-- C.A. Beard
Steve Langer email@example.com
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On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
"if you believe that human activity is responsible for global warming, what kind of agreements do you think should have come out of last month's global warming conference?"
Its all about verification - or should be. One of the stated goals was to reduce the output of greenhouse gasses of the industrialized world to 1990 levels. However, the outputs of 3'rd world countries would be allowed to increase in order to get those countries into better economic (and living standard) shape. Now those nations who could not get their levels to 1990 would be allowed to "purchase" pollution credits from nations with low emissions.
So think about this. Much is made of the fact that the US and Canada combined make up about 6% of the world's population, yet we supposedly use 40% of the energy (course no one mentions that our agriculture surpluses feed about 40% of the world too). The U.S. would have to make enormous cuts in fossil fuel use, whereas most of Africa, the Middle East and former Soviet block countries would actually be encouraged to increase their pollutant output to "grow" their industrial and economic base. At the same time, the evil US would have to buy "pollution credits" from these very same countries to apologise for our emissions.
The upshot of all this? Global greenhouse emissions would increase, and the US would be transfering the taxes of its citizens to the nations responsible. This whole treaty is just thinly veiled socialism.
If you really believe that global warming is human caused (and I don't), then the goal should be to disseminate the knowledge and resources to lower global emissions. And UN inspection teams shuld be assembled to inspect participating countries, and monitor that the effort is indeed having a measurable effect on the Earth. The current global warming treaty does none of these things, because the authors don't really believe in what they are doing, they just want money.
On Global Warming;
While it's true that the earth's average temp has increased about 0.7 deg C this century one of the most dire predictions related to that warming, namely arctic melting, is not ocurring. In fact that opposite appears to be the case. In the January 1998 Physics Today, page 18 recounts some findings that first appeared in the November 1997 Geophysical letter. Everyone has heard about the "hole" in the ozone layer over Antarctica. But in the past 2-3 years a similar one has been found over the Arctic pole. And CFCs cannot be blamed for it - measurements show they've declined. Rather, record cold temperatures in the Actic stratosphere are causing a decline in the rate of ozone production. Investigators can't seem to explain how the poles are getting colder given the current climate models.
On the Wager;
For those new readers out there, on the eve of Clinton's election I made a bet with the readership of this rag that the misery index, computed by adding up all the changes in the figures listed below, would be worse after Clinton's first term. The wager was that if the Misery Index (MI) got worse by x %, I would collect that portion of income from the admitted Clinton voters and divvy it up among the rest of us as an apology. If the MI was lower after Clinton, I would take that percentage of my personal income and spread it among the admitted Clinton voters. Oddly, not one Clinton voter had the courage to risk their own money as they did the nation's, but I track the MI anyway.
---- Clinton budgets* -------- | | | 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 --------------|---------------------------------------------- Unemployment | 7.2% 6.6% 5.6% 5.7 5.5 5.3 | Inflation | 4.7% 2.8% 2.9% 3.3 3.3 3.4 | Interest | 7.7% 8.3% 9.1 7.9 8.0 8.9 | Fed. Inc. Tax | 28% 48% 48% 48 48 48 (top margin) | | FICA | 15% 15% 15% 15 15 15 | Cap Gains | 28% 28% 28% 28 15 15 | Gasoline | $0.15 $0.20 $0.20 $.20 $.20 $.20 (per gallon) | (0) (+33%) (+33%) ------------------------------------------------------------ MI (totl) 90.6 141.4 141.6 140.9 127.8 128.6 *The astute reader will notice that Clinton is assigned 5, not four, budgets. Why? Because while Bush assembled most of the 93 budget, Clinton made his tax changes retroactive to before he was President. Nice huh?
