Happy Holidays to all of the BIOSCI community!

BIOSCI Administrator biosci-help at net.bio.net
Wed Dec 21 16:17:26 EST 1994


I'd like to take this opportunity to extend to all of our readers and
friends around the world our best wishes for a happy holiday season.

It has been my privilege to meet some of our readers in the U.S.
during the last six months as a result of my BIOSCI/Internet seminar
tours (35 talks in all!).  As we move into a new year, I often reflect
on how things have changed so dramatically on the Internet in just the
last two years.  The network is finally being taken seriously as a
result of the development of the Mosaic software and other network
tools.

Even in our humble corner of the USENET world, BIOSCI/bionet was
chosen by the Nobel committee as the medium to broadcast on the
Internet this year's Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine.  After
having fought an uphill battle for years to convince influential
people in science that USENET could be used for serious purposes
despite its occasional black eyes, flame wars, pornography rings, etc.
8-), this event was especially gratifying.

We read a lot of bad news in the traditional media these days about a
variety of global problems that threaten to destroy us and which fuel
despair about the future.  Even in our own area of biology there is
much pessimism among young people about finding jobs.  I encountered
this on my travels again this year.  As another example, the recent
newsletter of the American Society for Cell Biology contained a letter
from the society president publicly wondering whether we were simply
training too many scientists.  Hardly the kind of reading to make one
want to ring in the New Year ....

However, when one sees the tremendous Internetworking efforts going
on, even at places off the beaten track, when one experiences the
enthusiasms and hopes that one encounters among those venturing forth
into this new frontier of the Internet, it is hard to stay pessimistic
for long.  I have seen pessimists change quickly to optimists once
they find their niche in life and are working with a purpose!  The
world is changing with tremendous speed, and we can only guess about
what it will be like even a year from now.

This constant change is causing a lot of stress for many people; new
technology is resulting in lost jobs, but it is also opening up many
new opportunities for those who keep alert to them.  In a period of
high volatility like the present, the ability to adapt to change is
the key.  Saying this platitude, however, does not make it easy nor
alleviate the pain involved.  Unfortunately some people do not adapt.
Nevertheless, to those making career decisions, one can not put on
blinders and believe that there is only one career goal in life, and
that, as is often implied in science, if one does not meet that career
objective, one is a failure.

It's unfortunate that it is hard to be publicly optimistic these days
without being taken for a simpleton.  A few decades ago, an American
company, General Electric, had a motto:

	      "Progress is our most important product."

Almost no one seems to make statements like that anymore, but one
seriously wonders how anyone in computer/networking/communications
careers could avoid the evidence of substantial progress staring them
in the face every day.

As the year comes to a close, perhaps we should step back from the
rush of events, realize how far we've come and how many opportunities
remain on the horizon for those who open their eyes to see them.  The
cynics, of course, will believe otherwise, but that will fortunately
just lessen the competition for the rest of us 8-).

Happy New Year to all of you from the BIOSCI staff!!

				Sincerely,

				Dave Kristofferson
				BIOSCI/bionet Manager

				biosci-help at net.bio.net



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