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Skeptic Tank!

################ ################### ######### ### ## ## ## ## ### ## ## ### ## ## ### ## #### ### ## #### ### ## ## ### ## ## ### ## ## ## ## ################ ################## ######### I n f o r m a t i o n, C o m m u n i c a t i o n, S u p p l y E L E C T R O Z I N E Information Communication Supply 11/16/93 Vol.1:Issue.7 Frag:1 Email To: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU E D I T O R S: Local Alias: Email: ICS Positions: ============== ============ ====== ============== Jeremy Bek rApIeR STU521279258 Technical Director,Layout, Writer, Editing, Subscriptions, Letters, Role Playing Games, Fragment Design,ListServes Ted Sanders Zorro STU520256399 Writer, Final Editor, Subscriptions, Fragment Design, Final Opinion Steven Peterson Rufus Firefly STU388801940 Editing, Writer Russel Hutchinson Burnout Writer, Subscriptions, Editing Jason Manczur GReY KnYgHT STU523356717 Writer,Poet,Editing Deva Winblood MeTaL MaSTeR, ADP_DEVA Ask Deva, Tales of the Ephemeral Unknown, Editing Presence Jeremy Greene Diabolus STU521139287 Technical Editor, Subscriptions Clint Thompson Daos ADP_CLINT Editing, Writer George Sibley MAC_FAC FAC_SIBLEY Editing, Supervisor _____________________________________________________________________________ / \ | ICS is an Electrozine distributed by students of Western State | | College in Gunnison, Colorado. We are here to gather information about | | topics that are important to us all as human beings. If you would like | | to send in a submission please type it into an ASCII format and mail it | | to us. We operate on the assumption that if you mail us something you | | want it to be published. We will do our best to make sure it is | | distributed and will always inform you when or if it is used. | | See the end of this issue for submission information. | \_____________________________________________________________________________/ REDISTRIBUTION: If any part of this issue is copied or used elsewhere you must give credit to the author and indicate that the information came from ICS Electrozine ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of ICS. contributors to ICS assume all responsibilities for ensuring that articles/submissions are not violating copyright laws and protections. |\__________________________________________________/| | \ / | | \ T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S / | | / \ | | /________________________________________________\ | |/ \| | Included in the table of contents you will see some| | generic symbols to help you in making your | | decisions on whether an article is something that | | may use ideas, and/or language that could be | | offensive to some. S = Sexual Content | | AL = Adult Language V = Violence O = Opinions | |____________________________________________________| | | | 1) The First Word by Ted Sanders (O) | | | | 2) Russian Scientists by Sibley | | | | 3) Thaumaturgy by Jason Manczur (O) | | | | 4) Amtgard by Russ Huchinson (O) | | | | 5) Eyes of Love by Jason Manczur | | | | 6) New Prejudices by Steven Peterson | | | | 7) PrintHeads Guide by Sibley | | | | 8) Almost Middle Word by Jeremy Bek | \____________________________________________________/ ,______________ |THE FIRST WORD`| <~~~~~|BY|~~~~~~> |~~TED SANDERS~~| ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This past week the I.C.S. staff asked me to become a bit more versatile with my writing and explore the world of "The First Word". Opening opinions, as one writer put it, are "mindless dribble of a know nothing!" My goal for this opening opinion is to create "mindful creations of a know nothing!" Tell me if I succeed. Human nature is a society of survival in which the people who survive are "the winners". Then maybe somebody can tell me why most of society as a whole puts such a priority on the memorization of facts. If you operate in today's educational circles, you find that modern education deals with a lot of memorization and very little utilization. Why? In the United States, more and more American high school students are not able to reason. Why? World wide, problem solving abilities are [Bfound less frequently among students. For example, Japanese students in a national study were found to have very high scores on areas such as Math and Science competency, yet had very low scores (nationally) on reasoning abilities. The entire purpose of education is to take a raw product and create a mentally capable student who can deal with the world. Some students have this ability, and some are never taught to develop it. Why? This is my opinion on why I believe our society does not cope with this problem. Modern Educators find that the true purpose of education is to make survivors and not exemplerary thinkers. For example, in the American classrooms of today a teacher will try to do what is best for the mass of his students. If the mass of his (or her) students do not need the abilities of advanced chemistry, the educator will not teach it. If the students need to know how to save their money so that they can buy a new pair of Adidas, or just pay the rent, the educator will show them possible ways to do this. The greatest teacher of reasoning skills is the cold harsh reality of society, not educational societies. Do you agree, or disagree with this point of view? If you have comments, flares, or various arguments to make on this broad topic, please express them. I guess I would just like to find out if there might be some critical thinkers out in NETland. So please, sit back and enjoy this weeks fragment, and tell us what you think (if you do!). _***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_***_*** ____________________________________________ /\ \ | |RUSSIAN SCIENTISTS SEEK NETWORK CONNECTIONS| | | * By Sibley * | \/___________________________________________/ I.C.S. received a copy of a communication from A.E. Varshavsky at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, announcing the creation of a non-profit "Strategy Priorities Foundation" (SPF), whereby Russian scientists in the post-Cold- War era hope to offer services and establish connections with private and public entities around the world. Observing that "now Russian science has a hard time," Varshavsky essentially announces the availability of Russian scientists in all fields for collaborative projects in and out of Russia. The purpose of the Strategy Priorities Foundation, he says, is to "avail leading universities, research institutions, and companies in all countries of the world of unique economic and technical information on the state and perspectives of science and technology in Russia. An analysis of the economic problems of stability, conversion and disarmament is in the framework of SPF's interests as well." Among other possibilities, Varshavsky envisions Russian scientists acting as consultants for private or public entities interested in the opportunities afforded by the Soviet political meltdown. E-mail addresses for Varshavsky are (BITNET) C20501@SUCEMI or (INTERNET) vars@cemi.msk.su. Snailmail: SPF, Central Economics and Mathematics Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, 32 Krasikova St. (Room 406), Moscow, 117418 RUSSIA. ^ * % @ \ / ( | / | \ ////\\\\\\\/////\\\\\\\\ \\\\\\Thaumaturgy/////// \\\\ Part 2 //// \\\JASON MANCZUR/// \UUUUUUUUUUUUU/ Welcome back to my discussion of the mysterious science of thaumaturgy. Last week I discussed some of the reasons people think of magic as evil. For the next few weeks, I will be discussing some of the sciences of magic. This week I will discuss one science of magic, divinatory magic. Divinatory magic is a magic used for the sole purpose of divining, or learning, things. Divinatory magic can be a powerful sort of magic. Using divinatory magic is difficult in that you never know "the whole story". Divining things can be very useful as well. Some of the useful ways to use divinatory magic are to find new ways to solve problems. For example, you have to get from point "A" to point "B". You don't have a map, and you are alone. How will you get there. Simple. You divine the knowledge with a spell. Divining magic can be dangerous as well. Knowing too much is a problem that most people do not completely understand. For example, if you know when you are going to die, you will try to prevent it, which in turn will cause it to happen, an apparent paradox. Also, you never know what people will think of you when you know things about them that they might not want you to know. Within divinatory magic, like the other sciences, there are what are called sub-sciences. These sub-sciences are also called specializations. Some of the specializations of divinatory magic are future, past, present and diagnostic divinations of the self, divination of writings, divination of items and substances and divinations of location. Others include future, past, present and diagnostic divinations of others. Diagnostic divinations can also be used to find out why things may not be working. I am sure that there are other specializations of divination, but I, personally, am unaware of them. Divination of the future is the most dangerous of the divination specializations. This specialization is what some call fortune-telling. Future divination is most useful for determining the consequences of your actions. Past divination is most useful for determining past events. For example, you want to know exactly who was on the ship with Odysseus when he was trying to reach home after the Trojan war. You would cast a powerful past divination spell. Diagnostic divination spells are useful for many things. With them, you can find out what is wrong with any object, or find out what is wrong with someone. Present divination can be used to find out such things as what people are doing, what people are thinking, where people are, why something is happening, and so on and so forth. Anything having to do with the present is under present divination, including those spells that qualify for other specializations. Divination of writing is a small specialization. The reason for this is that there are so few spells dealing with divining the meanings of writings. Divination of writing is useful if you need to determine the meanings of written material or if you just want to read something that is written in another language that you do not speak or cannot read. Divination of location, a highly specialized set of spells, are used to determine the location of people, places, and things. Divination of items and substances are actually two processes, however, they are generally classed together. These specializations are useful for determining what objects are used for, how to use them, how they work, and why they work. It are also useful for divining what a substance is and what that substance's properties are. It is also useful for identifying items and finding out whether or not items have been "enchanted". That is all for this week. Be sure to read next weeks article on Thaumaturgy, it will be discussing enchantment, another science of magic. ################################################################################ [] #########----Game review: Amtgard------\ #########----By Russell Hutchison------/ [] Have you ever had the desire to swordfight like Errol Flynn or Kevin Costner in their Robin Hood films. Or maybe you're a Highlander fanatic who lusts for the sound of steel against steel. So you try fencing but the fighting in a straight line and only against one foe gets boring to you. Then I recommend that you try going to an Amtgard event if you have the fortune to find one. About two years ago a friend of mine showed me a flier that depicted a man in Medieval garb, wielding a large sword in one hand and a spear in the other, attacking a pair of men in simmilar dress who were wielding swords and shields. As I looked closer I saw that the weapons were actually foam padded in some manner. Below the picture in the text of the flier was an invitation to come and fight in the lands of the "Iron Mountains." Well I have always been a fan of role playing games and thought that this would be a fun thing to do for a weekend. So my friend and I called the phone number on the flier and showed up for the game that Saturday. What I found was a sort of capture the flag game with padded weapons and a smattering of armor, real chainmail, with rules thrown in for the use of a magic system. Upon showing up we were given some forms to sign and shown a 58 page rule book explaining the rules of play. After reading the basic rules on what to do when hit with weapons we decided to take to the field of battle with little comprehension of the other rules of the game. I remember that throughout the entire game I only "killed" three people, but I was crushed throughly many times. I left that day with a rule book in hand and every muscle in my body screaming from the tremendous workout. After taking the time to read the rules, I returned to the game with a much better grasp of what to do when certain things happened. The game mechanics were actually very simple and very "deadly." Being hit on a limb incapacitated it, losing two limbs was considered death. All torso shots from the shoulders down to the hips were considered death (including crotch and butt shots!). Head and neck shots were not allowed because of possible injury. I soon discovered that the epic fights that range accross the field are few and far between, even when you've been in the club for a long time. The combat is brutally fast and people drop quickly. But one thing that impressed me was the safety measures taken by the club. All weapons had to pass a safety inspection before their use. The standards were that the stabbing ends of the weapons could not fit into an eye socket, and the coring could not be felt through the padding. Also the weapon had to be padded everywhere except for the grip. There is also a system for special abilities of different "classes" that a person could be. Like magic for healers, mages, and druids. I also learned that this game is not centered in the state of Colorado. The game originated in Texas, is present in New Mexico, Oregon, California, and even Finland! So, if you are ever walking through a city park and see a group of people wielding swords and other assorted weapons and beating each other silly don't worry. It's probably just the Amtgartians having their