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International Teletimes Volume 02 Number 09

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International Teletimes
 · 26 Apr 2019

  

INTERNATIONAL TELETIMES

The Environment & Human Rights

¥ Vol. 2 No. 9 November 1993 ¥
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CONTENTS
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-- Features --
Air in Mexico City
Just Do It!
Cognitive Science and Animal Rights

-- Departments --
The Keepers of Light
Deja Vu
The Wine Enthusiast


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EDITORÕS NOTE
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Dear readers,
For over a year now, Teletimes has been a zero-profit
magazine. Many people have donated their time and creativity
into making this publication work. Several of our writers
(and Art Directors) are of professional caliber and deserve
to be rewarded for their work and to be perfectly honest, I
have put in countless hours into Teletimes myself at the
expense of my school work.We hope to start changing this
soon. But don't worry, the entire magazine will still be
free to all readers. We do, however, ask that you send us
between $10-$20 US or Canadian if you enjoy reading
Teletimes and would like to see it constantly improving
(checks can be made out to "Global Village Communications
Society"). We will also be attempting to find some
advertisers to help cover our costs. Our preliminary
research has put the readership at around 5 000. If you are
interested in placing an ad in Teletimes, please contact us
and we will supply you with some more details.

Ian Wojtowicz
Editor-in-Chief


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MAILBOX
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-- Reader Comments --

1. Nice layout, but I sure would like to be able to get a
bigger font on this little 7 inch screen. On my screen it
looks about ten point, which is tough on these old bifocaled
eyes. Maybe you could up it a point or two. Italicized
responses to the letters have gotta go - virtually (pun
intended) unreadable. Please try something else to
differentiate.

2. I was not particularly interested in the contents of this
issue (October '93), but it seems to be well written and I
will certainly download future issues.

3. Graphics appear a little dense in black & white w/ no
greyscale. But that's a minority view (grin) these days.

4. Perhaps you could add the ability in the Mac version to
print specific sections of IT right from the screen. Doing a
text output followed by a cut & print is kludgy, but the
only alternative is (or seems to be) a print of the whole
'zine.

5. Suggestion for a Department: "Found on the Net." Look for
things that are international in flavor and of some degree
of off-beat interest. For example, if you email Ian Feldman
(ianf@random.se) he might send you a copy of his listing of
"Bike Tales." This consists of a title, author, publisher &
pricing for books about bike trips, many of which occur
outside North America. You could ask your readers to submit
such items to your attention - I'll bet some interesting
stuff will come up.

6. For the heck of it, you might publish a bilingual edition
or two. But keep one of the languages English, for us
monolingual types.

7. Make some money - sell some of your space to Feder's and
other similar publishers to advertise their travel wares.
Look over the New Yorker ads and pick a couple of the yuppie
advertisers whose wares are related to travel & sell them
some space, too. Insist on quality in the form of
entertaining and informative ads.

- Harmon Dow, Chicago, USA


Thanks for your free electronic magazine. Hope you'll send
me more information on electronic publications available via
e mail.

- Awaji Yoshimasa, Kisarazu, Japan


A friend recently gave me a copy of the August issue of
Teletimes. I must commend you on all your efforts. Very
impressive work.

My question is... Does Teletimes get distributed freely?
Mailing list? If so, please add my address to your list. If
not.. please send me subscription information.

- Jason Schreiber, jd@world.std.com

Nice work folks. I would like a subscription to the Mac
version by e-mail if possible, since my access to ftp is
flaky. Thank you. Could you also e-mail me the submissions
guide for writing? Thanks again and pass on my highest
praise to the rest of the team!

- Kelly Janz, Strathmore, Canada


Great e-mag... Keep up the good work!!! I especially like
your Mailbox icon.

- Otto Grajeda, San Fransisco, USA


The Sept-93 issue was the first one I read. I enjoyed it
very much, especially the articles "Cyperspace" by Paul
Gribble and "Japans Love Affair with Gizmos" by Prasad
Akella. Thank you all for your good work.

- Udo Hakelberg, Berlin, Germany


Your italic typeface is very hard to read. Other than that
it is an excellent general magazine.

- James Mitchell, North Carlton, Australia


THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO RETURNED THEIR RESPONSE CARDS. AS
YOU CAN SEE, I HAVE FOLLOWED YOUR ADVICE AND DONE AWAY WITH
ITALICS AND REPLACED THEM A BOLD TYPEFACE. IN RESPONSE TO
MR. HARMON DOW'S QUESTION ABOUT PRINTING, DOCMAKER DOES, IN
FACT, ALLOW YOU TO PRINT ONLY CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE
MAGAZINE IF YOU WISH. I DO NOT SUPPORT PRINTING OUT
TELETIMES AS THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A PURELY ELECTRONIC
MAGAZINE. SO PERHAPS IN KEEPING WITH THE SPIRIT OF
CYBERSPACE AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL THEME OF THIS ISSUE, WE
COULD ALL TRY AND REFRAIN FROM PRINTING OUT TELETIMES,
TEMPTING AS IT MAY BE.ANOTHER POINT WHICH WAS BROUGHT UP WAS
THAT OF MAKING SOME MONEY. IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE SO ALREADY,
PLEASE READ THE EDITOR'S NOTE FOR SOME IMPORTANT INFORMATION
ON THIS SUBJECT.


-- A Wired Correction --

While the Wired article (reprinted from v1n2) in the latest
Teletimes was interesting, it's my duty as a citizen of the
West Coast to point out one problem with Stuart Hertzog's
article: Wired isn't published out of New York; though it's
physically printed in Boston, its editorial offices are in
San Francisco. This is, on all accounts, a West Coast mag if
there ever was one.

On a side note, Wired has gone from a bi-monthly to monthly
with the publication of its November issue.

