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First Word 

By Daniel Pinkwater 



By Steve Nadis 

central control 


By Ed Juge 

Artificial Intelligence 

By J. Blake Lambert 


the information 




By Jeffrey Hsu 

Highway surveillance 


Electronic Universe 

By Gregg Keizer 



By Peggy Noonan 



By Mary Ann Tawasha 



By Fred Hapgood 

Underground architecture 



By Paul Kvinta 



When the inner mind is pushed to its 
outer limits, the resulting harvest can cause both awe and 

horror. A peek into the minds behind 

television's strangest new series. Cover art by Tsuneo Sanda. 

(Additional art and photo credits, page 90.) 


The New Outer 

By David Bischoff 

Control over 

your TV's transmission 

is about to be 

hijacked. Get set for a new 

wave of SF thrillers. 


Omni's Project 

Open Book 

Implants, forensics, 

and Part Two 

of Omni's guide to 

investigating UFOs. 

(k \ 

Max Faget: 

Master Builder 

By James Oberg 

A rare look at the former 

NASA wiz whose 

genius propelled humans 

into space. 

Resolve and Resistance 

ByS. N. Dyer 



Hazel O'Leary 

By Linda Turbyviile 

Powerful talk 

from the Secretary 

of Energy 



By Scot Morris 


Last Word 

By Daniel Pinkwater 

OMNI (ISSN 0149-8711) is published monthly in the United States and Canada by Omni Public=:iors mte -national Ltd., 277 Park 
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When reading really matters 

By Daniel Pinkwater 

many books for 

all ages and a 


for National Pub- 

.'--■ ~.:.'SY : ' 

Daniel Pinkwater 

looks at 

learning to read. 

I can remember the exact mo- 
ment when I broke the code 
and became able to read. It 
was during the second semester 
of first grade. I had purchased a 
Batman comic — the first brand- 
new comic I had ever owned. 
Having invested a whole shiny 
dime, I was determined to read 
every word in the thing. And I did. 
I can even remem- 
ber some of the dia- ~~ 
logus: Batman was JjflS: 

talking about scaling 
a building, some- 
thing he and Robin 
could do because of 
their athletic prowess. %[0^^M 

Dick and Jane , 
some other literary 
characters with whom * \ 
I was familiar at the 
time, never scaled /•♦ffi' 
anything — and their 
athletic prowess appeared lim- 
ited to chasing that insipid dog 
of theirs, who was always mak- 
ing off with the red ball. 

Dick and Jane. Batman and 
Robin. It didn't matter. "I can read 
this!" 1 said. "I can read any- 
thing!" And I did, from then on. 

Even before i picked the lock 
of the printed word, I had been 
participating in semi-organized 
games in my middle-class Chi- 
cago neighborhood. These games 
consisted of reenactments of his- 
torical events of a certain kind: 
Pickett's charge, the battle of 
San Juan Hill, Belleau Wood, iwo 
Jima. I suppose these games had 
gone on in the backyards and 
empty lots, the details handed 
down by generations of older 
brothers and sisters, since the 
wars we portrayed were current. 
We also played Ivanhoe, The 
Three Musketeers, The Hunch- 
back of Notre Dame, Mysterious 
Island, and Twenty Thousand 
Leagues Under the Sea. Captain 
Nemo was a choice role, I re- 
member, and D'Artangnan was 


to be played with plenty of Errol 
Flynn swash and buckle. 

Someone told me that people 
who probably can't read sing 
songs in the streets of South 
American cities about the char- 
acters in Gabriel Garcia Mar- 
quez's One Hundred Years of 
Solitude. Our backyard dramati- 
zations were something of this 
kind. I, for one, did 
W I not know that these 

lH^ | were books, and only 
later did I encounter 
them, first as Classic 
Comics, and then in 

It needs to be said 
that we were not en- 
couraged or super- 
vised by benevolent 
adults in these exer- 
cises. All the grown- 
ups knew was that 
we were making a racket, waving 
wooden sticks around, and get- 
ting dirty. These were days when 
there was no such thing as a 
media specialist. Librarians were 
not kindly guides to the world of 
letters; they were severe figures 
who told you not to make noise, 
get fingerprints on the books, or 
fail to bring them back on time'. 

The preceptors and authori- 
ties I remember from my early 
days struck me as people who 
showed up to do a day's work — 
as we pupils did. The goal was 
to get through the reader and the 
arithmetic book, and learn some 
spelling and geography. Whether 
we wound up well-rounded or 
well-adjusted was our own busi- 
ness anyway, not theirs. It was up 
to each of us, and our imagina- 
tions, to see to it that culture was 
allowed to take care of itself. 

I wound up as a writer of, 
among other things, books for 
children and young adults. As 
such, I get a fair amount of mail. 
Some of it comes from libraries 
and schools, inviting me to par- 

ticipate in the ^'Celebrity Auc- 
tion," and its variants. Children 
are given credits or play money 
for every book read during a 
given period. At the end of this 
period, children can use their 
earnings to bid on autographed 
books, posters, T-shirts, chewed 
pencils, cigar stubs, and other 
artifacts donated by the likes of 
me, Sometimes, local merchants 
have participated, and the kids 
can cash in their chits for pizza. 

This is a bankrupt practice, 
and I decry it. The message from 
adult authority seems to me to 
be, "Look, kids— reading is a 
drag. I don't like it myself, (which 
is why I can't communicate any 
enthusiasm to you,) but if you'll 
do it, we'll pay you." What's sug- 
gested is that, in too many 
cases, the wrong people are 
representing books to the 
young — and maybe that they're 
representing the wrong books, 
(but the state of the children's 
book-publishing industry is too 
big a topic to tackle here. All I'll 
say is that a two-year moratorium 
on juvenile publications would do 
no harm — except to me — what 
am I thinking?). 

These matters would depress 
me, except that I get other mail— 
from better schools and libraries 
that serve their clients well. And I 
hear from actual kid readers, 
who, having read something of 
mine, are ready to share their 
own .efforts: "I read your book 
about the Blue Moose," wrote in 
one reader. "It was pretty funny 
the way he moved into that guy's 
house. Have you ever seen a 
moose? I have not. Do they really 
like clam chowder?" 

What these kids have discov- 
ered is that in putting words to- 
gether they have their own 
questions to ask and their own 
observations to make. What a re- 
lief. Culture may be taking care 
of itself yet.DO 

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Welcoming the aliens, growing our own rolling paper, 

and going with the flow 

The Sounds of Silence 
Steve Nadis' interesting Sounds column 
on the effort to record sounds made by 
animals (December 1994) pointed out 
the speed with which we are losing 
species. The main reason we're losing 
wildlife— and all the distinctive 
sounds — is the destruction of habitat. 
That will continue unless we find a way 
to persuade landowners to keep por- 
tions of their property in natural or 
seminatural condition. The Wilderness 
Society is proposing tax incentives and 
other inducements to create a national 
network of "Lifelands," made up of 
ecologically significant private and 
public lands. We need to act before the 
only sounds you hear come from back- 
hoes and chain saws. 

G. Jon Roush, President 

The Wilderness Society 

Washington, DC 

Greeting the Little Green Men 
The replies from influential persons were 
extremely interesting (What Would You 
Say to an Alien?, January 1995). It seems 
that the most useful and engaging came 
from a fictional television character 
(Tom Servo), a comedian (Steve Allen), 
and a science-fiction writer (Harlan Elli- 
son). Conspicuous by the absence of 
their comments were the top political 
leaders. Speaking of politicians: After 
reading some of their remarks (election 
speeches?), God help us if they get 
hold of these visitors first. What would I 
say? "Live long and prosper, let's touch 
butts, and beware." 

Mike Chandler 

Fort Walton Beach, FL 

AOL: Entwine 

The general collective consensus of 
the respondents indicates we won't be 
gracious hosts. Sadly, the harsh reality 
of our species is not one of open arms. 
When the aliens come, who will repre- 
sent our species? 

Jim Swift 
Corpus Christi, TX 

I'd love the opportunity to ask aliens for 
advice on how to fix our planet's prob- 
lems. Many people have made reason- 
able, intelligent suggestions for fixing 
the ills of earth. The problem is, no- 

body listens. Suggestions coming from 
an extraterrestrial race would make 
front-page news. Maybe that's what it 
will take to bring our world back to a 
safer, saner, and more loving condition. 
Sarah Brunswick 
Gresham, OR 

Weed All About It 

The kudzu article (Continuum, Decem- 
ber 1994) raises an issue many are 
concerned with: deforestation caused 
by paper manufacturing. There is an 
alternative. There's a plant which can 
grow wild in all 50 states and doesn't 
need pesticides as other cash crops do. 
One acre of this plant will produce as 
much putp for paper as 4.1 acres of 20- 
year-old trees, and the paper is of higher 
quality. Best of all, this plant contains so 
little lignin that poisonous dioxin-pro- 
ducing chemicals aren't needed in the 
paper-making process. It's cannabis. 
That's the real reason marijuana is illegal. 
DeLani Bartlette-Hunt 
Springdale, AR 

Seeking Flow 

The article on Professor Csikszentmi- 
halyi and "Flow" (Interview, January 
1995) was an interesting one, but what 
he spoke so eloquently about, and 
spent so much effort researching, has 
been taught and studied for thousands 
of years. It's Zen, and Buddhist monks 
and martial artists have been pursuing 
the "flow" that derives from it for cen- 
turies. "Flow' 1 can be reached by mar- 
tial arts exercises, as well as the 
activities that the professor mentions. 
In searching for "flow" one should be 
reminded of the ancient Zen koan, 
"Seek it, and you cannot find it . . ." 

A. G. Burnett 

Reno. NV 


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Do we really need any bosses at all? 

By Steve Nadis 

Migrating colony 

of army ants 

in a Costa Rican 

rain forest: 

Who's In charge? 

f^ gm* itchel Resnick is not 

III terribly ambitious. He 
| %M I just wants to change 
the way we think about most 
everything. A computer scientist 
at MIT's Media Lab, Resnick be- 
lieves there is a tremendous 
prejudice in society— a tendency 
to look at the phenomena around 
us, both natural and artificial, 
and assume a dominant control 
where none exists. When watch- 
ing a flock of birds fly in forma- 
tion, many people assume the 
bird is front is in charge. But the 
front bird is not a leader in any 
meaningful sense, Resnick ar- 
gues; the bird just happens to be 
in front at that particular time. 

Is "leadership" 
an over- 
rated concept, 
and is it 
even necessary? 

People make similar assump- 
tions upon observing, and at- 
tempting to explain, the inner 
workings of ant farms, termiie 
colonies, or traffic jams. Accord- 
ing to this view, patterns exist be- 
cause someone or something 
creates them. Everything can be 
traced to a single cause. 

This way of thinking can be 
dead wrong, Resnick maintains, 
calling this mentality the "central- 
ized mindset." He has made it a 
life's mission to try to counteract it, 
writing a book, Turtles, Termites, 
and Traffic Jams, and a program- 
ming language, StarLogo, to 
help people experiment with "self- 
organizing systems" in which or- 

derly patterns arise without a 
"conductor" orchestrating it all. 
Scientists are finding increasing 
examples of this phenomenon — 
called emergent behavior — but 
the concepts can seem counter- 
intuitive. Resnick's focus is not so 
much on self-organizing systems 
per 56, but "on helping people 
think about these things." 

Before vanquishing this cen- 
tralized mindset, it's instructive to 
note why this worldview is so 
pervasive. Why do people cling 
so tenaciously to the notion of a 
single, controlling factor, a cen- 
tralized boss? "To some extent, 
it's a bad habit," says Tufts Uni- 
versity philosopher Daniel Den- 
nett. Resnick elaborates: "The 
idea of one thing in charge 
telling others what to do is easier ■ 
to think about than a system with 
lots of coordination between lots 
of autonomous parts. If& also 
comforting for people to think 
that someone is in charge. That 
suggests there might be a rea- 
son for things being the way they 
are." It can be a self-reinforcing 
spiral, he adds. "There are many 
examples of centrally controlled 
systems— factories, schools, and 
families. When we design new 
technologies or organizations, 
we draw on the most familiar 
models, so the world becomes 
even more full of centrally con- 
trolled things." 

StarLogo provides an oppor- 
tunity to create and explore dif- 
ferent models. The program was 
originally designed to run on a 
massively parallel computer with 
thousands of processors control- 
ling thousands of objects/crea- 
tures. After programming the 
objects to obey simple rules, the 
person can observe whether any 
large-scale patterns result from 
the individuals' combined behav- 
ior. Boston area high school stu- 
dents used StarLogo to model 
traffic jams, predator-prey dy- 

namics, the spread of fire through 
a forest, and the chain reaction 
of uranium atoms undergoing 
nuclear fission. The "decentral- 
ized" learning he is encouraging 
parallels the interactions played 
out on the screen. 

One program developed with 
a student mimics nest construc- 
tion in a termite colony. The simu- 
lation begins with 50 termites 
running around among thou- 
sands of wood chips, following 
simple rules: Run until you find a 
wood chip, pick it up; when you 
find another, place the chip you 
are carrying next to it. After a few 
minutes, half a dozen wood piles 
begin to take shape. After another 
ten minutes or so, all the wood 
chips lie in a single pile. "Real 
termites don't do this exactly," 
Resnick admits. "We still don't 
know the exact rules they follow, 
but at the core it's probably not 
that different. Besides, I'm less 
interested in simulating what's 
out there than stimulating what's 
in here," he points to his head. 

Another StarLogo program 
simulates the periodic clustering 
of slime-mold cells, now consid- 
ered a classic self-organizing 
behavior. For years, scientists 
thought this process was regu- 
lated by special "founder" cells 
triggering aggregation. In 1970 
Evelyn Fox Keller and Lee Segel 
showed how cells might cluster 
without such founder cells. But it 
was a struggle getting most biol- 
ogists to forego prevailing theory 
for the decentralized slime-mold 
point of view, says Keller, who's 
based at MIT "We encountered 
real resistance among biologists 
accustomed to having a cause 
located in a specific agent." 

"This new idea is more threat- 
ening than most," Resnick notes, 
"because its not just about 
slime-mold cells. It's about how 
people make sense of the world 
around them. "DO 


An old hobby tackles today's communications demands 

By Ed Juge 

■ f% ■ hen fighting in Bosnia 
I created gaps in com- 
\m %J munications, the only 
workable bridge was found in a 
hobby that may seem antiquated 
by today's standards — ham radio. 
Yugoslavian amateur radio oper- 
ators, or "hams," moved their ra- 
dios into devastated areas, pass- 
ing hundreds of thousands of 
messages safely between local 
communities and refugee camps 
on behalf of separated families, 
without regard to religious or eth- 
nic prejudice. 

It may seem ironic that a 
decades-old hobby should con- 
tinue to play an important role in 
this age of satellites, television, 
E-mail, and instant worldwide 

communication. Yet 

ham radio remains 
unique in its ability to 
get through in emer- 
gencies where other 
modes are disabled. 
For example, when 
Hurricane Andrew 
devastated Dade 
County Florida, knock- 
ing out even cellular 
phone circuits, ama- 
teur radio was there 
to serve a population grown de- 
pendent upon communications. 

A fascination with amateur 
radio has led thousands of young 
experimenters into engineering 
and science careers since its of- 
ficial sanctioning by the Commu- 
nications Act of 1934. Many went 
on to play key roles in developing 
the communications advances 
we enjoy today. In 1961, a group 
of American amateurs built and 
launched the world's first nonmili- 
tary satellite. Since then, 16 cur- 
rently active communications 
satellites have been launched by 
amateur groups in the United 
States, Japan, and Russia. 

Hams also established a world- 
wide computer-controlled net- 
work for automatically forwarding 

packet data years before radio 
frequency (RF) data transmission 
was "pioneered" by Apple Com- 
puter for its Newton PDA. These 
days computers are an integral 
part of modern ham stations. 
Digital PC-based communica- 
tions, using a variety of modes 
with curious names like RTTY, 
is the fastest-growing segment of 
ham radio. 

David Sumner, amateur call 
sign K1ZZ, is executive vice 
president of the largest amateur 
organization, the American Radio 
Relay League, founded in 1914. 
(The hobby existed long before 
the laws were written.) According 
to Sumner, the worlds of hi-tech 

and amateur radio share similar 
orbits. "For the last 10 years, am- 
ateur radio has been an integral 
part of many space shuttle mis- 
sions, and the astronauts are es- 
pecially enthusiastic about 
talking from space to students in 
classrooms around the country," 
he says. "In fact, the United 
States astronaut corps probably 
has the highest concentration of 
licensed hams of any profession 
you can find." 

Adding to the appeal are com- 
pact and immensely capable 
ham radios to replace the heavy, 
clumsy rigs of years past. Oper- 
ating in the very high frequency 
(VHF) and ultrahigh frequency 
(UHF) ranges, tiny, shirt-pocket- 
size FM handie-talkies (HTs) 

have revolutionized personaland 
public service ham communica- 
tions. An estimated 15,000 "re- 
peaters" scattered across the 
country extend the range of HTs 
to 50 miles or more. In some 
cases, linked repeaters can span 
several states. 

Understandably then, the U.S. 
community of 630,000 licensed 
amateurs is growing faster than 
at anytime in history. In 1991, the 
Federal Communications Com- 
mission opened the doors even 
wider by removing Morse code 
proficiency as a requirement for 
the Technician class license. Fre- 
quencies authorized for techni- 
cians include the immensely 
popular FM repeaters, on-the-air 
bulletin boards, ama- 
teur television, satellite, 
and !, moonbounce" 

The codeless li- 
cense, plus universal 
availability of HTs and 
repeaters, has signifi- 
cantly extended ham 
radio's appeal for those 
interested in personal, 
noncommercial com- 
munications. A written 
examination is still required to 
get licensed, but study materials 
and free, club-sponsored classes 
are widely available. 

Undeniably, many more kids 
today would rather operate per- 
sonal computers than radios. 
Computer bulletin boards, the In- 
ternet, and online services indeed 
offer compelling communications 
options. ''However," says Sumner, 
"if you want to learn what makes 
communications work, there is no 
better experimentation lab going 
than amateur radio. "DO 

Free information on amateur radio 
is availabie from the American 
Radio Relay League, 225 Main 
Street, Newington, Connecticut 

Nights spent 
over home-built 
of vacuum tubes, 
coils, capaci- 
tors, and resistors 
are no longer 
necessary for 
modern ham 
radio operators. 



Can software agents find what interests you? 

By J. Blake Lambert 

agents are grow- 
ing quickly in 
popularity; music- 
agent Ringo's 
■;:".::. ::",J "■ 
grew in two 
months to 
2,1 00 users, who 
filled its 
database with 
ratings for 
9,000 albums. 

i s we enter the age of 
, too much information, 
. researchers are look- 
ing for ways to use computers to 
assist with managing the over- 
load. Software assistants can act 
as electronic screeners, search- 
ing for information that you'll find 
informative and entertaining, and 
saving you the trouble of reading 
through hundreds of messages 
in an effort to find the one or two 
you might find interesting. 

Software assistants use a 
technique called social filtering 
to make recommendations to 
their users. As Paul Resnick, as- 
sistant professor at the MIT Cen- 
ter for Coordination Science 
explains, social filtering works on 
the assumption that "people who 
agreed in the past are likely to 
agree again." Thus, if a group of 
people who have expressed in- 
terests similar to yours have 
found particular information use- 
ful, chances are you will as well. 

A variety of software assis- 
tants are available on the Inter- 
net. One free service, Ringo, uses 
social filtering to recommend 
music. When a new user E-mails a 
message containing only the word 
"help" to, 
or connects to via the World Wide Web, 
Ringo returns a list of musical 
artists to rate numerically. 

When it gets your ratings, 
Ringo looks for a peer group of 
other listeners with similar tastes. 
It then finds artists that these 
peers like which you have not 
rated. Ringo recommends these 
artists, providing a ranking and 
confidence score. You can up- 
date rankings and give low 
scores to recommended artists 
you don't like, which helps im- 
prove Ringo's predictions. 

An experimental project much 
like Ringo uses content and so- 
cial filtering to recommend movies 
(send E-mail to videos@beli- with the subject "new 
user"). After you eliminate certain 
categories (horror, comedy, and 
so on) and rate a central core of 
movies, you'll receive a list of peers 
and video recommendations. 

Another free service, the 
Stanford Information Filtering 
Tool (SIFT) uses content-based 
filtering to provide a clipping ser- 
vice that searches through the 
thousands of messages posted 
to Usenet newsgroups each day. 
SIFT reads all the text in its daily 
newsfeed (about 40,000 post- 
ings) and analyzes the contents. 
It then regularly sends E-mail 
showing the first few lines of every 
message meeting interest criteria 

you specify when subscribing to 
the service. 

SIFT is reasonably fast de- 
spite heavy use, handling almost 
14,000 profiles per day. Watching 
the number of users grow and 
seeing positive responses has 
been exciting, says Tak W. Yan, a 
doctoral student in the Depart- 
ment of Computer Science at 
Stanford University and creator 
of the SIFT netnews service. 
"Many said that through the ser- 
vice they discovered 'gems' in 
newsgroups that they would 
have never read." (Send the 
message "help" to netnews@db.- to get started.) 

While these systems rely on 

explicit user input, more ad- 
vanced systems will employ 
learning agents— software pro- 
grams that watch white you work, 
noting new trends and forgetting 
old ones. In effect, you effort- 
lessly program the agent by ex- 
ample. When such an agent 
sees something entirely new, 
however, it may perform poorly. 

Information filtering and soft- 
ware agents have broad implica- 
tions for interactive media. As 
Yan explains, "We are not far 
from the age of personalized, in- 
teractive newspapers." Ken 
Lang, a computer science grad- 
uate student at Carnegie-Mellon 
University and creator of News- 
Weeder (a Mosaic-based con- 
tent/collaborative newsreader), 
sees "the first real tests of the vi- 
ability of a widespread, auto- 
matic, information filtering mar- 
ket" in the coming year. 

Will Hill, a senior research sci- 
entist and creator of videos@-, explains that his 
company is evaluating agent- 
mediated virtual communities 
"for videos, books, restaurants, 
home-shopping, and digital mu- 
sic. Imagine a home-shopping 
channel where you surf with your 
remote control just as you do 
now, but the amount of time that 
you spend on any given item for 
sale is taken as an implicit sug- 
gestion of interest for that item." 

Other applications in the 
works for agents include sched- 
uling meetings and making travel 
arrangements. Consumers will 
eventually come to rely heavily 
on software agents, claims 
Upendra Shardanand, a former 
MIT graduate student who de- 
veloped Ringo (with assistance 
from Lee Zamir and based on 
a concept by Pattie Maes). 'As 
the information barrage contin- 
ues to accelerate, agents will 
be as indispensable as E-mail," 
he says.DO 



Technology helps police keep a watchful eye on drivers 

By Jeffrey Hsu 

i he battle between po- 
lice and motorists has 
been raging for decades. 
Police armed with their radar 
guns are pitted against drivers 
and truckers with their radar de- 
tectors, in many ways, the entire 
affair has taken on somewhat of 
a romantic nature, with high- 
speed car chases along high- 
ways and city 
Police are streets frequently 
using more than depicted as thrill- 
old-fashioned ing adventures 
radai guns to Traffic acci- 
watch over dents, however, are 
today's motorists: far from romantic, 
Violators may and each year in 
be caught in the the United States, 
act by la- there are millions 
sers, cameras, or of traffic accidents, 
■ :.■■':'.... claiming thousands 
of lives and injur- 
ing many more. 

To combat traf- 
fic violations, law- 
enforcement agencies use a 
wide variety of speed-detection 
technologies which vary in capa- 
bility, purpose, and acceptance. 
These include radar, laser, and 
videotape technologies. 

Radar has been used for many 
years to detect speeders, and 
there are two main kinds: down- 
the-road and across-the-road. 
Down-the-road radar, which pro- 
jects a wide radar beam into on- 
coming traffic, is designed to 
take readings from a location 
overlooking several lanes of a 
road and is probably the most 
widely used technology. The 
problems with this device in- 
clude the difficulty of accurately 
targeting a single vehicle and its 
susceptibility to interference from 
AM/FM transmitters, patrol car ig- 
nition systems, and other sources. 
As a result, an officer ends up 
targeting one car, and obtaining 
the reading for another. These in- 
accuracies have allowed mo- 
torists and truckers to effectively 

challenge many speed violations 
in court. Not only that, but some 
police unions have charged that 
radar guns can cause cancer 
after long-term use. These prob- 
lems have frustrated both the po- 
lice and motorists, causing some 
law enforcement officials to look 
to other less troublesome meth- 
ods of measuring vehicle speeds. 
An alternate 
" method, across- 
the-road radar, is 
designed to take 
readings from the 
side of the road. 
This allows officers 
to better target a 
vehicle on the road, 
and it overcomes 
some of the short- 
comings of the 
method. Because 
this method uses a 
narrow radar beam, 
it targets individual vehicles 
more exactly and is less likely to 
provide inaccurate readings. 

Kustom Signals of Lenexa, 
Kansas, and Laser Technology of 
Engiewood, Colorado, have both 
introduced down-the-road laser 
devices which allow an officer to 
point a laser beam at a vehicle 
and instantly get a speed read- 
ing. This hand-held device fo- 
cuses a narrow laser beam at a 
target vehicle and computes its 
speed. Unlike radar, it avoids 
identifying more than one vehicle 
and is generally immune to most 
forms of interference. While laser- 
based devices have the advan- 
tage of not being detectable by 
most radar detectors, they do 
have the shortcoming of working 
best while stationary. (Laser 
Technology worked with NASA to 
create a modified version of this 
technology for use with the Hub- 
ble Space Telescope.) 

Video cameras installed be- 
hind police cruiser windshields, 

coupled with laser or radar speed 
guns, can record whether a car 
is speeding : a vehicle's response 
to a siren, and the offender's ac- 
tions when approached by an of- 
ficer. Cameras are also used to 
keep a watchful electronic eye 
on motorists in the red-light mon- 
itoring system marketed by 
LeMarquis International of Boca 
Raton, Florida. It accurately 
records, on film, vehicles running 
a red light, therefore producing a 
permanent record of each inci- 
dent. Through the license plate, 
the violator is identified and sent 
the photo together with a ticket. 

This has been well received, 
especially in New York City, 
where drivers who run red lights 
are responsible for thousands of 
deaths and injuries each year. In 
fact, close to 60 percent of all 
accidents in the city happen at 
traffic-light intersections. "The 
fact that people know they are 
being monitored helps to reduce 
the number- of offenses. People 
like it and feel it is a fair system," 
remarks Bernd Rind, president 
of LeMarquis International. 

However, not ail attempts at 
using photo radar technologies 
have been successful. In 1992, 
the State of New Jersey's at- 
tempts to implement a photo 
radar system, which recorded on 
film the faces and license plates 
of speeders and then automati- 
cally sent tickets to their homes, 
was met with bitter opposition, 
as motorists voiced protests 
against the state's alleged "Big 
Brother" tactics. New Jersey 
Governor Jim Florio later signed 
a bill banning use of the system. 

So, next time you're on the 
open road and think that no one 
will notice you going a few miles 
above the limit, think again. 
These new technologies mean 
there doesn't even have to be an 
officer around the corner to say 



Seminal videogames are back, updated for today's gamers 

By Gregg Keizer 

Classics such as 
Pittall ate com- 
ing back to 
life on modern 
naming plat- 
forms. Hold on to 
your seat, 
though, because 
this is def- 
initely not your 

Bring out your dead! No, 
we're not going to resur- 
rect Elvis or dig up 
some old president to confirm an 
untimely demise. Software pub- 
lishers are reviving some once- 
dead-and-buried hits of the 
1980s. Unlike film zombies, these 
creatures don't always shuffle. In 
some cases the updates are just 
as good as when they 
first walked the earth. 
The rationale be- 
hind this trend is the 
same as the one 
which drives filmmak- 
ers to return to the 
sequel well: Good 
content is hard to find. 
Strike the motherlode 
once with a top-notch 
game concept, char- 
acters, or play me- 
chanics, and things 
should pan out a sec- 
ond time. At least that's what 
some software publishers are 
praying will happen. 

One of the easiest ways to re- 
visit the past on the PC is with 
Microsoft Arcade, a five-pack 
collection of ancient games mu- 
tated to work in Windows and on 
the Mac. The combo includes 
Asteroids, Centipede, Missiie 
Command, Battle Zone, and Tem- 
pest. (The first two are the best 
of the bunch.) Unlike other clas- 
sics, these titles look the same as 
they did 10 or more years ago: 
no added graphic bells and whis- 
tles here. Asteroids, for instance, 
still shows its Etoh-A-Sketch 
rocks and rocket ship built from 
ines. The big change is that all 
the games are customizable. You 
can make modifications— reduce 
the bonus points necessary for 
another ship in Asteroids, add 
more cities to your Missile Com- 
mand world — for easier play or 
just a change of pace. And since 
the games run in Windows, you 
can easily switch from work to play 

without closing down that spread- 
sheet. (Turn off the sound if you 
don't want the boss to hear pings 
and zaps from her office.) 

You won't be able to cruise 
through Activision's Pitfall: The 
Mayan Adventure at work (unless 
you've got a Sega Genesis, Sega 
CD, or Super Nintendo squir- 
reled away under the desk), but 
you'll have fun play- 
ing this modernized 
version of the old 
Atari 2600 game from 
the early 1980s. The 
plot remains the 
same: Pitfall Harry (or 
In this case, Harry 
Jr.) runs through jun- 
gles, swings on vines, 
looks for treasures, 
and jumps over alli- 
gators. In this 14- 
level platform game 
though, Harry Jr. and 
the rest of the scenery look gor- 
geous. Harry's got some swift 
moves, too, like bungee-style 
vines to move vertically, and a 
nasty whip to keep the creatures 
at bay. As an added bonus, the 
complete Atari 2600 game— 
dinky-pixel Harry and all— is 
buried within this version. 

