Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, April 26, 2016
“This is the most transparent administration in history.”
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.
Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.
I have been in manic phase, turning out fiction for Call of Cthulhu – not a Lovecraft parody, but the working title of the third book in the Avalon series about the first interstellar colony, which Larry Niven, Steve Barnes, and I are working on. We have 20,000 words and a fairly detailed synopsis, and soon enough we’ll be ready to send a proposal to our agent for circulation to publishers. Tomorrow we have a lunch conference. I’ve done a lot with the outline as well as a few thousand words of actual scenes. Wore myself out, I did.
I seem to have been nominated for a Hugo. “Best Editor, Short Form”. The only work mentioned for the year 2015 is There Will Be War, Volume Ten” released in November. It is of course a continuation of the There Will Be War series which appeared in the 1980’s and early 90’s, of which the first four volumes were recreated with a new preface during 2015; the rest are scheduled to come out in the next couple of years. I’ve edited a lot of anthologies, starting with 2020 Vision in 1973 (I think it will come out in reprint with new a introduction and afterword’s by the surviving authors next year. I did a series of anthologies with Jim Baen that was pretty popular, and one-off anthologies like Black Holes and The Survival of Freedom, amounting to more than twenty over the years, but this is the first time anyone has ever nominated me for an editing Hugo – and actually the first time I ever thought of it myself.
When I first started in this racket, Best Editor Hugo usually meant one for the current editor of Analog or Galaxy. That spread around over the years, but it meant Editor in the sense of someone employed with the title of Editor, not a working writer who put together anthologies, sometimes for a lark.
I used to get Hugo nominations all the time in my early days, but I never won. My Black Holes story came close, but I lost to Niven’s “Hole Man”. Ursula LeGuin beat me for novella. There were others. Our collaborations routinely got nominated, but again usually came second, so at one point I was irked enough to say “Money will get you through times of no Hugo’s much better than Hugo’s will get you through times of no money,” and put whatever promotion efforts I had time for into afternoon and late night talk radio shows and stuff like that. Which worked for sales, but not for Hugo awards. I’m unlikely to get this one – I’m a good editor but that’s hardly my primary occupation – but I admit I’d like to. I was already going to Kansas City this August, so I’ll be there, but I doubt there’s much need to write a thank you speech.
The Republican Establishment, and some of the anti-establishment people I have considerable respect for, are in panic mode as Trump moves closer to inevitable First Ballot Nomination. It’s easy to see why the Establishment is terrified. Then there are the others.
1. He can’t beat Hillary. Doesn’t he know that? The media are playing along with him now, but they hate him, and the instant he’s nominated they will turn on him with a vengeance.
A few months ago it was considered impossible for Mr. Trump to be the nominee. He’d drop out soon enough. Didn’t he realize it was impossible? Yet, here he is. As to the media, does anyone believe that Trump doesn’t know they hate him? And even if he were that naïve, is everyone around him also that stupid? It is not rational to think Mr. Trump can be astonished at the notion that he is not popular with the drive by media.
He has already attracted a significant number of Democrats to his camp. Mostly white working class, who feel betrayed by the Democrat machines but certainly were not going to turn to Wall Street and the Republican Country Club establishment for relief. They want jobs, not free stuff; domestic tranquility, not diversity schemes; some expectation of being important again as they were in the long dead times after World War II. They don’t trust Hillary. They don’t trust the Country Club. They have discovered that the Democrat Establishment has expelled the New Democrats who elected and reelected Bill Clinton, and Hillary has gone over to buying their dignity with free stuff. She doesn’t care. Bill maybe was once one of them, but she never was.
It may be a close race, but then they said Reagan was just an actor, and that his would be impossible. Better Establishment candidate Gerry Ford… .
2. He’s no conservative.
No. He’s not. He accepts the conservative alternative to many problems, but he’s not an ideological anything. He’s a pragmatic populist. I will have to write more about the differences between Populism, Conservatism, and Democracy, but not today; I’m running out of time.
