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Daily Bulletin


University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Thursday, June 13, 1996

Correction to the Gazette

Yesterday's Gazette said (on page 3) that Morris Tchir is becoming chair of UW's chemistry department on July 1. Quite wrong. Terry McMahon continues as chair of the department. The fact is that Tchir is taking over July 1 as associate dean (undergraduate affairs) for the faculty of science. In that office he succeeds Hugh Morrison, who is retiring.

Barbecue, and other parties

They certainly have a nice day for it: staff in the faculty of arts will hold their seventh annual barbecue at noontime today, by the Laurel Creek fireplace. Besides being a chance for people in widely scattered departments to see each other, this year's barbecue serves a second purpose -- as a farewell party for Jake Willms, assistant to the dean of arts, who's retiring.

The registrar's office holds a reception this afternoon, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the University Club, to honour four staff members who are taking early retirement: Bruce Pinder, Steve Little, Jim Boniface and Trevor Boyes.

And the physics department holds a dinner tonight at the Waterloo Inn in honour of eight people who are retiring. The guests of honour are Pim Vatter-Fitzgerald, Hugh Morrison, Jack Kruuv, Arden Haner, John Grindlay, Phil Eastman, Ted Dixon, and Jim Corbett.

Court decision on decency

A federal court in Philadelphia yesterday granted an injunction against the so-called "Communications Decency Act", which is on its way to a full test in the United States Supreme Court.

The Act makes imposes fines and prison terms on anyone who "by means of a telecommunications device knowingly -- (i) makes, creates, or solicits, and (ii) initiates the transmission of, any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or indecent, knowing that the recipient of the communication is under 18 years of age". In other words, it's about sex on the Internet. The court said the law is too vague to be enforceable as an exception to the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

The ruling by a panel of three judges includes a long and lucid description of just what the Internet is, including this interesting paragraph:

The nature of the Internet is such that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to determine its size at a given moment. It is indisputable, however, that the Internet has experienced extraordinary growth in recent years. In 1981, fewer than 300 computers were linked to the Internet, and by 1989, the number stood at fewer than 90,000 computers. By 1993, over 1,000,000 computers were linked. Today, over 9,400,000 host computers worldwide, of which approximately 60 percent located within the United States, are estimated to be linked to the Internet. This count does not include the personal computers people use to access the Internet using modems. In all, reasonable estimates are that as many as 40 million people around the world can and do access the enormously flexible communication Internet medium. That figure is expected to grow to 200 million Internet users by the year 1999.

Walking the Web at Waterloo (1)

Herewith, the first in a summer series of strolls through Web pages and links at UW. Their purpose: to point out some tools, quirks and triumphs in Waterloo's Web space, especially things that newer users may not be aware of. The starting point is the UWinfo home page at http://www.uwaterloo.ca, although of course it's possible to begin one's Web exploration from pretty near anywhere.

If you choose "General information", the second link on the home page (right after the Daily Bulletin), you'll see a page called "About the University of Waterloo", which is maintained here in the office of information and public affairs. You can scroll past the Canadian flag and Ontario logo, and past the general description of UW's programs (intended for outsiders wondering just what a Waterloo is), to the heading "People at Waterloo". "Senior administrative officers, past and present". That link leads to the page at http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infoipa/senior.html, which is indeed a list of UW's former presidents, associate provosts and other poohbahs. It reports, for example, that Jim Bater was dean of environmental studies from January 1984 until his successor arrived in June 1992.

Wondering who Jim Bater is and what he's doing now? The place to look on the Web is UWdir, a searchable database of Waterloo staff, faculty and students. You can reach UWdir either by going back one step from "Senior administrative officers", back to the "About UW" page, where you'll see a UWdir link right above "Senior administrative officers", or by going all the way back to the UWinfo home page, where the UWdir link is on the third line.

Either way, you'll then need to choose "Directory query" -- in this case "simple" will do just fine -- and then enter the name "Bater" to see who there is at UW with that name these days. If you also test out UWdir with your own name, and don't like what you find, you can look under "UWdir documentation" (just below "Directory query") on the page) to find out where the information about you came from and how you can get it changed.

I'll suggest another Web Walk tomorrow, or whenever the Daily Bulletin has room for it.

Chris Redmond -- credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
(519) 888-4567 ext. 3004

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