Thinking Magazine #13 09-03-92

The Republican Convention

Well the Republicans had their convention and did better than I thought they would. I was expecting a little more noise from the pro-choice Republicans but the party managed to shut them up. Pat Buchannan got behind the President based on how much worse Clinton would be. Anyhow, I had anticipated a lot more disunity and I was wrong.

I had a hard time watching it and have to admit that I had to walk away several times and go back to programming. I just had a hard time watching Bush knowingly lie to America and then claim he had the endorsement of God! I thought only Pat Robbertson and Jessie Jackson were the only candidates that God endorsed and it didn't seem to help them win.

One good point that Bush did bring up is that excessive litigation is ruining our country. I'm glad he brought that up. But the reason he brought that up was because both Bill and Hillary are lawyers and it's easy to get people to hate lawyers. It's not like Bush is going to put out any effort to stop excessive litigation.

Basically Bush has a message of hate. Lets hate the lawyers, hate the liberals, hate the queers, single mothers with children, the news media, non-christians, women with jobs, hippies, people on welfare, those who have tried pot, and of course, Congress. "Those liberal Democrats!"

The interesting thing I noticed was no matter if you were for Bush or for Clinton after watching Bush you came away angry. So, since Bush made everyone angry then perhaps he has an angry message. What you didn't hear from Bush was what he was going to do about the problems we face today. He had a few ideas.

First of all, he made it clear that he couldn't work with Congress unless it was Republican controlled. So since that's not going to happen he is telling us that he can be an effective President. Then he's got this secret plan that he's not going to tell us about. He's saving that for the new Congress. Then there's this brilliant plan to pay off the national debt and all you have to do is check a box on your tax form. I wonder why all those brilliant economists didn't think of that.

One of the strangest statements he made was that Clinton raised taxes 128 times and he just raised them once. By the same standards that Bush applies to Clinton, Bush raised taxes over 300 times. Last time Bush said "Read my Lips, No new Taxes!", then he raises taxes. Now he says he's going to cut taxes, and we're supposed to believe him?

Marc at Bush Rally

After the convention I guess I couldn't get enough. Bush came to Branson Missouri the next day which is about 50 miles from here. It was a Republicans only event but being a Republican and having attended the Missouri state Republican Convention I thought I should be there. The way they kept it Republicans only was that you had to have a pass to get in. These passes were only available through the county Republican headquarters and Republican politicians. I went down to my congressman's headquarters and got a handful of them.

Vicki and I showed up with a backpack and a bag full of political scandal trading cards. We get these cards from Eclipse Publishing (707-887-1521) and they are great. The best decks include the Savings and Load Scandal, Bush League, Iran Contra, and Drug Wars. Vicki had some Clinton bumper stickers in the backpack.

We arrived about 90 minutes before Bush got there. Made it past the front line with our passes. They were not allowing any signs in. They provided homemade looking signs once you got in. Security checked out our stuff and since we didn't have any guns we had no problem getting in. Our mission wasn't to make trouble or protest. We were there to pass out our Political Scandal cards to any press we could find.

Once we were in, we put on our bumper stickers and our Clinton pins. Since we were two of about 15 Clinton supporters there, we had no trouble attracting the press. They liked our cards and we did about a dozen or so interviews on TV, radio, and various newspapers. The most impressive one was Associated Press.

Bush had the same message as the night before. Soon after he began talking the crowd started getting angry. Up until then the crowd was friendly towards us but the crowd changed and it got to be more "interesting" to be there. Nonetheless we stayed until the last reporter left.

The way I see it I wasn't going to change the minds of anyone there. But those TV cameras represented the eyes of millions of viewers and that is where I wanted to be. As a Republican I spoke from the Republican point of view. The way I see it Bush has gotten away from traditional Republican values. These values include keeping the government out of peoples private business. There is a big gap between what the Republicans say and what they do. We have become a party of hypocrites and liars. We talk about lowering taxes, but we had the two highest tax increases in history. I said that the best thing that could happen to the party was to lose big time this year so that we could purge the Bible thumpers and bring the party back to moral values.