If you can grab it away from 
the kids, Nintendo's Donkey Kong 
Country is another cool dip into 
history. Unlike the simplistic 
original, Donkey Kong Coun- 
try is a modernized platform 
game with multiple levels, 
lands, and characters 
This time, though, Kong 
joins forces with a whole 
family of compadres as 
he stalks through for- 
ests, mines, mountains, 
even factories. This is 
the best animation to show up so 
far on the Super Nintendo. Kong, 
his friends, and his enemies are 
visually stunning, finely rendered 
characters with a 3-D look. It's a 
kid's game at heart — more com- 

plex than a typical Mario game, 
but not any tougher than the most 
recent Sonic games on the Gen- 
esis. It's a treat to see the classic 
come back looking so sharp. 

Sierra's Lode Runner: The 
Legend Returns is another great 
blast-from-the-past that's been 
updated recently. Long ago, when 
it was one of the best games for 
the Apple II, Lode Runner used a 
Lilliputian character built from 
just a few pixels. He raced up 
ladders and across platforms 
collecting objects and avoiding 
mad monks. The game's charm, 
though, came from its editor, 
which let you build new levels. 
Now running under MS-DOS-and 
in Windows, Lode Runner looks a 
lot better (the characters remain 
small, though, especially if you're 
running Windows in a high-reso- 
lution mode) and retains its edi- 
tor. That's the best thing about 
bringing this one back from the 
dead. The editor lets you create 
custom levels; one gamer recre- 
ated all the levels in the original 
Lode Runner and posted them to 
the online networks. 

Old electronic games never die; 
they just fade away. And then^ 
they come back, like a dig- 
ital Lazarus. Lucky for us.DO 

Catch The Best Hour of Science and Technology on Television. 


Don't Miss These Special 
Moments on Upcoming 
Episodes of Invention 
and NextStep 

March 23 From passport 
photos to police crime scenes, 
Edwin Land's invention of 
instant photography has become 
an integral part of our lives. 

!! 5 Master glassblower 
n >'e Chihuly takes the 5,000- 
r-old craft to extraordinary 
- new dimensions, turning sand 
and air into art. 

April 12 What can spiders 
teach weapons designers? 
How about sticky nets that 
immobilize troops! See the 
future of the defense industry 
.with non-lethal weapons. 

13 Computer 
simulation now allows for the 
development, deployment 
and testing of. new armament 
without ever Building them. 

April 28 Virtual reality 
advances take cops and robbers 
out of the arcades. Now police 
can train for high-speed chases 
without deadly consequences. 



Wednesdays 3-10PM et/pt 



Remote-controlled vehicles keep a watchful eye 

By Peggy Noonan 

s may soon 

be flying Iheir 

own saucers over 


cities, but in this 

case the UFOs 

are actually UAVs: 


Aerial Vehicles. 

If you see a flying saucer, it 
may not be an alien UFO. It 
could be one of ours. One of 
our UAVs, that is: Unmanned 
Aerial Vehicles. 

In 1988 the Defense Depart- 
ment was directed by Congress 
to centralize the development of 
UAVs. It created the Joint Project 
Office (JPO) to oversee the pro- 
gram. Creativity 
flowed freely as 
inventors came up 
with a variety of 
shapes, from a 
slightly modified 
but ordinary-look- 
ing airplane con- 
figuration like the 
Pioneer — which 
proved useful for 
reconnaissance in 
the Persian Gulf 
War— to flying sau- 
cers, bumblebees, 
doughnuts, pea- 
nuts, and cigars, according to 
Department of Defense UAV-JPO 
spokesman Ray Colemon. 

Sikorsky's doughnut-shaped 
Cypher UAV, for instance, is a 
1.6-foot-thick ring with shielded 
spinning rotors in the middle. 
Cypher's ducted fan design of- 
fers stability and control, and it 
makes the UAV safer to operate — 
no exposed propeller blades to 
catch the inattentive or to tangle 
in rigging. 

The Cypher and everything it 
needs, from replacement fuel to 
spare payloads and parts, can 
be carried into land battle by a 
Humvee pulling a trailer. A two- 
man crew can set up, launch, 
and recover the 6.5-foot-diame- 
ter saucer in any clearing twice 
Cypher's size — or aboard ship, 
using 52 square feet of deck. 
Using Cypher is much faster 
than waiting for satellite pictures, 
according to Colemon. When a 
battlefield commander needs to 
see what's over the next hill, the 

UAV can get instant data. 

UAVs can go into areas too 
hazardous for humans. Aerobot- 
ics, a subsidiary of California's 
Moller International, has two UAVs 
in advanced development. The 
ES20-10 Aerobot is already prov- 
ing its value in tests by the Cali- 
fornia Department of Transpor- 
tation which plans to use the 30- 

by-20-inch flying 

duct to inspect 
highway bridges, 
overpasses, and 
elevated freeways. 
This tethered 
Aerobot can hover 
a few feet from a 
suspect bridge 
section and trans- 
mit real-time video 
or infrared images 
to ground handlers. 
The UAV is pow- 
ered by a genera- 
tor linked via a 200- 
foot umbilical, and it operates with 
a patented self-stabilizing system. 
The handler directs and posi- 
tions the Aerobot using a joystick 
mounted at the waist of a vestlike 
control unit while an inspector 
monitors the screen-displayed 
images. Like the Cypher, the Aero- 
bot's rotating blades are con- 
tained safely within the protective 
confines of its duct-shaped body. 
UAVs have many nonmilitary 
applications which will "far out- 
strip military value," JPO spokes- 
man Colemon says. The Atlanta 
native suggests that UAVs would 
be a great help during the 1996 
Olympics when officials have to 
transport athletes from their resi- 
dential quarters through rush- 
hour traffic to events. Boring, 
tedious, or dangerous work such 
as inspecting pipelines or re- 
mote power lines could be man- 
aged by a UAV. Sports events 
could be televised from a hover- 
ing UAV instead of a blimp. A 
single forest ranger could cover 

thousands of acres watching for 
fires or poachers via UAV sky 
eyes. Traffic monitoring could be 
simplified, and police UAVs could 
be used to film accident sites. 

One small UAV has already 
demonstrated how effective sky 
spies can be. Although AeroVi- 
ronrnent Incorporated's Pointer 
mini-drone experienced prob- 
lems in Operation Desert Storm 
(it can't fly in winds that exceed 
its 20 to 40 miles per hour speed), 
it has proved its worth on civilian 
operations. The tiny Pointer 
weighs in at eight pounds and 
has a nine-foot wingspan. It can 
be launched with a javelin-type 
throw, according to Colemon,' 
and carries a videocamera that 
transmits real-time images. 

A Pointer was loaned by the 
Defense Evaluation Support Ac- 
tivity to Oregon's National Guard 
and State Police last February 
prior to their raid on a suspected 
drug compound. Where agents 
had expected one fence, a cou- 
ple of dogs and cars and a few 
buildings, the Pointer's silent spy- 
ing revealed two fences, many 
dogs, and more of everything 
else. The raid was successful. 

However, as JPO spokesman 
Colemon points out, nonmilitary 
use of UAVs raises as-yet unre- 
solved questions of invasion of 
privacy and illegal search and 
seizure. And there's the matter of 
"deconfliction" that FAA and mili- 
tary representatives are trying to 
work out. "Pilots are horrified to 
think of vehicles flying with no- 
body in them," Colemon says, 
suggesting they'll need an elec- 
tronic warning akin to aircraft 
collision avoidance systems. 

"I'm convinced there is no 
problem the engineers cannot 
solve given enough time and 
money," Colemon states. Except 
maybe what to do about all those 
people who'll call to report UFOs 
when UAV saucers are flying. DQ 


The First and Only 

Licensed Collector's 

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— adjjiP ! 

60th Anniversary Collector's Edition 

Before today's space heroes climbed aboard their first rocket, Buck Rogers was wit , 

the battle against evil in outer space. And this was his powerful and personal weapon. 

Originally issued in 1935, the futuristic look of the XZ-38 Disintegrator not only captured 
our imagination, its classic art deco design represented the spirit of American optimism. 

Now, for the wry first time, this weapon has been painstakingly recreated right down to 
it> lr.imliK.vm red comprcM"n dumber EvcIumvcIv hi I he Oille K.imih 
Trust, inheritors of the Buck Rogers legacy, this special collector's edition is investment 
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than its actual size 
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full-color tissue of a rgre 
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printed in 1933 

Pk:asc en* ■ oixki-f; 1 k- 
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A $200 deposit confirms my 
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Can 30 more days make a difference? 

By Mary Ann Tawasha 

As "prisoners 
of time," 
students and 
look for an alter- 
native to 
the traditional 

m umber of public ele- 
mentary schools in the 
United States: 59,680. 
Number of year-round ele- 
mentary schools in the United 
States: 1,508. 

Number of mandatory public 
extended-year schools in the 
United States: 1. 

That one is Brooks Global 
Studies Extended-Year Magnet 
School in Greensboro, North 
Carolina. What's the difference 
between year-round and ex- 
tended-year schools? Most year- 
round schools merely reorganize 
the traditional, 180-day school 
calendar, while extended-year 
schools (such as Brooks) literally 
extend the year by providing 
more days of instruction. This ex- 
tension means that by the end of 
their elementary school careers, 
Brooks' students will have one 
extra year of education under 
their belts. Tony Meachum, Brooks' 

I ■;... Js. 

principal, describes it this way: 
"We give you thirty more reasons 
to like us, because we give you 
thirty more days a year." 

Julia Anderson, deputy direc- 
tor for the National Education 
Commission on Time and Learn- 
ing, says the extra month of in- 
struction provides additional 
learning opportunities which 
contribute to Brooks' success. 
The federal government directed 
the commission to conduct an 
examination of the relationship 
between time and learning. The 
nine-member group released a 
report in April 1994, "Prisoners of 
Time," which concluded that, 
". . . learning must become the 
fixed goal. Time must become an 
adjustable resource." 

More schools like Brooks are 
needed if American students 
and teachers expect to ever 
"break out" of the constraints of 
time, according to the commis- 
sion. Change is inevitable, says 
Anderson, and schools are going 
to be forced to modify their pro- 
grams accordingly. "I think that 
we're finally realizing that we can 
no longer allow students to fail at 
the rate that we have been." 

While the commission cited 
Brooks as a benchmark in edu- 
cation, Frederick Morrison, head 
of the psychology department at 
Loyola University in Chicago, se- 
lected Brooks as the basis of his 
research in educational reform. 
Morrison launched his study on 
the effects of an extended-year 
program on average elementary 
school children when Brooks first 
opened its doors in 1991. Julie 
Frazier, a Ph.D. candidate and 
Morrison's assistant, started the 
research project — aimed at com- 
paring Brooks' students' acade- 
mic achievements to those of 
students who attended tradi- 
tional schools — by administering 
standardized tests to each group. 

After three years, the team 

found that Brooks' students did 
"significantly better" in areas of 
reading, general knowledge, 
math, and vocabulary than "a 
stringently matched control 
group of traditional students." 
Professor Morrison says, "Young 
children, even kindergartners 
and first graders, are making 
twice the progress, in terms of 
raw score, than kids in traditional 
programs." The 30 extra days 
make a difference. Morrison ex- 
plains, "The summer layoff is a 
critical period of achievement 
loss, and school-year extension 
helps to reduce, and in some 
cases eliminate, that loss." 

Anderson feels that extended- 
year programs are just one of the 
ways that schools can make bet- 
ter use of time. Other recommen- 
dations include a more flexible 
time schedule and longer school 
days. She says the commission 
has received tremendous re- 
sponse to the report from such 
groups as the Education Com- 
mittee and the NEA (National Ed- 
ucation Association). 

So why aren't there more 
schools like Brooks? "I think the 
biggest barrier is financial," An- 
derson responds. A study by the 
North Carolina Public School 
Forum found that lengthening 
the school year to 200 days in 
ail North Carolina schools — still 
10 days fewer than Brooks — 
would mean spending an addi- 
tional $180 million by the year 
2001. Jo Ann Norris, associate 
executive director for the for- 
um, says that kind of money 
makes state legislators wary of 
initiating new programs state- 
wide. She says, "More instruc- 
tion means more staff and 
salaries. That's where your dol- 
lars are." Principal Meachum un- 
derstands, but questions: "In the 
long run, what's really more im- 
portant? Dollars ... or the future 
of our children?"Da 


The Kansas City experiment in underground architecture 

By Fred Hapgood 

The residents of Kansas 
City like to boast they 
have more fountains 
than any city but Rome and 
more boulevards than any city 
but Paris. No doubt these are 
worthy attractions, but their city 
also has at least one point of dis- 
tinction second to none: It is the 
first to site a substantial fraction 
of its industry underground. 

Many believe that moving our 
transportation, industrial, and 
commercial infrastructures un- 
derground is the only hope of 
reconciling the conflict between 
industrial development and the 
preservation of the environment. 
As early as 1972 the American 
Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 
pointed out that such a move 
would permit large populations, 
high levels of development, and 
ambitious engineering projects 
to co-exist with natural ecologies, 
gardens, parks, conservatories, 
and preserves. The ASCE was 
hoping for a government program 
to push the transition, but other 
visionaries and futurists have 
speculated that as environmental 
concerns drive the price of build- 
ing on the surface up, and tech- 
nology drives the cost of under- 
ground construction and opera- 
tions down, market pressures 
alone will do the job. Kansas City 
is a test of this theory. 

The city's supply of under- 
ground space is a result of two 
large limestone ledges which run 
under the metropolitan area 
close enough for direct access 
from the surface. For decades 
the building materials needed for 
roads and concrete mixes have 
been quarried out of the ledges, 
leaving dozens of passages run- 
ning horizontally under the city. 
In the Fifties these cavities 
started to be developed into in- 
dustrial and commercial spaces, 
primarily for distribution, storage, 
and light manufacturing. 

Since the raw space is sec- 
ondary to the mineral extraction, 
it is essentially free, development 
costs are low, and rental rates 
are roughly half those of surface 
rents. Heating and cooling bills 
are as much as 90 percent lower 
than in surface buildings ex- 
posed to the extremes of heat 
and cold that sweep the Great 
Plains. Other favorable variables 
include physical security, me- 
chanical integrity, low mainte- 
nance costs., tight control of 
noise and vibration, and protec- 
tion from the weather. 

The results, as of 1994, ac- 
cording to Bill Seymour of the 
Underground Development As- 
sociation (UDA), are that 20 to 25 
million square feet have been 
developed and leased to about 
300 businesses. Vacancy rates 
average about 5 percent, and a 
million more square feet are cre- 
ated in the mining process every 
year making available new space 
for further development. At pres- 
ent, about 4,000 employees are 
commuting into the Kansas City 
underground every day 

Twenty million square feet 
sounds like a lot, but the total KC 
industrial real estate market is 
165 million square feet. It is pos- 
sible to wonder why the benefits 
of dirt-cheap occupancy costs 
and tightly controlled manufac- 
turing environments have not 
drawn in much more of the mar- 
ket. After all, there is plenty of 
room down there. Don Woodard 
of the UDA says that the industry 
could add another 20 million 
square feet in three to six months 
if the customers were to appear. 

The members of the UDA 
have naturally given this ques- 
tion a lot of thought. Many sus- 
pect there is something about 
the psychology of the under- 
ground that disposes people en- 
tering these parks to think they 
are separating themselves from 

the community of human souls. "I 
have had truck drivers come in 
for a delivery" says Ernie Hook, 
distribution manager of Price 
Candy, "and they stop their 
trucks outside the entrance, 
climb out, and walk in and look 
around, as if they thought maybe 
they might fall into a hole or 
something." Once a person actu- 
ally sees lots of other people pro- 
ceeding with their business, 
there is a shift of perspective. 
Then "people can become kind 
of cultish about it," observed a 
local real estate analyst. But that 
moment of revelation, of physi- 
cally seeing the underground lit 
and clean and crowded with real 
people, seems to be the key. The 
UDA runs tours constantly trying 
to show anyone with a couple of 
free hours that people can go 
underground without turning into 
bats, in the long run, as industry 
keeps racking up those million 
square feet per year, perhaps 
Kansas City will play that role for 
all of us.DQ 

Fgr the 

last century, cities 
have been 
building upward, 
skylines of sky- 
scrapers. It 
may be time to 
take a look 
in the opposite 



An underwater monument to a painful past 

By Paul Kvinta 

to slaves, African 

:-".:. '-■ : .. 

traded ivory and 

gold dust for 

valuable metals, 

:;"■; :".:!"t 

In the field of underwater ar- 
chaeology, where discovering 
an ancient sailing ship usually 
means locating a heap of coral- 
encrusted timbers, researchers 
rarely find much to get emotional 
about. But in 1983 when David 
Moore hoisted a bronze bell en- 
graved with the name "Henrietta 
Marie," he realized he had stum- 
bled upon one of the most mov- 
ing sagas in American history. 
The Henrietta Marie was a sev- 
enteenth-century slave ship, the 
only identified slave vessel ever 
found in the Western Hemisphere 
to sink in the course of trade. 

"As an archaeologist you're 
trained to keep an objective ap- 
proach," says Moore, who works 
with the Mel Fisher Maritime Her- 
itage Society in Key West, 
Florida, "if you get your emotions 
involved, your analysis could be- 
come jaded. But with something 
as powerful as the Henrietta 
Marie, that's difficult to do." 

Amid the wreck's muskets, 
colorful trading beads, elephant 
tusks, and English pewterware, 
Moore's team recovered over 
190 pairs of hand-forged iron leg 
and arm shackles — large ones 
for adult men, smaller ones for 
women and children. Although 
archaeologists have discovered 
a half-dozen wrecks in American 
and Caribbean waters that 
suggest possible links to the 
slave business, the Henri- 
etta Marie— located 34 
miles west of Key 
West — offers clear ev- 
idence of her mis- 
sion. More than . 
7,500 artifacts corre- 
late to the three legs 
of the Triangular SI; 
Trade between Eu 
rope, West Africa, 
and the New 
World; and the 
name "Henri- 
etta Marie" 

traces directly to commercial 
shipping records that document 
her voyages. 

Those voyages are re-created 
in a traveling exhibit titled "The 
Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, " a 
14-city tour that began in Key 
West in January and features 
200 artifacts and scholarly es- 
says. Russeli Adams, chairman 
of the Afro-American studies de- 
partment at Howard University 
and one of the essayists, says 
the artifacts provide material 
documentation to a particularly 
cloudy portion of the slavery 
epic. "What we've had until now 
are verbal accounts of the At- 
lantic crossing," Adams says. 
"With this exhibit we're saying 
'this is the ship's bell, these are 
the shackles.' You begin to real- 
ize we haven't been fantasizing 
the whole thing." 

Using Moore's archaeological 
findings and the archival work of 
British historian Nigel Tattersfield, 
researchers have slowly pieced 
together the Henrietta Marie 
story. She was likely built by the 
French but captured by Britain's 
King William during the late 
1600s and converted into a 
swift-moving slaver. On her' 
maiden voyage in 1697, the ship 
delivered 250 Africans to Barba- 
dos, where agent William Shutter 
purchased most of the group 
for 19 British pounds apiece. 
She set sail for her next 
voyage from London in 
September 1699 loaded 
^ with the pewter dishes 
and glass beads cov- 
eted by chieftains up 
and down Africa's 
Guinea Coast. With 
more than 200 slaves 
wedged into a hold 10 
ep and about 
23 feet wide, the 
Henrietta Marie 
then embarked 
on a grueling, 

two- to three-month trip across 
the Atlantic. Captain Thomas 
Chamberlaine unloaded 190 
slaves at Port Royal, Jamaica, in 
May 1700. Two months later, with 
a load of cotton, sugar, and in- 
digo, Chamberlaine and a crew 
of 20 were heading back to Eng- 
land when a storm struck. Fierce 
swells smashed the Henrietta 
Marie into New Found Reef, and 
the splintered vessel sank to the 
gulf floor where it remained un- 
noticed for nearly three centuries. 

In 1972 treasure hunter Mel 
Fisher came upon the wreck in 
30 feet of water while searching 
for Spanish galleons. After some 
initial recovery work the following. 
year, the site lay dormant for an- 
other decade until Moore and 
colleagues returned and began 
excavating the site. 

Researchers realize that the 
Henrietta Marie tale deals with 
highly charged subject matter fa 
team of black divers in 1993 
placed a monument weighing 
2,700 pounds at the wreck site to 
commemorate Africans who died 
during the crossings); but Rus- 
sell Adams hopes that, while not 
diminishing' the horror of slavery, 
the exhibit will help audiences 
work past the moral issues to- 
ward an understanding of the im- 
portant social and economic 
details of the trade itself. Adams's 
research, for example, focuses 
on the nearly 300 slave-collec- 
tion points along the African 
coast stretching from Senegal to 
Mozambique, and he examines 
a number of intriguing questions: 
How long were slaves confined 
before ships arrived? Why were 
particular individuals assigned to 
particular ships? 

The recovery of the Henrietta 
Marie may help to provide an- 
swers to some of these questions. 
The exhibit, as Adams notes, is a 
way to give a comprehensive view 
of this history to the public. DO 


-Chicago Tribune 


"Preston and Child's penchant for 

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realistic details elevates their tale 
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characters, and 
credible science." 

"First-rate thrills and ■ 
(that] build to a superbly 

exciting Climax." -Publishers 

a real page turner, part , 
part Poseidon Ad\ 




Television attempts to alter a cultural bias. Plus, a guide for blind shoppers, 

and helping the disabled reach the beach 

Most schoolkicls have probably heard of Marie Curie and 
her pioneering discoveries in chemistry but she's a rare 
exception — by and large, women are a little-recognized 
minority in science. Science has long been^Tpredomi- 
nantly male endeavor, and that gender bias becomes a 
vicious circle: Without more visible female scientists as 
role models, most girls still grow up thinking that science 
is for boys. It's no accident that even after the strides 
women have made in so many areas of society over the 
past few decades, they still represent only 16 percent of 
all working scientists and engineers in the United States. 

Discovering Women, a new public television series, 
aims to change some of that. Debuting Wednesday, 
March 29, and continuing on April 5 and 12, the series 
profiles the lives and work of six women scientists mak- 
ing significant contributions in various fields today, from 
biochemistry to neuroscience to geo- 
physics. All six are smart and successful, 
and their stories are certainly inspirational: 
They cling to their dreams : overcome 
adversity, and establish themselves as 
authorities in their male-dominated fields. 
But perhaps the most interesting thing is 
how different their stories can be. There's 
archaeologist Patty Jo Watson, born in the 
Midwest during the Dust Bowl years, who's 
been working at the top of her field for 
decades; 30-year-old Misha Mahowald, an 
adopted child from Minneapolis, already a 
rising star in computational neuroscience; 
biochemist Lynda Jordan, who grew up in 
one of Boston's meanest neighborhoods and went on to 
become the first black researcher at the Institut Pasteur 
in Paris. Certain common themes emerge — hard work, 
for instance, and passionate dedication— but the differ- 
ences between these discovering women prove that 
there's no one path to success. 

Discovering Women emphasizes the personal as well 
as the professional; woven between scenes from the lab 
are episodes from childhood, interviews with former 
teachers, glimpses of home life, and daily routine. We 
watch molecular biologist Lydia Villa-Komaroff of Harvard 
Medical School preparing a Mexican dinner with her 
parents and sisters. We learn that physicist Melissa 
Franklin, who helped build the ultrasensitive particle 
detector at Fermilab, once hosted a late-night avant 
garde music program on a small California radio station. 
We empathize as geophysicist Margia McNutt of MIT 
recalls her husband, who died suddenly several years 

ago, with a distinct catch in her voice. 

Inspirational as these women are, strident feminists 
may find a few things to dislike about the series. When , 
the question of time for having children comes up in the 
very first episode, we have to wonder whether it would 
have been an issue in an interview with a male scientist. 
And the personal focus sometimes threatens to over- 
whelm the science, as though we couldn't accept women 
scientists unless we see that they have fully developed 
personal lives: kitchens, kids, relationships. Would a 
series on male scientists make room for such discussions 
of the personal lives of its subjects? 

On the other hand, maybe profiles of male scientists 
should find the room. The personal focus adds a wel- 
come dimension to Discovering Women's image of sci- 
ence and the people who do it. Science seemsjike a part 
of everyday life in this series — a passion- 
ate pursuit undertaken by real, recogniz- 
able people, who still have time for friends 
and hobbies and fun. Any aspiring scien- 
tist, male or female, should be encouraged 
to see that researchers still have a life out- 
side the lab. 

It's hard to say how much any television 
series can change a prevailing cultural 
bias, but the makers of Discovering Women 
are giving it their best shot. They've even 
set up an outreach program tied into the 
series — S.O.S., Seek Out Science — which 
encourages middle-school students to 
research and interview women scientists in 
their communities. But it's the six women scientists them- 
selves, and the diversity of their backgrounds and expe- 
riences, that highlights the central issue of the series. 
Certainly, the courage displayed by such women as 
Lydia Villa-Komaroff, who rejected the traditional values 
of her New Mexico upbringing, or Lynda Jordan, who 
refused to give up even after her research notes were 
stolen, is impressive and needs to be recognized. 

But it is, perhaps, the case of Marcia McNutt which 
may be the role model that this series hopes to foster. 
Having grown up with sisters and having attended an all- 
female college, she developed self-confidence as a mat- 
ter of course. "Anyone who was doing anything in my life 
was female,' 1 she recalls, "so it never even crossed my 
mind that there would be something that I would not do 
just because I was a woman." It is an attitude and confi- 
dence which Discovering Women would like to perpetu- 



The pesky fruit fly, Dro- 
sophila melanogaster, known 
for its high reproductive 
capacity, is now bearing fruit 
of a different kind. Scien- 
tists are hoping genetic re- 
search with fruit flies will 
shed some light on the molec- 
ular events that occur in- 
side human cells. 

Molecular biologist F. 
Michael Hoffmann, Ph.D., 
and his associates at the Mc- 
Ardle Laboratory for Can- 
cer Research at the Univer- 
sity of Wisconsin Medical 
School in Madison have dis- 
covered two receptors or 
"docking sites" on the fruit fly's 
cell membrane that are 
activated by fruit fly and hu- 
man growth factor proteins. 
The proteins, members of the 
group of 24 molecules 
known as the transforming 
growth factor-beta family, 
function similarly across all 
species, directing unde- 
fined cells in a developing 
embryo to become orga- 
nized. In humans, the proteins 
are" responsible for bone, 
tissue, and organ formation; 
in flies, the proteins are 
responsible for eye, wing, and 
leg formation. 

Originally found in bone, 
the human growth factors 
can stimulate new bone for- 
mation to bridge fragments 
in severe fractures and even 
repair progressive tooth 
decay. Since the growth fac- 
tors are also crucial to tis- 
sue and organ development, 
they have the potential to 
help regenerate damaged or 
diseased kidneys, hearts, 
and nerves; facilitate the heal- 
ing of wounds; and heal 
macular holes in retinal tis- 

More than just a pretty face, this fruit fly is also a valuable tool in 
studying the molecular events which occur in human cells. 


sue, a cause of blindness. 
The proteins are also known 
to play a specific role in 
breast cancer; and, Hoffmann 
says, scientists are hoping 
to find out just how proteins 
and docking sites are in- 
volved in facilitating the ma- 
lignancy process. 

The fruit fly has been "the 
genetic system of choice 
for the study of multicellular 
organisms," Hoffmann 
says, since about 1910. Study- 
ing the growth factor in 
the fruit fly's simpler system 
is easier and less expen- 
sive than mammal studies. 
—Jill Booth 


The True Mirror will show 
you what others See when 
they look at you. It will 
also show you who others 
see when they look at 
you, claims the product's in- 
ventor, John Walter, presi- 
dent of the True Mirror Com- 
pany in New York. 

Unlike a conventional mir- 
ror the True Mirror doesn't 
reverse the image it displays. 
Constructed from two per- 
pendicular mirrors, the $245 
device superimposes both 
mirror images in the center, 
forming an image that's 

identical to the one others 
see when looking at you. 

Although the concept of 
non-reversing mirrors is 
not a new one, Walter's claim 
that it will "reveal your true 
personality" is. Some psycho- 
logical research has 
shown that the information 
coming from the right 
and left hemispheres of our 
brains is reflected in our 
faces. Walter feels that re- 
versing the two sides, 
as regular mirrors do, trans- 
lates into a changed and 
inaccurate message of who 
we are. 

Walter asserts that, with 
the True Mirror, a person's 
inner self-perception — as 
well as his or her physi- 
cal appearance— matches 
what others see. Ten per- 
cent of 4,000 test subjects 
perceived a different per- 
sonality when looking at the 
True Mirror. According 
to Walter, a typical response 
from a subject who no- 
ticed a.difference was "no 
wonder other people re- 
late to me different from 
what I expect." 

Walter points out that 
those with symmetrical 
faces may not see a notable 
distinction. "Some people 
will be uncomfortable when 
seeing this new image 
due to its unfamiliarity," he 
adds. "People have been 
conditioned to believe it is 
vain to look at yourself 
in a mirror, but seeing your 
true personality can be 
very valuable." 

— Mary Ann Tawasha 

"When we ask for advice, 
we are usually looking for 
an accomplice. " 

—Marquis de la Gauge 


If you think, as the song 
suggests, that having 
someone to lean on is a 
good thing, beware. 
"When people are close 
enough to begin to de- 
pend on each other, that can 
be a breeding ground 
for depression to be trans- 
mitted between them," 
notes Thomas Joiner, a clin- 
ical psychologist at the 
University of Texas Medical 
Branch in Galveston. In 
an article published last 
year in the Journal of 
Personality and Social Psy- 
chology, he argues that 
depression canoe a conta- 
gious condition. 

He bases this claim on 
a study of 96 pairs of 
college' roommates who 
were evaluated over a 
three-week period. During 
that time, roommates of 
depressed students tended 

Feeling down? The condition 
could be infectious. 

to become more de- 
pressed themselves. 
Though the study only 
involved college students, 
"contagious depression 
potentially applies to any- 
body in a close relation- 
ship," Joiner says. 

Other symptoms, such 
as anxiety and negative 
affect (a state in which a 
person often feels upset 
and stressed), were not 
passed from one person 
to the next. Joiner has an 
explanation for this, too. 
"Both anxious people and 
those suffering from 
negative affect tend to stay 
interpersonally active," 
he says. "They don't shut 
down." Depression, on 
the other hand, removes 
people from the interper- 
sonal sphere. 