On the Legacy of Bill CLinton;
Let me say this straight off, I'm going to miss Clinton. Sure, he was an incredible liar, with no foreign policy experience, who has drawn down the US Defenses to century lows. Sure he's had sex, investment, campaign finance, and murder scandals. But he sure has been good entertainment. And he and Al Gore are at least smart enough to take credit for the good ideas of Reps. For the first time since Eisenhower, the US is on the verge of having a balanced budget. Not that other Presidents didn't submit balanced budgets. Ford, Reagen and Bush all did, but with a Democratic Congress, those bills had the proverbial snowball's chance in Hell. With Clinton smart enough to present a balanced budget to a Republican Congress, he knows it will get passed and in 2000 the Dem. candidate for Pres. will be able to say with a straight face, "See we're fiscally responsible _and_ caring."
So what's up with this Lewinsky thing? We were happily going along with the progression to trial of the Paula Jones case (which Jones has been doggedly persuing since Clinton's election in 1994). But the press response seems to have been pretty ho-hum. In fact, the public and press reaction has been pretty ho-hum throughout Clinton's life in the national spotlight. Sure he was a dope smoking, Vietnam protesting, wife cheating, tax evading politican. But so what? The country reelected him anyway. So why act suprised about yet another Bimbo Eruption? If you don't care about CLinton selling out the Lincoln bedroom to the highest bidder, or giving up US demands on human rights in China becuase a few Chinese dollars find their way into the DNC warchest, why should just another affair bother us? I swear this almost all looks like a setup.
I don't get it. And I don't get why the press is _finally_ paying attention to his evasive answers to questions. When asked if he had smoked marijauana he said, "I never broke any state or federal laws." Later we find out that he did smoke, but in England (thus not breaking any US laws). When asked about a 12 year affair with Gennefer FLowers, he said the accusation was false (but later admitted there was an affair, just not 12 years). Well finally, maybe, the press is figuring this guy out. At a press conference on Friday Jan 24, when the White House spokesperson said the President had no improper relations with Lewinsky, reporters jumped up and asked, "What do you mean by improper?" The reply from the White House was that the statement stands.
Now let's think about this. The president denies any "improper" relations with the girl. Does that mean he didn't touch her, or that the act was not forced (i.e.that she was a consenting partner)? In another interview, CLinton said he has not been praticed any infidelity in the White House. But Clinton is a lawyer, and lawyers (as do doctors and scientists) choose their words with great care. According to Black's Law Dictionary, infidelity is defined as consensual vaginal intercourse. Petting, oral sex and sodomy are _not_ defined as acts of infidelity. CLinton, as always, is not answering the substance of the question, but rather the question that he can manufacture a non-incriminating answer to. But he's always done this, which is why I and others have called him Slick Willy from day one (see the title of the rag from Jan 1994).
Bill Clinton wanted to be the education president, the health care president, the anti-drug president, in short - the People's president. I think that history will record him a little differently. He'll go down as the President who brought back fiscal responsibility at the dawn of the next millenimum, and the first to have a Bimbo Eruption Unit standing by during the State of the Union Address.
An Open Letter to Bill Gates
Reporter Associate: Rajiv M. Rao
You are being completely random. I never thought I'd have to say this to you, of all people! But your recent response to the Department of Justice is a disaster. It's randomness at its worst.
As you know, I've been a student of Microsoft ever since you and I first met in 1983. I have enormous respect for the company's competitive approach to product development, marketing, and even innovation. (Your interface design needs work, but we'll leave that alone just now.) I've watched Microsoft take on one competitor after another and, by focusing on the essential technologies that affect customers, defeat nearly every single one--Digital Research, Lotus, IBM, Novell, and a host of others.
So I've learned how Microsoft competes. That's why I consider your response to the Justice Department so disappointing: It's the first time you've let your ego get in front of the interests of the company. Hence, you are being random.
(For the benefit of my loyal readers, I need to step aside here and explain "randomness," as defined by Bill Gates. Gates is the ultimate programming machine. He believes everything can be defined, examined, reduced to essentials, and rearranged into a logical sequence that will achieve a particular goal. Anything that doesn't work this way, anything illogical, is "random." In the world of Bill Gates, being illogical is the most serious sin.)
Here's why you are being random: The United States is arguably the most powerful entity on this planet. You might be able to make a case for China, given how many people live there, but the U.S. still has an edge on your basic wealth and energy. And yet you decide to treat the U.S. as just another competitor. You are acting as if the Department of Justice is only the latest in a long string of companies that have tried to unseat Microsoft in one business or another.
