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September 12, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-09-12

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0

OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, September 12, 1985

The Michigan Daily

E anm b tta nr Michig an
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Defense dollars head west

Vol. XCVI, No. 6

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Computer accessibility

As part of an effort to increase
computer accessibility to
students, the University has an-
nounced the initiation of request
accounts which gives students
"free" time ($50 worth) on MTS.
It's about time.
For anyone who has nightmarish
memories of congested terminals
and seemingly endless lines the
thought of more people waiting on
lines for access to MTS is nerve
wracking. But overcrowding the
terminals isn't this year's new ad-
ministrative goal-rather the aim
is to increase the number of
workstations from 225 to 2,000 by
1988.
The University's goal is to have
computer workstations available
within five minutes of every
student on campus. The -mere fact
that the goal exists illustrates a
commitment from the University
to increase computer literacy and
retain the University's leadership
position in the field of information
technology.
The compulsory charge will go
toward offsetting the high cost of
instituting and operating the ad-
ditional terminals and so it seems
appropriate that students should be
asked to pay it. Nevertheless, that
charge should be limited because
the personal computer revolution
has progressed to the point that
many students have already pur-
chased computers. Also, it seems
conceivable that some students
would be able to purchase com-
puters adequate for their needs for
the same amount of money that they

pay in fees to
system.

the Unviersity

The importance of computer
literacy cannot be overstated.
While computers have long been a
tool for "hard science" disciplines
such as mathematics and physics,
they are becoming increasingly
important to disciplines such as
history and political science which
can now make unprecedented use
of statistics and information
sharing through computer
technology.
By 1988, the number of Univer-
sity workstations should amount to
one terminal for every 15 students.
Only private universities are plan-
ning projects on the same scale but
it is imperative that the University
not fall behind other peer in-
stitutions.
The University has also made a
judicious decision in making
workstations available in residence
halls. The current plan calls for 60
workstations in seven residence
halls by the end of the term, and 150
by the end of the year. The dorm
concept is not only convenient for
all students but is particularly con-
siderate of female residents as the
computers will be safely accessible
24 hours a day.
In making its commitment to ex-
panding computer accessibility,
the University is acting to meet an
important educational need
without making excessive financial
demands on students. The entire
University community should be
the stronger for it.

By John Markoff
SAN JOSE -- Silicon Valley, where losses'
and layoffs hint at a state-of-art ghost town, is
also home to a boom town.
Companies here that depend on military
business are enjoying unprecedented
prosperity. The Pentagon, under the Reagan
administration, is increasing the flow through
a pipeline that last year pumped more than
$4.6 billion into the valley - up more than $500
million from the previous year - for
development and production of sophisticated
electronic weapons.
Only six states received more defense
dollars in 1984 than did Santa Clara County
alone. And funding is expected to swell
dramatically in several years.
"The horses aren't even out of the gate
yet," said John Pike, a research analyst for
the Federation of American Scientists in
Washington D.C.
Some signs of contrast between the defense
and commercial sides of Silicon Valley:
While some 600 workers lost their jobs in
Santa Clara's National Semiconductor Corp.
in June, Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. of
S 'inyvale plans to hire almost 4,000 people
and create 1,500 new positions before year
end.
. While revenue for the March-June period
at chip-maker Intel Corp. in Santa Clara,
which performs no direct military business,
fell 12 percent, the Pentagon in 1985 is spen-
ding more than '500 million' - or more than
$400 for every Santa Clara County resident -
on Silicon Valley research for the Strategic
Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars" missile
defense system.
n Whilemmany consumer-oriented
microelectronics companies have been
building facilities outside Santa Clara County
to escape the congestion and expensive work
force, more defense contractors are moving
in to benefit from its engineers and scientists.
Today 20 of the top 50 U.S. defense electronics
contractors have headquarters or divisions in
the valley.
Silicon Valley is like a mine field - there
are craters where companies used to be,"
said Chris Quackenbush, president of Santa
Clara-based Q-tech, a high technology
recruitment firm.
She said the booming defense industry is
picking up much of the slack created by the
recent recession in the microelectronics in-
Markoff is a technology writer for the
San Francisco Examiner.

dustry.
"There's a battle going on for the hearts
and minds of Silicon Valley. The military is
trying to regain leadership over technology,"
said Randy Schutt, an analyst at the Center,
for Economic Conversion, a research center
in Mountain View, California.
Schutt, who recently completed a study of
the subject, said about 15 percent to 20 per-
cent of valley manufacturing - roughly
50,000 jobs - is tied up in national defense,
and that a decade-old trend away from
dependence on military spending has rever-
sed.
Some fear the shift may ruin this region's
entrepreneurial and technically innovative
character. They say that government-funded
military research is less efficient than
privately funded projects.
But defense backers say a major research
effort - one that only the government is
willing to fund - is needed to bring military
chip technology abreast of the civilian sec-
tor's.
"The most advanced chips still get into
video games first," says Jim Courtice,
spokesman for local military contractor
Dalmo-Victor.
The bonanza for high tech defense firms
stems from the changing nature of modern
warfare. Since Vietnam, microelectronics
has emerged as the key component in
weapons design. While overall military spen-
ding has leveled off in recent years, the por-
tion devoted to electronics is growing about 15
percent annually, according to Dave Russell,
editor of Defense Electronics magazine. This
year it could reach 146.6 billion, he said.
Silicon Valley, meanwhile, has become the
center of the nation's electronics warfare in-
dustry.
For military aircraft, for example, the
valley designs microelectronics-based "black
boxes" used to guide missiles within enemy
territory without detection.
The Pentagon plans to spend more than $500
million in the next five years to create a
generation of "brilliant" weapons - such as a
robot-controlled tank - that can remove
much human decision making from fighting
systems. Many of those projects are in Silicon
Valley.
"Star Wars" funding already helped push
Lockheed's profits up 30 percent in 1984. If the
Reagan administration wins a go-ahead to

