Rochester Rag May 1996
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(formerly the _News from Detroit_)

Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independance.

-- C.A. Beard


Steve Langer
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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,

" Bio sketches for readers M-Z"

This month has been getting truly hectic for your's truly as I am unemployed on July 1, have six papers in various stages of publication, am flying out on job interviews, am presenting at a conference in Seattle in three weeks, have been attacked by both the Concept and Prank virus' (requiring a rewrite of this rag) and just for good measure have been repairing various leaks around the house. Despite this mileau, it has come to my attention that several people have still not come through, so here goes:

Barb Chapman: My Secy. when I was in Detroit, Barb is an Illini alum, married to an engineer, with 3 great kids.

David Gersten: Was my office mate in Detroit. We worked, smoked and treated patients together. David has a physics BS and is working in a CS MS. He is married and has a wonderful daughter, Carly.

Bruce Steinert: Another Detroit collegue, a fellow Badger alum, and an aircraft pilot.

Chuck Scripter: My mentor and roomie at MSU. Now chasing his PhuD in the beautiful Keeweenaw Peninsula.

Matt Birkholz: Friend from high school, went to MIT for CS degrees, found the charming and mysterious Lori, and they have now moved to Scottsdale AZ where they have one daughter.

Brian Donahue: Pal since 6'th grade, Brian went to college at Dayton, then did the MD, PhD gig at Emory. Met him here (at Mayo) in the summer of 94 when I arrived during the 3'rd year of his anesth. residency. He's married and has a brand new daughter.

Several other people are friends of friends that I don't really know, so there.

On Last Month's Quiz;

What is the purpose of an economic system?
Contrary to last month's statement by Labor Secy Robert Reich that it's to "raise everyone's standard of living", most econ texts will say that the purpose is to distribute finite resources among infinite wants. That's why we have communism, feudalism, socialism and capitalism. Fairness has nothing (intrinsically speaking) to do with economics.

What is the purpose of the US Govt.?
In a nutshell, to defend the rights of the governed as spelled out in the contract we call the Constitution. In fact, the Declaration of Independence says;

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. ....

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

On a point of Information;

I have to admit, even I was sucked in by this myth. The Reps. and the civil rights movement are usually painted as being at odds, but in fact more Reps. voted for passage of the 60's civil rights laws than Dems - a fact that has been revised over time. The block of greatest resistence, not surprisingly, was the Dixiecrats. This was immortalized in a B&W "On the Road" picture with Hope and Crosby, where Bob Hope sees a pack of guys wearing KKK outfits, and dead-pans at the camera, "Uh oh, Democrats."

On the Job Hunt;

The first week of this month I was interviewing with Toshiba in San Francisco, and the third week with Mt. Sinai in New York City. Talk about from the frying pan to the fire. San Fran is picturesque, if spendy. A 2 BdRm curbside home with no garage, no yard, in the warehouse district of South San Fran, is $0.25 Million. Of course today (May 22) they just had another 4.8 Richter earthquake so property values are probably falling.

Some interesting news came out of Cupertino (Apple Computers home). It seems like some fools from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) have built a Linux Server for the Mach micro-kernel. "So what?", you say. Well, Mach is this really neat little operating system kernel that handles task scheduling, interprocess communication, memory and I/O management. Problem is (was) that Mach was a kernel in search of a free, full-fledged, operating system. Linux (an originally Intel based free UNIX), is a full fledged operating system, but took a HELLUVA lot of work to port from chip to chip. With the announcement of the Mach Linux Server, suddenly Linux can run on any chip for which a Mach kernel exists, which means virtually any chip. So that means that MkLinux (micro-kernel Linux) now runs on PowerPC, Intel, SPARC, Motorola 68K, ALPHA, PA-RISC, MIPS, ARM, etc. With fools at the FSF giving away stuff like this, one has to ask, "Why does anyone pay attention to Bill Gates?"

At Toshiba I met many former Silicon Valley employees who fled the more (?!) expensive communities to the south. For you SUN worshippers getting on the Java bandwagon, you may be interested to know that Microsoft and SUN are backrooming a deal wherein Microsoft will take on Java development while SUN will produce SPARC chips designed to run Java. The official line is that the SPARC-JAVA chips will narrow the performace gap that interpreted JAVA currently faces when running on client machines. Of course, you will still be able to get Java interpreters for other chips, but to get anything like acceptable real-time performance will take these SPARCs, but that's OK because - like - they will be really cheap. And if you believe that, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you which leads us to ...

New York City. Egads. Park and Madison Avenues. Empire State Building. Central Park. Cab drivers that speak Russian, Spanish, Chinese or Bangladeshi(?), but never decipherable English. Apartments bordering on Central Park are $6~7K/month. With realty prices like this, its no wonder all the women wear black and white clothes with ugly boots. Who could afford dyed cloth or attractive footwear?

