CHAOS MANOR MAIL
Mail 225 September 30 - October 6, 2002
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Highlights this week:
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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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September 30, 2002
Column time coming up. Where did the month go?
There was some fairly interesting stuff Saturday.
Subject: Can Global Warming Trigger a 'Little ice Age'
He points to a very reasonable scenario that we're walking towards a cliff that will trigger a "Little Ice Age", and that we *desperately* need more data:
which, of course, is what you've been saying all along.
Indeed. Anyone at all interested in this subject simply must read that article.
And in case anyone gets complacent:
This came my way, because I subscribed to the mailing list.
-----Original Message----- From: JunkScience.com [mailto:JunkScience@lb.bcentral.com]
Clean-up Confusion By Steven Milloy, Fox News September 27, 2002
A rocket fuel component has been detected in drinking water sources in 18 states. It's a limited problem the Environmental Protection Agency's junk science is about to make much worse...
The full column is at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,64198,00.html
I had some comments on the article for my regular zine, which I'll repeat here:
"Now, there are those who will discount this report out of hand because the Cato Institute is an evil right-wing anti-environment group of mean people. This saves them from having to rebut the facts in the article. Note, however, that perchlorate is a byproduct of rocketry. If the statements made in the article are factual, then it seems that we're going to be socked with a huge bill for cleaning up something that doesn't need cleaning up. Furthermore, anyone who has any kind of thyroid condition and who drinks water could file suit. Lawsuits will wind up incurring defense costs, even if the plaintiff loses. And who's the obvious target for a lawsuit? Anyone associated with the space industry. Those of us who are interested in space exploration and space exploitation ought to be concerned about the chilling effect this could have on the industry. Can anyone think of any approach to space with no health-related externalities? I can't."
Here's one (important to me & others) thing: restore the customization options that were in 98 through 2000, then removed in XP (for instance, putting wallpaper in individual folders - that's a big part of what makes a PC a *personal* computer; getting rid of the hideous Fischer-Price title bar blue - you used to be able to do two-tone title bars, now you can't change them at all?).
The ability to customize a desktop, folders, etc, is one of the things that puts fun into a PC. Now Microsoft, well-known for feature bloat, has actually taken *away* some of the "fun" features? Let's get them back... We are not all "Aunt Susie" out here. Some of us actually know how to use these things.
Thanks - I feel a little better now...
I must disagree with this quote:
Israel has done a good job of throwing away the moral high ground -- this latest action of firing rockets into streets of civilians in order to take out certain individuals quite deserving of assassination seems to me morally indistinguishable from many other acts of terror...but with the moral high ground crumbling, Israel has fewer levers to use here.
I am uncertain how Israel has committed any major wrongdoing at all. They used a tactical option which minimized their casualties and maximized those of their enemies (the individuals you mention) and those enemies supporters. Carried to it's logical conclusion, this is exactly what we did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we were morally correct in doing so. Frankly, if Saddam is serious about pulling his troops back into his cities and trying to force us into a bloody street fight (where civilian casualties will be high anyway), I hope we nuke Baghdad for the same reasons we did then.
As you replied to an earlier missive of mine, War Is Hell. Unfortunately, until Christ returns and God corrects a couple of design flaws, such as allowing the concept of evil to exist in the Creation, war will also be necessary. Given that war is necessary, I hope our military pursues war by strategy and tactics that minimize our casualties while getting the objective accomplished. If our enemies don't like the fact that we value their lives infinitely less than our own, the solution is simple: don't become our enemies. If their leaders can't grasp this simple concept, then they should be aware that overthrowing those leaders will get far fewer of them killed than our response. For example, If the street full of civilians were turning the terrorists in whenever they found them instead of cheering whenever they succeed, Israel's actions would not have been necessary.
At some point, swift surgery is better than slow torment. If Bush 41 had told Colin Powell (and the rest of the mushy crowd) to stick it, gone to Bagdad, and strung Saddam, his ministers, and his sons up from lampposts much misery and death would have been avoided.
I do not call firing rockets into crowded streets in retaliation for suicide bombs going off in crowded streets swift surgery. And I do not retract the statement that Israel is busily throwing away the moral high ground: something that others have remarked as well.
Note that Israel lately seems to be saying "We hold the Palestinian Authority responsible for not controlling the bombers, so every time a new bomb goes off we will do our best to reduce the ability of the Palestinian Authority to control anything at all. Have a nice day." I am not at all certain that I understand what Israel hopes to accomplish by barricading Yasser Arafat into his headquarters. Do they hope be will be killed? Assassinated? That he will have had enough and retire to Tunis or some other place that will let him live out his days in oblivion? What? They can't possibly be trying to make him DO anything since they have worked very hard to take away from him any knobs he might have left to twist.
What is happening over there is hardly swift surgery.
My friend John McCarthy thinks the best thing Israel can do is hang on and wait for a new generation, hoping that the world will change. Time heals many wounds. Perhaps he's right. My friend Ron Unz thinks that unless Israel denounces the settlements, there will never be any peace over there. Perhaps he's right. I think I don't know how to govern that country.
But I do not believe that Israel is retaining the moral high ground.
As to Iraq, of course we ought to have hanged Saddam for war crimes in 1991. I said so at the time. (Continued below.)
You probably already know about this.
Quote from the page:
The aim of the QED project is to build a single, distributed, computerized repository that rigorously represents all important, established mathematical knowledge. The construction of this system will be a scientific undertaking of significant proportions, requiring the cooperation of many mathematicians, computer scientists, research groups, research agencies, universities, and corporations. This system will have benefits for mathematics, science, technology, and education.
How about the complete works of St. Thomas Aquinas... in Latin?
The complete and total knowledge of Man will sooner or later be available to ANYONE with a computer and an internet connection, limited only by the number of people willing to stand in front of a scanner (and of course obvious classification issues).
From JoAnne Dow:
Subject: Fujitsu Hard Drives are worse than Deathstars
It seems they are VERY failure prone, it would seem. Some customers are seeing virtually 100% failure rates over 2 years or so. Fujitsu is in deep denial, it appears.
I have no experience whatever with Fujitsu drives.