"That seems to be the 
key factor with contagious 
depression," he adds, 
"The other person may be- 
come depressed be- 
cause the originally de- 
pressed person is no 
longer available." Depend- 
ent, so-called "reassur- 
ance seeking" individuals 
appear to be very vul- 
nerable, because they are 
highly sensitive to the 
withdrawal of attention. 

There is one bright spot 
in Joiner's report: "High 
reassurance seeking room- 
mates of nondepressed 
targets became somewhat 
less depressed (and anx- 
ious) over the course of the 
study." In other words, 
the lowering of depression 
may be contagious, too. 
"We have some support for 
that," he says." 

—Steve Nadis 

This bite-size exerciser attacks facial sagging and creases from 
the inside, and may be what you need to keep your face in shape. 


Some people spend hun- 
dreds of dollars each 
year fighting wrinkles, get- 
ting collagen injections 
to fill the crevices, or opting 
for the more radical, sur- 
gical answer— a $10,000 
face lift. Now there's an- 
other option: Facial-Flex, a 
bite-size "facer-ciser" pro- 
duced by Facial Concepts 
of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. 

The device, which resem- 
bles a miniature shoehorn, 
fits horizontally between the 
subject's lips, resting in 
the corners of the mouth. The 
brochure accompanying 
the device suggests the fol- 
lowing calisthenics regi- 
men: "Press the corners of 
your lips against the resist- 
ance of Facial-Flex, while 
forming the smallest "O" 
that you can with your lips. 
After fully compressing 
the device, gradually release. 
Repeat this cycle about 
once every three to four sec- 
onds," The makers of Fa- 
cial-Flex figure that two work- 
outs a day of two minutes 
each should do the face a 
world of good. They've 
backed up that claim with 
pilot clinical studies dem- 

onstrating a 250 percent in- 
crease in facial muscle 
strength and 32-percent in- 
crease in skin elasticity 
following eight weeks of fa- 
cial fitness therapy. 


"Creams and gels sold by 
cosmetic companies only 
address the skin, not the un- 
derlying muscle layer," 
explains Linda Hellings, vice 
president of Facial Con- 
cepts. "Facial fitness is more 
of a systems approach. 
As facial muscles tone and 
strengthen, it gives the 
entire face a lift." 

Though some may find this 
argument hard to swallow, 
a recent article in the Journal 
of Geriatric Dermatology 
supports Hellings' position. 
"External resistance exer- 
cise, performed twice daily 
through use of the Facial- 
Flex device, can noticeably 
improve facial muscle 
strength and decrease skin 
laxity," the authors write. 

— Steve Nadis 


Wall. They form a windbreak 

that how helps the soil 

To combat the impact of 

to retain moisture, allowing: ; 

line fierce dust storms 

farmers to grow wheat, 

/that howi south out of the 

corn, and a variety of veg- 

Gobi desert, the Chi- 


nese began planting the 

The NOAA team ana- 

first of 300 million 50- 

lyzed weather data since 

foot elm trees parallel to 

1955 for Beijing, the capi- 

the Great Wall of China 

tal, and the western 

inthe early 1950s. 

cities of Jlanfai and Bayin- 

■ The results of the vast 

maodao. It shows that 

forestry project have 

the frequency of. storms 

been astonishing, accord- 

dropped from- a spring 

ing to Farn Parungo, a 

high of 20 in. Beijing to few- : 

scientist with the National 

er than five because of 

Oceanic and Atmospher- 

the trees. Darkness that 

ic Administration (NOAA) 

once engulfed the capi- 

in Boulder, Colorado, 

tal for 90 hours a month has 

: whose research team 

been reduced to 10 hours. 

^tracked the diminish- 

Long-range atmospheric 

ing number of storms over 

and environmental ef- 

/the ensuing years, . 

fects of the manmade for- 

/'Vast belts of forest planted. 

estry system are still be- 

across the arid northern 

ing studied, says Parungo. 

lands of China are among 

Changes in cloud cover 

/the most aggressive 

and precipitation have been 

weather modification pro- 

rw i the 

. grams in the twentieth 

average temperature has 

century/' Parungo says.. 

risen one degree in Bei- 

The Great Green 

jing. Such data is important 

Wall, as the trees are called, 

because dust storms 

■stretches along a 1,500- - 

from the Gobi and other Chi- 

mile length. -Parungo says 

nese deserts, once 

the elms were planted 

swept sediment as far as 

either in several rows or in 

Alaska,--George Nobbe 

j^^ clumps spaced 

,■ egularly along 

'What is a cult? It just 

^BoM* the Great 

means not enough people 

to make a minority. " 

—Robert Aftman 


A low-cost robot, originally 
designed to pick up slippery 
chicken parts from con- 
veyor belts with its squishy 
inflatable fingers, could 
bring robots into many new 
industries where they 
haven't been considered eco- 
nomically viable, according 
to the inventors of the "intel- 
ligent integrated belt ma- 
nipulator" at the Georgia Tech 
Research Institute. 

That's because their rela- 
tively unsophisticated 
$20,000 device does away 
with expensive vision 

pensive photocells to de- 
termine the object's shape 
and location on the con- 
veyor. "It's not the most ac- 
curate technique as com- 
pared to traditional vision 
systems, but it's accurate 
enough for what we need," 
he says. "If you really 
don't need to be extremely 
accurate, that opens up 
some possibilities that people 
.haven't considered before." 

Among the possible appli- 
cations for the pneumatic 
robot arm: a host of bagging, 
weighing, and stamping 
operations; product painting. 
on conveyor belts; subdivi- 


systems and electric motors, 
which aren't what most 
small manufacturers are look- 
ing for anyway. 

"A $70,000 piece of robotic 
machinery designed to 
position a part with extreme 
accuracy is not economi- 
cally justifiable for them, so 
many of these industries 
now can't use standard robot- 
ics," says GTRI research 
engineer Gary McMurray. "In 
food processing and a lot 
of other manufacturing areas, 
what they need is a robot 
that will just pick up one ob- 
ject and place it some- 
where else — a human-level 

McMurray calls the no-frills 
system "the Lego of ro- 
bots;' explaining that it incor- 
porates a computer algo- 
rithm which uses five inex- 

sion of goods for packaging; 
and any number of ma- 
chine tool operations. "Any- 
where you have a human 
doing a simple task, you have 
the potential for some kind 
of human-level performance 
robotics/ says McMurray, 
who hopes eventually to pro- 
duce a modular version of 
the robot that can be wheeled 
up to any conveyor belt 
and put to work the same 
day. — George Nobbe 

"The search for truth is in 
one way hard and in another 
easy. For it is evident that 
no one can master it fuiiy or 
miss it wholly But each 
adds a little to our knowledge 
of nature, and from all the 
facts assembled there arises 
a certan grandeur. " 


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How do blind people know 
what's inside the cans 
and boxes they purchase in 
supermarkets? Often they 
shop with a sighted friend 
who later makes Braille 
labels for each product. But 
now blind people can shop 
alone with the help of a talk- 
ing, portable version of 
the Universal Product Code 
(UPC) scanners that 
cashiers use to tally store 

Computers read UPC 
bars using a laser, translat- 
ing them into two unique 
five- or six-digit codes that 

a product's manufacturer and 
the specific item. Compu- 
sult Ltd. and the Canadian 

Portable laser scanners make 
shopping easier for the blind. 

National Institute for the 
Blind conducted the bar code- 
reader test project, which 
used the bar code informa- 
tion to create a voice- 

accessible database for blind 
shoppers. Compusult 
downloaded a supermarket's 
inventory database into a 
desktop computer, then set 
about designing a porta- 
ble device called ScanTELL 
that contains a scanner, 
voice synthesizer, and the 
necessary computer tech- 
nology needed to store the 
product database. 

Paul Mitten, vice president 
of Compusult, says a 
blind person could begin by 
scanning a bar code at 
an aisle's end to learn what 
kinds of products it con- 
tains, then browse by zapping 
shelf codes.- However, af- 
ter picking up a specific item, 
Mitten warns, "there's no 
way to easily identify where 
bar codes are located on 

packages" with a pen-style 
wand. Compusult is test- 
ing a new portable omni-di- 
rectional scanner. 

After scanning a product, 
the device will query the 
supermarket's private data- 
base by radio for its price. 
Knowing a product's name 

3,500 LIVING 

and cost is a good first 
step. Future systems could 
read encoded ingredi- 
ents and cooking instructions, 
giving blind purchasers 
the same information as their 
sighted counterparts. 

Mike Hensler, a 20-year 
veteran Daytont Beach life- 
guard, wanted to. find a ■ 
way to give wheelchair rid- 
ers easier access to the 
surf, sand, and sun. Sue 
Hensler smiles when she 
recalls the evening three 
years ago when her : 
lusband began tinkering 
with the first prototype 
beach wheelchair. "I drove 
up the driveway that '■ 
evening to find our white 
PVC lawn chair furniture ,■ ■ . . 
in pieces all over the drive- 
way. I remember think- "■' 
ing, 'this had better be real 
good.'" Hensler's solution 
was good. His prototype 
beach wheelchair heart- 
ened the local Pilot Club and 
|he Lifesaver Association 
to donate the seed money 

for Hensler to refine and 
build the chairs. ■ 

Hensler describes 
his patented invention. "The 
Sun Chair has been 
through a metamorphosis 
since the Neanderthal 
prototype of- modified lawn 
chairs. Today we have 
two versions: high- and low- 
' profile. Each can have 
options including removable 
armrests, fishing rod hold- 
ers, different umbrellas, re- 
. movable footmsts, a carry- 
all, and a brake. The chair 
is designed with a very 
friendly balance point, mak- 
ing it maneuyerabte in the 
softest or wettest sand." 

Hensler wanted to get far 
away from the clinical 
look and feel of the stainless 
steel wheelchair With 
huge, cartoonlsh wheels 
mounted on a PVC frame 
and a colorful umbrella flap- 

Tin hj can hit the beach with comfort, style, 

and mobility, thanks to a concerned Daytona Beach/ lifeguard. 

ping in the surf breeze, 
the Surf Chair elicits smiles 
as riders cruise by. 

Maintenance of the $900 
chair is simple: Use a 
water hose to remove salt 
and sand and make sure 
long-term storage is out of 

the direct sun. Surf 
Chairs are now available from 
many municipalities. On 
Daytona Beach, access to 
the beach and use of the ; . 
Surf Chair is free to those 
with impaired mobility. 

— A W. Stegmsye-- 

There's that damned oscillo- 
scope on your TV again. "Do 
not attempt to adjust the pic- 
ture," intones the Control 
Voice. White sine waves 
dance and sway on a sepia 
background. A flying saucer 
theremin-buzz hovers like a 

Eerie harp runs sweep into 
a herd of violins. This is musi- 
cal culmination of the years 
from Gort and Klatuu and 
Them through Ray Harry- 
hansen UFOs. Ed Wood, Jr., 
ana uoazma, navored with a 
bit of Psycho. "You are about 
to experience the awe and 
mystery which reach from 

-iimmers into crystal clarity, 
lectronic hymns to horror 

N O T H I 

battle on a paranoid mind- 
scape of imagination. The 
title flashes on the screen: 
The Outer Limits. 

What show will it be this 
week? "Architects of Fear?" 
"The Galaxy Being?" Or may- 
be Harlan Ellison's "Soldier" 
or "Demon with a Glass 
Hand," stories so recently 
Schwarzeneggered into the 

The screen dissolves to 
titles. "'Sandkings.' Teleplay 
by Melinda M. Snodgrass. 
Based on the novelette by 
George R. R. Martin." 

No, don't thumb manically 
through your David Schow 
Outer Limits guide. "Sand- 
kings" isn't there. The story 
hadn't been written when the 
show first aired — it first ap- 
peared in this magazine in 


August 1979. Someone else, 
it would seem, has control of 
all that you see and hear. 
And, hopefully, we are ail 
about to participate in a 
great adventure. 

"The Outer Limits breaks 
all the molds of television," 
asserts executive producer 
Pen Densham, one-third of 

■ Trilogy Productions, the cre- 
ative force tapped to usher 
forth this renaissance. "Which 
means you can come at a 
story every week with a w h " lQ 
set of fresh purposes. L«~, . 
story, in a sense, is a mini- 
feature. Obviously, science 
fiction is something that gives 
you permission to be extra- 
ordinarily imaginative, We 
feel our video media of TV 
and video sometimes get 

nd refresh ourselves 

We Cold War mutants sopped 
up monsters and spaceships 
indiscriminately, and here was 
a black-and-white nailbiter 

Zone was ironic folk music to 
our Sputnik-charged brains, 
then The Outer Limits was 
full-out thrash rock. 

Archetypal images of the 
show linger in our heads, 
refreshed by constant late- 
night cable repeats. We re- 
member David McCalium's 
skull ballooning into the thirty- 
somethingth century; Donald 
Pleasence twitching with psi 
power; Michael Ansara, plus 
helmet and atomic gun, 
blasted from a wasted future 
into the white-picket-fence 
present; Robert Culp wob- 
bling from his spaceship for 
United Nations solidarity, 
horribly transformed into . . . 
yuckl; Adam West dodging 
sand sharks on Mars; Robert 
Culp again, leaping about the 
shadows of the Bradbury 

Article by 
David Bischoff 

The Outer 
Limits takes 
control of 
your TV once 
again with 
"Sandkings," a 
story that 
first appeared 
in Omni. 

Building talking to a robot 
hand, and finally hunkering 
down for a long, lonely wait 
to save humanity. These are 
just a few of the unforget- 
tables that still shiver deep in 
our brain stems. 

"I was frequently asking 
people about their memories 
of the show," says Michael 
Cassutt, initial co-executive 
producer of the new version. 
"The phrase I heard from 
everybody was, 'It used to 
scare the hell out of me'. I 
was like nine when the show 
was on, and I remember it 
being quite frightening. It had 

of The Outer Limits aired 
from 1963 to 1965. The show 
was produced by Leslie 
Stevens and Joseph Stefano 
of Daystar-Villa di Stefano 
Productions for United Artists 
Television. Metro-Goldwyn- 
Mayer absorbed United 
Artists, evolving into its pres- 
ent incarnation. The Outer 
Limits property was kicked 
around for years. Attempts 
were made to resurrect it in 
the early 1980s, but then 
MGMfell into troubles. 

With the resurgence of 
both media science fiction 
(thanks to the success of 

film Lifepod and the late, 
lamented Space Rangers. 
MGM thought they might 
well fit the bill. 

"Pen has wanted to do a 
science fiction- or fantasy- 
based anthology show for a 
very long time," says Mark 
Stern, the senior vice presi- 
dent of production for Trilogy 
Entertainment Group. "Orig- 
inally he had a bunch of ideas 
which he was calling Depart- 
ment Z It became a lot like 
The X-Files. Investigators in 
black who turn up all this weird 
and interesting phenomena." 

"I grew up on science fic- 

not necessarily look back- 
ward, but go forward with it." 

Although the literature of 
science fiction has a huge 
spectrum, the audio/visual 
(and now, virtual) media 
have always emphasized 
special effects and visceral 
impact. Science fiction lends 
itself toward tales that fright- 
en, even as they weigh issues 
and teach. If there is a sig- 
nificant single heritage of 
The Outer Limits, it is a pen- 
chant for noisy, melodra- 
matic, and sublimely satisfy- 
ing morality plays. 

In picking George R. R. 

Simon Kress (Beau 



Bridges) and his son 



(portrayed by 
Bridges' own son, 
Dylan) watch 
the sandkings. As 

vti^ : iV: r ' : -U., 


readers of George 

... ■:■:■ * . . * "' 


•■'■ %?■•;'*"£?: 

R. R. Martin's origi- 


>^.: T 1«|fi 

nal short story 
know, they're not 

your typical be- 
nign aquarium pels. 

that noir feeling. Black-and- 
white film, mood, and music. 
That atmosphere. The first 
season was very scary. The 
second season, even though 
it was more science-fictional 
and less monster-oriented, 
was also successful. It's a 
perfectly valid way of telling 
a story. There aren't many 
people writing that kind of 
suspenseful science fiction 
right now." Cassutt has since 
moved on to his own project. 
The show's journey into 
the rerun wastelands and its 
hard struggle back deserves 
note. A total of 49 episodes 

38 OMNI 

shows like Star Trek and 
Babylon 5) and MGM, the 
1 notion of reviving The Outer 
Limits resurfaced. With the 
proven popularity of anthology 
shows like HBO's Tales from 
the Crypt, the Showtime 
cable channel snatched up 
the new series. MGM had a 
hefty feature deal with 
Trilogy — Pen Densham, 
Richard Lewis, and John 
Watson. The company was 
responsible for such hits as 
Robin Hood: Prince of 
Thieves and Backdraft, but 
also had significant television 
experience, including the TV 

tion," says Densham. "I ate 
the school library — every sci- 
ence-fiction book I could get 
my hands on. I'm a Heinlein 
fan from way back when The 
Puppet Masters was coming 
out. There is an absolute 
treasure chest of unviewed 
and unknown-by-the-general- 
public ideas and creativity 
that I want to tap. We're work- 
ing very hard not to forget 
the legacy we were given. 

"We've put together an 
extraordinarily good team. The 
challenge is to come up with 
fresh material and take the 
show into the Nineties and 

Martin's "Sandkings" as the 
two-hour premiere episode 
for Showtime's mid-March 
1995 series kick-off, the pro- 
ducers seem to indicate that 
they've picked up the fallen 
torch of The Outer Limits 
and are now controlling its 
phosphor-dot vertical. 

"'Sandkings' is the per- 
fect story to start off a new 
season of Outer Limits," 
says the show's current co- 
executive producer, Manny 
Coto. Coto comes from a 
horror-movie background, 
writing and. directing Dr. 
Giggles as well as episodes 

of Monsters and Tales from the Crypt. 

Richard Lewis of Trilogy agrees. 
"Unlike Manny and Pen, I'm not a real 
devotee of science fiction. I enjoy 
watching it; I enjoyed reading it as a 
kid. There's something about this story 
that I found riveting. It terrified me. It's 
one of those stories that covers all 
media. It's science fiction, but it's a 
morality play of someone getting 
twisted in one direction — getting contam- 
inated with power. It's a great piece 
and a great challenge." 

"Sandkings," which won both Neb- 
ula and Hugo awards in 1980, tells the 
story of a rich and nasty man, Simon 
Kress. On an exotic planet, Kress buys 
intelligent alien bugs — sandkings — 
from a mysterious shop. As he breeds 
them, they create complex societies 
and elaborate architectures, they war 
with one another, and they worship 
Kress. He plays godlike games with 
them— and then they play ghastly 
sandking games with him. 

"I was very interested in the ques- 
tion of whether science fiction and hor- 
ror could be blended effectively," says 
author George R. R. Martin. "Could you 
use the symbols and traditional tropes 
and images and furniture of one of those 
genres to accomplish the goal of scar- 
ing the reader, the main thing that drives 

horror? I'd done a few earlier stories like 
that, 'Nightflyers' perhaps being the 
best known of them. 'Sandkings' was 
another attempt to mine that particular 
vein and write a story that worked both 
as science fiction and as horror. 

"The particular kernel that gave me 
the idea for the story went back years 
before to when I'd been in college. A 
friend of mine lived off-campus in an 
apartment. We ! d watch the Creature 
Feature every Saturday night — two hor- 
ror movies. We'd put away several cases 
of beer. At one particular point John got 
a tank of piranha. He started to punctu- 
ate these Creature Feature get-togeth- 
ers by throwing other fish to the piranha. 
Sort of an intermission thing. He'd 
throw in a goldfish or guppies or what- 
ever. It was that real-life incident that 
formed the basis for Simon Kress's par- 
ties, with his friends getting together to 
watch the sandkings fight their wars. 
Obviously there was a large amount of 
imaginative extrapolation expended to 
transform one to another," Martin says. 

The story went on to eternal antholo- 
gization. It has never been out of print, 
nor out of the hands of filmmakers, it 
has always been under option from 
some company or another, and there 
have been a couple of screenplays 
written. Trilogy was interested in it even 

before Outer Limits came along. 

"George Martin came to work with 
us in developing another TV show. He 
gave us this story as an example of his 
thinking," explains Lewis. a l showed it 
to other members of the community 
who swore at me later. They'd read it at 
night and couldn't sleep." 

When Trilogy entered the Outer Lim- 
its development scene, Lewis sug- 
gested they use the story for the series; 
however, there was one large problem. 

"A faithful adaptation of George R. 
R. Martin's 'Sandkings' is a very expen- 
sive feature film," says Cassutt. "We 
were forced to do a story in the spirit of 
'Sandkings' rather than a faithful adap- 
tation. As a piece of science-fiction TV, 
it will be perfectly wonderful. As a piece 
of science-fiction TV that satisfies the 
people who loved every minute of the 
actual story, probably not. But I would 
encourage them to wait for the feature 
film version. George also made a deal 
for a TV version and a film version." 

The transmutation posed a number 
of fascinating problems. The solutions 
are classic examples of how teamwork 
and compromise work in television. 
The shooting script is a first-rate exam- 
ple of what Outer Limits (and science- 
fiction horror in general) does best: It 
scares you, leaving a thoughtful res©- 



U an attempt to well ItwSy's 

> drink from the toilet, inventor 

y's compulsion 
to dtmK trom'ltie Toilet, inventor fl. Tames 
pmhy fine-tunes his Most creation which 
he hapcs to patent and market to d<k 
owners Across the nation. 

Z>51 (i.e. '. Unbeknownst to them at 
the t'me, Plato end Aristotle initiate 
a deliberative and philosophical debate 
th&t uouldjrenict uell into the tuentieth 





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nance after the last tremble. 

The process is an insightful gaze in- 
side the process of worthwhile televi- 
sion shows. 

"It was a collective decision," says 
Cassutt, who helmed the creative thrust. 
"I didn't see any reason to set the story 
on another planet. Clearly the sandkings 
themselves are the science fictional ele- 
ment of 'Sandkings.' If you want a sim- 
plified version, you want to find a way of 
having those little guys on Earth." 

Cassutt did a preliminary two-page 
treatment while they were obtaining the 
rights and selecting a screenwriter. They 
chose Melinda M. Snodgrass, alumna 
of both science-fiction novels (Circuit) 
and science-fiction TV (Slar Trek: The 
Next Generation). She did two outlines 
and two drafts of the script. Time at a 
premium, the script was then taken in- 
house, and given to Manny Coto. 

"Melinda Snodgrass tackled the ini- 
tial problems, and then Manny came in 
like a human tornado and really pulled 
together a lot of the loose elements," 
says Densham. "When we're working 
with writers we really try to create a 
creative think tank, where everybody's 
opinion can contribute to the imagina- 
tion of the whole piece." 

In The Outer Limits' "Sandkings," 
Simon Kress (Beau Bridges) is a near- 
future scientist with a wife (Helen 
Shaver), a son (Dylan Bridges), and a 
military father (Lloyd Bridges) who fa- 
vored a medal-winning son over Simon. 
Simon's efforts to show his worth find 
their voice in defense work involving 
work with eggs found in Martian sand 
samples. When the project is shut down, 
Simon steals a thermos full and sets up 
shop in his barn. The result: Sandkings 
in a terra-fied version of the Martin 
story, with a sandking-bitten, crazed 
Simon playing God while intelligent, 
belligerent bugs snack on the family 
dog and a rival of Simon's— and then 
generally menace the family and Earth. 

"At first we played with the idea that 
they were designed as part of biologi- 
cal weaponry," says Cassutt. "That's 
where Simon's character came from. My 
thought was that there's something fas- 
cinating about guys Who spend 25 or 
30 years working in this black, shad- 
owy defense world — then are suddenly 
cast out. I still think that would be a good 
way to go with the story, but as we looked 
at it, we had some strong disagree- 
ments as to whether that was plausible 
or necessary. So we said, 'Look, we've 
just got aliens.' I think it works fine." 

"One of the movies we used as a 
model — for feeling, anyway — was The 
Shining," says Lewis. "I think that Beau 
Bridges has captured — and it's really 
Manny's writing that has put this on the 

table — the sort of internal dialogue that 
Nicholson has where he wasn't just 
mumbling but almost talking himself 
into a logic of his madness. There's 
something so striking in the looks be- 
tween Beau and Lloyd Bridges. They've 
both got these furrowed brows and these 
bushy eyebrows. Very intense eyes. 
Beau takes his character to a twisted 
darker side, it's startling to watch." 

Martin admits that the original might 
have been subconsciously influenced 
by Theodore Sturgeon's classic 
"Macrocosrnic God." Certainly it could 
also be said that this TV version is in 
the tradition of such shows as the 
Outer Limits episode, 'The Zanti Mis- 
fits," which is equipped with intelligent 
insectoid aliens, equally belligerent. 

Be assured, though, budget or no 
budget, we'll see more than a shift from 
black-and-white to color. The effects for 
shows like "Zanti" now look decidedly 
dated. Densham promises elaborate 
surprises in putting the sandkings in 
your face. "We're using a number of 
different techniques. Puppetry, CGI, 
real insects. (Scorpions, actually.) No 
one individual answer creates a living 
creature. You have to use every possi- 
ble method to pull these things to- 
gether and create the sense that these 
creatures have intelligence." 

Trilogy is not going to be able to rest 
on its pincers. "The challenge for us is 
to use the feature relationships we 
have. For 'Sandkings,' it's the Bridges 
family. Michael T. Williams of Forrest 
Gump is going to play in one of the up- 
coming episodes. Rebecca DeMornay 
and Charles Martin Smith from some 
great movies will be directing episodes. 
We're working with Adam Nimoy to de- 
velop 'I, Robot' (from the original Outer 
Limits episode, based on the Eando 
Binder story, not the Asimov novel) for 
his father (Leonard Nimoy, who ap- 
peared in the original) to direct." 

Other upcoming shows? "'Second 
Soul' (by Nebula award-winning sci- 
ence fiction writer Alan Brennert) is an 
absolutely incredible story of aliens 
who come to Earth from a ravaged 
planet of their own making," says Coto. 
"They need one simple thing: They 
need to occupy human bodies. The story 
is about the culture clashes that erupt 
from a human bigot who must get used 
to the fact that dead people are being 
reanimated and are now walking aliens 
on Earth. The twist ending involves the 
man's path to accepting this and dis- 
covering what the aliens are really up 
to. It's one of the best scripts I've ever 
read. Jonathan Glassner, the other co- 
executive producer, wrote a story 
about a female robot kind of in the tra- 
dition of (Lester Del Rey's) Helen O'Loy. 

It's called 'Prototype.' Every one of 
these shows is absolutely intelligent and 
well thought-out and based on character. 
There's no dumbing down at all. They're 
all done with an incredible amount of 
respect for the audience. Something 
you don't find a lot of in science fiction 
in features or for television." 

Other stories slated for airing include 
a dramatic version of Dan Simmons' "The 
River Styx Runs Upstream," and another 
Alan Brennert script, titled "Dark Matters." 

"They all have great science-fiction 
concepts," Coto continues. "There's 
one ('Under the Bed, 7 by Larry Meyers) 
with the bogeyman coming back to life 
and stealing children. There's actually 
a science-fiction explanation." 

"The Outer Limits is more about 
human nature, the kinds of changes 
that we're going to face when mankind 
confronts new issues. They're all moral- 
ity issues. The technology is there to 
bring out what we in society are either 
complacent about or on the brink of 
becoming," Densham says. 

The central challenge is that times 
have changed for the Control Voice. 
"Scary horror science fiction is not a 
relic of the Sixties, but a relic of the 
Fifties," Cassutt says. "If you look at the 
original series, the threats were all ba- 
sically from the outside. They were 
aliens, coming to eat you or pretending 
to be your neighbors. The stories I 
found myself responding to and devel- 
oping were much more the biological 
horror. Your body turning into the 
enemy. Things from the inside. It's one 
of the situations in which science fiction 
reflects the times. The Outer Limits was 
the end product of those Fifties horror 
movies. It's a Cold War metaphor. The 
threat was godless, atheistic commu- 
nism taking over, whereas 30 years 
later, the perceived threats are to per- 
sonal security and health. My own 
script is about a modern-day Franken- 
stein. It's about a nanotechnology re- 
searcher/inventor whose invention 
blows up in his face." 

Alas, not all went well during Cas- 
sutfs five and a half months in the cre- 
ative pilot seat. "I was trying to get 
stories by Fredrik Pohl, Robert Fieinlein, 
James Tiptree, Jr., Damon Knight, and 
other science fiction writers. Some of 
them may wind up getting through. But 
there are complications in terms of Can 
you find a way to adapt it? Does the 
story work? Can you find a way to get 
six people to sign off on the adaptation? 
Then, Can you make the deal? For ex- 
ample, a lot of Philip K. Dick's short sto- 
ries would be terrific for Outer Limits 
episodes. However, they are priced be- 
yond the range of mortal TV shows. It's 
a shame. Phil's stories have been 




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R O J E C 




For Richard Price, a single 
traumatic childhood incident 
has thrown a terrifying shad- 
ow over the last four dec- 
ades of his life. One evening 
in September 1955, near a 
cemetery in Troy, New York, 
Price claims, he encountered 
. a couple of humanoids who 
took him aboard their craft 
and injected an implant 
under his skin. Now, a sci- 
entist from a world-class 
university has analyzed that 
implant and reached a fas- 
cinating conclusion. 

Price, who was then 8 
years old, has never forgot- 
ten the episode, especially 
the moment the aliens im- 
planted something into his — 
now that the Bobbitt trial 
has made the word media- 
acceptable— penis. 

"I was tied down to a 
table in the center of the 
room," he recalls, "and they 
had used a machine to scan 
over my body up to my neck. 
Then they took this implant 
from the table and put it at 
the end of this long needle 
attached to some" type of 
box and cable. When they 
inserted the needle into my 
skin I could see on a moni- 
tor in front of me an enlarge- 
ment where it looked like 
they were hooking up wires 
underneath my skin. Then, 
after they took the needle 
out and shut everything off, 
one of them came over to 
me and, before he helped 
me put my clothes back on, 
said: 'Leave it alone, or 
you'll die.'" 