Guest Editorial:

An excerpt (edited) from Tim Allen's book, "Don't Stand too Close to a Naked Man."

In school, if one girl was mad at her boyfriend, all the other girls were mad at theirs. Things have not changed much.

Women's systems run better warmer. Men are like slow pumping diesels and women are like high-test motors. They run better hot - like Ferraris. Those engines have to be heated up, and I don't mean this sexually. I mean women seem to overheat a lot. They run better angry. Anger does something to them.

This is not something you can avoid by trying not to get the woman in your life angry. You have no choice and no control. She'll get angry all by herself, and if you happen to be standing in the middle of the road you'll get the full exhaust. My wife can just stand there, yelling at me, calling me names, for no apparent reason. When she finally sees how forlorn I am, if I haven't apologized out of abject fear or guilt, she'll say, "I'm not mad at you."

"Well, you're yelling at me."

Now she's mad at me. "Why do you always think its about you?"

"Like I said you're yelling at me." Now she's really pissed off.

Women always think they're right. They think that men think they are right, but women really know they are right. Men aren't a total loss, but women are competant in areas we are not, like the social graces. Men just ignore all that stuff and go on to motors, bridge building and how to section a grapefruit properly. Women act aloof on this male stuff because it frightens them - and then they need a man around.

Honestly, I get angry always being in the wrong. Worse, I hate when women have convinced me of this. It's a very short and dangerous trip to the land of low self-esteem. Once a women could have told me that potatoes grow on trees and I would have believed her. Why do women try to emasculate men - at least the ones I hang out with. It starts with small things, like how stupid I am, or how ugly my clothes are.

"I can't believe you're going to wear that. I can't believe how you eat. I can't believe you left the seat up. You're sooo Cro-Magnon." It's always something I've done.

A women will bitch and complain about having to do some task, so I'll do it and then she'll bitch about how I did it. These compulsions are about a women's desire to control something. When we're driving and I'm behind the wheel, my wife will say, "Turn left." Then she says, "No that was wrong." So I say, "Why did you tell me to turn this way?" I could have driven this route 17 times and she's saying, "Don't - turn up here." So I do and now I'm lost because I listened to her. Why? It's all about power.

I have no idea why I listen to her when I already know where I'm going. If she was driving and I told here where to turn, she'd belt me. But when she screws up she just goes, "Aw, this was dumb," and she moves on.

I wait for these moments. When she's finally wrong, I bring up all the times she's accused me of doing the same stupid thing and how I had to beg for forgiveness. But she won't cop to anything. The only time I get an apology is if she made exactly the same mistake, close enough to mine, that there is no way she can say with a straight face that she doesn't remember.


1. Rooster McConville writes;
>From Wed May 15 09:41:08 1996


How's things going with you?  Things are going pretty well with me.  No least none anyone would listen to!

First things first, I have a new e-mail address which is:
The old e-mail accounts are being phased out over the next few months.
 Also I now have access to the web so if you publish on there let me know.

As for the short bio-

My name is Rooster.  I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and when I was in
 fifth grade I took rooster balls to school for show and tell...thus my
 chosen name Rooster.  I went to grad school at Michigan State
 University where last summer I finished up my PH.D. in physics doing
 Quantum Transport.  After completing that bullshit, I took a job with
 Xerox Corp. doing R&D.  I now live by Rochester NY and still drink
 much beer....and probably always will!

take care

P.S. I just found out that I got some outstanding grad student award
 from MSU...$300.  I'm buying next time we get together.

Ed: The WWW address for this rag is at the top near the Disclaimer. It would be much easier reading for you. Say, I'm looking at trying to work for Kodak. What's the real estate situation in Rochester like?

2. Dave Gay points out my errors.

>From Wed May 15 09:45:23 1996


I am afraid that your information about how BSE has been dealt with in
the UK is inaccurate, or at least years out of date.

> On Mad Cow Disease;

>   The other night, some MDs and I were at a Pub. The staff neuro
> surgeon raised an interesting point. It turns out that the Mad Cow
> Disease that is afflicting the Beef herd in Britain has a human
> analog, Creutzfelt-Jacob Disease, which is a neuro tissue infection
> that kills humans.  The disease is passed from cow to human by
> eating insufficiently cooked neuro tissue, usually in ground beef.

There presently is no scientific evidence linking the two diseases
yet.  It is presently being studied, but it is much to early to draw
any conclusions.  The acknowledgement of the existance of the study is
what started the recent media induced panic.

>   There is a move afoot to wipe out the entire British herd because
> of this, but the cows themselves get the disease because they are
> fed sheep offal, and an organism called scabies in the sheep brain
> and spinal tissue (which is mostly harmless to the sheep) becomes
> Mad Cow Disease in the cow.