Subject: Hilary Rosen Agonistes
If you're not going to do a thing, you say so. If you are going to do it but don't want to admit it, you say something like this:
"Frustrated by the continuing presence of free music on the Internet, the recording industry asked for Congress' blessing on Thursday to gum up the online networks they blame for slowing their sales. Congress is considering expanded legal protection for record labels who resort to sabotage in their ongoing battle with "peer to peer" networks..."
"..."I can't foresee any scenario where it would be in our interest to go into anybody's computer and delete a file," said Hilary Rosen, chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America..."
Don *************************************** "There are only 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't." *************************************** Come visit The Misanthropyst at http://home.nc.rr.com/dwmhome/
And my periodical reminder:
Once again a brief motivational lecture: it's time you bought a Mac. No wonder you're tired & run down, you spend endless hours fighting with your OS! Who needs the aggravation?
But seriously, folks, since Apple introduced Jaguar I don't think there's really a debate any more: it is truly a far superior OS for the single-user environment. I can't speak to its networking abilities yet, but have read they are outstanding, with easy configuration and interoperability with Windows-based networks.
Six months ago I had one Mac and five Windows machines; it's now 50/50, three Macs (an iBook, a Powerbook, and a 17" flat panel iMac) to three Windows PCs. But I spend, by preference and design, 95% of my time on the OS X side now, and after I migrate my MS Money files over to Quicken 2003 on the Mac I expect that to go to darn near 100%. I'm even weaned from the bloody first person shooters I used to dearly love to play under Windows!
But I know you have serious work to do on your computers, so I wanted to tell you about a feature of OS X I think may "sell" you: external drive booting. Using ANY Apple computer you may have!
All current Macs come with at least one six pin Firewire port which means that adding an external Firewire hard drive is simplicity itself: once you format for the Mac OS there are no drivers to install or anything like that, you simply plug the Firewire cable in and Bob's your Uncle. So backup space and additional program storage couldn't be easier.
But better yet you can make the external drive bootable. It takes a couple of extra steps: you have to boot your local machine from the Jaguar CD and install the OS to the external drive from there, but it's no big deal.
The best part, however, and the reason this might "make the sale" for you, is that once you install the OS on the external drive you can use that drive to boot any OS X capable Apple you have, with full access to the hardware connected to the local machine! UNIX, from what I understand, initializes itself for the hardware it encounters on boot, it doesn't keep a Registry record like Windows.
So here's where I think it could get very nice for you: you keep your Firewire drive fairly "pure" - not a lot of third-party shareware on it or the like, but loaded with diagnostic and troubleshooting utilities. Then when something goes wrong with any local Apple machine all you have to do is move the Firewire drive to it and boot from the external drive to discover if the problem is hardware or software, network-wide or local. And you have your full "fix-it" toolbox on a drive you know works so you can patch whatever is wrong without the endless reboots and fiddling that troubleshooting Windows requires.
Also imagine how easy it would make your sessions with Niven: all either of you would have to carry to the other's house is a drive enclosure about the size & weight of a trade paperback. You plug in and boot from that drive, the user settings are and remain EXACTLY the way you want them, you have all your favorite programs, bookmarks, e-mail addresses, etc. with you as well as full access to the local machine's hardware including the network, you can pass files back & forth with drag & drop, and at the end of the day the visitor simply unmounts this drive & takes it home. No more dedicating a whole machine to the task - just the drive itself: the drive IS the computer, in a very real sense.
Frankly I don't know theoretically why this wouldn't work with an iPod, which can be accessed as an external Firewire drive and is now available in sizes up to 20 GB, but I haven't tried it. I DO have an external 80 GB Maxtor Firewire drive attached to my iMac and it'll boot the local host machine with the flick of one software switch. BTW you can also make individual partitions on a hard drive bootable; one could be OS X, another the Classic Mac OS, 9.22, for example, or one "clean" install and another partition loaded with all kinds of stuff you want to experiment with without exposing your local drive to any danger.
It's time, Jerry! I'd say the sweet spot for you would be one of the new dual CPU gigahertz PowerMacs with Jaguar pre-loaded. Plenty big, plenty fast, plenty expandable, and not a ton of money even if you have to buy it yourself. MS Word for Mac is readily available as well as most other major software packages and hardware driver sets... the bad old days of no OS X ports are fading fast.
Jaguar is fast, stable, secure, powerful, intuitive and attractive; compared to any flavor of Windows it's just a whole lot more fun to use. And the deeper you go in the OS the more power and features you find... besides the whole suite of "digital hub" applications which ship with every Mac and make it "home entertainment center ready" out of the box.
I really don't think you'd ever regret it.
All the best--
I suspect there will be comments...
Your correpondents wrote:
Think of how many people only own a single CD-R/W disc and they only have that one because it came with the drive. The last time I saw sales figures for CD-R and CD-R/W blanks the ration was over 100:1. The rewritable format could cease to exist tomorrow and a huge number of people who burn CD-Rs daily would never notice. If a DVD+/-R fell below a buck a disc in packs of ten I'd expect to see the trend reproduced.
Ain't gonna happen. The entertainment/extortion business has already got there. Writeable media of all sorts will have the taxes raised on them, because we are all copyright pirates.
In Canada this is part of the Copyright Act, and a Board sets the tax which we must pay on each type of media... as recompense to the 'artists' and 'copyright holders'. The proposed charges are outrageous increase. At present I can buy 100 CDR's for $35 CDN or .14 cents each ex tax. That will become $73 at the same .14 cents each... Oh, BTW, I then will have to pay Provincial Sales Tax and Federal Goods and Services Tax of 15% together, on the already tax-included total.
I understand the same thing is about to happen in the US...
That will change things. I think lots of people would rather then buy some re-usable CDRW's since the price/usability ratio has changed. And similarly for DVD-/+RW's.
So, commencing Jan 1, 2003, taxes on media is Canada will change:
The CPCC has proposed substantially higher rates for the media levy in 2003 and asked it be applied to a larger range of media. Below is a chart of current levy charges and the proposed new charges.
