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Mail 559 February 23 - March 1, 2009
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February 23, 2009
Col. Couvillon's remarks
As usual Col. Couvillon is right on. We all know it takes a decade or more from initial specs to production for most any weapons system. So, by the time a weapon is in production, the electronics are completely outdated. Now imagine the kind of fire control software that could be written to run on a current generation laptop from you local store, add-in remote controlled flying electronics from your local RC hobby store, an IED, and a light flying platform of some kind (think big RC plane or a Cessna). Now recall that most of this is built cheaply and in very large quantities in China.
F-22 discussion corrections
1. The immediate question is F-22 or F-35 vs OPFOR Fighters X. The data do not exist today to answer this question.
Not necessarily true and it misses the forest for the trees. The “fighter vs. fighter” question is not even half of the question. The meat of the question is can our fighters go into bad-guy territory to destroy enemy aircraft (either in the air or while they’re still on the ground) while the enemy air defense network is operational. As a strike guy myself, I am confident that if the question was simply can our fighters beat the other guy’s fighters, we could continue to do so with new-build F-15s. But that’s not even close to the full problem set. An F-15 can survive going in to protect strike packages or simply do air sweeps against previous-generation SAMs (SA-2/3/6/8) but once you toss in SA-10 and later air defenses, the F-15s would be on a suicide mission even if they’re going up against 3rd or 4th generation fighters.
And even a country that can’t afford even current-generation fighters can probably park an SA-10/20 in a tactically and strategically significant location, such that it’s position and tactics make it impossible for an F-15, F-16, or even superhornet to get in close enough to employ AMRAAM. On day-1, you can’t assume the ability to sweep SAM sites clean so you need aircraft that can push in with the first strikers as you dismantle the air defense and C&C networks. For that matter, the biggest threat to a B-2 would be a swarm of low-tech “day only” fighters equipped with NVGs and cannons, looking for visual sightings cued off of what might be only sporadic air defense radar hits.
As for not being able to simulate the need for the F-22, it’s been done. We can’t even close to air to air engagement ranges because of the SAMs, without absorbing heavy losses taking out the SAMs the hard way (swarming them, taking losses until they have to reload, and then tossing in a lot of bombs because some of the bombs themselves will get shot down). The F-22 tips the scales as you’d expect, but again it’s not the enemy fighters we’re worried about. The AMRAAM is pretty damn good so if you can get the missile close enough to the target with a good launch cue, you’ve got a really good chance of success. And if the enemy has stealth or countermeasures effective against the AMRAAM, the F-22 can move in close enough to employ AIM-9X or the gun (lucky we put one in, eh?) and due to it’s extreme maneuverability the F-22 has a chance of surviving the close-in fight too.
Remember, the F-35 is little more than a front/side aspect stealthy F-16. It’s single engine alone ensures a higher loss rate, reducing somewhat the cost effectiveness of not having to buy two engines per plane up front…
In some of my future stories -- set at the end of a very long logistics line -- surface to air missiles have developed to such an extent that air power scarcely exists. I admit I was glad enough of assumptions that made telling the stories easier, but I didn't do that lightly. SAM's are getting awfully good; the Soviets found out a lot about that in their Afghan adventure. Of course I didn't anticipate the importance of teleoperated aircraft which have become quite essential in modern asymmetrical warfare. I still think my stories hold up well, but the environment is changing rapidly. The race between missiles for defense and aircraft for operations will continue...
Fighter Discussion: Limited vs Unlimited War
We don't need many F-22 or F-35 for the type of wars we're fighting now. Or F-15, F-16 and F/A-18. That is, unless we decide to facilitate more jihadi hijackers in obtaining control of civilian airliners. True, the fighters are all getting their innings in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's because they're already sitting on the dugout bench. It's not because other available platforms don't do a better job.
We had an all or nothing force before in 1950. And we promptly found ourselves fighting a limited war featuring inviolate enemy sanctuaries adjacent to Korea. Then came Vietnam. Both sanctuary experiences included China in the strategic equation. As Colonel Couvillon pointed out, all war is asymmetrical. It arises from asymmetrical political and social goals. A willing enemy is certain to try using his perceived strengths to exploit perceived weak points.
In the USA's recent experience China has been the source of sanctuary constraints. The most likely and most demanding scenarios I can imagine before 2030 which include another sanctuary constraint also include China as a term in the equation. From the Chinese perspective "sanctuary" has been an extremely successful part of past confrontations with the USA. It's reasonable to expect that in any future confrontation with the USA the Chinese will attempt to include "sanctuary" as a key part of their strategy.
What are the circumstances leading to a new confrontation with China? iow, what vital interests are or could become so mismatched as to lead to a new trial of strength?
And what kind of war we will be in is not always our choice; but the international goals we set ourselves will have a great deal to do with it even so. Sweden needs a different force structure from Canada. We have set ourselves as the superpower, and we spend more on armaments than anyone else.
A short note on the the future of fighter aircraft. The current generation of drones used in the war zones are not autonomous but teleoperated from an office building in Nevada. Human control is still there, but at a remove. This will be the model for fighter aircraft, not some sort of artificial intelligence. Part of the reason for that is that some of the maneuvers used by these fighters will generate (literally) bone-crushing G-forces. The machines can take it, the pilots could not. To get to this point, however, requires a major change in fighter pilot culture. Silk scarf syndrome is the major obstacle here, not technology. The best new candidates for piloting these new aircraft are kind who have a lot experience with video games. A similar thing is happening with surgeons. Robotic surgery is now preferred for many delicate operations, but about ten percent of those candidates wash out because they don't have the fine haptic skills required to control the robots. Most of these new pilots will be Warrant rather than Commissioned officers. Piloting has become a technical field. Most new Air Force generals will not be former pilots, but administrators. People who want to fly in combat will join the army and fly combat helicopters.
There remains a need for intelligent pilots in fixed wing aircraft flying close support missions. Think a particular kind of artillery, which is what tactical close support really is.
Fighter Aircraft - F-22, F-35, RPV's...
Reading through the mail on the topic of the F-22 vs. the F-35, dogfighting and air superiority has left me somewhat puzzled. Statements were made that unmanned dogfighters are not feasible right now.
I don't see why this would be. I do not by any means profess to be anywhere knowledgeable on this subject, yet a few things come to mind:
1) All modern aircraft are fly by wire 2) One of the limiting factors in dog fighting is the human circulatory system vs. acceleration- pilots black out under too many G's 3) Cockpits and pilots, displays, etc add weight and limit performance of aircraft.
It would seem to me that given the above, a fast nimble dog fighter would be BEST implemented as a remotely piloted vehicle. To my limited knowledge, it would simply seem to be a matter of taking out the cockpit from existing technology and putting the human end of the fly by wire controls on the other end of a radio link, where the pilot could fly it safely from inside a carrier or airbase, sans the inflatable pants and fear of death.
Taking the pilot out makes things lighter, could increase possible payload, and could definitely increase potential maneuverability. Not to mention decrease pilot mortality in a dramatic fashion. I would also expect that not needing pilot life support would make these cheaper to build. Controls and displays still need to be built, but not necessarily at a one to one ratio with the planes.
The big problem of course would be the possibility of jamming the communications between the ground based pilot and the plane. Is our anti-jamming tech good enough to handle that? Why would it be good enough for Predators, etc. in surveillance and ground attack roles but not good enough for fighters? Is it the nature of the missions itself (ie: jamming a surveillance vehicle reveals that you have something you need to actively hide) that makes the difference? I know many things can be done to mitigate the jamming - fast frequency hopping, etc. Would these be good enough for a dogfighter role?
Of course the pilot would need to be located somewhat close to the actual vehicle to minimize delay in the communication - my understanding is that tenths of a second can and do very often do matter in a dogfight. Guiding a dogfighting plane in Iraq from a base in US via a satellite link simply would not work.
By no means would we want to retire traditional type fighters - we may someday again need long range interceptors, and we certainly don't want all of our eggs in one basket.
Given that bigger minds than mine, with access to more complete facts, must have actively pondered all of this already, I am clearly missing something crucial. But what is it that I am missing?
Subj: The duties of educators
Recent correspondence concerning the unreasonable nature of students' demands to be rewarded for effort, rather than for performance, left me somewhat uneasy.
It's not that I agree with the students. I don't.
It's that I don't think I much agree with the professors either.
I keep thinking back to the Patrol Academy Robert Heinlein portrays in _Space Cadet_.
When Cadet Dodson flunks astrogation, his advisor doesn't just tell him he's *failed* and should quit, or go be a Marine. No, the advisor knows from Dodson's aptitude tests that Dodson is *capable* of learning astrogation. He just hasn't approached it from the right angle yet. So the advisor relieves Dodson of all other duties and lets (ok, it's more like "makes") him *focus* on astrogation until his *gets* it.
After which, Dodson is assigned to *teach* astrogation -- because he still remembers what used to stump him, and why.
How many students get *that* kind of treatment in our current system?
Charles Murray, in _Real Education_, recommends driving high-IQ students to their limits, so they experience failure and have a chance to learn some humility. That's a good idea, but you also have to teach them how to *recover* from failure. It's all too easy for a student who has *failed* to learn only that *he*is*a*Worthless*Failure*, and slip from that lesson into Despair (or Depression, if you prefer psychiatry to religion), and from there to suicide, or worse. (See, for example, Melanie Thernstrom's _Halfway Heaven: Diary of a Harvard Murder_.)
I certainly don't think Murray *intends* that, but I wish he'd at least mentioned helping students learn to recover from the experience of failure, and perhaps given a reference or two. He writes about students who study hard science and mathematics already having the humiliating experience of hitting their limits, but he almost seems to think those students just naturally get over it, learn their humility and move on. I suppose some do, but too many don't.
I completely agree. But one proper goal of education is to have people understand reality. Part of that reality is to understand one's limits, without being crushed by the realization. To accomplish that we will need to structure education so that those who are not gifted still learn to do useful and valuable things. We can't all be professors at the Institute for Advanced Studies.
Subject: Expectations and stereotypes
One of your correspondents wrote a few days back about his experiences being stereotyped into a lower educational track. I thought immediately of the article linked below, but didn't have a chance to send the link before descending into a source selection facility to read contract proposals, a proposition which unfortunately detaches you from the Internet.
Anyway, here it is -- interesting research on how expectations influence performance, complete with the new buzzword "stereotype threat". In some sense this is not new; the project shown 40 years ago in "A Class Divided" (where Iowa schoolchildren were divided and discriminated against based on eye color) showed such results. But it is still interesting.
Spent the week marking 329 essays, almost all passable but none memorable. My head hurts...
Escape from Hell arrived today. I've been reading The Fourth Gospel and Its Predecessor, by Robert Fortna. Fortna is a specialist on the Gospel of John (4G), and over his career has explored a hypothesis of Bultmann's that the the Fourth Evangelist (4E)--the redactor or editor of the final version of the 4G--used one or more narrative sources as the basis for his composition. Fortna believes those sources formed a very early gospel, which he refers to as the Signs Gospel (SG), that contained a series of signs or miracles culminating in the Resurrection. He suggests that the SG was assembled from a signs source (SQ) and a separate passion source (PQ) around 40-50 AD for use by Christian Jews in the synagogue to prove to other Jews that Jesus was the long-awaited messiah. The 4G was an expansion of and commentary on the SG written around 100 AD by the 4E in response to the excommunication of Jewish Christians by the synagogue. I speculate that the SG was written in Jerusalem and then was taken to Syria during the Jewish War by the beloved disciple, a long-time member of the Jerusalem Church. Both the SG and the 4G preach a realised eschatology--we have been living in the end times (in synoptic terms, the Kingdom of God) since Jesus walked on the Earth. There is no second coming; this is as good as it gets.
Criticism of primary education in England by academic specialists in the area. Too narrow a focus on reading and math and too much teaching to the test. <http://tinyurl.com/bjowou> <http://tinyurl.com/dz8tj5> <http://tinyurl.com/bmnrpw > <http://tinyurl.com/daogjq> The report: <http://www.primaryreview.org.uk/ >
My wife has been tutoring a friend for the English numeracy exam that teachers have to pass. Holding an MA in mathematics and with eight years experience college teaching and twenty as a cancer statistician with a number of papers, she took the numeracy exam to see what it was about. Afterwards, she decided it had nothing to do with real numeracy and everything to do with keeping people out of teaching.
Extent of Labour's attack on civil liberties <http://tinyurl.com/cdwdas>
Wacky Jacqui, the Home minister we all love, faces a probe on her expense claims <http://tinyurl.com/cyfqdp> .
High court rules that internal government reports on the cost- effectiveness of ID cards must be disclosed. <http://tinyurl.com/blfr6s>
No kissing allowed at Warrington Bank Quay station. <http://tinyurl.com/cj8d2m >
-- Harry Erwin, PhD "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." (Catherine Aird)
We appear to live in the age of Certification. So, why not require all who wish to run for a Legislative Office be Certified.
I would propose that the requirements for Certification be the following:
1. Read "Atlas Shrugged"
2. Pass a 40 question test on the novel.
Well, I might choose a slightly different set of qualifications, but the notion of having some qualifications to hold public office might make sense if we didn't know that it would immediately be ruled discriminatory.
'I might have spent the rest of my life in the slums or in prison if not for books.'
-- Roland Dobbins
I beg to differ with your esteemed colleague, Mr. Hamit
Francis Hamit stated baldly in Tuesday's Mail <http://www.jerrypournelle.com/mail/2009/Q1/mail558.html#Tuesday> :
Francis hasn't had to look for jobs OR use a library computer recently, I can tell. As I have been an avid jobseeker since Yahoo! performed their Great Decimation in December, I believe I have relevant data to share which may transcend opinion.
Recent visits to multiple different libraries found all computers with plugged up USB ports, disabled floppy drives and no CD/RW drives, so 'you can't take it with you'; any job-hunting data you need stays in the walled garden of your e-mail account, if personal e-mail is permitted (often it is not). The jobseeker with a computer of their own at home has a tremendous edge.
Another edge is the ability to lead the pack, as the first submission to an employment agent often gets a lock on the job for that agent. In today's highly specialized market, I find an employment agency often gets to present one, repeat, one candidate for a job. The early bird has a much better choice; if I must wait until banker's hours to access a computer to retailor my resume to exactly fit the requirements (a necessity as resumes must be two pages or less and the requirements substantial these days; and you must also provide a customized cover letter restating how well you fit their specifications),then I am no longer leading the pack.
When combined with the time limits oft-imposed on library computer use, the home PC owner has a clear edge. That's why I volunteer at freegeek.org which recycles crufted-up Windows machines and gives volunteers a chance to have a machine of their own, pre-packaged with Open Office and Firefox, suitable for Internet job-hunting, if they will rebuild five other machines first.
Mr. Hamit also protests the promotional value of free e-books. After reading Eric Flint's experience <http://baen.com/library/palaver6.htm> with the Baen Free Library <http://baen.com/library/> I suggest that Data Trumps Opinion when dealing off the top of the deck. Or, as my beloved chemist wife states, "Torture the data and it will confess."
-- 73s and best regards, John Bartley K7AAY
Portland Gadgets Examiner <http://www.examiner.com/x-3700-Portland-Gadgets-Examiner>
"Catering to your mentors is necessary in any subject not governed by mathematics." - RAH
February 24, 2009
My brother teaches in a predominantly black public high school. He believes that 70% of the students could master high school material and actually want to. However, 30% of the students are incapable of doing so and/or don't want to, and their presence in the classroom is extraordinarily disruptive. The 30% have been denied an education appropriate to their abilities, making them virtually unemployable when they finally drop out, and the other 70% have also been prevented from reaching their own potential owing to the disruption and the dumbed-down curriculum.
S articulated a very important thought there. I had the same but didn't put it down. Namely, the "Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD, Wild Weasel) mission is what's critical in attack mode. Friendly fighter vs enemy fighter is merely a subset of the total SEAD mission. Are there other ways to achieve this result? Let us not forget the other important USAF mission. This is to keep enemy bombs from falling on friendly soldiers and Marines. And also on friendly civilians.
Absolutely. Recall, I suggested that in future the air superiority machine might be a wide body jet carrying heavy lasers. I don't belong to any family of the fighter mafia. So I'm not bought into fighters that way. However, "fighter vs fighter" is certainly how USAF & DoD have the F-22 vs F-35 question framed. If forests are being missed it's the current experts who are doing so.
More symptoms of F-16 Syndrome. I didn't think I was overly friendly to F-35 earlier to be honest. I said F-16 was second best - by design concept - and that F-35 appeared to be its replacement.
No argument here. This is why the Army stopped buying helos with only one engine in the 1970s.
If F-22 is what we need, then how do we get costs down to the point we can afford meaningful numbers of them? And what is F-22's true critical mission? Performing SEAD to escort attack forces in and out? If so, how does it perform SEAD? Attack enemy ground based air defenses at low level or swat enemy fighters in the wild blue yonder? It won't do first class jobs at both.
p.s. I wasn't impressed with the published combat radii for either F-22 or F-35. Both seemed pretty short legged to me.
First note: I usually do not publish messages in this format. I am no fan of the chop and chat kind of "discussion". I prefer a reference to the original document; the short comment format is adequately represented on the web, just not here. I made an exception in this case in part so I could say this as a reminder.