- Jason Snell, Berkeley, USA

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STAFF & INFO
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Editor-in-Chief:
Ian Wojtowicz

Art Director:
Anand Mani

Correspondents:
Biko Agozino, Edinburgh, Scotland
Prasad & Surekha Akella, Japan
Prasad Dharmasena, Silver Spring, USA
Paul Gribble, Montreal, Canada
Dirk Grutzmacher, Edinburgh, UK
Mike Matsunaga, Skokie, USA
Satya Prabhakar, Minneapolis, USA
Motamarri Saradhi, Singapore
Dr. Michael Schreiber, Vienna, Austria
Dr. Euan Taylor, Winnipeg, Canada
Seth Theriault, Lexington, USA

Columnists:
Kent Barrett, Keepers of the Light
Tom Davis, The Wine Enthusiast
David Lewis, Cuisine
Andreas Seppelt, Latin American Correspondant

Shareware policy:
If you enjoy reading Teletimes on a constant basis, and
believe that it is worth paying for, we ask that you send
us between $5 and $10 in US or Canadian funds. This money
will be used to further develop Teletimes. Checks should be
made out to "Global Village Communications Society".

Submission policy:
Teletimes examines broad topics of interest and concern on
a global scale. The magazine strives to showcase the unique
differences and similarities in opinions and ideas which
are apparent in separate regions of the world. Readers are
encouraged to submit informative and interesting articles,
using the monthly topic as a guideline if they wish. All
articles should be submitted along with a 50 word
biography. Everyone submitting must include their real name
and address (also real, please). A Teletimes Writer's Guide
and a Teletimes Photographer & Illustrator's Guide are
available upon request.

Upcoming themes:
December - What's News With You?

Deadline for articles:
November 20th, 1993

E-mail:
ianw@.wimsey.com

Snail mail:
International Teletimes
3938 West 30th Ave.
Vancouver, B.C.
V6S 1X3

Software and hardware credits:
The cover page and section headers are done in Fractal
Painter 1.2 on a Macintosh Quadra 950. The layout and
editing was done on a Macintosh IIci using MS Word 5.0 and
DocMaker 3.96.

Copyright notice:
International Teletimes is a publication of the Global
Village Communication Society and is copyrighted ©1993 by
the same. All articles are copyrighted by their respective
authors however International Teletimes retains the right
to reprint all material unless otherwise requested by the
author. This magazine is free to be copied and distributed
UNCHANGED so long as it is not sold for profit. Editors
reserve the right to alter articles. Submitting material is
a sign that the author agrees to all the above terms.


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FEATURES
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-- Air in Mexico City: A Strange Brew --

A few years ago, I stumbled across a wonderful bit of satire
in MexicoÕs leading English language daily, The News. Under
the column heading of "The Irreverent Gringo", the author
hilariously explained how Mexico CityÕs air was a gold mine
of raw materials and resources, just waiting to be
processed; the high concentrations of lead could be
harvested for use in glass factories; fecal matter, commonly
found floating in the air, would be perfect for high-grade
fertilizers. Concerns about the ozone layer?Ñheck, Mexico
CityÕs air had tons of ozone; we just needed to bottle it up
and fire it back into the stratosphere. This called for a
celebration, or at least a few tequilas raised to the new-
found fortune.

Continuing in this tone, it was equally humourous to see the
Mexican federal government trying to take credit this
September for low pollution readings which resulted from the
strong winds and rains from Hurricane Gerty. The President
of the National Ecological Institute, Sergio Reyes Lujan,
came under heavy criticism when he implied that federal
emission control efforts and other anti-pollution programs
has led to the recent drop (in August and September) in air
particle readings. Reyes further stated that long-term
studies had proven that both lead and sulphur counts were
significantly lower for more than a year now, but that the
level of other contaminants, such as ozone, had shown very
little change.

Just when the laugh-track appeared to end, the Metropolitan
Commission for the Prevention and Control of Contamination
in the Valley of Mexico (CMPCAVM) released its findings in
early October, concluding that less than 2% of all suspended
particle matter in Mexico CityÕs air was caused by industry,
and more than 43% was caused by ground erosion. These
reports quickly caused outrage and incredulity. Greenpeace
representatives immediately countered with World Bank and
World Health Organization analysis which showed that Mexico
CityÕs TSP (total suspended particles) index commonly
exceeded the U.S. average by six times. Greenpeace leaders
also stressed that this new report by the cityÕs pollution-
control agency hides the seriousness of the particle-matter
problem in Mexico City, where more than 6,000 people may die
each year because of exposure to particles in the air.
GreenpeaceÕs argument was supported by a recent report
prepared by the Federal Attorney GeneralÕs Office for the
Protection of the Environment (Profepa), in which Profepa
found that 90% of industries operating in the Mexico City
valley were emitting particles into the airÉand of the more
than 7,000 businesses inspected by Profepa in the first half
of 1993, more than 6,000 displayed irregularities in their
production processes.

All these items point to the fact that industrial and
combustion sources must be responsible for more TSP
pollution than what local commissions and reports have been
acknowledging. Greenpeace has demanded that the government
begin broadcasting weekly detailed reports about air quality
and the levels of suspended particle matter.

All of these recent developments would normally make one
laugh at their ludicrous nature; if, that is, one wasnÕt
working in what the World Health Organization called the
"dirtiest air of any major metropolitan area in the world";
and if this air didnÕt cause coughing, lung and throat
irritation, burning eyes, and a myriad of other ailmentsÑand
if winter wasnÕt approaching, when cold air inversions tend
to hold Mexico CityÕs air masses in place for days.

- Andreas Seppelt, Latin American Correspondant


-- Just Do It! --

Have you ever thought about what it takes to make those
snazzy running shoes you see advertised on TV, reeking of
freedom, individualism, health and cleanliness?

Well mostly it takes cheap labour, really cheap labour, the
cheaper the better.

In August last year a small article appeared in Harpers
magazine, all it consists of is a photograph of an
Indonesian workers payslip and a few annotations to tell you
what it means. This particular (fairly typical) worker earns
14 cents US per hour, at that rate the labour costs for
assembling one pair of running shoes (retail price $80)
would be a massive 12 cents.