Currently, they are trying to decide how large the cull should be.
Most acknowledge that the whole herd is not necessary.  The debate is
over how to pay for cull and how to decide which cattle or herds
should be culled.

The actual cause of BSE, CJD and scabies is unknown.  The current
thought is that it is caused by prions or bad prions.  These are a
protein in the brain. Unfortunately, I am not sure of their function
or how they cause the deterioration in the brain tissue.

In 1979 or 1980, when BSE was noticed by the government, these
practices were made illegal.  Sheep offal has not been fed to cattle
since then.  The cow brain and spinal column have been kept out of the
human food chain for a similar amount of time.  The new cases of CJD
we are seeing in Britain could be from this time.

> So the question is, why destroy the beef herd if you don't also
> alter the feedstock given the beef? As of yet there has been no call
> to wipe out the sheep herd which has been known to be scabies
> infested for at least 200 years.

The problem is that the other European countries don't test for BSE at
all.  So it is not clear that beef from other sources is any safer.

A major portion of the problem is self inflicted.  There is a very
British attitude about how people relate to one another.  For example,
if your neighbour is having a party and his stereo is too loud, all
you do is call the police.  When the dairy and beef industries were
hit with this problem, they expected the government to tell them what
to do.  They could have easily set up a system to deal with in the mid
70's.  This would have solved the problem and the industry as a whole
could have paid for it themselves.

This also has lead to attempts to sell BSE infected cattle on to
slaughterhouses, because it is the only way to get money for them.
With no effective policing or self policing the problem has been

The sheep with scabies are destroyed.  This has been happening for a
long time now.  I am not sure when this started.

Basically, the situtation is largely media induced panic, forcing the
government to do too much too late.

>> Steve, since I wrote this originally, I have read an article
written by an MD for the general public.  His conclusions are
basically the same as what I wrote here.  The problem as really been
under control since 1989-1990, and any cases that could have occured
from eating BSE infected beef would take 5-10 years to show up.  So,
if you ate British Beef (especially ground meat) during the mid to
late '80's, it is too late to do anything about it now.

Before, this year the dominate group to get CJD was retired Anglican
Ministers in Kent (southeast England).

   David H. Gay                               email:
   Royal Institution of Great Britain
   21 Albemarle Street                        Phone:  +44 (0)171-409-2992
   LONDON W1X 4BS, UK                         Fax:    +44 (0)171-629-3569

3. Jeff Thorne provides further instruction.

>From Wed May 15 10:42:08 1996

Hi Stevey,

I thought I'd let you know what little I know about "Mad Cow" disease because
I think you got it wrong in your last issue.

Except for some annoying html stuff, you wrote:

> On Mad Cow Disease;
>  The other night, some MDs and I were at a Pub. The staff neuro surgeon raised
>an interesting point. It turns out that the Mad Cow Disease that is afflicting
>Beef herd in Britain has a human analog, Creutzfelt-Jacob Disease, which is a
>neuro tissue infection that kills humans.  The disease is passed from cow to hu
>by eating insufficiently cooked neuro tissue, usually in ground beef.
>  There is a move afoot to wipe out the entire British herd because of this, but
>the cows themselves get the disease because they are fed sheep offal, and an
>organism called scabies in the sheep brain and spinal tissue (which is mostly
>harmless to the sheep) becomes Mad Cow Disease in the cow.
>So the question is, why destroy the beef herd if you don't also alter the feed stock
>given the beef? As of yet there has been no call to wipe out the sheep
>herd which has been known to be scabies infested for at least 200 years.

I heard a good talk about this last week and so I thought I'd let you know
what I think I learned.  Here is my top 10 list of Mad Cow information:

First of all, I believe the disease in sheep is called scrapies and not scabies.

Second, regulations to alter the feedstock given to the cows were passed in Engl
in the late 80's.  The first regulations were not very tight but they
were made extremely tight about 1990.  It's believed that the feedstock
in England is very safe now.  The main reason for this belief is that
English cows born since 1990 have a low incidence of Mad Cow disease
compared to the earlier incidence rates.  For example, the percentage
of 5 year old cows in England in 1992 that had Mad Cow disease is
far higher than the percentage of 5 year old cows that have Mad Cow disease
this year.  So, if you're going to eat English beef, you're probably safe now -
just don't eat beef from any old cows (!).

Third, the worry about Mad Cow disease has become extreme lately because of the
belief that several English people have developed a Creutzfeld-Jacob-like disease
(my spelling is probably wrong here) and the best guess (although far from certa
is that these people got the disease from eating "Mad Cow" beef.  The worry is
justified because these English people have come down with something that
does not (!) seem to exactly be Creutzfeld-Jacod Disease (CJD).  The symptoms
of this new disease and the placques in the human brain are different than
those of CJD.  This fact has been largely missed by the popular press.

