The View from Entropy Hall (Online Archive) - From Ed Meskys - RR2 Box 63 - 322 Whitter Hwy - Center Harbor NH 03226
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Issue #26

The View From Entropy Hall #26 for APA-Q 431, 6 March 1999, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, 322 Whittier Hwy, Center Harbor NH 03226-9708, [email protected], 603-253-6207. Text online at: and as email list. {Corrections made after APA distribution in braces.}

The Web location of Entropy will be changing. Recently Brian Thurston has quit Conknet and has signed up on Worldpath. As of about Feb 25 Entropy was still at the old Conknet address but I am sure they will drop it soon since Brian is no longer paying them. Meanwhile, I have learned that Brian uses "frames" on my site, which is difficult for blind persons to access. I have found information on making web pages more easily accessible to blind users and passed it on to Brian, and he will improve my new site when he puts it up on Worldpath. Making a page accessible to blind users does NOT mean you have to avoid visual excitement, but merely that you have to add a few minor hooks. Julie Hoowell of the Royal National Institute for the Blind maintains information on how to do this. Write her at [email protected] or RNIB/224 Great Portland St./LondonW1N 6A8. Her web page says "link to ow3c accessibility developments," though to be honest I do not know what that means.

As those of you who got our Christmas letter already know, Sandy took early retirement and finished up work Sept 29. We had been saving and planning for it a year later, after Stanley finished college and was established, but frustration at work pushed her over the edge and she gave two weeks notice. We have to be cautious for a while and hold back on expenses until we see how far IRAs and the like take us. We dropped Darkover con and were not planning on Worldcon in Australia, though we WILL do WFC in Rhode Island just because it is so close.

On her first day home Sandy went on a cleaning spree and broke the washing machine (which WAS 22 years old) and the dishwasher. This week our well broke and we need a new pump and water tank at $2.5K. Sigh.

Worst expense will be maintaining health insurance. I am 62 and on Medicare because of disability, but Sandy is only 51 and will have to buy quite expensive insurance after COBRA runs out, and now they are talking about delaying Medicare to 67 or 68. It will probably take us about two years to establish equilibrium and know what activities we can afford to continue.

We owe Dick and Tamar Eney and Todd Frazier our apologies. I wrote the letter, Sandy edited and spell-checked it, and we took a printout and disk to "Miss Print" in Meredith. To get it on the decorated paper they had to reformat our letter so took the disk. they ran it through THEIR spellchecker without telling us, and took its changes without noticing that it was changing proper names. Most embarrassing was their change of Eney to ennui! We apologize for this and what they did to Tamar and Frazier.

It is almost half a year since the last entropy, #25 in the September disty. The printer gave us 100 completed NIEKU to have at Worldcon, but when we got home I had the horrid project of collating 900 copies of a 120 page zine. Sandy and Stanley, Todd and Sherwood Frazier, Sherwood's daughter Leah, Margaret Shepard and her son David, Rafe Folch-Pi, and Jim & Linda Zelek, all helped some with the collation, and their help is greatly appreciated. We delivered the copies to the printer, Andy Johnson of Laconia, who then cut, perfect bound, and the copies a few at a time. Brian Thurston ran off the address labels and the art credit correction for page 99. Finally, Todd, Sandy, and I addressed and mailed the copies. The last copy was mailed about January 7. However Andy is slow binding the remaining copies and still owes over 600 to go.

Also, because it was so long between issues a lot of addresses were no longer valid. I tried to keep up with CoAs in fanzines and mailed a small newsletter to the list shortly before mailing NIEKAS, and I no longer have addresses for the following: name, last known zipcode, reason, expiration