This is the essence of the randomness! Bill, the United States is not a company. It is a country. It has all the perquisites that come with being a country: the right to exercise eminent domain; the ability to organize armies of well-armed and well-trained soldiers; the ability to levy taxes, print money, and regulate banks. In other words, the U.S. can do what it damn well pleases, as long as a reasonable number of its citizens want it to do what it pleases to do, and as long as no other entity is powerful enough to stop it.
It now pleases the U.S. government to challenge Microsoft's right to tell personal computer manufacturers exactly how much software must be installed with the operating system. It chooses to do this because it thinks there are enough people in the country who want it to challenge Microsoft. Ergo, Microsoft should walk very carefully as it responds to this challenge.
What amazes me is that you have decided not just to disagree with the U.S. but to give it the finger in public, to embarrass and demean the individuals leading the government's efforts. Why, for instance, did your spokesman need to dismiss the government as "poorly informed" on this issue? Why?
Your executives claim Microsoft can't obey Judge Jackson's order--to offer computer makers a version of Windows 95 that does not include Internet Explorer--without crippling the operating system. The judge then uninstalls Explorer without harming the operating system. Petulantly, your executives say that isn't what he told them to do. Why is this necessary?
I haven't met one person who agrees with you on this issue. Whatever the general public may think, it's easy for me to sum up opinions of knowledgeable industry types: Microsoft is a bully. Microsoft is trying to hoodwink nontechnical people. Microsoft is showing disrespect to the judge and to the federal government. At the very least, Microsoft is splitting hairs, when in the past it has always focused on core issues. Not surprisingly, your every move leads more people to want the government to challenge Microsoft!
You've stepped way out of bounds, Bill. It is outrageous for you to claim that Internet Explorer is fully integrated with Windows 95. As you have made clear repeatedly in public and in private, it is crucial to you that Microsoft integrate Web browsing into the next operating system--Windows 98. In fact, many industry experts believe that your effort to do just that is the reason Windows 98 isn't Windows 97 and already in the marketplace.
What is so outrageous now is that you are claiming that, to comply with the judge's order, you must remove from Windows 95 any software related to connecting to the Internet. That's as arrogant and out of touch as deciding to name the Windows 95 desktop icon for Internet Explorer "The Internet," as if you want to trick people into thinking that your software is the only way to represent the amazing diversity and complexity of the entire Internet.
I'm sure you don't want to deceive people, but it certainly makes me wonder what's at stake. Why would you intentionally piss off the world's most powerful entity? Why would you risk Microsoft's credibility with consumers? Sure, you want to establish the principle that Microsoft controls how the operating system is designed and what does and does not get included in the next version of Windows.
But you don't need to raise your middle finger to the Justice Department to establish that principle. So there must be something else at stake. I remember when we had dinner a couple of years ago, shortly after you withdrew from the proposed acquisition of Intuit, the software company that makes Quicken. In that case, the Justice Department decided to object to the acquisition, so you called it off rather than go to court. During our conversation on how Microsoft should respond to antitrust actions initiated by the Justice Department, you told me that you'd let them have Intuit--and that you wouldn't give them anything else.
Finally, for the first time in more than 20 years of running Microsoft, you've tripped over your ego. I think you've just decided that you are powerful enough and important enough to take on the Justice Department and the U.S. government. Here's what I hear echoing through all Microsoft's responses to Judge Jackson and the Justice Department: You damned well aren't going to get anything else from Microsoft. As a result, the company has adopted a scorched-earth policy. You have decided not just to argue the case on its merits but to go for the jugular and try to discredit the opposition.
Pretty random, I think. And disastrous for Microsoft. You're going to lose popular support for Microsoft as a paragon of American free enterprise and technological superiority. And you can now expect the Justice Department to look for every possible opportunity to challenge your actions and assert control over your business, for years and maybe decades to come. Indeed, your response to the Justice Department could not be better designed to accomplish precisely what you want to avoid.
