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################ ################### ######### ### ## ## ## ## ### ## ## ### ## ## ### ## #### ### ## #### ### ## ## ### ## ## ### ## ## ## ## ################ ################## ######### 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 in 1993 by Deva Winblood Information Communication Supply 10/5/93 Vol.1:Issue 8-1. 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 Steven Peterson Rufus Firefly STU388801940 Managing Editor, 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 George Sibley MAC_FAC FAC_SIBLEY Editing, Supervisor _________________________________________ /=========================================\ |"Art helps us accept the human condition; | | technology changes it." | \ - D.B. Smith / \***************************************/ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ _____________________________________________________________________________ / \ | 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 responsibility 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) First Word ................ By Steven Peterson | | 2) Building a School | | Without Buildings .......... By Ken Blystone | | 3) Creation .................. By Jason Manzcur | | 4) New Prejudices [O] ......... By Steven Peterson | | 5) The Man In The Ice ........ By Mark T. McMeans | ------------------------------------------------------ ****************************************************** <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ First Word by Steven Peterson As Jeremy noted in the last issue (7-2), I have assumed the managing editor role for ICS. To be honest, I have been somewhat overwhelmed by the infinite possibilities the information diaspora of the 90's presents. Riding my first "waves" on the net has truly been a mind expanding experience. In my efforts here at ICS, I will try to remain true to Deva's vision: create a 'zine which brings a variety of viewpoints and perspectives together in order to examine the human condition and the technology which changes it. So far, most of my efforts have centered around the background (or administrative) chores required to gain a measure of legitimacy on our campus. Not very exciting, but very challenging. Balancing the conflicting desires for flexibility and stability poses a difficult problem - one I hope I've resolved. Two bits about myself : I am often identified as a "non-traditional" (and unconventional) student - one who has returned to formal education after a ten-year hiatus with a mission. ICS offers me an opportunity no budding writer could refuse: access to a world-wide audience. In this issue, we lead off with a submission from one of our readers in El Paso, Texas which describes a functioning, practical use of tele-communications technology in education. Perhaps the lesson of this one school district can serve the rest of our nation as a model. Print out a copy of the article and submit it to your local school board - we could start a movement (sing a few bars of Alice's Restaurant while you're there). Then, Jason, our resident mystic, checks in with a poem. After the poem, I offer the next installment in my "New Prejudices" series. This time around, I call for the end of commercially televised political advertisements and the beginning of efforts to bring the democratic process into the 21st century. We wind up this fragment with another submission from one of our readers, "The Man in the Ice", a short story which embraces the existential and the fantastic in a tale of liberation. P.S. Our lead quote is from "Axioms for English in a Technical Age" by D.B. Smith, published in _College English_, vol.48, #6, 10/86. 567-79. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ **************************************************************************** <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> ============================================================================ Building a School Without Buildings By Ken Blystone Thousands of students in El Paso, Texas are going to school without leaving home. They "travel" to school via computer modem, meeting in new electronic hallways and classrooms not because they have to attend, but because they want to. This summer, students from all parts of the city will attend the Academy Virtual School. This new electronic school provides kids of all ages a fun and exciting place to gather. It is a safe environment that can be explored from home under parental supervision, and local public schools are starting to catch on to the concept. Over the past decade, telecomputing activities have become highly popular with children. This has caused rapid growth in local, regional, and national educational computer networks. Computers attached to modems allow computer users to transmit and receive text files, software programs, digitized images, and digital music over standard telephone lines. Such activities are becoming commonplace for computer users, especially for young people who have computers in their homes. Public schools have recognized the need to teach students how to use computers and have installed many machines for this purpose. But the educational use of computers has focused primarily on using the computer in a "stand-alone" fashion. Now, more and more schools are beginning to connect their computers to instructional networks by purchasing modems and linking their computers together through the telephone system. Schools have found that it is easy and relatively inexpensive to start a campus-based computer network. Last school year, five public schools in El Paso started educational campus -based systems run by teachers. Del Valle High School, Wiggs Middle School, Desert View Middle School, Indian Ridge Middle School, and Eastwood Heights Elementary each run a campus computer their students can call. Each school system is connected to FidoNet, a 22,000 member computer network established in 1984. FidoNet is a "grassroots" network that provides connectivity for millions of people all over the world at little or no cost. The UTEP College of Education sponsors a system on this network to allow future teachers the opportunity to be mentored by experienced teachers. Since many of the electronic conferences on FidoNet are "gated" to Internet, many non-university people (parents and public school children) now have access to Internet through FidoNet. In 1990, a group of teachers in the United States and Canada started the International K12 Network. Operating as a sub-set of FidoNet, the K12 Network has spread to nearly 500 systems in 12 countries in only three years. By "piggy backing" the smaller K12Net on the larger structure of FidoNet, students and teachers are the winners. Using school computers connected