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Monday  October 25, 2010

Chicago Sheriff Will Not Enforce Foreclosures


This is most interesting -- I bet the banks wish they had taken the trouble to fill out all those pesky forms at the county clerk's office:


Two of the largest U.S. mortgage servicers have said they will resume home foreclosures, but a big-city sheriff has news for them: he won't enforce their foreclosure evictions.

The sheriff for Cook County, Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago, said on Tuesday he will not enforce foreclosure evictions for Bank of America Corp, JPMorgan Chase and Co. and GMAC Mortgage/Ally Financial until they prove those foreclosures were handled "properly and legally."




Joshua Jordan, KSC

Sheriff auctions off property for taxes were frequently interrupted during the Great Depression, as well as local officials refusing to evict. That was mostly in farm country, of course.

When banks bundled their bad mortgages into packages with complex formulas to lay off the costs on some other sucker, and thus obscured just who owns the property to begin with, in just whose interests is the sheriff acting when he forecloses? People borrowed money they couldn't pay back to buy overpriced houses. The houses were overpriced because the banks had injected easy money into the housing market. The banks then resorted to legerdemain to get some or all of the badly lent money back, and the ones who bought the crazy toxic packages flipped them around to other suckers. Someone is going to have to take a loss. Who? I have some sympathy for kids who bought overpriced houses and lived in them without furniture -- there were some down the street from us -- while working their tails off to pay for it. They couldn't manage it, but they sure tried. If the house had been priced at pre-bubble rates they'd have a tiny bit of equity and could probably have refinanced their way through all this. They were willing to work. But there was no way they could escape when they owed far more than the house was ever worth. Yes, it was their fault for agreeing to buy, and their loan application never should have been accepted in the first place; but why should they be the only ones to take a big loss?


On Earmarks

The problem with earmarks is they are often a gateway to bad policy that otherwise would not pass. There is an alternative to leaving things up to the discretion of the bureaucracy, and that is block granting the funds to the States or Counties themselves to decide what is most worthy to fund. The question quickly arises of why send the money to Washington to then be turned around and sent back for local projects in the first place.

Neither Congressbeings in Washington NOR members of the Central Bureaucracy should be deciding which community needs a footpath or a bikepath and whether they need that more or less than a new fire truck or additional ("100,000") police officers. They're not well suited to that. But having these things done by the Federal Government allows those involved to buy (or rent) support, either electorally or as a "useful" civil service. All Bounty From the King, and the independence of local self-government is undermined as all become Clientela of the Center.

Meanwhile the votes needed to pass hugely expensive programs that do not gain sufficient support on their own merits are purchased with what amounts to thirty pieces of silver.

Cordial Regards,


-- "The past, while much studied, is little read." - M.M.

"In the first and in the final analysis, so-called multiculturalists are simply Western radicals, in the Western radical tradition, with the most imperial, dogmatic, and absolutist aspirations of all." - Alan Charles Kors

But without any earmarks at all the projects are left to the bureaucracy. We would have had no SDI without earmarks, We would not have had Charlie Wilson's War without earmarks. They're not always all bad. What is needed is openness and transparency.


: Citigroup Bailout


Here we go. BoA should be out of business, but the Fed kept them in business. Now they are doing the same for Citigroup: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/


Joshua Jordan, KSC Percussa Resurgo

The natural proclivity of capitalism is to tend to monopoly, and to turn to government for protection from bad decisions.


Carter Says American has not improved much over the past three decades


Yeah, Carter, and you didn't help it either. Thanx for giving away the Panama Canal and all the other lacks of policy you initiated.



Joshua Jordan, KSC Percussa Resurgo


Technocratic Creep?


This puts it all together:

<snip> “The problem with Google is that Eric Schmidt is creepy….The industry is filled with eccentric CEOs–billionaires who, say, wear a wardrobe that consists of nothing but identical black shirts and Levi’s 501 jeans, or who dress as a samurai warrior, including swords, at their home. But Schmidt doesn’t seem eccentric (or at least not merely so). He seems creepy.”

– John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Google CEO Eric Schmidt says the company’s “policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.” And while that may be true of Google, it’s clearly not true of Schmidt, who lately has been happily high stepping across the creepy line like the grand marshal of the Tone-Deaf Technocrat Parade.

