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Les will be More in 2043
Bucket List (2016-2043). After a medical scare in early 2016, described in Steve Jobs set a Precedent that I Will Not Follow, I decided to create a Bucket List and started with 25 goals. I have since added more and hopefully will complete some and move them to my Brag list but may give up on others. As shown below, some of my objectives are rather challenging, so I will need to work hard.
Having enjoyed a good life so far, I wish to make the most of the time left and will update this agenda whenever I accomplish something or take on a new one. My general goal is to reduce or end human piracy (taking the assets of others) which is about to cause another mass extinction of life on Earth. I also hope to ensure that everyone alive has decent housing, food, education, and medical care while sustaining civil liberties, advancing privacy and reducing human fantasies. That is clearly a tall order, but I claim that we have the resources to do it provided that we get rid of the pirates who control governments around the world.
Put in by Putin summarizes Vladimir’s successful project of getting Trump and Pence elected and what should be done to prevent recurrences of this kind of corruption.
Publishers Around the World Need to Learn How to Print. Most still put texts into a rectangular format for no good reason and in order to do that they use variable spacing between words and split some words in two, using a dash, which makes them less readable and sometimes causes misunderstandings. There is a simple way to fix that: for left-to-right texts, simply let the right margin go ragged. Many of us have been doing that for many years but the dimwit publishers are sticking with their silly printing format.
Drop a Digit, Poor Pennies, and Gadfly Gods. US cash needs to be revised. Inflation calls for getting rid of useless pennies and the US Constitution says to get rid of “IN GOD WE TRUST”.
Charity Marketing Corruption. I have been donating to various charities since 1957 and have observed over the years that many of their marketing strategies have shifted in the direction of commercial marketing (i.e. corrupt practices). One big problem is their sending too many solicitations, both by mail and email, which uses funding that should be used for their charitable purposes and wastes my time. Worse still, it is clear that some “charitable nonprofits” are actually profitable – they focus on making money and pay their top-level management excessive amounts. I therefore have started keeping track of the number of solicitations I receive and if it exceeds what I view as a reasonable number (ten per year), I either threaten them with a cutoff or do it for example, see my 2018 letter to the American Cancer Society.
Drop Fireplaces and Bathtubs. It no longer makes sense to put fireplaces and bathtubs in new homes because those are obsolete technologies. Fireplaces used to provide heating for the home and usually burned wood or coal, which contributed to air pollution with both smoke and carbon dioxide, with the latter contributing to global warming, and sometimes starting fires in the neighborhood by throwing out sparks. However, modern heating and air conditioning systems work better, so we no longer need that old technology. A fireplace was included in my home when it was built in the early 1960s, but I subsequently chose to put fake wood logs on the grate and burn natural gas, which reduced the pollution level but still posed the threat of starting fires. While sitting around a fire is usually a pleasant social experience, I do not think it is essential and we would be better off to dump it.
Bathtubs were the second scheme developed for bathing, the first being going into streams or lakes, but showers generally work better and take up less space. My home originally came with three showers, one of them being over a bathtub, but when I did some reconstruction so as to expand the master bedroom I foolishly let the redesign include both a shower and a separate bathtub in the big bathroom. I had previously put in a hot tub outside, but while that was nice in the summer, it was not a pleasant experience in the winter. what I should have done was either omit the bathtub or replace it with an indoor hot tub, which would be kept at a warm temperature to facilitate dipping whenever we liked. Thus, we now have a useless bathtub, which has never been used, and a hot tub in the wrong place. I recommend that others think ahead.
Switch USA to the Metric System. One thing that should be done ASAP is to get rid of our ridiculous old measurements system based on inches, feet, yards, miles, degrees Fahrenheit, ounces, pounds, etc. and replace them with the Metric System. We sensibly started to do that some years ago, but our nitwit right-wing conservatives then blocked it, leaving USA incompatible with most of the rest of the world.
