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Archived letters

Letters to the editor, December 2007

This a traditional letter column. You are encouraged to write a letter of comment on anything that you find worthy of comment. It will (may) be published in this column along with my reply. As editor I reserve the right to delete material; however I will not alter the undeleted material. E-mail to me that solely references the contents of this site will be assumed to be publishable mail. All other e-mail is assumed to be private. And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication. Oh yes, letters of appreciation for the scholarly resources provided by this site will be handled very discreetly. This page contains the correspondence for December 2007.

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From: Richard Spehn
Date: 5 December 2007
Subj: MITSFS and +spehn

Hello Richard,

I have the disturbing honor to be the eponymic source of the +spehn tradition at votes of the MITSFS. I did serve as recording secretary in the spring of ’64. I took the position of obstaining from all votes (to preserve the recorder’s objectivity). I didn’t learn about the +spehn issue until much later while searching out a patant issue on the web in the late ’90s. This discovery did result in my daughter picking CMU rather than MIT for her graduate work.

As for yours truely, I finished my education at UCI, and worked in telecom engineering for the government and then private industry until retiring in 2004, I am in my sixties, am a grandfather (CMU apperaed to be the right choice), but as to the repectable part, both wife and daughter may have varying opinions!

Richard Spehn

That must have been quite some surprise. Our immortality in the minds of men isn’t always we expect it to be. I remember you from those days, albeit only vaguely.

No man is truly respectable according to the women in his life. I dare say they prefer it that way.

As far as I know MITSFS is still doing the +Spehn thing – MITSFS seems trapped in a timeless repetition of sophomoric tradition. I suppose that is a good thing – universities need traditions. If you’re interested I can enquire; on the other hand they might have forgotten about it. If they have it wouldn’t do to remind them.

If it’s any consolation I am similarly immortalized. They still “Harter” motions at NESFA (New England Science Fiction Association) meetings. There is some cross membership between NESFA and the MITSFS of your day. If you’re wondering about whatever happened to so and so there is an off chance that I could find out.

In any event, enjoy your grandfatherhood and thanks for writing.

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From: Chris Hogg
Date: 3 December 2007
Subj: Lesser primate committee thinking

Please accept my formal request for permission to use one of your funny stories to address members of my community regarding some problems we are having with the city council. With your permission, I would like to use your “Lesser primate committee thinking” story to demonstrate my point.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

Sure, go ahead. It’s not actually mine – it’s one of those things that has circulated in the internet for years.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 4 December 2007
Subj: a philsophical question

On https://richardhartersworld.com/cri/2007/toc07dec.html you refer to Phlisophy–is this a new branch of learning?

Indeed it is. Philosophy as it is taught in the universities is egocentric, atheistic, and oversexed. You will note that in “philosophy” I becomes before ‘ell, i.e., the individual comes before eternal salvation and damnation, and that there are two many o’s, i.e., an overemphasis on the big O aka orgasm.

I had taken the liberty of correcting these unnatural features. Recently, however, I had an unexpected visit from the Spanish Inquisition and have repented from what I now understand had been the error of my ways. Philosopy it shall be.

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From: Rodrick Lott
Date: 2 December 2007
Subj: tate inquisitor seminary afforestation

dredge damascus
legend camel dredge staminate camel zebra incomputable saloonkeep barrage inmate drip
state diminish scriven barrage hump
retract diminish diminish bordello dichotomy bordello mira dredge bordello
zebra seminary judith voluminous ere
bordello staminate sightseer ere
nut inmate state judith
eject thereof blast extension

I was saying the very same thing myself the other day.
It didn’t make a lot of sense then, either.
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From: William R. Koreski
Date: 21 November 2007

Hillary Clinton has told NASA she intends to go forward with funding the Space Research Program especially going too the Moon and Mars. SEE Earthlink – News


This Space Craft could TAKE OFF SLOW fly too Mars in less than two weeks. SLOW DOWN IN OUTER SPACE and land slow without loss of control in up down or sidwise needs. Since it uses electro-magnetic energy it gathers from Space as Negatrons it changes to Positrons not fuel based propulsion such as expendable hydrogen etc. (see attached Photo for knowlege of the Negatron entrance area of the ship and Positron exiting areas that move the ship forwards, up, down to the side and slow it down.) It could come back to Earth using the same water, used for air, it was loaded with when it leaves earth. The water is also used for cooling the Negatron Positron engine. It could carry 100 people with all their needs to live on Mars including a Living Quarters left on Mars and then return the Tug to Earth to pick up a new Habitat Living Quarters with or with out People. I wrote about the methods used to build and fly the eighteen inch model that flew. The Book is in four Email parts. The FREE Book has specific proof that the Craft will fly and make it’s own Heat, Electricity and Breathable Air for use in outer space and on any Planet it lands on. The book provides information on the use of Negatron, Positron electro- magnetics gathered from space previously unknown to Mankind but readily available. It provides an entirely new kind of energy source that could Heat Homes, Create Breathable Air, or a New Power Source not yet being used on Earth. IT IS NOT AN ION ENGINE, NOT a Jet Engine, NOT A Rocket Engine or a Solar Sail System !. Solar Arrays would be far more efficient and effective on the Space Stations and at Habitats if the Negastron Positron Engine in this Craft were used in conjunction with the Solar Panel Arrays as presently used. The Craft would make a new safe affordable means to Terra Form and Colonize Mars or the Moon.

