Barbara Kantrowitz

Stories by Barbara Kantrowitz

  • Culture Time

    CULTURE VULTURES HAVE another World-Wide Web site to explore. The School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois has opened an online art gallery that functions much like a regular gallery, with individual artists showcased for six to eight weeks. Currently on view at "@art gallery": California artist Carol Flax, who presents three series of images, "Family Works," "Political Works" and "Scotland Project." The online gallery, housed in a computer dubbed Gertrude, can be reached at edu/gart/gallery.html
  • Wired/Tired?

    IS HOTWIRED, WIRED MAGAZINE'S Web site, too cool to live? Here's an excerpt from the FAQ. Judge for yourself-. "HotWired is new thinking for a new medium. We call it a cyberstation, a suite of vertical content streams about the Digital Revolution and the Second Renaissance with an integrated community space. While HotWired is currently bound by technological limitations that restrict bandwidth, it represents the genetic blueprint that will evolve into the overarching media environment of the next century ... HotWired is live, twitching, the real-time nervous system of the planet ... It's Way New Journalism. It's Rational Geographic." Wow.
  • New Year's Eve Surfing

    IF YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION IS TO FINALLY GET ONLINE, check out First Night celebrations in New York, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. There will be computers at various sites, such as New York's Grand Central Terminal and The Other Side Cafe in Boston, where revelers who have purchased First Night tickets can log on for free. If you're a newbie, don't worry; expert advisers Will be standing by, First Night organizers say. The online service Echo is coordinating things from New York, where a bank of computers will be installed in Grand Central, with large-screen monitors overhead.
  • Deck The (Virtual) Halls

    Dear Santa: For Christmas, I would like (1) some money to give to charity, (2) a Christmas tree that won't shed all its needles by New Year's, (3) a rough idea of what Rudolph likes to snack on, (4) an instant response to this letter. Please." ...
  • In Search Of The Sacred

    Rita McClain's spiritual journey began in Iowa, where she grew up in the fundamentalist world of the Pentecostal Church. What she remembers most about that time are tent meetings and an overwhelming feeling of guilt. In her 20s she tried less doctrinaire Protestantism. That, too, proved unsatisfying. By the age of 27, McClain had rejected all organized religion. ""I really felt like a pretty wounded Christian,'' she says. For the next 18 years, she sought inner peace only in nature, through rock climbing in the mountains or hiking in the desert. That seemed enough.Then, six years ago, in the aftermath of an emotionally draining divorce, McClain's spiritual life blossomed. Just as she had once explored mountains, she began scouting the inner landscape. She started with Unity, a metaphysical church near her Marin County, Calif., home. It was a revelation, light-years away from the ""Old Testament kind of thing I knew very well from my childhood.'' The next stop was Native American...
  • Calling All Couch Potatoes

    NICK WEST, a researcher at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program, produces a public-access show, which he says is "interactive television for Joe or Jane Six pack." All you need is cable TV and a phone. "Yorb: The Electronic Neighborhood" (Thursday at 11 p.m. on Channel 34, for Manhattanites) allows up to four call-in viewers to navigate through a computer-generated world. They can watch from home as one viewer steers using the touch-tone telephone keypad; press 2 to go north, 6 to go east, etc. You drive through an eerie landscape from behind a 3-D dashboard- where a live chat session from the ECHO bulletin board scrolls by. The show started in 1993, but West has redesigned the software partly to avoid on-air crashes that plagued the earlier version -and has added a digital art gallery and a drive-in theater, featuring video clips by New York artists. Says West: "We're aiming to have it on 24 hours a day Ion NYU campus TVJ." Pass the coffee. please.
  • A Great Big Hug

    If this picture isn't familiar, you've been living on Mars for the last few years. Barney, star of toy stores, lunch boxes, T shirts and TVs everywhere, has his own WorldWide Web site. You can download Barney's photo albums, Barney cartoons, a Barney target-shooting game, and Barney sound clips and other Barneyabilia. Why you would want to is another question. The address: ta/barney/barney.html
  • Virtual Votes

    REAL-TIME Politics are coming soon to an Internet node near you. From now until the Nov. 8 election, political junkies can follow California gubernatorial, Senate and other statewide races from World-Wide Web and Gopher servers at Digital Equipment Corp. in Palo Alto. Detailed information on candidates. ballot measures and campaign spending, along with district maps, ire available at the Web site (type http://www.election. or and at the Gopher server type ( or On Nov. 8, results will be available seconds after precincts report in. The data can be selected; for example. you can filter out everything except the Senate race.
  • Chipheads Or Blockheads?

