+quot;The tool solves a problem, and then creates new and more thorny issues not dreamable

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

"The tool solves a problem, and then creates new and more thorny issues not dreamable before. Technology, unlike science, does not even claim to reveal larger truths about what exists, but hints at more ways for humanity to change the world. Born of simple need and want, it emerges as an agent of human evolution." -- David Rothenberg ====================================================================== BBB III TTT SSS BBB Y Y TTT EEE SSS ONLINE EDITION: B B I T S B B Y Y T E S =THE ELECTRONIC BBB I T SSS AND BBB YYY T EEE SSS =NEWSLETTER FOR B B I T S B B Y T E S =INFORMATION BBB III T SSS BBB Y T EEE SSS =HUNTER-GATHERERS ====================================================================== Volume 2, Number 5 (July 24, 1994) ====================================================================== : CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE = PARITY BITS : = ================: THE ECONOMY OF IDEAS; HIVE MIND; = : BEST OF BOTH WORLDS; (STILL) LOST IN CYBERSPACE = NEWS BYTES : = ================: HOME PC UPDATE; HARDWARE NEWS ROUNDUP; = : ONLINE NEWS ROUNDUP; = ACCESS : = ================: SUMMERTIME SPORTS INFO ON THE INTERNET = : = ON THE NEWSSTAND: = ================: WIRED; NEW PERSPECTIVES QUARTERLY; AXCESS; = : BUSINESS WEEK; = : = KULTCHER KORNER : = ================: SPACE JUNK; BRAVE NEW BURGER; VIDEO WEDDING; = : BRITISH JURORS CONDUCT SEANCE = ====================================================================== BEST OF BOTH WORLDS (Kevin Kelly) No one has been more wrong about computerization than George Orwell in 1984. So far, nearly everything about the actual possibility- space that computers have created indicates they are not the beginning of authority but its end. In the process of connecting everything to everything, computers elevate the power of the small player. They make room for different, and they reward small innovations. Instead of enforcing uniformity, they promote heterogeneity and autonomy. Instead of sucking the soul from human bodies, turning computer users into an army of dull clones, networked computers -- by reflecting the networked nature of our own brains -- encourage the humanism of their users. Because they have taken on the flexibility, adaptability, and self-connecting governance of organic systems, we become more human, not less so, when we use them. ===== (SOURCE: Harper's May 1994. The May 1994 issue of Harper's features a debate on network sociology. This was the conclusion to Mr. Kelly's article, "Embrace It". Thanks to Ken Laws for bringing this quote to my attention.) ====================================================================== HOME PC UPDATE If you're thinking of buying a home computer, here's some free advice: wait until the fall. Prices are always dropping, but there are some especially sweet price points ahead. 486-based PCs with CD-ROM drives will be selling for around $1000 by year's end. In fact, Intel has announced it will cut prices on its 486 and Pentium chips twice in the third quarter. You can thank the competition from the new PowerPC consortium and from a variety of Intel chip clone makers, including one manufactured by IBM for Advanced Micro Devices. PC sales have been slow lately, as savvy consumers wait out the next round of price cuts. This puts even more pressure on manufacturers to offer further incentives to buy. This has resulted in some rather nice multimedia-ready systems from the major players, with sound cards and CD-ROMS and bundled software. Interestingly enough, the high-end systems are being bought by home users as opposed to business users. They are the ones defining the market at present. With all the buzz about multimedia, CD-ROMs are selling like hotcakes, and there are so many titles out there that most stores can't stock them all. On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal reports that many who buy CD-ROM software are finding the offerings slow, boring, and full of bugs. There *are* good CD-ROM titles out there, and CD-ROMS are terrific as a method of software distribution (1 disk versus 16 diskettes for Borland's C/C++ compiler, for example). Just do a little homework, and you can find out what the good stuff is. B&B will be reviewing worthwhile CD-ROMS in future issues. If you don't own a CD-ROM yet -- WAIT. Quadruple speed drive prices are due to come *way* down ($400) by years end. ====================================================================== HIVE MIND (Kevin Kelly) A hive mind is a distributed memory that both perceives and remembers. It is true that a human mind may be chiefly distributed, yet, it is in artificial minds where distributed mind will certainly prevail. The more computer scientists thought about distributing computer problems into a hive mind, the more reasonable it seemed. They figured that most personal computers are not in actual use most of the time they are turned on! While composing a letter on a computer you may interrupt the computer's rest with a short burst of key pounding and then let it return to idleness as you compose the next sentence. Taken as a whole, the turned on computers in the office are idle a large percentage of the day. The managers of information systems in large corporations look at the millions of dollars in personal computer sitting idle on worker's desks at night and wonder if all that computing power might be harnessed. All they would need is a way to coordinate work and memory in a very distributed system. ===== [SOURCE: Kevin Kelly's excellent new book "Out of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization". Addison-Wesley, 1994. 522 pp. $28. Mr. Kelley is currently executive editor of WIRED, but the ideas presented here have been incubating for far longer than that. This book is chock full of challenging ideas, and is essential reading for anyine interested in the shape of the future. There's a whole lot of paradigm shaking going on! Check it out at your bookstore or library.] ====================================================================== HARDWARE NEWS ROUNDUP <>Silicon Graphics and Toshiba are shipping a microprocessor touted as the world's fastest for technical computing. The two-chip R8000 is rated at 310 in measurement of floating point calculations, beating the prior record of 279 held by IBM. Suddenly my new Pentium seems very pokey indeed. <>Elsewhere, Convex's new C-4 supercomputer is claimed to be the fastest single processor air-cooled system, able to process more than a billion floating point operations a second (1 Gflops). It uses gallium arsenide rather than silicon technology. <>Motorola's Micro-TAC Elite cellular telephone weighs 3.9 ounces, less than a D-cell battery. It can be equipped with a chip that acts as a digital answering machine capable of storing up to 75 seconds of messages. <>Silent Systems of Burlington, Mass. has developed a noiseless alternative to the average PC that operates at an average of 44 decibels -- almost as loud as a normal conversation. Their FE4 model is absolutely silent. Is that a pin I hear dropping? <>Packard Bell plans to offer PCs that can double as radios, TVs, telephones and fax machines. Priced at $1000-3000, the systems will use Intel 486 and Pentium microprocessors and will come with stereo speakers; Most will have a CD-ROM drive and include 27 software titles. <>IBM would like to sell you a mainframe -- by mail. They mailed out 40,000 copies of their new mainframe catalogue, Mainframe Direct. Customers can order anything from an ES/9000 supercomputer to spare parts for old systems. If you need a mainframe for your home or office, call them at: 800/xxx-xxxx. <> Intel and CNN have teamed up to test "LAN TV," a system that turns a regular broadcast TV signal into a compressed digital data stream, capable of being received on regular 486-type desktop PCs. While Intel tests the technology, CNN will concentrate on determining what it is people want to watch on their computers, in order to develop a special corporate news service. ====================================================================== PALACES OF MEMORY I (Chancellor von Mueller) After the concert we had supper with the Egloffsteins at Goethe's, who was in a most agreeable humor. When among other toasts one was made to Memory, he broke out suddenly with these words: "I admit no memory in your sense of the word, which is only a clumsy way of expressing it. Whatever we come on that is great, beautiful, significant, cannot be recollected. It must from the first be evolved from within us, be made and become part of us, developed into a new and better self, and so, continuously created in us, live and operate as part of us. There is no Past that we can bring back to us by the longing for it, there is only an eternally new Now that builds and creates itself out of the elements of the Past as the Past