Busy Writing Letters

You may say, "But Marc, I'm only one person. What can one person do?" Well, I'm writing "Letters to the Editor" and articles for newspapers. And I'm not just sending them to my local Springfield Missouri newspaper, I'm sending them to lots of newspapers. On my computer network I have a fax server that I wrote using my MarxMenu language. A fax server is a dedicated computer with a fax board in it. I can send faxes from a text file by sending it as an EMail message to my fax computer. The fax computer converts the text to a fax and sends it out. I also wrote a program to send faxes to a list of phone numbers.

I hired a friend of mine to research the fax numbers of 180 of the countries largest newspapers. Then I wrote a short article and told it to start faxing in the wee hours of the morning when the rates are cheap. So far I've sent three letters and several have gotten published. I figure it costs me less than $100 per letter to send them out. A very good return on the dollar the way I see it. Here are the four letters I've sent so far.

Title: Who do you trust?

George Bush talks an interesting story but do I believe him? There's an old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!" My experience has taught me that what a person does is a more accurate way to measure someone than what a person says.

Under Bush we had the second largest tax increase in history. The largest was under Reagan/Bush. So I'm not real impressed by Bush claiming he's going to give us a tax cut and that we can balance the budget just by checking a box on our tax form. They talk about "tax and spend Democrats" but history indicates that it's really "tax and spend Republicans".

When Bush took office the deficit was $200 billion, now it's $400 billion. After 4 more years will it be $800 billion? Will the national debt grow to 8 trillion dollars?

Bottom line folks, I'm scared to death that Bush will get reelected. I'm worried that we are too far in debt right now to ever recover. Four more years of Bush could sink this country. I sure don't want to see that happen.

Title: Clear choice on Abortion Issue

"I am 83 years old.", says Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackman, author of the original Roe v. Wade decision. "I cannot remain on this court forever." Ts year four Supreme Court justices voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. If George Bush is reelected he will get his fifth vote and Roe v. Wade will be history.

The Republican platform calls for a constitutional ban on abortions, all abortions, no exceptions. There is no provisions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. What this means to you is, under the Bush plan if you are a woman of reproductive age and you are raped and become pregnant, you will have the rapists child! This applies to you, your wife, your sister, your daughter, your mother, and your friends.

If Bill Clinton is elected he will sign the Freedom of Choice Act. This will allow women to choose to have an abortion if they are raped or just decide they want to have an abortion. Clinton will also instruct the Department of Justice to advocate for privacy rights in the federal courts.

This year voters have a clear choice. There really is no middle ground. If you want abortion outlawed under any conditions then vote for Bush because if Bush is elected then Roe v. Wade will be overturned. If you want abortion to be legal then vote for Clinton because if Clinton is elected he will pass the Freedom of Choice Act.

The future of abortion is in the hands of the voters. It's all or nothing this year and your vote counts.

Title: How much is a Trillion Dollars?

People talk about a 4 trillion dollar debt and a 400 billion dollar deficit, but what exactly does this mean? How is it going to affect me and my family? What does it mean to my country?

Well 4 trillion dollars ($4,000,000,000,000) is 4 million, million dollars. That means if you had 4 million millionaires you would have 4 trillion dollars. There are 250 million people in the United States. If you divide the national debt up evenly then each one of us owes $16,000 dollars or $64,000 per family of four.

To put it simply, it's like someone ripping off your credit cards and buying a new car for everyone in your family, (except you don't get the cars) and leaving you stuck with the bill. But you still have more credit on those cards for now, and the interest is being charged on your card as well. This years deficit will add another $1600 worth of charges per person or $6400 per family of four.

One of these days this debt is going to come due. Our creditors are going to say that we charged enough and are going to have to start paying this money back. And that day may be sooner than you think!

Here's another letter that I'm going to send out tonight. Does this letter seems slanted towards Clinton? Perhaps. But in reality the press has been easier on Bush than Clinton. There is a tendency to feel like you have to balance the negatives, but the negatives are not in balance to begin with. So to be accurate you have to tell it like it is.

Title: Is the press really liberal?

You hear a lot of talk these days about the "liberal press" but is this really so? Does the press have a liberal bias? Well, to answer that question we would first have to start by defining what liberal is which could turn into quite an argument in itself. So for the sake of this article lets just ask the question if the press is slanted towards Clinton or Bush.

Bush and Clinton were both accused of having an extramarital affair. But Clinton got 100 times as much press coverage as Bush did. On the economy there's been more press coverage of the economy of Arkansas than of the United States. There has been little or no analysis of Bush's plan to cut the deficit by checking a box on your tax form. I'm still waiting for the press to respond to Bush's statement that he isn't going to tell us his plan for the economy until after the election. The Republican platform contains a plank to amend the constitution to prohibit abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. I'm still waiting for the media to talk about what this means to the women of this country.