Fourth,  almost every country in the world with sheep has sheep with scrapies
(New Zealand is among the few places where sheep have not been found with scrapi
There is no evidence that humans can get CJD or a CJD-like disease from eating
scrapies infected sheep even though such evidence has been intensely sought.

Fifth,  Mad Cow disease is not confined to England.  About 1% of the cases
have been found in Europe and the actual percentage of cases of Mad Cow
disease that are not in Europe may be higher because Mad Cow disease
cases are more likely to be reported in England than in other countries.  Mad
Cow disease has not been found in the U.S.  One cow in Canada apparently had
Mad Cow disease but this is not a reason for concern because the cow had
recently been imported from England.

Sixth, the cause of scrapies in sheep and Mad Cow disease in cows and CJD-like
disease in humans is probably not best described as an organism.  The best
but not conclusive evidence is that a protein is the infectious particle.
>From a genetic standpoint, this is bizarre and it may be the most interesting
aspect of the diseases.

Seventh, CJD disease does not seem to be caused by ingesting Mad Cow beef
even though the CJD-like disease does seem to be caused by this.  CJD disease
is found throughout the world but CJD-like disease has been found only in

Eighth, Mad Cow disease seems to be spread (as you mentioned) by cows
eating feed made from sheep infected with scrapies.  Cows do not seem
to "catch" Mad Cow disease from one another.  In contrast, sheep do
seem to "catch" Mad Cow disease from one another.

Ninth, the age-specific
incidence of Mad Cow disease among cows born since the 1990 feed regulations
in England is much lower than the age-specific incidence had been.
But, a few cows in England born since 1990 have developed Mad Cow disease.
The "official" explanation is that these cows have consumed feed produced
before 1990.  I wonder about this.  A friend who used to work in a Wisconsin
feed mill told me that he finds it believable but I don't know enough about
farming to know whether it is.  Do you find this believable Stevey?

Tenth, I leave for England on Monday night but will probably try to avoid
beef even though I think the risks are tiny.  After all, I'm not sure.

>"A short bio for those whose last name starts with M-Z. For those
>who don't respond, I'll write one for you ..."

I don't know all of those whose name starts with M-Z.  I presume the average
bio. is something like:

1. born
2. Was great student at high school and college
3. Went to Grad. School in Physics
4. Got disillusioned and mad at the world.
5. Turned Republican/conservative to punish the world.

hope all is well, Jeff

Ed: You're right, it's scrapies, not scabies. My mistranslation of a Bronx accent.

4. Anita Scripter writes;

>From Wed May 15 20:09:14 1996

My bio.....No physics here..single mom two daughters...All of my problems
stem from having to grow up as Charles Scripter's Older sister...
Gee, I hopt that'll do Steve! Gramps has a new baby horse already, with more
to come. Bye, Anita

5. Paul Campbell writes from the UP

>From Fri May 17 15:23:08 1996
On last-last month's Fix;

"All those whose last name starts with A-L supply a brief bio of

Well, Steve failed to supply something appropriately rude and at least potentially true about me. (sniffle). I didn't make last month's deadline and I've been very busy (and for some reason I think Steve dropped my name off all his mailing lists...guess that's hint enough that I'm a pest and should keep bothering him anyway).

I'm well on track towards a Phud now. We got word from someone with money and power that they will fund a Phud in slurry rheology (ie, can you measure just how thick and rich and slimy your ketchup is?). The company is Newmont Gold. They own mines in Alaska, California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and probably nicer places like Idaho or Montana. So just before he got on the plane, my advisor asked where the mine was at.

Answer: Indonesia

So I have been proverbially sold up a river (I will have to actually go to Indonesia at some point). Pretty much shattered my dreams of spending a few months in a paradise like Montana or Alaska before I graduate and have to find a real job somewhere (maybe general laborer in carpentry...I don't think I'm up to hauling bricks yet).

Grad slave is a sideline. My real business in life is what you could call technological anarchy. See, I believe that one possible "Fix" is social warfare.

Let's take an example. We all know that the reason Steve's rag is so popular is that well, let's just say that if I could simply buy episodes of Babylon 5 and maybe a couple other shows on videotape, I wouldn't need television anymore. If you could get a newspaper that didn't automatically have knee-jerk "militia==criminal conspiracy to overthrow the government" reactions, would you prefer it over the local garbage? What about a news telecast that didn't attempt to simplify all issues down to say "Guns=bad"?

How about privacy? PGP is a good start but it lacks a truly "user friendly" interface for the crowd of "users" who still think VCR's are black magic.

I'll give you three examples of how to "fix" these problems:

1. Cheap, medium bandwidth (50-100kbps) medium range (5-20 miles) wireless modems.

2. Sell a book that explains the guts of cryptology without all the mathematical garbage that makes it nearly indecipherable (Bruce Schneier is doing pretty good in this area).

3. Fix this whole "computers==complex" thing. Produce a real operating system that doesn't require a high end workstation to run reasonably fast and doesn't require a whopping 2 CD set just for the binaries.

4. Insurance or medical business. Everyone's whining about the problems but I haven't seen anyone yet try to do anything about it.

Somebody is going to do this stuff eventually some day. Might as well be you instead of Bill Gates or our comrades^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hfriends in the federal government. At least there won't be as many strings attached.

Personal details...I'm all but hitched once again but we're putting it off until we're both out of college. I actually learned something from other people in that respect. I choose not to believe Steve entirely when it comes to women. But he was right on when it came to the first close encounter with womenkind.

I am not, repeat not, a Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian. I have been told that my views are called "conservative". I guess that may be true. After all, if you were to classify me by any political bent, you could call me a constitutionalist. I guess if you wanted to gauge my philosophy, then figure on me being somewhat more conservative than losers like Charles Scripter, who is essentially a liberal Jeffersonian Democrat with tendencies to shoot a loonicrat first and debate the issue over beer when the corpse is still warm.

Uhh...met Steve when he was visiting Charles Scripter.

Anything else Steve says about me is probably true but I deny it anyway.

On last month's Fix;

1. Bio sketches for readers M-Z, or I'll make them up.

Guess I fall under that category since first name starts with P (no mention of first/last name this time). See above.

2. In light of Robert Reich's comments, a multiple choice test - short answer:

Well, I can't quite top Robert Reich. Guess the short answer is that an "economic system" has no purpose. People engage in certain activities in order to get the things they want or need. Economists just lump it all together and call it an "economic system". Then they make pretty charts and confuse the issue so much that nobody really understands it in the first place and economists are least likely to understand the "economic system". Also, I've answered this one before in more long-winded fashion when I quoted a huge section of one of Robert J. Ringer's books when this was still the Detroit News, but I don't have the issue lying around anymore and the archives I saw online only go back to 1994.

As for part 2..that's also tricky. Government is instituted for three purposes: mutual defense; to provide a less violent forum for protecting your rights from your neighbor than beating the crap out of each other; and to transfer as much wealth from your pocket to others as possible. (See The Law by Frederic Bastiat for details). The term "US" is however very ambiguous (see Hooven & Allison Co. v. Evatt, 324 US 652 [1944] for details.) The de jure United States of America government was ostensibly created for only the first two. The de facto United States government was created only for the third purpose (e.g. In Re Fred Whitaker).

The long winded version: in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. Bastiat questioned whether some of the taxation provisions did in fact invoke the third purpose (see The Law and compare with ).

6. John Johnson would prefer a new email address.

>From Fri May 17 13:35:23 1996


Please change my address to (I am only retrieving
OLD email from that address today, because became which
now has moved to santa fe and is much faster!)

(Let me know how the speed seems to you!)

    John Johnson                               (505)424-7772 (H)
    505 Oppenheimer #516                       (505)665-4054 (W)
    Los Alamos, NM 87544                       (505)690-7093 (C)             
     "You have to ask yourself one question 'Do I feel lucky?'
                        Well... do you... punk?"

7. Sheryl writes;

>From RSC!RSC! Mon May 20 11:39:10 1996

In an effort to save my reputation I chose to write my own bio since I can
only imagine what Steve would write.
I graduated from high school in 2 years with huge dreams and hopes of
becoming a very famous doctor (after all since I grew up down the street
from the world famous Mayo Clinic I was almost forced to dream this way)-no
one informed me of the dangers of financial aid or student loans or taking a
class load of 19 credits.  So, after reality set in and a few stops 
restarts and wrong turns, in 1991 I graduated from Winona State University
with a BA in Math Education and Statistics.  A long way off from Mayo
Clinic.  I taught 7th grade math for two years and have vowed to never have
a teenager in the house and promptly quit to enjoy the easy money of real
estate.  WRONG AGAIN!!!!  So, now I find myself in the accounting department
of ShowCase Corporation a very progressive software company.  Last year we
were rated 36th fastest growing privately held company by Inc 500.  At
ShowCase we design tools to work with the AS400-have you heard of one of
those?  Now, we are trying to erupt into the marketplace with a Data
Warehousing and Multi dimensional Database Solution going head to head with
Microsoft's Data Warehousing division.   We've sunk everything into this
venture so it better work!!!  Other than working at ShowCase, I live with
Steve and I love to rollerblade and work on my house.
 My dreams have changed quite a few times but now I just strive to be able
to go back to school and get my MBA from anywhere reputable so I can prove
to myself I actually did it.

On a lighter note, I was watching the news last Weds night and they
announced that Rochester will be hiring more police officers to concentrate
their efforts in the SE area of town since that is where the "bad"
neighborhoods are.   There went my property value!!  This not only
thoroughly pissed me off, I am at a loss for how I am going to convince
myself I now live in the ghetto.  I guess these people should travel to some
actual scary places-Don't you!!!!


