Too Many Things Going On & Too Little Time

Chaos Manor View, Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Pledge week is over. Thanks to all the new subscribers and renewers. I was pleased to see some have returned to subscribing after many years.

My Surface Pro 3 with Pro 4 keyboard is working fine now, although I did have to put in a lot of time setting things up, and I’m not really done yet. In particular the Outlook Rules have some problems, but they appear to be just a matter of recasting; and this isn’t my position mail processing machine anyway.

All kinds of trivial problems take up my time, but they aren’t worth talking about; things that ordinary people do easily, but are hard work for me. Getting down on my knees to test a phone problem at the input socket, for example. Then discovering I can’t see, so getting back up, getting a flashlight, getting back down… Ah well. John DeChancie is here to discuss LisaBetta, our near future primitive asteroid mining colonies civilization – one that I would but in 2020 or so if I were writing it now, but we’ll have to set a bit later since we didn’t go the route I thought we would. Which means an even more bureaucratic Earth. It’s still a hard science novel.


Russian plane crash in Egypt: Midair heat flash detected

(CNN)A midair heat flash from Metrojet Flight 9268 was detected by a U.S. military satellite before the plane crashed Saturday in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a U.S. official told CNN.

Intelligence analysis has ruled out that the Russian commercial airplane was struck by a missile, but the new information suggests that there was a catastrophic in-flight event — including possibly a bomb, though experts are considering other explanations, according to U.S. officials.

Gary Power went to his grave believing that his U2 was shot down by a missile, but it could not have been: he was too high.  Possony was always convinced that a Pakistani worker put a bomb aboard it. I thought so at the time, but if so the information was remarkably well concealed not to have come out since.  In this case a bomb is even more likely.

I don’t usually reprint press releases, but sometimes:




Pro Se Productions, a leading publisher of Genre Fiction, proudly announces the debut of its latest novel featuring perhaps the most popular detective ever created, Sherlock Holmes.  Author Stephanie Osborn, creator of The Displaced Detective series, which also features Holmes, brings her exceptional skill and Sherlockian knowledge and love for the character to a new series for Pro Se.  Sherlock Holmes and The Mummy’s Curse, Book One of Sherlock Holmes: Gentleman Aegis is now available in print and digital formats.

Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, states, “Sherlock Holmes isn’t simply the definitive detective. He is a character that has not only captured the imaginations of millions for over a century, but he also has untold potential in terms of stories to be told.  And Stephanie Osborn is ideal for tapping into the wondrous worlds that Holmes and Watson can still explore.  This first volume in Stephanie’s new series involves a Holmes and Watson we are all very familiar with at the beginning of their careers and near the start of their relationship.  What Stephanie crafts with Sherlock Holmes and the Mummy’s Curse is both a book that any Holmes fan would want to include in their library and a work that she leaves her own mark on.  She takes Holmes and expands his world, pushes the boundaries we know his universe within, and creates an adventure that literally readers will not be able to put down!”

Sherlock Holmes and the Mummy’s Curse is the debut volume in a new imprint from Pro Se Productions- Holmes Apocrypha.  Holmes Apocrypha will feature works that take Holmes onto adventures and in directions that go beyond Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original canon, including supernatural stories, science fiction interpretations, and more.

Holmes and Watson. Two names forever linked by mystery and danger from the beginning.

Within the first year of their friendship and while both are young men, Holmes and Watson are still finding their way in the world, with all the troubles that such young men usually have: Financial straits, troubles of the female persuasion, hazings, misunderstandings between friends, and more. Watson’s Afghan wounds are still tender, his health not yet fully recovered, and there can be no consideration of his beginning a new practice as yet. Holmes, in his turn, is still struggling to found the new profession of consulting detective. Not yet truly established in London, let alone with the reputations they will one day possess, they are between cases and at loose ends when Holmes’ old professor of archaeology contacts him.

Professor Willingham Whitesell makes an appeal to Holmes’ unusual skill set and a request. Holmes is to bring Watson to serve as the dig team’s physician and come to Egypt at once to translate hieroglyphics for his prestigious archaeological dig. There in the wilds of the Egyptian desert, plagued by heat, dust, drought and cobras, the team hopes to find the very first Pharaoh. Instead, they find something very different…

Noted Author Stephanie Osborn (Creator of the Displaced Detective series) presents the first book in her Sherlock Holmes, Gentleman Aegis series – Sherlock Holmes and the Mummy’s Curse, the debut volume of Pro Se Productions’ Holmes Apocrypha imprint.

Featuring a fantastic cover and logo design by Jeffrey Hayes and print formatting and logo design by Percival Constantine, Sherlock Holmes and the Mummy’s Curse is available now at Amazon at and Pro Se’s own store at for 15.00. 

