Page 1

Carl Sagan. ,.Talks With

Jayant v. Narli~ar

l1te War That Defined America

Elections

1992


A new election season has begun in the United States. Candidates at this time are energetically seeking the nominations of their political parties. Those who succeed, sometime in the summer, will enter the general campaign that concludes in November when Americans go to polls to elect a President (chosen every four years), all 435 members of the House of Representatives (chosen every two years), one-third of the Senate (whose 100 members have staggered six-year terms), and a host of state and local officials. Greatest attention will be paid, of course, to the presidential contest. One thing that observers will be eager to see is whether the American electorate will continue to vote with a split political personality. In five ofthe last six presidential elections, a Republican has won the presidency, but more Democrats than Republicans usually have won seats in the House and Senate. Pollster and political analyst Everett Carll Ladd calls this phenomenon "cognitive Madisonianism," referring to America's fourth President, James Madison, who was a great apostle of divided government. Ladd says that political philosophy in America has raised "checked-anddivided governmental authority to a lofty status as an instrument for preserving individual liberty," and that, therefore, "Americans are less likely than their counterparts in other democracies to be troubled" when the executive branch is controlled by one party and the legislative by another. Elections, as the backbone of democratic government, are serious affairs, but that doesn't mean they have to be somber, and in America they never are. Fanfare and hoopla are as much a part of the process as are formal debates and lengthy papers on the issues. We can expect to see candidates walking across farm fields and through factory shops, visiting schools and construction sites, kissing babies and making emphatic speeches laced with promises and exhortation. In the end, the public-which, Abraham Lincoln once said, "has a strong underlying sense of justice"-somehow manages to skim off most of the froth to find the essence upon which to make its choices. SPAN has elected to begin its coverage of the 1992 elections with an article by veteran Washington journalist Laurence I. Barrett, who discusses some of the history behind the way America's political parties choose their presidential nominees. The process has evolved considerably over the years, and continues to change from one election year to another. You probably already have noticed something different about this issue-advertisements on the inside and . back covers. SPAN has embarked on this limited venture in commercialism to help us deal with increased production costs and anticipated budget restrictions. Rising costs and shrinking budgets are a fiscal fact of life that many government-supported operations are faced with these days, the United States being no exception. Ads will affect our appearance in a small way, but not our content. SPAN will continue to offer a stimulating mix of illustrated articles about America and India.

2 Signs of Art

6

11

U.S. Election '92-Choosing

a President

What Should Unions Do Now?

by John Hoerr

Unions and National Politics: The U.S. Experience by Benjamin Sharman

18

Surf Champ 21 American Civil War Images of a Nation in Agony "It Defined Us"

29

An Interview With Shelby Foote by Ken Burns

Jim Martin's Living Water

by Tom Curtis

34 Focus On ...

38

Other-Worldly Matters

43 44 46

On the Lighter Side Laser Breaks Please Do Touch

Front cover: A photographic portrait of Edwin Francis Jemison, a teenage Confederate soldier who was killed during the American Civil War (1861-65). An II-hour documentary on the war, recently broadcast as a series on U.S. television, has revived memories of "the most devastating war in American history" and has brought alive for Americans an event that shaped their nation. See pages 21-28. Publisher, Stephen F. Dachi; Editor, Guy E. Olson Managing Editor, Krishan Gabrani; Senior Editor, Aruna Dasgupta; Copy Editors, A.. Venkata' Narayana, Snigdha Goswami; Editorial Assistants, Rocque Fernandes, Rashmi Goel; Photo Editor, Avinash Pasricha; Art Director, Nand Katyal; Associate Art Director, Kanti Roy; Artist, Hemant Bhatnagar; Production Assistant, Sanjay Pokhriyal; Circulation Manager, D.P. Sharma; Photographic Services: USIS Photographic Services Unit; Research Services: USIS Documentation Services; American Center Library, New Delhi. Photographs: Front cover-Library of Congress. 2-5-Rob Lewine. 13-R.K. Sharma. 18-19-Brian Bielmann, courtesy Quiksilver. 21-24-Library of Congress. 25-eourtesy of Co!. Jay Hayes Metzger. 26-National Archives. 27-Library of Congress. 28 top-National Archives; bottom-Library of Congress. 29, 30 left top-eourtesy Texas Monthly; 30-31-eourtesy Appropriate Technology Limited, Dallas, Texas. 34 topR.K. Sharma. 35 top-A vinash Pasricha. 41-R.K. Sharma. 44-eourtesy Candela Laser Corporation. 46-47-eourtesy The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana. Published by the United States Information Service. American Center, 24 Kasturba G~ndhi Marg. New Delhi 110001 (phone: 3316841). on behalf of the American Embassy, New Delhi. Prill/ed at Thomson Press (India) Limited, Faridabad, Haryana. The opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily Tcflectthe views or policies of the U,S. Government. Use qf SPAN articles in other publications is encouraged, except when copyrighted. For permission write to the Editor. Price ofma.gazinc, one year's subscription (12 issues) Rs. 60; single copy, Rs. 6.


5

I

G

Derided almost everywhere else, billboards enjoy exalted status in ~os Angeles. The city's massive hand-painted billboards-which advertise everything from concerts to cemeteries and mayonnaise to marathons-are an indigenous folk art, their creators master craftsmen. Above: Kent Twitchell (working atop a ladder) took a year to paint this muralfor the Los Angeles Marathon Foundation on a 72 x 6-meter wall along a 12-laneji-eeway. Right: Greg Baird uses an electric pendlto mark the outline of a slide projected on paper as a guidefor a billboard painter, Far right: The sand and \I'ater in John Thongnoi's hand-painted billboard look real and inviting.

N

5


here start high several

the palm trees and

... .The billboards above

botanical

In a recent issue of Smithsonian magazine, Doug Stewart writes, "The extravaganzas

of Sunset

Boulevard .. .is a dazzling

two-kilometer

stretch

garden of hand-painted for attention hot vibrancy of paint,"

Even in this age of high-tech wizardry,

screaming

billboards."

and go higher, competing billboards~"the

of billboard

hand-painted

art.

Some of Los Angeles's

bill-

they find printed ones too drab, flat, and

advertisers opt for hand-painted in comparison.

as Stewart puts it~because washed-out boards are regarded as masterpieces Billboard as art? Back in the I920s, artist Gino Raffaelli recalls, the two words weren't uttered in the same breath. Billboards were basically huge

the client's

prosaic

briefs. Soon, passersby

to do a

as a fine artist,

Raffaelli is one of those credited with

that and the Los Angeles scenario. Trained

posters with lots of big lettering. changing often ignoring

Raffaelli gave his talent full play even when he was commissioned billboard,

of Clint Eastwood's

(Today he is an

Kent Twitchell's masterpiece is this six-story portrait offellow artist Edward Ruscha painted on a parking lot wall over a span of nine years.

hands for a Dirty Harry billboard.

perspective.

14 x 48 feet

used

the bill-

in the United States. While

one of the two biggest billboard

says Greg Baird, a darkroom

like [what] Michelangelo

size. The process of painting

These are scaled up to the standard

that the client or

is what looks real from the onlooker's

Eastwood specialist.) Hanson says that one of the hardest things to learn in the profession provides.

Most artists work from sketches or photographs agency

(4.26 x 14.63 meters) billboard

boards is guite spectacular~"Something at Patrick Media Group,

to do. Of course, he didn't have electricity," supervisor

(the other is Gannett

some billboards are painted on the site, most are done in studios and then

Outdoor)

companies

The Patrick

darkroom

is the size of a gymnasium.

Two walls are

trucked to the site in panels and hoisted into place by cranes.

meshes in one-meter

strips. Slides of the billboard

design are projected

covered with a fine copper mesh; thick paper is draped against one of the

Wherever

on an electric lift, a worker uses an electric

paper is tacked over the blank and "pounced"

middle. In the next stage, this perforated

between the pencil and mesh, burning tiny holes in the paper caught in the

he presses down, sparks jump

pencil to trace the outline.

Hughes's

against the paper. Standing

for Howard

movie, The Outlaw, starring Jane

15 billboards

would stop to admire his art. Among his most famous early creations were was a perfect likeness of the star.

Then the painter gets to work, putting in the details meticu-

prominent part of the Los Angeles skyscape.

billboard

Star portraits, in fact,area

Russell. Each Russell portrait

graphite.

something

has to be brief and bold, which is why the best

and represent

are more than

use bright,

say that drivers are moving

They are also tourist attractions

0

colors. In Los Angeles, of course, billboards of a school of art.

roadside commercials.

contrasting

too fast to read more than seven words per billboard~and

artists keep words to the minimum-experts

An effective billboard

bleached sand'; not just 'water' but 'clear, limpid, 80-degree water.'"

with a small bag of powdered

lously. That's where his talent gets full play. As Stewart puts it, "He has to

His hair is swamp vegetation."

or rubbed

the stars often drive by themselves. Some have been known to get boards

They have to be perfect likenesses because this is Hollywood

paint colors and shapes that will read not just 'sand' but 'fine, hot, sun-

country~

portraits. smears of

are less than flattering. Writes Stewart, "The

repainted when they were unhappy with the images in the larger-than-life Close up the portraits

pores on [Sylvester] Stallone's forehead are unhealthy-looking hide, if not rhinoceros.

to

orange, off-white, copper, and black. The bags under Sly's right eye are elephant

Butthen billboards are not meantto be seen up close. "We paintthese

fall into place at around 46 meters," says ace pictorial artist and billboard painter Don Hanson, who began his career painting the knuckles on one


U.S·~91"

ELECTION

~

Choosing a President Every four years, members of the Democratic Party gather in a large city a few months before national elections to nominate its candidates for President and Vice President. Every four years, Republicans do the same-in a different city. It is occasionally a time of high political suspense. This summer, however, as Democrats convene in New York City and Republicans meet in Houston, Texas, the outcome is predictable. Barring some highly unusual events, the Republicans will renominate George Bush and Dan Quayle while the Democrats will select for President the person who has come out of the primary elections with the most delegates. That leader, in turn, will name a running mate for Vice President, a choice the convention will accept. Both conventions will end with the presidential candidates, their running mates, their families standing together on a dais, waving and smiling to cheering delegates while thousands of red, white, and blue balloons drop from the ceiling and bands play patriotic music. It is grand spectacle, carried nationwide on TV. But not everyone has seen party conventions as democratic, especially earlier in U.S. history when party leaders, meeting in secret, could unilaterally pledge their delegates' votes in support of a candidate. Upon taking office as a reform-minded President in 1913, Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to establish a national primary in lieu of conventions for nominating each party's candidate for President and Vice President. Americans, he said, no longer needed or wanted "the intervention of national conventions." When Wilson spoke, the quadrennial conventions had been an institution for nearly a century. They had started as an

egalitarian effort to pry the nominating process away from tiny cliques of party officials, but the conventions themselves eventually came to be viewed as undemocratic. Wilson asked Congress to allow conventions to survive mainly for ceremonial purposes and as a forum for each party to devise its platform. Congress ignored Wilson's proposal. However, over the decades, without an official national primary, the nominating system has evolved into something resembling Wilson's vision. Today, the majority of delegates from each state are chosen by state primary or by caucus. The larger states have the most delegates. For example, in the upcoming Republican convention, 210 delegates will come from California, 121 from Texas, only 15 from tiny Rhode Island. Delegates at both national conventions are pledged to vote for whichever predential contender wins the primary election, or, in states that caucus, whichever contender wins a majority vote in the caucus. In the Democratic convention, to be attended by some 4,300 delegates, any contender that gets 2,144 votes or more will win the nomination. By the time each national convention occurs, one candidate in each party usually has a majority of delegates committed to his side. Why then bother with conventions at all? After all, each gathering costs millions of dollars as it brings together thousands of delegates, journalists, and guests for what promises to be a political show rather than an exercise in political decision-making. Even the major television networks plan less extensive coverage in 1992 than in the past. The fact is, conventions still meet several needs: • Each party is made up of a collection

of factions and a convention often unifies the party on the eve of the national election. If run properly, it can mitigate hostilities created during the primaryseason competition. • The conventions still have final say on each party's position on the political issues of the day, and debates are often substantive. • Most Americans tend to pay little attention to politics most of the time. Party conventions help people focus on the personalities and issues they wi'll be voting on in November. • Finally, the present diffuse system of state primaries and caucuses does not guarantee that one contender will come to the convention with a majority of delegates already committed. If there is no clear front-runner, the convention is the only recognized mechanism for making the selection. How national conventions rose to critical importance in American politics and then receded since the late I960s is typical of the way the country's institutions evolve. Neither the U.S. Constitution nor early statutes provided for a party system remotely resembling the present arrangement. In fact, neither parties nor conventions were mentioned. The nation's· founders envisioned that the President and Vice President would be chosen by consensus among the elite, who in turn would have been elected by a relatively small number of voters. That serene arrangement lasted only until George Washington finished his second term. By the late 1790s, parties were beginning to organize. The selection of presidential candidates was left to each party's delegation in Congress. Usually meeting in secrecy, each faction would hold a "caucus" for that purpose. Critics


A major-party candidate for U.S. President must win his party's nomination at its national convention before entering the general election.