to FidoNet/K12Net, students and teachers have the ability to form friendships with people all over the world. The familiar term "pen-pals" is changing into "key-pals" since children now use keyboards instead of pens to write to each other. Teachers from around the world volunteer their time and expertise to make the system work. The French teacher at Desert View Middle School, Toy Wong, uses the K12 Network in her classroom to help students learn the language and culture of France. Her students are encouraged to write e-mail messages in French to students in France or Canada. After students in France receive messages from students in El Paso, they respond in English (the language they are trying to learn) through the computer network. Since messages are transmitted electronically, it is usually only a matter of hours before the mail is "delivered." This makes the process of key-pals much more interactive than pen-pals since hand delivered letters to distant countries can take days or even weeks to deliver. In addition to using computer networks for key-pal activities, schools have found many other instructional benefits of telecomputing. Students can use modems to tap into electronic libraries to look up information stored in computer databases. Some systems allow students to take tests on-line that are automatically scored and recorded. Students also use telecomputing to work collaboratively on the creation of digital artwork and music. Most K12 Network systems make free educational software available to teachers and students through a process known as downloading. On-line peer tutoring is also possible on multi-line systems. Callers type back and forth to each other while connected to the system. This has become one of the most popular activities for students ages 10 through 18 on the Academy Virtual School. Students spend many hours on-line each day writing to their electronic friends. The Academy serves eight school districts in west Texas. Its success can be measured, in part, by the extent to which local teachers and students have voluntarily embraced this computer-mediated environment. Over 5,000 students, teachers, parents, and community participants meet in this electronic environment without the need for a physical school building. The Academy is operated by Academy Network Systems, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing educational opportunities for students to learn and teachers to teach via modern telecommunications technology. The system gets approximately 30,000 calls per month. Through the work of many dedicated teachers and community volunteers, the Academy Network has grown from a simple single line system started in 1985 into a dynamic 15 line electronic school built out of modems and microchips instead of bricks and mortar. The impact of computer telecommunications on how we conduct education is likely to be greater than we can presently imagine. As a virtual school, the Academy is radically different from traditional schools. It remains open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Students read lessons, take tests, ask questions and get answers "virtually" as they would in a traditional physical school building - but without leaving their keyboard. Instead of students going to school, the virtual school comes to them through their computer screen. This school, although it has no physical campus, serves thousands of students and it only cost $5,000 to create. This is an important fact to taxpayers and school board members who are looking for economical ways to provide instruction to children. While a traditional school that serves thousands of students would cost millions of dollars to build, a virtual school can be started for a fraction of that cost. Inasmuch as limited funding is available for desired school improvements, it is important to understand the potential for new technologies to help bring about fundamental educational change. By expanding our mind-set from one that can only conceive of education taking place in a traditional physical school building to one that includes reaching students using virtual schools, we may actually be able to provide instruction in new ways. I encourage parents, teachers, and school board members to work toward the development of community sponsored virtual schools that serve all children within their locale. A virtual school can serve the collective educational needs of students in new and exciting ways. Yet, to be able to take advantage of electronic schools teachers need access to educational networks. Schools need the money necessary to buy modems and telephone lines that will allow them to begin to explore the electronic global village. Modems and the instant networks they create can join schools, businesses and homes together. Every minute a child spends in an electronic virtual school is a minute spent reading and writing--interacting with an educational community that is global in scope. Electronic schools are interactive, inclusionary, equalizing, provocative, and educational. Electronic virtual schools are dynamic and, most importantly, affordable. Electronic learning environments are changing the way in which children learn. Every day a virtual school can present the student with new and interesting challenges that come from a worldwide community of learners. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> ****************************************************************************** Creation by Jason Manzcur Love begins with life, And life begins with love. When I am with you, I'm in heaven above. When I look into your eyes, I see a shimmering pool, That I would loose myself in, If I weren't a fool. I shall ever be Truly obsessed, With granting for you every request. Your house is a temple, Your chair is a throne. Please grant me my only wish, With you to be alone. I know I must myself be, A part of your dreams. And if I could, I truly would Stand in your heav'nly beams. The beams they are the light you shed Upon the ones you love. If I could only count myself I'd take good care of The warmnth and the tenderness That come out of your heart. I know now that I have to be, Of your life, a part. From you there comes a beauty, More than I've ever known. I'll ever wish to be with you, And this is set in stone. I once swore, to myself, I'd ne'er love again, But then I looked into your eyes, And hope became my friend. There are two types of creation, One's good, and one's bad. If I can not be with you I'll be forever sad. ******************************************************************************* +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ############################################################################### New Prejudices By Steven Peterson As we head into 1994, the