Help Create a Truly Happy New Year. Given that we live in a four-dimensional world, keeping track of time and planning future uses of it are important aspects of our lives. Numerous calendars have been used around the world, each associated with an organized religion, the most widely used today being the Gregorian. This note proposes a non-sectarian Planetary Calendar that can also be used to track religious and other holidays and is so simple that you can carry it in your head. One radical element of this proposal is that it puts the entire planet in a single time zone. However, this note also reviews some local calendar history that spread around the world.
Dump Time Zones and run the world on a single clock.
Form Pacifica Now advocates the secession of California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to form a new nation called Pacifica with a truly democratic government, the first in 2,500 years.
Continue the Fight for Civil Liberties, which I entered in 1958 in response to the misconduct of the old House Un-American Activities Committee. I support freedom of speech (including protection of whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden), separation of church and state, and fighting against racism, sexism, ageism, and religious discrimination including anti-abortionists and anti-gays. Being consistent with the U.S. Constitution, we should allow religious groups to celebrate whatever holidays they wish but should remove religion-based National Holidays, including Christmas, as well as Columbus Day, which is based on Eurocentric nonsense. I will continue to support the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Compassion & Choices, Death Penalty Focus, Drug Policy Alliance, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, etc.
Strangely, though ACLU has been fighting against racism for many years, which is part of the reason I support them, the national organization lapsed at the beginning of WWII when the Governor of California initiated the plan to jail all people of Japanese descent, then President Roosevelt endorsed that, then the national ACLU joined with them, but the Northern California branch of ACLU fought back and seceded, then ran independently for about 30 years. During that time, I moved back to California and ended up donating to both ACLUs for a number of years until they remerged.
Another matter that I have been fighting with ACLU about for about 45 years is their endorsement of Affirmative Action, which supports racism. Specifically, it endorses discrimination against “whites,” supposedly to compensate for the fact that our society has long discriminated against the ancestors of “blacks”, but that is still pure racism and should be outlawed. Besides, despite the pretense that the terms “white” and “black” are well defined, the boundary between them in skin color has never been defined, so it is pure nonsense.
On the morning of 9/11 I started writing the fourth article in a series aimed at restoring democracy in USA Cycling, the national governing body of bicycle racing that had been taken over by commercial interests in a thoroughly crooked way. I was planning to post it in the Usenet newsgroup rec.bicycles.racing but as I was writing, news came in about planes being hijacked by terrorists, and rammed into buildings so I switched topics and predicted the effects this would have on civil liberties. Unfortunately, my predictions came true – see S*x, lies and politics: Part 4. Terrorists and the politicians who love them,
Get Rid of Most Stop Signs in North America beginning with my home town or wherever else I can sell this idea. In late 2015 I started the project described at Yielding more and stopping less can save time and fuel with the intention of getting it started I the Town of Los Altos Hills, California. Not surprisingly, resistance arose and a Town Council member illegally blocked further consideration of this proposal, so I am trying to get that fixed.
End the War on Drugs & Legalize Sex Work: Treating sex workers as criminals enables their pimps and other handlers to mistreat them with no legal consequences and it also facilitates police letting them continue in return for getting sexually serviced themselves, a widespread practice. See 10 Reasons to End the War on Drugs and the War on Sex Workers and Craigslist's Erotic Services Site Appears to Have Reduced Female Homicide Rates by 17 Percent.
End the Military-Industrial-Congressional Conspiracy (MICC). Beginning in 1956 I accidentally helped design the biggest MICC fraud of the 20th Century, called SAGE, and continued to help design such systems until 1965, when I escaped to a much better life at Stanford University while still feeding from the same Defense Department trough.
SAGE was a technological marvel in that it was the first system to provide interactive computing, including the use of large displays with point-and-click graphical user interfaces, as well as packetized data networking, though none of that terminology came into use until much later. It was supposed to be an air defense system and was initiated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with funding from the US Air Defense Command via Congress. I designed most of the weapon control functions for various manned interceptors and Bomarc ground-to-air missiles, shown at left. However, it depended on automatic tracking of enemy bombers and did not work if they used effective radar jamming, as nearly all bombers have done since World War II. That fact was kept classified so that no one could talk about it publicly without going to jail, a technique that is still being used today to defraud the American public. For a summary of its dangerous defects see SAGE like Forrest Gump.
