The Longest War

Wednesday, August 23, 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

We have to start with the premise that the goal is to defeat the enemy.

Jim Woolsey


Acting against his instincts and preferences, President Trump announced a new strategy for what is said to be the longest war in American history: the Afghan Campaign. We will no longer insist on “victory”; we will, perhaps, accept a political settlement that may include elements of the Taliban. Given the domestic situation this was inevitable. The alternative would be to abandon Afghanistan and come home, leaving the situation to ebb and flow without our presence.

Whether abandoning Afghanistan to the Pakistani, Indian, Russian, Moslem Republics formerly part of the USSR, al Qaeda, the Caliphate, Sunni Muslim powers, Shiite Powers including Iran, random war lords who want regional control, Kabul which wants its writ to run all over Afghanistan, and probably other factions I have left out is a good idea I can not say for sure. They can fight it out without our formal presence, and if we have favorites I’m sure we have Special Forces that can intervene when our interests are at stake. This would be my preference, and formerly was the preference of President Trump; indeed, it is the outcome he expected and until recently accepted. Afghanistan is a sink hole, with few resources we want, and an infinite capacity for absorbing American blood and treasure. My immediate reaction was to wonder which faction, neo-conservative, military industrial complex, Deep State, alligators in the swamp, or some other managed to get the President’s ear.

On the other hand, there are precedents. The Afghan War is not the longest war in American history. The longest was the Seventy Years War, also known as the Cold War, which formally began just after World War II but actually started with the Russian Revolution and World War One. Indeed, the Afghan War isn’t even the second longest in American history.

The Korean War began June 26, 1950, and has not formally ended. It is no longer a shooting war, but does anyone suppose that South Korea would have developed into the nation it has become if the United States had not intervened; and having intervened fought North Korea and China to a standstill, then negotiated a stalemate armistice enforced by substantial numbers of US troops in South Korea? We stopped most of our nation building efforts in Korea, and the US garrison in Korea no longer feels that it could become a shooting war in hours; indeed, many think of serving in Korea as easy duty, a tour of overseas duty without much danger and all the comforts of civilization to boot. It wasn’t always that way, of course. We were nearly thrown into the sea at Pusan. But MacArthur invaded at Inchon, and from holding the perimeter by our fingernails we went to hot pursuit all the way to the Yalu chasing the best view a soldier can have, the enemy’s back.

And from there it turned sour again with the Chinese intervention. It ended in a standoff that endures to this day. But while China’s ally turned into a hermit kingdom invisible from space at night, South Korea developed into one of the Asian tigers – as, incidentally, did Taiwan; while Japan, once our hated enemy, developed into a noticeable economic base, and despite a great slowdown you can see each island of Japan from space at night; while North Korea remains as dark as inner Siberia or the Congo.

Had we just cut and run after the Chinese intervention in 1950, would the situation be more stable now? No one can know for certain, and the skillful manipulation of all the participants in the Cold Wear will be studied for a very long time, the actual outcome was at one time proclaimed by some foolish but influential intellectuals as “The End of History.” It is a better outcome today than many of us feared while the Seventy Years War wound down.

Whether this echoes the President’s chain of thought I cannot know; but surely he is aware of it. Broadcasting the end of US involvement would have a lasting and profound effect on Pakistan, India, Burma, Iran, and other places; it would rejuvenate al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban, confirming their belief that they needed only to survive to win. It would give our enemies a sanctuary and advertise that others could do so.

We are committed to an overseas presence for decades with this strategy; but the result in Korea suggests that need not be the worst possible outcome.

There are implications. We will need Legions. But it can be done, and may be the safest alternative in a situation that has no attractive alternatives.


I have a dinner engagement with an executive producer of the Big Bang Theory; purely a social engagement with a friend and neighbor, but I have just enough time to get this up.



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




Edited HIV cures Cancer; Beware of cytokine release; Madness? Whither tolerance and rational debate?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski


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

-Robert A. Heinlein


White House Web page: “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

President’s weekly address, June 6, 2009: “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it.  If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too.  The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”

Remarks at the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009: “I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage — they like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor. They trust you. And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

President Barrack Hussein Obama


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana


The map is not the territory.

Alfred Korzybski


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


Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.

Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.


I have never said that human society ought to be aristocratic, but a great deal more than that. What I have said, and still believe with ever-increasing conviction, is that human society is always, whether it will or no, aristocratic by its very essence, to the extreme that it is a society in the measure that it is aristocratic, and ceases to be such when it ceases to be aristocratic. Of course I am speaking now of society and not of the State.

Jose Ortega y Gasset, The Revolt of the Masses


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

We are a nation of assimilated immigrants.

Immigration without assimilation is invasion.


This was, for me, about the most intersecting medical interview I have read in years. It is behind the WSJ pay wall, so I include only what I hope is a fair excerpt; I recommend the entire interview, published as an op-ed article, if you have access to it.

How HIV Became a Cancer Cure

The immunologist behind the revolutionary new treatment set to win approval from the FDA.


Allysia Finley


When Ben Franklin proposed in 1749 what eventually became the University of Pennsylvania, he called for an academy to teach “those Things that are likely to be most useful.” Today the university lays claim to having incubated the world’s biggest cancer breakthrough. In 2011, a team of researchers led by immunologist Carl June, a Penn professor, reported stunning results after genetically altering the T-cells of three patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer that affects white blood cells.

The patients had failed to respond to many different traditional therapies. Yet two of the three patients experienced miraculous recoveries after Dr. June and his team gave them infusions of their own doctored white blood cells. Seven years later they remain cancer-free. The third patient died after showing improvements, though might have been saved had the treatment begun earlier.

The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2011, opened the field of cancer immunotherapy. “It was a tipping point,” recalls the 64-year-old Dr. June. “There was an amazing outpouring because we showed for the first time that it could work.” [snip]


[snip] About 15 years ago he first considered using HIV to kill cancer cells. At the time, he says, “the rest of the community that did cancer immunotherapy had all been using viruses out of mice, called gammaretroviruses. And it turns out the HIV works better with human T-cells than the mouse virus does.”