human race continues to pilot itself into an unknown future. Along the way, Americans will choose navigators (or representatives) for this journey through the democratic process of elections - a method that stumbles over the pitfalls of mass communications technology. The American practice of using a profit driven industry to disseminate political information has commercialized our electoral landscape to a degree which has become insupportable and threatens to destroy the democratic principles our nation is founded upon. This being an election year in the U.S., Americans can look forward to another round of outrageously expensive paid political advertisements. Produced for dramatic effect, these ads inevitably seem to degenerate into sound and fury, signifying nothing. It seems obvious that capitalistic exploitation of the various broadcast mediums undermines or prevents any effort to present substantial messages to the voting public in our culture. Commercial television has conditioned viewers to accept a bewildering assault of images, and trained us to dismiss substance in order to cope with the "information overload" we are faced with. Conditioned to readily dismiss what is often presented as fact, television viewers often base their voting choices on small bits of knowledge gathered from the T.V. network's chaotic stream of images - one lacking in context and continuity. Driven by the profit motive, commercial television networks offer a powerful tool to those who desire positions of power, essentially raising the price of political participation to a level only a privileged few can afford. The resulting "industry" of televised political promotion is consuming a rapidly growing reservoir of funds euphemistically known as "campaign contributions", and compromising democratic participation in the process. The relentless solicitation of these funds by career politicians and their supporters opens a gateway for commercial and private influences (e.g. the tobacco industry, the American N.R.A., etc.) which are backed by monied, minority interests. While it will remain impossible to eliminate "special interests" from any democracy (in a sense, everything is someone's special interest), I believe it is possible to limit the amount of resources any one faction or candidate may squander on media campaigns. The first step democratic societies must take is to prohibit all paid political advertisements on commercial television networks. In the U.S., this prohibition would be a radical step. It would force Americans to re-examine the criteria we set for our political aspirants. Obviously, the media is too pervasive in American culture to simply prohibit its use. In the U.S., we have a pre-existing Public Broadcasting network, PBS, which could easily serve as a ready forum for political debates and messages. Ther difficult part is creating a neutral or bi-partisan group to oversee the fair distribution of available time. In areas which lack this existing non-profit television network, democratic political pressure can be brought to bear on existing and emerging commercial networks to "donate" time as a pre-condition for a broadcast license. Forcing politicians to return to a literature-driven campaign format would serve to accomplish two immediate goals: first, it would fuel a new desire to educate a literate electorate, and second, it would motivate political aspirants to take greater advantage of the various computer networks as an effective tool for disseminating information and exchanging views. While the merits of the first goal transcend cultural and moral boundaries, the motives and methods of attaining the second goal require examination and some degree of control (not to mention funding). So long as the political atmosphere of democracy continues to reflect the age- old struggle for power, there will be those who will abuse any device within their grasp to gain an advantage in the arena of competitive electoral systems. Political use of computer networks must be dedicated to interactive participation on an individual and collective level - simply transferring the flood of hollow images to another medium would only perpetuate the "cult of superficiality" which characterizes most of the current political discourse. Protecting freedom of speech while limiting the resources available to political aspirants creates an opportunity to redefine the political process as we now know it in America. The altruistic goals of political participation no longer insure honest public service. The growing distance between representatives and their constituents in America enables our politicians to freely ignore and alter their campaign promises and party platforms with impunity. Computer access and use offers us another tool to shape and refine on our electoral landscape. The computer nets provide the a ready means for widespread, low-cost distribution of official party documents (i.e. party platforms) to virtually every major population center in our nation. The distribution architecture could begin in the libraries of our schools and extend into the homes of everyone who is "on-line". The shift is one away from entertainment and toward education: using technology to maintain an informed and aware public which can ultimately set and enforce measures of accountability for our elected leaders. The political potential of computer networks extends far beyond simply distributing information, however. This technology also offers a means to "collapse" the distances between those who govern and those who will be governed. Once physical distance is eliminated as a barrier, a more "direct" form of government becomes possible. Computers can resolve the logistical problems of greater citizen involvement. Currrent technology provides a method to digest millions of responses to queries and create a "virtual dialogue" between individuals from divergent world-views. Once the dialogue begins, commonalities of interest will invariably emerge, leading our elected representatives toward more effective courses of action. There are, of course, potential problems that surface in any plan to embrace and utilize this technology in the political sphere. First, there is the issue of access - all levels of a society must be given and guaranteed access or face a new sort of poverty. I think of it as the poverty of influence. No matter the means, if knowledge and influence are restricted to an elite, no democracy can hope to survive. Maintaining a non-profit status for computer networks may be a hopeless pipe-dream in the existential world of monetary costs, but it is an ideal I feel we must strive for. The relentless pressure of human avarice will, if allowed, subvert and destroy the potential benefits of this technology, robbing