MIT had the good sense to withdraw from that fraud in 1958 by spinning off the nonprofit MITRE Corporation but many similar frauds have formed in ensuing years such as President Reagan’s “Strategic Defense Initiative” (aka “Star Wars”) and modern anti-ballistic missile systems that are being deployed around the world at a cost of billions to American taxpayers even though they don’t work. Meanwhile Wall Street crooks continue to suppress discussions of their frauds and legally bribe politicians while major societal needs, such as food, affordable housing, health care, education, environmental protection and the like remain grossly underfunded.
Politicians learned long ago that promoting the fear of boogeymen, currently “terrorists,” which they use to justify increasing governmental controls, cutting civil liberties, and increasing spending on police and warfare. For business reasons public media blow those fears far out of proportion. For example, the current threat to an American individual from ISIS on a given day is infinitesimal compared to the risk of driving a car, riding a bike or even walking somewhere but you will never hear that on the evening news.
Of course, politicians have to update their boogeymen from time to time. Looking back we have been told to fear Communists, Fascists, niggers, spics, kikes, fags, more Communists, and anarchists with more to come, including Muslims, abortionists, and any “them” you can think of. Unfortunately, the fear of boogeymen is built into the minds of modern humans as a result of fantasies that helped our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors to leap from being a minor species about 70,000 years ago to the top of the food chain, which has enabled us to dominate the Earth. Those ancient attitudes are now inappropriate but have not yet been shed through the relatively slow process of evolution, but that is another story.
Trim the Hummingbird Monument’s Wings. A group of old Air Force guys have been working for years on getting a monument erected honoring themselves by restoring an old SAGE radar tower atop Mt. Umunhum, just south of San Jose, California. Their claim is that they protected the San Francisco Bay area from manned bomber attacks during the Cold War and some local historians have been persuaded to endorse their proposal. Of course, that claim is pure fantasy since SAGE was never capable of defending against such an attack and became obsolete before it was fully deployed in1963, since the first strike threat had shifted to ICBMs by then. However, SAGE was kept going for another 20 years by the corporations involved, making it the biggest MICC fraud of the 20th Century, but people don’t want to hear about that.
I and a few others have been fighting to block their plan to erect a monument to fraud but are so far outnumbered by those attempting to perpetuate their fantasy. Unfortunately, the exhibit on SAGE at the nearby Computer History Museum sustains that fantasy instead of telling the truth, perhaps because some of the crooked corporations involved are also big sponsors. I have been trying to get the truth about the SAGE fraud published for decades and in 1966 the SAGE radar atop Mt. Umunhum apparently tried to get even with me as described in A hummingbird with range.
Terminate Robo-killers Worldwide, beginning with the armed drones being used by CIA to kill anyone they don’t like almost anywhere outside the U.S., including American citizens, without any legal review and “accidentally” killing thousands of innocent bystanders. Also make sure that robot ground troops are not developed anywhere. If a corporation or politician manages to get a battalion of those things built, we are in for a heap of trouble.
Keep the Internet Moving in the Direction of Free Speech, Privacy and Safe Transactions while Suppressing Commercial and Governmental Corruption. The internet could not have been created by commercial interests because they generally keep things proprietary. Indeed, some early networks created by IBM, DEC and others went nowhere because of their closed mindedness. A competing network put together in the open by university groups using Unix operating systems was fairly successful and eventually merged with the internet. Thus cooperative development projects done in open source mode without patents or other money-making controls move ahead much faster than other modes of development, as the internet shows.