This particular lady worked for the Sung Hwa company, a
Korean based firm and a major major supplier for Nike (99%
of Nike shoes are made in Asia). I will warn you now that I
talk about Nike quite a few times in this article, because
they feature heavily in so many of the sources I consulted
about the footwear industry in Indonesia. Nike serves as
something of a paradigm for the subject. But they are by no
means the only foreign firm making a packet out of
Indonesia's workers. Reebok has also invested heavily in
Indonesia, and between 1988 and 1991 foreign investors
channeled more than $350 000 000 US into Indonesia.

For some time Nike have contracted the manufacturing of
their shoes to a number of Korean companies. In the late
80's rising wage demands from Korean workers and increasing
industrial unrest led many companies to shift their
manufacturing operations from Korea to Indonesia and China.
It costs $10 000 a year to employ an average Korean worker
to assemble running shoes, a Chinese worker $1000, and an
Indonesian $500. Not surprisingly Indonesia has become a
favourite manufacturing site.

The official Indonesian trades union (SPSI) is government
run, all other unions were forced to join it in 1985, and
it's appointed officials were members of the army. It has
been refused recognition by the International Confederation
of Free Trade Unions. Indonesian activists have expressed
doubt that it has the will or for that matter the resources
to stand up against major business interests.

Despite the theoretical government monopoly, an independent
trade union - Solidarity - appeared in 1991. One of its
leaders was subsequently abducted by "six armed men", and
kept blindfolded and bound for the three days of his
detention, except for a six hour interrogation. His
interrogators wanted to know where solidarity got its money,
and what were his connections with local political
activists. The union leaders suspected army involvement in
the kidnapping, but this was denied by army spokesmen.

Although some members of the Indonesian parliament, and
ministers concerned with the country's image abroad, do tend
to support stronger protection for workers rights, this is
not the official position. The government line was summed up
by the Manpower Minister, who has been quoted as saying
that:

"The right to hold a strike is protected by the
constitution, but exercise of that right is still not
tolerated in Indonesia because it is harmful to both sides."

The theoretical Indonesian "minimum wage" is considered
sufficient to provide only 15% to 30% of minimum physical
needs (depending upon location and family situation).
Nevertheless a study in 1989, looking at 1017 companies in
the Jakarta area found 56% of companies paying less than
this "minimum" level ($0.43 - $1.33). 88% of workers in the
pay range of our example above, are malnourished.

The situation of workers in Indonesia has not gone
completely unnoticed outside the country. Citing
restrictions on freedom of association the American
Federation of Labour - Congress of Industrial Organisations,
petitioned the US Trade Representative (USTR) four times
between 1985 and 1991 to revoke Indonesia's right to
preferential import duties (permitted under the Generalized
Scheme of Preferences (GSP). In 1992 both Asia Watch and the
International Labour Research Fund separately petitioned the
USTR to end the application of the GSP to Indonesia. They
presented "voluminous evidence" (in the words of one
correspondent) of the absence of internationally recognised
workers rights. The issues they raise include freedom of
association, the right to organise and bargain collectively,
the right to acceptable working conditions, child labour,
and forced labour.

Not surprisingly with a total manufacturing cost of $12 for
a pair of running shoes that retail for $63, Nike's profits
rose from $1 billion in 1988 to $3.5 billion in 1991. At
least in part a result of the "ruthlessness with which Nike
pares its costs" (to quote the Far Eastern Economic Review).

Now to be fair to Nike they (as their representatives are at
pains to emphasise) don't actually run the factories
themselves. They take bids from a number of companies in
Korea, which compete to give the lowest costs per shoe. They
in their turn squeeze the most they can out of their
Indonesian labour force.

Naturally since they don't actually own the factories
themselves, Nike deny any responsibility for the working
conditions there. It is a straight business decision, costs
down profits up. The Far Eastern Economic Review quotes the
Nike General Manager in Jakarta as saying that: "It's not
within our scope to investigate [allegations of labour
violations]".

To consolidate its gains and diversify into the "best sports
and fitness company in the world" (as the CEO told Financial
World this February) the company is planning a move into
sport management. They want to build a "family relationship"
so that they can "exert more control", they would like to
have the athletes who promote their products "embraced by
Nike as a whole".

This cozy family embrace does not extend to the people who
make the running shoes. They are the victims of hostile
government, a complacent union, and deliberate corporate
neglect.

They are also our victims - we are the next link in the
chain.

- Dr. Euan Taylor, Winnipeg, Canada

Sources:
Far Eastern Economic Review: March 1989, June 20th 1991, 5th
November 1992, June 3rd 1993.
Financial World: February 16th 1993.
Harper's Magazine: August 1992.International Labour Review:
vol-129 issue 1.


-- Cognitive Science and Animal Rights--

Cognitive Scientists and Philosophers hold no monopoly on
theories of mind, consciousness and free will. Every person
who comes into contact with species other than their own at
one time or another employs their own theories to guide
their interactions. Standard philosophical arguments about
the ethical treatment of non-human animals ultimately appeal
to some kind of capitulation of the existence and intrinsic
value of non-human minds. What I purport to reveal is an
unsettling consequence of accepting this stance: there are
no reasonable grounds for not extending these principles to
artificial systems.

It is widely accepted in Western culture that to inflict
pain upon another human being is not ethical. We often
justify this kind of conclusion with arguments like, "we
have to consider the interests of other people", and " we
wouldn't like to be treated that way, so neither would this
other person". What this amounts to is objectively
attributing thoughts and feelings to other people based upon
our knowledge of our own subjective thoughts and feelings. I
know what it would be like for my friend to feel pain from a
scraped knee because I know what it is like for me to feel
pain from a scraped knee, and because I believe that my
friend's central nervous system supports his mind in the
same way that mine does.

Can we use the same kind of reasoning to formulate an
ethical stance of our treatment of non-human animals? In his
essay, "What Is It Like to Be a Bat", Thomas Nagel points
out that any such attempts are fundamentally flawed. He
concludes that a human can never in principle know what it
is like to be a bat, simply because a human is not a bat.
Any attempt at mimicking the perceptual effects of "bat-
like" perceptions begs the question because that would only
amount to a human perception of "bat- like" experiences.

Is there a more valid way to formulate an ethical stance?
Marian Stamp Dawkins points out that two main strands are
discernible from the "bowl of spaghetti-like reasoning" that
we use as ethical bases for our treatment of animals: we
tend to value other animals which are clever or which show
evidence of the ability to reason (this view has its origins
in Descartes), and we value other organisms that show
evidence of the ability to suffer and to feel pain (this
view has its origins in Bentham). Dawkins defines suffering
as states in which an organism would rather not be and from
which they would probably try to escape if possible. She
recognizes that animals lack the ability to alert humans to
their states of suffering using language, and proposes three
other sources of evidence: the general state of health of an
animal (for example, squealing, struggling, convulsions),
physiological signs (for example, increased heart rate,
brain activity, hormone levels), and overt behavior.

As an example of behavioral evidence of an animal being in
such a state of suffering, Dawkins describes a situation in
which rats were encased in air-tight containers, subjected
to tobacco smoke. Over time, the rats learned to plug up the
smoke-vents with their own feces, thus expressing, according
to Dawkins, "what they thought of what was being done to
them".

Dawkins then outlines experimental procedures that could in
principle be used to determine more exactly just how
unpleasant a particular state is to an animal. She puts
forth the definition that an animal can be said to be
"suffering if it is being kept in conditions that it would
work hard to get out of, if given the chance, or if it is
being kept in a condition without something that it would
work hard to obtain if given the chance", where "working
hard" is defined as something like expending energy, or
going without food.

What Dawkins' definitions amount to is an ethical stance
that values an organism that has the capacity to show that
something matters to it. According to her account, this can
be best revealed by the extent to which it is able to
evaluate the world and work out how to bring about a change
in the world.

In his book, "Practical Ethics", Peter Singer offers his own
philosophical contemplations on a sound ethical basis for
human treatment of non-human animals. His foundation is that
the fundamental principle of equality, on which the equality
of all human beings rests, is the principle of equal
consideration of interests. He then argues that having
accepted this principle as a sound moral basis for relations
with other humans, we are also committed to accepting it as
a sound moral basis for relations with non-human animals. In
the same way that our concerns for the interests of other
humans should not depend on their race or intelligence, our
concerns for the interests of non-human animals should not
depend on their not being human, or their level of
intelligence.

Singer also appeals to the view put forth by Bentham that
all that is required to entitle a being to equal
consideration is the capacity for suffering. This taken with
the above course of reasoning suggests that Singer is
advocating the moral stance that we must consider the
interests of animals, (human and non-human), as long as
those animals have the capacity to suffer, and as long as
those animals have interests to be considered.

In synthesizing the above views put forth by Singer and
Dawkins, the resulting ethical stance is that based upon the
principle of equal consideration of interests, we are
morally bound to consider the interests of non-human animals
that have the capacity to suffer, where suffering is defined
and can be experimentally revealed in the ways described
above by Dawkins.

To what extent can these same principles be extended to
artificial systems? Should humans be morally bound to
consider the interests of artificial systems in the same
way, by the above arguments, that they are morally bound to
consider the interests of non-human animals?

I propose that an artificial being could, in principle,
satisfy the above criterion. Imagine a mobile floor-
sweeping-robot built out of some kind of heat-sensitive
material, such that if exposed to heat above a certain
temperature for a prolonged period of time, the robot would
melt. Suppose that the robot has been programmed to avoid
termination of its functions. The robot is equipped with
heat detectors and has been programmed to avoid areas of its
environment in which it detects excessive heat. In addition,
the robot has been equipped with crumple-detectors, such
that when the robots outer layer starts to crumple from any
kind of impact, it will reverse its direction of movement.

Imagine that an evil undergraduate lures the floor-sweeping
robot into a room using animal-cracker crumbs, and that once
trapped inside the room, the undergraduate turns up the
heat. The robot begins to sweep up the animal-cracker
crumbs, but its heat detectors start to detect heat levels
far above its pre-programmed threshold. The robot moves
about the room, but its heat detectors register excessive
heat everywhere inside the room. It tries to open the door,
but the baneful undergraduate has locked it. The robot
enters a state in which it emits a loud alarm and flashes
the pre-programmed message "heat levels too high" on its
display screen. The robot has been pre-programmed to regard
heat regulation as its highest priority, so after some pre-
determined time the robot begins to repeatedly roll to the
back of the room, and hurl itself forward, disregarding the
warning-inputs from its crumple-detectors as it repeatedly
smashes into the door.

The robot clearly is in a state in which it would rather not
be if given the chance; after all, it has evaluated the
state of the world and how to bring about a change in the
world. In addition, it is working hard to do so: it is
conceding structural damage and possible resultant
termination in order to forego certain termination due to
the heat. Surely the warning alarm and message can be
interpreted as some kind of physiological response,
equivalent to an organic system releasing hormones in
response to some external stimulus. Thus, Dawkins' criterion
for 'severe enough' suffering have been met, and its
interests have been revealed, so according to Singer, we are
now morally bound to consider those interests.

I will be the first to admit that this is an extremely
unsettling conclusion. The alternatives, however, are either
to abandon this line of reasoning as a defense of non-human
animal interests, or to somehow remove artificial systems
from the scope of this line of reasoning. What possible
reasons could there be for their exclusion? One might argue
that because they were created by humans, their internal
states were created by humans, and thus are not owned by
them. In the same way, however, one could argue that our
internal states (our knowledge, thoughts, and especially our
autonomic physiological responses) are not owned by us, but
are 'pre-programmed' by our genetic background and our
environment.

Any conjecture that the internal states of artificial
systems are not really equivalent to our (or non-human
animal) states of suffering because they are inorganic or
artificial can be countered with Nagel's point: a human
cannot know what it is like to be an [artificial system]
simply because a human isn't an [artificial system]. This
fact doesn't change, even if a human was the creator of the
states that constitute what it is like to 'be' that
artificial system.