In the past year alone he has:

Addressed criticisms of Google’s stance on privacy by saying, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Claimed people want Google to “tell them what they should be doing next.” Said of Google, “We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.” Said this: “One day we had a conversation where we figured we could just try to predict the stock market. And then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that.” Suggested name changes to protect adults from the Web’s record of their youthful indiscretions. Said this: “What we’re really doing is building an augmented version of humanity, building computers to help humans do the things they don’t do well better.” Nice selection of remarks with which to begin a Bartlett’s Unsettling Quotations From Powerful CEOs, right?

And Schmidt’s far from done. Appearing on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” program last week, he said that people who don’t like Google’s Street View cars taking pictures of their homes and businesses “can just move” afterward to protect their privacy. Ironically, he said this on the very day that Google admitted those cars captured more than just fragments of personal payload data.

Interestingly, CNN has since edited that quote out of Schmidt’s segment. Did Google ask CNN to remove it? Who knows. Perhaps the company has finally realized that Schmidt’s penchant for indulging in this sort of pedantic dorkery doesn’t do much for its public image.

Freaking people out with asinine power-tripping pronouncements might be great fun for Schmidt, but it isn’t a wise PR strategy, particularly when Google is a company about which the public and government are increasingly concerned.

Schmidt really should know this.

Actually, it’s hard to believe he doesn’t.

Which is just…creepy. </snip>

-photographing-your-house-then-move/  -

Joshua Jordan, KSC Percussa Resurgo


“The government used to see us as dangerous. Now they see us as a market.”


-- Roland Dobbins

The Party never forgets. Anything.




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Tuesday,  October 26, 2010

Letter from England

Are the bond markets predicting deflation? <http://tinyurl.com/39dub8f>

 Netherlands hate speech trial collapses as a judge was found to be biased <http://tinyurl.com/32fh7qj>. Where is Justice? (Consider Psalm 82, which Jesus quotes in the Gospel of John, as a comment.)

 The death of foreign language studies in Britain <http://tinyurl.com/34e8yrw>

 The outcome of the Treasury report on universities <http://tinyurl.com/3xtdtc3> <http://tinyurl.com/363w6bs> was about as bad as rumoured. The managers where I teach are in denial. Essay on the role of the university: <http://tinyurl.com/2v2fnwg>

 UK housing market collapses <http://tinyurl.com/387owkr>

 Very few UK politicians seem to have any background in economics. That results in suboptimisation--subsystem tweaking without consideration of the impact on the larger system--and unexpected consequences. For example: <http://tinyurl.com/2vfkor2> <http://tinyurl.com/298s4mg> <http://tinyurl.com/2wrhvyb>.

 Labour and Democrats in denial: <http://tinyurl.com/34ndeez> <http://tinyurl.com/23vr8uk>

 Dancing lemurs! <http://tinyurl.com/2wna6gw>

 Wikileaks releases Iraq war logs <http://tinyurl.com/34hwpmz> <http://tinyurl.com/337s8zm>

 It appears you may be able to create mass using graphene nanotubes <http://arxiv.org/abs/1010.3437>.


Harry Erwin, PhD

See <http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=974>


Subject: Voting Fraud?


It seems there are always allegations of voting fraud these days. Ever since computer programmers demonstrated that Diebold voting machines could easily be hacked -- this is old news but I'm sure google can dig up videos, court documents, etc -- I kept a loose eye on such accusations. Other court cases proved that this does happen in various parts of the United States. Today, I noted fresh allegations. The staff in the first link wrote it off as user error -- even if that is true, why is such an error allowed to occur in the first place? The second one seems more like software error. I'm sure these problems will continue to pile up and I am sure the allegations will continue in successive elections. I believe it is time to get rid of electronic voting machines. Sure, they make things faster but speed comes at the expense of security and security always slows things down. I have yet to see instances where this is not true, but perhaps someone could find some black swans on that one.





Joshua Jordan, KSC Percussa Resurgo



A lot of people in the Java community are worried about Oracle. See: <http://tinyurl.com/29czezs

-- Harry Erwin


This is no surprise to you or me, but it is interesting to hear Dr. Watson's perspective. A very thought provoking interview.




The Bell Curve laid it out, and every objective study of psychology comes up with the same results: IQ is meaningful, men have slightly higher IQ scores than women but closer analysis shows that men excel in some skills while women do better in others -- surprise! -- and "intelligence" as measured by IQ tests has something like a 60% inheritability. If you give IQ tests to large groups, it is predictable that Ashkenazi Jews will have the highest mean scores, then Chinese in China, the whites in America, then American Blacks, and these differences will be consistent and will be found unless prodigious measures are taken to prevent that result. There is no real objective evidence to the contrary.