    We're all for any effort to popularize technology, but the promotional material that arrived with Software Etc.'s new clothing line, Chiphead, hit us the wrong way. Are while guys with glasses the only people who use computers and would be interested in this stuff? Chiphead includes T shirts, sweat shirts, boxer shorts and mugs with slogans like THE ONE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST RAM WINS and MEN WON'T ASK FOR DIRECTIONS ON THE INFO HIGHWAY EITHER. A hint for Software Etc.: Chipheads come in all flavors, but their money is the same.
  • If Only It Were So Easy In Real Life

    Divorcees can now fradicate their previous partners from photographs without resorting to a scissor job. DiverceX from Western Pro Imaging Labs of Vancouver, Canada, is a service that scans a photograph into a computer and then alters it electronically. The gap can then be filled by a new partner. The technology can also make people thinner, younger, and can remove double chins or scars. According to company president Keith Guelpha, one customer was a man about to be married. "He had gone traveling around Europe before becoming engaged. There was a different girl in each photo and he wanted them all removed."
  • Meet Mr. Simcity

    An earthquake tears the ground asunder. Torrents of water flood the streets. Fires race from block to block. It's a full-fledged disaster -- the kind of calamity only SimCity fans could love. Since its debut in 1989, the best-selling computer game has introduced millions of SimMayors to the trials of running a complex urban system. Make good choices in zoning and budgeting and the city prospers. But players are always just a few moves away from mayhem. ""It's a chaotic system in the same way that societies are chaotic,'' says SimCity's 34-year-old creator, Will Wright. ""You can't predict what's going to happen.'' ...
  • Colorless, Odorless And Deadly

    By the look of the room, Vitas Gerulaitis never knew he was in danger. When a maid discovered the 40-year-old former tennis star's body lying on the bed last week in a poolside bungalow in Southampton Village, N.Y., the television was still on. Gerulaitis, who had been playing on nearby courts earlier in the day, looked as though he were just taking a quick nap. Although Gerulaitis had battled substance abuse, it was only after drawing blood that investigators discovered the real culprit: carbon monoxide, probably from a malfunctioning pool heater that vented into the cottage. "His body was saturated with carbon monoxide," says Robert Golden of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner's Office. "If he was tired, he may very well have succumbed to the effects while he was sleeping." Golden said that the room became a de facto gas chamber as odorless, colorless fumes built up inside. ...
  • Negotiations Edition

    Labor Day has the CW in the mood for productive negotiations--but the world isn't always obliging. If the IRA and the PLO can make peace, why can't the baseball owners? ...
  • Big Crystal

    The world's largest rhodochrosite crystal -- so valuable it's been nicknamed the Mona Lisa of crystals -- has been uncovered in a mine in Colorado. A slew of museums, including the Smithsonian, want it, but the man who found the rock has made a deal for it to go on display at the Denver Museum of Natural History. The crystal is a hunk of red manganese carbonate the size of a brick surrounded by calcite and fluoride crystals in blue and yellow. It's still in the quartz formation in which it grew some 30 million years ago, when the Rocky Mountains first formed. Bryan Lees found it in the Sweet Home Mine, where Lees said more such specimens may still exist.
  • A New Tack On Health Care

    Any chance for healthcare reform this year seems to rest in the Senate, where Majority Leader George Mitchell is trying to salvage a last-minute deal -- with some hope of success. Even if the Senate approves modest reform, passage in the House is no sure thing. Incremental reform may be rejected by some of the roughly 100 Democrats who still support the liberal Canadian-style single-payer plan. And the White House needs the liberals because Clinton can't count on any Republican support in the House. Clinton aides worry that in the end the House will choose to pass nothing rather than small reform, denying the president even the semblance of victory. If health care does fail completely, count on Clinton to spend the fall making a big push for reform of the political system. Clinton has long supported measures to limit campaign spending by interest groups and require more complete disclosure of lobbying activities. So far, though, the president has not devoted much energy to pushing...
  • Phony Roots?