Warm regards, Stewart
1. Texas Tom write;
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 12:27:54 -0600 From: Tom Hall
To: LANGER STEVEN C Subject: RE: lastcall >"If you believe that gloal warming is man-made, what should come >out of the global warming summit as part of the treaty?" Um, everyone could agree to turn their thermostats down. Later, Tom
2. Beaumont Barb writes;
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 15:32:00 -0500 (EST) From: Barb Chapman
To: LANGER STEVEN C Subject: Re: This month's question and Time for an update >"If you believe that gloal warming is man-made, what should come >out of the global warming summit as part of the treaty?" > I don't believe that global warming is man-made. It's a naturally occurring phenomenon caused by the ending of a mini-ice age. Besides, if there's really global warming, how come it's still so doggone cold in January and February? Time for an update on the knees and the guy (herinafter referred to as "the defendant") who drove into them last February: TRIAL: His criminal trial was held in November (yes, he went for the drama or in his case, comedy, for according to Kim, my lawyer, the court reporter, and the bailiff of the court, his was probably one of the most entertaining trials on record). He and his witnesses (passengers who according to the defendant did not exist on the original police report) testified verbatim -- did we rehearse the testimony? One of his witnesses was so drunk that night that he obviously had no idea as to what actually occurred. At one point he had me jumping onto the hood of the car; when asked to explain, he then stated that I had leapt onto the hood of the car; when asked again a bit later in his testimony, he stated that I had "lunged onto the hood of the car and started yelling obscenities to the driver," at which point the jury was snickering, the judge and court reporter were hiding smiles, and the bailiff left the courtroom and could be heard laughing in the hallway. The defendant testified, and the prosecuting attorney got him to admit that he'd lied on the police report. He submitted as evidence photos showing no dents anywhere on his 7-year-old car, which proved, he said, that he couldn't possibly have hit me or there'd be a dent in the bumper. The PA asked why there was no dent in the hood of the car if I had jumped / leapt / lunged onto it, he replied that my doing so couldn't possibly have made a dent in the hood (yeah, right, at 135+ pounds). He also testified that he thought that once he'd entered the exit lane in th parking lot that he had the right of way. When questioned, "Over pedestrians?" by the PA, he replied, "Yes." The jury deliberated about 20 minutes, and he was found guilty of both hitting (careless driving) and running (failure to stop and ID at a personal injury accident). SENTENCE: The Secretary of State revoked his commercial license (he drove a delivery truck for Pepsi) upon conviction. His sentencing was held Jan 7th. He had to pay for the pre-sentencing probationary hearing, about $375. For hitting, he received a $100 fine. For running, the more serious of the two crimes, he received a $150 fine, 12 month's reporting probation @ $30, 50 hours of community service, 2 weekends in the Oakland County jail, and before he can apply for a regular (he's ineligible for life for a commercial license in Michigan) driver's license at the end of his period of revokation (a year, I think), he must complete a Level II driver's education course. My lawyer says this is about the roughest sentence for hit & run that he's seen. I like this judge, Julie Nicholson, and plan to vote for her the next time she's up for election. Now for the good news: The defendant appears to be growing up. Between the trial and January, at the age of 28, he moved out of his parents' home and into an apartment, thereby taking on rent, utilities, food, etc., and applied for and received a transfer to a new position in the warehouse at Pepsi. His 3-year work record for the company is also a good sign. He did not make a statement at sentencing, probably a good thing considering his testimony at the trial. His lawyer spoke for him and apologized for what he had done (a sign of remorse? or sorry that he got caught?) and remarked that the defendant had instructed his insurance company to settle the civil suit expeditiously and fairly, and that he expected the settlement to go to the limit ($100,000) of the policy. We are ready to schedule Kim's and my depositions for the civil suit. The usual settlement for just the knee injury is $60-75K. The pain / humiliation / "loss of consortium" / etc. will entail lengthy negotiation. I don't anticipate seeing any money this year. As for the knees, Atilla the Hun is my physical therapist. Since she's trying to get into shape for skiing now that we finally have