our children of the opportunity to increase their level of self-determination and stalling the march of positive evolutionary change. "The saddest life is that of a political aspirant under democracy. His failure is ignominious and his success is disgraceful." - H.L. Mencken <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> ******************************************************************** ==================================================================== ____________________________________________________________________ The Man in the Ice by Mark T. McMeans The man in the ice occupied a small vacant corner of the bus station. It was night and the station empty, unusual for the summer season. No one had heard him that day, and in typical fashion he had drifted off to dreamless sleep. He awoke to the sound of someone nearby. Looking up, he saw a stunning young lady kneeling at a newspaper rack just a few yards away. "Hello, who are you?" he said. She perked up as if she had caught a strange smell, and looked around giving him a better view. "You are beautiful!" he said with awe. She turned. "Who's there?" The man wasn't sure what he was seeing was true. "You hear me?" he asked wonderingly. "Yes. So unless you're gonna' mug me, come on out." "I wish it were that easy," he answered. "But see for yourself. I'm over here in the corner." Squinting, she peered in his direction. "Oh no! Not another man on ice!" she exclaimed. "This must be my lucky day," she mumbled walking away. No, wait!" he yelled. "You're the only one that can free me!" "Why's that?" she asked, turning. "Because you heard me. For two god-forsaken years, I've stood here, calling and no one has ever heard me. But, today, you came along, and, and we can communicate. You must be my answer!" She was curious, but her face revealed skepticism. "What are you doing here?" she asked, after a pensive pause. "I came here to get a ticket out of town," he said, "but before I could board the bus, I found myself trapped in this ice." She regarded him with raised brows, one hand stroking her chin. "What were you leaving town for?" she asked. He paused. He knew the answer, but he wasn't sure he wanted to share it with this lady. For some reason she made him nervous. And yet, he had to be free. "To get away," he said. "The time had come for me to be a man, to grow up, but I couldn't do it. I ran." "From what?" "My past," he laughed, a sad sound. "And my future." As he spoke, his face grew somber. "I never felt important as a child, a gift from parents too busy keeping up with the Jones, I suppose. When I came of age, the only thing I had a hold on was my insecurity. I was afraid, didn't think I could control my life. There I was, ready to step out on my own, all of that indiscernible frontier of life before me, and all I had to do was leave my past behind and become a man." He took a deep breath, gritting his teeth. "Only when that time came, I couldn't do it. I ran. And here you see me, frozen." "That's very sad." The way she said it, he found it hard to believe that she meant it. "But not now!" he exclaimed. "You've come, and you're the one who can free me!" "Boy, you're just full of lines, aren't you." "No, I mean it," he said trying to keep the desperation from his voice. "Everyday, hundreds of people come walking by here. They buy their tickets, board their buses, and live their lives. Sometimes they glance at me, but it's like they can't see me, or see me through a veil, like I'm not completely real to them, just a shadow. So they move on. I try to call them, and sometimes scream 'till I think I'll explode, but no one ever hears. "Then the seasons change," he continued. "Summer drifts into fall, and winter on its heels. The people lessen each day; the cold is too much for them. Those are the loneliest months. The only people I would see, then, are the occasional young lovers come to steal a moments privacy late in the night. "But now you've come, and you heard me and see me. I'm sure if you just try, you can save me. You're the one." "Hmmm..." she said, thoughtfully. "In spite of that, I can't help you." His heart dropped. "Why not?" "Because even though I may be the one, that doesn't mean you are. The last thing I need is a frozen man." Her words slapped his face. "What?" "You don't think you will thaw out overnight, do you?" Her question caught him off guard. "Believe me, you won't. I've seen this before, and it takes time to get back on your feet." "But you can't just leave me here!" "I won't. I'm gonna' board my bus. If you stay, that's you're choice." She turned to walk away. Before he could call out to her, she turned back. "You see, I had a rough childhood, as well. My father was very demanding. I'd even say jealous. He wanted me always to be his little girl, and didn't want to share me with anyone else. I lived a life of closed doors and high fences. When my time came, I chose to live differently. I promised myself I would never be contained by anyone again." She looked straight at him, her deep blue eyes piercing his. "That's why I don't have time for you." There was a long pause. "I don't know what to say," he muttered, ashamed. It was true, he had no right to make her his hero. He knew whose fault his being there was. "I'm sorry for bothering you," he managed finally. "It was nice speaking with you." "I'm sure," she said. She cocked her head sideways and looked at him again. "It must be tough going through life looking for someone to rescue you." "You don't know the half of it," he answered shaking his head. "You never told me your name." "My name?" He hated this. "I don't have one; I haven't earned it yet." "You are Unnamed? That explains it all." It was a great impropriety to ask of another while without, but he had to know who she really was. "Wh- what do they call you?" "Amanda," she answered, nonplussed by his impertinence. "It means 'lead into gold'." She looked at him then with more compassion than he thought her capable of. Then, wishing him good day, she turned and walked away. As he watched her leave, he felt the chill of the ice next to his skin. But inside, he felt a warmth, growing, like a rain of hot tears. He smiled. The water dripping from him had already formed a small puddle at his feet. Copyright (c) 1993 by Mark T McMeans ***************************************************************************** +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- [Editor's Note: Sorry for the interruption in service; we here at ICS will strive to maintain our schedule - please forgive.] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- |\__________________________________________________/| | \ / | | \ 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) E-Mail Culture: The Subversive | | Sweatshop [O]................ By George Sibley | | 2) The Wraith of Love .......... By Jason Manzcur | | 3) Thaumaturgy ................. By Jason Manzcur | | 4) Letters to the Editor [O] | | 5) Last Word ................... By Steven Peterson| \**************************************************/ -------------------------------------------------- ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ****************************************************************************** ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ EMAIL CULTURE, PART 1: THE SUBVERSIVE SWEATSHOP By George Sibley, 'Zine Advisor and Cheerleader I comb my hair everytime before I send email hoping to appear attractive. I try and use punctuation in a friendly way also. I send :) and never :(. --Bill Gates in John Seabrook's "E-mail from Bill," NEW YORKER 1/10/94 A recent explosion in email use here at Western State College for in-house communications has me pondering again--as is appropriate for journalism faculty--the relationship between culture and communication. Until just this past fall, most intracollege communication here was via the paper trail and/or the phone; now, suddenly, everybody seems to be on the net, locally at least; and rather than taking the usual wad of brown envelopes from my mailbox back to the office to read, where I am usually interrupted often by the phone, I have to try to reorganize my time to sit down at least once a day in front of a screen to read and answer email. This is immediately a new and slightly disorienting cultural experience for me in a totally unexpected way. Being a pretty low-ranking person here, I have an old Ford Pinto of a PC in my office but do not yet warrant a VAX port, so I have to go find an open terminal somewhere else on campus in order to stay even close to the loop, let alone be in it. There is a "Faculty Computing Room" on campus for even lower ranking faculty members than I who don't even warrant the Ford Pinto model of PC. But there is one faculty person who is apparently writing a book on that terminal, as he is almost always there. So it is usually easier just to slip into one of the student computer "labs" to read and answer my mail--if there is a terminal open there. That's where I am now, as I input these observations. This process alone--finding an open terminal and then working at it in a computer lab--has awakened me to an awareness of how sheltered my life has been to this point. I now recognize what it has meant to grow up in a middle class that is unconsciously obsessive about privacy. I didn't have a car when I went to college in 1959, which marks me I guess as "lower middle class," but I did have a typewriter, which gave me access to that which I have always taken totally for granted: a "private place" for "thinking on paper." Accordingly, it is something of a culture shock to go into the sweatshop environment of a student computer lab, where everyone works elbow-to-elbow in long ranks of machines. Every college writing teacher probably ought to spend at least an afternoon a week in such a place to truly understand the thinking- on-paper he or she receives. These labs are usually orderly enough, but they are not quiet places. The machines "breathe"; printers clatter to life, then go quiet; and a few hundred fingers on keyboards may not make the noise they would on typewriters, but you still hear them all. But there are people noises too, as you'd expect in a work environment. Turfs get staked out: nodes of MUDheads cluster around two or three machines here and there, whispering over their timeshared fantasies; two or three students bunched around a terminal with prescreen infofiles (books) propped beside it appear to be group-groping a class project; a coterie of serious prehackers is chronically present communicating through adjacent screens and reeking of contempt for everything not them. When someone has a system problem, or maybe discovers something really clever or sexy in a fingerprint, larger clusters form, chatter, and disperse to reform elsewhere. When the MacIntoshs started to "talk," the noise level in the labs went up another notch. Instead of acknowledging your stupidity with a quiet, user- friendly beep, one day all the Macs might be mooing, the next they might all be flushing or barfing. Once here they were all loaded up with a woman's voice uttering a long orgasmic groan, which everyone seemed to like: for weeks the lab sounded like a French seaside bordello with the fleet in. Even when the audible noise level is low, however, it is not like working alone in one's office. A kind of an elevated energy level always wafts, occasionally swirls and gusts, through the lab. All those minds working. And a young strong but still awkward mind just learning the disciplines of linear thought is a little like a primitive engine starting up on a cold morning. For one accustomed to the luxury of privacy for thinking, the kind of uneven, not-quite-humming silence that settles over a college computer lab when everybody in the room is intensely into whatever it is he or she is working on--that kind of "noise" in a full room can be either more invigorating or more disconcerting than any burble and buzz of whispers. Sometimes I seem to be "channelling" that ambient lab energy into my work on my own terminal; other times I find myself barely able to control the urge to shout "Fire!" or to just break out in hysterical laughter. No one would of course even look up; they'd just assume it was a MacIntosh. In short, the student labs are pretty lively places, with burgeoning communal sensibilities--maybe the most vital places you'll find on a campus today, despite all the millions being poured into "student centers"--where students mostly go, I think, to fulfill adult expectations that they are indeed still just irresponsible, immature, pleasure-oriented, self-seeking kids, growing up to be good consumers. Growing numbers of students hang out in the labs more than they do anywhere else, for the company, I'd guess, and access to that ambient lab energy, but also perhaps because there they feel closer to the edge of a future than anywhere else on campus--and not necessarily the future planned for them. Sitting and working in such places, I begin to wonder about their educational--not to mention the ultimate socio-political-- implications. Communications theorists talk about the "noise" or static that all communications systems generate--the unintended and ultimately uncontrollable random energy fluctuations inherent in the systems themselves. Black educator and author Jules Henry, in CULTURE AGAINST MAN, contended that education systems also generate that kind of "noise"--and the noise becomes part of the educational process, part of the lessons learned: subliminally, unconsciously, and therefore usually very well. The "noise" in my own pre-electronic education was mostly about competition, "personal development," the right to (and lust for) privacy and the wealth necessary to support it, and all those other fundamentally antisocial things that Americans have always confused with "individualism." Most of that is still the formal and culturally sanctioned "noise" in the system. Students still compete for scholarships and "good schools," compete for grades in "curved" classes, compete for honors, get indoctrinated against those forms of sharing defined as "cheating," and are otherwise prepared to accept as "natural" the aggressive and acommunal culture driven by self-interest: a world of winners and losers, with the ultimate winners those possessed of or by a "terminal" existence in utter privacy (e.g., that modern American legend, Howard Hughes), and the ultimate losers - those condemned by "laziness" or misfortune to that terminally public life of homelessness. But . . . can it be that the computer, one of the greatest achievements of that privacy-driven culture, is generating pockets of a subtly un-American "noise" markable by the kind of "sweatshop camaraderie" that once led to unionization, a communalism of shared information that is dangerously contemptuous of "intellectual property"? Could the uncontrollable ambient energy of such places give a new and more ominous sense to the phrase, "electronic revolution"? Reading the CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, I am learn that the counter- revolution to this is already "coming on-line." Growing numbers of schools-- as one might expect, mostly the "private" schools, where America's winners send their kids to learn how to bear forward the torch of civilization as they know it--are installing terminal ports in all their student dorm rooms. Once that is accomplished, the subversive labs can be dismantled; the primacy of privacy will be re-affirmed. The CHRONICLE touts the advantages: students will be able to research their papers, write their papers, send drafts to their instructors in their cubicles and get feedback, all without the inconvenience of having to leave their desks. One projects: it will probably eventually be possible to receive one's entire education, get one's diploma, get a job, have a long career, and retire, without ever having to leave one's terminal. (On retirement, one won't even need a gold watch, since the terminals can tell you the time.) Either that--or the unquiet, untidy, germ-infested (can you get AIDS from a keyboard?) sweatshop revolution of the lab, like the one where I sit now, where someone has just screamed, "Shit! Jesus saves; why didn't I!" Memo to the administration: better get my office ported in before I'm lost forever. NEXT ISSUE: Email and the narrowing and deepening of language. Replies welcomed at "Fac_Sibley@WSC.Colorado.EDU" =============================================================================== ############################################################################### ******************************************************************************* +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Wraith of Love I work to earn money, Just to spend on you. The gifts, from my heart, Are for you my true. The love I feel inside Is for you alone. If you find out who wrote this My cover's been blown. I hide myself As a too happy clown, But inside this person, Is a ne'er ending frown. The reason I mourn, Is 'cause you don't feel the same. 'Till I feel you do, I'll play this little game, Of writing love poems, And hiding my love. As I write this, I can only think of The love that I feel For you, my truest dear. When you find out who I am, All will come clear. The hows and the whys, And the reasons I care. This unreturned love Is almost more than I can bear. Loving you, though, Will restore my faith. 'Till I know you love me, I'll hide as this wraith, Who writes and who can Ne'er be seen, You alone can, Return me to my being. For you I would, Any and everything do. 'Till I have your love, I'll e'er be blue. This feeling is real, It just has to be. 'Till you are with me, I'll ne'er be truly free. KNYGHT +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ =============================================================================== <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> Thaumaturgy By Jason Manzcur Welcome back to the magical world of thaumaturgy, pardon the pun. In the last installment, I discussed the science of divinatory magic. I must apologize, as I am afraid I do not know very much about divinatory magic. This week I will be discussing another science, enchantment. Enchantment is a very diverse science. It incorporates all aspects of making inanimate objects animate. It also involves the creation of "magical" objects and artifacts and the storing of magical spells in items and people. Enchantment is sometimes associated with the science of charm. This is not the case. Charm is a completely different science. The first aspect of enchantment I will discuss is that of "Lucky coins" and other good luck charms. Now, why they are called good luck "charms" is beyond me, as the science of charm magic only has effects upon living things. To make a "good luck charm", first one has to find out something about the person or thing the sorcerer intends to use the "charm" for. Once this is accomplished, the sorcerer must enchant the item with a simple luck spell. Enchantment also has its uses in creating animate or intelligent objects from inanimate objects. This is something about which I know very little. Items enchanted to have intelligence usually have the creator's intelligence. This can be either good or bad, as the item usually "inherits" the creator's personality as well. In creating animate objects from inanimate objects, the object is usually under the complete control of the creator. Again, this is a double-edged sword. Most of the time, objects that are created to be animate are also endowed with some intelligence. This intelligence is instilled by the creator to enable him or her to use many objects without having to worry about keeping control of them all. Enchanted items that are created to be animate without intelligence are usually minor items, generally used for menial tasks like cleaning the house and such. Everyone has heard of "crystal balls", but few know how they work. The premise is fairly simple, the creator simply casts a divination spell on a crystal sphere after enchanting it. Most items of this sort are first enchanted to hold a spell or spells, then the spell or spells are cast upon the item, and finally, the creator enchants the item to keep the spell or spells on the item permanent, or