Meanwhile corrupt commercial interests such as Comcast and AT&T are trying to take control by eliminating network neutrality so that they can charge extra for biased services but they can be defeated if we continue to fight back. Similarly, corrupt governmental agencies such as CIA and NSA are doing their best to snoop on everyone by infiltrating commercial communications systems and demanding “back doors” to cryptographic systems so that they snoop on everything we say. For some reason they don’t mention the fact that “back doors” also provide openings for commercial crooks. We need to find a way to tell them all to “Go to Hell” if they can find such a place.
More work is needed on operating system and communications security to prevent snooping and takeover attacks. Yes, that will allow kiddie porn to be distributed by the rather small number of people who are into it but the consequences of allowing commercial and governmental interests to snoop on us are far worse.
Standardize Purchase Contracts and Use Robot Negotiators. People making online purchases or faced with a software licensing agreement are frequently faced with a ridiculous negotiation in that in order to complete the transaction they must either read a ten-page document full of legalese and decide whether or not it meets their needs or just click on “Agree” and hope that it turns out right. Most people do the latter if the provider has a reasonably good reputation, but some then discover that they have agreed to not take up any legal action if the product or service turns out to be defective or fraudulent.
One common scam set up by corporate lawyers is to include an arbitration requirement so that if you have a dispute about the product or service it is diverted to a private arbitrator chosen by the contractor and cannot be taken to court. You are also often prohibited from talking about the settlement, so the specifics of what happened are hidden from public view.
A better alternative would be to develop a few standard contracts with various optional features covering such things as warranties, dispute resolution processes and the like together with various parameters such as the identities of things being acquired, quantities, price, etc. Each person would then read such contracts once, possibly with someone providing legal advice, and would choose terms that they would consider acceptable, with the choices possibly depending on some of the parameters. For example, if the cost is low the purchaser might not be very demanding regarding warranty duration.
Once someone has set up terms that he or she considers acceptable, when an acquisition is then initiated a robot would be used to examine whether the offered terms meet the purchaser’s requirements and, if not, would identify specific discrepancies to allow the purchaser to look more closely and consider possibly loosening requirements or making demands on the seller. Overall this would be much fairer than the blind acceptances that have become widespread.
Once we get such a system in place I will never again accept the standard lawyerly scam of barring action through the courts.
Solve the Long-Term Digital Archiving Problem. Enormous quantities of digital information is being generated daily but comparable amounts are also disappearing on a daily basis. If this practice continues with no attempt to preserve important information for the long run, then people living a thousand years from now (assuming that our descendants have not yet destroyed the planet) will have only a very sketchy idea of what went on in our era.
All digital recordings have a limited life. Magnetic digital recordings, for example, generally begin dropping bits within a decade or so after they were recorded. There are other recording technologies that can have a much longer life but depending on a single copy of something surviving is unsafe because of possible local catastrophes and there is a more important barrier to future understanding, namely technological drift which causes file formats to change, typically at around five-year intervals. I will say more about that below. A paper I wrote about this problem awhile back can be seen at Legacies for Y3K.
There also have been older local attempts at preservation using such things as daily dumps onto magnetic tape of all new files from a given day. People at the lab I managed (SAIL) put together an early archiving system in the late 1960s, then Ralph Gorin set up a better one called DART that began operating in 1972 and was kept going by Martin Frost and others throughout nearly all the remaining life of that system, into the ‘90s. Subsequently Bruce Baumgart set up an archive at his own expense that makes all those files accessible at saildart.org, with public files open to all and personal files generally subject to login by their owners, some of who have since passed away, so we plan to make them all public in the long run.
A solution to the raw preservation problem has been developed by a group called LOCKSS -- Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Safe – a consortium of university libraries around the world that uses the internet to put copies of a given document in multiple locations and, when one of them goes bad, it is replicated there or elsewhere so that there are always multiple copies stored. Some think that memory crystals can solve this problem by storing information for billions of years but that by itself will not solve the problem.
Advancing technologies in both hardware and software cause file formats to change over time, typically at about five-year intervals, so old files cannot be viewed with modern programs. In order to circumvent that problem, it will be necessary to keep an active translation software programming project going, so that old files can be translated into file formats that newer programs can understand. Hopefully such translations can be cascaded over time so that information from multiple generations back can still be understood.
