Chaos Manor View, Monday, October 19, 2015
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
There will be a separate post on Dyson sphere discussion.
Saturday night I did a radio interview, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheair/2015/10/18/sf-giant-jerry-pournelle-live-interviewed-by-h-paul-honsinger which isn’t likely to interest any of the readers here; it was good enough, but mostly for people who don’t know who I am. Sunday it rained, sort of, in Los Angeles, and we didn’t get out of the house after church and brunch with my son and Larry Niven. I didn’t do much Sunday, and Roberta and I watched some TV, and I read some more of Sarah Hoyt’s Witchfinder. I don’t really recommend it, not because it isn’t well written – all of Sarah’s books are well written – but it was originally published a chapter at a time, and that format requires a hook at the end of each chapter; and that requires that it be a surprise for the characters, so they can’t have seen it coming, which they didn’t know the rules that allow that sort of thing to happen, because if they had, they’d have been prepared.
That sort of thing is not my cup of tea. I prefer to be surprised but to say to myself, oh! I didn’t see that coming, but I should have seen that coming – thereby not making the characters be astonished because they were too stupid to see something coming that I saw; which I would have if I’d known the rules. And this is getting complicated; I did say I was reading the book, and yes. I’ll finish it because the characters are interesting and that part is well done; but the plot structure is just not my cup of tea. It does have a thrill every five minutes, but then they have to get out of that, and Pauline must be in peril again by the end of the chapter… Anyway I am fascinated by the characters and the way that Regency England can be preserved given open use of magic, and I read too late and woke up too late.
So this morning I felt like I was turning into a vegetable, and before lunch I went upstairs to the Monk’s Cell, not to write but to perform the Five Tibetan Rites I used to recommend back before I had my stroke, and which I have missed terribly since then. If you want to know more about the Five Tibetan Rites, there’s a huge stewpot full of information; just Google Five Tibetan Rites and stand back. You’ll learn all you need to know, and yes I still recommend them. There’s a new piece about them: Hugh Howie and Amber [posted last May after my stroke, but seem to be at the top of Google). Naturally it’s four oh four, and Time Warner Cable has done its daily shut down of the Internet, so I’m getting page not found. That will go away by four fifteen, but it’s vastly irritating because I always seem to need the Internet at 1600, and it’s never available; probably some kid down the block gets home for his daily porn while mother watches some TV program. (No, I have no real theory, only the observation that at 1600 Time Warner Cable Internet connection dies and isn’t restored until 1615, and I am becoming increasingly irritated .) Ah, it’s 1515. http://www.hughhowey.com/the-five-tibetans/ Hugh Howie and Amber demonstrate well, without much mysticism; if you want more on the origin of the Rites, you’ll have fun looking, at least you will if you don’t do it on Time Warner Cable Internet at 1600.
Up I went, but before I started the exercises I turned on the ThinkPad. I’d used it with Outlook for the first time since last year, and it downloaded a pile of incoming mail most of which I deleted anyway, and I just left it when I went downstairs. That was probably Friday. It needed a punch on the power button to get its attention, which is normal if no one has been around for days. I should have just closed the lid when I left, but I hadn’t; getting down those stairs is a daunting experience, not dangerous so long as I pay attention step at a time, and I do a certain amount of mental preparation. Anyway the ThinkPad came up all right, restoring Windows and wanting a fingerprint, but it was acting slow. I brought up Task Manager and noted a whole potload of processes were running. I shut down Outlook, but everything seemed sluggish, and then nothing worked: I couldn’t even get the START button to work so I could shut it down.
Nothing seemed to be working. Eventually I used the Big Red Switch. Well, it’s not big or red on the ThinkPad, but I still think of it that way; it used to be the power switch on home computers.
It turned off, and when it tried to open Windows up came a blue screen. I let it try to repair the system, and up came a blue screen again. It was doing a lot of trundling, so I started the Five Tibetan Rites – scary, especially Rite One, since I am still using a walker – and when I’d get my 21 repetitions I’d go over and try to get the computer to come up. It would go through the repair routine, then blue screen; but each time it seemed to me that it had got a little farther in the startup, so despite the definition of insanity I kept trying the same thing over and over, and when it would get started I’d go back to the Rites. About the Fourth Rite I said to hell with it, used to power button to turn it off, and went back to the Fifth Rite; I’d only been able to do 13 of that last time, but I got through 21 in terrible form but I did them; then I did 30 situps.
Went back to the ThinkPad and tried once more; came to blue screen; let it try the repair again, and when it reset up came Windows; so far as I could tell, it was genuine Windows 7, worked fine, everything there. I closed the lid on the laptop and came downstairs, and that’s the current status.
I see Lenovo Laptop T410-W7P Intel Core i5 2.40GHz 4 GB Memory 160 GB HDD 14.0″ Windows 7 Professional 18 Months Warranty
From New Egg for $250 refurb, which seems a decent insurance against this system dying away; but how to transfer Office from one to the other? And there are other options. I’ll keep you posted on what happens next. It’s dinner time.
Tuesday, Oct 20, 2015 1215;
Went up to do the Tibetan Rites and the ThinkPad is working fine, although it seems to have forgotten some passwords;and of course so have I. I’ll have to look them up. Maddening. But the ThinkPad works fine now. I make sure it is asleep before I leave it; some of my advisors say the symptoms of its disorder yesterday are much like they have heard about systems trying to install Windows 10 and failing. All I know is that the rebuild worked on the fifth attempt, and having worked it’s just fine.
