By Benjamin D. Grizzle Harvard Crimson

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The story reads like the plot of a James Bond movie but has the potential to end in the silliness of an Austin Powers flick.

The Harvard Business School Press has paid a $250,000 advance for a book about a secret, potentially revolutionary device nicknamed “Ginger,” without ever laying eyes (even bionic ones) on the manuscript or on the machine itself.

The international man of mystery in this story of high-tech inventions is Dean Kamen, one of the foremost technological and medical inventors in America. Kamen claims his invention will “profoundly affect our environment and the way people live worldwide.”

“It will be an alternative to products that are dirty, expensive, sometimes dangerous and often frustrating, especially for people in the cities,” Kamen asserts.

Many pundits have speculated that “Ginger” is a kind of transport device. Razor Scooter, a leading manufacturer of the newly trendy product, views Kamen’s enigmatic invention as a potential competitor in the scooter market and plans to issue a statement.

HBSP, investors in the device and those few individuals who have seen the invention remain reticent about the book and Kamen’s machine.

And when Inside.com broke the news last week about the book deal between HBSP, Kamen and the book’s ghost author, Steve Kemper, the story unleashed a torrent of speculation about the nature of the invention. Some imagine that it might be a personal hovercraft, others simply a high-tech scooter.

Random House, the largest publisher in America, had enough reservations about printing Kamen’s book that along with its $300,000 signing offer, the publishing house insisted upon an escape clause that would allow them to cancel the deal if they were disappointed with the invention. Kamen declined the offer.

Hollis Heimbouch, senior editor at HBSP, said she had little information with which to evaluate the book besides the reputation of the machine’s inventor and the testimonies of a few witnesses to the machine who had been sworn to secrecy.

A proposal for Kamen’s invention has been seen by Jeff Bezos, president of the online retailer Amazon.com, whose press office confirmed yesterday.

Venture capital and technology moguls have been quick to weigh in on Ginger, saying that the invention could revolutionize urban planning and change people’s daily life worldwide.

Ginger is so revolutionary, according to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, that “if enough people see the machine you won’t have to convince them to architect cities around it. It’ll just happen.”

Kamen says his new invention can be assembled in five to 10 minutes, from parts that could fit into a few duffel bags, and is projected to cost less than $2,000.

Kamen is the founder of DEKA Research of Manchester, N.H. and has won numerous prizes and awards for his mechanical contributions to medical science. He invented the portable insulin pump and a wheelchair that can negotiate stairs, sand and gravel.

Apparel Companies Could Lose Licenses for Non-Disclosure

By Ryan Foley The Daily Iowan

IOWA CITY, Iowa – More than 42 percent of the companies licensed to produce University of Iowa apparel have yet to disclose the locations of the factories where their clothing is made, university officials announced Tuesday.

The UI will give those companies – which account for 223 of the university’s 520 apparel licensees – until Feb. 1 to provide the information before revoking their licenses. The locations of the factories must be given to the Workers Rights Consortium as a part of the UI’s agreement with the labor-watchdog group. Also, according to the agreement, the UI will sign future contracts with companies only if they disclose their factory locations.

A few companies have decided to cancel their contracts, but most of those appear to be low-volume licensees, UI officials said. The UI usually makes approximately $500,000 per year on the licenses, which has historically been used to support women’s athletics.

“It looks like right now that we will lose some revenue,” UI General Counsel Mark Schantz said Tuesday. “We’re going to have to wait and see. Hopefully, a few more will come in before the deadline.”

The UI has received full disclosure from most of its major licensees, he said.

Mandatory factory-location disclosures are part of the UI Licensee Code of Conduct, which UI President Mary Sue Coleman approved in June 2000 with the goal of making companies more accountable for the conditions in which UI apparel – and other products bearing the university’s name – is made. She announced in arch 2000 that the UI would set up the code, a time when the UI was under pressure from UI Students Against Sweatshops to take a stand against sweatshop conditions across the globe.

