Heiser Christmas Letter 2012


That’s a Massive Open Online Course!

This awkward term has caught on to describe free Internet higher education.

College tuition rates have been rising fast. Public colleges are reducing course offerings.

Free online courses are the answer. You can find out more in one click from my home page above.

Free online courses mean “the world is a different place than it was a year and a half ago.” –Andrew Ng

We’ve got to be careful not to make the same mistake with Iran that we made with Iraq.

Iranians are sophisticated bargainers, and have indicated they may stop short of nuclear weapons if we stop threatening to attack.

They’ve converted much of their enriched uranium into plates for a medical reactor.

These plates can’t easily be further enriched to weapons grade.

Clearly, the Iranians would immediately move to nuclear weapons in response to an American or Israeli attack.

We sure hope the US doesn’t start a war with Iran.

Cooperation, lack of

Dick was shocked to experience a transit strike in England during the 1973 oil embargo. Why would workers complicate a crisis,

when offices were already reduced to working by lantern light?

This week, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been mostly shut down by a tiny union of clerks.

Hundreds of thousands of port workers, truckers, etc., got dragged into this fight, in the middle of a recession, in the middle of the holiday season.

It’s as selfish and destructive as running off the fiscal cliff. Even a last–minute settlement is bad for the economy.

Dancing up to the precipice is risky and expensive. These people need adult supervision.

Big Bird pardoned

Not just Big Bird, but Obamacare, as well.

We’re so happy with Kaiser healthcare that we can’t imagine how anyone would get along without health insurance.

Universal healthcare would be so cool.


Olympic swimmers and speed skaters trigger Dick’s mirror neurons;

it’s a visceral response, enhanced by the spectacular camera work.

NBC helps you recognize when you’re watching a replay, by winking in their logo.


“The world is going from worse to bad.”

– Joshua Goldstein, in Winning the War on War

We are hopeful that Palestinian statehood at the UN will lead to a two–state solution, with both states peaceful and secure.

Ehud Olmert said all the right things to Charlie Rose.

On assassination by drones, remember the Golden Rule.

“Discharge of a nuclear weapon will be deemed a warlike act even if accidental.”

– from our homeowner’s policy. It means we’re not covered!


The WikiLeaks financial blockade has sprung a leak: you can now donate via the French nonprofit FDNN:


We’ve suddenly discovered vast oil and gas resources, and may become the world’s leading fossil fuel producer!!

On the other hand, mystery fracking chemicals might poison us, but we’re not supposed to know.

Some school districts are issuing “capital appreciation“ bonds with deferred payments that will cost ten times the amount of the bonds.

The sub–prime housing debacle should have taught us not to try silly financial tricks.

“Angry Birds may reach two billion downloads by the end of the year.”

–San Francisco Chronicle 3/23/12

Remember to BCC! The Taliban exposed their whole email list by forgetting this simple lesson.

“31% of those over 18 spend more than 5 hours per day on a smart phone, computer or tablet.”

–New York Times 3/15/12

A billion smart phones will soon become five billion smart phones!

Where will owners get the $80 per month for service?!

☯ Family news

We are grateful for good health, leisure and friends, and hope you will have the same good luck.

☮ Peace & love! Best wishes for 2013!

Dick and Loretta