Carl Aschmann, 22003, sub, #46
Robert Bauman, 90041, sub, #47
Linda Bisson, 06418, sub, #47
David Blalock, 38168, trade, #45
Mark Bode, 01060, art, #46
Mark Bondurant, 91335, art, #45
Craig Brownlie, 15224, sub, #46
Joseph Cherkes, 02906, review, #51
John Erik Colton, 11797, trade, #47
Eric Leif Davin, 15213, write, #48
Dawne de la Cruz, 02816, sub, #48
Douglas Dudewitz, 60025, sub, #49
Expanse Magazine, 21236, review, #47
Tom Feller, 39236, trade, #47
Paul Giguere, 02154, sub, #51
John Harrington, 22024, art, #47
David Haugh, 97071, trade, #46
Judy Hirst-Sanchez, 92140-5007, sub, #47
Romas Kukalis, 03431, sub, #50
Claire Landau, 10016, sub, #50
Mark Manning, 98144, trade, #47
Frank Prieto, 10012, sub, #51
Greg Reeves, 49615, trade, #46
Leland Sapiro, 75755, trade, #47
ElizabetShaw, 02154, sub, #46
Susan Tallmadge, 02139, sub, #45
{name changed to Murasako, and living in Boston according to Jane Sibley}
Diane Thome, 06776, sub, #45
Lawrence Turner, 45014, sub, #46
Laurie Tuttle, 93101, sub, #49
Reuben Villegas, 80204, sub, #45
David Weiner, 91401, sub, #46
Joe Wesson, 13617, trade #45
Art Widner, 95445, trade, #51
Frances Williams, 98223, sub, #47
George Zebrowski, 12790, review, #50

I kept two sets of records, on Braille cards and in my database. I was more diligent in keeping the database up to date and as items returned as unforwardable I deleted the record and set aside the Braille card. Thus the expiration numbers and zipcodes listed above might be even more out of date than the addresses used for the mailing.

I am now beginning earnest work on NIEKAS #46, 75% of which is already in the computer. I need the last few columns, some book reviews, Lox on #45, and any additional thoughts on sports and fantasy and fandom for a special focus section.

Also I need suggestions on where to send the Dark Fantasy issue to get reviewed. Do hope to get some extra sales to help cover the very high printing and binding costs.

Normal issues are $4.95, specials higher. the Dark Fantasy is $9.95. Subs, which include the special issues, are $19 for 4, $37 for 8, $50 for 12. Four ish subs can start with #45 if desired, 8 ish with #44 or 45. As usual trades and contributions, including substantial lox, bring an ish.

I never expected to ever have anything good to say about Larry Flynt, publisher of HUStLER. However in the recent Washington circus he is the ONLY one who acquitted himself honorably. Clinton has the morals of an alley cat but that has not effected his ability to govern. Hyde fathered a bastard, something worse than what Clinton did, but had the nerve to pretend to be a moral person. Flynt has cut through all the hypocrisy and has published on the Web the peccadilloes of Washington officials, Republican AND Democrat. A Republican backed "foundation" has bankrolled the Jones lawsuit to embarrass the president and I fervently hope it backfires on them in 2000. If someone downloads Flynts Honor Roll of Shame from the Web for me I will feature it in the next few ENTROPIES.

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy (RED MARS, 1993, xiv+519 pp., $11.95 Trade PB, GREEN MARS, 1994, 535pp., $12.95 Trade PB, BLUE MARS, 1996, 609pp., HC, all Bantam) and Clarke's 3001 (del Rey, 1997, 263pp.) make an interesting contest. Robinson shows man's colonization of the solar system over the next few centuries, to the first tentative steps to the stars, step by step, invention by invention, with a detailed look at the changes in society with time. Clarke uses the old cliche of a man of today abruptly presented with a distant future and then learning the intervening history. Also, Robinson took seven times as many pages as Clarke, so he had more room to go into specifics.

Robinson assumes that the UN makes a commitment to establish a colony on Mars, sends one individual on the first manned reconnaissance and return, and then sends one hundred colonists who are well tested and prepared. There is one disconcerting chapter set on Mars a couple of decades after the initial landing, and then the story starts with the hundred en route. There are a few brief flashbacks to their training in Antarctica but the story is linear after that. That anomalous first chapter shows one of the "first hundred" fomenting a riot in order to kill a rival for leadership. None of this is clear on first reading, but I only became aware of the meaning of the action much later in the story. I guess it was there to start the story with action and to arouse the reader's curiosity as to just what is happening.

I took Robinson's colors to refer to the changing colors of Mars as terraforming progresses, but it also refers to the political movements among the colonists. Robinson shows irony in referring to the ecological conservatives who want to retain the unspoiled beauty of Mars as Reds, and those who will destroy the original environment in order to make Mars livable as Greens. Blues are the final synthesis of these movements.