The first volume in Osborn’s Sherlock Holmes: Gentleman Aegis series is also available as an Ebook, designed and formatted by Forrest Bryant and available for only $2.99 for the Kindle at and for most digital formats via Smashwords at

Stephanie Osborn

“The Interstellar Woman of Mystery”


Antarctica is actually gaining ice, says NASA. Is global warming over?

Not quite, scientists say. But new study results show the fallibility of current climate change measuring tools and challenges current theories about the causes of sea level rise.


Interesting.  The models don’t understand it of course.


Too Many Things Going On & Too Little Time
It may work or it may not. Possibility of thermal induced errors still need to be eliminated.
Still, “the fact that the machine still produced what March calls “anomalous thrust signals” is by far the test’s single biggest discovery. The reason why this thrust exists still confounds even the brightest rocket scientists in the world, but the recurring phenomenon of direction-based momentum does make the EM Drive appear less a combination of errors and more like a legitimate answer to interstellar travel.”
I think that they mean interplanetary. But, with the current state of NASA, they may mean interstellar.
Microsoft admits Win 10 spying can not be stopped!
I haven’t read this about MacOS yet. But, …

And, we can get from NYC to London in 30 minutes
That is, if we can get some unobtanium that won’t melt at 4000 degrees F and find passengers willing to take that flight!

And, yet another reason for HRC to lie about Benghazi!

I wonder if President Putin has heard about this? It would let him chime in about the next US Presidential election.
Star Trek is coming back!
Hopefully this one won’t cause Gene Roddenberry to be spinning in his grave!

See; too many things to think about without my head hurting and all I want for Xmas is a copy of Jannisaries hot off the presses!



A New ‘Star Trek’ TV Series Will Debut in 2017

By DAVE ITZKOFFNOV. 2, 2015      (nyt)

“Star Trek,” that venerable outer-space adventure, is boldly going where it’s been before, but hasn’t been seen in more than a decade: back to television. The science-fiction program that chronicled the voyages of the Starship Enterprise and its intrepid crew will return to TV in 2017, CBS said on Monday, in a new series that will be introduced on the network but will be shown primarily on its digital subscription video service.

This latest “Star Trek” series will focus on “new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception,” CBS said in a news release.

It will be executive-produced by Alex Kurtzman, a writer and producer of the rebooted 2009 “Star Trek” movie and its 2013 sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Mr. Kurtzman has also been involved with other popular works of geek culture like the TV shows “Alias,” “Fringe,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Xena: Warrior Princess.”


We’re building superhuman robots. Will they be heroes, or villains?


Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week we’re talking about robot intelligence. Need a primer? Catch up here.

Patrick Lin is an associate philosophy professor at California Polytechnic State University and an affiliate scholar at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. He works with government and industry on technology ethics, and his book “Robot Ethics” was published in 2014.

Forget about losing your job to a robot. And don’t worry about a super-smart, but somehow evil, computer. We have more urgent ethical issues to deal with right now.

Artificial intelligence is replacing human roles, and it’s assumed that those systems should mimic human behavior — or at least an idealized version of it. This may make sense for limited tasks such as product assembly, but for more autonomous systems — robots and AI systems that can “make decisions” for themselves — that goal gets complicated.

There are two problems with the assumption that AI should act like we do. First, it’s not always clear how we humans ought to behave, and programming robots becomes a soul-searching exercise on ethics, asking questions that we don’t yet have the answers to. Second, if artificial intelligence does end up being more capable than we are, that could mean that it has different moral duties, ones which require it to act differently than we would.

Let’s look at robot cars to illustrate the first problem. How should they be programmed? This is important, because they’re driving alongside our families right now. Should they always obey the law? Always protect their passengers? Minimize harm in an accident if they can? Or just slam the brakes when there’s trouble?

These and other design principles are reasonable, but sometimes they conflict. For instance, an automated car may have to break the law or risk its passengers’ safety to spare the greatest number of lives on the outside. The right decision, whatever that is, is fundamentally an ethical call based on human values, and one that isn’t answerable by science and engineering alone.

That leads us to the second, related problem. With its unblinking sensors and networked awareness, robot cars can detect risks and react much faster than we can — that’s what artificial intelligence is meant to do. In addition, their behavior is programmed, which means crash decisions are already scripted. Therein lies a dilemma. If a human driver makes a bad decision in a sudden crash it’s a forgivable accident, but when AI makes any decision, it’s not a reflex but premeditated.[snip]


SABRE dual mode engine

Seems like a very good idea. Wonder why it’s taken so long? In any case, the dual mode concept makes sens. Burn the same fuel and switch oxidizers as the flight regime changes.

Phil Tharp


You might want unobtainium for the leading edges…


Hybrid wolf/coyote/dog

Hi Jerry.

All in one, the evolution of wolves, coyotes, and dogs continues:


Mike Casey

Of course one now wonders what is a species.  Mules are generally not fertile.  Wolf-coyote, dog-coyote breeds true fertile…


: Ranger School Cover-up

Dr Pournelle,

So I’ve been following this pretty closely and it’s getting better and better. We seem to have Ranger Instructors talking anonymously to the media and Congress and a cover-up stretching from the White House all the way down the the Commander of the Ranger Training Brigade.

Congressman Russell contacted the Secretary of the Army on September 15, 2015, and requested the Ranger School records for Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver.

The Secretary of the Army stalled Russell for nine days and then asked for an extension to obtain documents readily available.

The Army waited another two weeks to tell Russell the documents had been shredded.

The Army refuses to tell anyone what the school’s policy is for the storage and destruction of Ranger School records.

The Army refuses to tell the media why they shredded Griest’s and Haver’s records.

The Army refuses to tell the media what they are doing with the third female graduate, Major Lisa Jaster’s records.

The Army wants us to doubt that journalist Susan Keating’s Ranger School sources are real because they are anonymous.

The Army wants us to believe that if Susan Keating’s sources were real they would come forward, when in fact, they are frightened of retribution. Considering the Obama administration’s treatment of whistle blowers, these fears are more than justified.”

I’m a graduate of the school and a former Infantry Officer and against women in the combat arms and in the military in general. I guess that makes me a dinosaur or a sexist/misogynist/reactionary or whatever you want to call me, but in spite of this I have trouble believing all this.

I happen to know Major General Miller, the commander of the Infantry/Maneuver Center (he was my adviser at the Infantry Officer Advanced Course many many years ago) and he just isn’t the type to do something like this. I’m pretty sure this will be his retirement job and a man like him will have many options after retirement. He doesn’t need to curry favor with anyone. For details on just what kind of man he is, see here

Further, the RIs wouldn’t stand for it. Many (probably most) don’t want women there any more than I do, but they wouldn’t stand for ANYONE telling them to make things easier on women. The way they’d deal with it would be to stay strictly by the book. If someone told them to do otherwise they would come out publicly, careers be damned, and tell the world. This is the E-6s that run the place that I’m talking about, not the Captains and Majors. They’d tell everyone to get bent and let the world know.

That’s just my take on it. There might be more to it. I know a couple of people at the Infantry School now and they tell me it’s a load a crap. That’s hardly authoritative but these are people I know and trust.

Matt Kirchner

Houston, TX

I have others who say it is all very real. 


BP Sees Technology Nearly Doubling World Energy Resources by 2050     (nyt)

By REUTERSNOV. 2, 2015, 9:06 A.M. E.S.T. 

LONDON — The world is no longer at risk of running out of oil or gas for decades ahead with existing technology capable of unlocking so much that global reserves would almost double by 2050 despite booming consumption, oil major BP said on Monday.

When taking into account all accessible forms of energy including nuclear, wind and solar, there are enough resources to meet 20 times what the world will need over that period, David Eyton, BP Group Head of Technology said.

“Energy resources are plentiful. Concerns over running out of oil and gas have disappeared,” Eyton said at the launch of BP’s inaugural Technology Outlook.

Oil and gas companies have invested heavily in squeezing the maximum from existing reservoirs by using chemicals, super computers and robotics. The halving of oil prices since last June has further dampened their appetite to explore for new resources, with more than $200 billion worth of mega projects scrapped in recent months.

By applying these technologies, the global proved fossil fuel resources could increase from 2.9 trillion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to 4.8 trillion boe by 2050, nearly double the projected 2.5 trillion boe required to meet global demand until 2050, BP said.

With new exploration and technology, the resources could leap to a staggering 7.5 trillion boe, Eyton said.

“We are probably nearing the point where potential from additional recovery from discovered reservoir exceeds the potential for exploration.”


A power source and vastly improved robots makes a different world.


That Voyager job req

Y’know, if they’d bothered to post an email or US Snail address, they’d RIGHT NOW be drowning under resumes from WELL-QUALIFIED applicants for that Voyager job.

I’m one of them.  A college buddy of mine is another.  I got my start in this crazy racket in 1970, in FORTRAN IV.  By the time I was getting paid for it, 64K was still a lot of memory.

There are a lot of people doing interesting things with Arduino boards these days who know a lot about small memory systems, who could learn the rest quite easily.

Not to mention that this kind of thing is what FORTH was designed to do (and there have been spaceborne FORTH systems before).

–John R. Strohm


Did You Hear About How Scientists Discovered A Two Billion-Year-Old Nuclear Reactor In Gabon?


When first reading about this years ago, I remember thinking that the premise that it was deliberately engineered would make a great story hook . . .


Roland Dobbins

I believe I mentioned it in A Step Farther Out in the 80’s.


‘America has 100 nuclear power plants. We need hundreds more.’



Roland Dobbins

I think I said that in A step Farther Out too.  with the present Administration it cannot happen.


Drones programmed for light painting in the sky


What do you get when you put LEDs on a system of drones and then program them to fly in formation? Spaxels from the Ars Electronic Futurelab.





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




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