Sunday, November 15, 2015

Who is Alive because the French President Attended the Soccer Game

It is apparent from CNN coverage of the November 13, 2015, events in Paris that

  1. there was no security checking at the concert
  2. there was at the stadium.
Commentators observed that the terrorists "had done their homework", e.g., had gone through dry runs to check out the security practices.

Given this, the perpetrators had checked out the stadium and found it to be a "soft" target.

Someone challenged a bomber.  That person or persons saved more than one (the President's) life.

That person was almost certainly a casualty.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Deterrence Worked

The strategic nuclear people claim that Deterrence Worked.  In this arena, some believed that perception was more important than reality.

The GAO recently gave TSA a failing grade on security at airports.

The last thing we need is a scientific study to determine the probability of finding (or missing) items in our airport scans.

A new device might find something new.

When I was doing my thesis research at Argonne National Laboratory, the word going around the team was there was a mathematics professor at the University of Illinois, who after learning that the probability of a bomb being in someone's luggage was 1 in a million always put a bomb in his luggage so that the probability that there would be another bomb on his plane would be 1 in 10**12.

People have very strange beliefs about probability.

All you people who never plan to fly, talk up how porous our security system is.

Friday, October 16, 2015

I Remember When

Questions at a Presidential News Conference were short.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Costs of our War on Drugs

There are numerous economic and social impacts of the criminalization of drugs. Prohibition increases crime (theft, violence, corruption) and drug price and increases potency.  In many developing countries the production of drugs offers a way to escape poverty.  Milton Friedman estimated that over 10,000 deaths a year in the US were caused by the criminalization of drugs, and if drugs were to be made legal innocent victims such as those shot down in drive by shootings, would cease or decrease.  The economic inefficiency and ineffectiveness of such government intervention in preventing drug trade has been generally acknowledged since at least 1981.  The War on Drugs of the United States, that provoked legislation within several other Western governments, has also garnered criticism for these reasons.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mandatory Stuff

In a purported effort to save victims money, Florida made Mediation Mandatory for Dissolution of Marriage about the end of 2009.


It was my clear understanding that we did not agree on anything during the Mandatory Mediation session.

The signed agreement said that I would pay the three mortgages on the marital home from my employers 401K.  In addition, I will also pay the homeowners insurance and taxes from the same 401K.

"They agree that this will occur until the court rules on this issue."

"Any tax consequences which result from the withdrawals will be shared equitably by the parties.  The Court shave have the authority to give credits to either side in the equitable distribution scheme for these payments."

A year later the account was exhausted and the court had not ruled on the issue.

Be advised that Judge Charles J. Roberts of Florida is not a good Financial Manager/Advisor.

"The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions."

The Petitioner in my case still has not complied with Florida's Mandatory Disclosure List.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Control of the Desktop

My battle with the system to control my desktop continues.  I have learned that Google controls "devices".

My daughter ensures that I have a spectrum of devices:  Nixplay Frame and fitbit Flex.

The Open System Interconnection Reference Model had 7 levels.  IBM added an 8th level for User at both ends.

I'm at a library using the Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet.  Chrome still wants to be my default browser.

It may be that that is what I want for this device.  It is not what I want for my real HP Laptop computer.

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Battle with Google

I now have two HP computer devices. I have McAfee on both. The other device had McAfee provided by AOL. I purchased a disk for this device. Online McAfee thinks that the two accounts are identical.

This device has Credentials Manager on it. The other device had/has HP's simple password manager. I do not want my passwords stored "in the cloud" so want my Laptop and Notebook devices to rely on me for passwords.

This device did not work well for scanning in the fingerprints for me. The other device is very agreeable with me on the fingerprint reader.

I don't know what Credentials Manager is. Guess, I need to get the answer to that before I lose control of my email accounts.

I have a Motorola DROID MAXX that I purchased about a year ago to replace my Motorola RAZOR

For personal and financial security reasons, I don't want the World to have access to my Location.

If I try to use my DROID for anything other than a cell phone, I was confronted with "accepting" Google's "terms of use".