Dr. June pauses for a quick tutorial on the human immune system: “There are two major cell types in our acquired immune systems that distinguish us from flies, and those are B-cells and T-cells.” T-cells are a sort of offensive weapon, destroying viruses and bacteria. B-cells are more like a shield. They produce antibodies that detect and swat down foreign invaders based on unique molecular characteristics. A CAR T-cell is a “chimera”—Greek for a fusion of two animals. It combines the “killing machinery” of T-cells with the precise antibody targeting of B-cells.

A CAR T-cell is designed to bind to a particular site on the cancer cell. That means, unlike with chemotherapy and radiation, other cells in the body aren’t damaged when patients receive CAR T-cell infusions. The result is fewer unpleasant long-term side effects.

When a CAR T-cell binds to the target, the immune system responds the same way it does to a virus: T-cells kill the cancerous cells and then proliferate. Once all the cancer is destroyed, CAR T-cells remain on what Dr. June calls “memory level”: “They are on surveillance, we now know, for at least seven years.”

There is, however, a hitch or two. After being cured, patients must receive blood infusions every few months to prevent their immune systems from killing off their B-cells. And about a third of patients undergoing treatment with CAR T-cells experience a violent immune-system reaction known as cytokine-release syndrome. When cancer cells die, they release inflammatory proteins called cytokines that can cause high fevers and leave patients comatose.

Cytokine-release syndrome almost ended the therapy in its infancy. In 2012, Dr. June’s first pediatric patient, 6-year-old Emma Whitehead, developed a 106-degree fever and experienced multiple organ failure. “We thought she was going to die,” he recalls.

A blood analysis showed high levels of the cytokine interleukin-6, or IL-6. “I happened to know because of my daughter’s arthritis that there was a drug that could target IL-6—that had never been used in oncology,” Dr. June recalls. Fortunately, the children’s hospital where Emma was being treated had the medication, Tocilizumab, on hand. “We wouldn’t have had it at the adult hospital because it wasn’t approved at that point for adult conditions.”

Within hours of receiving the drug, Emma awoke from her coma. “It was literally one of those Lazarus conditions,” Dr. June says. Eight days after receiving the CAR T-Cell injection, she went into remission. Two weeks later, she was cancer-free. She’s now 12 and thriving.

Tocilizumab “saved the field” as well as the girl, Dr. June says. “If the first patient dies on a protocol and nobody’s been cured, you’re over.” Regulators, he adds, always “err on the side of caution.” That irks him, since most of his patients would die without the experimental treatments: “Our FDA regulations are made so that you can never have more than about 30% of people get sick with serious side effects. I think we don’t have enough leeway for side effects when you have a potentially curative therapy.” [snip] [Italics mine. JEP]

Ms. Finley is an editorial writer at the Journal.

You will note I have italicized one sentence. I will have something to say about this later.


Most of the information in the interview was in previous publications which I must have read but did not see the significance of at the time. Such as

In Girl’s Last Hope, Altered Immune Cells Beat Leukemia


PHILIPSBURG, Pa. — Emma Whitehead has been bounding around the house lately, practicing somersaults and rugby-style tumbles that make her parents wince.

It is hard to believe, but last spring Emma, then 6, was near death from leukemia. She had relapsed twice after chemotherapy, and doctors had run out of options.

Desperate to save her, her parents sought an experimental treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, one that had never before been tried in a child, or in anyone with the type of leukemia Emma had. The experiment, in April, used a disabled form of the virus that causes AIDS to reprogram Emma’s immune system genetically to kill cancer cells.

The treatment very nearly killed her. But she emerged from it cancer-free, and about seven months later is still in complete remission. She is the first child and one of the first humans ever in whom new techniques have achieved a long-sought goal — giving a patient’s own immune system the lasting ability to fight cancer.

Emma had been ill with acute lymphoblastic leukemia since 2010, when she was 5, said her parents, Kari and Tom. She is their only child.

She is among just a dozen patients with advanced leukemia to have received the experimental treatment, which was developed at the University of Pennsylvania. Similar approaches are also being tried at other centers, including the National Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

“Our goal is to have a cure, but we can’t say that word,” said Dr. Carl June, who leads the research team at the University of Pennsylvania. He hopes the new treatment will eventually replace bone-marrow transplantation, an even more arduous, risky and expensive procedure that is now the last hope when other treatments fail in leukemia and related diseases.

Three adults with chronic leukemia treated at the University of Pennsylvania have also had complete remissions, with no signs of disease; two of them have been well for more than two years, said Dr. David Porter. Four adults improved but did not have full remissions, and one was treated too recently to evaluate. A child improved and then relapsed. In two adults, the treatment did not work at all. The Pennsylvania researchers were presenting their results on Sunday and Monday in Atlanta at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Despite the mixed results, cancer experts not involved with the research say it has tremendous promise, because even in this early phase of testing it has worked in seemingly hopeless cases. “I think this is a major breakthrough,” said Dr. Ivan Borrello, a cancer expert and associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. John Wagner, the director of pediatric blood and marrow transplantation at the University of Minnesota, called the Pennsylvania results “phenomenal” and said they were “what we’ve all been working and hoping for but not seeing to this extent.” [snip]

[snip] A sign that the treatment is working is that the patient becomes terribly ill, with raging fevers and chills — a reaction that oncologists call “shake and bake,” Dr. June said. Its medical name is cytokine-release syndrome, or cytokine storm, referring to the natural chemicals that pour out of cells in the immune system as they are being activated, causing fevers and other symptoms. The storm can also flood the lungs and cause perilous drops in blood pressure — effects that nearly killed Emma. [snip]


Editing virus DNA has become easier [ see ] so you can expect a lot more of these results in previously hopeless cases. This is exciting news.

