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TBTF for 1995-08-08: 3 takes on net.censorship; neurosilicon

Keith Dawson (dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com)
Tue, 8 Aug 1995 23:29:22 -0400

>>From Edupage (1995-08-06): (For your own subscription, send mail to
listproc@educom.edu with the message:
subscribe edupage <your name>.)

The red-bereted Guardian Angels, a volunteer group formed in 1979 to patrol
the streets and subways of the Bronx, have created CyberAngels, because
"there is such a similar need on the Internet as there was in New York when
we started. There is a similar void where the police are unwilling or
unable to make it safe." CyberAngels will form organized patrols to look
around cyberspace for "suspicious activity" that might indicate crimes
against children or acts of fraud, hate and pornography. (Atlanta
Journal-Consititution 1995-08-06 H7)

[On the Internet nobody knows you're wearing a red beret. Seriously, I
doubt these guys can improve on the self-policing (self-healing?) mech-
anisms the Net has so far evolved: "The Net views censorship as damage
and routes around it" -- John Perry Barlow I think, someone correct me
if you know better.]

[Note added 1995-11-27: from capek@watson.ibm.com (Peter Capek):
I believe that John Gilmore, ex of Cygnus Support, and not Barlow,
is the correct author of this observation.]

>>From Weekly Recap (1995-08-07): (For your own subscription, send mail to
majordomo@case.wsgr.com without subject
and with message "subscribe multimedia-list".)

The SafeSurf Internet Rating Standard has received support from
four parental filtering software companies, SurfWatch, Solid Oak
(CYBERsitter), Net Nanny and TeacherSoft, which will be releasing
versions of their software to support the URL, HTML or single file
features of the child-safe site-marking standard.

[This proposed standard seems restricted to closing the Web doorway onto
adult Internet content. While this door is the one that's opening the
fastest, it's behind the Usenet doorway that you'll find the largest
volume of offensive material. See <http://www.safesurf.com/wave/index.html>
and <http://www.safesurf.com/wave/ssplan.htm>.]

The House-passed telecom reform bill, H.R. 1555, includes an amendment
(Cox/Wyden) stating that providers or users of interactive computer
services can't be held liable for actions taken to restrict access to
obscene, indecent or harassing material. It also prohibits FCC content
regulation of the Internet and other interactive services.

[Sounds like the online services' lobbyists had hold of the right
levers. I'll be surprised if a similar provision makes it into the
Senate version.]

>>From WEBster (1995-08-08) (For a free trial, send mail without text
to 4free@webster.tgc.com.)

Netscape IPO Will Hardly Appeal to the Faint at Heart
...[M]arket observers believe this offering of 3.5 million shares is
oversubscribed by 60 times, meaning people have already placed orders for
their brokers to buy about 210 million shares...Netscape's initial asking
price of between $12 and $14 per share will be eclipsed in less than a
microsecond when the opening bell rings.

[Netscape amended its filing yesterday to nearly double its offering
price. It'll still skyrocket at the opening; a few traders will make
money "flipping" the stock and lots of investors will get burned.]

[Finally, from the frontiers of physics, the enabling technology behind
jacking in.]

>>From AIP Physics News (To subscribe, send a message with no sub-
Update (1995-08-07) ject to listserv@aip.org; in the body say
"subscribe physnews".)

has been constructed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for
Biochemistry in Germany, opening possibilities for two-way, non-toxic
communication between computer chips and nerve cells. The silicon
device contains a "stimulation spot" that triggers neural activity
through the rearrangement of electric charge; it is capable of trig-
gering a single nerve cell without affecting other nearby neurons.
It complements the previously designed "neuron transistor," which
receives ionic signals from nerve cells and transcribes them to
electronic signals in silicon.

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Keith Dawson dawson dot tbtf at gmail dot com dawson@atria.com
Layer of ash separates morning and evening milk.