called the system "King Caucus" and considered it undemocratic. Gradually, as each state extended voting rights to more citizens, pressure for broader participation increased. In 183 I, a minor party called the AntiMasons staged what turned out to be the first national convention for the purpose of nominating a presidential ticket for the I832 election. The party turned out to be short-lived; its main legacy was the convention scheme, promptly copied by the two major parties of the day-Democrats and Whigs (the Whigs would dissolve in the 1850s; some survivors joined the then-new Republican Party, which endures today). The change was regarded as a significant step toward popular participation in government. Political scientist V.O. Key, Jr., later wrote of the advent of conventions: "The last vestiges of the early aristocratic leadership were disappearing." What replaced the will of the elite often seemed untidy, and even, at times, irrational. But the decisions of conventions were determinative. The I 848 gathering of the Whigs illustrated the bizarre nature of some conventions. The Democrats ruled the White House but President James Polk chose not to run, although his Administration had just won a war with Mexico. The Whigs had a few impressive prospects, including Henry Clay, a senator from Kentucky and a fiery orator who had already served in several high offices, including U.S. secretary of state. But the party turned to Zachary Taylor, a victorious general. Taylor, however, had allegiance to neither party's principles and feigned disinterest in the presidency. He wrote: "It never entered my head to seek the post, nor is it likely to enter the head

of any sane person." In fact, Taylor's coyness was a pose. Despite this sentiment, despite his lack of formal education, government experience, and rhetorical ability, Taylor captured a majority of Whig delegates. He was, as historian Holman Hamilton observed later, "one of the strangest presidential candidates in all our annals." Some Whigs at the time agreed, leaving the convention in a disgruntled mood without bothering to write a platform. Yet the convention majority obviously noticed a quality in Taylor that would appeal to voters-he won the election. Because he died soon after taking office, history could never assess how good or bad the convention's judgment was. Other 19th-century conventions had their share of surprises-and great his-. toric impact as well. In 1860, with the country deeply divided over the slavery issue, the Democratic convention fell

"If elected I promise to make every tax increase sound like a tax decrease. "

apart. While the main faction nominated a prominent senator, Stephen Douglas, a group of pro-slavery southerners walked out. The defectors chose the incumbent Vice President, John Breckinridge, as their candidate for President. With the ruling Democrats split, the young Republican Party, formed just four years earlier, had a large opportunity. Its most illustrious prospect was Senator William Seward, sophisticated, experienced, and admired by many influential figures. Though he had made many enemies during long government service, Seward led on the first ballot. His main rival was a relatively obscure former congressman from the West, Abraham Lincoln, who appealed to the staunchest opponents of slavery. In those days, contenders for the nomination did not attend a convention in person. Rather their leading advocates sought support among state delegations-most of which were chosen and led by local party chiefs. Lincoln's surrogates lobbied furiously among these bosses, making deals for their assistance. Lincoln sent what became a famous telegram to his chief organizers: "I authorize no bargains and will be bound by none." But his representatives continued to bargain anyway imd on the third ballot Lincoln became the nominee. Well into the 20th century, local political leaders retained considerable influence. One observer describes the typical convention delegate of those days in unflattering terms: A delegate is a man who picks a candidate for the largest office in the land, a President who must live with problems whose borders are in ethics, metaphysics, and now ontology; the delegate is prepared for this office of selection by emptying wastebaskets, toting garbage, and saying yes at the right time for


U'S'~92 ELECTION

This month Republicans and Democrats begin the lengthy process of choosing their presidential nominees. THE CANDIDAT.ES

Patrick Buchanan, 53, a columnist and former White House aide, has never run for public office before. He is appealing to conservatives disenchanted with President Bush's policies.

George Bush, 67, has won considerable public support for his foreign policy initiatives, but recent public opinion polls have revealed discontent over his handling of the U.S. economy.

David Duke, 42, a Louisiana legislator, lost a bid tfl' become the state's governor in November. Republican leaders have disavowed him because of his past association with the Ku Klux klan.

The most prominent presidential candidates at this point include three Republicans (left) and five Democrats. Approximately 40 states will hold primary elections; the other states will caucus party members on their choice of candidates. All eyes this month are On New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first primary election on February 18. The results there could influence the decisions of voters in subsequent primaries and caucuses. Though President George Bush is expected to win the Republican nomination with ease, a strong showing by an opponent in New Hampshire could cause him embarrassment. On the Democratic side, political observers say the New Hampshire vote should reduce the Democratic field to two or three viable contenders. Party leaders hope that by April or early May, the process of primary elections and state caucuses will have produced a clear winner who, assured of his party's nomination, can begin targeting President Bush and preparing for the November general election instead of having to combat fellow Democrats right up to the party's nominating convention in July. Domestic issues such as the economy, taxation, and the high cost of health care have been dominating the campaign rhetoric.

Tom Harkin, 52, U.S. senator from Iowa since 1985, is a combative politician who appeals to traditional Democratic constituencies such as labor and minorities.

Bob Kerrey, 49, is a U.S. senator from Nebraska and a former governor of the state. In the campaign, he has emphasized his record as a Vietnam war hero and as a businessman.

Bill Clinton, 45, governor of the state of Arkansas for more than a decade, is one of the strongest candidates in the field. He has proposed various tax-cutting, education, and employment programs.

Paul E. Tsongas, 50, former senator and representative from Massachusetts, supports many liberal social issues as well as business interests.

Edmund G, "Jerry" Brown, Jr" 53, a' former governor of California, ohce took a sabbatical from politics to study Zen Buddhism in Japan. He. proposes sharp limits on political spending and advertising.


Abraham Lincoln told organizers for his nomination: "I authorize no bargains and will be bound by none."

20 years in the small political machine of some small or large town; his reward .. .is that he arrives at an invitation to the convention. He comes to the big city with nine-tenths of his mind made up, he will follow the orders of the boss who brought him.

Clashes between party bosses have enlivened many conventions. In 1948, for instance, Harry Truman was an embattled incumbent. He had become President three years earlier, when Franklin Roosevelt died, and now the country appeared to hunger for a change of party rule after four terms of Democratic control. Elements of the Democrats' left wing had already broken away to form a new party, the Progressives, led by former Vice President Henry Wallace. A conservative faction also threatened to defect because it considered Truman too liberal on civil rights issues. Up to the eve of the convention, some party leaders maneuvered against Truman, hoping to find a more popular candidate who in their view would stand a better chance against the Republican nominee, Governor Thomas Dewey of New York State. But General Dwight D. Eisenhower was not yet interested in running for office; he would not even say if he was a Democrat or a Republican when approached by a group of worried Democrats that included the movie actor, Ronald Reagan (who later would switch parties and start his own political career). So Truman would get the convention's approval more or less by default. But the delegates would not go along with his efforts to placate the Southern conservatives with a mild platform statement on civil rights. Hubert Humphrey, the young mayor of Minneapolis who would soon be a senator and eventually Vice President, led the oratorical drive for a strong measure with what became one of the more memorable convention speeches. "There are those who say this issue of

civil rights is an infringement of states' rights," Humphrey told the delegates. "The time has arrived for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights." That argument prevailed. And, just as the slavery issue had sundered the Democrats in 1860, the adoption of a liberal plank in 1948 caused a defection of southerners who formed a short-lived splinter group called the States' Rights Party, or Dixiecrats. Compounding Truman's difficulties further, the rambunctious convention rejected his choice for Vice President, selecting its own man. Despite the turmoil, Truman went on to beat the over-confident Dewey in what is still regarded as one of the great election surprises in American history. And the country began a series of reforms that gradually improved the lot of racial and ethnic minorities. What is viewed as the end of an era occurred in the very next round of conventions. Suspense dominated the proceedings in 1951 as the Republicans gathered in Chicago. Truman's popularity had plummeted to the point that he could not consider running again. The Republicans felt they had a great opportunity to recapture the White House, but their party was severely split between two factions. The more liberal group, centered in the Eastern states, was led by Thomas Dewey and his allies. Having lost two elections, Dewey himself would not be the candidate, but his faction wanted to dictate the selection. It backed Eisenhower, who had decided that he was a Republicanand that he wanted to be President. The conservative faction, led by mid-western members of Congress, rallied around Senator Robert Taft of Ohio. Taft at that time was called "Mr. Republican" because he so faithfully represented the

sentiments of most party leaders. But Taft was a bland, aloof figure, lacking appeal to ordinary voters, while Eisenhower was a national hero thanks to his commanding role in World War II. The party hungered for a candidate who could win in November. At the convention, the opening skirmishes centered around "credentials," that is, which delegation should be seated when more than one delegation--e~ch representing a different contender-seeks entrance. Eisenhower's backers won these fights, diminishing Taft's strength. The mood grew ugly as Taft loyalists realized that their man was losing his last chance to run for President. Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois blamed Dewey and his eastern Progressives. Recalling the previous election, Dirksen admonished Dewey: "You led us down the path to defeat.. ..Don't take us down that road again." Many of Taft's supporters booed the kingmaker from New York. As the roll call for the first ballot proceeded, however, Eisenhower forged ahead and some supporters of minor candidates switched to his side, making him the candidate. The following month, the Democrats arrived in Chicago for an even hotter fight. Eleven names came into formal contention. At the opening session, not one of them was close to commanding a majority of the 1,230 delegates who would choose the party's ticket. Norman Mailer has described a convention--especially one that has not yet made up its mind-with a novelist's eye: A political convention is after all not a meeting ofa corporation's board of directors; it is a fiesta, a carnival, a pig-rooting, horse-snorting, band-playing, voice-screaming medieval get-together of greed, practical lust, compromised idealism, careeradvancement, meeting, feud, vendetta, conciliation, of rabble-rousers, fist fights (as it used to be), embraces, drunks (again as it used to be) and collective rivers of animal sweat.


U'S'~92 ELECTION

Recent national conventions have been relatively temperate as competing factions sought consensus over contention.

Truman had originally hoped to get Adlai Stevenson, the governor of Illinois, into the competition. But Stevenson, an eloquent intellectual, was reluctant. As the convention ?pened in his home state, he told one group of delegates: "I couldn't, wouldn't, don't wish to be a candidate." In preliminary calculations, four prospects far more eager than Stevenson all had more delegates than he did. But each of these men also had political liabilities and they cancelled each other out. After three days, Stevenson relented, agreeing to accept the nomination if offen,;d. The balance shifted during three tense roll calls of delegates before he finally won. It was one of the few times in American history that a reluctant leader was actually chosen in a draft engineered by party officials. That was the last year in which both conventions made the pivotal decisions. On the Democratic side, Stevenson even requested the delegates to choose his running mate. (Party elders, including Truman, made the actual selection and the convention approved it.) Stevenson knew that he had only a small chance of beating Eisenhower. In losing, however, he helped preserve a degree of unity in his party-a service he performed again in 1956 when he ran for President a second time. Since the 1950s, a few conventions have been colorful while others have been arenas for spirited competition. But in almost every case, the candidate who entered the session with more votes than other contenders finished in front. In other words, delegates faithfully reflected the will of the voters as expressed in a primary election or a state caucus. Party leaders could not compel delegates to vote as they, the leaders, told them to-at least on the first ballot. Although conventions are more predictable in terms of who wins the nomination, issues do

emerge that affect the party's fortunes, for good or ill. In 1964, for example, Senator Barry Goldwater won the Republican nomination with relative ease but he failed to bring contending factions together. By the standards of the mid-1960s, Goldwater was a highly conservative hawk. Instead of using his acceptance speech to smooth over differences with the party's moderate group, he proclaimed defiance by declaring: "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" Many Republicans who had supported Goldwater's rival, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, declined to support the national ticket. Goldwater lost overwhelmingly to Lyndon Johnson. The Democratic conventions of 1968 and 1972 also had important consequences-largely to the party's detriment. In 1968 it was still possible, und~r certain circumstances, for a well-known figure to get the nomination without having competed actively in the state primaries. None of those who did compete was able to win a commanding bloc of delegates, leaving the way open for the incumbent Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, to get the nomination. But the party, like the country, was bitterly divided over the Vietnam war. And in Chicago, where the 1968 convention was held, police clashed with war protestors in the streets for five days. Scenes of police using tear gas and nightsticks against youthful demonstrators were broadcast nightly over national TV. This division within the Democratic Party over the war contributed to Humphrey's defeat by Richard Nixon in the general election. Democratic dissidents who felt cheated at the convention engineered drastic changes in rules governing the nominating process. Starting with the 1972 cycle, it

became relatively easy for little-known candidates to win blocs of delegates and for interest groups within the party to control the process. Thus the 1972 Democratic convention fell under control of the party's most liberal elements. They nominated South Dakota Senator George McGovern, who represented the party's leftwing faction with the same intensity Goldwater had brought to bear from the Republican right wing eight years earlier. The convention also adopted a platform promising radical change. "We must restructure the social, political, and economic relationships throughout the entire society," the platform said,' "in order to ensure the equitable distribution of wealth and power." McGovern and the platform both were too extreme for the tastes of most Americans. The Democratic ticket lost resoundingly. Since then, both Republicans and Democrats seem to have learned important lessons from their respective debacles in 1964 and 1972. The conventions have been relatively temperate, with competing factions in each party making greater efforts to achieve consensus rather than extending contention. Yet neither Republicans nor Democrats have reverted to the custom of giving their party leaders control of the outcome. Today, delegates from states that hold primary elections are bound to vote for. the presidential contender who won the primary in their respective states. They are released from this pledge if the first ballot shows no contender with a majority vote. Woodrow Wilson would probably be satisfied with the present state of affairs, even though journalists and others who hunger for political drama occasionally yearn for old-fashioned collisions every four years. D About the Author: Laurence I. Barrett is a Washington correspondent of Time magazine.


• To act in this capacity, however, U.S. unions must reinvent themselves much as some companies are trying to do. The U.S. industrial-relations system cannot be reinvigorated unless unions carve out a new role for themselves. They must develop a vision of how workers should help shape the technological and social revolution that is transforming the workplace. They must identify new "leverage points" for union influence. Finally, they must improve their own human resources to help put labor's new vision into practice.

