Thursday, December 27, 2007

One more step towards Armageddon

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto after Christmas, in December 2007, was a major step down the road towards eventual armageddon. The western countries desperately wanted to believe that they were not in a war of civilizations with the conservative Muslims. They kept hoping that if they ignored what was happening in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan that it would somehow all go away. All this talk of a war was just President Bush and the "Neo-Conservatives" talking. There was no substance to it. They just wanted to fight, perhaps under the control of Jewish interests in the financial world and Israel. Sadly, the funny men who wanted to wear bad clothes, not take a bath, and wanted harems of five year old girls thought otherwise. The world was re-enacting the events of the late 1930's all over again, but with a new cast of evil characters and naive and idealistic liberals.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The early 21st Century

As the 21st Century progressed, the situation became increasingly perilous. The Europeans refused to see the growing threat to their homelands from immigrants, many of whom refused to learn the language and integrate. Fortunately, there were many immigrants who appreciated the free European lifestyle, and wanted it for themselves, along with the affluence. Meanwhile, American moved decisively to the left and seemed blinded to the ever-growing threat to their land and lifestyle, as well. In their case, there was less danger from immigrants and a greater threat from unconventional warfare and the use of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. There was also a threat from commandos prepared to commit suicide in order to inflict maximum casualties and to disrupt normal life.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The battle for Western Europe

The need to fight for Western Europe for much of the first half of the 21st Century was one of the major surprises. The Europeans were faced with the demographic equivalent of infiltration tactics, developed during the Great War. The Western Europeans generally wanted to have these multi-cultural paradises, where they allowed North African and Turkish immigrants to not integrate into their societies. Not very far into the 21st Century, they were dismayed to find that they had insurgent groups in their midst who used riots and general civil disorder as a weapon against the governments and their liberal societies. The United States had been forced to deal with these sorts of tactics, starting as long ago as 1968 and continuing for some time. In the United States, the problem was greatly reduced as the minority population, in the American case being African descendants, became more integrated and affluent. The first shots wer e symbolically fired in France and the Netherlands, and they were both quickly faced with bitter battles. Germany, with their minority Turkish population had seen the fight start as far back as the latter 20th Century.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

At Dover, looking at the situation on 29 May 1652

We wanted to watch the action unfold (and record what happened) on 28 and 29 May 1652. We initially zoomed out to a fairly great altitude so that we could see Dover, the Downs, and as far as Rye Bay. We knew that the Dutch had been forced across the Channel by bad weather and had lost anchors in the winds and had dragged other anchors. The two English squadrons had experienced the same weather, but on the west side of the Channel. On 28 May (the English, using the Old Style calendar, called it 18 May), the Dutch fleet of more than 40 ships entered the roads, unnerving the English commander, Nehemiah Bourne. He flew his flag on the 2nd Rate Andrew. Tromp sent the Lam and the Hoorn, commanded by Jan Thijssen and Pieter Allertszoon, to explain to Bourne that they were just taking refuge from the weather. The Dutch captains explained to Rear-Admiral Bourne that Tromp had stayed away so that he wouldn't be expected to strike his colours. The next day would see some action.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"Feel good politics"

By the early 2000's, everyone was following the Clintonian lead and was fully engaged in "feel good politics". Both parties were fully engaged in this practice. So we didn't like people who ran red lights in their cars. OK. Let's show that we care about the problem and put in cameras and charge $200 fines if you don't pay right away. Another example was beating up on wireless phone users while driving. Some small municipalities put in place laws that you were not allowed to talk on your phone in an active school zone. Was talking on our phones in a school zone actually a problem? It didn't matter, because they felt like they would be perceived as being tough on school zone safety. You get the idea. You don't solve problems that exist. You show that you care by putting in place a severe penalty all out of proportion to the offense.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Failed experiments

When the Soviet Union went into liquidation, so to speak, the Socialists all said that they had just "done it wrong". Socialism could work. The Chinese experiment with both a "free market" (of sorts) and Socialism still had the failing that such systems encouraged corruption. When a system is disrupting the natural desires of people for wealth and control over their lives, there are people within such systems who have opportunities that are presented. Those opportunities usually mean corrupt practices that include bribery, taking money, and setting up deals that benefit themselves and their friends. They will also take shortcuts, as convenience, such as what happened with manufacturers in China, where they used lead paint and other unsafe materials.

The wrong incentives

The key to having a society in which we would want seems to be to have incentives that promote self-reliance and freedom, not knowing how to take handouts from the Government. The whole, failed Socialist experiment tried to teach people to want and accept money and services from the Government. The motivation was idealistic: to help the people who could not care for themselves and to have a better life for everyone. The problem was that without productive people producing and creating products, services, and wealth, there would be little to give away. The assumption was that the good things would be created by someone so that the Government could take some or most of them away. Through hard lessons from the looters, and continued denial that they were really happening, we finally tried a new system. Let people keep what they earned. Ask them to purchase the services needed to maintain a country and provide for common needs. The changes were tried in small pieces and then we would go back to the ways that didn't work. Finally, after we experienced the "terrorist" nuclear attack, we gradually came to our senses.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No more free lunches

By the beginning of the 21st Century, everyone was looking for the proverbial "free lunch". That was the impression created, at least. By mid-century, after some major hard knocks, we were back to the "TANSTAAFL" mindset ("There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch", as Robert A. Heinlein liked to say). We also love our freedom. The natural state of man is to be a small-L libertarian. We tend towards the consequentialist brand of libertarian, rather than the libertarianism of the "rights theorists". Robert A. Heinlein has been described as having a "proto-libertarian" theme in his books, especially the earlier ones. This is telling: "This type of libertarianism is associated with Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and James M. Buchanan. Some writers who have been called libertarians have also been referred to as classical liberals, by others or themselves." The "free lunch" crowd tended to want the free lunch at someone else's expense.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In the mid-21st Century, we like government not to overreach

At the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st Century, the situation in America had gotten very strange. Demagoguing politicians had been able to enact laws that raised the penalties for minor crimes so that fines and punishments were excessive. The demagoguing followed a narrative about cracking down on crime. Minor traffic violations had their fines raised by an order of magnitude. Governments, especially in southeastern Michigan, could confiscate your property for crimes, sometimes relatively minor, and which was certainly excessive punishment. In the mid-21st Century, we repeal laws that everyone violates. The situation at the beginning of the 21st Century had made all sorts of common behavior that everyone did be unlawful. For example, speed limits in some areas were reduced down to 10 or 15 mph below what everyone drove. I suspect that much of the motivation was "revenue generation", because late 20th and early 21st Century politicians and bureaucrats liked to spend money, usually to pay off buddies and family members and to buy votes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Freedom or autocracy?

I have this vision of a land where people are free from an oppressive government that is trying to do too much. This is a free country, as countries which are not free do not allow their people to be armed, much less require them to be. This is a country where we "shoot first and ask questions later", so that is rather odd. This is also a place where we have tight surveillance, even remotely in time and space, so people who would like to operate without anyone knowing what they are doing don't like this arrangement. We are "violating their right to privacy", but we do it to prevent another nuclear attack within the country. The people who would perpetrate such an attack need to be stopped. Therefore, we accept that limit on our freedom.

The 2007 Weblog Awards

Kevin Alyward has opened nominations for the 2007 Weblog Awards.

The 2007 Weblog Awards

Kevin is proprietor and founder of the Wizbang! blog.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Data collection targets

There are several especially important targets for remote viewing with "the Grid" (across time and space). One is the Dutch Ministry of Marine, prior to the fire in 1844 that destroyed many important records about the Dutch navy. The other would be the studio of Willem van de Velde the Elder and the Younger, a father and son artistic team who specialized in 17th Century sailing warships and battles. One theory is that the reason that their drawings often do not have the name of a ship is that the drawings were stored in folders, one for each ship. In that filing system, there was no need to have the name on the drawing, as that would be redundant. This theory is due to the lalte 20th and early 21st Century author Frank Fox.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting the real information

One thing about historical information, is that if you can get the real thing, from actual observation, that would be unbelievably good. To really do the job, you need to be knowledgeable about the subject prior to doing any real data collection. After all, in "real life", there are no labels on ships, armies, or men, telling who or what they are. If you know what you need to know, beyond what is already known, then you have real power. You might also want to confirm that what you think is true, really is true.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Our obsession with historical research

If we could, we would be spending all of our time doing historical research, analysis, and writing. Sadly, that is not possible, so we do as much as we can, although in spurts. We have been fortunate enough to occasionally binge on research and analysis. Those times have historically been our most productive times, as you can imagine. The hunt for information and understanding is what drives us. Admittedly this is an abnormal condition. "Normal people" have real lives other than their obsession.