withdraws. The true desire to bring the Past back to us must always be productive and create something new and something better." ===== (from The Practical Cogitator: The Thinker's Anthology, 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin, 1962) ====================================================================== ONLINE NEWS ROUNDUP A quick look at the world of online services and email: <>There's a population boom in cyberspace -- by the end of this year, nearly four million U.S. households will have signed on with one of the Big Three online services -- America Online, CompuServe and Prodigy. <>A survey of 301 companies by Macworld Magazine showed that 78.4% of the firms do not spy on employee e-mail or search their electronic files. Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.) has drafted legislation requiring that companies tell their workers that their e-mail might be monitored. <>CEOs and other VIPs are suffering from e-mail overload, and some are requesting to be contacted by more conventional methods, because they no longer attempt to handle their e-mail backlog. "E-mail is a powerful tool to promote communication and flatten hierarchies. But what nobody wants to admit is that people in an organization have different amounts of power and status. And that those who are better off want to restore a degree of isolation," says Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Langdon Winner. And it's not just the top dogs that are overwhelmed -- the chairman of Computer Associates shuts down the company's e-mail system five hours a day so that everyone can get their real work done. <>Voice mail isn't much better: the Eastern Management Group has calculated that 11,900,000,000 messages were left on voice mailboxes last year. <>With all this electronic communication going on, you'd think maybe we're getting closer to the paperless office. Keep dreaming. Figures from the American Forest & Paper Association indicate that the tonnage, since 1983, of annual shipments of U.S. office paper, has gone up 51%. ====================================================================== LOST IN CYBERSPACE IV (Dan Kennedy) ... But even though the people who take part in these online discussions are sometimes called a "virtual community," cyberspace can be a lonely place. Embark on an electronic cruise, and you find a lot of alienated people sitting at home in darkened rooms before glowing screens, pouring out their frustrations and their prejudices without ever having to face the victims of their wrath. ===== (Originally published in The Boston Phoenix (May 7, 1993), this portion was extracted from the Utne Reader, Jan/Feb 1994 issue, p. 104-105) ====================================================================== AN OBSERVATION ON GENDER (Anne Gregor) A bird's Eye view of a trade show I attended recently said it all. Hordes of men were crowded into one aisle in the rear of the hall. Were they engrossed in a preview of a new Microsoft title? Or a new CD-ROM on baseball. Are you kidding? It was girls. Women, in all forms of undress, and performing all manner of sexual acts on the computer screen. Here we had the electronic version of the action on Times Square. Only the barkers weren't promising live performances. Instead they were touting interactivity, a chance to click on a menu and take digital command of any number of women. Taking offense is a waste of time. It's still look-but-don't-touch, just presented in a different format with a little more control. The words pathetic and adolescent spring to mind. More disconcerting are the implications for future male-female relations. ... ... It's all rather silly, and somewhat sad. We just got rid of the girly calendars on office walls and now they've gone high-tech. ... Judging by the crowd and the sales figures, there seems no doubt that many men seem to live in their pants. My prediction: a left- handed mouse for right-handed people will be a hot seller. ===== (SOURCE: from a sidebar on page 50 of an article entitled "Sex on CD- ROM" in the June/July issue of CD-ROM Today magazine.) ====================================================================== STRAWBERRY LEMONADE 1 cup strawberries, hulled 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 cup fresh lemon juice 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups COLD water (sparkling mineral water is nice) Puree strawberries in blender. Mix the sugar into the lemon juice. Add the sparkling water and