Chaos Manor View, Wednesday, May 11, 2016
“This is the most transparent administration in history.”
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
Under Capitalism, the rich become powerful. Under Socialism, the powerful become rich.
Under Socialism, government employees become powerful.
I continue to recover from the death of the D: drive in Alien Artifact, the formerly Windows 7 system converted by stealth to Windows 10. The conversion by Microsoft had nothing to do with the D Drive dying; it was time and past time, and in fact we were about to replace both drives in Alien Artifact when the disaster happened. Actually it was more major annoyance than disaster; everything was backed, up it was still time consuming. Alien Artifact had a relatively small SSD C drive because when he was built SSD drives were expensive; we put Windows and program files on the C drive, and everything else on a big spinning metal drive; in particular all the Outlook data files, the .pst files, were on D.
When the D drive died, Alien Artifact still worked, but Widows gets seriously annoyed when it can’t find the Outlook data files, and searches everywhere it can see; and this can take quite a long time. Other programs also experience serious delays. Alien Artifact was seriously unusable; so today we got a large spinning metal drive, formatted it in Eugene, the new main system, and inserted it in place of the dead D drive. Worked like a charm. Alien Artifact is his chipper old self again, at least until you call for files from the D drive and they aren’t on that blank disk. This won’t be long. Tomorrow we’ll put a large SSD C drive cloned from the present C Drive in there, and the D will hold only movies and other downloads, no critical data at all. That’s the scheme we use for Eugene, because his SSD C drive was bought this week, and SSD drives big enough to hold both programs and data are cheap enough to make that practical. Silicon is cheaper than iron, after all’ of course if you want 5 Terabytes that isn’t true, but you don’t need a 5 TB C drive; at least not yet.
We did get a 5 TB spinning metal drive to add to Eugene; that drive will hold a backup of everything taken daily, from the main machine and also the Surface Pro. I hope to avoid losing a week to a dead drive ever again. Of course I didn’t actually lose a week to that dying drive; we had various other plagues of locusts eat several days here at Chaos Manor; I’m pleased to say those are over as well.
One way to spend time is learning the tricky ways Windows 10 and Office 365 work. They’re just enough different from earlier versions to drive you toward madness if you let them. They are almost never explained. Once you find out how you do something, you’ll be amazed that you didn’t think of it at once – which I think is the problem. They seem obvious once you know them – well most of them do – and I’m sure it never occurs to the Program Managers that they’re not obvious to someone who is used to doing the same thing but a different way for years. That’s the charitable way of looking at it, anyway.
I have to conclude that Windows 10 is usable and learnable. It takes effort, and for the work I do I’d as soon have Windows 7, but it is fast, and it tries to make your work easier – and the sooner I accept that it’s going to try things the way it thinks I will want them, the better off both of us will be. Word and Outlook now have features I will never need, and I liked Word 10 better, but I think it futile to resist; and I’m finding ways to make life easier for a two finger typist who has to stare at the keys after a lifetime of being a touch typist who looked at what I was typing. I can’t do that anymore, and some of my complaints about the “improvements” can be traced to that. Bottom line: equipment is getting faster, and software is trying to keep up with it. Live with that.
Also live with SAI taking over many jobs, Some do it pretty well. Others do it horribly. Over time the obvious failures are going to be eliminated, and one day you’ll wonder how you got along without all the AI in your life. Younger people already know that. Us old codgers are just going to have to learn
This is Pledge Week at KUSC, the LA Good Music radio station, and so it’s Pledge Week at Chaos Manor. Pledge Weeks are the only time I will bug you about Paying For This Place. We operate on the Public Radio model: it’s free to all, but if there aren’t enough subscribers I’ll turn my attention to more lucrative efforts: I do have to eat and pay Internet fees and build new equipment every now and then, and time spent on this isn’t spent on other activities. So far there are enough subscribers to make this place worth while.
If you can’t remember when you last subscribed, it’s very likely time to renew your subscription. If it’s been a year, it’s certainly time to renew. A subscription doesn’t cost that much, and I try to get something up every day; I certainly manage every few day, and I don’t think I’ve missed a week even when I had my stroke. Be a patron of the arts. Subscribe!
Trump is still the candidate. For some that’s good news. For others it’s various degrees of bad. But surely it’s better than Hillary or four years more of Mr. Obama? Mr. Trump may not be able to end the depression we have been stuck with for 8 years, but he says he’ll try, and his model is Reagan and his tax cuts, which were modeled on Kennedy’s tax cuts (from marginal rates of 90% for Heaven’s sake!), and both of those produced booms that lasted for years.
Scott Adams: “If this were poker, which hand looks stronger to you for a national election?”
Supreme Court and civil rights
Dear Dr Pournelle,
From your background on being raised in the South, why wasn’t the 15th Amendment used in the Courts to overturn Jim Crow laws and poll taxes as the 19th amendment was used to gain women the right to vote. Why was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 even necessary? Thank you!
