N e w s l e t t e r

Volume II, Issue 1, May 1995


Automation Of An Election In Cyberspace
Who Is #1
An Effective Team
Tips For Writing E-mails
Web Travel
Electronics & IT In Vietnam
Job Search On The Net
Science News
So+ Lu+o+.c Ve^` Ngha`nh Co^ng Nghe^. Va` Thu?y Lo+.i

Automation Of An Election In Cyberspace

Tran Thong


VACETS was organized in March of 1994 as a non-political Internet-based association of Vietnamese professionals in the computer, engineering and sciences fields. By April 1995 we have grown rapidly to a registered membership world wide of 342 and an active mailing list of over 500 professionals. Our activities during this first year have been focused on providing various electronic forums for our members and weekly newsletters. We also launched a number of technical projects.

During this period, VACETS was run by an ad-hoc committee. I joined VACETS in June 1994 as its Chairman to help organize it. Since then we have increased the number of electronic forums and our bylaws were approved. We held an e-mail vote, on the rather emotional issues of non-email contact with technical organizations in Viet Nam in the Fall of 1994. The motion was approved by the members.

This vote pointed out a major weakness in our e-mail voting system that reported only the names of the voters and the final results, as would be the case in a paper ballot. The issue centers around the fact that most of us do not personally know who the vote counters were. It is essentially a matter of trust, or actually the lack thereof. This is further compounded by the ease in which an electronic vote could be altered without leaving any trace. In the Fall vote, after a two month long debate, at time very heated, we ended up releasing the actual votes but without associating the names with them. We had to post- voting, assign everybody who voted a random number and the vote associated with this random number was published. This is at best a cumbersome procedure.

Thus, for our April general election, we needed a better procedure that should meet the following two criteria

* preserve the anonimity of the vote

* provide all members a means for verifying their vote

These two requirements, on the surface, appear to be contradictory.

In this general election we had 11 candidates running for 6 open positions on the new Executive Committee. A registered member can vote for up to 6 different persons in his ballot.

Electoral Campaign - first check of our software

An electoral campaign forum was made available by reassigning one of our non-public channels for the two week period prior to the voting. This was a closed majordomo mailing list that we opened up to anybody who wanted to monitor the Q&A from the members to the candidates. We started by subscribing all our members and friends to this campaign forum. Each person can subsequently remove his/her name by sending an unsubcription message to the majordomo program. He/she can also subscribe him/herself by going through the majordomo program.

Since we expected a large volume of mail, we decided to restrict posting to this forum to registered members. This was accomplished by using the restrict_post option available in majordomo. Thus, unless the e-mail address of a poster matches exactly the name on the membership list, the posting will be bounced to the owner of the mailing list, in this case to me. I then can decide whether to allow it through or not. One of the problems that became clear to me right then is that a small number of people, about 10%, have mail aliases that they are not even aware of. These mail aliases caused their posting to bounce and I had to resubmit them manually. I did, of course, modify the authorization list whenever I discovered an alias. In some case the aliases are cryptic, like m1234@so.and.so instead of name@so.and.so. In other cases the difference is obvious, like name@host.company as opposed to name@company.

Each candidate, as part of the candidate form, has submitted a position statement. They were published in our general forum at the start of the campaign. They were the basis for a number of the Q&A's.

During this two week debate we received closed to 500 KB of mail. The questions were very appropriate and were answered diligently by the candidates.

The last two days of the debate period were reserved for the candidates to make closing statements and wrapping up any outstanding question. Thus on those days, the restrict_post list was shortened to just the list of candidates.

At the end of the debate period, the forum was turned off by unsubscribing all members and restoring it as a closed mailing list.

The Ballot

The format for the ballot is shown below. The order of the names was according to the order in which the candidate forms were received. [BALLOT] replace.this.with.your.personal.id

Hoang Viet-Dung
Le V. Tin 
Anson Binh 
Vu L. 
Thanh Tran
V. Hai 
Le M. Thao 
Vo K. Phong 
Nguyen V Diem 
Lap T. James 
Tran Vu-Bich 
Pham T. Phiet 

The voter writes a personal private identification in the [BALLOT] line that will enable him/her to recognize his/her vote, and hopefully private enough that others will not be able to identify the voter. To vote for a candidate, the voter will put an asterisk, "*", next to the name at the beginning of the line. From 0 to 6 asterisks will be accepted. A ballot with more than 6 asterisks will be considered invalid.This part of the ballot will be made public after the election to enable all members to verify that their votes have been properly recorded. The ballot will be published sorted according to the [BALLOT] line and without any reference to who the voter is. Sorting the ballot effectively randomizes it because a ballot can no longer be associated with when it was posted or who the voter is.

With this procedure we can meet the two requirements presented above of confidentiality and verificability. Since the above part of the ballot is published, provided the voter has chosen a good private identificaiton phrase, an observer should not be able to determine who voted. By making the ballot public, any voter can verify the results. This is complemented by the publication of the list of voters who cast their ballots. So, an observer could spot check by asking the voter

1. whether he/she has voted and

2. he/she has verified that his/her ballot has been published correctly.

Election - really working the software

There was a request for absentee ballot since that particular voter was going to have his Internet access turned off. This was accomodated by having him sent his ballot in early and storing it aside, and resubmitting it when the polls open. The absentee ballot was clearly marked as such in the e-mail address field.

For voting we had set up a special mailing list. It is just another majordomo mailing list like our others. The difference is that it is a closed list and it has only two subscribers, the vote counters. The restrict_post option was also used to screen voters. This worked pretty well since 90% of the votes got through without manual intervention.

When a vote bounces, i.e. majordomo refuses to post it and sends a copy to me for posting confirmation, I check the actual e-mail address of the voter against my list of authorized voters and most of the time I am able to find a match. The most common problem is that a subhost name has been added or deleted from the authorized e-mail address list. There were a few that I could not find, in which case I had to write back to them for more information, or in the case I suspected a possible match, I would either write or telephone the most likely member to confirm. I was able to resolve almost all bounced ballots. Note that an incorrect e-mail address will bounce the ballot prior to it being sent out. Thus, my partner in the vote counting team will not see these votes until I resubmit them. This saves him from having to check the eligibility of the voter.

Now, the ballot can be sent out to the two vote counters : Phuong and I.

Phuong's task was to automate the daily results. Each night he will send me two files. The first file contains the following information about each ballot received:

1. "From:" field, i.e. the identity of the voter

2. "Date:" field, including the time the ballot was sent from the originating host,

3. "Message-Id:" field. This can further identify the host and provide other reference information.

This first file is part of the verification process. The second file is a tabulation of the results to date. This is for Phuong's and my consumption only.

Each night, I will compare Phuong's results with my own. In my case I use an e-mail filter to store all the votes in a daily log file, which I then at night will archive into a larger vote file. I use the Unix "egrep" to generate a rawer version of the file that Phuong sent me. I also had a paper copy of the list of eligible voters to check off the voters. Paper is always a good backup!

With regard to filtering, I had a false start. Since I indicated to voters that the "Subject:" field was not going to be used, a number of them submitted their ballots with a blank field, which the e-mail system deletes. I was counting on the majordomo mailing list adding the prefix [vacets-vote] to the subject line to help the filter program steer the ballot to my daily vote log file. Of course Murphy's law did strike! I had to go back and alter the filter to look for the address instead!

On one occasion I found I had one more vote than Phuong did. Something must have happened during the transmission. Any way, this was resolved.

The list that Phuong sent me every night was sorted according to the "From:" field, making it easy for somebody to look up his vote header. Using this file, I posted each night the list of voters that day. I added annotation on any discrepancy between the actual and authorized e-mail addresses, any resubmission for correction.

There were a number of reasons we had a voter resubmit his ballot. The most frequent one is that the voter has forgotten to create a personal identification in the [BALLOT] line of the ballot, or his/her e-mail address was listed there. The second one is that a name was added (the write-in syndrome!).

155 members voted during the week long election. Of these there was one blank ballot. This corresponds to 45% of elegible voters. The interesting fact is that this is almost equal to the number of votes in the Fall vote, 150 at that time.

Phuong, being more automated than me, sent me the results the night of closing. It consisted of 3 files, the summary voter list, the result summary and the actual ballots.

The next day, I went manually through Phuong's ballots and compared them with my own list. Two discrepancies came up

1. One ballot did not have any "*" but had less than 7 names. We agreed to accept those names as voted in.

2. There was one ballot where the "*" was at the end instead of the beginning of the line.

These were resolved and some late minute ballots were included (the deadline for voting was that the ballot be mailed just prior to midnight local time) since they were delayed on their way to us. The results were then posted after the candidates were informed. The actual (modified) ballots were posted and anybody could verify them with a series of Unix egrep commands. The modification were to make the ballot format conform to our model:

1. an asterisk at the beginning of the line for the candidate voted, 2. the [BALLOT} line with the proper title and the personal ID.

