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  •                                  NETFUTURE
                        Technology and Human Responsibility
    Issue #96      A Publication of The Nature Institute      October 14, 1999
                Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
                         On the Web: http://netfuture.org
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    NETFUTURE is a reader-supported publication.
    Editor's Note
    Quotes and Provocations
       Dangerous Baby Walkers, Dangerous Software?
       Your Food is a Little Bit Safer Today
       Borgmann on the Wonders of the Information Age
       On Constructivism in Education
       The Oral Foundations of Learning (David Abram)
       When Living Becomes an Inconvenience (Phil Walsh)
       On Appropriate Behavior for Machines (Victor Grey)
       The Caller ID Arms Race (Steve Baumgarten)
       If Computers Behaved Like Toilets (David Miller)
    About this newsletter
                                  EDITOR'S NOTE
    My wife Phyllis and I were recently in eastern Canada, courtesy of the
    wonderfully hospitable and engaging Professional Librarians of New
    Brunswick.  On our first day in Moncton, we walked over to the river that
    flows through the center of town, and immediately noticed some rapids a
    little way downstream.  After a few moments the "rapids" were nearer to
    us, and before long we were watching a sizable wave slowly pass us as it
    fought its way upstream.  After awhile the entire river was flowing
    A mystery?  Yes, but with a good explanation:  we had unwittingly timed
    our visit perfectly so as to see the "tidal bore" -- the wave that works
    its way upstream in synchrony with the famous, 35- to 46-foot tides of the
    Bay of Fundy, into which that river flows.  It was a remarkable sight.
    On Friday, October 15, I'll be at a very different venue -- Ellicottville
    in far western New York, where I'll give the banquet address at the
    Eastern Small College Computing Conference.
    ERRATUM:  In NF #95 I gave an incorrect url for the Orion Society.  The
    correct url is:  http://www.orionsociety.org/ .  My apologies for the
    inconvenience.  And I repeat:  The Orion Society is one of the truly good
    things on this planet.
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                             QUOTES AND PROVOCATIONS
    Dangerous Baby Walkers, Dangerous Software?
    This week's story about the risks of baby walkers ought to be a wake-up
    call for those pushing educational software upon children.  The story
    concerns those cute little mobile seats with wheels that allow infants to
    propel themselves around the house in a roughl