Mail 693 Monday, September 19, 2011
You often say despair is a sin;
BUT I do get frustrated; reading of President Obama’s newest bids for headlines, I did a Google about “rich paying taxes”; isn’t envy also a sin?
The current taxation system is so complicated and convoluted, rife with social engineering and sweetheart deals. I consider taxes to be a any money that is paid to the government, income tax, property tax, use taxes, estate tax, gasoline and auto registration taxes—seems to me like I pay taxes again and again on the same money I earn.
A value added tax or a use tax seems the most ‘fair’ to me as what I consider a libertarian, why should ‘fair’ mean take away from the successful to fund entitlements? Why should farmers be paid subsidies? Unfortunately it is not easy to make changes to a system that is already in place –[reminds me of a line from ‘Mote In God’s Eye’]
All I see is political grandstanding and divisiveness; most people have their minds set and interpret anything to fit what they want to believe. Surely it’s easy to believe the ‘Rich’ are rich because of an unfair system, not anything they did or didn’t do.
Some of your fiction seems incredibly prophetic; so much in ‘Exile and Glory’ rings true—except where is our Hansen Enterprises?
President Obama is open about it now. There are no property rights. There is only “fairness”; the Constitution means nothing, liberty is not important; we must be ‘fair’ and that means that those who now pay most of the taxes already now get to pay even more because the government must continue to grow at 7% exponential. Forever.
Letter from England
We’re going to Canterbury Cathedral this weekend–a friend is becoming an archdeacon there.
The General Medical Council considers monitoring of doctors’ private religious beliefs http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ad2kqe
UK will miss legally binding climate targets. http://preview.tinyurl.com/6jbwozd
Evidence dark matter theories may be wrong. http://preview.tinyurl.com/6yac7k3
It’s more complex than we thought: http://preview.tinyurl.com/3bh37uk
What does this say about undergraduate STEM education in the UK, where most programs are even weaker than North American programs? http://preview.tinyurl.com/68gnc9h
Contact time is valued. http://preview.tinyurl.com/65me2fr
This article questions why more PhDs are trained than are needed to cover academic needs. I think I understand why, at least in the UK. Here, there is no advanced post-graduate training, and the first degree is–at most universities–equivalent to a North American associates degree. The only way to produce the people with advanced training needed by a modern economy is via an apprenticeship–the PhD. <http://preview.tinyurl.com/5v2ldns>
Harry Erwin, PhD
"If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning." (Catherine Aird)
Subj: Rocket fuels
Your contributor h lynn keith at
https://jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/?p=2050 got a little carried away in his mostly-appropriate tirade.
In particular, the Draco thrusters of the SpaceX Dragon capsule use "monomethyl hydrazine as a fuel and nitrogen tetroxide as an oxidizer – the same orbital maneuvering propellants used by the Space Shuttle.
These storable propellants have very long on-orbit lifetimes, providing the option for the Dragon spacecraft to remain berthed at the ISS for a year or more, ready to serve as an emergency ‘lifeboat’ if necessary."
I’d not want to try to store LOX for any great length of time on orbit without a nice, heavy, energy-sucking refrigeration unit to re-condense it as it boiled off. I also wonder about the mass and reliability issues associated with the ignition system I’d need if I used non-hypergolics for maneuvering thrusters.
I probably should have commented on that, but I really hate hydrazine. Yes, hydrazine and red fuming nitric acid work reliably and predictably, and they’re stable over a wide range of temperatures, but lordy those are horrible liquids. I suppose I should just get used to it, because I don’t really have a better idea.
Subj: KH-9 declassified
Hoo Hah! Now we can talk about it.
Gamers Crush Scientists in only Three Weeks
Three weeks for a major scientific breakthrough that had eluded solution previously
Regards, Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE
"Gamers succeed where scientists fail
September 18, 2011
Gamers have solved the structure of a retrovirus enzyme whose configuration had stumped scientists for more than a decade. The gamers achieved their discovery by playing Foldit, an online game that allows players to collaborate and compete in predicting the structure of protein molecules.
After scientists repeatedly failed to piece together the structure of a protein-cutting enzyme from an AIDS-like virus, they called in the Foldit players. The scientists challenged the gamers to produce an accurate model of the enzyme. They did it in only three weeks…."
