Friday, 9 June 2000
1. NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE: HOW TO STAND OUT IN A CROWD.
What do you do if
your interceptor can't tell the warhead from the decoys? Redesign the decoys.
A Pentagon test plan, obtained by Ted Postol of MIT and revealed in a front page
story in today's New York Times, calls for using less realistic decoys in an
effort to achieve a successful intercept prior to the deployment decision.
Balloon decoys were painted with stripes to simulate a tumbling warhead. The
interceptor didn't have a clue. Solution? Take off the stripes. In its April
29 Council statement on NMD feasibility
the ability to deal with countermeasures was identified as the key factor.
2. ALTERNATIVE MISSILE DEFENSE? PUTIN PROPOSES PLAUSIBLE PLAN.
Moscow summit never came close to an agreement on missile defense, Russian
President Vladimir Putin proposed that the US and Russia jointly develop a
defense against rogue states. His alternative would rely on boost phase
interception, which many American arms control advocates favor. There is no way
to hide a launch. Boost phase interceptors could be deployed on ships near the
Korean peninsula, for example. You might think this would please everybody: a
plausible defense targeted just at rogue states. No way. There is a certain
nostalgia for the arms race in some quarters. On Wednesday at a meeting of the
DC Science Writers Association this week, a senior majority staff member on the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaking on the condition that he not be
quoted by name, said there is support on the Committee for a resumption of
3. SPY HYSTERIA: FEDERAL JUDGE WITHDRAWS FROM WEN HO LEE CASE.
Just a month
ago, without explanation, the lead prosecutor, who had pursued the case
aggressively from the very beginning was abruptly replaced with an experienced
prosecutor who is reputed to be even more hard line
(WN 12 May 00).
the federal judge who was scheduled to preside over the trial announced he was
dropping out of the case to go into semi-retirement. Each change further delays
the trial, while Lee remains incarcerated under unusually harsh conditions
(WN 21 Apr 00).
Meanwhile, the Association for Asian American Studies called on
Asian-American scientists to boycott federal labs by not applying for jobs.
4. YAWN: PAPERS REPORT THAT THE SPEED OF LIGHT HAS BEEN BROKEN.
Whoa, is this
the old phase-velocity stuff that has confused generations of physics students?
Recent experiments, cleverly contrived to give the appearance of superluminal
transmission, have been hyped by, among others, the Sunday Times of London,
which a year ago had RHIC at Brookhaven devouring the world
(WN 23 Jul 99).
Actually, you can see the same thing at the beach: the intersection of incoming
and outgoing waves travels down the beach far faster than the wave velocity.
Causality is preserved.