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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Some things never change

Now I understand why Jerry Pournelle laughed when I explained to him exactly why I'd been kicked out of SFWA:
How Jerry Pournelle Got Kicked Off the ARPANET

Back in the old days, computer scientists funded by the Defense Advanced Projects Research Administration (DARPA) worried greatly about how their proto-internet, the Advanced Research Projects Administration Network (ARPANET) might appear as a frivolous gossip-fest to accountants, inspector generals, and legislators anxious to show that they were flint-eyed custodians of the public purse. Hence they strongly requested that people, especially people with guest accounts, not mention ARPANET in non-Department of Defense contexts.

And that was how in 1985 science-fiction writer Jerry Pournelle got himself kicked off the ARPANET:

Wed, 29 May 85 06:16:01 EST From: Leigh L. Klotz KLOTZ@MIT-MC.ARPA To: POURNE@MIT-MC.ARPA cc: USER-ACCOUNTS@MIT-MC.ARPA

    You used the word "ARPANET" in your June Byte column three times. You even said

    "I gave Alex the local ARPANET access number to record for the 1200-baud modem and inadvertently transposed two numbers."

    I don't care if Alex IS a computer--you may soon find your accounts on MC decremented by gov't order.

Thu, 30 May 85 03:57:38 EST From: Jerry E. Pournelle To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA

    thank you. if left to you I suppose I cewrtainly will find my accounts terminated. Your nice private message appreciated. seppuku follows.. maybe you ought to have me dumped off the net and be done with it? or must you work through someone else? J. E. Pournelle

Thu, 30 May 85 11:23:26 EST From: David Vinayak Wallace To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: Surprise!

    Date: Wed, 29 May 85 07:04:16 EST From: Leigh L. Klotz

        Do you think I chastised jerry pournelle too much for talking about his use of the arpanet in byte?

    Yes. It's embarrassing to send a message to someone like that when a message in OFF POURNE would have done as well!

    And now you've sent the message out I'll have to go and find out why he had to mention it in the first place!

Thu, 30 May 85 18:44:42 EST From: Leigh L. Klotz KLOTZ@MIT-MC.ARPA To: POURNE@MIT-MC.ARPA cc: GUMBY@MIT-MC.ARPA

    Date: Thu, 30 May 85 03:57:38 EST From: Jerry E. Pournelle To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA

        thank you. if left to you I suppose I cewrtainly will find my accounts terminated. Your nice private message appreciated. seppuku follows.. maybe you ought to have me dumped off the net and be done with it? or must you work through someone else? J. E. Pournelle

    USER-A is the mailing list created explicitly for dealing with these sorts of issues. It is the appropriate forum for discussion. There are eight people on user-a. You probably know better than I do, but last I heard about 100,000 times as many people read BYTE. Thus, the issue of privacy is the last one you should raise.

    I don't particularly want to force you into ritual disembowelment; rather, I'm interested -- and I'm not the only one -- in why you find it necessary to flaunt your use of the arpanet. The more attention you (and other people) draw to non-blow-em-up use of the arpanet the more likely some Proxmire type is to start inquiring into its operations.


Fri, 31 May 85 01:11:16 EST From: Jerry E. Pournelle POURNE@MIT-MC.ARPA To: KLOTZ@MIT-MC.ARPA cc: GUMBY@MIT-MC.ARPA

    I find this thoroughly distasteful. If you have some authority to order me off the net, do so. If not, leave me alone.

31 MAY 1985 0225 EST From: GSB at MIT-MC.ARPA (Glenn S. Burke) To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA

    i guess i haven't been paying enough attention to realize that he knew there was any heckling going on at all. I'm almost tempted to let him take his marbles and floppy disks and go home.

Fri, 31 May 85 09:39 EDT From: Kent M Pitman To: CStacy at MIT-MC.ARPA cc: Klotz at MIT-MC.ARPA, KMP at SCRC-STONY-BROOK.ARPA, Gumby at MIT-MC.ARPA

    Subject: Pourne Date: Fri, 31 May 85 01:11:16 EST From: Jerry E. Pournelle POURNE@MIT-MC.ARPA To: KLOTZ@MIT-MC.ARPA

        I find this thoroughly distasteful. If you have some authority to order me off the net, do so. If not, leave me alone.

    Personally, I'd just turn off his account. It's not like it's the first time, and he not only flaunts his use of our machines but stabs us in the back with grumblings about why he doesn't like this or that program of ours when he gets a chance. (Am thinking particularly of an article he wrote which condemned Lisp for reasons amounting to little more than his ignorance, but which cited Teach-Lisp in a not-friendly light... The man has learned nothing from his presence on MC and sets a bad example of what people might potentially accomplish there. I'd rather recycle his account for some bright 12-yr-old...)

Date: Fri, 31 May 85 11:02:27 EST From: John G. Aspinall To: KLOTZ at MIT-MC.ARPA, GSB at MIT-MC.ARPA Subject: just think of it...

        MIT Maximum Confusion PDP-10 MC ITS.1488. PWORD.2632. TTY 57 16. Lusers, Fair Share = 86%

        :login pourne

        That account has been temporarily turned off.