the puree. Stir and pour into ice-filled glass. Chill. You, not the drink. (SOURCE: "Good Old Fashioned Lemonade is Coming Back" by Suzzanne Hamlin, NYT 7/13/94, p. C4) ====================================================================== <<>> SUMMERTIME GUIDE TO SPORTS INFO ON THE INTERNET It's springtime, when there's a special glow in the air: the birds, (see camping) the bees (ftp sunsite.unc.edu in /pub/academic/ agriculture/sustainable-agriculture/beekeeping/*) and somehow a young man's mind turns to thoughts of... Baseball! Go figure. How about that local sports team? =====> Baseball The Internet Baseball Archive contains softball simulations software, which sounds interesting, major/minor league schedules/stats, and of course ticket info. =FTP address: eucalyptus.cc.swarthmore.edu in /baseball And, also... =Mailing lists: (subscription is by request, drop the listowner an email and explain why you are worthy of being an XXYZ fan) Boston Red Sox: bosox-req@world.std.com Minnesota Twins: fan@twins.corp.sun.com New York Mets: mets-request@asd.com Oakland Athletics: athletics-request@eng.sun.com Pittsburg Pirates: pirates-request@cats.ucsc.edu San Francisco Giants: giants-request@medkraut.apple.com Toronto Blue Jays: jays-request@hivnet.ubc.ca Minor League Baseball: minors-request@medkraut.apple.com =Usenet Newsgroup(s): rec.sport.baseball, rec.sport.baseball.college, alt.sports.baseball.atlanta-braves =telnet culine.colorado.edu 862 / 128.138.129.170 862 (schedules) =finger mlb@spam.wicat.com or mlb@192.150.148.62 (scores, standings) =finger jtchern@headcrash.berkeley.edu (scores, standings) =====> Hiking, Camping, and the Great Outdoors Articles and guides about hiking and the great outdoors. See also Boating and canoeing. =FTP Address: ftp.spies.com in /Library/Article/Outdoors/* =gopher: wiretap.spies.com, path=Wiretap Online Library/Articles/Backcountry and Outdoors ==> Archery =Usenet Newsgroup(s): alt.archery ==> Birdwatching listserver: email listserv@arizvm1.ccit.arizona.edu, message body: SUB BIRDCNTR (Central US) SUB BIRDEAST (Eastern US) SUB BIRDWEST (Western US) ==> Boating Usenet Newsgroups(s): rec.boats, rec.boats.paddle, rec.sport.rowing ==> Canoeing, Kayaking, Rafting info. River ratings, safety guides, contact addresses and more. =FTP Address: rtfm.mit.edu in /pub/usenet/news.answers/paddling-faq =Usenet Newsgroups(s): rec.boats.paddle, rec.sport.rowing ==> Caving =Mailing list. Serious inquiries only. Email me (jaymachado@delphi.com) for the particulars. ==> Climbing, Mountaineering =mailing list: email listserv@trmetu.bitnet, message body: SUB MOUNT-L (for mountaineers) =Usenet newsgroup: rec.climbing (discuss climbs, techniques, and competition) ==> Cycling The Global Cycling Network is an electronic information desk for cyclists. Information is made available by way of five basic mechanisms: gopher, CSO phone lookup, mailing lists, anonymous ftp and ftpmail. It is hoped that this service will be used locally, nationally and internationally to build a database of cycling- related information accessible to anyone with a modem and a computer. This gopher was launched in April, and they are looking for cycling-related information that you'd like to share with your region and the rest of the world. Please send a message to: submissions@cycling.org =gopher cycling.org, Port=70, Type=1 Bicycling FAQs, bike guides, racing schedules, technical hints and tips, and generally interesting information can be found at the following anonymous FTP sites... =FTP Address: draco.acs.uci.edu in /pub/rec.bicycles/* =FTP Address: rtfm.mit.edu in /pub/usenet/news.answers/bicycles-faq/* =FTP Address: ugle.unit.no in /local/biking/* =FTP Address: biome.bio.dfo.ca in /pub/cycling/* (Canadian info) =Usenet newsgroup(s): rec.bicycles.racing, rec.bicycles.marketplace, rec.bicycles.misc, rec.bicycles.rides, rec.bicycles.soc (laws, soc), rec.bicycles.tech (engineering, construction, repair) ==> Fishing =Usenet newsgroup(s): rec.outdoors.fishing ==> Frisbee! FAQs, archives, rules for Disc Golf, Ultimate, and other disc games. =FTP Address: ftp.cs.wisc.edu in /pub/ultimate ==> Horseback Riding =Listserver: email listserv@pccvm.bitnet, message body: SUBSCRIBE EQUINE-L =Listserver: email equestrians-request@world.std.com, post them a note requesting to join the list. =Usenet newsgroup(s): rec.equestrian (same as 2nd listserver item) ==> Scuba Diving Equipment guides, huge archives on underwater activities =FTP address: ames.arc.nasa.gov