Friday, September 21, 2007


There is no understanding stupidity. I was driving along a well-traveled city street, a main thoroughfare, when I looked over and saw three guys in a disreputable looking vehicle that was very well-worn. They lacked working air conditioning, obviously, as they had all the windows down. Stupidity knows no bounds, even in the mid-21st Century, when they should have known better. They drove up next to an SUV and threw several water balloons at the vehicle. Yes, SUV's are the modern equivalent of the late 1940's "woody" station wagon. Auto makers just lost their way in the 1950's and starting producing automobile-like station wagons. When the SUV appeared, it was the original station wagon reborn. The stupidest thing is that they should have known that even if their vehicle ID systems were disabled, they would have been captured on video, along with their license plate. They were "busted" as our daughter would say.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Walking mechanisms

A walking scooter for disabled persons was one of the first applications of walking mechanisms. The walking scooter could walk over curbs and up and down stairs. This was a great advance, because a great many more places became accessible to disabled people. Eventually, the technology was applied to automobiles, so that by the mid-21st Century, cars could walk over and set themselves down in a small parking place. They could get out into the street the same way. A more extreme version, that is frowned upon by the authorities, allows a car to get up on long legs and step out of traffic jam and walk over the grass on the side of the highway to the access road. Talk about modern conveniences, yes?

Friday, September 14, 2007

My sidearm

Sometimes, I think that carrying a 10mm automatic pistol as my sidearm is excessive, but that is what I like. Using a pistol of this caliber is only feasible due to the recoil reduction mechanism that is part of this particular weapon. The whole concept seems like a device invented by the mythical engineer named Goldberg. I like the 10mm caliber, as it is a "good stopper". This was the same rationale for the American Colt .45 M1917. For trench warfare, they needed a weapon that would drop an opponent. A smaller caliber might not do the job reliably.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Broadband connections

Everyone's fiber connection to the home is one of the greatest advances of the first half of the 21st Century. Having that much bandwidth is what allows us to access most media and information via the net. I can "watch television" on my computer or I can switch the video to "the wall". I also have the choice of a lower-resolution holographic display or a higher quality physical display, although relatively large in size. There is no longer any purpose to having separate phone, cable, and internet lines. We just have one pipe connecting our homes to the world. We then have the infrastructure with sufficient bandwidth so that we literally are connected to the rest of the world.

Monday, September 10, 2007


When you are keeping a running 3D model of the world and recording video for posterity, busting a speeding Dallas county school bus is like shooting fish in a barrel. Here is an driving south in my super car, obeying the ridiculously low speed limit, when a yellow-orange school bus passes me going 10 miles an hour over the seed limit. Busting the driver is a piece of cake. I grab the video and the rest is history.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Webcam city

When the "thought police" were operation, they went crazy at the idea that young girls were exposing themselves with webcams over the net. How dare they make "prohibited material" available to men! Since the "thought police" were serious about suppressing any hint of tender young skin in pictures and video, they would "go after" anyone accessing what was broadcast. "Chat rooms" were notorious for having been reduced to a mechanism where men looking for young girls could connect up with policemen, instead. Seeing and possessing "prohibited material" was considered a serious crime. It didn't matter if this was a "victimless crime", afterall, "it was prohibited material, wasn't it?"

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Spy pics, an irritation

They violate people's privacy, but everyone is equipped with spycams that aim where you look. You can snap pictures of pretty women and girls, just by looking and snapping. In many ways it is a hazard, but in our permissive world, we allow it. They may well end up on the net, but that's the breaks. What are we going to do? Have an oppressive society, early 21st Century style, where they gave big fines for small traffic offenses and threw men in jail for having "prohibited materials" in their possession, not for having caused any harm. Once you circumvented the Constitution and defined a class of "prohibited materials", the possession of which was a serious offense, it was all downhill to an authoritarian police state.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Collision avoidance

Given that cars in the mid-21st Century maintain a 3D model of their surroundings, as they move, collision avoidance systems are almost demanded. They can be annoying, because automobile are in communication with each other and they are constantly computing possible dangers. If pressed, they will collectively act and take control of the cars to prevent a collision. You might think that you are going to be driving down the road when suddenly, your car will slow. I have sworn at my car for taking control away from me, many times.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The running video recorder in my car

One of the gadgets that is in my car that I like the best is the video recorder. The recording is aimed by what I am looking at and has a similar field of vision. The recording is going constantly, in a loop. At any time, I can permanently record from the loop. This is a handy way to "get the goods" on traffic offenders. I look at their license plate and they are nailed. Part of the recording is not just video but a running 3D model of my surroundings. That takes care of catching speeders. They are nailed.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Other notable events of 1652 and 1653

There are a few notable events from the First Anglo-Dutch War, in 1652 and 1653, that would be interesting to see and to record with video. Of course, the incident at Dover that started the war is top on our list. As I have mentioned, the events of 22 July 1652 and the ships and captains involved are something we want to see. Another major event was the storm in the Shetlands (or "Hitland", as the Dutch called it) in early August 1652. At least six warships were sunk in the storm and many more were damaged. The event caused the Dutch enough damage that on 8 October 1652, they were outclassed by the English off the Kentish Knock. Before that, we would like to know about the fight between Sir George Ayscue's fleet and Michiel De Ruyter's fleet off Plymouth. Of course, video of the Battle of Dungeness would be priceless, including a recording of the fight for Tromp's flagship Brederode, when it was attacked by the English Garland and Anthony Bonaventure.