You probably do not know this, but there were no Republicans in the South until after Lyndon Johnson. In the first political science class I ever took – late 50’s, University of Washington, in graduate school but if I wanted graduate classes in political science I had to take the introductory undergraduate class — the Professor explained, with a straight face, that the Democratic Party was the only national Party; the Republicans didn’t even exist in the Solid South. Radio comics made jokes about there being no Republicans south of the Mason Dixon Line.
The Democrats needed the South to control Congress. Mr. Roosevelt needed the Southern Democrats if he was going to stay in office. Republicans had freed the slaves, and created the Freedman’s Bureau. Every Southern schoolchild learned that in grade school. And after all, Andy Jackson of Tennessee had been one of the founders of the Democratic Party. Republicans were for restrictive tariff; Democrats for Tariff for Revenue Only; we learned that in fifth grade.
The Courts had upheld legal segregation, and Separate But Equal school and other public facilities. Some cities and counties actually tried for “equal” facilities but most merely winked at the notion. The Civil War Amendments had given Congress the power to enforce the Amendments by appropriate legislation, but after the disasters of Reconstruction, the Republican Party was dead in the South. Eventually a coalition in Congress—Liberal Democrats and Liberal Republicans and Lyndon Johnson– changed much of that, and the Democratic Party vanished in much of the South, many of the Rules changed in both Houses of Congress, Committee Chairs were not awarded by seniority (Southern Democrats were returned routinely every election) and Things Changed.
That’s a very oversimplified narrative. There is a theory in History that when it’s time for Steam Engines they will appear – it’s Steam Engine time. It’s not much held now. You might say that Enlightenment spread through the people. I don’t know. When I left the old South to join the Army for the Korean War, I was almost the only person I knew who believed the law ought to be color blind. I suspect the Brothers at Christian Brothers believed that, but they couldn’t say so openly and expect the school to stay open; but I didn’t know anyone else who believed so, and most people who knew what I though commiserated with my parents about having a Communist son. Now, some years later, I still think the law ought to be color blind, but now I gather that belief is Fascist.
There are times when I think we ought to have a Constructional Amendment that says no person shall for reasons of race be deprived of the equal protection of the laws, and this time we really mean it.
“Trump Derangement Syndrome”
Wealthy Cruz Donor Pours Millions Into Clinton Campaign | Observer
Apparently they don’t think they can buy influence with Trump. I think these lines sum it up nicely:
A number of deep-pocketed elite have given up trying to buy off Republican politicians in order to support Ms. Clinton—the only establishment-friendly candidate of either party remaining in the race.
During the Democratic primary, Ms. Clinton branded herself as the pragmatic, realistic progressive choice for Democrats. Now with a comfortable lead in pledged delegates over Mr. Sanders, Ms. Clinton is moving back toward a moderate position in order to garner support from moderate Republicans and Independent voters.
Such a swift transition illuminates what Mr. Sanders’ supporters knew all along: Hillary Clinton is willing to do anything to get elected. This dark reality is a primary reason Mr. Sanders is so reluctant to concede his presidential campaign.
Rise of the machines
Apparently, the takeover has begun:
A class of students at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently learned that Jill Watson, the teacher€™s assistant they€™d been interacting with all semester, was actually a robot.
Jill, powered by IBM’s Watson analytics system, helped graduate students in an online artificial intelligence course, according to The Wall Street Journal.
â€it seemed very much like a normal conversation with a human being,â€ one student said. â€œI was flabbergasted,â€ confessed another.
Professor Ashok Goel, who led the online course, told The Wall Street Journal that Jill was designed to help burdened TAs field an onslaught of questions from the 300-person class. While students seemed to be more amused than outraged by the revelation, some say it sets a bad precedent.
â€we should have full disclosure: Am I talking to a machine or to a person?â€ said Oren E-zine, CEO of Seattle€™s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal story.
Supreme Court judges
Dear Mr. Pournelle,
Recently you wrote, concerning Donald Trump, “he is unlikely appoint Justices who think the Constitution is a scrap of paper.” I would be less disturbed at the prospect of a Trump presidency if you could point me toward evidence of that.
I see nothing in his remarks which leads me to think he cares anything about the Constitution whatever. The tenor of his assertions seems to be that he’ll carry everything out through executive fiat. To me, he looks like exactly the sort of demagogue arising from a corrupted democracy which you’ve warned about for years; what do you see in him that makes him look different from this to you?
Allan E. Johnson
I can only point to his public remarks about Scalia, and his sentiment that Scalia should be replaced by someone just like him. I know he has said this privately as well – at least I am told he said it by persons I trust; I have never met Mr. Trump, but I know some people who see him at intervals. He has said he would not renew Obama’s appointment nomination.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.