It appears to me that a good way to do that would be to augment the LOCKSS project or something similar by making translation software development into a series of university student projects. However, when I recently tried to suggest that idea to a LOCKSS supervisor he promptly and forcefully told me to get lost. Thus, it appears that some pushing or coercion and a funding source will be needed to get this going.
Stop Propagating Fake Computer History via the Computer History Museum (CHM). I am a founding member of CHM, have consistently supported it, and believe it has the best exhibits of any computer museum in the world. However, it uncritically accepts erroneous material published in public media such as stories planted in supposedly neutral media by corporate marketing departments or rich guys and writers who try to make their stories more interesting by distorting history so as to create heroes such as allegedly great inventors Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Doug Engelbart, none of who made any technical inventions of importance. Then there are AMICF frauds, discussed above, which use security classifications to hide their big lies from the public, enabling false claims of effectiveness and thus scamming taxpayers year after year.
People who write up innovations but neither make them work nor recruit or inspire others to do that should not be called “inventors”. They are daydreamers.
One frequent source of misinformation is the tendency of authors to assume that a given field of technology began when they entered it. Late arrivals in a given field tend to assume that any ideas they come up with are new inventions even if they are very old ideas. For example, many believe that interactive computing began with the introduction of personal computer (PC) because that was when they first encountered it. Never mind that it had been implemented through timesharing about 20 years earlier. Also, many stories have been written about this or that person having created the first PC but for some reason the authors always neglect to define what they mean by “PC”. If it is a computer used by one person at a time, then all the earliest computers were PCs. Even if you give a meaningful definition, such as a machine with specified performance costing less than a specified percentage of median annual incomes in some location, then it still is not very important who created the first one because they were all inevitable results of Moore’s Law.
My goal is to make lists of specific false claims and failures to tell the whole truth in either exhibits or lectures, and then attempt to resolve them individually. Discussions of certain topics among CHM members have been going on informally for many years but I believe that it would be a good idea to set up public forums on controversial topics, each with one or more moderators, to debate the issues, while maintaining three lists: (1) topics under discussion, (2) arguments that have been accepted, (3) arguments that have been rejected. The focus should be on statements of alleged facts, not political, cultural or religious views. All of that will take a fair amount of work but I expect it can be done mostly by volunteers under the administrative control of CHM staff.
Stamp Out Most Existing Social Networks. Given that I accidentally created the first online social network and blogging service, called Finger, you might expect me to like that idea. However, the modern versions are mostly systems for collecting personal information and selling it to marketers, which I view as an atrocity. Early in this millennium, I figured out a way to destroy them but my plate has been too full to take on that project by myself and those who could do it have generally chosen instead to play that exploitive game themselves.
The best way to destroy Facebook and the like while maintaining useful social networking will be to develop open source software that can be placed on any publicly accessible web site to link up members of group with common interests, such as members of a family and their friends or people around the world who are interested in discussing a certain topic. There should be no central database of personal information, just as there was not in Finger, so that as long as the moderator of a given group behaves, its members will be protected against exploitation. Each site would operate in one of three modes:
1. Private, with only members allowed to post or to see postings;
2. Semi-private, where only members can post but postings may either be seen only by other members or may be made public by the poster; there can be a place where outsiders can send messages to the moderator, who may choose to pass them along or, perhaps after internal discussion, invite them to become members;
3. Public, where anyone can see and post information without necessarily identifying themselves but where the moderator can maintain a list of jerks by email address whose postings are automatically and quietly tossed in the trash. Postings should probably be filtered by a word scanner looking for threatening words or other inappropriate comments and, if seen, divert it to a moderator for review.
If that software is made publicly available at no cost or very cheaply we likely can get rid of the existing social networking scams within a couple of years.
Terminate Eastern Terminology. The area around Illinois is called the “Midwest” even though it is nowhere near the West. That happened for historical reasons as the US was starting up but should now be fixed. That area could logically be called Central America but that would bump into another old term, so we perhaps should settle for calling it the Central US.