Cheap energy = prosperity!
Drill here, DRILL NOW!
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Avoider of Yard Work
When we get the Legions home we will still need them. Thanks.
Subject: Time lapse flyover of the earth
600 photos taken from the international space station are strung together to create a time-lapse flyover of Earth.
See also http://iss.astroviewer.net/
Subj: The real effect of CO2 doubling
It has long been known that one of the objections to anthropogenic global warming due to carbon dioxide is that, even at current CO2 concentrations, the CO2 is already absorbing most of the energy available within it’s absorption bands; and since it can’t absorb more than 100%, it’s effects for more energy trapping are really quite limited.
The paper cited / summarized here (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/02/new-paper-claims-a-value-one-seventh-of-the-ipcc-best-estimate-for-climate-sensitivity-for-a-co2-doubling/) combines this analysis with actual measurements of CO2 (and methane) in conjunction with water vapor to show that, in the extreme, a doubling of CO2 concentration as in projected over the next century would result in a total temperature increase of 0.45 Celsius (0.8 Fahrenheit), instead of the 3.2 Celsius (5.5 Fahrenheit) forecast by the IPCC.
The sophisticated modelers tell us that (1) they know the annual average temperature of the Earth – the Whole Earth, on average, for a year – to a tenth of a degree, and (2) that temperature has risen about 1 degree in the last hundred years. We do know the CO2 levels to a fair accuracy. It has risen. Arrhenius calculated that doubling the CO2 would add about a degree per century to the Earth’s temperature; he didn’t think he could be more accurate than that, and his was a back of the envelope model.
CO2 is rising, and it seems unwise to run an open ended experiment for a long time: we would be wise to look for ways to reverse this trend at need, perhaps by stimulating plankton blooms, perhaps with spray systems, perhaps with something I haven’t thought of; but it would also be wise to establish just what the current rise is doing. Could it be beneficial? Is anyone funding experiments to find out?
Subj: Historical Extreme Weather
A compilation of recorded extreme weather events going back to the birth of Christ.
This absolutely proves — proves — that extreme weather existed before Al Gore invented the Internet and tried to tax the SUV for causing extreme weather.
Also fascinating reading. (Did you know that the Isle of Wight separated from the mainland of England in 68 AD due to an apparent volcanic eruption and tsunami?)
A very good source of data. Thanks. It kept me up past my bed time…
Literacy rate in Quebec
One of your correspondents sent in the link below, and I pulled in an excerpt from it below that:
From the article:
….front page news in Montreal’s newspaper was a grim statistic: 50% of Quebec’s population are virtually illiterate, meaning they cannot grasp more than simple statements. The percentage is not much better for Canada as a whole, standing at 45%. The numbers should not be that surprising, since some 55% boys and 45% girls drop out of high schools in Quebec….
Ain’t socialism wonderful? I mean, after all, there is no reason to study and work hard in school, the nanny-state is going to take care of you.
"See Something, Say Something" campaign…
I want to be first in line to report our elected officials under this law. Anyone who starts in poverty, has nothing but elective government jobs, and retires wealthy is obviously behaving suspiciously. Think LBJ.
You certainly have a point. And the union donations to candidates who promote unionism. Maybe there is some use to this “See something say something” business…
Subject: A Greek tragedy: How the debt crisis spread like a virus in ‘Contagion’ <http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/19/a-greek-tragedy-how-the-debt-crisis-spread-like-a-virus-in-contagion/>
Maybe the relationship between the movie and debt crisis could be correlated to the ‘global warming crisis’ also. Goodness knows, it would have about as much basis in scientific fact as other theories.
SUBJ: A fun lil vid to lighten up your Monday
Especially for "The Blues Brothers" movie fans. . .
I was moved by the video about the 9/11 boatlift, but couldn’t help an attack of irony at the thought of a "Center for National Policy" that aims to "build the reflexes and instincts necessary at every level of American society to respond quickly and wisely to future crises."
We really just don’t get it, do we?
Your sly reference to Tocqueville was masterful.
In flyover country, a safe distance SW of Chicago