It also leads me to speculate. One reason many parents have objected to immunizations of their children – particularly immunizations to measles and other traditional universal childhood diseases — vary, but a common – not universal – theme has been that they make the kids sick. Correlation with autism was never high and now is no longer thought significant, but cytokine storm is quite real, if rare in healthy kids. Still. Immunizations are often given in multiple batches to save money. If a child has early cases of several of the childhood diseases at the time of immunization – rare, but in mass immunization drives there are likely to be a few – could the immunizations, attacking several diseases at once, bring about a cytokine storm in a few children? I have never thought that multiple immunizations were a good idea; immunization by definition causes stress to the immune system, and the response to that stress is that you become immune to the disease if you survive the stress. In the early days of smallpox inoculations, this stress could be fatal, but smallpox was even more dangerous, and in the days before Pasteur and the germ theory of disease immunization remained dangerous even after Jenner developed vaccination – use of cowpox rather than smallpox virus.


This is the first I knew of cytokine-release syndrome, and I have never heard it discussed by immunization promoters.


PBS, NPR Bury Their Own Poll Results on BLM, Antifa, and Confederate Statues

Taxpayer-funded PBS and NPR are now in the polling business with Marist College, and like the other networks, their polls are often used to support putting heat on Republicans. On Wednesday, they announced they had found a majority of Americans were disappointed with the president’s responsive to the violence in Charlottesville.

PBS then ignored their own finding that 62 percent favored leaving Confederate statues in place, while only 27 percent want them removed. NPR reported it once, and then insisted that had nothing to do with Charlottesville.

Buried in the weeds: They also asked if Americans approve or disapprove of Black Lives Matter: 50 percent disapproved, and only 33 percent approved. They even asked about approval of Antifa, but few had heard of them yet: Five percent approved, 24 percent disapproved, 18 percent said they had no opinion either way, and 53 percent were unsure. But if the results don’t fit….you must omit?



Charlottesville Riddle

Riddle me this:

What do the Stars and Bars have in common with the Swastika?
Slavery, homicide, and losing to the Stars and Stripes.


So does the Union Jack, and all other British flags.


Ricardo’s Vice and the Virtues of Industrial Diversity. 



Roland Dobbins


Ricardo’s Vice and the Virtues of Industrial Diversity

By Steve Keen

That specialization is the primary source of economic gain has been accepted by economists ever since the famous example of the pin factory with which Adam Smith opened The Wealth of Nations:

One man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head; . . . ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. . . . But if they had all wrought separately and independently, and without any of them having been educated to this peculiar business, they certainly could not each of them have made twenty, perhaps not one pin in a day.1

David Ricardo extended Smith’s vision of specialization within a given industry to specialization between industries and nations, and made the argument that two countries can benefit from free trade even if one country is absolutely less competitive in both industries than the other. In his hypothetical example, Portugal could produce both cloth and wine with less labor than England. If England specialized at the industry it was comparatively better at (cloth, obviously) and Portugal specialized in wine, then the total output of both industries would rise.2

This concept of the advantages of specialization became the core insight of economics, and it continues to be ingrained in and promoted by economists today. Lionel Robbins’s proposition that “Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses”3 is the dominant definition of economics. It implicitly emphasizes the importance of specialization, so that those “scarce means which have alternative uses” can be efficiently allocated to achieve the maximum level of output.

This belief in the advantages of specialization lies behind the incredulity with which economists have reacted to the rise of populist politicians like Donald Trump in the United States, as well as the United Kingdom’s vote for Brexit. They have, at their most self-righteous, blamed the rise of anti-globalization sentiment on the public’s irrational failure to appreciate the net benefits of trade. Or, more commonly, they have conceded that perhaps the electorate has reacted negatively because the gains from trade have not been shared fairly.

There is, however, another explanation for why anti–free trade sentiment has risen: the gains from specialization at the national level were not there to share in the first place, for sound empirical reasons that were ignored in Ricardo’s example. That ignorance has been ingrained in economics since then, as Robbins’s definition—dominant and superficially persuasive, but fundamentally limited—gave economists a starting point from which they could not properly perceive either the advantages or the costs of globalization.

Deus Sine Machina

Robbins’s definition codifies arguably the most egregious oversight in economic theory. It omits a realistic treatment of resources that do not “have alternative uses,” by which the great wealth of modern society has been created: machines. Today, with 3-D printers, increasingly adaptable robotics, and the beginnings of AI, we can contemplate the eventual creation of a single machine that could be deployed across a range of industries. Yet for the foreseeable future, most machines are tailored for specific tasks in specific industries and are useless in any others, as was also the case in the distant past when the theory of comparative advantage was invented. Smith acknowledged the need for specialized machinery in pin production (and attributed the development of that specialized machinery to the division of labor itself, though it can just as easily be argued that the specialization of machinery is what gave rise to the specialization of labor): [snip]

The argument is not new, but those not familiar with it should read it. Ricardo also assumed a certain equality of government benefits in each country: obviously a nation that forces companies to give many free benefits to its workers will force producers to raise prices, making foreign competitors more competitive. Any modern analysis must deal with that.

You will note that universal general purpose robots change everything.


The battle lines

Apparently, in the eyes of the left, noting the moral equivalence between the white supremacists / neo-nazis / klansman and the pipe-and-baseball bat toting thugs of “Antifa” gets the person noting said moral equivalence classified as a white supremacist in the eyes of the press.

One is forced to believe that the MSM approves of the pipe-and-baseball bat toting leftists.

If anyone sees this ending well, and continues to see it ending well after cleaning their rose-colored glasses, please loan them to me.


One thing I find curious about the violence in Charlottesville — much was made about how some of the white nationalists/neo-nazis came in military gear and openly sporting weapons… and yet, I don’t recall hearing of any victims of the violence who had been shot.


Boston Free Speech Rally Disbanded After Thousands of Leftists Counter-Protest

A free speech rally taking place in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday was disbanded after thousands of left-wing activists held an enormous counter-protest.

No more than 300 free-speech activists took part in the event, while approximately 30,000 counter-protesters took to the streets in a protest organized by groups such as Black Lives Matter and Boston’s ANSWER Coalition.