I admire some other little touches in the Mars books. A space elevator is built on Mars like that first proposed in 1960 by Yuri Artsutanov, a Russian engineer, and then almost simultaneously put into novels by Arthur Clarke (FOUNTAINS OF PARADISE, 1978) AND Charles Sheffield (Web Between the Worlds, 1979). The colonists name the city at the bottom of the elevator "Sheffield" and the one at the top "Clarke." (Clarke, in an open letter to the SFWA, says that there were at least four independent inventions of the idea, including one by John Isaacs in 1966, the one Clarke saw and which inspired FOUNTAINS.) Another city is named "Burroughs." I can't remember with certainty but I think there was a "Bradbury" too.

The UN's purpose in sending "the first hundred" is never clear to me. Their job is to establish a viable base as nearly self-sufficient as possible, and prepare the way for others. The earth is ruled more and more by great international corporations and they see a possible profit in Mars, and send more people. Many come planning to only stay five years and return, and some do that. Then individual nations start sending loads of colonists to establish nationalistic centers.

Over the years much of the leadership comes from the "first hundred," which includes extremist "reds" and "greens" among its ranks. Many of the characters are well drawn and you can understand their drives and needs, their loves and hates, and, for some, the need to lead. A few decades after the initialization of the colony scientists develop a rejuvenation process which, with repeated use, can extend the lifetime to several hundred years.

The mega-corporations on Earth see Mars as a resource and send great numbers of workers to exploit the world. Those already there see this flood as too much too fast, and say that the planet cannot absorb it without problems. To help transport people to Mars and raw materials back to earth the corporations build a space elevator. Finally the Martians are driven to revolution, in the course of which they destroy the elevator, but the revolution is suppressed. Earth sets out to exterminate the "first hundred" as the leaders of a movement for independence.

Slowly the planet is modified and becomes more nearly habitable without artificial means, especially in the lower valleys. Mountains and valleys are so extreme that mountain tops remain totally uninhabitable and retain much of their original appearance. This eventually allows a compromise of sorts between the reds and greens, except for the most extreme.

Perhaps a century later a fusion drive is developed which cuts the earth-mars trip to a few weeks and permits permanent bases from Mercury to the moons of Neptune. Between the longevity treatment and the fusion drive, by the end of the series expeditions take off to explore other star systems using hollowed out asteroids.

Part of the interplanetary politics is driven by the pollution of earth and natural disasters that occur there, including new volcanic activity on Antarctica which causes a great mass of ice to slide into the sea and raise the sea level by many meters.

The long view is optimistic, but there is no clear sailing. I like this plausible future which leaves mankind occupying the whole solar system and beginning to conquer the stars. I find the characters believable, the future developments of technology plausible, and the outlook optimistic.

In 2001 Clarke and Kubjust asrik had the insane computer HAL kill Frank Poole by setting him adrift in space. A thousand years later he is found and revived. Most of the story is about his learning what happened during the thousand years he was dead. Clarke presents many marvels and wonders but without the details of how they were developed bit by bit it is much harder to believe. Here too the space elevators play a major role, , and as in FOUNTAINS and WEB the tops of several are eventually connected into a globe circling ring. However over a thousand years the elevators are replaced by towers a mile or more wide with millions of floors. Clarke points out that these towers alone could hold several times the population of the future earth, so great parts are empty. They ARE useful for people who accommodated to low or no gravity as the natural force felt would vary from zero at the ring to full earth normal at the bottom, and one could start at the appropriate level-- moon, Mars, etc., and work one's way down.

Clarke hypothesized two major breakthroughs, which I found hard to take. One was Doc Smith's old "inertialess drive" which permits great acceleration with no felt reaction. It is this technology which permits travel in a reasonable period of time from one part of the globe encircling ring and towers to another. The other was the ability to draw on the quantum vacuum energy of empty space, and so to have a nearly infinite source of power. Well, it WAS Clarke who first said that science sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. (Robert Forward has written a non-fiction book on this theme, INDISTINGUISHABLE FROM MAGIC, which has been recorded on talking book, and which I will read in the next few months.)

Clarke anticipates a withering of religion. If something as hairbrained as Asstrology can survive the space age, I expect that many conventional religions will make it too, and will be joined by new ones. Christian Scientists, the Mormons, and Seventh Day Adventists started out as nut cults and have become respectable religions, and I would not be surprised to have them joined by the Scientologists, Moonies, and Ghu knows what else. Somewhere between these camps in respectability are the Jehovah's Witnesses and various holy roller and funnymentalist sects. .

Clarke speculated that the Catholic Church would dissolve the way the Soviet Empire did. Just as Gorbachef tried to clean up the government by opening up to scrutiny the past sins of madmen like Stalin, which led to the disillusion of the populace, a future Pope would open up the records of the inquisition and cause a mass exodus of disillusioned believers. The utter corruption of the Papacy and Curia led to the Reformation (helped by rulers who wanted to seize church power and property), but the church survived and reformed itself. Without calling on any supernatural help, the church would survive any possible future shock. It would be a DIFFERENT church, but would have a historical continuity. What I and most Catholics believe today would have been regarded as utter heresy as little as 40 years ago. The church will continue to evolve, incorporating and adjusting to new knowledge. I could NEVER accept today what I did accept then, and I anticipate as great a change as this in the next 40 years. The biggest adjustment will have to be made when we DO finally contact another intelligent species. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam developed in very parochial societies, believing their indigenous cultures were the only ones of any value, and that only the Middle East were of any importance to right-thinking men, and to God. The New World, then the reality of the Solar system, of the Galaxy, and the universe as a whole led to adjustments in world view, but man as the only known sentient creatures still inspires a sort of geo-centrism. When we do meet others, what beliefs will we find out there, How will this change the belief systems of the existing religions? Which ones will hide their heads in the sand like the funnymentalists? What totally new religions will spring up as a result? The first Christian missionaries in China tried incorporating Chinese culture in the faith they preached, but the Mediterranean-centrist hierarchy of the time balked and suppressed the rite. How would the world differ if they had not been suppressed? Today the Catholic church is far more open to cultural adaptation. But what will happen when confronted with a REALLY alien culture?

I enjoyed both stories and views of the future, though I did prefer Robinson's, but then Robinson had much more space to develop his story and ideas, so it is hard to compare them fairly. I do recommend both.

In the introduction to the one-volume Riddle-Master (or Starbearer) trilogy (Ace trade pb, 1999, 578 pp., $16) Patricia McKillip spoke of her youthful enthusiasm for fantasy and, before discovering Tolkien in 1967, having read everything from HAMLET to THE CITY AND THE PILLAR. She said the latter as if it were something the reader should recognize as a classic. Anyone here recognize it? Can you tell me who wrote it, about when, and what it is about?


From: [email protected]
While net surfing I happened to stumble on your View from Entropy Hall #8 and found it quite interesting.

I assume you like to get your facts straight, so I do hope you won't be offended if I offer uninvited two very minor correction:

1. My last name (and Judy's) is spelled Gerjuoy, not Gerjoy.

2. These days I teach computer science at Tunxis Community-Technical College in Farmington, Connecticut, a state two-year college. I also teach psychology part-time at Three Rivers Community-Technical College in Norwich, Connecticut, also a state college. This past year I also taught computer science there. I was scheduled to teach a social science course there too, but its enrollment was too low. This past year I also taught computer science and mathematics (actually statistics) part-time at Eastern Connecticut State University, another state school.

You made a few alterations to my letter. Please note that the famous movie reviewers to whom I referred are named Sisael & Ebert, not Cisco & Ebert. David Palter

From: [email protected] subj: LOOKING FOR JOHN CLOsson

Dear Edmund: I found references to John Closson in your recollections of Tolkien fandom. I was an old friend of his, and was wondering if you might know what has happened to him. David<nofill>

[I wrote back that I had heard conflicting rumors of self commitment because of problems in dealing with children and arrest for drugs, and that he had since passed away, but knew nothing for sure. David replied as follows. ERM]

How sad. Actually, John was a camp counselor of mine in the '60s and he was something of a mentor for me for some years afterwards. A predilection for small children? I guess I was one when I first knew's quite a strange thought that this might have been going on. I just recently started thinking of him and wondering what had become of him.

John seems to have been around relatively recently. An AltaVista search turns him up as part of the staff of LA con III in 1996. So reports of his death may be exaggerated. [Anyone know if the Closson on the LACon 3 staff is the same as the NY fan of the '60s? ERM]

I remember meeting Dick Plotz around that time as well, in the TSA. A small group of us came to a few meetings from Flushing, Queens.

Thanks for the info/rumors.

David Friedlander Vector Space Inc. tel: 212-942-1636 fax: 212-569-8680

Subject: What to do when you meet a sighted person
This was posted on the NFB listserv.

