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[Mike] I asked Quinn what NI was, and he said it's a country. I said, "What's the United Kingdom then?" He said, "It's a state." "But isn't a state the same thing as a country?" He said, "No." AFAICT, by state he meant a unit that has a seat at the UN and a foreign policy. I always thought that was a country, but on the other hand ppl say there's "four countries in Spain".

[Jimmy] Summaries, courtesy of Wikipedia:

"The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states." (From Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention)

The terms country, nation, state and land are often used as synonyms, but in a more strict usage they are distinguished:

The term nation state, while often used interchangeably with the term state, refers more properly to a state in which a single nation is dominant.

[Mike] There's a fascinating book called _The Nine Nations of North America_ by Joel Garreaui (1981). He was (or is) a French-Canadian working at the Washington Post. He sent reporters out and was puzzled at how different the attitudes are in different areas, and they didn't follow state or national boundaries. Finally he plotted it out. It's a little dated coz things have changed since 1981, but it's still mostly accurate. It's hard to describe without a map, but:

  1. NEW ENGLAND -- New England and the Maritime provinces. Capital: Boston. Do-it-yourself attitude, values social justice and public infrastructure (e.g., public transportation, parks, plazas), traditional morals, not flashy with wealth. Has already lost it economically and population-wise, so there's nothing more to lose.
  2. QUEBEC -- Quebec. Capital: Montreal. Je me souviens.
  3. THE RUST BELT -- The northeast industrial states. I don't remember his name for it. Capital: Detroit? Philadelphia? Unions and steel.
  4. DIXIE -- The South, including part of Texas and maybe northern Florida. Capital: Atlanta. Stars and Bars. Public spending only on roads and schools, and sometimes the schools don't get much.
  5. THE ISLANDS -- Miami and southern Florida, plus the Caribbean countries. Money is king.
  6. THE BREADBASKET -- The eastern Midwest, including a second part of Texas, and Manitoba (and Saskatchewan?). Capital: Chicago. Wheat and agriculture rule.
  7. MEX-AMERICA -- The Southwest, plus the portion of Mexico in reach of US radio stations. Capital: Los Angeles. Man can't live without air conditioning, so nature is the enemy. Viva the man-made world.
  8. ECOTOPIA -- Western Washington and Oregon to the Cascade mountains, northwest California to the Tegucigalpa mountains (between SF and LA), coastal British Columbia, and the Alaska panhandle through Juneau and Sitka to Homer. Capital: San Francisco. Temperatures are moderate so nature is our friend. Recycling is good (again, nature is our friend). "If you live in Oregon and the roof breaks on your geodesic dome, you merely get cold. If you live in Minnesota and the roof breaks on your geodesic dome, you die." Everybody hates Los Angeles, the symbol of wasteful excess and the anti-nature attitude. (You couldn't have more than 50,000 ppl in LA without irrigation and air conditioning.) Oh, and building a nuclear plant on an earthquake fault was a very bad idea. Fortunately the Tegucigalpa mountains firmly stop the spread of Los Angeles sprawl/ooze. Ecotopia was settled by New Englanders, so the attitudes are similar.
  9. THE EMPTY QUARTER -- Eastern Washington and Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alberta, south to the desert, and east into the Midwest. Basically, "west of the line where federal control of land becomes overwhelming". Capital: Denver. Mineral extraction will make us stinking rich, so who cares about the environment? It may not happen this year, but it definitely will happen. The main reason it's empty is lack of water. Outsiders see it as a "pristene", "untouched" area so try to preserve it through wilderness trusts, because it's part of the American psyche, like Siberia in Russia.


  1. New York City (Manhattan) -- It's so big and diverse and wacky, nothing can describe it. But Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx firmly belong to the rust belt.
  2. Washington DC -- It's so overwhelmed by lobbyists from other places that it doesn't fit either.
  3. Alaska -- A three-way war between the oil companies (Empty Quarter), the environmentalists (Ecotopia) and the natives, who infuriate the environmentalists by siding with the oil companies when it means they'll be rich, contradicting the environmentalists' stereotype of "gentle on the Earth" Indians. It's too early to say which side will win. Garreau points out that few Alaskans were born there and even fewer will die there, and takes a jab at "people living where tomatoes won't".


  1. Texas is split between Dixie, The Breadbasket and Mex-America.
  2. New England begins somewhere near New Haven, Conneticut, where Red Sox fans (New England) begin to outnumber Giants fans (Rust Belt).
  3. National boundaries are a nuisance, especially in Ecotopia. (Although Sept 11 has brought back a national consciousness, as well as quelling any talk of Washington/Oregon/BC secession from the US and Canada. Although if Quebec goes....)
  4. Sacramento is on the border between Ecotopia and Mex-America, trying to balance northern California and southern California values.
  5. The Empty Quarter border goes through states. It's too bad the state boundaries weren't drawn with this in mind. In Washington where I live, there's a huge difference between the environmentalists in western Washington and the farmers in eastern Washington. The Idaho panhandle exists as a compromise between the power-hungry state governments. Olympia (Washington's capital) wanted Walla Walla (in southeast Washington) because it was an important railroad junction and center. (Now it's a nothing town, with onion farms, three colleges and a prison.) But Olympia didn't want the Kootenai mines (in north Idaho) because the mineral wealth created a power center that would dilute Olympia's authority. Now Kootenai (Coeur d'Alene) is nothing, just a small town and a big lake. Logically, Washington should have been much smaller and stopped at the Cascades. Then there would be no tension between western and eastern Washington. But Olympia had to have Walla Walla....

[Ben] by these guidelines, the method is rather effective. (Mike, does this bring "Voyage From Yesteryear" to mind again?)

[Sluggo] Yes, LG is mostly a consensus-based anarchy, with a few ppl taking certain vital roles by virtue of their ability to fill the roles well (meritocracy).

_Voyage From Yesteryear_ by James Hogan. Science fiction. Highly recommended reading.

[Ben] Recommendation strongly seconded. It's one of the very few books on my 'read over and over' list.

[Sluggo] Ssshhh, Ben, don't let them think we agree on anything.

[Ben] Oh yeah. Hate your guts, you capitalist lackey.

[Rick] I've tried to make up lost time as an adult, but had to have my wife Deirdre[1] explain to me Ulster's key problem: Its millions of impoverished Catholics are largely stuck on the dole, and have been for generations. Thus, even if all the Ian Paisleys of the world were to suddenly join Sinn Féin and vote for reunification, the Dublin government simply wouldn't be able to foot the bill. Which is why republican institutions still advocate the 32-county cause in theory but not in practice.

[1] Who was given a hard time when visiting the Six Counties, because the name on her passport was "Deirdre Saoirse". (Everyone but Jimmy can read the explanation at http://www.irlnet.com/saoirse/introintro.html .)

[Ben] Oh, *man*. I hope she didn't innocently tie her hair back with a green ribbon.

Back in the '70s and '80s in L.A., you simply _did_ _not_ have a red or blue bandanna showing unless you were suicidal. The Crips, or the Bloods, or Rx-13 would shoot you down in cold blood - for either being the enemy or "pretending" to be a member. A couple of immigrant kids got shot or stabbed that way.

[Jimmy] The Irish word "Saoirse" is pronounced SEER-sheh (short 'e' sound in the second syllable, I won't try to explain the first but the long 'e' sound is close enough). The American name "Caitlin" (Kate-lynn) is an Irish word, but it's pronounced Katleen. That one's causing confusion, especially since some Irish people (who don't speak the language) are using the American pronunciation/spelling.

Actually, come to think of it, in some places the long 'e' is pronounced as a long 'a'; Ronald Reagan may or may not come from the same O'Regan branch as I do.

[Pranay] Hi,

I have installed LINUX 7.3 in my LINUX Server; I can't start the FTP server in my LINUX BOX. My LINUX server IP is but when I put this IP along with ftp command (, it can show its default folders. I can't write or create any directory in this folder. So how do I create the FTP Server in my LINUX Box and what will be the correct steps for this service.

[Thomas] This is the second time this month we have had this question. I'm guessing your homework assignments are tough for you, yes?

Sigh. Look here:


That's a link to all relevant topics from past issues. Go read.

[Pranay] Will I access this site from any window machine in my LAN environment? If I do so, how do I do? Will have to change any configuration files in my LINUX server?

