What will/is Mars actually going to cost?

From[Bill Williams 18 March 2004 3:40 AM CST]

Remember Bill Powers' claim that going to Mars won't cost a "damn thing."

It appears to me that choices are being made that amount to real costs based
upon what this administration thinks are projects worth funding.

Can you learn to say "service level adjustment?"

Bill Williams


Park Service orders managers not to discuss cuts in service

Thursday, March 18, 2004


WASHINGTON -- National park superintendents are being told to cut back on services -- possibly even closing smaller, historic sites a couple days a week or shuttering visitor centers on federal holidays -- without letting on that they are making cuts.

Former employees of the National Park Service, critical of how cuts are being handled, yesterday released a memo e-mailed last month to park superintendents in the Northeast from the Park Service's Boston office.

Among the memo's suggestions for responding to tight budgets this year are shuttering visitor centers on federal holidays or during winter months, closing parks Sundays and Mondays, and eliminating all guided ranger tours and lifeguards at some beaches.

This week, the National Parks and Conservation Association reported that those cuts would hit Olympic National Park hard, forcing the closure of the Forks visitor center, reduction of hours at others and near-elimination of seasonal rangers.

Olympic officials responded that their budget is still in flux. That's because they're scared, said Heather Weiner, the Seattle-based Northwest director of the parks advocacy group. "There are park staff at Olympic that I have good, trusting relationships with, and they will not even tell me what their summer is going to look like because they are afraid of losing their jobs," Weiner said.

"They're looking at their checkbook, and looking at what they have to do and saying we don't know how we can do this. They're having a panic session, but they're not supposed to complain. They're not even supposed to say there's a problem."

The memo from the service's Boston office also advises workers to warn officials if controversy arises over any changes they make.

"If you think that some of your specific plans will cause a public or political controversy, Marie and I need to know which ones are likely to end up in the media or result in a congressional inquiry," says the memo, sent Feb. 20 by Chrysandra Walter, deputy director for the Northeast region.

Walter was referring to Marie Rust, the Park Service's director for the Northeast region, who is based in Philadelphia. Walter also wrote that she was relaying instructions from Randy Jones, the Park Service's deputy director.

"He suggested that if you feel you must inform the public ... not to directly indicate that 'this is a cut' in comparison to last year's operation," she wrote. "We all agreed to use the terminology of 'service level adjustment' due to fiscal constraints as a means of describing what actions we are taking."

Neither Walter nor a spokeswoman for Rust responded to requests for comment.

Former park Superintendent Denny Huffman, representing a group of retired Park Service employees, and Jeff McFarland, director of a professional association of park rangers, said the memo illustrates a broader attempt to sugarcoat facts while stifling people.

"Make no mistake about it. There is a chill over the National Park Service today," Huffman said.

National Park Service spokesman Dave Barna didn't dispute the memo's authenticity or that it reflected an agency-wide trend. He said the agency's aim was to avoid a public relations fiasco and cuts would be done judiciously.

"All we're saying is, 'Let us know in advance so we know about this.' We don't feel it's necessary to have 380 parks out there whining about their budgets," he said.



P-I reporter Robert McClure contributed to this report.

� 1998-2004 Seattle Post-Intelligencer


From: Control Systems Group Network (CSGnet) on behalf of Bill Williams
Sent: Thu 3/18/2004 3:20 AM
To: CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu
Subject: Re: Why?

From[Bill Williams 17 March 2004 10:30 PM CST]

[From Rick Marken (2004.03.17.1620)]

Why has such a pleasant theory (PCT) attracted such unpleasant people?

Rick, this seems like such a naive and un-PCT way to approach what you

perceive to be a problem. And, significantly in my opinion, you do not

answer the question which you raise. I'll try and help you out.

A more sophisticated and more PCT like way of considering the question

might be for you to ask, is why are you so "disturbed." The only place

the "unpleasantness" has any reality is in your head. But, you don't

explain why you find people talking back to you "unpleasant." And,

in your reply to Martin you go on to charge people with "unpleasant

intensions." This it seems to me is a mode of thought that is

contrary to a control theory standpoint. You have no way of knowing,

according to control theory what a person's intension actually are.

All that you know is your perception, right? So your question to

Martin is rather pointless. When you say,

"unpleasant" behavior can be the result of unpleasant intensions. no?"

the answer is that you've gone completely off the track. Intensions

are just intensions. If you find someone "unpleasant" well fuck


If you were thinking you would recognize that you have placed

yourself on the other side of the "I see you have chosen... "

argument. Only now you are the one who is doing the "mind reading."

