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wire Guatemala!

Costa Rican forests going fast

groundwater never more at risk

for stupaphiles only

Pre-teen defenders of the rainforest

anonymity rules

Scientologists wire the G rated White House

internet grows and grows...

SE Asian forests in peril

AIDS spreading among young people

thinking cells

India Watch: hot spots & dam protests

wake up and smell the kava kava

casualties of the INFOWAR

scientists plead: Save the Forests!

PC's: m or f? & net glossary & search engine watch

technorealism & computers in the schools

survivors of the fatal crash

Julia Butterfly

wire Guatemala
Dream Job described in Hotwired: Use your
technical savvy to rebuild a war-torn country!
The Global Development Center, a humanitarian
assistance group in Guatemala, is seeking two
open-minded technicians to help wire up the entire
but keep in mind that on the streets there is a
resurgence of the death squads that acted in the
1970s and early 1980s against leftist guerrilla groups and
supposed sympathisers. These death squads, created during
the armed conflict, are the same ones monitoring,
threatening and harassing activists in human
rights and other areas, as well as reporters,
today. Human rights organisations and others warn
of a ''social cleansing'' effort.
But authorities deny the existence of death squads
and ''social cleansing'' operations, and blame the
killings on gang warfare. The state has been overtaken by
crime, according to the Myrna Mack foundation, a human rights
organisation that carries the name of an anthropologist killed by
the military in 1990.
from [c] 1998, InterPress Third World News Agency

Costa Rican forests going fast
Despite significant efforts to conserve its
tropical resources, an articleby John Burnett
claims that Costa Rica "is not living up to its
own environmental rhetoric--either in supporting
its famous park system or in halting
deforestation." Given frequent statements that
Costa Rica is leading the way in sustainable
development, these claims are troubling. The 11%
of forested areas that are supposedly under
protection are inadequate to provide the landscape
structure necessary to maintain forest ecosystem
processes. It is not enough to preserve 11% of
the landscape while giving free reign to destroy
the rest-- which is apparently the case as Costa
Rica has one of the highest rates of
deforestation. The rest of human history will
constitute a vigil to guard what remains of the
Earth's biological wealth.
--Glenn Barry (from the IGC rainforest conference
April 3, 1998)
see article on this by John Burnett at Ecological

groundwater never at more risk Under the pressure of the need to rapidly develop new water supplies, there is rarely adequate attention to, and investment in, the maintenance, protection and longer-term sustainability of groundwater. Groundwater is becoming increasingly polluted. The most common contaminants are: o nitrate, o salinity, o soluble organic compounds (including synthetic toxic species) and, in certain conditions, o some fecal pathogens. Serious pollution of groundwater occurs when contaminants are discharged to, deposited on, or leached from the land surface, at rates significantly exceeding the natural attenuation capacity. This is occurring widely as a result of both the indiscriminate disposal of liquid effluents and solid wastes from urban development with inadequate sanitation arrangements, and of uncontrolled effluent disposal and leakage of stored chemicals into the ground from industrial activity. Groundwater pollution is insidious and expensive; insidious because it takes many years to show its full effect in the quality of water pumped from deep wells; expensive because, by this time, the cost of remediating polluted aquifers will be extremely high. Indeed, restoration to drinking water standards is often practically impossible. from news report by: Dick de Jong Public Information/Advocacy Manager IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre PO Box 93190 2509 AD The Hague The Netherlands tel.: +31-70-30 689 68 / 30 689 30 fax: +31-70-35 899 64 http://www.oneworld.org/ircwater/
for stupaphiles only:

all you ever wanted to know about stupas and more

pre-teen defenders of the rainforest
an activist group in Massachussets founded by 14-year
old Jonathan Luman!

web users want to be left anonymous

Vanderbilt University researchers Donna Hoffman,

Tom Novak, and Marcos Peralta say that

94% of Web users surveyed have refused to provide

information to a Web site, and 40% have given fake


(from New York Times 13 Apr 98 via Edupage. Edupage is

written by John Gehl (gehl@educom.edu) and Suzanne

Douglas (douglas@educom.edu).

Scientologists have the White House wired
The NYT reports (4-9-98) that scientolgist owned
EarthLink Networks wired the White House so that
children worldwide could take part in the recent
Easter Egg festivities on the South Lawn.
"Public media should not contain explicit or
implied descriptions of sex acts. Our society
should be purged of the perverts who provide the
media with pornographic material while pretending
it has some redeeming social value under the
public's 'right to know.' Pornography is
pornography, regardless of the source."
- Kenneth Starr, 1987, interview with Dianne
Sawyer - 60 minutes check http://www.moveon.org

Internet growth A study by the U.S. Commerce Department says that traffic on the Internet is doubling every hundred days and predicts that electronic commerce will grow to $300 billion a year by 2002. and this on breakthroughs: "Technological breakthroughs don't come from "eureka" moments in the lab. Breakthroughs come from incremental change, often in ways few can predict. Mosaic, a group-hacked piece of software coded by students at the University of Illinois in 1993 flipped the Internet from an obscure research network into the global phenomenon we have today. Lotus 1-2-3, in the early 80s, flipped the home computer from a hobbyist's toy into a tool for work, propelling millions of PC sales. The Palm Pilot, in 1996, flipped the Personal Digital Assistant market, from a clumsy obscure niche, into a mainstream platform. None of these inventions, taken on their own, were profound ruptures with the past, instead they served as catalytic engines, bringing together several currents of innovation into a new, powerful direction-- a breakthrough." (from David S. Bennahum <davidsol@panix.com> Fri, 8 May 1998 on the Meme listserv)
SE Asian Forests in Peril The Philippine government has announced plans to lift its nine-year ban on the export of logs in order to earn badly needed foreign exchange. The ban was in response to the fact that 3/4 of the nation's forest cover has been lost and only 14% of remaining forests are primary. Thus, just 3% of the original primary forest area is intact. This denuding of the countryside has had real and significant impacts on the ecology, quality of life and future development potential of the country. The decision has sparked protest and now the matter is to be put to public hearings. Economic crisis would not seem to warrant such short term measures which would surely only worsen economic and ecological prospects--which are after all just two sides of the same coin. It is interesting to note the various forest management decisions across South East Asia in response to the economic crisis--from the Solomon Islands deciding to pursue another forest paradigm, to Papua New Guinea holding the line on log export taxes, and now the Philippines essentially giving away the rest of the shop. The forests of the region have provided for local people for millennia, and long after the present crisis has faded, people's quality of life will be impacted upon by decisions made today. -- Glenn Barry Check out our Gaia Forest Conservation Archives networked by Ecological Enterprises, grbarry@students.wisc.edu
AIDS still on the march U.N. health officials released a report April 22 that says five people between the ages of 10 and 24 worldwide are infected with HIV every minute.
Deepak on thinking cells: In the last few years we've seen some extraordinary research in this field coming out of prestigious universities and medical schools and places like the National Institute of Health. About 20 years ago it was discovered, for example, that our thoughts and our feelings have physical substrate to them. When you think a thought you make a molecule. To think is to practice brain chemistry. And in fact these thoughts are translated into very precise molecules known as neuropeptides. '"Neuro"' because they were first found in the brain. And 'peptides' because they're protein-like molecules. And thoughts, feelings, emotions and desires translate into the flux of neuropeptides in the brain. You can think of these neuro-peptides like little keys that fit into very precise locks called receptors on the cell walls or other neurons. So the way this part of the brain speaks to another part of the brain is not necessarily in English with an Indian accent, but in the precise language of these neuropeptides. What was found subsequently, which was absolutely fascinating was that there were receptors to neuropeptides not only in brain cells but other parts of the body. So when scientists started looking for receptors to neuropeptides in cells of the immune system, for example: T cells, B cells, monocytes and macrophages - when they started looking at them, they found that on the cell walls of all these there were receptors for the same neuropeptides which are the molecular substrate of thought. So your immune cells are in fact constantly eavesdropping on your internal dialogue. Nothing that you say to yourself, which you're doing all the time, even in sleep, escapes the attention of the immune cells. Not only that, the immune cells, it was subsequently discovered, can make the same peptides that the brain makes when it thinks. Now here we come to a startling finding, because if the immune cell is making the same chemicals that the brain is making when it thinks, then the immune cell is a thinking cell. It's a conscious little being." --Deepak Chopra
