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April 08, 1979 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-08

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Page 2-Sunday, April 8, 1979--The Michigan Daily


New field explores effects of technology

As new technology is introduced to society
at a record rate, concern has increased in recent
years over its implications for our lives and our
In response to these concerns a new academic
field, known as technology assessment (TA) has
emerged. Next fall, the University's
Engineering School will offer a new upper-level
course in TA.
"THE NATURE OF technology has become
very large," said Kan Chen, the professor who
will teach the new course. "The power has
become very significant. We may not see the ef-
fects from all perspectives."
According to Chen, the purpose of TA is "to
think of the profound effects of technology," and
to "anticipate side effects from all perspec-
tives." Historians, philosophers, doctors, and
lawyers, in addition to engineers and scientists,
are all involved in the technology assessment

process, Chen added.
'Unintended effects sometimes become as im-
portant as intended effects," Chen continued.
"We can't afford to make many mistakes."
The course, which is labelled as a "graduate-
level interdisciplinary seminar and project
course," will discuss policy-oriented effects of
technology on society. Seven topics will be
covered, including the history and philosphical
aspects of TA, methodologies and processes, as
well as a review of case studies and exploration
of new methods for TA. In addition, students will
be asked to research specific technologies to un-
derstand how TA can be applied to them.
CHEN SAID ALL engineering students should
have "some exposure" to TA, although required
courses in the field may not be realistic.
According to the University's Research News:
".... technology assessment is taking its place as
a recognized part of public policy activities."
Mark Berg, who researches TA at the Univer-

sity's Institute for Social Research, explained
the origins of the field: "In the sixties, as a
society we started to recognize what a closely
knit web we're caught in. The view of the en-
vironment as a vast reservoir into which you can
dump excrement no longer holds."
According to Berg, society is "capable of much
more rapid technological change than social or
political change. Institutional changes cannot
always keep pace." He said, however, that those
responsible for new technology work harder
today to insure that their contributions are safe
and productive.
"IT'S A RECOGNIZED need now," he said.
"Most corpgrations and engineers, when they in-
troduce new products-they're looking at them
with much'greatler care."
Berg cited chemistry as a field in which TA is
necessary. "Thousands of new chemicals are
being created each year. At this point, we have
an inability to fully evaluate their impact. We

don't have a real clear idea how these things can
effect us."
Max Heirich, a University sociology professor,
agreed that technology asssessment is needed
today. "The more professionals look at the social
impact of their contribution, the better off we'll
be," he said.
"ANY TECHNOLOGICAL innovation usually
produces winners and losers in the social world.
It is essential to understand who's gaining and
who's losing. Otherwise we simple look at the
winners." he added.
Heirich stated that it would be "nice" for
technology assessment to become a regular part
of the training for engineers, but added that he
would offer no suggestions to that department.
The Dean of the Engineering School, David
Ragone, said he sees no reason to offer specific
courses in TA as part of the required curriculum
because "students have hopefully been sen-
sitized in these areas" from their regular cour-

"IN THE GENERAL history of"things," I
said, "every once in a while a particular al
proach gets separately identified and you su
denly think you've discovered something bra
new." Referring specifically to TA, Ragone s
that "The total design problem takes into,
count these areas, although technolo
assessment is more aware of the effects."
Although Ragone supports the new TA co
ses, which he said will teach the students
"reduce uncertainty as they foresee the future
he added that the basic concepts are nothi
"People have been doing that for years,"
stated, citing the Roman aquaducts as an exa
ple. "The notion that this (TA) is new is nonse
se." Insisting that the fundamentals of TA ai
incorporated into all engineering instructio
Ragone does not believe that the field will off'
any far-reaching insights within itself.

MARC Student Housing
Would you like to live in an elegant neo-tudor
mansion (East Quad)? Dining hail.library, cul-
tural events, interesting associates, old-world
ombience.The Medieval and Renaissance Cl-
legium is now accepting reservations for student
accommodations in the MARC Residence House.
e ffective September 1979.1 If you are a MARC
concentrator or if you are interested in the
Middle Ages and the Renaissance, you are
eligible to live in the MARC House. For informa-
tion or to reserve a room for the fuil, coil either
the Housing Office*(763-3164, 1011 SAS) or the
MARC office (763-2066, 206 Tyler, East Quad,
M-F 1:00-5:00) with your name and address.
Act now. on your reservation, Only a limited
number of places are available.

(Continued from Page 1)

You're in the Army now

Custer Friday night, they entered the
old World War II-style barracks and
settled in before attending an evening
lecture on thefiner points of writing or-
ders. The session, like most of the
weekend activities, was conducted by a
senior cadet.
After the order-writing session,
which appeared to bore some of the
cadets, Capt. J. Dilk of the University
of Detroit told junior cadets what to ex-
pect at their upcoming six-week sum-
mer camp training experience. "Sum-
mer camp can either make it or'break it

for you," said Dilk, as he paused
dramatically to take a puff on a pipe.
"If you blow it, it is very difficult for
you to make it up again, very difficult."
Some cadets appared slightly nervous
at this point, and Dilk went on to coun-
sel them with "three ways to succeed:"
FIRST, THE captain advised, "keep
your mouth shut." Second, "don't
volunteer," and finally, "always
capitalize from other people's
mistakes; meaning, learn from them."
The next morning, the students were
roused from their bunks before 6 a.m.,
in time to practice formation and per-
form training exercises before break-
Breakfast, and all of the weekend
meals, consisted of basic Army C-
rations: canned meat, fruit, crackers,
coffee mix, either candy or chocolate
mix and gum. The can containing the
main portion of the meal was heated in
a garbage can full of steaming water.
The rations, though tedious, were
After the meal, the cadets were tran-
sported to a brush and woods area of
the compound where they were to prac-
tice orienteering-finding their way
around mapped courses using a com-
pass and the lay of the land for guidan-
ALTHOUGH SOME had trouble get-
ting back to the impromptu base for
lunch, most appeared to survive the
trek in good spirits.
The afternoon brought the exercise
many of the cadets had been looking
forward to all weekend: the combat
simulation exercises.
Except for segregated barracks
facilities, the male and female cadets
were treated identically in every phase
of the training exercise. Women are not
currently assigned to combat units, but
Close explained they "are expected to
be able to defend themselves in a com-
bat situation."

THE CADETS, after being issued M-
16 rifles and ammunition, were divided
into small groups which would be for-
ced to deal with several simulated
combat situations that afternoon.
Evaluators, trailing the groups,
graded their responses to mock sniper
attacks and heavy machine gun fire on
the basis of their resourcefulness as
well as familiarity with accepted tac-
Meanwhile, one group was per-
manently stationed atop a hill. Two
cadets crouched in foxholes cradling M-
16s, while the other two peered down
the barrel of their M-60 tripod mounted
machine gun. Their mission: stop any
"enemy" squads attempting to take the
hill. As small dots of persons would
become visible more than a quarter of a
mile away, the machine gunners would
prepare their weapon for the defense of
the hill.
the machine gun could be heard for
more than a mile as the "enemies"
below scurried for cover. But just as
the hilltop squad' appeared to be ac-
complishing their objective, the gun
jammed. While gunner Jeff Fletcher of
EMU cursed, loader Charlie Montrose
frantically reinserted the ammunition.
After several unsuccessful attempts at
repairing the gun, a green beret
sergeant finally intervened and pointed
out the problem.
As orange flashes once ,again began
to rip from the barrel, 'and hot empty
cartridges flew out of the gun, Fletcher
yelled, "Thank you, sergeant major!"
as he renewed his efforts to "hit" his
human targets.
"I think some cadets become over-
zealous about the combat weapons part
of it," Captain Kenneth Close, of the
Michigan unit, remarked later.
But after the combat simulations en-
ded, the cadets faced the dreary task of
cleaning the rifles,'well enough to

satisfy their exacting inspecting
seniors. After being rejected because of
an ever-so-slightly dirty weapon for a
third time, one of the cadets muttered,
"That's the last time I'll play around
with one of these things," his earlier en-
thusiasm clearly dampened.
After the showing of an ancient John
Wayne film and a dated Berlin Wall
propaganda short, some of the cadets
retired to some mild drinking parties
and finally to sleep.
THE NEXT DAY, the juniors were
tested in military skills, such as rifle
disassembling, first aid, and radio
operation, while the freshpersons and
sophomores were given rides in tanks
and armored personnel carriers.
"This is making the whole trip wor-
thwhile for some of these people," said
cadet senior Bill Hanson as a tank lur-
ched off carrying a load of eager
While some seemed reluctant to
discuss political aspects of their ROTC
involvement, many cadets agreed that
the military needs officers tolerant of
varying points of view. University
engineering student Andy Sutinen
acknowledged the tendency of some of
the cadets to overdo the combat portion
of the exercise, but said he regarded the
experience as necessary. "They want
to make sure they don't mess up now,
because what if the real thing comes
along? We might get blown away."
PERHAPS THE differing levels of
enthusiasm reflected the various
motives for joining ROTC, ranging
from financial considerations to simple.
curiosity. "If you take an economics
class it doesn't mean you want to be an
economist," said University
engineering student Andy Sutinen.
"You just want to see what it's like."
"Some of them are having a good
time playing war and some of them are
dead serious," said Major Joseph Blair,
the senior regular officer assigned to