National Restructuring. It would be nice if Canadians can be talked into merging with the US, though they would have to accept an inferior form of government. While doing that we should also merge a number of states so as to get a better national balance in political power and administrative reach. Specifically merge:
· All six states in New England;
· New Jersey and Pennsylvania;
· Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia;
· North and South Carolina;
· Kentucky and Tennessee;
· Illinois and Indiana;
· North and South Dakota
· Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, which will soon lose a substantial part of their lands to rising sea levels;
· California and Nevada but then recut it into North Calnev and South Calnev;
· Write off Florida, which will soon be under water.
· Invite Texas to secede, as many Texans advocate, so as to get rid of their strange views. They might consider linking up with Mexico, Cuba, North Korea, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Somalia.
Fix Measurements. Put down the conservative American dimwits who earlier blocked the conversion to the Metric System and do it. Get rid of those who resist by feeding them just a few grams of food each day. Also show the hours and minutes of each day using the popular 0000 through 2359 format (no colon). I suggest going a step further by dropping Daylight Savings Time wherever it is used and making 0000 correspond to what is now called 0500 or 5:00 AM. In other words, start each day approximately when most people start up.
Keep Pedaling. Having been a cyclist since 1933, I still enjoy riding though I switched to a recumbent tadpole trike after a nasty solo crash in 2004 that left me partly made out of titanium. The trike is twice the weight of a conventional bike, which makes it difficult to climb steep hills but son Ian recently added an electric motor, which fixed that. Because of the trike’s high weight and low air drag it goes downhill like a bomb.
Improve Cycling Safety. I have so far ridden a distance equivalent to about 5.5 times around the world at the equator without being touched by a motor vehicle. However a freeway interchange near my home (I-280 & Page Mill Road) has been grossly unsafe for both cyclists and pedestrians since it was built 50 years ago and my repeated attempts to get it fixed have been consistently rejected. The death of a cyclist there on 2015.11.03 appears to offer leverage for getting it fixed but modern cyclists generally seem to think that the solution to all safety problems is green bicycle lanes, which are pure nonsense. I still hope to get my proposal adopted but it will be an uphill battle.
Hope that Self-Driving Vehicles Will Come to My Rescue. In 1966 I initiated the first attempt at creating a self-driving vehicle but was thwarted by a combination of misconduct by John McCarthy and inadequate computer performance. Nevertheless, others were able to carry on, leading to prototype vehicles on the road today. My hope is that commercial self-driving vehicles will become available before I lose my driver’s license due to physical decline.
In 1967 I visited Jim Adams, a former Caltech football teammate from the early 1950s, who had become a Stanford Professor of Mechanical Engineering. I noticed a four-wheel vehicle parked in the corner of his lab and asked about it, learning that it had been used to evaluate the possibility of controlling a Moon Rover from Earth, an early NASA project that was cancelled in response to President Kennedy’s 1962 announcement of the project to send astronauts there. I then asked if I could borrow it and Jim agreed, so I initiated the first attempt at a self-driving vehicle. Working with graduate student Rod Schmidt and using the Stanford Cart we got it running under the control of our central computer, a DEC-10, using a radio control radio link and a television transmitter back to the computer showing what the camera saw.
However just after we got it running around the neighborhood under manual control, John McCarthy took it away from me so that he could play with it, which annoyed me a lot. For some reason McCarthy then backed away from attempting to navigate on the road and settled for looking at a high contrast black line on paper, which didn’t even need a mobile vehicle. In any case, it turned out that computer performance was not yet up to the task of visual navigation at any reasonable speed.
Subsequently, graduate student Hans Moravec did succeed in visually navigating the Cart slowly through a room with obstacles as part of his PhD thesis, then went to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), joining Raj Reddy, who had completed his Stanford PhD earlier. They set up a Robotics Institute that took up the self-driving vehicle problem. Meanwhile McCarthy shut down SAIL in 1980 and fired me, which brought the self-driving road vehicle project to a close for a time. More about these developments can be seen at the Stanford Cart.
