I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Name:
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This blog is one year old today

This blog's first real article was posted one year ago today, on April 15, 2006. The article is titled "Traipsing into breathtaking inanity -- absurd rulings in Dover Intelligent Design case". The very first post is actually dated April 14, but that is just a "test post" for testing the html formatting of comments.

When I first started, I had no plans to make this blog such a big project.

I have added the following features to this blog, and some of these features do not exist in the standard versions of blogger.com software:
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(1) A sidebar list of post labels (post labels did not exist when I started). This blog is undoubtedly now a major authority on some of the subjects listed in the post label list.

(2) A sidebar list of external links (of course). Many of the websites on this list are good places to go for news articles, discussions, and debates on the subjects of interest on this blog. Often I do not bother to post an article on a particular subject because I have nothing to add to what these other websites say about that subject.

(3) A sidebar link to a make-your-own-entries list of comments. This is a substitute for an automatic list of the most recently entered comments, which is a common feature on other blog services.

(4) A sidebar link to comments censored elsewhere -- an "I'm from Missouri" exclusive

(5) Post "folding," where only an introductory section of each article is initially displayed. This feature is erroneously called "expandable post summaries" by blogger.com. The required coding had to be added to the blog template.

(6) A "Site Meter," which shows statistics and other information about visitors. By the standards of other blogs, the numbers of daily visits have been modest but the times spent per visit and the numbers of page views per visit have been phenomenal.

I have also founded the Association of Non-Censoring Bloggers.

A yeer and a haf ugo i cutn't evun spel bloggur -- now i r wun.
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20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A year already and he is still bleating the same crap!

Some people never learn.

Sunday, April 15, 2007 8:03:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

Today is also Holocaust Remembrance Day. To "celebrate" the aniversary of the blog and remember the Holocaust, I am ordering two copies of Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust, one to be delivered to Larry. That way, he can attempt to refute what Black actually wrote, not Larry's current false assumptions of what Black wrote.

Or that's the theory, anyway. This is probably casting pearls before swine.

Sunday, April 15, 2007 8:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> That way, he can attempt to refute what Black actually wrote, not Larry's current false assumptions of what Black wrote. <

He won't read it but he will continue to claim to be an expert on the subject.

Sunday, April 15, 2007 9:37:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> To "celebrate" the aniversary of the blog and remember the Holocaust, I am ordering two copies of Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust, one to be delivered to Larry. That way, he can attempt to refute what Black actually wrote, not Larry's current false assumptions of what Black wrote. <<<<<<

You are wasting your money. I made up my mind about the book a long time ago. My criticisms of the book are here, here, and here.

Also, I don't know where you got my address, but it may be from an old source and I might have moved since then. While the post office knows that I have moved, the Parcel Post Service and Federal Express -- the most likely deliverers of the book -- do not.

Even if all the data necessary for the punched cards had been available -- and it was not -- and even if the cards could be connected with actual people -- and they often could not -- these primitive IBM machines were simply incapable of doing what the book claims they did. All these primitive machines could do -- depending on the model -- was just read, sort, or match or merge a few cards at a time. These machines were as slow as molasses in a winter cold snap at the South Pole. They could not search big databases. They could not network with other machines. The machine that could match or merge cards was very unreliable. A historian at the national holocaust museum said that there was no evidence that the machines were ever used to create deportation lists.

I went to the Amazon.com webpage on the book and found two customer book reviews that expressed skepticism of the technological capabilities of the machines. One reviewer said,

Rudimental Hollerith machines are presented as powerful modern computers. No details are reported about how they worked and why could they be so helpful for the Nazi in organising the mass deportation. The author keeps saying that the SS knew the names of the Jews. However, as he reports they knew the names because they filled paper forms with the information about religion and tracked the so-called "racial Jews" going through the church records of conversions to the Christian religion. I think they had the names because they frantically looked for them. How Hollerith machines helped to speed the process, in my opinion, is not well explained.