People who use their eyes to receive information about the world are called sighted people or "people who are sighted." Legal "sight" means any visual acuity greater than 20/200 in the better eye without correction and an angle of vision wider than 20 degrees. Sighted people enjoy rich full lives, working, playing and raising families. They run businesses, hold public office and teach your children!

People who are sighted may walk or ride public transportation, but most choose to travel long distances by operating their own motor vehicles. They have gone through many hours of training to learn the "rules of the road" in order to further their independence. Once that road to freedom has been mastered, sighted people earn a legal classification and a "Driver's License" which allows them to operate a private vehicle safely and independently.

Sighted people are accustomed to viewing the world in visual terms. This means that in many situations, they will not be able to communicate orally and may resort to pointing or other gesturing. Subtle facial expressions may also be used to convey feelings in social situations. Calmly alert the sighted person to his surroundings by speaking slowly, in a normal tone of voice. Questions directed at the sighted person help focus attention back on the verbal rather than visual communication. At times, sighted people may need help finding things, especially when operating a motor vehicle. Your advance knowledge of routes and landmarks, particularly bumps in the road, turns and traffic lights, will assist the "driver" in finding the way quickly and easily. Your knowledge of building layouts can also assist the sighted person in navigating complex shopping malls and offices. Sighted people tend to be very proud and will not ask directly for assistance. Be gentle yet firm.

The person who is sighted relies exclusively on visual information. His or her attention span fades quickly when reading long texts. Computer information is presented in a "Graphical User Interface" or GUI. Coordination of hands and eyes is often a problem for sighted people, so the computer mouse, a handy device that slides along the desk top, saves confusing keystrokes. With one button, the sighted person can move around his or her computer screen quickly and easily. People who are sighted are not accustomed to synthetic speech and may have great difficulty understanding even the clearest synthesizer. Be patient and prepared to explain many times how your computer equipment works.

Sighted people read through a system called "Print." this is a series of images drawn in a two dimensional plain. People who are sighted generally have a poorly developed sense of touch. Braille is completely foreign to the sighted person and he or she will take longer to learn the code and be severely limited by his or her existing visual senses. Sighted people cannot function well in low lighting conditions and are generally completely helpless in total darkness. their homes are usually very brightly lit at great expense, as are businesses that cater to the sighted consumer.

People who are sighted do not want your charity. They want to live, work and play along with you. The best thing you can do to support sighted people in your community is to open yourself to their world. These Americans are vital contributing members to society. Take a sighted person to lunch today! Kent Ireton, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation e- mail: [email protected] webpage:

From: [email protected]

Just so you don't think Slick Willie is the only guy with low morals who occupied the White House. See how many of these you know, and, no, Bill Clinton is not the correct answer for all of them.

1.Which president smoked marijuana with a nude playgirl while he joked about being too wasted to "push the button" in case of nuclear attack?

2.Which president allegedly had affairs with both a winner AND a finalist in the Miss America pageant?

3. Which president had sex with one of his secretaries stretched out atop a desk in the oval office?

4.Which president allegedly had an affair (as well as children) with a slave who was his wife's half sister?

5.Which president called his mistress "Pookie"?

6.Which president married a woman who hadn't yet divorced her first husband, and was branded an "adulterer" during his re-election campaign?

7.Which future president wrote love letters to his neighbor's wife while he was engaged to someone else?

8.Which president had a torrid affair with the first lady's personal secretary?

9.Which president had sex with a young woman in a White House coat closet -at one point, while a secret service agent prevented the hysterical first lady from attacking them?

10.Which president had sex in a closet while telling his partner about the "other" president who did the same in a closet (the one in Question 9)?

11.Which vice president was ticked off because he felt that HIS record of sexual conquests was more "impressive" (i.e. numerous) than the President's?

12.Which future president, while a college student, enjoyed showing off his penis (which he named Jumbo)


1. John F. Kennedy
2. Bill Clinton
3. Lyndon B. Johnson
4. Thomas Jefferson
5. Bill Clinton
6. Andrew Jackson
7. George Washington
8. Franklin D. Roosevelt
9. Warren G. Harding
10. John F. Kennedy
11. Lyndon B. Johnson
12. Lyndon B. Johnson

This info is from an article in the Western Legislatures magazine.

It is time to elect a world leader, and your vote counts. Here's the scoop on the three leading candidates.

Candidate A associates with ward heelers and consults with astrologists. He's had two mistresses. He chain smokes and drinks 8 to 10 martinis a day.

