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Letters to the editor, November 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. Of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication.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 November 2007.

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From: Chip Hitchcock
Date: 21 Nov 2007
Subj: Baja Canada

A follow-on to our discussion of your home (as quoted when traveling): did you hear that a U.S. bridge team has caused a tremendous fuss by holding up a small sign saying “We didn’t vote for Bush” on the victory stand?


A member of the the board of the ACBL (which funds the USBF, which puts up the teams for international competition) is demanding that they be “punished”, which the ACBL lawyer has interpreted as including peaching on whoever proposed the sign (and greater sanctions for anyone rejecting the “compromise offer”).

We’re old enough to remember people being pissed off when a couple of black Olympics winners gave the “black power salute” in Mexico City; I don’t recall the USOC being stupid enough to threaten suspension against people who had just shown they were the best in the world, which is happening here.

Chortle. I would like to think that this a momentary aberration on the part of a few fatuous members of the ACBL. I really would like to think that. I have heard that the ACBL has gone rather grey but I hadn’t previously heard that they were going senile.

Come to think on it, it’s been many years since I’ve actually played bridge. I’m sure, though, that bridge is still a nice game outside the ACBL.

As a followup, the USBF has dismissed all charges. See http://usbf.org/. I don’t know whether this was an attack of common sense or the sudden realization that they walked into a major public relations disaster.

I expect that these things happen when people only listen to and talk to people in their own little world. Every so often they get a shock when the rest of the world hears them babbling.

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From: William R. Koreski
Date: 11 Nov 2007
Subj: Science

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 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

Just remember, you read it here first!
(And probably no where else.)
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 8 Nov 2007
Subj: Hartran

I thought you might be interested in some work that was being done recently in the UK. There is a lot of material, and the page on Hartran is just part of it.


We are both old enough to have a wide perspective on the word “recently”.

I came across the website while I was looking for further info about the difficulties that would-be mathematicians get into when they forget that computers are not working with the set of real numbers. I’m not even a would-be mathematician, and I know that floating-point numbers are not continuous, and that all the theorems that rely on continuity will fail unless creative numerical analysis is applied. (But try telling that to some PhD who is whining that the computer isn’t giving the right answers.)

Harter’s first law: Computers always yield the right answer when programmed properly.

Harter’s second law: Computers are never programmed properly.

It’s a good thing that I didn’t name my new computer language hartran – it seems that I would have been seriously preceded. On the other hand maybe I could call it Hartran II, to be followed by Hartran IV, Hartran 77, etc.

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From: Tarun Tiwari
Date: 15 Nov 2007
Subj: Introduction of a new sorting algorithm

Dear Sir,
We are student of Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology, India. We are studying in B. Tech second year in Computer Science and Engineering. We have designed a new sorting algorithm of O(n^2) order which has a running time considerably faster than the present sorting algorithm of same complexity.

Sir, we want you to check this algorithm and send your valuable suggestions. we are also interested to work under your supervision in the field of algorithms.If you agree, then please send us a reply, so that we can send you our algorithm.

Thanking you,

Dear students,

I would be pleased to look at your new sorting algorithm. To be honest, I doubt that it is truly new – sorting algorithms is a very popular area of research. Of course, if it is O(n^2) it doesn’t have general utility. However a fast O(n^2) algorithm is useful in conjunction with other sorting algorithms, e.g., quicksort and mergesort.

While I am flattered that you might want to work under my supervision, the idea really isn’t practical.

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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 17 Nov 2007
Subj: Beisuboru

you think Red Sox fans have problems. My team hasn’t won a game since 1957. The government claims the Cold War has ended–if so, why are the Dodgers still in Los Angeles? Inquiring minds want to know.

As the story goes–

You’re in a room with Hitler, Stalin and Walter O’Malley and you have a gun with two bullets: Whom do you shoot? O’Malley–twice!!!

According to Those Who Know What Man Is Not Meant To Know, the Dodgers under the curse of The Late Night Show wherein they are the subject of endless jibes by the host of the the late night show. As I understand it, the curse will expire sometime after a world series won by the Chicago Cubs.

Be that as it may, my explanation for global warming is that the heat escaping from Hell which is currently in the process of freezing over.

