Sunday, December 30, 2007

A More Modest Proposal

In France, any husband who can afford it has a mistress. Any wife who can arrange it has a lover. Everyone knows about it. No one cares. These are often lifelong relationships. Culturally different than the US but not as alien as Muslim polygamy.

Why shouldn't a man have two mistresses and no wife? A woman have two lovers and no husband?

In the United States we have begun to recognize a limited form of marriage called a domestic partnership. Like marriage a domestic partnership is a collection of rights and obligations. It is illegal to have more than one wife or husband. Is it illegal to have more than one domestic partner? Maybe it shouldn't be?

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Modest Proposal

Well here we are. Facing what everyone fears, being alone, dying alone. Yet we can't make our relationships work.

Maybe we should learn from our enemies. Muslims may be a bunch of murderous bastards (they killed Benazir Bhutto yesterday for the crime of being a woman who intended to democratize her country) but I suppose they love their wives and their wives love them. The problem is that they treat their wives, and women generally, like s__t. But what if they didn't? How might polygamy and polyandry work in a free egalitarian society?

If a man could have four wives and love them and cherish them and be bound to them for life, would that be more stable than having only one, as we attempt to do? Could a woman have four husbands and love and cherish them and be bound to them for life?

In the old days it wouldn't have worked because men would have insisted on knowing which children were theirs. But now we have DNA testing that can establish that. And the hot blood of youth would be a problem for competitive young men. Women have their own careers and property so the relationship is no longer inherently unequal as in Muslim societies. For people past fifty it might work. As absurd as it sounds, it is worth trying because what we have now, serial monogamy, is clearly not working.

I have very little real likelihood of having one woman alongside my deathbed. But there is a real possibility I might have four. And I might have a happier life with four wives than with an intermittent series of ones. A woman might be happier with four husbands than with an intermittent series of ones.

If someone has a better idea I would be glad to hear it, but that is the best idea I have been able to come up with so far.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto brings to mind John Donne - "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." The collapse of Pakistan into Gaza-like chaos containing nuclear weapons would be a significant disaster for everyone in the world. It is not my custom to distinguish between good Muslims and bad Muslims but I am here obliged to pull in my horns and hope that the less crazy and less maladapted-for-reality Muslims prevail over those more crazy and maladapted.


Here are the basics. 802.11a was used only by big organizations with their own LAN's. The first consumer wireless routers were 802.11b models which transmitted and received up to 11 Mbps. Then came the current adopted standard 802.11g routers which send and receive at up to 54 Mbps (hence the commercial shorthand of them being '54G' routers). There has been issued RFC 802.11n as a draft standard. RFC stands for Request for Comments. N routers have up to four times the speed and three times the range of 54g routers,

Until a final international standard is adopted there is some risk that any hardware one buys could become obsolete if the adopted standard is so different than the draft standard that the old equipment won't work with the new equipment. The industry is betting that any changes adopted in the finalization of the standard will be minor and peripheral and that their equipment will continue to work. In practice it doesn't matter to you at all. If YOUR receiver will receive YOUR router, what do you care what standard is finally adopted by the industry?

Most computers come with 802.11a/b/g receiving capability built in to them. Recent ones come with 'n' receiving capability built in as well. If your machine does not have a receiver built in, or it receives a lower standard than you want, you will have to buy a separate receiver that will plug either into your USB port or your pc card slot. For reasons of tradition and basic reluctance to use comprehensible English, these plug-in receivers are called 'adapters'.

As to specific makes and models it is good to "ask the man who owns one". The best place to look for this kind of information is the user comments in . Look up the product and read twenty or thirty of the comments and a consensus will appear. I had assumed I would get a Linksys router and that checking the user information was something of a formality. Linksys is made by Cisco, a giant in the industry and thus basically the standard router, providing reliability and utility at a reasonable price compared to its competitors. At least on the 54g routers, On the N routers, the customers were screaming that they just didn't work no matter what they did to configure them. Customer support was inadequate, seemingly because the underlying problem is that the routers are no damn good. The anger and frustration was palpable. Nobody had anything to say one way or the other about the Belkin N routers. They plugged them in and they worked, which nobody found noteworthy.

As to your current router -- if it has one or two antennae on the back it is both wireless and ethernet. If it doesn't it is ethernet only, I know of no way to make an ethernet router into a wireless one, Ethernet (the wire connection using what looks like oversized phone jack connectors at the ends) runs at 100 Mbps, almost twice as fast as 802.11g wireless, but not as fast as 802.11n wireless,

Sadly one is not free to ignore the advance of router speed. Website writers are aware of the speed of most routers and they write websites correspondingly to include ever-bigger files. I suspect the optimum balance between cost and performance is to get the most standard and conventional. My notion is that buying bleeding-edge hardware is probably a waste of money. The N standard not having been adopted yet, it would qualify as bleeding edge. B is outdated and will become more so and is also a waste of money, My suggestion would be to get a Linksys 54G, It's relatively cheap and works with no struggle. If you are connecting a desktop, you can get a pci card receiver-adapter. If the desired receiver is not built in to one's laptop, one can get a receiver-adapter for the USB port or pc card slot as I mentioned above, but almost any current laptop will have at least b and g receivers built in.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Good News on a Small Subject

In a time of war and transformation it is good to know that this week is also the time when Fuyu persimmons are in grocery stores. They are wonderful and are known to cure hunger, scurvy, and lack of persimmons.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Difference

between Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden is that Clinton is nominatable but not electable. Biden is electable but not nominatable.