usual weekend fun. Stop by to try it out. You just may get addicted like me. But expect to be sore after the first few days. @_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@__@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@_@ Eyes of Love by Jason Manczur How can one set of eyes be So very deep, and so very bright? They shine like the stars, With a heavenly light. They're deep like an ocean, Pretty as they can be. I love your eyes, But do they love me? A better question Asks the same of you. If the answer is yes, I'll ne'er be blue. I want to tell you Just how much I care, That I really love you, And will always be there. If you need someone for any reason, If my heart is not there, It will hang for treason. That is how much I love you my dear. When we are together, You have nothing to fear, For my love will protect you. I love you with all of my heart and my soul. If you do not love me, It will take its toll On my heart and my spirit, And the depths of my mind. When I am with you I always find A warmth and a caring That fills up my life. Oh, please my love, Will you be my wife? KNYGHT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ _________________________ | New Prejudices | | By | | Steven Peterson | |_______________________| "What we call progress," said Havelock Ellis,"is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance." This thought, obvious to anyone who embraces an expanding technological culture, occurs to me most every time my telephone rings. The telephone, perhaps the single most useful device in our 20th century, is on the verge of progressing from playing a stationary role into becoming what amounts to a new mechanical appendage. As various world cultures open their airwaves to the cordless digital telephone revolution, they also invite a change in the fundamental nature of interpersonal communications. The ability to instantly access individuals wherever they may be (and potentially interrupting any activity from the mundane to the critical) presents a new ethical quandary for all telephone users. In America, telephone technology is already abused in a depressing variety of ways - solicitation, harassment, and "answering-machine screening" are the most common. Carried into every moment of your waking life, these currently minor nuisances could easily mushroom into a major waste of time and energy. Personally, the use of machines to "screen" calls strikes me as particularly cowardly - if you have to fear someone, fear their physical reality, not their disembodied voice. Since I'm on the subject of fear and cowardice, I'd like to consider a problem this new technology will generate for our law enforcement agencies - educating mobile telephone users in procedures for reporting crime in a rational manner. I can envisage two possible (if not likely) scenarios: over- and under-reporting of incidents as they are witnessed. In the first case, a series of calls reporting a criminal incident will flood the "911" operators, essentially creating a "logjam" of incoming calls that could threaten the viability of the entire system. In the second scenario, passive indifference or fear may prevent anyone from reporting an incident - something I call the "Kitty Genovese" syndrome. Kitty Genovese was an American woman who was brutally murdered in New York city some time ago in front of a building full of citizens who chose to remain passive - the witnesses simply "let someone else get involved". Obviously, these problems are as old as communication itself. Nevertheless, some sort of educational program designed to give individuals some sort of guidelines will need to be developed and implemented. Perhaps attaching a compulsory test similar to the Driver's license exam may be a solution. Moving into the truly private (or personal) realm of communication, I feel this technology will most likely serve to increase the distance between individuals. As instant access to individuals, wherever they may happen to be, becomes commonplace, the institution of face-to-face communication may gradually erode. Indeed, the very system I am using to bring this column to you, dear reader, is predicated on a non-confrontational philosophy. On the one hand, I really enjoy the benefits this type of forum provides; however, on the other hand there is something - call it "emotional intimacy" if you will, which this forum cannot offer. Extended into everyday life, I'm not sure if I will want to be limited by a new convention of simply calling individuals - not all communication can be expressed in sounds and printed words. Then again, humans may be in the process of evolving into a state where non-verbal communication is no longer relevant or necessary. This contrast between remote and physically immediate communication fascinates me. On the surface both seem to be completely valid forms of communication, and indeed they are. I guess my problems stem from the potential for abuse. The telephone has always represented (at least for me) a device capable of delivering devastating messages. Too often, emotionally difficult messages (such as the death of a loved one or an attempt to end a romantic relationship) are transmitted over the "wire". Anyone who has experienced one of these calls can tell you about the feelings of frustration, anxiety, and detachment they engender. I can see the appeal of using the telephone to deliver painful messages - psychological detachment makes many difficult decisions easier to implement. Unfortunately, the benefit is usually only enjoyed by the sender, the receiver of the message has to deal with the emotional fall-out in isolation. Once again, I find myself facing a dilemma - how to balance the benefits of technology against the potential for misuse. Digital telephone transmission promises to open new avenues of computer-driven communication; however, I feel it must not become the dominant form of interpersonal exchange - at least until the appropriate social conventions governing its use are firmly entrenched. A bit of the chicken and the egg in that last statement, but hey, I enjoy conundrums. As with television, the subject of my previous column, humanity must face these and other difficult decisions regarding the use of the machines we build. "The telephone, I believe, is the greatest boon to bores ever invented. It has set their ancient art upon a new level of efficiency and enabled them to penetrate the last strongholds of privacy." - H.L. Mencken (1931) *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^^*^^^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^^*^*^*^*^*^*^ ________________________________________________________ \ \ | A PRINTHEAD'S GUIDE TO NETWORKING | | by George Sibley, ElectroZine Advisor/Cheerleader | \______________________________________________________\ To begin with a definition, a "printhead" is a paper- oriented person--a person who doesn't know what to do with his or her hands while reading a screen. Like most printheads, I learn by reading, the most interactive sport you can do without making noise, and I'm still having trouble learning to read a screen rather than watch it. I still find books and magazines to be more "user-friendly" than the computer--there