MEDIA TYPE CURRENT LEVY PROPOSED (for 2003/2004)
CD-R & CD-RW (non audio) $0.21 per CD $0.59 per CD ($0.93 per Gigabyte)
Minidisc / CD-R Audio $0.77 per CD/Disc $1.23 per CD/Disc
Cassette tapes (under 40 min.) no levy no levy
Cassette tapes (40 minutes+) $0.29 per tape $0.60 per tape
Flash Memory - Removable no levy 0.8¢ per Megabyte
Flash Memory - Non Removable no levy 2.1¢ per Megabyte
Micro Hard Drives (mp3 players etc)no levy $21.00 per Gigabyte
DVD-R/RW no levy $2.27 for each disc
R. G. Newbury
A LONG piece from Ron Unz:
Today's Boston Globe carried a short piece buried on page B3 that might signal the most important change in American political campaigning in one hundred years.
Some months ago, the political campaign committee organized to defeat our proposed "English" initiative in Massachusetts received a $100,000 check from a Philadelphia- based philanthropy, the Shefa Fund, which they subsequently reported on their financial disclosure statement filed earlier this month.
Since this donation was quite large---representing nearly two-thirds of all the money raised by our opponents during that period---and the name of the donor seemed rather odd for a political committee, I investigated, and quickly learned that just as the name seemed to imply, the Shefa Fund was a 501(c)3 non-profit tax-deductible charitable trust.
Shefa is involved in supporting a wide variety of ultra-progressive political causes, and seems to specialize in acting as a conduit for earmarked donations, in which donors can use Shefa's tax- deductible status to allocate their charitable giving to causes that they find particularly worthy. http://www.shefafund.org/
Fine, I said, but since they are a 501(c)3 charitable trust, their donation to a political campaign is illegal. After all, "everyone knows" that tax-deductible charities can't directly contribute to political campaigns or fund advertising urging a vote one way or the other on a candidate or issue.
All of modern American politics, and the tens of billions of dollars each year donated to tax- deductible 501(c)3s and non-tax-deductible 501(c)4s is built around that fundamental rule. The most junior fundraiser in the smallest city council race knows that donors can't take a tax-deduction on their contributions, and that co-mingling tax- deductible charitable money and non-tax-deductible political money is obvious tax evasion, soon leading to a pinstripe wardrobe, perhaps with Dennis Kozlowski formerly of Tyco as your cellmate.
But sometimes what "everyone knows" just isn't true.
As the Globe article indicates, The Shefa Fund appears to have received an official IRS administrative opinion indicating that they can donate their tax-deductible charitable contributions directly to political campaigns. If this opinion stands, The Shefa Fund's discovery of tax-deductible politics will constitute a financial innovation amounting to a magnitude twenty earthquake in the world of American campaigning.
By following the simple expedient of utilizing a 501(c)3 organization as a conduit (or more pejoratively, as a laundromat) political campaign contributions of any size will immediately become tax-deductible---and since charitable organizations can never be forced to reveal the names of their donors---absolutely anonymous. Only the most ultra-extreme conservatives or libertarians have previously advocated both the elimination of campaign finance limits and campaign finance disclosure laws. Suddenly, a small leftist foundation has made Tom Delay look like Ralph Nader on campaign finance issues.
As one of the investigating reporters mentioned to me, the donor of the $100,000 contribution decided to make his political contribution through The Shefa Fund because he wanted to take a tax- deduction on the money and also wanted to ensure that his name remained secret. These are certainly understandable objectives, which coincidentally apply to probably every other major donor in America, both corporate and individual.
If this unprecedented development stands, any future donor who does NOT use a public charity as a conduit for his campaign donations is a complete and utter fool. I most assuredly regret that all my previous political contributions have not been made through a tax-deductible vehicle.
Consider the obvious implications for both the left and the right.
Several years ago, America's largest tobacco companies spent over thirty million dollars in an effort to pass a California ballot initiative overturning all that state's anti-smoking restrictions. The effort was narrowly defeated, and lost solely because California's disclosure laws allowed the public to learn that the source of the funding was the tobacco industry, which obviously has considerable political baggage. If that tobacco money had instead been funneled through one or more charities with nice-sounding names, not only would the measure surely have passed, but the corporations involved would have effectively received millions in federal and state tax subsidies for their political campaign.
Apply this same reasoning to all the other major corporations in America, especially those in disreputable areas such as gambling, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, pornography, and industrial pollution. Political liberals should take careful note.
So should conservatives. Most of America's largest charitable foundations---Ford, MacArthur, Packard, Gates---are heavily dominated by liberals, whose views on social issues are especially troubling to the Right. Since these organizations have combined liquid assets in the hundreds of billions of dollars and are explicitly charged with freely spending that money to promote the policies they advocate, they have long been a source of great fear to under-funded conservatives, whose own foundations are negligible in size by comparison.
Suppose that the Ford Foundation suddenly discovered that it was free to write a small check of $100 million or $200 million to fund political campaigns aimed at enacting sweeping gun control laws in states and cities North to South, and the MacArthur Foundation decided to spend a similar sum to legalize gay marriage throughout the country?
Given this plausible scenario, I would expect Tom Delay may soon start *sounding* like Ralph Nader on campaign finance issues.
Furthermore, 501(c)3s are not only tax-deductible and completely anonymous, but have absolutely no restrictions on the sources of their funds. Forget those typical bogeymen of the Left and Right--- corporations and unions---and consider foreign governments, including potentially hostile foreign governments?
If this bizarre administrative decision by the IRS regarding The Shefa Fund had become widely known some time ago, perhaps by this point in the election cycle we would have seen Republican candidates throughout America buried under an avalanche of harshly negative television issue advertising focusing on social security and abortion rights, but entirely funded by one or more innocuously named 501(c)3s that had received their $500 million advertising budget via direct wire transfer from Baghdad, or perhaps routed through Switzerland or the Cayman Islands.
501(c)3s are under absolutely no legal requirement to disclose the names of their donors, and generally don't even have to file any reports at all more than once a year. By that time, the election involved in long over.
I suspect that the world---and certainly Congress-- -may soon become very familiar with the name of the highly-innovative Shefa Fund of Philadelphia.
Campaign finance regulations share with accounting regulations the important distinction of being among the least interesting and most important rules in our society. The regulatory issues raised by this small story buried on the inside pages of the local news section are similar to those obscure matters of revenue and expense recognition that over the last couple of years have cost American investors some seven trillion dollars of their savings and may even now be propelling our country into a deep, deep recession.