some snow, I make her do the exercises with me, about which she complains mightily, especially when I can do more repetitions or go longer than she can. I don't know how the hiking through the ravines and frozen streams on our annual February trek to Western Indiana will go. I can generally do inclines, sharp or mild, a little at a time. It's the 90 stairs to the trails and the 128 steps on trail 3 that I'm worried about. Whatever happens, I'm planning on having a good time working on jigsaw puzzles and relaxing. I'm also looking forward to the 5 ft x 5 ft handicapped shower in our room--large enough for two, for therapy, of course. And this year, on the Saturday after we return, I do not plan to work a booth at the Palace, and walk to my car, and see a car driving toward the exit lane as I'm about to cross it... Take care. Barb firstname.lastname@example.org
3. And David Gay writes from Merry Old England;
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 1998 14:50:41 +0000 (GMT) From: Dr David Gay
To: LANGER STEVEN C Subject: Re: lastcall Steve, A couple suggests for the next couple months surveys would be: Have you or do you know somebody who has been propositioned by Bill Clinton? My father-in-law gets these newsletters that talk about the year 00 problem with computer software. They virtually predict the end of the world and suggest that everybody withdraw all their cash from the bank. Now, that we have another new year, we all use computers and Ikea (in the UK) is not accepting credit cards with expiration dates after 1999, this might be a timely issue. In a French court Geoffrey Boycott (a famous retired Yorkshire Cricket player known for his skill with a cricket bat) has been found guilty (in abstentia he was on a Cricket tour) of beating his girlfriend. They were staying in a hotel on the French Riveara at the time. he said "...Everybody knows who I am and what I've done on the cricket pitch...I can knock down every point in her arguement... Dave
"There were no improper relations"
-President Clinton, trying another "not-answer answer" at his press conference over the latest sex scandal with Ms. Lewinski.
"Women: should they be subject to capital punishment?"
1. Jan 19, Mukilteo; A man in his late forties walked up to the loading ramp where the ferry was to be in 20 minutes. He removed the guard rail. He walked back to his pick-up truck, where witnesses say he rolled down the windows, lit a cigarette, and drove down the ramp and flew into the cold waters of Puget Sound, where he and his truck sank.
Reporters of the Seattle Times revealed that the deceased had attempted to commit suicide last November by setting his home on fire with him in it. His wife (who was returning from a trip) ran into the home where she succeeded in rescuing him, but was herself mortally wounded from the burns she endured. The man was convicted by a court in Dec. of the negligent homicide of the wife. The man was to begin serving his 5 year sentence on Jan 19.
1. Warren, Jan 20; Speaking of suicides, Dr. Death Jack Kavorkian has taken on an apprentice, a psychitrist from California. Then two of them were present to "witness" the suicide of a women who was depressed over a relatively minor illness.
1. Austin, Jan 16; Govr. George Bush Jr. has a problem. A 38 year old inmate (Karla Fay Tucker) is scheduled to die in Feb. and public opinion in the usually very pro-death-sentence state is leaning towards granting a stay. She would be the first women to be executed in this country since the early 1970s, but no one seems overly concerned about the 80+ men who were put to death last year. Of course in this enlightened post ERA time, no one thinks that she should be spared becuase she's a women. No. According to Pat Robertson (who is championing her cause), she has repented in prison and for the past 14 years has been spreading the gospel to other inmates. Of course, no one seems to make the obvious points: don't any men repent and if justice were a bit speedier, would she have had 14 years to preach?
1. Boston, Jan 16; Over the past few years the crashing down of pillars of masculinity has become almost commonplace. The Boy Scouts, pro football locker rooms, men's althletic clubs, and finally the military academies like VMI and the Citadel. However, that may be about to change. Men have demanded equal access to formerly all women health spas, and at least in Boston, the women are complaining that they don't want, "Sweaty brutes staring at me while I'm working out!" Anxious to pander to the women voters, the Mass. legislature has decided that women's health clubs may remain mono-gender, "In order to not discomfort the clientele." Well, the state Supreme Court has decided that what's good for the gander goes for the goose too, and is beginning to demand that women once again respect all male private clubs.