in pub/SCUBA/* =FTP address: rtfm.mit.edu in /pub/usenet/rec.answers/scuba-faq =Listserver: email listserv@brownvbm.bitnet, message body: SUB SCUBA-L =Usenet newsgroup(s): rec.scuba ==> Skating Rollerskating/rollerblading Equipment guides, instructions, and maintenance advice for all levels =FTP address: rtfm.mit.edu in /pub/usenet/news.answers/rec-skate-faq/* =Usenet newsgroup(s): rec.skate ===> Sports Schedules NBA:telnet culine.colorado.edu 859 / 128.138.129.170 859 NHL: telnet culine.colorado.edu 860 / 128.138.129.170 860 NFL: telnet culine.colorado.edu 863 / 128.138.129.170 863 finger copi@oddjob.uchicago.edu for sports schedules offers: Sports schedules on-line. help for help, return for today's games. ===> Sports Scores/Standings finger nfl@spam.wicat.com or nfl@192.150.148.62 (Football) finger nflline@spam.wicat.com (NFL Line Spreads) offers: Football scores, standings, and next weeks schedule. ===> Olympics (Summer and Winter) There is a gopher collection on the Olympics at the U of Utah. =gopher: gopher.cc.utah.edu, Type=1+, Name=Olympics, Path=1/News And Calendars/Olympics, Port=70. This list is far from complete. Soccer is one glaring omission, I'm sure you can find others. I'd appreciate knowing about any sites that might have been overlooked. ====================================================================== There are three kinds of people in this world: those who can count and those who can't. (Sent in by Richard Samborsky. Thanks Richard!) ====================================================================== ON THE NEWSSTAND AXCESS (Music - Cyberculture - Art - Style) Volume 2, Number 3. The latest in a line of MONDO 2000 inspired magazines. A more down-to- earth take on cyberculture, with lots of music interviews (Ozric Tentacles, the Residents, Trance Mission and King Missile), a B-movie appreciation and guide to resources, and some pretty interesting tech stuff: an article on Holy Flame Wars on USENET, SLIP access providers, and CD-ROM erotica. Book, magazine, software, hardware and music reviews and some fashion fluff round out the mix. A fun read, this is a a popular-type magazine to keep your eyes on... NPQ (New Perspectives Quarterly, Volume 11 #1, Winter 1994) A lengthy section entitled "Life, Death, and the Boundaries of the Person" contains articles on health care from womb to tomb ("Brave New Biocracy" by Ivan Illich), the profit motive in genetic research, as well as liberal, Islamic and Vatican views on the new meaning of life in an age of genetic research, organ transplants, and cloning. There are articles here by Octavio Paz, Betty Friedan, and Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Much food for thought here. BUSINESS WEEK, special 1994 bonus issue. "The Information Revolution: How digital technology is changing the way we work and live". Articles, charts and graphics on the information economy at home, and in Europe, Japan and the emerging nations. Also featured: An interview with Intel CEO Andy Groves, an article explaining 10 critical technologies of tomorrow (optoelectronics, parallel programming, mass storage, object programming, software agents and artificial life, wireless, speech recognition and more). One section explores the changing face of business in a digital world, other articles explore social issues like privacy, information have-nots, and love via email. A Personal Technology rounds out the issue, with tips and advice on getting up to speed. A useful resource. ====================================================================== THE KULTCHUR KORNER => JURORS IN BRITAIN CONDUCT SEANCE. Britain's Appeal Court was recently asked to review a murder trial because three jurors allegedly used a Ouija board to contact one of the victims before finding the defendant guilty. The alleged seance took place in the juror's hotel room, where the ghost of one of the victims named the accused, one Stephen Young, as the killer. A twelve member jury went on to unanimously convict Young. The appeals court, asked to decide whether it was entitled to inquire into the allegations about the sceance, reserved judgement to a later date. (SOURCE: From Reuter's News, appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer withing the past month, sorry I don't have a date.) => WEDDING BY VIDEO CONFERENCE. The first wedding by video conference took place last week at PC Expo in New York; the bride and bridegroom were at the Expo, the judge was in California. (SOURCE: New York Times 