Perhaps journalist will pay greater attention when one small $100,000 check from one small leftwing organization has become a flood of tens or hundreds of millions of similar dollars during the next election cycle.
On more mundane matters, several pieces in yesterday and today's editions of the major Boston papers dealt with the potential impact of the "English" initiative on the close Gubernatorial race between Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Shannon O'Brien. As articles and editorials both note, their conflicting views on that measure actually constituted the only real point of substantive policy disagreement during their first official debate
If so, then Democrats should be quite worried. Another article in yesterday's Boston Globe described how a local group of working-class Democrats---the perceived base of the state party-- -were surprisingly divided between the two candidates. Furthermore, even the local Democrat who remained most loyal to his party's candidate actually agreed with her Republican opponent on the question of "English."
This anecdotal data merely confirms the enormously strongly and bipartisan support that "English" has consistently registered in Massachusetts surveys, both my own and those of major media organizations.
By some measures, Massachusetts is the most liberal Democratic state in America. Opportunistic politicians everywhere will surely take careful note of the election results this November, both regarding our "English" initiative and the major candidates who share its ballot.
Ron Unz, Chairman English for the Children http://www.onenation.org/column.cfm
"Bilingual foes fault donation" Anand Vaishnav, Boston Globe Thursday, September 26, 2002
Leaders of a ballot initiative to end bilingual education in Massachusetts filed a complaint against their opponents yesterday, claiming that the pro-bilingual campaign received an illegal donation from a Philadelphia nonprofit.
The complaint with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance states that the Committee for Fairness to Children and Teachers, or FACT, reported a donation of $100,000 from The Shefa Fund, a Jewish philanthropic foundation. The complaint charges that the donation is illegal because the fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that is prohibited by federal tax codes from donating to political causes.
''If this precedent is allowed to stand, we would expect millions of dollars in anonymous tax- deductible contributions to henceforth flow into all future Massachusetts political campaigns,'' said Lincoln Tamayo, head of English for the Children of Massachusetts, which filed the complaint.
But an Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman said the contribution appears to be legal. The law forbids nonprofits like The Shefa Fund from donating to political candidates, but they can give money for lobbying purposes or political campaigns involved in a referendum like Question 2, the bilingual ballot question.
|This week:||Tuesday, October
There is a fair amount of mail, and I've just had to rebuild these machines.
I understand that the reason Israel keeps attacking Arafat's compound is that terrorists flee there for sanctuary. I also understand that, contrary to what has been promised by the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian security forces have been participating in terror and protecting the terrorists rather than attempting to stop the them.
And, yes, Israel does want Arafat out in hopes of getting a new Palestinian leader with whom they can deal.
BTW, I think that I got the same bug you did. Not fun. I hope I can recover before Thursday - I have a job interview! Yea!
If there is any evidence of all that, then the remedy is not to trash his headquarters, but to arrest him. Holding him responsible while taking away his means of control makes little sense to me, and I fear your explanation doesn't cover those facts.
re: I do not call firing rockets into crowded streets in retaliation for suicide bombs going off in crowded streets swift surgery.
Well, a cancer surgeon might disagree...
What incident are you refering to? I don't recall any recent mass killing of civilians by Israeli rockets.
As the the "High Moral Ground" -- as long as minimizing Palestinian civilan casualties is a major issue in both strategic and tactical planning, then Israel DOES maintain it.
But when those civilians harbor known terrorists -- and they KNOW that the possibility exists for an Israeli attack -- then they are hardly innocent bystanders.
The situation was, I think, that a car was traveling down a crowded street. Rockets were fired at it. Civilians including children were killed. The man the rockets were intended for escaped. Now true enough, this is considerably better than carpet bombing the entire street, but I do not think it is the best way to hold the moral high ground. The decision clearly was that it was better to have a chance at getting that individual than to hold fire because there were civilians in the area. The result of that is difficult to predict; it may intimidate the Palestinians, it may stimulate more including girls to take up suicide bombing. I'm glad I don't have to decide these things. More below.
On 25th September, snow fell in the Munich area of Germany. This is the first time that snow has fallen there, in September, since 1442.
This is consistent with the recent flooding incidents where low pressure systems were tracking further south than normal, an indicator of cooling rather than warming.
September 27, 2002
Weather Eye: September 27, 2002 by paul simons
A BLAST of winter came early to the Alps on Tuesday night, when a bitterly cold storm dropped two feet of snow on Austria's Sonnblick mountains. Stranger still, the storm also left Munich under snow, the earliest autumn snowfall since 1442. At that time Henry VI ruled England and a chunk of France, while the rather laidback Austrian king, Frederick III, was more interested in astrology than ruling his country.
Across Europe, the climate had been proving to be a growing problem, when a run of severe winters in the 1430s crippled vineyards and wine production plunged from the halcyon days of the previous century.
The snowfall of September 1442 heralded a cruel winter that lasted well into May. Chroniclers of the time described how large rivers like the Rhine were frozen for three months and snow lay on the ground for eight months. A thaw did not arrive until the last week of May.
This period in the early 1400s was the start of a spectacularly cold epoch called the Little Ice Age, which lasted on and off until the 1800s. In Europe, glaciers grew larger, trees retreated from the Arctic regions and there were frequent famines as harvests failed in the cold, wet weather.
The comparison between solar activity and global temp. on the Lund Space Weather website ( http://www.lund.irf.se/HeliosHome/earthlow.html ) looks interesting. What I can't figure out is how the watermelons will blame terrestrial pollution for causing increases in solar activity.
Solar activity is probably the key to climate.
Saw a message from Drew Parkhill about not being able to change the title bar in windows from blue to another color and alos about not being able to make the title bars two colors that fade together.
This is simply not true and can be found under the properties for the screen. Properties, Appearance, Advanced. It is all there.
I never looked for it. Thanks. And then we have:
Regarding changing the Windows Title Bar colors, discussed in recent mails.
While the ability is there in the advanced features, it must be understood that in order for it to work you must have selected 'Windows Classic Style', for Windows and Buttons, before changing the colors in 'Advanced'.
The color selections have no effect if 'Windows XP Style' is selected.
Which makes sense. Again I have tried none of this.
I have been a reader of yours since the earliest days of Byte and have followed Chaos Manor from the original to the present incarnation.