        Reason: Think of it as evolution in action.

        Any questions may be directed to USER-ACCOUNTS

    I don't know whether you guys have read Niven and Pournelle's Oathof_Fealty_, but "Think of it as evolution in action." is their thinly disguised rallying cry for do-it-yourself social Darwinism. It would be so, so sweet to shove it back in his face.
Isn't it fascinating how the petty control freaks always make matters worse for themselves because they can't bear the thought of not throwing their insignificant weight around? I mean, if you truly want to avoid drawing attention to yourself, perhaps you might want to consider not going out of your way to annoy one of the most important tech columnists in the world, no matter how irritating you might find his politics. It's also informative to see how they think of an organization or a technology over which they have influence as somehow belonging to them.

That's why you must always KEEP THE RABBITS OUT. They absolutely live for the bureaucracy and the thrill that bureaucratic control gives them. And once they have sufficient influence and know you're a not-rabbit, they will be looking to kick you out at the earliest opportunity. As both the ARPANET and SFWA examples show, they will utilize any excuse, however flimsy, even when it isn't an actual violation of any organizational rule.

In any event, neither lefty comp-sci nerds nor a stroke could keep Dr. Pournelle off the Internet for long.
Monday Dec. 25, I had a stroke.   I think my head is all right, and I am recovering.  Alas I used to be a touch typist and I am now learning to be a two finger typist.  At present I am a one finger typist.  Call it 1.1 finger, but after today’s therapy , maybe 1.2; I am learning. I just made the Spock sign.
Here is to hoping Jerry makes a full recovery in short order, and enjoy more years confusing and confounding the anklebiters.

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28 Comments:

Anonymous jSinSaTx December 27, 2014 7:21 AM  

Some of the readers here may recall that I asked for prayer last year at this time as my mother died unexpectedly. They were appreciated. Now, I ask for prayer again. On the 22nd of December my dog ran away. It has been over 4 days now with no sighting or news. Searches have not been fruitful. People who love dogs or animals of any kind know how deep a person can feel for one. He is very dear to me. I ask for prayers that God guides him back home.

There is no other community that I am a part of where I think a request for prayer would be received as seriously as here. One of the things I appreciate most.

Anonymous Steve December 27, 2014 8:00 AM  

"Monday Dec. 25, I had a stroke."

CIA's really going overboard with that stroke machine lately.

Blogger Rantor December 27, 2014 8:11 AM  

Praying for Jerry, for a lost dog, and thanking the Ilk for prayers I requested a month ago, Mrs Rantor had two surgeries and pulled through very well. As usual, problem was getting her to slow down and take it easy after surgery. Two days later she is walking the dog through the forest...

Looking forward to Jerry's recovery.

OpenID simplytimothy December 27, 2014 8:12 AM  

@ jSinSaTx prayers offered.

OpenID simplytimothy December 27, 2014 8:14 AM  

The Pournelle story made me start my day with a smile. I return his Spock sign in solidarity--may he live long and prosper.

Anonymous Tom B December 27, 2014 8:41 AM  

"Here is to hoping Jerry makes a full recovery in short order, and enjoy more years confusing and confounding the anklebiters."

Here, here! (raises glass of oj - the beer comes later this afternoon)

Anonymous kfg December 27, 2014 9:18 AM  

I have been in the habit of calling these people Jetty Watchers. I got the term some time ago from sailing writer (and sometimes actual sailor) Tristan Jones.

It refers to a person who is given the job of attending to a jetty, built for public use, who interprets his job as personal ownership of the jetty and his mission as doing everything he possibly can to prevent the public from using it.

As for Jerry, under the circumstances, Simply Timothy nailed it and I second.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet December 27, 2014 9:36 AM  

jSinSaTx,

Done. prayers for Jerry as well.

Blogger Clint December 27, 2014 9:49 AM  

Prayers for all those who have asked. Looking for more from Jerry. He has already whipped Brain Cancer, if I recall correctly. One finger typing from him is superior to what most current writers can manage with all ten.

Blogger Expendable Faceless Minion December 27, 2014 10:28 AM  

I figured I'd add one for Jerry too, as I owe him for library books I've grown up with. While I was at it, I also prayed for the dog to come back home, too. Then I repeated the prayers on behalf of Nate. (No sweat, Nate, you can pray for somebody on my behalf later.)

Blogger LP 999/Eliza December 27, 2014 11:10 AM  

Strokes are terrible, I pray he bounces back with time and rest.

Anonymous Too-Soon-ami December 27, 2014 11:45 AM  

"I just made the Spock sign."

J'accuse!

Blogger The CronoLink December 27, 2014 12:08 PM  

May God grant Mr Pournelle good health.

Regarding the ARPANET ban, I'm not sure I'm understanding. Was the "Don't talk about the ARPANET club" rule frivolous or unfair? It seems he was kicked off because he talked about ARPANET in a non-DOJ context, according to the rule.

Blogger ajw308 December 27, 2014 12:10 PM  

jSinSaTx, prayers sent.
Jerry, got you covered too.