Monday, September 03, 2007

One issue that we want to resolve

One priority issue that we want to resolve by data collection with the Grid is the incident (the Dutch called it a disaster) on 22 July 1652, when the fifteen ship fishery protection squadron was attacked off the coast of Scotland. Many of the ships were captured or sunk by the English fleet. Some Dutch sources suggest that an 84 gun ship was part of the fleet, which would have been the 1st Rate Resolution. We have a published list of ships, but that list clearly contains errors. We want to grab 3D models of the ships, information concerning their identity and the captains, and some idea about how events transpired on 22 July.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The holographic computer display

I cannot imagine what using a computer would have been like prior to having a holographic display. How could you possibly have worked with a single, small display? You need to able to spread open pages out where you can see many at a time. How else could you work? I would find working with a single display crippling. I have heard that more upscale computer users started adding one or two additional displays. They were the more affluent users, as large displays still cost a great deal. The obvious solution was to bust loose from the physical display.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Greater processing power through arrays of closely couple processors

Because of the physical limits involved, the power of a single processor in a computer can only be increased up to those boundaries. Since we need increasingly more power, due to the problems we are tackling, we have to add closely coupled processors. By the early 1980's, really in the bronze age of computing, this had already been recognized. There were some brave efforts in the 1980's to use arrays of processors, such as the "Connection Machine", but they were trying to solve problems that were not that useful. The secret was coarse-grained parallelism. Don't spawn more processes on a single processor. Spawn them on their own, dedicated processor. The "rest is history".

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Countermeasures to the bullet deflector

One obvious countermeasure to the bullet deflector is to fire from inside of ten feet with a gun that fires a high-velocity bullet. If you hit, that can be quite messy! Another countermeasure is to jam the sensor. The primary sensor is a very low power, very short wave radar system. The only thing that makes this feasible is that with large arrays of closely coupled processors, you can just about get around the computation involved. In the mid-21st Century, arrays of closely coupled processors are the general solution to a host of computing problems. They use very large shared memory and a virtual disk (and a realtime OS, of course).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The bullet deflector

Armoured exoskeletons could be equipped with the bullet deflector. This is an odd device, and dangerous to be around when it is in use. The bullet deflector depends on sensors and speed, under computer control, to "reach out" and deflect bullets in flight. It is amazing to see in action. If a shooter is too close, the bullet deflector is useless, as there is too little time to act. If a shooter is as far as 10 feet (very close), that is enough space for the device to act. It will "tap aside" bullets. There is a real danger that there will be ricochets once the deflected bullet strikes a solid object. The deflector arm moves so fast, that if your arm moved in the way, it would be cut. Deflector cuts are a real and present danger.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The intelligent, powered exo-skeleton

The intelligent, powered exo-skeleton is a great boon to infirm people. My mother has one. Without it, when she stand up to quickly, her blood pressure falls, and she faints. The exo-skeleton is aware if she is conscious or not. When she faints, the exo-skeleton keeps her from falling, preventing injury. The exo-skeleton also provides enough resistance, gauging a person's strength. That way, muscles are not allowed to atrophy the way that they would if the exo-skeleton did all the work.

Monday, August 27, 2007

People building

One of the most positive things I have ever seen are the "people builders". You may have heard of them: "Build people and they will build a business" (I alter the stock phrase in a way that I think is still consistent with the intent, but in such as way that it is more palatable for a more general audience). Most people are surrounded by negative people and events. They can be overwhelming and can destroy your attitude. There is a great deal of wisdom in the idea: "no negative". That can mean not reading the current news or listening to the radio. I turned the radio off when the news started to be very distressing. I think that most people wallow in negative and they are constantly gossiping. Gossip is one of the most negative and destructive activities in which you can indulge. Before I was enlightened, I used to be rumor control and would pass on the latest gossip. Once I learned how destructive that rumor was, to the gossiper and the listener, I stopped the practice.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Powered exoskeletons

Powered exoskeletons were first imagined by science fiction writers and then by cartoonists. Thanks to cartoonists and animators, the idea of out-sized, powered exoskeletons moved to the forefront of people's attention. Once you could hook up the powered exoskeleton with the nervous system, powered chairs and wheelchairs became obsolete. Quadriplegics can now live a more normal life, here in the mid-21st Century.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The "full up" 420 can reach 300 kph