Sebastian Thrun, Stanley and Google. In 2003 Sebastian Thrun, one of the CMU Robotics Institute graduates, joined the Stanford Computer Science Faculty and revived SAIL, then developed a self-driving car called Stanley (left), which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, a race across a California desert. Thrun and some of his students then moved on to Google and initiated the self-driving vehicle developments there – see one of the Google cars at right. For more on this, see the Stanford Cart.
Reform Bicycle Racing and International Sports. My first wife Joan and I were drawn into bicycle racing in the early 1970s by our sons, Mark and Ian. Mark had made the National Junior Team in 1971 as a track sprinter and went to the World Championships that year, held in Munich as a preparatory event for the 1972 Olympics. He found it hard to compete with the Russians, who even then were doped to the gills, but he then traveled around Germany, France and Belgium funded by prizes won in various races.
Joan became a bike race registrar and judge while I started racing in a geezer class (40+ years, also called Masters). After racing a bit and noticing that the officiating was sometimes uneven I became a race official and noticed that the racing rules were often ambiguous or otherwise poorly written, so I started submitting rule changes that were generally accepted. I then was appointed to the Legislation Committee of USCF (United States Cycling Federation) even though I was not on their Board of Directors. Having earlier invented the spelling checker and co-developed an advanced document compiler called Pub, I then volunteered to computerize the USCF Rulebook, so that it would not have to be typeset each year, then became the USCF Rulebook Editor.
After investigating some gross misconduct by the USCF Board of Directors, I rewrote the entire set of Racing Rules, then ran for office as a reform candidate and got the new rules adopted in 1979. I then was elected Chairman Board of Control, replacing the guy who had initiated the misconduct, and thus became responsible for enforcing all USCF rules and regulations while supervising the 50 or so District Representatives, who were salaried, while I received just a couple of hundred dollars a year to cover my big telephone bills given that I did everything, including hiring and firing, by phone. That overlapped with my becoming Founding President of a Silicon Valley startup called Imagen Corporation that made the first desktop publishing systems using laser printers.
In1984 I officiated at the Los Angeles Olympics and also wrote the first anti-doping regulations for the USCF and got them adopted. When I subsequently learned about the US Cycling team’s blood doping during the Olympics I led an investigation that resulted in suspensions of coaches and staff members and then introduced an anti-blood doping rule that subsequently spread around the world in various sports and eventually nailed Lance Armstrong and his crooked teammates.
In 1993 I initiated a proposal to form a new national bike racing organization called USA Cycling but along the way some rich and crooked businessmen bribed their way into amending the Bylaws so as to make them grossly undemocratic in that commercial interests hold a majority of seats on the Board of Directors even though they make up less than 1% of the participants. I subsequently sued them twice and won both cases but was unable to reform that mess, which consequently remains corrupt today, as are most Olympic sports organizations in the U.S.
I used my legal winnings to support a competing nonprofit national racing organization called FIAC (Federation of Independent Associations for Cycling) and served as its Executive Director for many years. However USA Cycling (under the crooks) began threatening to suspend any cyclists who entered our races and, since they controlled access to international racing and a stupid judge in Colorado dismissed our lawsuit challenging their actions, we were forced to shut down. After looking for a way to get going again for several years I finally arranged to donate our substantial assets to another nonprofit making a similar attempt at reform, called NABRA,org (North American Bicycle Racing Association).
I have also put together an underground conspiracy of former racers and other interested parties, called ROSA (Reform the Olympic Sports Act). We are using internet communications to plot ways to nail the crooks. However because of the U.S. Congress’s predisposition to let big money control sports, this will continue to be a challenging project but I am still having a go at it.
Keep Pushing Stronger Helmets. In 1981, having officiated at thousands of bicycle races – local, state, national and international – I observed that the bicycle helmets mainly used, such as the “leather hairnet” shown at left, provided inadequate head protection in falls, so I began pushing for a strong helmet rule requiring helmets of the type shown on the right.