There are many attempts to explain these differences, which were once well known and universally discussed, but that seldom happens now because the subject isn't discussable in polite academic circles. There are cultural factors, there are food factors, prenatal diets, and the rest, but the facts are pretty basic: "g" is inheritable, and "g" has a real effect on future success in any activity that requires abstract reasoning.

Of course I have to add that means are a statistical measure. You are not justified in saying that any given Ashkenazi Jew is smarter than any given Chinese merchant who will be smarter than any given Black. The individual variances are large. When I was a college professor the brightest student I ever had was a Black kid. I had a not so bright Israeli, too. Means are not absolute.

The mean racial differences in "g" have a more subtle effect: if you set up education programs designed in three or four syllibi -- one for the University bound (top 10%, say), one for the College including Community College bound (say another 25%), one for the "tech school" or Trade School bound (say another 35%) and the rest for all those not actually retarded, you will get far better outcomes than we get from any one size fits all education program; but you will also have what appears to be racial segregation, even though you do not choose students on the basis of race. Your top class will have some Blacks, but fewer than the Black proportion in the population; it will have far more Jews and Orientals than their proportion in the population; and more Whites than their proportion would predict. The next class will be the same, although the Black discrepancy won't be so obvious. The next down will have proportionately too many Blacks. And so forth. This will result in law suits that destroy your system, and you will be required to make all kinds of "adjustments". You'll still have a better system than we have now, but you'll have problems, such as the Black kid who should have gone to a decent State College but who is sent to Princeton or Harvard and will have real problems compared to his classmates.

But I have said all this before.

Refusing to face reality always causes problems. Science works when you pay attention to verifiable hypotheses. Faith based education systems don't work so well. Now it is certainly true that the entire output of the education system can be raised by the simple expedient of firing the worst 10% of the teachers, with the result that some of the poor Black kids will start looking like success stories. The potential of an IQ 90 to 110 kid is considerably higher than the actual academic achievement of such kids in our present school system. But then our present system is designed largely for keeping bad teachers employed at the expense of the students in their classrooms, who would be better off if distributed among the better teachers even though that would cause larger class sizes. I know this from experience: from first through eighth grade I went to schools that had two grades to a room from 15 to 25 students per grade, and we got a better education than what's being turned out by our present school system. And that was without modern technology.

We will not reform public education until we face reality. We are not likely ever to do that because the intellectual establishment refuses even to think about it. So it goes. Since children are a perishable item -- there is only so much time for them to learn -- this sends a clear message to responsible parents. Get out of the school system unless you are in one of those fortunate situations where there is a good public school -- there are some, of course -- with education appropriate to your children's abilities, and enough classroom discipline to allow education to take place. Even then, you will do well to be sure your kids can read before ever they get to a classroom. Teach them yourself. That way you'll know they can read. That's a real Head Start.


The Elizabeth Moon Affair

I have a number of emails asking me to comment on WISCON and Elizabeth Moon. I don't have a lot to say since it all seems pretty obvious to me.

WISCON is a science fiction convention. I have never been to it for obvious reasons, and indeed I never even knew it existed until the Elizabeth Moon Affair. Wiscon's web site describes it thus:

"WisCon is the first and foremost feminist science fiction convention in the world. WisCon encourages discussion, debate and extrapolation of ideas relating to feminism, gender, race and class."

Elizabeth Moon is a former US Marine officer and quite successful science fiction writer, known for her strong female characters including a series about a female warrior who rises from the ranks to a very high position in an heroic fantasy. I read the first of the series and enjoyed it, but that kind of book isn't usually my cup of tea. Her "Rules of Engagement" series is space opera with once again a very strong female lead, the daughter of a minor provincial aristocrat who becomes engaged to a member of the royal family in an intriguing interstellar Empire that is well described. All her other works feature strong and well developed female characters. One would think her the perfect choice for a feminist science fiction convention.

Then she published on her blog an essay that strongly reflects the view held by 90% of Americans when I was young: that America is exceptional in that its citizens are Americans; it welcomes immigrants, but they are expected to assimilate, to be part of what was known for a hundred years as "the Melting Pot" which took people from divers places and allowed them to become Americans. They retained certain unique features stemming from their origins -- hence St Patrick's Day parades and celebrations and until recently Columbus Day parades, to list some famous examples -- but being an Irish-American or Italian-American or German-American as opposed to an American of Irish or Italian or German ancestry was not only frowned on, but sometimes actively despised. During World War II Germantown, Tennessee was renamed Libertyville, with the approval of the American German community.

Assimilation has fallen into disrepute among some "diversity" intellectuals, but it was the view of America for over a hundred years, and I have seen no startling benefits from the new notion of "diversity" as opposed to the Melting Pot. Certainly it is not unconscionable to defend the Melting Pot. Her essay said a bit more, but mostly it was a defense of assimilation. You will find it here.

The WISCON committee found her essay offensive, and withdrew its invitation for her to be Guest of Honor at an upcoming convention. This has raised a large tempest in the science fiction community, and that part of my readership that comes from there has solicited my views on the subject; the rest of you probably never heard of it, which is why I was a bit reluctant to get into this.

I don't know what a "feminist" convention is, so I am not really qualified to comment. I don't have time to present and defend my views of the proper relationships between men and women, which stem not merely from abilities but also from temperaments, and in any events can't be absolute. In the last analysis, if women don't want to procreate, there won't be any human race. If raising the children from infancy were left to men there wouldn't be much of a next generation. Fair or not, if the women don't take care of babies, most babies won't survive. That seems to me to be reality, but I presume that statement alone permanently disqualifies me from ever being invited to be a guest of honor or even an attendee at a Wiscon. Thus I am hardly qualified to comment on their actions. It's their convention, and since I don't know what proper feminist behavior is I am hardly qualified to give them advice.

I don't find anything particularly objectionable in Moon's essay, although I'd probably go further in advocating a return to the Melting Pot theory of American Exceptionalism. Regarding the law, I have long said we need a new Constitutional Amendment defending the equal protection of the laws for all races and sexes, with the added provision "And this time we really mean it," but then when I grew up in the legally segregated South I was thought odd for believing that the law ought to be color blind, and I haven't changed that view in a long time. In any event I certainly didn't find anything unconsciounable in her essay.

I don't often read Moon's blog, so I don't know what most of her other opinions might be. I don't attend feminist conventions so I don't know what Moon would have said there, or what they expected to hear. In other words: this isn't really much of my business. My cursory examination of the facts makes the WISCON committee look a bit foolish, but then I find that most ideological groups tend to folly. Feminists aren't the only ideologues who let their ideology get in the way of good sense.



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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh MY!


How did we ever survive childhood?


Indeed. Of course there are weird people out there, and parents do have responsibilities; but the danger to trick or treaters is automobiles, not perverts, so far as I can tell. Kids are far more likely to get run over on Halloween than any other evening. Fortunately that's still a very small number. That's no consolation to the parent whose child is harmed of course, but nothing is. There are dangers in this world. Learning to live in the world is part of growing up.


Thomas Sowell on Minority Education


I was looking for Thomas Sowell's experience in his education. I bumped into this essay.

Regards, Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE


The Education of Minority Children by Thomas Sowell

"The quest for esoteric methods of trying to educate these children proceeds as if such children had never been successfully educated before, when in fact there are concrete examples, both from history and from our own times, of schools that have been successful in educating children from low-income families and from minority families.


For those who are interested in schools that produce academic success for minority students, there is no lack of examples, past and present. Tragically, there is a lack of interest by the public school establishment in such examples. Again, I think this goes back to the politics of education.

Put bluntly, failure attracts more money than success. Politically, failure becomes a reason to demand more money, smaller classes, and more trendy courses and programs, ranging from "black English" to bilingualism and "self-esteem."


We cannot recapture the past and there is much in the past that we should not want to recapture. But neither is it irrelevant. If nothing else, history shows what can be achieved, even in the face of adversity. We have no excuse for achieving less in an era of greater material abundance and greater social opportunities."

The purpose of the public school system is to provide employment for bad teachers and inflict those teachers on the students whose parents are least able to defend their right to someone better. If that is not the purpose of the system, I don't know how it could be organized better to accomplish that purpose. Unions defend bad teachers and inflict them on pupils of lower social classes who don't organize protests against the truly awful.

Ten percent of the teachers are responsible for about 50% of the dropouts. Schools would double in efficiency and results if they fired the 10% worse teachers. Fat chance the Teacher's Associations will ever allow that.