is no scrolling device yet that comes close to thumb-finger-eye coordination for flipping around in books, and I can't yet afford a terminal small enough to take to bed at night without really endangering my nose. I am, however, willing to acknowledge the extent to which this is just a comfortable middle-aged bias: having grown up with books, I "naturally" (what we say when we mean "culturally") fall back on them when the world gets excessively interesting. And one area in which the world is getting very interesting is in the phenomenon of connecting computers together around the world. A phenomenon that--among many, many other things--enables this "electrozine" to happen. So, while I have followed, and used, Deva Winblood's fine and accessible "WorldNet Tour Guide" in these pages--or rather, on these screens--I have to admit how glad I have been to find some printworld books on the topic of networking. Two in particular have come out recently that I want to commend to the reader's attention--one, a down-on-the-ground, nuts-and-bolts exploration of Internet, the world's largest computer network, and the other a more philosophical and evaluative exploration of networking in general. The first book is THE WHOLE INTERNET USER'S GUIDE AND CATALOG, written by Ed Krol, and published by O'Reilly and Associates, Inc. of Sebastopol, CA (E-mail: nuts@ora.com, or uunet/ora/nuts). For those like myself who need fairly detailed instructions on how to do virtually everything with the computer- -and need the instructions somewhere besides on the screen where we are trying to do whatever--this book is very good. It tells the networker how to log in on Internet, how to telnet in to the big mainframe computers, how to work with file transfer protocols, how to "finger" users on other systems, and generally how to search through the increasingly vast resources accessible to users around the world. It will tell you how to do things I don't even understand yet. And the book concludes with a "Whole Internet Catalog" of resources available at the time of the book's printing (most recently, July 1993)--opening that catalog section at random and scanning the listings, I found a gamut of resources ranging from the "Bedford Institute of Oceanography" through the "Non-linear Dynamics Archive" to "The Simpsons Archive" (under "Popular Culture"). Preceding all of this rather specific hands-on advice, however, is a more general discussion of Internet--a discussion that includes a brief history of the network's development, and some thoughts on the future of the system. There is also a chapter on Internet politics and ethics. This more philosophical part of the book ties in well with the other book: a Worldwatch Paper (Sept. 1993) by Worldwatch Senior Researcher John E. Young, titled GLOBAL NETWORK: COMPUTERS IN A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY. Both of these books acknowledge the early origins of computer networking in America's defense industries, and their subsequent expansion into the multitude of uses by and for those whose business is managing, influencing, and keeping track of a) money and b) us masses. The potential of the computer in aiding those with, shall we say, either less than or more than democratic designs has been often noted. Their interest, however, is in the extent to which computer networking has become, and could continue to become, a democratizing technology that, more than anything else, is making us one world--one intelligent world, at that. Krol's fascination seems to be most interested in the extent to which computer networks like Internet make accessible to the individual. He declares that "network ethics" can be distilled to "two overriding premises": -- Individualism is honored and fostered. -- The network is good and must be protected. He notes the similarity between this ethos and the straightforward ethical systems like the "Law of the West" by which frontier societies are governed. This two-law ethos, however, may be straightforward, but it is not simple: rather, it just sets up the cultural tension between the individual and the community--in this case, the network--that is the source of all subsequent volumes of increasingly detailed and often obscure law trying to mitigate or eliminate that tension. Those who have read, say, Richard White's new history of the American West, IT'S YOUR MISFORTUNE AND NONE OF MY OWN, may also be concerned about the emphasis on individualism; he documents, beyond reasonable dismissal to my mind, the extent to which the honoring and fostering of individualism in the West worked mostly (although not necessarily conspiratorially) as a smokescreen which facilitated the total coopting of the West by big government and big business. An emphasis on individualism, in other words, may paradoxically be counter-productive in the long run for individuals on the networks--especially given the extent to which the networks already exist somewhat at the tolerance of big government and the other quasi-public controllers of the mainframes and "hosts" on which the networks depend. "Strengthening the communities"--the "communities of interest," in this case, rather than the "communities of place"as in the frontier societies may be a more productive direction for the further evolution of the nets. John Young's Worldwatch essay seems to move more in that direction. He is most interested in the potential of networks for connecting communities of interest in politically effective ways--modelling and monitoring the biosphere, modelling and monitoring economies, connecting political entities in developing countries with each other and with alternative political entities in developed countries, and other challenges related to the development of sustainable human societies on earth. The evolution of such communities of interest will, of course, at the very least try the patience of the large political and economic entities, both public and private, which a) are not always particularly altruistic in their motives nor "sustainable" in their objectives, and b) are in control of some of the vital elements of the networks. I find myself wanting to believe that the embullient and expansive attitude pervading the networks today will last--that this impressive and inexpensive ethos of access and "info-equity" will prevail, that the electronic circulation of information will be like the light of the sun or water in a sieve: something impossible to control and regulate, something impossible to turn into "commercial property" and charge for. But I have to confess that I am less optimistic, the more I learn about the extent to which the networks depend on institutions that have never--even in America--been real friends of democratic and inexpensive access to anything. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ()()()()()()()()()()()()()()() ()()The Almost Middle Word()() ()()()()By Jeremy Bek)()()()() ()()()()()()()()()()()()()()() This is a zine designed to be enjoyable to anyone in any land. So I am going to present a question that affects every nation, Poverty. Why do we let it happen? With the worlds total wealth we could give everyone on the planet an annual wealth of 24,000 american dollars per year. Is greed really that prevalent? What can we do? If any one has this kind of information I would really like to receive it. Thanx rApIeR -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We at ICS would enjoy receiving comments, subscriptions, and entries to the Zine. Please send them all to ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BACK ISSUES: Back Issues of ICS can be FTPed ETEXT.ARCHIVE.UMICH.EDU They are in the directory /pub/Politics/ICS. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICICS/~~~\ ICSICSICSICSICSICS/~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ICS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~\ \ INFORMATION COMMUNICATION SUPPLY / ~~~~~~~~~~~\ORG_ZINE/~~~~~~~~~~~~~ICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSI ~~~~~~~~ICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICSICS An Electronic Magazine from Western State College Gunnison, Colorado. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ################ ################### ######### ### ## ## ## ## ### ## ## ### ## ## ### ## #### ### ## #### ### ## ## ### ## ## ### ## ## ## ## ################ ################## ######### I n f o r m a t i o n, C o m m u n i c a t i o n, S u p p l y E L E C T R O Z I N E Established by Deva Winblood In 1993 Information Communication Supply 1/18/94 Vol.1:Issue.7 Frag: 2 Email To: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU E D I T O R S: Local Alias: Email: ICS Positions: ============== ============ ====== ============== Jeremy Bek rApIeR STU521279258 Technical Director Steven Peterson Rufus Firefly STU388801940 Managing Editor Russ Hutchinson Burnout STU524636420 Writer Jason Manczur GRey KnYgHT STU523356717 Writer Deva Winblood MeTaL MaSTeR ADP_DEVA Ask Deva(Once Again) Clinton Thompson Shing ADP_CLINT Writer George Sibley MAC_FAC FAC_SIBLEY Editing, Supervisor _____________________________________________________________________________ / \ | ICS is an Electrozine distributed by students of Western State | | College in Gunnison, Colorado. If you would like to send in a submission | | please type it into an ASCII format and mail it to us. | \_____________________________________________________________________________/ |\__________________________________________________/| | \ / | | \ T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S / | | / \ | | /________________________________________________\ | |/ \| | Included in the table of contents you will see some| | generic symbols to help you in making your | | decisions on whether an article is something that | | may use ideas, and/or language that could be | | offensive to some. S = Sexual Content | | AL = Adult Language V = Violence O = Opinions | |____________________________________________________| | 1. The Cliff by Clinton Thompson (V) | | | | 2. A Thought on AI in the Workplace (O) | | by Michael McAfee | | 3. For God and King by Russell Hutchinson (V) | | | | 4. Walking Alone On a Wet Autumn Night | | by Bob Wilson | | 5. Plasma by Steven Peterson (V, AL) | | | | 6. Final Word(Changes) by Jeremy Bek | |____________________________________________________| ****************************************************************************** r-------------------------; | The Cliff / O -arrgh! | r \|/ | By Clinton Thompson | | | / / \ | / | | |______________________| The sun glinted off the river in the distance, making it shimmer like quick-silver. One could see most of the valley from where Lance sat. All the fields and rolling hills looked like a worn and wrinkled carpet. In other circumstances he would have enjoyed the view, but he did not. The panorama was only a reminder of his prison. The air around him and the stone at his back were bars. As it was, the boy clung high above where he wished to be, flat ground. As he clung to his small ledge his mind wandered as one's mind often will when under stress. The morning was clear and crisp like a proper autumn morning should be. He awoke earlier than usual and went to the kitchen to rummage around for some breakfast. His mother was gone to town, and his father was at work in the fields. A perfect day for a hike! He put some cheese, bread, and a bottle of water in a little sack. On his way to the trail that led to the hills and jagged rocks behind his home, Lance had picked up a coil of rope and slung it about his shoulder. Lance now watched this same rope broken and swinging peacefully out of reach - fifteen feet out of reach. His entire situation could be seen in that swaying rope. Suddenly, he saw his situation very clearly. There were two alternatives, only two. One was to wait in indecision, hoping for someone to come. Two, he could try to get himself off of the cliff. No one was going to come. No one even knew he was gone, and no one would know where he went. He rarely hiked by himself. The cliff was smooth, vertical sandstone. As Lance studied it, he noticed for the first time that there were small pock marks and cracks throughout its surface. Lance's thoughts moved aimlessly over school and friends. He was a good student, not an over achiever, but a hard worker. Then his thoughts moved to where they had been for several weeks, Lisa, and for a moment he was content. He remembered their date the night before, the way they had touched and her eyes in the moonlight. His heart and mind raced at the thought of it. Lance looked at his watch. It was almost noon. He had sat on the cliff, in this crack, for three and a half hours. For the first time he realized how thirsty he was and how hot it was becoming. Fear, for the first time in his life, true fear gripped his heart. Someone would come. Wouldn't they? This thought echoed through his mind. And even as it did, it sounded false and empty deep inside. Lance carefully maneuvered around, so that his knees were on the ledge, and he hugged the cliff in an embrace not inspired by affection. His fingers crawled out, feeling and searching for a crevice to tie his life to. They found one. His hand held like steel bands driven into the rock, driven by desperation. His body, taut and relentless, followed after, searching for its own place of safety. Carefully, after many minutes of searching, his feet found niches of their own. He was able to rest for a moment, in a strange sense of the word. He was flat against the surface of this wall, like a great mountaineer - except he had no safety ropes, or experience for this situation. Another hour had passed, or so it seemed to Lance as he creeped over the weathered surface of the cliff. Many times he had stopped, trying in vain to rest his aching, cramped muscles. Jeans, shirt, and flesh bled a mix of perspiration and desire to reach the top and live. He realized he did not want to die. With a grim smile, he recalled being told that one does not always get what one wants. Lance clung to the rock like a frightened shadow. Finally, his feet found a fragment of rock that he could stand on. As he rested for a minute on the ledge, he wished he would not have to go on. He knew there was no choice now. Then a soft cracking sound interrupted his thoughts, it was as if the ledge had something to say. To Lance it sounded like thunder. He knew then, and every fiber of his existence