Friday, 4 February 2000
1. MIR: RUSSIAN MOVIE MOGUL PLANS SPACE THRILLER.
Famed director Yuri Kara has started work on a sci-fi flick about a cosmonaut
who refuses to leave a doomed space station. Russia has approved
a plan for actor Vladimir Steklov to travel to Mir this spring
with two cosmonauts for filming on location. Love the concept
Yuri baby, but it's like your plan is sooo five minutes ago.
Vlady has to go. This could be bigger than Titanic--it cries out
for Leonardo. You could do an Apollo-13: Leonardo and Meryl
locked in a 50-megaton goodbye kiss--she could use the work -with
Whitney on sound track. Let's talk over a skim decaf latte.
2. ISS: NASA IS NOT THRILLED BY RUSSIAN PLANS TO REOCCUPY MIR.
Dan Goldin is fuming at Russia's diversion of scarce resources
while the critical Service Module is two years behind schedule
and counting. The Service Module contains crew quarters as well
as a propulsion unit to keep the International Space Station in
orbit. Under heavy pressure from Congress to devise contingency
plans in case of a Russian default, NASA is scrambling to build
an Interim Control Module. It will prevent an unscheduled return
of the initial components of the giant tinker toy, but it will
not provide crew quarters. Criticism of Russia has been muted by
the fact that some of the US components are also two years behind
schedule. Meanwhile, the Monday launch of the shuttle Endeavor
on an unrelated radar mapping mission was postponed again due to
a computer problem. Already four months behind schedule, this
latest delay was another reminder that, even if the components
were available, ISS assembly will take 43 shuttle launches.
3. SECRETS: UNEQUAL TREATMENT IN COMPUTER DOWNLOADING CASES?
In Senate testimony yesterday, CIA director George Tenet sought to
explain why Wen Ho Lee at Los Alamos and John Deutch at the CIA
were treated so differently. There was simply no comparison, he
explained, Deutch was guilty of sloppiness in handling classified
information, while Lee meant to do harm to the United States.
Whoa! Lee has been locked up and indicted for mishandling
classified material, not espionage. Nor is anyone asking Deutch
to show in court that he acted without evil intent.
4. SUMMER INTERN: THE APS WASHINGTON OFFICE NEEDS A LITTLE HELP.
We're looking for a physics major with great writing skills and a
genius IQ to spend eight to ten weeks in Washington fighting the
Philistines; the dates are negotiable. We might bend a little on
the genius thing. Write
for details. We'll need a
resume, writing sample, and two references by e-mail. Polygraph
not required, but color-coded badges are under review. We note
that recent Washington interns became both rich and famous.
The President's budget request to Congress will be
released on Monday. We'll tell you what it means on Friday.