Sci Am poll: Dr. Judith Curry & climate change

Dr Pournelle,

Sci Am has an article on Dr. Judith Curry, the climate scientist I mentioned to you a few weeks ago. She is hardly a climate skeptic but she does have reservations about the IPCC and believes that the skeptics should be heard.

The article aroused such controversy that Sci Am decided to run a poll asking "Is Curry a heroic whistle-blower, speaking the truth when others can't or won't? Or has she gone off the scientific deep end, hurling baseless charges at a group of scientists who are doing their best to understand the complexities of Earth's climate?" plus other questions about climate change.


I must say that it was simply the worst, the most biased poll I have ever seen. The choices essentially boiled down to “Yes, I am a sensible person who is convinced of climate change” or “No, I am a mindless climate change denier.” There was never a “None of the above” option for this complex subject.

The question about Dr. Curry became "Judith Curry is:

A) a peacemaker B) a dupe C) both D) I've never heard of her"

That Sci Am would allow such a terrible poll to represent Sci Am and climate science to the public is as vivid a testament as one could need for how the climate change agenda has debased science in our time. What has happened to Scientific American alone is tragic.

I held my nose and checked all the “Mindless denier” options. When I looked at the survey results, I realized that Sci Am has a nasty surprise coming — the mindless deniers are winning by a large margin. Serves Sci Am right.

Best, Jack T.


Unlike you I am not astonished. Scientific American is notoriously unreliable on any controversial matter. It  shamelessly took sides in the Nuclear Winter and Strategic Defense debates, and it has no objectivity in most policy matters. It is realiable on very pure science, and can sometimes be informative, but it is a pale shadow of the Scientific American I read eagerly in high school.


Scalia takes Kagan to gun range, sources say


Hands on education


Russia steps in to help Nato,


Can the Co-Dominium be far behind?





Signs of Destroyed Dark Matter Found in Milky Way's Core, 


"Cosmologists say they've found the most compelling evidence of dark matter particles to date, deep inside the Milky Way's core. There, the thinking goes, the mysterious stuff is colliding to create gamma rays more frequently than anywhere else in the celestial neighborhood." <snip> "We've considered every astronomical source and nothing we know of, except dark matter, can account for the observations," Hooper said. "No other explanation comes anywhere close."


"This is the first study I know of that pulls together a few threads of evidence for dark matter together with one simple particle model," said Craig Hogan, an astrophysicist at Fermilab who wasn't involved in the research. "It's not proven, but it's very exciting and deserves follow-up."

Stayed tuned.


Wow. First real evidence of this postulated Dark Matter, so far as I know. Well, evidence is a bit strong: data in direct support of hypothesis may be more appropriate. Still, wow.


Schriever wept.


--- Roland Dobbins

We don't need nuclear missiles do we?


Thought You Might Enjoy


“Is our climate changing? The succession of temperate summers and open winters through several years, culminating last winter in the almost total failure of the ice crop throughout the valley of the Hudson, makes the question pertinent. The older inhabitants tell us that the winters are not as cold now as when they were young, and we have all observed a marked diminution of the average cold even in this last decade.” – New York Times, June 23, 1890

“The question is again being discussed whether recent and long-continued observations do not point to the advent of a second glacial period, when the countries now basking in the fostering warmth of a tropical sun will ultimately give way to the perennial frost and snow of the polar regions.” – New York Times, Feb. 24, 1895

It's instructive to note the ups and downs in the list in light of a 30-year MDO. I especially enjoyed:

“In the next 50 years [i.e., by 2021], fine dust that humans discharge into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel will screen out so much of the sun's rays that the Earth's average temperature could fall by six degrees. Sustained emissions over five to 10 years [i.e., 1976-81], could be sufficient to trigger an ice age."

– Washington Post, July 9, 1971

Whew, we dodged the ice age twenty years ago, but we still have 11 years two await the six degree plummet in temps.

Ocean City, Md., will lose 39 feet of shoreline by 2000 and a total of 85 feet within the next 25 years.” – San Jose Mercury News, June 11, 1986

So, did it?

“Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide two degrees by 2010, – Associated Press, May 15, 1989

So from 1989 t0 2010 how much of an increase?

“New York will probably be like Florida 15 years from now.” -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 17, 1989

1989 + 15 years = 2004. So was New York like Florida six years ago?

