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  •                                 NETFUTURE
    
                Technology and Human Responsibility for the Future
    
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    Issue #7       Copyright 1996 O'Reilly & Associates      February 14, 1996
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                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
    
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    
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    ####  Don't forget the $5000 SPIDER OR FLY? deadline: April 30, 1996  ####
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    CONTENTS:
    *** Eating spam in the House and Senate
          But our representatives are fighting back
    *** Declaration of mindlessness in cyberspace
          Is the Net the current drug of choice?
    *** Committing ourselves to tinkerers (Stephen L. Talbott)
          When emptiness rules
    *** A quick guide to the politics of cyberspace, pt. 2 (Richard Sclove)
          The cybernetic Wal-Mart effect and other concerns
    *** Web chaos and personal responsibility (Dale Lehman)
          The real problem is dehumanization
    *** Sour grapes from Mr. Ciolek (Chris Howard)
          The web may compare favorably to TV and newspapers
    *** Going with the flow (Kevin Jessup)
          From Luddite to Extropian
    *** Soft speech on the Net (Carl Wittnebert)
          The transforming potential of restraint
    *** Monks consecrate cyberspace (Eleanor Wynn)
          Monastery participates in `24 Hours in Cyberspace'
    *** It may be too late (John Thienes)
          NETFUTURE is a contrary zephyr in an arctic gale
    *** About this newsletter
    

    *** Eating spam in the House and Senate

    Electronic democracy advocates are celebrating the new "Mailbot" service that allows us, with a single keystroke, to distribute an email message to every emailable member of the U.S. House and Senate. Of course, when they do that to us, it's called "spamming." But that, I suppose, is only because there's a slight presumption that you and I might occasionally have to read our email. No such presumption is necessary for our elected representatives--at least, we should hope not, if we would like them to get any work done. And, indeed, the Mailbot announcement I came across mentioned that "you will get a lot of (automated) acknowledgments from Congress."

    So, our bots are talking to their bots in the electronic agora. Pericles, rest easy; the prospects for self government are looking up.

    SLT

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    *** Declaration of mindlessness in cyberspace

    Following the signing of the telecommunications bill, John Perry Barlow, former Grateful Dead songwriter and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, issued "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace." It begins,

    Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovere