Archive for the ‘Jerry Pournelle’ Category

An excellent interview with Dr. Pournelle

February 18, 2009

Stephen Euin Cobb has an excellent interview with Dr. Jerry Pournelle in his podcast, The Future and You.

The interview is spread across three episodes (1/28/09, 2/4/09, 2/11/09), and focuses mostly on his work other than writing science fiction novels.

From Mr. Cobb’s website about Dr. Pournelle,

After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he acquired Master’s degrees in both experimental statistics and systems engineering, and Doctorates in both psychology and political science. He co-wrote a military textbook called The Strategy of Technology which was required reading at West Point and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He helped to write a portion of Ronald Reagan’s State of the Union Address concerning a missile defense system which the media at the time enjoyed making fun of and calling Star Wars, since they believed the technology needed to shoot down incoming missiles with our own missiles was impossible. He worked in operations research at Boeing, The Aerospace Corporation, and North American Rockwell Space Division. He was founding President of the Pepperdine Research Institute. He was campaign manager for Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr., as well as for Mayor Sam Yorty. And he was a columnist for Byte Magazine beginning in 1982.

One of the more interesting parts of the interview, IMNSHO, was an explanation of Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy, and why it hasn’t taken hold very strongly in the US Military (and has in some other countries armed forces).

Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.

Other fascinating items were Dr. Pournelle’s involvement in the SDI program (which my Senior Senator was flat out wrong about) and its effect on the outcome of the Cold War.

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Monday Book Pick

January 5, 2009

Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Flynn.

The “Climate Change” novel that was out long before “climate change” was cool.

The Monday Book Pick Archive & the 2008 Archive

Infrastrucure we should be building.

December 28, 2008

Our Dear Leader should listen to Dr. Pournelle on what kind of infrastructure the United States of America should be building.

I have to say it again: cheap energy will cause a boom. The only cheap energy I know of is nuclear. Three Hundred Billion bucks in nuclear power will do wonders for the economy. We build 100 1000 MegaWatt nuclear power plants — they will cost no more than 2 billion each and my guess is that the average cost will be closer to 1 billion each (that is the first one costs about 20 billion and the 100th costs about 800 million). The rest of the money goes to prizes and X projects to convert electricity into mobility.

Of course we won’t do that.

Just think of all the plug in hybrid cars that could be on the road with all that cheap, carbon free, clean electricity.

Dr. Pournelle on the bailout bill

September 30, 2008

The wise doctor says:

According to Pelosi the entire crisis is due to the Bush administration, and by voting for the bill the Republicans would agree to that. Nothing about CRA and affordable housing. Nothing about the war which Congress approved. It’s all the fault of the free market.

I am torn between thinking this is childish, and fury at this narrowminded action.

The problem is simple: no one is sure that a bailout is needed. If a bailout has the effect of empowering those who caused this mess to begin with, then it might make things much worse; and Pelosi’s triumphant cackle fixing all blame on Bush does not generate great confidence. If the official Democratic Party view is that there was nothing wrong with the notion of setting up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and pushing banks to make bad loans so that we can have more affordable housing and more home ownership, then it is a clear demonstration that the Democrats either do not know, or do not care, what their contribution to this mess has been.

Sunday Morning Quotes

June 29, 2008

Five years ago we were told that increased refinery and oil pumping capability in the US would do no good because it would take five years for those to affect gas pump prices. Query: if we had greatly increased supply over the past five years, would not oil be at about $75/bbl, still high, but not headed to $200? And if we do nothing to increase supply now, where will oil go? … We are in a time of national emergency, but it does not affect the politicians, who continue business as usual.
Dr. Pournelle, HT to Mr. Reynolds

Nukes are out, coal is filthy, wind power destroys Ted Kennedy’s view, and solar leads to “environment fears.” Do they just want us all to freeze in the dark? Pretty much, I’d say …
Glenn Reynolds

Gun Control? It’s the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I’m a bad guy, I’m always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You pull the trigger with a lock on, and I’ll pull the trigger. We’ll see who wins.
Sammy “The Bull” Gravano,VANITY FAIR 9/1999 page 165