Web questions and campaign positions

Rick Walker (walker@cutter.hpl.hp.com)
Fri, 02 Dec 1994 19:29:10 -0800

OK. Lots of stuff to reply to. Sorry for the long post... I'm
going to answer some specific Web questions, and then address some
of the ICPS campaign questions...

>From Pekka:
> Unfortunately I could'nt get my pictures to view. When I tried from
> the CP list, there came the text only, and when I tried straight from
> the directory, then I got Permission denied - message. Although I got
> some other pictures.

This was due to a file permission problem. Your pictures should be viewable

>From Wim:
> I didn't see any change from last week. Lynx wasn't even able to
> download the demo pic. Would you please make available a decent way
> to get these pictures? Can you make them available from the archives?

The only change is in the database itself. There are now chromosome
numbers for many entries, and pictures for about 40 of the entries.

Perhaps I can make the pictures somehow accessible from the CP archives.
It will take me a while, as my time is limited, and it is nearly used up
maintaining the existing services.

Lynx is a text-only browser. You'll need Mosaic, Netscape, or one of
the other graphical browsers to really make use of the pictures. Netscape
is available for *FREE* from the following ftp sites:


Now onto elections...

> > From Becky:
> >
> > How is this effecting native CP's habitat. Can ICPS have any impact
> > on saving or mitigating these habitat's.
> Reply from Kevin:
> Yes we can but the voics of the officers will mean little by them
> selves. The Best oppertunity for political action is through our
> publication "Carnivorous Plant Newsletter" and this like Democracy
> REQIRES the full particapation of our constituntes. Are YOU willing
> to research, write and submit an article that will identify the
> problimes and MOTIVATE out members to petition the government and
> spread the word to there friends? The voices of our members are 759
> times lowder than ours alone.

I agree completely with Kevin. There is little that I can do as ICPS
president, without the creative and vigorous support of the members.

It is a sad fact of modern life, that most of us are so entranced in our
jobs that we have almost no time for outside activities. I think this
has to change if we want to make positive changes in the world around
us. We need to "wake up and smell the coffee" and get interested,
informed, and involved in the issues that are important to us. If we
want our descendants to be able to experience CP in the field, we have
to do something about it NOW.

My personal stand is that "saving" a plant in cultivation saves almost
nothing if the same plant is allowed to become extinct in the wild. The
real beauty of an organism is the "energetic dance" that is has with the
biosystem around it. Examples if this are the beautiful spiders, crabs
and frogs that live in Nepenthes pitchers, along with various endemic
bacteria and fungi. Certain species of Tarsius monkeys may rely on
stealing food from Nepenthes to supplement their diet... etc.

Saving a plant without the habitat is like putting someone's big toe on
a heart lung machine and letting the rest of the body die. I am in
favor of keeping plants in cultivation, and even "saving" them via
in-vitro techniques, but I see these as stopgap measures. We only do
this until society regains its sanity - the end goal is to eventually
restore lthese "saved" plants back to suitable habitats.

I'm not unrealistic, however. If society decides to convert all the
bogs in the world into parking lots, it would be better than nothing to
have conserved all the CP into cultivation - But who will conserve the
less popular sedges, mosses, amphibians, insects, bacteria, fungi, etc?
There are more lifeforms in a cubic centimeter of soil than there are
humans in the world. We can't hope to understand this complexity, much
less conserve it in our home collections.

For these reasons, as president, I would hope to steer the ICPS
membership into making appropriate efforts to conserve CP habitats.
There is a heck of a lot that we could accomplish, as a group, if people
care enough to get involved and work together. As a presidential
candidate, I'm promising to listen to what people want, try to get a
consensus, and then use my efforts to help facilitate the group in
achieving its shared goals.

> > Listen fellas, you shouldn't take this all so personally, folk are
> > just pointing out irregularities in the system.
> We have no system yet and that's the other problem.

We're making this up as we go along. I applaud Steve B's work that he
has done to get to this stage. I think that everyone should be
satisfied with the propriety of the situation now that we have an
independant person counting ballots. As was pointed out, Steve
volunteered to count votes *before* he was nominated. The only thing
he is "guilty" of is being exceptionally willing to help out with
a real investment of energy and time.

>From Becky:
> I was just trying to get a dialogue started so that we might get a
> better idea of how our candidates think and feel. Personally, I'm a
> bit confused as to what to look for in an officer. What is a "proven
> track record" or "leadership potential". What else should we be
> looking for? Someone who knows how to grow, or someone who is
> involved with the issues impacting our particular mania.

I think you should vote for someone who represents your own interests. It
is a very personal decision. You can only judge by what you have seen. If
you've been involved in CP for very long, you will probably have come in
contact with, or have heard about, most of the candidates. Here's a bit
of background on the various presidential candidates:

Steve Baker has done a fantastic job of reviving the ICPN and
getting the publishing schedule back on track. His efforts may very
well have stopped the group for dying by attrition.