Martin Taylor in a reply to your "Why" post says in response to your

statement that,

CSGNet should be a place where we can point people who are interested

in PCT and not be afraid that what they will find will be mainly ugly

personal attacks.

Martin says,

Yes, but Rick, I think you have to acknowledge that some of these

attacks have come from you--provoked or otherwise. I don't think I

have to point out than in an escalating conflict situation, BOTH

control systems increase their output.

No, Martin, I think this does require pointing out. And, Rick doesn't

see your point. In a later post Rick denies that he has any of the

dreaded "unpleasant" motivations that he attributes to others.

Rick's posts, "only seem to be" personal attacks. I guess Rick's

attacks upon the Catholic faith were a matter of purely disinterested

scientific inquiry. Or, at least Rick sees it that way.

Some time ago I had the insight that both Rick and also, though less

frequently Bill Powers dominated discussions by resort to what are

ordinarily considered disrespectful and/or abusive remarks. Like Bill

Powers telling me "to stuff it." or his threat to bite me. Or, what

obviously wasn't true his claim that I had never contributed anything

substantial to CSGnet.

When I realized that Powers was willing to resort to such tactics

in the hope that by doing so he could "win" an argument, I lost

the respect that I once had for Powers. And, this realization freed

me from any inclination to take this and similarly abusive and

disrespectful treatment seriously. When Powers failed in his effort

to apply modern control theory methods, and thought he should find

an "easier" field in which to apply his efforts -- that is to

economics -- I was embarrassed by his crude and ignorant remarks.

His attack upon Keynes is, using Powers' phrase an example of

"shocking stupidity." As Martin points out in regard to the nature

of conflict, my decision to match, or exceed, you and Powers when

you attempted to use a resort to abusive and disrespectful statements

to win arguments has caused both you and Powers a measure of

disturbance. It has been as you both have said, "unpleasant."

But, neither of you have, apparently found a successful way of

coping with a situation in which I have been willing to match or

exceed your resort to "unpleasantness." Considered from a control

theory standpoint, all that is happening, at least so far, is a

matter of people talking trash at each other. But, neither you nor

Bill Powers apparently has the emotional maturity of a football

lineman. You or Bill Powers can say nasty things, but you find that

hearing nasty things said about you is "unpleasant." This leads

me to wonder why can't you and Bill Powers apply control theory

to this situation and adjust your own reference levels so that

hearing nasty things said about you ceases to be a disturbance.

In my experience it isn't that hard to come to a realization that

when Bill Powers or you says something that is untrue or nasty

about me, you are attempting to use abusive speech to win in a

situation in which you don't have an effective argument. Recently

Bill Powers has been more flagrant in resort to such tactics.

His claim that I have never made a substantive contribution to

CSGnet discussions is easily refuted by checking the CSGnet


As an example Powers' claim that I am stuck in my fascination

with Op-Amps, would seem to me to be an extremely precarious

argument. Most people lurking on the CSGnet are primarily

interested in applying control theory in interpersonal

situations. They aren't all that interested in theoretical

disputes. But, I would suspect that they recognize that I know

a lot more about the theoretical aspects of control theory than

do most of the participants, lurkers included, on CSGnet. After

all I've been paid to design industrial control equipment. So,

when Bill Powers attempts to argue that I've never made a

contribution to CSGnet, he has to eat some of the fulsome things

he's said in the past-- concerning brilliant insights. I would

think that this obviously inconsistent behavior would create a

measure of dubiousness among many participants, and lurkers

about their role in a CSGnet community. I'd rather that Bill

Powers not call me "garbage" but I count it up to his having

run out of the emotional stamina to generate a more substantive

argument. And, I had to laugh when you blocked Kenny's postings.

If you can't tolerate Kenny's mildly expressed but unfavorable

assessment of your intellectual attainments-- even when Kenny

expresses himself in the moderate language Kenny thinks is fit

for use in public discussion, then for me that indicates that

you haven't yet attained the sort of maturity that most males

in our society acquire early on as a result of competitive

sports or military service.