Unlike the vote in the Fall, we received no complaint this time around, making it a successful election.

Election Results

As we have reported the list in order of decreasing number of votes is Binh, Dung, Thao, Tin, Hai, Bich, James, Phong, Phiet, Bruce, Diem

As per our Bylaws, anh Binh was offered the position of 1995-96 President. He declined. Anh Dung, the next person in line accepted. Anh Thao also accepted to be the President-elect.

Anh Hai, due to other personal commitment, asked that his candidature be withdrawn.

As a result, the 1995-96 Executive Committee will consist of: Binh, Dung, Thao, Tin, Bich, James, Thong. I am the hold-over as past-President.

Automation Of An Election In Cyberspace (cont)


I believe I could have used another person to help with the vote counting. This person would manually check all incoming votes and keep a tally of the results. Essentially do what both Phuong and I did, but without having to worry about sorting nor writing reports.

The automation using the majordomo restrict_post option have saved us a lot of time manually checking e-mail addresses.

I wrote a unix shell script to search the membership list for a partial address to help me match e-mail addresses with the list of registered voters. A further improvement would be to automatically search starting from the end of the address and returning the best match each time I enter a bounced e-mail address.

We intend to use the same procedure about information disclosure in future votes, namely the publication of the names of the voters and in a separate mailing the actual votes.

Overall we had a smooth running election.


I would like to thank anh Phuong for helping me with the vote counting process.

I would like to thank all the candidates for agreeing to stand for election and going through with the Q&A session. None of us is a politician and we tend to be uncomfortable being in the limelight.

I would like to congratulate the members of the 1995-96 VACETS Executive Committee.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the 155 members who have voted. What would an election be without voters?

We have all made history by participating in this

Who is #1

Duc Ta Vo

I was planning not to write a column this week since most people were busy making noise about the voting issue and no one is going to read this week's [SCIENCE FOR EVERYONE] column. However, after watching Saturday's college football games, I changed my mind and decided to write about FOOTBALL. I know that many people are more interested in watching football games and reading football news than reading [NOISE] on the computer. I hope this article may relax some people and divert their minds away from the voting issue for a while.

Last Saturday, whenever I turned on the TV, I heard "Who is #1? Penn. State or Nebraska?", even before the games. After these two teams have played and won impressively over ranking opponents, the discussion on "Who is #1" appeared more intense. So which team is really #1?

This morning, I read in the newspaper that the Associated Press poll has given the #1 ranking to U. Nebraska while the USA Today-CNN coaches' poll gave Penn. State U. the #1 ranking. Are these polls credible? Are the voters fair and knowledgable? Which poll is the better one? If you are in the US and went to a Big Ten school or a school in the East, you may think that Penn. State deserve the #1 ranking and so the USA Today-CNN poll is the better one. However, if you are (or were) associating with a Big Eight school or a school in the South, you may think the AP is better and Nebraska is #1. You can probably see that, due to the human characteristics which all the voters in both polls have, it is not easy to have an unbiased opinion. That brings up the issue about the credibility of the polls. What is needed is a way to rate the teams without human prejudice. A computer with some mathematical formulas can give an answer. I scanned through the Sports Section of my local newspaper and two national newspapers, looking for the rankings from computer polls, and unfortunately, I did not see any.

Ten years ago, the mathematician James P. Keener of U. of Utah gave the idea "of ranking the teams using a mathematical model" some thought after Utah's arch rival Brigham Young U. was voted #1 based on its undefeated season. But its victories had come against generally weak opponents. It was then apparent to him that the voters' polls were voting for the teams with best records instead of the best teams.

Perturbed by the polls' results, Keener set out to see whether a mathematical scheme, which automatically takes into account the strength of a team's opponents, would provide a more satisfactory answer. In the simplest possible scheme, one can assign a single point for a win, half a point for a draw, and zero for a loss... and calculate rankings on this basis. Keener's scheme is a little bit more complicated. A relatively obscure mathematical result known as the Perron-Frobenius theorem was used as a recipe for calculating such a ranking. Keener chose to allocate the value per game between the two competing teams on the basis of the game score, and he explored various ways of making this distribution. Each method he looked at showed certain biases in different ways. Nonetheless, once the rules, however arbitrary, are set, the scheme produces the required rankings. It is interesting to note that none of the various methods that he tried made BYU #1 or even #2. The method he finally adopted even placed BYU out of the top 10.

