Saturday, May 31, 2003

The Failure of NASA: And A Way Out

by Philip K. Chapman
Sunnyvale - May 30, 2003
I was in Mission Control when Neil Armstrong announced that the Eagle had landed. The applause was unexpectedly muted as we were all overwhelmed by the significance of the moment. Nobody had any doubt that Tranquility Base was the first step in an expansion into space that would drive human progress for centuries to come.
We had of course all seen the 1968 Kubrick/Clarke movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the facilities depicted there seemed entirely reasonable. In our lifetimes, we expected to see hotels in orbit, translunar shuttles operated by commercial airlines, and settlements on the Moon. Only the alien monolith was questionable.

None of this has happened.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Age of Empires II is FAR TOO ADDICTIVE. it should carry a label: WARNING: THIS GAME IS THE VIDEO EQUIVALENT OF CRACK COCAINE. Such a label could also be applied to SimCity, Civilization, Tetris, and a host of other games

Sunday, May 11, 2003

not too much has been going on lately. well, that's not entirely true... i could tell you, but then i'd have to kill you

Monday, May 05, 2003

This wonderful essay was written by Don Parrish, an engineer who has worked all
over the world, including Japan and Saudi Arabia.

I would like to offer the following set of facts for your consideration
concerning the war on terrorism:

"Although the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center -- which
almost toppled it -- occurred in 1993, most Americans didn't realize that we
were in a war until 9/11/01. Some people still don't realize it.

Here are the key headlines 19 months after the attacks on 9/11/01:
1. Taliban regime destroyed and Afghanistan liberated
2. Saddam regime destroyed and Iraq liberated
3. No terrorist attacks inside the United States

This is a very impressive set of results. Momentum is finally on our
side in the war on terrorism.

Let's think about the 9/11 attacks: 19 terrorists funded with $1M or $2M
using 4 "borrowed" airplanes caused almost $100 billion in damage and 3,000
deaths. Terrorists armed with WMD could cause damage at least 10 times that:
$1 Trillion and 50,000 deaths. I shudder to think about the consequences of
an attack of that scale. The success of the war in Iraq has reduced the
odds of such an attack.

The war in Iraq has also been tremendously educational. Here are just
some examples:
1. The utter failure of the over hyped UN is now obvious to millions of
people. In 2003, it's absurd to see that at the UN, Libya is heading up the
Human Rights committee and Iraq (I'm not making this up) is heading up the
Disarmament committee.

2. The easy accommodation of the French government and large parts of
the French public to every form of evil in the last 100 years was on display
again for all to see. Never underestimate the perfidy of the French.

3. Not one person at the Academy awards had anything to say against
brutal dictators living or dead. Not a single one.

4. Turkey, our long term ally, didn't take the $30 billion the US
Government offered for their help. The next day their stock market dropped
14%. Their currency continues to plunge. And their help wasn't needed.

Nice savings.

5. Australia supported the US government, but Canada with its French
influence didn't.

6. Tony Blair is a statesman. Its so rare to see a politician tell
people a) what he really believes and b) what they don't what to hear.

7. Russia reverted to type and even sent some military advisors to help

8. Germany couldn't seem to conceptualize that dictatorship was bad for
everyone and one of its ministers compared Bush to Hitler. This was
disgusting and foolish. There is no American who can be compared to Hitler.
The same German company which built Hitler's bunkers built Saddam's.

9. China didn't do anything to help and was busy trying to hid the
growing SARS plague.

10. All 10 of the former communist countries (New Europe) slated to join
the European Union next year supported the United States. These people know
what it is like to live under dictatorship. Every single one supported the
US government.

11. All of the professional critics were wrong. For example, they
worried that the oil fields would be torched, that Israel would be attacked,
that Baghdad would be fought street to street, that there weren't enough US
troops, that Turkey would enter Iraq, that terrorists would attack inside
the US, that chemical weapons would be used on our troops (more on this
below), etc.

12. The superb professionalism of the American Military was obvious from
Donald Rumsfeld to the generals down to the private first class soldiers. I
was deeply impressed how the privates deftly answered leading (i.e.,trap)
questions posed by reporters.

13. Of course, American technology was magnificient and very cost
effective. The direct costs, so far, is $20 billion for the war in Iraq
with the request to Congress for $62 billion.

14. One of the other keys to our success, was the amount of intelligence
that we received from Jordanians, the 10,000 Iraqi exiles in the US, and
everyday Iraqis talking to our troops. Surprise, surprise the Iraqis really
did hate Saddam and Arabs did help the US Government.

15. The demonstrations against the war were larger in Europe than in the
Arab world. Showing that the old anti-capitalist left is alive and well.
Old Europe, hooked on socialism, has unemployment rates above 10%. They are
resentful of any American success.

16. The Arabs on the street were shocked to see that the largest, most
powerful Arab army lead by a dictator firmly convinced of Arab racial
superiority was destroyed in 3 weeks by the US government. The Arabs were
also shocked to see that Al-Jazeera had lied to them. This has been an
extreme educational moment for them. In a weird way, this shock reminded me
of the shock we got in October of 1957 when Sputnik was launched.

17. The arrest of the famous terrorist Abu Abbas in Iraq is just one
more example of how involved Iraq was in international terrorism.

So what lessons should we draw at this point? Here are some:
1. The Arab street is noisy, but is unimportant in our decision making.

2. Islamic terrorists are never going to love us. There is nothing we
can do to change that. The only question is whether the terrorists are going
to respect us or not. The Arabs despise weakness. By doing what he said he
would, Bush is respected. This makes us more secure.

3. The US government has obtained a treasure trove of information in
Iraq that going to further aid in understanding the worldwide terrorist

4. Does Iraq have WMD? Absolutely yes!! Why didn't they use them?
Folks, Iraq didn't even use one of its dozens of jet fighters. There was no
organized resistance. Contrary to popular opinion, dictatorships are not
efficient. Once you destroy the command and control from the top, they are
finished, because no one below will risk taking initiative. Follow the
logic with me. We know from UN weapons inspections years ago that Iraq had
WMD -- we know the specific inventory of chemical and biological agents and
their quantities. Then Saddam thru the inspectors out. There is nothing
toshow that Saddam destroyed these weapons and there is nothing in his
psychology to suggest that he would destroy these weapons. The only
conclusion is that he kept the weapons and hid them.
No matter how much time the UN had they were never going to find WMD
because their hide and seek process was fatally flawed. The fact that the
WMD haven't been found yet is just evidence is how well Saddam and company
has hid them and how the UN would have never ever found them given more
After the US interviews enough people and analyzes the treasure trove of
data, WMD will be found in Iraq or stored in Syria. You can count on it.

5. Now the Arab elites realize that they can no long harbor and fund
terrorists with impunity. They now realize that more attacks on the US,
will put them in jeopardy. Finally, they have some skin in the game in
getting these terrorists under control. The process of defunding terrorists
has started. One example, the oil pipeline from Iraq to Syria was turned off
this week eliminating $1B of the $7.5B in the Syrian government revenue. The
Syrian government will have less money to give to Hezbollah and other
terrorists groups.

6. The US government is going to pay Iraqi civil servants in US dollars.
They make less than $20 per month. This means that the US dollar is going
to become an unofficial currency in Iraq which will put further pressure on
national socialistic Arab governments to clean up their act.

7. The key lesson is the one that we learned during the cold war and
that is constancy of purpose in defending ourselves against the evils of
communism and helping others to do so was the key to success.

8. In the past 100 years, the great tyrannies defeated because of the
leadership of the US Government were Nazism and Communism. The world is a
much better place because of that. Hundreds of millions of people are
better off because of that. There is one last one major tyranny to be
defeated and we are on a path to have representative governments worldwide.
I would love to see this happen by 2020, the 400th anniversary of the

I will conclude with one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain who
observed "that the only rational patriotism is loyalty to your country
always and to your government when it deserves it.""

Don Parrish

Saturday, May 03, 2003

antisocialist rant

antisocialist rant

how can anyone who is being honest state that they support communism or socialism? the answer: they are not being honest. they want to have the fruits of other people's labour, but do not want to have to produce anything in order to get it. they hold up the leeches of society as shining examples, but simultaneously punish those who make productive contributions, the very people whose efforts allow the leeches to survive.

but, you say, socialism does not punish the productive, it punishes the greedy. oh yes, those people who make a lot of money must be greedy, or they would simply give their money away. never mind that the reason they are successful is that they are productive. they produce things that people want.

it always amuses me when i go into politics chatrooms and get into arguments with socialists. they talk of altruism, as if that is a good thing. they speak of self-sacrifice, holding it up as a shining example. but what they fail to recognize is the pure evil of human sacrifice. if they like self sacrifice so much, then why are they still alive? why not just slit their own wrists? after all, that is a self-scrifice, won't the world be a much better place without them in it?

the hatred that socialists have of capitalism, the very system which props up socialists, which allows them to survive, is a thinly-veiled hatred of themselves.and it is a hatred of humanity.

so, all you socialists out there, do us all a favour. take your collectivist notions, your wishful thinking, and try eating that, try using it to keep a roof over your head. it cannot be done; such requires actual individual effort. take your hatred of yourselves and of humanity, and starve.