However that went against tradition and, as many people know, tradition generally takes precedence over common sense, so that turned out to be a very controversial proposal, as discussed in the Brain Bucket Bash, but I eventually got it adopted effective in 1986 and it then spread to bicycle racing organizations around the world, then to recreational cyclists, resulting in the saving of thousands of lives so far and preventing tens of thousands of serious head injuries. I did not anticipate that outcome but am pleased that it happened.
Around 1989 I joined the helmet standards committee ANSI Z90 then moved to the ASTM F08.53 standards subcommittee when they took over and contributed to the updating of bicycle helmet standards as well as the introduction of roller skating and other helmet standards, a task I have continued to the present. Along the way I assisted in the development of the Federal bicycle helmet standard that all such helmets must meet in order to be sold in the U.S.
Bicycle helmets are mainly designed to protect against a single impact whereas football helmets must survive many impacts. Football helmets have come a long way but, as you may have learned, they still provide inadequate protection against concussions. When I started playing high school football in 1945 the helmets in use were thin leather caps, much like those worn by aviators, with no internal padding and no face protection. By the time I started playing college football the helmets had become thicker but still had negligible padding. Wired face protectors had become available but those who wore them were viewed as pansies.
Football helmets today are much more protective but still inadequate as indicated by evidence of widespread brain damage and early deaths of professional players. The ASTM F08.53 group is attempting to address this problem and some new helmet lining materials have been found that may be able to substantially improve brain protection, but it will take some more helmet design and testing to determine whether that problem can be fixed adequately.
Help My Heirs by Simplifying My Financial Affairs. When my mom passed away at age 100 in 2007 I was left with a financial mess that I am still working on. Have you ever tried to foreclose a Mexican mortgage on a crook? I hope to leave my heirs with liquid assets that can simply be divided but there is still work to do.
Why I Aim to Die in May 2043. When my dad was born in 1905 the life expectancy for males was 47 years and when my mom was born in 1907 the life expectancy for females was just a month short of 50 years but they both managed to live more than twice their original life expectancies. When I was born in 1930 the life expectancy for males was 56 years, so in order to match my parents' accomplishments I need to live to age 112, meaning I can die any time after 2042. That may look like a long shot but who knows?
I hope not to finish with a prolonged illness or in a deranged state. Thus, a heart attack would be a good way to go. Happily, a new California law was recently adopted that enables early termination as long as one is mentally competent, which overrides a bunch of religious nonsense. Unfortunately, once you lose your marbles that no longer works.
My choice as a troublemaker will be to get shot in the back while running away from an jealous husband in May 2043, just after I attend the 90th reunion of my Caltech graduating class. I would then like to have my body given to a medical school, such as the one at Stanford, for use in training future surgeons. A more beneficial disposal would consist of offering body parts for transplanting, though I expect that the likelihood of that working well will decline after I reach age 100.
Alternative Disposal. I like to see monuments marking places of historical significance, but I view those devoted to individuals as a waste of space that will have to be recycled, though I admit to having explored quite a few graveyards and learned local history from names and age distributions on the headstones. At left is a photo I took in Tombstone, Arizona, showing one of the best headstones I’ve seen, reading “HERE LIES Lester Moore FOUR SHOTS FROM A 44 NO LES NO MORE”.
Because of human fantasies dating back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, many people think that preserving dead bodies is important, which meshes nicely with the idea that we have afterlives. Thus, many people buy expensive coffins to protect dead bodies, which is pointless.
In my view, a dead human is garbage. I like the scheme used in some parts of Asia where they cut up dead bodies and put the pieces out for carnivorous birds to eat. Alternatively, simply burying a body in the earth also works because it provides nourishment for earth-dwelling organisms and also leaves a skeleton for paleoanthropologists to dig up and analyze later. However, because of weird laws in our country, both of those choices are awkward, so I would settle for simply being roasted into ashes and tossed anywhere: land, sea, or air.