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    The following message from IEEE headquarters was forwarded to the faculty at
    our institution. I thought this information might be of interest to other
    BIOMCH-L subscribers.

    ----- Forwarded message follows -----

    To IEEE Staff and Volunteers:

    According to today's news reports, the so-called
    "Unibomber," who has been mailing letter bombs around the
    U.S. to various people working mainly in technical fields,
    has written to The New York Times. In his letter, the
    bomber states, "The people we are out to get are the
    scientists and engineers, especially in critical fields like
    computers and genetics."

    It is not our intention to frighten anyone, but it is
    critically important to every one of us that we become
    especially alert to the potential for such random violence.
    With the approval of Dick Schwartz, IEEE Acting General
    Manager, we are issuing this advisory to all staff and
    volunteers. Further, we ask that each of you forward the
    following information to any IEEE employee and/or member who
    has not received this e-mail message.

    First, DO NOT respond to any request from the news media for
    a statement about the Unibomber, violence toward the
    technical or engineering professions, or related topics.
    (The reporter could, for example, ask for a quote explaining
    "because you work for an engineering society and/or are an
    engineer.") If you receive such a call, do not give in to
    any pressure the reporter might try to use about being "on
    deadline." Simply take down the caller's name, phone number
    and news organization, and immediately notify Helen Horwitz,
    IEEE Corporate Communications Director.
    (Phone: 908-562-6821; Fax: 908-981-9511; E-mail:

    Second, familiarize yourself and your families with the
    following guidelines from the USPS Inspection Service
    regarding suspicious packages received in the mail.

    A mail bomb may have one or more of the following

    * Oil stains on the outside.
    * Peculiar odor, protruding wire(s), or foil.
    * Overly heavy for its size.
    * Weight unevenly distributed.
    * Thick and bulging, as if overstuffed.
    * Endorsed as RUSH, FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH CARE, etc.
    * Addressed to a prominent official and sent restricted
    delivery and/or "eyes only," "personal," "confidential,"
    * Title of the recipient may be inaccurate or derogatory.
    * Common words misspelled in the address.
    * Address may have distorted handwriting, be made from cut &
    paste lettering, prepared on a homemade label.
    * Usually has stamps; meter strips are easily traced.
    * Excessive postage. (A bomb sent to a Federal judge had
    this characteristic. Also, the bomb, allegedly sent by
    white supremacists, used stamps with a highly patriotic
    theme, i.e., flag stamps, Thomas Paine, and the $1 "candle
    stick" stamp.")
    * No return address, or one unknown to the recipient. (This
    is somewhat less valid now, says the US Postal Inspection
    Service. Some bombers are sophisticated enough to use
    return addresses known to the sender.)

    Recommended actions if you suspect a package you have
    received is a bomb:

    * Do not attempt to open the package.
    * Minimize handling, and gently place the item on a stable
    * Isolate the package.
    * Evacuate the immediate area.
    * Do not put the package in water. Water can cause an
    * Do not put the item in a confined area, such as a filing
    cabinet. The explosive may be powerful enough to blast
    the container apart and produce dangerous shrapnel.
    * If possible, open windows to vent explosive gasses and
    reduce glass shards in case of detonation.
    * If you are truly suspicious of any package, do not be
    afraid of embarrassment that you may be wrong. Call the
    authorities, especially your local Postal Inspector. In
    New Jersey, the phone numbers of the Postal Inspection
    Office are: 201-596-5405, and a 24-hour number:

    Don Curtis
    IEEE Human Resources Director

    ----- End of Forwarded message -----

    Joseph E. Hale, Ph.D.
    Orthopaedic Biomechanics Lab., Box 374 TEL: 804-924-5989
    University of Virginia FAX: 804-924-1691
    Charlottesville, VA 22908 USA email: