USC and the World’s Internet Community Mourns the Net’s Loss

USC and the World’s Internet Community Mourns the Net’s Loss

The death of Internet pioneer Jon Postel, head of the computer networks division at USC’s Information Sciences Institute, on Oct. 16 at age 55 resulted in worldwide media coverage. A condolences page was set up and Websites were draped in black. Some major newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, did two stories, an obituary and another story assessing Postel’s impact. In a San Francisco Chronicle article, President Clinton’s Internet adviser, Ira Magaziner, said that Postel “was one of the great pioneers of the information age and made its infrastructure possible. . . . He was the wizard behind the curtains.” The stories provided some of the best descriptions of how the Internet works politically and from an engineering point of view, and how it affects society. “There is a broader lesson to be drawn from Postel’s achievements, and from the history of the Internet,” said a commentary in London’s Financial Times. “An ethic of collaboration and open discussion around a common purpose is an extraordinarily powerful and creative force.”

On the Effects of Mitch, a Category 5

Tony Michaels, director of the Wrigley Institute for Environ-mental Studies, was interviewed about Hurricane Mitch on KCAL Oct. 26. Comparing the damage potential of hurricanes to earthquakes, Michaels said that if a Category 5 hurricane like Mitch made landfall in a heavily populated area, the damage would be comparable to that of “the big one” striking California.

“Breakfast in a Minute”

USC Executive Chef Mark Baida was featured on the Oct. 14 KABC-TV “Breakfast in a Minute” segment. Baida prepared a homemade cheese
danish for the spot. KABC later posted the recipe on its Website, at

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“A lot of stuff is bad for kids out there, but you can’t stop it from getting around,” constitutional law expert Michael H. Shapiro said in a Sept. 10 Los Angeles Times article about a new city ban on tobacco and alcohol billboards. Shapiro warned that courts have hesitated to back such bans on commercial speech. “If you start eliminating every conceivable risk, you end up seriously restricting freedoms.”

“She wouldn’t have denounced Clinton unless she felt she had to, and I don’t blame her for it,” legal and political analyst Susan Estrich said in a Sept. 17 Boston Globe article about Barbara Boxer’s struggle to hold onto her Senate seat. Boxer had just rebuked the president for his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. “But I don’t think it will help her, particularly since she is going to continue using him for fundraising.” Estrich also commented on the sex scandal on different CNBC talk shows on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17.

“Focus on reform, not personalities,” urged constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, who also is chairman of the elected Los Angeles Charter Reform Commission, in a Sept. 17 Los Angeles Times op-ed. “Charter reform is not about this mayor or this chief administrative officer; it is about how to design the best government for Los Angeles.” Chemerinsky made comments in 10 other media outlets between Aug. 24 and Oct. 19 on issues ranging from Indian gaming, capital punishment and the White House sex scandal. In an Aug. 24 Time magazine profile of Judge Judy, Chemerinsky expressed concern about the impression of law given by the latest member of the TV bench and other TV judges. “They want to present a case in 30 minutes, and it’s difficult to do that without oversimplification,” he said. “The judge in the courtroom is interested in following the law and creating fair procedures. . . . A judge on TV is only interested in the drama of the proceedings, in good television, and those are obviously different goals.”

The First Look Film Festival of USC student works warranted mention in the Oct. 2 Daily Variety and a capsule review in the Oct. 1 L.A. Weekly, which found some of the student movies “a joy for the promise contained in their images and ideas.”

Los Angeles Times’ Oct. 5 “Heard on the Beat” technology feature mentioned the appointment of Mark D. Pesce as the director of the School of Cinema-Television’s interactive media program. Pesce, co-inventor of the virtual reality modeling language, said, “We’ll be exploring the convergence of entertainment and technology. We expect that graduates of this program will generate the best of the next generation of interactive works.”

“Now from one of the country’s most prestigious universities comes an inspiring story of a remarkable Southland student. She’s making the grade at USC, and she’s only old enough for middle school,” began the Oct. 6 KABC story on sophomore Natashia Lewis, the youngest person ever to enroll at USC. Lewis, 14, passed a high school equivalency test in eighth grade, scored 1300 on her SATs and as a freshman at Cal State L.A. made the National Dean’s List. “It’s quite an experience,” said the chemistry/biology major and med school hopeful. “I find I like it better in college than I would in a normal high school. I’m having a good time.”

“We’re trying to find ways to make a difference, to supplement classroom experience, to encourage students to take advantage of what’s available in Los Angeles,” said Cathie Thomas, associate dean for admissions and financial aid and director of financial aid, in an Oct. 7 Los Angeles Sentinel article on Century-LIFT. The project, run in cooperation with the Rossier School of Education, provides tutoring in affordable housing complexes. Participants who get accepted to USC get free tuition. The project has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle.

A conference on churches and economic development at USC that was sponsored by the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture was reported in a front-page Business section story in the Oct. 9 Los Angeles Times. The two-day conference drew representatives of 140 area churches to discuss how they can spark their communities’ economic revitalization.

Internist William Schwartz was quoted in a Oct. 11 Boston Globe Magazine article on the potential conflict of medical costs and medical care. “I am not a seer, but I would say we are heading into another period of massive escalation of costs.”

An Oct. 13 New York Times article on the newfound benefits of calcium refers to a USC School of Medicine study reporting that “adding calcium to the diet lowered blood pressure in 116 black teen-agers who normally consumed little of the mineral.”

KTLA’s weekly show “Making It!” announced its collaboration with the USC Business Expansion Network on a recent broadcast. The merger was also mentioned in the Oct. 15 issue of the Los Angeles Sentinel.

USC University Hospital’s “Excellence in Athletics” high school sports program was profiled in the Oct. 15 Los Angeles Times. Brian Chavarin, certified athletic trainer and director of the program that provides athletic trainers to 16 schools in the Los Angeles area, said, “A perfect day as trainer is when we don’t walk on the field at all.”

Pediatrician Jonathan Keller-man was profiled, with his wife, Faye, in the Oct. 16 Los Angeles Jewish Times. The Kellermans are best-selling authors of thrillers. The profile delves into the Jewish influence on their writing and their lives.

College of Letters, Arts and Sciences dean Morton Owen Schapiro commented in an Oct. 18 New York Times article about top earners among university presidents and other leaders. “Some of these people run $2 billion operations with 15,000 employees that are really major corporations, though they are nonprofit,” he said.

Carolyn Suckow, assistant director of public affairs and marketing for the School of Engineering and a breast cancer survivor, was featured prominently in an Oct. 19 Los Angeles Times story on the Avon 3-Day walk to raise funds for breast-cancer education.

USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital was mentioned in “Entertain-ment Tonight’s” Oct. 19 coverage of the breast cancer awareness and fund-raising event “Take-A-Hike.” Proceeds from the event benefit breast cancer research at USC and UCLA.

The Oct. 19 Los Angeles Business Journal profiled hematologist Alexandra Levine, calling her “one of the nation’s most highly regarded AIDS researchers.” When asked if the drop in the AIDS-related death rate will affect research funding, she said, “I think it is possible that AIDS research funding will go down because of the exciting new developments, but this would be most inappropriate. The problem won’t really be solved until we have an effective preventive vaccine and a mechanism to cure the infection.”

The Oct. 21 Los Angeles Times covered a staff educational forum on “Gangs and Spirituality” at LAC+USC Medical Center presented by surgeon Juan Asensio, two ex-gang members and two chaplains. “We try to deglamorize violence, to put a face to violence, to show that in one moment that you raise your hand in anger, it can affect generations.”

Fight On USC, the USC fight song, was called “brilliant, sparkling and innovative” and ranked No. 7 on a list of top 10 college fight songs in an Oct. 22 article in the Chicago Tribune. The Notre Dame Victory March (“best-known and perhaps the most borrowed”) was ranked No. 1, followed by Michigan’s The Victors (‘most rousing”), On Wisconsin, Down the Field (Yale), Anchors Aweigh (U.S. Naval Acad-emy), Stein Song (Maine), Fight On USC, Ramblin’ Wreck From Georgia Tech, The Eyes of Texas, and Across the Field (Ohio State).

On an Oct. 23 ABC News report in advance of the general election, California political expert H. Eric Schockman discussed why the nation was watching the California election, especially the governor’s race. “It speaks to the future of the United States, and it speaks to the momentum the United States will be following.” Schockman also wrote an Oct. 25 Los Angeles Daily News op-ed weighing the advantages and disadvantages of eight ballot measures and charter amendments that will be before voters.

Marty Kaplan, associate dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, was the author of an Oct. 25 Los Angeles Times op-ed piece on John Glenn’s return to space flight. “In naming Sen. John Glenn to the Discovery crew, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration demonstrated that it is ready to return to the entertainment business,” he began in an examination of the space agency and space policy. “Is stunt-casting the best way to decide national science policy?” he asked.

A Q&A in the Oct. 26 issue of the Los Angeles Business Journal featured the California Society of CPAs’ 1990 Distinguished Professor Award winner, ac-counting expert E. John Larsen. “The SEC needs to stage more public hangings,” Larsen said of legal but misleading accounting practices of corporate America - practices that sometimes give the appearance that a company is more profitable than it is. “That may be the wake-up call needed to scare people straight.”

“My distant impression is that this man is considerably depressed and can’t make decisions,” neurology of aging expert Lon Schneider commented in an Oct. 27 Los Angeles Times article about Russian president Boris N. Yeltsin. The article, which assessed Yeltsin’s mental condition, was occasioned by the Kremlin’s disclosure that Yeltsin may be suffering from a more de-bilitating disorder than thought and will therefore be playing a lesser role in government.

Alumnus Robert Zemeckis’ $5 million gift to the School of Cinema-Television to create a digital arts facility generated stories in the Oct. 28 Los Angeles Times and the Oct. 29 New York Times, among other publications. “USC was a great inspiration for me and an important stepping-stone for my career,” said Zemeckis, who directed Forrest Gump and other films that have melded animation, live action and special effects.

News media expert Joe Saltzman was quoted in an Oct. 28 San Francisco Chronicle story about how the parents of a murdered woman turned on a television news program and - to their horror - saw videotape footage of their daughter tied to a chair as her captors threatened to rape and murder her - evidence from the killers’ trial. “I’m torn that this video exists where people ... are seen in horrifying circumstances,” Saltzman said. “But as a journalist, I don’t like anyone telling me what I can see and what I can’t.” Saltzman was also quoted in the Oct. 29 Ventura County Star on imminent high-definition television broadcasts, and his lecture on romantic depictions of journalists in the movies was the subject of a feature in the Oct. 24 Working Press, a publication of the Los Angeles Society of Professional Journalists. “Many journalists I know have become journalists because of movies,” he said. “If you are going into journalism, pick a heroic figure and live up to it.”