build a complete system, it could create a
high tech gold rush throughout the valley. The
current Pentagon estimate for the first five
years of the "Star Wars" research program is
126 billion, but the cost of a full system could
be much higher.
This region's two high tech economies exist
in stark juxtaposition not only in the nature of
their work, but in their temperament.
The commercial side, an open community
of technical innovators and venture
capitalists, is characterized in part by what
some wryly call Apple Computer's "fruit-
juice-and-Friday-back-rub work ethic." But
the defense side traditionally is closed,
regimented, and dependent on federal sup-
port.
The commercial side of silicon Valley has
successfully fought unionization, primarily
by offering skilled workers stock incentives
and prerequisites. The largest defense contrac-
tors here are heavily unionized.
"There are no beer parties on Friday after-
noon," said Jerry Chubb, a project manager
at the defense systems division of FMC Corp.,
the area's second largest military contractor.
"We don't have the creative energy of the
personal computer industry. We're old-
fashioned. You put in eight hours of hard work
a day and you get paid well."
Silicon Valley's commercial side has
produced Computer Professionals for social
Responsibility, an organization that argues
rising military funding for new technology is
counterproductive and will hurt the United
States' ability to compete against the rest of
the world.
And distrust for the Pentagon remains
something of a tradition with several
prominent Silicon Valley companies. Firms
such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard have been
willing to sell standard equipment to the
Defense Department, but have refused to be
enticed by major "cost-plus" contracts that
defense manufacturers usually sign with the
government.
In a cost-plus system, a contractor reports
costs to the government and is guaranteed a
high percentage above profit. The higher the
costs, the higher the profit. In private in-
dustry, by contrast, competitive pressures
forcemanufacturers to hold down costs.
"They're totally different work environ-
ments," said Robert Noyce, vice chairman
and co-founder of Intel. In his view, defense
spending "is a poor way to support science
and technology."
This article was adapted from an
Examiner story for the Pacific News Ser-
vice.

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THE ETHICS of publisher
Rupert Murdoch have fomen-.
ted what might be called a holy
fracas.
When the Australian media
magnate began acquiring
American publications and
dominating the newscopy with sen-
sational banner headlines, serious
news consumers were offended
and dismayed.
Murdoch's latest venture, a syn-
dicated column "based on the
writings" of Pope John Paul II has
been met with "amazement and
disapproval" among top Vatican
officials who question the
"professional ethics" of the
column.
The Pope's byline gracing a
weekly column in newspapers is
apparently not what He's all about,
according to Vatican spokesmen.
While making the thoughts and
policy statements of the Pope is a
valid democratic notion, Mur-
doch's latest enterprise is undoub-
tedly more a reflection of his
capitalistic rather than
democratic convictions.
Beyond the philosophical
questions, is the matter of whether

the material being published under
the Papal byline is indeed clearly
representative of what the Pope
has written.
The column is "edited" by a Dr.
Albert Bloch who compiles excer-
pts from Papal speeches and
writings. Bloch claims to have the
approval of several Vatican of-
ficials. Vatican spokesmen deny
that any authorization for the
column was ever given.
Last Sunday's column, the first
of the series, rather predictably
condemned South Africa's policy of
apartheid and called for peaceful
resolution in the racially divided
nation. The piece is most likely an
accurate reflection of the Papal at-
titude, but the manner of
disseminating the commentary is
at best unusual.
The Detroit Free Press ran the
initial column last Sunday, but has
since decided to "review our com-
mitment" to using the column, ac-
cording to a top editor there.
The Pope's column will not ap-
pear in this newspaper, which
some might call an inappropriate
forum, anyhow. The more prudent
editors here advocate that readers
get it free - Daily.

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LETTERS
MSA

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works

but

not for students

To the Daily:
The University of Michigan is,
it is to be hoped, above all an
educational institution. If, as Steve
Kaplan implied (Daily, Septem-
ber 10), the vice-presidency of
MSA is a full-time job, then
somewhere along the line the
proper perspective on the place
of student government as an in-
tegral part of the educational
community has been lost. Unfor-
tunately, Mr. Kaplan seems to
share the mentality, almost fer-
vor, of the MSA hierarchy, which
sees student government not as
the servant of the student but as

president. How did we, the
students, benefit from his
magnanimous and self-sacrificial
efforts? During his term of office,
MSA did nothing to fight rape on
campus. MSA took nothing but
token actions against the code
(threats of lawsuits should have
been flying!). Of course, we can
all thank Mr. Kaplan for
presiding over the gross misap-
propriation of student funds in
the settlement of Rose vs.
Student Legal Services. Why was
this incident whitewashed?

Didn't Mr. Kaplan's hard-
working MSA think the loss of
tens of thousands of dollars
deserved at least an in-
vestigation? In short, Mr.
Kaplan's termf in MSA falls
proudly in line with the great
American political traditions of
Calvin Coolidge and Dwight
Eisenhower-nothing useful was
done.
I have to applaud anyone who,
like Micky Feusse did
yesterday, would prefer to leave
.a public office than to stay and do

what she knew would be an
inadequate job because of time
constraints. But the fundamental
question of what to do about MSA
remains unresolved. I would cer-
tainly prefer a full-time student
representing me in MSA than a
full-timesecretary.I honestly
believe that MSA would gain
back some, if not all, of the force
to influence student affairs that it
once had if we elected more of-
ficers like Micky Feusse and
fewer like Steve Kaplan.
-Allan Rosenberg
September 11
- - - a

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