8. Kerry Neef makes a long awaited appearence.

>From Wed May 22 14:13:26 1996


Here is the requested bio.  Since you're interviewing people to replace you,
you had better arrange a trip down to Mayo Scottsdale before they throw your
rear out the door.  If you're good, I won't even make you dig landscaping holes
in this concrete they call dirt down here.

Kerry J. Neef
wife - Chris
son - Stuart (3)
daughter - Adrienne (13 months)
cat - mozer (9)

Grew up in Wisconsin.  The good life ended when my father bought my
grandfather's bee business when I was in 7th grade.  We moved to Pardeeville,
WI and I became a beekeeper's slave...

Escaped to the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1981.

Acquire Steve Langer as a friend to be named later when I traded dormmate Kris
Kittel for Jeff Thorne.  Picked up Tom Hall as pet -> friend -> roommate after
he finds out Jeff has an Apple II computer.

Steve tries to get Jeff, Tom and me sued by flooding our neighbors apartment
when he holds a hot tub party in the parking lot of our apartment.

Receive BSCS from UW - Madison and go to work for Bell Laboratories in
Naperville, IL.

Complete MSCS at University of Spoiled Children (USC) as part of the AT&T one
year on campus (OYOC) program in 1987.

Leave the Labs after 9 years for Motorola in Arlington Heights, IL.
 Transferred with Motorola to Scottsdale, AZ November of last year.

The decision not to get a PHD was easy for me.  AT&T gave me a 25% raise for
the masters.  The automatic increment for the PHD was 0%.  Of course, had I
gotten a physics PHD, it might have been a different story *8^>...


Kerry J. Neef
Motorola Inc., 8201 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85252
Tel: (602)441-4707                 Email:

Quotes(s) of the month:

He who knows nought, and knows not that he knows nought, is a fool. Shun him.

He who knows nought, but knows that he knows nought, is a student. Teach him.

He who knows, but knows not that he knows, is asleep. Wake him.

He who knows and knows that he knows is a leader. Follow him.

-- Unknown

Fix of the month:

What would be the best way to finance state and national elections?



1. Twin Cities, 14 May: A 28 year old man, angered that his girlfriend aborted his fetus, retroactively aborted (shot) her 18 month old daughter from another father before killing himself.

2. Twin Cities, 14 May: The Make a Wish Foundation is in trouble with animal rights lovers. "Make a Wish", a group that tries to make last wishes come true for terminal children, was trying to honor the request of a Twin Cities teen who would like to complete a Kodiak Bear hunt before he dies. Actor Pierce Brosnan offered the kid the chance to spend a week on the set of the next James Bond movie, but the boy held on and Make a Wish paid for the $4000 bear hunt in Alaska's Aleution Islands.


1. Pontiac, May 14: Jack Kavorkain was aquitted for the third time in the assisted suicide of two women.

2. Jackson, 26 May: Due to disagreements among various interests, today's Indianapollis 500 will actually see mostly rookies on the speedway, while the sport's great names will be racing at the Michigan International Speedway.


1. St Louis, May 2: Patty and Paul Mueller were eating supper with their children when a dozen armed men in black uniforms kicked in their doors, threatened to shoot the dog, and threw Paul Mueller to the ground while they pinned his arms behind his back. At this time they identified themselves as ATF. After questioning Paul and Patty for nearly an hour, and sacking the house looking for weapons, the ATF left, leaving bedlam in their wake. Patty found out from the local police department that a drug suspect, in a plea bargain attempt, told police that his partners, guns, and cash were at the Mueller address. Since the suspect knew the neighborhood, he was able to describe the house in detail - which was enough "evidence" for the local judge to issue a no-knock warrent to the ATF. The Mueller's are suing for damages and an apology. The commanding officer of the St. Louis ATF branch said they will apologise, but have no intention of paying damages.

Wash. D.C.

1. 24 May: In an election year conversion, Clinton has said that he will sign a Rep. authored bill that seeks to ban legal recognition of same sex marriages. While the gay lobby is currently outraged, it seems likely that they will still vote for Clinton in the fall - after all - the alternative is Dole.

2. 23 May: While their boss was in Wisconsin voicing his admiration for that state's welfare plan (which has drastically reduced the number on the doll) and claiming that he would seek similar national legislation, Clinton Spokesperson Mike McCurty said, "We don't know what is in their plan and would have to study it before we could recommend legislation."

3. May 25: Clinton's attorney Bob Bennet has advised his client to stand on Commander in Chief privelage to avoid being compelled to testify in Travel Gate and the Paula Jones sexual harrassment cases.