    Tobacco giant Philip Morris hired a Washington lobbying firm to get people to write letters against proposed federal regulations banning workplace smoking. Bonner & Associates earned at least $1.4 million for a campaign that produced 7,300 letters, according to a source who worked on the campaign, and an additional $100 each for more than 1,500 faxes to congressmen. Philip Morris is getting ready to bring up to 500 smokers to Washington, all expenses paid, to testify at a Sept. 20 hearing, the source says. Philip Morris says the numbers cited are inaccurate but won't discuss the details.
  • War Games

    Although U.S. diplomats say a Haitian invasion appears likely, Gen. Raoul Cedras, the leader of Haiti's military junta, apparently still thinks he can make Bill Clinton back down. Diplomats in Port-au-Prince say Cedras might retire as military dictator and run for president. By the reckoning of some Haitian legislators, Cedras's term expires on Oct. 12 (the general says the date is Jan. 31). His retirement would make an invasion diplomatically awkward even though it would not fully meet U.N. demands for the military to relinquish power. The regime has already scheduled elections in November -- without saying if the presidency will be up for grabs.
  • Early Eulogy

    Senior Taiwanese officials led by President Lee Teng-hui recently convened a secret meeting to draft the most sensitive of public statements -- condolences on the death of China's Deng Xiaoping. That means that the very tapped-in Taiwanese intelligence agency thinks Deng, who turned 90 last month, is gravely ill. The Taiwanese rejected a draft that harshly criticized Deng for crushing the pro-democracy movement. Instead the statement affirms China's market reforms, says a Lee adviser. The goal is to convey Taipei's wish that Chinese moderates keep power after Deng's death.
  • Dirty Dancing

    Fasting and dancing until the vision is altered and the body weak -- that's a ceremony. But when 27 Native American dancers at last month's Gibson Sun Dance in Idaho fell ill with vomiting, lung disorders and blackouts, tribal leaders ended the three-day rite early. Health officials say the illnesses are a mystery, but members of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe, who hosted the festival, blame pesticides sprayed on reservation land leased to local farmers. Now the Shoshone-Bannock are calling for a ban on pesticides on all U.S. reservations. "We should be role models in keeping the earth clean," says sun-dance chief Robert (Dude) Perry. "We have to start practicing what we preach."
  • A Peek At Lennon's Fbi File

    It's hard to imagine why J. Edgar Hoover's FBI compiled a huge file on John Lennon. According to documents obtained by the ACLU of southern California, reports on the former Beatle included the revelation that Lennon contributed $75,000 to an apparently nonexistent peace group. Was Lennon a national-security threat? Not according to the files. One agent noted: "Lennon and his wife are passe about [sic] United States politics." The files do show that Nixon aide H. R. Haldeman was aware of the surveillance. Maybe Nixon was a fan.
  • Steamed Up

    Last week, when a train roared over Colorado mountain tracks leaving behind 40 blazes over a three-mile area, fire officials were puzzled and alarmed. Investigators quickly tracked down the train, which was being used by a crew filming a Steven Seagal movie tentatively titled "Under Siege II." The train apparently shot out sparks as it ran, igniting the dry Colorado tinder. A Warner Brothers spokesperson blamed faulty equipment, but local officials said the film company will get a bill for at least $40,000. The crew will be back in Colorado in September to begin shooting again -- presumably with better locomotives.
  • New Message

    The Clinton administration may be preoccupied with Cuba, but this week it will send an unmistakable signal to Haiti's military leaders. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Deputy Secretary of Defense John Deutch plan to fly to Jamaica Tuesday to meet with Caribbean leaders. Their mission: to secure aid for a possible Haiti invasion and a post-invasion peacekeeping force. The administration initially planned to send a low-level delegation, but it settled on Talbott and Deutch to make sure the Haitians get the message. Pentagon officials insist they have enough ships and manpower to invade Haiti in the midst of the Cuban crisis. But officials say they probably won't act until the United Nations gives Haiti's generals a final warning.
  • Plugging Leaks

    Media reports declaring health-care reform all but dead -- apparently based on leaks from senior administration officials -- infuriated White House chief of staff Leon Panetta. At the senior staff meeting on Friday, NEWSWEEK has learned, Panetta ordered that anyone who talks to a reporter log the call with Communications Director Mark Gearan. Deputy chief Harold Ickes chimed in that the leaks were hurtful to the reform effort -- and seemed to come from sources who don't know what's going on.
  • Jump Right In

    EEEEEW! Thanks to the folks at the University of Virginia's Instructional Technology program, you can relive high-school biology class via the Interactive Frog Dissection on-line tutorial. This World-Wide Web document (best viewed using Mosaic software) would be little more than a textbook if not for the QuickTime video snippets, whick demonstrate proper frog-cutting technique, and the "Let's Practice" interactive quiz sessions. "I've had people say that it's the only instructional Web application they've seen yet," says Mable Kinzie, one of the developers. (The Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory has also created a slice 'n' dice Web browser to,for the main menu-where legs are definitely served.
  • Long Distance E-Mail

