The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 3, 1986 · Page 4
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 4

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Friday, January 3, 1986
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Page 4
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Opinion The Salina Journal Friday, January 3,1986 Page 4 THe s Journal Founded in 1871 HARRIS RAYL, Editor and Publisher KAY BERENSON, Executive Editor SCOTT SEIRER, News Editor LARRY MATHEWS, Assistant News Editor LORI BRACK, Weekend Editor JIMHAAG, Night Editor MARY JO PROCHAZKA, Associate Editor Talking together President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev Wednesday sent New Year's messages to the people of each other's nations in simultaneously televised messages from the two leaders. The words were optimistic ones: wishes for "a year of peace," "a safe prospect of peace," "a future of chistoye nyebo (Russian for clear skies) for all mankind." White House officials had emphasized before the telecast that the event was more important than the message. It was the first time U.S. and Soviet leaders had participated in such a television event. The telecast does offer reason for optimism. The exchange came after the Reagan administration had tried without success for nearly a year to obtain permission for the president to address the Soviet people on television. The sudden Soviet agreement 10 days ago came as a surprise to U.S. officials. Coupled with the beginnings of cultural exchanges, such as the coming exchange of exhibits of U.S. and Soviet collections of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, the telecast agreement confirms that the Soviets are interested in reaching out to the American people. The telecast and the cultural agreements must be kept in perspective, however. It is necessary to remember that people don't make wars, governments do. Mistrust between the peoples of two nations has often followed, rather than preceded, hostility between their governments. Better understanding between the American and the Soviet people is all to the good. But the people don't order the bombs. Government leaders do that. Trust between the peoples of the two nations must be accompanied by a willingness of officials at the highest levels of both nations to believe that their counterparts on the other side prefer peace to war. Otherwise all the telecast messages, American performances of the Bolshoi Ballet and international art exhibits will be meaningless. American and Soviet citizens must continue to pressure their leaders for real action on arms control. We, and they, cannot afford to be distracted from that pressing need by nice words that are not accompanied by action. Change We overheard an interesting tidbit last week on NBC's Today show. Seems a woman was wearing a peace symbol at some gathering. She was approached by a man who asked why she was wearing a Mercedes Benz insignia. My, the times, how they are a- changin'. Rose Bowl: Farmer kind of day PASADENA — It isn't the score our team lost by, or even the humiliation that impresses one most. It's the before-dawn to after-dark hard work one endures to get the Rose Bowl experience. After all, Iowa came out here to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl, and represented it very well — losing spectacularly just as the midwest conference team has done 11 out of the last 12 times. It helped for the humiliation to have company, with other powerhouses Penn State, Miami and Nebraska also getting clobbered on New Year's Day. And it was a great experience for my little band of travelers. Peggy had always wanted to see a Rose Bowl parade and I'd always wanted to see a Rose Bowl game and we finally did, after waiting enough years to have a 12-year-old grandson in tow. I look back on it rather like World War II: I wouldn't have missed it for the world; but I'm glad I don't have to do it again. And it's sure hard work. The LA papers were making the usual fun of us hick farmers, but it's a good thing we are. We were up well before milking time New Year's morning and were waiting in the drizzly dark in a Long Beach parking lot for a bus to take us to Pasadena. An hour down the foggy gray freeways with Grandson John asking cynical questions about the Sun Belt, took us to the parade route to join a million other people. Our bleacher seats, when we finally struggled our way into them, in time for the 8:20 a.m. start of the parade, provided an excellent view. Peggy pronounced her satisfaction of a dream come true, despite the constant delays which made it seem overly long from those chilly, hard benches. While Peggy caught a bus back to Long Beach, John and I took another for an hour on to the stadium. Coming down off the gassy Let them know... John McCormally HARRIS NEWS SERVICE SEN. BOB DOLE, SH141 Hart Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. Phone: 202-224-6521. SEN. NANCY KASSEBAUM, 302 Russell Building, Washington, D.C. 20510. Phone: 202-2244774. REP. PAT ROBERTS, 1519 Longworth Building, Washington. D.C. 20515. Phone: 202-225-2715. REP. JIM SLATTERY, 1729 Longworth Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. Phone: 202-225-6601. REP. BOB WmTTAKER, 332 Cannon Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. Phone: 202-225-3911. REP. DAN GLJCKMAN, 2435 Raybum Building, Washington, D.C. 20515. Phone: 202-225-6216. REP. JAN MEYERS, 1407 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515. Phone: 202-225-2865. KMIfflK WHAT VOTE CONE WITHWRSILLYTABLERWNDINS \ftp.YSNDTO) \VKiOSUN\N. Space sighting, universe secrets from Stardust freeways into that green arroyo to that mag- nificient bowl is itself a memorable experience. Even while trekking through parking lots, squirming past porta-potty lines and mobbed hot dog stands, one marvels at the efficiency with which 103,000 people in tens of thousands of vehicles are funneled into so small a spot and then out again in so relatively little time and confusion. Burrowing through a clogged tunnel, one suddenly emerges inside the vast bowl, even on a cloudy day, bright with the gold of Iowa and blue of UCLA. You know about the game and the less said the better. Although you see more and get more facts about what is happening with instant replays on TV, you feel more by being there — the exhilaration, the pain. The packed stadium seems to tremble with the cheers, shriver with the moans. Our seats were good enough to give us vivid views of every one of Ronnie Harmon's fumbles. As the afternoon waned and the score mounted, the feeling grew (shared by some around us) that our team was not only playing badly, but was being coached badly. That's no expert opinion — only the disappointment that all the alleged genius behind this mighty football machine was unable to come up with a single surprise, trick, or exotic play to outwit those we could obviously not outman. But for all that, the inescapable conclusion grew that, given more than a decade's records, the Pac Ten is a tougher conference than the Big Ten. Our biggest struggle was with a couple just inboard of us on row 48, who crawled over us so many times to go to the beer stand that we were mauled more than the Iowa pass receivers. On their way back each time they dribbled beer on us from their tall cups (32 oz. for $3.50). On their way out at game's end, they fell, toppling over several other departing fans. Otherwise it seemed an orderly, fun crowd. After the game ended in the dark, our bus needed only an hour to crawl up out of the arroyo and another hour to our Long Beach parking lot. We were sitting down to supper at 8:30 in our relatives' house, only 15 hours after breakfast. A full, farmer kind of day. Poking his fun at us, the LA Times acerbic columnist Jim Murray said "the good old American farmer is in worse trouble than we thought" and that the game was "another defeat for home cooking and mom's apple pie." Not necessarily. They just know how to play out here in Playland. After this long day, we were glad we knew how to work. LOS ANGELES — If we are what we eat, Maarten Schmidt is composed partly of sand dabs. Those fish are a tasty part of the fallout from the Big Bang that got the universe rolling and led to all things bright and beautiful. Schmidt, one of the universe's more complicated efforts, is tucking into sand dabs as he talks about his vocation, astronomy. We are, he says, only superficially what we eat. We really are Stardust. Stars produce life and dust produces stars. How, exactly? He soon will have a new instrument for investigating that and other questions. Astronomers are detectives whose evidence is the light that streams toward us, passive but informative about the formation and evolution of stars. Radically improved technologies have enhanced the light- collecting capacities of existing telescopes. Soon, however, there will be a new telescope with a ten-meter reflecting mirror. It will have four times the light-gathering capacity of the telescope at Mount Palomar. The W.M. Keck Observatory will be the result of the largest private gift, $70 million from the Keck Foundation, ever made for a scientific undertaking. Its mirror will be a mosaic of 36 hexagonal mirrors six feet wide. They will be coordinated and aimed by a computer making adjustments one-one- thousandths the diameter of a human hair several times a second. Stars do not twinkle in space. They twinkle because of atmospheric distortions of light. The site for the new telescope, atop an extinct (we hope) volcano in Hawaii, is considered the world's best site. Several other telescopes are operating there, 13,600 feet above most of the distorting dust, clouds, moisture and urban lights of earth. George Will WASHINGTON POST It has been said that if God revealed to us all the secrets of the universe, we would be sunk in apathy and boredom. That gives too many people too much credit for curiosity. But worldwide, there is not enough observa- tory'time to accommodate all the curiosity of astronomers. They would like to confirm the suspected existence in a distant galaxy of a black hole (material so dense its gravity swallows light) containing a billion suns. In another galaxy there is a star that may be 30 times hotter than our sun. It would be fun to know if that is so, or if one of Saturn's moons really does have an atmosphere similar to what earth's once was. Unfortunately, science requires continuity, so there is a mismatch between the needs of science and the way Congress budgets. NASA's next splashy project, a permanently manned space station, will cost at least $8 billion, plus operating costs. It is worthwhile, because the costs are not excessive when spread over several decades, and because of the element of serendipity: Ambitious scientific enterprises are apt to have unanticipated benefits. But the space station may be a bureaucratic black hole, swallowing scarce funds and starving basic science. True, an argument for the station is the "coattail effect": Support for all space science is pulled along by the public constituency excited by manned projects. But in the budgetary triage that will be triggered by the Gramm-Rudman process, pure science is apt to be an early casualty. Sen. Pat Moynihan says Gramm-Rudman is a recipe for little government at home and little influence abroad. He could have added "and for little knowledge regarding some of the great questions of human experience." Consider this. The Nixon White House almost did not approve the space shuttle. Congress nearly killed it five times. In one vote, the shuttle survived only because a confused congressman who wanted to kill it miscast his vote. The shuttle has been disappointing in terms of costs and commercial applications. But it has been an instrument of serious science. And it can deliver large payloads, such as the space telescope. The deployment of that glorious instrument will be the high point of a year in which much of the most important news in newspapers will concern space science. Enjoy it while you can. Philistine conservatism is going to try to balance the budget by turning down the intellectual light. This month, the Voyager 2 spacecraft, passing the three-billion kilometer mark, will provide the first detailed glimpse of the planet Uranus. In eight days in March, six spacecraft sponsored by four nations will intercept Halley's comet. In May, the United States will launch probes toward Jupiter and beyond. And in August, the space telescope will be orbited, the greatest leap forward in observational astronomy since Galileo assembled his telescope — with a lens four centimers across—in 1609. 'Rocky IV' was as low, predictable as expected BOSTON — For reasons beyond my control, I am now one of the 50 million Americans who have seen "Rocky IV." It's not my fault; I was drafted. Let me hasten to say that the movie lived down to my expectations. By this time, Stallone should just name all his movies, "Pectorals V," "VI" and "VII." This cinematic combat between Rocky and the Russkie was as offensively predictable, as jingoistically implausible as the 32 blows Stallone took in the first round. But what interested me — and I use the term "interest" loosely — was not the utterly silly battle between good and evil empires. It was the battle between good and evil technologies. The script sets Rocky, the product of the American streets, against Ivan Drago, the product of Soviet science. The sum total of technological wizardry in Rocky's corner is a robot that he buys as a toy to serve his friend drinks. The Drago camp, however, comes with a full supply of high-tech printouts, with steroids and electrodes dedicated to the creation of a human fighting machine. The American trainer says of the champion, "You're all heart, Rocky." The surly Soviet trainer says of his blond contender, "It's a matter of science. Drago is a look at the future." To be honest, only a producer who had never tried to make a telephone call from Leningrad to Moscow would dare to present the Soviets as technological whizzes. Having bought bread in a Moscow bakery—first you stand in one line to make a selection, then in another to pay the cashier, and then back to Doonesbury Ellen Goodman WASHINGTON POST the first to pick up the bread — I have no fantasies about their efficiency. But the movie is not really about the U.S. and U.S.S.R. It's about Us and Them mentalities. In this case, it's Us and Them technologies. The guy with the heart comes up against the creature of science. The visual subplot (if a movie with hardly a plot has a subplot) is high tech. Among the good guys, technology is just a benign handmaiden, even a toy. Among the bad guys, it's a menace to the human spirit. Science is either something we can play with, or something out to dehumanize us. Nothing in between. It's not hard to find some real-life sources for the opposing views that make it to the center ring. We have all seen the friendly consumer products of progress in our homes: Programmed coffee makers, VCRs, microwave ovens. At the same time, we know that the world out there is full of less-benign improvements in the workings of automation or surveillance. Even our computer age comes in two distinct us-and-them modes. Computers are user-friendly or user-indifferent. "Our" computer is programmed to, literally, obey our commands. We can play games with it, write on it, add on it. But the other computers "out there" are different. To "them," we are just a number interred forever on a microchip. Those computers have the power to screw up our credit rating or give us money from a wall, to drop us uncaringly from the Social Security rolls, or in the ultimate dehumanizing act, reduce everything to ashes. It's easy to project such schizoid attitudes about technology onto the split screen and onto politics. Americans become the people with the personable robots. Soviets, the enemy, become the persons turned into robots. Good guys train by chopping wood. Bad guys train by digital readouts. But science doesn't come as pristinely outfitted with white and black hats, or with Red Stars and American stripes. I don't want to make a Grade B movie into a Class A question. Rocky's own introspection about life is limited to such poetic lines as, "I just gotta do what I gotta do." The images about men and machines get as muddled in this movie as any head that's been used as a punching bag. What you get for the price of admission is 15 rounds of blood and parody, East versus West. But you also get a look at a dangerously false dichotomy about modern technology, one that pits a guy with a "heart" against the machine man. I'm not sorry that Ivan "the future," Ivan "the machine" lost. But I have a tough time cheering for the victory of the Cro-Magnon man from Philly. "..TTtUAS ABOUT \:.ITkJA y&soti THINK, I'M READY TO GET IN TDUCHtUITHMY OH,RP,, IKHBW W/DCQM5 AROUND! I ..ANPPRINCIPLED ACTIVISM." norm. ITS HAWTOKE- UORKEOOUT A SLOGAN 7JONI5M WITHOUT S£eMIN6TDCHAM- PIONOPPOSIN6 All. MORAL GLAMOUR.. -U-' ZZZZf

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