Second comment: sound force structure planning depends on a sound analysis of the missions for the force. In the Billy Mitchell days the Army did not understand many of the problems of the Air Corps, and the pilots argued, eventually successfully, for an Independent Air Force which would be allowed to select its targets, plan its missions, run its own bases, and conduct its own training and promotion programs. It got all that, and then "discovered" that it didn't want one of the primary missions of the Army Air Corps, namely close support of the field army. Moreover, analysis of the results of World War II were at best ambiguous on the effectiveness of strategic bombing in Europe; it is arguable that had the kind of resourced devoted to strategic bombing been put instead into support for the field army, the war in Europe would have ended six months earlier with a lot less civilian population and economic destruction (which had to be rebuilt).
Without strategic air strikes on Japan including the fire raids on civilian residential areas -- over 100,000 civilians died in one firebombing raid -- the war in the Pacific would have taken longer, but would also have had a different character, as one might expect given that it was after all a Naval war.
The Marines have not forgotten that the purpose of air power is to support the Fleet and the field Marines. The Air Force has never learned this lesson.
One cannot structure the force until one has an understanding of missions. Protection of the field army is a major part of the mission; but so is support of the field army once air supremacy has been established. The Air Force has always understood air supremacy as the first mission; but it hasn't always understood what to do with it once achieved.
The P-47 was not designed to be a recce/strike aircraft; but it turned out to be excellent for that purpose, and the interdiction missions it flew were highly effective in support of the battle army. P-47 train busting was decisive in some of the campaigns toward the end.
Re: the future of air combat
You write: "In some of my future stories -- set at the end of a very long logistics line -- surface to air missiles have developed to such an extent that air power scarcely exists. "
See also David Drake's "Hammer's Slammers" and Steve Jackson's "Ogre".
Indeed, there's some nasty conspiracy theories going around about the surprising lack of funding for the thus-far-successful Airborne Laser program. Once lasers get rolling, combat aircraft suddenly become a LOT less viable...
Indeed, it's worth remembering that the initial generation of air-to-air missiles were given "F-for-Fighter" designation numbers...and, when you look at the degree of automation, the supersonic interceptors of the 1960s and 1970s were really just manned reusable boosters for long-range antiaircraft missiles.
-- Mike T. Powers
Latest F-22 News
The website tracks recent headlines.
1. Secretary Gates says it isn't needed for Third World Wars. True. And neither is the F-35. 2. USAF says its needed for China. 3. High unit costs dominate the discussion throughout.
This is instructive:
"The project takes 25,000 workers at 1,000 suppliers in 44 states, Lockheed says, which is why it's hard to find anybody in Congress against it."
This is also a prime reason why it's impossible to impose meaningful cost reductions over time, whether on F-22 or anything else touched by DoD and the US Government. Based on the above Lockheed statistics, we can say with reasonably certainty the following minimum personnel are "working" on the F-22 program:
--- At least 1,000 lawyers with expertise in government procurement and contracting law. The real number is probably closer to 3,000.
--- 1,000 Certified Public Accountants and probably 1,000 more tax attorneys.
--- 1,000 EO/EEO compliance specialists.
--- 1,000 OSHA compliance specialists.
--- 1,000 EPA compliance specialists. Add the cost of contracts to many hundreds of environmental attorneys and engineers (some will have multiple contractor clients) to prepare environmental impact statements.
Lockheed will have its own vast parallel bureaucracy of lawyers, engineers, technical specialists, inspectors, freight expeditors and clerical personnel dedicated to managing this supplier chain. And it will have quality control specialists to inspect (again) all parts received from sub-contractors.
This cited 1,000 suppliers/25,000 workers works out to 25 workers per supplier. Many suppliers have far fewer employees. Sometimes just one (1) expert machinist. A friend of mine personally made all the hinge sets for the A-10. Either aileron or rudder. I forget which. He had frequent inspectors coming to his small one man shop to inspect. Translate: plane tickets, rental cars, hotel accommodations and per diem plus base salary.
Add in packaging specialists (and the cost of packaging) to prepare everything for repeated cross-country shipment. Look at the semi rigs barreling down the interstates... Most Americans have probably seen some F-22 roll through their town.
$138 million per copy is very believable given this methodology.
I once pointed out that I could probably put up a Lunar Base for about $4 billion; the Air Force or Navy could do it for about $8 billion if allowed to do it black without conformity to the Armed Services Procurement Regulations; it would cost $16 billion if done by the usual procurement process; and NASA had already said they could not do it for $80 billion. That was twenty years ago. The numbers have changed somewhat but the ratios have changed even more. I could probably still do it for $4 billion (by "I can do it" I mean that those who can would be willing to work for me), but double all the other numbers.
Our procurement system is badly broken, and no one seems interested in fixing it.
The problem with UCAVs of all types
I’ll try to be short… People are discussing the technical aspect of UCAVs in the air to air arena, but the discussion is once again missing the crux of the problem. ROE adherence and enemy ID is in many cases the toughest part of air combat. A new Lt can manage the aircraft systems and “dogfight” passably well after less than 100 hours in the plane, but to be worth more to the flight than merely clearing his lead’s 6, he must master the art of adhering to complex ROE and enemy ID criteria. That’s HARD. Really hard. As in some people never really do it very well even after years of flying fighters. It’s so hard that sometimes a visual ID pass must be made to ensure you don’t shoot the wrong guy.
It’s the same reason why we still have a man in the loop with air to surface armed UAVs flying today, and why we always will. It’s also their greatest vulnerability… Loft a 50 gal drum full of BBs in the path of our comm. satellites and suddenly that MQ-9 can’t engage because the man is taken out of the loop.
That is (I think) the biggest barrier to air to air UCAV employment… Not the technical nature of the task but ROE adherence and enemy ID criteria. That’s tough even with someone right there on scene, it would be difficult to impossible from a chair in Nevada without being able to see paint schemes or read tail flashes, and could be impossible without a man in the loop.
S (not the other “S”)
My scenario for the beginning of any major new war begins with the other guy knocking out our satellites and communications. On the other hand, there are many military operations that we continue to do that don't need those. Again, it depends on our missions and objectives. How dominant do we want to be, and over what areas?
new service academy
I thought this might be of interest to you:
"The U.S. Public Service Academy will be the civilian counterpart to the military service academies, a flagship institution designed to build a 'more perfect union' by developing leaders of skill and character dedicated to service in the public sector." http://uspublicserviceacademy.org/
I see the Iron Law writ large.
Yet one more new elite, who will have to be paid; how to manufacture an aristocracy. I suspect Harvard and Princeton will oppose this since they already have their own ring knockers...
So the process consists of making sodium hypochlorite in situ. That is precisely what Clorox is, minus the perfume to partially cover the chlorine odor. The difference is that this material is a weaker solution than Clorox (5% hyprochlorite, if I remember).
This statement is gibberish. The solution IS bleach. Because of concentration it's probably LESS effective than bleach in killing microbes. If this quote is accurate, the quotee would be typical of food scientists I've run into, even from schools like MIT.
Best wishes on your continuing recovery,
Bob Doherty (Chemistry PhD and 34 years at USDA in human nutrition research)
"Magic Cleaning Elixer"
Don't be too impressed. All they are doing is generating a weak bleach solution.
The above "professor" is an idiot, Because the solution IS bleach----sodium hypochlorite. That and sodium hydroxide are what you get when you electrolyze a salt solution in a cell with no diaphragm separating the anode and cathode. That was the founding chemistry of the Dow chemical company over a century ago The only difference is in the pH of the solution. At high pH you have sodium hypochlorite, at lower pH you have a mixture of sodium hypochlorite and hypochlorous acid. Drop the pH still more, and you end up with a mix of hypochlorous acid and free chlorine. Drop it further yet, and you have a solution saturated with gaseous chlorine. And when you add chlorine gas to water, you make hypochlorous acid (which is what happens in your city water treatment plant).
As usual, things that seem too good to be true usually are. I can see how the stuff can be useful in come places, but I was myself puzzled at how it would be more effective than bleach; I suspect misquotation. One wonders what the professor actually said.
Still, having a plentiful supply of disinfection plus cleaner is a good thing, and I can think of institutions that could use it profitably. Maybe more dispensers of the stuff would help hospitals control the growing threat of staph infections?
You echoed an LA Times article by Marla Dickerson on industrial cleaning with "magicked water".
For 2 years I've been using the $150 Lotus system from Tersano.com . It seems to work.
"Water is pumped through an arc" they say. A little extra oxygen exists in the bowl of water for 15 minutes. During the spinach scare I started putting raw vegetables through this process, then rinsing and spinning off the ozone tasting water.
Then I moved up to putting a more intense output from the unit into a spray floor mop. No detergents, but the floors get clean, benefiting from the microfiber mop head.
This brings something like the technology described into the home at a price that allows casual experimentation.
This is the first I have heard of that. We use vinegar and peroxide fairly often for a general cleaner/disinfectant. And I use a Swiffer mop on my part of the house, largely because it's convenient but it does seem to work well. I just use the Swiffer bottled stuff.