Managers unconcerned-or gleeful-about the growing weakness of U.S. unions should remember one thing. Industrial relations, like nature, abhors a vacuum. As traditional unions decline, new institutions and practices will take their place. They won't necessarily be better for companies or for the economy. This is the important implication of Governing the Workplace by Harvard law professor Paul C. Weiler. According to Weiler, the decline of unions has created a political and legal vacuuma "governance gap"-that can only damage relationships between managers and workers and the ability of the U.S. economy to compete. Weiler explains what is wrong with recent alternatives to traditional collective bargaining and why "union representation is as attractive a form of governance as we have yet been able to devise." As traditional collective bargaining has declined, argues Weiler, two alternatives have risen to take its place. The first is government regulation. During the past 15 years, legal challenges have systematically eroded the traditional concept of "employment at will," which held that managers could fire workers at any time for any reason. In over 40 U.S. states, courts now allow employees to sue companies for wrongful discharge; plaintiffs' attorneys are doing a thriving business. State and federal laws regulating work relationships-such as restrictions on polygraph testing-have also proliferated. The second alternative is the development of more professional human resource programs at companies. In effect, these programs are meant to fill a unionlike role and convince employees that they don't need an independent union. They include mechanisms like quality circles to involve employees in decisions on the job and nonunion grievance procedures for dispensing workplace justice. Both these systems have their virtues-and their drawbacks. Government regulation, for example, has the advantage of protecting the interests of all employees, not just union members. But regulation is a blunt axe and can often produce requirements in the law that bear little resemblance to workplace reality-from workers' and managers' perspectives. Laws tend to work best where unions are present to make sure the laws are enforced. The fact is, nonunion employees are at greater risk of suffering from employer abuses-no matter what the letter of the law may say. At the same time, a panoply of standardized government-imposed rules administered by

government agencies is likely to be a greater obstacle to managerial flexibility than unions ever were. The human resource (HR) alternative to unions also has positive aspects, especially where the HR staff conceives of its role as the "neutral" representative of employees. But...in the end, no company will put the interests of employees over the interests of shareholders in a direct conflict-if the stakes are high enough. Thus the human resource approach tends to break down precisely where companies need it most-in situations of severe conflict. The very best HR systems recognize this fact by going to great lengths to build fairness into nonunion grievance procedures. But only a handful-probably less than a half dozen-take the ultimate step of allowing for outside arbitration as a last resort. The trouble with both alternatives, argues Weiler, is that neither provides workers with an independent source of power inside the company. Laws that define workers' basic legal rights don't necessarily assure that workers can exercise these rights free of coercion. And too much regulation from outside impedes efficiency. Human resource programs, on the other hand, give workers some influence inside the company, but they are not an independent source of power. Collective bargaining is the only American institution that gives workers the ability to claim both kinds of protection-from outside and inside. For managers who know their history, Weiler's governance gap should sound familiar: The pr{:vious system of U.S. industrial relations went through a similar crisis in the early

Unions and National Politics: The U.S. Experience by BENJAMIN

SHARMAN

Ben Sharman talks about the American trade union movement with an intensity and conviction that come with experience. For 40 years now, the world of trade unions has been his major intellectual and professional preoccupation. Sharman, 64, recently retired as director of international affairs of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, an affiliate of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). He has worked with the International Labor Organization and with the Xavier Labour Relations Institute in Jamshedpur. He also has served on the executive board of the International Metalworkers' Federation and on the' general council of the International Transport Workers' Federation. Sharman recently gave a series of lectures in India on variousfacets of the American trade union movement. Below are observations from the lecture, "Unions and National Politics: The U.S. Experience," that he gave in New Delhi under the auspices of the Indian National Labour Institute. The American political system is a little different from the system in India. The President of the United States is elected by popular vote regardless of which party-ours is a two-party system, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party~has the majority in the Senate or in the House of Representatives. The Senate has 100 members. They are elected for a six-year term but, as one-third of the Senators retire every two years, elections to that body are held once in two years. The House has 435 members whose term is two years.


A

new model of unionism is emerging that puts unions at the very center of improved company competitiveness.

decades of this century. For a brief period in the late 1800s, U.S. unions had a firm foothold in factories organized around production by skilled artisans, such as moulders and puddlers in the early iron industry. But in the first quarter of the 20th century, corporations shifted to mass-production systems based on mass markets, standardized products, unskilled labor, and the "scientific management" of work as articulated by Frederick W. Taylor. As a result, the artisan-dominated craft unions became increasingly obsolete. For the better part of 40 years, the craft unions all but ignored this development-as well as the growing numbers of unskilled immigrants working in the new factories. Meanwhile, antiunion companies tried to create their own institutions--eompany unions or Ford's Sociological Department-to regulate labor-management relations. It took the enormous social dislocation of the Great Depression and the bitter labor conflicts of the 1930s to create a new system of industrial relations in the United States. The new "industrial unions" broke definitively with the traditional craft model to organize all workers-skilled and unskilled alike-in the entire industry. Seen from the vantage point of today, it is easy to forget just how successful industrial unionism was-and not just for union members but for the economy as a whole. The new industrial unions created procedures to protect workers from arbitrary treatment on the job. But the labor-relations system that grew up around industrial unionism did far more than that. By

Trade unions in America are nonpartisan as they have both Democrats and Republicans as their members. At the national level, we have a federation-the AFL-CIOwhich, like my own machinists' union, has about 65 percent Democrats and 35 percent Republicans as members. Unions are, however, very much involved in 'all the three areas of politics-national, state, and local. The question then is: If the unions are nonpartisan, how do they decide on which candidates to support? Candidates are chosen on the basis of issues that trade unions think are important to all working people, not only to union members. For example, over the years we have supported the minimum wage law, free education for everybody up to the age 18, the Clean Air Act-the environment affects all of us-and civil rights. Who decides about what issues to support? The union membership at the local level, in the shop, decides about the issues. In the international machinists' association, for example, the shops hand out questionnaires that deal with a whole number of issues, and the members pick out the ones they are most interested in. We also have union newspapers and electronic newsletters. We make videotapes on the issues that most affect members. They are shown in local meetings. Then we have seminars and lectures. This is an educational process that goes on continuously round the year. Once the leadership has identified the issues, we screen the voting record of candidates in the Senate and the House on various issues

orgamzmg all the major companies In steel, auto, rubber, and other mass-production industries, industrial unions successfully took wages out of competition. This put a stop to the destructive wage cutting among companies that had often taken place during downturns. And by raising living standards for a broad segment of society, industrial unionism made possible the mass consumption on which a healthy massproduction economy depended. In the post-World War II era, U.S. companies and unions thrived on the rapid growth in productivity and output made possible by mass production and its economies of scale. But the very success of industrial unionism also sowed the seeds of its eventual decline. In order to defend workers against the abuses of scientific management, the new industrial unions accepted, even embraced, all that went with it-in particular, the rigid separation of thinking from doing, "managing" from "working." Cut off from decision-making responsibilities, unions focused on protecting workers from exploitation. They negotiated multiple job classifications, linked wage rates to the job instead of a worker's skills, and established seniority as the basis for promotion. This "job control unionism" gave unions a negative power to hamstring management but not a positive power to influence operations. Rules bred more rules, eventually straitjacketing the production system and creating unproductive hierarchies in companies and in unions. The costs of this system were obscured as long as the U.S.

and back those candidates who have been sympathetic to union causes. Although unions have in general supported more Democrats-the Democratic Party is considered the working people's party-candidates could belong to either of the two major parties. At times, there can be a difference of opinion between the national and the state union leadership about a candidate. Many years ago while leadership at the national level endorsed Democrat Robert Kennedy for the Senate from New York State, the state leadership supported Republican Kenneth B. Keating. Although union members are free to vote for any of the candidates, voting records show that about 60 to 65 percent of them do support candidates agreed to by the unions. In fact, records indicate that often their families also vote for the same candidate. That means at least twice as many votes for the candidate. Let me add here that we organize special functions to raise funds for the political campaigns of the candidates. In addition, trade unions actively campaign for voter registration. In the United States, this is very important. People have to register to vote. If they don't, they cannot vote. The AFL-CIO has a computerized system that collects information on people who haven't registered. Out of this they pick up the names of union members who have not registered and they pass the lists to local unions, which set up phone banks and recruit volunteers who call members and tell them to get registered. Another function that unions perform is to actually get people to vote on the election day. Volul)teers call members to ask if they have voted and, if not, they urge them to do so. Volunteers also provide members with whatever help they need like transportation to ensure they cast their vote. Each vote counts. D


Surf Champ Kelly Slater of Florida is revolutionizing surfing. Some of the moves that Slater performs on his surfboard in competition are so difficult that few surfers have attempted them, even in practice. He performs suicidal cutbacks and 360degree turns into violent avalanches of nine-meter waves with effortless grace. "Sometimes I don't even think," he says. "The moves just happen." Slater turned professional in July 1990, before his senior year in high school, after winning four U.S. amateur titles and six straight East Coast championships. Soon after that, he signed a three-and-a-half-year endorsement contract for nearly $1 million with Quicksilver, a California-based surfing outfitter. Slater bought a house with his prize and sponsorship money in Cocoa Beach, where he lives with his mother and older brother, Sean, also a professional surfer. "Kelly has the highest technical talent I've ever seen for a surfer his age," says three-time world champion Tom Curren. "Right now he is doing maneuvers that I can't do." 0


T

he union leader of the future will combine the political instincts of the traditional organizer with the business savvy of the best global manager.

traded companies will be at least 15 percent owned by their employees. These employeeowners could exceed the total membership of the entire union movement. What will happen when employees discover the degree to which they own their companies, and, in particular, the extent to which their life savings and retirement funds are tied up in a single company's stock? Like other constituencies, they may want to organize to demand more voice as owners. This development should challenge unions to rethink their traditional opposition to employee ownership. Unionists are generally skeptical about employee ownership because they think that relying on stock ownership as a retirement benefit (which is the normal practice in many ESOP companies) is not a good idea. But as employee ownership spreads, some kind of institution will have to give voice to the interests of employeeowners. It is not inconceivable that unions could play such a role in the future. One American union that has overcome its skepticism and learned how to increase its strength and influence through ESOPs is the United Steelworkers. The severe recessions of the 1980s left scores of metalworking companies on the verge of bankruptcy. To avoid shutdowns, the USW began using ESOPs to mount worker buyouts. It also has formed ESOP partnerships with management in healthy companies. As of early 1991, the union was involved in ESOPs at 25 companies, many of which are majority worker-owned. The companies range in size from fewer than 50 to 4,000 workers. The USW in no sense "runs" these companies, but it stamps its influence on them. To make sure workers are not dependent on the price of the company stock for their retirement benefits, the union demands a pension plan along with stock ownership. It also requires that the company pass through full stock-voting rights to employees and set up an extensive worker-participation program-thus guaranteeing an employee role in work restructuring. Finally, the USW demands board representation in companies substantially owned by an ESOP. Workers and their representatives now sit on the boards of 17 companies. The idea of labor sitting on the board is highly unpopular with most managers-and with not a small number of unionists. Still, if unions really want a voice in managerial decision making, then they must be prepared to take responsibility at the highest strategic levels of a company .... Finally, just as corporate managers are confronting the challenge of managing diversity, unions are struggling to find ways to meet the needs of new social groups entering the workplace. In "American Unions and the Future of Worker Representation," MIT's Thomas A. Kochan and Northeastern University's Kirsten R. Wever cite the much quoted statistic that four-fifths of new .;:ntrants to the U.S. work force between now and the year 2000 will be women, immigrants, or members of a minority group. They traditionally have had trouble getting jobs with a promise of high pay and career status. According to Kochan and Wever, the challenge for unions in

the 1990s is to do for this new work force what they did for industrial workers half a century ago-"improve low-wage jobs held by people with little labor market power who are outside the realm of traditional union constituencies." Some of the most creative union organizing efforts are aimed at these groups. Consider two examples (both reported in Economic Notes, the bimonthly newsletter of the nonprofit American Labor Research Association): In California, 18 locals of the Communications Workers of America have sponsored an Association for Workplace Justice. Aimed at educating nonunion employees about their rights on the job, the association operates a toll-free Workplace Rights Hotline and conducts workshops on employment law. The International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) is using unorthodox organizing techniques to reach the more than 100,000 immigrants who work in garment shops in Los Angeles, EI Paso, and New York City. They speak little English, usually do not understand their legal rights, and are afraid to jeopardize their jobs. Working with community groups, the ILGWU counsels these people on their rights under immigration and labor law and teaches them English as a second language. The union takes them in as "associate members" at dues often as low as $1 a month. In some cases, these associate members go on to win formal union representation at their shops. Here, the union role may be a combination of old- and new-style unionism: Gaining jobs and justice for the unorganized and helping to train and stabilize the new work force. Of course, if unions are to make a serious contribution in any of these new areas, perhaps the biggest challenge of all will be an internal one': Developing their own human resources. As the global economy becomes more complex and the efforts of companies to respond to it more diverse, unions are going to have to learn new skills and develop new kinds of expertise. The union leader of the future will, most likely, have to combine the political instincts of the traditional organizer with the business savvy of the best global manager. During the past few years, a small but dynamic cottage industry of "prounion" investment bankers, pension analysts, MBA-trained management consultants, work-organization specialists, and the like has grown up in the United States to help unions represent their members at a time of constant company restructuring. This may represent the first step in developing the broad managerial and organizational skills that unions increasingly need. If unions can develop these skills, all the while staying true to . their basic social vision, the economy as a whole will benefit. In the end, the challenge facing organized labor is not so different from that facing business-to reinvent the institutions on which a sustainable, competitive economy depends: 0 About the Author: John Hoerr, a business journalist who has specialized in labor-management relations, is the author of And the Wolf Finally Came: The Decline of the American Steel Industry.