4. May 23: Senate Rep. Alphonse D'Amato (New York), admitting that progress was slow in the Whitewater investigation, has shut down hearings in the affair and is commencing writing his summary findings. Meanwhile, the jury in Little Rock trying the McDougals and Arkansas Govnr. Jim "Guy" Tucker for their part in Whitewater, has asked the judge for instructions since they are not sure what the accused are being charged with.

5. May 28: The supreme Court has decided that tobacco companies must release their corporate research databases to investigators to facillitate research in a class action lawsuit. The suit contends that tobacco companies knowingly manipulated nicotine levels in their products to hook users.

Ed: Wouldn't this count as self-incrimination? And, did the tobacco industry learn nothing from the confetti blizzard that occured in the Rose Law firm when Hillary learned of the Whitewater investigation?

Net News;

1. From Joe in Atlanta, a poser.
>From Wed May 15 23:53:08 1996
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 23:53:01 -0400
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
From: (Joe Nottoli)
Subject: Graduate philosophy jokes...

Here's the ultimate ethical dilema - I haven't figured this one out yet. At
least it's good for a laugh (if I can't muster the mental strength to solve

>From: Eric Roenker 
>Subject: Graduate philosophy jokes...
>>>>Don't read it too fast!
>>>>> Ethicists,
>>>>> I couldn't help thinking about this during our discussion in yesterday's
>>>>> class.  It's a good joke, but it also says something about hypothetical
>>>>> moral dilemmas.
>>>>> So what would Kant say about this?
>>>>>         Consider the following case:  A brain in a vat is at the
>>>>>wheel of a
>>>>> runaway trolley, approaching a fork in the track.  The brain is hooked up
>>>>> to the trolley in such a way that the brain can determine which course the
>>>>> trolley will take.  There are only two options: the right side of the fork
>>>>> or the left side.  There is no way to derail or stop the trolley, and the
>>>>> brain is aware of this.  On the right side of the track there is a single
>>>>> railroad worker, Jones, who will definitely be killed if the brain steers
>>>>> the trolley to the right.  If Jones lives he will go on to kill five men
>>>>> for the sake of thirty orphans (on of the five men he will kill is
>>>>> to destroy a bridge that the orphans' bus will be crossing later that
>>>>> night).  One of the orphans who will be killed would have grown up to
>>>>> become a tyrant who made good, utilitarian men do bad things, another
>>>>> have become John Sununu, and a third would have invented the pop-top can.
>>>>>         If the brain in the vat chooses the left side of the track, the
>>>>> trolley will definitely hit and kill another railman, Leftie, and will hit
>>>>> and destroy ten beating hearts on the track that would have been
>>>>> transplanted into ten patients at the local hospital who will die without
>>>>> the donor hearts.  These are the only hearts available, and the brain is
>>>>> aware of this.  If the railman on the left side lives, he, too, will kill
>>>>> five men -- in fact, the same five that the railman on the right would
>>>>> kill.  However, Leftie will kill the five as an unintended consequence of
>>>>> saving ten men: he will inadvertently kill the five men as he rushes the
>>>>> ten hearts to the local hospital for transplantation.  A further result of
>>>>> Leftie's act is that the busload of orphans will be spared.  Among
>>>>>the five
>>>>> men killed by Leftie is the man responsible for putting the brain at the
>>>>> controls of the trolley.  If the ten hearts and Leftie are killed by the
>>>>> trolley, the ten prospective heart-transplant patients will die and their
>>>>> kidneys will be used to save the lives of twenty kidney-transplant
>>>>> patients, one of whom will grow up to cure cancer and one of whom
>>>>>will grow
>>>>> up to be Hitler.  There are other kidneys and dialysis machines available,
>>>>> but the brain does not know this.
>>>>>         Assume that the brain's choice, whatever it turns out to be, will
>>>>> serve as an example to other brains in vats, and thus the effects of its
>>>>> decision will be amplified.  Also assume that if the brain chooses the
>>>>> right side of the fork, an unjust war free of war crimes will ensue,
>>>>> whereas if the brain chooses the left fork, a just war fraught with war
>>>>> crimes will result.  Furthermore, there is an intermittently active
>>>>> Cartesian demon deceiving the brain in such a way that the brain is never
>>>>> sure if it is being deceived.
>>>>>         Question:  Ethically speaking, what should the brain do.  Justify
>>>>> your answer.
>>>>> [Taken from Harper's Magazine, May 1996; originally appeared in in bOING
>>>>> bOING, a quarterly published in Los Angeles]

2. Finally, some of the attitudes that one faces as a new physicist. [Since these are from the medical physics mailing server (an open forum) I didn't feel it necessary to get permission.] The second note is particulary interesting for several reasons: a) The author thinks that 100 applicants per position (and in my experience its closer to 2-300) is not too bad; b) He feels good that his department has limited its enrollment to 10~15 a year, neglecting to dicuss Wayne State's reputation as a med phys mill that turns out 25~30 graduates per year; c) If students don't get a job, its their fault (after all they didn't get a job, ergo they were bad students); d) Students get clinical training (finally and about damn time); e) If you come from an accredited institution, you get job offers that are never even posted (thank you old boy network and by the way, Wayne is having problems getting re-accredited).

