Chaos Manor View, Thursday, June 04, 2015
I have received numerous emails describing how to use a Mac mushpad with pulldown menus, for which many thanks; I expect I knew the technique at one time and forgot it, but it also takes dexterity I no longer have. Knowing how to do something and doing it have diverged in the past year,
Not to complain. When I was young I thought of people my age as far older than I think of myself now, and I am often reminded of the proverb about lamenting that I had no shoes until I met a man who had not feet…
As to Skype, if you assume that with a Mac everything you need to do is either simple or impossible, then something seems difficult it is probably the fault of the app; apply logic. In a widely used app like Skype, there must be a simple trick to get past the problem. It probably assumes the user is non compos mentis. Solve the puzzle. If you add that my eyesight isn’t what it was, and I often do not notice things I should notice, the solution generally suggests itself. So it was in this case, and we had a very productive Skype conference with Dr. Jack Cohen in England. Jack worked with Anne McCaffrey and Terry Pratchett among others; he’s a PhD in biology with a strong interest in ecology, and when he’s worked with authors the result is generally spectacular. I said this yesterday, but after many of you had read it, so I’ll say it again:
“We had a very productive conference, arriving at a number of new plotlines on our new “Beowulf Series” novel about the first interstellar colonies. (Legacy of Heorot http://www.amazon.com/The-Legacy-Heorot-Book/dp/1470835541 , Beowulf’s Children http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765320886/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=1944687442&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1470835541&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0JAPV8WFM2QJRSH73F1R) and the novella that fits between them, The Secret of Blackship Island http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Island-novella-Avalon-Series-ebook/dp/B007MSK4HM . The events taking place in the Blackship Island novella turn out to be extremely important and have a greater effect on the plot than the characters know. Jack Cohen had many suggestions to make the biology richer. I think this will be a big best-seller when we finish next week.”
I’m very pleased that the work we did on the Blackship Island novella will lead to some great scenes in the new book.
Rand Paul has said that American Adventurism in the Far East created ISIS. Of course I think he’s right, since I predicted it would happen. After all, we created al quada with our earlier intervention, and the hostility we get from Russia and all the people of the lower Danube come from our feckless meddling in the Balkans, where we chose to support the Bosnians by bombing the Slavs. The result was to confirm Slavic and Russian suspicions that the West was trying to encircle Russia. Containment was of course explicitly encirclement but we had no choice as the USSR was expansionist, But when the Cold War ended there was a chance of a reset.
Albright/Clinton ended that.
Then we intervened in Iraq and hanged Saddam; now we miss him. We were there because al Qaeda attacked the US. Al Qaeda did that because the USA had soldiers in Arabia as a result of the first Gulf War; that made the US an enemy. Iraq had nothing to do with 911 but we acted as if Iraq had been in on it.
We defeated Iraq and al Qaeda; that left a lot of Muslim young men eager to get the US out of the Middle East. ISIS resulted, and its message is, get the West out of Muslim homelands.
The fact that in a real sense we created al Quada and ISIS does not mean we can ignore them. ISIS has declared war to the knife against US. We have some friends—well as much friends as we can have—in area: they don’t want us there, but they want the Caliphate even less. We created the monster. It is up to us to destroy it. We should do so, giving Sunni Iraq to the Kurds, and get the hell out. We may have to do something similar in Libya. We wish to the very bones of our being that we had saved Kaddafi, and most wish Saddam were back in Iraq. So much for our becoming involved in the territorial disputes of Europe and the Middle East.
It’s getting late and I am going to LASFS tonight.
From Jerry Pournelle:
White collar automation will bring new industrial revolution, says CEO (ZD)
For years I said that robots would relieve us of mind struggle repetitive work. I never wondered what the effect on people who could only do that kind of work would be.
= = = =
White collar automation will bring new industrial revolution, says CEO (ZD)
Robotic Process Automation automates complex tasks usually performed by white collar workers. Mihir Shukla is CEO of Automation Anywhere, one of the largest RPA players in the world, and he says it will make us more human and could bring about the next industrial revolution.
= = = =
FDR sort of had the right idea during the Depression – putting people to work digging ditches and building things. About now is the time when we hire everyone to work – 4 days a week. Give them the fifth day off to look for work in in the private sector. People are looking to get on Disability to get an assured income. OK. Let’s assure all citizens and legal residents four benefits – shelter, food, medical care and a small cash allowance. In return for those they work four days a week. They dig ditches, work in day care centers, sit with people who must lie in bed, supervise sheltered workshops for cognitively disabled, etc. — even the “Disabled” can do something. Able-bodied people can dig up curbs and place ramps for bicycles and baby buggies. All low-tech stuff. Only buy shovels and small steamrollers from American companies. Let’s do all the stuff we can’t afford to do while we’re paying people to sit on the duffs.
We have stuff that needs to get done. We have people collecting benefits who need something to do. Let’s call it Workfare. It was done during the 1990’s with some success. Let’s expand the program. Everybody becomes an employee, so their health insurance gets paid for. And all work – no Disabled except the unconscious and the demented. When your Unemployment benefits run out after 6-8 weeks, back to work you go. Otherwise, we all work until we are old enough to retire.
I agree. You want the dole, earn it. If you can’t use a shovel, answer the phone. If that’s medically impossible, sit on street corners as company for crossing guards, or pour water for shovel workers. You will work for the largesse of your neighbors. And there is work to be done.
Alas that will result in a unionized army of managers on civil service as well as the hate mail I will now get.
From Holly Lisle
I’m not sure how much I agree with this, but I found it a good read.
> He was certain technology would save the world. Here’s what changed his mind. (WP)
> By Matt McFarland June 3 at 9:07 AM
> For a long time Kentaro Toyama was a believer in technological utopianism. He studied physics at Harvard and earned a PhD in computer science at Yale. Toyama went on to do research at Microsoft. The work was demanding, but something was missing.
> “At the end of the day, I was helping to make better gadgets for wealthy people who could afford to play video games,” Toyama told me.
> In 2004, when his boss asked if he was interested in opening a research center in India, Toyama accepted on the spot. He’d never even been to India. But he was hungry to make more of a direct contribution to society.
> Here was the chance to sprinkle tech fairy dust on a developing nation and watch success after success.
> Except it didn’t play out like that.
> Toyama spent five years in India with a team of about 10 and hatched about 50 projects. He found the projects that had a real social impact were ones in which he worked with capable organizations that were committed to their mission.
In the year and a half I spent in Central America—1974-1976—(Costa Rica, Guatemala), I saw huge swaths of the population who lived in huts made of stick and leaves whose children ran naked through the streets because they had no clothes. And I saw the folks who had houses that put the abodes of America’s super-rich to shame. In one of these houses lived a friend of mine whose high-caste Castilian parents bought her a pedigreed champion Andalusian stallion for her 15th birthday. (Even then, this would have been like buying her the world’s most expensive car.)
Everyone was on the take, the countries were at war with themselves (Guatemala literally, Costa Rica with a major Communist influx from Cuba going on).
Business was done by pull, influence and bribes, not by quality, effort, and integrity. The Guatemalan government operated by force against its own people. Those with money were those with power.
The fallout of this was horrific—and this is the way most of the world works.
My older son saw this in Afghanistan while he was stationed there trying to train the local forces to protect themselves from the religious terrorists when US forces moved out.
Nothing can save people who live under corrupt governments except to get them out—and even then, if they bring their culture with them, and that culture includes the core belief pull, influence, and bribes are the way business must be done, and that the use of force against innocents and citizens is appropriate, they just bring hell with them.
If this sounds like I’m describing the way things have increasingly turning here for the last couple of decades, that’s not by accident.
So Toyama is right in that technology won’t fix anything. He’s wrong in thinking that anything short of a change of philosophy will.
From whole governments down to single individuals, if people expect to get something for nothing, demand fairness rather than justice, and think that governments rather than their own work and creativity create money, they cannot be saved.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.