7/3/94 Sec.3, p.4, E/P) => SPACE JUNK. The New York Times reports that more than 7,000 pieces of trackable space debris currently are threatening the performance and integrity of approximately 300 satellites now circling the globe, including 30 North American communications satellites. Plans like Motorola's Iridium system, comprising 77 satellites, and the McCaw-Gates Teledisc project, consisting of some 240 satellites, will just exacerbate the problem. (SOURCE: Telecommunications Policy Review 5/29/94 p.1, E/P) => BRAVE NEW BURGER. Federal health officials want at least some of the nation's ground irradiated to kill off virulent new strains of bacteria. The FDA has already approved irradiation of poultry and some dairy products. Elsewhere it has been reported that common bacteria are growing resistant to the antibiotics normally used to treat them, posing a health hazard in some cases. Scientists are hard at work trying to develope new antibiotics. In the meantime, it looks like we've decided to try our hand at breeding radiation resistant bacteria. Experts say irradiation is perfectly safe, but I think this is one of those deals where we find out, ten or twenty years down the line that zapping our food with nuclear waste wasn't such a hot idea. Kind of like recent discoveries that prolonged exposure to electrical fields may be responsible for greater incidences of certain types of cancers. (SOURCE: Time 7/25/94, p. 14; various newspaper clippings, Science Times) ====================================================================== ### ADMINISTRIVIA ### LETTERS. We welcome submissions and commentary. All mail sent to the editor or to B&B will be treated as a "letter to the editor" and considered printable, unless you tell me otherwise. (E/P) This symbol on some of the news items indicates that the source for this article was the EDUPAGE newsletter. EDUPAGE is a bi-weekly summary of recent news items on information technology, and is a highly recommended "one-stop" source of news. To subscribe, send e-mail to: listproc@educom.edu containing the message: SUB EDUPAGE firstname lastname. <<>> BITS AND BYTES ONLINE EDITION BY LISTSERVER: Subscribe to B&B by sending email to listserv@acad1.dana.edu text: SUBSCRIBE bits-n-bytes To unsubscribe send a message to listserv@acad1.dana.edu text: UNSUBSCRIBE bits-n-bytes Retrieve back issues by sending email to listserv@acad1.dana.edu text: send in the body of your mail message, no subject. Example: send bitsv1n1.txt Issues 1-9: The file name is in the form: bitsv1n1.txt Issues 10- : The file name is in the form: bits1n10.txt (Remember to disable or delete your signature, as this will generate an error message) (I'm not sure if all the back issues are available yet. Watch this space) ONLINE ACCESS. B&B is available for downloading on America Online in their telecom files area, and in Compuserve's telecom forum library, and on various fine BBS systems all across this wunnerful wunnerful world of ours. BBSs like the MICRO BBS in Denver, CO (303) 752-2943. INTERNET ANONYMOUS FTP SITES: ftp.dana.edu in /periodic directory (DOS Users go here) ftp.eff.org in pub/Publications/CuD/BNB/bnb????.gz (where ???? is volume & number, e.g. bnb0116.gz) (UNIX users go here) INTERNET GOPHER ACCESS. gopher.law.cornell.edu in the Discussions and Listserv archives/Teknoids directory gopher.dana.edu in the Electronic Journals directory ====================================================================== = BITS AND BYTES ONLINE, an electronic newsletter for information- = = based lifeforms, is printed using 100% recycled electrons, and is = = intended for distribution primarily IN THAT MEDIUM. Please contact = = editor for reprint permission. = ====================================================================== = Jay Machado = (Copyright 1994 Jay Machado) *unaltered*= = 1529 Dogwood Drive = ELECTRONIC distribution of this file for = = Cherry Hill, NJ 08003 = non-profit purposes is encouraged. = ========================== The editor is solely responsible for the = = jaymachado@delphi.com = editorial content or lack thereof. = ========================== This issue of Bits and Bytes has been = = ph (eve) 609/795-0998 = sanitized for your protection = ====================================================================== =============== End of Bits and Bytes Online V2, #5 ================= ======================================================================

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank