|Mars Lander, |
and Gracie Slick!
|Experts Find Hint of Mars Lander|
|By ANDREW BRIDGES |
AP Science Writer
PASADENA, Calif. March 21, 2001 (AP) - Fifteen months after the Mars Polar Lander vanished, Defense Department imaging experts have spotted what may be a trace of the spacecraft on the surface of the Red Planet, a NASA official said.
|Woman Detained After Vampire Assaults|
|BERLIN March 22, 2001 (Reuters) - German police have detained a Berlin woman who screamed she was a vampire and thirsty as she attempted to bite people. |
"She tried to bite the necks of three people within a few minutes," police spokesman Hansjoerg Draeger said on Thursday. "She screamed out that she was a vampire and was thirsty."
|Airlines Claim Space Radiation No Major Threat to Flyers|
|By Marcus Kabel |
FORT WORTH, Texas March 20, 2001 (Reuters) - Airline travelers should not be worried about high-altitude exposure to radiation from space and the sun, U.S. experts said on Monday.
Researchers at an American Airlines and pilots union seminar on cosmic radiation said the issue was worth monitoring, especially for flight crew members who spend more time in the air than the average traveler. American is a unit of Fort Worth-based AMR Corp.
But government and airline scientists said existing evidence does not point to cosmic radiation as a major health issue.
"I don't think it poses such a risk that people should be concerned abut flying," said Wallace Friedberg, head of radiobiology research at the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aeromedical Institute.
"When they're flying, they're not running the risk of driving a car," he said. The point was echoed by several speakers who said known health risks from other activities were far greater.
Scientists have studied the issue more as the booming global airline industry carries millions of people a year to high altitudes, where the thinner atmosphere is a weaker shield against cosmic radiation.
Several studies have suggested links between the time spent in the air by pilots and flight attendants and a range of diseases, including cancers such as melanoma, leukemia and breast cancer that could be caused by radiation damage.
But Gary Butler, a radiation researcher on leave as an Air Canada pilot to attend medical school, said those links were tentative and needed far more study.
"If you ask the average line pilot, yes, they're aware of cosmic radiation, but their No. 1 health concern is chronic fatigue," Butler said.
"There isn't the research out there at this point to back legislation," he added, referring to calls from some pilots groups for federal limits on radiation exposure for flight crews and government-mandated health monitoring.
The European Union issued a directive in 1996, which member countries are still enacting, that sets a maximum annual exposure for flight crews. That level is roughly the equivalent of 67 chest X-rays, and less for pregnant women because a fetus is more vulnerable to cell damage from radiation.
In the United States, the FAA has not mandated limits but does support a nonbinding recommendation that would increase the EU's annual exposure limit more than threefold.
The FAA's Friedberg said typical flight crew exposures were far lower than those limits.
California Institute of Technology Space Radiation Laboratory - http://www.srl.caltech.edu
|High Levels of Diethyl Phthalate In Many Americans|
|By Erin McClam |
Associated Press Writer
ATLANTA March 21, 2001 (AP) Americans' bodies harbor surprisingly high amounts of mercury and a questionable chemical used in soap and cosmetics, federal health officials reported Wednesday in a landmark study on environmental toxins in the body.
The study is the first nationwide to measure levels of 24 environmental toxins in people's blood and urine, providing crucial information that could be used to pinpoint pollutants that cause disease.
Animal studies have suggested that large amounts of the chemical, diethyl phthalate, may disrupt normal hormone function and cause birth defects. Its effect on humans hasn't been determined.
The report found that phthalates additives found in products from perfume to nail polish appeared in humans at levels "considerably higher than one would have predicted,'' said Dr. Richard Jackson, director of the National Center for Environmental Health.
Previous studies of environmental toxins had only tested air, soil and water.
"Seeing chemicals in people's bodies elevates their importance,'' said Lynn Goldman, a former Environmental Protection Agency regulator.
The cosmetics industry contends phthalates are perfectly safe. "We haven't seen any documented health effects in humans from this,'' said Marian Stanley, manager of the American Chemistry Council's phthalate panel.
The study also found higher than expected levels of mercury, which is believed to cause fetal brain damage.
While the study found low levels of mercury in children 1 to 5 years old, women of childbearing age reflected higher levels than previously estimated by the EPA, Goldman said.