AMER CAN C V L WAR Images of a Nation in Agony

The Civil War, an II-hour film, is the most popular documentary ever shown on America's Public Broadcasting Service, a noncommercial network that concentrates on serious public affairs and cultural programming. Some 14 million people tuned in when the series premiered over five straight nights in September 1990, and millions more have watched it in several subsequent showings The film graphically reminds all who watch it that, in this age of civil strife in many countries around the world, the most devastating war in American history was its Civil War. It was fought over the issue of slavery, which was practiced in southern states but was illegal in most northern states. The war officially began on April 12, 1861, when South Carolina state militia forces bombarded the federal government garrison in ,the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. Leading up to that date had been years of increasingly bitter debate and protest, some of it violent, over the legality and morality of slavery. South Carolina's legislature voted to secede from the United States in December 1860, just days after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, who in his election campaign had taken, by the standards of the times, a firm stand against slavery. Other states soon followed South Carolina's lead, and in February 1861 Alabama, Florida, Georgia,

Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina formed the Confederate States of America. They elected Jefferson Davis, a U.S. senator from Mississippi, as their president and adopted a constitution that emphasized sfates' rights and legalized slavery. Five more states-Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Arkansas-joined the Confederacy, and Richmond, Virginia, became its capital. The war between the Union and the Confederacy, the North and the South, effectively ended when General Robert E. Lee, leader of the Confederate forces, surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, leader of the Union forces, on April 8, 1865, at the village of Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. The four-year conflict claimed 620,000 lives, more than the total of American deaths in all other wars combined. The most famous casualty was President Lincoln who, six days after Appomattox, was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a southern patriot. The war preserved the Union, freed four million slaves, and determined the future course of America. Historians and media critics alike have called The Civil War the best American Civil War film ever made. David Thomson, in a review for Film Comment, wrote: " ... this is a chronicle, a montage of diaries, an epic made of prose, waiting faces and the gentle, sad opera of popular

music. The songs of the war play wistful or cheery (just like the faces) and they are stains on the viewer's consciousness, as lasting and mysterious as the look of Lincoln or [black leader] Frederick Douglass. All of these elements are shaped into one of the great American shows ... in its exhaustive yet simple way it may be the first film about the whole of America." Producer Ken Burns, supported by a grant from General Motors, spent fiveand-a-half years researching and filming the documentary. The film incorporates some 3,000 archival photographs, commentary from half a dozen historians, music from the Civil War period, and 900 first-person accounts. The chronicles of common folk of uncommon eloquence tell much of the story. The words come from the letters of soldiers such as Elisha Hunt Rhodes of Providence, Rhode Island, and Sam Watkins of Columbia, Tennessee; from diarists such as Mary Chestnut of Charleston, South Carolina, and George Templeton Strong of New York; from abolitionists and slave masters, Confederate leaders and, of course, President Lincoln. Their words are read off camera by This 1865 photo at war's end shows Richmond, Virginia, capital of the Confederacy, where 900 buildings were destroyed and hundreds more badly damaged.


numerous celebrities. Among them are actors Sam Waterston (Lincoln), Jason Robards (Grant), and Morgan Freeman (Douglass); playwright Arthur Miller (Union General William T. Sherman). writer George Plimpton (Strong), and Carter White House Press Secretary Jody Powell (Confederate General Stonewall Jackson). We hear Private Sam Watkins. Company H, First Tennessee Regiment: "Did I see our country laid waste and in ruins? Did I see soldiers marching and the earth trembling a~d jarring beneath their measured tread? .. Did I see the flag of my country that I'd followed so long, furled to be no more unfurled forever? Surely they are the vagaries of my own imagination." And Frederick

Douglass:

"You white people are the children of Abraham Lincoln. We are at best only his stepchildren. Viewed from the general abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull. indifferent. But measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment that he was bound as a statesman to consult. he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined. "Taking him all in all, measuring the tremendous magnitude of the work before him, considering the necessary means to ends, infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln." Burns, who has produced several prizewinning documentaries on American historical themes, said this project "almost literally beckoned, called, insisted that it be treated. The subjects of all my other films, chosen randomly and intuitively, had as a major force or determining aspect this cloud hovering over them, this event called the Civil War. ... With the help of many, many scholars we try to remind people of the basis of the war as a fight against slavery and of the activity, not passivity, of blacks before, during, and after the struggle." Among the historians who bring context and perspective to the images and accounts, Shelby Foote predominates. With his avuncular manner, his trenchant analysis and considered opinion, he has become a minor celebrity as a result of the film. For a sample of his thoughts, see the following interview.

"It Defined Us" An Interview With SHELBY

FOOTE by KEN BURNS

Shelby Foote was born in 1916, in Greenville, Mississippi, attended the University of North Carolina, and served as a captain offield artillery in World War II. In 1953 he signed a contract to write a .short history of the American Civil War and had scarcely begun when he realized that he would have "to go ...whole hog on the thing." His classic three-volume narrative, The Civil War, took 20 years and 3,000 pages to complete. Foote has also published five novels. Ken Burns, producer of the acclaimed television series, The Civil War, in which Foote is one of the chief commentators, spoke with him on camera for more than two days. The interview below was culled from those conversations. KEN BURNS: Why are we Americans drawn to the Civil War? SHELBY FOOTE: Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars, beginning with World War I, did what it did. But the


An eccentric inventor from Texas mixed cow manure, seawater, and yeast, producing a magic potion that he said could boost agricultural yields, make oil wells more productive, and cleanse the environment. Seventeen years after his death, scientists are trying to prove that he was right, and entrepreneurs are selling products based on his discovery.

Jim Martin's Living Water by TOM CURTIS

No one seems to know for sure just where or when the old man discovered the secret oflife, but my best guess is that it was in EI Paso, Texas, sometime between 1950 and 1953. James Francis Martin was already well into his fifties back then and had come back to live for a few years in the town where he was born. An archetypal American inventor in the tradition of Thomas Edison, he was a self-taught chemist, metallurgist, and naturalist who got no further in school than the fourth grade. Though he made his living traveling through the desert Southwest as a railroad fireman, Jim Martin's lifelong passion was figuring out how to make things, things he often put together from ingn~dients he found in the natural world-a natural insect repellent for plants, a patented pollution-reducing muffler, a way to preserve fruit for years, a procedure for making synthetic opals and an array of alloys. But Martin's crowning achievement-an invention he often said was 50 years ahead of its time-was not fully. accepted during his lifetime. From the early 1950s through 1975, when he died in a small town in Central Texas, he worked relentlessly to bring his discovery to the world's attention. It.was a colorless, odorless liquid he somet-imes called "the living water." It was derived from seawater, cow manure, and yeast-simpleingredients that were transformed by a fermenta-

tion process into a substance with remarkable qualities. It could stimulate microbes that exist in nature to multiply rapidly and cleanse polluted water and soils, neutralize dangerous chemicals, eat sewage sludge, even make the desert bloom. Starting nearly 40 years ago, Martin demonstrated virtually all these uses, but he was ignored at the time. Peoplejust could not believe that this innocuous-looking water was the environmental panacea its inventor so passionately believed it to be. Today at least six Texas companies are quietly peddling variations of Martin's seminal breakthrough, everywhere from the Middle East to American garden shops. These substances only recently have come to be studied seriously by scientists impressed by their phenomenal abilities. Horticultural specialists and farmers have been struck by the power of these products, confirmed in controlled tests, to dramatically increase crop production an.d to stanch soil erosion. Others have noted their capacity to reclaim salt-stressed soils and allow crops to thrive with saltwater irrigation. Studies commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy have verified that microbes treated with a version of Martin's water can boost oil production. A1\:ofthesepFOducts'Can betraced back to Martin, and some of the people making them knew Martin personally. One acquaintance refers to him simply as "the old man." Over the years Martin's name faded away, and so did claims that the substance could work near-miracles. Instead, the companies tailored


Above: James Martin. Top middle: Agrispon, a Martin-inspired product of Appropriate Technology Limited of Dallas, Texas, is sprayed on grapefruit trees in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Martin's discovery for specific uses, mostly in agriculture and sewage treatment. And they stopped talking about Jim Martin altogether. Ultimately, though, several people who had worked with the old man did talk frankly. One of them, now in his eighties, told me about Martin's conception of the secret of life-or, more precisely,the secret of how life as we know it arose on our planet. Thousands of millions of years ago when the Earth was new, when methane and ammonia and water surrounded the planet, something extraordinary happened to send oxygen rushing into the atmosphere. Martin believed his greatest breakthrough was figuring out that process and duplicating it in a remarkably simple invention that had profound implications. Though several entrepreneurs told me that Martin's process couldn't be patented, Martin did in fact patent it. Then, as now, it was relatively easy to make, and it incorporated astonishingly cheap and abundant raw materials. Scientists remain mystified about exactly how it works, but there is growing evidence that a backyard Texas inventor produced a wondrous elixir that may undo much of the damage man has done to his planet.

Rediscovering the Martin Catalyst Carl Oppenheimer has been trying to perfect a way to use microbes to clean up oil spills since 1969,when President Nixon named him to the panel studying the disastrous Chevron

blowout off Santa Barbara, California. A 69-year-old, twotime Fulbright fellow, Oppenheimer holds professorships in marine science and microbiology at the University of Texas at Austin. For much of his career, he has studied single-cell oceandwelling organisms that eat oil and have been doing so for aeons. These bugs, which Oppenheimer carefully culls from petroleum-polluted areas around the world, gobble up the oil and leave behind harmless by-products, including carbon dioxide and fatty acids. The problem is that they take a very long time to do their job, if left to their own devices. Indeed, the main technological hurdle facing those who hope to profit by using biological means to clean up pollution-the new field called bioremediation-is this: How do you cheaply generate enough "biomass" of microbes to


NORMAL PROGRAM' accomplish in months what would normally take nature years? Oppenheimer learned the answer to that question back in 1984, following a West Texas hunting trip with William Blakemore, a Midland oilman-rancher who for many years was a commissioner of the Texas Department of Public Safety. One evening after the hunt, Oppenheimer mentioned his interest in using microbes to get hard-to-recover oil out of the ground and described the problems he had keeping them alive in the inhospitable brines down-hole. Perhaps, Blakemore suggested tentatively, Oppenheimer might be interested in a remarkable biological catalyst he and

2- AGRISPON PROGRAM

some associates had been experimenting with since the early 1970s. It seemed to help freshwater plants and fish tolerate salt water. It also helped some polluted areas cleanse themselves. Blakemore had learned about the catalyst from a longtime friend, a Washington lobbyist and former Republican congressman from Memphis, Tennessee, named Dan Kuykendall, whose late brother Tom had owned the Western Auto store in Hondo, Texas, a pleasant agricultural hub of 6,000 people an hour west of San Antonio. Tom had heard about it directly from Martin, who had moved to Hondo around 1960 and had died there in 1975. About 1970 Martin had begun telling Tom Kuykendall about his remarkable cleansing water, trying


to get him involved in developing-1t'commercially. The Kuykendalls, Blakemore, and Martin had all been shareholders in a company called CLEW, which had paid Martin a modest retainer and, like several companies before it, had attempted to market Martin's process. CLEW was formed in 1971, around the time Martin helped Tom Kuykendall set up a fermentation tank capable of supplying the living water to a three-hectare lagoon along Nonconnah Creek in Memphis, which had been fouled for 30 years by oily runoff from the Louisville and Nashville railyard. According to Dan Kuykendall, they returned the lagoon to health in just seven weeks. In 1972, the former congressman said, another tank that had been set up at the waste lagoon of the Frosty Morn Packing Company in Clarksville, Tennessee, eliminated a layer of grease and solids about45 centimeters thick. But as had happened so often before, observers refused to believe that the watery catalyst had been responsible. When Blakemore introduced Oppenheimer to Dan Kuykendall, now a Washington lobbyist, Kuykendall was wary. Kuykendall had been down this road with scientists many times before, and the talks always had come to nothing. Bluntly he asked: Would Oppenheimer be willing to suspend disbelief and test some of this strange substance without knowing what it was or why it worked? "Don't try to understand it," Kuykendall cautioned. "Just use it." In early April 1984, Tom Kuykendall showed upinAustinand put a quart jar of what looked like water in Oppenheimer's hands. For six weeks the professor performed a series of experiments in a makeshift garage lab. The tests confirmed that the catalyst caused microbes to reproduce at about one thousand times the normal rate. Other tests showed that with help from the special liquid, freshwater microbes could survive in waters threeand-a-half times saltier than the ocean. Oppenheimer was elated. He recognized that the catalyst would make it economically feasible to cultivate enough of his own carefully selected bacteria to recover petroleum in playedout,wells and fields. But he also saw myriad other uses, including getting the bugs to eat oil spills, sewage, and more intractable organic pollutants like PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). "The potential," he told me, "is essentially unlimited." Oppenheimer joined with Blakemore and associates to¡ form Alpha in 1985. By 1986 Alpha had already won a grant-the first of several that would total $800,00G-from the U.S. Department of Energy after the University of Texas at Austin joined as a subcontractor. In effect, the funds subsidized research and development of one aspect of Alpha's work-projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of Alpha's catalyst-activated bacteria in boosting oil production, a field known in petroleum-industry jargon as MEOR (for microbially enhanced oil recovery). Likesome other oil-service companies, Alpha uses microbes in place of expensive "hot-oil" treatments to liquefy the paraffin that commonly gums lip drilling pipe. But farther down-hole, the high salt and low oxygen concentrations in the brine found in many formations inhibit the bugs' growth.

Jim Martin's catalyst lets the bacteria thrive under these tough conditions. Oppenheimer hypothesizes that somehow it produces atomic oxygen and gets it to the microorganisms-thus allowing oxygen-using bugs to operate in hostile environments where free oxygen is reduced or absent. It seems to do for the microbes more or less what a scuba tank does for a diver. Thus fortified, the bugs injected deep in oil formations position themselves at the interface between the rock wall and the oil, Oppenheimer believes, forcing the oil loose both by producing natural detergents and carbon dioxide and simply by growing between the rock wall and the oil. Today, Alpha and its licensees are treating more than 2,500 wells in the United States and Canada with the company's catalyst-fortified bugs. The bacteria, Oppenheimer says, boost yields an average of30 to 40 percent; in some cases the increased oil flow is as high as 300 percent. Assuming that this stillexperimental technique proves usable in enough wells, the potential market is huge. According to a 1987 report of the U.S. National Petroleum Council, 210,000 million barrels of oil remaining in the ground of the United States can't be removed by conventional secondary recovery techniques. That compares with 136,000 million barrels that have been extracted over the past century. And that's just in the United States. Alpha has an interest in a company that was negotiating with the [former] Soviet Union to launch an enterprise to use its microbial process there. Essential to that process is Alpha's biocatalyst. But even within Alpha little is known about the biocatalyst's creator.

The Martin Saga According to family records, James Francis Martin was born on December 13, ~894, at 309 Wyoming Street, near downtown El Paso. He was the third of II children born to Jeanette Peak Martin, daughter of a Civil War physician-turned-pecanfarmer, and an Irishman named Philip Joseph Martin, who worked as a signalman, telegrapher, and clerk for various railroad lines. Around the turn ofthecentury the family settled in Tucson, Arizona. In 1912, at 18, Jim Martin went to work for Southern Pacific as a fireman-the man responsible for keeping a steam locomotive fueled. Five years later he married the 17-year-old daughter of the Tucson roadmaster for Southern Pacific. The young couple lived in Tucson and had three sons. Even as a young father Martin was an inveterate inventor-formulating toothpaste using a desert bush he called the cacahuate, creating a mouthwash from an extract of the manzanita tree, and making pressedpaper fireplace logs. Fourteen years into his marriage, in August 1931, a terrible train wreck left Martin painfully recuperating at Southern Pacific's San Francisco hospital for nearly a year and contributed to ending his marriage. Twenty years later, when he retired from the railroad, a settlement from that accident gave him the cash and freedom he needed to develop his living water. Jim Martin's son Jack, who was nine years old when his parents divorced in the early 1930s, saw his father just twice


afterward-once in 1950atJim Martin's residence in El Paso and once during a visit to Tucson in 1952, a year after Martin retired from Southern Pacific. Among the ventures Jack Martin remembered his father being involved in was an agribusiness in Tolleson, Arizona, 32 kilometers west of Phoenix. After our discussion I located a patent describing a "process for producing microorganisms and soil conditioners" issued to James Francis Martin of Tolleson, Arizona. The Martin patent-Number 2,908, 113-was applied for in March 1956. After two rejections, it finally was awarded on October 13, 1959, and it was assigned by Martin to a company called Arizona Activite. In Tolleson, a dusty and somewhat forlorn backwater, I found someone who remembered Arizona Activite and "the stuff they made out of manure in vats." As described in the patent, Martin's process propagated bluegreen algae by combining cow manure-not just any cow manure but the manure of milking cows-with fresh seawater containing the algae, which was allowed to stand until all that remained of the blue-green algae was its enzymes. This socalled "master culture" eventually produced new blue-green algae, or phytoplankton, which was fermented in a digester with regular infusions of cow manure along with large volumes of fresh water and small quantities of yeast. The liquid was then further diluted with fresh water until only by-products and enzymes were left. Arizona Activite had operated in a rural stretch west of Tolleson. By high noon one hot day, I found myself near the dead end ofEI Mirage Road-not far from where Interstate 10 barrels past on its westward journey across the Sonora Desert to Los Angeles. To the west loomed the White Tank Mountains. To the northeast, in the distance, dust devils danced in the hot air. A hundred meters or so south of an old, once-red dairy barn stood a row of six ancient-looking large concrete tanks, streaked with a blue-green residue. Old plumbing connections and small pipes lay scattered around their bases. The second tank was three or four meters high, more than twice as tall as the other five. Walking across the adjacent field, I sank up to my ankles in rich, soft, black soil that seemed oddly out of place in this' hardscrabble desert. Despite the sweltering heat I shivered with the realization that I had come to the right place. Martin was aware, his patent makes clear, that other people had used blue-green algae as a soil conditioner and as an aid to decomposition in sewage ponds-though apparently no one before Martin had been able to propagate the algae. Yet since finding the patent, I had puzzled over why Martin specified the excrement of milking cows. That was the only kind of manure that would work in his process, he had insisted. What was special about that stuff as opposed to, say, the bull variety? There were a few clues. In his amended patent application, Martin had cited articles from Newsweek and The Saturday Evening Post about the disastrous floods of 1953 that had wracked Holland. After a freak winter storm, seawater had breached the dikes and inundated many farms and dairies. Those stories hadn't said tha t the dairy farms made any swifter recovery

from the toxic effects of the salt on the soil, but perhaps Martin believed that was the case. As Martin was quietly developing his process, a graduate student made history by simulating primordial conditions on Earth. The year was 1953, and the famous experiment was performed by S.L. Miller under the guidance of American Nobel laureate chemist H.C. Urey. Miller produced simple organic molecules like amino acids by mimicking primitive conditions of the early Earth with a stew of methane, ammonia, ~ater vapor, and hydrogen, sparked by electrical flashes. The simple experiment has since been repeated by high school students.

Unique Bacteria Martin's longtime protege Floyd Lillard told me that Martin too had attempted to replicate the conditions that gave rise to life on Earth thousands of millions of years ago, before there was an oxygen atmosphere-back when methane, ammonia, and water surrounded the planet. someCow manure contains methane and ammonia-and thing more. Arguments in Martin's second amended patent application stress that bacteria found in manure from milking cows are unique. All cattle need calcium to build their bones, but lactating and pregnant cows have an exceptional need to make calcium for both milk and calves' bones. Scientists believe that before there were aerobic, or oxygen-using, microbes on Earth, there were anaerobic bacteria, those that don't use oxygen. Their descendants are found in deep muds and also in one of the cow's four stomachs-anaerobic microbes help cows extract calcium from hay and grass, something people are unable to do. Those bubbling anaerobic bacteria, like the yeasts Martin also employed in his process, use fermentation to break apart organic molecules and free the energy that held them together. Excreted in cows' feces, those tiny creatures, along with the yeasts, would help a creative chemist like Jim Martin spark a biochemical reaction in his stew of methane, ammonia, and seawater. From this stew, a microbiologist familiar with Martin's process says it is possible that the fermenting anaerobic bugs helped Martin culture an ancient form of bacteria called photosynthesizing prokaryotes, much like those that are believed to have evolved 3,000 million years ago. Those bugs needed hydrogen for photosynthesis and got it directly from the water around them by splitting the water molecule into its component parts-two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. They used the hydrogen for photosynthesis and released the single atom of oxygen as waste. That atomic oxygen--ol~was highly reactive and was initially chemically neutralized before it could have much effect on its surroundings, scientists speculate. As the early photosynthesizers proliferated, however, the oxygen reached critical mass and combined. to form earthbound, molecular oxygen02-as well as 03, the ozone layer that shields life on the planet from deadly ultraviolet radiation. Meanwhile, scientists such as Lynn Margulis of Boston University believe the prokaryotes symbiotically attached themselves to-or became incorporated (Text continued on page 36)


FOCUS Last month, artist Joseph the American opening

Reed held an exhibition

Center in New Delhi. Among

on January

14 were Senator

Daniel Patrick

Moynihan

sador William

Clark, Jr., Indian

and Arpana Shobha

Bhatia

printmaker,

(at left in picture

(Ganesha),

artists

with the artist), Ambas-

Krishen

Khanna,

Jatin

Das

musicologist,

and a professor

(LTG).

of English

when he was 33-he

late-blooming

primitive

at Wesleyan

a year after he started

India, Romania,

describes

miniaturist." painting.

his works in several countries,

Germany,

Dayal

Connecticut.

Reed, 60, began painting show within

and Siddheshwar

Reed is a man of many talents. He is a painter,

in Middletown,

as "a rather exhibited

the

and former U.S. Ambassador

Caur, and gallery owners Roshan Alkazi (Art Heritage),

A native of Florida, University

of his works at

those who attended

himself

He had his first

Since then, Reed has

including

England,

France,

show in New Delhi in 1974. Reed again

India

in 1990, but

impressions

did

of India in pencil

1974 and 1990 visits formed In addition month,

and the Netherlands.

He held his first one-man

visited

not

music program

which

a writers'

annual

reelected

nowned

Delhi-based

Indian

ernor-at-Iarge performed

achieved

fame

reported

Hospital

Kettering

being

used by medical

Cancer

therapy

in carcinoma

kidney,

and

Mahajan

other

Mahajan

dras

last

named

after

the

The

who became famous neering

of Indian the frigate,

Medical

the University of California

for his pioPole,

to a group

Navy ships also

call at American

ports.

organs.

laser surgery

liver,

In 1987 in South

in New Delhi. degree in medicine

in Amritsar

and surgery

in 1948. In 1951 he

for advanced

training

his MD from the University

in 1955. He was a visiting

Fulbright

in the of Iowa

professor

offi-

Raj

Mahajan with Prolessor

tesy calls

Eliot Corday,

Indian

Commander

Carino

members

on the Commodore,

Navy, Madras. played

The crew

a volleyball

match with their Indian counter-

visit to Madras.

parts,

went

shopping,

sightseeing

and presented

waite, naval attache of the Ameri-

parcel to an organization

can Embassy, who was aboard

ciated

with Mother

Teresa.

and a gift asso-

at

Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1989.

cers of the USS Peary paid cour-

aboard

G Satterth-

College

is

for chemo-

Dr Dhan

While in port in Madras,

newspersons

Francis

scholarship

He received

and that Indian

said that this was the ship's first Captain

a Fulbright States.

said that such visits are routine

by Commander

Fred Carino. Talking

United

College

the

The catheter

mediastinum,

pelvic

the first successful

in Ma-

trip to the North

was captained

received

and

called

at Memorial

the world

of lungs, esophagus,

frigate,

U.S. admiral

L. Hertz,

Catheter,"

around

of lung cancer

Medical

The New York

catheter,

in New York.

centers

Commander

anchor

month.

with his deputy

Charles

Center

in the history of

in Roslyn, New York-an

Perfusion

received a bachelor's

Glancy

a reas gov-

at the age of 30 he

a cardiac

abdominal

performed

American

surgeon,

Time and

others,

Bronchial

Sloan

the

Raj Mahajan,

aortic transplant

by, among

Asia for treatment

the ship along

this

term.

St. Francis

"Mahajan-Clifton

naval ship, Robert E.

in Madras

Chicago,

in 1957 when

the first successful

science'at

in

cardio-thoracic

Times. In 1962, he developed

The US

his

and an experimental

Dr. Dhan

for a three-year

Mahajan

Peary, dropped

His

show.

will be shown

meeting

of Surgeons

from

then during

in New Delhi.

At its recent

event

recorded

workshop

College

medical

an exhibition

part of his current

to his exhibition,

Reed codirected

have

and watercolor

world,renowned American cardiologist.


At 68, Romen Basu, a former United Nations lifetime

savings

on a dream-to

bring

official,

to America

is staking Indian

his

literary

riches, on a scale yet untried. Basu,

who

has spent

reasons. The average to Indian writings efforts

Forster, Christine however

skimming

surface

of Western

has his headlines

turbulence

writers

and Rumer Godden.

close at heart they might

cannot

States,

except for occasional India's

of a handful Weston,

in the United

he says, hardly has any exposure

or perceptions,

in U.S. newspapers empathetic

40 years

American,

or the

such

as E.M.

"But, regardless

of

really

substitute

Indians

an author

with nine titles in print.

writing

on themselves,"

asserts

U.N. Department Backing

book distributors

Although

Facet

"Living

on America's

laria

of Bookazine,

success.

However,

for ma-

who

have

the

standing

standard

surfaced

tropical

had

disease.

Researchers Institute

for

at the Picower Medical

in Manhasset, ported

to

kill

New

that

like chloroquine

recognized search,

used appear

malaria-causing

critical

but

para-

the effect previously

enzyme.

scientists

to new drugs

re-

9 issue of

commonly

sites by blocking a

York,

Further

of unre-

say, may lead

that

also attack

a

including been

sometimes sued

by the

which

parasite

that

blood through

is caused

by

enters

the

a mosquito

tant," blood

Institute

of

The dispeople a chlo-

at Washington up the

of developing

better

they've

something

cells

in the

protein,

would parasite

doing

is

In the

up, the iron

released

kill the parasite

stalline

and

were the

In enzyme make

cry-

substance. their

latest

that

chloroquine

studies,

discovered

the the

primarily

parasite

crystals. drugs

uses They

at the children .

in this venture,

such

I am getting

this enzyme,

a

letting

heme build

up and kill the parasites. "What there's

we found

out

is that

an enzyme

that

makes

the crystal

inside the parasite,"

of the

Slater,

a member

research

team

that made the discovery.

"That

enzyme

Picower

has never been found

an

before.

