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Category: agents of change

Paul Baran, who played role in development of Internet, dies at 84

Paul Baran, whose work with packaging data in the 1960s has been credited with playing a role in the later development of the Internet, has died. He was 84.

Baran died at his home in Palo Alto on Saturday night of complications from lung cancer, said his son, David.

Baran is best known for the idea of "packet-switching," in which data is bundled into small packages and sent through a network. Baran outlined the concept while working on Cold War issues for the Rand Corp. in Santa Monica in 1963 and 1964.

In 1969, the technology became a concept the Department of Defense used in creating the Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet, numerous reports on the subject said.

The idea had been so advanced at its development that private companies had passed on it.

President George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2008. A year earlier, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.

Baran's method of moving data was designed to function after a nuclear attack. Because there were no centralized switches and bundles of data could simply find a new route if one weren't working, the system could still work even if much of it were destroyed, the Rand Corp. said on its website.

He called the process "message blocks." Donald Davies of Britain independently developed a similar system and his term, "packet-switching," would eventually be adopted, Rand said.

It would be decades before the social and commercial possibilities of the technology would become clear, and Baran would miss out on a lot of the money and glory that came with it, but he was happy to live to see it happen, his son said.

"He was a man of infinite patience," David Baran said.

Paul Baran was born in Grodno, Poland, in 1926 and his family moved to the United States when he was 2 years old, according to the Rand website.

We'll have more later at

-- Associated Press



Remembering Geraldine Ferraro

Ferraro Geraldine A. Ferraro, who died Saturday at age 75, "will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who broke down barriers for women and Americans of all backgrounds and walks of life," President Obama said Saturday in a statement.

Ferraro became the first woman to run for vice president on a major ticket when she was Democrat Walter F. Mondale's running mate in 1984.

"She was a pioneer in our country for justice for women and a more open society. She broke a lot of molds and it's a better country for what she did," Mondale told the Associated Press.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said her accomplishments "served as a milestone in our country's acceptance of equality and diversity. She is proof that a person can make a difference, and make a difference is what Geraldine did throughout her life."

Said Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco): "She inspired women across the country to reach their own greatness as they strengthened our country."

Tell us your memories of Geraldine Ferraro's political career.


Geraldine Ferraro dies at 75

Photos: Geraldine Ferrarro

--Keith Thursby

Photo: Geraldine A. Ferraro with Walter F. Mondale at the Democratic National Convention in 1984. Behind them are Eleanor, Ted and William Mondale. Credit: Associated Press

Elizabeth Taylor: donations and memorial

Publicists for Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday at 79, said a memorial service will be announced later, after a private family funeral this week.

Her family has requested that instead of flowers contributions can be made to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, c/o Derrick Lee, Reback Lee & Co., Inc., 12400 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1275, Los Angeles, CA 90025, or online at

Personal messages can be posted on a Facebook tribute page.

--Elaine Woo


Mitchell Page, former major league player and coach, dies at 59

Mitchell Page, a former major league outfielder and coach whose best season was his rookie year with the Oakland A's, has died. He was 59.

Page died Saturday, said a spokesman for the St. Louis Cardinals. He had been a coach with the Cardinals, among other teams. The cause of death was not known.

In 1977 with Oakland, Page hit .307 with 21 homers and 75 runs batted in. He also stole 42 bases and finished second to Baltimore's Eddie Murray for the American League rookie of the year.

Page played with Oakland through the 1983 season and ended his career with Pittsburgh in 1984. Along with the Cardinals, he coached in Kansas City and Washington.

Page was born Oct. 15, 1951, in Los Angeles.

--Associated Press

Alberto Granado, Che Guevara’s companion in 'Motorcycle Diaries,' dies at 88


Alberto Granado, who accompanied Ernesto "Che" Guevara on a 1952 journey of discovery across Latin America that was immortalized in Guevara's memoir and the film "The Motorcycle Diaries," died in Cuba on Saturday. He was 88.

Granado Granado, an Argentine who had lived in Cuba since 1961, died of natural causes Saturday morning, according to Cuban state-run television, which gave no other details.

Granado and Guevara's road trip, begun on a broken-down motorcycle they dubbed La Poderosa, or "The Powerful," awoke in Guevara a social consciousness and political convictions that would help turn him into one of the most iconic revolutionaries of the 20th century.

They both kept diaries that were used as background for the 2004 movie, produced by Robert Redford and directed by Walter Salles.

Granado was born Aug. 8, 1922, in Cordoba, Argentina, and befriended Guevara as a child.

As young medical students, the two witnessed deep poverty across the continent — principally in Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.

They parted ways in Venezuela, where Granado stayed to work at a clinic treating leprosy patients. Guevara continued to Miami, then returned to Buenos Aires to finish his studies.

Guevara would later join Fidel and Raul Castro as they sailed from exile in Mexico to Cuba in 1956. Their small band of rebels ultimately toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista on New Year's Day 1959.

Granado visited Cuba at Guevara's invitation in 1960 and moved to Havana the following year with his family, teaching biochemistry at Havana University. He had lived in Cuba ever since, maintaining a low profile.

Guevara was captured and killed by soldiers in Bolivia in 1967.

--Associated Press

Photo: Alberto Granado in 2007. Credit: Associated Press

One year ago: Edgar Wayburn of the Sierra Club


Edgar Wayburn was a San Francisco physician who became a citizen conservationist and made a lasting impact on the nation's parks and wilderness.

"He has saved more of our wilderness than any other person alive," President Clinton said in 1999 when he presented Wayburn with the country's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

His accomplishments are staggering. He was the impetus for the establishment of Redwood National Park and pushed to create the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Point Reyes National Seashore and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, among others.

A five-term president of the Sierra Club, Wayburn was born in Georgia but traveled to California as a child with his mother, who was a California native. He settled in San Francisco to start his medical practice after serving in the Army Air Forces in World War II.

He died a year ago at age 103.

With the Sierra Club, Wayburn was known for being soft-spoken and cordial but more than willing to fight for his convictions.

"True. He was always a perfect gentleman," Nathaniel Reed, assistant secretary of Interior during the Nixon administration, told The Times in 2006 for a story marking Wayburn's 100th birthday. "But he'd cut your throat in a dime if you didn't agree with him. You could disagree with Edgar, but you had to have good rationale. If you crossed Edgar, he would roll you, eight times out of 10."


Obituary: Edgar Wayburn dies at 103.

Sierra Club tribute

 -- Keith Thursby

Photo: Edgar Wayburn, right, with Interior Secretary Rogers Morton in Alaska in 1971. Credit: National Parks Service

Robert S. Chandler, National Park Service veteran, to be honored Saturday


A memorial tribute to Robert S. Chandler, the first superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas.

Ranch site tours will begin at 1 p.m. and an outdoor Chumash blessing will be held at 2:30. A reception will begin at 4:30.

For reservations, which must be made by 3:30 p.m. Friday, call (805) 370-2344.

A tribute page for Chandler, who died Dec. 23 at age 74, is at


Obituary: Robert S. Chandler dies at 74; National Park Service veteran

--Dennis McLellan

Photo: Robert S. Chandler in the Santa Monica Mountains in 1979. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Wally Kaname Yonamine, first American to play pro baseball in Japan, dies at 85

YonamineWally Kaname Yonamine, the first American to play professional baseball in Japan after World War II and a former running back with the San Francisco 49ers, has died. He was 85.

Yonamine died Monday night at a Honolulu retirement home after a bout with prostate cancer, said his son, Paul.

He was an outfielder known as the "Nisei Jackie Robinson" for breaking into Japanese baseball and building ties between the countries in a highly sensitive period after World War II. Facing a language barrier, he was sometimes met with hostility, including rock throwing, for being an American and for his aggressive style of play.

Yonamine, who was born in Maui, is considered one of the greatest athletes to come out of Hawaii.

He played pro football for the 49ers in their second season in 1947, three years before the team joined the National Football League. Yonamine, who signed a two-year deal worth $14,000, is believed to be the first player of Japanese ancestry to play pro football. But he was released after one season after an injury.

"He was an outsider with the 49ers and he moved to Japan and became an outsider for the opposite reason — because he was American as opposed to being Asian," said Robert K. Fitts, who wrote the 2008 biography "Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball."

He returned to baseball and played in the Pacific Coast League before heading to Japan at the age of 26 in 1951. Yonamine played for the Yomiuri Giants and the Chunichi Dragons, helping transform how the game was played in Japan.

"Wally is credited with introducing American-style baseball, a hard-nosed Pete Rose-style of baseball to Japan," Fitts said. "The change wasn't overnight. He was very unpopular at first. He was really booed and had rocks thrown at him. A lot of that was his play and not because he was an American. But the players saw quickly that was the way to win."

With a .311 career batting average, he was an 11-time All-Star, won three batting titles and was the 1957 Central League MVP.

In 1954, Yonamine became the first foreigner to win the Central League batting crown with a .361 average. He also led the league in hits, doubles and runs scored. Several years later, Yonamine became the first foreign manager to win the Central League title as his Dragons defeated his former team the Giants.

--Associated Press

 Photo: Wally Kaname Yonamine in 1959. Credit: AP Photo/Kyodo News

Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, who became anti-abortion activist, dies at 84 [updated]

Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, an early abortion rights champion who oversaw tens of thousands of the procedures before having a change of heart and becoming a prominent anti-abortion activist, has died in New York. He was 84.

Nathanson died Monday at his Manhattan home after a long fight with cancer, said his wife, Christine Reisner-Nathanson.

Nathanson was an obstetrician-gynecologist who in 1969 helped found the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, now called NARAL Pro-Choice America. When abortion was legalized in New York the following year, he became director of the Center for Reproductive and Sexual Health, an abortion clinic.

He estimated that he oversaw about 75,000 abortions in the 1960s and '70s before turning away from abortion rights, his wife said.

It was while working at the abortion clinic that Nathanson said he developed misgivings about the procedure. He said the use of ultrasound images led to his change of heart.

After joining the anti-abortion movement, Nathanson lectured internationally. He was a frequent visitor to the Ronald Reagan White House and narrated the 1986 anti-abortion film "The Silent Scream," which graphically depicts the abortion of a 12-week-old fetus.

Nathan also produced "Eclipse of Reason," a film about a procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion, in which the fetus is partially extracted before being destroyed. He published several books, including an autobiographical account of his experiences.

His wife described him as a "real Renaissance man" and said he "had a lot of guts."

"When he was an abortion doctor he was seen as a pariah by the medical community, and when he went pro-life he was scorned by the women in the pro-abortion movement," she said.

Nathanson, born in New York to a Jewish family, converted to Catholicism in the late 1990s. He was baptized into the Catholic faith by the late Cardinal John J. O'Connor in a private ceremony.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a medical degree from McGill University in 1949.

He wrote in his memoir that he knew "every facet of abortion."

"I helped nurture the creature in its infancy by feeding it great draughts of blood and money," he wrote. "I guided it through its adolescence as it grew fecklessly out of control."

Besides his wife, Nathanson also is survived by a son, Joseph Nathanson.

[updated 8:06 p.m.] The complete Times obituary is here.

-- Associated Press

Jiri Dienstbier, first foreign minister of Czechoslovakia after fall of communism, dies at 73

Jiri Dienstbier, a journalist, anti-communist dissident and the first foreign minister of Czechoslovakia after the collapse of communism, has died. He was 73.

Dienstbier died Saturday in a Prague hospital, according to Czech public television and his Senate assistant. The cause of death was not given.

Dienstbier played an important role in the 1989 Velvet Revolution as a close ally of its leader, Vaclav Havel, that peacefully ended 41 years of the communist rule in Czechoslovakia.

After the collapse of communism in 1989, he first served as the country's foreign minister before also becoming a deputy prime minister.

"It's a great loss for both, the Czech Republic and me, personally," Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said.

Born on April 20, 1937, Dienstbier became a member of the Communist Party in 1958 and worked as a foreign correspondent for Czechoslovak radio in several countries, including the United States.

After the Soviet invasion crushed the liberal reforms of Alexander Dubcek in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and ended an era known as the Prague Spring, Dienstbier was fired from the party.

He became an anti-communist dissident and was among the first to sign Charter 77, a human-rights manifesto inspired by Havel, who was then a dissident playwright and later was president of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia  was divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

Dienstbier was jailed for three years for his anti-communist activities.