The 420 can reach at least 300 kph. We build roads to allow that. As we like to drive fast, anyway, we have roads that allow for a range of speeds. The highest speeds are reserved for the far left lane. We normally cruise in the city at about 75 kph, and rely upon our computers to keep us out of trouble. We only steer approximately, and the car steers precisely to carry us through turns without mishap. A feature of our cars are that they walk into parking places. We have not had to jocky into parking places in our lifetime, as walking cars were perfected by the 'thirties.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I am looking for a suitable red sporty car photograph

I am looking for a suitable red sporty car that I might use as the basis for the "420" car. The 420 is a mid-21st Century car that is long, low, and wide. The 420 is very smooth and streamlined, with clear covers over the headlights to streamline them. The doors open butterfly style. This is a photograph of an early prototype that eventually evolved into the famous "420" by the mid-21st Century:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Disk space

At least disk space is plentiful and inexpensive. We will be collection terabytes of data from our remote viewing over space and time. The high-resolution 3D models are particularly expensive. Our data collection system uses extremely high speed, high bandwidth communications. That really is the bottleneck, next to computing power. Can you imagine having the real information about ships and fleets? It seems inconceivable. Given that we will have that available to us, I can imagine that processing what we are able to collect with take YEARS. I have this thirst for knowledge. I want to KNOW. I don't want to wait, either.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wargamer's fantasy

Once we have 3D models of all the ships in the First Anglo-Dutch War, we could then use them as part of naval wargames. Every wargamer's fantasy is to be able to use accurate models and information to game famous battles, such as the initial fight off Dover on 29 May 1652 that started the First Anglo-Dutch War. Putting together a successful gaming system is not a simple project, but the models are probably the greatest challenge. Even with "state of the art", we still might have to reduce the number of polygons to be feasible for the numbers we want to have. The graphical side keeps getting better. Right now, computing power is the biggest limitation.

Monday, August 20, 2007

We could make the best naval wargame

One incentive for getting the complete information about the ships and battle of the 17th Century, we could make the best naval wargames with what we found. I even had this fantasy, that we had sufficient resources to actually build ships, hire crews and actors, and make movies of the campaigns and battles. We could have extremely accurate depictions. The only caveat being that totally realistic might be so gross and offensive that we might want to settle for something less realistic and more palatable. One aspect that we would be spared is the smell. I expect that generally everyone and everything smelled bad. You would have major BO cases, just as you might find in rural India or Southeast Asia.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Why us?

You might wonder why we were selected to do the research about 17th Century Dutch naval history. I think that the explanation is that we have published enough on the subject that we were noticed. We have done more research in the Nationaal Archief than anyone else. A member of our group has also done more research in the Gemeentearchief Rotterdam (the Municipal Archives for Rotterdam) and other nearby municipal archives than anyone else. We have access to the other nearby good sources of information, such as the Gemeentearchief Amsterdam. The notary archives have proved to be a rich source of information as well, although they are a difficult source to mine and are very time-consuming. Oddly enough, the details of ships, fleets, and naval officers from this period, especially the First Anglo-Dutch War (Eerste Engelse Oorlog) had been little studied. All the historians wanted to write high-level books that left off the details of ships and the fleets. There were also many details about officers' careers that had remained unstudied. The Dutch had largely lost interest in their "Golden Age".

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The whole question of security

One question that we have is whether in fact that there would be a ban on knowledge of the Grid. This is such a major component of the modern system, that we would know and opponents of civilization would know. The very existence of the Grid would make them necessarily employ operational methods that obscure who they are and what they are doing. They would also try not to draw attention to their activities to the point that the Grid would be used to investigate them. After all, the Grid is a scarce and expensive resource, so the Grid can only reasonably employed for the most important investigations.

Friday, August 17, 2007


One thing that has survived to modern time is the car. Having cars powered by burning petroleum products is very wasteful. Since petroleum products are a diminishing resource, we prefer to power our cars another way. Since petroleum is a rich source of complex organic molecules, we keep it for our chemical industry. The car (aka automobile) is such as powerful idea, there was no way that we would lose the benefit of personal transportation vehicles that offer protection from harm and from the weather. They are still a powerful force in our economy. Public transportation, such as subways and trains, make sense for very dense population centers, but since outside of old Europe, there is plenty of land for people, we spread out. That wants some system like "cars". Our cars are now powered by fuel cells. That has been more difficult than our ancestors thought it would be. The original fuel cells were unstable and would result in nasty explosions. The "new age" fuel cells are much tamer and are very stable. Our infrastructure now has converted to provide stations where we buy our fuel. The neat thing is that our cars are very "nice". The "420" is very long, wide, and low, with arching glass and lifting doors. The 420 makes an early 21st Century Corvette look like a clunker, especially when colored bright red.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What I would like to do, but don't know how to make it work

What I always had wanted to do is to put together "Jane's Fighting Ships, WITH PHOTOGRAPHS(!), for the years 1648 to 1678, especially for the years 1652, 1653, 1654, 1664, 1665, 1666, and 1667. Can you imagine what it would be like to be able to have accurate drawings and real photographs of the ships? We could have that, along with accurate measurements and gun lists. The minor detail is that the security surrounding the Grid would preclude any such thing, given the risks involved. All I can say is, "there has to be a way".

