Chaos Manor View, Friday, December 04, 2015
My LiveWriter lost its title. That is, the title block simply vanished, and I could not put a title on my posts. The only way was to post it untitled, then go to another machine where it was working, download recent post “Untitled” into Live Writer, add a title, and repost. I mucked about with it and got nowhere and when Alex was over here he did the same, with the same results.
In frustration I asked Google Why does my title in LiveWriter vanish? I was instantly led to Chaos Manor Reviews, http://chaosmanorreviews.com/windows-live-writer-almost-good-enough/ , where Managing Editor had posted Eric’s complete account of the problem and a workaround that I can use. If you use Live Writer it’s must reading. I still haven’t completely restored LiveWriter on Alien Artifact to the state it was in before the title vanished; I can see the title, or I can see what the post (without title) will look like by toggling the f11 key, and that’s good enough, but it’s really frustrating. It’s possible to post to this site from Word, which is what I use to compose it in the first place,, but I never took the trouble to find out how, LiveWriter works, and works pretty well; but I sure wish Microsoft would do more to explain how to use it, particularly themes and formatting and what appears on the page.
Meanwhile, if you haven’t been by Chaos Manor Reviews recently, it’s well worth your time.
I’m almost through with story introductions to Volume Ten of There Will Be War; the first nine volumes were published from 1983 to 1992, and the series sort of ended when the Cold War did. Obviously a book of science fiction stories and essays will look farther into the future that the Cold War and the end of the Soviet Union, and many of the stories and essays in that first series hold up very well; but much the non-fiction, in particular, was much concerned with the future of war in the in Cold War times. Themes like deterrence and defense. Of course I have one essay in the original series that I am tempted to publish again, making only the change of replacing “Soviet Union” with “Iran”; a lot of readers would never know unless they had read the first essays.
The new volume has Benford, Niven, Flynn, and a Poul Anderson story of the far future that I read in 1953 and have never forgotten, as well as new authors, an essay by Martin Van Creveld, and an essay on the future structure of the US Fleet by my son Commander Phillip Pournelle. It should be out in eBook form before the end of the year, and printed copies available by Spring.
Getting those intros and a nonfiction essay done has become critical, and has pretty well taken up most of my time in the last week or so. Apologies.
There’s little to add to the San Bernardino massacre information. It’s clear that Syed Farook and his Saudi wife had planned some kind of jihad activity: nobody has a hobby of collecting weapon, ammunition, and IED’s without some plan for their eventual use. Whether it was to be an attack on Syed’s co-workers is more doubtful, since the attack seemed less well planned than the couple’s tactical behavior would imply. They seem to have rehearsed tactics, but the actual assault seemed almost unplanned. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem reasonable that they – and it’s clear that it was “their” not just “his” attack – would make all these preparations then respond to a religious argument at the Christmas Party. Even if Syed were mortally offended and determined to be avenged in blood, would his wife, who was certainly a willing participant, want to be involved?
The latest headlines I have are
San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook may have been radicalized by Pakistan-born wife Tashfeen Malik, who pledged loyalty to ISIS before killing spree
I have no idea of the reliability of the report. It is obvious they planned something; why this attack at this time is not obvious.
Islam, we are told, is a religion of peace; but the Islamic tradition defines Islam itself as the House of Peace, and all those outside it are at war, and must either submit and pay tax or concert. It is legal to make truce with infidels, but one cannot make peace with them. How many modern Muslims believe that is not known, but it is pretty clear that The Caliphate – ISIS – does believe it. We do not know if the couple sought advice or orders in this situation. Perhaps that would explain their obvious planning of a larger jihad activity than they undertook.
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
I hope it turns out to be true that progress is being made towards cleaner, safer, nuclear energy.
It goes without saying that, though “climate change” is a fraud, the need for more, clean, abundant energy is beyond any debate, and this might be part of the answer.
Thorium is a rather more common element than Uranium, and has figured in science fiction stories since the Golden Age; there is so far as I know no practical working Thorium power reactor, and not a lot of research devoted to it. But I may well be behind the times.
Google’s chief of self-driving cars downplays ‘the trolley problem’ (WP)
As automakers and tech companies talk up self-driving vehicles and the chance to bring their benefits to the world, plenty of questions are being raised about the technology. One that’s attracted much attention is what’s called “the trolley problem.”
The issue is this — do you flip a switch and divert a trolley from killing two people, so that it instead kills only one person? In the case of cars, should your vehicle drive off a bridge to avoid hitting a Boy Scout troop, sacrificing your life to save a dozen? Should a self-driving car veer away from the pedestrians in a crosswalk with a baby stroller and instead hit a lone pedestrian on a sidewalk?
Consumers might be hesitant to take a ride in a self-driving vehicle if there’s a chance the software powering the car is programmed to put them at risk to save someone else. This has raised a lot of questions regarding the ethics of machines.
There hasn’t, apparently, been much thought about this, but as we increasingly give control to machines, there ought to be. What would one of Asimov’s ‘Laws of Robotics” AI systems do?
This today from the Gatestone Institute; an intriguing notion. Gaza has at least as many natural resources as the islands that comprise Hong Kong, and though not as strategically located as Singapore as a trade station, Gaza is well located; but instead of development, most of the effort seems to have been devoted to futile efforts against Israel. Hong Kong became rich on far less to start with; as of course did Singapore. I suppose it is impolite to wonder why.
Bring back, bring back, O bring back that old continuity,
, Bring back, bring back, bring back Clerk Maxwell to me..
“We’ve developed a new way of studying space and time that we didn’t have before. We weren’t even sure we could attain the sensitivity we did.”
If you missed this yesterday, you should see it. I expect to spend some time thinking on this when I get a chance; among other things it has a profound effect on the asteroid mining story John DeChancie and I are writing.
The Mysterious Aging of Astronauts.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.