From 1998 to 2001, he served as special envoy for the U.N. Human Rights Commission in former Yugoslavia.

Dienstbier returned to Czech politics in 2008, when he became a lawmaker in the Czech Senate as an independent candidate with support of the leftist Social Democrats. His term was to expire in 2014.

-- Associated Press


Fred Hargesheimer, World War II pilot who gave back to Pacific islander rescuers, dies at 94

Fred Hargesheimer, a World War II Army pilot whose rescue by Pacific islanders led to a life of giving back as a builder of schools and teacher of children, died Thursday morning in Lincoln, Neb. He was 94.

Richard Hargesheimer said his father had been suffering from poor health.

On June 5, 1943, Hargesheimer, a P-38 pilot with the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, was shot down by a Japanese fighter while on a mission over the Japanese-held island of New Britain in the southwest Pacific. He parachuted into the trackless jungle, where he barely survived for 31 days until found by local hunters.

They took him to their coastal village and for seven months hid him from Japanese patrols, fed him and nursed him back to health from two illnesses. In February 1944, with the help of Australian commandos working behind Japanese lines, he was picked up by a U.S. submarine off a New Britain beach.

After returning to the U.S. following the war, Hargesheimer, a native of Rochester, Minn., got married and began a sales career with a Minnesota forerunner of computer maker Sperry Rand, his lifelong employer. But he said he couldn't forget the Nakanai people, who he considered his saviors.

The more he thought about it, he later said, "the more I realized what a debt I had to try to repay."

After revisiting the village of Ea Ea in 1960, he came home, raised $15,000 over three years, "most of it $5 and $10 gifts," and then returned with 17-year-old son Richard in 1963 to contract for the building of the villagers' first school.

In the decades to come, Hargesheimer's U.S. fundraising and determination built a clinic, another school and libraries in Ea Ea, renamed Nantabu, and surrounding villages.

In 1970, their three children grown, Hargesheimer and his wife, Dorothy, moved to New Britain, today an out-island of the nation of Papua New Guinea, and taught the village children themselves for four years. The Nantabu school's experimental plot of oil palm even helped create a local economy, a large plantation with jobs for impoverished villagers.

On his last visit, in 2006, Hargesheimer was helicoptered into the jungle and carried in a chair by Nakanai men to view the newly found wreckage of his World War II plane. Six years earlier, on another visit, he was proclaimed "Suara Auru," "Chief Warrior" of the Nakanai.

"The people were very happy. They'll always remember what Mr. Fred Hargesheimer has done for our people," said Ismael Saua, 69, a former teacher at the Nantabu school.

"These people were responsible for saving my life," Hargesheimer told the Associated Press in a 2008 interview. "How could I ever repay it?"

Besides Richard, of Lincoln, Hargesheimeris survived by another son, Eric, of White Bear Lake, Minn., and a daughter, Carol, of Woodbury, Minn.; a sister, Mary Louise Gibson of Grass Valley, Calif.; and eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

-- Associated Press

One year ago: Thomas Hoving


Thomas Hoving was a controversial figure in the art world who pioneered the transformation of stuffy art institutions into popular destinations for the masses. He died one year ago at age 78.

Hoving's most influential role was as director of New York's Metropolitan Museum, which he led during a tumultuous period from 1967 to 1977. He oversaw the opening of new galleries for Islamic art, the remodeling of its Egyptian wing and expanding showcases for American, African and oceanic art.

Hoving prided himself on trampling on museum conventions and blowing cobwebs out of the Fifth Avenue institution. For that, he was admired as a visionary but sometimes reviled as a huckster, willing to sell out to big donors or cheapen the experience of art with flashy tactics.

In the 1980s, he began editing Connoisseur magazine and emerged as a muckraking critic of the J. Paul Getty Museum's collecting of antiquities. His accusations that some items in the museum had been smuggled out of their homelands turned out to be true, and in the last few years the Getty has returned dozens of objects to their countries of origin.

Hoving, an author of several books, wrote an irreverent account of his years at the Met in "Making the Mummies Dance."

For more on the man who popularized art museums, read Thomas Hoving's obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Thomas Hoving in 1967. Credit: Associated Press


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