"[By] 1995, the greenhouse effect would be desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots . . . [By 1996] The Platte River of Nebraska would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers . . . The Mexican police will round up illegal American migrants surging into Mexico seeking work as field hands.” – "Dead Heat: The Race Against the Greenhouse Effect," Michael Oppenheimer and Robert H. Boyle, 1990.

"in a few years, or a decade or so, we'll go into a permanent El Nino, according to Dr. Russ Schnell, a scientist doing atmospheric research at Mauna Loa Observatory. – BBC, Nov. 7, 1997

A decade "or so" puts us around 2007 or so, the year of the permanent El Nino??

Don't you love it when the time limits expire on prophesies?



: America's ruling class


In your View for Monday, October 25, 2010, you included a link to Charles Murray's Washington Post article about the new elites as found at


You may be interested in a much longer discussion of America's ruling class by Angelo M. Codevilla titled "America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution" published at


Mr. Codevilla claims that the most striking feature of America's ruling class is that it "recruits and renews itself not through meritocracy but by taking into itself people whose most prominent feature is their commitment to fit in." He says the ruling class stunts itself through negative selection, though while dumbing itself down it has adopted an air of intellectual superiority.

Codevilla describes how the ruling class's appetite for deference, power, and perks is growing while the "country class" disrespects its rulers. A clash is sure to happen and the outcome is unpredictable.

Those unfamiliar with Mr. Codevilla can learn more about him at


Best regards, --Harry M.

I have previously recommended Codevilla's article, but it does no harm to say it again. It goes well with Murray's in promoting understanding of the world.



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Thursday, October 28, 2010

: There They Went Again

A really good summation in wsj today. Maybe the forth time is the charm.




Prop 23 - the science is settled

Hi Jerry:

Forgive me if you’ve already commented on this, but here is the exact wording of summary of Proposition 23 from California’s November 2010 Statewide Ballot Measures (http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures.htm):

Proposition 23

Suspends Implementation of Air Pollution Control Law (AB 32) Requiring Major Sources of Emissions to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming, Until Unemployment Drops to 5.5 Percent or Less for Full Year. Initiative Statute.

The science is settled. Heaven help us.

Best regards,

Tim Dowty


Gloom and Doom...


"In the United States today, there are 5,057 janitors <http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/
why-did-17-million-students-go-to-college/27634>  with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees."

"In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses <http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/
why-did-17-million-students-go-to-college/27634>  have college degrees."

"In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants <http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/
why-did-17-million-students-go-to-college/27634>  have college degrees."

"China has reduced the export quota on rare earth elements for the second half of 2010 by 72% <http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/oct/25/china-cuts-rare-earths-exports>  , thus strengthening their position in the world economy even more. Rare earth elements are absolutely crucial to the manufacture of a vast array of high technology products, and now even more of them will have to be made in China."

"American 15-year-olds do not even rank in the top half <http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/
flowchart/2009/10/26/9-signs-of-america-in-decline.html>  of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy."

And twenty-five more equally gloomy factoids...

Charles Brumbelow

Given the quality of modern "universities", many of which are Normal schools inflated to University status, perhaps what they teach doesn't qualify you for more than being a waiter.


The Scientific American poll results

Dear Jerry,

While the poll does seem biased, I was astonished at the results. It seems that many skeptics have taken the poll, with the results that, for example, 82% think the IPCC is corrupt, and we should do nothing about climate change because we are powerless to stop it. I got every question ‘right’, by the way.


Dave Checkley


Talk shows and The Bell Curve

Dr. Jerry:

Former congressman and Love Boat star Fred Grandy has a morning talk show on one of the Baltimore stations. This morning they had on a liberal columnist who’s a friend of Mr. Grandy, and were jokingly asking him questions to determine his “elite” status. After following your link to Charles Murray’s column, it was obvious where they got their questions from.

BTW, did you participate in sports in your salad days? (No offense.) For my own amusement I’m making a list of real-world “Doc Smith heroes,” being defined as very smart people who are also athletic, specifically someone with a doctorate who also excels in a sport, ala Dr. Steve Stevens in Spacehounds of IPC. An initial cut gives Travis Taylor, Buzz Aldrin, and the Klitschko brothers, known as “Dr. Steelhammer” and “Dr. Ironfist.”




Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

-Robert A. Heinlein

I was briefly a world class fencer, having won a rated tournament in which the second place was the then world champion Peter Bakony. But that was long ago.


