to use in the inner solar system. Solar panels used in space deliver about 300W/kg, so acceleration could be 3.6E-4 m/s2. This would give:

1 year; 11 km/s; 324 million km (taking into account acceleration and deceleration, perhaps one round trip to Mars)

Accelerating to c/10 would now take 2800 years, and would have to be achieved by shining a laser on the craft as it left the vicinity of the sun.

So I think we would need some quantum leaps in power source density and drive efficiency for the system to be useful for interstellar work, but it might be useful for inner solar system missions in the shorter term.

Hoping for you continued health and Roberta’s continuing improvement,

Doug Ely





President is Constitutionally responsible for commissioning all officers, and not one person should be commissioned who has not served at least four years as enlisted personnel.


An acquaintance of mine, former navy, gave me this story.

When a new device of some sort was introduced, the contractors would wine and dine the enlisted to solicit their opinions as the the suitability of the product. This lasted only until the officers heard about this practice. From then on it was the officers who were wined and dined.


I’m not sure either officers or non-coms ought to be meeting with lobbyists.

Officers and orders, giving and taking

Dear Doctor Pournelle,

Has Mr. Harrington served? He seems unaware of a basic fact of military

organizations: commissioned officers follow orders much more often than they give them. Also, the vast majority of commissioned officers in the United States armed forces do not come from the service academies, even if you throw in such state operated schools as The Citadel, Texas A&M and VMI. Most of the officers come from ROTC along with a Golden Few from the ranks through Officer Training School. It’s always been easy and a bit “fun” to bash the federal academy grads. Terms like “Ring Knockers” are easily uttered by chairborne commandos. “Throw the brute out, but when the bullets begin to fly, it’s “thin red line of ‘eroes!”

We ask eighteen-year old men and women to give up ten years of their lives (that’s what it takes if you go the full four years at one of those Federal academies), with a fair chance of being killed or maimed on active service, and then some choose to sneer at them for acting a bit like boys and girls now and then while at school?


There is a reason for insisting that commissioned officers have more education. It might be worth discussion another time.


on the Chicago shootings


A one page summary.


Enlightening. Also frightening.


Liberals who claim history’s on their side got a cold wake-up call

One of the more thought provoking essays:  http://nypost.com/2016/11/17/liberals-who-claim-historys-on-their-side-just-got-a-cold-wake-up-call/

Democrats haven’t been this upset since Republicans took away their slaves.


Claiming to be in step with the march of history was one of the communists’ most persuasive arguments.


Suggestions for the new President

Those news organizations (CNN, NYTimes, et al) who were so obviously in the tank for the Clinton campaign should have their press credentials revoked and/or lose their seats in the White House Press Room. Alternatively, if that’s too radical, there should be a news blackout for the Press Room for a week or a month, however long it takes to get the point across. They need access to perform their function but the Administration doesn’t need them. Let them sit in the Press Room endlessly. Maybe once a day a low-level staffer could come out and tell them “We have nothing for you today. Come back tomorrow if you feel like it.” and then walk away. Just let them stew in their own juices.


I have many other Draconian suggestions; the question is whether it is the best policy; will that produce the best results when you do make drastic changes in law enforcement and regulatory policies? How much strain do we need? There’s going to be a lot.


Regulations and Bunny Inspectors


As has been mentioned, all federal regulations should have sunset clauses. Each new regulation will require 5 regulations to be deleted from the CFR.

Proposed regulations will have a base review period of 30 days, a day of review is defined as a day when both houses of congress are in session. The review period will be extended one day for any day both houses are not in session. For any proposed regulation with more than 1000 words in length the review period will be increased 1 day for each additional 1000 words or less. A word is defined as 5 characters.

So for a proposed regulation of 3,450 words, it will have a base review period of 35 days when each house is in session. As an example of how the review period works, take October and November 2016 and assume the regulation is presented for review on October 21, 2016. So far from 10/21/16, both houses have been in session for 5 days from 10/21/16 to 11/18/16, so the review period will have had 5 days thus far. So there would remain 30 days for the review to be completed. So for this example there will be at least 58 calendar days for review of the regulation as of today.

Lagniappe for you — No new regulation shall be entered into the CFR nor any current regulation in the CFR be modified until regulations for bunny inspectors for magicians are deleted from the CFR, or magicians are exempted from inspecting bunnies. Deletions of regulations from the CFR may be made during this period.

Regards, Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE

We’ll have to see. I’m betting we will still have bunny inspectors and no one will know why.


Secretary of Space

Matthew Joseph Harrington had some interesting ideas in his letter. For first Secretary of Space, I’d like to nominate Mr. Steve Barnes.

Michael D. Houst

It is unlikely, but it’s not a bad idea. NASA could use some common sense and a non-political administrator. Perhaps more likely:

N in NASA stands for Newt

Dr. Pournelle,
Thought you might find this amusing. Newt for head of NASA:


Yeah, really


Notice the juxtaposition of those quoted in the article, and the comments of the readers of WaPo…



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 Excellence;  Avoider of Yard Work


Something old, yet something all too new…


I would suggest the incoming administration regularly reaffirm John Quincy Adams’ ides in his address on July 4, 1821.  His warning is all too true L

Regards, Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE


Speech on Independence Day, John Quincy Adams, United States House of Representatives, July 4, 1821

An address, delivered at the request of the committee of arrangements  for celebrating the anniversary of Independence,  at the City of Washington on the  Fourth of July 1821  upon the occasion of reading  The Declaration of Independence

“….what has America done for the benefit of mankind? let our answer be this–America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government. America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, equal justice, and equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations, while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when the conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has seen that probably for centuries to come, all the contests of that Aceldama, the European World, will be contests between inveterate power, and emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit…..”

I am fairly sure Mr. Trump has read that speech.



Working and eating

“This is the old argument which used to be important in considering “entitlements”: government decrees face taxpayers with enforcement. To whom do we nave a binding – not moral – obligation? Are all men to be paid for existing, and that payment to be extracted at the point of a gun?”
Dr Pournelle, this argument has been lost since 1965, when voting became a “right” and we moved to a warm-body (at best; Chicago waived that requirement at least 5 years earlier) democracy. There used to be something called a “pauper’s oath”; it hasn’t been a factor in my lifetime, but it basically said that if you were unable to support yourself you no longer had the privilege of voting how the guns would be employed to threaten the productive.
We are encountering an increasing number of people whose only goods of value are their votes in those warm body elections, or their bodies for riot and insurrection. That population is only being expanded by open borders, and also by the increasing percentage of jobs that can’t be performed by the left side of the bell-curve. I realize that there are lots of people who claim that better technology has only increased job opportunities, but that was on a lower level of technological sophistication.
I’m not sure there IS a good answer; any attempt to restrict voting to the productive will require a second Revolution, since we otherwise won’t be able to pass the changes through the current machinery, but it is something that someone needs to contemplate.





Matthew Joseph Harrington

Here are my objections.


Veto any budget that exceeds the previous year’s Treasury revenue, on the grounds that the wording of the Constitution makes it quite clear that the United States can operate on credit only in time of declared war, and only to pay the costs of said war.


Bush Sr tried that, and Congress played the game of political blackmail in that they then submitted a second budget equally objectionable.

Reagan also ran in to that obstacle.


Congressional selectees be damned, sadistic training centers run like British boys’ schools likewise: the President is Constitutionally responsible for commissioning all officers, and not one person should be commissioned who has not served at least four years as enlisted personnel. Before anybody gets the job of giving orders he ought to have some fucking clue of what is involved in carrying the goddamn things out.


Can a distinction be made regarding combat and non combat officers?


The President should propose to the States that all election days be holidays.


In my State they have early voting, on weekends including Sunday, as well as extended hours. Don’t know about other States, but maybe a requirement that an employee get 2 hours off to go vote.


This loss of privileged status will extend to government mailings.


And apply Anti-Trust to USPS.


The President should declare a general amnesty on taxation of income from all forms of creative work, such as art, writing, and music, on the grounds that the First Amendment protects both freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and therefore equal treatment should given to both.


Why should Creative People not have to pay their share of taxes? And what is a Creative Work? Inventions? Does the New York Times become a Tax Exempt Charity?




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



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