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From: Mr.Sunny Steven
Date: 11 Nov 2007
Subj: It’s of grate pleasure contacting you

Hello, It’s of grate pleasure contacting you at a time like this. I am Mr.Sunny Steven im an investor here deal on Commercial Fishing,beverages, Seafood, canned foods,wine, Frozen Food, canned beef including special food for vegetarians and importation of health pharmacy drugs and general contractor and mechandise diamond /gold ETC. I got to know about you via the chambers of commerce as a reputable Industry. This has prompted me to inform you my interest to purchase your products for resale in our region or supply you with your enquiry / needed product . I have clients from different companies and organization companies, oil rigs, oil companies. My Intension is to establish a long time and good business relationship With your company ,My company has a very good network and a powerful marketing ability to do good business with you and also in getting your products and also to Become your distributor here,were the demands of your products is high. Kindly reply me with a price list and specifications of what you Have in stock and your enquiry / need to facilitate this business opportunity. Im ready to make an agreement of $5,000,000.00 (FIVE MILLION DOLLARS) contract with you .You will find attached an agreement (m.o.u)for you to fill and sign for mutual and legal understanding. As soon as i hear from you i will give you more details on this Looking forward to a favourable response.

I look forward to doing business with you with considerable zest.
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From: Erin Ferland
Date: 15 Nov 2007
Subj: thompson turkey recipe

[snip reprint of Thompson turkey page]

You sent me a copy of my page giving the thompson turkey recipe. You probably meant to send a link to it to someone else. This is a headsup to let you know that something went astray.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 12 Nov 2007
Subj: Tinoy

I haven’t seem Tinoy for quite a while. However, search of the internet via stevemorse.org and ancestry.com reveals a

Faustino A. Lichauco
143 Chilton Street
Belmont MA 02478
Tinoy is a nickname for Faustino. I don’t know if this actually is Tinoy but there aren’t many people named Lichauco in the U.S. and this may give your correspondent a lead.
I forwarded your findings to the chap. One of the dubious advantages of the internet is that people who haven’t seen you for years can look you up and make contact with you. The usual result is that the reunited parties rehearse a few memories (probably best forgotten) and go their separate ways. Be that as it may, let us hope he finds his Tinoy.
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From: Milesindianmound
Date: 11 Nov 2007
Subj: Science

THIS IS AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hadn’t thought about it myself but I’m sure you’re right. You needn’t supply the details – I will make them up myself.
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From: Peter Neilson
Date: 6 Nov 2007
Subj: [Fwd: fund donation]

Here is a letter from Africa that you have probably NOT already seen. The perp claims the name of “Kelvin” (which in my book tells me he’s an absolute zero) and which I find interesting because just yesterday I got a standard unclaimed-funds letter from a “lawyer” in Africa (he said it was England) who *also* was named Kelvin. Kelvins are multiplying to an astonishing degree.

Whatever makes you think that that sort of language is permissable on my web site?
He apparently got my name from something having to do with my animals. His facility with English orthography suggests he is also lacking in other arts, such as the history of physics and the names of the luminaries in said field.

Have you noticed how journalists are always careful to specify the temperature of some exceptionally cold phenomonon (such as liquid oxygen or a superconductivity point) in negative Fahrenheit degrees, even though the exercise is pointless? The particularly astute ones realize that zero K is -459.67 F, and even give that precise figure in their written stories, but they often discover that their editors have rounded the figure to “about 460 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit.”

I wonder how much postage you could get Ken Kelvin to expend in corresponding with a specially constructed fake Pin Duck charity as he tries to get you to reveal its bank account number so he can loot it?

My name is Kelvin. an American, but lives and work here in libya with shell petroleum company .I am super zoo lover.God bless me very much and i decided to donate fund for 10 zoo every year as part of my contribution for the improvement and development of the zoo in usa.

As soon as you receive my email i want you to indicate your interest so that i can put your name in the list of the beneficiaries.

I also want you to send me your name,address and phone number so that i can send it to our finanace department.

Good Luck.

This one is quite charming. I’m considering establishing a bank account with negative money in it. When the looters try to loot it, the money flows in this direction instead. Perhaps I could fill it with Kelvin dollars; it would be a source of cool cash.

As an afterthought “Kelvin” is certainly illiterate enough to be an American.