Qualifications for public office
I've actually been thinking back to Mr. Heinlein. Put a ten-question multiple choice exam on each printed ballot form. Four general questions on the Constitution (or as appropriate to the election, the State Constitution or City/County charter), six questions presenting quotations by the candidates and asking the voter to identify which candidate made the comment. It is necessary to answer at least six of the ten questions correctly for the ballot to be counted.
Alternatively, only people who make a net positive payment to the government are permitted to vote.
At one time only taxpayers could vote in property tax elections. That was held to be unconstitutional. Guess what happened to property taxes...
Hereditary aristocracies look more attractive all the time. You can't fire them but you can't fire any of our masters now; and with the aristocrats there is always the memory of the guillotine.
Subject: Worth reading
The March '09 issue of Wired has a couple of articles worth looking at:
The author explains, in a clear and understandable way, how a mathematical "innovation" related to modeling of default risk for a mortgage pool was widely misused, and thus brought our financial system to the brink of collapse. The misjudgment made by senior managers who relied on this bit of financial wizardry is just breathtaking....
The author makes the case that the growing popularity of netbooks is a sign that we are seeing a major change in the way that the PC market functions. According to him, robust sales of netbooks show that people now understand that most of what they use a computer for does not require much computational power. That understanding will make it harder and harder for PC vendors to rake in profits from fully loaded machines built around the latest technology. What they will pay for is instant access to the internet, wireless anywhere connectivity (e.g., the iphone costs $200, the wireless contract costs costs a lot more).
I will probably repeat this in the Chaos Manor Reviews mailbag; it's worth discussion. Also courtesy of a reader I have a new netbook but I haven't had a chance to do much with it. It runs Ubuntu.
That link above is to something new I am trying. A novel written specifically for cell phones and e-readers, designed to be read in short bites (or is that "bytes"?). The novel itself is about a squad of homicide detectives in a dystopian setting a few decades in the future. In this first episode a new man arrives, except he's not really a man, or is he? Because of the short length and the experimental nature of the work I am using the "Set your own price" option at Smashwords.com, which means, yes, that can be zero. But naturally I hope it won't be. Not to pull a Stephen King here or anything, but the pace of delivery on future chapters will be accelerated by the amount of money each previous chapter earns.
Obviously. Not a path I intend to follow, but I remain interested. The paperback market is collapsing; something will replace it but we don't know -- at least I certainly don't know -- what will replace it. In my case subscriptions have made an enormous difference.
Why does Mr. Crawford think that the rumored health care rationing embedded in the stimulus package is any different (or at least significantly different) from how HMOs handle health care now? HMOs do not provide an infinite level of health care. HMOs "ration" healthcare by only covering medically necessary care. You want a facelift? Pay for it yourself. You broke your leg? We cover that ... go and get your cast. The argument for the government being better at doing this is that they aren't trying to turn a profit. The argument for the HMO doing a better job is that they will be constantly trying to improve efficiency. Government is never efficient. Government will create yet another bureaucracy and the Iron Law will kick in.
Mr. Crawford also mentions that "socialized medicine will be an effective end to advances in medical technology". I might be inclined to agree that all _pharmaceutical_ developments now come from the US, but that is more likely because the majority of large pharmaceutical companies are US-based, and their research is naturally focused on what they can make a profit on. We cannot count on pharmaceutical companies to either a) improve older medications where the patent is either almost done or is already done OR b) invest in research on anything that isn't about pharmaceuticals. Let's face it, their focus is not on improving medical care, it is on selling drugs and making a profit.
Most advances in medicine come from university-based hospitals, and have little do with socialized medicine. In both Canada and the US, there is a large network of these hospitals, and they produce many, many medical breakthroughs.
Here are some prime examples of world-firsts developed at University hospitals:
1950 Introduction of lumpectomy for treatment of breast cancer. Lumpectomy is a surgical procedure designed to remove a discrete lump (usually a tumour, benign or otherwise) from an affected woman or man's breast.
1950 Use of total body cooling as a method of making heart surgery safer.
1950 First neuro-surgical treatment of epilepsy performed.
1958 World first surgical treatment on cerebral aneurysms.
1961 Discovery of blood-forming stem cells enabling bone marrow transplants.
1963 The first widely successful surgery to correct the birth defect known as "Blue Babies" is performed. Before this procedure, this condition used to kill 9 out of 10 patients in their first year.
1969 Discovery of a carcino-embryonic antigen, a tumour marker for cancer.
1975 Development of software used worldwide for 20 years to control radiation therapy.
1979 Invention of a radically different ventilator (now used worldwide) that gently "shakes" oxygen into the lungs of children with severe lung disease, sparing many of them painful lung bypass procedures.
1983 Successful single lung transplant. Lung transplants extend life expectancy and enhance the quality of life for end-stage pulmonary patients.
1987 First aortic valve replacement in the world using the Toronto Heart Valve, which is now used worldwide.
1989 Development of the first oral treatment for hepatitis B, resulting in the drug Lamivudine.
1993 Researchers demonstrate that mouse embryonic stem cells are capable of supporting the entire embryonic development and in fact creating completely cell cultured derived mice.
1994 World's first three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound-guided cryosurgery.
1995 First physical map of the human genome created.
1999 World's first closed chest robotic-assisted beating heart coronary artery bypass graft conducted.
2003 Developed a genetically modified vaccine that can completely prevent the recurrence of metastatic breast cancer through genetically altered cells that only destroy cancer cells.
Oh, and those are just from the Canadian hospitals. The US hospitals have their own list of breakthroughs.
London Police Preparing for Summer of Middle Class Rioting
I'm not quite sure what to make of this: <http://preview.tinyurl.com/cjw7k2 >
-- Harry Erwin, PhD,
Program Leader, MSc Information Systems Security, University of Sunderland. <http://scat-he-g4.sunderland.ac.uk/~harryerw> Weblog at: <http://scat-he-g4.sunderland.ac.uk/~harryerw/blog/index.php>
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for western civilization as it commits suicide. Not only are the barbarians inside the gates, but we have given them the keys to our houses and command of the guard forces.
For a PDF copy of A Step Farther Out:
February 25, 2009
NASA launch "failure"
Dear Dr. Pournelle
While I sure many have sent you notices and links to
the Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite <http://www.informationweek.com/news/
And thanks to you and Larry Niven for another great read. I am a quarter through Escape From Hell and it is, so far, among your best!
Not quite. That's what you get if you do it with cold brine, but if it's hot you get sodium chlorate.
By the way, it's getting ever easier to set up and launch SAMs, using techniques developed for interplanetary landers. It's not fully practical yet, but the idea is just to dump a case somewhere until you need it, when it will deploy and fire in a fraction of a second - scoot then shoot.
Sodium hydroxide is lye, and hypochlorous acid is bleach, so I'm skeptical that there's anything new here, except the method of manufacture. I don't think I'd want to put it on lettuce or other foodstuffs.
Glad you're doing better. I'll have to get a copy of Return to Hell pretty soon. Reading Inferno some years ago inspired me to read Dante's Divine Comedy. For readers who are interested, I tried several translations and found Dorothy Sayers' to be pretty readable.
The Sayers translation is poetic, and her notes are extensive. I recommend it.
Re: The Hereditary Bureaucracy
You write: "Hereditary aristocracies look more attractive all the time. You can't fire them but you can't fire any of our masters now; and with the aristocrats there is always the memory of the guillotine. "
This is an extremely important fact that a lot of people don't recognize.
I say, with P.J. O'Rourke, that the people in the bureaucracy are generally a pretty decent bunch who have only the country's best interests in mind...but when did anyone vote for them? How do I get rid of them? If the FDA is working on my behalf, then why don't I have a say in what it does or does not approve?
-- Mike T. Powers
Subject: Notes on comments
I confess freely that I have not worked for someone else since 1991. Guilty as charged. These days I don't do consulting work anymore. I do recall the agony of trying to get work in a tough economy, which is why I gave it up and went on my own. As for using public library computers, until we got that laptop you recommended we used them on road trips all the time and still use them when we go to Leigh's house in Texas, because there is no uplink there. Not even Cable TV. (We do get a lot of non e-book reading done). I think that trying to make a general case out of specific instance is a mistake. The public library computers in Kern County are regularly replaced and updated and widely used for job searches.