It is true that the press has presented more negatives on Bush than on Clinton. But that is because Bush has more negatives to start with. Reporting the truth isn't biased reporting, it's the way it is. The way this writer sees it, Bush has gotten off easy so far. I think that if Bush wants more positive press he's going to have to create more positive news.

The middle two letters deal more with fact than politics. The last one in particular merely explains what 4 trillion dollars is. The idea is that the less politically biased you are the more likely your article is to get printed. And getting these articles printed is the goal here.

You may not have a fax server, but you can write letters to your local newspaper. If you have a good article, send it to me and I'll send it in.

Here's an idea for a Political Cartoon. Dan Quayle is President and he's sitting behind a big desk with 2 red buttons. One is marked LUNCH and the other is marked LAUNCH. Dan is staring at the buttons with a hungry and confused look on his face.

The Rodney King Retrial

Many of us were less than satisfied with the verdict where the four officers were acquitted of the Rodney King beating. But it is absolutely wrong to retry these men. The fifth amendment of the Constitution clearly prohibits being tried for the same trial twice. Even though we may not agree with the verdict or even if the verdict is wrong, we can not throw out the Constitution.

Article V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

The reason the fifth amendment is there is because if it weren't for this amendment then the government could keep trying you on the same charges forever until they get the verdict they want, which is exactly what is happening in this case.

Hurricane Andrew

There's been a lot of talk and finger pointing about the disaster aid to Florida coming 4 to 5 days late. Bush claims that he was waiting for the governor to request assistance. "Not my fault.", claims Bush.

Well that's not the way I see it. Bush was in Florida the day after the hurricane and saw the destruction himself. I would think that Bush would be smart enough to figure out that when you have the biggest natural disaster in the history of America that you would assume that you need to send aid without having to wait for someone to ask for it.

All I can say is that Florida is lucky that it happened during an election year or those people would have been really hung.

I got in on a little of the hurricane action myself. Last Friday as I was about to go home I got a call from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) wanting me to Federal Express them my Network Survival Kit software. They needed it to manage emergency computer networks they were setting up in Louisiana. I was glad to get in on being part of the solution in some small way.

Homestead Air Force Base

Bush has announced that he will rebuild and reopen Homestead Air Force Base. This base was high on the list of bases to be closed so it makes a person wonder what this base will be rebuilt. Could it be for the 25 electoral votes that Florida has? Would Bush spend hundreds of millions of our tax dollars just to get votes?

Bush insists that the decision is not based on politics but on the merits of the situation. Do we believe him? Well, no one has any idea yet how much it will cost to rebuild that air base. So if a decision has been made without knowing what it's going to cost makes me a little skeptical about the decision.

Slow Economic Recovery

I've always found it interesting the way some people discribe things. We are now in a "slow economic recovery". The way I see it the economy is falling apart and I'm just hoping that it isn't to late to save it. It's going to take at least 15 to twenty years to get back to where we were in 1980 and that's if we make serious changes right now before it gets worse. If this is some sort of recovery, I'd sure hate to be in what they would call a recession.

More on Brilliant Ideas

I hope all of you who read issue #8 are now coming up with brilliant ideas. I've had a few since I wrote that issue and I'll share them with you. I still haven't figured out how to turn these ideas into cash, but if any of you out there have cash, I have ideas.

My wife bought a new car last month (new to her anyhow). It's a 1989 Honda Accord LXI. Has power windows and a sun roof. I got to looking at it and thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if it had a rain sensor and when it started to rain would automatically close the windows and the sun roof." Anyhow, I think it's a brilliant idea. This is my idea and I'm not sure if I'm the first one who thought of this or not, but if you are a car manufacturer and you like this idea then all you have to do is give me one of your cars as a royalty for using my idea.

In the mean time I'll continue to drive my 1985 Nissan Sentra while I wait on my new car to arrive. One problem with making money on ideas is that everyone is out to rip off your idea. I'm still waiting for Ray Noorda (president of Novell) to say thank you for talking him into getting into the DOS business.

Anyhow, I noticed a pattern of what happens when someone is about to rip off your brilliant idea. What happens is that as soon as they have your idea they stop communicating. All of a sudden they don't return your EMail or your phone calls.

Anyhow, last spring I introduced Andy Grove of Intel to a new concept in computer chip design that he had never heard of. He was interested at first so I told him enough to let him know what I had in mind and now I'm getting the silent treatment. I could probably patent the idea and become a zillionaire, but I'm just not really into being a zillionaire. Realistically I'm not going to make any money on this idea anyhow, so before Intel goes out and patents my idea, I figure I just turn it out to the public domain.

The Future of Computer Technology

The way microprocessors work today is that you have this one CPU (central processing unit) that is the "brains" of the computer. As time goes on these CPU chips run faster and faster and do more complicated instructions. It is getting to the point where we are running into the limits of technology. As we make transistors smaller and smaller we are running into the problem of there not being enough molecules to create a transistor. As speeds increase we are limited by the speed of light in that it takes a finite amount of time for a signal to make it from the processor to memory. Thus we are approaching some physical limitations as to how fast a single processor can run.

A CPU spends 95% of it's time manipulating simple data structures. Memory is addressed as a linear array of bytes. What I propose is to have a chip called an Object CoProcessor (OCP) that would allow memory to manage common data structures to be managed by memory itself thus freeing the CPU of 95% of it's work and allowing it to run 20 times faster than CPUs run today.

The way it would work is that the CPU would request memory to create objects like stacks, queues, dequeues, strings, B-Trees, booleans, dynamic arrays, etc. So that if the CPU wanted to push a value on a stack all it would have to do is write to a stack object. Memory itself would deal with stack size and limits. If you overflow the stack the memory would just grab more memory from a memory pool and allocate more space. If the stack underflowed then memory would generate an object fault interrupt informing the processor that the data is exhausted.

For a processor to capitalize a string it has to go through several thousand steps. First you have to set a pointer to the beginning of the string. Then you read the first character and test it to see if it is in the range [a..z]. If so then you subtract a value to convert to upper case and write the value back into memory. Then the pointer is incremented to point to the next character. You also have to test each time to see if you are at the end of the string in order to know where to stop.

Now if an OCP were used to create a string objecthen all the CPU would have to do is issue a capitalize instruction to the string object and memory does the job. The CPU executes one instruction instead of thousands. The same technique can be applied to all forms of memory objects and the CPU can teach memory how new objects work so that the OCP can learn new memory objects.

So, now you know what Intel knows. I declare this idea as public domain. It is now the property of the people and you heard about it here first. Ten years from now you'll look back at this moment and say to yourself, "I remember where I was when I first heard about the OCP chip. I read it in Thinking Magazine."

Beyond Object Co-Processors

Now that you've been introduced to the next breakthrough in computer chip technology lets take this a step further and look at the next step. The OCP chip is just a stepping stone to even wilder levels of computer technology. So why stop at just one step forward when we can look several steps ahead.

The OCP chip will increase processing speed by doing the grunt work for the CPU allowing the CPU to do more important (and fewer) things. As this technology evolves OCP technology will merge with computer memory itself and create smarter and smarter memory. OCP technology will be expanded so the these object controllers can operate on several data objects at the same time and service several CPU chips. Eventually memory objects themselves will be able to interact with other memory objects without the need for the CPU chip to control the process. As this technology evolves it will eventually become evident that the CPU concept itself will become obsolete.

IBM is working on some exciting computer technology. They have some sort of optical crystal that is sensitive to a laser beam on a molecular level. It is not only altered by the laser, but it is altered differently by different colors of laser light. These alterations are recorded in the molecular crystal lattice itself. When they get this technology perfected they will have a device that is capable of storing millions of times more data than anything that exists today. They are talking about storage in the 100 terabyte per cubic inch range.

In the next 10 years this huge amount of memory will merge with OCP technology where the object processors themselves will be defined and created in memory. Now this is somewhat of a new concept in itself because the traditional model of computing today is to have a processor that is smart talking to memory that is dumb. Future computers will be only smart memory with millions of processors floating inside it as software processors rather than hardware processors. What you would have are software memory objects that are capable of interacting with other objects all running themselves and acting together to perform logic tasks.