The rally was organized by a group known as the Boston Free Speech Coalition and invited “libertarians, conservatives, traditionalists, classical liberals, (Donald) Trump supporters or anyone else who enjoys their right to free speech.”

It was also addressed by Republican Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai and Libertarian congressional candidate Samson Racioppi, as counter-protesters sang songs comparing the participants to Nazis and white supremacists.

Hundreds in Boston counter-protest gathered chanting “No hate no fear, #Nazi’s are not welcome here”

— Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) August 19, 2017

The Boston counter-protest is now perhaps the largest anti-racist protest this year. Thousands arrive still — many more expected.

— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) August 19, 2017

Images from Fox News showed one woman attacked and dragged after waving an American flag.

History is More Important Than Hysteria

Newt Gingrich


Americans have once again been subjected to a dishonest, one-sided elite media frenzy.

In what is becoming an all too common occurrence, the media covers an event, distorts it, and then builds on its own distortion, condemning anyone who refuses to blindly accept their falsehoods.

All of this is done in a tone of hysteria, designed to both distract us from the serious problems the Left can’t solve and to isolate conservatives on emotionally hateful grounds.

Let me be clear: The conflict in Charlottesville last Saturday was terrible. An American was killed in an act of domestic terrorism by a hateful fanatic. Every American should condemn neo-Nazis, the KKK, and racism in all its hateful forms.

However, for leftwing fanatics and the elite media, bringing the country together and refusing to tolerate any group or individual that promotes racism and violence is not enough.

Instead, they believe that we should support eliminating large parts of American history.

If a person defends a historic monument or statue, the Left and the elite media immediately claim it is a sign of racism, anti-Semitism, and any other harsh emotional condemnation they can throw.

Never mind the words of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a Republican who was the first African American woman to serve as Secretary of State and who witnessed the atrocities of racism first-hand when members of the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, killing one of her close friends and three other young girls.

When asked earlier this year about removing Confederate memorials, Rice said, “When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, it’s a bad thing.”

However, engaging in rational debates about this issue is impossible in this media frenzy because only the Left’s views are tolerated. [snip]


The current mess and our joint disgust


You’ve been sounding the education alarm for 20 years, maybe more. When you have a generation or two of citizens that know no history and have no common sense, this is what we get. Tearing down statues and trying to erase history, SJW’s., public officials wasting time condemning events rather than actually preventing the events and / or catching the bad guys on both sides and so on.

Even Newt spent half of his Facebook video yesterday condemning the events in Charlotte and Spain even though we should just be able to assume any decent citizen of this country does not support what happened. 

Phil Tharp

Thursday in an interview with Britain’s LADbible, former Vice President Al Gore was asked what “one piece of advice” he would offer to President Donald Trump.

Gore had a one-word reply, which was “resign.”

He did not elaborate on why he thought President Trump should step down.


Six Police Officers Shot: One Dead, Five Wounded

Six police officers were shot in three different cities across the U.S. Friday night. In one of the incidents, the officers did not have an opportunity to shoot back.

The attacks on police occurred in Kissimmee, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; and Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

According to NBC News, Kissimmee police officers Sam Howard and Matthew Baxter “were checking suspects in an area of the city for drug activity when they were shot.” The attack on Howard and Baxter was launched in such a way that neither officer had an opportunity to return fire.

Officer Baxter was killed in the attack, and officer Howard is “in serious condition.”

Obviously trivial compared to the real news that dominates our TV screens.


Why take up the cause of losers?


Why do various skinheads and ‘white supremacists’ take up the cause of loser? The Rebel South – lost their war with the Union. Nazis – the National Socialists – lost their war against the US (the US supported the Brits and the Soviets in that war; the US won it).

Losers, both. Why take up their insignias? The same individuals do not take up the symbols of the International Socialists – the Communists – who actually won the Russian Empire and went on to be on the winning side in WW2 only to lose the Seventy Years War to the US.

It’s true that Hitler and The South together did not kill as many people as Stalin did, much less killing as many people as Mao did. But really, that kind of comparison just says that while they were bad, they are not the Champion Killers of the 20th Century. So why do they carry those symbols? I confess I don’t know.



I cannot speak for those choosing National Socialism, for I have never been tempted by it. There was a time when joining the International Communist Movement could be argued to be marching with the flywheel of history, but that has not been true since the fall of the USSR; but like Whittaker Chambers most of those leaving the Communist Party in the 50’s and 60’s thought they were leaving the winning side for the loser. And still they left.

As to the attractions of the Confederacy, remember that a good part of the volunteer US Armed Forces come from the South; indeed, during my military time in the Korean business I met many Southernors but few Southern conscripts; and many Northerners, but most of them were conscripts. You could tell by their serial numbers: conscript serial numbers started with US, while volunteers started with RA.

Those not growing up in the old South will probably not understand that the same feelings that built loyalty to the United States and caused them to volunteer for the US Army and Navy were the same as those that inspired some veneration to the lost cause of the Confederacy; and no, that was not nostalgia for slavery. I never met anyone who had owned a slave, nor was I aware of knowing anyone whose father had owned a slave, and few of their grandfathers could have; people didn’t often live to be that old. The War was ended by 1865; to have owned a slave you would have had to be teenaged during the Civil War, and alive 65 to 70 years later, and I didn’t know anyone that old.

There were Bonapartists in France a long time after Waterloo; enough to make Napoleon III Emperor of the French.

Abraham Lincoln offered the post of Commanding General of the United States to Robert E. Lee. Virginia asked him to command Virginia’s forces. We know which he chose, and when he surrendered he chose to work to restore national unity in the Union. That inspired a lot of Southern children as they grew up in the 30’s and 40’s. You will not have had that experience.


From the Washington Post this evening.  This is the ship that delivered the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Researchers find wreckage of lost WWII warship USS Indianapolis

“The ship was found almost 31/2 miles below the surface of the Philippine Sea, said a tweet from Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, who led a team of civilian researchers that made the discovery.”

