A List of Environmental and Telecommunications Events and Issues

April 25 to May 2, 1997

Published, Edited and Written by George Mokray for
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

"A List..." is also a listserv. You can subscribe or unsubscribe by emailing a-list-request@world.std.com, leaving the Subject line blank, and typing "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" as the message.

Previous issues of "A List.." are available for your perusal at

If you are interested in keeping Internet an open and free forum, you might want to take a look at the Blue Ribbon Campaign


Saturday, April 26

Volunteer work day at the Cambridge Sustainable House
contact 868-7788
136 Appleton St

7 am-1 pm
Raising Capital in 1997: MIT Enterprise Forum Spring Workshop
contact 1-800-221-2333 or mitefcmb@mit.edu
MIT Building , Room 10-250
Registration: $85 members; $125 non-members; $25 students

9:30 am -12:30 pm
Turning Conflict into Better Relationships
Virginia Swain, Center for Strategic Change
contact 225-0403 or imagine@world.std.com

10 am - 4 pm
Shorter Work-Time... Why We Need It, How We Can Get It
an activists conference with Juliet Schor, Anders Hayden, Ellen Frank, William Pollack, Nancy Lessin, Laura Younger, Suzanne Austin, Karen O'Donnell, Diane Dujon, and Jonathan King
contact Barbara Brandt 628-5558 or http://www.swt.org
Devlin Hall, Boston College
suggested fee: $15

10 am
The Changing Face of Public Schools
Harold Hodgkinson, Carola Suarez-Orozco, Bout Te, Vera Vignes, Patricio Coleman
Harvard, Gutman Library, Appian Way

11 am - 3 pm
Earth Day/Arbor Day - singalong, art exhibit, and tree planting
Sennott Park (Broadway and Norfolk)

11 am - 6 pm
Fourth Annual WBOS Earth Day Concert and Festival
Exhibitors include the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Save The Manatee Club, Earth Day Greater Boston, Whale Conservation Institute, Earthwatch, Environmental League of Massachusetts, MassPIRG, Boston Can, BASEA, and Save The Harbor/Save the Bay
Featured performers include Boz Scaggs, Robert Palmer, The Boneshakers, Widespread Panic, The Verve Pipe, Jonathan Edwards, Modern English, Ashley MacIsaac, Jonathan Edwards and Patty Griffin
Hatch Shell, Charles River Esplanade, Boston

11:30 am - 5:30 pm
Boston Day of Action on Human Rights and Democracy
Noam Chomsky and speakers from Free Nigeria Movement, Amnesty International, NE Burma Roundtable, East Timor Action Network, Tibetan Association of Boston
contact 787-6809 or FNM@ix.netcom.com
MIT Building 26, Room 100
Suggested Donation: $5.00

Sunday, April 27

Run of the Charles Canoe and Kayak Race
contact (800)286-RACE or 527-2799
sponsored by the Charles River Watershed Association

11 am
Should Action Be Civil?
Jan R. Schlictmann, attorney
contact CommChurch@aol.com
Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston Street, Copley Sq

12 pm
Annual Earth Day/Arbor Day Family Festival
contact Regional Environmental Council (508)799-9139 or rec@ultranet.com

7 pm
The Somerville Living Wage Committee: A living wage bill would require businesses doing business with the city of Somerville or seeking tax breaks or other financial assistance to pay their employees a "living wage". A living wage is enough to keep a family of four above the poverty level. Currently, this is an hourly wage of approximately $8.00, which would be adjusted annually.
contact Bill Bumpus at 628-0134
College Ave United Methodist Church,14 Chapel St, Somerville

Monday, April 28

12 pm
Journalistic Ethics and Other Dilemmas
Henry Grunwald
Harvard, Kennedy School, Malkin Penthouse

3 pm
Heterogeneous Atmospheric Chemistry: Air Pollution to Global Change
Spyros Pandis, Carnegie Mellon Univ
MIT Building 66, Room 110

3:30 pm
Health Effects of Low-Level Ionizing Radiation
Myron Pollycove, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
MIT Building NW12, Room 222

4 pm
No Aging in India: Theorizing Senility
Lawrence Cohen, UC, Berkeley
contact 253-4062
MIT Building E51, Room 095

Global Erosion Rates and Global Carbon Dioxide Budgets
Bernard Hallet, Univ of WA
Harvard, Haller Hall, 24 Oxford St, Room 102

Security Implications of Oil Pipelines for Ukraine and East Central Europe
Margarita Balmaceda, Univ of Toledo
Harvard, 1583 Mass Ave, Seminar Room

4:05 pm
An Oceanic Flood Deposit: Mass Balances, Internal Properties, and Evolution
Rob Wheatcroft, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
contact 258-5554 or janiscka@mit.edu
MIT Building 48, Room 316

6 pm - 8 pm
Coaching Transformational Leaders Support Group
Virginia Swain, The Center for Strategic Change
contact 225-0403 or imagine@world.std.com

6:30 pm
NE Environmental Marketing Association Awards Dinner
Christopher DeVany, Pinnacle Consulting Group
contact 449-5600
Sheraton Needham Hotel, Needham
$35 members, $50 non-members

7:30 pm
Toward a Sociology of Social Science: Ethnomethodoogy, Conversation, Analysis, and Survey Research
Doug Maynard, Univ of Indiana, Bloomington
Harvard, 61 Kirkland St, Reading Room

Tuesday, April 29

7:30 am - 6 pm
New England Environmental Expo
contact 489-2302 or http://www.EnviroExpo.com
World Trade Center, Boston, MA

12 pm
The Sepulchres of Galileo in the Church of Santa Croce: the Very Lively Remains of a Hero of Science
Paolo Galluzzi
MIT Building E56, Room 100

Selling Foreign News to the American Public
Jeff Trimble, US News and World Report
Harvard, Taubman Building, Room 275

12:30 pm
Fisheries, Trade and the Environment in US-Japan Relations
Theodore Bestor, Cornell
Harvard, Coolidge Hall, 1737 Cambridge St, Room 215

2 pm
19th Century Foreshadowers of Elementary Quanta: Electrons from Faraday to Thomson and Photons from Hamilton to Planck
Henry M. Paynter, MIT
MIT Building 4, Room 163

4 pm
Self-Organization in Surface Reactions
Gerhard Ertl, Fritz-Haber-Institute der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany
MIT Building 54, Room 100

Studying Global Change and Evolotion Using a Biogeographic Approach
Bruce Lieberman, Harvard
Harvard, Haller Hall, 20 Oxford ST, Room 102

5 pm
Building Things with Behavior and Character
Bruce Blumberg, MIT
MIT Building E15, Room 070 (Media Lab, Bartos Theater)

6 pm
Boston Recycling Program Block Captains Meeting
contact Boston Recycling or Environmental Services 635-3425
World Trade Center, 164 Northern Ave, Waterfront 2 Room, Boston

6:30 pm
Neighborhood Design in a Democratic City: Toward a Real Urbanism
Michael Pyatok, Pyatok Associates, Oakland, CA
contact 253-7791
MIT Building 10, Room 250

7 pm
Braintree-Weymouth Marine Pipeline Study - new wastewater facilities
contact Gary Webster, MWRA, 242-6000 x1182
Quincy City Hall, 1305 Hancock St, 2nd flr, Quincy

Wednesday, April 30

9 am - 6 pm
New England Environmental Expo
contact 489-2302 or http://www.EnviroExpo.com
World Trade Center, Boston, MA

11 am
Hot Electrons in Quantum Cascade Lasers
Serge Luryi, SUNY, Stony Brook
contact 253-8504
MIT Building 34, Room 401B (Grier Room B)

12 pm
US Security Assistance for Africa
J.E. Fraiser, Harvard
MIT Building E38, Room 615

4 pm
Citzenship from the Warfare to the Welfare State: The Development of the European Welfare State in the 20th Century
Jyette Klausen, Bunting Fellow
Harvard, Bunting Institute, 34 Concord Ave

4:05 pm
Interactions Between Manganese and Freshwater Algae
Katja Knauer
contact 258-5554 or janiscka@mit.edu
MIT Building 48, Room 316

4:15 pm
Sparse Wavelength Conversion in Wavelength-Routing Networks
Suresh Subramaniam, Univ of WA
MIT Building 34, Room 401A

5 pm
Rydberg Atoms in Crossed Fields: Order, Chaos, and Nonspreading Wave Packets
Turgay Uzer, Georgia Tech
Harvard, Jefferson Building, Room 356