Today, there are many computer polls (New York Times, USA Today-CNN, ..., and individuals) that rank the teams based on many different mathematical formulas. The poll or rating that is used the most (?) is probably the Latest Line from Las-Vegas, Nevada. The ratings provide a numerical measure of a team's relative strength and have some value in predicting the outcome of future games. Each different ranking or rating method gives different results because each weighs important factors differently. So now the problem with computer polls is which model predicts best? There seems to be no easy answer for that just like the "which voters' poll is the best" problem.

For the fans, being human, it is hard to swallow the results from the computers, especially when they play down their favorite teams. Besides, those computer polls don't even agree among themselves.

In the end, when it comes to rating or ranking teams, the value of any particular method resides in the mind of the beholder. So let the games begin, and may the best numbers win.

Reference: "Who's Really #1?", I. Peterson, Science News, Vol. 144, pp. 412-413 (December 18 & 25, 1993).

An Effective Team

Thuy T. Nguyen - nguyentt@cacd.rockwell.com

The following is eight characteristics of effective team members that make blockbuster teams ( taken from TODAY'S TEAM ) that maybe of interest to some of you.-

1. Reliable team members ask questions and push for specifics.

2. Good teammates find positive seeds in all suggestions for ideas.

3. Fair and competent members always pitch in. Forget the comment " That's not my job ", just do it!

4. Team go-getters respect and support others and expect quality work. Constructive, valuable members encourage high achievement in co-workers and they usually get it.

5. Communicating openly and sharing knowlege are two more things you'll catch effective teammates doing.

6. Real team players keep an "up" attitude. A competent person commits to the work, then does it with a smile.

7. Productive teammates are flexible and creative. They want to learn and try ideas and are not discourage by setbacks.

8. Efficient members never blame others if things go wrong.

Adopt One Of Those Habits Today.

Tips For Writing E-mail

Ton-Nu Lan-Khue - lankhue@freenet.scri.fsu.edu from vnforum@vacets.org

We all subscribe to this forum for an enjoyable and meaningful debate, an exchange in which we each learn from one another. We want the letters on this forum to contribute to the overall quality of our intellectual life, not distract from it. With that in mind, I would like to offer these quick tips for writing an e-mail letter.

1. Stick to one topic, and one topic only.

2. Make your point in the first paragraph.

3, Keep your argument as clear as possible. A lengthy explanation is a good way to lose your readers. 4. Avoid sarcasm - It seldom translates well in print. 5. Don't be cruel; we want a lively debate, and your criticism can be pointed and tough, but don't make it meaner than it needs to be.

6. Keep the debate on track, and remain focused on the point at hand. Don't go off on a tangent, however tempting, in response to someone else's ill-conceived remark.

7. Try to offer constructive criticism, when appropriate. 8. Brevity is an asset. If you want people to read your remarks, keep your letter short.

9. If you're angry and just want to yell at someone, perhaps it would be better if you do not send your letter in. Better to wait a while than to fire off a letter you would later regret.

Electronics And Information Technology In VietNam

Thao Mong Le

Recently, VACETS-Adcomm received a technical report "Electronics & Information Technology (IT) in Vietnam" sent by the Nordic Center for Innovation (Lund, Sweden).

" This study was performed under the auspices of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) under contract with the Ministery of Science, Technology and Environment (MOSTE). It is a part of the Data Processing Review (UNIDO/UNDP VIE/89/002), which involves the trasfer of IT equipment, training and study visit, and other support to the government of Vietnam.

In September-October 1993, the field work for this report was performed jointly by Jan Annerstedt and Tim Sturgeon ... This draft version of the report was written in March 1994 and a revision was completed in August 1994."

"The main thrust of this report (125 pages) is to convince not only governmental decision-makers, but also industrial managers, IT professionals, investment bankers, and others in VN that more coordination is needed to effectively and creative diffuse modern information technology.

Through public and private means, or by their combination, it is recommended that a "pro-active approach" to the advancement, diffusion and application of information and communication technologies is developed - based on both the existing government programs for electronics and information technology and revisions of these programs. ...

This report also contains the main findings of a brief sectoral overview of electronics and information technology-based industries in today's VN. It highlights recent trends in the development of these industries. The report also looks at information technology applications in several other sectors of society. Using a case study method a number of institutions and firms have been visited to access current strengths and weaknesses in theri performance, and to identify coporate strategies, manpower issues, etc. while shedding light on the government policies for this fast-moving technology."