India watch: Dam Protest Continues 2,000 JAILED FOR PROTESTING MAHESHWAR DAM MANDALESHWAR, India, April 23, 1998 (ENS) - Two thousand people are now in jail and 25 people are in the hospital as the struggle over the giant Maheshwar Dam in India's Narmada Valley continued today. More than 800 men and women once again dodged police barricades and occupied the dam site. The occupation took place in broad daylight showing the complete command of the people over the local terrain. Villagers who will be displaced and suffer environmental consequences if the 400 megawatt dam is built occupied the dam construction site Wednesday. INDIA'S 50 ENVIRONMENTAL HOTSPOTS GOA, India, March 11, 1998 (ENS) - Fifty years after India got independence from British colonial rule, the country's environment is neither free nor thriving. India's pattern of development has given a severe beating to nature green campaigners have warned while listing "Fifty Indian tragedies in the making." Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Indian independence, which is being celebrated nationwide throughout this year, this listing is a sobering realization of where India has gone wrong. It was put together by Bittu Sahgal, the editor of the prominent green magazine SANCTUARY ASIA. The list points out how national parks and forests, tiger reserves, major lakes, sanctuaries and coastal areas are paying a heavy price for Indian attempts to boost economic growth. Commented Sehgal, "To my mind, the euphoria of celebrating our fiftieth anniversary of Independence should be tempered by some introspection. Is every Indian indeed better off today? Is our water cleaner today? Are our forests more secure? Is our national animal, the tiger, safe?" Threats to India's wildlife from poaching have already received "justifiable" attention, Sehgal said. But the "more insidious and potentially permanent threat of the dismemberment" of contiguous forests by industrial and commercial projects "remains virtually unrecognized." Mines, dams, canals, polluting industries, new highways, thermal plants and urban constructions including tourism projects, townships and resettlement sites have been blamed for causing problems in various parts of India. This listing points to the destruction caused by "years of timber felling and indiscriminate road building" through the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a group of over three thousand islands, many uninhabited, lying in the Bay of Bengal and part of the overseas possessions of India. It shows how highway projects in the south-eastern regional state of Andhra Pradesh "currently threaten several wildlife reserves." A number of tiger reserves have been threatened by roads in Arunachal Pradesh. Dams financed by the World Bank, mines and railways in Bihar have created environmental problems of enormous magnitude. And a separatist insurgency has virtually wiped out the rhinos of Manas in the north-east Indian state of Assam. Excessive tourism - including luxury tourism - in the very heart of the forest threatens the well known Gir region of Gujarat in western India. Gir is home to a national park and a lion sanctuary. Other problem areas include the wild ass sanctuary in Gujarat, the Dal Lake in Northern India's Jammu and Kashmir region, forests in Karnataka in the south of India and a large number of other areas, totalling fifty in all. In western India, the crowded metropolis of Bombay - India's commercial capital - has for its green lungs the Borivali National Park. But wildlife poaching is taking place in the Park by politically well-connected individuals. Expanding tourism facilities, a temple complex, and illicit liquor distilling also takes a severe toll of trees used as fuel. Sehgal pointed out that without "clean rivers, fertile soils and productive coastlines" no economic development would be possible. On the contrary, he said, the Indian government is duty-bound by the country's constitution to protect the "ecological integrity" of the nation. "[Official Indian] scientists and advisors do not possess the technology to purify water once it has been poisoned. Nor can the [federal] Water Resources Ministry do more than lament the early death of hundreds of large dams, killed by deforestation-related siltation," Sehgal commented. ---from the EnviroNews Service
kava kava from the Wall Street Journal, Thu 26 Feb 1998, front page of the Marketplace section: The Making of an Herbal Superstar Chris Kilham was working in a Brookline, Mass., natural-food store in 1980 when he first tasted an herbal remedy called kava. It came from the root and stem of an obscure South Pacific plant. "A sensuous wave of muscular relaxation washed slowly throughout my entire body," he later wrote, "like India ink spreading on white paper." Today, thanks to behind-the-scenes promoting by Mr. Kilham and a cadre of other devotees, kava is poised to become the next blockbuster hebral remedy. For the millions who bought ginkgo biloba to sharpen their memory and St. John's wort to treat depression, kava is being pitched as a natural way to heal another big modern woe: anxiety. ... How does an herb rise from obscurity to star status, despite a lack of scientific proof and puny advertising budgets? Here's how: zealous proselytizers, regulatory gamesmanship, shoestring marketing and doctor endorsements. It also helps to be the subject of a glowing book or two, not to mention magazine and newspaper articles and radio and TV shows. ... To become a star, every herb needs a prophet. In the case of kava, it is Mr. Kilham. ... In 1995, Mr. Kilham persuaded the owners of Pure World Inc, a New Jersey herbal manufacturer, to send him to the republic of Vanuatu in the South Pacific to line up a source of kava. Things must have gone well: He later became an honorary tribal chief there. Since then, with Mr. Kilham's help as a paid consultant, Pure World has become one of the biggest kava suppliers in the U.S., providing 60 companies (many of them kava newcomers) with extract and processing more than a hundred tons of raw kava each year. Mr. Kilham, in the meantime, wrote a book called "Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise." He says that he has given more than 50 radio interviews on the herb in the last six months and preaches about kava's soothing ways at about a dozen industry and medical seminars a year. "I've made it my vow to popularize kava," Mr. Kilham says. ... Enzymatic Therapy Inc., a Green Bay, Wis., supplement company, plans to send Harold H. Bloomfield, a California psychiatrist and author, to eight seminars to talk up herbs to doctors, pharmacists and retailers. Last year his best-selling book, "Hypericum (St. John's Word) and Depression," and subsequent coverage on "20/20" and in newspapers helped turn St. John's wort into a superstar herb. The kava industry hopes his new book, "Healing Anxiety With Herbs," due from HarperCollins Publishers in April, will do the same for kava. In the new book, Dr. Bloomfield promotes kava as preferable to Valium and Xanax for treating mild to moderate anxiety. HarperCollins plans a media blitz for the book, including a 12-city lecture tour, full-page ads and TV and radio interviews. The industry hopes this will lead to articles in the mainstream press. "In 1998 you're going to see kava just go through the roof," Dr. Bloomfield predicts. Enzymatic Therapy is rolling out two new kava products to coincide with the book's release.
casualties of the infowar: Control is quickly being taken away from the individual. As the web becomes larger and larger the masses will not enter that realm with the same delight and anarchistic sense of discovery that many of us have experienced. No, they'll be given browsers loaded with advertisements leading to sites that have paid for the space, search engines that are more corrupt than the politicians, and finding links to those subversive, informative sites will be the casualty of this war. That's the infowar. I honestly believe that the internet's renaissance has come and gone. I am truly interested in what will become of the non-technical worker, which, as a reminder, is by far the majority of the planet. from Chris Jordan <cjordan@multilogic.com> ARS ELECTRONICA FESTIVAL 98 INFOWAR. information.macht.krieg Linz, Austria, September 07 - 12
Scientists plead for American Forests Over 500 scientists, including Pulitzer Prize winning Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson, and primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall, sent a letter to Congress Tuesday in support of the Act to Save America's Forests. "Clearcutting and other even-aged silviculture practices and timber road construction have caused widespread forest ecosystem fragmentation and degradation. The result is species extinction, soil erosion, flooding, destabilizing climate change, the loss of ecological processes, declining water quality, diminishing commercial and sport fisheries, and recently, mudslides in Oregon which killed American citizens," says the scientists' letter. from: The EnviroNews Service newsdesk@envirolink.org A Project of the EnviroLink Network Phone : (412) 683-6400 General Info: mailto:info@envirolink.org Fax : (412) 683-8460
Is your computer male or female?
> As you are aware, ships have long been characterized as being female
> (e.g., "Steady as she goes", or "She's listing to starboard,
> Captain!"). Recently, a group of computer scientists (all males)
> announced that computers should also be referred to as being female.
> Their reasons for drawing this conclusion follow:
> Five reasons to believe computers are female:
> 1. No one but the Creator understands their internal logic.
> 2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers
> is incomprehensible to everyone else.
> 3. The message "Bad command or file name" is about as informative as,
> "If you don't know why I'm mad at you, then I'm certainly not going to
> tell you".
> 4. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for
> later retrieval.
> 5. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself
> spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.
> However, another group of computer scientists (all female) think
> that computers should be referred to as if they were male. Their
> reasons follow:
> Five reasons to believe computers are male:
> 1. They have a lot of data, but are still clueless.
> 2. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time
> they are the problem.
> 3. As soon as you commit to one you realize that, if you had waited
> a little longer, you could have obtained a better model.
> 4. In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.
> 5. Big power surges knock them out for the rest of the night.