Thursday, May 1

9 am - 3:30 pm
New England Environmental Expo
contact 489-2302 or http://www.EnviroExpo.com
World Trade Center, Boston, MA

9 am - 12 pm
Trainers' Workshop on Sustainable Community Indicators
contact Maureen Hart at (508) 975-1988 or mhart@tiac.net
UMass Lowell campus in Lowell, Massachusetts

1 pm
Choosing to Participate
Margaret Stern Strom, Facing History and Ourselves
Harvard, Longfellow Hall, Appian Way, Eliot-Lyman Room

4 pm
Centrifuge Modelling of Immiscible Flow Processes
Trish Culligan, MIT
contact 253-7186
MIT Building 1, Room 350

4 pm
Art and Artifice in the Depiction of Renaissance Machines
Paolo Galluzzi, Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence, Italy
contact 253-6989
MIT Building E56, Room 100

4:15 pm
Curvature Flows for Image Segmentation, Smoothing, and Enhancement
Anthony Yezzi, Univ of MN
MIT Building 36, Room 428

6 pm
A Healthy Baby Girl - a documentary about "what happens when science, marketing, and corporate power enter our deepest family relationships"
contact 876-6837 or jhp@igc.apc.org
Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St

Landscape Space
Alex Katz, painter
Harvard, Carpenter Center, Lecture Hall

7:30 pm
Rock, Rap, and the World Beat: The Politics of Contemporary Sound
Reebee Garofalo, Univ of MA
Harvard, 61 Kirkland St

7:45 pm
Improving Community Livability and Safety by Calming Traffic and Promoting Walking and Bicycling: The City of Cambridge's Experience
Cara Seiderman, Transportation Program Manager, Cambridge
contact CALM Wakefield, 617-224-0563, http://www.wakefield.org
Unitarian-Universalist Church, 326 Main St, Wakefield

8 pm
Gary Snyder
Harvard, Science Center, Lecture Room A

Friday, May 2

3:30 pm
Polymer Fluid Dynamics and Kinetic Theory (or: Funny Fluid Flow Fenomena)
Byron Bird, Univ of WI, Madison
contact 253-7604
MIT Building 34, Room 101

4 pm
Evidence for an Oceanic Bipolar Seesaw During the Last Deglaciation
Wallace Broecker, Columbia Univ
MIT Building 54, Room 915

X-Ray Specs: Looking at Nanoscale Dynamics with Coherent X-Rays
Simon Mochrie, MIT
Harvard, Pierce Hall, Room 209

7:30 pm
Boston Area Solar Energy Association: The Healing House
Barbara Bannon-Harwood
contact 49-SOLAR or hkv@solarwave.com
1st Parish Unitarian Church, #3 Church St Harvard Sq
$3 members, $5 non members $1 off for students and seniors

Saturday, May 3

Life After Death: Rap, Reality and Social Responsibility
contact 495-0685
Harvard, Science Center, Room C

Sources for Listings:
MIT _Tech Talk_ :
Harvard _Gazette_ :
Harvard Environmental Resources On-Line:
MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs calendar:
Earth Day Network international/national listings:
Earth Day Greater Boston calendar:

act-ma the Massachusetts activists mailing list:
subscribe by emailing majordomo@igc.apc.org, leaving the subject line blank and typing "subscribe act-ma" as the message

Peace and Justice Events Hotline at (617)787-6809

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RCRA Courses Online

Editorial Comment: The McKimmon Center-NC State University (enviro@mckimmon01.mck.ncsu.edu) sent out this announcement of their new course offerings.


1. Federal Regulatory Overview: Open only for those registering for #3-5. This course has been running at no cost since early March for anyone interested. Although it is now closed to new registrants except those registering for #3-5, these freebies will be offered again later this year.

2. Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act: Open only for those registering for #3-5. This course has been running at no cost since early March for anyone interested. Although it is now closed to new registrants except those registering for #3-5, these freebies will be offered again later this year.

3. Waste Determination and Status: Open for registration and currently running.

4. On-Site Management of Hazardous Waste: Open for registration and currently running.

5. Off-Site Disposal of Hazardous Waste: Open for registration. Course begins May 5.

CEUs and certificates of completion are awarded. Completion of all five courses may meet your annual training requirements for Large Quantity Generators.

