There Will Be War; Linux Hack Reported; And other matters.

Chaos Manor View, Sunday, December 20, 2015


There Will Be War Volume 10 is out and can be ordered now. Early on would be good, I suppose, assuming making the top of Amazon sales lists is a good thing. In any event, it’s out, if you like military or war science fiction you’ll love it, and I can move on to the next books. My typing is worse than usual tonight. I’d apologize, but with luck you won’t see that; the spell checker will find the typos, autocorrect will take care of about half, and I’ll get the others, It takes me as long to correct a sentence as it did to write it. Ah, well.

One of the essays in the book, by Commander Phillip Pournelle, won the Surface Navy Association Literary Award for the for the year:

SNA Literary Award Winner Notification

Dear Commander Pournelle,

It is my pleasure to inform you that have been selected as this year’s

recipient of the Surface Navy Association Literary Award for your article

“The Deadly Future of Littoral Sea Control “published in the July 2015 issue

of Proceedings.

I have attached a letter from the President of SNA announcing your selection

and providing details on how to receive this honor. The award is normally

presented during the Awards Luncheon on 14 January at our National Symposium

in Washington DC, 12-14 January 2016 (details at

Bill Erickson


Executive Director, Surface Navy Association


mathematical greetings of the season

Mathematics IS a language, you know…  😀
Stephanie Osborn

“The Interstellar Woman of Mystery”



IQ as predictor.
IQ is a valuable predictor as I also learned in Graduate school. I think the newer concept of EQ or Emotional Quotient is also a valuable predictor. The combination of the two is even more effective.
IQ is not well defined as a review of the literature will show, unfortunately EQ is even less well defined. Still the concept of measuring EQ as a general form of emotional maturity adds a very useful dimension to predictive validity.
At least for me, it helps explain the number of people that I meet that are very smart but not very successful in life.

Tom Carey

A good part of the book Hive Mind is devoted to speculations on why IQ is a less successful predictor of individual achievement that a national average IQ is of GNP. It remains the best single predictor with individuals, but multivariate predictors are far better; as I have written before. A good part of my graduate work in psychology was in multivariate analysis and required that I go to the math department to learn calculus, matrix algebra, theory of probability, and experimental statistics – which eventually sparked my going into operations research/systems analysis. I started as an aerospace psychologist, but didn’t stay there long.


Mayans, giants in North America?





Roland Dobbins

My, my. First I have heard of this, Thanks.


On Random Promotion

You write:
Cicero said that the problem with democracy was it prevented able men from rising to the top.
Then Cicero was being too clever by half.
Lawrence J. Peter put it more scientifically. He said that democracy puts no barriers for men to rise to their level of incompetence and stay there; whereas aristocracies, with their artificial barriers and bridges to advancement, force some able men to stop advancing before they reach their level of incompetence, and allows other able men to bypass their level entirely.
I propose a system of random promotions, followed by a period of training and vetting, and re-demotion if necessary. In a sense jury duty is such a system; and so is aristocracy, given that position is an ‘accident of birth’. The Tibetan Buddhists choose their Dalai Lama by elaborate mystical rites that no doubt make internal sense, but which I think look a lot like random sampling.
If random sampling works for the Dalai Lama, and jury duty, then maybe it would work for the Presidency. Here’s my proposal; once every four years, a dozen or so citizens get a letter saying “Greetings! You are now a Presidential candidate!” They then suffer the usual journalistic vetting that candidates suffer now. Also there are behind-the-scenes meetings. Some candidates will try to beg off, but only serious excuses are accepted, as with jury duty now. After winnowing comes the election, for you need the appearance of public input for our system to work.


Athens considered having a random factor in choosing high office – but not high military office – required to maintain democracy. Worked until it didn’t.


Windows Live Mail re-patched

Dear Jerry,
It appears that Microsoft partially/mostly fixed the Windows Live Mail crash that they introduced with the KB3093594 patch. The following InfoWorld article has the details.
P Brooks


Your upcoming IQ essay – food for thought

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

Please see the historical attachment on military aptitude testing. I hope it may assist you with your IQ essay.

Personal Anecdote: Back in 1984, I was a Lieutenant Naval Aviator (P-3 Orion pilot) just coming off my first tour of duty in Hawaii. (We defended against the Pacific Theater sub threat from the Russkies at the end of the Cold war.) I was posted for a three year tour in Navy Officer Recruiting for Officers in Hyattsville Md.
I tested hundreds of applicants using the methods in the attached document. I remember best the AQT/FAR portion which tested for general intelligence and flight aptitude. These and other tests (about four hours) were rolled up into a final “score” from 20-80.

I was charged with attaining quotas, especially minority quotas, for general officer recruiting and Navy flight school. One of my applicants was a young black male with a 4.0 average in physics (verified from transcripts) from Morgan State University, a predominantly black college in Maryland. This young man, who presented well and really wanted to be a pilot, scored the minimum – 20 – on the combined final scoring. No other applicant during the time I was a recruiter scored so low. I can’t seen to remember anyone scoring less than about 40. I was crushed to have to pass on the news to this kid.

From this single data point, I drew a conclusion: Black colleges were not serving their students in getting a degree that mattered to anyone outside the black community. I hope they are doing better 30 years later.

I look forward to reading your essay.

Merry Christmas, Joe


project Loon

the statement was made by a commenter that cell towers are cheap
that depends where you put them. you also need to get power and data signals to the tower.
you also need a LOT of towers to cover the same area that one balloon can cover.
It’s also a LOT harder for people on the ground to damage a balloon. In many parts of the world (including parts of the US), a vacant house will have the pipes ripped from it’s walls to be sold for scrap by poor locals.
cell towers work where there is a high enough density of people and the locals are going to leave it alone.
I’m not saying that balloons don’t have problems themselves, but they are a very different set of problems.
David Lang


: The billion-dollar robot question — how can we make sure they’re safe?

Will the robot car protect me from a cop having a bad day? I grew up watching Dragnet and Adam 12 and really respect the cops I watched on those shows. I’m wondering if the robots from “the day the earth stood still” could prevent individual, group and state violence. Of course they could modified by people seeking power. Maybe the robot car should save the children if I’m driving recklessly.


How to hack any Linux machine just using backspace (ZD)

A rather embarrassing bug has been discovered which allows anyone to break into a Linux machine with ease.

By Charlie Osborne for Zero Day | December 21, 2015 — 08:44 GMT (00:44 PST) | 

If you press the backspace key 28 times on a locked-down Linux machine you want to access, a Grub2 bootloader flaw will allow you to break through password protection and wreck havoc in the system.

Researchers Hector Marco and Ismael Ripoll from the Cybersecurity Group at Universitat Politècnica de València recently discovered the vulnerability within GRUB, the bootloader used by most Linux distros.

As reported by PC World, the bootloader is used to initialize a Linux system at start and uses a password management system to protect boot entries — which not only prevents tampering but also can be used to disable peripheries such as CD-ROMs and USB ports.








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




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