The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 3, 1997 · Page 10
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December 3, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 10

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Wednesday, December 3, 1997
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THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAYDECEMBER 3, 1997 9A 8A THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY. DECEMBER 3, 1997 First steps taken to raise, save Civil War's Monitor On-line leaders vow to help police child porn 1996 Communications Decency! To my mind, (the Monitor is) on the 'level with the Wright brothers' airplane. It was certainly the most important naval technological development of the 19th century worldwide. ' Act The conference has brought together hundreds of on-line, tin-dustry officials, children's advo cates, law enforcement oraciais and civil libertarians JAMES FERTIUS DEKAY Naval historian Since the law aimed -cats shielding children from the seedy side of the Internet was declared! unconstitutional, Congress has been inclined to see if the industry can clean up cyberspace itself, said Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R,-ya. However, he urged "vigorqus enforcement" of existing lasf against obscenity and child ex The New York Times ".,n The federal government is taking its first major steps to save what remains of the Monitor, one of history's most celebrated warships, now a mass of deteriorating wood and metal, half buried in sand, 230 feet down in treacherous waters off Cape Hatteras, N.C. ' Experts said the famous ship could fall apart at any time. So, the government 'proposing to lift about a quarter of it, including the engine, the propeller, the massive iron turret, two 9-foot guns and some of the heavy armor belt that still girds the sunken warship. The artifacts would be treated to try to reverse the corrosive effects of time and sea water, then displayed in a museum. ' 1t As schoolchildren know, the Monitor was an ironclad gunship whose advanced design changed the course of history. It fought a famous Civil War .battle off Hampton Roads, Va., against another ironclad, the Confederate ship Virginia, formerly the U.S.S. Merrimack. Later, the Monitor foundered off North ' Carolina, but its success marked the end bf wooden men-of-war and the beginning "of the age of armored battleships. . "Within two days of learning the news from Hampton Roads, the Royal Navy, the world's preeminent naval force, canceled the construction of all further wooden warships," says James Virginia had started the day before. It was history's first battle between ironclads and the most famous naval engagement of the Civil War. The draw was an important victory for the North because it prevented the Virginia from shattering the Union blockade and helped keep France and Britain out of the war. The South hoped to sell its cotton to Europe in exchange for industrial supplies. After the battle, the major navies of the world quickly copied the Monitor's design, building ironclad warships equipped with propellers and revolving gun turrets. Instantly obsolete were tall ships carrying up to 120 guns and anywhere from 500 to 1,200 men. Late the following December, after repairs and much feting in Washington, the Monitor was heading south for blockade duty off Wilmington, N.C, ... when it encountered gales and turbulent seas off Cape Hatteras, an area notorious for treacherous weather. Foundering, she went down on Dec. 31, 1862, exactly 11 months after her launching. Lost were 16 crewmen and the ship's cat, which a sailor had tried to shelter in the barrel of one of the guns. For more than a century, the ship lay in an area known as the graveyard of the Atlantic, so numerous are the Fertius deKay, a naval historian, in Monitor, a popular history of the warship re centiy published by Walker & Co. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which guards the venerated wreck in a marine sanctuary off Cape Hatteras, presented the proposed recovery plan to Congress on Nov. 6. Officially, the options include simply trying to preserve the Monitor in place and hauling it up completely, which would cost more than $50 million. Trying to pinch pennies, the agency is proposing a compromise that would save the Monitor's turret and some of the ship's stern, which are wasting away after more than a century , of briny and human abuse. Though limited in scope, the proposed action would still cost more than $22 million, making the venture a ' hard sell financially and politically. Experts said that nothing so ambitious has ever before been tried by marine archeologists; no scholarly recovery effort has been done in such deep water and been so extensive. A similar effort in 1959 raised the Vasa, a Swedish warship that sank in Stockholm harbor in 1628. But it lay in water only 100 feet deep, about the limit for recreational scuba divers and less than half as deep as the Monitor's resting place. Despite the cost and difficulty of saving the ironclad, many experts, in- ' ; V ' ' I, f ik I ' vi K J MB" .; (i iVrf . ploitation, industry omciais w law enforcement agents pledge gerous place for children, a summit committee confirmed in a report issued Tuesday. It told how pedophiles use on-line chat rooms to lure