The author of the third note is also astute enough to take issue with the second author.

Subject:      Life's tough all over
To: Multiple recipients of list MEDPHYS 

I thought it was bad with 100 applications per Med Physicist job listing so
I'll pass along a conversation overheard at a party over the weekend.  I
hobnobbed with a high energy physicist (PhD) who's been out of work for a
year.  (Unemployment's run out so I don't know how he's getting by.)  The
best offer he's had was a "tenure-track for $7/hr."  Also there was a
humanities specialist who's seen up to 1000 applications/job offer.  She was
featured in a recent US News & World Report article on this topic.
(Fortunately it gave her good exposure and she found employment.)

There must be a lot of unemployed Wayne State graduates.


Subject:      Life's Tough all Over
To: Multiple recipients of list MEDPHYS 

It's good to see that Medical Physics is not yet suffering as much as other
professions in the job market. Interestingly, our Wayne State graduates do
not seem to be doing as poorly as most--all of our good graduates get jobs
before or just after graduation, and almost all the others find positions
within about 3-6 months. There have been very few exceptions, and these have
always been the very weekest students. Also, several of our recent foreign
graduates have decided to return to their countries of origin where jobs
were waiting for them, although that might not have been their original
intention. To my knowledge, only one or two of those students who have
graduated are without jobs.
One thing we have done in response to the poor jobs situation is to restrict
admission to our MS and PhD programs to only about 10-15 per year. In
addition we have instituted a Clinical Physics Internship mandatory course,
which the students find very rewarding and which has been invaluable to them
in their job searching. The students work at least 24 hrs. per week as
Assistant Medical Physicists for at least one semester. This culminates with
a 1-hr. Oral Exam and, if passed, a Diploma. We also instituted about 3
years ago, a full one-semester Treatment Planning course for those students
who plan to go into Therapy Physics, and this has  helped with jobs
Finally, it does't hurt to graduate from an Accredited Program and to have
passed Part 1 of the Boards. I very frequently get phone calls asking me to
nominate some of our graduating students for open jobs that are not going to
be advertised, and I expect this is true of other Accredited programs.

Wayne State University
Detroit, MI.

Subject:      Life is tough, it has been and still is.
To: Multiple recipients of list MEDPHYS 

It seems to me that the job situation is bad in our profession.  Let
us not put our heads in the sand.  I know quite a few senior colleaques
(high pay) replaced by younger (and cheaper) "physicists" around the
country.  In fact, one happened in my backyard, Ft. Lauderdale, just 3
months ago.  Salary reduction is the talk of the town.  I doubt that
any job is secure and everlasting.

Producing a cheaper labor force may help the national debt and help
keeping the health cost down.  But, at a personal level, my friends
(could even be myself) are losing their jobs !!!  Colin, some of these
senior medical physicists, who are facing cut backs, are your friends,
too.  Let's not foreget that this great Country lives on a Supply and
Demand principle.  That is what makes this economy tic.

How on earth can you say that you have cut down the class sizes to 10 - 15
MS or PHD students PER YEAR!  That is not CUTTING DOWN.  That is a huge
number !!!  Did you do a job market survey in good faith?  Poling the
training program directors is not a reliable source of information.  What
do you expect them to say, " ... my students could not get jobs? ..."

And, it is easier to get jobs while your are young and "cheap".  There are
always jobs available for cheap labor, especially in areas where your
specialty is so unique and no one else in the hospital can judge your
performance.  Most hospital administrators do not have a clue what a
medical physicist should do or could do.  In a small hospital, medical
physicists are viewed as another pair of hands in dosimetry, or un-qualified
physician's (radiation oncologist's) assistants, or some kind of a

This situation is very serious.  There is no way to demonstrate Quality
in a medical physicist.  Board certification is often treated as a
"pass-word" for clinical experience, but is it not.  It is a far cry from
it.  However, most hiring administrators are not aware of this.

In fact, if a $40,000 physicist can perform the daily routines as a
$100,000 physicist, it would be crazy for the administrator to keep the
$100,000 person.  In past situations, I cannot recommend a hospital to hire
a $80,000 PHD physicist while a $40,000 candidate is available.  A recent
hiring by a free standing hospital in Miami area got a PHD (20 years
experience, ABR certified) physicist for $60,000. What a bargin !!!  You can
go back to the AAPM salary survey and find all kinds of numbers.  But, the
fact of the matter is : many high salary clinical physicists are in trouble.

Hope that I am wrong and the picture is rosier than what I put here.


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