As for free e-books, I hear the stories, but note that there is a branding factor at work in most cases. Baen has always had a very good author list. Thanks for the link on Robot Dreams. I have done readings from this text at some science fiction conventions but few people showed up because I'm not known (yet) for my science fiction. Just another face in the crowd. And this is the problem with e-book publishing generally. Too many books, too little time, and what did you say your name was? As I said, the experiment continues. For the record I'm not opposed to giving out samples. Sometimes that works very well. Debbie Fields built an entire retail chain of cookie stores doing it. However, it doesn't make sense to give away the entire text. I think that devalues the work in the eyes of the customer. Smashwords.com has a 99 cent minimum unless you select the "You Set The Price" option. There's a minimum there for transfer fees. I'm not sure a serial will really work here and I won't know until I try. It didn't do much on Amazon Shorts, but then, nothing else did either. Mostly for their complete lack of promotion. Charles Dickens made a career out of newspaper serials, but that was before episodic television was available. So I don't know, but I'm willing to risk failure to find out. I have two other books which may be introduced the same way.
Of course, there's more than one way to skin a cat. I may put an advertisement for "The Shenandoah Spy" at the end of the text. Or seek a sponsor for certain items which would be "free". I'm going to get in and work the problem (something I learned as a consultant) rather than simply assume the answer. We are also experimenting with podcasts. There's a learning curve there to surmount.
More later on that.
February 26, 2009
"Space solar power crowd bets on Obama Campaign promise will help resurrect NASA's interest in the technology" [they hope]
"a white paper submitted by space solar advocate Charles Miller, president of Space Policy Consulting Inc. in Dayton, Ohio"
I have known Chaz for years. There is some enthusiasm for space solar power, particularly in the military who would rather beam down power than pay Brown and Root to deliver it to outposts. And of course you can't do Space Solar without frequent and lower cost access to space.
The minimum effort ought to be a $7 billion dollar prize for the first US owned company to deliver, say, 10 Megawatts of power for three months continuously. I'm open to changes in the prize criterion but that's in the right ball park. It would not cost much to put that prize up, either.
So Much For SNOPES "research"
Snopes and Factcheck are the two primary sources for learning impartial truth on the Internet. This note, just in from a friend, raises a number of concerns about Snopes.
Factcheck is also compromised, IMO, to where I no longer rely on it. The Annenberg Foundation allegedly funds highly liberal causes, including those closely associated with ACORN, Obama and the radical Bill Ayers. Goggle Annenberg Obama and you'll get many credible hits.
A personal friend of mine now claims to have discovered that Snopes is a mom and pop operation run by a couple with political bias. See below. Part of what he said checked out, but it raised more questions. According to wikipedia Snopes was sold in 2005. To whom and what is their bias and possible conflicts of interest? The information from my friend's personal telephone research also need to be independently validated.
If both these primary Internet fact-check sources are biased, it is a huge deal. I lack the investigative reporting resources to determine this, but I ask that everyone pass this along to the media. Please mention this would be a dynamite story, if it can be proven true, and ask them to use their resources to check it out investigate possible bias. If both Snopes and Factcheck are spreading disinformation, much of what we and the media believe to be true may be false, and this could be the story of the decade. Such a massive bias probably would have had a major impact on the last election. The clips below are from wikipedia. GOOD LUCK, AND FEEL FREE TO PASS THIS ALONG.
John D. Trudel
*** FactCheck.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan website <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/Website>  that describes its own goal as "[reducing] the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/U.S._politics> ." It is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/Annenberg_Public_Policy_Center> of the Annenberg School for Communication <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/Annenberg_School_for_Communication_at_the_University_of_Pennsylvania> at the University of Pennsylvania <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/University_of_Pennsylvania> , and is funded primarily by the Annenberg Foundation <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/Annenberg_Foundation> .
Snopes (pronounced / sno ps/ <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/Wikipedia:IPA_for_English> ), also known as the Urban Legends Reference Pages, is a web site <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/Web_site> that is the best-known resource for validating and debunking urban legends <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/Urban_legend> , Internet rumors, e-mail forwards, and other such stories of uncertain or questionable origin in American <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/United_States> popular culture. Snopes is run by Barbara and David Mikkelson, a California <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/California> couple who met on the alt.folklore.urban newsgroup <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/Newsgroup> . The Mikkelsons also founded the San Fernando Valley <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//wiki/San_Fernando_Valley> Folklore Society, and were credited as the owners of the site until 2005.
Also, briefly, here is what is generally reported on connections between Annenberg and Obama.
"First, keep in mind: Senator Obama was the first Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which was a Division, or Project, of the Annenberg Foundation.
William (Bill) Ayers, unrepentant Weather Underground terrorist and a friend of the Obamas, was instrumental in founding the Challenge, thanks to his ties to Mayor Richard Daley. The first Daley was also a pal of Thomas Ayers, Bill’s father, former CEO of ComEd (owned by Exelon).
[Incidentally, the current CEO of ComEd, Frank M. Clark, is a major money bundler for the Obama campaign.]
You'll recall from Wednesday’s story <http://texasdarlin.wordpress.com/2008/08/19/the-anneberg-files-access-blocked/> that the Annenberg files have suddenly been locked down under mysterious circumstances, after a reporter was promised access.
Factcheck.org <http://factcheck.org/> , used as a resource by so many who wish to “debunk” negative coverage of Obama, is also a Division, or Project, of the Annenberg Foundation."
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 08:58:11 -0800 (PST) From: xxx Subject: FW: So Much For SNOPES "research" To: xxx
When I saw that Snopes dot com had falsely claimed that Obama's Birth Certificate had been properly validated I realized something was wrong with either their research and/or their credibility. It seems something is seriously wrong with both. This piece explains further.
For the past few years www.snopes.com <http://www.snopes.com/> has positioned itself, or others have labeled it, as the 'tell-all final word' on any comment, claim and email. But for several years people tried to find out who exactly was behind snopes.com <http://snopes.com/> . Only recently did Wikipedia get to the bottom of it - kinda makes you wonder what they were hiding. Well, finally we know. It is run by a husband and wife team - that's right, no big office of investigators and researchers, no team of lawyers. It's just a mom-and-pop operation that began as a hobby. David and Barbara Mikkelson in the San Fernando Valley of California started the website about 13 years ago - and they have no formal background or experience in investigative research. After a few years it gained popularity believing it to be unbiased and neutral, but over the past couple of years people started asking questions who was behind it and did they have a selfish motivation?
The reason for the questions - or skepticisms - is a result of snopes.com <http://snopes.com/> claiming to have the bottom line facts to certain questions or issue when in fact they have been proven wrong. Also, there were criticisms the Mikkelsons were not really investigating and getting to the 'true' bottom of various issues. A few months ago, when my State Farm agent Bud Gregg in Mandeville hoisted a political sign referencing Barack Obama and made a big splash across the internet, 'supposedly' the Mikkelson's claim to have researched this issue before posting their findings on snopes.com <http://snopes.com/> .
In their statement they claimed the corporate office of State Farm pressured Gregg into taking down the sign, when in fact nothing of the sort 'ever' took place. I personally contacted David Mikkelson (and he replied back to me) thinking he would want to get to the bottom of this and I gave him Bud Gregg's contact phone numbers - and Bud was going to give him phone numbers to the big exec's at State Farm in Illinois who would have been willing to speak with him about it. He never called Bud. In fact, I learned from Bud Gregg no one from snopes.com <http://snopes.com/> ever contacted anyone with State Farm. Yet,snopes.com <http://snopes.com/> issued a statement as the 'final factual word' on the issue as if they did all their homework and got to the bottom of things - not! Then it has been learned the Mikkelson's are very Democratic (party) and extremely liberal. As we all now know from this presidential election, liberals have a purpose agenda to discredit anything that appears to be conservative. There has been much criticism lately over the internet with people pointing out the Mikkelson's liberalism revealing itself in their website findings. Gee, what a shock?
So, I say this now to everyone who goes to www.snopes.com <http://www.snopes.com/> to get what they think to be the bottom line facts...'proceed with caution.' Take what it says at face value and nothing more. Use it only to lead you to their references where you can link to and read the sources for yourself. Plus, you can always google a subject and do the research yourself. It now seems apparent that's all the Mikkelson's do. After all, I can personally vouch from my own experience for their 'not' fully looking into things. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snopes.com <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snopes.com>
This is put much more strongly than I would, but the "proceed with caution" warning is justified. Snopes is not impartial, and it's pretty clear what the agenda is from an examination of what's covered and said. That does not mean that the site is worthless or even of low value. Most people who work hard on services have an agenda. I have one: I make no secret of my preference for the Old Republic to the American Empire, and to freedom over government action. To the extent that I can be described I suppose I am an old Cold Warrior Man of the Right with Burkean roots, and if I have a favorite American recent philosopher it would be Russell Kirk. I try not to let that influence my data, and not to claim as fact something that isn't. I think I manage that a bit more often than some.
The Register has an article showing more cracks in the "consensus" that global warming is manmade. The Japanese are no longer on board, and are comparing the models to astrology!
I plan on buying Inferno II this weekend at Powells. Any chance for a book signing tour?
At the moment we do not have a book tour planned but that could change. If your local book store doesn't have a copy, get them to order some!
The only real consensus in global warming has been among modelers; the data gatherers and climate historians have always been a bit more skeptical. And any model that cannot be set to the 1950 initial conditions and successfully predict what the climate was in the year 2000 should probably not be considered more reliable than the Farmer's Almanac, or a good astrological chart...
But there is enormous grant potential in research in favor of "the consensus" and darned little for less focussed research. And if you don't get public money you are considered somehow indebted to oil companies or others who sponsor the research -- while the government simply won't fund anything not in keeping with the "consensus." Perhaps that will change with Chu at the Department of Energy. Perhaps.
You talked about taking out papers in the column
Hi. I read in chaos manner reviews "I could do without staggering out with a week's load of newspapers for the blue recycle can." while talking about the kindle.
I was wondering if you were aware of www.pressdisplay.com that have a large No of daily newspapers available online? You have the ability to either read them on the monitor via their webpage or via an application. If you use the Application you can store it for a period of time on your computer to read later.
They have digitized the newspapers so what you see on the screen is what you would see on the newspaper. I found the service originally as it was recommended by one of the larger daily newspapers webpage.
I currently use this service to read a couple of newspapers (San jose murcury news, USA Today) while I am in Australia (and will use it to read some Aussie papers when I get back to the US).
I am using the OSX version of the application which most of the time works quite well (it has a few weirdness's that I dont even notice anymore) but I believe the Windows version is quite stable.
Anyway, thank you for the columns and for your many books over the years.
I find that I like reading an actual newspaper at the breakfast table. If I were to go electronic, I'd use LisaBetta my rather old TabletPC, which is very readable. I may subscribe to some newspaper or another on the Kindle just to get the experience. But in fact despite having to take out all that paper to the recycle bin every week, and the annoyance of having to fold the paper, and sometimes getting it wet, I an in the habit of reading the morning papers (LA Times, LA Daily News, and Wall Street Journal) at breakfast. I suspect I am among a dwindling number, and the future of the news is through reader devices.
Scientist Tells Congress: Earth in "CO2 Famine" - Increase "Will Be Good For Mankind" Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Posted By Marc Morano – 5:05 PM ET - Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov <mailto:Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov>
Scientist Tells Congress: Earth in ‘CO2 Famine’
‘The increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind’
‘Children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science’
Washington, DC — Award-winning Princeton University
Physicist Dr. Will Happer declared man-made global warming fears “mistaken”
and noted that the Earth was currently in a “CO2 famine now.” Happer, who
has published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, made his remarks
during today’s Environment and Public Works Full Committee Hearing entitled
“Update on the Latest Global Warming Science.”
“Many people don’t realize that over geological time,
we’re really in a CO2 famine now. Almost never has CO2 levels been as low as
it has been in the Holocene (geologic epoch) – 280 (parts per million - ppm)
– that’s unheard of. Most of the time [CO2 levels] have been at least 1000 (ppm)
and it’s been quite higher than that,” Happer told the Senate Committee. To
read Happer’s complete opening statement click here:
[Also: See 'Consensus' in Collapse: Japanese
scientists make 'dramatic break' with UN hypothesis of man-made warming! (UK
'Four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress'
– Number of Lobbyists Up 300% <http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/19255.html>
& The Year of the Man-made Global Warming Skeptic
“Earth was just fine in those times,” Happer added. “The oceans were fine, plants grew, animals grew fine. So it’s baffling to me that we’re so frightened of getting nowhere close to where we started,” Happer explained. Happer also noted that “the number of [skeptical scientists] with the courage to speak out is growing” and he warned “children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science.”
[In December, Happer requested to be added to the
groundbreaking U.S. Senate Minority Report Update: More Than 650
International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims
Happer was pressed by the Committee on whether rising
CO2 fears are valid. “I don’t think the laws of nature or physics and
chemistry has changed in 80 million years. 80 million years ago the Earth
was a very prosperous palace and there is no reason to suddenly think it
will become bad now,” Happer added. Happer is a professor in the Department
of Physics at Princeton University
“I believe that the increase of CO2 is not a cause for
alarm and will be good for mankind,” Happer told the Committee. “What about
the frightening consequences of increasing levels of CO2 that we keep
hearing about? In a word, they are wildly exaggerated, just as the purported
benefits of prohibition were wildly exaggerated,” he explained. “At least
90% of greenhouse warming is due to water vapor and clouds. Carbon dioxide
is a bit player,” he added. “But the climate is warming and CO2 is
increasing. Doesn’t this prove that CO2 is causing global warming through
the greenhouse effect? No, the current warming period began about 1800 at
the end of the little ice age, long before there was an appreciable increase
of CO2. There have been similar and even larger warmings several times in
the 10,000 years since the end of the last ice age. These earlier warmings
clearly had nothing to do with the combustion of fossil fuels. The current
warming also seems to be due mostly to natural causes, not to increasing
levels of carbon dioxide. Over the past ten years there has been no global
warming, and in fact a slight cooling. This is not at all what was predicted
by the IPCC models,” Happer testified. [Note: See: An abundance of
“The existence of climate variability in the past has long been an embarrassment to those who claim that all climate change is due to man and that man can control it. When I was a schoolboy, my textbooks on earth science showed a prominent ‘medieval warm period’ at the time the Vikings settled Greenland, followed by a vicious ‘little ice age’ that drove them out. So I was very surprised when I first saw the celebrated ‘hockey stick curve,’ in the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC. I could hardly believe my eyes. Both the little ice age and the Medieval Warm Period were gone, and the newly revised temperature of the world since the year 1000 had suddenly become absolutely flat until the last hundred years when it shot up like the blade on a hockey stick. This was far from an obscure detail, and the hockey stick was trumpeted around the world as evidence that the end was near. We now know that the hockey stick has nothing to do with reality but was the result of incorrect handling of proxy temperature records and incorrect statistical analysis. There really was a little ice age and there really was a medieval warm period that was as warm or warmer than today,” Happer continued.
“The whole hockey-stick episode reminds me of the motto of Orwell’s Ministry of Information in the novel 1984: ‘He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.’ The IPCC has made no serious attempt to model the natural variations of the earth’s temperature in the past. Whatever caused these large past variations, it was not due to people burning coal and oil. If you can’t model the past, where you know the answer pretty well, how can you model the future?” he stated.
“I keep hearing about the ‘pollutant CO2,’ or about ‘poisoning the atmosphere’ with CO2, or about minimizing our ‘carbon footprint.’ This brings to mind another Orwellian pronouncement that is worth pondering: ‘But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.’ CO2 is not a pollutant and it is not a poison and we should not corrupt the English language by depriving ‘pollutant’ and ‘poison’ of their original meaning. Our exhaled breath contains about 4% CO2. That is 40,000 parts per million, or about 100 times the current atmospheric concentration. CO2 is absolutely essential for life on earth. Commercial greenhouse operators often use CO2 as a fertilizer to improve the health and growth rate of their plants. Plants, and our own primate ancestors evolved when the levels of atmospheric CO2 were about 1000 ppm, a level that we will probably not reach by burning fossil fuels, and far above our current level of about 380 ppm. We try to keep CO2 levels in our U.S. Navy submarines no higher than 8,000 parts per million, about 20 time current atmospheric levels. Few adverse effects are observed at even higher levels.”
More selected Happer excerpts:
“I do not think there is a consensus about an impending climate crisis. I personally certainly don’t believe we are facing a crisis unless we create one for ourselves, as Benjamin Rush did by bleeding his patients. Many others, wiser than I am, share my view. The number of those with the courage to speak out is growing. There may be an illusion of consensus. Like the temperance movement one hundred years ago the climate-catastrophe movement has enlisted the mass media, the leadership of scientific societies, the trustees of charitable foundations, and many other influential people to their cause. Just as editorials used to fulminate about the slippery path to hell behind the tavern door, hysterical op-ed’s lecture us today about the impending end of the planet and the need to stop climate change with bold political action. Many distinguished scientific journals now have editors who further the agenda of climate-change alarmism. Research papers with scientific findings contrary to the dogma of climate calamity are rejected by reviewers, many of whom fear that their research funding will be cut if any doubt is cast on the coming climate catastrophe. Speaking of the Romans, then invading Scotland in the year 83, the great Scottish chieftain Calgacus is quoted as saying “They make a desert and call it peace.” If you have the power to stifle dissent, you can indeed create the illusion of peace or consensus. The Romans have made impressive inroads into climate science. Certainly, it is a bit unnerving to read statements of Dr. James Hansen in the Congressional Record that climate skeptics are guilty of “high crimes against humanity and nature.”