You say you are tempted to try Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and the Builtin firewall in Win2k. ICS is okay and should work reliably for your network. However the firewall in Win2k is at the incorrect layer in the stack to provide the same protection as your current WinProxy. That is, the Win2k firewall will protect the computer running the gateway ICS, but will NOT protect any other computers on the network.
ZoneAlarm has a similar failing. Both of these firewalls are truly personal and have NO enterprise or network aware features.
I use Tiny Personal, but it is only slightly better then ZoneAlarm. Probably you would need to run Sygate, or start looking at a Linux firewall running behind the ICS computer. Here the Linux firewall would use the ICS Win2K computer as its gateway, but all other Chaos Manor computers would use the Linux firewall (router) as their gateway computer (double NATting).
ICS IP 192.168.0.1 Linux Firewall Eth1 192.168.0.16 Linux Firewall Eth2 192.168.1.1 CM Computer1 192.168.1.x CM Computer2 192.168.1.y
All computer would need the gateway and dns configuration details entered manually. The whole problem would largely go away if Hughes would release a Linux compliant version of their satellite client initialization software.
John Davidson South Mountain, ON
Even more interesting, WinProxy began working again. I did NOTHING to make that happen. Just left it off for a week and turned the satellite system back on. Hurrah and all that.
You have mentioned before now your problems with getting a xDSN connection. It popped up again in the latest column. Think yourself lucky you do not live in Lincolnshire.
All aDSL in the UK is handled by British Telecom, although they sell it on to ISPs in one of those government-regulated simulations of the open market. They also sell a 512Mb/s satellite system (a V.S.A.T - no dial-up uplink stuff). Only they don't. Sell it that is. You can bully them into sending details, but no prices and no promises. Oh and anyway it has a monthly Gb limit that you could reach in a couple of days.
My local exchange is rumoured to be equipped for DSL, but they are not connecting subscribers. In deference to the Regulator they are now counting "pre-registrations" and have set a threshold of 400. Not 400 for the area code, which is a "linked numbering scheme" but 400 per sub-exchange installation. There are 8,000 homes served by the largest unit.
Years ago I was a telephone engineer for thier predecessors, the General Post Office. The GPO priced phone lines and calls in order to discourage calls or connections. The infrastructure had been planned by civil servants between 1930 and 1952, on the assumption that only the upper middle class would have telephones. There was not enough exchange or trunk capacity for the demand - by about four to one - so prices were high and the waiting list was years. Sound familiar?
I am convinced that in Britain, at least, the roll-out of xDSL is being stopped to avoid revealling shortcomings in the backbone structure. I have been told by two engineers that it will be "at least 20 years" before we get xDSL services on domestic lines.
BT won't tell you that in writing, though. I was looking at setting up a community wireless system over a small area with a T2 high speed line, and selling it The costs only make sense over 10 years, of course. And even then the subscriber rates are high. My principle competitor (and T2 provider) could let me prove the market and then use his monopoly position to drown me in cheaper wired solutions in under a year. The banks won't look at it.
Then there is the peculiar attitude to domestic customers. I have put in iSDN to my home as an alternative. Not a cheap or particularly good one - the UK ISPs will not _let_ you bundle lines to get the full 128K. When and if they decide to roll out aDSL to our town, I will have to pay £400 to have the iSDN removed, then they will test the line for noise before deciding if they can let me have aDSL. or rather rDSL, as I live more than 3Km from the exchange. If the line test is unsuccesful I will have to pay £129 for the re-connection of my iSDN service.
Oh yes. And you remember I said they were counting "pre-registrations" for thier target of 400 customers? In order to "pre-register" I have to place an order for the conversion with them. I have to agree to pay some as-yet unspecified sum at some indeterminate time - that may be years in the future - with no option to cancel if my circumstances change.
On top of that, there is a guarantee of a telephone service, including my iSDN, with compensation for disconnections longer than a few hours. There is no service guarantee at all for xDSL. It would be perfectly possible for you to be without service for a month, and still be liable for the cost of it.
The BT management have a serious case to answer. xDSL hardware is a "quick bodge" based on research done for TV-on-demand distribution by phone companies. For something like 30 years the BT labs at Martlesham, Suffolk, worked on a variety of TV-on-demand systems. In every case the idea foundered because they could not make universal provision: the only areas of the country they could guarantee a service were the same inner cities where cable TV was either practical or extant. But the management at BT funded this research for years. Had the boffins ever come up with something it could never have been marketed, because the self-same management had never provided the bandwidth between exchanges that it would have demanded, and which broadband domestic services now so desparately needs.
By the way, telephone charges in the UK are among the highest in the world. The money appears to have been squandered: a few years ago BT sold every single bit of real estate they owned and started renting it back, because they were so badly in debt. Some of it went in paying over the odds for 3G mobile licences - but a great deal of it had already been spent on ridiculous schemes like the purchase and subsequent dumping of a succession of US telephone operators. Between the ISP and the phone charges my 64K isdn connection costs between 60 and 70 pounds per month. rDSL, if I could get it, would be perhaps 130 or 150 pounds per month. It would be cheaper to get a 3G mobile, except thier claim of 2Mb/s when they bid for the licences was technically inaccurate - or to put it another way, a lie.
I suspect I will never see broadband at home in my lifetime. And meanwhile web sites continue to be converted to flash and other over-bloated form-over-content formats, and take minutes to load. So In the end I will go back to reading newspapers and walking the dog.
Thanks for the columns down the years, Bob Harvey
God bless us, every one. Thanks
And for pure fun:
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
There is an article on ice blocks weighing about ten kilograms (22 pounds) falling from the sky at http://www.msnbc.com/news/81400.asp?0dm=-23ET . Jesus Martinez-Frias of Spain blames global warming, uses computer modeling yo back his theory, and claims that it is not waste water from aircraft. Sr. Martinez-Frias has every right to his theories until someone proves him wrong. I do not think this has been done. Although the article is serious, the idea of ice blocks falling on ecological alarmists is too good to pass up.
William L. Jones wljones @dallas.net
Gee Jerry, and here you thought Fallen Angels was merely satire. It may yet prove to be prophetic.