    One of the most exciting THINGS ABOUT THE INTERNET is that it allows people in remote locations to keep in touch. Consider Coast Guard Cmdr. Mike Powers, who is stationed on the USCGC Polar Sea in the Arctic Ocean. His ship is part of a U.S.-Canadian joint expedition carrying 70 scientists. They hook up to the Internet when the air force's Lincoln Experimental Satellite is in range. The satellite transmits to a Miami computer. Powers says they exchange data with colleagues at home. More important, for a 55-day stint in the middle of nowhere, is the ability to write to family and hear back in day or two.
  • Summer Recess Edition

    Health care put on hold, much to the relief of an anxious CW. But Bill did a lot of other bills through, didn't he? So give him a break and let him stop laboring on the Vineyard. ...
  • Dormitory Delights

    If your college kids' study habits make you wail, their eating habits will kill you -- if they don't kill the noshers first. Pizza and Pop-Tarts are fine in the evening; but all-nighters require whopping doses of sugar and caffeine. Key ingredient: zero preparation time.
  • Crystal Clear 3-D Memory

    AS HARD DRIVES GET MORE and more cramped, digital space is running out. For decades, researchers have hoped that holograms created in the subatomic structure of crystals might hold an answer. Stanford University physicists have demonstrated the first fully digital model of such a device, storing and retrieving the "Mona Lisa." The crystal held only 163 kilobytes of memory comparable to some early home computers but researchers think holographic units could hold a million megabits. Crystals store in three dimensions and could be 10 times faster than today's fastest systems.
  • Where The Techies Are

    CHIPHEADS AREN'T ALWAYS in front of a screen. For some F2F time, try these spots: 321 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, Mass. Industrial decor looks like the inside of a Pentium PC with petri dishes for ashtrays.Locations vary, Cambridge, Mass. Must be willing to do-si-do. E-mail Market St., San Francisco A hangout for "Digital Queers," a group of computer professionals advocating gay rights.52 8th Ave., New York City Hot site for online junkies.1607 San Jacinto, Austin, Texas Order a Shiner Boch, chickenfried steak and pull up an extra bar stool to store diskettes.823 Yale Ave. N, Seattle Ice-breaking games like "Interface" bring in the Aldus, Microsoft crowds.4455 148th Ave. NE, Bellevue, Wash. 8,000-member gym has 5,000 from Microsoft, 500 from Nintendo. 'Nuf said.Provo, Utah Public course (where neighbor Novell owns three holes) is best pickup site for miles.
  • All In A Name

    EARLIER THIS YEAR, THE ANIMOSITY between the nation's largest standardized-test-preparation companies Stanley Kaplan (owned by NEWSWEEK'S parent company, The Washington Post) and The Princeton Review hit a new low. On March 1, TPR secured the address "," tying up an Internet address its competitor would covet. "It's an act of corporate theft," says Kaplan CEO Jonathan Grayer. According to John Katzman, TPR's president, the stunt was "done entirely for fun and to irritate them." It worked, especially when Kaplan execs realized that TPR, was soliciting Kaplan horror stories through this address. Whether the address constitutes trademark infringement and false advertising has become a point of contention between the two companies TPR still owns it. The dispute has been added to arbitration talks over other claims, all of which Kaplan and TPR hope to resolve by year-end.
  • Launch Party

    In the face of near-certain defeat on health-care reform, the White House is planning a high-profile launch of President Clinton's national-service program, AmeriCorps. On Sept. 12, Clinton will lead 1,000 youths on the South Lawn in the service oath -- and 9,000 more will participate in satellite hookups at 16 sites nationwide. Also planned: MTV-style commercials plugging service and AmeriCorps merchandise from T shirts to backpacks. Why the Super Bowl-style hype? National service is one major campaign promise Clinton has kept, and aides complain he hasn't received enough credit.
  • Nothing's On

    Who needs 500 channels when we don't even watch the ones we've got? Here's a sampler of more ultra-niche programming to ignore in the coming year: Ten-minute infomercialsOld footageWesternsSex-related merchandise"Let the fun begin!"Lots of itWar moviesMovie previewsShows about single peopleOriginal, 24-hour, all-talk programmingA service that will update you on everything you missed