Price reports he was too 
frightened to teli his parents 















about the incident. But in 
1 964 while in high school he 
did tell a girlfriend and with- 
in a week everyone in school 
was calling him "the space- 
man.' Finally after getting 
into a fight, he was called to 
see the principal, who re- 
ferred him to the school 

Price underwent a bat- 
tery of psychological tests 
and was given various med- 
ications. But since no one 
had even heard of UFO ab- 
ductions back then, he even- 
tually ended up in a state 
hospital. He was released 
after three months, but only 
after "admitting" to the doc- 
tors on his case that the 
incident had never occurred. 

More than a dozen years 
would pass before Price 
could bear to relate this bi- 
zarre tale again, once more 
trying to convince the out- 
side world It.was real. After 
talking to UFO investigators 
in 1981, Price was urged to 
visit a doctor who, amazingly, 
confirmed the presence of 
a foreign object in his penis." 
But since Price felt no dis- 
comfort from it, the doctor 
suggested that nothing 
needed to be done. 

Then in June 1989, while 
getting dressed, Price no- 
ticed the "implant" protrud- 
ing above the skin, and 
about two months later it 
came out. The object was 
roughly cylindricai, round- 
ed at both ends, and had at 
least six small appendages. 
Tiny, measuring about 1 milli- 
meter wide and 4 millimeters 
deep, it had an amber col- 

ored interior and a white shell. 

Within two weeks Price 
had turned over a portion of 
the "implant" to David Pritch- 
ard, a scientist at the Massa- 
chusetts Institute of Tech- 
nology who believes scien- 
tists should look seriously at 
the abduction phenomenon. 
Pritchard says he agreed to 
analyze the "implant" for 
one simple reason: "Proving 
that life exists elsewhere in 
the universe would be the 
biggest scientific discovery' 
of all time." 

For Pritchard, however, 
that dream must wait. In- 
deed, the MIT scientist found 
the object was made of "the 
kind . of material elements 
and chemicals— carbon, 
oxygen, hydrogen, and com- 
pounds — one would expect 
if the object were biological 
in origin and formed right 
here on planet Earth.' 7 

A dermatopathologist at 
Massachusetts General Hos- 
pital in Boston, moreover, 
supports Pritchard's conclu- 
sion. Thomas Flotte found 
that the "implant" consists 
of concentric layers of fibro- 
blasts, a. type of ceil found 
in connective tissue, extra- 
cellular material like colla- 
gen, and some external cot- 
ton fibers. The human body 
apparently produces such 
calcified tissue in response 
to .injury, either from foreign 
material like a piece of glass 
or a wood splinter, or from a 
trauma of some kind, caused 
perhaps by a baseball or a 
table corner. 

"This calcification process 
is common," says Flotte, 

"though the penis is not a 
site of trauma all that often." 
The cotton fibers probably 
came from Price's under- 
wear; they became incor- 
porated into the body tis- 
sue as it hardened. 

Pritchard, who with Har- 
vard psychiatrist John Mack 
organized an abduction 
conference held at MIT in 
the summer of 1992, knows 
of one other penile implant 
case; upon examination, 
that implant, too, turned out 
to be calcified damaged 
tissue of terrestrial, and 
human, origin. 
■ But despite the rather 
mundane outcome, Pritch- 
ard feels that the Price im- 
plant case is as good as 
anyone in the business of 
analyzing possible extra- 
terrestrial artifacts is likely 
to get. "I thought this object 
had an extremely good 
pedigree because it was 
associated with a conscious 
■recollection," notes Pritch- 
ard, "and Price even has a 
doctor's report indicating 
that he had something 
under his skin 1 years ago." 

While Pritchard found no 
sign that the "implant'' was 
an alien artifact, he states 
his investigation does not 
rule out the extremely re- 
mote possibility that, -as 
believers might argue, the 
calcified tissue was actual- 
ly manufactured by aliens. 

"it's possible," he- ex- 
plains, "that the aliens are 
so clever that they can 
make devices that serve 
their purposes yet appear 
to have a prosaic origin as 




















natural products of the hu- 
man body and fibers from 
cotton underwear. So this 
case only rules out the pos- 
sibility of clumsy aliens. It 
doesn't rule out the possi- 
bility of super-clever aliens." 

Other ideas, however, - 
might make more sense. 
For instance, given the re- 
cent connection some sci- 
entists have made between 
the mind and body, it has 
been suggested that Price 
may have "induced" the 
implant much like people 
who practice visualization 
exercises have been shown 
to improve their T-cell 
counts, boosting the im- 
mune system. 

But psychologists reject 
the notion that Price's be- 
lief in aliens might some- 
how have provoked the 
growth. "To willfully create 
such a calcification is highly 
unlikely," says Kentucky 
psychologist Robert Baker, 
author of Hidden Memories, 
"almost as unlikely as an 
alien implant." 

Baker also largely dis- 
misses the possibility that 
Price might be using an 
alien encounter story to 
cover up an episode of 
childhood sexual abuse. 
"While such things are pos- 
sible," he says, "it's not usu- 
ally the case. In fact, over 
the years we've discovered 
that people .remember 
very clearly cases of child- 
hood sexual abuse. It's not 
a guestion of repression." 

More likely, notes Baker, 
Price's so-called aliens were 
a hallucination associated 

with a sleep paralysis epi- 
sode. The paralysis "typically 
results in very shallow 
breathing, which reduces 
the oxygen input to the 
brain. In some people, such 
oxygen reduction stimulates 
the .sexual centers. "And 
then later on if he found any- 
thing wrong with his geni- 
tals," says Baker, "he would 
attribute whatever the prob- 
lem was to what the hallu- 
cinated aliens did." 

But how did the "implant" 
get there in the first place? 
William Cone, a psycholo- 
gist in private practice in 
Newport Beach, California, 
thinks he knows the answer. 
"To my knowledge we have 
yet to recover an implant 
that . resembles anything 
alien," he states. "Instead, 
the chances of somebody 
finding a little something 
wrong with his or her body 
are greater than we think. 
Statistically, if you look at the 
population at large, you are 
going to see a lot of people 
who have had growths and 
bumps and pieces of stuff 
stuck in their body. Out of 
that large population, some 
people interested in abduc- 
tions are going to find things 
in their body, and as far as I 
am concerned, that is prob- 
ably what happened here." 
■ Meanwhile Price, in an 
effort to come to grips with 
the turmoil this and two 
subseguent alien encoun- 
ters have caused, is in the 
process of writing a book 
about it all with a surpris- 
ingly down-to-earth title: 
What Affects Your Life.DO 

N V.E 

Roger McGuinn of The 
Byrds once put it this way: 
If you want to be a rock- 
and-roll star, it's- a relative- 
ly straightforward affair. 
"Just get a guitar and 
learn how to play." Musical 
rhetoric aside, much the 
same can be said of a 
UFO investigator. No spe- 
cial degrees or licenses 
are required— just a few 
basic chords. 

As you go about mak- 
ing your UFO album, you'll 
find yourself returning to 
those chords again and 
again. The first one : pre- 
sented in this chapter, is a 
basic UFO sorting system. 
When you've mastered it, 
you'll gain the virtuoso 
ability to recognize and 
classify potential UFOs. It 
stands to reason that, as a 
UFO hunter, this basic skill 

will enable you to assess a 
sighting's importance, de- 
termining how much time 
and energy, and what in- 
strumentation, you want to 
bring to bear on a particu- 
lar case. A report of a bright 
white light that lines up 
with Venus's known posi- 
tion in the sky at the time, 
for example, should attract 
much less attention than, 
say, a competing case in- 
volving multiple witnesses, 
radar returns, and indica- 
tions of a physical impact 
on the environment, such 
as broken tree limbs, 
scorched grass, piles of 
debris, and so on. 

A classification system 
is necessary not only as a 
starting point, but also as 
an end result. Once your 
investigation is concluded, 
in other words, you should 








be able to assign the orig- 
inal stimulus to a particular 
and specific category, be- 
ginning, in broadest terms, 
with "identified 1 ' and "un- 

Identified means that a 
particular phenomenon or 
object can be attributed to 
a known natural or man- 
made source, be it a star, 
planet, weather balloon, or 
advertising blimp. 

By the same token, un- 
identified does not in and 
of itself connote an extra- 
lerrestria! spaceship; it 
merely indicates that the 
source or stimulus of the 
original sighting remains 
unknown and unidentified. 
While all known phenome- 
na may have been ruled 
out as a possible explana- 
tion, other unknown, but 
perfectly mundane, phe- 

nomena may have been 
operative at the time. Put 
another way: Unidentified 
Flying Object means only 
that the object was uniden- 
tified after investigation, not 
that it was from another plan- 
et and necessarily hellbent 
on abducting humans and/or 
mutilating horses and cattle, 
or otherwise wreaking high- 
tech alien havoc on the resi- 
dents of Earth. 

As humans, we have a 
built-in classification sys- 
tem to begin with, one that 
compares present experi- 
ences- with past ones on an 
"as like" basis. Most of us 
have seen airplane landing 
lights at one time or anoth- 
er, Venus shining like a 
searchlight in the evening 
or morning sky, a full moon 
peeping through ragged 
clouds, and whatnot. 

It's only when "Venus" 
suddenly executes an abrupt 
right-angle turn or divides 
into two smaller lights that 
streak away at high speed 
that we find our attention 
attracted and realize we 
may, in fact,, be in the mid- 
dle of a UFO sighting. 

One of the most thor : 
oughly investigated and 
well-documented UFO re- 
ports in history is that of 
Trans-en-Provence, so called 
for the small French village 
in which it occurred. 

On the evening of Jan- 
uary 8, 1981, Renato Nicolai 
was working in his garden 
when he heard a whistling 
noise. What he would later 
describe to government in- 
vestigators as "a device in 

the form of two saucers, 
one inverted over the other," 
then allegedly touched down 
on his property about 200 
feet away. About five feet 
thick and the color of lead, 
the device reportedly rest- ' 
ed on the ground for only a 
matter of seconds before 
lifting back up in the air 
above some pine trees and 
shooting away to the north- 
east. A circular ring just over 
six feet in diameter was par- 
tially scoured into the ground. 

Even when things are this 
unusual, the natural human 
impulse is to classify and 
dismiss what we see. The 
French contractor at Trans- 
en-Provence, for example, 
felt he was witnessing some 
sort of secret aerial device 
built and flown by the 
French military. 

Other witnesses in simi- 
lar sightings have suggest- 
ed that apparently inexplic- 
able objects were weather 
balloons or the Goodyear 
blimp, anything, in fact, but 
a UFO. 

Contrary to public opin- 
ion, we are not primed to see 
UFOs everywhere at the drop 
of a proverbial hat. And most 
UFO reporters are not un- 
abashed publicity seekers. 

Conservative indications 
are that fewer than one in 
twenty UFO sightings are 
ever reported to anyone 
other than immediate family 
members and friends. In- 
deed, many witnesses start 
out in denial. Startled and 
surprised by what they see, 
they generally make repeat- 
ed efforts to explain it to 

themselves or dismiss it 
altogether before even con- 
sidering the possibility of 
classifying it as an Uniden- 
tified Flying Object. 

The intended end goal 
of any proper UFO investi- 
gation, of course, is to sort 
through ail possible expla- 
nations in order to arrive at 
the most likely solution. 
Sometimes the UFO hunter 
can easily attribute a sight- 
ing to some mundane 
source, natural or manmade. 
At the same time, other 
sightings will remain uniden- 
tified or unknown after the 
investigator's best attempts 
to explain. 

As we'll see, however, a 
classification' of "unknown" 
presents its own problems 
and requires its own further 
classification system if the 
UFO hunter is to make any 
sense of the phenomenon 
at all. 

One such system comes 
to us from the Air Force, 
which used it to evaluate 
the quality of the unknowns. 
Were they worthy of further 
investigation? Or were they 
just too vague and amor- 
phous, too cloudy, to pur- 
sue at all? 

The'system, developed 
by the Air Technical Intelli- 
gence Center (ATIC) at 
Wright-Patterson Air Force 
Base, Dayton, Ohio, also 
home of Project Blue Book, 
held, first of all, that would- 
be witnesses had to time 
the duration of the sighting 
itself. When a sighting was 
less than 15 seconds, ac- 
cording -to the ATIC guide- 

lines, "the probabilities are 
great that it is not worthy of 
follow-up. As a word of cau- 
tion, however, should a large 
number of individual ob- 
servers concur on an un- 
usual sighting of a few. sec- 
onds' duration, it should not . 
be dismissed." 

The Air Force observed, 
no doubt correctly, that 
sightings of extremely short 
duration generally turned 
out to be meteors, incoming 
space debris like satellites 
falling out of orbit, or some 
other mundane object only 
briefly glimpsed. 

The Air Force also placed 
value on multiple witnesses 
and a sighting's geographi- 
cal range. "As an example," 
the ATIC memorandum 
noted, "twenty-five people 
at one spot may observe a 
strange light in the sky. This, 
however, has less weight 
than two reliable people ob- 
serving the same light from 
different locations. In the lat- 
ter case a position-fix is 
indicated." Of course, it 
goes without saying that 25 
witnesses in a single loca- 
tion will hold more weight 
than two witnesses also at a 
single locale. 

The Air ' Force consid- 
ered the investigator's prox- 
imity to the pase crucial as 
well. That makes sense. 
Obviously if you live in Albany 
or Trenton, the chances of 
personally investigating any 
UFO case, however com- 
pelling, in, say, Denver or 
San Francisco— never mind 
France or Russia — are great- 
ly diminished. While much 

can be inferred and con- 
firmed by telephone, a per- 
sonal, on-site investigation 
is best. 

The Air Force also placed 
some'emp basis on the reli- 
ability of the witness; the 
more reliable the witness — 
the more professional, the 
more educated, the more 
sane — the more the Air 
Force encouraged investi- 
gators to pursue the case. 
This is a subjective call, ad- 
mittedly, but one we have to 
consider. Rightly or wrong- 
ly, most of us regard a 57- 
year-old astronomer or re- 
tired fighter pilot as somehow 
more reliable — and there- 
fore more believable — than, 
say, a couple of high-school 
kids in a parked car. Chalk 
it up to human nature. 

To some extent, howev- 
er, the perception is cor- 
rect. The astronomer ■ and 
the fighter pilot are trained 
observers. They are familiar 
with much of what happens 
in the sky simply because 
that's what they get paid to 
do. At the same time, an 
advanced degree in astron- 
omy or a pilot's license 
does not confer infallibility. 

For that matter, one of 
the most famous hoaxes in 
UFO history was perpetrat- 
ed by a former Navy officer 
with a Ph.D. degree in bio- 
chemistry. Ultimately, it is up 
to the individual investiga- 
tor to establish or confirm the 
credentials and bona fides 
of his or her witnesses, and 
to corroborate their sighting 
as best he or she can. 

The Air Force also, con- 

sidered the amount of 
elapsed time between when 
the UFO was sighted and 
when it was actually report- 
ed or investigated. ATIC rec- 
ommendations noted that 
"if the information, cannot 
be obtained within seven 
days, the value of such in- 
formation is greatly de- 
creased." However, in cases 
where "physical evidence 
exists," the Air Force con- 
ceded, "a follow-up should 
be made even if some of 
the above criteria have not 
been met." 

Ideally, any case should 
be investigated as soon as 
possible after it comes to 
the investigator's attention, 
but this is not always feasi- 
ble. Most of us have day 
jobs and family lives, as do 
most witnesses. Coordinating 
schedules is not always 
easy. Nor are ail of us suit- 
ed to the personal interview 
situation and its demands.- 
Moreover, much valuable 
historical UFO information 
remains essentially un- 
plumbed and unmined. 

In one prominent exam- 
pie, the front-page headline 
. of the Roswell (New Mex- 
ico) Daily Record once an- 
nounced in bold type that 
the Army Air Force had re- 
covered a flying disc near- 
by. That headline, dated 
■ Tuesday, July 8, 1947, lay 
buried in the Record's files 
for more than 30 years, until 
it was discovered by UFOI- 
ogists in the late 1970s, set- 
ting off an investigation 
which has resulted in at 
least four books and which 


continues to. this day. 

So the Air Force's seven- 
day limit should be taken 
with a grain of salt. Besides, 
some Investigations should 
be historical by nature and 
design. A few years back, 
for example, I approached 
the Sunday magazine sup- 
. plement of my local news- 
paper with the idea for an 
article based on San 
Antonio residents who had 
previously reported UFOs. 
Part of the purpose of the 
article was to see whether 
the average citizen still 
stood by, or even remem- 
bered, his or her sightings 
years after the fact. From the 
offices of the Mutual UFO 
Network in nearby Seguin, 
Texas, I was able to exam- 
ine the files of some ten 
past reports, the oldest 
having occurred a decade 
previously. Only one or two 
witnesses no longer lived in 
San Antonio. Somewhat to 
my surprise, the others re- 
membered their sightings 
as if they had happened 
yesterday "I'll never forget 
it as long as I live," was an 
almost universal response. 
Equally interesting, despite 
the passage of time, was 
the fact that the events 
dredged up from contem- 
porary memory were re- 
markably consistent with 
the original report, with little 
or no embellishment on the 
witnesses' part. 

I was able to conclude 
that, whatever the source of 
the UFO stimulus, its im- 
pact and impression on 
percipients was both dra- 

O M N 

B O O K 

matic and relatively "per- 
manent." So, while sooner 
is no doubt better than later 
as a general rule ot thumb, 
a week or more of elapsed 
time between a UFO event 
and the onset of an investi- 
gation isn't necessarily the 
kiss of death the Air Force 
would have had us believe. 

The intended results of 
any investigation should also 
be considered. If you want 
to examine how the national 
press treated UFO reports 
during the Korean War, for 
instance, or the origin of the 
phrase "little green 'men' 1 
and its derogatory associa- 
tion with the UFO phenome- 
non in general, it doesn't 
make much difference when 
you get started— only how 
deep you're willing to dig. 
-And believe it or not, these 
questions are important. 
They help us place individ- 
ual sightings in cultural or 
historical context,^ rovide a 
referential base of meaning 
for the language used by 
witnesses, arid illuminate the 
social significance of the 
phenomenon as a whole. 

Such searches also help 
with the broader goal: de L 
ciding whether a UFO is 
worth investigating in the 
first place. Once you have 
made that decision in the 
affirmative, you must be 
able to categorize the par- 
ticular sighting — to place it 
in the appropriate slot so it 
can be compared to other 
similar- sightings that have 
come before. Toward that 
end, a usable classification 
system is a must. 

The first classification 
system to gain widespread 
currency among civilian 
UFO investigators was that 
proposed by the late Dr. J. 
Allen Hynek in The UFO 
Experience (Henry Regnery 
Company, Chicago, 1972). 
Hynek certainly knew where- 
of he spoke; from the sum- 
mer of 1947 until December 
1969, he had served as the 
Air Force's scientific consul- 
tant on UFO reports. The 
Hynek system had the ad- 
vantage of being both sim- 
ple and, as it turned out, 
memorable. (In fact, cine- 
matic wunderkind Steven 
Spielberg would base one 
of the highest-grossing mo- 
tion pictures of all time, Close 
Encounters of the Third 
Kind, on Hynek's evocative 

Hynek's system was 
based on both numbers 
and phenomenology. Most 
UFOs were reported as bril- 
liant light sources seen in 
the nighttime sky, so his first 
category, or classification, 
was the self-explanatory 
"nocturnal light." 

Although significantly 
fewer in number, many UFOs 
were seen by the cold light 
of day, and the majority of 
these tended to be shaped 
like a circular plate or 
saucer, hence the popular 
phrase "flying saucer," and 
Hynek's second category, 
"daylight discs." 

Some daylight discs were 
reported by witnesses and, 
simultaneously, captured by 
radar. To these cases Hynek 
assigned the descriptive 
















term "radar-visual.". 

All of the above, tantaliz- 
ing as any single case 
might have been, still repre- 
sented. remote observations, 
whether by human beings or 
electronic monitoring equip- 
ment. More troubling— and 
therefore ultimately more 
interesting — were those UFO 
reports that could loosely 
be defined as "close en- 
counters." And UFO re- 
searchers found the closer 
the better in terms of the 
potential information that 
could conceivably be gath- 
ered for review. 

Hynek was willing to 
consider the Air Force's 
basic contention that most 
UFO reports represented 
the simple.misperception of 
ordinary objects or phe- 
nomena—particularly when 
the UFO was seen at a dis- 
tance. But Hynek also felt 
that the "misperception" 
theory tended to lose cre- 
dence and viability in those 
cases in which percipients 
claimed to have actually 
touched, or been taken 
aboard, a landed UFO. 

Hynek broke close en- 
counter cases into three 
separate categories: those 
of the first, second-, and third 
kind. All were assumed to 
have taken place within 500 
feet of the UFO stimulus. 

A close encounter of the 
first kind, subsequently ab- 
breviated as CE I, was a 
UFO report in which the wit- 
ness or witnesses claimed 
that the UFO physically ap- 
proached within 500 feet of 
their position but otherwise 


Believers and skeptics aiike 
agree that much of the 
problem revolving around 
a dispassionate discussion 
oJ the so-called UFO phe- . 
nomenon stems from basic 
linguistics. Kenneth Arnold, 
for example, whose June 
24, 1947, sighting arguably- 
initiated the modern era of 
UFO reports, never once 
mentioned "flying saucers" 
or UFOs. What Arnold told 
Associated Press reporter 
Bill Bequette was that the 
nine crescent-shaped, ob- 
jects he saw behaved "like 
a saucer skipping over wa- 
ter." An anonymous head- 
line writer coined the phrase 
"flying saucer," and the 
rest is pretty much history. 

UFO— Unidentified Fly- 
ing Object — also implies by 
definition that some sort of 
physical flying object is in- 
volved in each and every 
UFO report, when it is not 
clear that this is the case. As 
astronomer J. Allen Hynek 
pointed out, "the U in UFO 
stands for 'Unidentified.'" 

As with flying saucer, the 
original coinage of UFO 
remains in some dispute. 
In the opening pages of 
his classic The Report on 
Unidentified Flying Objects, 
former Air Force captain 
and Project Blue Book' 
director Edward Ruppelt 
claims to have invented the 
phrase out of whole cloth. 
"UFO," he says unambigu- 

ously, "is the official term 
that I created to replace the 
words 'flying saucers.'" In 
a briefing — classified secret 
at the time — given the Air 
Defense Command in De- 
cember of 1952, Ruppelt 
reiterated, saying, "We don't 
like the name 'flying sau- 
cers' and only rarely use it 
because it seems to repre- 
sent weird stories, hoaxes 
[and some] sort of joke." 
But earlier that same year 
Ruppelt had contributed an 
article, to Air Intelligence 
Digest in which he referred 
to UFOs as UAOs— Uniden- 
tified Aerial Objects. 

UAO, however, had first 
been used by Project Sign, 
Project Blue Book's prede- 

cessor, in USAF Report 
No. F-TR-2274-1A, which 
dated from February of 
1949. In addition, a 600- 
page report released in De- 
cember of that same year 
(Technical Report No. 102- 
AC49YI5-10G)— two years 
before Ruppelt assumed 
the Project Blue Book man- 
tle — was titled "Unidentified 
Flying Objects— Project 
Grudge." Clearly, the UFO 
acronym hadcrept into of- 
ficial Air Force usage be- 
fore Ruppelt's time. The 
true originator of the phrase, 
in other words, was un- 
doubtedly some lower- 
echelon staff person who 
will probably forever re- 
main anonymous. DQ 

left no lasting impression or 
residual effects on the sur- 
rounding, environment. In 
other words, it was a visual 
sighting only. 

At 6:05 on the morning 
of February 6, 1966 at 
Nederland, Texas, for in- 
' stance, one of the most 
famous close encounters in- 
volved at least "three wit- 
nesses and lasted for ap- 
proximately five minutes. 
As the primary witness de- 
scribed it, "the neighbor- 
hood was lit up in a red glow. 
My first thought was that a 
police car was parked near- 
by or a fire truck. I called to 
my wife that something must 
be wrong in the neighbor- 
hood and to come and see. 
Suddenly I realized the light 

was coming from overhead. 
I looked up and saw the 
outline of an object moving 
out past the pitch of my 
roof, approximately 250 to 
500 feet high. The red glow 
was coming from beneath 
the object, about center. It 
appeared as a stream of 
light coming from inside 
through a hole." 

A close encounter of the 
second kind (CE II) repre- 
sented a sighting in which 
the UFO was not only seen 
at a distance of 500 feet or 
less, but also during which 
"measurable physical ef- 
fects on the land and on 
animate and inanimate ob- 
jects are reported." 

The Trans-en-Provence 
sighting mentioned earlier 

is a perfect example of a CE . 
II case. The witness was 
within 500 feet or less of the 
object, landing traces were 
found: and 'scientists were 
later able to determine an' 
implied physical effect on 
the environment apparently 
caused by the UFO source. 
In this case, physical effects 
were most pronounced in 
plant samples, which regis- 
tered a measurable reduc- 
tion in the green pigment 
known as chlorophyll. 

Many CE II cases in- 
volve individuals whose car 
engines stall and headlights 
go out, as was reported by 
two witnesses at Loch Raven 
Dam, Maryland, on October 
26, 1958. The pair had just 
driven over the dam and 

were approaching a bridge 
when they noticed "a large, 
flat, sort of egg-shaped 
object" hovering about 100 
feet above its superstruc- 
ture, at which point the 
car's electrical system ap- 
parently failed. 

The engine died and the 
dashboard lights and head- 
lights went out. Then "a bril- 
liant flash of white light" 
emanated from the object 
and both witnesses ''feit 
heat on our faces." A "dull 
explosion" was heard, the 
object began rising verti- 
cally and disappeared from 
view in a matter of five to 
ten seconds. 

A CE 111 was defined, in 
Hynek's words, as one "in 
.which animated entities (of- 

T H E 


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ten called 'humanoids,' 
'aliens,' or 'occupants') have 
been reported." 

One of the more cele- 
brated and controversial 
CE III cases involved police- 
man Lonnie Zamora of Soc- 
orro, New Mexico. On the 
afternoon of April 24, 1964, 
Zamora said he broke off 
chasing a speeding motor- 
ist when his attention was 
distracted by a descending 
object emitting flames. It 

finally passed out of sight 
behind a small hill. 

Eventually, Zamora was 
able to drive his patrol car 
within 150 feet of the object, 
which, he said, now resem- 
bled an egg-shaped craft 
parked atop metallic legs at 
the bottom of a gully Two 
white-cloaked figures stood 
nearby, he reported, and he 
could see a kind of insignia 
on the side of the craft. At 
Zamora's approach the two 

figures reportedly climbed 
inside the craft, which then 
took off vertically and shot 
off horizontally. 

To his dying day, Hynek 
remained concerned and 
perplexed by the growing 
new category of UFO reports 
known as "abductions" 
(sometimes referred to as CE 
IVs), those instances in which 
witnesses claim to have 
been 'beamed" or otherwise 
transported aboard UFOs 

against their will, often in a 
state of physical paralysis. 
The most famous such case, 
perhaps because it was 
one of the first, involved Betty 
and Barney Hill of Ports- 
mouth, New Hampshire. On 
the evening of September 
19, 1961, the two were 
returning home from vaca- 
tion in Niagara Falls along 
an isolated highway when 
they reportedly experienced 
two hours of "missing time." 

Under hypnosis, the Hills, 
filled in their memory gap 

with an account of abduc- 
tion. While inside the star- 
ship, both said, they were 
. subjected to invasive med- 
ical procedures performed 
by alien beings dressed in 
shiny black uniforms and 
caps. Afterward, the Hills 
were allegedly returned to 
their car and allowed to go 
on their way. 

While more serviceable 
than anything the Air Force 
ever managed, the Hynek 
classification system, also 
had its shortcomings, as was 
readily apparent. For exam- 
ple, not all daylight UFOs 
were shaped like discs. 
Triangle-, cigar-, box-, 
boomerang-, teapot-, and 
globe-shaped UFOs have 
also been reported, and not 
just once or twice, but on 
numerous occasions. 

Moreover, not all noctur- 
nal lights are necessarily 
simple pinpricks of lu- 
minosity. Multicolored beams 
and rays of light have been 
reported over the years, as 
have diffuse areas of illumi- 
nation that can only be de- 
scribed as glowing shapes. 

And then there were the 
"high-strangeness" cases, 
those reports in which the 
UFO allegedly "morphed," 
or changed shape, divided 
into two or three, disap- 
peared from view altogether, 
or otherwise violated the 
known norm of physics. Nor 
were the reported physical 
effects always lined up like 
neat ducks in a row. Some- 
times a UFO seemed to 

burn, scar, or otherwise harm 
its nearby percipients — on 
rare, unconfirmed occasions 
fatally — while at other times 
the effect, or by-product, of 
a UFO close encounter could 
only be described as heal- 
ing or beneficial, almost en- 
lightening, in nature. To para- 
phrase Forrest Gump: "UFO 
is as UFO does." 

Indeed, one has only to 
review a small number of 
the abduction cases that 
can now be found some- 
where in the media almost 
every day to see the princi- 
ple illustrated. Some abduc- 
tees claim that the aliens 
are brutal, inflicting untold 
pain and torture with each 
new encounter. Others, 
however, say that the aliens 
are benevolent visitors, here 
to -help us transcend our 
own frailties so the human 
species can prevail. 

Given all the fine distinc- 
tions, it fell to computer sci- 
entist Jacques Vallee, author 
of several pioneer UFO 
studies, to fine-tune Hynek's 
system of UFO case classi- 
fication. In its final version 
(see chart), Vallee main- 
tained Hynek's basic dis- 
tinction of UFO sightings as 
either distant or extremely 
near events. To reflect the 
fact that certain aspects of 
the UFO phenomenon often 
seem related to anomalous 
experiences in general (pol- 
tergeists, near-death, out- 
of-body experiences, and so 
on) he added the category 
of Anomaly to those pro- 
posed by Hynek. 