The report is available on the VACETS Web site.

Job Search On the Net

Tue Phan - tuep@arthur.laguna.sparta.com from vacets-jobs@teleport.com

There are a number of services - both commercial and not-for-profit - that specialize in matching employers with job seekers. Most services post available positions on WWW pages; some also let job seekers post their resumes. Here, they are:

http://rescomp.stanford.edu - http://helpwanted.com - http://www.monster.com - http://careermosaic.com - http://www.espan.com - http://iquest.net/occ - http://www.jobweb.com - http://ipoint.vlsi.uiuc.edu/people/
lockwood/lockwood.html - http://www.fedworld.gov.ftp.html - ftp://fwwx.fedworld.gov/pub/jobs -
ftp: FJOB.Mail.opm.gov ( - Usenet jobs.offered newsgroup

You also can subscribe to vacets-jobs@teleport.com where there are about dozens of job openings posted daily.

Web Travel

Hao Tu Nguyen - hao@hpato.aus.hp.com

Dear respective members,

Oh boy! I cannot resist in making this live report of how I am travelling through the wide world web and finding my way to that corner www.vacets.org ...

A` hah! A` hah! don't know how to get to this corner from the xmoisac window ... so what I'm doing now is just get out of the xmosaic ... right ... now if I type in

xmosaic http://www.vacets.org to see what happen ....

ting! ting! ting! the earth rotating on the top right hand corner of the window ... mmmh! a bit faster than the real earth I reckon! but never mind ...

Oki! oki! here it is ... let see ... Whoa! we are talking people! This is really interesting ... oh boy!

A` Hah! let's see ... welcome to VietGATE!

Oh! that is really a nice picture! we have water! we have mountains! and three birdies ... mmmh! must be seagulls that are flying around the ancient VietGATE!!! ... what a master piece ... so artistic! ...

What next ...

GATEWAY to the OnLine Vietnamese Community ... oki!

Now let see ... which one that I want to get in and open my so and so normal eyes ... mmmh! ... Houston Viet Community ? No! some other times ... Yup! I've got it ... Vietnamese Professional Associations ...

VACETS Home Page ..

A` hah! Let the mouse kick the door ... here we go ... click!

waiting ... waiting ... patient ... patient ... come on ... come on ... Arrrgggg! waiting ... waiting ... patient ... patient ... come on ... come on

... Hello o^' o^ o^` ... any one home ? Xin lo^~i Anh Ti'n co' o+? nha` kho^ng va^.y !? ... Hello o^' o^ o^` ... knock! knock! ...

ooops! ... we've got it! ... hmmmh! ...

Let's see ... VACETS Information (October, 1994) ...

mmmh! this looks familiar ....

I' da! we have color photos! ...

Ah! hihihihi ... Is that anh Tho^'ng !? ... Oh boy! This is really fun .... Hello anh Tho^'ng ... you can't see me ... but I can see you

Next is ... Aaah! so that is Ms Mo^.ng Tha?o that most people initially thought of ... hihhhihhi ... okay guys! sorry to break your dreams ... He's a guy right! ... 8-))) Another one who has four eyes like me! 8-)))

... mmmh! next is ... a green dragon!! and ... asking for a pie!!??? Hey! what kind of pies you want? OZ meat pies or home made apple pies? Looks like that this dragon is really in favour this land of down under ! green and yellow color! what else one can ask for ... 8-))))

.... next is ... Oh boy! Anh Hoa`ng Vie^.t Du~ng ... mmmh! the photo is a bit small ... and I can't see very clearly ... and ... Oh! he is grinning ... whoa! you look tough and Du~ng! 8-)))

and that is it! ... no more photos ... oooh!

I want more! I want more! photos ...

hihi`hi`hi` ... I guess I have wasted enough of b/w ... it is better that I should go ... wow! ... this is really fun ...

Until then ... to^?ng cha`o.


collected by Le Tuyet-Trang

Heads Up

MOSCOW -- Doctors are blaming a rare electrical imbalance in the brain for the bizarre death of a chess player whose head literally exploded in the middle of a championship game!

No one else was hurt in the fatal explosion but four players and three officials at the Moscow Candidate Masters' Chess Championships were sprayed with blood and brain matter when Nikolai Titov's head suddenly blew apart. Experts say he suffered from a condition called Hyper-Cerebral Electrosis or HCE.

"He was deep in concentration with his eyes focused on the board," says Titov's opponent, Vladimir Dobrynin. "All of a sudden his hands flew to his temples and he screamed in pain. Everyone looked up from their games, startled by the noise. Then, as if someone had put a bomb in his cranium, his head popped like a firecracker."

Incredibly, Titiov's is not the first case in which a person's head has spontaneously exploded. Five people are known to have died of HCE in the last 25 years. The most recent death occurred just three years ago in 1991, when European psychic Barbara Nicole's skull burst. Miss Nicole's story was reported by newspapers worldwide, including WWN. "HCE is an extremely rare physical imbalance," said Dr. Anatoly Martinenko, famed neurologist and expert on the human brain who did the autopsy on the brilliant chess expert. "It is a condition in which the circuits of the brain become overloaded by the body's own electricity. The explosions happen during periods of intense mental activity when lots of current is surging through the brain. Victims are highly intelligent people with great powers of concentration. Both Miss Nicole and Mr. Titov were intense people who tended to keep those cerebral circuits overloaded. In a way it could be said they were literally too smart for their own good."

Although Dr. Martinenko says there are probably many undiagnosed cases, he hastens to add that very few people will die from HCE. "Most people who have it will never know. At this point, medical science still doesn't know much about HCE. And since fatalities are so rare it will probably be years before research money becomes available."

In the meantime, the doctor urges people to take it easy and not think too hard for long periods of time. "Take frequent relaxation breaks when you're doing things that take lots of mental focus," he recommends.

(As a public service, WWN added a sidebar titled HOW TO TELL IF YOUR HEAD'S ABOUT TO BLOW UP:)

Although HCE is very rare, it can kill. Dr. Martinenko says knowing you have the condition can greatly improve your odds of surviving it. A "yes" answer to any three of the following seven questions could mean that you have HCE:

1. Does your head sometimes ache when you think too hard? (Head pain can indicate overloaded brain circuits.)

2. Do you ever hear a faint ringing or humming sound in your ears? (It could be the sound of electricity in the skull cavity.)

3. Do you sometimes find yourself unable to get a thought out of your head? (This is a possible sign of too much electrical activity in the cerebral cort ex.)

4. Do you spend more than five hours a day reading, balancing your checkbook, or other thoughtful activity? (A common symptom of HCE is a tendency to over-use the brain.)

5. When you get angry or frustrated do you feel pressure in your temples? (Friends of people who died of HCE say the victims often complained of head pressure in times of strong emotion.)

6. Do you ever overeat on ice cream, doughnuts and other sweets? (A craving for sugar is typical of people with too much electrical pressure in the cranium.)

7. Do you tend to analyze yourself too much? (HCE sufferers are often introspective, "over-thinking" their lives.)

So+ Lu+o+.c Ve^` Ngha`nh Co^ng Nghe^. Thu?y Lo+.i

Binh Anson - anson@csuvax1.murdoch.edu.au

Nu+o+'c la` mo^.t ye^'u to^' ca^`n thie^'t cho mo.i phu+o+ng die^.n trong ddo+`i so^'ng ca' nha^n la^~n co^.ng ddo^`ng. Tuy nhie^n vi` nu+o+'c hie^.n die^.n mo.i no+i va` de^~ da`ng su+? du.ng ne^n ca'c co^.ng ddo^`ng co' nhu+~ng phu+o+ng tie^.n ca^'p nu+o+'c tin ca^.y va` ca'c nguo^`n gia?i tri' an la.c thu+o+`ng kho^ng chu' tro.ng ve^` ta^`m mu+'c quan tro.ng cu?a nguo^`n nu+o+'c. Chi? khi na`o ngu+o+`i ta pha?i ddo^'i pho' vo+'i na.n ha.n ha'n, lu~ lu.t, hoa(.c ca'c va^'n dde^` co' lie^n quan dde^'n nguo^`n nu+o+'c la`m gia'n ddoa.n cuo^.c so^'ng thi` mo.i ngu+o+`i mo+'i quan ta^m dde^'n gia' tri. va` su+'c pha' hoa.i cu?a nu+o+'c.