And we found

to

enzyme

is inhibited

also

block the action

and I know this is "But

said Andrew

not able to incorporate

researchers

Indian

this."

heme and a

globin.

in the

monly

used

that the by

antimalaria

comdrugs

as

like chloroquine.

of

can now find new ways of inhibit-

Hopefully

we

ing this enzyme." However, Slater emphasized,

it

could take several

clearly

more years to de-

impor-

velop

new

tive

he said. parasites

called

found

"opens

"1 think

Malaria

bite,

is-

in St. Louis, said that

possibility"

ing pigment simple

office

This year he hopes to bring

Basu says of his Facet operation. satisfaction

States" poet Jagindranath

in America.

all my money

tremendous

a

Moreover,

States and India. He is

a branch

books, targeted

families

the heme into a harmless

previous

Krogstad,

the latest finding drugs.

it

each year.

University

"1 have invested

process of breaking

to a report

expert

of children's Indian

compound

1.5 million

Dr. Donald roquine

out a number of immigrant

in the United

project.

is a keen

of Asian studies.

the United

has

on a related

re-

eliminated,

U.S.

his time between

capital-working

that there

States. After all, about

of noted Bengali

Delhi-Facet

the of the

community

presently

treat

last October.

worldwide

to

India, where

almost

kills

have departments

Basu, divides

has

surpassing

Medicine ease

to

in many regions

discovered

this enzyme. Malaria,

used malaria

levels, according

Research

in the January

Nature drugs

world,

the dreaded

para-

resistant

in the United

Basu, who is the grandson in

to reach out to him and stoke his

"1 am convinced

literature

universities

very risky,"

unusual

and malaria

drugs

disease,

is not

me that I can bank

insecticides

in under-

drugs work against

Basu

sites have become

made a breakthrough how certain

one of the

You can sell almost anything

be in sight-

to scientists

in 1986.

titles, it has yet to

in the United States has taught

inquisitiveness.

may finally

City

in America.

or literary

An effective treatment thanks

set up a publishing

out 40 Indian

in Indian

there is a large Indian

New York

Ted Epstein

has brought

a commercial

deterred.

Cooperation,

International-in

him was his friend

leading prove

of Technical Books

if you manage

he says, adding,

hundred

To fill the literary gap, Basu, after he retired as chief of staff in the house-Facet

curiosity," interest

have been to India, their work

Basu, himself

to an American,

invade body

red and

Researchers first

to cre-

details

effec-

therapies. must

study

the

of

how

sin-

break down hemoglobin

gle cause of disease and death.

ate food for themselves.

Hemo-

the enzyme works

In

globin

protein

and how it may be

is mankind's recent

most common years,

toes have become

as

mosqui-

resistant

to

is a crystallizable

consisting

of an iron-contain-

attacked.


into-a successor life-fprm known as eukaryotes, which include blue-green algae and all higher animals and plants. When blue-green algae's successors spread to the soil of the planet's land masses, they engendered incredible fecundity-a virtu~1 Garden of Eden. That lush fertility was what Martin was aiming to regenerate-and perhaps did regenerate in those places where he got the chance. It seemed fitting to me as I drove west of Tolleson-past barren wasteland chockablock with verdant, irrigated fields of alfalfa, cotton, and peanuts-thatJim Martin had perfected his process here, in the desert that he had grown to know intimately. Thechief obstacle to growing crops in the desert and in other infertile regions of the world, besides the lack of water , is that the soil is often too alkaline-too basic-to support plant life. The easy solution would be to neutralize the alkalinity by adding an acid. The trouble with adding acids to bases is that they react in the soil to form salts. Plants can't grow in salty soil because the salt sucks all the water out of the plant by osmosis. But some bacteria use salt as a nutrient. So if one had a means to create a community of bacteria that eat the sodium or potassium in salt and release the resulting chlorine into the air as a gas, then plants could thrive. One of Martin's proteges claims that is exactly how the old man's discovery works.

I was able to look at a dozen or so of Martin's notebooks. A spiral notepad proved to be a meticulous record ofMartin'searly efforts to develop his microbial technology, including much of his practical and theoretical thinking. In November 1952, Martin visited the sewage-treatment plant in Azusa, California. His notes indicate that in a matter of days his catalyst-generated bacteria dissolved a 2.5-meter cake of sludge. Over the next few months he applied hundreds of liters of what he called Compound X to cesspools and chicken coops from California to Texas. The notes say it worked well. From December 1952 through March 1953, Martin field-tested the remaining solids from his process together with Compound X as a fertilizer. He used it on roses, gardenias, and azaleas at Monrovia Nursery, a large California grower. By March 12, his notes say, the tests were "100 percent perfect." Exactly how the microbe-producing process worked remained a mystery. Martin wrote in his patent application with evident frustration that "the present arts of biological or botanical science contain no specific explanations for the production of blue-green algae according to the present process." But, Martin stressed, there was ample evidence that the process did work. One of the first places Jim Martin tested his substance was at Earl Thurston's small farm in EI Paso's lower valley, south of the city, near Clint. When Thurston took over the farm in 1950 the soil was alkaline and far too hard to plow. Martin applied his unique water to the soil and it began to soften, becoming loamy and spongy. Meanwhile, Martin formed the manure used in his process into 30-centimeter-square cakes, dried them

in the sun, and then placed them in the main irrigation ditch flowing into Thurston's rows of cotton, so the water would flow around the cakes, picking up nutrients on its way¡to the crop. Thurston died in 1970 but his daughter Betty Joe Blackwell remembers that the pima cotton plants grew above her father's head-he was 173 centimeters-and produced an abundance of cotton. Thurston's friend, nurseryman Charles Black, Sr., says the farmer also tested the stuff on corn with dramatic results. Martin recognized that he would need help to bring it to the marketplace. That's when he seems to have struck his ill-fated deal with the incorporators of Arizona Activite-advising from the sidelines and not taking an active part in running the business. Business bored him; he was always too intent on developing other inventions or new applications for his old ones. Operating with trucks that dumped Martin's water into big irrigation canals, Arizona Activite promised to "return virginity to the soil," Arizona's skeptical agriculture commissioner recalled. According to Keith Haien, who became Martin's lawyer, business manager, and confidant around this time, Arizona Activite had "poor leadership" and "milked" Martin without compensating him adequately. Haien helped Martin sell his stock back to the company for a pittance. "After we sold Jiin's stock, the company just dissolved," Haien said. Haien, who represented the inventor for the last 15 years of his life, considered Martin "about the most honest guy I ever ran into." That was a problem. Because Martin trusted everybody, he was "gypped so many times," the lawyer said. To prevent Martin from being cheated, Haien devised a protective stratagem. If somebody wanted to use one of Martin's ideas, th~ interested party had to pay a consulting fee. Actually, the payments usually were turned over to Haien, who would dole the cash out to Martin, buy Martin supplies to continue his experiments, and prepare his taxes and contracts. Although Haien knew of many of Martin's other inventions, "the agri-chem thing"-as Haien called the process for activating microorganisms-was Martin's most successful creation and his main generator offunds. Still, Martin wasn't concerned with business or dollars. He loved his microbes the way Luther Burbank loved his plants. "He used to call them Jim's bugs," Haien recalled. Then, his voice rising and lilting as if the . memory warmed him, Haien continued: "He said, 'I can make billions and billions and billions and billions of them. They're my friends. My pets. My bugs.'" Once, pondering the financial potential of Marlin's microbial process, Haien urged him to sell the idea to a big company for a pile of money. "I don't want to cash in," Martin had responded tersely, "I'm just working for humanity." Like some latter-day messiah, Martin crisscrossed the country finding others to help him develop his process. "He told a lot of people how to do it, and it was sold under a lot of names," says Charles Black. "He wasn't interested in money-he wanted to help people." For that reason, friends say, he was often cheated. To make sure he was dealt with fairly, he grew


secretive and began to keep details of his process from associates. He even gave them misleading clues he called "white feathers" to throw partners off the track and kill the process if they dealt him out. Marketing Jim Martin's invention was frustrating. It was too easy and too cheap a process to make much money, no one really figured out the best way to package it, and people had trouble believing that something invisible was causing observable effects. "It would be simpler if we were dealing in elephants," Martin groused to an associate. Then you could point it out to "any idiot." Moreover, the process came into being before the demand for it was clear-long before the decline in u.s. oil production and just as companies were poised to make millions of dollars manufacturing chemical fertilizers and building municipal sewage-treatment plants. Martin's successors say that those companies did not look kindly on a process that claimed to render their products obsolete. Martin's discovery appeared decades before mainstream scientists began to fear that the world might be on the brink of ecological disaster. It wasn't until 1989, for example, that the U.S. National Academy of Sciences published a report advocating the use of organic methods for growing crops

instead of the chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are poisoning the Earth and its inhabitants. Today, however, the world may be ready--even desperate. In addition to Alpha Environmental in Austin, other Texas companies-Medina Agriculture Products Company in Hondo, Appropriate Technology Limited in Dallas, Spray-NGrow in Houston, APR Products in Dickinson, and BioPlus in Hawkins-are making their own versions of the microbeactivating substance Martin invented. They are using it in agriculture, waste treatment, pollution control, and enhanced oil recovery. Medina, like Alpha, had a product on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's short list of substances to be tested for use on the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Another company, called Natural Oxygen Products, in El Paso, disclaims any connection to Martin but uses a startlingly similar patented process to make a product with similar effects. The biggest hurdle still facing Jim Martin's invention involves basic research. To get science to embrace a new technology, it's not enough to show that it works. You have to propound a convincing theory to explain why it works. Even today this mystery baffles the scientists who have examined Martin's living water and take it seriously. 0

Editor's Note Tom Curtis-a former senior editor at Texas Monthly-spent a year investigating the story of Jim Martin and his discovery. Curtis's article for Texas Monthly continues for more than 2,500 words with details of attempts by Martin and others to research and market living water. Curtis interviewed Floyd Lillard, 85, and Arthur Franke, 84, who with Martin founded the Medina Agriculture Products Company in 1962. Lillard and Franke said that their product showed positive results from the beginning, producing looser and more granular soil than normal and lusher crops. But, in 1974 Texas A&M University issued a research report on Medina and another Martin-influenced product, Supernate, concluding that neither product promoted the activity of microorganisms or crop yields. As a result, Medina's sales plummeted. In the years since the repor.t, other research and the experience of farmers using Martin-influenced products have done much to restore the reputation of living water. Curtis writes that before Martin died in 1975,he "had cemented a relationship with yet another disciple," Robert M. Sinks, Sr. Sinks and his three sons operate Appropriate Technology Limited (ATL) in Dallas. "The Sinkses have been faithful to Martin's injunction to take his invention to the world ....They have carried his microbe-activating technology

via their own agricultural product, called Agrispon, to more than 70 countries ....[University research] tests report that Agrispon isn't toxic to mice or fish and isn't carcinogenic....Tests around the world on green peas, melons, oranges, peanuts, peppers, potatoes, sugar beets, sugar cane, tomatoes, wheat, bananas, rice, and coffee also showed significanl increases attributable to Agrispon when it was used with a fertilizer. "According to Bob Sinks and researchers acquainted with Agrispon, the soil additive achieves dramatic results when applied to soils regarded as highly stressed. A 1988 test conducted by the Agricultural Production Department of the Ministry of Defense in Egypt, for instance, showed a nearly 100 percent increase in alfalfa yield using Agrispon ....ATL cites half a dozen university tests in Texas and II government tests in China and Egypt showing that Agrispon-treated fields produced from 13 to 45 percent more cotton than similarly fertilized controls." Alpha Environmental and Medina are selling living water for use in sewage treatment systems, and the formulations are being tested for use in controlling hydrocarbon pollution. A scientist for a major U.S. environmental consulting and design firm that has tested a Medina product told Curtis that scientific literature has "verified time and again that bacteria eat all kinds of hazardous organics-

compounds like TNT, formaldehyde, PCBs, DDT, dioxin, and benzene." Despite obvious successes achieved by living water, Curtis cites several reasons for Its failure to gain wide acceptance: One is the lack of definitive research-scientists cannot explain precisely how it works. Another is the tendency among the various producers to remain secretive about their products, fearful that they will be copied by others. Yet another reason is opposition from major chemical companies who fear that it will cut into their sales of chemical fertilizers. Concerning the last, at least one living water producer has been negotiating to manufacture its product for marketing by a major chemical company. Curtis concludes: "Maybe now Martin's breakthrough will be looked at seriously .. Maybe rising demand for its myriad uses will make the substance cheap enough for everyone. Envision Jim Martin's catalyst-dispersion units, devices that look like hot-water heaters, dotting every city and farm from the developed nations to the Third World. They are all busily ginning out the water of life to clean up sewage, grow crops, and help restore the lost balance of nature. Who knows? Maybe the creation of that obscure Texas inventor, a man who labored tirelessly not for money but for humanity, will really make a 0 difference."


Other-Worldly Matters Carl Sagan in Conversation With Jayant V. Narlikar Dr. Carl Sagan was in New Delhi late last year to deliver the prestigious annual Nehru Memorial Lecture at Teen Murti House. He also addressed the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival and exchanged views with friends and colleagues in the Indian scientific community. In his talks Sagan discussed the achievements of space exploration and the worrisome state of the global environment. He appealed for international cooperation to deal with such growing problems as the deterioration of the ozone layer, the buildup of greenhouse gases, and the rapid pace of deforestation. "No one nation is responsible for these problems, and no one nation can solve them," he said. "We must all work together." Sagan is David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space JA YANT VISHNU NARLIKAR: I wonder if you remember 20 years ago when you had very kindly taken me to the laboratory of Dr. Bishun Khare at the department of planetary studies at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. CARL SAGAN: Yes, I remember. Dr. Khare and I are still working together. NARLIKAR: You showed some of the experiments you were working on at that time. So, to begin, I want to ask you what has been going on there recently? SAGAN: We have been extremely successful lately in simulating the atmosphere of Titan, which is Saturn's biggest moon. Peculiarly for a moon, it has a dense atmosphere and an impenetrable haze. You cannot see the surface of Titan, as we discovered in 1980-81 when the Voyager II spacecraft flew by Titan. But what we did find were a range of organic gases in the atmosphere. We found out some properties of the fine reddish particles that make up the haze of Titan. We now have completed a program in the laboratory in which we mix together the principal constituents of the Titan atmosphere--nitrogen and methane-at very low pressures and radiate them with

Sciences and director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is best known for Cosmos, a 13-part television series that has been seen around the world (Doordarshan broadcast it a few years ago), and for the book by the same name. His wife, writer Ann Druyan, who has collaborated with him on Cosmos and many other projects that popularize science, accompanied him to India. We invited Dr. Jayant Vishnu Narlikar, director of the Inter University Centre of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, to conduct an interview with Sagan for SPAN. The two eminent astronomers talked about some of their favorite subjectscurrent space research, the origin oflife on Earth, the search for extraterrestrial life, and other matters. Here is an edited transcript of their discussion.

charged particles simulating the electrons trapped in the magnetic field of Saturn. As Titan goes around Saturn these electrons pour into its atmosphere. What we found is that when we do this simulation we make gas-phase products, which are organic molecules built on th~ constituent atoms, carbon, nitrogen, and hydrogen, and that the interior of the vessel is coated with a reddish-brown powdery salt. We found that we make precisely the organic gases found in the atmosphere of Titan. With the simplest eddy-diffusion model-if I may use that phrase-we can predict what the abun-

dances ought to be, and those are the observed abundances. So, this is the first time that any planetary atmosphere has been quantitatively reproduced in the laboratory. Now, we take the solid stuff that's coating the interior of the reaction vessel and measure what are called its optical properties. 'We can compare these socalled optical properties with what Voyager found by examining the clouds, and there is a beautiful match.


NARLIKAR: What kind of wavelength range have you measured? SAGAN: We have measured the optical constants from soft X-rays to microwaves. We haven't measured Titan yet in that range, just the near ultraviolet, the visible, and the near infrared. But there it matches beautifully with what we have done in the lab. So the next question is: What is this stuff? What is this powder made of? Ifwe drop iLin liquid water, we make a wide range of amino acids. Ifwe examine it, we find it is an extremely rich variety of organic molecules, some quite like those that make up life, some quite different. What is especially exciting about this is the possibility that on Titan today we have a kind of model of what was happening on Earth four billion years ago-at the time of the origin of life. Now, I recognize that there are some differences: It's extremely cold on Titan, so you would not expect to find much liquid water at those temperatures. But it looks as if cometary impact occasionally makes liquid water because of the high temperatures caused at impact. Every place on Titan has seen liquid water, at least briefly. So, we take this as a significant success. Here for the first time is a closely accurate simulation of complex chemistry going on in the real planetary atmosphere and that gives us increased confidence that when we try to duplicate other planetary atmospheres, or when we try to

simulate the conditions on Earth at the time of the origin of life, what we are finding in the laboratory might be relevant to real circumstances. NARLIKAR: Do you see any other places in the solar system where there could have been life? SAGAN: We haven't said anything about life; we've just talked about organic chemistry. So, I guess the first question we have to ask is: Could there be life on Titan? And I can answer that very quickly: I don't know. There is very complicated organic chemistry there, so maybe we shouldn't entirely exclude the possibility oflife. But I want to stress that there is a big difference between saying I don't want to absolutely exclude the possibility and saying I think. there is life there. There is no evidence whatever of life. Now, for other worlds in the solar system-the giant planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune-all have atmospheres in which carbon-rich organic chemistry is happening. And with this Titan success behind us we are now simulating some of those worlds. Also on Triton-the big moon of Neptune, about which almost nothing was known until 1989 when Voyager II flew by it-we found an extremely thin atmosphere. The. Earth's atmosphere is a lakh times denser. (I just learned what a lakh and a crore are, so I'm trying to work them into the conversation!) So in this astonishingly thin atmosphere-it's almost a vacuum-organic matter is forming and settling on the surface. There is a different kind of or-

ganic chemistry there-ice organic chemistry, with frozen nitrogen and frozen methane. One of the beautiful things found on Triton are geysers shooting this black stuff up into the sky and then being blown by the prevailing winds at this tiny pressure, and so there are these beautiful long dark streaks on the surface. In the last five or six years we have discovered that comets have a very rich organic chemistry, 20-25 percent composed of organic molecules. And so the question is: Could comets have made a significant contribution to the origin of life? There's no doubt that comets hit Earth on occasions, and there is no doubt that the impact rates four billion years ago were much more than today because the solar system has been cleaning itself up. NARLIKAR: You're referring here to initiating life? SAGAN: Exactly. When I say contribution to the origin of life 1 am talking about carrying the molecules from which life arises; 1 am not talking about carrying living organisms. Huge numbers of comets containing 20 percent organic matter slamming into Earth conceivably would deposit large amounts of organic matter. But comets travel very fast, and we have done calculations to show that the organic matter is almost all fried on entry. It just gets too hot. But if the ancient atmosphere were ten times the pressure, as we believe it was, then our computer model shows a funny thing: There is a kind of a cap on the back of the comet that doesn't get heated very much. All the front and the interior organics get fried, but at the back there is a cap that's preserved, so that's one way in which extraterrestrial organic matter might have contributed to the origin of life. But it turns out that there are other ways that are more efficient than this direct one. Fine cometary debris flowing into the atmosphere was much greater then, and then there is no frying because it falls very gently. The most important contribution may have been the shock waves produced by the impact, driving a


chemistry in the early atmosphere if it was hydrogen rich. . So what we have done now is to make a kind of inventory, add up all the sources of organic matter from the outside and from the inside-from inside I mean from electrical discharges like lightning, ultraviolet light from the sun-to see which sources contribute what. The conclusions are model dependent: If the earlier atmosphere were hydrogen rich, then you make a lot of organic matter, and if it was mainly carbon dioxide, as many geologists believe, then it is not so easy to make things. And in that case, what's carried in becomes important. This is a very quick survey of some of the recent work done in our laboratory on extraterrestrial organic matter and its possible connections to the origin of life.

tina, looking at more than eight million separate radio frequencies at once. And all of this is supported not by the government but by a private membership organization called T-he Planetary Society, of which I happen to be president. The cost for running these programs comes from $5 and $10 and $15 contributions by people not only from the United States but from all over the world. This indicates first the widespread interest in SETI, and second, how inexpensive it is. This year NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is instituting a still more sophisticated program, which doesn't yet have a good name. I think that in ten to 15 years from now-if we have not found radio signals from hypothetical civilizations on planets going around the stars-we will have learned something very important.

NARLIKAR: My interest was fired by your book, The Cosmic Connection, about the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program (see SPAN, August 1991). What is the current status of the SETI program in the United States? SAGAN: It is surprisingly healthy. I say surprisingly healthy because it is so easy to caricature and make fun of a search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Are you going to spend hard earned tax money looking for little green men when we have urgent social problems? What a waste of money! What were you thinking of? In my view, if scientists cannot give good answers to questions like that, they shouldn't have tax money. You must be able to answer those questions. They are absolutely legitimate questions. Right now, there is a very sophisticated search program called META (Megachannel Extraterrestrial Array). This is being carried out in the northern hemisphere at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in the southern hemisphere outside of Buenos Aires, Argen-

NARLIKAR: You can put some limits on various theories and speculations by this kind of research? SAGAN: That's right. And, of course, if we succeed, it will be the most revolutionary discovery in history. NARLIKAR: In that connection I wanted to mention that in India we are constructing a giant meter-wave radio

telescope (GMRT) about 95 kilometers from Pune. It will have a structure like the VLA (Very Large Array) with a Y-shaped distribution of antennas. Six antennas are fixed on each of the three arms, each arm extending several kilometers. Each dish antenna is 45 meters in diameter. I am working with my colleague, Dr. Govind Swarup, who is the brain behind this system, to use it also for SETI. I feel that this magnificent instrument could also be used part of the time to look for extraterrestrial signals. SAGAN: There is no activity that is more appropriately international than the search for signals from another civilization. If a civilization is sending them, they're not directing their signals to any particular country.

NARLIKAR: That's right, nor in any particular language. SAGAN: If we can be of any help, please let me know. We have limited resources, but I would at least try to train anyone Dr. Swarup designates on how META works, the kind of equipment, and so on. NARLIKAR: That would be useful. The GMRT is supposed to start working in 1994. So there are a couple of years. If! may change the subject slightly, you have been very active in popularizing science in various ways. The Cosmos series was very successful in India and I had a lot of feedback from young students asking questions. It certainly raised the awareness of astronomy considerably. What are your future plans toward popularizing science? SAGAN: We have recently updated the Cosmos series. When we made it, no spacecraft had ever got close to Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or a comet like Halley's. That is a large harvest of worlds, especially considering the moons and the rings of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. And that's just one example of things that needed to be added. We have been having discussions on the possibility of showing the new version in India. I am not absolutely sure, but I am optimistic that it will happen.


It took two-and-a-half years of fulltime work to produce the original series; I am not sure I will do such a thing again. I certainly have been writing popularizations of various kinds of science. My most recent book, which is not yet published, is written with my wife, Ann Druyan. Called Shadows of Forgouen Ancestors, it is an attempt to understand why human beings are the way we are. Where do ethnocentrism, xenophobia, and dominance hierarchies come from? Where does the oppression of women come from? One can see such features, I think, in Indian life, and one can see them in American life. Almost everyone deplores them, and yet they remain. So we thought it would be useful to go into the evolutionary origins of these kinds of characteristics. That's not connected very closely with astronomy, but it is an extremely important issue. So that is another example.

NARLIKAR: Whenever I give a public lecture on any topic in astronomy, people usually ask questions at the end. Some questions are directed at whatever I have talked about-for instance the big bang theory or black holes. Invariably, regardless of the topic of my talk, somebody asks about UFOs and the Bermuda Triangle. I presume you must also be getting a lot of such questions. How do you answer them? SAGAN: Yes. In fact, I got a phone message from someone here who has a UFO he wishes to show me.

NARLIKAR: Oh, I see. It's still there, is it? SAGAN: If I understood the message right, it's still there. Well, I can give a quick response to these issues. On the Bermuda Triangle, there is the claim that there is a particular region of the Atlantic Ocean near the island of Bermuda in which ships and planes mysteriously disappear. Now, the first relevant fact is that sinking in water is a known physical phenomenon. So, I would compare this with, for example, disappearing trains. If there were a Pune Triangle, in which cars of the India!! Railways mysteriously disappeared, then I would say: This is mysterious. How can trains disappear? But planes and ships we know how they can disappear: They sink, and they are at the bottom of the ocean. It's not,a priori, a mystery. Therefore, the question I would ask about the Bermuda Triangle is: Do the ships and planes disappear there more frequently than in other equally traveled, equally large areas of Earth? And the answer is, no. There is no Bermuda Triangle mystery. It is all a misunderstanding or, to some extent, a fraud-an attempt to make some money by deluding people who are insufficiently critical in their thinking. As far as UFOs go, you will know from my scientific interest that no one is more interested in the possibility of an extraterrestrial life than I am. I have been involved in sending spacecraft to planets to look for life. I have been involved, as

we have just been talking, in using large radio telescopes to see if anyone is broadcasting to us. I would be very happy if we were visited. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And in this case the evidence is not good at all. There are many anecdotes. A person can think something has happened that has not. Psychological aberrations are known in human behavior. People are also known occasionally to lie. People are known to get drunk, to hallucinate. There have been a million UFO cases since 1947. In any of these cases, did the witness bring back an extraterrestrial artifact? A book in a strange hieroglyphic, an alloy unknown on Earth,¡ a piece of matter that has antigravity properties? Is there anything real that you can look at? The answer is no. Not even a good photograph that couldn't be fake. And that to my mind is telling. Many cases have been reliably reported-for instance a hundred different people report a light in the sky. Well, many things. can be lights in the sky. A reentering Russian or American booster can make a very spectacular light. So again, I would say extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And the evidence is simply not good enough. My mind is open if there is really a good case. But, I have learned that it is a waste of time to go and speak to one or two people who say they have had an extraordinary experience. Many of them are sincere, but it dQes not match the standard of scientific evidence. So I


would say to anyone who has been taken aboard a space aircraft, please bring an extraterrestrial being when you come back. NARLIKAR:Or an extraterrestrial object. SAGAN: An extraterrestrial being would even be better. But an object, an artifact, or whatever pets they haveanything at all would do. NARLIKAR: Suppose you established some contact with intelligent beings. What question would you ask them, assuming they know more than we do? SAGAN: Which almost certainly would be the case, because we can just barely communicate. I think social, economic, political, and religious questions are, in a way, much more important than the physics, mathematical, or biological questions. But still physics, mathematical, and biological questions are wonderful. I might ask: Could you please provide a simple proof for Fermat's last theorem? That's specific enough. [The theorem states that it is possible to divide a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two powers, or in general any power ad infinitum into two like powers. Fermat's proof was never found.] NARLIKAR: My question, in that case, might be: Is the Riemann Hypothesis valid or not? [The hypothesis, still unproven, is concerned with a complex valued function, having direct application to the theory of prime numbers.] SAGAN: Yes, things of that sort and then into more difficult issues. But where we have problems that have eluded us for centuries and where they are very well defined in mathematics-the two cases we just talked about are just that-that's where I would start. NARLIKAR: The reason why I would choose math or physics is that the problems would be the same. But social problems, economic problems .... SAGAN: Absolutely. Who knows what they are like biologically and all of that? But anyway, I hope I have the difficulty of

trying to decide which are the most important questions. I would look forward to that. That would be a lot of fun. NARLIKAR: You have written a lot about the threat of nuclear devastation, nuclear winter, and all of that. Do you see any relaxation in the situation now? SAGAN: There is no question that tensions between the United States and [the former] Soviet Union have eased a lot. That is something everyone should be thankful for and both nations have made an important contribution to that. In my judgment the principal contribution has been made by Mikhail Gorbachev. I think any objective look at history will show that he is the person who had the boldness to do it. The Warsaw Pact has collapsed. There is no Warsaw Pact. Who