It is fairly clear that the climate is indeed warming and has been warming for some time now. What is not clear is what causes such changes in climate. There does seem to be a parallel between sunspot activity and temperature, but I guess the jury is still out. It is fairly clear to those who can look at the evidence without bias that human activity has had little effect on global temperature thus far.
It is fascinating to for instance, watch documentaries produced by greens who offer among their evidence the fact that glaciers have been receding for the last 150 years, then maintain that human industrialization is causing the warming. Our industrial activity could not possibly have had any influence on glacial recession 150 years ago. In the evidence presented by the greens themselves is proof of the fallacy of their contention.
It is with utterly no stretch of my imagination that I can see the greens, during the onset of another ice age, stating that the ice age was caused by global warming which was caused by human activity so we must immediately stop such 'warming' activity. Exactly what you wrote about in Fallen Angels.
Do you think the US would mind 35 million Canadian immigrants? We're quite literate and English speaking (most of us). We're very good at building nuclear power plants and we would not be much motivated to give credence to the greens. Pretty please?
I think we would have no choice.
Ice is nice, and will suffice....
But maybe not?
If there is a small ice age in the work, I'd like for someone to tell the weatherman up here.
It's October 1st, and it is currently 27 degrees Celsius outside. This is Montreal, Canada, also known as "the Great White North." :)
--- Marc A. Vezina
The truth is we do not KNOW, and it is probably more important than squashing Saddam Hussein that we find out. I don't mean that Saddam is unimportant. I mean that this is IMPORTANT.
I did find this: http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0lmw0
Whether this is sufficient evidence, you'll have to decide. I also fear that my explanation doesn't cover the facts - I wish I knew a lot more about the subject than I do. It's tough trying to find the facts.
Thanks Dr Pournelle for a great website!
Mark Menth (commenting on above)
Well I have no strong doubts that the Palestinian Authority is in league with terrorists; certainly it has been in the past. My question is, what should be done? Humiliating Arafat, and taking away from him all means of control while insisting that he exercise control is not an obviously good strategy. It may BE a good strategy, but if so it is beyond my ken.
On this subject I can only say that it looks as if both Israel and Palestine are working to get everyone else to say "A pox on both your houses." Perhaps that is the plan?
And we hear:
Company Pushes SF&F Films reated By-literary agent Ralph Vicinanza's producing company for his list of SF and fantasy authors-has signed a first-look deal with DreamWorks, Variety columnist Michael Fleming reported. Vicinanza represents works by authors that include Stephen King, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov.
Vicinanza and his Hollywood-based counterpart Vince Gerardis have set the Jerry Pournelle novel Birth of Fire with James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment and, subject to a studio deal, have Ron Bass ready to adapt the Robin Hobb trilogy Liveship Traders, Fleming reported. Vicinanza has also enlisted Blade writer David Goyer onto three book projects, including Robert Sawyer's A Flash Forward, which Goyer hopes to produce and direct.
Created By is fueled by a library of more than 10,000 SF&F titles dating back 60 years. Vicinanza founded and funded Created By because he was so frustrated with the treatment those authors got from Hollywood, Fleming reported.
The firm is behind the deal with Shrek co-director Andrew Adamson and co-writer Joe Stillman to develop a computer-animated film based on Terry Pratchett's Truckers, Diggers & Wings for DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg. The company also brought in Black Hawk Down writer Ken Nolan to write a lengthy "scripment" for the Greg Bear novel Forge of God for Warner Brothers.
The information in this transmission is intended to be totally
worthless and devoid of any benefit to anyone with the
exception of, possibly, the intended recipient. If you
received this communication in error or if you accidentally
read it when it wasn't addressed to you, then please
immediately delete all of your saved game files and email
addresses and then energetically beat yourself about the head
and shoulders with a recent technology publication of your
choice. All other more intelligent actions taken in response
to this information are prohibited, so there.
I'd heard that too, but I haven't been able to comment...
October 2, 2002
Just a quick update in case you hadn't seen it, regarding a story that appeared on your last week's mail page.
Turns out the material seized in Turkey wasn't uranium after all.
Good news if not astonishing. Thanks.
Just a suggestion regarding your inability to contact your own web site etc. I think you mentioned recently that you had to change domain hosts. You might want to check and see if WinProxy created (or modified) the HOSTS file. Many times, that file can get addresses hard coded and then will not find them when that actual address changes. The DNS info is out of date.
Except that it worked find for months after I changed hosts. Then for a while it did not work. Now it works again. In each case I did nothing to change the situation. Thanks, I suspected and suspect DNS problems but don't know what knobs to twist.
Here's a theory about the crash of TWA flight 800 (and others) that makes good sense, that comes from a reputable and reliable source, and that threatens more deadly crashes.
http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/tg21/hazard.html -- ---- Gary R. Utter, firstname.lastname@example.org
"Never bring a boxcutter to a jihad."
I thought you would be interested to note that Steve Ballmer also cannot get DSL. http://www.wininformant.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=26799
I have read your column in print and on the internet regularly for several years. I now support my computer technology addiction as an iterinant support person for SOHO users in Los Angeles, but still identify with your adventures in chaos. Thanks for years of entertaining information. I have indeed avoided doing things, because you have.
Your DSL frustration has particularly interested me. Because of clients in North Hollywood, I know that availability has spread rapidly across your area in recent months. I'll pray for you. ;-)
By the way, Extreme DSL, which offers a static IP address, is pretty good deal, for relatively cheap at $40/month. And, a business line from PacBell (SBC), which gets you five IP addresses, is also good, for not so cheap. When you have the option . . .
Well they are putting in some kind of ADSL line now that is supposed to do the job. . I should have that in weeks. We will see. They put in a new switch in January 2003, and then I have all those options.
Dear Mr. Pournelle:
I read your comments about being able to access everything except your own domain in this week's column. I have also seen this happen to one person here at the University of Delaware. This was a year or two ago. The customer was a spouse of a faculty member. He was a researcher at another university in a nearby city. When he was at work during the week, he set up an ethernet connection with a static IP and DNS configuration. On weekends here in Delaware, he dialed in with his spouse account to the UD modem pool. When he was here, connected through his account, he could access everything except his mailserver and webserver. I spoke with network security folks both here and at his institution, and they both assured me that nothing was being blocked between our domain and theirs. So we experimented a little more and found that if I took out the static information from his ethernet configuration it solved the problem. It seems that in Windows (his version at least; I think he was using Windows 98) the connection information from one connection was bleeding over into other unrelated connections.