Co^ng nghe^. thu?y lo+.i, theo danh xu+ng cu?a no', la` mo^.t nga`nh co^ng nghe^. co' lie^n quan dde^'n vie^.c kha?o sa't, su+? du.ng, qua?n ly' va` ba?o ve^. nguo^`n nu+o+'c nhu+ la` mo^.t nguo^`n ta`i nguye^n thie^n nhie^n cho con ngu+o+`i\. Theo tie^'n tri`nh li.ch su+?, nga`nh co^ng nghe^. na^`y la` mo^.t chi nha'nh cu?a nga`nh co^ng cha'nh, tuy nhie^n hie^.n dda~ ddu+o+.c nhie^`u no+i xem nhu+ la` mo^.t nga`nh co^ng nghe^. rie^ng bie^.t, ngoa`i ca'c chuye^n dde^` co+ ba?n ve^` qui hoa.ch, thie^'t ke^', xa^y du+.ng, va` ddie^`u ha`nh ca'c co^ng tri`nh co^ng co^.ng, co`n bao tru`m ca'c li~nh vu+.c kha'c co' lie^n quan dde^'n thu?y va(n, ho'a ho.c thu?y ti'nh, co^ng nghe^. bie^'n che^' ho'a ho.c, sinh ho.c, qua?n ly' ta`i nguye^n thie^n nhie^n, ba?o ve^. mo^i tru+o+`ng, pha^n ti'ch kinh te^', kha?o sa't ta'c ddo^.ng xa~ ho^.i, va` ca'c u+'ng du.ng ddie^.n toa'n.

Vie^.c a'p du.ng co^ng nghe^. thu?y lo+.i co' le~ dda~ ba('t nguo^`n tu+` tho+`i tie^`n su+? khi ma` nhu+~ng tie^`n nha^n na`o ddo' dda~ thu+.c hie^.n y' ddi.nh da^~n nu+o+'c tu+` ca'c do`ng cha?y thie^n nhie^n nha^.p va`o mo^.t do`ng nha^n ta.o, dde^? ddu+a nu+o+'c dde^'n no+i ca^`n tu+o+'i mu`a ma`ng. Co^ng tri`nh tu+o+'i tie^u to lo+'n dda^`u tie^n co' le~ la` do Mendes thu+.c hie^.n, dda^y la` vi. sa'ng la^.p trie^`u dda.i Ai Ca^.p dda^`u tie^n, va`o khoa?ng 3200 tru+o+'c Ta^y li.ch. Ve^` sau co`n co' ca'c co^ng tri`nh kha'c o+? vu`ng DDi.a Trung Ha?i va` Ca^.n DDo^ng, cha(?ng ha.n nhu+ la` he^. tho^'ng da^~n nu+o+'c da`i 500 km ddem nu+o+'c ve^` La Ma~. Mo^.t co^ng tri`nh tu+o+'i tie^u tu+` na(m 250 tru+o+'c Ta^y li.ch, trong ti?nh Tu+' Xuye^n, Trung Hoa, va^~n co`n ddu+o+.c su+? du.ng nga`y ho^m nay\. Ngay ca? o+? My~ cha^u, ca'c phe^' ti'ch co`n la.i cu?a mo^.t he^. tho^'ng tu+o+'i tie^u ro^.ng lo+'n, do tho^? da^n Hohokam xa^y du+.ng va`o khoa?ng na(m 1100, trong vu`ng Arizona la` ba(`ng chu+'ng cu?a ca'c hoa.t ddo^.ng kinh te^' hu+ng thi.nh va`o tho+`i ddo'. O+? VN, ca'c he^. tho^'ng dde^ ddie^`u ro^.ng lo+'n o+? mie^`n Ba('c do.c theo so^ng Ho^`ng dda~ co' ma(.t tu+` nhie^`u the^' ky? nay, va` va^~n ddu+o+.c du`ng cho^'ng lu~ lu.t, ba?o ve^. vu`ng dda^'t tha^'p nhu+ng phi` nhie^u\. Ca'c he^. tho^'ng ke^nh dda`o phu+'c ta.p o+? mie^`n Nam thu+.c hie^.n tu+` the^' ky? 18, du+o+'i trie^`u Nguye^~n, va^~n ddang ddu+o+.c pha't trie^?n va` su+?a ddo^?i cho vie^.c da^~n thu?y nha^.p ddie^`n va` di chuye^?n, cha(`ng chi.t trong vu`ng cha^u tho^? ha. lu+u so^ng Me^ Ko^ng, vu+.a tho'c chi'nh cho ca? nu+o+'c.

