THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
Friday, June 02, 2006
View 406 March 20 - 26, 2006
Highlights this week:
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March 20, 2006
Tomorrow is the spring equinox
It got both busy and slothful here over the weekend.
Continuing a series on what I would do if I were emperor of these United States.
Abolish federal aid to education, except in the District of Columbia and of course on military bases. In DC I would eliminate all welfare: you have no inherent right to live in the Capital. If you don't have a job or other means of support, move out.
Now eliminate all unionism in civil service and education in the District and in military base schools. Abolish tenure in the DC school system; pay whatever it takes to get teachers who are willing to perform in order to be paid. There will be plenty of them. Set up a school system that works. If that requires chopping the District into a dozen smaller school districts with locally elected boards, do that, but we will also have a Capitol Hill district with appointed Board. The notion is to set up schools that work. If the rest of the country wants to copy the new education system that's good, but it won't be paid for by the national government.
Get the borders under control. Get the Melting Pot working again: The notion that one can learn to be an American, and should will now govern. Leave much of the enforcement of immigration status to local governments with the understanding that if local services are overwhelmed by illegals using those services, the Federal Government will help in enforcement of immigration status laws. In other words, if your hospitals and schools are overloaded with illegals, the Federal Government will help by more vigorous enforcement of immigration status laws.
Meanwhile, English will be the only language for election to any Federal office, and the only official language in Federal offices in general. If you need a translator, get one, and we'll try to be helpful, but English is the official language of these United States.
I would then go through the budget eliminating federal entitlements. Since the goal is to cut Federal taxes and leave as much money in the States as possible, the States can compete on providing entitlements, which they get to pay for. Meanwhile we have a legal commission go through all the old court decisions trying to equalize entitlements among the states and reverse them. If States want to impose residency requirements as a condition of receiving public assistance, that is the business of that State (as it was before Earl Warren got into the act). Thus there will be states that want to soak the rich to provide entitlements for the masses, and states that do not, and the rich are free to move wherever they like.
The goal of all this is to rebuild the Melting Pot while restoring some freedoms to the states and to the people (Tenth Amendment and all that). That will take longer than the life of one emperor, but these are steps in the right direction.
|This week:||Tuesday, March
Equinox, Sort of
Equinox doesn't mean what you think it does, and doesn't happen when you
think it should, but this is still the first day of Spring. For more on
In case you didn't see this, regarding the Tunguska event and global warming:
http://www.physorg.com/news11710.html gives the theory.
Note, though, that the standard response does not respond to the data on late 19th Century cooling Shaidurov presents. I have no way of verifying his measures, but if they are true, and if that trend changed in the early part of the 20th Century, this requires comment. One possible comment is that his data are just plain incorrect, with some argument to that effect. What is not acceptable is dismissing the data.
Long ago I did an essay on The Voodoo Sciences, which is worth your attention if you have not seen it before. There is a small discussion of this in an earlier view. The important principle here is that real science covers all the data.
I am out of time so I won't get to the essay I intended today. I was going to begin by saying that nearly everything I learned in clinical psychology classes in graduate school in the early 1950's was the bunk, although I was fortunate to have one class in which the textbook was Henderson and Gillespie, A Textbook of Psychiatry, 7th Edition; this was largely because the emphasis in my graduate school was on physiological science rather than Freudian voodoo. In those days Freud was still very much respected. In those days I could see there was as much evidence for the truth of Hubbard's Dianetics as for Freud. This was before the transmogrification into Scientology, when Hubbard's book was held up as science, and indeed made as much sense as Freud. Freud postulated non-existent mental structures, just as Hubbard did. Jung added collective unconscious, as Hubbard did. None of this was science, but that wasn't clear at the time. Well, it was clear, but it was a bit difficult for one graduate student to oppose the entire intellectual and scientific establishment of the country, and while it was easy to ridicule Hubbard's Dianetics -- Martin Gardiner did that well in Fads and Fallacies -- when you pointed out that the same arguments could be applied to Uncle Ziggy you would find yourself in real trouble.