nearly so. Enchantment sometimes involves the storing of spells in objects or people. To do this, the sorcerer must have the object in sight, and usually in hand, or have the person in sight. If an enchantment is used on a person, the sorcerer must have the trust of that person. Once the sorcerer has the trust of the individual, via explaination or trickery, he or she can begin casting. To store spells in an individual, the sorcerer begins by "readying" the individual. This is a long and drawn out process in which the individual must remain in sight of the sorcerer. After this has taken place, the sorcerer begins casting the spell or spells on the enchantment, not the individual. The spell or spells are then stored for later use. This concludes my reports on thaumaturgy. Although I have not covered nearly all of it, I must be moving on. For more information on thaumaturgy, send E-mail to: SMTP%"LISTSERV@UNCCVM.UNCC.EDU" with the message: o Name: o Location: o E-mail Address: o Send Profile to List? o Context: o Topics of Interest: o Remarks: Send comments, flames, etc. to ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ******************************************************************************* =============================================================================== Letters To The Editor From time to time, we here at ICS will continue to present some of the feedback you, the audience, generate in response to our 'zine: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: SMTP%"ACKERMAN@WSUVM1.CSC. Responding to the article by Ted Sanders, I have been in graduate education for some 30 years and realize that to educate someone to a discipline is a long process. It begins with learning a lot of terms and concepts which only later get to be applied. I have noted that there is a great leap intellectually from undergraduate to graduate education. The undergradaute takes a lot of courses many of which are in the same department, but does not try to pull things together. Data is just out there. Making the committment to graduate studies comes as a committment to pull things together and deal more holistically with a subject field. As normal citizens in a society, we get a lot of bits and pieces, but rarely any opportunity to bring these fragments together. On the undergraduate level, a senior honors thesis is an example of trying to do an integrated piece of work that carries over many class hours. Perhaps there should be more of this in education, but unfortunately it can come only at the end of a series of educational encounters. The person must be ready to undergo a mind shift from data gathering to data analysis. Many times I have sat around a campfire in the field talking with undergraduate and some graduate students about doing research and realizing that they did not have the right mind set to know what I was talking about. We call it mental maturation and the like. It is a readiness to procede on a different level of integration. Since this is the case, we need to teach students at the level where they are currently at, not where we hope that they would be so a 101 level course is thus quite different than a 300 or 400 level. We do need to operate in the fashion that a student entering higher level courses has been able to make the leap from data gathering to data analysis or at least be prepared to do it. That is what the higher level courses are for, to make that leap forward. In other words, we cannot give the student what they want, but what they will need. Robert Ackerman, Professor Department of Anthropology Washington State University Pullman, WA 99164-4910 [The old problem with Universal education; the least common denominator often rules. Personally, I refuse to believe individuals must reach a given age or level of experience in order to perform data analysis or "mature integration". By conceding defeat, we prevent evolution - Ed.] +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ From: Gravities Angel THAT DARN UNIVERSITY . . . WHEN WILL THEY TEACH ME WHAT I *REALLY* NEED TO KNOW? [Excerpted] .... On the surface, as I have noted, Mr. Sanders "First Word" essay suffers from a number of definitional problems that render his arguments unclear at best. On a deeper level, I believe that Mr. Sanders mistakenly correlates the acquisition of knowledge with the application of education. These two endeavors are not the same activity at all, although I believe that most universities in this country make an effort to teach both. Whether the hypothetical Chemistry student mentioned by Mr. Sanders actually needs to know how to save his/her money in order to buy Adidas or to pay the rent is not, or should not be, the concern of a Chemistry teacher. His/her only concern should be to impart the basic assumptions and knowledge associated with Chemistry to his/her students and not information on how to balance a check book or save money. The student who feels a need to pay the university to teach him/her these skills could undoubtedly arrange a zero credit independent study in the appropriate department if they feel that that is what they have come to their particular university to learn. My guess is that mom and dad told them how to save their money for shoes or rent long before they got to college, only they may not have chosen to listen to them. I will leave this discussion with an excellent quote by Neil Postman from a number of years ago which seems to play upon the issues raised by Mr. Sanders. Postman, Like Sanders, is concerned about the state of education in this country, however, he, unlike Sanders, does not believe that the solution is passive acceptance or mediocrity: Passive acceptance is a more desirable response to ideas than active criticism. Discovering knowledge is beyond the power of students and is, in any case, none of their business. Recall is the highest form of intellectual achievement, and the collection of unrelated "facts" is the goal of education. The voice of authority is to be trusted and valued more than independent judgment. One's own ideas and those of one's classmates are inconsequential. Feelings are irrelevant in education. There is always a single, unambiguous Right Answer to a question. English is not History and History is not Science and Science is not Art and Art is not Music, and Art and Music are minor subjects and English, History and Science major subjects, and a subject is something you "take" and, when you have taken it, you have "had" it, and if you have "had" it, you are immune and need not take it again. (The Vaccination Theory of Education?), in Neil Postman, Teaching As a Subversive Activity. If more time were spent by students trying to learn what they *don't know* instead of trying to *avoid* what they think they don't need to know, more progress might be made by both students and educational institutions. While I'm not naive enough to believe that educational institutions have what's best for the students at heart, I do believe that the purpose of education is *not* to teach students what they already know. If a student is bright enough to convince his/her Chemistry teacher to teach him/her how to save money for shoes, s/he is also bright enough to ask the person to teach them who is best suited. The Chemistry teacher should in turn be bright enough to tell them to "shut up and learn Chemistry, and to go home after class and ask mom and dad how to save money." EVENTINE SHEGOTH PURDUE UNIVERSITY, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION BITNET ID: FFMLK@ALASKA (VIA INDIANA) [This is a fragment of an excellent critical analysis; we'll pass it along to Ted, if we ever find him - Ed.] ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ From: Howard Kaplan Re Ted Sanders' "The First Word". I remember a lecture given by a man whose fly was open (wide). No one attending that lecture remembers a word the poor man said, but Everyone remembers the open fly. While it might not be an exact parallel, the use of the word "exemplerary" in Sanders' article , especially as it's the lead article and one designed to be thought provoking, tends to cloud over the content. [The Human Spellchecker has been installed - Ed.] ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ From: SMTP%"GLADSTONE@CSMC.EDU" > "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) This guy said a lot of real cool stuff. Any suggested readings by him, or did he just toss off a lot of quotes? [H.L. is what I consider an American literary treasure - the source of my inspiration and the standard bearer for intellectual thought in my universe - some highly recommended titles: * A Mencken Chrestomathy. New York: Knopf, 1949. * The Vintage Mencken. New York: Vintage Books, 1955. * The Days of Mencken: Happy Days, Newspaper Days, Heathen Days. New York: Knopf, 1949. * For the scholar, see the "Treatise on Right and Wrong" and the "Treatise on the Gods" - the first deals with the history of morality while the second examines the evolution of religion. * In Colorado, all of these titles are available through an Inter-Library Loan program. Ask your local librarian if a similar program exists in your neck of the woods.] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [From ICS 7-2] > ()()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 $24,000 ain't what it used to be... You don't mention taxes. Governments find ways to use about 25% - 50% of all goods and services produced. Gotta run the Internet, etc,etc. So, I guess we are left with maybe $12,000. In most cities, you can't even afford to be poor with that kind of money. I guess if I had my 40 acres and a mule I might be able to make it on 12K. But, there is another *big* problem. If you just hand out the cash, most all people will have no incentive to produce. Nobody to solder all those tiny parts on PC boards, nobody to grow strawberries or good dope. Nobody to sweat blood through medical school to fix your broken arm. Since if all money is given away equally, it is no longer useful as a medium of exchange for goods and services. It therefore is useful only for toiler paper and such. If you abolish money and go back to pure barter, you are essentially in the same situation except you no longer have a convenient medium of exchange. What you say reminds me that the average human height and weight are about 70 inches and 160 pounds. Should we give a few inches to all the short (whoops, vertically challanged) people, and take a few pounds from the gravitationally impaired? (fat) Such is contrary to The Way Of Things, and that which is against the Tao cannot long endure (So they keep telling me). Another point is that some of us expect more of some things and less of others. We have different needs and abilities. So the way we interact with our surroundings naturally produce differing results. ... So much for the 'stock answer'. Now to address your question on it's merits. Most of us know people very busy acquiring more money than they will ever need, and miss out on life. They do not know the joy of giving, and so we call them greedy and foolish. An article this year in Scientific American shows that most recent famines have been the result not of lack of supply, but of fear of shortage, which drives up the price through speculation. Even in very poor areas, education, particularly of females, has the effect of improving life and reducing artificial shortages. I suppose the 'bottom line' is to realize that life can be a non zero sum game, meaning that instead of fighting over the same sized pie, we can make a bigger pie and share it better. But never forget, SOMEBODY has to grow the wheat, bake the pie, etc. And those somebodies will expect to be PAID for their trouble. My $.02, submitted for your approval. ;-) [Thanks for the Reality check, Joe. There are, of course, no simplistic answers to the greed Jeremy asks about. Thoughtful dialogue does, however, present the opportunity to promote change - Ed.] +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Last Word By Steven Peterson As I sit here, more than a little burned out from the end-of-the-term crush of Academic composition, I can palpably feel the residue of fear, hope, and tensioned effort in this here "electronic sweat-shop". Our eminent Faculty Advisor, George Sibley, continues to provide us with that essential "outsider's" perspective. If anyone out there has witnessed an atmosphere of consolidation in their computer labs, feel free to write us and tell all about any "emerging consciousness" developing among the toiling workers on your campus. Jason, our resident mystic, offers us his last installment of his "Magic" series in this issue - he'll be back next term to explore new terrain. As the Editor, I deeply enjoyed assembling the "Letters" section - thanks to all for their thoughtful responses. I look forward to future installments - keep the E-mail coming. In our next issue, I will return with another of my "New Prejudices" columns, while the rest of the staff will be back to offer the products of their individual Spring Break Inspirations. ############################################################################### +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ******************************************************************************* -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ICS would like to hear from you. We accept flames, comments, submissions, editorials, corrections, and just about anything else you wish to send us. 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