the university. "It gives them a chance
to blow off some steam."
Captain Close agreed. "We have to
monitor that very closely so we can ac-
commodate everyone's level of en-
thusiasm toward the program. We
recognize the fact that they are not
(now),in the Army and may never be,"
Close said.
Many cadets agreed that times have
changed since the Vietnam years:
"This country is too sensitive and so are
the people in the Army," said Sutinen.
"They're not going to jump at a job and
say, 'Yeah, let's go kill;' they're going
to think about it."
Capt. Close defended the presence of
the military at educational institutions
such as the University: "We need all
the free thinkers we can get" from a
diverse student body.
But the University Literary College
has declined to allow credit for ROTC
courses since the policy was challenged
during the war protest. The issue of
credit - and the larger question of
whether a military education program
should be allowed on campus at all -
has resurfaced periodically since that
Op the long bus ride home, the cadets
seemed a bit more tired and subdued
than they had been on the ride to the
camp. But the enthusiasm of many
heightened as the bus passed by groups
of Hash-Bashers who had strayed from
the Diag. "Freaks at 2 o'clock," one
shouted as the rest of the cadets
laughed. "We're going tactical on the
Daily Official Bulletin
3200 SAB 763-4117
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Openings for student coordinators in many locations
throughout midwestern Michigan. Further details'
Bristol Regional Environmental Center, Bristol;
Conn. Summer internship with background in
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Deadline May 15.
Columbia Gas System Service Corp., Columbus,
Ohio. Number of openings for students in the
following fields-chemical engr., must have com-,
pleted a h.. and going on to grad school. Mech. and
petroleum engr., students who have completed their
junior year.
Ralston Purina Company, St. Louis, Mi. Three
summer intern openings. Computer Science
Major/Math Major. Must have completed
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Hitchiner Manufacturing Co., Milford, N.H..
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Rain Pro Irrigation, Pontiac, Mi. Openings for
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stall sprinkler systems.

you re . "I Bad air p
rad uL a.i..D o - th (Continued from Page 1)
APRIL 'O t e
.-info deslk Organic Chemistry Prof. Joseph
2 ...8806at Marino said the woman's case was
":CELLAR::;.unusual in that she is apparently sen-
.:::CE LAR.sitive to the chemical mercapta n,
.............' * "OUR .*:* YOsimilar to butal mercaptan. Butal mer-
.. . .. e nd captan is added in very small amounts
to odorless natural gas to give the gas
.""'' '' an odor by which it can be identified.
"I DON'T take the opinion that (these
chemicals) are health hazards,"
Marino said, since the effects of the
chemical are neither cumulative nor
Dunn, who has headed the depar-
.::.......::: . . .................... :-tment for seven years, said the woman
effected by fumes was the only such

case he know of.
"The cases that arer
the people who are aff
period," he said. Du
sabbatical, said h
professors offices tha
from their laboratorie
HE WAS forced tot
he said, because stud
who work for years
similar to thosee
Chemistry Bulding
expectancy eight yea
Dunn said the ave
nothing to worry abou
the building, since heo
exposed to chemical
periods of time. "Th
the problem is the p
there all the time as w
Dunn said the Univ
approximately $4 mil
seven years on ren
Chemistry Building,r

Chem. Building
prove ventilation.
more worrying are ALTHOUGH THE University's Plant
ected over a long Operations *Administration plans to
nn, presently on move the intake duct this summer to
e had to give another side of the building below the
at were separate roofline, Dunn said the renovation will
s at one point, not solve the problem. "All that will
use more offices, stop is the mixing of intake air and ef-
dies show people fluent air," he said.
under conditions Dunn said the real problem is that the
existing anthe amount of air taken in to the building
have a life- g
cannot be increased. Increasing the
ars shorter than volume of efficiency of the exhaust
gage student has system will not help matters, Dunn ex-
ut from the air in plained, because once the amount of air
or she wouldn't be exhausted exceeds the amount of air
s over extended taken in, the deficiency is made up by
e person who has air sucked in through the doors and
erson who works windows. This suction creates cross
e do." drafts inside the building that work
it h t against the exhaust system.




dsy April
12 NOON -
a ,,Balloons and Eni


vers f yab asspent
lion over the last
novations to the
much of it to im-

The only solution as Dunn sees it is to
build a new chemistry building.

Harper-Grace Hospitals (the nation's 4th largest private
adult health care center) is seeking systems and pro-
gramming professionals for several newly created
key systems development support assignments.
* Data Base Design
* COBOL and Assembler Programming
" Distributed Systems Design
" Total MIS Development
* B.S. in Computer Science, Business Administration
or Equivalent
" 2 or more years of progressively responsible related
To explore these exciting and highly visible opportunities,
send your resume in confidence to:

(USPS 344-900)
Volume LXXXIX, No. 151
Sunday, April 8, 1979
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*RECGNIZca ~rJ ohF_)& '



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