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Research with the Grid is necessarily very computing intensive

All research with the Grid very computing intensive and a great deal of storage is needed, due to the volume of data collected. For our Dutch naval history research, terabytes of data will be collected in just the first data collection run in the sequence of events leading up to and including the opening battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War, fought off Dover on 29 May 1652. There is some illusion of analog processes, when we can seemlessly move in space and time, moving gradually in both sets of dimensions. As I have noted, we can collect imagery, sound, and 3D models. The latter is particularly expensive, due to the high resolution that we collect.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Just because the Grid exists, that does not eliminate crime and terrorism

For a variety of reasons, just because the Grid exists, crime and terrorist and insurgent activity is not automatically precluded. For one thing, the Grid is a scarce enough resource that most ordinary crimes cannot be investigated. Only really horrendous and high-priority crimes can be handled using the Grid. As for terrorists and insurgents, there are operational methods that can be used to obscure what is happening enough to make Grid investigations hard to pursue. The basic technique is to hide yourself among the people around you. You blend in. You plant bombs and other devices inobtrusively, and then operate at a distance. That mode of operation is hard to penetrate.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A feature of modern life, in the Grid world

Much of what life is like in the modern world, where the Grid is used, is influenced by the destruction of Washington D.C. by a nuclear weapon that had been smuggled into the city and detonated. A rump government was established in Philadelphia, where one of the first steps was to require every adult to carry a sidearm. Sadly, there was a pogram that spontaneously happened after the attack, so that many atrocities were committed by Americans running wild and killing and destroying property. Since the attack was made by radical Muslims, Muslims and property were targeted. Close to two years were required to re-establish order and a working government, operating under marshal law. There was a great debate in government circles about the propriety of hitting Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan with nuclear-tipped missiles. Rather than do that, we mobilized a great army and invaded and occupied all three, committing the usual atrocities along the way.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Grid makes life difficult for Islamic radicals and common criminals

Once the Grid appeared, a natural application was to use it for criminal investigation and anti-Islamic radical purposes. Radical environmentalists and so-called animal rights activists also are targets. What all those miscreants hate is that the Grid can be turned to the location and moment when something bad happened and track and the authorities can track forward and backward in time and space and see where the peretrators came from and where they went. Some of the details are so secret that we cannot be sure if they can capture wireless or landline phone conversations or not. Email is simple, because you would be able to watch a message being typed into a computer, PDA, or phone.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Time travel

We suspect that the inventors of "the Grid", with the encouragement of the authorities chose to keep time travel to a "pseudo-presence, back in time. We believe that a physical presence would be too risky and would threaten to disrupt the present ("here and now"). Speculative thinkers, such as H. Beam Piper and L. Sprague DeCamp, had suggested, at least by my interpretation, that there would just be new branches created by attempts to travel back in time. Suppose you could redial the clock back to this morning and have a second chance at the current day. You would be able to experiment with alternative behavior that you would hope would produce better results. Just imagine what chaos could be generated by large numbers of people doing just this sort of thing...every day.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Language changes

We definitely know that the English spoken in 1652 was quite different than English spoken today. There is also the question of accent, as an American visiting England often has a hard time understanding what people are saying, despite the fact that they are nominally speaking the same English language. I have less exposure to English spoken by the English, and what I have heard is understandable. The question is: how much has spoken Dutch changed since 1652 and how easily would a modern Dutch speaker understand what was being said in 1652 and 1653? We are just guessing when we expect that we would not have a problem understanding 1652 Dutch, as we don't exactly have any recordings just lying around (yet).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Doing our homework

Prior to actually collection data for the initial encounters between the Dutch and English off the Start and off Dover in May 1652, we need to "do our homework". Part of that involves compiling lists of ships and captains, including known dimensions and guns. If any of the ships were drawn by Willem van de Velde the Elder, we need to have copies of the drawings available to consult. We also need as much as is available for the English ships. Many of the ships built as warships appear in Van de Velde drawings, so we need those. There will be many times as much time spent analyzing the data collected as was needed to collect it. We will also be spending a great deal more time than the "wall clock time" of the actual events.

Monday, August 06, 2007

We need to record audio, as well

I don't know why we had not thought of recording audio, as well, but we had not. We also need to have some Dutch speakers who are familiar with the period and naval history, so that we can get a real time assessment of what is being said by the Dutch. We may need to see if we can find historians who are familiar with the 17th Century English, as we may not be able to understand as much as we think. I think that we will be able to make a major contribution to understanding the exact circumstances of what happened at the outbreak of the First Anglo-Dutch War. I would like to hear what Lieutenant-Admiral Tromp heard from Joris van der Zaan that put him in a fighting mood.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wondering about the opening shots in the war

While thinking more about recording the opening shots of the First Anglo-Dutch War (the Dutch call the war the Eerste Engelse Oorlog), I realized that we should first look at incident off the Start, where Anthony Young's small squadron stopped Jacob Huyrluyt, Joris van der Zaan, and their seven Straatsvaarders that they were convoying. Joris van der Zaan's report to Lieutenant-Admiral Tromp is what so incensed Tromp that he was angry and not ready to take any of what he felt was abuse by the English. Robert Blake, the English admiral, was nominally a friend of Tromp's, but he had some responsibility for this incident, as well. After all, the had what was almost certainly, a 32pdr demi-cannon fired at the Dutch flagship's hull. At close range, this shot was so powerful, that the shot went completely through both sides of the Brederode's hull.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Preparations for a data collection run with the Grid

We decided that we would make our first data collection run on 29 May 1652, off Dover the Downs. We would watch and record the events that lead to the outbreak of the First Anglo-Dutch War. We should be able to confirm that the Dutch flagship Brederode fired a broadside a Robert Blake's flagship James after Blake had fired a round completely through the Brederode, taking the arm off one man in the process. Blake had ostensibly fired a "warning shot" to remind the Dutch that they were supposed to salute by dipping their flags and topsails. For the shot to have gone through the Brederode probably meant that it was from a 32pdr demi-cannon on the lower tier of the James.

We had precalculated the coordinates that should place us over Dover, looking down in early 29 May. We would then adjust to get a better view and position in the temporal axis. We would then capture a quick overall all view and then take 3D models of the ships, Dover castle, and the gun emplacements on the shore. We needed to get the particulars of how each was armed. For the ships, we needed to go into the ship and grab images of papers, including log books, or whatever they had. We needed to find papers that would allow us to confirm the name of each ship and as much as we could find about the crew and provisions.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Grid

The Grid has many useful features. We can scan through space and time with it and get a visual image that we can use to steer the search. We have enough fine control that we can image each page in a stack of papers. On a more macro level, we can grab 3D models of solid objects. We also have the ability to capture video over time, not to just grab snapshots. Snapshots are useful, though, so we have the ability take those as well. On the cosmic scale, there are complex mathematical problems to be solved to locate the exact position and time to focus the grid. The Earth and solar system are moving through the universe, and we must know where to look to see a scene, such as the Dutch fleet off the Shetlands in early August 1652.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

We are researching a "safe topic"

I had wondered why we received permission to use "the Grid". I am guessing that we want to research a "safe topic" that would generate few problems. Topics that would be decidedly "not safe" would be wanting to look at Jesus's crucifixion and the resurrection or Moses parting the Red Sea, during the Exodus from Egypt. There is no way that uncleared persons would be allowed to go that far back in time, simply because they are such potentially explosive topics.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How could you keep any of this secret?

With all this fascinating and exciting news, how could you keep it secret? The answer has to be security clearances, really tough non-disclosure contracts, and people only know a piece of the story. Information is compartmentalized and one person only knows a piece. They also know who knows what information. If any appears in the press, they know exactly who to give polygraph exams to and they will do bad things to whomever discloses information. There are some pieces of the story that are capital offenses to disclose.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Faster than light drive

About the same time as the Grid, a faster than light drive was invented. This used a slightly different aspect of the same phenomenon as the Grid. Faster than light drive is more difficult and uses even more energy than the Grid, as the drive involves an actual presence, while the Grid only involves a pseudo-presence, albeit at a location remote in time and space.

The drawback of the Grid

The main drawback of the Grid is that a nuclear power plant is needed to drive the equipment. That remote viewing over hundreds of years takes a great deal of electric power. The whole process is made possible by quirks in quantum mechanics there discovered part way into the 21st Century. When the government realized the potential of the system, the entire process was declared to be "Top Secret, Special Compartmented Information". Every effort was taken to squash any public knowledge of the technology. Gradually, however rumors surfaced in the scientific community about a great scientific breakthrough.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

We really need to study the English navy in 1652 to 1654, as well

The Commonwealth, under Cromwell, was either very bad at record-keeping or the records were largely lost at the Restoration about the English navy during the First Anglo-Dutch War, or even more, the period from 1642 to 1660. After Oliver Cromwell's death, with Richard Cromwell ruling, civil order had begun to deteriorate. There were men setting themselves up, in England, as warlords. The situation had gotten so bad by 1660, that there was popular support for restoring the monarchy and enthroning Charles II as King. Under those circumstances, General Monck marched his army on London and overthrew the Commonwealth government, such as remained of it. Edward Montagu took a squadron of ships across the Channel with Charles and James and brought them to England. What ensued was an orgy of retribution against the remaining principals of the rebellion and Commonwealth. Bodies of important Commonwealth officials were removed from Westminster Cathedral and were dumped in a mass grave. Cromwell's remains are somewhat shrouded in mystery. His head may have been separated fromthe rest of his body, spirited off, and preserved.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

We want to be able to recognize individual Dutch and English ships when we see them

One goal of our research with the Grid is to be able to recognize the individual Dutch and English warships when we see them. We want to watch the battles of the First Anglo-Dutch War, particularly, and watch the action unfold. To really tell what is happening in detail, we need to be able to identify the ships on each side. We will need to build up a recognition database, with 3D models of the ships. Fortunately, the Grid is able to capture the detailed shapes of objects that we are viewing. If needed, after we have built up our database of models, we can use model-matching techniques, where needed, to identify ships in the battles.

Friday, July 27, 2007

One of our longer term goals was to find document stores

We knew that we wanted to find the stores of documents in the offices of the five Dutch admiralties in 1652 and 1653 and the store held by Johan de Witt, the Stadt Holder. The Grid would allow us to see every page in a stack of papers. This is the sort of functionality that is invaluable to us future historians. We will have seen the actual documents and not have to be content with what has survived until the 21st Century. We want to also find Willem van de Velde the Elder's studio and his stash of ship drawings. We want to do that despite our ability to see the actual ships and image them completely.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We planned a grid mission to take pictures of Dutch ships in the summer of 1652

We were planning our grid mission to take pictures of Dutch warships in the summer of 1652. We were particularly looking for information in the archives about Admiral Tromp's flagship, the Brederode, to help us locate at a suitable date and to help us to recognize the ship. I suspected that since the Brederode was one of the largest ships in the Dutch fleet that we should be able to pick out the ship from the rest. We wanted a bow, stern, and both sides. We would also take pictures of other ships in the fleet and see if we could collect information to help us identify the ships.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"The Grid"

"The Grid" was an invention from the first century of the new millenium. The grid allows us to look back in time, without being physically present. The grid is positioned through space and time to a particular location. The grid has a feature that allows us to "scan" through space and time to better locate an event. There is a set of vernier controls that control the X, Y, and Z positions in space and the T position in time. The grid can also be "swung" vertically and horizontally. We have the ability to move to a cabin in a ship and to look through a stack of papers.

A nasty feature of the grid is that there is no privacy. Everything can be known. Just think about the ability to watch a crime taking place and to follow a criminal from the crime scene, so that he can be arrested.

If we can do that, just think about the implications about being able to go back in time and see Noah's ark, the parting of the Red Sea, the Resurrection, and other religious events. That results would be so explosive, that having anything to do with such snooping is punishable by death. If anyone does know, they had better not make any disclosures, as doing so would be catastrophic. Because of that, locks have been put in place in the equipment so that this sort of snooping is not possible.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I was scared

There is no worse feeling than being hunted. Worse yet, it was this alien being with a blaster. I was unprotected, except by my feeble wits. I kept ducking and dodging, and only survived by chance. I was scared and almost in a panic. I couldn't give in to panic, however, as then I would be dead (burnt to ashes). We are running and dodging among large stones in the ruined city. How did I survive this far? I didn't know, but was grateful. I was dressed in my black Florsheims and blue Dockers, with a bright blue dress shirt, not hard to miss. My hunter was the usual dull grey that covered these guys in an exo-skeleton. What could I do next and where could I go?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I keep driving on the road, surrounded by green grass and trees

The road is narrow and winding, with no curb. I am driving at a modest speed, enjoying the lush green grass and tree branches and leaves overhead. The branches reach over the asphalt from both sides. I am driving a blue Altima of uncertain age, but with the rounded body style. This is very familiar territory to me, as I have driven this in my mind many times. I am heading for the downtown and will arrive as night falls. After dark, I often end up driving in circles, as I have infrequently driven the streets. Parking is always bothersome, as there are few spots on the street and those with 24-hour meters.

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