"That would mean we haven't been taking the problem seriously enough,'' she said.
The numbers, based on a 1999 study of 3,800 people across the country, may affect government regulation of toxins such as lead, mercury and pesticides. In many cases, there are no previous numbers available for comparison.
The government plans to conduct the study annually, expanding it to more than 100 chemicals. The reports will be broken down by demographic categories such as race, age, education and geographic region.
"It could be revolutionary in terms of environmental health in the United States,'' Jackson said.
On the Net:
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/dls/report
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency on diethyl phthalate: http://www.epa.gov/ngispgm3/iris/subst/0226.htm
Some more very scary looking stuff about diethyl phthalate that we don't pretend to understand: http://www.speclab.com/compound/c84662.htm
|2001 Mars Odyssey to Map Minerals and Check Radiation|
|By Deborah Zabarenko |
WASHINGTON March 19, 2001 (Reuters) - NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, set for launch on April 7, aims to find out what Earth's planetary neighbor is made of and evaluate radiation that could be risky to humans, space agency officials said on Monday.
Admittedly snake-bit by earlier failed missions, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has spent about $12 million on additional reviews to cut down on the possibility of failure. The total cost of the unmanned orbital mission is $297 million.
|Scientist Finds Cosmic Dark Matter in White Dwarfs|
By Deborah Zabarenko
|Gracie Slick Answers Five Questions|
|By KIM CURTIS |
Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO March 19, 2001 (AP) Psychedelic rocker Grace Slick, who drank and drugged her way to 1960s icon status as lead singer for Jefferson Airplane, has turned to painting as her creative outlet.
Last year, she returned to the city that spawned a movement and her stardom for a gallery showing of her work, priced between $1,100 and $8,700. Her paintings include portraits of musicians she knew years ago: Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix.
3. Are you romantically involved with anyone at the moment?
Artrock Gallery on the web - http://www.artrock.com
|Cosmonauts Drop NASA Boycott|
|By MARCIA DUNN |
AP Aerospace Writer
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. March 20, 2001 (AP) Four Russian cosmonauts called off their one-day boycott and began training at NASA on Tuesday for a flight next month to the international space station.
Their millionaire crewmate, Dennis Tito, who's bought a ticket for the Russian Soyuz flight, was not with them. He did not show up at the Johnson Space Center in Houston later in the day, either.
The cosmonauts two prime crew members and their backups refused to begin training Monday when NASA barred Tito from joining them. All four Russians showed up Tuesday for a series of briefings in preparation for a six-day space station visit in early May; the launch is scheduled for April 30 from Kazakstan.
At an afternoon press conference, NASA officials looked grim as they answered a barrage of questions about Tito. When asked if there was any way NASA could prevent Tito from flying to the space station, the officials ducked the question, saying they would continue to work with the Russians to resolve the dispute.
If Tito is launched against NASA's wishes, the space station's three residents will not be asked to keep him out of the U.S. segments, said Michael Hawes, deputy associate administrator for the space station.
"We are not going to put the crew into any kind of a policing situation,'' Hawes said. "Our whole point is that this period of time on space station is already too complicated and (with) too many critical activities. We can't have anything that makes that even worse.''
Even though Tito, a California businessman, has trained for months at cosmonaut headquarters in Star City, Russia, he needs six to eight weeks of instruction at the Johnson Space Center to be minimally qualified in NASA's eyes.
"Six to eight weeks of training in Houston to go visit the space station is a fairly minor price to pay, overall,'' Hawes said.
NASA has suggested that Tito be bumped to the following Soyuz rocket launch to the space station in October, to allow for sufficient U.S. training. That way, NASA reasons, he could go through emergency and other drills with the three men who will be flying on the space station then.
Russia's answer: Nyet.
"We wouldn't presume to tell the Russians what to do if they were to take the Soyuz up and bring it right back home,'' protested Bill Readdy, an astronaut who's currently in a high-ranking position in NASA's spaceflight office. But he added: "We're in this partnership for the long haul.''
Tito, the 60-year-old founder of an investment firm who once worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., has deposited millions of his own money into an escrow account to be paid to Russian space officials once he has launched.
He was supposed to fly to Mir, but switched his ticket to the international space station when Russia decided to get rid of its 15-year-old outpost. The April launch of the three-person Soyuz is critical; the spacecraft is needed to replace one that has been docked at the station since November.
Readdy stressed that space flight is fraught with danger and nonprofessionals have no business being there unless thoroughly trained. He pointed to the fire and collision aboard Mir in 1997.
False alarms can be unnerving, too. On Monday, the three seasoned space fliers aboard the space station sounded exasperated and confused when a false smoke alarm and a computer problem left them scrambling for hard copies of their emergency guidelines.
Readdy, who's flown to Mir and worked with the Russian space program, said the Russians have a phrase to describe crew members like Tito and the Japanese TV reporter and British chemist who flew to Mir in the early 1990s.
"White gloves, which means they're not allowed to touch anything. It means they require constant supervision,'' Readdy said. "That's the operational impact that I think we as a partnership are trying to avoid.''
On the Net:
|Bio-Corn Tainted 430 Million Bushels|
|By Julie Vorman |
WASHINGTON March 19, 2001 (Reuters) - More than 430 million bushels of corn in storage nationwide have been contaminated with an unapproved biotech variety that caused a huge recall of chips, flour and other foods, a senior executive of corn maker Aventis said Sunday.
That figure greatly increases the estimate of the amount of U.S. corn inadvertently mixed with StarLink, a variety prohibited from human foods.
The Washington Post is reporting in its editions today that the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have begun to investigate possible human allergic reactions to the engineered corn. The agencies are probing several dozen cases involving consumers who complained of various symptoms after eating StarLink corn last fall.
The genetically modified protein in StarLink corn, called Cry9C, was barred by U.S. regulators for human use because of concerns it might cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes, runny noses and flu-like symptoms.
Aventis, in its most detailed accounting of the StarLink contamination to date, also said Sunday that it was urging the federal government to establish a tolerance level that would permit a small amount of the bio-corn to occur in large shipments.
"At the elevator level, we have already rerouted 94 million bushels of corn commingled with StarLink corn and know of an additional 343 million bushels in storage that will be rerouted in the months to come," said John Wichtrich, general manager for Aventis CropScience, a unit of the Franco-German pharmaceutical company.
Wichtrich made his remarks in a San Antonio speech to a meeting of the North American Millers Assn., which represents companies that grind wheat and corn into flour. A copy of the speech was made available by Aventis.
The 430-million-bushel estimate dwarfs the amount of corn reported earlier from the 2000 crop as containing StarLink: about 50 million bushels grown by farmers licensed to use it and 20 million bushels from neighboring fields.
"Most of this commingled corn apparently originated with the 1999 crop," Wichtrich said in the speech.
Wichtrich said 99% of the 2000 StarLink corn has been identified and routed to animal feed or ethanol use.
The discovery of the corn in taco shells in September triggered a recall of more than 300 products, including snack chips and cornmeal. The contamination occurred when farmers and grain elevators mixed StarLink with other corn varieties. Farmers in Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska have sued Aventis, claiming that the contaminated corn cost them export business and pulled down the overall price of U.S. corn. Japan, the biggest buyer of U.S. corn, virtually halted its purchases for weeks and continues to test shipments to detect contamination.
Wichtrich said Aventis already had spent "tens of millions of dollars" to resolve the StarLink contamination.
StarLink, engineered to repel pests that feed on young corn plants, was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1998 only for animal feed. Aventis, which maintains StarLink is safe for human food, said it wants the EPA to approve a tolerance level for the bio-corn. That move would allow a set amount of StarLink or its Cry9C protein to exist in corn intended for human food.
"I know you are wondering, 'Will there ever be an end to this?' " Wichtrich said. "Unfortunately, as of right now, the answer is 'no.' There will never be an end as long as there is a zero tolerance for Cry9C in food."
Current government-testing procedures say the detection of one kernel of StarLink corn or its Cry9C protein in a testing sample of 2,400 kernels is enough to reject an entire rail car of corn for human food use. Last autumn, Aventis asked the EPA to grant a four-year approval of StarLink for human food. That is the time needed for corn ingredients to work their way through food-manufacturing plants, grocery stores and home pantries, Aventis said.
The EPA has yet to rule on the request. An independent science panel urged the agency in December to conduct more tests and to investigate two dozen instances in which consumers claimed they had allergic reactions to food with StarLink. Aventis said it expected the government to soon publish a broad rule saying the DNA of biotech foods--which would include the Cry9C protein--do not need to be regulated.
"We have been told by the [U.S. Department of Agriculture], FDA and EPA that a rule will soon be issued exempting DNA from the need for a tolerance," Wichtrich said. The rule is being reviewed by the Bush administration.
|Doctor Operates on Wrong Knee|
|SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. March 17, 2001 (AP) A surgeon who mistakenly operated on a man's healthy hip five years ago has performed surgery on another patient's healthy knee, even though the leg intended for surgery was marked "Yes.'' |
As a result, Dr. Craig DuMond will no longer practice at the Adirondack Medical Center, hospital president and CEO Chandler Ralph told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. DuMond also relinquished his title as president of AMC's medical staff and terminated his private practice in Saranac Lake.
In a letter issued Friday, DuMond said he was embarrassed and anguished by the incident.
After a 1996 operation, in which DuMond mistakenly pinned an elderly patient's wrong hip, AMC officials required its staff to write the word "Yes'' on any limb that was supposed to be operated on.
For Monday's surgery, "Yes'' was correctly marked on the patient's problem knee, but DuMond operated on the other one anyway, said AMC Public Relations Director Cheryl Breen Randall.
For all future limb surgeries, hospital staff will also be required to pull a red hockey sock over the wrong arm or leg, and write the word "No'' underneath.
The hospital notified state regulatory agencies, Ralph said.
The patient in the 1996 operation filed a lawsuit that was settled out of court. Terms of that settlement and of a state-approved disciplinary action were confidential.
|DNA Evidence Leads To Release After 20 Years In Jail|
|By MARTIN FINUCANE |
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. March 15, 2001 (AP) - Citing new DNA evidence, a judge Thursday released a convicted murderer who "never gave up hope," though he served nearly 20 years in prison.
Judge Vieri Volterra released Kenneth Waters on personal recognizance pending a possible retrial.
Betty Ann Waters worked on the case for years, and eventually learned that a box of evidence with her brother's name on it was sitting in a courthouse basement. The box contained the knife used in the slaying and pieces of cloth with blood samples on them.
|Microsoft Warns Users of Impostor|
|By MIA PENTA |
SEATTLE March 22, 2001 (AP) - Microsoft warned users Thursday that an unauthorized party had obtained digital certificates that would enable someone to falsely represent themselves as the software giant and deliver a computer virus to an unsuspecting recipient.
VeriSign Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., notified Microsoft that it issued two digital certificates on Jan. 29 and 30. Someone posing as a Microsoft employee was able to trick VeriSign into issuing the certificates, Microsoft said.
VeriSign's digital certificates - a key security feature of Microsoft's Internet software - are used by Microsoft to assure the genuiness of programs.
"The danger, of course, is that even a security-conscious user might agree to let the content execute and might agree to always trust bogus certificates," the company said.
Mahi deSilva, VeriSign's vice president and general manager of applied trust services, said Thursday that the fraud was discovered almost immediately after the certificate was issued, in the course of normal auditing VeriSign does after issuing digital certificates.
Microsoft and VeriSign were working to correct the problem, both companies said. Users were warned to inspect for certificates that were issued on Jan. 29 and 30, since no legitimate certificates were given on those dates, and to notify Microsoft or VeriSign if they discover them.
The FBI has also been notified, deSilva said.
Microsoft also advised customers to set security levels on their Internet browsers to request permission before opening downloaded documents.
So far, Verisign believes no one has used the certificates, deSilva said.
The problem is serious and effects could last years, said Russ Cooper of TruSecure Corp. and editor of the NTBugTraq mailing list.
"This is an extremely huge mistake by VeriSign," he said. "There's no way that this certificate should have been given to a non-Microsoft employee."
DeSilva, who blamed "human error" for the fraudulent certificates, said the company's reputation shouldn't suffer "because we found this problem. We've been very proactive about communicating this problem to the various authorities. We think we've done everything we can to be ahead of the curve here."
|Powerful Telescope System Created|
PASADENA, Calif. March 14, 2001 (AP) The world's two largest telescopes have been linked to create an optical instrument powerful enough to pinpoint planets orbiting other suns, NASA said Wednesday.
|Job Stress May Offset Hard Work|
|By IRA DREYFUSS |
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON March 19, 2001 (AP) Physical activity on the job should be good for a person's blood vessels unless the job has a lot of stress, which can cancel the activity's value, a study indicates.
