Heiser Christmas Letter 1993

We started the new year on a sad note. My father Henry passed away in early March from a sudden heart attack. We were so fortunate to have a nice visit with him in January and we miss him very much.


If you will recall last year’s newsletter, I mentioned that my Mid-City Alternative students entered a contest to build a simulated city on the computer. Even though we didn’t win, our team was given special attention by CNN News. Then, in May, we were featured on the ABC News with Peter Jennings. We looked good in that four-minute story. ABC compressed a lot of energy and effort into what became a simple, coherent story that looked spontaneous and interesting.

This summer I participated in the UCLA Marine Science Teacher Education Program on marine biology and physical oceanography. We went to Catalina, dragged the ocean bottom for specimens, pressed algae, snorkeled and visited tide pools and wetlands. We practiced simple, vivid labs which use no special equipment. Hands-on labs make science more interesting.

Back at Fairfax

In October, I was delighted to transfer back to Fairfax High School. I’m a math, science and computer teacher in the Visual Arts Magnet Center. I enjoy the higher academic standards, and am happy to see the faculty and students I got to know two years ago. Maybe next semester I’ll get the chance to teach a computer drawing class. I’m also putting together some information about “sci vi,” or scientific visualization tools for computers. We need to upgrade our school computer lab! Call me if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions.

New House

We are enjoying our new three-bedroom home on a quiet cul-de-sac in Westchester. Notice our new address. We plan to stay.

In the News: Privacy in the Computer Age

Recently, the government has proposed Clipper, a cryptography system for computers. Clipper has a special “back door” that will let government investigators read cipher messages to investigate criminal activities. But, unfortunately, everyone will lose privacy, not just criminals.

The irony here is that PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) is now available to the public worldwide thanks to Philip Zimmermann, who set it loose on the network. PGP is a better cryptography system that the government can’t break. The government is upset with Zimmermann, because it won’t be able to get the public to accept Clipper. An activist made a difference.

It’s equally unsettling that Congress demands that Senator Packwood surrender his diary, in hopes of finding incriminating evidence regarding sexual harassment. Now the Justice Department wants to read it too, regarding totally unrelated accusations of nepotism. In my opinion, these are instances of how our rights of expression and privacy are being jeopardized.

Love and Peace,

Loretta & Dick