And another reviewer said,

In the book, for an author with a technical background, the words "computer" and "computing" are badly abused. I doubt that a whole lot of computing was going on with the exception of that done by humans. Added to that is a lack of any kind of specifications for the machines (even in an appendix) which are asserted to have been "interconnected" and "high speed" and the lack of the card layouts for the punch cards which are the heart of the story. To include these two "technical" details would have aided me in really judging the contribution of the machines versus plain old Nazi work ethic.

Of course, the claims that the machines were "interconnected" and "high speed" are absurd.

Monday, April 16, 2007 12:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> You are wasting your money. I made up my mind about the book a long time ago. <

Yes. He doesn't want his prejudices disturbed by actually reading the book.

> I don't know where you got my address <

Bill Carter revealed it many months ago. It is still on this blog. I assume that you will now go back and censor it in order to prove that it was accurate.

> but it may be from an old source and I might have moved since then. <

But you have not. You have been in the same condo for decades.

> While the post office knows that I have moved <

You have not moved. Your junker is still parked in the usual place.

> these primitive IBM machines were simply incapable of doing what the book claims they did. <

This fits with your theory that there are not enough printing presses in the world to publish all of the copies of the Los Angeles Times that appear daily.

Monday, April 16, 2007 8:52:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

Actually, Bill's comment has a typo in the address. Of course, I could always just send it to Dave and Melissa, but I don't want to put Dave through that particular ordeal (unless he offers).

>>>Even if all the data necessary for the punched cards had been available -- and it was not -- <<<

Except for the fact that we have millions of punch cards that do have the necessary data. The data most certainly existed. It really doesn't help your argument to make silly claims like this when there are pictures available online of punchcards encoded with the data that you claim doesn't exist.

>>>and even if the cards could be connected with actual people -- and they often could not -- <<<

Certainly there were people who slipped through the cracks (or got caught up erroneously). But for the most part, the cards and people were matched.

>>>these primitive IBM machines were simply incapable of doing what the book claims they did. <<<

How can you claim to know what the book claims the machines could do if you haven't even bothered to read the book?

>>>All these primitive machines could do -- depending on the model -- was just read, sort, or match or merge a few cards at a time. <<<

Don't forget copy, tabulate, and print. There are a couple of other minor computations that they could perform. But where does Black claim that the machines were capable of doing more than these basic computing tasks?

>>>These machines were as slow as molasses in a winter cold snap at the South Pole. <<<

By today's standards, yeah, they were quite slow. But they were much quicker than doing it by hand.

>>>They could not search big databases. <<<

Quite spectacularly false. That was one of their primary functions!

>>>They could not network with other machines. <<<

Again, untrue. They could be connected with other machines, though there was a limited amount of functions that such networking could perform, and usually required an expert programmer to implement. But again I ask you - where did Black make a claim that went beyond what they could do?

>>>The machine that could match or merge cards was very unreliable. <<<

Which may explain in part how some people slipped through the cracks. But the unreliability can be compensated for, just like with modern machines. It's just that modern machines are less error prone (but often not considered as robust).

>>>A historian at the national holocaust museum said that there was no evidence that the machines were ever used to create deportation lists. <<<

...3 years before the book was written, in regards to a 1994 article that she co-authored for an IEEE publication. After being sent an advance copy, Sybil agreed with Black's evidence that the machines were likely used for the lists. Although Black certainly used the Leubke-Milton paper, he did a lot more research than they did.

The complaints about the use of the term "computing" are baseless - Black defines the meaning early on (around page 20) and it certainly is not being used in the sense of today's modern computers. The definition he does use is a valid definition and accurately describes the Hollerith machines of the time.

>>>Of course, the claims that the machines were "interconnected" and "high speed" are absurd.<<<

As indicated above, they did have a limited capability of being interconnected. "High speed" is of course only relevant to the time. In 1939, the Hollerith machines were blindingly fast compared to anything else - especially doing it by hand.

