Pledge Drive; Corrections Continue; the Microsoft Philosophy

3:06:29 PM 05/12/2016


his is more of a test than anything else. Livewriter, which I have been using, seems to have gone mad.  This WordPress direct, and I find it tedious.  It takes two separate operations to get the date and time in here. If there’s a way to paste stuff in here it’s not obvious, but I’ll try.  I can’t experiment because I can’t leave the page. Now it’s telling me the connection has been lost.  No reason why. It seems to publish when it darned well wants to


Chaos Manor View, Thursday, May 12, 2016

“This is the most transparent administration in history.”

Barrack Obama

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.



2300 Thursday, May 12, 2016

Well, the server had problems earlier this evening, and I went to LASFS about 1830 I couldn’t get to my site with Livewriter, WordPress, or anything else; since WordPress direct is working on-line, it’s no wonder that it wasn’t working at all. That problem seems to be over, but I can’t test things too well because I am in the back room, and the setup I need to test is in the Front Office. I still do not operate out of my suite upstairs with the Great Hall and my main office; perhaps someday. When I built the upstairs office suite Mr. Heinlein told me, “You young fellows just turn off the gravity, but you’re going to regret these stairs one day.”

I laughed at the time. I don’t regret building my office suite, but it’s not likely I’ll ever recover the cost: the value of this place is now in the lot. They’re mansionizing the neighborhood. Reasonably tastefully, and you could say I get an early start on doing that, but mostly they tear down these 20’s and 30’s houses and build from scratch.

If the layout looks strange – and it does – it’s because Word Press direct publishes and you work online, and I was having trouble getting Livewriter set up, and the first part of this was published before I wanted to. Don’t worry about it. We’ll settle down to normal soon enough.



imageThis is still Pledge Week, and I’m still bugging you about subscribing if you’ve been reading this without subscribing, and renewing if you don’t remember when you last renewed. Pledge Week comes about when KUSC, the classical music station in Los Angeles, holds their pledge week. This place operates on the public radio model: it’s free, but if it gets too few subscribers I can’t keep it up. I admit the content has been a bit thin recently, but part of that was medical, but most of it was technical – besides, I’m working on three fiction projects, and I haven’t abandoned them. And things are getting more normal.

If you haven’t subscribed, do so. Now. If you haven’t renewed in a while this is a good time to do it. Here’s more on Paying For This Place.

Do understand, I’m after discretionary income, not rent money. I’d rather have you as a reader than not, whether you pay or not.



The Microsoft Philosophy seems to be: make it simple and relatively easy to use, but do not bother to tell people how it works now.  Newcomers will figure it out.  old timers will keep on trying the old way, and eventually figure out that won’t work, and either pay for lessons, go mad, or find another way out.  not our problem. 


They seem also fascinated with the Chinese commercial philosophy: deliver quality goods, and when the customer gets used to buying them, cut production prices, but never say you have done that.  Goods quality falls gradually but no one notices.  Finally they do notice and say something and then notch up to better quality although generally not to as high a level as you started with.  Now cut production costs gradually. Quality of goods will fall, but at first no one notices…




3600-Year-old Swedish Axes Were Made With Copper From Cyprus.



Roland Dobbins

I knew there was sea trade between Britain and the Mediterranean cities in BC times, so I am not all that surprised that some of the Bronze Age manufactured goods from Mediterranean shops found their way into the Baltic. Bibby’s Four Thousand Years Ago can tell you a lot more. Out of print now, alas, but used copies can still be found. Apparently Viking Traders have been with us a long time…



‘That raises the question, how and why did the animals get into the cave?’


It’s strangely depressing to note that the BBC apparently don’t know how many people have actually visited the Moon, nor care enough to check – and that this number is likely to remain a constant for the remainder of my lifetime.


Roland Dobbins

Bizarre. And yes, it is depressing. Newt Gingrich wanted to build a Moon Base by 2020, but in 2012 Mr. Romney made fun of Newt for doing so, ridiculing him in fact. Romney had a 59 point detailed Pan. Or maybe it was 83 points.


And Roland found this:

Writing With the Machine.



Roland Dobbins

Read it. You won’t forget it. Certainly I won’t.


Mexican Threat to United States

Maybe we can get our president to “appear to bow” to the Mexican leader to smooth this one over?


If a new U.S. administration blocks the flow of remittances — the estimated $20 billion that Mexicans working in the U.S. send home each year — then joint efforts to stop money laundering and other illicit forms of finance will be dealt a dangerous setback, a senior Mexican official warned Thursday.


