Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0400
530-898-6220 [Office]; 530-898-6192 [Dept.] FAX: 530-898-6824
e-mail: curbanowicz@csuchico.edu / home page: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban

25 March 1993 [1]

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/JOUR116.html]

© [All Rights Reserved.] This handout was originally prepared on March 25, 1993, for a guest lecture in Professor John Sutthoff's JOUR 116: International Communications In The Gobal Arena. This handout has been placed on the WWW on April 5, 1999 and the only changes that have been made are indicated in Footnote #1 and the addition of four WWW sites at the end of the references.




"I don't envy anyone who has to advise his [or her] country what to buy--or to accept as a gift--in the telecommunications field during the next few years. Or for that matter, for the rest of the century. By 2001 everything we have will still be operating somewhere. And it will all be obsolescent." (Arthur C. Clark, 1984)

Clark's words are true for all aspects of information technology as they apply to national and international communications. Individuals must keep up with technology changes and the impact of those changes on cultures.



"While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, development of which we need waste little time dreaking. (Lee DeForest [1873-1961], The New York Times, November 6, 1926)

These words, by an eminent twentieth century scientist and 1906 inventor of the triode (the basis of the radio) clearly points out the danger of prediction.



Educational television began in California in 1969 when Stanford University established an "Instructional Television Fixed Services" (ITFS) syste, known as the "Stanford Instructional Television Network" to serve working professionals in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1972 the University of Southern California created their ITFS network to serve professionals in the Los Angeles area. By 1975 CSU, Chico had constructed an electronic distribution system in the northern part of the state. CSU, Chico courses are taught by regular faculty members and distributed via a terrestrial ITFS system. The system is maintained and operated by the Instructional Media Center and ITFS activities are coordinated by The Center for Regional and Continuing Education. There are numerous other ITFS systems in the United States: in Hawai'i, for example, the University of Hawai'i operates HITS (Hawai'ian Interactive Television System). Looking at satellites and education: in January of 1984 the National Technological University (NTU) was incorporated in Colorado and NTU has a wide variety of satellite-delivered degree programs. On September 4, 1984, CSU, Chico began broadcasting, live via satellite, Computer Science courses leading to the M.S. degree in Computer Science.

FIGURE #1: CSU, Chico Northern California ITFS Sites


Changes in information technologies and their impact on national and international communications are developing at a rapid pace. Television programming (educational and otherwise) has clearly moved beyond the realm of science fiction into science fact. In addition to numerous single-continent examples of extra-terrestrial educational programs of the 1980s, the last decade also saw a variety of international communication activities conducted by organizations such as INTELSAT (International Telecommunications Satellite Organization), the Society for Satellite Professionals (SSPI), as well as the National Technological University. The advantage of a satellite to deliver electronic signals is clear when one considers that a satellite in geosynchronous orbit, at 36,000 kilometers above the equator and travelling at 6,879 miles per hour, is essentially a transmitting tower with an exceptionally large receive area (or "footprint") and such a satellite can "see" one-third of the globe from this position.

FIGURE #2: Satellite 'Footprint" For North America.



Consider a satellite occupying an orbital position at 36,000 kilometers at 130 Degrees East Longitude and Zero Degree Latitude, the proposed location for a satellite called Tongasat from a company registered in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga. That satellite has an excellent view of a large portion of the globe. Tongasat could radically alter the current policies concerning the delivery of electronic information to this part of the world and there could be tremendous international implications. Other entrepreneurs are also planning satellites for this particular part of the geosynchronous orbit.

FIGURE #3: Earth from 130 Degrees East Longitude/Zero Latitude.



"The tragedy of the world is that those who are imaginative have but slight experience and those who are experienced have feeble imaginations. Fools act on knowledge without imagination. The task of a university is to weld together imagination and experience. (Alfred North Whitehead [1861-1947], 1929)

Information technologies and international communications are rapidly changing. As GSO interests shift to LEO activities and the era of PCs (and IRIDIUM) embraces us (as well as DBS plans), one must continuously stay on top of things and follow the acivities of the ITU (and other organizations). We must also remember the words of Bagdikian: "Technology does not necessarily change simply because it would be good for the consumer." (Ben H. Bagdikian, 1971, The Information Machines: Their Impact On Men And The Media, page xix).

Urbanowicz, Charles F. references:

1991b Tonga. Encyclopedia of World Cultures, edited by D. Levinson (Boston: Hall-Macmillan), pages 363-339.

1991c Marconi Receives The First Transatlantic Telegraphic radio Transmission. Great Events From History II: Science And Technology, Vol. 1, pages 128-133, edited by F.N. Magill (Salem Press).

1991d First Artificial Satellite, Sputnik I Is Launched. Great Events From History II: Science And Technology, Vol. 4, pages 1545-1550, edited by F.N. Magill (Salem Press).

1989a Tourism In Tonga Revisited: Continued Troubled Times? Hosts And Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism, 2nd edition, pages 105-117, edited by Valene Smith (University of Pennsylvania Press).

1989b Satellites: The Global Village And tele-Education. Space 30: A Thirty Year overview of Space Applications And Exploration, edited by Joseph N. Pelton et al., pages 90-105 (Alexandria, Virginia).

1988 [with L.J. Wright and R.F. Meuter] Educational Telecommunications From California: A Case Study From California State University, Chico. Telecommunications And Pacific Development: Alternatives For The next Decade, edited by D. Wedemeyer and G. Ogden, pages 65-69 (Honolulu).

Additional References added to this WWW version are:

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Iridium1994.html [1994 Paper dealing with IRIDIUM, mentioned above.]

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Unpub_Papers/1991PacificScienceCongress.html [1991 presentation dealing with similar information.]

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/1998-99LPP.html [Various thoughts on educational technologies over the 1998-1999 Academic Year at California State University, Chico.]

http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/K12Visuals98.htm [Some thoughts and "visuals" on the importance of the Internet/WWW.]

[1] © [All Rights Reserved.] This very brief handout was for a presentation, accompanied by slides and transparencies, in Professor John Sutthoff's JOUR 116 Class on March 25, 1993. Since this handout is being placed on the WWW on April 5, 1999, please note the obvious lack of reference to "digital video" (although I was aware of it in 1993), the simple passing references to "PCs" and absolutely nothing concerning the Internet/WWW in 1993! To return to the beginning of this page, please click here.

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/JOUR116.html]

To go to the home page of Charles F. Urbanowicz.

To go to the home page of the Department of Anthropology.

To go to the home page of California State University, Chico.

For more information, please contact Charles F. Urbanowicz
Copyright © 1999 Charles F. Urbanowicz

Anthropology Department, CSU, Chico
5 April 1999 by CFU