Bill Baumgartl is well known in the US for his Nepenthes and
Heliamphora collections and his efforts in tissue culture. He has
also served as the SF Bay Area Club president.

Your's truly (Rick Walker) has been the newsletter editor and
publisher for the Bay Area Club for the last 2 years, and is the
person who maintains the CP listserv, web page, and information

Aside from that, you can ask some of your CP buddies if they know anything
about the various candidates. Finally, you can carefully read the printed
campaign statements that came with the ballot.

Here is a posting of my "campaign statement" for anyone who still hasn't
gotten a copy:

Hi. My name is Rick Walker and I'm running for ICPS president.
What I'd like to do in this short article is introduce myself, give
you my vision for the ICPS, and ask for your vote.

I'm a 33 year old electronic engineer with a background in computer
science, and a long-term passion for botany. My interest in CP was
kindled in the first grade by a teacher who gave me a Venus Fly
Trap. That interest has grown through the years until I now have a
small greenhouse and an indoor terrarium filled with plants from
nearly every CP genera. I'm very interested in conservation and
genetic diversity, and have lately had some success dabbling in CP
tissue culture.

Some of you may already know me as the system administrator for the
CP computer mailing list (contact me at walker@opus.hpl.hp.com if
you're interested in joining!). This discussion group has over 260
members, representing nearly every continent, and has been useful in
building relationships among fellow enthusiasts. In the future, I
would like to see a greater linkage between this group and the ICPS.
As an example of what I have in mind, I was recently able to get
permission from my employer, Hewlett-Packard, to sponsor an on-line
database of taxonomic, photographic, and cultural CP information
built around Jan Schlauer's World CP List. This system will allow
anyone with a connection to the Internet computer network to browse
and contribute to a growing encyclopedic collection of CP knowledge.
I hope to soon be writing a CPN article giving details of this
project, after Hewlett-Packard finishes installing the hardware for
the system.

Once this database is fairly complete, we will be able to make a
stand-alone CD-ROM version for home computer use. (Currently the
one-off price for CD-ROM publishing is about $20/disk. Prices
rapidly drop for larger quantities). Wouldn't it be nice to have a
color photo of every CP species, along with cultural information,
all cross-referenced on your personal computer? Making these disks
available to schools would allow children to develop an appreciation
for CP - and hopefully to become the next generation of
conservationists! There is every indication that they will be the
ones to either save CP's in habitat, or lose them forever.

Along the same line of encouraging younger members, I think that we
should strive to maintain a balance in the ICPN between the drier
scientific articles, literature reviews, etc., and the more broadly
appealing cultivation hints, plant-trade ads, and color pictures of
member's plants. If we don't "cultivate" a younger readership, then
we lose our vitality as an organization. On the other hand, I feel
that the ICPN should also be a fitting place for describing new
discoveries and naming new plants. Perhaps a reader poll is in
order to help fine-tune our editorial content. In the final
analysis, we print what you write. Everyone should periodically ask
themselves what they can contribute to make our journal more
exciting for all. I'm sure Steve Baker would be happy to publish
your article - and I would enjoy reading it!

I believe that we should encourage greater collaboration among the
various international societies. Perhaps the secretary of each
group could publish a summary of the group's activities on a
rotating basis? Although only U.S. nominations were taken for this
first election, I strongly believe that the next round of elections
should include true international representation.

Finally, I feel that we need to work together to help define
conservation goals for the ICPS. The primary way to do this is to
support habitat conservation. The second way is to encourage
commercial propagation of rare species to alleviate the demand for
wild material. In those rare cases where it is necessary, ethical
standards of conduct should be developed for field collecting. To
keep this hobby fun, I would like to see a revival of genuine
comraderie between members, with active trading and dissemination of
plant material to all. Tom Johnson has been doing a great job in
running the ICPS seedbank, and I would encourage everyone to send
him any spare seed that you may have.

Obviously, I can't do all these things on my own - but I am offering
my skills and time to help us accomplish these goals as a group.
The quality of our achievement is limited only by everyone's
willingness to contribute. If this vision sound exciting to you,
then vote for me, and together we'll make it happen!

> > I was just trying to get a dialogue started so that we might get a
> > better idea of how our candidates think and feel. Personally, I'm a
> > bit confused as
> In reading the candidate form before I sent it out, I was extremely
> impressed by how well the candidates outlined their personal
> philosophies and growing experiences. It seemed clear to me that, as
> a group, ICPS has some pretty well-defined goals and concerns. That
> made it difficult to choose a candidate. It would have been, and
> still would be, nice to see some open statements or debate.

OK. I've spilled my guts. Anyone want to ask anymore questions or
start a debate? :-).

>From Kyle:
> I was wondering if someone could tell me the dates, times, and meeting
> location(s) for the BACPS meetings between now and June. Also if you
> could give directions to it (I would be heading north on 101 to get to
> the Bay Area) I would greatly appreciate it.

I haven't got this info yet. I'll post it when I get it from Larry Logoteta
for the newletter.