Columns running verti- 















cally down Vallee's chart re- 
flect the various categories. 
AN stands for Anomaly Fly- 
By (FB) and Maneuver 
(MA), are basically equiva- 
lent to Hynek's distant en- 
counters (that is, Nocturnal 
Lights, Daylight Discs, and 
RadarA/isuals), with the dif- 
ference that Vallee's terms 
ultimately reflect the behav- 
ior of the phenomenon it- 
self, as opposed to the cir- 
cumstances (day, night, ra- 
dar) of the actual sighting. 
Vallee's final category is also 
the CE, or Close Encounter. 

Each of these basic cate- 
gories has five "degrees" 
of horizontal complication, 
as reflected in the chart and 
roughly equivalent to the 
distance of the observer 
from the phenomenon. 
These horizontal elements 
include: (1) Sighting, (2) 
Physical Effects, (3) Living 
Entities, (4} Reality Trans- 
formation,' and (5). Lasting 
Injury. Each category is rep- 
resented by a telling icon. 

Thus, for those tapping 
'into Vallee's system, AN1 
would represent anomalous 
events such as amorphous 
lights or sounds with no ob- 
vious source and no lasting 
physical effects. 

AN2 are anomalies that 
display lasting physical ef- 
fects—for instance, objects 
that appear out of nowhere 
or fields, with ■ mysterious, 
flattened swirls of grass. 
■ AN3 would involve any 
report of an entity, be it an 
alien, an elf, or a ghost. 

AN4 would be those 
anomalous experiences in 

A T O 


which the percipient re- 
ports interacting with the 
entity; here Vallee includes 
religious visions and mira- 
cles, near-death experi- 
ences, and some out-of- 
body experiences. 

AN5 represents anom- 
alous healing, injury, or 
death— associated phe- 
nomena include sponta- 
neous combustion., mirac- 
ulous healing, and even 
some instances of sponta- 
neous remission, 

FB1 would be a simple 
sighting of a UFO flying in 
the sky, the most common 
of all UFO reports. 

FB2 is a fly-by with as- 
sociated physical effects, 
such as a fall of alleged 
"angel hair." 

FB3 is a fly-by in which 
living entities are seen on 
board the UFO, usually in- 
side a clear dome or through 
windows or portholes. 

FB4 represents a fly-by 
in which the witness's sense 
or experience of reality is 
affected at a distance. This 
might involve a loss of mem- 
ory or a momentary feeling 
of paralysis. 

FB5 would represent 
lasting injuries as a result 
of a fly-by. This could range 
from the "sunburn" experi- 
enced by Richard Drey- 
fuss's character in Close 
Encounters of the Third 
Kind to more serious radi- 
ationlike burns reported by 
other UFO witnesses. 

Vallee's Maneuver (MA) 
category describes distant 
UFOs. Unlike their Fly-By 
counterparts, objects in 

MA sightings are said to 
execute abrupt changes in 
trajectory — a right-angle 
turn, for instance, or a" 
rapid approach. 

Vallee's final category is 
the Close Encounter (CE) 
and its now self-explanato- 
ry permutations, ranging in 
complexity as with Ma- 
neuvers, from Sighting to 
Lasting Injury. 

Vallee also applies what 
he calls the "SVP credibili- 
ty rating" to individual UFO 
incidents, in which the ini- 
tials stand for Source relia- 
bility (credibility of witness- 
es), site Visit (credibility 
and efficacy of investiga- 
tors), and' Possible expla- 
nation. Each letter in order 
is assigned a digit from 
to 4 as follows. S, Source 
reliability: (0) unknown or 
unreliable, (1) known source 
of uncalibrated reliability, 
(2) secondhand reliable 
source, (3) firsthand reli- 
able source, (4) firsthand 
persona] interview by reli- 
able investigator; V, on-site 
Visit: (0) none or unknown, 
(1) casual visit by individ- 
ual not familiar with phe- 
nomenon, (2) visit by per- 
son or persons familiar with 
phenomenon, (3) reliable 
investigator with some past 
experience, (4) one or more 
visits to site by skilled ana- 
lyses); P, Possible expla- 
nation: (0) if data is consis- 
tent with" natural causes, (1) 
data indicates only a slight 
deviation from possible 
natural cause, (2) data sug- 
gests a gross deviation of 
at least one natural param- 












eter, (3) data indicative of 
gross alterations of several 
parameters, (4) best avail- 
able evidence indicates no 
natural explanation. 

Under Vallee's SVP 
Credibility Rating system, 
then, an average "good" 
UFO report might be rated 
222 -in terms of overall 
"weight" or reliability. This 
would mean that the re- 
port, although secondhand, 
was from a reliable source 
(S2), that the actual sight- 
ing site had been visited 
and investigated by per- 
sons familiar with the UFO 
phenomenon (V2), and that 
at least one accepted law 
of nature would have to be 
grossly distorted to assign 
the sighting a natural ex- 
planation (P2). 

if the Vallee classifica- 
tion system seems too con- 
fusing or complex or too 
far out at first glance, them 
you might want to stick 
with Hynek's for the time 
being, at least until you 
gain more on-the-job expe- 
rience. The important thing 
is to keep a detailed record 
of your investigation; that 
way other investigators will 
be able to assign credibili- 
ty ratings of their own. 
. Now that you know how 
to classify UFO reports, 
you're ready to venture out 
in the field on your own. 
Next month, we'll describe 
the tools of the UFO hunt- 
er's trade. After you outfit 
yourself lock, stock, and 
barrel, you'll be able to 
start your investigation of 
the best UFOs.DO 

Close Encounters of the 
Orange Kind 

•For quite a few years my 
family has been- aware that 
something strange has 
been happening to us. The 
innocence and insight of my 
two young children finally 
defined what these strange 
events were: abductions. 

I eventually sought the 
help of Dr. David Jacobs of 
Temple University. I did this 
in an attempt to deal with 
and understand this phe- 
nomenon that so plagues 
my family. 

Because so little docu- 
mentation can be found 
on this subject, I set out on 
an investigative course of 
my own. I have kept de- 
tailed notes and charts. I 
have countless photos of 
physical "aftermaths" of 
abductions found on our 
bodies. I have also opened 
up our experiences to sci- 
entific investigation and will- 
ingly played "guinea pig" 
to various types of equip- 
ment set up in our home. 

Through the above- 
mentioned course of action 
and my strong-willed de- 
sire to stop these intrusions, 
I have become more aware 
of the signs and symp- 
toms of abduction events. 
On the morning of De- 
cember 22, 1993, various 
signs and symptoms of an 
abduction were found on 
my seven-year-old son . 
When I woke up my son 
for school, I noticed some 
dried blood on his nose. 
Further investigation of his 
bedclothes revealed a 

substantial amount of dried 
blood on his pillow, indica- 
tive of a nocturnal nose- 
bleed. This is quite com- 
mon among abductees. 

The child also had three 
large bruises on his left 
lower stomach area which 
had not been present the 
evening before. The third 
and most unusual of the 
signs found on the child 
is what prompts me to 
write this letter. On his 
right lower stomach area 
was a blotch of brown- 
ish/orange residue that, 
like the bruises, was not 
evident the night before. 

My husband and I had 
seen a substance similar 
to this only one other time. 
Some months, before, my 
four-year-old daughter, who 
also recalls detailed ac- 
counts of abductions, woke 
one morning with- this 
orange substance splat- 
tered all over her face. We 
questioned the child and 
investigated the room for 
the possible origin of this 
substance (for example, 
food, toys, play makeup, 
and so on). We came up 
with nothing. I took a few 
photos of my daughter's 
face and then, having no 
other course of action, pro- 
ceeded to wipe the sub- 
stance off. 

Two weeks following the 
incident with my daughter, 
I investigated this event 
through discussion and 
hypnosis. We found that this 
substance was indeed ap- 
plied during an abduction 
event and it served a dis- 

tinct purpose. My hus- 
band and I were devastat- 
ed at the notion of having 
found material used in 
"outer space" and of not 
having the foresight to ob- 
tain samples before wip- 
ing it off. When we saw the 
same residue on our son 
we made sure we took 

I took photographs of 
the orange material on my 
son's stomach and photos 
of his bruises as well. I 
photographed his face 
where the dried blood was 
around his nose and, to this 
day, still have the blood- 
stained pillow put away for 
.whatever. I then immedi- 
ately called an abduction 
researcher. I explained to 
him what we found on my 
son and sought his guid- 
ance. It was my under- 
standing that many at- 
tempts by other abduc- 
tees to retain samples of 
this substance had failed 
because the residue has a 
tendency to fade/evapo- 
rate/disappear. I did not 
want this to happen to us. 

My husband and I 
soaked a few cotton swabs 
with rubbing alcohol and 
proceeded to wipe the 
substance from my child's 
stomach. The cotton swabs 
containing the residue were 
then wrapped in plastic, 
set in an airtight container, 
and placed in a dark cup- 
board. One set of swabs 
was sent to the abduction 
researcher, another set 
given to Dave Jacobs, and 
I kept the two remaining 

samples. Two major uni- 
versities and one indepen- 
dent laboratory have run " 
tests attempting to deter- 
mine the makeup of this 
unusual compound. Though 
the exact nature of the 
compound hasn't been 
defined, it is certain that 
the combination of ele- 
ments contained therein 
resembles nothing known 
.to be found in a normal 
household environment. All 
test results exhibit a high 
sulfuric content as well as 
other common elements. 
The EDS scan shows a 
significant spike labeled, to 
be Rubidium, which has an 
atomic number of 37 and 
has radioactive properties. 
More sophisticated spec- 
troscopic analysis would 
prove to be of great value 
in determining the con- 
tents of this compound. 

Apart from what has al- 
ready been submitted, I 
just received word from one 
of the'universities that fur- 
ther testing has been com- 
pleted on this orange ma- 
terial. It is my understand- 
ing that no organic com- 
ponents were identified. 

I understand that what- 
ever this substance is 
finally determined to be — 
no matter how extraordi- 
nary — that it in and of itself 
does not prove the exist- 
ence of UFOs nor will it 
validate in a skeptic's mind 
the reality of the abduction 
phenomenon. What I do 
hope is that this may help 
provide, at best, another, 
tangible "clue" — verifiable 


N D E R G R O U N D 

by the scientific communi- 
ty—toward the ultimate 
search for answers. 

I am not a UFO fanatic, 
i am, however, an unwill- 
ing-participant caught in 
the web of the abduction 
experience, i am willing to 
work with any reputable 
persons in an attempt to 
gain knowledge in this 
area. I am willing to openly 
tell my family's story if 
sharing our experiences will 
help to educate others. I 
want this intrusion to stop! 
"I appreciate the long- 
awaited serious approach 
that Omni is taking in ad- 
dressing this issue. 

Name withheld 
by request 

Editor's Note: 

Omni's Project Open Book 
is currently investigating 
the information this reader 
submitted. Results from the 
investigation will be pub- 
lished in a future issue. 

Alien Crop Sculptures 
I have seen a lot of televi- 
sion programs about crop 
formations and small 
. metallic balls that suppos-' 
edly create these awesome 
crop sculptures. What the 
hell is going on out there? 
Europe is being invaded 
by extraterrestrial artists 
and I feel like no one cares 
except for a few UFOI- 
ogists and locals. These 
crop sculptures are too 
perfect to have been cre- 
ated by humans with tools 
and'they are too perfect to 
have been created by nat- 

ural weather occurrences. 

In order to create these 
you would need a bird's- 
eye view and very large 
tools or electro-magnetism. 
Someone is leaving mes- 
sages in fields and I want 
to know why and what 
they mean. Most that I've 
seen appear to be sym- 
bols of unknown meaning, 
yet they are familiar in 
some subliminal way. Could 
aliens be easing their way 
into our lives and minds 
via crop sculptures? 

I'm assuming that aliens 
communicate using sym- 
bols and these sculptures 
are more than just unique- 
designs with no signifi- 
cance. They are doing this 
for a reason and we should 
take it seriously. We finally 
have physical proof that 
aliens exist and it is time to 
investigate the evidence. 
Crop sculpture may be 
one step closer to a formal 
relationship with aliens. 

J. Case 
Scottsdale, AZ 

A Tale of Two Sightings 

I had an incredible sight- 
ing in September 1989. 
My girlfriend and I had just 
spent the whole day at the 
Grand Canyon in Arizona. 
It was evening, we were 
on the highway heading to 
ten miles south of the 
Grand Canyon — and I no- 
ticed what appeared to be 
satellites in the sky — first a 
few, then many. They had 
the appearance of fireflies 
in. the night sky. The indi- 







vidual lights began to 
"jockey for position" moving 
up and down at 90 degree 
angles. They suddenly be- 
came huge and formed a 
great stacked formation in 
the sky— then slowly moved 
across the sky keeping their 

My girlfriend and I were 
both watching this incredi- 
ble event and both agreed 
that "these were definitely 
UFOs." Unfortunately the 
highway was empty at the 
time, it was approximately 
9:00 p.m. I intuitively felt a 
connection with the event 
and feel that a letter Mwas 
being created, which is 
my first initial. 

About three months 
after the event I was walk- 
ing down Fifth Avenue and 
23rd Street, intensely re- 
membering the experience. 
For some reason I looked 
up, there were two objects 
hovering far above the 
Empire State Building. They 
hovered there for about 45 

During both events I 
was stone cold sober and 
I am absolutely not prone 
to hallucinations. The first 
event was witnessed by 
two totally awake, sober, 
intelligent, college educat- 
ed individuals, I have 
been left with a deep feel- 
ing of 'anger for any skep- 
ticism concerning UFOs, 
but understand that un- 
less someone actually . 
sees them, they will prob- 
ably be skeptical. 

Marshall Jacobowitz 
New York, NYOQ 





If UFO abductions are real, 

there should be real evi- 
dence for them. That sim- 
ple premise has led Vic- 
toria Alexander, a writer and 
UFO researcher in Santa 
Fe, to advocate the use of 
crime-scene investigative 
techniques to obtain evi- 
dence in UFO abduction 
cases. "After all," she says : 
"crimes are supposedly 
being committed. The ali- 
ens are accused of unlaw- 
ful entries, kidnappings, as- 
saults, and rapes. So I think 
it's time we start looking at 
the typical bedroom ab- 
duction as a police crime- 
scene unit would." 

Alexander's interest in 
a forensic approach, grew 
out of her frustration over 
the lack of physical evi- 
dence in abduction cases, 
the helplessness of the vic- 
tims, and the apparent 
willingness of many UFO 
researchers to simply ac- 
cept such stories as true. 
Though the crime lab ap- 
proach has never been pro- 
posed — let alone attempt- 


D E N 

ed — in two decades of UFO 
abduction ' investigations, 
Alexander felt it was the next . 
logical step. 

"Since the vast majority 
of abductees claim the ali- 
ens are humanoid, not 
robots," she argues, "there 
should be biological and . 
chemical traces of their 
presence. If these are real 
events, if the aliens are real, 
if contact is taking place, 
there has" to be real evi- 
dence for it — latent finger- 
prints, fungi, particles, what- 
ever. It's a basic tenet of 
criminalistics that when any 
two items come in contact 
there will be an exchange 
of microscopic particles." 

But the only way to gath- 
er such evidence, Alex- 
ander realizes, is to recruit 
the cooperation of "con- 
scious repeaters," those 
people who claim to be ab- 
ducted over and over again 
and remember it the next 
morning. The first thing they 
should do is take a urine 
sample, she says. "Lab 
tests of urine should show 
if the body has undergone 
any stress. And if the ab- 
ductee wakes up with a 
bloody nose, they should 
keep a sample of that, too, 
for later analysis." 

Otherwise, anything the 
aliens have come in con- 
tact with — any part of the 
abduclee's clothes they 
may have touched", any por- 
tion of bedroom floor or car- 
pet they may have walked 
over — might yield tangible 
evidence: hair, secretions, 
prints, or particles from 

their skin, clothes, or craft. 

Alexander is calling on 
abductees to collect this evi- 
dence themselves. "There 
is not an emergency room 
in the country that is going 
to say 'Oh, you've been 
raped by aliens? Let's run 
some tests,'" she notes. 
"No police department is 
going ,to believe such a 
story and go through your 
place with a fine-tooth^ 
comb. Abductees have to 
do it themselves. And UFO 
investigators can help. It has 
to start this way. Then, later, 
maybe we can attract the 
help of professionals." 

Thomas Van Valken- 
burgh, bureau chief of 
the Department of Public 
Safety's crime lab at the 
New Mexico State Police 
headquarters in Santa Fe, 
finds Alexander's sugges- 
tion feasible. "We should 
be able to use forensic tech- 
niques in this situation, 1 ' he 
says, "though I have a 
problem with people doing 
their own crime scene be- 
cause they are not trained." 
He admits, however, that 
since some police bureaus 
may turn down requests, 
people "are probably going 
to have to do it themselves, 
at least at first." 

The reaction to Alex- 
ander's proposal in the UFO 
community has been gen- 
erally positive. "1 think it's 
great," says John Carpenter, 
director of abduction re- 
search for the Mutual UFO 
Network, "if it's done prop- 
erly. My main concern is 
who is doing it and how well 











it's done. Having the ab- 
ductees do it themselves 
might stir up new claims of 
hoaxing and improper pro- 
cedure. Ideally, it should 
be done by an outsider." 

Temple University histo- 
rian David Jacobs, author 
of Secret Life: Firsthand Ac- 
counts of UFO Abductions, 
also gives the proposal a 
thumbs-up. "Any effort to' 
gather evidence is worth 
doing," he says, though he 
doubts the aliens have fin- 
gerprints, based oh the re- 
ports he has from abduc- 
tees who have seen their 
captors' fingers close-up. 

Victoria Alexander is now 
working on a manual de- 
scribing collection proto- 
cols, and she's designing a 
kit to be used by abduc- 
tees and investigators. "We 
have to at least make the at- 
tempt," she continues. 
"Even if it all fails, if the 
prints are sloppy or don't 
come out. At least we will be 
changing the abductees' 
mind-set about the expe- 
rience. I want them to stop 
thinking .of themselves as 
victims and start' thinking 
about trying to find an an- 
swer. Doing this has to 
change their whole experi- 
ence. This sort of participa- 
tion should empower them." 

Skeptics, not surpris- 
ingly, tend to regard such 
proposals as futile. "In my 
opinion," says Philip J. 
Klass, "if abductions were 
fact and not fantasy, we 
would have had impres- 
sive evidence a long, long 
time ago. "DO 


Article by James Oberg • He holds patents on the Mercury spacecraft, the space shuttle, an ingenious rocket 


escape system, and other notable pieces of space hardware. He supervised development of the Apollo 

space vehicles and Skylab. For 20 years he was director of engineering at NASA's Johnson Space Cen- 


ter in Houston So why have you never heard of Max Faget? • Photographs by William Coupon 







One day last November in Houston, 
three men met for lunch. Two of them — 
Russian cosmonauts in training for an 
upcoming joint U.S. -Russian space 
mission — had never met the third, a 
slightly built American gentleman in his 
seventies. But 12 years ago, he had 
saved the Russians' lives. 

Vladimir Titov and Gennadiy Strekalov 
were strapped into a capsule one night 
in 1983, waiting for the giant booster 
rocket beneath them to ignite and send 
them into orbit. Instead, a fire broke out 
on the launch pad. The cosmonauts 
would have perished in the blaze if 
their capsule had not been hurled clear 
by an ingenious escape system de- 
signed by a NASA engineer named 
Max Faget. Knowing a good thing 
when they saw one, the Soviets had 
copied the system, installed on all 
manned NASA spacecraft from Mer- 
cury on, for their own. 

"No one has ever come and 
thanked me," Faget told Omni with a 
chuckle. "Whatever they give, the Red 
Star or whatever, they've 
never given it to me." 

On that November after- 
noon, Titov and Strekalov 
were only too happy to be- 
stow informally upon Faget 
the honor he had wistfully 
mused about for years. With 
ceremonial flourishes and 
genuine respect, they pinned 
to his lapel a Soviet space 
medal donated by a collector. 

Before the meeting, Titov 
and Strekalov were told only 
that the "American Korolyov" 
wanted to meet with them, and to them 
that was reason enough to agree. 
Sergey Korolyov was the engineer 
whose genius created the Soviet tri- 
umphs of the early "space race," in- 
cluding the Vostok, Lunik, and Voskhod 
space vehicles. For years the Soviet 
government identified him only as the 
"chief designer," keeping his name se- 
cret until his death in 1966. 

Faget, 15 years Korolyov's junior 
and still active to this day, is indeed the 
nearest American equivalent to Ko- 
rolyov. His name appears on the official 
U.S. Patent Office documents register- 
ing the invention of the Mercury space- 
craft, the space shuttle system, and a 
host of other crucial pieces of space 
hardware — including the escape sys- 
tem to which Titov and Strekalov owe 
their lives. As director of engineering 
and development at the Johnson Space 
Center in Houston, he oversaw the de- 
velopment of the Apoilo, Mercury, and 
Gemini space vehicles and the space 
shuttle. His complete list of profes- 
sional awards extends to two single- 

64 OMNI 

spaced pages in his official biography. 

Faget's name was never kept a 
state secret, but nonetheless, it re- 
mains so unfamiliar to the U.S. public 
that it might as well have been. Consid- 
ering his accomplishments, why 
haven't his name and face been 
burned into the American conscious- 
ness like those of the Mercury 7, John 
F. Kennedy, and others connected with 
the U.S. race to the moon? Unfortu- 
nately, Faget is not the stuff that media 
dreams are made of. Shy and diminu- 
tive, he's possessed of whimsical into- 
nation, an uninspiring appearance, and 
a predilection for bow ties. So like Ko- 
rolyov, Faget remained in the back- 
ground all those years, invisible to the 
public but indispensable to NASA, 
while others appeared on magazine 
covers and TV broadcasts. 

Faget himself scoffs at the notion of 
being the "chief designer of American 
spaceships." 'This is not that kind of 
country," he says. "Nobody is ap- 
pointed by the king to be the royal 







spaceship designer." 

Max Faget was born in British Hon- 
duras (now Belize) to American parents 
a few years after World War I. His phys- 
ician father was working in Central 
America as an employee of the British 
government after all British physicians 
had been sent to the trenches in France. 
Dr. Guy Faget, a noted specialist in 
tropical diseases, is credited with finding 
the first practical treatment for leprosy. 

As a child, Max Faget remembers 
building lots of airplane models, reading 
Astounding Science Fiction, and want- 
ing to become an engineer. He attended 
Louisiana State University and graduated 
at the height of World War II, Faget, the 
future spaceship builder, initially wound 
up under water, a junior officer on a 
combat submarine in the Pacific. 

With the war behind him and his en- 
gineering diploma still fresh, Faget set 
out for the government's flight research 
center in Langley, Virginia, to look for a 
job. He got one, just as the challenge 
of supersonic flight appeared. With no 
access to good wind tunnels and only 

rudimentary computational and ana- 
lytic tools, Faget and his fellow engi- 
neers were faced with the task of 
investigating the problems associated 
with breaking the sound barrier. They 
soon decided to take the practical ap- 
proach — flight-testing small models. 
Faget's model-building skills, honed in 
childhood, blossomed along with his 
aerodynamic intuition. 

Faget's flight research work quickly 
boosted him up the ladder of responsi- 
bility. At times, he led small, ad hoc 
teams on specific projects, becoming 
the head of the performance aerody- 
namics branch of the Pilotless Aircraft 
Research Division. Shortly after the 
Space Age truly began, he was ap- 
pointed to the position of chief of the 
Flight Systems Division. When Presi- 
dent Kennedy called for a manned 
lunar landing three years later, Faget 
was the logical choice to be named di- 
rector of engineering at the new space 
center in Houston, a post he held for 
the next 20 years. He turned out to be 

the right choice as well, in- 

tuitively knowing how hard- 
ware interacted in flight on 
a complex vehicle and the 
best ways to prove the 
safety of a design. His en- 
gineering judgment sup-. 
plied what answers his 
intuition didn't. 

Faget's first major task 
as director of engineering 
was developing the design 
of the Mercury capsule, a 

spacecraft upon which he 

unmistakably left his mark. 
"I will maintain to this day that it would 
be very difficult to design a more effi- 
cient spacecraft to do the job that the 
Mercury had to do other than the final 
design we came up with," he states. 
Remarkably, during the same period of 
intense creative work, he also con- 
ceived the Scout and Little Joe solid- 
fueled research rockets and designed 
the initial warhead shape for the sub- 
marine-based Polaris missiles. 

A detractor once sniffed that "Faget 
only really had one good idea, and he 
stole that," referring to the blunt shape 
of the Mercury capsule, which Faget 
based on the aerodynamic principles 
first established by engineer Harvey 
Allen in the mid 1950s. But Faget's tal- 
ent has always rested on his wide- 
ranging knowledge of alternative 
designs and his instinctive choice of 
the best one available, often with some 
subtle but highly original twist. The 
Mercury capsule's escape tower — the 
device that saved Titov and Strekalov — 
provides a classic example of his engi- 
neering ingenuity. 



The beggar was in the ruins of 
London, leaning against the 
stump of a tree in the blighted 
field which had once been 
Hyde Park, watching the 
foreign conquerors parade 
arm in arm with trollops, and 
with girls who would not have 

been trollops had their fathers 
and sweethearts not perished 
in house-to-house fighting. And 
perhaps some of the girls 
were not trollops,- the invasion 
was a year past, and the 
young have short memories. 

Fiction by S. N. Dyer 4° Illustration by Gregory Manchess 

he beggar shifted slightly, suppressing a moon His absent arm and his blind eye had 
long since ceased to ache, but the loss of his leg was still fresh Perhaps because he had 
lost it in defeat, it continued to trouble him. It was if the foot were present, each missing toe 

■throbbing continually in phantom agony, -f Sensing him move, the ginger tomcat 

on his 

shoulder began to purr, and his parrot 
looked over from its perch on his 
empty cap. "Do your duty, do your 
duty," it said. 

He saw some officers approaching 
in their savage finery, led by a servile 
Englishman. Soon he could hear the 
' man's voice, and recognized the broad 
nasal accents of his own native Norfolk. 
The beggar ducked his head and tried 
to appear asleep, leaning his face so 
that the cat obscured it. 

"You there. Do your pets do tricks?" 

He sighed. Norfolk was a large 
county; he could only hope that the man 
would not recognize him. He preferred 
to think that none who had ever known 
him could become collaborators. 

"Aye, me lords," he said. "Now 
Nappy, where's Farmer George?" He 
shrugged so that the cat jumped down. 

The parrot began to strut, shouting 
"Hooray for Boneyparte! Hooray for 
Boneyparte!" Then it leapt upon the 
cat's back and rode about contentedly. 

The French officers laughed happily, 
and each tossed a coin into the cap. 
The Norfolkman bent down. !< 1 knew a 
bird like that once — smaller, it was, 
belonged to a boatswain's mate when I 
was a lad." 

The collaborator stared at the beggar, 
his gaze dissecting away the tangled 
shock of white hair, the disgusting 
beard, the missing teeth, and focusing 
instead upon the long thin nose, the 
huge black eyes. He drew in a quick 
breath, his own eyes widening. 

"I'm done for," thought the beggar. 
The thought was nowhere near so un- 
pleasant as he had expected. After 
losing the last battle and his leg, his hope 
had been of vengeance and salvation. 
But this year of wandering had buried 
any hope, even that of escape. 

The Norfolkman said, "No, the par- 
rot I knew had some yellow to him," .and 
whispered before he drew away, "Darcy. 

68 OMNI 

That night some roughs came and 
took his coins, dealt him a few blows 
for no good reason, and tossed his 
crutch away for the sheer pleasure of 
watching him crawl after it. Nappy and 
Farmer George had taken refuge 
together in one of the few standing 
trees, and watched their master's new 
humiliation with impassive eyes. 

The beggar did not care. He raised 
himself upon his crutch and hobbled 
back, whistling for his pets. He had a 
destination now, though he 
had no idea where Pemberly 
might be, or what manner 
of man Darcy. But for the 
first time in a year he had 
more to his life than pain and 
the shadow of inchoate 

And so, smiling, a green 
Indies parrot upon his left 
shoulder, a flearidden 
orange cat curled in his lap, 
Horatio Lord Nelson, Vis- 
count Bronte, Knight of the 
Bath, Commander in Chief 
of the Channel Fleet, 
fell asleep and dreamed 
of battles that would never 
be and of others that 
would never end. 

Two months later he arrived 

at Pemberly. The nights had 

turned cold, and he knew 

that if he did not find refuge here, he 

would not survive the winter. 

The village was surprisingly pros- 
perous, as if bypassed by the war and 
the blockade. He saw French soldiers 
laughing outside a pub, ruffling the hair 
of a child, and he felt unreasoning 
hatred for these simple country folk. In 
Norfolk, in Yorkshire, even in Scotland 
and Wales, those wild lands with the 
least claim of loyalty to their Hanover- 
ian king — there guerrillas fought a war 
that was vicious and unrelenting. In the 

ports and harbours of England, old men 
and boys halfheartedly rebuilt burned 
out shipyards and raised scuttled ves- 
sels, all that had been left by the Navy 
and merchant ships which even now 
set forth from colonial ports under the 
guidance of the exiled Prince of Wales. 
England still ruled the waves, she just 
did not rule herself. But here, now, it 
was if the war had never occurred, and 
the Frenchmen were the invited guests 
of Mad George. 

He stopped by the 
pump, drank his fill, then 
cupped his hands for his 
comrades. The parrot stood 
upon the cat's back to drink,_ 
and they soon had a small 
audience for their small 

A pair of French officers 
emerged from a shop and 
watched Nelson. 

"Tree amusant," said 

"He must come with us," 
said the other. "The fair 
Elisabeth appreciates 

They mounted their 
horses, nervous Thorough- 
breds who were obvious 
booty from the stables of 
some Englishman of taste. 
"You there," an officer called. 
Nelson looked blank until 
the fellow spoke to him again in English. 
"You there, beggar, come with us. 
Madame will give you dinner and a 
place to sleep." 

Nelson nodded and tugged on his 
hat in a crippled imitation of servility. 
He whistled. Farmer George's sole trick 
was to leap up to his shoulder. As ever 
the cat managed to make it seem he 
had done it of his own accord as well 
as a great favor to his master. 

