Minor Disaster and Recovery; A Good Medical Report

Monday, July 24, 2017

The fact that in normal life and in psychiatry, anyone who “consistently and persistently insists” on anything else contrary to physical reality is considered either confused or delusional is conveniently ignored.

Michelle Cretella, M.D.

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.

James Burnham


Major computer crisis converted to minor by Eric today, but it took all day. Writeup to follow. One Problem is that they keep improving Office, but the F1 help files are not revised, so instructions given in Help often include screen shots showing menu items that are no longer there for the version of Office you are using. This is not good. They need some product managers who care; apparently Microsoft can’t find any who actually USE their products.


The news today is boring. Russia. Russia. But never about money flowing from Russia to the Clinton Foundation as US Uranium flows to Russia; or the enormous speaking fees former President Clinton collects in Russia. Somehow that is not important, while real estate deals in Florida before Mr. Trump was nominated were. And if you believe that…


Is Amazon Evil?

Good afternoon, Dr. Pournelle,
I saw this article on the combination of Amazon and the Washington Establishment, and I thought that you might find interesting.
I didn’t know about the Post Office subsidy; I order a lot through Amazon, but now I’m wondering if I should drop it.
One thing the article doesn’t mention is that Amazon is also selling more industrial supplies and tools, the type of goods that companies such as McMaster-Carr sell. Amazon isn’t at that level yet, but perhaps in 5 years…
Don Parker

I would not call Amazon evil, but I am concerned with preservation of competition. This is a subject requiring much thought and more time than I have tonight.




“Ed” suggests that we end welfare and use that money to put people to work.

The first thing to do would be to train up inspectors, to go out and check the safety of every part of the infrastructure. They can find the bridges which are disintegrating, the roads which need repair, the pipelines which are ready to fail. This is an incredibly massive job, which has long-since overwhelmed the agencies responsible for maintaining them. Their reports would allow for proper planning, increasing safety and cutting repair costs.

While some of these jobs would be physically demanding, others can be done without getting out of the car, so any level of physical fitness or disability can find a job suited to their capabilities.

They would also be long-term jobs, because by the time one area has been fully inspected and repaired, it will be about the time to start the next series of inspections.


Obama promised shovel ready jobs, but managed to double the national debt while the roads and bridges crumbled. Your scheme would generate many useful reports; but sorting the myriad reports into useful and not so much might be difficult. Creating new bureaus may not be the best answer, but it should not summarily be dismissed. Our roads and bridges – many of them – are really deteriorated; do they know that back where they failed to find shovel ready jobs?


‘Who knew that hunter-gatherers without a written language could keep such careful records?’

‘Who knew that hunter-gatherers without a written language could keep such

careful records?’



Roland Dobbins


Dr. Jordan Kare

I was fortunate enough to work on a small piece of one of Dr. Kare’s projects and had a chance to talk with him on several occasions. He impressed me as one of the smartest people I’ve ever met and was simultaneously approachable and easy to be around. I was doing some design work at Lasermotive on a laser propulsion concept and he would listen to my ideas attentively and always treated me as though I was making a vital contribution. Perhaps not, actually, but I was encouraged to keep the ideas flowing. Sorry to hear of his passing, the world doesn’t have enough people like him.

John Witt


Give me shelter 

Dear Doctor Pournelle,

The other day I saw a Talking head, apparently a rich, progressive activist type, opine in reference to war refugees that it was incumbent as a moral responsibility on the United States to take in refugees from any country in which we wage war. Although I was taken aback by this sweeping statement, part f a group conversation on CNN, one of those so beloved “”roundtables” wherein each member attempts to outdo the others in coming up with a pithy soundbite while dancing around the issue (in this case the supreme court more or less upholding the Trump Travel Restriction Order), neither the moderator nor any other member of the cluster-chat took issue with this rather astonishing moral imperative argument.

This makes me wonder: Syria and the other sources of refugees currently tramping across the borders of the Western World are predominantly, nearly exclusively, Muslim nations. Where are the Saudis and the Gulf Arab states in all of this? How many refugees from their neighboring nations, refugees that are fellow Muslims, are they taking in? After all, these nations are some of the richest, per capita, most advanced societies anywhere, well able to afford the cost. They also have PLENTY of room.

Allow me the extravagance of a supposition: suppose New Zealand broke out into bloody civil strife, with millions fleeing the war zone for safer shores. Suppose Australia, rich and underpopulated was silent on the matter, and sealed its’’ borders. Suppose the rest of the world then insisted that, oh, let us say China and India must take in millions of New Zealanders, that it is their moral and ethical duty to take in the wretched refuse of wars horrors.

Would that not be more or less the equivalent of the current mad theory that the West must take in the Middle East’s refugees?

As for the moral argument that war waged upon a nation requires the state that initiates hostilities to take in refugees from the other:

Hmm, do I have the right to move to Japan or Germany, or Italy? Wait, the Axis in World War Two also included Hungary and Rumania! Say, I kind of like the idea of moving to the Black Sea coast of Rumania, setting up a little Dacha and having the Rumanian people foot the bill for my retirement. After all, Rumania declared war on America in 1941, and I am sure I can find a Human Rights attorney to argue that the psychic burden of that aggression has damaged me to the point where I will never again feel safe in America…

Ah, sweet idiocy, thy name is International Relations!



And it’s late. Tomorrow there’s still work to do cleaning up after the disaster, fiction to write, and more. Good night. Things are looking up. Medical appointment today: I remain cancer free, and came away without new medicines or new instructions.


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




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