In other words, psychology in those days was Voodoo science.
Apparently it still is, and apparently the psychiatrists are in on it. In particular we have a local case of a man diagnosed with adult ADD; the drugs he is given have made him find himself. Finding himself consists of quitting his job, living at his parents' home, suing his working wife for spousal support and making her sell the house so he can have his share, not paying child support, and in general using his 'disability' so he can stay on drugs. Legal drugs. He has found himself, with the help of the physicians.
Apparently this is science. Telling a man he is no longer a man, and has no responsibilities, is old wives tale stuff. Modern science lets you find yourself even if what you find is being a moral monster, and modern science supports, apparently, the notion of "equality" so that a woman with two kids has to sell her house to support the legal drug habit of the man who found himself.
So I do have this request: I don't want speculation, but some of you are in or were very recently in graduate school in psychology or psychiatry. What are the standard textbooks today? What do graduate students in clinical psychology learn now? And what do psychiatrists learn that makes it a reasonable thing to let a man find himself with drugs that allow him to feel good about quitting his job and beggaring his wife and children? What are the textbooks that teach this?
It seemed a bit confused so I asked
Mr. Hellewell for his interpretation, which is:
The person was preparing a report for the nuclear site company, and copied files to his laptop (or perhaps a USB drive; the reports are varied on this) to take them home to work on. He also had the Winny P2P program installed, and had probably configured it to share the same folder that he put the nuclear files in. So when he connected at home, the Winny P2P program shared all the files in that folder, and someone found them and got them.
Although the Japanese nuclear agency has a policy about copying confidential information, it's apparently not well-enforced.
There is a virus called "Antinny" which uses the Winny P2P network spread itself.The Winny user has to manually download/open a file to install the virus. When installed, then "shares" itself to other Winny users. It's a Japanese language worm; Winny is also a Japanese language program. The various descriptions of this virus are not clear as to it's function, other than to spread to others via the Winny P2P program.
I don't think that it is clear that the Winny virus is the cause of the leak of the confidential data. I think that the user put the confidential files in a Winny-shared folder, and that's how those files were spread.
So it's another example of the danger of P2P programs, and the need to have current anti-virus. Along with the problem of confidential data leaking out via the improper actions of users. From a security standpoint, USB drives are a big source of leaks .... and most companies are hiding their heads in the sand about the security issues with USB drives.
Regards, Rick Hellewell
A reader asked me about LCD
monitors and color balance. I advised him to read David Em on the subject.
Wow, I am embarrassed to
say that I have never read David's columns before. I looked him up Matt
Wow, I am embarrassed to
say that I have never read David's columns before. I looked him up
Precisely. And those who have any interest in visual display and editing and are not reading David Em are missing a lot.
March 22, 2006
I took today off. Errands, mostly.
March 23, 2006
My current issue of The American Conservative has an article about why we
probably won't invade Iran (and certainly arguing that doing so is not a
While I agree with the conclusions, I do not understand why anyone or anything calling itself "conservative" wants to demonize the Shah and whitewash Mossadegh.
The Shah was no petty dictator, and his attempt to bring Iran into the modern world had some chance of success. He had the support of most of the middle class and was building the strength of the middle class and merchants as a secular opposition to the mullahs. He kept Islam in its place without going fully secular and provoking a revolt. He had some popularity with the Kurdish Iranians, and they trusted him not to do a Farsification of their part of Iran.
He took the Shatt al Arab from Iraq, and that was immensely popular in Iran while not threatening to the West.
The crowds that turned out shouting "Death to the Shah" were, within a week, shouting "Death to Mossadegh"; they were easily bribed as anyone with Company connections has very good reason to know. The peasantry largely supported the Shah. The opposition was mostly urban. The KGB and GRU were very active in Iran, and had been since Truman threatened nuclear war to get Stalin's troops out of Iran after WW II; one of Truman's most heroic and underappreciated acts.