“[The UI administration] keeps pushing the date back for these companies to disclose the locations of their factories,” said Sherene Judeh, a UI junior and SAS member. “And so far, it has shown no signs of planning to revoke any licenses.”

Schantz said the UI hopes to have more specific figures on how many licenses will be revoked or canceled by Jan. 24, 2001, when the UI Committee on Human Rights will meet.

That committee will advise Coleman on how to deal with the companies that have provided the UI with factory-location information but have not signed a contract addendum to abide by the UI Licensee Code of Conduct. Two hundred forty-four of the 297 companies that have disclosed locations have signed the addendum.

By March, the locations of the factories in which UI apparel is made will be available on the UI Web site.

Supreme Court Denies Newspaper’s Appeal in Advertising Suit

By Dave Hartman The Pitt News

PITTSBURGH – The U.S. Supreme court, on Tuesday, denied a petition filed by The Pitt News. The case, which focuses on the constitutionality of a law enacted by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will return to District Court in the coming months.

The Pennsylvania law at the heart of the case is Act 199, a 1996 statute that prohibits any school-related publications from printing “all alcoholic beverage and malt beverage advertising.”

The prohibition effectively excludes any alcoholic advertising through school-affiliated mediums including radio or television broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals, outdoor advertising, booklets, fliers or “any other printed or graphic matter.”

Vic Walczak, the executive director of the Pittsburgh American Civil Liberties Union, is The Pitt News’ lead counsel in the case. Walczak said he was disappointed, but not surprised by the high court’s refusal to hear the case.

“Personally, I’m not surprised,” he said. “We were not real hopeful that they would take our case.”

The Pitt News’ petition maintains that by dictating acceptable advertisement content, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is effectively limiting free speech, a constitutional guarantee outlined in the First Amendment. The paper and the ACLU assert that prohibiting alcohol advertising minimizes potential profits, thereby preventing the paper from keeping up with competitors.

According to Walczak, the length of each issue of The Pitt News, as well as the paper’s ability to purchase new equipment to remain competitive are both affected by the law.

The commonwealth defends its statute, holding that The Pitt News cannot assert the First Amendment rights of third parties. The commonwealth said that the parties directly affected by the statute are readers and advertisers, and that both are capable of bringing suit against the law themselves.

The original petition, heard before U.S. District Court Judge William Standish, was denied in April 2000 when Standish deemed that the paper could not assert First Amendment rights for a third party.

The case was again denied in June 2000 when the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that while The Pitt News does have standing, or is an appropriate party to file suit in the case, its rights had not been violated.

Because the Third Circuit Court, which is above the District Court, ruled that the paper does have the right to assert First Amendment rights in the case, Walczak now plans to return to the District Court where he will present evidence to substantiate the paper’s claim.

Officials Allege Illicit Recruiting

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Amid rumors and an NCAA investigation, the University of Kentucky football program has been hit with another charge concerning a large amount of cash and gifts given to high school football coaches in Memphis, Tenn.

Memphis media outlets reported that an unidentified source said that $100,000 in cash and two sport utility vehicles were given to emphis high school coaches Milton Kirk, 55 and Lynn Lang, 31, by former UK recruiting coordinator Claude Bassett.

The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported earlier this month that former University of Arkansas recruiting coordinator Fitz Hill and another Southeastern Conference assistant, speaking only on condition of anonymity, said that Lang gave an offer to him including two SUV’s and $100,000.

Kirk is a former assistant coach and Lang is a current football coach at Memphis Trezevant High School where Albert Means, one of the top prep defensive linemen in the nation in 1999, attended.

The Commercial-Appeal reported that Lang allegedly shopped Means to the highest bidder.

The defensive lineman eventually ended up at the University of Alabama then transferred to the University of Memphis this semester amid controversy at Alabama.

Lang denies ever taking an offer.

This is another bombshell for UK and its dealings with emphis-area high schools with early allegations of money sent to suspended Melrose High School head coach, Tim Thompson.

– From Staff Reports

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