Even elementary school teachers and writers of children’s books are enlisted to terrify our children and to promote the idea of impending climate doom. Having observed the education of many children, including my own, I am not sure how effective the effort will be. Many children seem to do just the opposite of what they are taught. Nevertheless, children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science. Many of you may know that in 2007 a British Court ruled that if Al Gore’s book, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was used in public schools, the children had to be told of eleven particularly troubling inaccuracies. You can easily find a list of the inaccuracies on the internet, but I will mention one. The court ruled that it was not possible to attribute hurricane Katrina to CO2. Indeed, had we taken a few of the many billions of dollars we have been spending on climate change research and propaganda and fixed the dykes and pumps around the New Orleans, most of the damage from Hurricane Katrina could have been avoided.
To read complete opening statement click here: <http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?
U.S. Senate Minority Report Update: More Than 650
International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims <http://epw.senate.gov/public/
I sure wish the Republicans had been this vigorous on the subject back when they had a majority. But they weren't, and played with burning corn and such nonsense.
On the broken procurement system:
Sure it is. That's why I tried to bring it to the front of the F-22/F-35 discussion. This always manifests itself no matter what service and what system is under discussion. And the temptation appears to start making decisive choices because of these internal dysfunctions and not because of external mission requirements. As Sun Tzu wrote, every battle is decided before it's ever fought.
The promised reduced $80 mil per F-35 vs $138 mil for F-22 is F-35's premier selling point for the USAF. After this the discussion focuses on how much better the F-35 is compared to the current 1980s design fleet and anticipated enemy aircraft, while admittedly being somewhat less good than F-22. At the start I said we can't know just how inferior the F-35 is versus the F-22. The F-35 hasn't reached the point where it can be evaluated to quantify its inferiority to the F-22.
Assume F-22 & F-35 are needed for China. This is the USAF's position. I take it as a given we are going to be outnumbered. Again. We're still going to be outnumbered even with the F-35. We'll just be a bit less outnumbered.
The Army avoided this slightly larger quantity but still outnumbered pitfall at the start of the 1980s. It may be the USAF can learn from this episode. It's a nice lesson of history that illustrates a good choice in advance, and a subsequent resounding success rather than an historic disaster. In the early 1980s AAI Corporation was pitching a novel 14 ton light tank for the "Rapid Deployment Force". Pics of it at Aberdeen's museum are here:
It had a two man crew, a 75mm autocannon with a high rate of fire and two independent target acquisition and engagement controls. While one man was firing the other could be searching Target #2 and ready to take control of the turret and gun. Very nifty little device. Six could fit on a C-5B.
In fact it had everything except armor and gunpower. The controversy grew quite intense with the usual Military Reformers (James Fallows, William Lind et al) advocating the RDF light tank instead of the M-1 Abrams. More important, a significant faction emerged inside the Army favoring the RDF tank.
General Don Starry was the TRADOC Commanding General at that time. He finally wrote an article for Military Review to quell the controversy. He explained why the Army would not be buying any "RDF Light Tanks" instead of M-1 Abrams. His article was a masterful exposition of the physics of tank cannon and armor ballistics in battle.
About nine years later the tank Battle of 73 Easting occurred. This was the same war where the USAF assigned F-15s to combat air patrol rather than Boyd/Sprey Theory F-16s.
I invite everyone to imagine the outcome had we showed up with the RDF Light Tank instead of the M-1 Abrams because they were cheaper to buy and cheaper to deploy quickly.
The USAF may or may not need more F-22s for its future missions, whatever these turn out to be. Maybe the F-22 isn't good enough either. Maybe the concept of manned fighters is finally obsolete. But if the USAF does need more F-22s then it doesn't need any F-35s. The hard program choice the USAF needs to pitch is doing what it takes to get the F-22's unit cost down to a reasonable level.
p.s. The RDF Light Tank had advanced design features that deserve to be followed up in something with a real weapon and real armor.
February 27, 2009
If you want to know what "The Department Store of The Future" will look like, take a look at the legendary "GUM" Department Store in the old Soviet Union.
Socialist Utopias are by nature dreary, gray exercises in ongoing misery and deprivation. Wise men dream of toilet paper -- and fools dream of *soft* toilet paper, because only a fool would dream of the impossible.
It seems to me that "the left" has invoked what might charitably be termed a coup d'etat, and is now engaged in the process of consolidating their power -- and burning the bridges, to ensure that there is NO turning back. No turning back at all; the vision of the founders is dead and buried. The experiment was a failure. And we finally know who *really* won the cold war.
No turning back... The disease *will* run its course.
God have mercy.
The optimist will point out that marxist utopian experiments are likewise doomed to failure, and point to the collapse of the Soviet empire as proof of that fact.
The realist will point out that this was faint consolation to those generations who lived out their entire lives under the yoke of socialism, lives devoid of hope.
As to the pessimist? Sorry, that office appears to be vacant for the time being. He was let go for lack of anything to do. His role seems to be obsolete.
For now, I expect to see a mad rush for seeds and other garden supplies, which will be sold out in record time. That, and for those with a patch of land, chickens, ducks, goats, and other small livestock that are easily raised.
If the weather is kind to them, and they're able to quickly develop functional green thumbs (in other words, I do not expect to see a lot of *successful* "victory gardens"), the only worry will be the invocation of one of the many existing Executive Orders that authorize the confiscation of such "hoarded goods."
With national food reserves at LESS THAN ONE DAY PER PERSON (it is nothing less than criminal that "our leaders" have sold off and given away OUR emergency food stores), it does not take all that vivid an imagination to foresee the real possibility of such confiscation taking place.
I see on the mainstream news media an increasing theme of danger, fear, and catastrophe just around the corner. The day that "the herd" -- currently a bit nervous, and sniffing the wind -- begins to *act* on its fears (AKA known as a "stampede"), it'll be Katy Bar The Door.
In my darker moments I wonder if that isn't one of the goals -- or at least a means to an end. A gone-nuts populace will provide ample excuse for the most draconian measures imaginable. Joe Stalin worked *that* gambit into a fine art.
Despair is a sin.
Learning to grow food and setting up low cost ways to do that is certainly prudent. I can recall the glee with which the International Hotel in Moscow served us a single carrot per person in 1989.
“We must adapt to modernity, especially in the context of the internet.”
--- Roland Dobbins
Subject: Huge Antarctic impact crater linked to Permian extinction and antipodal volcanism
It appears that the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs had a big brother that hit Antarctica about 260 million years ago.
Here's the abstract from a recently published paper, "GRACE gravity evidence for an impact basin in Wilkes Land, Antarctica" :
The entire paper is available at:
Re: "Fact Checking" via Snopes?
Snopes isn't a place for "fact check". Snopes is a place for showing someone that coloring the outside of your CD with a yellow highlighter doesn't make it sound better; that the Middle East is not populated by spiders two feet wide that spew flesh-dissolving venom; that you cannot actually donate soda-can tabs to get X-rays for impoverished children in Arundi Buruni.
You're correct, though, that there's a clear agenda. One of the most egregious anti-Bush slanders is the whole "fake turkey" business, which is repeated to this day as though it were proven fact. Not a word about on Snopes...
-- Mike T. Powers
"If I buy a copy of a book and hire you to read it to me, surely that is not illegal..."
...actually, it is.
See, that's the thing. When you buy media--a book or a movie or a CD--what you're actually buying is a limited set of rights to reproduce that media. That is, when I buy a copy of "Inferno II", I'm buying the right to experience the media called "Inferno II" by viewing words printed onto paper. This is what that "all rights reserved" up at the front of the book means.
-- Mike T. Powers
And if I work real hard at enforcement I can alienate my readers. Considerably more on this will be in the next Chaos Manor Reviews mailbag.
On the Kindle2 text-to-speech feature: As I have observed many times, Copyright is always about the money. Text-to-speech competes directly with the audio book market, to its disadvantage. This is a billion dollar plus market. My initial reaction to the news that Amazon.com had failed to secure these rights was "here we go again" and I look forward to the same lame and invalid "fair use" arguments used in the Electronic Database litigation. That litigation failed only because more than 99% of those involved had failed to register their copyrights and had no standing in Federal Court, the only place where a copyright infringement lawsuit can be brought. Does anyone imagine this will be the case where e-books, which are a derived work of their respective print editions and require no additional registration, is concerned? So there will be lawsuits, followed by a lame class action settlement such as the recent one in the Google Library case. That was so low it was not worth my time and effort to apply for the money. The lawyers made out very well, of course.
Unless some nasty bastard opts out and sues Amazon.com for the statutory damages. That would be an author with a big brand name and dozens of titles. Lawyers expert in the field will line up to take that case. Disclaimer here: Although I was such a nasty bastard on electronic databases, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. I do suggest people register their copyrights (and not wait for their publishers to do it, since they often "forget" to do so.) even before their book is published.
'To that end, pilots on the Roosevelt often engage in a “show of force” — flying as low as 1,000 feet and making a lot of noise to scare the Taliban — and say they drop bombs as a last resort.'
--- Roland Dobbins
“They send us drugs and people, and we send them guns and cash.”
---- Roland Dobbins
And the beat goes on...