No^~ lu+.c dda^`u tie^n dde^? he^. tho^'ng ho'a ca'c kie^'n thu+'c co^ng nghe^. la` vie^.c tha`nh la^.p tru+o+`ng Cao DDa(?ng Co^ng Cha'nh (Ca^`u DDu+o+`ng) o+? Paris na(m 1760. Ha^`u nhu+ ca'c quan nie^.m co+ ba?n dde^? ti'nh toa'n va` thie^'t ke^' dda^.p, he^. tho^'ng tu+o+'i, lo.c nu+o+'c va` ma.ng lu+o+'i ca^'p nu+o+'c dde^`u ba('t nguo^`n tu+` ca'c ba`i vie^'t va` ba'o ca'o pha't ha`nh ta.i vie^.n na^`y\. Ke^? tu+` ddo', mo^.t kho ta`ng ly' thuye^'t va` phu+o+ng a'n dda~ ddu+o+.c pha't trie^?n, nha^'t la` tu+` khi co' su+. ho^.i nha^.p vo+'i ca'c nga`nh pha^n ti'ch tho^'ng ke^, pha't trie^?n mo^ hi`nh so^' ho.c va` ddie^.n toa'n, ca'c ca?i tie^'n ve^` vie^.c thu tha^.p va` pha^n gia?i du+~ kie^.n thu+.c ddi.a, va` su+. ho^.i nha^.p vo+'i ca'c nga`nh phi co^ng nghe^. kha'c (xa~ ho^.i ho.c, ho'a ho.c, dda'nh gia' ta'c ddo^.ng mo^i tru+o+`ng va` sinh tha'i, qua?n ly' ta`i nguye^n thie^n nhie^n, vie^~n tha'm, v.v...).

Ngoa`i vie^.c xa^y du+.ng dda^.p, he^. tho^'ng tu+o+'i, cho^'ng lu.t, thoa't nu+o+'c, xu+? ly' nu+o+'c du`ng va` nu+o+'c tha?i, ngu+o+`i ky~ su+ thu?y lo+.i cu~ng pha?i bie^'t ca'c phu+o+ng die^.n ddi.nh lu+o+.ng va` ddi.nh ti'nh cu?a nu+o+'c. Ngu+o+`i a^'y pha?i co' ca'c tri thu+'c co+ ba?n ve^` su+. hie^.n die^.n va` ddi.nh lu+o+.ng cu?a ca'c giai ddoa.n nguo^`n nu+o+'c trong ca'c tra.ng tha'i thie^n nhie^n la^~n nha^n ta.o\. Ca'c ha^.u qua? bo+?i hoa.t ddo^.ng con ngu+o+`i - ke^? ca? o^ nhie^~m tu+` ky~ nghe^. ho'a va` ddo^ thi. ho'a - tre^n pha^?m cha^'t nguo^`n nu+o+'c trong ao ho^` va` do`ng cha?y ca^`n pha?i ddu+o+.c tho^ng hie^?u va` tha^?m ddi.nh. Khi mu+'c so^'ng gia ta(ng - va` gia ta(ng nha^.n thu+'c ve^` he^. sinh tha'i ddi.a ca^`u, ca'c nhu ca^`u hie^.n nay kho^ng co`n gio+'i ha.n trong co^ng ta'c cung ca^'p nu+o+'c uo^'ng hoa(.c sa?n xua^'t thu?y ddie^.n, ma` lan ro^.ng dde^'n vie^.c su+? du.ng nguo^`n nu+o+'c dde^? gia?i tri', va` dde^? ba?o ve^. va` ba?o to^`n ca'c loa.i thu+.c va^.t va` ddo^.ng va^.t ddi.a phu+o+ng.

Vi` nguo^`n nu+o+'c ddu+o+.c xem nhu+ la` mo^.t trong ca'c nguo^`n ta`i nguye^n thie^n nhie^n quan tro.ng cho loa`i ngu+o+`i, quan nie^.m ga(.t ha'i - chu+' kho^ng pha?i chi? khai tha'c - nguo^`n na^`y ddang ddu+o+.c co^? vo~. Vie^.c na^`y dda~ ddem la.i ca'c chie^`u hu+o+'ng mo+'i cho nga`nh co^ng nghe^. thu?y lo+.i, ca'c y' tu+o+?ng co' lie^n quan dde^'n vie^.c ta'i hoa`n, ta'i su+? du.ng, va` ta'i sinh nguo^`n nu+o+'c trong mo^.t nguye^n ta('c bao qua't ho+n ve^` co^ng ta'c pha't trie^?n vu+~ng be^`n ca'c nguo^`n ta`i nguye^n.

Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996 VACETS. All rights reserved.