2. Maynord, Jan 3; Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) introduced the Alpha microprocessor in 1992 with the claim that it would guide DEC's hardware future for the next 25 years. And for a while it seemed that DEC would make good on its claim. The ALpha set a slew of industry firsts; first 64 bit RISC processor, highest clock speeds, highest overall performance, etc. Then last year, DEC sued Intel, claiming that they had developed a new descendant of the Pentium line (code named Merced) which was basically a copy of the Alpha.
Now, Intel has been sued on copying before, but has always won. What the smug attorneys at Intel didn't know this time was that those clever DEC engineers had planted a trip wire of sorts into the Alpha design. In this case, they put several thousand statements of non-functioning microcode onto the chip and when the Judge soupoenaed Intel to produce the code listing for "their" chip, the same worthless instructions were found!
So did DEC press its advantage, get damages and broadcast to the world how slimy Intel is? Why no. It seems that DEC has been having a problem turning a profit at the Alpha production plant, so DEC agreed to _sell_ its plant to Intel for less than 1/2 of its estimated $2 Billion worth (the sale was about $700 million), and get a "promise" from Intel that it will sell future Merced processors to DEC at a cut rate. What a deal!! [Alpha owners should worry. Intel says it will support the chip for 10 more years, but then this is the same company that said, "What Pentium division problem?"]
So the guilty party gets rewarded, the injured party gets more bloody, and a great product gets swallowed up in the ongoing Wintel march to complete global monopoly. Oh and one more thing. We learn that in the computer industry, 25 years equals six.
1. Jan 20; While plaintiff Paula Jones looked on, President CLinton was subjected to a six hour gathering of evidence about his alledged relations with Ms Jones. While under oath, Clinton finally admitted that he actually did have an affair with Gennifer Flowers (one of the first Bimbo eruptions that came out during CLinton's 1994 presidential campaign). When it was pointed out to Clinton that back in 1994 he denied the affair, he replied, "No, I denied that it lasted for 12 years. I never denied that there was an affair."
1. More from Beaumont Barb
CANNIBALS Three men who were lost in the forest were captured by cannibals. The cannibal king told the prisoners that they could live if they could pass a trial. The first step of the trial was to go to the forest and get ten pieces of the same kind of fruit. So all three men went separate ways to gather fruits. The first one came back and said to the king, "I brought ten apples." The king then explained the trial to him. "You have to shove the fruits up your butt without any expression on your face or you'll be eaten." The first apple went in... but on the second one he winced out in pain, so he was killed. The second one arrived and showed the king ten berries. When the king explained the trial to him he thought to himself that this should be easy. 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... 8... but on the ninth berry he burst out laughing and was killed. The first guy and the second guy met in heaven. The first one asked, "Why did you laugh, you almost got away with it?" The second one replied, "I couldn't help it, I saw the third guy coming with pineapples." WORDS OF ADVICE 1. If you're bidding on a job for UPS, don't send your bid by FedEx. 2. If your computer says, "Printer out of Paper," this problem cannot be resolved by continuously clicking the "OK" button. 3. If you want your refrigerator's ice maker to work, you need to hook it to a water source. Air doesn't make good ice unless it is mixed with water. 4. No matter how much data you add to your laptop, it will not get heavier. 5. A bad place to store your emergency backup diskette is on the underside of your desk drawer, secured by a large magnet. 6. It's okay to use the Polaroid Land Camera on a boat. 7. When the PC says, "Insert diskette #2," don't do it immediately. Remove disk #1 first, even if you're sure you can make them both fit in there. 8. When your PC says "You have mail," don't go to the company mail room and look for a package. 9. The French version of Netscape Navigator doesn't translate English language web pages into French. 10. If you're in the armed services, and it's April 1st, and you get an e-mail message to call Colonel Sanders for new orders, don't. 11. If you go to the computer store to buy a mousepad, you don't have to specify whether it's for a Windows or a Macintosh. email@example.com