"If you are performing the activity in a psychologically taxing context, you are not going to see the benefit,'' said researcher Cheryl Nordstrom. "The stress seems to negate it.''
Another expert, however, considers that conclusion provocative but not yet proved.
Nordstrom and her colleagues at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine looked at 447 utility workers just after deregulation increased competition among utilities. Results were presented March 2 at a meeting of the American Heart Association in San Antonio.
The workers, ages 40-60, held jobs such as managers, meter readers or administrative assistants. Nordstrom would not identify the company or the type of utility, saying the researchers had promised confidentiality.
None of the workers was diagnosed at the start of the study as having atherosclerosis, thickening of the arteries. Over three years, the scientists used ultrasound imaging to measure any thickening of the carotid arteries, which carry blood to the brain. Thickening of these arteries in the neck can signal a buildup of artery-clogging plaque deposits in other large vessels, including ones in the heart.
Stress can raise clotting factors in the blood and may prompt the release of fat into the bloodstream, which can lead to clogging of the arteries. Physical activity, on the other hand, has been shown to reduce levels of these fatty acids.
Researchers found, to their surprise, that people who got the most physical activity on the job had the greatest thickening of the arteries, Nordstrom said.
Conventional wisdom is that being active improves cardiovascular health. And a separate part of the study supported the conventional wisdom. This section found that the people who were most physically active off the job working up a sweat by exercising an average of five times a week had less progression toward atherosclerosis, Nordstrom said.
What could account for the difference between activity on the job and activity off it? The scientists went back to a stress questionnaire they had done earlier on the same people. The questionnaire asked people about such things as whether there had been a marked increase in their workload, and whether they had trouble sleeping because their jobs were still on their minds.
The researchers found that the people who worked the hardest, and who worked the most hours, reported the greatest job stress, Nordstrom said. And when the researchers did statistical analysis, it turned out that the job stress was most closely associated with the increase in carotid thickening, she said.
"When I look at them together, the effect of the (physical) activity drops out,'' Nordstrom said. "It becomes slightly protective, which I would expect. But the stress indicators were highly related.''
"These findings suggest that protective effects of physical activity may be blocked or counteracted when activity is performed in a psychologically stressful context,'' the researchers reported in the abstract they presented at the conference.
Another expert, however, has his doubts. The USC conclusion that job stress can lead to atherosclerosis is supported by some previous studies but not by others, said Dr. Richard Stein, chief of cardiology at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City and a spokesman for the heart association. And the USC research also leaves a lot of questions unanswered, he said.
For instance, the study did not ask the participants directly if they felt anxious. "The guys might not have perceived stress,'' Stein said. "We are making an assumption.''
The claim that job stress offsets the value of exercise is "intriguing, but doesn't justify the conclusion,'' Stein said. However, the report is worth following up, and "if this holds up to that type of criticism, it is a very interesting observation,'' he said.
On the Net:
American Heart Association physical activity site: http://www.americanheart.org/catalog/Healthcatpage9.html
American Heart Association statement on physical activity: http://www.americanheart.org/Scientific/statements/1996/0815exp.html
Heart Information Network report on stress and atherosclerosis: http://www.heartinfo.com/news97/stressath12897.htm
WebMD report on stress: http://my.webmd.com/content/dmk/dmkarticle40082
|Space The Final Frontier - Of Trash|
|By Adam Tanner |
BERLIN March 20, 2001 (Reuters) - Space, the final frontier, is rapidly becoming one big trash dump, experts warned at a conference in Germany on Tuesday.
European Space Agency home page - http://www.esa.int
|Justices Won't Referee War on 'Better Pizza'|
|By DAVID G. SAVAGE |
LA Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON March 20, 2001 (LA Times) - The advertising war over who makes the better pizza can continue uninterrupted now, as the Supreme Court on Monday turned away Pizza Hut's challenge to rival Papa John's claim of having "better ingredients. Better pizza."
The high court ended a three-year legal battle between the pizza chains, but it did not answer the question that started it all. Pizza Hut Inc., the nation's largest pizza chain, sued Papa John's International Inc. in 1998 for what it said was false advertising.