knew in the same instant. He tried to scream, but it did not come. Only a hopeless moan of wasted dreams. His life passed before his eyes. It slid by with the cliff, and when the cliff ended so did the vision, in an explosion of dust. ******************************************************************************* _____________________________________ / _______________________________ \ | / \ | | |A Thought on AI in the Workplace| | | \ by Michael McAfee / | | ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | \_____________________________________\ \_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_\ \_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_\ \|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|\ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A coworker and I were discussing what we wanted out of the computers we use at work. The coworker described the artificial intelligence (AI) system he'd like to have - a simple environment manager that would be able to choose various parameters without being asked, along with voice recognition and a pleasant "personality." That made me wonder about AI in the workplace of the future. Try this for a possibility. AI systems learn from experience, to put it in basic terms. For example, consider a chess program. A "dumb" program has a limited number of moves and strategies. Once you figure out what strategies it doesn't know, you'll beat the program every time. An AI chess program not only learns from its mistakes, but also (if it's "smart" enough) tries to figure out what strategies you don't know. The program makes changes to suit the user. Apply this to your workstaion. An AI program manager will figure out which settings you prefer, how you like to be addressed, etc. In effect, you'd have to train your AI system. This takes time, maybe a week or so for the system to adjust to your needs. In that week, think of how much time you have to spend away from actual work! Well, what if your brand new AI system had already been trained with a few standard routines? Perhaps the company that produced the AI has a good reputation for training AI systems. Or even better, maybe you can get this AI from another company, so it already has some experience in the workplace. A list of what it knows would come with it, and you could work with it a little to see if it suits you... Training? A list of skills? That's right folks, these are analogs to college, prior work experience, a resume, and an interview session. As our computers get smarter, we'll have to choose them with care like we choose any employee. But consider this one last analogy. Let's say the president of the company has an AI system that becomes inoperable for some reason. The president has to get a new system. Is he going to get a system from outside the company that knows only the standard business routines but none specifically for his company? More likely he'll request a system from one of the department heads, a system that has shown it can handle the responsibilities the president will place on it. So think about what you're going to do when, in the future, your workstation gets a promotion before you do. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ^ * ^ ^ ^ * For God and King... / \_/ \_/ \ <*******> |* # * # *| * By Russell Hutchison .~~~~~~~~~~~. * (' ' ' ' ' ') * .~~~~~~~~~~~. * V Philip drew the bow string back until it gently touched his right cheek. He looked down the ash arrow shaft and brought the sharp steel point on line with the peasants back. The white mist from his breath lightly blued his vision as he adjusted his aim to deal with the slope he has shooting up. Exhaling, he let go of the string when his arm steadied, then inhaled as the shot sailed to its target. The flight of the arrow was short, only fifteen paces at most. The man was hit before he could react to the sound of the whistling shaft. The arrow buried itself up to its fletching in the man's back, then he slid forward off the log he had been sitting on, landing out of his killer's view. A scream of terror originated from the other people sitting around the fire ring. Philip had nocked a second arrow and aimed, then fired at a bearded man who stood up to run from the ring. The shaft skewered the man lower than Philip had intended, coming to rest in his abdomen. He went tumbling down the hill towards Philip, moaning in pain. Drawing his broad sword, the archer stood up from his hiding place behind a fallen log and stepped forward to put the man out of his misery. He forced the wounded man on to his back with his foot, stood on the man's shoulder to keep him from moving, and drove the sword through the ragged shirt to his heart. Philip was glad that the his eyes had been closed, he doubted he could have killed him if they had locked gazes. Philip retrieved his bow from the crusty snow and walked up the hill to the abandoned fire ring. He smelled burning hair. He stepped over the log and looked at the man he had killed. There were three other bodies in the camp and Philip could hear his fellow Norman and archer, Rift, coming down from his position up slope. One was a man lying with his face in the fire coals, an arrow through his throat. The second was a young woman, pinned to the tree she had been leaning against by a shaft through her heart. Bright life-blood was running from her mouth, and the shaft was still vibrating from its strike. The last body was that of a female child, which had been sitting on the lap of his first victim when Philip's arrow had struck. Both were dead, connected by the thin wooden stick. Philip's stomach turned at the sight of the innocent dead. He felt no compassion for the slain men, after all, the Normans had just taken over England and Philip was used to the face of war. But grief at the sight of the dead women filled his belly. He doubled over and retched. A boot kick knocked the sick man over. Rift towered above him. "Stop that, weakling! These people have killed our brothers and sons, cutting their throats in the night! They must be taught to bend to our rule. Great William, the Conqueror, has given me these lands to govern in his name and I'll break these people to my will. Now get up, a girl got away. You will track and kill the child. Bring me her head or I'll take yours!" "Your're a butcher Rift, I can't believe that I followed you out here to slaughter women and children. I think God sent me along to see what you've become. Since you lost your son at Hastings your heart has been dead. Killing Saxons won't make them loyal subjects, only killers like you!" Rift's hands shook with anger as he screamed. "Traitor, weakling, If you don't kill when I command, you'll die when I command!" Raising his bow with arrow nocked, Rift aimed for Philip's heart. Philip sprung up as fast as he could, trying to get to Rift with sword before the arrow flew. Rift realized his problem and fired before he came back fully on mark. The shaft lodged in Philip's midsection but he was still able to step close enough to strike back. Rift couldn't back up fast enough on the slick snow and his throat was cut open. Both men crumpled to the ground. Philip knew that the wound was fatal, he was skewered though the liver, while