Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski


It’s terribly hot outside, and I am busily preparing for my trip to Atlanta and DragonCon, where I am presenting an award as well as participating on panels and the usual stuff. Travel is a major expedition for me now, and takes a lot of preparation; and alas, all my experience during the Cold War and even in BYTE days is basically irrelevant. Back in the days when you wore a necktie to air travel I flew around enough to get lifetime memberships in most airline lounge clubs, which simplifies things a lot, but what I learned then about airline travel doesn’t apply now. Maybe to First Class, but not to anyone else. Fortunately I can arrange for a wheel chair and get help boarding, but the old days seem to be gone. The cabin crew – can’t call them stewardesses anymore – try, but they’re overworked and understaffed, and more and more passengers no longer wear neckties and are polite and understanding. I miss the old days before deregulation of prices, when airlines had to compete on service, not on being cheap. And yes, I thoroughly realize that I’ve just said I’d rather have higher prices filter airline travel, and that’s assertion of privilege and all that. It won’t stop me from missing the old days when flying was a pleasant experience.

Anyway, I’ve got appointments this afternoon and not a lot of time.


If there’s a lesson from the current weather – you really can’t blame it on climate – it’s one we used to know. When I was a kid during the depression, people who built houses in areas a few feet above flood level – in flood plains like Houston and Baton Rouge and much of the Mississippi Valley – built them on stilts. In Tornado Alley they built storm cellars. In flood plains in Tornado Alley they built on stilts and hoped to find shelter every 25 or thirty years. The primary rule was, if you build mansions in flood plains, prepare to self insure, and if you’re not that rich, think of living somewhere else.

After all. Talk of 30 year floods, or 50 year floods, or even 100 year floods is a prediction; and while the likelihood of two 50 year floods in a decade is low, it ain’t zero. My house is 70 feet above the concreted river down by Ventura Blvd, and I didn’t worry even when the only storm drains were streets, which we’re about six feet above anyway; our streets being 70 feet above Ventura Blvd. And yes, I did all those calculations before we bought this place. After all, I grew up in Memphis, known at Bluff City, and then in Capleville known at Nonconnah Bottom, and I was born in Louisiana. I know about houses on stilts, and one of my earliest memories is of railway flatcars filled with injured and refugees from the Tupelo, Mississippi Tornado.

Which is not to say I have no sympathy for the victims of the storm. I do think it madness to continue the fiction that replacing the old local Civil Defense organizations, many of them managed by volunteer retired military officers and veterans, with FEMA which Governors like Clinton used as places for political agents to get a salary while they worked for his election, was a good idea.

The way FEMA worked, at least when I was familiar with it, made Clinton’s action as good as any, because the local FEMA officials’ competence was irrelevant. Washington controlled FEMA, and needed no advice from locals; neither local FEMA nor National Guard. Locals couldn’t possibly as competent as the DC Professionals, and don’t you forget it. Of course when Clinton became President he had some reasons to suspect that…

A long time ago, Civil Defense organized local communities down to Boy Scout level, and it worked pretty well. After Katrina drove some victims to seek refuge in Houston, then came Humphrey (which may be a bit ironic), we learn that a 30 or 40 year flood can be followed by something worse in fewer than 20 years; of course we have always known that, but perhaps this time we can pay attention?




The date of this picture is 1935.







Another Visit to the law of unintended results.



During our current SoCal heat wave I began to wonder how much additional CO2 has belched into the atmosphere since R22, commonly referred to as Freon, due to the fact that none of the replacements are as efficient.

I did a little reading and learned that not only do the replacement coolants require more energy for the same amount of cooling, but ChloroFluoroCarbons are much more potent greenhouse gasses that CO2. (Not hard to believe since CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas.) All of the retrofitting of R22 systems with “acceptable” refrigerants has undoubtedly released a lot of refrigerant into the atmosphere.

BTW, how is the naturally occurring and fluctuating Ozone hole doing these days.

Bob Holmes

But the models say…


Antifa Mobs Violently Attack Peaceful Protesters At Berkeley, Police Stand Down

Is anyone surprised?


NEWin Q-MAG.org: humans in caves – heath advantages


Third and last installment of Amanda Laoupi’s article on the environmental bio-advantages of Neanderthals.

Anne-Marie de Grazia



I have found this interesting. We are after all the children of Cain and Abel.


Thousand-Year-Old Viking Fortress Reveals a Technologically-Advanced Society.



Roland Dobbins



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




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