Perhaps what is needed is a more stringent way of
determining what systems deserve our consideration of their
interests, and in that way artificial systems could be
indirectly excluded from consideration. It appears that we
find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. If we try to
proceed by re-tuning these criterion, we encounter the
immovable rock. In order to make these criterion more
stringent, we would have to use more internal or subjective
measures than the external, objective behavioral dimensions
offered by Dawkins. Unfortunately any such subjective line
of attack ultimately falls victim to Nagel's argument.

If we try to proceed in the other direction, we find
ourselves in a hard place to be: either we must forsake that
the interests of non-human animals that meet these criterion
deserve our consideration, or we must concede that the
interests of artificial systems that meet these criterion
also deserve our consideration.

- Paul Gribble, Montreal, Canada

Sources:
Dawkins, Marian S. "Minding and Mattering". In Blakemore, C.
& Greenfield, S., Mindwaves. Cambridge: Basil Blackwell,
1987.
Nagel, Thomas. "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?". In
Hofstadter, D. & Dennett, D., The Mind's I. New York: Basic
Books, 1981.Singer, Peter.
Practical Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1979.


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DEPARTMENTS
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-- The Keepers Of Light: Images of Mexico --

All artwork presented in this column is (c) the respective
artists, and may not be copied, altered or re-used without
express written permission. (Artwork Only appears in
Macintosh version.)

Greetings, Cyberfolk, and welcome to the November Keepers of
Light. This month we return to the Exposure Gallery (see the
October '93 issue for details about Exposure) to visit a
fascinating exhibition of photographs by Vancouver artist
Gerry Schallie. We'll also be speaking with Schallie to
discover more about what he is trying to achieve with this
on-going documentary of the Mayan ruins in southern Mexico.

The first impression on entering the gallery and glancing
around is that some one has gone to a lot of trouble to
produce an elegant presentation. All of the works in the
show are identically, simply and impeccably matted and
framed. The mattes have been cut optically centered , and a
subtle score line has been expertly made around the
openings. The overall effect is one balance, harmony and
order. Even the title tags on the walls beside each piece
have been tastefully laser printed on fine paper and placed
with precision beside each frame.

Right. Of course consummate display is often camouflage for
inferior photographs, but happily this is not the case with
Pan Paxil. This show, shot at various locations in the
Yucatan in 1992, represents some of the most carefully
executed photography I have seen in a long time. Shot
entirely on Kodak High Speed Infrared film the images have
all of the glittering grain and highlight glow that this
film, properly handled , can produce. Further, the prints
have been made on especially high silver content papers, and
gold toned, giving them a depth and body they could
otherwise not posses.

The images themselves are curious, almost disturbing. The
ruins are the subject, or perhaps it is the effect that the
sight of these destroyed places has on the viewer that is
the subject. These are not glamour shots, although some of
them are quite dramatic. Most of them seem quite impersonal,
almost empty of meaning at first sight. Very little, if
anything, has been done by the artist to try and impose any
interpretation upon these sad and maddeningly enigmatic
ruins. They simply are.

The first I viewed, "El Mercado" almost made me laugh.
Ruined columns stand in a overgrown vineyard-like setting.
It might have been somewhere in Greece. The sun beams down
from behind the foliage and the trees and columns both glow
in the diffuse light. It had a fantasy quality, like a matte
painting in a movie. There is a small clearing, and I half
expected to see Captain Kirk and an away team beam into the
picture. The longer I looked at it the emptier it appeared
to grow. I moved on.

One I particularly enjoyed was "Annex of the Knives, Edzn‡".
Here the glitter of light on the grass and worn and
shattered rock dances, as if the knives in the title were
growing in sharp myriad profusion on the ground, in the
trees, the air. It sparkles.

I spent a lot of time looking at "Chac (Raingod), Maya Pan".
This fierce figure has seen better days. He is all pocked,
teeth broken, chipped. One eye has been put out. I got the
impression from the damage that Chac had suffered the
indignities of perhaps generations of post-modern Mayan
punks pelting him with rocks, where once they might have
stood with awe.

In his artist's statement Schallie refers to the work of
writer John L. Stephens and artist Frederick Catherwood, who
first chronicled the then virtually unknown Mayan
civilization in 1841. Schallie says found himself influenced
by the feelings invoked by the explorers work, and he found
himself photographing many of the same places visited by
them, in some cases perhaps standing in the exact same
spots. Indeed there is a tremendous similarity between some
of Catherwood's drawings and woodcuts and some of Schallie's
photographs.

"Fallen Ornaments, Kabah" along with "Chacmool & Serpent
Heads, Chichen Itz‡" (the latter perhaps more so) and a few
others appear at first to break from the impersonal feeling
of the majority of the work in this show. The closer view of
these details and fragments seems more intimate than the
larger scenes, a function of size and viewpoint. But again
this feeling of intimacy fades, and the mystery and, yes,
desolation returns.

"Governor's Palace, Uxmal" is a favorite of mine with its
deep shadow between the two strangely curving walls. Again
and again the questions recur: who were these people, how
did they live, what happened...

I found myself becoming depressed. Not depressed, exactly,
but subdued rather by the emptiness and wonder of it all.
The utterly alien mystery of it. It accumulates. Each image
reinforces each other. The whole show seemed to echo.

Another fine image was "Roofcomb, Edzn‡". Here is a photo
that could be used to teach design. Striations in the rock
and streams of light and shadow in the clouds appear to
radiate from the common centre of a black and threatening
empty doorway. The fingers of the rooftop and columns rake
the sky above the rounded hilltop and the dark and
featureless plain below.

Altogether "Pan Paxil" is an excellent show. It is also a
work in progress. Schallie intends to return to southern
Mexico this December to do further work. I'm looking forward
to seeing the final project.

Pan paxil [pan pash”l] broken place,
the cradle of civilization in Mayan
mythology; a citadel or mountain
struck by lightning, mixingcorn and
water to produce the first true
humans.