“I hope I still have a job. I don’t want to go back to being a poor farmer.”
-- Roland Dobbins
THIS IS WHAT THE CALIFORNIA MELTDOWN LOOKS LIKE
The latest from our "real world" indicator of California's economy: It's getting worse.
Our indicator is the share price of Tejon Ranch (TRC). Put simply, TRC is a huge publicly traded chunk of real estate 60 miles north of Los Angeles. It works its land through real estate development, farming, and ranching. At over 400 square miles, it's the largest contiguous plot of privately owned land in California
This "all things California" label makes Tejon a rough gauge of how things are going out West. As you can see from today's chart, things aren't "going." Tejon reached a six-year low around $21 per share back in November. It then rallied along with the rest of the market to reach $28 per share in December. But now that asset prices are under pressure again, Tejon is scrapping new lows. Shares hit $20.30 yesterday.
California is considered the worst credit risk of any U.S. state. Many of its real estate markets are down 35% in the last year. And in a foolish attempt to keep state spending high, lawmakers are set to increase sales and vehicle taxes <http://www.thedailycrux.com/content/979/California> on a tapped-out public. Considering the circumstances, the market is only going in the logical direction.
Predictable and predicted; and this won't be the last tax increase. California is determined to sacrifice itself for "unmet needs", and the tax rises will continue.
Twin Navy Crosses for Marines Who Stood Their Ground
"“I heard the (M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon) go off at a cyclic rate and then the detonation along with a flash. Then I heard a Marine start yelling, ‘we got hit, we got hit.’" - Lance Cpl. Benjamin Tupaj, a rifleman with 3rd Platoon, Police Transition Team 3, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines
Two Marines saved at least 50 that day. They gave their lives to defend their post stopping a truck with thousands of pounds of explosives from getting near the gate."
February 28, 2009
Piping in a Little Engine Music,
Here's a piece on how high-end car builders are piping engine sounds into passenger cabins:
Why do this?
"Maserati recently publicized the results of a British study that found women who listened to the roar of its sports cars had strong biological responses - specifically, increased hormone levels in their saliva."
Heh. Of course.
California The Ungovernable State in The Economist
Jerry: This is an interesting short piece in The Economist with their take on the budget nonsense here in California.
California's Crisis THE UNGOVERNABLE STATE
Feb 19th 2009 | LOS ANGELES From The Economist print edition
California makes Washington, DC, look like a model of fiscal probity ...
LAURENCE C. BREVARD
--Im pretty sure that Lou Dobb’s has been calling for something along these lines, along with the former and current head of FDIC. They have been mentioning it on and off for a year now.
--I think their cost was around 200 Billon.
Mole, badgers, and weasels as villains? Reminds me an awful lot of the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, started 1986, since made into a television series. My kids like it, though I never did much.
Inferno 2 ESCAPE FROM HELL
Jerry I got it Saturday (I had it on preorder from Amazon since last summer). I finished it Sunday night.
Great book. Since I knew it was coming I reread Inferno earlier in the month. I have to say that some of your stuff (including Fallen Angels) is better read with a computer to look up all of the references. (Something I enjoy). (Although I still don't enjoy that you wiped out my home with a glacier (60 miles north of Fargo, ND).
Great book. I'm going to reread it when I go on vacation in March. I can't wait for the next Janissaries novel. I can be patient while you're still crafting it but I don't like the publication wait.
Wade G. Pearson,
Working on Mamelukes
I stayed up way too late last night to finish the novel. Tonight I am staggering to bed at my first opportunity, (just after I hit the "Send" button.) I found the fog of fatigue today a fair price for being able to finish reading last night.
Thanks for the read!
Fitna, the movie
Producer banned from Britain by Home Secretary
|This week:||Sunday, March
An article on why the aircraft carriers we are building will be as obsolete as battleships when they come into service & a couple of military technologies we could put the money into instead.
Well worth reading. The future composition of the fleet depends in large part on what missions it must accomplish. Before we do that we need to answer hard questions about what are our responsibilities, and where. For example, do we still have an interest in Taiwan, or is it time to give notice that the treaty with Taiwan will run out? The US Navy has always been involved in freedom of the seas and free passage for all nations; we certainly will continue that, but what does that take?
Does it require great carrier groups to carry out the foreign policy of a wealthy republic> How far must we be able to project power? Would it be more cost effective to develop nuclear power plants or nuclear powered warships? These are the hard questions, and I am not sure anyone is asking them.
Unlike standing armies, a solid Navy has never been considered a political problem for the republic: the questions are effectiveness and costs vs. benefits and missions.
One of the hard questions is the survivability of present design warships in different levels of warfare. But just as different missions require different kinds of army, different levels of warfare require different kinds of Navy. Piracy suppression missions are not best carried out by large carrier groups. Protection of the coasts against a nuclear-armed invader is an entirely different mission from protection of American interests in a Banana Republic or the Middle East. To what extent will be be involved in "humanitarian" missions, and is regime change of a horrible dictatorship that devours its own people but is no threat to the people of the US an appropriate mission for the United States? We can all agree that disaster mitigation is a good thing, but how large a Navy should we maintain for the entirely predictable disasters that will take place in volcanic/earthquake typhoon regions? And so forth.
We need a new strategic survey on the future of sea warfare; a Strategy of Technology that looks into survivability and effectiveness in different combat environments and levels of warfare. I do not know how much of this is being done, but I don't see many results.
Continuing the discussion on the future of air power
Col. Couvillon's remarks
As usual Col. Couvillon is right on. We all know it takes a decade or more from initial specs to production for most any weapons system. So, by the time a weapon is in production, the electronics are completely outdated. Now imagine the kind of fire control software that could be written to run on a current generation laptop from you local store, add-in remote controlled flying electronics from your local RC hobby store, an IED, and a light flying platform of some kind (think big RC plane or a Cessna). Now recall that most of this is built cheaply and in very large quantities in China.
I'm not aware of any Linux R/C software, as everything I found in a foray into R/C airchines (to carry expedient amateur radio repeaters to serve wilderness firefighters, where hams now use helium balloons to loft an antenna) was Windows-based. Now, milspec killware is rarely FOSS (Free Open Source Software) but the Greater Chinese Chamber of Commerce and People's Army is firmly Open Sourced, as who knows what's in Windows, donated by the NSA, these days?
When we see Linux R/C software leaking through the Great Firewall of China, that should be a Red Flag that someone's designing remote control swarmcraft.
And, why an AED? The Greater Chinese Chamber of
Commerce and People's Army can copy a late WW-II device, the cluster
munition, very well. Israel's been on the receiving end of their Type 90 MZD
-- 73s and best regards from John Bartley
Obama will withdraw all troops on by the end of July -- except 50,000 non-combat troops, which will be used, among other things, to conduct counterterrorism operations; I assume by knocking on the terrorists' door and asking them to keep it down.
Seriously, I do really want to know how non-combat troops conduct anti-terrorist operations. This is far from the first time these residual troops have been called non-combat.
The Dems have changed from "re-deployment" to "withdrawal," although they will now be re-deployed to Afghanistan.
We should probably be prepared for turmoil in the Middle East. The way to be prepared is to develop our own energy sources. But that was true before we invaded Iraq the first time, before we invaded Iraq the second time, and it remains true now.
/Frank J. Tipler is Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University.
‘Stimulating’ Scientists Into Proving Global Warming
Posted By _Frank J. Tipler_ On February 27, 2009 @
12:12 am In _Health_, _Science_, _Science & Technology_, _US News_ | _30
“If you can’t talk about the Second Amendment, what happened to the First Amendment?”
-- Roland Dobbins
Subject: Vis-a-vis Boston Legal
David Kelley is one of most consistently inventive producers in Hollywood. In Boston Legal two of the funniest episodes I've seen are the two Lincoln Myer episodes, # 8 and 9 of season three: Lincoln, Pt. 1 and On the Ledge, Pt. 2.
We need all the laughs we can find with the clowns running the country just now!
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IF YOU SEND MAIL it may be published; if you want it private SAY SO AT THE TOP of the mail. I try to respect confidences, but there is only me, and this is Chaos Manor. If you want a mail address other than the one from which you sent the mail to appear, PUT THAT AT THE END OF THE LETTER as a signature. In general, put the name you want at the end of the letter: if you put no address there none will be posted, but I do want some kind of name, or explicitly to say (name withheld).
Note that if you don't put a name in the bottom of the letter I have to get one from the header. This takes time I don't have, and may end up with a name and address you didn't want on the letter. Do us both a favor: sign your letters to me with the name and address (or no address) as you want them posted. Also, repeat the subject as the first line of the mail. That also saves me time.
I try to answer mail, but mostly I can't get to all of it. I read it all, although not always the instant it comes in. I do have books to write too... I am reminded of H. P. Lovecraft who slowly starved to death while answering fan mail.
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