Hi Jerry,

The Danish met office has just announced the temperature average for the first 10 months of the year 2010 in Denmark and guess what, 2010 turns out to be the coldest year in 14 years and by no small margin either. Wonder if the volcano in Iceland has something to do with it.


Temperature (Jan-Oct)































All the best and thanks for your efforts, your site is my main source of sane and balanced information about what goes on in the US. I appreciate that while you clearly have your opinions you always try to present a balanced view of points as long as they are sanely expressed and reasoned even if you don’t agree with them.

All the best

Jan Holbech Larsen

But without the volcano surely it would have been the hottest? Thanks for the kind words.


Google Cars Also Grabbed Passwords


<snip> Just this week, British regulators announced plans to make further inquiries and to consider whether to use enforcement powers after Google admitted that the WiFi-equipped vehicles it sends to take photographs for Google Maps had inadvertently also grabbed emails and passwords. </snip>


If nothing else, I'd like an investigation into how a car "inadvertently" grabs emails and passwords. Did some experimental password sniffing software just somehow manifest in on-board computers and someone accidentally switched it on? Give me a break.

These guys are turning into a private Gestapo or Stasi.


Joshua Jordan, KSC Percussa Resurgo


Daniel Greenberg Meets the Climate Scientists

Hi Jerry,

I thought you might find this to be of interest.


Sent to you by BobK via Google Reader:

Daniel Greenberg Meets the Climate Scientists <http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/10/daniel-greenberg-meets-climate.html

via Roger Pielke Jr.'s Blog <http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/>  by noreply@blogger.com (Roger Pielke, Jr.) on 10/27/10

<http://www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk/PictureSleeves/76684.jpg>  Daniel Greenberg, the widely respected journalist and author who focuses on science policy and politics, was invited by Nature to review my book, The Climate Fix <http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/09/daniel-greenberg-on-climate-fix-in.html>  . Little did he know that review would bring him up close and personal with the activist wing of the climate science community. After writing a positive review of my book, Greenberg found himself under attack <http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/10/besmirched.html>  by Michael Mann, Paul Ehrlich and Stefan Rahmstorf on the pages on Nature.

What followed was an email exchange that provides some insight into the mindset of the activist wing of the climate science community. Greenberg shared this exchange with me with the following message, published here with his permission:

Roger, Re my stirring experience of jousting with Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf: What a scurrilous bunch. My sympathy to you and anyone else who has to deal with them. They're gravediggers of science. Nature will soon publish my riposte and, I think, a disclaimer of any ties to me by the Marshall Institute. Below, my further exchanges with the low-life trio. Best regards, Dan

Here is Greenberg's email to Michael Mann that concludes the exchange, reproduced with his permisison:

Dear Professors Mann, Ehrlich, and Rahmstorf,

Your correspondence concerning my review of Roger Pielke's book "Climate Fix" has provided me with a deeper understanding of the widespread public skepticism toward climate science. In your hands, apple pie and motherhood would come under public suspicion. Have you considered taking a remedial reading course? Can you comprehend the difference between a book reviewer's own beliefs and the reviewer's presentation of the beliefs expressed by the author of the book under review? Apparently not. Furthermore, your insinuation of an undisclosed relationship between me and a conservative think tank is preposterous. In 2006, I participated in a panel discussion sponsored by the Marshall Institute---as I have done with numerous other organizations, including the Brookings Institution, RAND, AAAS, and various academic societies and universities. Common practice for journalists. Nor did I, as you allege, write a report, or anything, for the Marshall Institute. The panel's words were transcribed and published by the Institute. I wrote nothing for them. You guys are the devil's gift to the Tea Party and other climate-change wackos.

Sincerely, Dan Greenberg




The greatest science fiction story ever written -- and it was published in Nature.


"The Greatest Science Fiction Story Ever Written" by Eric James Stone

(nods: Howard Tayler of www.schlockmercenary.com).



Still More Voting Fraud


There are so many allegations I will not waste our time covering them all. This one seems most interesting to me, however:



Joshua Jordan, KSC Percussa Resurgo


Fake Microsoft Security Essentials

Be a Lert



 and the new rogue virus software "ThinkPoint" which is fooling a lot of people



 Subject: The Reverse Puzzle Box


 There are so many ways this could go wrong in a story

Michael Zawistowski

Fair warning: the story is a time trap.