Tech Notes:

Film: Kodak High Speed Infrared
Cameras: Pentax LX
Lenses: various
Filters: various reds, oranges, yellows
Paper: Forte (high silver, variable grade fiber base,
produced in Hungary)
Development: a dilute
glycin formulation
Post development: selective bleaching, gold toned
Enlarger: Durst 707 (diffusion head), 63 mm Nikkor Ä2.8
enlarging lens
Special Techniques: Use of split contrast filters in
printing

Profile: Gerry Schallie

Gerry Schallie is a very interesting man. His passion for
and dedication to photography is evident in both his
conversation and his work. By day he gigs as Fuji film rep
(and his choice of a Kodak film for this exhibition was a
source of some jocularity around the office.) He enjoys the
work, but finds it somewhat, well, corporate. It does give
him the freedom to travel to Mexico on photo expeditions,
though, and it allows him to take a stricter approach to
pricing his artwork than an artist who has to live on print
sales alone might be able to swallow.

He maintains his own darkroom, separate from his house
because, he says, it lets him get away from photography for
a few hours by going home. He keeps a "huge" darkroom, and
keeps it scrupulously clean. The printing process he
employed for Pan Paxil is arduous, to say the least. The
dilute glycin developer he uses with the Forte paper calls
for print development times running over seven minutes
(compared to the forty-five to ninety seconds common with
developer-incorporated emulsions and high energy
developers). Worse, the combination of weak developer and
high silver paper means that the developer in the tray is
rapidly oxidized, and replenishment is necessary after every
print is processed. The prints must then be further
painstakingly washed to archival standards, and then the
process has only begun. Schallie often uses a selective
bleaching process to bring out certain details in an image,
using a variety of applicators and brushes, sometimes as
fine as a single hair. The prints must then be washed again,
in preparation for the gold toning process. The gold toner
adds extra archival permanence to the prints, and has the
further virtues of adding shadow contrast to the images, and
cooling down the somewhat olive warmth of the Forte paper.
Then, of course, the prints have to be washed.

Schallie goes to these (and other) lengths to achieve the
print effect that he feels most completely empowers the
image to speak. That was my overriding impression from
talking with him while we scanned the photos for this
review. Everything is subordinate to the image. He searches
first for the feeling of a place or event, then begins a
process of discovery to find what will aid the images in
conveying that feeling, and what will hinder.

Obviously quite taken with the delicious mystery of pre-
Colombian Mayan civilization, he is headed back to the
Yucatan for another look, and may venture further south to
Belize. His first trip, he relates, was something of an
exploratory expedition. He asked around and pretty much went
where people told him to, often with disappointing results
("Chichen Itz‡ was like Disneyland"), but this time he's
going back loaded for bear. When I asked about where he
might go he started pulling elevation maps, aerial
photographs, and honking great tomes from the Peabody Museum
of Archaeology from his reinforced cordura satchel. He's
serious.

Schallie is quite well spoken, and will talk for hours about
his work and his impressions, and does so often at the
artists' round table discussions Thursdays at the Railway
Club. He may be reached there or at (604) 737-7035, or by
Snailmail at 307-1345 West 15th Ave, Vancouver, B.C.,
Canada, V6H 3R3.

- Kent Barrett, Vancouver, Canada


-- Deja Vu: Network Computer Technology --

From the perspective of students and scholars, network
computer technology offers the most challenging
transformation of life in the last decade. From the point of
view of the general public, it could be argued that network
technology might soon rival the telephone and the answer
phone, the fax machine, newspapers and television and
especially, ordinary postal services, if it is made
available to all.

Everyone can now send or receive electronic mail (e-mail)
provided that they are registered and have an
address. The address includes the person's log in name, the
country, the institution or nature of work and name of the
local host network. A typical address would look like this
for someone doing academic work at Edinburgh University:
username@uk.ac.ed.castle

This address enables the user to receive e-mail from around
the world and to send e-mail to anyone who uses the network.
The network serves as a telephone when you give the 'talk'
command which divides the screen into two - one for
receiving written 'talk' from the other terminal and one for
sending written 'talk'. If the other person is not logged on
at that particular moment, the computer will let you know
immediately. Then you can leave a message as on an answer
phone by sending an ordinary e-mail to the person.

The advantage of the e-mail over the answer phone is that
the chances of a user failing to read the message is reduced
because every time the user logs on, the computer will
prompt with the enthusiastic message, 'You have new mail.'
The shortcoming of the talk command is that, unlike answer
phone which could be left on while you pretend that you are
away or too busy, an invitation to talk can come through
while you are in the middle of an urgent essay. Of course,
you can refuse the invitation but your friend or colleague
would always know that you were there.

Such shortcomings are compensated for by the fact that the
written 'talk' and the e-mail cost students absolutely
nothing whereas telephone bills and the cost of postage
could drive foreign students and visiting scholars into
isolation from friends and family. This means that students
and scholars could make fantastic savings by e-mailing their
letters, essays, occasional poems, quotes from books, urgent
information, questionnaires or copies of voluminous
manuscripts that could cost a fortune through the usual
post. Network technology has increased the amount of
communication between students, friends, colleagues and
family. As Stephen Hawkins would say, this is a welcome
development because we must keep talking to avoid the danger
of not talking.

Equally interesting are the network news (nn, standing for
'no news' is good news) services that are available on
Internet (the international network). This is likely to
seriously rival the dominance of the mass media over news.
The advantage of 'nn' over both the print and the electronic
media is that it is a combination of both. Already, there is
an electronic publication called @ux(TeleTimes
International) which is edited by a sixteen year old school
boy in Canada. Writers, including Ph.D. holders and business
executives, contribute well-informed articles from all over
the world and readers can subscribe to @ux(TeleTimes) free
of charge for the time being.