The Frenchmen rode slowly, admiring 
the fine hedgerows and fertile fields 

where they soon intended to hunt, 
while Nelson stumped along behind. 
They were entirely unaware that he 
understood them, and probably would 
not have cared had they known. 

"You will like Elisabeth, Jean-Paul, 
but remember — she will not award you 
her favors. I believe she is holding out 
for the emperor himself." 

"Perhaps he'll let me search her." 

Nelson gritted his teeth and gripped 
his crutch more firmly, longing to dash 
out the man's brain. The casual joke en- 
compassed a tragedy which had struck 
him as severely as the fall of his coun- 
try, and even now made his one good 
eye see through a crimson fog. Emma. 
His beautiful Emma. She had gone to 
Bonaparte in the guise of a lover and 
the role of an assassin, and had met her 
fate at the guillotine which had replaced 
the gallows at Tyburn field. While she 
died in futile bravery, he skulked 
anonymously about the country, sense- 
lessly preserving his life. Emma had 
died in a vain glorious gesture for her 
country — and now she was reduced to 
a sniggering policy of caution. 

"Elisabeth may set her sights high," 
the- Frenchman continued. "She is quite 
the original. Your average Englishwoman, 
of course, will sleep with anyone for a 
dram of gin, and not be worth the price." 

Once more, Nelson's fingers tight- 
ened about his crutch. What beneficent 
God would reduce him so, and now 
force him to smile as the women of his 
country were denigrated? Nappy chant- 
ed again, "Do your duty, do your duty." 

"The sisters, tell me again of the 

"Ah. Les belles filies Bennetts. Jane 
is the most beautiful, but she is faithful 
to her boring husband Bingley. Mary is 
a bluestocking; any man who tries to 
seduce her will die of boredom. Lydia : 
though — ah Lydia." It was clear from 
his lascivious tones exactly how friend- 
ly Lydia might be. 

"She is a widow, and you know how 
they are. Kitty, now, she is malleable and 
will do what she sees others are doing." 

"I see," said Jean-Paul. "But in this 
fine household of Madame Darcy, I 
have one question . . ." 

At the name Darcy, Nelson's heart 
began to beat faster, and not merely 
from the exertion. 

"Where might be Monsieur Darcy?" 

"You must ask Elisabeth, she says it 
so amusingly. How foolish he acted, she 
will say. Did he not know how interest- 
ing and entertaining we soldiers of the 
Empire would be? It certainly served 
her husband right, to refuse us hospi- 
tality and to be shot instantly dead." 

a***""!) £%£* 

One may toss a bucket overboard, 
a bucket of slop, of blood, of fine wine. 

It does not matter. It wili strike the 
water, spread forth and in seconds dis- 
solve entirely, no trace of it remaining in 
the grand, cruel ocean. So it was, then, 
with Nelson's last hope. 

Sometimes, in the grip of extreme 
hunger or fatigue, he felt his mind slip 
into a delirium the equal of those which 
had tormented him during his various 
tropical fevers. Now, hurrying after the 
horsemen, he felt the waking dreams 
come upon him once more. He was in 
charge again of the fleet, but this time 
the invasion force did not slip past him 
in the fog, as had previous French fleets 
at Alexandria and Toulon. This time he 
did not sate his fury upon empty ves- 
sels, nor send Hardy and the ships to 
Brighton to rescue whom they might 
while he and his marines hopelessly 
pursued the vast army on land . . . 

This time he came instead upon the 
fleet a mile off Portsmouth, and set his 
own ships amongst it, pell mell, without 
regard to the line. Cannons exploded, 
ships burned and he gave no quarter, 
listening to the screams of drowning 
men and horses, while in reality he 
walked a sunlit path, smelling late 
autumn roses and hearing the song of 
the mockingbird. 

In his mind he had fought not only 
this battle but others, his tactical sense 
and his rage so heightened that, did he 
only think he might go to some harbor 
without being recognized and cap- 
tured, might find some vessel to smug- 
gle him away to the colonies, might 
meet up with his men again and com- 
mand a fleet — then he should be the 
invincible arm of terror and destruction. 
Then no Continental ship should ever 
leave its port, no ship at all touch shore 
upon his besieged island home . . . 

And to what avail, even in his 
dreams? He who was thought dead 
and was as good as such; no hero in 
hiding, to save his nation. Only a crip- 
pled and sun-touched old sailor, mas- 
querading as a buffoon for so long that 
it no longer seemed a masque. 

His reverie ended at the finely 
wrought gates of Pemberly. The great 
home, like its village, seemed untouched 
by conflict. Perhaps more horses had 
once graced its stables, perhaps 
famous pictures and crystal chande- 
liers no longer decorated its halls. No 
matter, it seemed whole and inviolate. 

The only curiosity was a building 
beside the stable, its equal in size but 
with walls of canvas. Odd sounds 
emanated from the massive shed. 

"Philippe, what is that?" asked the 
younger officer, echoing Nelson's silent 

"Did I not tell you that Elisabeth 
loves oddities? She has given refuge to 
a genuine ancient eccentric, who is 
building . . ." Here he paused to 
laugh, and could barely continue, 
". . . building a balloon that will travel 
to the moon." 

: 'But that is absurd. It could not fly 
high enough . . ." 

"Ah yes, but he uses chemicals 
rather than hot air, and . . ." Again he 
interrupted himself, this time with a fit of 
ungentlemanly giggling . . . "and he 
will harness birds to it, and they will pull 
it to the moon!" 

"Oh dear," said Jean-Paul. "And so 
if the lovely ladies take us hunting, as 
you said they would, then we will be 
slaying the steeds of this noble effort!" 
He, too, succumbed to merriment. 

And so, reflected Nelson, I seek 
refuge with a woman whose sense of 
cruelty delights in allowing madmen to 
make fools of themselves. I should be 
most welcome. 

Farmer George and Nappy performed 
their act at the doorstep for Madame 
Darcy and her sisters. The women were 
indeed beauty incarnate, wearing fash- 
ionable gowns of simple, sheer silk that 
were testimony to their collusion with 
the enemy. They watched with vague 
ennui, never gracing Nelson with more 
than the briefest of superior glances. 

The lady of the house then ordered 
her butler to take the beggar below 
and bathe him — "Twice," she added 
imperiously — and bring him to dinner. 
He protested, but her odd whims 
seemed to be law. 

This, Nelson reflected, might be a 
danger equal to any he had faced since 
being wounded and finding refuge in 
the hidden-cellar of a smuggler— a man 
who had made his living circumventing 
the law and profiting from the enemy, but 
who in the throes of invasion proved 
himself a better friend to his country 
than so many who had adhered to the 
conventional path, and ultimately dying 
a more virtuous death than many. 

Nelson submitted to the bath and 
allowed himself to be dressed in coat 
and breeches which must have 
belonged to the late and apparently 
unlamented Mr. Darcy, but he refused 
to be shaved. Examining his now 
trimmed coif and beard in a small mir- 
ror, even he could barely recognize his 
famous features, sunburned and lined 
with illness and fatigue. Still he took 
pains to rearrange his hair so that it 
stood at odd angles, and to put the 
neckerchief in disarray. 

Dinner was a bizarre yet festive occa- 
sion, so great a feast that one would 
not suspect the nation to be under the 

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"Desperate 32 Year Old 

Discovers Amazing Method 

For Creating Love, Luck, 

Money & Confidence" 

By Sean P. Kearney - Special Feature Wriiei 

Denver CO.- Entrepreneur Bob 
Scheinfeld had it all, lost most of 
it, then got it back bigger and better, in 
the process, he discovered an amazing 
new method for getting anything he 
really wants with a fraction of the effort 
and a lot more enjoyment. He says he can 
show others to do the same. 

At age 32, Scheinfeld had it all. Or so he 
thought. He was rich, had a big income, two cars, 
two homes, and all the electronic toys. But he 
wasn't happy. Something inside seemed to be 
eating away at him and he didn't know what. 
Then, suddenly, he lost just about everything. 

"Everything I touched — work or personal — 
got screwed up," he told me. His relationship 
with his girlfriend ended in a lawsuit. He was 
hemorrhaging money. He couldn't understand 
why it was happening. He was angry and 

Desperate, he quit his job to look for answers. 
He read hundreds of books, consulted psychics, 
channels and astrologers. He tried hypnosis, 
meditation, sound and light machines. "You 
name it, I tried it at least once," he said. But 

things still weren't working. The rage 
and confusion were still there, he still 
didn't know why, and he was almost out 
of money. 

Then Scheinfeld had his break- 
through. He discovered an amazing new 
method that showed him what was 
causing the crazrness and how to turn 
everything around. 

Five years later, he has all the money and 
material things again, hut with a joy, a sense of 
ease, a balance, and the quality relationships he 
never had before. And this lime, it's all resting on 
a stable and lasting foundation. 

"The beauty of it," he said, "is the method is so 
simple, anyone can use it to get anything they 
really want, almost immediately, no matter 
what's going on around them." 

Scheinfeld has been giving away a free report 
explaining the amazing method he discovered. To 
get a copy, call 1-800-894-6999, 24 hours, for a 
recorded message. Or write to: The Transition 
Institute, 9075 S. Jill Drive, Conifer, CO, 80433. 
Ask for Special Report OM997. 

yoke of a dictator, the people starving 
from the thievery of the conquerors and 
from the half-successful blockade of 
the remnants of their own Navy. 

Madame Darcy had placed the 
French colonel at the head of the table 
and flirted with him shamelessly and 
relentlessly, though with an undercur- 
rent of coldness that signified a resolu- 
tion to maintain her virtue. Her sister 
Jane and husband Bingley were bluff 
English gentry, polite, hearty, and 
entirely ignorant of the fact that they 
were engaged in giving comfort to the 
enemy. Lydia Wickham, evidently the 
widow of an Army captain who had 
died in service, was even more the 
strumpet than the Frenchman had 
implied, and her sister, Kitty Bennett, 
seemed to possess that lack of dis- 
crimination which was common to the 
animal for which she had been named. 

The final sister, Mary Bennett, was 
actually engaged in reading at table. 
Beside her sat an ancient wearing an 
ornate : outmoded long wig and a 
dressing gown, who babbled 
on to himself about something 
called chymical economy. 
Occasionally Mary would look 
up from her book and address 
a question to this Lord Henry, 
and then their conversation 
would become so abstruse as 
to seem to be conducted in a 
foreign tongue. Madame 
Darcy's father, Mr. Bennett, 
finished the party, an oblivious 
gentleman who did not seem 
perturbed by his daughters' 
scandalous behavior. 

No one at this table of ignorance, 
licentiousness, and madness spoke a 
word to Nelson. He thought back to his 
meals with his sailors, and tried to 
behave in the uncouth nature of the 
untutored, eating with his fingers or a 
knife, downing his watered wine in a 
single gulp. And indeed, after a year of 
living upon the rude charity of the road, 
he did not have to entirely feign the 
manners of a starveling. 

He ate in fear of committing some 
error which might call attention to the 
reality of himself. His identity itself must 
be safe, for he was presumed dead. 
His boatswain, after entrusting the care 
of his parrot to the wounded admiral — 
or perhaps it had been the opposite — 
had taken Nelson's blood-stained coat 
and attempted to sell its wealth of 
medals. Eager French officials had 
known it immediately to be a relic of the 
missing Nelson; the boatswain had 
then bragged of stripping the coat from 
a corpse hastily tossed into some mire, 
and held to this brave contention even 
to his death. 

But while no one would suspect this 
pitiful beggar of being the late com- 
mander in chief, surely they could rec- 
ognize him as a fugitive gentleman. 
Investigation would then identify him — 
and he would be disposed of swiftly by 
firing squad, or slowly and visibly with 
farcical trial. Or most likely, and most 
detestable, he would be pardoned in a 
humiliating show of magnanimity to the 
fallen nation, to be kept as a crippled 
caricature of his former dignity. Kept as 
a house pet, fed and groomed and 
brought out at state dinners to shout 
"Hooray for Boneyparte." 

"Has your cat lost as many lives as 

Nelson started back to the moment. 
Miss Mary Bennett was speaking to 
him. "Whatever d'ye mean, milady''" 

"It is said that a cat has nine lives. 
You have obviously had a number of 
misadventures, losing your leg and 
your arm. Your right eye would also 
seem to be weak ..." 

He cursed it silently. It did not appear 






scarred or shrunken as did so many 
sightless eyes, but the damned thing 
had lately taken to wandering. 

". . . and that scar you attempt to 
hide with your hair is most impressive. 
In fact, the mere fact that your hair is 
entirely gray and your age not so very 
advanced— fifty, I should judge- 
bespeaks a life of action ..." 

"Sister," yawned Elisabeth Darcy, 
cutting short the disquisition. "You are 
wont to experiment thoroughly with bor- 
ing subjects, and as such have quite 
lost the ability to be entertaining. 
Philippe here has been telling us that 
the emperor will soon come to resi- 
dence in the city, and you would rather 
hear the sanguine life story of an acci- 
dent-prone drunkard." 

And so the table was instead regaled 
with news of the imminent resumption 
of the social scene. Madame Darcy 
ended dinner with the announcement 
that she would, indeed, winter in 
London, and enjoy the opportunities of 
which the metropolis provided. Next 
the gentlemen called for brandy and 

the women briefly retired, and Nelson 
was escorted to a windowless room 
with a cot, where his pets awaited. He 
was instructed to remain there, no mat- 
ter what he might hear. 

He woke after midnight to the sound of 
an opening door, and groped for the 
feeble defense of his crutch. Farmer 
George, foolish beast, began to purr as 
he always did upon half-wakening, and 
Nappy, now off his best behaviour, 
squawked, "Do your duty, men. Do 
your duty." 

A figure stood in the doorway— 
Madame Darcy, with her hair down now, 
and clad in a simple muslin gown which 
gleamed ghastly in the light of a candle. 
Marvels abound, thought Nelson. 
Did her interest in oddities thus include 
their amatory prowess? He had been 
celibate for a long time, at first with a 
sailor's tired stoicism. Then his mistress 
had been executed and his wife Fanny, 
determined not to be outshone even in 
death by her rival, had succumbed in 
some equally foolish show 
of resistance. In this act of 
sublime stupid bravery she 
had been joined by his step- 
son Josiah, who had saved 
his life at Tenerife . . . And 
with the deaths of those wo-. 
men he had loved had died 
also any carnal longings. 

Nor did he think his ill 
and battered body, whose 
suffering was equal to that 
of his spirit, willing to 
acquiesce to any erotic 
adventure. But Madame 
Darcy was lovely and spirited, if devi- 
ous and cruel. And if such a woman 
was of a mind to seduce this wretched 
bit of humanity, he doubted not that 
she would possess the means to bring 
him to the mark. 

She slipped into the room, closing 
the door and waved the candle at his 
eyes. "As I thought," she said. "The 
right does react less swiftly. You are 
blind in that eye, are you not?" 

"Ey, mum, this ain't done now . . ." 
he whined. 

"Enough." She spoke as one used 
to command. "I observed you at table. 
Your ill manners were most well done, 
but I sensed the inner battle against 
proper behaviour. You are a gentleman, 
are you not? And a man blind in his 
right eye, absent his right arm, with evi- 
dence of a serious head wound . . ." 

He had an uncomfortable presenti- 
ment where this trail might end. 
"Missing me left peg, too, mum.' 1 

She waved dismissively. "One can- 
not expect things to remain static. Sir, I 
must know — are you Admiral Nelson?" 





Unlike other Clinton administration 
cabinet nominees, Hazel R. O'Leary's 
confirmation as Secretary of Energy was 
swift and relatively unremarked. She pre- 
sented excellent credentials: years as an 
electric utility industry executive, extensive 
work with the Department of Energy, and 
experience as assistant attorney general 
for the state of New Jersey. Phi Beta Kappa 
graduate of Fisk University with a J.D. from 
Rutgers University School of Law, O'Leary 
is the first woman and the first African- 
American to serve as energy secretary. 

During the first months of her tenure, 
O'Leary worked quietly to research and re- 
structure the Department of Energy. She 
prepared a new budget and devised a com- 
prehensive review policy for contractor- re- 
lated activities. In and of themselves, none 
were surprising undertakings for a new 
cabinet member in a new administration. 
Then, in late November 1993, an aide in- 
formed O'Leary of the imminent publica- 
tion of an article concerning plutonium 
experiments on uninformed human sub- 
jects. Spurred by the certain publication, 
O'Leary went public with her own effort, 
begun in May 1993, in response to a presi- 
dential directive, to declassify millions of 
documents in the cold-war archives of the 
Department of Energy (DOE) and its pre- 
decessor, the Atomic Energy Commission. 
Suddenly she was catapulted into a posi- 
tion of national prominence. 

Her immediate forthrightness — so rare 
in today's cautious and surly political cli- 
mate — stunned official Washington, the 
press, the scientific community, and the 
public. In contrast to O'Leary's predeces- 
sors' piecemeal efforts to open the DQE's 
past activities to public scrutiny — efforts 
that led largely to internal standoffs within 
the department's own vast bureaucracy — 


tangible sign that the shadow government 
of security secrets could finally be dis- 
mantled. Cold War secrecy, she implied, 
had its time and place, but also has hidden 
a part of our history that we need to re- 
cover in order to solve important problems. 

Since then, O'Leary's initiatives have 
gained national media attention that she's 
effectively used to enliven public dialogue 
about the development of a national en- 
ergy policy and problems of nuclear waste 
cleanup. Cleanup cannot take place co- 
vertly under a shroud of public fear. Be- 
lieving that only through public debate 
and education is change possible, she 
has sought forums in which business, 
government, public policy groups, scien- 
tists, and environmentalists can hammer 
out a National Energy Policy Plan. "The 
standard government stiffs sit and read 
their scripts," she complains. 'The talkers 
talk and the listeners listen. Can we shake 
this dialogue up? : ' 

O'Leary has used her leadership abili- 
ties to build consensus to shape difficult 
policy decisions. Recently, she announced 
conversion of the Lawrence Livermore 
Lab to a laser fusion research facility, a 
first step in what she hopes will be a broad 
redirection of the national labs away from 
military preoccupations toward basic sci- 
ence and partnership with an American 
business community increasingly strapped 
for research and development funds. In 
her view, these labs contain the very ge- 
nius required to tackle the technology 
problems of the twenty-first century and 
the facilities — like the superconductor fa- 
cility in Virginia' — which the business com- 
munity no longer can afford to provide. But she worries that 
Congress and the public will no longer bankroll the national 
labs. "How is it," she asks, "that we have failed to generate 
public support for our big science projects? I grapple with 
this — how to drive the message to the public/' 

Hazel O'Leary is a strikingly pretty woman, whose fluid ele- 
gance conveys strength and resilience. There is compassion 
in her expression, and a touch of mischief. Known for her use 
of the well-placed cuss word, she delights in outdated slang. 
"It'll be groovy!" she interjects into an articulate response fo 
a complex question, or, "No. Not on your bippy." Her voice 
has the genteel resonance of an educated Virginian — re- 
laxed yet precise. 

"That color you're wearing is so becoming! I've been 
thinking of trying something in that shade," she says, leading 
me to the window of her office at the top of the James Forres- 
tal Building in Washington, DC. "Have you seen this view of 

76 OMNI 


The Secretary of 
Energy diddly-bops around, 

dealing with the 
scientific community, national 

security people, 
Defense Department, and the 

universe of people 
interested in the energy policy. 

By the way we 
shape the mission of the DOE 
all that is funda- 
mentally interconnected. 

A better and cleaner environ- 
ment with an energy 
policy built on principles of 
sustainable development. 


We've gotten very confused 

about science. If 

you ask Americans how we will 

solve the problems of 

the next century, they answer 

science and technology. 
If you ask, "How do you feel 

about science and 
technology?" "Great!!" they 

say, "I want my kids 
to be scientists!" Well, who's 

going to pay? The public 

wants the government to do 

everything, but nobody 

wants to pay. We want a 

Cadillac on a VW budget. 

the Smithsonian Castle and the Mall? Now 

if this isn't informal enough, we can kick 
off our shoes!" She settles comfortably 
into conversation. "Now, tell me about 
yourself. The writers life sounds like politi- 
cal life in Washington. So, which was more 
difficult, your divorce or your move to 

"So you're interviewing me!" I exclaim. 

"Oh, 1 always do that," she smiles. 

— Linda Turbyville 

O'Leary: Let's roll! [noticing Turbyville's 

two tape recorders] You must have 
worked in power plants. You've got redun- 
dant systems!! 

Omni: When I think of you I think of the 
person who said, "The emperor has no 
clothes." And suddenly everyone says, 
"Oh yes! That's right!" People have been 
struck by your personal courage and in- 
dependence of action, and would proba- 
bly like to learn something about your 
O'Leary: Boo! Hiss!!! 

Omni: Boo, hiss? Well, redirect as you 
please. You grew up in a segregated old 
community in Newport News? 
O'Leary: In fact, it was a relatively new 
one called Aberdeen Gardens, built to 
house people coming into tidewater Vir- 
ginia to work in the war effort. My father 
came because the community needed a 
physician. It was outside of Newport News 
and bisected by Aberdeen Road, a high- 
way my sister and I were forbidden to 
cross. Behind the farm was a wonderful 
stream where we swung on vines from tall 
trees like Tarzan. 
It was a great, almost enchanted growing-up time, though 
it was somewhat repressed because my parents were so, 
well, as I look back on it now, concerned about keeping us 
safe from the thing called "segregation." I just remember 
that as the daughter of the doctor I was very privileged and 
different, and had pretty much free run of the community. 
We were sent to New Jersey for high school because my 
parents wanted us to have an integrated educational experi- 
ence. At that time schools were still segregated in the South. 
I remember the day when Brown vs. the Board of Education 
was announced by the Supreme Court. It was my birthday; I 
was a junior in high school. 

We had a big family, and I had lots of role models who 
were accomplished either through education or through grit 
and hard work. My grandfather was a physician, and my 
grandmother had gone to Hampton Institute, an extraordi- 
nary accomplishment for those days—to have both parents 

and grandparents with a college edu- 
cation. So there were strong expecta- 
tions that I would be successful and 
well-educated. That my paternal 
grandmother fought in the town of 
Portsmouth to establish the first library 
for colored people, which is what we 
were called then, was important. My 
paternal grandfather's five brothers had 
been educated at Shaw, a black uni- 
versity. One was a doctor, one a den- 
tist, one a lawyer, one a minister. The 
other owned businesses — but he, too, 
was educated. Every summer we had 
a huge family reunion in Dare County, 
North Carolina, where my grandfather's 
people came from. 

Omni: Did you feel you were being pre- 
pared for a special life? 
O'Leary: Oh yes. A sense of responsi- 
bility came with the sense of privilege, 
an expectation that we would be, you 
know, "perfect." That's a heavy burden. 
Much of it was unspoken, woven into 
the fabric of our traditional family life. 
But many of us grew up that way, and 
we finally learned to accept it. 
One person who made a 
big difference in my life in col- 
lege was Professor Collins — 
still at Fisk, though he's retired 
now— who taught the first 
course at Fisk in Negro litera- 
ture. You see, in my family 
there was some denial about 
who we were. We didn't really 
celebrate our blackness. I re- 
member that my sister and I 
read everything that was for- 
bidden us. By flashlight, of 
course! Most of the books that 
I read by black authors we brought in 
secretly. And now, here at Fisk, was 
someone offering courses celebrating 
black writers and the black experience. 
And it was like, "Holy God! This is won- 
derful stuff!" At home the attitude had 
been more, "Well, you may be colored 
but you're not that colored.* And all of 
a sudden I experienced this rush of, 
"Yes I am! And this is great stuff!" 
Omni: Honesty is important to you. And 
it seems that you have much less cyni- 
cism about government than many 
people do. For example, many still be- 
lieve there is little we can do to repair 
the damage of the Cold War. But you 
think it's possible? 

O'Leary: Oh yes! But there is no experi- 
ence in life that comes without pain. In- 
dividuals, we must recognize, are not 
perfect, and since institutions only re- 
flect people, to pretend they can be 
perfect or that they do not require con- 
tinuous maintenance and improvement 
is to live in a dream. But the initial -ac- 
knowledgment of defects in govern- 
ment plays into the "Aha! I knew it!" 

78 OMNI 

syndrome. You know, folks who say, "I 
knew it was a damn dirty government 
all along!" We've learned that open- 
ness helps to bring a corrective to gov- 
ernment, and quickly. 

While the cloak of secrecy shrouded 
us during the Cold War, a real struggle 
actually took place between scientists 
and the military establishment over 
how open we could be about our de- 
fense work, including even the bomb 
design. Some scientists argued for 
more openness, at least in terms of 
peer review; the military saw a need for 
national security and secrecy ultimately 
reflected in the Atomic Energy Act. 
Now — and precisely because the 
shroud has been more or less totally 
removed — comes the awful part. 

Actually, the shroud was removed in 
1986 when the first full report on 
human experimental subjects with ra- 
dioactive materials was released. But 
the report was given short shrift in 
major newspapers and went away. And 
the reason it went away is because re- 







sponsible government officials said, 
"There's nothing there." The difference 
between 1986 and now boils down to 
different leadership. I was empowered 
to do what I did by the president. Now, 
if some think that I went further than my 
empowerment . . . well, we'll all have 
to decide that for ourselves. 

The first time we in the administra- 
tion met as a cabinet we talked about 
the need for openness. We joked about 
the classified material that comes to us 
straight from the CNN newsroom! One 
study showed the only group rated 
lower than the DOE in public confi- 
dence was Congress. I thought, "We're 
going to change that." The focus of all 
that we do at DOE is science and tech- 
nology. So, if people can't get at the 
data, then how can we resolve issues 
regarding environmental clean-up : de- 
militarization, and dismantling of 
weapons? People must be certain 
we're doing it in a way that protects our 
workers and communities. None of this 
can happen unless we open our data 
to public scrutiny. 

Omni: Some say the issue of disclosure 

is like shooting fish in a barrel. Prob- 
lems of developing an energy policy 
and of nuclear waste clean-up are so 
pressing that the openness issue is no 
more than a historical footnote or a wel- 
come distraction from the real prob- 
lems that the DOE faces. 
O'Leary: My view is because the prob- 
lems are so expensive, so contentious, 
so scary, without credibility, nothing 
happens. For example, the waste 
issue. Since 1979 this nation has had 
no strategy for disposal of spent nu- 
clear fuel. And what's more important, 
no strategy for the disposal of the mili- 
tary production of this material. I came 
to the job with a legal mandate to char- 
acterize the site at Nevada, to "find out 
whether Yucca Mountain will safely 
contain nuclear waste for ten thousand 
years." People have been pushing that 
wet spaghetti strand up the mountain 
now since 1982. And this work has 
been advancing very slowly because 
quite frankly, the citizens of Nevada 
haven't been absolutely 
cheered by their selection 
as the site. 

Since I've been here 
we've worked harder and 
faster to finish blasting a 
hole in that mountain so we, 
can answer the question, 
"Can nuclear waste keep 
going there?" Because if it 
can't, guess what ? In an- 
other ten years sites in the 
United States are going to 
have spent nuclear fuel sit- 
ting around outside of re- 
actors. And their state legislators won't 
think that's a good idea. They'll close 
down power plants that provide 20 per- 
cent of the power that's used in the 
United States. 

Utility rate-payers have been paying 
money into a fund to have the Yucca 
Mountain blasted for the last 12 years. 
Well, guess what the fund is being 
used for? To balance the U.S. budget! 
We've not been able to touch it. This 
year we have a proposal before Con- 
gress to get at some of these funds to 
have us develop a new site. In 16 
years, we will have 32 states involved, 
and some 59 nuclear power sites likely 
to close down. Frankly, we don't have 
the time and money as a nation to pay 
the power plants to replace this nuclear 
power. Like it or not, it's up and run- 
ning, and it's relatively cheap. So we'd 
better find some way to get spent nu- 
clear fuel stored. 

When I came to the job, I knew we 
had already missed the target date for 
1998 for a new deposit site. If we can 
finish the characterization, science, 




When NASA began developing the 
one-man Mercury ship in 1958, even 
the most optimistic engineers held little 
hope for raising the booster reliability to 
much above 75 percent. When the 
booster failed, they knew that it would 
probably do so catastrophically. So the 
spacecraft and any astronauts inside 
had to have an instantaneous way of 
getting clear if either were to survive. 

One proposed recovery system 
called for small booster engines — glori- 
fied versions of the JATO (Jet-Assisted 
Take Off) engines that had helped air- 
planes get airborne since World War 
II— mounted on the side of the capsule. 
Another option required the pilot to use 
an ejection seat with its own rocket 
pack. But making either these rockets 
or the JATO engines strong enough to 
get clear fast enough meant that they 
couldn't be steered accurately. 

Faget recalled a simple 
device used in early flight 
tests of models, developed by 
Woody Blanchard, one of his 
engineers. The "tractor rocket" 
system consisted of a power- 
ful solid-fuel rocket attached 
to the model by a long cable. 
Once the rocket fired, it was 
kept on course by the trailing 
model's air drag. In addition, the 
rocket usually had several noz- 
zles to direct its exhaust slightly 
away to the sides in order to 
avoid scorching the model. 

Faget knew that, if needed to save 
an astronaut, the rocket would have to 
fire immediately. It had to be already 
secured in its forward position, above 
the capsule, since there would be no 
time to deploy it on a cable — as was 
done with the models — and then fire it. 
This in turn required that the rocket be 
attached to the capsule with a rigid 
tower, rather than the tension-tightened 
line used with the models. 

Faget's escape-tower concept was 
tested, accepted, and built into the 
Mercury system, with the astronaut, an 
on-board autopilot, and ground com- 
mand each capable of triggering it. 
While none of NASA's manned space- 
craft ever had to put Faget's invention 
to actual use, as the Russians did, the 
engineer did on one occasion see how 
his design really worked. 

He attended the launch of an un- 
manned Mercury capsule on an Atlas 
rocket in May 1961— a rare occurrence 
in itself, because Faget rarely went to 
launches. "To watch a flight is not that 
big a deal," he told Omni. "If you're not 

82 OMNI 

involved, it's just a lot of standing 
around to watch it go off." Faget is not 
comfortable just standing around, and 
so during the entire Apollo program, he 
witnessed only one blastoff. He has 
never seen a space shuttle launch. 

On that spring day 34 years ago, he 
watched the Atlas head up into a cloud 
with its precious cargo — and explode. 
"The cloud lit all up," he says. "You 
could see the cloud turn gold. It was 
up pretty high, and it takes a long while 
to hear the first bang. But we got the 
capsule back." 

Again and again in his career at 
NASA, Faget used flight-testing experi- 
ence to come up with "new" ideas to 
solve new problems. In the mid 1970s, 
Faget drew on his experience building 
model airplanes to illustrate the sound- 
ness of the idea of test-flying the space 
shuttle from the back of a 747 carrier 
aircraft. When doubters claimed the 
two craft could never separate safely, 
Faget recalled that, while in college, he 
had built and flown a powered tandem 




model that had worked just fine. 

Seeing things from a different angle 
was another strength, and he sometimes 
made dramatic demonstrations of this. 
A gymnast in college, Faget liked to 
leap over chairs in conference rooms 
or to stand on his head "to improve 
blood circulation in my brain," as he put 
it. With keys and coins falling out of his 
pockets, Faget would calmly discuss the 
engineering questions on the agenda. 

Faget's wit and bold style manifested 
themselves in other ways as well. An 
amateur sailor, for years he kept a por- 
trait of John Paul Jones on his office 
wall, with the quotation "I will not have 
anything to do with ships which do not 
sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's 
way." He was known to explain con- 
cisely the major difference between 
doing research for the 1950s National 
Advisory Committee on Aeronautics 
and its 1958 successor, the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration, 
by writing the initials NACA/NASA on a 
blackboard. Grinning impishly, Faget 
made two quick, vertical chalk strokes; 

the blackboard now read NA0A/NA$A, 
and the difference was obvious. 

Despite his reputation as a meticu- 
lous engineer, Faget always retained 
his instinct for high-performance flight 
testing, an instinct that sometimes 
proved more accurate than exhaustive 
theoretical calculations. He even has a 
space souvenir to make the case for 
his intuition: a simple piece of blue 
plastic wrapper. 

One of his early Apollo design ques- 
tions was how much heat shielding to 
install on the lee side of the Apollo cap- 
sule to protect it when it reentered the 
earth's atmosphere upon returning from 
the moon. "Based on intuition, not cal- 
culations, l said you didn't need to put 
anything on it," Faget says. "But the 
people who were doing calculations 
were ultraconservative. They put about 
an inch of ablative material on the lee 
side. Sure enough, when the thing 
reentered, it still had its thin mylar dust 
sheet. So my intuition would have 
saved at least four or five pounds a 
square foot, carried all the 
way to the moon and back, 
absolutely useless." 

Faget didn't win some 
other, more significant en- 
gineering battles either. He 
fought against the big cen- 
tral window in the Mercury 
capsule on weight and 
strength grounds, but the 
pilots won. He wanted a 
single, central window in 
Apollo's lunar module in- 

stead of two smaller side 

windows, arguing that the 
increased field of view made it practi- 
cal for just one crew member to pilot 
the module down to the lunar surface 
and back. NASA, of course, chose to 
put two crew members aboard the 
module, but th'e Russians followed 
Facet's design for their abortive man- 
on-the-moon effort. He preferred sin- 
gle-segment, solid-fuel boosters for the 
space shuttle, a design that probably 
would have prevented the Challenger 
disaster. But because only one com- 
pany had a factory close enough to the 
Kennedy Space Center in Florida to 
transport such structures, NASA 
changed the design to multiple-segment 
boosters so that other rocket compa- 
nies could compete for the contract. 

The final NASA space-shuttle de- 
sign changed in other ways, too, from 
the plan that Faget originally patented. 
But he's not disappointed. "She really 
is a very marvelous machine," he says. 
"However, it could have been better." 
He pauses, smiles, and admits with 
pride, "I don't think an awful lot better." 
Faget left NASA in 1981, after the 

space shuttle's second flight, to pursue 
new space engineering challenges. 
But both NASA and the outside world 
had changed, and Faget's new proj- 
ects — as innovative and practical as 
ever — never met with as much success 
as his famous space designs for Mer- 
cury, Apollo, and the space shuttle. He 
founded a small firm called Space In- 
dustries, which, over the next ten years, 
developed two modest but potentially 
powerful spacecraft designs. Both 
promised to satisfy operational needs 
far more cheaply than NASA's big-bud- 
get alternatives. 

Space Industries designed the In- 
dustrial Space Facility as a Greyhound- 
bus-sized module that operated 
unmanned, with automated equipment 
aboard producing pharmaceuticals, 
crystals, and other valuable materials. 
The space shuttle would occasionally 
visit to service it, harvest the products, 
and reload the equipment, and the 
shuttle would in turn receive power 
from the module's solar batteries to ex- 
tend its flight time. Faget and a small 
team of co-workers (including ex-astro- 
naut Joe Allen) came up with simple, 
reliable, cheap, and fully adequate sys- 
tems to make the spacecraft work. 
Some of them even cherished the no- 
tion that when the module was launched 

on a space shuttle, Faget himseff 
would ride into space as a payload 
specialist. But NASA, fearful that a 
small but successful space platform 
could threaten congressional support 
for the grandiose space station Free- 
dom, saw to it that the project got little 
or no support in Washington. 

The company's other spacecraft, 
the Comet, was to have been a small, 
recoverable unmanned space vehicle 
intended to perform various orbital mis- 
sions and then bring the results back to 
earth. It would have gone into space 
on a new, privately developed, small 
booster. Again, Faget assembled an 
optimal combination of proven tech- 
nologies and innovative design. But as 
performance requirements and budget 
plans changed from month to month, 
the original program proved impossible 
to complete. It may, however, be re- 
vived, Faget says. 

Still, Space Industries and Faget 
have kept right on designing. Space 
Industries produced the Wake Shield 
Facility, a revolutionary spacecraft 
aimed at improving the purity of space 
vacuum for industrial processing. It 
was launched into space early in 1994, 
and its concept proved sound, al- 
though the freak failure of one "off-the- 
shelf" component prevented a full test 

of the vehicle. The second Wake Shield 
flight, with improved components, is 
scheduled for this summer. 

Today, Faget looks back to the years 
of the "space race" and recognizes 
what he and his associates achieved 
before NASA metamorphosed into an- 
other federal bureaucracy. "It was an 
accomplishment of the species to be 
able to get free of the planet's gravity," 
he says. One popular misconception 
he still objects to is that it was "easy" to 
get to the moon. Faget endorses an 
observation made to him years after 
the last Apollo flight by Robert Gilruth, 
who had managed the space center in 
Houston during the race to the moon 
and who, as a young engineer, had first 
hired Faget for NACA in 1946. "Max, 
we're going to go back there one day," 
Gilruth prophesied, "and when we do, 
they're going to find out it's tough." 

It was indeed tough to get to the 
moon. Max Faget knows that better 
than anyone; he was there from start to 
finish, testing models, designing un- 
conventional spacecraft, improvising 
remarkable solutions to seemingly in- 
tractable problems. Without him, hu- 
mans would never have walked on the 
moon, and without someone like him at 
NASA or its future counterpart, we'll 
never walk there again. DO 

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Resolve and Resistance 


He sighed. It was over. "That I am, 
madame. At your service." He waved 
his left arm in a parody of a flourish, un- 
able to bow as the scene demanded. 

To his surprise, she fell to her knees, 
clasped his hand in hers, and raised it 
to a face now glistening with tears. "Oh 
milord, how I have prayed for such a 
happenstance as this!" 

She led him through a house strangely 
active, then outside. It seemed that half 
the yeomen of the district were present. 
"Will you not wake the Frenchmen?" 

She laughed. "They think them- 
selves exhausted by Lydia and Kitty, 
but in truth it is Mary's botanicals." 

The studious sister, leading out the 
ancient eccentric, said, "A simple dis- 
solution of laudanum and extraction 
of . . ." 

"Later, sister," sighed Elisabeth 
Darcy. They passed men practicing 
with rifles. When one is constantly 
entertaining hunters, the lady ex- 
plained, it was only natural that some 
weapons and charge might disappear, 
and be put to better use. 

They came to the huge shed. The 
canvas had been drawn up. A strange 
vessel rested there, a framework of 
light wood above an open boat. Four 
similar craft sat behind it. 

"What then, do you need my knowl- 
edge to invade the moon?" 

"No," replied Madame Darcy, "to 
invade London." 

She turned and curtsied. "Lord 
Nelson, your fleet awaits." 

In reality, his fleet was nowhere near 
ready. The moonboats were not, as 
Nelson had feared, mere balloons har- 
nessed together. Rather than hot air, they 
relied upon a heretofore unknown sub- 
stance which Lord Henry Cavendish re- 
ferred to as dephlogisticated air, which 
he formed of water and electricity. 

"Lord Henry, you must know," Miss 
Mary Bennett took pains to inform Nel- 
son, "is the man who weighed the earth." 

"A boon to humanity I am sure," he 
replied. But he was pleasantly sur- 
prised the first time he took his flagship 
up. It veritably sprang into the air, 
angered at restraint, and reaccepted 
the ground only grudgingly as the odd 
gas was returned into storage vats. 

"Did I mention," asked Lord Henry 
casually as he flew with Nelson one 
night above the trees, "that dephlogisti- 
cated air is remarkably inflammable 
and will explode upon any contact with 
fire or lightning?" 

"Musket fire as well?" 

"A direct hit to a gasbag would 
prove fatal," the desiccated old man 
replied. "I trust that I have placed the 
bags high enough, and sealed them 
adequately, to prevent the sparks of 
our own flints from igniting them. But 
one must lack certainty without the 
opportunity of direct observation." 

Ah well. Nelson had seen first rates 
explode when fire reached their maga- 
zines, had risked it himself. No one 
who had ever witnessed such a confla- 
gration — the awful roar, the instant 
extinction of hundreds of men — no one 
could forget such a sight. Yet one still 
sailed into battle. 

There was much to do. Before 
teaching the crews, Nelson had first to 
devise methods of flying. It was a bit 
like sailing, in that one was at the 
mercy of wind and weather, but it dif- 
fered in the addition of the vertical. 

Long sails might be extended iater- 
ally from a ship, to aid in steering. 
These might even be manned as OS's 
if the ship were to become becalmed. 

The crew, when aloft, wore ropes 
about their waists in case of turbu- 
lence. Nelson had a set of leather belts 
with which he strapped himself to a for- 
ward strut, whence he might survey 
both the ship and the path ahead_. 
From this odd perch, jutting out some- 
what like a figurehead, he could see 
sepulchral wisps of cloud, and the dark 
fields below, divided by fence and 
hedge and sparkling ribbons of water. 
At times it seemed almost inviting, call- 
ing to him to step away, to fly freely . . . 
And then he was glad of his bonds, like 
Odysseus tied to his mast, listening to 
the song of the siren maidens. 

There were signals to devise, and 
marksmen to train. His sergeants in this 
were a pair of poachers known as the 
Wheat brothers, Dick and Rees, unruly 
men who could hide in a tree and shoot 
a rabbit through the eye. This seemed 
a valuable talent, and soon Nelson was 
sending all his new marines into tree- 
tops, both to impart to them the skill of 
shooting accurately downward, and to 
steel them to heights. His men were 
armed with rifles, which gave them 
some small advantage — they might 
accurately shoot three times the dis- 
tance of a French musket. But those 
French muskets, of course, outnum- 
bered them by the thousands. 

There was no lack of volunteers. 
Madame Darcy's collection of oddities, 
it seemed, contained several former 
soldiers and a surveyor, all pretending 
to be farmhands. Nelson's own lamen- 
table cover identity was Mad Tom the 
human scarecrow: on pleasant days he 
stood in the housegarden and waved 

his crutch at birds. It was a humiliating 
performance that he found himself 
entering with no qualms, to the extent 
that he sometimes abased himself fur- 
ther, to earn a coin from an amused 
French visitor. 

He began each night as a beggar, 
rag-clad, red-eyed. Yet as he entered 
the shed and passed amongst the 
shadows of the moonboats he became 
a different man, standing straighten pain 
ignored, voice deep and resolute. Those 
who laughed at him by day took his 
orders by night, and wondered to them- 
selves who their new admiral might be. 

And so he would find himself in the 
helm of a moonboat, snapping com- 
mands to the boys as they ran aloft in 
the riggings— for other than the few old 
soldiers designated for boarding, and 
the indispensable Wheat brothers, it 
seemed best to have lightweight crew- 
men. This allowed the boat to go high- 
er, and gave them the luxury of lining 
the underside of the balloon casings 
with a padding of burlap — sufficient, it 
was to be hoped, to prevent musket 
fire from piercing the bags and igniting 
the dephlogisticated air. 

One cloudy night he determined to 
take his men up all together, to practice 
some vague concept of formation fly- 
ing. The surveyor was complaining bit- 
terly — he had just finished painting fig- 
ureheads upon the boat, carved wood 
seeming an excessive weight, and the 
paint was not yet dry on Nelson's flag- 
ship, the Electra. The name amused 
him, as he remembered his triumphs in 
the Agamemnon. 

He had thought himself immune to 
surprise, but as he donned an extra 
coat — for it was cold aloft, and cloaks 
tended to become entangled in the rig- 
ging — he saw the five Bennett sisters 
approach him, scandalously attired in 
breeches and jackets. 

"Ladies!" he said. "We do not 
embark upon a pleasure voyage." 

He did not share the superstition that 
women were bad luck aboard a ship, 
and in any event, they had yet to invent 
new superstitions suitable to the airships. 

"This is not a cruise," agreed Elisa- 
beth Darcy. "We have always intended 
to captain these ships ourselves. We 
are smaller even than your village lads, 
we are familiar with London and its 
troop dispositions due to our recent 
journey of reconnaissance. And if we 
are ignorant of seamanship — why, so 
are the men of this county, and all 
humanity is equally ignorant of airman- 
ship. To further my qualifications I am 
also, as you are no doubt aware, the 
general as it were of the Free Patriot 
Army of this part of England." 

He actually had not been aware, but 

it did explain some of the surreptitious 
visitors and odd meetings he had 
noticed. It also explained his old ship- 
mate's message to him. "But . . ." 

"And besides . . ." said Lydia, a 
dueling pistol appearing suddenly in 
her hand. She aimed at a rat which 
was skulking in shadow toward the sta- 
bles. There was a brief thunderclap, 
the smell of powder, and the rodent fell 
twitching. Lydia smiled, her small teeth 
gleaming ferally in the moonlight . . . 
"And besides, our solicitous French 
friends have turned us all into crack 
shots. And we are, I do not blush to 
say, utterly ruthless." 

He had some question regarding 
that — he had seen Jane cry over a 
wounded sparrow, and thought Mary 
might be quite distracted from combat 
by the sight of an interesting toadstool, 
but he did admit that Elisabeth and 
Lydia had the makings of diligent and 
stern warriors, and that Kitty might be 
relied on to do whatever the others did, 
only more vigorously. 

"Very well," he said. "But be warned 
that, as admiral of this fleet, I shall not 
temper my language or orders out of 
regard for your sex." 

'Be certain you do not," snapped 
Elisabeth, and she and her sisters 
each betook themselves to the helm of 
a moonboat. 

Mr. Bennett tended to be somewhat 
overwhelmed by the activities of his 
daughters, though he was often heard 
to say, "If Lizzy believes it correct, I 
shall abide by her decision." He spent 
most of his days in the nursery, super- 
vising the education of the various tiny 
Bingleys, Darcys and Wickhams who 
were trotted out intermittently after 
meals or on sunny afternoons, and 
were otherwise kept in seclusion. 

One day Bennett came to Nelson's 
small room. One of Nelson's periodic 
fevers had recurred, and he lay drenched 
in sweat, sipping bitter quinine and 
hoping that he would recover in time for 
their proposed action upon Boxing Day, 
or weather not permitting, upon the 
New Year's day. It seemed wise to attack 
when the better part of their foes, com- 
placent with garrison duty, would be 
obtunded from holiday celebrations. 

As always when his master had a 
fever, Farmer George hovered closely, 
delighting in the heat and adding his own 
feline warmth to Nelson's discomfort. 

"Brought you something, Mad Tom," 
said Bennett, with a slight cough of 
disparagement. He, as all the men, 
held clueless suspicions regarding 
Nelson's identity. 

"Thought you might like it," he con- 
tinued, and held up an antique scarlet 


Dodge Neon 








Each month, from February through 
July 1 995, OMNI will introduce an orig- 
inal science fiction thriller from one of 
today's leading authors... but only on 
America Online! Each story is full of 
unseen surprises... including the 
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: ;r; 

K to 



by iAN Mcdonald 

Review by Andrew Wheeler 

microscopic ma- 
chines of infinite 
potential— are 
the latest hot topic 
in SF. But what's 
the first thing nano- 
tech will bring? Ian 
McDonald says it will be the raising 
of the dead, as a physically perfect, 
nearly unkillable slave workforce 
that doesn't need to eat or sleep. 
Unfortunately, there's no way to 
become immortal without dying; 
the treatment is fatal. And once 
you're dead, you're legally dead, 
with no rights at all. 

The unhappy dead revolted, 
seizing control of space in the 
Night-Freight War. Only Earth is 
ruled by the living, and the self- 
proclaimed Freedead (for whom 
every living casualty is a new 
recruit) are moving in, ready to free 
the dead of Earth. Meanwhile, five 
friends travel into St. John, the 
biggest necroville (ghetto of the 
dead) in LA for their annual get- 
together at the hip Terminal Cafe 
for the festivities of la Dia de los 
Muertos (Day of the Dead). 

You can guess the friends get 
sidetracked. McDonald's story is 
how they survive (or don't) the 
huge upheavals in their society. He 
crams every page full of action and 
fascinating information about this 
society. A bare-bones (sorry about 
the pun) description makes it sound 
like a George Romero movie— the 
dead come back to life and they 
want your job!— but it's definitely 
SF. McDonald cares about his char- 
acters, and he's chosen them care- 
fully so the story of five people 
over one night is the story of a 
whole society. I found it engrossing 
and thought-provoking — I don't 
agree the rebirth of the dead will be 
the first mass use for nanotech, for 
one thing— but it's a novel that makes 
you think about consequences and 
gives you a good time to boot. 

Terminal Cafe is available in 
book stores and from The Science 
Fiction Book Club on p. 37. 


uniform coat. "My great uncle's. Can't 
have you going into battle dressed as 
a beggar now, can we? Meaning no 
offense, of course," as he recalled that 
the man was a beggar. 

Nelson thanked him. It did suit his 
purpose. His crew were to wear no signs 
of identification, to aid in their escape 
should such be necessary. He, howev- 
er, lacking various limbs as he did, had 
no chance of escape, and would prefer 
to die in the uniform of his nation. Even 
a uniform some fifty years outdated. 

They held their final conference on 
Christmas morning. The Yule log roared 
in the fire, and Cavendish rattled on a 
bit about the hazards of the explosive 
grenades he had concocted, the need 
to watch the temperature of the air in 
relation to the balloon's ascension, and 
various other facts with which Nelson 
was already depressingly familiar. 

"And now," said the aged scholar, "I 
believe I have finished my role in this 
comedy of patriotism. I have noticed 
certain properties in stationary bodies 
of water which make me believe it will 
be possible to weigh the moon, and I 
have delayed my investigations into 
this matter long enough." He left the 
room : and only Elisabeth's peremptory 
command kept her sister Mary from 
hurrying off to discuss this interesting 
mathematical question with the old 

"Very well," said Elisabeth. They 
went over the plans again. The Free 
Patriot Army — a motley selection of 
allied individual groups which tended 
to the occasional act of terror or thiev- 
ery — was to be alerted but only when 
the fleet was already above London, to 
keep any from suspecting trouble and 
rousing the troops. Their own men were 
to begin the day's action, however, by 
silently capturing the semaphore sta- 
tions which allowed messages to be 
transmitted across country at a shock- 
ing speed. They would send their own 
message, but only when the moon- 
boats had begun their action. 

Mr. Bennett entered the room as 
they were ending their conference. "I 
had thought we ought to ask the vicar 
to dine tonight, and hold services for 
the holy day," he said. 

"It will not be convenient, Father. We 
have planned otherwise," replied 
Elisabeth. "Tonight we leave to invade 
and conquer London." 

"If you think it advisable, Lizzy," her 
father returned. 

Then they went to prepare for the 
night's action. Nelson allowed himself 
to be shaved, and his hair to be tied 
back with a riband. His cat, meanwhile, 
bathed in equal self-satisfaction, and 

the parrot groomed its feathers. 

"We are," he remarked, "the Spartan 
army, bathing and oiling that they might 
look well as they die." It felt good to be 
back in uniform, even this foolish anti- 
quated one, and to speak again in his 
own voice. 

The troops seemed taken aback by 
Mad Tom's transformation. He leaned 
against the railing of the Electra, uni- 
formed, his gaze hard and steady, as 
the crews gathered in the twilight by 
the moonboats. The craft had taken on 
a full load of dephlogisticated air, and 
they strained against their bonds like 
cavalry horses eager for battle. He 
called for their attention. 

"England expects every man— and 
woman— to do his — or her— duty." 

Elisabeth Bennett stepped forward. 
"My friends" — -only a woman would 
exhort warriors so— "Tonight, with the 
Almighty's help, we will liberate our 
captive nation, and free ourselves from 
the onerous and odious foreigners. 
And lest you doubt that God has al- 
ready given us every sign of his favour, 
let me remind you that in our hour of 
need he sent us this man to lead us 
into battle. Sent us Horatio Nelson, 
hero of the Nile, Commander in Chief of 
the British Navy." 

Her troops exchanged astonished 
glances, then began to cheer. It was 
only with a loud shout and his much 
enhanced reputation that Nelson was 
able to restore order. 

Then suddenly the damned parrot 
had flown onto his shoulder and was 
shouting, "Do your duty, do your duty." 

He was never sure what fool had set 
them loose, but the cat was there as well, 
scrabbling up into the rigging, and the 
parrot had flown amongst the gasbags. 
It would take too long to catch them; 
they would simply have to come along. 
And when he stopped to consider it, 
they were in fact the only veterans of 
naval combat at his command. 

"Set sail," he ordered. High above, 
Nappy called, "Hooray for Boneyparte! 
Do your duty!" 

The most astonishing thing about air 
travel was its utter silence. Floating 
now above the clouds, guided only by 
compass and the surveyor's dead 
reckoning, linked by dark lanterns 
flashing code, they were alone in a 
world of black sky and white clouds. 
There were, to be sure, various creaks 
and aching sounds from the rigging, 
the soft ripples of the billowing sail, and 
the occasional odd beat of the 
mechanical wings as they corrected 
course, but in ail the impression was of 
silence. They traveled within the clouds 
themselves, cleaving through the 

ghastly, fluffy field of white. The cold 
haze of the clouds was nothing like the 
salt spray of the ocean. But Nelson felt 
strangely at home. 

The ships seemed to fly as if pos- 
sessed, and the crews as well. Nelson 
found himself under constant scrutiny, 
village lads looking at him with what 
could only be termed worship. When 
the Meryton came alongside, he even 
surprised Mr. Bingley, (acting as sec- 
ond in command to his wife) with a 
similar expression. The jaded, familiar 
voices of the Bennett women, immune 
to hero worship, were a relief. 

"You should not have told them, 
Captain Darcy," he said to Elisabeth. 
She was perched high in the prow 
beside him, telescope at the ready. 
"They now feel themselves invincible." 

She merely smiled. 

Travel without regard to roads and 
waterways was remarkably quick. They 
were over London within hours; odd 
how one disregarded the stench of the 
place when one approached slowly by 
land or sea, but how it struck one 
almost physically as one floated down 
gently from above. 

Until now, if seen at all, they must 
have been considered part of the 
clouds. As they began to draw lower 
they would be apparent to those below. 
Nelson suspected, however, that most 
who noticed them at this hour would be 
drunk, and the rest (he hoped) disbe- 
lieving or awestruck. 

Their good luck was, indeed, unbe- 
lievable unless (as Mistress Darcy 
would have it, and Nelson might once 
have been inclined to accept) God was 
for them. They hovered far above the 
Tower of London. 

"If Bonaparte is not there, we are 
done for," said Nelson. 

Elisabeth, peering below with her 
telescope, made an impatient sound. 
"Remember the cowardice of the man. 
He could not sleep in a captive nation 
but inside a fortress. Besides, I have 
had intelligence from within." 

One could hardly argue with that. 
Nelson nodded. Perhaps he should 
give some new, bold signal to his 
fleet — but he had not the heart. 

Instead, he signaled for commence- 
ment of their plan. The Electra and 
Boadicea were to land, whilst aboard 
the Boyle, Mary Bennett would discov- 
er whether the grenades were truly ef- 
fective by dropping them upon the 
guardhouses. Nelson hoped that there 
were not many Englishmen amongst 
the French, then shook his head quick- 
ly. If so, they were collaborators, and de- 
served what fate might overtake them. 

The Beryton and the Canada con- 

tained the bulk of their sharpshooters, 
and were to stay above, offering cover- 
ing fire. 

Nelson sighed, slipping free of his 
restraints and wrapping his arm about 
the post. He was about to land in the 
enemy stronghold, he was beplumed 
and dressed in an absurd outfit of 
bright red, he could not run — one 
might think him nothing but a target to 
draw fire. Yet had not he always stayed 
upon the quarterdeck during melees, 
dressed in his every medal, seeming to 
dare the sharpshooters to take him? 
Best to do battle in the same manner 
he always had before. 

They were halfway down — landing 
was always a bit unsettling, the ground 
rushing up beneath you, your stomach 

lagging a good ten paces behind, and 
the hope that the illiterate blacksmith's 
apprentice piloting the ship had judged 
the descent properly, lest all come to 
resemble a pudding dropped from a 
bell tower — when a guardsman looked 
up and began to scream. 

Nelson heard a sharp retort, and 
saw the guard fall. "Never has so much 
been owed to a handful of poachers," 
he thought. Around him, rifles began to 
fire. His men had the advantage. He 
saw the Wheat brothers calmly take 
aim and fire, lads behind them reload- 
ing, while the terrified French soldiers 
could not even reach the ships with 
their musket fire, which then tended to 
return to them ... But then they had 
fallen within musket range. 

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"Do your duty!" screamed his bird. 

"Get above, you idiot," Nelson cursed, 
and immediately swore again, as he 
felt sharp claws dig into his shoulder. 
The terrorized Farmer George was 
moving on to his accustomed refuge. 

The surprise unbalanced him entire- 
ly and he pitched backward, but not 
before hearing a musket ball pass far 
too close. It singed his scalp and tore 
the unfortunate cat off his shoulder and 
into eternity. Another had died for his 
sake— and if the cat had not surprised 
him, it would instead be he who had 
been sent to greet his forebears. 

Elisabeth skidded down beside him. 
"Admiral? Are you . . , H 

"Damnation! Help me up," he said. 
He was bleeding, but this time it merci- 
fully poured over his blind eye, leaving 
his vision unencumbered. "Then see to 
that lad." 

That lad was beyond help— a belly 
wound. But deferring his own medical 
help in favor of the sailors had always 
won Nelson their hearts, and this time 
was no different. 

There was an explosion, and great 
gouts of flame leapt up beyond the 
wall. Evidently Cavendish's inventions 
had succeeded again. 

The Electra thumped to her rest 
upon the ground, Nelson barely retain- 

ing footing. The crew was half off al- 
ready, screaming and drawing weapons 
for close fighting — a few swords and 
cutlasses, more pitchforks and scythes. 
"For England! For Nelson! For George!" 
they shouted and their admiral, a bit 
concussed by the bullet, wondered if 
that final cheer were for his cat. 

Then he was out of the moonboat, 
hobbling furiously for cover. Soldiers 
were approaching from the opposite 
side of the ship. Elisabeth turned, smil- 
ing with narrowed lips and eyes, and 
shot directly into the central airbag. 
The dephiogisticated air exploded, 
destroying the Electra and taking out 
the majority of the pursuers. Still 
though, she had been a noble ship and 
he regretted her loss. 

They could hear shouts and firing 
inside the Tower. As Elisabeth had 
expected— she was so much the opti- 
mist — the English servants had fallen 
upon their foreign masters. 

They met up with the crew of the 
Boadicea. Nelson watched as Lydia, a 
knife in her teeth and her blouse open 
to the waist in a remarkable display, put 
a bullet through a guardsman's chest 
and a second bullet through another's 
throat, then paused calmly amidst the 
carnage to reload her pistols. 

They entered the Tower. He found 


himself lagging far behind, stumbling 
now and then over the body of a foe or 
friend. Once he rounded a corner only 
to find himself staring directly into the 
muzzle of a French officer's pistol. Only 
then the man's mistress smashed a 
chamberpot down upon his head. 

"Thank you, madame," said Nelson. 
Leaning against the wail, he was able 
to doff his absurd feathered hat. Of 
course, the parrot upon his shoulder 
made the gesture a bit less courtly. 

"My pleasure, sir," she replied, tak- 
ing up the loaded gun and departing, 
in search of new game he presumed. 

Then he was in a large ornate bed- 
chamber with his men (and women) hold- 
ing guns outstretched on one side, and 
on the other Napoleon Bonaparte him- 
self, clad in an astonishing saffron night- 
gown and surrounded by loyal guards. 

"You cannot escape," said Elisa- 
beth. Outside a building exploded. 
Damn! Had they not expressly asked 
Mary to spare the magazine, of which 
they might have future need? 

"What will it be?" Elisabeth contin- 
ued. "Die now, and let your men fight 
on to keep the country? Little good that 
will do you!" 

The emperor's pudgy face contort- 
ed as he thought. What to choose, 
safety and surrender, or glorious 
death? It was certain that, while he 
would ordinarily not hesitate to opt for 
the former, he was having unexpected 
difficulty with the choice. The man was 
not entirely without honor. 

"I cannot surrender— not to rabble, 
not to women," he cried. 