For a more modern example, take internet. Larry currently uses a modem and dial-up to get online. Compared to my ATT DSL connection, his modem is painfully slow, while my DSL was considered high-speed when I first got it. But now my "high speed" connection is sneered at by all the TV and radio ads. Yet there was a time when Larry's modem was considered high speed.

By the way, Larry, have you ever considered going to a high speed connection like DSL? You should be able to get it through ATT out your way. Or maybe through your cable company, if you're not using the Dish.

Monday, April 16, 2007 1:23:00 PM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

I should add the caveat:

I feel that Black engaged in hyperbole and that many of his conclusions are overstated. What I am interested in is the technological argument - whether the machines were capable of what Black claims, not whether they were in fact used to that end. After all, if they were not capable of what he claims, tht would damage the thesis (or even destroy it entirely, depending on how short they came up). Frankly, I think it more likely that the census data was used as a supplemental data source - the local data (though much of that was also on punch cards) would normally be sufficient and more detailed. But that doesn't mean that the national census data couldn't have been used for that purpose.

Monday, April 16, 2007 1:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to "I'm from Missouri" on making your first birthday. I really like the fact that someone can keep writing about what they believe in without being deterred by anyone.

I don't really agree with you Larry, but I'm not going to argue with you or try to burst your bubble. I'll offer you this instead - Stick to your guns! You're doing great

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 4:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave Fafarman said...

Actually, Bill's comment has a typo in the address. Of course, I could always just send it to Dave and Melissa, but I don't want to put Dave through that particular ordeal (unless he offers).

Thanks, Kevin. Bill's version of the address was not a "typo" but rather a deliberate misdirection (analogous to blurring a face in a TV broadcast). The reason is clear in context. As such, it was proper and I appreciate Bill's courtesy.

>>>these primitive IBM machines were simply incapable of doing what the book claims they did.<<<

Primitive or not, they were useful enough to have earned IBM the effusive gratitude of the Nazi officials. They thought the machines were very useful.

... "High speed" is of course only relevant to the time. In 1939, the Hollerith machines were blindingly fast compared to anything else - especially doing it by hand.

For a more modern example, take internet. Larry currently uses a modem and dial-up to get online. Compared to my ATT DSL connection, his modem is painfully slow, while my DSL was considered high-speed when I first got it. But now my "high speed" connection is sneered at by all the TV and radio ads. Yet there was a time when Larry's modem was considered high speed.


Indeed. It can be very misleading to look at the limitations of earlier technology through the lens of current capabilities.

When I first got started in telecommunications, the industry was just getting weaned off of 110 baud with widespread adoption of 300 baud acoustic coupler modems. That was enough to expand the practicality of telecom to new applications. Shortly afterward, I actually did commercial computer graphics customer support using 1200 baud modems! Nowadays, of course, modems go to 56000 baud, but few people use them because they are obsolete altogether for most purposes.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 3:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Fafarman said...

By the way, Kevin, I started to say (accidentally edited it out) that I would be glad to forward a copy of Black's book to Larry, but I would like to see a commitment from him to actually read it before putting either you or me to the trouble. Thanks for the thought in any event.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 3:27:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

W. Kevin Vicklund said...
>>>>>> Actually, Bill's comment has a typo in the address. Of course, I could always just send it to Dave and Melissa, but I don't want to put Dave through that particular ordeal (unless he offers). <<<<<<

Kevin, I said that I don't allow gossip here. To me, trying to show off by name-dropping the names of my relatives or acquaintances -- whether those names are correct or not or whether you are in contact with those people or not -- is gossiping. Next time I will just de-gossip the comment and then re-post the remainder. The same goes for you, Fake Dave.