It is always exciting to read the news groups that are
concerned with social and cultural, recreational, and
miscellaneous issues. For example, misc.jobs.offered
contains advertisements for jobs that might interest
graduates, soc.culture.african provides a forum for the
discussion of issues like football, female circumcision,
political movements and the politics of race in Africa.
Similarly, soc.feminism holds articles on sexual harassment,
gender bias in advertising and feminist jurisprudence.
Recreational news groups include rec.arts.poems,
rec.music.reggae and rec.arts.cinema where readers catch up
on gossip and chance upon some good quality posting. And
misc.activism.progressive contains very serious articles
from different leftist perspectives.

What is exciting about these articles is that the reader can
respond immediately, line by line, and expect responses to
his or her rejoinder. In this way, people who have never met
get to know each other and even become friends or foes.
Fortunately, the inclusion of articles in the news groups is
moderated in such a way that offensive materials are edited
out. But the moderators are not censors as such since they
allow street language to surface in some of the exchanges
that might appear rude while remaining light-hearted.

A key potential of the network computer technology is that
it drags the carpet from the feet of dictators who would
like to censor information and control the press. But this
is an ambiguous potential in the sense that while the
technology offers uncensored access to information, such
information is accessible to dictators and the oppressed
alike such that the later could be identified by the former
through their posting. Similarly, the volume of information
available on the network could be a form of control in
disguise: it is so much that some people could get lost in
the wilderness of facts, it is so much that distinguishing
between the essential and the diversionary is not always
easy.

Another disadvantage of the network is that computers are
less accessible than newspapers, television sets, telephones
and post offices. The advantage of the usual news media is
that they have more experienced and better trained staff
with widespread following while network computers are not
easily accessible to the general public. Furthermore, the
cost of subscribing to network news agencies that are not
publicly accessible is so high that most students and
scholars would continue to rely on street-corner news agents
for information.

Even in universities where computer facilities are
available, some students prefer to write their essays by
hand and keep their distance from computer labs while some
universities make network facilities accessible only to
research students. If (network) computers are made
accessible to everyone or almost everyone as is the case
with the usual postal services, the energy costs might be
too much for the environment to absorb. There are already
worries that personal computers contribute too much to
global warming and it is likely that universal network
computing would deepen the energy crisis.

A related problem is that exposure to the computer screen
for too long at a time could damage health. Thus many
readers prefer to print out copies of the articles that they
would like to read. This increases the concern of
environmentalists who argue that this is a double drain on
the environment; first energy is used up in computing and
posting articles, then paper is excessively utilised for
reading them. The answer that network readers can offer to
the problem of excessive paper consumption is to make
articles short and precise to reduce the time required for
reading and to make sure that they recycle all the papers
that they do not need to keep.

- Biko Agozino, Edinburgh, Scotland


-- The Wine Enthusiast: Winemaking and the Environment --

Like most industries, the wine industry has been affected by
environmental issues. Recently wineries have been forced to
replace lead bottle capsules (the cap which covers the cork)
with plastic or tin alternatives, for health and landfill
waste reasons.

The most important impact that the production of wine has
had on the environment however, is in the millions of acres
of vineyard worldwide. Many of the lessons learned from the
winegrape industry in the last decade are encouraging for
the agriculture industry as a whole.

In the 1950's and Ô60's, agricultural advances promised to
make grape growing more profitable by eliminating the
effects of disease and pests, and increasing yield, quality,
and lowering costs. Today it is evident that these
objectives can best be achieved not through the dependence
on pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers and the
like, but by employing more traditional, environmentally-
friendly techniques.

The old ideal vineyard was bare as a billiard table, kept
free of weeds by the use of herbicides which after
successive applications, essentially sterilized the soil and
kept it weed-free, except for minor touch-ups. This is not
ideal though, in terms of creating a healthy environment for
the vines. Weeds or grass aerate the soil and allow water to
be easily stored by the soil and allow rain to reach the
roots. They prevent soil compaction by tractors and soil
erosion on hillside vineyards. They also provide alternative
food sources for vertebrate pests and form a natural home
for indigenous insect predators. As well, a cover crop helps
limit vigor of vines, which in New World vineyards is
probably the biggest single cause of quality loss. If,
rather than allowing weeds to flourish, the grower grows a
cover crop of barley, mustard, or clover the growth can be
plowed under for use as a natural, mild, fertilizer.
Maintaining soil health, as opposed to neglecting it and
then applying harsh vigor-inducing fertilizers, is a simple,
inexpensive and sensible solution.

The old European adage, "where plows can go no vines should
grow" also illustrates some of the problems New World
growers have created for themselves. In the past, New World
growers typically chose overly fertile sites for vines; this
led to lower-quality grapes, and demanded far more
intervention to be kept weed-free. Rocky, or poor soils are
often ideal for deep rooted vines, but inhospitable to
weeds.

Similarly, mildew, bunch rot and other fungal diseases are
best treated with preventive measures, such as pulling
excess foliage, limiting the number of clusters and hedging
shoots, so that the grapes are well exposed to sun and air
circulation. With a good preventive regimen, elemental
sulphur need only be sprayed to keep the vines disease free.
Sulphur is cheap and considered totally acceptable in
organic growing. Unlike sulphur, expensive chemicals like
sterile inhibitors, which are anti-fungal agents, become
less effective after successive applications, because the
diseases become resistant to the particular chemical. Like
antibiotics, they must be used with restraint, or disease
problems can be compounded. Just as in our health care
system, growers have become hooked on chemicals which
provide expensive, quick fixes, rather than long-term
solutions.

Insect pests are far less troublesome in a balanced, well
maintained vineyard, and can be usually controlled
inexpensively during outbreaks with the release of ladybugs,
spiders and other predators, rather than the wholesale
killing of vineyard insects with pesticides - that kill
predators as well as pests.

In California there has been a real swing back to
traditional organic grape-growing. What is encouraging about
this development is that it has been initiated not so much
out of the marketing possibilities of cashing in on the
Ô90's fears and fixations with diet, or out of Political
Correctness, but because it makes good, long-term financial
sense. Preston Vineyards in Sonoma County and Fetzer in
Mendocino County are leading the way. Their philosophy is
that long-term care of their vines and soil will produce
better wines and cost less to maintain.

