I am annoyed at Mozilla; a day devoured by locusts.

Chaos Manor View Thursday, April 30, 2015


This morning I got spam telling me that “stated income- it’s back & it’s legal”. I don’t know if it is a scam as well as spam, but given that we’re in a Depression— I know, officially we are recovering from the Great Recession; believe that if you like—and either way it’s a bit frightening. Wasn’t TARP, son of TARP, grandson of TARP, and all the special subsidies enough? We’ve spent enough to end poverty and then some if the money had actually gone to poor people, but apparently it wasn’t enough—although the service employment union members ought to be happy.

I started that paragraph at 1045. It is now 1523 and I just finished it. Most of that time was taken because I had a 1300 appointment with physical therapy, where I learned that I am not ready to try a cane instead of walker and wheel chair, but we didn’t leave until 1210 so that wasn’t what kept me from writing it.

When I got to TARP in the paragraph above I went to Firefox to look up TARP – and discovered that I would be searching with ASK. I had no desire to search with ASK, or Yahoo for that matter. I had noticed that somehow Firefox had made the inefficient Yahoo engine my default, but I hadn’t taken the time to do something about it, I just lived with the fleas. But ASK, as far as I can tell, is the real thing real live Malware, worse than fleas and liable to infect everything.

So I stopped writing about TARP and searched “how the hell do I remove the ASK search engine?” You get different results depending on the search engine you use.

Then I sent a help message to my advisors,

I have ASK in my Firefox.  Looking for how to get back to Google, I found this:


Should I or is this more trouble??

Does what it says about ask bear some relation to the truth?

Jerry Pournelle
Chaos Manor

And got back

    Most likely came as part of a Java update. MalwareBytes should do the trick.

    My rule: ALWAYS do a custom install to make sure you have the choice to refuse ‘extras’ that otherwise get automatically installed.

Eric [Pobirs]

And from Peter Glaskowsky

What Eric said, plus this:

Don’t download from that link! It’s going to give you a different malware package (SpyHunter) that is a bit scammy. Not as scammy as some others, but it’s grief you don’t want.

Generally, Googling for solutions to specific malware problems is a good way to find more malware, since the bad actors blanket the Web with deceptive offers and Astroturfed “reviews.” They figure people who have one infestation are probably vulnerable to more.

I notice that Mozilla.org itself recommends using the “Refresh Firefox” feature to fall back to a factory-fresh state while preserving saved bookmarks, passwords, and cookies as well as the state of open windows. This method also resets some advanced features such as modified preferences and security settings, so you have to be careful with it.


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Needless to say I hadn’t done anything other than send that message; meanwhile over on the Surface Pro 3 there was available a whole new build, so I started downloading that. Then I looked up MalwareBytes, and downloaded that. They offer both a free and a “professional” version, and I’m perfectly willing to pay for what I’m using, but they don’t tell me how much I’m to pay! Flog that. I downloaded the “free” copy, and at every stage they exhorted me to upgrade to the professional, but still neglected to say how much; finally came a screen that said only pennies a day, but that might be 99 pennies a day for 365 days a year; anyway I didn’t know and I didn’t want more hassle, I took the free version.

It installed fine, but it was running before it told me it advised shutting down all programs. I let it run while I saved all my Word files, and open Outlook stuff, and shut those down, then shut down Firefox. I must have got it done in time because at the end it showed several ASK programs it wanted to dismiss, as well as some others I never heard of. I let it do that, and now, with all the programs shut down, ran MalwareBytes again. This time it took about ten minutes, and found nothing significant. I now fired up Microsoft Security Essentials and let that do a quick scan and started opening programs. They all seemed normal, and the ASK stuff was gone from Firefox, and it was time to go to physical therapy.

It went well, if a bit exhausting. I do not yet have the balance I need to rely on a cane rather than as walker, but there are plenty of reasons to hope. I just have to do the exercises and build confidence: I have the strength, just not the balance. Of course I had almost no balance before the stroke; the radiation treatment that made me a brain cancer survivor took care of that. I do hope to get to where I was before the stroke, which was with a cane, nor a walker. Wish me luck.

When we got back I discovered I’d got rid of ASK but not Yahoo, and searching for how to get rid of that led me to settings, and I set the default search engine as I usually do – Bing is not an option – and of course nothing happened. Still have Yahoo. To get Google I have to Yahoo Google and click on Google, which is annoying. I’m about to give up on Firefox and join the dark side. And of course Session Manager lost all my open windows, so I wasted more time restoring some of them.  I am really annoyed.

And it’s getting late. Another day devoured by locusts, the chief locust being Mozilla Firefox and their love affair with Yahoo. I am quite annoyed.

As to what I started to write, I don’t think I need to tell you just how poor an idea “stated income” as a basis for home loans is.



emdrive works in hard vacuum

Jerry, you were kind enough to publish my article regarding the EmDrive back in the beginning of August, 2014.  The following is excerpted from nasaspaceflight.com (a site not affiliated with Nasa):

April 29 2015
“Paul March, an engineer at NASA Eagleworks, recently reported in NASASpaceFlight.com’s forum that NASA has successfully tested their EM Drive in a hard vacuum – the first time any organization has reported such a successful test.

To this end, NASA Eagleworks has now nullified the prevailing hypothesis that thrust measurements were due to thermal convection.”

The full article is here:

Jerry, I fully understand the skepticism that such a game changing space drive generates.

But the evidence is mounting; and there comes a time when we should seriously examine the claims, and not dismiss them out of hand.

To quote an earlier scientist, from another time:
“Eppur si muove”… “And yet, it moves.”

Regards, Charlie


Variable G 


Regarding this item from you Tuesday view:


Stephanie and I have (briefly) consulted, which is certainly not the same thing as an analysis, but we’re both certain that if Newton’s constant G were variable in the amount suggested by this article, it would be evident in the changes in the light curve of nearby stars (including the Sun) during the period of historical telescope observations.



It’s a small, small world.


Roland Dobbins

The Tyranny of One Man’s Opinion.


Roland Dobbins


Hello Jerry,

You followed Mike’s note yesterday on the impact of ‘big data’ on science with this:

“And to climate scientist “peers” the models are more important than the evidence.”

I sent this to Dr. Curry yesterday and thought that it may be relevant: 

“I was reading the comments on the course on ‘Making Sense of Climate Denial’ and followed matthewrmarler’s link  (April 28, 2015 @ 2:31 PM) to RealClimate:


Reading the article and associated comments on RealClimate accomplished a few things:

a.  Convinced me that CAGW truly poses an existential threat, in that the people with the mind set demonstrated by the commenters on RealClimate are in charge of setting our energy and ‘climate change’ policies, as well as the policies in virtually every other aspect of the societies which make up what is loosely known as ‘Western Civilization’.

b.  Showed that there is a subset of ‘climate denialists’ with at least one member (me) who came by their ‘denialism’ via a mechanism not addressed by the usual Koch funding/big oil/creationism/AM Radio propaganda/etc  theories postulated by the authors and commenters on ‘RealClimate’.

That would be the one by which a person who is not an official ‘scientist’, but who has worked in technical fields all their life, examines a whole bunch of proclamations from the ‘experts’, notices that the ones concerning subjects about which he DOES have some technical knowledge appear to be patent BS, and concludes that the remaining proclamations are ALSO more than likely to be patent BS. 


‘Annual Temperature of the Earth (TOE) warmest since records began in 1880!  Smashes previous record (by a few hundredths of a degree)!

This implies that we can place the years since 1880 in rank order of their TOE.

This in turn implies that since 1880 we have had an instrumentation system place that can determine the TOE with a precision and accuracy that makes anomalies of a few hundredths of a degree statistically meaningful.

I don’t believe either.  I am willing to bet that two teams of climate experts cannot INDEPENDENTLY deploy data collection systems to my county in Northern VA using their choice of instrumentation, collect data for a year, determine the ‘annual temperature of my county’, and have the two readings agree within a few hundredths of a degree.  I definitely do not believe that the planetary temperature archives allow the TOE in the 19th century to be determined with anything like hundredths of a degree precision.  When someone claims that they CAN, and that public policy should be founded on their claim, my BS Detector detonates.

‘Ocean heat content has risen by 27e22 joules since 1957!’:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/09/what-ocean-heating-reveals-about-global-warming/    )

That is an average increase of around 5e21 joules/year, which certainly sounds like a lot. 

And it is, until you realize that that enormous amount of heat is enough to raise the temperature of the top 2000m of oceans by a few millidegrees.  Over 50+ years.

Since heat content of the oceans is determined by the specific heat of seawater (highly variable with temperature and salinity) and its temperature, the graph provided implies that we have been able to measure the temperature of the top 2000 meters of the entire ocean with milli-degree precision since 1957.  The ‘experts’ may convince themselves that their data supports the graph; a guy like me, who has spent some time attempting to collect temperature data with ONE degree precision from a PID controlled, heavily insulated laboratory heat chamber—not so much. 

Not only do the experts claim that their planet wide ocean temperature measurements have millidegree precision over 50+ year timeframes, they further claim that the plotted millidegree anomalies can be attributed to ACO2 and that the anomalies are proof of looming catastrophe absent government mitigation policies.  According to Cook, 97% of non-insane, scientifically literate people believe all the above.  Mark me as an insane Luddite.

EVERY disaster, in any category, is attributed, at least in part, to ACO2.  The most recent of course the disastrous earthquake in Nepal:  http://dailycaller.com/2015/04/28/scientists-say-global-warming-will-cause-deadly-earthquakes/ .  All very plausible and certainly preventable with sufficient government control over ACO2. I’d believe it if I weren’t a mentally challenged ‘denier’.

I could go on ad infinitum but you get the idea.  When someone presents me with unrefuted and, more importantly, unrefutable ‘facts’ that clog up my BS detector, it seems reasonable to me to question other similar proclamations from the same sources about subjects about which I have no personal experience, especially when every single one of their ‘scientific’ products, the ones that I view with a jaundiced eye and the ones that I know little about,  are cited as justification for massive increases in taxes and government power, with concomitant decreases in personal autonomy.  Even MORE especially when the demands for government mitigation present NO evidence that the demanded policies will have measurable efficacy in controlling the climate in any way OR include any hint that any or all of the policies may have any NEGATIVE impacts. 

I am an old (government) retiree whose only interaction with oil companies is at the gas pump.  Which, by the way, they are still supplying at 25-30% of the price of water at the same gas station.  Consider the gyrations Exxon/Mobil has to perform to get the gas into my tank from three miles below the surface half a world away compared to Coke running the water from the public water system through a filter, putting it into a plastic bottle labeled ‘Dasani’, and charging three or four times the ‘ripoff price’ of gasoline.  Then consider that the folks setting the public policies in every important arena think that of the two, the oil companies are the ones ‘ripping them off. And shudder.

By the way, thanks for your efforts to introduce some sanity to the subject. 

Bob Ludwick”


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




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