“Historians and architects from the Naval History and Heritage Command in the District had joined forces with Allen last year to revisit the tragedy.”


USS Indianapolis wreckage found


The least known but best novelization…


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Spacewalking Cosmonauts Initiate 3D-Printed Small Sat Test | Space content from Aviation Week

I love the idea of 3D printed satellite components, but what made me burst out laughing was the method of launching a fleet of satellites: flung by hand off the trailing edge of the ISS, as an add-on task to a spacewalk. The new Russian suits sound good. Maybe this was the start of a new space (suit) race?

Gary P.

As far as I know, Nanoracks, the company my son is VP of, developed that technique, as well as several other now even more effective, for launching small satellites.


Is a Tolerant Culture Being Replaced by an Intolerant One?

by Saher Fares
August 18, 2017 at 5:00 am


· One need not go back centuries to the Muslim conquest of the Christian late classical world — the medieval Barbary corsair raids, the Ottoman yoke in Central and Eastern Europe or the slave markets of Kaffa in Tatar Muslim Crimea — to understand that this violence clearly predates the European colonial era, the creation of the modern state of Israel, or the issue of climate change.

· Countries such as China, Nigeria or Kenya that are not Western, not “imperialist”, not whatever the excuses that Islamists make, are still spectacularly attacked by similar stabbings. Month on month, there seems almost nowhere that Islamic terror did not strike.

· Volumes of revered Islamic texts establish in great detail the grounds of violence and oppression of non-believers and those deemed heretical. These supposed grounds — made alive daily in madrassas and mosques across the world before being acted upon by religiously-trained terrorists — are childishly dismissed by Western liberals as immaterial.

· The first step towards a solution is to question the received knowledge tirelessly dished out by media pundits in the West. What is lacking is simply seeing a huge body of evidence of theological justification for Islamist terror.

How thin can excuses wear every time an atrocity is committed in the name of Islam?

When 13 people were killed and scores more injured this week in a vehicle-ramming attack in Barcelona, Spain, and stabbing men shouting “This is for Allah!” on London Bridge and in Borough Market in June, what the victims least cared about was the Western elite pontificating that the latest atrocity “had nothing to do with Islam”. [snip]

One might remember that Spain was ruled by Muslims for centuries, and were only slowly driven back to Africa; while the battle of Vienna in 1528 decided that the Ottoman Empire would not complete the crescent, but the Balkans remained under Muslim rule.

The answer to the question asked appears to be yes. The strong rule as they will, and the weak suffer what they must.



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




Black September War; What we might have done; Porkypine on Charlotte; False flags? BUFF landed with no tail; and Equality

Thursday, August 17, 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


I haven’t been lazy, mostly disgusted; the news is upsetting in many ways, chief among them the desire to make political hay out of serious situations: this applies to the politicians, of course; the news media, of course; and a great number of people I would have thought would know better.

In any event, I wont reproduce it here since it exists on line, but my September 11, 2001 post on what ought to be done about the 9/11 attacks was incorporated into the Thursday, September 18, 2003 Black September War report . It is of necessity long, but still worth reading as an essay on possible foreign policy, including a proposal for building Space Solar Power Satellites for use in both foreign and domestic policies. The use of SSPS power in foreign policy wasn’t thought to be worth the cost; still, it’s worth reading and even thinking about again.

Chaos Manor Special Reports

The Black September War

Thursday, September 18, 2003

What Is To Be Done?

My proposals were not seriously considered because they would cost so much. A Space Solar Power Satellite system was estimated to cost $100 Billion including the fleet of heavy lift launchers, and might even cost two or three times that much. True, it would make us a spacefaring nation, and with the fleet of heavy launch vehicles we could build a nearly leakproof missile defense system as well as deploy some Thor missiles – no warhead, just 19 feet of tungsten telephone pole coming in at greater than 12,000 feet per second with a CEP of maybe 10 feet – and build it on third shifts while building a moon Base Lab on weekends; but two or three hundred billion dollars?

And perhaps my plan would have cost $500 Billion if done bureaucratically; but we spent four times that on a series of wars that didn’t accomplish what my proposal would have, left us with no space assets for missile defense, and the wars show no sign of ending. Anyway, you may read what I thought back then and judge for yourselves.


Street Thuggery


There’s really not much that needs saying about organized public brawling between national socialist and international socialist kitted-up goons. (Or there wouldn’t be, if the schools had been doing their jobs – but that’s a different rant.)

I don’t know whether to weep or laugh. Both.

On the other hand, there’s the mass attack of the vapors the media and bipartisan establishment are having over this President daring to point out that there was illegal street-thuggery on both sides.

Partly, this is the same historical ignorance that makes Che t-shirts a steady seller, while ones with, say, Sepp Dietrich’s also-dashing figure would appeal only to a handful of fringe nutcakes. In an historically aware – dare I say “woke”? – world, that’d be true of both. It’s pathetic, but not of itself dangerous.

What is dangerous now is the active effort to sell one particular bunch of violent street thugs as acceptable, justifiable, even heroic that our media and establishment are buying into here. If they get what they seem to want, they’ll be very sorry, and quite soon.

The self-styled “Antifa” types explicitly justify their violence as legitimate because it’s against “nazis” and “racists”. (As defined of course by people who call themselves anti-fascists while wearing masks and dressing in black to engage in public violent suppression of those who disagree with them. Ahem.)

And most of our lamentably ignorant establishment are currently buying into this, because, well, after all, those WERE nazis. This time.

(Well, a pitiful rag-tag latter-day imitation. The real Nazis would be mortally embarrassed.)

But pay even a little attention to the apparent street-thug wing of the Democratic Party’s attempts at self-justification, and it becomes clear that their definition of “nazis” and “racists” boils down to, anyone who fails to actively and visibly agree with them on all things.

Dig a bit in the news, and at one point or another they’ve already beaten up examples of just about anyone who’s not them. People in MAGA hats, random passers-by, college professors nominally on their side, conservative political demonstrators in general – and over and over now, reporters who try to report on what they actually do.