Anonymous JI December 27, 2014 12:44 PM  

The first thing I noticed was that the nasty message to Dr. Pournelle came from a woman bureaucrat. Those broads are the worst type of mean, nasty and petty, hiding their vindictiveness behind a facade of professional-sounding language. Love Jerry's response! Seppuku, ha!

Anonymous Giuseppe December 27, 2014 12:51 PM  

Ave Mr. Pournelle. I think I will have to now go and read his works. Based on this exchange alone the man is worthy of much respect.

Blogger Shibes Meadow December 27, 2014 2:06 PM  

Tom B: admirable sentiments. I, too, raise a glass to the co-author of Mote. To Crazy Eddie!

Quibble Time: the phrase is "Hear, hear!", not "here, here". "Hear, hear!" means "I hear and agree, and so should we all!". "Here, here" means "at this location" -- a phrase with no meaning in this context.

Sorry, pet peeve. Happy (non-Masonic) Saint John's Day!

Anonymous Jack Amok December 27, 2014 2:07 PM  

Note also that these bureaucrats were attacking Pournelle for jeapordizing their conspiracy to potentially defraud the U.S. taxpayer. They didn't want ARPANET mentioned publically because they didn't wan't to justify diverting money voted for national defense towards a chat board. Another sign of SJW pinkshirtism - a strong aversion to any scrutiny from outside the warren.

They should've counted themselves fortunate Pournelle didn't forward the "some Proxmire type" comment directly to Senator Proxmire's office with a nice cover note.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 27, 2014 2:17 PM  

The first thing I noticed was that the nasty message to Dr. Pournelle came from a woman bureaucrat.

Actually, if you mean "Leigh L Klotz" that's not a woman. I did a little research on the names there. A Leigh L. Klotz Jr. - male - graduated from MIT in 1989 and went on to work at Xerox PARC and is active on the W3C*. Unless there was a Klotz Sr. professoring at MIT (I can't find a record of such), then Dr. Pournelle was being hectored by a snot-nosed undergrad.

David Vinayak Wallace I don't have an age or graduation date for, but he went on to co-found Cygnus Support (later merged into Red Hat) in 1989, the same year Klotz graduated. When Wallace got married, he hyphenated his name and now goes by David Henkel-Wallace.

Kent Pitman has made a career out of LISP, and responds to Pournelle's criticism of his pet language with typical gamma rage. Like Klotz, he's made committees a big part of his life.

* Having worked with the W3C in the past, I have very little respect for anyone who maintains a long-standing releationship with that body. It is a perfect warren of passive-aggressive rabbits.

Anonymous sawtooth December 27, 2014 2:38 PM  

The rabbits warren is just the adult equivalent of the high school clique. Most people grow up, transition into the real world, concern themselves with things that actually matter, and seek their own fulfillment.

Not so with the rabbits. In high school, the popular clique gate keepers had a certain amount of power over the lower level clique members and those desperate to get in. These dumb-asses have since grown up desperate to keep that control and exclusivity or, more likely; acquire that exclusive group status that they coveted in school but never had.

Alas, most adults have now moved on with life and couldn't care less about their "I'm in-your out" circle jerks.

BTW, my prayers go out to Mr. Pournelle for his recovery and for jSinSaTx to be reunited with his (her?) beloved lost dog.

Anonymous Corvinus December 27, 2014 2:43 PM  

"From: Leigh L. Klotz"

"Klotz"? Seriously?

Blogger The CronoLink December 27, 2014 4:55 PM  

Note also that these bureaucrats were attacking Pournelle for jeapordizing their conspiracy to potentially defraud the U.S. taxpayer. They didn't want ARPANET mentioned publically because they didn't wan't to justify diverting money voted for national defense towards a chat board. Another sign of SJW pinkshirtism - a strong aversion to any scrutiny from outside the warren.

Ah, that makes sense for me now.

Anonymous Harsh December 27, 2014 5:17 PM  

Pournelle is the best. I hope he gets well soon.

Anonymous kh123 December 27, 2014 8:11 PM  

""Klotz"? Seriously?"

Take note of Aspinall as well.

For our hodge-podge of a language and culture, it kind of sucks that we don't have the kind of family names that readily describe family values or characteristics in the plain language like, say, Russian does. It makes for a better sense of irony and justice when telling the story. Treasure the times when the power of fate brings them together in English, like here for instance.

Blogger automatthew December 27, 2014 10:38 PM  

"For our hodge-podge of a language and culture, it kind of sucks that we don't have the kind of family names that readily describe family values or characteristics in the plain language like, say, Russian does."

That group that changes their names would just, you know, change their names some more.

Anonymous CorkyAgain December 28, 2014 12:52 AM  

I miss BYTE and Jerry's Chaos Manor columns. Those were the days.

Get well soon, Dr. Pournelle!

Blogger Lorenzo December 28, 2014 1:06 PM  

The first rule of the ARPANET....

Anonymous Titus Didius Tacitus December 28, 2014 11:15 PM  

Lorenzo: "The first rule of the ARPANET...."

The second rule of the ARPANET....

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