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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 12 Nov 2007
Subj: The Telephone company

Mr. Harter,

last Tuesday our land line telephone went down. Using the mobile phone we called Verizon (the owner of the lines) to report this. By Thursday, their calling tree indicated that the problem had been solved on Wednesday; however, we still had no phone. Suford spent about an hour going through the phone tree to get to a human who told us that they had checked the lines and they were fine up to the house. For the small fee of $130/half-hour they would send someone into the house–but no guarantees.

I recalled that on the said Tuesday the developer had drilled a hole though our basement wall–they’re relocating the water line–and I thought the vibrations might have loosened something. He said he would check. Half an hour later we had our phone. What was the problem: there was nothing wrong in the house. His people went up the nearby pole (in their bucket) and found shoddy wiring which they fixed. So much for Verizon’s claim that the line was fine to the house. Cost: $0.

Always remember that Verizon has the greatest network – they mention it repeatedly in their ads. Whether the network actually works is quite another matter. There may be somebody’s law that reads

price of service x quality of service = constant

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From: dortallen
Date:5 November 2007
Subj: New Recipe

I have made this fried bread from scratch since i was around 12 years old and i just wanted to share it with everyone. in large bowl mix 2 cups of flour, 4 T. sugar, 1 t. baking powder, 1/2 t. salt, 1 pack of yeast. set aside. in small pot put 3 T. butter, 2 cups of canned milk. heat only until hot to finger. remove from heat, add to dry mix, mix well with fork. add up to 3 cups of flour untill soft ball forms. lightly flour counter, roll out dough, 1/4 inch thick, cover with cloth, let rise 1 hour. In large sauce pan heat 2 cups of shorting until hot. use pizza cutter to cut bread into any size you want, fry bread until golden brown { when bottom is brown flip to brown other side} cool and chow! TJ Arizona

It sounds wonderful. I will have to try it and report on it to the world. Thanks for the recipe.
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From: Joel Malerich
Date: 5 November 2007
Subj: Are mutations harmful?

I read this article on talkorigins and I have a question. In the article, it says that humans have between 50-100 mutations and only 3 in which matter. On the mutation rate section it says the human genome size is 8.0 E 7 and has a mutation rate of .004. If that were true, then wouldn’t humans have 320000 mutations? Could you clarify this?

Btw, I’m not a creationist out to debunk evolution, I’m just curious about mutations.

The table is a bit misleading; there is a mutation rate of .004 for the entire effective genome. That is, in each replication of the entire 80 million base pairs there will be .004 mutations. The chance of a mutation in any particular base pair in the effective genome is much less – about .5e-10 or one in 20 billion. In other words the chance of a mutation at any given site is quite small.

What counts for mutations in individuals is the number of mutations in their parents germ cells. In turn, this depends on the number of replications of the parent’s sperm and egg cells. According to the article, this is a few hundred.

It is important to understand that the genome (both total and effective) that we are talking about is the one that we inherited from our parents. The human body has some absurdly large number of trillions of cells. Over time we accumulate millions of mutated cells in our body. However these are not heritable mutations.

I hope this clarifies things.

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From: Ilaf Scheikh Elard
Date: 3 November 2007
Subj: Request for reprint permission

Dear Mr. Harter,

Thank you for your article. You can find the online version of the magazine here: http://www.voxjournal.co.uk/

I will try to sent you a hard copy next week.

Thanks for letting me know that it is out. I will say that the online journal is quite interesting.
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From: joe clark
Date: 4 November 2007
Subj: lol

my god u are such a fucking idiot lmfao

I do thank you for the information – I hadn’t noticed that before, but now that you have called it to my attention it explains ever so much. There is one thing that puzzles me: You being a bright chap and all that, why can’t you find the shift key.
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From: John W. Briggs
Date: 31 Oct 2007
Subj: Tinoy Lichauco

With the help of Google, I found mention of engineer Tinoy Lichauco on your WWW site. I believe this is the same person who attended a wonderful summer astronomy camp with me in 1973 called Camp Uraniborg. I was a young teenager at the time; Tinoy was older, and he taught me how to drive a car! This was in the Mojave Desert in California. At that time, Tinoy was living in Newtonville, Massachusetts.

If it’s at all possible for you to help me contact my friend from boyhood days, I’d be very grateful. Tinoy and I did not stay in contact after Camp Uraniborg, and he may have forgotten me. But it was very long ago, and we both had good friends there. I have been thinking about all this again because another former camper placed some photographs, and names & addresses, on the Internet. It has been fun to think about these old friends again.