Rift's life pumped away unchecked on the snow. In his dying hours Philip consoled himself though the pain. Telling himself that God had sent him to stop the madman and make peace between Saxons and King. /-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/- ^ ^ Walking Alone In A Wet Autumn Night / \ / \ (_) (_) Closed, cluttered quarters, relinquished control Captive by chance and exacting it's toll Remove conversation Regain affirmation ^ Walking alone in a wet autumn night / \ (_) ^ Dark, like a comfort, a safe place to hide / \ The mist held my face in her arms as I cried (_) Remove all the sound Shoes pummel the ground ^ Walking alone in a wet autumn night / \ (_) The dew in the grass is soaking my feet I've come here for answers to questions complete Remove just the fear A healing draws near Walking alone in a wet autumn night This love in my life lies gently with me ^ Possessing a strength not easy to see / \ I'll seek out her light (_) Relinquish this fight By walking alone in a wet autumn night ________________________________________________________________________________ Bob Wilson bobw@ncatfyv.uark.edu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ____-^^^^^^-____ : PLASMA : ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ By Steven Peterson The first sound Rico heard that morning was the soft pit-pat of rain on the window next to his bed. The peace of the morning didn't last long however - a rude, ugly rapping on the door signalled the end of his brief fugue state. Mr. Lowell, the friendly agent of the housing authority gestapo boomed in his less-than tender voice, "C'MON RICO, THE 21ST CENTURY AIN'T FREE - WHERE'S YOUR RENT?" Rico really didn't want to deal with Lowell's intrusion, but felt compelled to get it over with. Reaching for his pants he shouted "IN A MINUTE, LOWELL, I'VE GOT YOUR RENT!" Half-dressed, Rico began searching for his wallet, the one containing his severance pay from his most recent worthless service job. Finding it, he opened the door a crack and faced Lowell, "I'm gonna need a receipt for this." "Yeah, I know," Lowell fished the book out of his back pocket and began scribbling, "heard about your latest fiasco, what you gonna do for work now, slick?" "Goddam E-Mail," Rico felt his blood begin to boil, "ain't nothin' private anymore". "Not as long as you live here, buddy". Lowell's standard response. The exchange completed, Rico turned his thoughts toward answering Lowell's snide question. Cooking and cleaning seemed his destiny - school just didn't seem a likely avenue for him. Another trip to the Job Service Corps, then another round on the application circuit, finished off by a trip to the Plasma Center (Gotta put somethin' in my belly today). Altogether, a busy day. Resenting the whole stinkin' prospect, Rico took a short inventory: wallet cleaned out by Lowell, unemployed and adrift in the city, hungry - not a lot to cherish. Somehow the t.v.'s message of hope and the "dawning of a new century" didn't offer much comfort, or hope for that Amatter. Looking out the window, Rico's reality of rain and drudgery seemed to manifest itself in the hunched, hurried posture of the pedestrians down below. As Rico threw on his coat and grabbed his keys, he took one last glance out the window and muttered, "no shit the 21st century ain't free". Opening the door to the Job Service Corps lobby, the scent of too many people and too much frustration assaulted his soul: "Whattya mean I got no benefits left!" "I'm sorry, sir, but that's all we have available today." "Next." "Look Man, if I don't get somethin', they gonna revoke my lease." A couple hours of this would drive Rico right into downtown bluesville. Thinking better of it, Rico decided to skip it - it could wait a day or two. And besides, he had heard The Blue Oyster needed a new dishdog. What the hell, it was on the way to the Plasma Center anyway. Back out on the street, Rico started walking east, into the rain, wishing he had an umbrella. At least the panhandlers were hiding out in the doorways and bus stations - although they usually sensed he was a poor target, he just wasn't in the mood. Fourteen blocks and fourteen hundred puddles later, Rico found himself in front of the Oyster. Looking down at his grungy shoes, feeling the cold dampness of his feet, he felt ready to play the part. Dad always said, "in every town in America, there are jobs that go begging - they're usually hard, dirty jobs, but if you're willing to work hard, there's something out there". Walking in the door (squishing actually), Rico started to head for the kitchen. The bartender gave him a sidelong glance, then went back to washing his collection of glassware. Poking his head through the swinging doors, he found who he was looking for, the manager. Catching his eye, Rico asked, "you still lookin' for a dishdog". Hoping his tone of voice was appropriate, Rico did his best to maintain eye contact. The manager gave him a long, judgemental look and replied, "not today, c'mon back tomorrow, might have something for ya then". Ducking back out of the doorway, Rico took his time walking toward the exit - the smell of the food (seafood, hardly his favorite) was getting to him. The grumbling of his stomach quickly reminded him of his next stop on this ugly little tour - the Plasma Center. Dodging a waitress, he made it to the door and stepped back out into the rain. Squishing his way eastward, Rico panicked for a moment - he forgot his pennies - the ones he always carried in his pockets to the Center in order to beat the weight restriction. A hundred and twenty pounds. Then he remembered his shoes - the water might do it ... it would have to. As he approached the Center, Rico once again reflected on the one positive effect of AIDS - clean human plasma kept rising in value. Finally, there was a profit in celibacy. A small one, granted, but Rico didn't have to work hard to stay "clean". Half a C-note for ninety minutes - not bad. Unfortunately, Rico, like everybody else, could only "donate" once a week. The nurses say that the cut-back from the old twice-a-week schedule is due to testing requirements, but secretly Rico believed that it was just a way of easing the regulars into the era of synth-blood. Opening yet another door, Rico was pleased to see that the usual line wasn't there - that's what he called service. Walking up to the window, Rico looked at the fat nurse and gave his name and file number. She looked down at her desk and sternly stated, "no appointment, I take it". Once again, Rico glanced at his wet shoes and then replied, "no ma'am". Looking up from her pad, the nurse, who actually enjoyed this routine began the round of usual questions: "Any drugs or alcohol in the last forty-eight hours?" "Any unprotected sexual contacts since your last visit?" "Any health problems since your last visit?" "Any IV procedures ..." As they went through the list, Rico gave the appropriate answers while avoiding eye-contact with the nurse (or anyone else for that matter). Finishing the Q and A session, the nurse asked Rico to please step on the scale located next to where he was standing. Rico hated the fact that the only read-out was on the other side of the glass. The suspense of the moment gnawed at his spirit while he stood on the platform, feeling like meat in the hands of a butcher. "Okay, please have a seat until your name is called", the nurse seemed somehow disappointed as she spoke, her role in the game finished. Rico stepped back, savoring the knowledge that the water in his shoes did the trick - it was always a close call. Finding a "Tear-Sheet Times", Rico sat down on one of the hard plastic chairs and read about the latest indiscretion of some senator - something about legislating personal profits. Glancing around the room, Rico noticed the few who were there hiding behind their tear-sheets - the stigma of selling your blood would probably never be extinguished, there is just something primal and slightly unpleasant associated with the practice. After twenty minutes or so, another nurse appeared and called out Rico's name. Still relieved at making the weight, Rico preferred not to think about the needle, the big one they use for the procedure. Following the nurse into the "big room", Rico mentally prepared himself for the next steps in the process. Blood pressure, pulse, the sample drawn from a finger. Easing himself into the Barcolounger, Rico began his habitual practice of "anywhere but here", a personal form of meditation he used to block out the sensation of pain as they slip the needle into a vein. The nurse, interpreting Rico's disassociation as fear, attempted to draw him out. Adopting that "nursy" tone she said, "this will only hurt for a second", and with that she sank the spike. Despite his attempt to remain in a momentary fugue, Rico sensed there was a problem - it was taking too long. Looking down at his arm as if it were someone else's, Rico watched the nurse manipulate the needle, trying to find the vein. She was rapidly losing her professional demeanor, panic had clearly set in, and it was catching. Adrenaline began to flood Rico's body as the nurse pulled the needle out. The nurse, shaken by her apparent failure, looked at Rico and said, "I'll be right back". She nearly tripped fleeing Rico's side, beating a path to the office in the corner. Momentarily, she returned with what must have been her supervisor. The "head nurse" gave Rico one of her best smiles and told him, "I'm afraid if we try that again, we'll collapse the vein". "Collapse the vein", what the hell did that mean? Rico thought about asking, then decided not to. The nurses began to move the blood-bags over to the other side of his lounger and the head nurse told Rico, "we're going to try again with your other arm". At least the first nurse had regained her composure - apparently the problem was due to Rico's vein, not her technique. Rico didn't share her relief, however, he was stuck on the concept "collapsed vein". Reflexively, Rico began his "meditation", preferring not to pay attention to what the nurses were doing. He'd never been stuck in the left arm, and wasn't relishing the thought. Once again, the first nurse sensed his withdrawal and tried to break his concentration - "are you feeling okay?". Rico's first impulse was to give her a brutally honest response (would I be here in the first place...), but he just smiled and said, "yeah, I think so". Reassured, the nurse prepped his other arm: asking him to flex his muscles, applying the antiseptic, looking for the vein. Rico thought about Lowell for some reason, he didn't know exactly why, just a recurring wave of resentment. Finally, the nurse tried to insert the needle. Rico felt the familiar pinched sensation of the flesh giving way to steel and tried to ignore it. He found that experiencing a familiar pain in a new place was unsettling - his concentration broke. The pain immediately felt different somehow, and when he looked at the nurse, he saw the same panicked look as before. "Problem?" he asked. The nurse, without looking up, said, "I think so, I can't seem to find this vein either". The head nurse took the other's place and attempted to sink the spike. Tapping on his arm and narrowing her eyes, she renewed the attack on Rico's left arm. She glanced up at the first nurse and said, "Get some ice packs, he's done". At this, Rico felt his world (and his stomach) closing in upon themselves. Done. Let go. Fired. The perennial judgement of the world. Somehow he had managed to screw even this up. After being rejected by the vampires, where do you go? The nurse tilted his lounge back and placed some ice-packs on his chest - "one of our doctors is going to take a look at you before you leave, just to make sure you're okay". Shock takes many forms: physically, Rico would recover from the small holes and insulted veins; psychically, no one recovers from total personal devaluation. They bandaged his arms and sent Rico home with the last of the Plasma money he would ever earn. Or ever need. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ /------------\ |The Final Word| \------------/ After reading this issue I realized that the stories contained with in have very strong undertones of death and destruction. One must realize that these stories, poems, ect. were written during finals week and I guess someone just had to die. We here at ICS sometimes get a bit busy and once in a blue moon something gets by our meticulous editing staff. We here at ICS would like to apologize for one such incident. The First Opinion in Issue 7-1 by Ted Sanders generated a lot of response. We thank those who responded and we will print some of the more intelligent and humorous responses. Ted Sanders has left ICS in order to explore the "Real World". We wish him luck at whatever he does. We now have a new Managing Editor, Steven Peterson has taken an important post and so far has done a remarkable job. He will start doing the first and final words as well as other things. Deva Winblood is back with a vengence and while helping us with our reorganization (he would also like to write some more Ask Deva columns). However, he doesn't know what you want to hear about. So, if you have any question on the net, computers, or the meaning of life please E-mail them to us and I'll make sure Deva answers them. This final bit is a welcome and a thank you to our readers. We want to welcome all our new subscribers. Believe me there were a lot of you, and we're glad to have you aboard. I would also like to thank all the people who sent in submissions during the last two weeks. I promise that we will print them as soon as my new managing editor gets a chance to look at them. Please keep the submissions coming. The quality is great as is the gratitude from our frail writers. Enjoy your week, and as usual, we will graciously accept all flames, comments, or other material right here at ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU Sincerely, rApIeR (Technical Director) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ICS would like to hear from you. We accept flames, comments, submissions, editorials, corrections, and just about anything else you wish to send us. For your safety use these guidelines when sending us anything. We will use things sent to us when we think the would be appropriate for the goal of the issue coming out. 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