I did not want to do that until I could print a copy of the agreement to my OneNote notebook. It has been a challenge, but I have now printed a copy of the "terms of use" to the Notebook on my other device.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

My Battle with the Internet

I lost control of my desktop when my children gave me a Cisco hub which I could use to connect my Kindle which they gave me to the internet.  My apartment has an Ethernet port which connects me to the Internet.  Connecting everything in my apartment via “Wi-Fi” is “convenient”.

My youngest daughter and her husband probably used my computer to setup the hub.  When I got control of my computer my son-in-law had done something with my computer that got Godzilla thinking AOL was my homepage.  I don’t like Godzilla (aka FireFox by Mozilla).  I have been a user of AOL mail since the Creation.

My oldest daughter is a things person.  She things a persons activity should be monitored by a Fitbit Flex.

She thinks that photographs should be displayed in a Frame.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fair and Equitable

Divorce laws in the United States of America are now no-fault in all the states.  New York went "no-fault" in 2010.

The states are divided into two groups:

Community Property states (e.g., California)

Fair and Equitable states (e.g., Florida)

Community Property states treat almost all assets and debts obtained during the marriage as marital property (belonging to the “marital community”) regardless of which spouse is the formal owner. Assets and debts acquired prior to the marriage or after separation are characterized as separate property. In community property states, marital community assets and debts are typically divided equally upon divorce and separate property is awarded to the original owner.

"Fair and Equitable Treatment" is such an important concept that there should be an International Standard defining it.  There is Fair and Equitable Treatment.

Florida courts should not be allowed to be less "Fair and Equitable" in their Treatment of no-fault spouses than an International Investor.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Where You Stand Should Depend on Where You Sit

I learned about Miles' Law by reading one of the articles in a series of humorous articles written by a professor at Northwestern University in the Operations Research literature.

Rufus E. Miles was a career employee of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).

As a youngster growing up in the Missouri Ozarks, I thought that principles were something that you stand on and were not subject to "Situational Ethics".

In our hierarchical governmental structure, where you stand does depend on where you sit.  During an in-depth discussion with a recently departed friend, I realized that it should depend on where you sit.

My guiding principles include making the playing field as level (fair) as possible and then playing to win.

I also like the Judge Learned Hand quote that goes something like "Every citizen is obligated to pay the minimum tax for which they are legally liable."  I have a different perspective on that after a few years of experience working with A. Lonn Henrichsen.  He believed and still believes that "the system" would be here long after the current problem was solved.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

The one thing that is clear.  It is not obviously wrong to take Federal Government handouts unless you plan to do something sinful with them.

The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions.

Be especially suspicious of people who claim (and believe) they are trying to help you.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Expectations for a Professional

The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism defined professionalism thus,

“Professionalism is the pursuit and practice of the highest ideals and tenets of the legal profession. It embraces far more than simply complying with the minimal standards of professional conduct. The essential ingredients of professionalism are character, competence, commitment, and civility.”

"To The Florida Bar, lawyer professionalism is:

1. embracing a commitment to serve others;

2. dedicating to properly using knowledge and skills to promote a fair and just result;

3. endeavoring to enhance knowledge, skills, and competence;

4. ensuring that concern for a client’s desired result does not subvert the lawyer’s fairness, honesty, civility, respect, and courtesy during interactions with fellow professionals, clients, opponents, public officials, members of the judiciary, or the public;

5. contributing skill, knowledge, and influence to further the profession's commitment to service and the public good, including efforts to provide all persons, regardless of their means or popularity of their causes, with access to the law and the judicial system;

6. enhancing the legal system’s reputation by educating the public about the profession’s capabilities and limits, specifically about what the legal system can achieve and the appropriate methods of obtaining those results; and

7. accepting responsibility for one's own professional conduct and the conduct of others in the profession, including encouraging other lawyers to meet these civility and Professionalism Expectations and fostering peer regulation to ensure that each lawyer is competent and public-spirited. "

Sounds good to me.  A little late in joining the human race as evidenced by nothing significant happening with the 1989 and 2013.  The current Professional Expectations has only been available since January 2015.