I hope you find this information helpful, if only to know that someone else has seen the same thing. You are the only person who has related a similar story to this one.
Debbie Durant I.T. User Services University of Delaware email@example.com
Curious. All I know is that is has now fixed itself...
From Michael Flynn:
IIRC, the suspect was thought to be in a certain apartment building, not travelling in a car, and the rockets were directed at the building, killing a number of residents plus some passers-by on the street below. This was maybe a couple of months ago. I don't recall if they got the suspect or not.
But the argument that "those who shelter or cheer" are legitimate targets is a familiar one. Al-Qaeda, for example, uses it. And a website called (iirc) nonviolence.org argued in an essay that since in a democracy the government is at the service of the people, the people are legitimate targets for those with a grievance against the government's acts. Sic transit WTC.
And Roland has a question:
Which circle for public school administrators?
Which is interesting....
October 3, 2002
Dear Jerry: For those who need a reminder of what Islam truly thinks of majority rule need go no further than a scholarly exposition and defense of Islamic political thought written by in May of 2000 by Prince Faisal Al-Saud a major scion of the House of Saud in Saudi- Arabia.It appears on-line in the Arab News at: http://www.arabnews.com/Static/Review.asp.It
Especially note para 14 beginning "The foundation.... and the para just above the Summary. It makes clear that the ideas of democracy, majority rule, secularism and such are inconsistent with the unified state religion that is central to Islam.
We need to wake up because militant Islam is rampant everywhere.see: http://www.domini.org/openbook/home.htm
Best wishes Sandy Sottilare Vero Beach,Florida
These have been sitting here to be posted for a while:
Video of a Project Orion test available on the web
(If that wraps, try the link from http://www.instapundit.com/archives/003689.php#003689 )
Direct link to the video is http://www.techcentralstation.com/1051/images/20020911-video.WMV , but for some reason, it will not open in Mozilla 1.1 . Aaaarrrgghhh.
Your readers might be interested in this.
Wilders.org has compiled a list -- with links -- to various security tools available for free on the web at http://www.wilders.org/free_tools.htm
This saves a lot of time and hassle looking for these individually, plus has stuff that I didn't even know (but should have known) existed; such as add-ons for programs like Zone Alarm that make reading the logs easier, converts IP addresses to host names, etc.
This is definitely worth looking at.
PS - I don't know how long this has been available. I just found out about it via today's issue of W2K News.
Nimoy the Hobbit
The link I sent out earlier is no longer working, so here's a working one for those of you that missed it.
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
It is a 4 MB QuickTime Video, so it will take about 20 minutes to download with a 28.8 kbps connection, and a little over 2 minutes with a 256 kbps DSL connection.
Winows users -- right click on the link to the video, select "Save target as..." to save the video for off-line viewing.
Macintosh users -- open the video, select "File" from the browswer menu, and "Save as..." (at least it works on my OS X iLamp with Internet Explorer. I don't know about earlier Mac operating systems.)
- To: Denver Mad Scientists <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: [DMSC] Leonard Nimoy "Hobbit" video
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid...
(4 MB QuickTime video.)
meteors in the news
But it would be a pointless waste of money to build a meteor defense, and building a missile defense would "force" other nations to attack the US, right?
Michael Z. Williamson
-- "Freehold" by Michael Z. Williamson, June 2003 from Baen Books http://www.sharppointythings.com Custom knives and historical costumes -- Many politicians are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition, that no people ought to be free till they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learned to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait forever. -- Lord Thomas McCaulay
Today was spent getting iDSL installed. Which worked.
October 5, 2002
Virus Name: W32.Bugbear@mm Category: 4 Virus Definitions: 9/30/02 Type: Worm Infection Length: 50,688 bytes Subject Line: varies Attachment name: varies, with double extension ending in .exe, .scr, or .pif
Systems Affected: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Me Systems Not Affected: Macintosh, Unix, Linux
Also Known As: W32/Bugbear-A [Sophos], WORM_BUGBEAR.A [Trend], Win32.Bugbear [CA], W32/Bugbear@MM [McAfee], I-Worm.Tanatos [AVP], W32/Bugbear [Panda], Tanatos [F-Secure]
This virus is a mass-mailer and also can spread through network shares. Email subject lines and attachment names vary. The email may be blank, or may include text. Besides spreading, this virus also drops a keystroke logger and a backdoor program. It also attempts to disable various antivirus and firewall software. When spreading through network shares, the virus may flood shared printer resources, which causes them to print garbage or disrupt their normal functionality.
Symantec's information about this virus can be found
Thanks to Joe Zeff
Subject: Fallen Angels
Having just re-read this excellent book, it disturbs me to no end how prophetical you and your fellow authors have been. As our "regular people" school boards authorize "Creationism" as a science to be taught to our children, and our society strives mightily to be uninformed about real science and technology we may well be approaching the mini ice age mentioned at the tail end of your book.
What a sad world we live in, where the overriding goal is leasure and the biggest challenge to the masses is surviving their fatness. Sigh.
Good luck with your iDSL - and may it become ADSL someday soon :)
There is a new hardbound edition of Fallen Angels out from Baen Books
That seems to be the way WinProxy works. I used it for about 6 to 8 months just fine. Then, for no apparent reason, I started having connection problems (at the time, I had a dialup modem setup). I did a complete uninstall and then a reinstall. That did not work. Finally, I installed a spare HD, loaded the operating system (W2K), then loaded Win Proxy, and it worked just fine (again). Fearful that I would go through the same thing again down the road, I then bought a LinkSys router and connected that between my cable modem and the 8 port switch. So far, this setup has been working just fine for almost two years now. WinProxy has a good idea, but just cannot seem to get the bugs worked out. – John -
Dunno. But I may not have to use it any more. I'll hang on to the satellite for a few weeks to be sure this new system works, and it is useful for really big downloads; but the 144K iDSL isn't bad... and uses the Linux box as firewall and router.
Rather than raising tariffs, I believe abolishing the income tax and instituting a national retail sales tax would be far more beneficial. Not only would domestically produced goods become more competitive, it would be done in a fashion which would not justify retaliatory action against our exports.
There are many other benefits of a national retail sales tax over even a flat rate income tax. Visit "www.fairtax.org" for more information on this subject.
Saw your commentary today on free trade and bell curves. It made me think of the following:
1) Free trade as a concept may be to "Free trade" as the term is commonly used the same way capitalism is to Capitalism as espoused by, say, Lee Iacocca (remember him?): "competition is the lifeblood of America, up until the time that >>my<< ox is about to get gored, then there's a bunch of real good reasons why the government needs to step in to keep my business afloat".
It's a pity when terms get hijacked to mean things other than what they were originally meant to be :).
2) Your discussion about IQ distributions reminded me of the following saying: "Just because you don't know anyone from the left-hand side of the bell curve doesn't mean they're not there."
- Mark mark@ arcabama.com
Sales taxes are regressive, and are taxes on everything. They require collection. Tariff is collectible at the port of entry, and is only a tax on imports. Clearly too high a tariff encourages inefficient domestic industry. Too low, it seems to me, requires that we collect the revenue it would raise from someone else.
Gary Utter recommended the Thomas Gold discussion on methane pockets causing TWA800 and other air disasters near the continental shelf.
I first encountered this theory in Jay Gourley's "The Great Lakes Triangle" written in 1977. I am wondering if it has been proposed earlier than that. I also wonder if the Great Lakes are suitable for methane hydrate crystals to accumulate.
In the book, he documented a cluster of "sea" and air incidents comparable to the "Bermuda Triangle". Many of them fell into three groups. Unexplained fires, surprise loss of buoyancy, and truly bonehead decisions by people who should know better. He speculated that sudden deep underwater releases of methane could cause all three effects. The Gold article doesn't discuss hypoxia when oxygen replacement by methane would reduce the ability of the pilot to respond to unexpected situations. Hypoxia sneaks up on you.
Does anyone know of a source older than Gourley in 1977 of the possibility of methane pockets rising through water or air as a cause of "mystery" accidents?
Greg Goss mailto:gossg @gossg.org
Tom Gold is worth listening to, but he is controversial. I have no expertise in any of this.
...And think again about the cost of exporting jobs. I am more and more of the opinion that Free Trade is an illusion. As to alternatives, I am not so certain. I keep being pushed toward a flat 10% tariff on all imported goods: high enough to protect some jobs and industries, low enough that really inefficient industries feel the pressure. I have absolutely no magical commitment to the 10% number.
I have always been of the libertarian viewpoint, and have argued that point before, but have always been fully aware of the impossibility of imposing a libertarian solution "cold turkey" onto a system which has been non-libertarian for many years.
While I support free trade as a principle, I also am coming to understand that pure free trade and movement across borders is kust not going to work in a situation where there are billions of low-tech, low-wage workers waiting outside the borders for their piece of the action.
Maybe if free trade had started out as a worldwide principle 200 years ago, it might be different now, with a much more homogenous distribution of wealth, population and labor around the world. Yeah, and if I had a Brown I could fix this stupid chair.
Your solution would work as well as any, but is as unlikely as a flat tax, since every major industry would immediately petition their congressmen for either a higher tariff or an exemption from one. Probably on the same import in many cases.
Wish I had a better idea, but I don't. Muddling through seems to be our only choice until other nations catch up.
From Friday you say:
A Democratic National Committee web site shows President Bush pushing an aging lady in a wheel chair over a cliff. This is known as responsible campaigning, good clean fun I am sure.
I've been reading the site for awhile and have been a fan of your fiction for a long time (been waiting more than 10 years for you to get Mamelukes done) and more often than not I've agreed with your views, even though I lean more left in the political spectrum. I'm not married to the Democrat or liberal party line, but I'm less likely to agree with the Republican line. That said, I think mentioning the dirty tricks played by Democrats and not presenting the case that this is done by both sides often and seemingly with impunity was disingenuous. The Republicans use dirty tricks every bit as often, and often with even worse imagery and dishonesty. Maybe you don't remember the push polling done by Bush's campaign in the So. Carolina primary, where they were able to accuse John McCain of being a child molester and his wife a drug addict without actually saying they were these things. It may well have been the thing that got Bush the nomination. Of course, Bush himself was busy saying his integrity was beyond even questioning. Not to mention Willie Horton and a host of other ads he was involved in during his father's campaign.
The sad fact is that both sides practice abhorrent and dishonest practices in getting their guys elected. Campaign finance reform might have helped, but the Republicans and the Federal Election Commission are busy trying to make the law useless even though enacted. Both sides equally love pork, they just have different constituencies to which they hand out federal largesse. Both sides apparently think all is fair when it comes to getting their side elected. You yourself have often called the Republicans "The Stupid Party"; I find myself at least marginally supporting the other party who does many of the same things. Sad that we each seem to accept the current state of affairs and don't demand better from our elected leaders. But lets at least be honest and admit that neither side holds the moral high ground in campaigns and even in office.
An interesting link about Jeb Bush and his disingenous positions that he doesn't want to admit before the election; apparently he didn't realize there was a reporter with a tape recorder in the room even though she was introduced to him at the meeting and she's been covering him in Talahassee for the last three years:
Seems his positions during the campaign and his real positions aren't exactly the same thing. So much for the unquestionable Bush integrity.
My first time writing in, though I've been tempted more than once.
Still a fan,
Well, perhaps; but you know, there is no shortage of places that will report Republican follies. It's a bit different with the other view. In one recent poll 90% of accredited journalists call themselves liberal, so I do not think you will lack for people to tell you when the Republicans make a mistake. At the same time, I would have thought showing the President of the United States personally pushing an old lady in a wheelchair over a cliff was, perhaps, just a little, over the top. Perhaps not.
In any event I don't make a habit of looking at modern political propaganda because most of it is dull.
Nimoy Baggins movie - link is down, here's a mirror
and of course a search on Google for "bbaggins.mov" produces many more mirrors.
I wonder if they removed the link because of heavy traffic, or for some other nefarious (read: copyright) reason? In any case the web page containing the movie link is still there, it's just the movie that's missing.
Thanks. If it's piracy I don't want to be involved of course.
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