Seriously, press them a bit and these people will tell you we’re just about all “racists” and “nazis”. Under the circumstances, giving them cultural carte blanche to “punch racists” and “punch nazis” seems unwise.

The media and establishment members currently trying to enable them may think they’re exempt, but all they are is further down the list.

not tolerant of getting punched


The street engagements of the Communists and the National Socialists in Weimar Germany had their effect; and of course neither party was what Germany needed. Choosing you gangsters and supporting one set of them is seldom good tactics for a republic; once the habit of law and order is lost, or one group is exempt from it, the notion that Justice is the interest of the strongest, and the fundamental principle is that the strong do as they will, and the weak suffer what they must becomes more attractive to many groups – including the Army, for that matter.

When I was a lad in legally segregated Tennessee in the 1940’s I came up with the bizarre idea that the law ought to be colorblind, and segregation was wrong. This was not well received by many, although given my father was the general manager of one of the largest radio stations it was sort of forgiven indulgently, and I didn’t really suffer much from it other than having to listen to lectures on how unwise my views were. A few said I was a Communist, of course. I haven’t changed my views since 1947, but recently in a professional conference I was told that advocating that the law ought to be colorblind was white fascist racist bullcrap. At least I wasn’t subjected to lectures.


Sobering Article

Good morning, Dr. Pournelle,
I thought you might find this article interesting, via Rev. Sensing:
I know that despair is a sin, but sometimes I really feel the urge to give into it. There are days when I only take my meds because of the love of my life, my wife, who would be devastated without me.
In the sf/political thriller I’m writing, I eliminate the Chinese and Indians via an Islamic strike and the aftermath. I won’t say that I really believe in it…
Thank you for the update on NERVA and the link about lunar colonies. Both will help in my current writing…
Don Parker


We spent a great deal of time talking about inequality of opportunity and outcomes. The tech industry  is fanatically progressive in its opinions, as the unfortunate James Damore, formerly of Google, recently learned. The tech industry’s drivel about diversity and equality masks a guilty conscience:  Digital technology creates inequality of a kind we have never seen before in human history. [snip]

But we have been unequal for all of the history of the human race. To assert that the law ought to be colorblind – that all men (and now women) are equal under the law – is not to say that they are or can be equal. All men are not created equal, or there would be as many Japanese women as East African men contending for gold medals in marathon races. Or as many Korean women as black males playing for the NBA. Attempts to end this by diversity programs are amusing, but no one expects them to be successful; they are merely virtue signals. Of course one cannot discuss such things, witness the fate of one time Harvard President Larry Summers.

Past societies treated women and men differently, as exemplified by “Women and Children First” in lifeboat drills and often in genuine life and death emergencies. To stand and be still to the Birkenhead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew…

And I doubt that anywhere near 90% of the population, even given Henry Ford’s ideas and access to Edison’s facilities could have built anything useful from those parts.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as “bad luck.”

Robert Heinlein clip_image001



False flag operation?

It seems the organizer of the Charlottesville event has exceptionally impeccable leftist extremist credentials.

Charlottesville “Unite the Right” Organizer Was Occupy Wall St. Activist, CNN Correspondent, & Obama Supporter

It smelled from the beginning. One set of pictures I saw had a Confederate battle flag that looked like it has just been taken out of a box rather than something taken down off the wall by an owner that cherished it. I’ve seen pictures allegedly of the KKK protesters who had no weapons in sight and were giving a salute that only vaguely resembled the Nazi salute, wrong hand and horizontal with the fingers slopping around rather than together in a salute format. Now we have this. The organizer may have been an OWS activist AND CNN correspondent at the same time. He’s also revealed to be an Obama supporter.

Please note that the KKK is and always has been a creature of the left. Calling them alt-right does not change this. And I am getting rather angry at the media for imputing the conservative right movement is in any way associated with or approves of these jerks. But. I also get very upset when I see the first amendment being trampled by leftist thugs.



Last Year, When a ‘Unite the Right’ Leader Was An Occupier Who Voted for Obama

Unite the Right’ is not uniting the ‘right’, they are uniting extremists who say they are on the ‘right’. One thing they are not is right about much.

‘Unite the Right’ organized the march of radicals in Charlottesville this past weekend. They were joined by as many as 12 groups totaling between 200 and 500 protesters. There were also reportedly an equal number of leftist radicals.

The two most well-known leaders of ‘Unite the Right’ are Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer.

Spencer is famous for his heil Trump speech and his proud self-characterization as alt-right. Kessler is famous for being a long-time leftist who supported the Occupy communist/socialist movement and voted for Barack Obama. [snip]


One need not assume a false flag; the modern Klan has always been the militant arm of the Democratic Party, only losing that status rather recently. The original Klan, started by General Nathan Bedford Forest in Pulaski, Tenn. during Reconstruction was part terrorist, part vigilante, and part saloon backroom joke – witness the bizarre titles like Kleagle and so forth, and the very name of the outfit – and became as popular as it was because under Reconstruction anyone who had held any office or had been an officer of the Confederacy was forbidden to hold any public office, Federal or State. Or city or village or town for that matter. Deprived of its leadership class, many Southern towns and cities turned to the Klan for leadership. It all came to an end after the Hayes-Tilden election produced stalemate, and negotiations between Republicans resolved it; part of the resolution was the dissolution of the Klan by Forrest,. The modern Klan thrived mostly in the north, particularly in Michigan and Indiana I believe, and actually held majorities in some northern state legislatures. As Democrats, of course. Republicans had caused the original Klan to be disbanded, and despised its successor. So did the middle class Southernors I knew when I was growing up in legally segregated Tennessee.

Hitler always admitted Communists to the National Socialist Party if he though they were sincere in wanting to join. Hitler expressed considerable admiration for Marx’s views on many subjects.



When I was in the doctoral program, I felt sorry for all the younger students who were planning on becoming professors. As far as I can tell, the Golden Age of academia was the latter half of the twentieth century, and colleges and universities have been sliding since then. (They make a great case study for the Iron Law of Bureaucracy.)
And then I was sent this link, providing another nail into the coffin.



The BUFF flies without a tail!

Phil Tharp


Yes. I took part in some of those tests, fortunately not that one. There was an attempt to use the B-52 as a low altitude sort of stealthy bomber, which of course it was never designed to be. Now there is no BUFF that isn’t older than its oldest crewman. Or woman. But still she flies!


Charles said

Are we really going to attack North Korea, likely go to war, because Trump doesn’t like hearing these threats (which North Korea has been issuing for a long time)? 


Are we not already at war with them?  I thought we had a decades long armistice, but still at war?


Technically, yes. Most of Trump’s remarks were addressed, really, to China and the Marshall’s generals, and may have had the effect intended. I don’t know. Above my pay grade.


Affirmative Action

This is an interesting read:


The argument is that admitting academically unqualified blacks to elite schools is, at core, a policy to protect the racial peace and, as such, has nothing to do with racial justice, the putative benefits of diversity or any other standard justification. It is this peace- keeping function that explains why the entire establishment, from mega corporations to the military, endorses constitutionally iffy racial discrimination and why questioning diversity’s benefits is the most grievous of all PC sins. Stated in cost-benefit terms, denying a few hundred (even a few thousand) high-SAT scoring Asians an Ivy League diploma and instead forcing them attend Penn State is a cheap price to pay for social peace.

This argument rests on an indisputable reality that nearly all societies contain distinct ethnic or religious groups who must be managed for the sake of collective peace. They typically lack the ability to economically compete, may embrace values that contravene the dominant ethos, or otherwise just refuse to assimilate. What makes management imperative is the possibility of violence either at an individual level, for example, randomly stabbing total strangers, or on a larger scale, riots and insurrections. Thus, in the grand scheme of modern America’s potentially explosive race relations, academically accomplished Asians, most of whom are politically quiescent, are expendable, collateral damage in the battle to sustain a shaky status quo.

Examples of such to-be-managed groups abound. Recall our own tribulations with violent Indian tribes well into the 19th century or what several European nations currently face with Muslims or today’s civil war in Burma with the Karen People. Then there’s Turkey’s enduring conflict with the Kurds and long before the threat of Islamic terrorism, there were Basque separatists (the ETA), and the Irish Republican Army. In the past 45 years, there have been more than 16,000 terror attacks in Western Europe according to the Global Terrorism Database. At a lower levels add the persistently criminal Gypsies who for 500 years have resisted all efforts to assimilate them. This listing is, of course, only a tiny sampling of distinct indigestible violence-prone groups.


Your thoughts?

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo



It should be obvious that trying to assimilate people who have no regard for law and order will be difficult for any republic, which, as the Founders and Lincoln observed, depends on reverence for the law. Appeasement seldom works, for the appeased soon find new demands. That is applicable only to the leaders, not to a racial or even social group; but it does apply. Respect for the law is essential to republics, which is one reason why wealthy republics have historically not lasted very long.  Machiavelli addressed this problem. See his Discourses on the Republic.



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




NERVA and man in space; Trump and the Marshall

Sunday, August 13, 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


John Glenn must surely have wondered, as all the astronauts weathered into geezers, how a great nation grew so impoverished in spirit.


I knew from high school that I would live to see the first man land on the moon. I did not expect to see the last one.

Finally, some good news:


The return of NERVA?



Roland Dobbins

I learned about NERVA at Boeing in the late 50’s, and used NEWRVA type devices in most of my early science fiction in which several stories were laid in the 2020 time frame.


According to Wikipedia:

[snip} NASA plans for NERVA included a visit to Mars by 1978 and a permanent lunar base by 1981.[4][5] NERVA rockets would be used for nuclear “tugs” designed to take payloads from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to larger orbits as a component of the later-named Space Transportation System, resupply several space stations in various orbits around the Earth and Moon, and support a permanent lunar base. The NERVA rocket would also be a nuclear-powered upper stage for the Saturn rocket (the Saturn S-N), which would allow the upgraded Saturn to launch much larger payloads of up to 340,000 lb. (150,000 kg) to LEO. [snip]


This is more or less as I remember it.  Of course, the Mars mission killed the NERVA program. Instead of making a flying NERVA an X program useful for any space mission, the development scientists at NASA, having won the Moon Race when General Phillips was imposed on them as project manager, tried for another Great Mission – Mars – and since NERVA moved a Mars mission from pipedream to possible – if expensive – status, NERVA had to go.

Most of my brief experience with NERVA comes from having chased a well known movie starlet out of the house of a reluctant Congressional candidate. As you’d suspect, a story goes with that. In 1969 I was co-manager of the Sam Yorty for Mayor (of LA) campaign. Haig Kehiyan was the other co-manager. Then the Congressional District that included Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank became vacant, and was to be filled in the same election as the mayor race. Haig and I decided that I would manage  part of that campaign, since he had been hired for the Mayor’s race. 

The best Republican candidate in the District was a young, unmarried stockbroker who happened to be Barry Goldwater, Jr.  I was appointed to go out and inform young Goldwater that he really had to run for that seat; the Party needed him, and his father approved. When I got to his house – not a block away from Warner Brothers Studio – he was entertaining a well known starlet, daughter of an even more famous star. I had to ask her to let us have some time for something confidential. She was gracious about it; and fortunately since I had the express direction from his father to talk him into running for Congress, young Barry was polite, if a bit miffed. After he was an unmarried stockbroker living a block from Warner Brothers…

Anyway, he won the seat, and ended up on the Space Committee, where he fought a losing battle with his colleagues to keep NERVA alive, given the success of the program. I was in those days enthusiastic about the Mars program, but it was clear that could not be saved; but it was still possible to save NERVA, which didn’t cost all that much. Mars was estimated at $7.5 billion, and included NERVA as well as all the other hardware.


NERVA was a nuclear rocket; that alone made it a target for the frantic anti-nuclear crowd. It would never have enough thrust to lift its own weight – it would never launch from Earth. What it would do was open up the solar system: it had higher ISP, potentially higher by a factor of more than 3, than any chemical rocket. The only thing more efficient was  the tiny thrust ion drives. It already had demonstrated sea level thrust with an exhaust velocity twice as high as the best chemical rockets, giving it a vacuum ISP of three times better; and this was tested, not theoretical. Given experience with NERVA I make no doubt we could do much better.


Low thrust but higher Specific Impulse—ISP.  ISP is measured in “seconds”, but it is not a time; it is pounds of thrust per pound of fuel per second; a measure of efficiency . A LOX-Hydrogen engine can theoretically get an ISP of 450 although I know of none that have achieved that. The space shuttle solid boosters consistently delivered about 250. The tested ISP of the unfinished NERVA project ran 850 in vacuum, and more was thought fairly easy to obtain.

With NERVA a manned mission to Mars in months was possible. It was also ideal for a lunar base. NERVA would never land on Earth or the Moon, but would ferry materials between Earth orbit and Lunar orbit, then come back for more. It was, I believed then and still do, the key to man’s exploitation of the solar system. Alas, Congress in its wisdom zeroed out NERVA in 1972; but young Barry fought a noble fight to retain it.

I’m pleased to see that someone at NASA has finally realized that if we’re to have man in deep space, we need fuel efficiency to get him there.

(As of now, the Wikipedia entry on Lunar Bases is fairly sound and informative. )




Trumps Fire and Fury vs. Colin Powell

So Colin Powell said that if North Korea *used* nuclear weapons against us, we would destroy them.
Trump said that if North Korea *made further threats against the US*, fire and fury would descend on them.
There is a big difference between actually using nuclear weapons against the US versus issuing blustery threats against the US. The former demands an obvious response. The latter? Are we really going to attack North Korea, likely go to war, because Trump doesn’t like hearing these threats (which North Korea has been issuing for a long time)?
The problem with Trump’s blustery retort is that North Korea almost immediately made further threats against the US, and no Fire or Fury was forthcoming. Let’s save the threats of apocalypse for the situation it would actually be used, which is in the event of an actual attack on the US or it’s allies.


Perhaps; but then few before have specifically threatened a US territory and US citizens with plausible nuclear destruction. Guamians are US citizens, all of them; if Kim Jong Un had specifically threatened Studio City, I would not be offended if the President promised fire and sword – or fire and fury – retaliation. But then I live in Studio City. I have not heard the complaints from Guam; perhaps I missed them? At what point do threats become warnings to be acted on?

Your mileage may vary, but I would rather my enemies wondered how far they could go with nuclear threats. I note China has voted for, rather than vetoed, international sanctions. I probably would run the White House differently from the way Mr. Trump does, but then I will never be President.


Another view.


Leftist Lunacy on Kim

What planet is the left living on? When was the last time we launched missiles toward other countries, routinely threatened to reduce other countries to ashes, and publicized plans to menace other countries to name a few things?


Representative Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who also serves as the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, cautioned against President Trump’s rhetoric on North Korea at the Netroots Nation conference on Friday, initially saying that the foreign leader was acting more responsibly than Trump. He later said he regretted the remarks.


Democrats like Rep. Ellison demonstrate why the left cannot be taken seriously and cannot be trusted. What in the hell is wrong with this clown? They want to take the White House in 2020 with this anti-American rhetoric at a time when Trump’s poll numbers are up presumably because he’s handling this crisis in this way? Contrast that with how Clinton and Obama handled North Korea; in fact, North Korea is likely a problem today largely because of their lacks of policy on this matter.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo


We have certainly tried the soft diplomatic approach for a long time; in the case of April Glaspie with Saddam Hussein, the result cost us several trillion dollars and far too many casualties.


Next will the Marshall threaten San Francisco?


What is an American City Worth?



Newt Gingrich

What is an American city worth?

On September 11, 2001, we were deeply moved by the deaths of 2,996 people and the wounding of another 6,000.

In reaction to that shocking day, we launched a series of wars which have gone on for nearly 16 years, have cost more than $5 trillion, and have left more than 4,000 Americans dead and more than 50,000 severely wounded.

That has been the cost of an attack by 19 terrorists using commercial airliners as weapons.

Now consider the human cost of losing one American city to a nuclear strike.

I chose only one city to make a point about our current lack of seriousness in dealing with the spread of nuclear weapons to more and more unstable and dangerous countries.

The Los Angeles Times reported on, August 16, 2006, that a nuclear attack on the Port of Long Beach would “have catastrophic consequences for the United States,” resulting in the instant deaths of 60,000 people and irradiation of another 150,000. Additionally, the paper reported the economic loss would be ten times that of the September 11th terrorist attack in New York City. The paper cited a report by the RAND Corporation’s Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy, which the article’s author wrote presented “a terrifying picture not only of the possibility of such an attack but of its immediate and long-term effects on Southern California, the nation, and the global economy.”

The Long Beach estimate was for a 10-kiloton device – that’s half the size of the “Fat Man” bomb dropped on Nagasaki and two-thirds the size of “Little Boy,” which was dropped on Hiroshima. [snip]

Kim Jong Un may think it interesting to threaten to use nuclear weapons on American Guam. Clearly Mr. Trump does not.


Taking the earth’s temperature

An important point taken from Figure 4 is that only 7.9% of US instruments are accurate to <1 degree Celsius.

Richard White

Del Valle, Texas

I’ve talked about this enough, I suppose; but getting temperature to a fraction of a degree is expensive, and seldom done for any reason other than medical. Modern medical thermometers use thermistors, and are calibrated once at manufacture; how reliable their 1/10 degree measurements after years of use is questionable, but I understand that in critical situations they merely throw the old one away. I haven’t consistently had 98.6 temperatures since the days of the hand-shaken tiny glass mercury thermometers.

It seems to vary between 98.0 and 99.0, and no one seems disturbed about that.




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