Or maybe our president can tell the Mexican official that failure of a state to control illicit finances and organized criminals indicates a failed state and it would be unfortunate if the US had to take a more forward leaning role in managing the failed state?

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

I do not think our current President believes in Sovereignty and the principles it implies.


Dodging the Computer Kidnappers    (nyt)

By J. D. BIERSDORFER MAY 9, 2016  

An up-to-date antivirus program on your PC or Mac can help warn you of attempted ransomware infection. Credit The New York Times 

Q. My computer’s antivirus program is going nuts lately blocking something called “Locky.” What is this and why am I getting so many alerts about it?

A. “Locky” is a type of malicious software known as ransomware, which as the name suggests, encrypts the files on your computer and will not release them until you give a hefty payment to your unseen attackers. Ransomware, which has been featured as a plot device on some television shows, has become decidedly more prevalent and large-scale in recent months, especially with attacks on hospitals in California and Kentucky, as well as on a municipal utility company in Michigan.

Locky is aimed at Windows systems and has been spreading this spring through waves of phishing spam messages. The ransomware can arrive on your computer hidden in an email attachment, like an infected Microsoft Office document (one that prompts you to enable Office macros) or as a bit of JavaScript code tucked inside a .zip file. (Because it can better evade some antivirus programs, the JavaScript version has been increasingly widespread as of late.)

You can take basic steps to protect yourself from ransomware infection. Keep your antivirus program and operating system up-to-date with the latest security patches. Do not open any unsolicited file attachments from unknown senders — or even unexpected attachments from people you know, in case their computers have been compromised.

Disable macro commands in Microsoft Office files you receive by email and if possible, log into your computer with a more limited standard account instead of the all-powerful administrator account. Some ransomware can encrypt files on drives attached to the PC, so back up your computer’s files regularly, and keep a copy of the backup on an unconnected external drive or server.

Ransomware is not just a Windows problem. Mac users should also be on guard against the OS X/KeRanger-A ransomware and its variants, which can extort a high price in exchange for getting your computer’s files back.


How Long Before It’s Too Late?, Other Questions

Dear Dr. Pournelle,
We (the United States and/or the Human Race) need to start colonizing space Real Soon Now. So, How Much Time do we have to start building O’Neill colonies before ‘The Limits To Growth’ make it impossible to colonize space?

Also, do we really need NERVA engines or other nuclear propulsion to gain useful access to Mars, Ceres, Callisto and the rest of the Solar System? If so, can we have enough of a nuclear industry to get NERVA engines, WITHOUT national leaders saying, “Oh, we don’t need Solar Power Satellites because we have nuclear power.”?

Also, what can I do to get more pro-space government officials elected and to also get anti-space freaks removed from office?

Mike Brill

Taking these one at a time: I used to have a terrible sense of urgency, and it comes through in A Step Farther Out, but Larry Niven developed a talk called Waldemar XXIII: eventually a tyrant will emerge if resources are smaller all the time, and one of these may have vision; so there is always a chance. And there is a space commerce business developing, in part because of the Commercial Space Act passed back in the 90’s after being proposed by the Council I chaired during the Reagan takeover. But we certainly do not have infinite time. Harrison Brown, The Challenge of Man’s Future, pointed out long ago that we have used up most of the easily available resources; it will take high technology to get the next layer; we cannot collapse too far, or recovery becomes really hard.

Most of the resources available to man lie in space. As I used to say, it’s raining soup out there; we need to build soup bowls, not better forks.

We need something like NERVA for interplanetary commerce. We tested NERVA to a sea level Isp of 900 something; we know we can get over 1000. Doubtless there are better, but NERVA we can build now, and we should.

When Newt Gingrich proposed a Moon Base by 2020, Romney ridiculed him to the delight of much of the Republican Establishment, which probably explains some of my dislike of some of those people. Democrats were no better, although when John Kennedy propose a Moon Landing it was thought to be far more difficult then than a Moon Base would be now. We’ll build one someday; it makes economic sense.

We need dreamers, people who see far into our future; and we need to support them


Subj: Why we had to lose Detroit

We had to lose Detroit because the managers of the Big Three American auto makers were *stupid*.

Those managers, wallowing in the profits their effective collective monopoly gave them after WW2 flattened Europe and Japan, refused to learn from Deming, who taught the Japanese quality after the Americans blew him off. Those American auto execs (mostly at Ford) who did, in desperation, in the eighties, finally listen to Deming were in due course replaced by successors who knew not Deming, and followed the old short-term thinking back down into the Void.

When the Toyota came in and, in the NUMMI joint venture with GM, *showed* them how the Toyota Production System works, … GM shut it down. Rejected the whole set of ideas and practices, like a body rejecting a transplanted organ.