That sounds like the same Tinoy Lichauco; as I recall he did live in Newtonville. At the time, circa 1970, he was a member of NESFA – the New England Science Fiction Association. He didn’t stay in the club and I have no idea where he is now. However someone in the club might know where he is – if I learn anything I will let you know.
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From: Franklin Crow
Date: 31 Oct 2007
Subj: Of nature to preserve virginity.

What advertisers dont want is for their adds to go unnoticed.
That is the conclusion of a report The Politics of Bandwidth.

Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to argue with The Politics of Bandwidth. What I want to know is how advertisers feel about their subtracts.
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From: Anthony R. Lewis, PhD, FN
Date: 1 Nov 2007
Subj: South Dakota people

Mr. Harter,

we’re at World Fantasy Con in Saratoga Springs, NY. We met a couple from South Dakota–the man is from Sioux Falls. However, his wife’s family is from HIGHMORE. The family is Moss; she said her aunt was Louise Moss who was county treasurer for a long time. Ring any bells?

Alice is leaving DC; she’ll be spending some time with us. I pick her up at the airport 6 November.

Louise Moss is 93, the same age that my mother would have been were she still alive. She still lives in Highmore and probably will for quite a few years more. It is only natural that you should run into someone who has family in Highmore. It’s a common thing to happen; it happens to me practically everyday.

Give Alice my regards. I doubt that I will get out East this year but I expect that I will make it next year. I’m planning to go to the Denver worldcon so if you should pass by my place on the way out we might caravan on out to the con.

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From: Damien Stewart
Date: 26 Oct 2007
Subj: good.

need to meet you!

Damien, meet Wilburn.
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From: Wilburn Monroe
Date: 26 Oct 2007
Subj: good.

need to meet you!

Wilburn, meet Damien.

(I’ve done my part. I do hope they make a go of it.)

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From: Ellis E Grace
Date: 1 November 2007
Subj: Hamlet’s Cat’s Soliloquy

Your posting of the subject poem does not give credit to the author, Henry Beard, and his book, Poetry for Cats: The Definitive Anthology of Feline Verse, as it should. Please correct this oversight.

It’s not clear to me that the author is Henry Beard. A brief search of the internet turns up a lot of copies and assorted attributions. I’ve seen:

“Written by Jack Kolb, Department of English, UCLA”, “attributed to Lauren Wahl and T Gorc”, “anonymous”, “uncertain”, and “as collected by Henry Beard in “Poetry for Cats”, 1994″.

Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the book in question so I can’t check for myself. Still, the book in question is an anthology edited by Beard. The fact that the poem in question appeared in a book edited by Beard doesn’t mean that he was the author.

Be that as it may, I thank you for writing and I will add a note about the possible authorship to the page.

… continued on next rock …


I do have the book, and believe me, Henry Beard is the author. The way I found out was to send an email to Jack Kolb, Department of English, UCLA. He advised me that he had not written the poem and that it came from Henry’s book, which I then purchased, It contains a number of poems “written by the cats of famous authors”. I would especially commend to you “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe’s cat. The book is jokingly referred to as an anthology since the poems are supposedly attributed to the various author’s cats.

Thanks for writing back. I appreciate the additional information. Adding a note to clarify the authorship is on my agenda.
Suggest you send an email to [email protected] and have him verify that he didn’t write it. On the other hand, you can continue to perpetuate, along with many others, the misinformation on your piece of the quickly becoming “Disinformation Superhighway”.
Almost you tempt me. As a bit of advice (free and worth every penny of it) closing on a note of petulant churlishness is probably not your best strategy. Some might take it as a reason to say “the hell with you” and ignore you, but not I. Those of my readers who react with churlish petulance are a source of delight to me.

That said, I must protest – the page in question has neither misinformation nor disinformation; it merely is missing information. It would have misinformation if it contained a false statement about the authorship. “Disinformation” is one of those new words; according to the American Heritage Dictionary it is “Deliberately misleading information announced publicly or leaked by a government or especially by an intelligence agency in order to influence public opinion …” I desire to assure you that I am neither a government, an intelligence agency, nor a spokesperson for any such body.

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From: Gary Crawford
Date: 29 Oct 2007
Subj: 1943

(nothing whatsoever)

That seems to be the general opinion about 1943.
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This page was last updated November 22, 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 !