>>>>>> Except for the fact that we have millions of punch cards that do have the necessary data. The data most certainly existed. <<<<<<

Wrong. The data was scattered all over Europe. The drastic changes in the map of Europe after WW I made locating data especially difficult. Just one gap in the data could destroy the trace. People moved around, especially during the war, which displaced a lot of people. The Nazis had many peacetime years to gather data on Germany's Jews but had very little time in wartime conditions to gather data on other countries' Jews. A lot of people had the same names, creating confusion. A lot of Jews were not identified as such. A lot of Jews were assimilated. The term "Jew" was ill-defined. Many people were displaced by the war, making identification extremely difficult. Non-Jews would have been afraid of being falsely identified as Jews. Etc., etc., etc.. I already went over all of this stuff in the earlier posts that I cited.

>>>All these primitive machines could do -- depending on the model -- was just read, sort, or match or merge a few cards at a time. <<<

Don't forget copy, tabulate, and print. <<<<<<

I consider those things to be part of "reading" the cards.

>>>>> But where does Black claim that the machines were capable of doing more than these basic computing tasks? <<<<<<

If the machines were not capable of doing more -- a hell of a lot more -- then they were not capable of doing what Black claims they did.

>>>>> By today's standards, yeah, they were quite slow. But they were much quicker than doing it by hand. <<<<<<

And using a slide rule (remember those?) was a hell of a lot quicker than calculating by hand.

>>>>>>They could not search big databases. <

Quite spectacularly false. That was one of their primary functions! <<<<<<

Wrong. They could handle just a few cards at a time. So far as I know, they had no data storage capability whatsoever. There was no data storage medium other than the cards themselves -- no magnetic tapes, magnetic discs, magnetic core memories, RAM microchips, etc.. The only data they could search was data stored on other punched cards at the same location. And their data reading speed was glacial.

>>>>>> They could be connected with other machines, though there was a limited amount of functions that such networking could perform, and usually required an expert programmer to implement. <<<<<<

This post describes the machines. There is no mention of ability to connect to other machines. And they would have had to network with hundreds or thousands of other Hollerith machines scattered over Europe.

>>>>>> But again I ask you - where did Black make a claim that went beyond what they could do? <<<<<

Black apparently made no specific claims about the machines' capabilities at all -- as I noted above, two Amazon.com customer reviews complained that the book did not describe the machines' capabilities in detail.

>>>>>>The machine that could match or merge cards was very unreliable. <<<

Which may explain in part how some people slipped through the cracks. <<<<<<

A hell of a lot of people slipped through the cracks, and a lot of people did not slip through the cracks who should have -- i.e., people who were not Jews!

>>>>>A historian at the national holocaust museum said that there was no evidence that the machines were ever used to create deportation lists. <<<

...3 years before the book was written, in regards to a 1994 article that she co-authored for an IEEE publication. After being sent an advance copy, Sybil agreed with Black's evidence that the machines were likely used for the lists. <<<<<<<

What documentation to you have of that? Sybil Milton was an expert in this area -- what could Black have told her that would have changed her mind?

A Washington Jewish Week article dated Sept. 17, 1998 says (the copyright date of IBM and the Holocaust is 2001),

Milton adds today, "We have no proof that the Hollerith was ever used to target individuals for deportation lists. It was a back-up system because it was too broad a system, providing aggregate counts of population groups," she explains. "However, when they would check a deportation list against what is known as the number of Jews in a town, then the Hollerith list would provide the evidence that, 'Yes, this figure is reasonable. We know we have X number of Jews, X number of Roma [Gypsies] registered' in a town like Heidelberg, and therefore, we know that this might have been used as back-up material."

The article also says of the IBM Hollerith machine technology,

In addition, Kistermann cites the incompleteness of the data gathered, making it unsuitable for use. "At the occasion of the 1939 German census, every step had already been taken to identify and locate the German Jews." He insists, "Nazi organizations and bureaucratic administrations instituted and used every means and procedure to identify, locate, isolate, deprive, exclude and deport the Jews. These institutions used ordinary office equipment and supplies: paper, forms, index cards, pencil, ink and pen and typewriters. However, without further discovery of documentary proof, which seems most unlikely and even unnecessary, there is no evidence that Hollerith machines and census work were used, as indicated in published articles and books and in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum."