The article talks about the Shah's secret police. The Shah was certainly less repressive than the current regimes in Pakistan and Egypt, and was a good ally of the west, with a clear goal of easing his way into a monarchy like that of Jordan. His queen appeared regularly on TV in western garb and promoted women's causes with his support. There were more women's rights in royal Iran than now.
Why do "conservatives" want to demonize a man who, if Jimmy Carter had had the slightest sense, would still rule (well his son would) in Persia and the US would not have half the problems we have over there? And why do "conservatives" want to promote Moscow-backed Mossadegh who seems somehow to have become a democratic leader? He wasn't "flawed". He was a bloody traitor to Iran and the West.
Just what is "conservative" about arguments like these?
I would have thought that the enemy of my enemies principle alone would be enough -- that's the only reason we are friendly to most of those in the Middle East now anyway -- but the Shah was a genuine friend to the West, less corrupt than any regime over there including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and very interested in his "White Revolution" as was the Queen. The media here detested the Shah, and exploited his accessibility, but until Jimmy Carter abandoned him -- during the Cold War, when it mattered a lot -- the Shah was very much an ally of the United States, and his regime was considerably less unsavory than some of those we depend on today. No: it wasn't a "democracy" but Jacobin enthusiasm for democracy as the only legitimate form of government is not a conservative principle.
What in the world is conservative about that article in "The American Conservative" other than that we shouldn't invade to undo Jimmy Carter's bungling?
The discussion of The Voodoo Sciences continues in mail.
And we have this message on education:
Subject: Report: U.S. Strike Forces at Risk
We are not making enough nuclear scientists:
One reason I didn't write much (here, anyway, I got some fiction done) yesterday is that it's spring and with that come the allergies, mainly sinus headaches. As usual I futzed around rather than doing what was needed. This morning I did a sinus wash before and after my morning walk, and the results are much better than Claratin. The following is an advertisement and endorsement:
I knew some people were in favor of web extortion fees, but I had no idea that the FCC would actually support them:
I touched on this in last month's column. The remedy here is to get the word out. This is a grab by the new AT&T as a non-regulated utility; see this week's column www.byte.com for more.
This argument is not over.
Above I had some harsh words about The American Conservative's view of the Shah. You will note I do continue to subscribe to the magazine, because they often enough have something very much worth my time, such as this gem: http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_03_27/article2.html
March 24, 2006
Quantum gravity? See mail.
There is a bit of mail on the Shah, with a long reply.
Reports surfacing today about a new Internet Explorer vulnerability that may allow a program to run if you visit an evil web page. Some security folks are starting to get a bit excitable about it (for instance, the Internet Storm Center has gone to a 'yellow' status). It may be that this will be another 'the sky is falling' issue.
Although the vuln (and the exploit) is real, I don't think it will be a widespread issue for most people. If readers practice 'safe computing' by
- stay away from the 'dark side' of the 'net (hacker sites, 'questionable content' [adult] sites) - ensure current anti-virus/spyware/operating system patches - don't click on links in spam email (including emails that are 'from' any bank, eBay, PayPal, etc) - use a firewall (Windows Firewall is sufficient)
Some security folks will take this an another opportunity to shout "don't use IE, use Firefox", or "get a Mac", "use Linux", "Microsoft is not secure/evil", etc.
There will be some that might have a problem. But the bigger problem is users not being aware (or practicing) safe computing. As I have said before, I use Windows and IE 6, and I haven't had problems with viruses, keystroke loggers, spyware, or other exploits. I am protected by my 'safe computing' practices, and my 'layered defenses' against such evil things.
In my humble opinion, the sky is not falling.
Regards, Rick Hellewell (who has not worn a tin-foil hat for a long time)
And I have some essays in mind for later.
March 25, 2006
I took the weekend off, more or less
March 26, 2006
For once I had nothing to say
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