I would say to anyone who has been taken aboard a space aircraft, please bring .an extraterrestrial being when you come back. would have imagined that five or six years ago? It's amazing. Nevertheless, not on~ nuclear warhead has been destroyed by either the United States or the Soviet Union. There are approximately 55,000 nuclear warheads still on the planet. About 25,000 nuclear weapons on hairtrigger readiness are ready to be launched. And I would hardly call the circumstances safe. T think things are safer, but they are not nearly safe enough. NARLIKAR: Because there is the other danger of information spreading and smaller groups getting nuclear weapons? SAGAN: I was just talking about the Soviet Union and the United States. Even there, there is still a significant danger in who is controlling the Soviet ,nuclear arsenal. Bear in mind that they have approximately 25,000 nuclear weapons, and a hundred are enough to destroy any nation on Earth. Or to cause nuclear winter if they are targeted effectively at cities. Now as far as other nations, in South

Asia particularly, are concerned, yes I think that proliferation of nuclear weapons is exceptionally dangerous. As I said, the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France, China, and Israel having nuclear weapons is very dangerous. Even if you were to believe that the leaders of those countries, military and civilian, were completely sane and sober and in control, what guarantee do you have that that will be the case for all times? It is stupid in the deepest sense to have these weapons. And now as the weapons proliferate to more countries, the chance of a mad leader gaining control over such weapons becomes greater. We have had mad leaders in this century-Hitler and Stalin are two examples; one could think of some more, but those suffice. There is a reason why nuclear weapons are attractive: It's because many nations feel they can't be pushed around as much if they have nuclear weapons. If nuclear weapons are a sign of being taken seriously, then this is very dangerous. Therefore, it seems to me, countries deserve to be taken seriously whether they have nuclear weapons or not. The responsibility now falls on the shoulders primarily of the United States and Western Europe and Japan to respect these nations and consider their interests regardless whether they possess nuclear weapons. NARLIKAR: We started with astronomy. I would like to end with astronomy. In India astronomy and astrophysics are receiving special emphasis. We are establishing a lot of facilities all over the country. I mentioned the radio telescope, and other centers also have come up. So, we . would very much like you to come to India again and visit our astronomy centers. SAGAN: Thank you, Dr. Narlikar. I very much appreciate that. From everything T have heard, you're doing a wonderful job, not just in developing astronomical research, but in popularizing astronomy in India. NARLIKAR: I think your visit has been a boost to us. SAGAN: Thank you. I congratulate you. D


ON THE LIGHTER

SIDE

~-

_---,1 M.D, iliA ITING

ROOM

"Remember 11'henwe were young and 'security' meant having a Roodjob?"

"Miss Eisenhart, considering the weather, I've decided to take the afternoon and February off."


laser Breaks

Laser therapy is being increasingly accepted as the safest, simplest, and least invasive method of treating kidney stones. In an operation that takes just a little over half an hour, doctors insert a hair-thin optical fiber that releases a burst of energy, which breaks the stone but leaves the surrounding tissue unharmed.


Doctors are increasingly turning to lasers to treat a painful and common ailment-kidney stones. The procedure, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1986, has grown rapidly in use and is now one of the most common methods of treating stones in the lower ureter, the narrow passageway between the kidney and the bladder. While just a few hundred of the more than 350,000 cases of kidney stones in the United States were treated with the laser when it was first introduced, nearly 25,000 kidney stone patients received the therapy just two years later-in 1988. Indeed, the treatment has been so successful that the FDA approved a similar procedure for a similar ailment, gallstones, although scientists are divided over whether it will be as effective against gallstones. The use of lasers in medicine has grown rapidly in recent years, and doctors are experimenting with the devices in a wide variety of procedures, like opening blocked coronary arteries and reshaping the cornea of the eÂĽe to correct poor vision. Lasers have also been used experimentally to close surgical wounds and to treat certain types of tumors. Recent studies also indicate that lasers are effective in removing certain types of birthmarks on the skin, as well as tattoos. The therapy for kidney stones is one of the most advanced and widely employed procedures involving medical laser technology, scientists say. To treat kidney stones, a doctor inserts a hair-thin optical fiber into the patient's ureter until it reaches the stones. The laser is then triggered, releasing a burst of energy in the form of green light that breaks up the stone but leaves the surrounding tissue unharmed. Many kidney specialists say laser therapy is the safest, simplest, and least invasive method of treating stones in the lower ureter. About 20 percent of kidney stone cases involve stones in this area. "With this method, we can get access to stones we could not see before," says Stephen P. Dretler, a urologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who helped develop the laser technique there in 1986. About 180 hospitals around the world now have laser machines, which can cost up to $200,000 each. Kidney stones, often excruciatingly painful, develop in the kidneys or urinary tract, where the largest can block flow.

After laser impulses are transmitted through the optic fiber and smash the stone, the pieces are then either passed through the urine or pulled out using a miniature basket inserted through a catheter. The entire procedure takes about 35 minutes and requires a hospital stay of just two to three days.

W

hen kidney stones cannot be passed without treatment, the most common therapies are now . lithotripsy and percutaneous stone removal. In lithotripsy, a device generates shock waves outside the body. The shocks, which are focused on the kidneys, break up the stones. In the percutaneous procedure, an endoscope is inserted through a small incision. The stone is either pulled out if it is small enough, or a shock wave is delivered at point-blank range to smash the stone. But percutaneous removal is often inappropriate for stones in the lower ureter because it requires the use of a thick endoscope, which can damage the narrow walls of the passageway, says Ernest R. Sosa, a urologist at New York Hospital who performs about 100 kidney laser treatments annually. In addition, kidney stones in the lower ureter, below the waist, are difficult to treat through lithotripsy. Their location behind the bones of the pelvis requires a surgeon to manipulate the stones with an instrument before performing lithotripsy. Some doctors have also raised the possibility that shock waves generated in lithotripsy may damage the kidneys and lead to high blood pressure. There is no evidence that laser can cause a similar problem, doctors say. Surgical removal of kidney stones, the most popular treatment until 1986, now occurs in less than five percent of kidney stone cases, and primarily in those with large or infected stones. Laser treatment is regarded as safer than the other invasive procedures because it emits a green light that is absorbed only by the stone and not the surrounding tissue, Dretler says. Because the stones absorb frequencies of light different from those absorbed by the walls of the ureter, any laser impulses that do not make contact with the stones will not cause unintended damage. The use of lasers in gallbladder therapy is newer and its usefulness less certain. Some doctors say it is a viable option for less than

one percent of all gallstone patients, and it may prove harmful to some who postpone removal of the gallbladder. Johnson L. Thistle, a gallstone specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, says the treatment works, "but considering the other options, the frequency of its use is too low to become enthusiastic about it." Gallstones can inflame the gallbladder, a sac tucked under the liver in the upper right abdomen. The gallbladder stores bile made in the liver until it passes into the intestines to aid digestion. More than 75 percent of gallstone patients in the United States are now treated by surgically removing the gallbladder. Unlike the laser technique, the surgical procedure is favored by many gastroenterologists because it eliminates possible recurrence of the stones. Every year more than 500,000 Americans develop gallstones, made up in most cases of cholesterol or calcium or both. The stones can cause intense pain, nausea, and fever. of nonsurgical methods of A number eliminating the stones have been developed over the past few years. For gallstones composed of cholesterol, lithotripsy has been tried. But doctors caution that lithotripsy can produce large fragments that can become stuck in the bile duct, requiring further treatment. Doctors now also use ether-based drugs that can dissolve the stones within a few hours. This procedure has been limited in use because the drugs can dissolve only stones made of cholesterol. Physicians who are enthusiastic about laser treatment say it provides an important alternative for elderly and frail people for whom gallstone surgery can pose high risk. "This is a technology that, although limited now, will grow in use," says Robert Hawes, a gallstone specialist at Indiana University Medical Center, which is one of a handful of' hospitals now using the laser to destroy gallstones. Some advantages of the treatment, advocates say, are that it requires a hospital stay of just a few days, compared with four to six weeks for gallbladder surgery. And unlike lithotripsy and dissolving medications, lasers can destroy all gallstones, whether made of calcium or cholesterol, says Hawes, who developed the procedure along with Peter Cotton, a physician at Duke University Medical School in Durham, North Carolina. Hawes has already treated four gallstone patients with laser therapy. 0


Please DoTouch The Children's Museum of Indianapolis breaks two sacred rules of museums: It encourages touching and talking. Says a museum official, "The most important thing in the room is the audience, not the object. The object is important only if it can unlock something in the audience."

1. A giant sunburst window at the entrance welcomes visitors to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. 2. A volunteer helps a young visitor wear a sari in Passport to the World, a gallery where visitors can explore cultures[rom around the world.

3. The arcade-style design of Science Spectrum offers an entertaining way to understand the laws of physical science-here a child learns how a bicycle wheel and the principle of angular momentum keep a chair spinning. 4. In the Mysteries in History gallery, children dig for clues about the building that once stood on the site-in this case, a museum recreation of an 18th-century Frenchfur trading post.


5. The Eli Lilly Cen/erIor

Exploralion has been designed by leenagers as a learning environment/or youngs/en ll'ho wan//o Il'ork on /heir oll'n designs and cremions, II has music symhesi::ers, video equipmen/, compu/ers, darkrooms, and ll'oo(hrorking areas, 6. A young visilor lakes a close look alone oj'lhe live objecls in /he Nmural Science gallery-a snake, 7. Children play-and learnaround Ihe sand dome oj' Playscape, Ihe galleryji)r ages Ill'O 10 seven,

8. The lI'orld's lorges/ Im/er clock is Ihe cenlerpiece oj'/he Welcome Cemer, 9. A color/iii, hand-carved

Il'Ooden carousel airel's bOlh fun and hislOry, lIs 41 animals 11'1'1'1' crealI'd by America's pioneer carousel builder Gus/av A, Denl::el in Ihe early years oj'/his cemury,


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10. Rex, the dinosaur "doorman," draws squeals of delight and (/\\'c!rom children-and prepares them for the adventures inside the museum, 11. The Welcome Center is adorned with bright colorful banners made by children, highlighting theirfavorite allraction at the museum, 12. Youth volunteers create the ambience of a Victorian train station during the museum's annual railroad festival.

he Children's MuseumofIndianapolis describes itself as a place "where children grow up and adults don't have to." The irresistible combination of learning and fun implied in that description attracts more than a million visitors annually to the largest and fourth oldest children's museum in the world. The five-story brick museum, set amidst 30,000 square meters, houses ten major galleries that explore the physical and natural sciences, the arts: history, and foreign cultures. There are 140,000 artifacts-the largest collection of any youth museum anywhere-including 50,000 folk art objects from more than 120 countries. Visi tors are encouraged to touch, to talk, to question, to participate. Says Director Peter Sterling, "We are not just a hands-on museum. What we try to be is a minds-on museum. Our role is to be a partner in learning." The museum annually presents 4,000 programs and activities including workshops, live performances, field trips, fairs, and special interest clubs and classes. It also circulates more than 800 exhibits to schools and children's organizations. For a small fee, any adult working with children can borrow artifacts and learning materials. The museum was founded in 1925 by Mary Stewart Carey. Her first collection came from the city's chiJdren-particularly those from ethnic neighborhoods-who contributed treasures belonging to their parents and grandparents. A small carriage house was the first repository for the collection. From there it moved to a shelter house and then to Carey's own residence, where it stayed until 1946 when the museum purchased its first building. The museum moved into its new, larger premises, built at a cost of$6.8 million, in 1976. This made the Children's Museum of Indianapolis the world's largest children's museum, a position it has maintained with the help of two massive expansIons. Space requirements apart, additions and innovations are an ongoing part of the museum. Says Sterling, "We are trying to tell the children, 'Hey, wait a minute, the world's not finished yet. There's a lot out there that we don't know about.'" The museum sees itself as part of the process of discovering more and more of the world for its young and young-at-heart visitors. 0


After completely d001inating the world Grand Prix Circuit for years and years, with over 260 Grand Prix wins to its credit, Goodyear has focussed all its technology to create an advanced new car radial for you.

The new Goodyear Power Tread Radial is designed to give you unmatched comfort and control even at speeds upto 180 kmph. No matter what the driving conditions, this new 'all season' radial is equipped to face any eventuality.

If it's raining, a unique'S' shaped tread funnels out the water, gripping the road like dry. If the road is frosted over or slippery, special 'road stayer' sidewalls keep you in control while cornering. If it's hot, special heat resistant compounds come to your aid. Every season is a reason for the Power Tread Radial.

But that's not all. On bumpy terrain, a special low spring rate absorbs upto 30%of the shock and greatly reduces driving fatigue. And patented Goodyear rubber .compounds give you upto 50% extra mileage. As well as upto 5%improved fuel efficiency. Yes, no ordinary tyre can match the Power Tread Radial.

So no matter who in the world you're racing home to, you're unlikely to find a finer tyre in the world to ride on than the Power Tread Radial.

Now available for all Indian cars Goodyear power Tread Radial.

GOOD;riEARÂŽ Navy, ride a vyarid leader.


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G-XII HANDWOM EMPORIUM MANOR SHOPPING PLAZA SOUTH EXTENSION-I NEW DELHI-110049 INDIA TLFN: (011) 462-3208, 462-5099, 61-7050

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February 1992  

The War that defined America

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