I’ll have a mail on Dyson spheres shortly…
Apple keychain wants to send me text messages on a landline phone that does not get text messages. It does this with the iPhone and the MacBook Pro, and there is apparently no way out of this loop. I got the iMac before I got my iPhone, and the landline was the only phone; this was the first year iPhones came out. And now I can’t get the cloud validation number except as a text message to a phone that doesn’t have text messaging, and I can’t validate my iCloud stuff without having two apple devices, and nobody answers if I try to make contact with them.
Macs are fine for a lot, but you had better use them exclusively. They don’t seem to play nice with Microsoft products. Jobs comes through again.
Bill Gertz is one hell of a China analyst. I capped off my analytic studies with a country analysis course focused on China. Gertz and Shambaugh are two writers that I became very familiar with during that course and I’ve seen them time and time again in the media, all over the world. This latest article from Gertz comes from the Asia Times and he’s someone that we should be listening to:
By telegraphing its plan for warships to intrude within the 12 miles of the islands, the Obama administration believes it can minimize any diplomatic fallout with the Chinese. The US strategic message seems to be that sailing so close to the disputed islands is normal and should not be viewed as a military provocation. China, however, is not getting that message.
The new chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, seemed to undermine US efforts to bolster regional allies with a political message of American resolve last week. Richardson told sailors aboard the Reagan that the freedom of navigation operation will be routine.
“I don’t see how these could be interpreted as provocative in any way,” he said Oct. 15.
The comments reflect the overriding desire of US policymakers in the White House, State Department and to a lesser extent in the Pentagon to play down the upcoming operations. These officials are opposing all military activities in the disputed waters that could upset Beijing, as part of the President Obama’s diplomacy-first policies.
The administration for months has been under pressure to conduct the sailing operation that was sought privately by US Pacific Command commander Adm. Harry Harris. The four star admiral is concerned that a weak US response to what he regards as China’s illegal territorial claims will be misinterpreted as quiescence unless there is a show of force in the region challenging the claims.
Harris wants to push back against China’s efforts to dominate the international waterway in the face of competing maritime claims, mainly from Vietnam and Philippines. Until a Senate hearing last month, when Harris said he had presented options for conducting freedom of navigation operations within 12 miles of China’s reclaimed islands, his appeals had fallen on deaf ears.
This is like watching a train wreck, but this is worse because they can hear us telling them how to avert this catastrophe and they’re just going on with their bad selves and their related bad policies like that guy riding the bomb in Dr. Strangelove. We’re looking at militant madness or compound stupidity; I’m not sure which. And, yeah, Napoleon said that thing about malice and incompetence but Napoleon never bothered to consider the topography and weather when he invaded Russia; so I take his points with a grain of salt.
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Joshua Jordan, KSC
Close Air “Cooperation”
US Air Force problems with doing close air support for the Army go back considerably farther than Korea. I recently came across an excellent book on both the origins of the problem between the wars, and on how at least part of the US armed forces solved it (temporarily, alas) to good effect during WW II: “Patton’s Air Force: Forging a Legendary Air-Ground Team”, by David N. Spires.
Amazon has it at
, or if you’re fortunate as I was, you might find it at your local library.
Just a couple of the interesting points this book raises: The US Army going into WW II was specifically designed to be a highly mobile force that lacked its own truly heavy weapons (think Tiger tanks versus Shermans, or railroad guns versus 105’s) and thus by design needed a lot of close air support. (My own thought on this, provoked by the generous dose of battle-campaign maps in the book, is that Patton obviously understood how to use this mobility far better than anyone else on the US side.)
And the Army Air Force was focused enough on gaining complete independence from the ground Army that the term “close air support”
became inadvisable careerwise. “Support” apparently implied just another auxiliary branch like the artillery or engineers. The correct term for those who wanted to get ahead in the nascent USAF was “close air cooperation.”
The book is not a light read, covering considerable dry doctrinal, organizational and logistical detail in addition to the political, tactical and technical (and of course, battlefield) story. It’s very much worth plowing through for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the issue. (It also is, as a side-benefit, the best overview of Patton’s Third Army campaigns from D-Day to the Elbe within the overall western campaign context I’ve seen.)
Yes. I’ve written about this before. It is becoming increasingly important.
r.e “Without answers to these fundamental questions, the Air Force nuclear enterprise remains on the same trajectory…
The USAF and its hierarchy clearly don’t want this mission anymore. They have it made it abundantly clear they are not going to resource it adequately, which includes providing viable career paths into senior ranks for the personnel. Further argument with an entire culture of people who have their minds made up this way is pointless.
So as a first step let’s take the ICBMs away from the USAF. This includes equipment, facilities, budget, manpower and manpower authorizations, including the Air Police tasked with guarding the facilities and all related logistics personnel.
Now we’re free to examine other options, and there are several viable options.
1. Set up an independent land based ICBM force ala the ex-USSR and Russian Strategic Rocket Forces. However, such an entity will not mesh well with the present Joint Chiefs of Staff system or with DoD’s present logistics system.
A better idea therefore is:
2. Return this mission to the US Army. Unlike the USAF I believe the US Army’s Artillery Branch will provide the ICBM corps with an honored position. Instead of being those guys down in holes who don’t fly they’ll be the guys with the biggest artillery of all. Unlike the USAF the Army has never considered pilot/aviator wings a prerequisite for advancement to anything except for presiding over flocks of helicopters. Therefore advancement paths to senior commands will be far more open, including the potential for promotion to four star general officer ranks.
I agree that the ground army should have the a strategic nuclear force. Whether it ought to be in command of the strategic nuclear mission in war is not so easily determined. Air war is a specialty career.
Re: BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON THE UC BERKELEY MATHEMATICS DEPARTMENT
It’s a >2,600 word letter by Alexander Coward about the situation he’s encountered as a professor at the UC Berkeley Mathematics Department. If it’s even partly true it’s infuriating.
An important data point in the modern education drama.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.