The promise of 50's and 60's agro-technologyÑcheap,
bountiful, disease-free winegrape growing, was a false
promise, partly due to unforeseen economic shifts like the
rising cost of petrochemicals. The promise was also false at
the core, because it is only through limiting vine vigor and
yield that quality winegrapes and great wines are produced.
The best way to achieve these ends is to keep the vines
balanced and healthy, through good site-selection and sound,
traditional vineyard practices - that just happen to be
environmentally sound as well.

- Tom Davis, Vancouver, Canada


------------------------------------------------------------
NEXT MONTH
------------------------------------------------------------

Next month, What's News With You?. This topic is something
I've always been interested in. News, from the point of view
of the people who are experianing it. For instance, you can
expect one of our Canadian writers to write about the recent
elections. If you are interested in commenting on some major
news or what you think should be news, please send us your
articles! You can write to us for the Teletimes Writer's
Guide.

Also, if you like to think of yourself as a good
photographer, why not send us some of your work? Write to us
and we'll send you the Teletimes Illustrator and
Photographer's Guide.


------------------------------------------------------------
BIOGRAPHIES
------------------------------------------------------------

Biko Agozino
Biko has completed a Ph.D dissertation on "Black Women and
the Criminal Justice System" in the Faculty of Law at the
University of Edinburgh. He obtained a B.Sc. honours in
Sociology from the University of Calabar and an M.Phil in
Criminology from the University of Cambridge.

Surekha and Prasad Akella
Surekha and Prasad are in Japan on a two year sojourn from
their home in the US. Surekha is a Pharmacologist between a
Master's and a PhD; she is masquerading as an English
teacher in Japan. Prasad is a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering
from Stanford and is working on the control of robots at
MITI's National Mechanical Engineering Laboratory. Their
common interests include people, photography and
international travel. For the next few months, they will
report on life in Japan, as viewed through the eyes of
Indian-Americans.

Kent Barrett
Kent is a Vancouver artist with over twenty years experience
in photography. His work has been exhibited in galleries
across Canada from Vancouver to St. John's, Newfoundland. He
is currently working on his first nonfiction book "Bitumen
to Bitmap", a history of photographic processes.

Paul Chapman
Originally born in England, Paul moved to Vancouver at age 9
and quickly realized his parents had made the right choice.
Although he loves Vancouver, his work as a reporter and
editor has given him the desire to work in other countries
around the world which he will hopefully accomplish once the
economy picks up.

Tom Davis
Tom is a wine maker who lives and works in Vancouver,
Canada. A former brewmaster, a painter and amateur (in the
truest sense) film maker. Currently a Philosophy
undergraduate at Simon Fraser University, Tom seeks to start
his own vineyard.

Prasad Dharmasena
Prasad is a Solid State Electrical Engineer turned into a
C++ programmer who works at the Federal Reserve Board in
Washington, DC. He has been known to take decent photographs
when the phase of the moon is right. Though he was born in
Sri Lanka, he cannot play Cricket. He enjoys playing Frisbee
beside his favorite temple, the Lincoln Memorial.

Paul L. Gribble
Born in Cape Town, South Africa but raised in Vancouver,
B.C., Paul completed his B.Sc. in Cognitive Science at
QueenÕs University in Kingston, Ontario. After spending the
summer in Japan working for a high technology research
company, he started his graduate studies in Cognitive
Science at McGill University in Montreal, this September.

David A. Lewis
David is a desktop publisher, and enjoys exploring the
things that a "Mac" can do. David has worked as a chef,
musician, salesman, and holds degrees in Business
Administration & Psychology. Raised in northern B.C., David
has enjoyed living in Vancouver since Expo '86.

Anand Mani
Anand is a Vancouver, Canada-based corporate communications
consultant serving an international clientele. Originally an
airbrush artist, his painting equipment has been languishing
in a closet, replaced by the Mac. It waits for the day when
Òthat ideaÓ grips him by the throat, breathily says, ÒPaint
MeÓ and drags him into the studioÑ not to be seen for
months.

Michael Matsunaga
Michael is a devoted student to coffee houses and late night
studying for a major in Criminal Justice at the University
of Illinois at Chicago. He hopes to attend Law School next
year. MichaelÕs interests include: Spanish guitar,
traveling, the Gypsy Kings, Marillion, biking, exploring and
writing.

Motamarri Saradhi
Motamarri has lived in Singapore for two and half years. He
spent the earlier portion of his life in his motherland,
India. He received his degree in Civil Engg from REC,
Warangal, and Masters degree in Transportation Systems Engg
from IIT, Kanpur, India. He likes music, lyrics, literature,
sociolizing, travel.

Dr. Michael Schreiber
32 years ago, born near Salzburg, Gemini Michael
reconstructs social and business realities as self-similar
competitive environments at the Department of Marketing at
the Vienna University for economics and business
administration.

Andreas Seppelt
Andreas is a former Economist with Transport Canada, now
consulting in Business Communications and Marketing. He has
spent a number of years undergoing formal graduate study and
research in Economic Development and International Trade. He
currently lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Dr. Euan R. Taylor
Euan is doing postdoctoral research in a plant biology
department. His hobbies are the Chinese and Spanish
languages, jogging, hiking, writing and playing Ultimate. He
has traveled to Iceland (scientific expedition), China,
Taiwan and Indonesia.

Seth Theriault
A native of Lexington, Massachusetts, Seth Theriault is
currently a student at Washington University in St. Louis.
He tries to get good grades, but he tends to procrastinate.
When he isn't studying, he enjoys sports, computers, and
doing something other than studying.

Ian Wojtowicz
Ian is currently enrolled in the International Baccalaurate
program at a Vancouver high school. His interests include
fencing, running large projects (like Teletimes) and
sleeping in. He was born in 1977 in Halifax. He has since
lived in Nigeria, Hong Kong and Ottawa and travelled with
his parents to numerous other locations.


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