And that was just in Germany, where the Nazis had several peacetime years to gather data on Jews. What about other countries, where the Nazis had less time in wartime conditions?

Did Black note the discrepancy between his findings and the findings of other historians?

>>>>>> As indicated above, they did have a limited capability of being interconnected. <<<<<<<

No, it was not indicated above.

>>>>> In 1939, the Hollerith machines were blindingly fast compared to anything else - especially doing it by hand. <<<<<<

And a slide rule is blindingly fast compared to calculating with pencil and paper.

>>>>>> For a more modern example, take internet. Larry currently uses a modem and dial-up to get online. Compared to my ATT DSL connection, his modem is painfully slow <<<<<<

Irrelevant. Even a dial-up modem is much faster than the IBM Hollerith machines, which could read only a few hundred cards per minute. But the problem was not just speed. The Hollerith machines had no networking ability, no large-scale data storage, no random-access memory (the cards were only sequential access), very limited programmability, and insufficient data.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 7:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 8:09:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

I warned you about gossip, ViW.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Fake Dave said,
>>>>>> Thanks, Kevin. Bill's version of the address was not a "typo" but rather a deliberate misdirection (analogous to blurring a face in a TV broadcast). <<<<<

My warnings about gossip apply to you too, of course.

>>>>> Primitive or not, they were useful enough to have earned IBM the effusive gratitude of the Nazi officials. They thought the machines were very useful. <<<<<<

The machines were very useful for some things, like maintaining records in concentration camps.

>>>>>> Indeed. It can be very misleading to look at the limitations of earlier technology through the lens of current capabilities. <<<<<<<

What is misleading is assuming that earlier technology had the same capabilities as current technology. That assumption seems to have been made in the book "IBM and the Holocaust."

>>>>> When I first got started in telecommunications, the industry was just getting weaned off of 110 baud with widespread adoption of 300 baud acoustic coupler modems. <<<<<<

The demands placed on those modems were obviously much lower than the demands placed on today's modems. Imagine trying to "surf" the Internet with such modems. Still, though, even in their day, those old modems were annoyingly slow.

>>>>> Nowadays, of course, modems go to 56000 baud, but few people use them because they are obsolete altogether for most purposes. <<<<<<

56K modems are still very useful in areas where broadband cable service is not available. The last time I checked, broadband cable service was not available right here smack in the middle of Los Angeles. 56K modems are adequate for a lot of Internet use -- they are of course very slow in downloading big files like videos.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 4:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> I warned you about gossip, ViW.<

323-299-9873

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 4:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This seems to be the most heavily censored member of the Association of Non-Censoring Bloggers. Of course it is the only member. Nobody else wants to be associated with this fraud.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 4:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Shemp Fafarman said...

Wrong number Anonymous,

Larry's number is 323-299-9853

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 4:29:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said...

>>>>>> This seems to be the most heavily censored member of the Association of Non-Censoring Bloggers. Of course it is the only member. Nobody else wants to be associated with this fraud. <<<<<<

Anonymous, you are the fraud. While hiding behind the name "Anonymous," you are demanding an unlimited right to invade the privacy of others.

I challenge you to post your real name, phone number, email address, etc. here. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 5:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you are the fraud. While hiding behind the name "Anonymous," you are demanding an unlimited right to invade the privacy of others.

Well, Larry(?) does have a point here.

Perhaps we should all post as "Anonymous" -- including Larry(?)?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 2:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry(?)/Anonymous, just for my enlightenment, do you consider the following to be "gossip"? --

Mentioning that your chief hobby is disputing the truth of evolution.

In some quarters, this would be considered to be derogatory information.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 2:58:00 PM  

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