It doesn’t put out a Yellow light It puts forth a Pale Blue Light when all is going well. A Yellow light would mean it is on fire perhaps burning up. The Book tells how to prevent that. The outer surface does not spin as some show in error. Send an Email address to me at <[email protected]; for the FREE BOOK files. I will send a copy of the book FREE if you ask for it. I suggest you get the book to see all the pages with depictions of various needed parts of the craft and proofs it will fly.

I HAVE SOME OF THE MATERIALS NEEDED TO CONSTRUCT A WORKING MODEL. I would be glad to HELP A PERSON OR COMPANY AND OR provide the materials too anyone interested in building a working model.

William R. Koreski CCE

Look, up in the sky, blue flames!
I think not; that’s so last century.
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From: Mr Song Lile
Date: December/1/2007

Dear Friend,

Let me start by introducing myself.I am Mr. SONG LI LE director of operations of the Hang Seng BankLtd.I will need you to assist me in executing this Business Project from Hong Kong to your country.Nineteen millions Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollarsonly in my branch. Once the funds have been transferred to your nominated bank account we shall then share in the ratio of 70% for me,30% for you.My private email:
([email protected]).

I take it you offer me a song in my heart and a hand in my pocket.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 28 November 2007
Subj: software in hard places

When cron isn’t enough, Java developoopers use either the open-source Quartz scheduler or the proprietary Flux.

Flux is located in Montana, which is, I am told, even further from everything than Highmore.

How far away can one go, before everything collapses? Does Java collect garbage in Montana or South Dakota, or do you have to haul your heap to Nebraska for recycling?

Well, we have quartz in South Dakota, so I suppose some folks use that. In the City of Highmore, they have garbage collection. My understanding is that it goes to the City of Pierre where it is recycled as political speech.

I’m not a resident of the City of Highmore myself – I reside in a small suburb to the South of Highmore. We haven’t quite gotten around to choosing a name for the suburb, so it shall just have to be Nameless.

The heap I use for garbage wouldn’t make it to Nebraska, so I handle my garbage collection myself. Currently the Java garbage goes on the compost heap.

As to how far one can go, that is a good question. I don’t think that it is a matter of everything collapsing, though. My understanding is that when you send bits to a bit bucket it will collapse into a black hole if you put in a bit too much.

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From: Gabriel
Date: 26 November 2007
Subj: cat litter and other products

Dear Sirs/Madam,

We owed your name and contact information to Internet, and got to know you are dealing in cat litter products in Bulgaria.

Since we are a professional manufacturer and supplier of silica gel cat litter and recycled paper cat litter in China, we would like to avail of this opportunity to approach you and introduce our products to you.

For more information, please visit our website: www.broadchemical.com

We wonder if you are interested in our products and look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Boy, have you got the wrong Bulgarians.
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From: Mac
Date: 28 November 2007
Subj: That Ryan’s Steakhouse Story…

… is so damned funny it doesn’t matter how many times I read it, I still end up laughing myself to tears!

It is funny albeit exquisitely gross. Glad you enjoyed it.
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From: Tom Williams
Date: 29 November 2007
Subj: Stumbled upon your site…


I stumbled upon your site while googling the raven king (John Uskglass from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Your epic poetry is great to read! I really enjoyed it!


That’s my only attempt at epic poetry, which I did a while ago. It doesn’t have much depth but I thought you might enjoy it.

Tom Williams (Freshman at Hamilton College)

Thanks for writing. I enjoyed your poem. As you say, it isn’t deep but it is pleasant.

It has been a while since I’ve read “The Raven King” so I looked at it and reread it aloud. It is more powerful than I had remembered. I wasn’t familiar with “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” until now; it definitely looks interesting. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I have a half finished fourth epic poem in the Zhandivar cycle called “The Troll Queen”. I must finish it one of these days.

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From: Wendi Rinehart
Date: 27 November 2007
Subj: The Parrot (Late Thanksgiving Joke)

this parrot sounds a bit like you Richard….. 😉

The Parrot

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity.

John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently Saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to “clean up” the bird’s vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer.

For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then Suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer.

believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.” John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, “May I ask what the turkey did?”

It is quite beyond me that anyone would confuse my consistently terse prose that never strays into the use of inappropriate vocabulary either with persistent and ostentatious vulgarity or with the flowery pseudo intellectual puffery of a would be abecedarian.
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From: Thomas Thurman
Date: 26 November 2007
Subj: 3.6 Zygorhiza kochii

An upper Eocene dorudontine basilosaurid, remember. Multiple partial skeletons available. 7 cervical, 15 thoracic, 15 lumbar (including sacral), 21 caudal vertebrae. Markedly foreshortened cervicals, increase gradually down the spine, peak in midtail, i.e. long functional torso. No fused sacrals (though they’re still identified), no features for pelvic articulation. Very similar discussion of aquatic ability to Georgiacetus, with a definite caudal peduncle and fluke, sleek body, large relative length of lumbars. Catch this last lovely sentence: “Of all of the specimens examined in this study, this animal has a vertebral profile, and by implication a locomotor mode, most like that of living nondelphinid odontocete cetaceans.” Remember, upper Eocene. Very similar to Dorudon atrox. I.e. these are in the main line of descent to extant whales. ,p> Just a note. The Museum of Arts & Sciences in Macon Georgia has a Zygorhiza on display. Complete as far as I know. Shark bones were found in it’s belly. It was discovered by a local amateur in a kaolin mine. I don’t know that it’s been well examined by anyone for 20 years.

They show it swimming serpentine… wrong.

Thanks for writing. I suspect that you meant this for James Acker who did a very nice summary of whale evolution on my web site. Even so, I found it interesting and appreciated the heads up.
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From: Anita
Date: 26 November 2007
Subj: Pictures from Egypt vocation

Hi Michael and Simona,

There are my pictures from my Egypt vocation. Call me when you come.

Best Regards, Anita.

Hi Anita,

Apparently I received your email by mistake. Either that or I am a victim of multiple personalities and am either Michael or Simona when I am not being Richard. If I am do let me know.

Note: I didn’t open the attached file, my_holiday_in_egypt.zip.

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From: Miroslav Provod
Date: 17 November 2007
Subj: Logan stones

Logan stones are heavy stones that are located around the world in the same way as menhirs, dolmens and other megalithic structures. Their speciality is the fact that they aren’t in contact with the subsoil by a surface, but only by a point. Some of them are balanced in a way that wind swings them. In other cases, rocks are placed onto a few smaller stones. A similar placing could also be found with dolmens, where a top desk is placed on top points of stones. The placing onto small surfaces isn’t coincidental but has its foundation. In my previous articles on www.miroslavprovod.com where I’m writing about properties of cosmic energy, I’m stating the conditions under which the flow of energy occurs. Matter could gain energy, it could be in a balanced state or it could be losing energy. The construction of Logan stones wasn’t coincidental, the energetic loses were higher than the gains in their locations and therefore it was necessary to minimize loses in a way that the contact surface of the rock with the subsoil was minimized. The same technology was used by the constructors of mounds and other clay ramparts, who separated the matter of the rampart from the subsoil by organic matter. In the case of Logan stones the matter of the rock is separated from the subsoil mainly by an air gap.

This could easily be understood, but it’s much more complicated in the case of Logan stones that are swung by the wind. Balancing of such a heavy rock was much labored and this must have had a significant reason. I was looking for the answer by doing experiments. I connected a sphere made from red granite that weighed 6 kilograms to a tree branch by a two meters long string and swung it for fifteen minutes. I was surprised when I then identified the energetic gain of the granite sphere – I measured its aura having two meters in radius. I repeated the same experiment a number of times in other places always with the same result. This proves that Logan stones gain further energy by the swinging motion. This and previous experiments show that the motion of matter could also be a source of cosmic energy in other cases. It will be interesting to invigorate this phenomenon in other cases.

I think that the time to correct our present opinion about the technical level of prehistoric civilizations has come. Hundreds of thousands of accumulators of cosmic energy (menhirs, dolmens, Logan stones, clay ramparts and other megalithic constructions) located around the world hint that they couldn’t have been built by primitive peoples. On the contraries, we aren’t able to understand the purpose of megalithic constructions, which is highlighting the forwardness of early cultures. If we think about it in a way that the direction of their technical development could have been different from ours it will induce an increased interest in further research in this field.

Up to now I knew nothing about Logan stones. After reading this I know even less.
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This page was last updated December 5, 2007.
It was moved January 9, 2008

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Hyde County, South Dakota is the Pin Tail Duck Capital of the world. Visit scenic Highmore, SD in !