CURRENT VIEW    Thursday


This week:


read book now


Friday,  October 29, 2010

I think this important and well worth reading 


This has not received enough attention. I think you’ll find that many of the things said in the report are things discussed and addressed over the years on your web site. It is a précis of recommendations made to make the US more competitive.


This is:

Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited:

Rapidly Approaching Category 5

It is available as a free download from this site or may be read online (although I find that the print used now is smaller than when I was 20…odd)


Rapidly approaching Category Five ...


Stefan Possony Cited

Dear Jerry,

David Warren cites Dr. Possony in a recent column, in an interesting context...

"Among the yellowed, mouldering paperbacks I recently fetched up from the storage locker of my past life was a small, especially crumbly edition of a work by Karl Marx. It is titled The Communist Manifesto, and in my 1954 translation (Gateway edition; Henry Regnery Co.; original price 65 cents) there is an introduction by Stefan T. Possony, of Georgetown University. His own view, both of Communism generally and the text at hand, is conveyed in the title he placed over his introduction: 'The Confiscation of Human Liberty.'..."


I didn't have the good fortune to have known Dr. Possony, but I think he would have approved of Mr. Warren's views on Marx and his disciples.


Rod Schaffter

-- "I could not tread these perilous paths in safety, if I did not keep a saving sense of humour." -- Horatio Nelson

Steve was one of the great men of the last century, and very prolific but not high profile. Beginning in his native Austria where he was influential (at age 20) in working with Schuschnigg to try to preserve Austria's independence. Eventually he had to flee the country to avoid assassination attempts. He fled to Czechoslovakia, and in the wake of the Munich conference, to France. He used to say "the Gestapo has my library. Three times."


65% Favor Getting Rid of Entire Congress and Starting Over - 


"Let's face it: Most Americans don't have much use for either of the major political parties and think it would be better to dump the entire Congress on Election Day.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 65% of Likely U.S. Voters say if they had the option next week, they would vote to get rid of the entire Congress and start all over again. Only 20% would opt to keep the entire Congress instead. Fifteen percent (15%) aren't sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.):"

This goes on to break it down. Absolutely none of this surprises me.




A Suitcase Full Of Heart,


An update on battlefield first aid. Each advance is just a little step, but taken together it's pretty amazing:




Subject: More old weather data

Some more old observations and concerns and worries - or not...


Regards - Lawrence

But surely no one in the climate sciences wants DATA...


Anwar Al-Awlaki -- Al Qaeda Leader -- Dines at Pentagon


Did I send these articles to you before? The funny thing is that they "vetted" this guy before they brought him in to meet with the top brass and the secretary of the Army. This is weeks after the corporate media said that Awlaki was the number three leader of Al Qaeda. Interesting times or Orwellian times?

<snip> In addition, Awlaki "was considered to be an 'up and coming' member of the Islamic community. After her vetting, Aulaqi (Awlaki) was invited to and attended a luncheon at the Pentagon in the secretary of the Army's Office of Government Counsel."

Awlaki, a Yemeni-American who was born in Las Cruces, N.M., was interviewed at least four times by the FBI in the first week after the attacks because of his ties to the three hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Hani Hanjour. The three hijackers were all onboard Flight 77 that slammed into the Pentagon.



<snip> Al-Qaida operative and American-Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki attended a Pentagon luncheon several months after the 9/11 attacks, Pentagon officials told NBC News on Wednesday. </snip>



BDAB, Joshua Jordan, KSC Percussa Resurgo

=Wide Awake Police Department. Car 42, someone is stealing your tires...


what took you so long?

I subscribed to SciAm when I was 16, a junior in high school on the advice of my Chemistry teacher, and I too looked forward to it's delivery every month for decades. When I was in my early fifties I noticed that the articles were almost all taking the political correct view of the science. I also noticed that the amount of advertising had increased alarmingly. When the advertising surpassed fifty percent of the increasingly 'PC' content I canceled my supscription. I'm now 71 so that was almost twenty years ago.

Franklin would be appalled if he could see it today.

Bob Leever

I subscribed to it longer than you did and it took longer for my regards for it to flag


Chinese Supercomputer Number One?


"A newly built supercomputer in China appears poised to take the world performance lead, another sign of the country's growing technological prowess that is likely to set off alarms about U.S. competitiveness and national security."

Charles Brumbelow

And wait, there will be more.










 read book now





This week:


read book now









 read book now




CURRENT VIEW     Saturday

This week:


read book now







 read book now





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