I will remind you that the one phrase nearly every one of the Founders in Philadelphia were agreed on was “There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.” They founded a Republic, not a democracy, a nation of states that did not agree on many matters, but were determined to preserve their own way of life.
Despair is a Sin
I just had an important discussion with some folks and I decided to undercut their positions and say that I was no longer talking about the subject but the principles underlying it and I asked them if they thought they couldn’t make it better? And then I said despair is a sin. Now I understand what you mean and I thank you for repeating that to me over and over again so that now I can understand it. Despair is a sin, and more descriptively, it is a semantic blockage.
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
Our Webmaster reports:
Malware via Advertising
DANGER, WIL ROBINSON !!!
I’ve been getting these via what appears to be a ad-delivered malware attack. They have looked like Flash updates before, but today’s was a bogus/malwared FireFox update.
The domain was registered today, so is bogus. Screenshot below (IP address and location blanked)
IGNORE this message from me. Message follows:
I did not send this – to myself or anyone else. I have never asked for confirmation of subscriptions. Be warned.
From: Chaos Manor – Jerry Pournell [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 2:20 PM
To: Chaos Manor – Jerry Pournelle
Subject: Subscription confirmation
Here from the Website Master is why you ignore it:
What we have here us a failure of communication. Sorry
Mini Ice Age AD536-660, New Sci 13 Feb, p. 18
Procopius notes that around 539 AD
“At that time also the comet appeared, at first about as long as a tall man, but later much larger. And the end of it was toward the west and its beginning toward the east, and it followed behind the sun itself. For the sun was in Capricorn and it was in Sagittarius. And some called it “the swordfish” because it was of goodly length and very sharp at the point, and others called it “the bearded star”; it was seen for more than forty days.”
It is likely that this is the same comet that Gibbon talks about in his Decline and fall of the Roman Empire
“Eight years afterward [comet Halley’s 530 AD apparition], while the sun was in Capricorn, another comet appeared to follow in the Sagittary: the size was gradually increasing; the head was in the east, the tail in the west, and it remained visible for 40 days”
Procopius’s description above implies to me an observed comet with an anti-tail. Also, Procopius gives us some information of when the comet was seen. He tells us that the sun was in Capricorn. The date when this occurred during the writing of Procopius was the last few days of December, and the first three weeks of January. It appearing in Sagittarius at this time may tie in well with the Chinese account of it being seen in S. Dipper? So it is possible that we have two accounts of the same comet. If this is the case then Gibbon seems to be out by a year.
In his list of comets, Ho gives comets in the years 530 (Halley), 533, 535, 537, 539(the above comet) and 541. If these comets were noticed by many people then we can see how perhaps the comets of 535 and 539 may have been remembered as harbingers for the following volcanically induced climatic events. Indeed, the two comets of 537 and 541 which appeared during the climatic events may have also been viewed as ill omens. The following is purely speculative, but to an ignorant and/or superstitious population, they may have viewed the comets as a cause of the climatic events, not knowing that distant volcanoes were to blame. Indeed, while the educated and perhaps more rational/sober may have recorded what they seen as heavenly events, the general populace may only have had stories of myth and legend to fall back upon to try to understand what was happening at the time?
It has been colder (4th and 5th Century; Little Ice Age) and warmer (Roman Warm, Viking Era) than now in historical times, all well before the Industrial Revolution. The hockey stick is a contrived falsehood.
This was actually sent in February. It is relevant today.
Cell phone security,
The FBI wants Apple to divulge its security by creating a back door. Apple would do well to create a subsidiary in, say, Japan or Singapore to write its OS – or at least to convert the output of its Silicon Valley engineers to final code. US legal people often engage in extra-territoriality, but locating it in a state where the government can stand up to bullies is required.
The alternative is to see sales leak to Samsung, Nokia and other non-US companies. I hope the logic is clear: no one will trust US products, and they will buy from elsewhere. It’s a slippery slope: dead terrorists, live terrorists, purveyors of child porn, kidnappers . . . child custody cases, etc. It would be like Men in Black, where all the aliens were abandoning the planet because we had a Bug.