Either Florida and I agree on Professional Expectations or the Devil is in the Details.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Flag to the Flags

Fifty American flags (not state flags), one for each state, are now flown 24 hours a day around a large circle centered on the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

How did such a violation of The Flag Code come about?  Wikipedia's entry on the Washington Monument provides clues.

Since 1920, Forty eight American flags (one for each state then in existence) were flown on wooden flag poles on Washington's birthday.  Sometime later on Independence Day, Memorial Day, and other special occasions were added.  Both the flags and flag poles were removed and stored between these days

In 1958 fifty 25-foot (7.6 m) tall aluminum flag poles (anticipating Alaska and Hawaii) were installed, evenly spaced around a 260-foot (79 m) diameter circle. Since Washington's birthday 1958, 48 American flags were flown on a daily basis, increasing to 49 flags on July 4, 1959, and then to 50 flags since July 4, 1960. When 48 and 49 flags were flown, only 48 and 49 flag poles of the available 50 were placed into base receptacles.

 All flags were removed and stored overnight.

Since July 4, 1971, 50 American flags have flown 24 hours a day.

During 2004–05, the diameter of the circle was reduced to 240 feet (73 m). 

This is a longer story than I have planned for this column today.  Details are available in Washington Monument reference 92: Michael D. Hoover, The origins and history of the Washington Monument flag display, 1992

As usual, the bad guys include Congress and Richard M. Nixon

Friday, June 26, 2015

Evolution of System Development

In the 1970s, Tom Demarco believed that we should spend a significant amount of time developing a description of the "current system".  This meshed well with the development of Information Systems in accordance with DoD Standard 7935A.

About 2000, Tom Demarco revisited his Structured Systems Analysis methodology and stated that nobody would devote that much time to developing a description of something that needed to be replaced.  Countries which could afford a significant defense budget could make faster progress using prototyping.  A rich country such as the United States of America could  fund thousands of engineers doing fun stuff.  Even rich countries had problems funding all their engineers during cyclical economic downturns.  The United States of America had a surplus of scientific and engineering professionals during the 1969-71 RETRENCHMENT.

Demarco was right in the late 1970s when information systems science was getting started and he was right about 2000 when Information Systems Engineering was going strong.

MIL-STD 490 A established the format and contents of specifications for program–peculiar configuration items, processes, and materials~.  It was published on June 4, 1985.  It superseded the previous edition of 30 October 1968.

When a change in scale is involved, it is likely not to be noticed unless one spends a significant amount of time on the current system description.  Several changes of scale were involved in developing the System Description for the World-Wide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS) [pronounced WIMEX].

The WWMCCS accomplished 6 Operational Tasks..These exist in the JCS requirements statement.  In general, they accomplish the "military operational process" (sense, analyze, decide, act, communicate) which has been documented in various places.  My earliest reference is AD0479368 "Concepts for Command and Control Systems",by Henry M. Parsons and William E. Perry, 23 December 1965.

The sense function included Tactical Warning.  One of the first systems to support this function was SAGE.

The Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) was a system of large computers and associated networking equipment that coordinated data from many radar sites and processed it to produce a single unified image of the airspace over a wide area. SAGE directed and controlled the NORAD response to a Soviet air attack, operating in this role from the late 1950s into the 1980s. Its enormous computers and huge displays remain a part of cold war lore, and a common prop in movies such as Dr. Strangelove and Colossus.

The command center displays were upgraded is from the TRW Technology Series and describes this upgrade.

The WWMCCS included separate processes for "conventional" and "nuclear" planning and execution.

The WWMCCS Information System (WIS) was supposed to support the "Warfighters" in the National Military Command System (NMCS) and their command subordinates.

The Massachusetts Mafia won the WIS development contract but could not deliver.  The Global Command and Control System (GCCS) was an effort to meet the needs of the NCA and the Warfighters.    

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Your Grandfather was a Theist

Our Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were avowed Deists.

To my daughters I can say, "Your Grandfather Brown was a Theist."

His beliefs were strongly influenced by The Fundamentals. The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth (generally referred to simply as The Fundamentals) is a set of 90 essays published from 1910 to 1915 by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. The Fundamentals were edited by A. C. Dixon and later by Reuben Archer Torrey. The Fundamentals was first published as a 12-volume set, and later as a four-volume set retaining all 90 essays. The 90 essays were written by 64 different authors, representing most of the major Protestant Christian denominations.

The essays were written to affirm conservative Protestant beliefs, especially those of the Reformed tradition, and defend against ideas deemed inimical to them. They are widely considered to be the foundation of modern Christian fundamentalism.

The project was initially conceived in 1909 by California businessman Lyman Stewart and his brother Milton. They anonymously provided funds for collecting essays to set out what they believed to be the fundamentals of Christian faith, and for printing and distributing copies of the collected essays.  The Fundamentals  was sent free to ministers, missionaries, professors of theology, YMCA and YWCA secretaries, Sunday School superintendents, and other Protestant religious workers in every English-speaking country. Over three million volumes (250,000 sets) were sent out.

The volumes defended orthodox Protestant beliefs and attacked higher criticism, liberal theology, Catholicism (also called Romanism by them), socialism, Modernism, atheism, Christian Science, Mormonism, Millennial Dawn, Spiritualism, and evolutionism.

Sunday, May 17, 2015



PHYSICS:  GENERAL SURVEY.  Physics, which may be defined broadly as the study of nature, was long called natural philosophy (from the Greek physikos); its exact scope is not fixed nor easily delimited.  From decade to decade in modern times, the principal effort in physics has changed as, on the one hand, fields of scientific knowledge were reduced to practice, whereupon they were regarded as branches of engineering or applied physics; and, on the other hand, new fields were opened by fresh experimental or theoretical discoveries.  Physics may be called a point of view about the natural world and a method of attack on its problems, a method based upon certain general principles and disciplined by the close interplay between experiment and theory.  With a kind of confidence that the understanding of nature may be reduced to a few comprehensive principles, physicists seek for those central ideas by which great areas of common experience may be brought into order and coherence.  To achieve their purpose, they proceed by use of mathematical and logical tools, and by experimentation.

                        ----  sometime back in the good old days.

I see the “close interplay between experiment and theory” as being an instance of the Hegelian dialectic.  I also see a correspondence between theory and several other things such as doctrine, economics, policy, ....  With experiment corresponding to operations, engineering, practice, ....   The terms “top down” and “bottom up” were used in the Washington DC area.  Top down is policy/management driven and bottom up is operations/technology driven.  In the operations research/management science community, the term “middle out” was also used.  Physics is a balanced approach.   It may be more “both ends to the middle” rather than middle out but it is “balanced.”

The new part this time is the realization that the physicist who “seeks the central ideas” is seeking the OR/MS type’s starting place.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Boston Marathon Bomber was convicted of using Weapons of Mass Destruction, yet Jeb Bush is saying he would not have invaded Iraq.

Our counter-terrorism people have gone ape.

There were no machine guns in Iraq? no pressure cookers? no SUVs that could have been moved to Time's Square?

Weapons of mass destruction (WMD)s should be reserved for serious cases.  George W. Bush had his Hispanic attorney general explore the hypothetical.  Would have been better to have left it unexplored and relied on mercy at a trial by one's peers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Presidential Commission

In the United States, a Presidential Commission is a special task force ordained by the President to complete some special research or investigation.  They are often used politically in one of two ways:  either to draw attention to a problem (the publication of a report by a commission can generally be counted on to draw attention from the media, depending on how its release is handled); or, on the other hand, to delay action on an issue (if the President wants to avoid taking action but still look concerned about an issue, he can convene a commission and then let it slip into obscurity).  However, there have been cases (the Tower, Rogers and Warren Commissions) where the commission has created reports that have been used as evidence in later criminal proceedings.

The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling is a bipartisan presidential commission, established by Executive Order 13543 signed by Barack Obama on May 21, 2010, that is “tasked with providing recommendations on how the United States can prevent and mitigate the impact of any future spills that result from offshore drilling.”  It came about as a result of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The first public hearings, held on July 12 and 13, 2010 in New Orleans, included scheduled testimony from Federal government officials and representatives of BP on the status of the spill and clean-up efforts, as well as from local officials, community leaders, and scientists on the economic, cultural, and ecological impacts of the oil spill on Gulf Coast communities and ecosystems.
On October 6, 2010 the commission released preliminary reports criticizing the Obama administration for mismanagement of its response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  Amongst other things cited were, not being fully candid with the American people, and giving the impression of not being fully competent.
On January 11, 2011, the commission released its final report,[6] with recommendations to Congress for new spending and regulations.[7]

The commissioners presented their findings to President Obama and several top advisers on Tuesday afternoon.  The president said he was working to adopt many of their recommendations but also noted that any actions requiring new financing and regulations would be a hard sell in the current Congress, said William K. Reilly, co-chairman of the commission and a former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

David Gergen was the first, and only, person I heard ask, “When is the Commission going to be established?”  I wasn’t aware that one was.  Once that I found that a Commission was established, I was going to look at the membership and show that nobody had the background necessary to see the Federal Government’s Command and Control failures.  For perhaps the third time in my life, I was wrong.

The above information is from Wikipedia and the New York Times (reference 7 in Wikipedia).  Reference 6 leads to

The members of the Obama Commission panel to investigate the Gulf Oil spill are listed by Wikipedia as:
·         Bob Graham, former Governor of Florida and U.S. Senator (co-chair)
·         Frances G. Beinecke, President of Natural Resources Defense Council
·         Terry D. Garcia, Executive Vice President for Mission Programs for the National Geographic Society
·         Cherry A. Murray, Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences
·         Frances Ulmer, Chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage and former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska

Where was Brian Williams on January 11, 2011?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Measles, White House, and Surgeon General

The science is clear, vaccinations protect a population from measles.

Where is CINC Obama on this?  Where is the Surgeon General?  Who is the Surgeon General?

Schools, counties, and states should be able to mandate medical care.  The Federal Government should not.  Repeal ObamaCare.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Strict Theory vs Just a Theory

Bill Nye's, the science guy, book,UNDENIABLE, addresses the evidence supporting evolution as a theory.

Theists despise Secular Humanism (aka France).

Some theists realize that the Big Bang is compatible with the concept of our world having a beginning.

My former father-in-law is/was such a theist.

The youth pastor at our in Florida church referred to evolution as "just a theory" in a sermon at our church in 2006.  I feel that referring to General Relativity and Quantum Electrodynamics as "just theories" is approximately equivalent to saying that Christianity is "just a Myth".

The best description of the proper role of theory that I have encountered is in William Feller's two volume work on Probability.  Copyrights should be outlawed for policy statements (e.g. General Petraeus would not state strategy in "his own words") and good technical writing.  Any changes from the "best version" degrades the communication and the concept.

Footnote on page 3 of Volume II of "An Introduction to Probability Theory and its Applications," William Feller.

The roles of rigor and intuition are subject to misconceptions.  As was pointed out in volume I, natural intuition and natural thinking are a poor affair, but they gain strength with the development of mathematical theory.  Today's intuition and applications depend on the most sophisticated theories of yesterday.  Furthermore, strict theory represents economy of thought rather than luxury.  Indeed, experience shows that in applications most people rely on lengthy calculations rather than simple arguments because these appear risky.  [The nearest illustration is in example 5(a).]

In volume I, Feller (page 4) states, "It must be understood, however, that we are concerned not with modes of inductive reasoning but with something that might be called physical or statistical probability.  In a rough way we may characterize this concept by saying that our probabilities do not refer to judgments but to possible outcomes of a conceptual experiment.  Before we speak of probabilities, we must agree on an idealized model of a particular conceptual experiment such as tossing a coin, sampling kangaroos on the moon, observing a particle under diffusion, counting the number of telephone calls.  At the outset we must agree on the possible outcomes of this experiment (our sample space) and the probabilities associated with them.....

In physics and chemistry, the ideal gas law represents economy of thought and includes mathematical rigor.  Economy of thought and minimal data are used to show that the Patriots nor Tom Brady were caught cheating in #DeflateGate.

The mathematical formula is PV=nRT.

The data needed for a baseline calculation consists of the following:

Atmospheric pressure = 14.7 lbs/in**2

Temperature at deflation observation = 51

Temperature at "room temperature/inspection":  72

Pressure requirement at inspection:  13.5 to 12.5 lbs/in**2

Tom Brady made it clear in his 1 hour interview on the topic that he prefers the lower part of the range.

To use the equation, T must be with respect to absolute zero.  The Rankine temperature is measured in Fahrenheit degrees.   T = Tf + 459.67

Pressure P is equal to Gauge pressure + Atmospheric pressure 

Evolution may or may not be "just a theory" but the Big Bang, General Relativity, QED, and the ideal gas law are strict theories.

With the above data, the gauge pressure at the beginning of the second half (51 degrees F), should be 11.43 lbs/in**2.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The State of the Union and the Space Elevator

President Obama's State of the Union for 2015 was a good sounding speech.  It covered enough topics for everything by the National Academy Press to be related to it (almost).

It was short on specifics.

It did not mention the Space Elevator.  The taxpayers have paid for a lot of work described in - the Space Elevator.

I was shocked to find that people where complaining on Twitter about the Space Elevator not being in #SOTUS again this year.

I saw the concept described in the August 2005 IEEE Spectrum and tried to get a friend to kill the program by describing how it is flawed.

Block II MILSTAR satelites are "low-inclination".  The MILSTAR program utilizes geosychronous orbits.  The locus of the point on the Earth which is immediately below them is a figure 8 pattern unless they are over the Equator. 

The Space Elevator is an excellent example of something that should be left to venture capitalists or Vladimir Putin.

On page 5.2 of the Final Report at an “angular momentum” problem is described.  I’m most concerned about the problem after deployment.  The angular momentum problem during use is significant.

First, the base station needs to be on the equator.  Second, we need two to maintain symmetry.  Otherwise climate will change.

The counterweight has to go around a 100,000 kilometer orbit every 24 hours.  Geosynchronous orbits are geostationary only over the Equator.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Life, Liberty, and Property

CNN's coverage of Charlie Hebdo was poor because of differences in our languages.  Wolf Blitzer used reasonable terminology when he said the US is "scouring" our databases for information on the two perpetrators.

Barbara Starr and all other reporters I heard reported that we were "scrubbing" our databases which means that we were trying to get rid of bad data.

My ex-father-in-law is a theist and I learned from him that "Secular Humanism" is the Devil Incarnate even though I didn't know what any of that meant.

The French don't think that highly of any religion.  Is there a word for sacrilegious in French?

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary includes only three antonyms for sacred:  nonreligious, profane, and secular.

As a Libertarian, I say we should focus on Government's core functions of protecting our Lives, Liberty, and Property.

Government funds should not be expended on protecting "In Your Face Protesters" such as most of the Political Correctness advocates, Al Sharpeton, and radical feminists.

If we can't communicate mundane stuff like looking through our databases, how can we hope to understand important stuff if there is a God?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Scouring vs Scrubbing

Communication is a process described by Parsons and Perry in the 1960s.  I will address that some other place or time.

An United States Air Force Colonel gets credit in online command and control literature for the OODA process.

I heard reports yesterday that the FBI was "scrubbing the database" for information on the Charlie Hebdo terrorists.

Scouring their database would mean they are looking at it intensely.  Scrubbing a database used to mean purging it of bad data.

Wolf Blitzer used reasonable terminology on the Situation Room yesterday.  Barbara Starr and all others I heard did not.

Does the Department of Defense translator for French to English know how to do his/her job?

I can imagine a language specialist not knowing the the implications of translating a request from the French to intensely search our databases.

Inteeroperability is still a problem.