from: Needle1951 <Needle1951@aol.com>

here's a glossry for net terms and the latest info on search engines

technorealism & computers in school David Bennahum, Editor of the popular listserv MEME, Andrew Shapiro, Fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and Steven Johnson, Editor of FEED, have written the eight principles of what they call Technorealism: 1. Technologies are not neutral. 2. The Internet is revolutionary, but not Utopian. 3. Government has an important role to play on the electronic frontier. 4. Information is not knowledge. 5. Wiring the schools will not save them. 6. Information wants to be protected. 7. The public owns the airwaves; the public should benefit from their use. 8. Understanding technology should be an essential component of global citizenship. and in the schools: COMPUTERS ARE BETTER FOR YOU THAN WONDER BREAD Social critic Todd Oppenheimer, an associate editor of Newsweek, says that, in spite of the fact that "there is no good evidence that most uses of computers significantly improve teaching and learning," a poll taken last year indicates that "U.S. teachers ranked computer skills and media technology as more 'essential' than the study of European history, biology, chemistry and physics; than dealing with social problems such as drugs and family breakdown; than learning practical job skills and than reading modern American writers such as Steinbeck and Hemingway or classic ones such as Plato and Shakespeare." (Washington Post 11 May 98) from Edupage
Survivors of the fatal crash One night, a Delta twin-engine puddle jumper was flying somewhere above New Jersey. There were five people on board: the pilot, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, the Dalai Lama, and a hippie. Suddenly, an illegal oxygen generator exploded loudly in the luggage compartment, and the passenger cabin began to fill with smoke. The cockpit door opened, and the pilot burst into the compartment. "Gentlemen," he began, "I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that we're about to crash in New Jersey. The good news is that there are four parachutes, and I have one of them!" With that, the pilot threw open the door and jumped from the plane. Michael Jordan was on his feet in a flash. "Gentlemen," he said, "I am the world's greatest athlete. The world needs great athletes. I think the world's greatest athlete should have a parachute!" With these words, he grabbed one of the remaining parachutes, and hurtled through the door and into the night. Bill Gates rose and said, "Gentlemen, I am the world's smartest man. The world needs smart men. I think the world's smartest man should have a parachute, too." He grabbed a pack, and out he jumped. The Dali Lama and the hippie looked at one another. Finally, the Dali Lama spoke. "My son," he said, "I have lived a satisfying life and have known the bliss of True Enlightenment. You have your life ahead of you; you take a parachute, and I will go down with the plane." The hippie smiled slowly and said, "Hey, don't worry, pop. The world's smartest man just jumped out wearing my backpack."
Julia Butterfly tells Pacific Lumber where to get off Proposal to protect ancient redwood Luna, surrounding forest, and resolve the over seven-month treesit: In an unprecedented move, treesitter Julia "Butterfly" Hill has delivered terms to the Pacific Lumber Company and its president, John Campbell, calling for a resolution which would permanently protect the ancient redwood tree Luna and restrict management activities to restoration in the surrounding forest. Butterfly has occupied the massive tree for over 200 days in an effort to spare it and the surrounding residual old-growth stand from the chainsaws of Pacific Lumber. As a part of her proposal Butterfly has stated that she would descend from her platform, ending her over seven-month effort, should the terms be met. "I gave my word to this tree, the forest, and to all the people, that my feet would not touch the ground until I had done everything in my power to make the world aware of this problem and to stop the destruction," said Butterfly. "This has nothing to do with me coming down, but everything to do with ancient redwoods staying up." In a letter addressed to Campbell, Senator Tom Hayden wrote "I urge the Pacific Lumber Company to work toward a solution which will allow Julia to descend from her platform by agreeing to spare Luna and the surrounding hillside from future timber harvest activity." (Thanks to LunaMedia for this update)