The Big Three committed suicide by willfully leaving their own brain-rot untreated, and they dragged Detroit down with them because Detroit was a devoutly single-industry town that didn’t have anything to fall back on — as Pittsburgh After Steel fell back on its universities and their high-tech spin-offs.

There are plenty of cars being manufactured in America — just not in Detroit, and not by the Big Three.

Tesla now owns and uses the factory that once was NUMMI.

I think Admiral Rickover once described a bunch of Navy contractors as “boils upon the rump of Humanity.”


I knew I could rely on you to come up with that. I will point out that the Unions cooperated with that action. The Iron Law prevails. Always.


r.e. Free Trade

Dear Jerry,

“But I’d like to see a regulatory tariff with Mexico, China, India and so forth. They can either enact similar labor and environmental laws as us, or we’ll add a compensating tariff at the border.”

This seems correct and is a perfect illustration of why the “bad trade deals” Trump discusses need to be junked and new ones negotiated.  Automation, robotics and computers have now made it certain that the unit labor cost of producing anything is trending towards 0.   The result is the remaining line items in “Cost of Goods Sold” are becoming relatively more important.  These remaining costs divide into two main categories.  The first is the cost of energy and raw material inputs and the second is the cost of “political overhead”.

Hillary and the Democratic party overall openly support doing everything possible to raise both category costs without limit, and apparently until the entire country reverts to an 18th Century agrarian manual labor state.

Unfortunately the existing Congressional Stupid Party program is also openly hostile to low domestic energy and raw material costs.  In the emerging conditions promoting the export of the US natural gas surplus via LNG terminals and now also revoking the petroleum export ban is just plain dumb.   To expose our remaining industries to “world market prices” for hydrocarbons and derived energy means to kill one of their few cost advantages over Chinese producers.  For example, Russian industry has been subject to this policy since 1992.  No noticeable benefit has resulted in that instance.

Best Wishes,



Racist trees

No it’s not from _The Onion_. They couldn’t make this one up.

Just a sample . . .

“Now Alcee Hastings, an impeached judge, and a coalition of minority groups is demanding increased ‘inclusiveness’ at national parks. High on their list is the claim that, ‘African-Americans have felt unwelcome and even fearful in federal parklands during our nation’s history because of the horrors of lynching.’ What do national parks have to do with lynchings? Many national parks have trees. People were hung from trees.

It’s racial guilt by arboreal association. Trees are racist down to their roots.”




The Principle Of Mr. H. W. Wickes

Dear Jerry,

The controversial British author and historian David Irving tells this story in an interview. In about 1963, shortly after the publication of his first book, which became a best seller and made him a bit of a celebrity, one evening a strange little man was hovering outside Irving’s London home. He introduced himself as Mr. H. W. Wickes, and he told Irving he needed to talk to him. Irving invited him in, and listened to his story.

“Let me tell you what they have done to me..” began the odd little man:

In 1936 Mr. Wickes had taken out an insurance policy from a large firm, made all the premium payments, subsequently broke his leg, filed a claim, and the insurance company refused to pay. Knowing his rights as an Englishman, Mr. Wickes picketed the offices of the insurance company in The City of London. He was arrested for Criminal Libel, sentenced to six years confinement in his Majesties prisons, and thereby hangs a tale. Mr. Wickes embarked on a life long campaign for justice, no matter the odds.

After some small commiseration, Irving managed to send Mr. Wickes on his way, though for years afterward he would receive an annual Christmas card from Mr. Wickes. Irving thought he was finished with this character.

Several years pass, and Irving is researching in the correspondence of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He comes across a letter sent to FDR from England, and it begins with Mr. President, let me tell you what they have done to me…” and signed “Mr. H. W. Wickes”

Then, a few years after this, in the German archives, while researching the official correspondence of Adolf Hitler, there it was again: “Herr Hitler, Let me tell you what they have done to me…”

More years pass, and in Rome, in Mussolini’s files: “Duce, Let me tell you what they have done to me…”

It is my theory, after once having met mine own version of Mr. H. W.

Wickes, that the moment one gains ANY small mote of public notoriety, and in my case it is a exceedingly small mote indeed, there is a central office that has a room full of various versions of Mr. H. W. Wickes, and a little red light blinks. Seeing the red light, the next iteration of this personality steps to the front of the room, receives a sealed packet with your personal information, and is immediately transported to your vicinity, no matter if you are at home or in Upper Egypt for the Hippopotamus hunting season.

I’ve not yet met a writer who has not had this experience.

Perhaps there is a book idea here, with the title “Let me tell you what they have done to me…”





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




Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.