If you had reflected on why you find it difficult to tolerate

someone talking trash back to you, then you might understand

what is happening better. Approaching the question "Why" in this

way might have led you into reflection concerning your own

reference levels and how you treat people. Neither, you nor Bill

Powers, nor David Goldstein despite some random remarks has

engaged in a sustained consideration of why there are a number of

people, Ed Ford, Tom Bourbon, Greg Williams and others who are now

unwilling to participate in situations in which you are involved.

But lets consider the economic threads.

For more than a decade you have thought of your self as an economic

expert-- this despite your obviously having had less exposure to

economic subject-matter than an intelligent and energetic freshman

student. When you edited the American Behavioral Science issue you

took it upon yourself to change the paper I submitted in ways that

fundamentally altered the argument and made no sense in terms of a

control theory analysis. You still owe me a written acknowledgement

that you did so.

And, more recently you have explicitly claimed to having been

engaged in doing high level work-- like Newton's or Einstein's

that will revolutionize economics based upon Bill Powers' dad's

Leakages thesis. Now, I don't find this necessarily unpleasant,

a bit strange and it is revealing of a mind set that is more

than a little bit out of touch with reality.

Powers' has repeatedly repudiated your assertions concerning

economics. His most vivid repudiation was a part of his very nice

review and critique of your H Econoimus program ( I refuse to

call it a model) where he described what you were, and continue

to do, in terms of a "giant leap in the wrong direction." I am

sure this must have been, as you say "unpleasant", "unpleasant"

for you. However, does this mean that Bill Powers is an

"unpleasant" person? But, why not? Why not block what Powers

has to say? Is a "giant leap in the wrong direction" different

in substance from what Kenny is saying? Aside that is from the

very significant question of who is saying it?

What Powers' assessment means is that your attempts to think about

economics have not approached the standard of work that Bill Powers'

is inclined to think would make a positive contribution to economic

thought. I am sure it is a disappointment to you that Bill Power

has been so severely critical, but Bill does have his standards. My

suggestion to you would be to avoid attempting to think about

economics. It is highly unlikely, based upon my observation of more

than a decade of failure, that what you come up with is going to

meet with Bill Powers' approval.

An acquaintance of mine from graduate school, who developed an

abiding interest in PCT,

"Abiding?" Now that is a nice word for it.

[He] contacted me recently to ask me to give a talk on PCT.

He mentioned that he had been subscribed to CSGNet recently but left

when it became difficult to detect much signal in the noise.

Rick we are at least in agreement about this, your acquaintance and I.

Even with as you say, an "abiding interest in PCT." it would be, in

the discussion of economics for the last three months difficult for

anyone to discern anything of value. You ought to recognize that the

Imps training program not only enables an Imp to withhold information

that is hidden in any small college library, but in addition equips

them to prevent anything that can be remotely considered thinking.

As evidence of this I ask you, has there been anything contributed

by you or Bill Powers recently that makes any sense?

"Going to Mars isn't going to cost a damn thing?" H. Econoimicus is

anything other than "a giant leap in the wrong direction?" And, Bill

Powers after giving notice that he intended to straighten Professor

Bruun out regarding her preference for Keynes' system. Strangely we

haven't yet heard the results. I guess in Bill Powers' view,

professor Bruun was "bent" and he perceived here as badly needing

"straightening out." Oh how I wish I could have been there!

So, how did this unfortunate trend in the economics thread start?

I would say that it was the result of the unfortunate failure of

Bill Powers' attempting to apply contemporary methods of control theory.

When that effort collapsed and Powers thought he would try something

easier-- like economics I think anyone modestly informed about

economics might have predicted an unfortunate result. Powers _may_

eventually get his test bed working. But, the results are not likely

to ones that he initially anticipated.

If the economic project were making progress it seems to me that

what would be happening now would be a discussion of progress

rather than the re-emergence of your proposal to moderate the


Your prospective CSGnet participant

"... asked if there was

any other forum for discussion of PCT and I had to say no.

Not, necessarily. It isn't clear why you would know whether or

not there is any other forum for discussion of PCT or not.

I mention this only as another piece of evidence that it might be

beneficial, for the sake of promoting interest in and understanding of

PCT, to make CSGNet (which is the only place I know of where PCT

is actively being taught) into a moderated list.

Martin Taylor denies that PCT is being taught on the CSGnet. What

evidence is there that the CSGnet is teaching anything in particular?

People may, and probably are learning things by participating and

lurking on the CSGnet, but teaching? This seems very doubtful.