[Thomas] Probably.

[Pranay] Can anyone help me in these regards? Please, provide me all shorts of information regarding this FTP server creation process in LINUX server.

[Thomas] No. At least the way you've phrased it suggests a homework assignment.

[Bradley Chapman] P.S: If I've broken some unwritten rule, sorry in advance :(

[Mike] No, not at all. The reason I occasionally post spam is to collect comments that may appear on the Back Page in a future issue.

[Bradley Chapman] I know - but I thought there was a whole book of unwritten rules on who was allowed to make up the responses to the spam. In the back issues of LG, I've noticed that the responses sometimes follow a certain pattern; I was afraid that I had done something wrong.

[Mike] Is there a pattern? What pattern? The only pattern is whatever I think sounds funny. I prob'ly have a bias toward ppl I know better, but that just means you have to be more vocal and outlandish so I remember you. :)

[Ben] Vocal, check. Outlandish, *check.*

Now I know why so much of my stuff appears in LG....

[Bradley Chapman] BTW, has this mlist ever gotten any Linux spam?

[Thomas] Oh yes, I help publish all Ben's ans... I mean... oh :)

[Jason] On other note, has anybody else noticed that I *always* lose these arguments? Always. Wonder why that is. (Now is the time for something stunningly witty and sarcastic, Ben)

[Ben] It's because you get into them, DUH! :)

[Jason] I don't think that's it. (And, with Jason's ironic disagreement, Ben's comment quickly became self-fulfilling prophecy....)

I think it's probably because I get into without thinking things through. I just jump in without making sure this isn't a simple misunderstanding.

Or is that what you meant by "It's because you get into them, DUH! :)"?

[Ben] (Move along, move along. Nothing witty to see here. That's being reserved for when it's unexpected and devastating.)

[Jason] Nothing witty at *all*? You're slipping, Ben. :-)

[Heather] You are welcome to correct my grammar but I *desperately* encourage you to read my entire paragraph before attempting it; my thought patterns are occasionally convoluted and/or filled with multiple meanings as written, an effect which would surely be affected by rewriting them, although possibly improved....

[Rick] If I ever dare to touch a sentence where there's any possibility of ambiguity, then I suck as a copyeditor and should be flogged immediately. Metaphorically, at least.

If it's too incoherent to figure out precisely what the writer meant, coming in, then it needs to stay that way in print.

If I ruin a joke or reference by "correcting" a passage, then I need to be flogged first and then shot through the head. Take care not to reverse the order; the effect is greatly diminished.

If you don't see your own style and hear your own voice after I fix the nits, and indeed don't have to look _extra_ hard to even see what I've done, then I suck in multitudinous ways, and should be flogged immediately.

[Thomas] Should we just shoot you now, and then sell you?

[Michael] They can be nasty, but in fairness, not always.

[Ben] If it was "always", they wouldn't have survived their first week of operation. That does not, IMO, mitigate their attempt to rip me off in any way. When I pay someone a large amount of money, I'm not paying to see how little dirt they can do me but how much value they can deliver.

*Any* nastiness is entirely too much.

[Michael] absolutely. And Hitachi should be blacklisted too, since they have stocks of the module but won't ship it to you. It would probably be good to know what manufacturers would ship such spare parts. Is there a list of such enlightened suppliers on the web?

[Frank] German magazine c't had an article, in their December 1st, 2003 issue, in which they describe experiences with the service of all the bigger laptop sellers.

While the article concludes not all service departments stink, one piece of statistics is quite telling:

When asked if they would buy the same brand laptop, next time, only among the owners of Apple (83%), IBM (79%) and Toshiba (55%) laptops, the majority vote was "yes". (The choices, btw, were: "yes", "no", and "not sure yet".)


> Yesterday, we ended up pulling the entire forge apart to fix an air
> leak....

[Rick] You folks at the Committee for State Security have gotten better at finding leaks? ;->

Cheers,                     Skud:     Real Programmers don't use Python.
Rick Moen                   Thorfinn: Real Programmers don't use *whitespace*.

Released under the Open Publication license

Published in Issue 104 of Linux Gazette, July 2004