The case highlighted the bitter pizza wars between the No. 1 and No. 3 chains, both of which are based in Louisville, Ky. It also highlighted the trend of business competitors increasingly asking courts to referee advertising disputes. A once-obscure provision of the Lanham Act makes illegal "false or misleading" ads. Those hurt by the claims can sue for damages.
Lawyers for Pizza Hut contended that Papa John's use of filtered water, rather than tap water, and fresh rather than frozen dough had nothing to do with the taste of a pizza.
A jury in Dallas agreed, finding several of Papa John's claims to be false and misleading. A judge awarded Pizza Hut $467,000 in damages.
But in September, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed the verdict. Its three-judge panel said the claims of "better" pizza and "better" ingredients were the "typical puffery" used in many ads. Moreover, the judges said Pizza Hut could not show that consumers were fooled by Papa John's exaggerated claims.
Lawyers for Pizza Hut asked the Supreme Court to take up the case to clarify what must be proven to win a false advertising case. But without comment, the justices dismissed the appeal in Pizza Hut vs. Papa John's, 00-995.
"We are happy to say again: 'Better Ingredients. Better Pizza,' " said Karen Sherman, a spokeswoman for Papa John's. "We're just sorry it took several years to resolve this."
Pizza Hut fired back, saying the lawsuit demonstrated that Papa John's ads were "deceptive."
"We have said all along that this case is about the consumer's right to expect truthfulness in advertising," said Mike Rawlings, Pizza Hut's president. "We are disappointed the court did not seize this opportunity to clarify this matter for the benefit of consumers and responsible advertisers alike."
|Suit Planned Against Internet Filtering Law|
|By D. IAN HOPPER |
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON March 19, 2001 (AP) Civil liberties groups and libraries plan to file suit Tuesday to stop a recently passed law that would require schools and libraries to install Internet filters on public computers.
Critics say the law which had strong bipartisan support in Congress pushes a bad technology on schools, removes community control and fails to provide money to pay for the software. Its supporters are rallying for a battle that's expected to reach the Supreme Court.
Unless a judge grants an injunction, schools and libraries will have to install filters next month or lose their federal funds earmarked for Internet access.
"We don't think this is a useful way to make sure that children have a safe and enriching experience online,'' said Nancy Kranich, president of the American Library Association, which will represent libraries and patrons in the suit.
The ALA is working closely with the American Civil Liberties Union, which will file a similar lawsuit Tuesday. The groups will file the lawsuits in Philadelphia, where the successful challenge of the Communications Decency Act was launched. It was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1997.
Critics of the new law contend that Internet filters fail to block many inappropriate sites while denying access to others that shouldn't be blocked.
"They leave parents with a false sense of security,'' Kranich said, adding that parents should be making the decisions, not software.
Last month, Consumer Reports magazine concluded that filtering software generally fails to block one of every five Web sites deemed objectionable for children.
Susan Getgood, a vice president at SurfControl, which owns the two most-used filtering tools, disagreed and said filters are usually very effective. But she still objects to the law.
"We remain for choice and against mandated filtering,'' Getgood said. "The best point of control is local control.''
The Multnomah County Library in Portland, Ore., offers patrons a choice between filtered and unfiltered Internet access and is joining the ACLU suit. Director Ginny Cooper said she would like to keep that choice in tact.
"Some of my colleagues (at other libraries) have made the choice that access should be filtered. That's fine,'' she said. "But for the first time ever, (Congress) reached through all the layers of government and said, 'This is now how you'll do it.' I just don't think that's appropriate.''
One of the law's supporters said that if schools and libraries don't want to use filters, they don't have to accept federal funding for telecommunications access.
"If local schools and libraries are expecting the government to pay the freight, then there ought to be conditions on it,'' said Bruce Taylor, president of the National Law Center for Children and Families. "Congress doesn't want taxpayers' money going to pedophiles and porn addicts.''
The ACLU's Emily Whitfield said the filter law doesn't just affect children. She said adults who can't afford Internet access at home will only see a filtered Internet at libraries.
"You're really turning them into second-class citizens,'' Whitfield said. "They're getting a different Web experience than people who are not using library computers.''
On the Net: American Civil Liberties Union: http://www.aclu.org
American Library Association: http://www.ala.org
National Law Center for Children and Families: http://www.nationallawcenter.org