"Then surrender to me," said Nelson, 
limping forward. He bent down and 
shook off his hat, then looked directly 
at Bonaparte. Would his famous profile, 
his well-known haunted eyes, reveal 
his identity despite the comic but 
blood-soaked costume and the parrot? 

Napoleon's eyes widened and his 
jaw dropped in the moment of recogni- 
tion. Then he smirked. "If 1 have been 
defeated, it has been at the hands of a 
dead hero." 

! 'My death, perhaps, was reported 
prematurely, sir," replied Nelson. "May I 
have your sword?" 

Bonaparte gestured to his men to 
put down their guns, then proffered his 
sword, hilt outward. 

Nelson smiled, and waved his hand 
dismissively. "I fear I cannot oblige you 
without help. Captain Darcy?" 

And to the emperor's eternal scan- 
dal, the woman went forward to accept 
the token of surrender. 

At that moment Nappy began to 
squawk. "Hooray for Boneyparte," he 
said. "Hooray!" 

The admiral of the airfleet and savior 

of England sighed. He was obviously 
going to have to work on his pet's 

it is a truth universally acknowledged 
that a single woman in possession of 
the gratitude of her nation must be in 
want of a husband. 

Nelson, newly bandaged, having set 
guards about the castle and having 
supervised the incarceration of the 
prisoners and the sending of mes- 
sages regarding the victory, as well as 
briefly paying his respects to his oblivi- 
ous mad monarch, had been pleased 
to discover his own medals in the pos- 
session of the emperor. Their familiar 
weight gave solidity to the scarlet coat- 
All this exertion, far from tiring him, had 
exhilarated him. He found, also, that for 
the first time in a year his missing left 
leg no longer ached. 

He located the Bennett sisters in a 
drawing room-, finely painted though its 
decorations and the bulk of its furnish- 
ings had been removed as booty long 
ago. They sat demurely, pistols beside 
them, as the staff served tea. Jane was 
silent; Mr. Bingley had been amongst 
the casualties. However Kitty, one arm 
in a sling, was remarkably ebullient. 

"It is settied then, -Elisabeth," she 
was saying. "You shall accept no less 
than the Prince of Wales. " 

He sat, and allowed the captain of 
his late flagship to pour him a cup of 
tea. Nelson admitted that it did seem a 
good match. One felt that this year of 
fugitive adversity must have matured 
George, honing him from a dissipated 
selfish fop into a stern, dedicated patri- 
ot. Or so one, at least, hoped. 

"And for Jane?" That sister wiped 
away a tear. It was clear she would 
maintain deep mourning for at least a 
year. "Another royal duke?" 

"I think not," said Elisabeth thought- 
fully. "We shall need the royal dukes 
single, to induce treaties. So many sov- 
ereigns have marriageable daughters." 

"Allow me to recommend my execu- 
tive officer and dear friend Captain 
Hardy" said Nelson, entering into the 
spirit of the thing. "A capable man, and 
I'm sure he has been promoted to 
admiral in my absence." 

Jane allowed that she might take it 
under advisement. 

"Well, I want a duke," said Kitty, and 
began to pout. "Foreign would do, just 
not from too far east." 

"And you, Mary?" 

The studious sister glanced up from 
a book of philosophy she had discov- 
ered in Napoleon's bedchamber. "I 
suppose I shall have to marry Lord 
Henry. I do, after all, bear his child." 

This comment had the insalubrious 

effect of ending all conversation for the 
space of several minutes. 

Then Nelson wished the ladies 
happy, and rose. He imagined he had 
more to do that evening, to ensure their 
safety until the Navy returned and the 
Army was reconstituted. 

"Does no one intend to ask my 
future?" asked Lydia suddenly. 

Nelson paused. "I had presumed, 
Captain Wickham, that you would wish 
to remain with your ship, and make a 
career, as it were, of flight." The new Air 
Navy would need experienced officers. 

"Not enough," she said, and rose to 
walk over to where he stood leaning upon 
his crutch. She took his lapels in her 
hands, and came very close. "Not enough 
to be a captain. I wish an admiral." 

Nelson felt a sudden odd weakness 
before her predatory gaze, and real- 
ized something else. For so long his life 
had been circumscribed by pain and 
want. And now, in his time of triumph, 
pain had retreated— and he felt the first 
stirring of that other long dormant phan- 
tom, of pleasure. 

"It may yet be arranged," he 
replied. DO 

S. N. Dyer is a pseudonym for a full- 
time physician in private practice. Dyer 
has been nominated for the Hugo 
Award, the Nebula Award, and the 
World Fantasy Award. Dyer's last story 
for Omni, "On the Edge," was pub- 
lished in December 1988. 


Page 2, top left: Showtime; page 2, top 
right: Gregory Manchess; page 2, bottom 
left: Di Maccio; page 2, bottom right: William 
Coupon; page 4: Rosemary Webber; page 
8: Gary Retherford/Photo Researchers; 
page 9: Bettman Archive; page 12: Ken 
Davies/Masterfile; page 14: Clint Clemens/ 
Liaison International; page 16, top: Art & 
Editorial Resources; page 16, middle: Golin/ 
Harris Communications; page 16, bottom: 
Nintendo of America; page 18: Moller Inter- 
national, page 20: Phil Boatwright Illustra- 
tion/Image Bank; page 24, top, middle, and 
bottom: D. Kibler; page 28: David Scharf/ 
Peter Arnold; page 29, top: Art & Editorial 
Resources; page 29, bottom: Jose Molina/ 
Graphistock; page 30: Malcolm S. Kirk/Peter 
Arnold; page 32, top: Rae Adams/Georgia 
Tech Photo; page 32, bottom: A. W. 
Stegmeyer; pages 34-36: Showtime; page 
45: Attila Hejja; page 46: Di Maccio; page 
48: Di Maccio; page 49: Steven Hunt/Image 
Bank; page 50: Jim Zuckerman; page 51: 
Steven Hunt/Image Bank; page 54: Dia- 
gram by Patrick O'Brien. Copyright 1990 by 
Random House, Inc. Reprinted by permis- 
sion of Ballantine Books, a division of Ran- 
dom House; page 59: Jim Zuckerman; 
pages 62 and 63: William Coupon; pages 
67 and 68: Gregory Manchess; page 103: 
Kathy McLaughlin. 



adapted, but never faithfully at all. 

"I was becoming intensely aware as 
I was developing and working on the 
first few episodes of what a challenge it 
was to do Outer Limits in the 1990s be- 
cause the original show is the culmina- 
tion of a certain kind of science fiction 
and fantasy, certainly in the mass media. 
About 15 years after The Outer Limits 
went off the air, you had Aliens, you had 
Predator, and now you've got The X- 
Files. It's really tough to do Outer Limits 
for the 1990s, at least the straight-line 
evolution. It's a postmodern problem." 

Still, the norm of science-fiction 
shows lately seems to be pat series 
containing beloved, unchangeable 
characters. This will be a regular sci- 
ence-fiction anthology show with un- 
predictable plots and situations in 
which characters are in true jeopardy 
of the most unsettling sort. 

The range of human drama reflects 
the range of human experience. The 
advent and development of science 
fiction was the intellectual and emo- 
tional product of technological and so- 
cial movement. Extrapolation and epiph- 
any. Fear and loathing. With the form- 
and texture of these changes shifting in 
unsettling and surprising ways, can it 
be any wonder that the nature of sci- 
ence fiction itself has warped? 

With 44 episodes ordered, money on 
the table, and an audience hungry for the 
stuff, this show will happen, postmod- 
ern problems or no. "We'd like to cham- 
pion science fiction," says Coto. "We'd 
like to champion the intellectual side." 

"The goal at the end of this," says 
Stern, "is that the viewer should turn off 
the TV (after each show) and go 'Wow!'" 

"The challenge' really comes back to 
telling stories that grip us as human be- 
ings," says Densham. "The things that 
scare you and me don't change." 

Attitude, talent, good scripts, deter- 
mination, and heritage seem to weigh 
in the show's favor. 

Ultimately, the irony of the original 
Outer Limits was that the viewer had a 
lot more control of that dial than the 
Control Voice admitted. The show lasted 
only a year and a half. 

In this interactive technology age. 
you can almost hear the Control Viewer 
speaking to this new incarnation. "I 
control the horizontal. I control the verti- 
cal. Now scare me." The new Outer 
Limits hopes to do just that. DO 

David Bischoff's latest novel is The 
Judas Cross with Charles Sheffield, 
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and technology for Nevada, the earliest 
we can get a site up is 2010, depend- 
ing on how much of the money we can 
get at. This plus the nuclear clean-up is 
one of my major initiatives. But, hey, 
everything we do here is expensive. It's 
dangerous, untested. Some places we 
have to clean up don't even have blue- 
prints. We go in to decommission and 
decontaminate a site, and we don : t 
even know where the electrical box is 
because no one drew it in! 

Most people active on issues of nu- 
clear waste work on two levels. If it's 
going to be in your community, you 
don't want it; but you're also concerned 
about nonproliferation and the environ- 
ment. You want this material contained, 
under surveillance, and ready for the 
next technological advancement that 
might help further destroy it. We're not 
going to let it pile up around each and 
every power plant and let each com- 
munity be responsible for its security. 
I'd like it all in one place under con- 
stant security. 

Omni: In my lifetime I've seen a trivial- 
ization of political agendas. Might this 
also be a legacy of the Cold War? As 

though there is a kind of inverse rela- 
tionship between government secrecy 
and public voyeurism regarding the 
private lives of public figures. Is this in- 
vasion of the intimate a kind of a substi- 
tute for political activity? 
O'Leary: I don't think so. Remember 
there had been a real enemy. Once my 
husband and I were in Frankfurt for a 
conference. We were walking down the 
street and heard singing in a 
rathskeller and decided to go in. My 
husband opened the door, and I 
looked into a long, dark room filled with 
people— and they all looked very 
Aryan to me. Suddenly, with the music 
and the smoke in this dark room, all of 
my childhood terror of Nazi Germany 
rushed back to me. I looked at my hus- 
band and said, "There's no way I'm 
going in there, man!' ! 

For Americans, the next terror was 
Communism. I was graduating from 
college when Nikita Khrushchev said, 
"We will bury you!" And the threats 
posed by Soviet power initiated defen- 
sive behaviors that in retrospect we 
find unacceptable — especially those 
affecting our health and our safety, 
where we think it's the government's re- 
sponsibility to protect us. But some- 
times we need to look at positive things 
that came out of that time— the technol- 

ogy we developed, or the advance- 
ment of women in the workplace. Great 
benefits came from nuclear medicine 
in diagnostics and treatment. 
Omni: Why is it so hard to develop a 
national energy policy? 
O'Leary: We develop one often but no- 
body likes it when it gets developed. 
Whenever Congress passes some- 
thing, or an administration articulates 
some change, the public — to the extent 
it remembers it at all — always remem- 
bers, "Oooh, someone said something 
about never having to worry about [oil] 
imports again." When issues go to the 
Congress every few years, no one 
seems to want to bite the bullet. The 
last true supply interruption we had, 
when prices spiraled so terribly, was in 
1980 and 1981. I purchased a house 
and the mortgage rate was 16 percent! 
The price shock and its impact on the 
economy finally caused the Congress 
to say, : 'Hey! Hold it! Enough!" With 
price projections for petroleum at $80 a 
barrel, you could begin a vigorous pro- 
gram to invest in technology underlying 
replacements for imported fuel. 

We created the Synthetic Fuels Cor- 
poration whose goal was to convert 
coal into liquids that could replace pe- 
troleum. The market entry price for syn- 
thetic fuels was close to 50 bucks a 
barrel. Good policy! If you can keep 
the price of, the product that we're try- 
ing to wean ourselves away from high 
enough to develop the alternatives. But 
once the price of oil drops, cost-effec- 
tive alternatives dry up. It's happened. 
Time after time. Going for energy effi- 
ciency helps a bit, but it's not a solu- 
tion. Some of us now realize part of the 
solution involves diversifying our import 
base. By increasing supplies from 
Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, and North 
Sea producers we can reduce our de- 
pendency on Middle Eastern suppliers. 
Omni: Doesn't cheap foreign oil make 
capital investment in new technology 
less attractive. 

O'Leary: Well, yes and no. New tech- 
nology has been developed. Compact 
fluorescent bulbs reduce energy con- 
sumption. We use them here. But we 
need to focus on technologies for large 
industrial processes. Using private and 
public sector money, the United States 
has spent over $7 billion designing 
new technology to generate electric- 
ity — mostly involving coal, but some 
using natural gas and nuclear energy. 
Fuel cells are an option already being 
used by some of our East Coast utility 
companies. That the fuel cells have ap- 
plications for connection to our ex;s:"c 
national grid system spells opportun :, 
to utility company executives who 
frankly don't like to think their business 


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will be obsolete in the twenty-first cen- 
tury. One day soon we may all have a 
little fuel cell in our basement that will 
pick up enough power overnight to run 
our homes and power our cars Or they 
will power whole office buildings, busi- 
ness complexes, and even entire com- 
munities. But pretty much all of the 
energy will come off the grid. 

People in the traditional utility busi- 
ness are starting to think this way — to 
beat what I call the Western Union phe- 
nomenon. Folks there couldn't see that 
a plastic card with a line of credit 
would make it easy for people to get 
money anywhere. Now you don't have 
to call Aunt Sarah when you need 
$200! They missed it. And the same 
thing even happened with some banks. 
"Let somebody come up to a machine 
and get money? No teller? Have you 
lost your mind?" Understand, someone 
in the banking system had to have the 
vision and take the leap of faith. 
Omni: Can so-called free sources of 
energy — ■geothermal, wind, solar— be 
used to meet some energy needs? 
O'Leary: Well, first, there really is no 
free lunch. Take wind. When I left the 
Carter administration 18 years ago, the 
cost per kilowatt hour for producing 
wind power was at about 22 cents. The 
cost of producing electricity then was 
between six and eight cents. So, if you 
were sitting at the state regulatory com- 
mission and reviewing the data, unless 
you could find some other things to put 
in the equation, wind didn't make the 
economic cut. 

Now, in those days no one com- 
puted the full life-cycle cost of conven- 
tional energy sources. The economic 
picture changes if we ask, for example, 
"How do you handle waste? What's the 
polluting effect?" While people were 
debating true societal costs, the DOE 
was working with the private sector on 
science and engineering projects to 
drive down the cost of wind. By the late 
Eighties, wind still wasn't as cheap as 
coal or hydro, but darn near. Title 29 of 
the Tax Reform Act of 1986 said, "If you 
can get alternative energy in produc- 
tion, you can knock off 1.5 cents per 
kilowatt hour as a tax rebate." All of a 
sudden wind is economical. With a 
production tax credit for alternative 
fuels, there are now real opportunities 
to introduce alternative energy sources 
into the grid. Some large power sta- 
tions are making that decision. 

As we've opened up competition to 
entrepreneurs who've given some 
thought to designing power plants that 
can be built and operated a little more 
cheaply, electric companies can take 
bids from outsiders instead of building 
their own stations. Fifty percent of the 

new increments of power coming on 

line in the United States over the next 
seven to ten years will be from inde- 
pendent power producers. It's cheaper, 
cleaner energy, and generating sta- 
tions are smaller. We like that. It meets 
the test of sustainability. 
Omni: What might an energy-efficient 
economy built on American love of per- 
sonal autonomy look like? 
O'Leary: I know!! You want me to be a 
futurist! In my vision, people who drive 
opinion really focus on the requirement 
for environmental-economic balance. 
Here at the DOE we are asking the 
largest energy consumers by industrial 
sector to make assessments about cor- 
rect manufacturing processes for the 
twenty-first century. Their research and 
development data tell them pollution 
prevention saves money for business 
and makes them more competitive. 
They also recognize that the public has 
become much more conscious of the 
need to protect the environment and to 
correct its degradation. 

Take the pulp and paper industry: 
Large polluters, they've done a lot over 
the last ten years to reduce pollution — 
especially by getting involved in recy- 
cling their products. But now they're 
recognizing that unless they can de- 
sign new pulp and paper manufactur- 
ing processes for the next century, 
they'll get left behind. And they're also 
recognizing they have to deal with the 
information highway. We're working 
with the steel industry, aluminum, 
glass, and cement. We're also working 
with Argonne National Lab in Chicago 
which is involved with some local 
groups trying to get a set of new elec- 
trical wiring codes approved so they 
can build attractive, affordable, energy- 
efficient homes. They're now stuck with 
lighting codes developed In the 1950s 
when we didn't contemplate trying to 
be so much more energy efficient. 
Omni: You've expressed excitement 
about a, well, almost low-tech develop- 
ment called "bio-barrier." What is it? 
O'Leary: Say you plant a tree and you 
want to keep it away from your septic 
tank or plumbing lines. In the old days 
you'd wait for something bad to hap- 
pen and Mr. Rotor Rooter — the guy with 
the auger — would come and remove it 
from your lines. Now you can plant this 
strip of bio-barrier next to your tree, 
and it will keep the roots of that tree or 
shrub from incursion into anything. 
How did this get developed? At Han- 
ford [Nuclear Reservation, Washing::" 
State] we had to make sure no underly- 
ing roots of shrubs and trees mucked 
up the piping or equipment around 
tanks containing nuclear and haz- 
ardous waste. Then, along comes a 

bright entrepreneur who reads the re- 
search, finds out about bio-barrier, and 
gets a license to use it. Suddenly, all 
over the Northwest you can go in K- 
Mart or your local green-thumb store 
and buy bio-barrier. This guy, who had 
a one- or two-person operation, now 
has 60 people working for him and pro- 
jects 500 in the near future. 

A small particle accelerator facility 
is being built in Virginia. We're inter- 
ested in doing basic science there, but 
the business community is also lining 
up to use it for things like testing fibers 
and materials for use in industrial 
processes. As competition with Europe 
and Japan grows and U.S. business 
has to drive down costs, the private 
sector has tended to reduce its research 
and development budget. More and 
more frequently, they rush to our labo- 
ratories saying, "We want to work with 
you, because it's cheaper and maybe 
better for us to use your facilities." 

Right now our national labs have the 
ability to work from basic science all 
the way to applied technology. But 
Congress or the American people may 
not want to continue to fund our na- 
tional laboratories. In western Europe 
and Japan, the governments have long 
since made the decision that govern- 
ment policy would undergird its com- 
petitive push in science and tech- 
nology. This is our dilemma. Now, if the 
American public can equate the work 
of our national labs to jobs: "Oh, good! 
If you guys did all of this and if Mr. Bio 
Barrier who had two employees now 
has 200 and will soon go to 500 — well, 
then, maybe that's okay." 
Omni: What about basic science itself? 
O'Leary: The supercollider went down. 
The space station didn't — because it 
was more easily understood by the 
American public. The space station 
was personalized through ads run by 
businesses who could point back to 
Sputnik and our Apollo flights. When 
the benefits people saw were personal- 
ized — "one small step for man, one 
giant leap for mankind" — folks under- 
stood it. 

But there I was with the supercon- 
ducting supercollider, trying to explain 
that some of its applications might 
yield ionized equipment and material 
that would help us treat brain cancers 
or soft cell tumors. That bothered the 
physicists no end! Because in their pu- 
rity they said, "Well, Secretary, we don't 
know. . . ." Meanwhile in Congress, 
they were saying, "Hold on a minute, 
woman! You need $11 billion! What is it 
going to get us?" So, I tried to talk 
about it from the general perspective: 
"We have to encourage more science 
and scientists. There have to be peo- 

ple who think about the improbable." 

But as scientists themselves will 
point out, the scientific community has 
been accustomed to showing up once 
a year, scouting the halls of Congress 
with two or three Nobel Prize laureates 
and saying, "We need it because we 
need it." Now budgets are tight. The 
case for science has got to be better 
made. These people all talk about their 
community — the scientific community, 
academic community, public policy 
community. It drives me nuts. You 
know, they say ". . . and the commu- 
nity thinks ..." I say, "Excuse me 
guys? It doesn't work any longer to talk 
only to yourselves, nor just to show up 
in a meeting once a year." 

People who are engaged in scien- 
tific endeavor are starting to be a pres- 
ence here in Washington. They're 
finally getting it that contact with public 
policy-makers needs to occur on a 
more routinized basis. If we don't pull 
these groups together we are lost. Be- 
cause the American public won't pay 
the tab. We cannot draw the line at ap- 
plied science. If we don't fund basic 
science with its big question marks, 
there will be nothing to drive us toward 
technological innovation. 
Omni: People have commented that 
women often bring to the workplace 
and political life substantial skills in 
working with people to get things done. 
Is that true of you? 

O'Leary: I'm so clear about goal-set- 
ting. I have almost laserlike attention. 
I'm clear about who I am. Right now, 
I'm giving this job all my focus. I've got 
five or six things that need doing — 
things that can maybe make a differ- 
ence. I love my job. One day I may 
wake up and say, "This is where we 
have to go/' and I may make a big mis- 
take. But it won't be a big mistake that 
adversely affects the health or safety of 
anyone who works for us or who lives 
near one of our sites. If I make a big 
mistake, it will be on the side of ensur- 
ing that people are healthy and safe. 
These are heavy responsibilities. 

If you come to the Department of 
Energy thinking that you can't make a 
difference, it will grind you down. We're 
sitting on thousands of acres of land 
we need to clean up and nuclear waste 
materials that need to be finally dis- 
posed of. I get up every morning fully 
understanding that — and that the ge- 
nius in our national laboratories can 
help provide answers to questions we 
have as a nation. And I do believe that 
we can make a better and cleaner en- 
vironment with an energy policy built 
on principles of sustainable develop- 
ment. That's where we're headed. And 
the challenge is really groovy.DO 


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The best letter logos combine form and function 

By Scot Morris 

Graphic artists have twisted 
the alphabet in endlessly 
creative ways to convey their 
clients' images in a single 
letter. Look at the logo on a 
bottle of Evian water, 
stamped into the plastic 
above the paper label. 
The lowercase "e" is a 
streamlined skier bent 
over and racing to the right, 
with his ski poles forming 
the letter's crossbar. Good- 
will Industries has a logo 
that you have probably seen 
many times. Have you ever 
noticed that the lowercase 
"g" is, appropriately, one 
side of a smiling face? 

Considering just the first 
letter of the alphabet, Arn- 
trak recently introduced in 
its print advertising a de- 
sign of two lines tilted toward 
each other, suggesting 
an "A" shape, or two parallel 
railroad tracks apparently 
converging in the distance. 
The Alaska Catalog has 
for its logo an A that is snow- 
capped on top, with a 
crossbar formed by the flukes 
of a diving whale. 

Here are some of my 
favorite As from around the 
world, as found in Trade- 
marks and Symbols of the 
World, Volumes I and IV, 
by Yasaburo Kuwayama (the 
books were published by 
Rockport Publishers of Rock- 
port, Massachusetts, but 
are currently out of print), in 
each case, there's a sug- 
gestion of the typ.e of com- 
pany that employs that 
particular logo. Match each 
"A" or "a," numbered in 
the box at right, with the ap- 
propriate company name, 
listed below in alphabetical 
order. The answers are 
at the end of the column. 

# 5* A 

1 7 13 

2 8 14 

3 9 15 


V8V Ai A 

5 11 17 

6 12 18 

A. Acasso Supermar- 

J. Architettura Design 

ket (Buenos Aires) 

School (Milan) 

B. Adams Waste Disposal 

K, Armando Electrical 


Machinery (Milan) 

C. Aerographics Lithog- 

L. Arntz Cobra automo- 

raphers (Toronto) 

bile (U.S.) 

D. Ager Auto Repair 

M. Assicurazioni Intercon- 


tinental insurance com- 

E. Alpeadria and Dos 

pany (Rome) 

Ljubljana tourism (Yu- 

N. Association of Archi- 


tects (Lyon) 

F. Anchomar Fishing 

0. Automatic Plastics 

(Buenos Aires) 

Limited (Dublin) 

G. Anorsa, manufacturer 

P. Autoroute (logo for 

of materials for experi- 

French Association of 

ments (Madrid) 


H. Anzen auto accessories 

Q. Avant card publishers 



I. Ar. Co machine tools 

R. Azurna Drive-ln 

TER. Here are some ■ 
chuckles from Absolute Zero 
Gravity: Science Jokes, 
Quotes, and Anecdotes by 
Betsy Devine and Joel 
E. Cohen (Simon & Schuster, 

The answer is "Game, set, 
and match." What's the 

Name two theories invited 
by von Neumann, and an 
incendiary device. 

How many programmers 
does it take to change a 
light bulb? 

None. That's a hardware 

How many gorillas does 
it take to change a light 

Only one gorilla, but it 
sure takes a lot of light bulbs. 

Answer: Count Dracula 
Question: What did Tran- 
sylvania's only demograph- 
er forget to do? 

A great scientist reaches 
the pearly gates, and the 
angel Gabriel rewards him 
by offering the choice of 
his dearest wish: Will it be 
infinite wealth, infinite 
beauty, or infinite wisdom? 
"Infinite wisdom," says 
the scientist. There's a poof! 
and a cloud of smoke, 
and the scientist sighs, with 
infinite wisdom, and says, 
"Damn! So I should have 
taken the money!" 

1-P.2-J, 3-C.4-L, 5-M, 6-F 
7-D, 8-R, 9-N, 10-H, 11 -A. 
12-B, 13-1, 14-K, 15-Q. 16-G, 
17-E, 18-ODQ 


Tte Artist 


I need a "title 
"that will 

not sound 
"too cerebral 


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Finding room in America for the not-so-average physique 

By Daniel Pinkwater 

I have been fat all my life, ex- 
cept for a period of about two 
years when I was thin. In this 
regard, I was within statistical 
limits: All the studies on the sub- 
ject of weight loss I have found 
suggest that people who lose 
weight gain it back, plus more, 
within two years. It's always com- 
forting to know that one is normal 
and average. 

During those two years when 
I was not circumferentially chal- 
lenged, I was unpleasantly startled 
every time I caught an acciden- 
tal glimpse of myself in a mirror 
or a shop window, I felt that movie 
and airplane seats were unnatu- 
rally large and uncomfortable, 
and I worried about my health a 
lot — something I never did when 
I was fat. 

Speaking of health, doctors 
have always told me that, as a fat 
person, I was at greater risk of 
heart attack, diabetes mellitus, 
hypertension, atherosclerosis, 
osteoarthritis, and a bunch of 
other terrible things. It took years 
for it to occur to me to ask the 
questions, How much greater is 
the risk? and Which would confer 
the greatest benefit, quitting 
smoking, getting more exercise, 
reducing stress, or losing weight? 
Having asked these questions, I 
worry even less. 

A recent study, widely re- 
ported by the media, concluded 
that — get ready for this astonish- 
ing result — overweight people 
overeat! My God, isn't science 
wonderful? The same study fur- 
ther observed that fat people 
generally turn out to have eaten 
more than they themselves 
thought they had. 

Like most people don't do 
that. I once informally polled all 
my acquaintances, fat and thin, 
and asked everybody 1 knew 
whether they regularly ate to the 
point of discomfort. They all said 
they did. Human beings are not 

designed to consume the 16- 
ounce rib-eye dinner with baked 
potato, all-you-can-eat salad- 
and-appetizer bar, and the slab 
of New York-style cheesecake for 
dessert — but we sure do. Not to 
mention the couple of drinks be- 
fore, the unlimited free refills of 
soda, and the cups of coffee 
with cream and sugar. 

The difference between fat 
gluttons and thin gluttons is purely 
metabolic — and societal. There 
is nothing we humans like better 
than abusing and reviling others 
for perceived faults of which we 
are guilty ourselves— but are 
getting away with. Baiting the 
obese is the last safe prejudice. 
TV comedians can make fat jokes, 
which if they were about racial or 
ethnic groups, would result in 
collective outcry, cancellations of 
contracts, and humiliating forced 
public apologies. 

In public, fat people, espe- 
cially women, are regularly sub- 
jected to vile remarks, lectures, 
pointing, and mockery. I submit 
that there is no fat person in 
America who has not been con- 
fronted in a restaurant by some 
maniac, who fulminates, "How 
could you let yourself get like 
that? You're disgusting! Aren't 
you ashamed?" I, for one, am not 
ashamed. What I usually say to 
these people, taking advantage 
of the fact that they are delu- 
sional and probably highly sug- 
gestible, is, "Get away from me, 

loony, or I'll eat you." I suppose I 
should apologize to the mentally 
infirm who may read this, but un- 
derstand, it's impossible to enjoy 
one's taco platter when someone 
is yelling atone. 

It's at least six times as hard 
to get hired if you're fat. There's 
an ingrained belief that fat peo- 
ple are excessive, bestial, greedy, 
lustful, stupid, lazy, dishonest, and 
weak. Perfectly true, of course, 
but no more for fat people than 
all humans, fat and thin. The re- 
cent announcement of a "fat rat 
gene" suggests what we knew all 
the time — fatness is hereditary. 
Notwithstanding, former Surgeon 
General C. Everett Koop an- 
nounced only one week later a new 
war on fat. Make up your minds! 
Is it our fault or not? 

But there's good news for the 
diametrically disadvantaged. Fat 
people are on the march — and 
our numbers are expanding, our 
ranks are swelling. The Centers 
for Disease Control recently re- 
ported that about one-third of 
Americans are seriously over- 
weight, a finding backed up by 
an American Medical Associa- 
tion report that claims some 58 
million people in the United States 
are at least 20 percent over their 
ideal body weight. It used to be 
that I would have to make spe- 
cial trips to a fat men's clothier in 
New York, but these days, Sears 
and J.C. Penney have catalogs of 
fashions for persons of size. There 
are many journals concerned with 
questions of fatness, including 
Rump Parliament, FatlSo?, and 
the dating magazine for fat gay 
guys, Big Ad. 

Many culture heroes are fat: 
Roseanne, John Goodman, the 
late John Candy, Marlon Brando — ■ 
and even our president may yet 
fulfill his destiny and achieve true 
greatness. A fat day is dawning, 
America. Remember — you heard 
it herefirst.DO 

In his 

latest novel, The 

Diet just out from 
House, Daniel 
takes a seriously 
look at weight- 
ness in America.