Candidate B was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used opium in college and drinks a quart of brandy every evening.

Candidate C is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke, drinks an occasional beer and hasn't had any illicit affairs.

Which of these candidates is your choice??

Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Candidate B is Winston Churchill. Candidate C is Adolph Hitler. Anybody still have a problem with Bill Clinton? [Actually, didn't Hitler have an affair with a half-sister or something like that? ERM]

I am picking this up again after several months and have parts of several Qs on tape with no indication of number, so I will put in comments in random order as I process the tapes. These will follow the comments already typed before I lost track. Also I have several Qs unread or only partly read distys, and several tapes I did not have time to process before the deadline for the March disty. .

~BLANCMANGE (Mark Blackman).
In your worldcon report in Q424 you commented on the large amount of walking involved. Unfortunately many cons have been scattered. I remember even as far back as Denvention II in 1981 the hotel was ten blocks from the convention center. We had programming in both and getting back and forth was a pain. Most cons since then, except for a few like Magicon, involved substantial walking.

In Q 426 you commented to me that the closed communities in Butler's PARABLE OF THE SOWER were more of the middle class than of the super rich. Actually I saw two distinct types of closed communities...the lower class, barely surviving like the one of the heroine, but also those of the super rich which WERE truly secure. In the book someone's boy friend got invited to work in a super rich one and left. I understand the sequel, PARABLE OF THE TALENS, is out and am anxious to see reviews of it. If any reader sees one on the net, please forward it to my email address. [] I was sorry to see the way Goetz was hounded for shooting the muggers. The one who was crippled will never mug another innocent victem. The mugger was anything but the innocent victem Goetz' persecutors portrayed him as. [] I guess you are right that while in many ways New York and San Francisco are almost equivalent culturally, S F does lack N Y's Jewish presence. Since that is not important to me, I had not thought of it, but it would be important to a Jewish family like Rogow's.

~DAGON (John Boardman).
In Q424 I am very glad you published the Scientologist creation story. About 25 years ago (before Aug 1975 when I remember discussing it with Bjo Trimble while in LA for Mythcon) I read INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY by a disenchanted practitioner who had advanced very far through the training. He described arcana like what you published but too much time has passed for me to remember it in all its details. I just checked with the talking book library, and it is not in the union catalog because no copies of the old phonograph records have survived

In Q426 you quoted the old verse

The miners came in 49
the whores in 51
and when they got together
They produced the native son.

I would have thought that it would be, rather than an attack on the "Native Sons of the Golden West," an attack on people with aristocratic pretensions. Something like the Australian song the Clam Chowder group sings, whose refrain goes something like

Was your grandma a whore?
Was your grandpa a thief?
If you are born of Australia I know who you be
You're the son of the son of a scoundrel like me.

The protagonist of the song shouts this to a rich fop passing in a limo, to a judge on the bench, etc. [] You commented that you had heard that in the latest Tom Clancey novel the villains were environmentalists who are trying to exterminate humanity so we would no longer damage the earth, and you dismissed the possibility of such a group. I don't think so. Extreme wackos of all stripes DO exist. In a recent issue of THE PLANETARY REPORT from The Planetary Society, Michael Allaby, co-author with James Lovelock of THE GREENING OF MARS, said, "A few years ago I took part in a debate about the desirability of terraforming Mars, assuming it to have no life forms of its own. Sadly environmentalists in the audience opposed this idea bitterly on the grounds that we should not risk harming the Martian environment even if that means no living being ever gets to see it, and even if the word 'environment' is a trifle difficult to define in the absence of any kind of life." This reminds me of the war between the Greens and the Reds in K.S. Robinson's Mars trilogy. [] I am very glad you reviewed Rogow's MISSING MISS. The book sounds fascinating and I do hope Library of Congress puts it on talking book. Since the plot involves the kidnapping of the prepubescent daughter of a politician to force him to withdraw a bill he sponsored in Parliament or she would be put into white slavery, you went on to discuss prostitution in general. Perhaps, as you say, the prostitute from the lower classes would initially have a better life than her unfallen sisters, when her looks are gone she would be worse off than ever unless she had saved for that day...and how many would have thought ahead and done that? And what abuse by pimps? [] You wrote about your visit to Niagara Falls after the Columbus Day Meshkon reminds me of my last visit. I had been there with my parents around 1950 and did most of the touristy things, but next saw it driving home from St.Louiscon in 1969. I was traveling with Nan Miles, who would become my first wife, and Sandy Parker, my second and permanent wife, in Sandy's car. We took a shortcut through Canada from Detroit to Niagara Falls, and when we got to the falls we didn't get to see them. They were turned off for repairs. Maybe when we go to Rochester in May for Stanley's graduation we could make a side trip and Sandy would get to see them turned back on. [] You spoke of the great expense and effort it takes to bit for the "privilege" to hold a Worldcon, and wondered what would happen if some year no one bid. It almost happened in 1966 when Cleveland, Columbus, and a third city were all bidding and all three dropped out. The SMoFs gathered, and cobbled a joint bid of all three committees to be held in Cleveland, and they called it "Tricon."

~hOW tOO (dON DEL Grande).
In Q424 you commented to Boardman about his statement that there is no more airmail in the US. While in Junior H S and H S I coalesced stamps and read stamp magazines, and the change came in that period. The Pest Office decided to ship ALL mail over 200 miles by air and to discontinue a premium priced domestic air service as such. The truck and railroad shippers were quite upset by this decision. I do not know how this 200 mile transition point has been fine-tuned since them. [] You are right about someone in Egypt measuring the circumference of the earth by comparing shadow lengths. On one particular date the sun was directly overhead at noon in one city, and this person measured the length of a shadow at the same time at a location a known distance north on the same day. It was simple trigonometry to calculate the angle from the vertical to the sun, which would be the same angle as that between lines from the center of the earth to those points. I am awful at remembering names so do not remember who did it (I think it was something like Aristophanes) or where the two sites were. Unfortunately for Renaissance geographers the distance was given in "stadia" and at different times and places this unit had different values. Columbus convinced himself that the smaller value was the true one, so the circumference of the earth was about 2/3 of what it really is. Almost any elementary astronomy textbook gives the history of how the Greeks came to realize about 350 BCE that the earth was spherical, and eventually measured its size quite accurately (assuming the larger value for "stadia"). A popularly written book I liked and taught out of in a liberal-arts no math course was Isaac Asimov's THE UNIVERSE, FROM FLAT EARTH TO QUASAR. [] Fair use of copyrighted material has certainly liberalized over the years. In 1958 I had a summer job at Evans Signal Labs just outside of Asbury Park, NJ, and needed a copy of an article from a scientific journal. Before the library could Verifax (remember wet copiers?) a copy for me, they had to clear the copyright with the journal, causing a delay of a week or so. [] In Q426 you talked about declining computer prices. I first saw a talking computer at the 1982 NFB convention. It was an Osborne #1 with an echo synthesizer and custom talking software and the whole package was $4,000. I don't know how much of that was the naked price of the Osborne and how much the custom software. Avos Computer Systems of Minneapolis was selling the package. I had just nerved myself up to buying it when Osborne went belly up leaving Avos stranded. Then they adapted the Zorba, a CPM machine, which they thought was safe since the parent company had provided the computers for the space shuttle. Again before I bought it Zorba went belly up, and IBN and clones were the rage. Ron Hutchison of Columbus OH created software to make ANY PC DOS program talk and I bought that for $500, the Type & Talk synthesizer for $250, and a Leading Edge XT clone for $1500. I used this happily with registered shareware until three years ago when a friend upgraded and gave me such a deal on his 386 that I couldn't turn him down! Lucky I did for just before I finished transferring all my data to the new machine the XT died. I think it was a problem with the BIOS chip. Also, around 86 I bought a store demo 20 mb hard drive on a card. The drive retailed for $900 but I paid $450 because it had been a store demo. I still had it only half full when the machine died. My friend is talking about upgrading again and offering me a deal on his 60 mhz Pentium. My wife is nagging me to do it and advance to Windows 95 for there are now two good screen reading programs available, Window Eyes and JAWS for Windows. (A few months ago the latter was featured on CBS TV's "60 MINUTES.") The machine could barely handle W95 but since I would not run any heavily graphical software it should be enough. I am reluctant to get into the heavy learning curve of a new OS, but then could use a word processor compatible with other NIEKAS
contributors and workers. I have bought a Braille manual on Windows without a mouse and am slowly reading it. [] So that's what the latest "earn money at home" scam is all about! Cleaning up mailing lists to use for spam by deleting protective bits.

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