‘Wouldn’t it be simpler for the Air Force just to blow up Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral launch sites?’
College men and women obsolete categories
We read today in “The Chronicle of Higher Education” that student categories of male and female are to be superseded on college application forms.
The prospective students will still be asked to state their “sex assigned at birth.” It remains unspecified as to just who it is who has the authority to assign sex at birth to a prospective college student or whether the applicant will have to provide documentary evidence of that assignment. I can see this becoming a matter of dispute. Also it is unclear whether stating “sex assigned at birth” is optional or required.
Once the touchy business of sex assignment at birth is out of the way, the students themselves will get to specify their gender identities without all the confusion of considering physical or biochemical evidence.
From the Chronicle:
Common Application to Change Gender-Identity Options
[Updated (4/26/2016, 12:01 a.m.) with news of the Universal College Application.]
Starting this summer, students who use the Common Application will be asked to state their “sex assigned at birth.” There also will be an optional free-response text field in which applicants may describe their gender identity.
Those changes, announced on Monday by the Common Application’s leadership, follow calls from students and advocates to change how the standardized application form asks about gender. Currently, applicants are required to choose “male” or “female.” The new prompts are meant to help students express themselves in a way they feel most comfortable with, said Aba Blankson, a spokeswoman for the Common Application: “The feedback from our members and advisory committees has been consistent that, yep, this is the time, this is the right way to go.”
Is comment needed? The Republican Establishment holds both Houses of Congress, doesn’t it? Is this the Will of the People?
finally an Ah Shixit button for pilots
Very, very, cool.--Phil Tharp
New Plant Designed to Push GE Further Into Digital (journal)
It sure ain’t. It also shows that manufacturing jobs are not coming back. Meet Mr. Robot, his co-worker Miss 3D printer and their dedicated process control counter parts. It’s really cool. I just don’t know what we will do with the IQ 100 types.Phil Tharp
On 4/24/16 4:49 PM, Jerry Pournelle wrote:
It sure ain’t Chevrolet…
New Plant Designed to Push GE Further Into Digital
- Angus Loten
A new incubator-like facility, to be launched Friday, will allow General Electric Co.GE -1.39% to test real-world applications of big data, the Internet of Things, and a range of IT tools in the industrial manufacturing process, the company said.
Advanced Manufacturing Works, a 125,000-square-foot facility housed within the company’s sprawling Greenville, S.C., industrial complex, is equipped to produce working gas turbines, jet engines, wind-turbine blades and other power-industry parts and products.
But it also includes advanced capabilities to apply big data, IoT, 3-D printing, automation and robotics to that process. The $73 million facility is operated by GE Power, the company’s power-generation unit.
Through digital technologies, it seeks to create streams of data linking industrial processes and systems that often are isolated at more traditional manufacturing plants. GE calls the stream a “Digital Thread.”
The goal is to develop tools to more quickly adjust to input from across the supply chain and other external sources, use insights drawn from the data to fine-tune production on the fly, and get new parts and products to market faster, GE Power Chief Information Officer Johnson told CIO Journal.
He said it can be difficult to insert new technologies into the traditional manufacturing process without slowing down or even shutting off production. Industrial plant managers and engineers can spend days or even weeks analyzing data in a spreadsheet before initiating any changes. In the meantime, the plant keeps churning out faulty parts, or stays idle, Mr. Johnson said.
To address this issue, the new facility will act as a testing ground for applying data instantly, through automated processes, to make those changes in real-time, using streams of data to create a “digital feedback loop,” he said: “A true digital loop is about seeing data and using that to make adjustments to the process without human intervention. That’s the next stage” of IoT, he added.
To further speed up the process, the facility will use 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to create rapid, intricate prototypes for parts and products, to share quickly with customers along the supply chain.
Digitized processes that test successfully will be applied at the company’s main manufacturing plants, GE Power CEO Steve Bolze told CIO Journal.