For more information, visit:

Joni Tanner
Continuing and Professional Education
North Carolina State University
phone 919-515-8171 fax 919-515-7614

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Journal of Industrial Ecology

Volume 1, Issue 1 of the _Journal of Industrial Ecology_ is available from MIT Press Journals, 55 Hayward St, Cambridge, MA 02142 (617)253-2889 or (617)577-1545 (fax), journals-orders@mit.edu, http://www-mitpress.mit.edu

The inaugural issue includes articles on LCA in Europe, Industrial Ecology in Asia, Systems Modeling and the Environment, The Industrial Ecology of Lead and Electric Vehicles, Kalundborg, The Life-Cycle of Chlorine and Chlorine in the Netherlands (based upon a national mass balance model), Yvon Chouinard on the conversion of Patagonia's cotton product line, and book reviews. Whew!

Subscriptions are $40 for individuals, $95 for institutions, and $30 for students and retired people.

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Green Power and Whirlpool Wants Higher Standards

Editorial Comment: Carolyn Chase (cdchase@qualcomm.com) sent these reports from GreenWire (http://www.apn.com/info/greenwire/) out to the Earth Day Network.

WHIRLPOOL CHILLY ON FRIDGE EFFICIENCY STANDARDS DOE today plans to announce new standards requiring up to a 30% efficiency improvement in refrigerators by 2001.

Whirlpool Corp. is "breaking ranks" with other appliance manufacturers by protesting the new standards, which it says are too lax. "Rivals say Whirlpool is sore because it felt it could handle the new standards sooner," giving it a competitive advantage. Whirlpool last week canceled its membership in the Assn. of Home Appliance Manufacturers, a trade group it helped create 30 years ago (Carl Quintanilla, W.S. JOURNAL, 4/23).


Given a choice of electricity suppliers, a new poll suggests that 66% of Americans would be willing to pay a few dollars more a month for "environmentally friendly" sources of electricity. The results were about the same for men and women, with 66% of men and 67% of women responding in the affirmative.

House Commerce Cmte. Chair Thomas Bliley (R-VA), who released the survey results yesterday, on Earth Day: "Given a choice, American consumers will be more effective in protecting the environment than any number of government regulators." But under the current system of utility "monopolies, they can't buy [clean power] at any price," Bliley said (House Commerce Cmte. release, 4/22).

The poll was sponsored by the Partnership for Customer Choice, a group of utilities that favors a federal utility deregulation deadline. Bliley is a proponent of legislation that would break up state-sanctioned utility monopolies and allow consumers to choose their power source (GREENWIRE sources). The Frederick Schneiders Research firm surveyed 1,012 adults from April 16-20, with a margin of error of +/- 3% (House Commerce Cmte. release).


"No Earth Day celebration would be complete without acknowledging the significant environmental benefits of nuclear energy," according to the industry's DC-based association, the Nuclear Energy Institute. By using nuclear energy instead of fossil fuels, the US prevents the emission of nearly 150 million metric tons (mmt) of carbon dioxide, more than 5 mmt of sulfur dioxide and 2.5 mmt of nitrogen oxide. The reduction in CO2 alone is the equivalent of taking 94 million cars off the road (NEI release, 4/21).

Editorial Comment: Did anyone see PBS' Frontline, "Nuclear Reaction," this week? It was an outline for the new PR push to revive nuclear power. But with the recent troubles in Japan's reactor program and the reunion of the Clamshell Alliance at Seabrook, NH on April 26 (contact Guy Chichester at (603) 942-5863 for further information) I don't think they'll get too far.

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The Alliance Against Corporate Colonialism

Editorial Comment: The local chapters of the Alliance for Democracy is organizing a teach-in on corporate globalism. You can reach the local groups at bostonalliance@juno.com or join the national listserv (the-alliance-announce@igc.org) by emailing majordomo@igc.apc.org and typing "subscribe the-alliance-announce" as your message.

The Boston-Cambridge and North Bridge chapters of Alliance for Democracy are collaborating to organize a major conference on the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment ("son of NAFTA and GATT"). Planners include Dave Lewit (coordinator), Dave Adams, Jean Maryborn, Bob Stubbs, Diana Licht, Paul Johnson, Garret Whitney, Cynthia Ritsher, Lynn Gargill, and Wells Wilkinson.

MAI-31 (no name chosen yet), our 9-5 May 31st teach-in, will be co-sponsored by Boston College/Sociology Department (Charlie Derber*). The purpose is to spark a national debate on what MAI is and what to do about it, as it may be introduced into Congress later this year. More generally that debate would be about corporations, development, and democracy. The teach-in will be held at Devlin Hall, BC, with a 326-seat auditorium and 5 or more classrooms for break-out discussions or workshops. We are considering a formal debate at midday: I'm confident that we'll have one or more Congress members as well as an MIA negotiator from the State Dept (US Trade Rep) and perhaps an advocate from a sponsoring business association, plus Ronnie Dugger* (Alliance for Democracy) and Lori Wallach* (Public Citizen).

Ronnie will be the first speaker, setting the stage. Lori Wallach would be our keynoter. Toward the end we want someone with vision to describe a realizable alternative to the "new colonialism," such as John Ralston Saul or Bill Greider. We are pursuing critics like Pat Choate (he's not Perot) and Stan Gacek (AFL-CIO). Charlie Sennott (Boston Globe) could comment on media coverage or noncoverage. Some of these could be discussion leaders in break-out groups, dealing with MAI's probable impact on Environment, Regional Development, Labor, Human Rights & Culture, Law, and Political Power. Each would introduce him/herself and his/her workshop with a 5-minute remark to the plenary. The last hour would be devoted to organizing, led by Simon Billenness* (Franklin R&D/CPPAX), Naomi Walker* (Preamble Collaborative), and State Rep Jim Marzilli*. *=confirmed

We have a growing number of co-sponsors (CPPAX, MOBE, Public Citizen, etc.) who may help with publicity through their newsletters and mailings. IMEDIATELY-- PLEASE CONTACT THE EDITOR OF ANY NEWSLETTER YOU KNOW, AND CALL DAVE LEWIT (dlewit@igc.org) OR DAVE ADAMS (BostonAlliance@juno.com) FOR A NEWS RELEASE. We would also appreciate your help in other ways. THANKS!

Dave Adams
Local Contact - Boston / Cambridge alliance for democracy

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The Cult of Natural Step?

I've been doing some flakking for the Natural Step online and wrote the following to a couple of listservs I'm on:

The Natural Step is an environmental regimen originally formulated in Sweden and now spreading around the world. The core of the idea is four system conditions:

substances from the Earth's crust cannot systematically increase in the biosphere; substances produced by society cannot systematically increase in the biosphere; the physical basis for the productivity and diversity of nature must not be systematically deteriorated; and in order to meet the previous three system conditions, there must be a fair and efficient use of resources to meet human needs.

You can reach the US office at TNS@naturalstep.org

There is also a listserv called tns-consultant@igc.apc.org, which you can subscribe to by emailing majordomo@igc.apc.org and typing "subscribe tns-consultant" as your message.

Hilary Bradbury (bradburh@bcvms.bc.edu) has produced a "Learning History of the Natural Step on WWW." She says:

As some of you know I spent a big chunk of last year interviewing folks in Stockholm about the early stages of Det Naturliga Steget/DNS. I wrote my "findings" as a Learning History. This is now available on the Web (FINALLY!) and this is the URL


If anyone wants to offer comments etc., I would be delighted. Its a working document and anyway as my dissertation is about DNS, all comments would be more valuable grist for the mill (in a positive sense!)

There will be a Natural Step training session in San Francisco on April 25. Contact EWerb@aol.com for further information.

There will also be a one day training on Saturday, May 17, 9 am - 5 pm in Boston, MA. Contact donaldf@gis.net, mpliple@library.umass.edu, or anichols@cs.tufts.edu for further information

Since I published that, I've learned that TNS-USA has a Website of its own at http://www.emis.com/tns/index.htm#top

Wil Burns (pcis@igc.apc.org), Director of the GreenLife Society (http://EELINK.umich.edu/greenlife/index.html), was moved by my posting to reply:

And at some point do we all "empty our vessels" and go away on a giant space ship trailing a comet? :)

Sorry he confused flakking with proselytizing but he did give me an excuse to write my own industrial policy statement and clarify my position.

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My Industrial Policy

Zero emissions built around
William McDonough's three design criteria: waste equals food, use only current solar energy, respect diversity
within the Natural Step systems conditions: minerals, metals and fossil fuels should be used at a geologic rate, all natural and human products should be recycled at a biological rate, the supporting biosphere should be used only within its rate of regeneration without degradation, and we should individually and communally do all these things as efficiently, honestly, and justly as possible.