Martin also disputes that the argument which you refer to as

"evidence" amounts to a valid argument.

Particularly in regard to economic issues, the things you say are

very dubious.

As you say, "CSGnet [is] the only place [that Rick knows of] where

PCT is actively being taught. I wouldn't call the yours and Bill

Powers' discussions of economics "teaching" PCT. Especially since

Bill Powers describes your attempt to apply control theory to

economics in terms of a "giant leap in the wrong direction." And,

many people might view Bill Powers' assertion that sending people

to Mars won't cost a damn thing, with a measure of skepticism as an

exemplarily economic analysis.

CSGNet should be a place where we can

point people who are interested in PCT and not be afraid that what they

will find will be mainly ugly personal attacks.

From my point of view I thought Bill Powers' threat to bite me was

particularly unfortunate-- of course Snips looks forward to such


Rick, it might interest you to know that I get email from people who are

unwilling to participate actively on CSGnet because they say they are

unwilling to expose themselves to a possible attack by you. And, I am

not talking just about people I have named in the past , some of whom

very actively hate your guts. But, rather from people that I know nothing

other than that they view yours and Bill Powers' too, conduct as

silly. As an example, I quote, an email I received that in part says,

" I want to congratulate you for finally telling Rick Marken to

  'fuck off' as you so eloquently put it."

  "Keep up the great work Bill."

  "I truly believe that there are a lot of subscribers who won't

  post to CSGnet because of Rick and the how he replies to


I think the "so eloquently put it" part adds a nice touch.

I would not have known about this aspect of the CSGnet had I not

received indications of approval for my opposing yours and Bill

Powers' effort to dominate CSGnet-- especially in areas, in which

after reflection you have acknowledged you have not known what you

are talking about.

I know that there are problems with list moderation. Mainly, the

problem is that it's a job that someone has to do.

I hope that you enjoy it.

> But I think this could be worked out.

Given your definition of a "working model" I wonder what this means.

Will it involved extending the block that you have placed on Kenny?

Right now, I wonder (if anyone is still reading CSGNet)

Given that not many people seem interested in Bill Powers'

economic Test Bed, why would you expect that anyone at all

is reading the CSGnet?

could get a show of hands regarding list moderation.

Rick, if you want an fair ballot, you obviously shouldn't be

the one counting the votes.

But, I'll vote for it. And, I'll vote for you as moderator.

How many of you who are still on CSGNet are for moderation, how many

are against it and why?

Now, "moderation" isn't a quality, a process, or an office that I would

ordinarily associate with RIck Marken.

However, I would like to see Rick use the power that moderation would

give him and I look forward to observing the result.

Bill Williams

To refresh reader's of this list's memory I have copied a posting made

by Bill Powers the last time Rick brought up this issue. Powers suggests

the possibility that Bruce Gegory should be moderator.

[From Bill Powers (2003.12.09.1307 MST)]

Rick Marken (2003.12.09.0925)--

So I propose that we make CSGNet a moderated list as soon as possible. I

think Bill Powers should be or should appoint the moderator(s). I believe

that as a list owner I can change the list to be moderated but I won't

take that step unless there is some general level of agreement about it.

I'm trying to think of someone I would like to pass on my posts before they

are put on the list, and I can't think of anybody. I don't think I'd even

let Mary do that. I never joined the BBS list because it's moderated.

Perhaps another answer would be to have those who are offended by someone's

post to describe what was in the post that they didn't like and why they

didn't like it, and request that the author of the post either withdraw the

remark or find a less offensive way to say the same thing. Don't answer

back or get even: simply go up a level. For example, Rick's gloating post

to Bruce Gregory might have had some message in it that could be expressed

without gloating, and Bruce Gs criticisms of HPCT might have been put in a

way that doesn't make the whole thing seem simpleminded and worthless.

I think Bill Williams suggested that communications should be

straightforward and to the point, with no hidden agendas.

### I was being sarcastic, and Bill Powers didn't get it. ###

One way to

achieve this grade of communication might be for everyone to resolve never

to write a message while feeling an emotion. If somebody says something

horrible, wait until your pulse is normal, your adrenaline level is

undetectable, and you have forgotten the first retort that came to mind.

Then, just before you send the post, delete the first paragraph entirely.

The first paragraph I wrote for this post nominated Bruce Gregory as

moderator and requested that my name be taken off the list. See how much

better it is without the first reaction?