“We can innovate offline and introduce these technologies into one of GE’s largest manufacturing facilities,” Mr. Bolze said. “It’s going to be a hotbed of the latest technology for more speed, more performance and cost competitiveness,” he said about the Greenville plant.
On top of the initial cost of getting the plant up and running, GE plans to invest a further $327 million into the facility over the next few years, Mr. Bolze said, largely on new equipment, additional buildout and prototype development.
It is expected to create at least 80 new engineering and manufacturing jobs, he said. The company estimates each job in advanced manufacturing supports 3.5 jobs through the supply chain. [snip]
Gen Mattis: ‘I Don’t Understand’ Speculation about Presidential Run
Another example of Heinlein’s “Crazy Years.” Regards, Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE
Mattis: ‘I Don’t Understand’ Speculation about Presidential Run
Apr 22, 2016 | by Hope Hodge Seck
Following his lecture on the Middle East and Iranian aggression, Mattis, the former four-star commander of U.S. Central Command and a current fellow at the Hoover Institution in California, implied he was mystified by the buzz surrounding his hypothetical candidacy.
“It’s been going on for 15 months. Since coming back from overseas, this is more of a foreign country than the places overseas,” he said. “I don’t understand it. It’s like America has lost faith in rational thought.”
And Trump swept all five states today.
Corruption in drug tests
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I believe that I should bring the case of Annie Dookhan to your attention:
“Dookhan was sentenced in 2013 to at least three years in prison, after pleading guilty in 2012 to having falsified thousands of drug tests. Among her extracurricular crime lab activities, Dookhan failed to properly test drug samples before declaring them positive, mixed up samples to create positive tests, forged signatures, and lied about her own credentials. Over her nine-year career, Dookhan tested about
60,000 samples involved in roughly 34,000 criminal cases.Three years later, the state of Massachusetts still can’t figure out how to repair the damage she wrought almost single-handedly.
By the close of 2014, despite the fact that there were between
20,000-40,000 so-called “Dookhan defendants” (depending on whether you accept the state’s numbers or the American Civil Liberties Union’s), fewer than 1,200 had filed for postconviction relief.*
“In Massachusetts it doesn’t even end there. Only a few months after Dookhan’s conviction, it was discovered that another Massachusetts crime lab worker, Sonja Farak, who was addicted to drugs, not only stole her supply from the evidence room but also tampered with samples and performed tests under the influence, thus tainting as many as
10,000 or more prosecutions. Records show Farak used cocaine, crack, or methamphetamines daily or almost daily while she was at work, as well as ketamine, MDMA, ecstasy, phentermine, amphetamines, LSD, and marijuana. Farak pleaded guilty and served 18 months behind bars.”
I believe I mentioned the first thing we should do is restore integrity to our institutions, and this is definitely an example of that crying need; while quite a few of those defendants would probably be in prison anyway, there’s still thousands of people in jail on falsified evidence. The bottom line seems to be: Don’t take a drug test if you can help it, and stay out of the legal system if
you can help it. At least in Massachusetts, but slate reports that
we have had 20 drug lab scandals in multiple states, so we can’t assume the problem is isolated.
Everything is going to hell, and we wonder why Trump is rising? We got Hope and Change, and we got it good and hard; we elected Republicans to both Houses of Congress; and the beat goes on…
More on the EmDrive
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
Been reading your columns since 1982, when I started reading Byte. Started reading your fiction not much later, and been hooked on both ever since (Alas, kudos on the Robert Heinlein prize you won the other day).
Regarding the EmDrive you wrote about recently, I’ve been following the matter with interest, and just came across a surprisingly well-written article which goes beyond the maddening shallowness I’ve seen so far, but is still very approachable by the a layman: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601299/the-curious-link-between-the-fly-by-anomaly-and-the-impossible-emdrive-thruster/
Thought you’d be interested.
I will believe it when I can be at the test… twice.
Rethinking Humanity’s Roots.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.