children into physical meetings and child pornog-raphers exchange obscene materials through cyberspace. In addition, children can easily access X-rated Web sites, either accidentally or purposely. Obscene material that is illegal to buy even in adult bookstores can be found by children on the Internet, warned Donna Rice Hughes of Enough Is Enough, an anti-pornography group participating in the summit Hughes and other children's advocates said on-line service providers should do more to ban obscene materials from their services. Just as a convenience store can choose not to carry pornographic magazines, an online service provider can choose not to provide links to X-rated on-line sites, said Bruce Taylor of the National Law Center. At the urging of the Clinton administration, the summit was conceived last summer after the Supreme Court struck down the called a "love-fest" for Internet businesses had earlier stressed that parents should be educated to use technology, such as software filters, to control what their children see on their computer screens. Gore congratulated the industry on the technological advances, but said that the "solutions must actually work in experience and lives of families." Solutions must bridge "a techno-generation gap" where children are often more computer-competent than their parents are, Gore said. So the parental control devices "must become as commonplace and as easy to use as the remote control on the TV" he said. Gore said the Department of Education is issuing a "Parents Guide to the Internet" to help them establish and enforce online limits for their children. The vice president said the government also will finance a toll-free telephone hot line where parents could report suspicious Internet activity. Gore said the Internet should be a safer place for children as a result of the industry's coopera- .Providers say they will remove child porn when they find it on ; their services. By Bob Dart Palm Beach Post Washington Bureau .. WASHINGTON On-line industry leaders promised Tuesday to help law enforcement "agencies crack down on pornog-raphers and pedophiles who prey on children on the Internet ; On-line service providers will immediately remove child pornography when they find it on their services and will "cooperate fully" with law enforcement agencies to prosecute perpetrators, said Steven Case, president of America Online. The announcement of the "zero tolerance" policy came at the Internet Online Summit for Kids as Vice President Al Gore warned industry leaders they "must do more" to protect the 10 million children who now travel in cyberspace and the millions more who venture on line each year. , The three-day summit which conservative critics have action on that front. John Ryan, an America Onlih' official, said major on-line seryfa providers - including Microsoft time to work up to the word crisis. You don't want to do the Chicken Little thing. But I think we honesdy have a crisis on our hands. Every season counts. We have to assume that any season could be our last." The U.S.S. Monitor was built in New York and launched into the East River on Jan. 30, 1862; it measured 172 feet long. An emergency project to help counter Southern shipping, the ship was ridiculed by Union skeptics as an iron coffin and by Confederate seamen as a 'Yankee cheese box on a raft." That judgment changed on March 9, 1862. In die waters near Hampton Roads, Va., where the James River meets the Chesapeake Bay, the Monitor, with 58 crewmen on board, fought a four-hour duel with the Confederate ship Virginia, a steam frigate covered with iron plates. Neither ship sank the other. But the Monitor decisively stopped a bloody rampage against Union ships that the eluding naval historians and marine archaeologists, applaud the proposed recovery as almost obligatory. "It's time to do something," said Richard W. Lawrence, undersea archeolo-gist for the state of North Carolina. "We've studied options for two decades. It's time to go ahead and take action." DeKay said a rescue mission was overdue. "It is a vastiy important American artifact," he said in an interview. 'To my mind, it's on the level with the Wright brothers' airplane. It was certainly the most important naval technological development of the 19th century worldwide." John D. Broadwater, manager of the Monitor sanctuary, said the legendary ship was fading fast. "Every time we send down a diver, another deck plate has fallen away," he said in an interview. "It's taken us a long Compuserve and AT&T have me with the Justice Department, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FBI, Secret bervice, Interpol an Customs Service to plan - Vice President Al Gore joins children at a computer while attending Tuesday's conference in Washington. - "result-oriented" campaign against on-line criminals who Exploit children. As a first step, this "safety forum" will distribute a videotape, to local police to prepare the "average officer" to investigate on-line crime, Ryan said. those activities that are illegal, and they will capture and punish those who abuse the Internet to harm and hurt our children," he said. The Internet can be a dan tion with law enforcement agencies and the hot line operated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 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