In general, I say increase diversity and expand the biosphere.

And the only spaceship I expect to be on is Spaceship Earth.

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Telecommunications and Democracy

The report from the Citizen's Panel on Telecommunications and Democracy is now available online from the Loka Institute Webpage at http://www.amherst.edu/~loka or by e-mailing Loka@amherst.edu.

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Censoring Boston Public Library

Editorial Comment: Chris Vance (agitate@vcn.bc.ca) posted this notice to the act-ma listserv (act-ma@igc.apc.org, you can subscribe by emailing majordomo@igc.apc.org and type "subscribe act-ma" as the message). I recommend Ursula K. LeGuin's essay "The Stalin in the Heart" from her book, _The Language of the Night_, for an expanded view of the issues around censorship.

Please read this even if you do not completely oppose the Boston Public Library's censorship of pornography, because they are also censoring us (on the left) as "political extremists". And we can each do something rather quickly in protest -- e-mail the Chief Information Officer and let them know that this is a travesty.

The details: as you probably are already aware, the Boston Public Library has paid CyberPatrol corporation big money for the tools to censor various "inappropriate" internet sites from the children's area of the library. What you probably do not know is that "political extremism" is one of the categories for censorship. And I'm not talking about fascist sites here, I'm talking about the newspaper of my union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, also known as Wobblies). I and other Wobblies are furious about this, and I want to use our experience as evidence that censorship in the Boston Public Library runs counter to democratic access to information, including vital information critical of the status quo such as our newspaper. So please e-mail the Chief Information Officer and let them know that we are part of the community, we are not going away, and we will not allow ourselves to be censored. (As it turns out, soon after we started protesting directly to CyberPatrol, our newspaper was removed from the censor's list, however many anarchist sites remain on the list and this list may grow along with right-wing influence generally. We need to speak up now!)

Cheif Information Officer e-mail (via world wide web form):

info on CyberPatrol and the Boston Public Library:

IWW newspaper, _Industrial Worker_

fight the power,

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Privatizing the Patent Office

Editorial Comment: This is the latest alert from James Love (love@tap.org) of the Consumer Project on Technology (http://www.cptech.org), among other things. As far as I'm concerned, Jamie Love is one of the most effective agitators around. He is very smart on telecom and info issues and always makes a difference as he makes trouble.

INFORMATION POLICY NOTES - A newsletter available from listproc@tap.org
April 16, 1997

This is the note we sent out today on HR 400, the bill that would turn the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) into a government owned corporation, that would be privately funded. The bill would make a number of controverisal changes in patent laws, and the committee report on the bill contains a special interest provision for private database vendors, directing the PTO to continue its controversial policy of limiting online access to the full text of patents to a handful of fee based terminals at the PTO and selected libraries. We oppose the transfer of the PTO to the corporate entity (the privatization proposal) and the special interest provisions on access to patent information. We also oppose a section of the bill on prior user rights.

James Love
Consumer Project on Technology
P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036
http://www.cptech.org; 202.387.8030
Re: HR 400

This letter expresses our opposition to HR 400. We are opposed to the provisions regarding prior user rights, the creation of a private corporation to manage the granting of patents and trademarks, and the limitation of public access to patent data on the Internet.

Prior User Rights

Today, inventions can be protected as trade secrets or patents, but not both. There is a natural tension between the two forms of protection. The patent grants a legal monopoly on the invention, but only for a limited period, and after public disclosure. Trade secret protection can last as long as the secret is kept, but the holder of the trade secret runs the risk of independent invention, and the granting of a patent to a rival. This provides incentives for firms to seek protection under patent laws, which benefit the public interest through disclosure of the invention, and a limit on the period of the monopoly. HR 400 seeks to change existing law by granting the owners of trade secrets a royalty-free license to patents, if they can demonstrate they had used the invention in commerce, or for certain non-profit uses. This will have the predictable effect of encouraging firms to eschew patents, by reducing the risks associated with a trade secret. We oppose this change in the law, on the grounds that the public interest is better served by patents, than trade secrets.

Creation of a Private Corporation to Manage Granting of Patents and Trademarks

The federal government's authority to grant patents is found in the U.S. Constitution. The PTO's functions are a core government purpose. The PTO issues legal monopolies on a wide range of activities. Patents are issued on new life forms, surgical procedures (last year the Congress limited patent holder rights in this area), business practices (including marketing of credit cards and bond instruments), the use of human gene sequences, and many other areas of controversy. It is completely inappropriate for such decisions to be made by a private corporation. Private corporations should not create legal entitlements, and it is inappropriate for private corporations to fund specific policy initiatives for the PTO, which would increase control the agency's agenda and policy conclusions.

Provisions Limiting Public access to Patent Data on the Internet.

The Committee Report on HR 400 provides very bad language concerning the dissemination of patent information on the Internet. The PTO is directed to continue providing only a fee based system for access to the full text of patents, which is available only at the PTO and a handful of selected depository libraries. The PTO is instructed to "proceed with caution before creating any direct-to- end-user retail services because they could undercut the value of the bulk dissemination program and the value of patent information products and services now sold. This is an outrageous special interest provision, inserted by lobbyists for a coalition of commercial patent vendors (many of which are foreign owned, such West Publishing and Lexis). The purpose of the patent system is to trade a legal monopoly for disclosure of the invention to the public. At present commercial prices for these documents are so high that access to the full text of patents is largely limited to the patent bar, and large corporate entities. American students, small businesses and inventors should have free access to full text of patents on the Web. Decisions about the disclosure also should not be left to the patent holders themselves, since disclosure is a core obligation in return for receiving the legal monopoly. The public has been seeking Internet access to the full text of patents since 1991.

INFORMATION POLICY NOTES is a newsletter sponsored by the Consumer Project on Technology (CPT), a project of Ralph Nader's Center for Study of Responsive Law. The LISTPROC services are provide by Essential Information. Archives of Info-Policy-Notes are available from http://www.essential.org/listproc/info-policy-notes/ (no period). CPT's Web page is http://www.cptech.org (no period). CPT can both be reached off the net at P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036, Voice: 202/387-8030; Fax: 202/234-5176. Subscription requests to listproc@tap.org with the message: subscribe info-policy-notes Jane Doe

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The Begging Bowl

For the last 20 years I've done a variety of different public demonstrations - geometry shows, solar shows, sustainability shows. I've displayed my wares before probably close to 750,000 people at events like the Towards Tomorrow Fair in Amherst, the River Festival in Cambridge, Earth Day events, the Wake the Earth Festival and other venues. For a couple of years, I was part of the NE Coastal Power Show that traveled from Maine to Washington DC, from Cape Cod to Pennsylvania with an anti-nuke renewable energy show. We once estimated that we had displayed our information to over 250,000 people for the three years or so that our group existed. Our complete budget was roughly $60,000, including the cost of buying the big White van that housed our exhibits and took us from place to place. We had one initial grant but supported ourselves through selling buttons and bumperstickers, t-shirts and pamphlets.

This year, I've been asked to different events and I just can't do it. It is much too frustrating to face the people and try to explain what I've tried to explain for 20 years, the obvious truth that I've felt in my bones for longer than that. Maybe I'm getting old (I can feel my birthday breathing down my neck). Maybe it's spring fever. Maybe I'm tired (certainly, I was tired when I edited last week's "A List..." and apologize for my lax performance). I have always believed that there is some clear and brilliant image that would change people just by presenting it to them. I don't know what that image is. All I know is that the ones I've displayed haven't been it. Yet.

However, I'm still doing "A List..." and I'd still like feedback of the thoughtful, epistolary, or monetary style.

How "A List..." works:
If you want to have a listing included in "A List..." please send it to me before noon on the Friday before the event and if said even is deemed suitable for coverage, it will be included in the appropriate edition of "A List..." Articles and reviews, ideas, rants and opinions are also solicited. Publication is up to the erratic discretion of the editor.

"A List..." is also a listserv. You can subscribe or unsubscribe to the listserv by emailing a-list-request@world.std.com, leaving the Subject line blank, and typing "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" as the message.

"A List..." is a freeware/shareware publication. If the information is of any value to you, please contribute - money, information, encouragement, prayers and good wishes are all valid currencies for feedback and will be gratefully appreciated by
George Mokray
Information Ecologies
218 Franklin St #3
Cambridge, MA 02139

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