This kind of thing is hard to explain because there really isn't anything like it that anyone has ever built. It works more like the brain if you understand a little of how the brain works. The way the brain works is a sort of "bottom up" system. You have brain cells that fire other brain cells that in turn fire other brain cells. Small groups of brain cells form groups to perform particular functions. These functions might be to contract or relax a single muscle fiber in your heart. This could be compared to a software memory object that functions within a smart memory unit.

But these nerve cell groups react with other nerve cell groups in the heart and they work together to keep the heart beating. The combinations of these independent simple processes merge to form a more complicated process of heartbeat which is the sum of millions of nerve processes working together. This heartbeat process works in conjunction with breathing, vision, hearing, movement, hunger, and all the other processes in the body. The sum of all these nerve processes creates self awareness and gives you the illusion of a single identity that you call me.

But there really is no single you from a brain software standpoint. You are the combination of a pyramid of nerve processes of which thousand of different programs are competing for what you perceive as your focus of attention. And you as an individual are just a part of a greater being, "Mankind" which can be considered to be a single being itself of which we are just parts of. But I'm going to save that one for another issue.

This is all very difficult to explain and I'm sure I have most of you confused but there are limitations because I have to use words to communicate ideas and words are a linear form of communication (you read words from start to end) and the concepts I'm trying to communicate are not linear concepts. So if this all doesn't make any sense at all it isn't your fault. One day perhaps we will develop forms of communication that are not restricted to a linear model.

Anyhow, here's what to look for. First you will have object co-processors. Then you will have memory technology breakthroughs involving what will be called "smart memory". During this time they will begin to talk about a new computing model where the CPU chip will be referred to as the "old computing model" and smart memory will be the "new computing model". They will refer to new programs that live in memory and act as "software CPUs". The new measure of computing power will be in terms of the number of software CPUs running concurrently in a single memory chip. By this time computer scientists will be looking forward to producing what they will term as "achieving a silicon brain".


Last month I had the honor of attending ONE BBSCON which was the first convention of BBS users. It was held in Denver and all kinds of cool people you read about in magazines were there. Some of the speakers included Jack Rickard of BoardWatch Magazine, Phil Becker of ESoft, John Dvorak (the Rush Limbaugh of the computer industry), Nick Anis (Dvorak's sidekick), Ward Christensen who had the first BBS in the world, Chuck Forsburg who wrote ZMODEM. I also met Alan Bechtold of BBS Press Service who is the largest distributor of Thinking Magazine.

For those of you who weren't there you should think about going next year, assuming that you're into bulliten boards. You can get information on it from Boardwatch Magazine at your local news stand.

Australian Fox Cum Virus

I saw an interesting show on the Discovery Channel about Australian Foxes. The problem being that these foxes are breeding like flies and eating all the other animals to extinction. Australian scientists are trying a very interesting idea using genetic engineering to reduce the fox population. They are creating a virus that is designed to attack male fox sperm cells. Thus the female foxes are immune to sperm and they don't get pregnant.

The interesting point here is what if someone made a virus that worked the same way on humans? Suppose this virus was contagious and it spread throughout the worlds population. What would happen is that it would reduce the birth rate except for those who got cured of the virus. Such a virus could be used to control population growth in overpopulated areas of the world.

Now I not ready to say that this is a good idea, but it is an interesting idea. The thing is that we are less than 10 years away from this technology being available and we might want to start thinking about it now so we can decide to not do this if not doing it is the thing to do.

New Way to Fight Air Pollution

I saw a real interesting news piece on CNN about air pollution caused by cars. They pointed out something amazing that I didn't know. It turns out that 10% of the cars on the road create 90% of the air pollution. To illustrate this they built a graph that represented 10 cars. The first 8 were very small. The 9th one was twice as big as the first 8 and the 10th one was about 10 times as big as the 1st one.

This particular scientist pointed out that we could get rid of 85% of the air pollution by fixing those cars that are producing most of the pollution rather that work on oxygenated fuels that shave a small percentage off of all classes of cars. The trick is in identifying those dirty cars.

To find the offending cars he set up a device on the street that measured carbon monoxide as cars drove by. This is currently being tested in Provo, Utah. The device was tied into a camera that took a picture of the license plate of the offending vehicle. The plate is looked up on a computer and the owner is called to bring his car in for repairs. Most of the repairs cost less than $200. Provo is testing to see if they can make a significant dent in the air pollution levels. I'm excited about the idea. It's simple, it's cheap, and it looks like it's going to work.


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