Friday, 14 July 2000
FLASH!!! ENERGY APPROPRIATIONS UPDATE.
Unless money is added in
conference, House and Senate will likely split Energy Research
differences, producing cuts across the board. After yesterday's
Senate subcommittee markup, DOE has these physics ledger entries
(FY 00, FY 01 Request, FY 01 House, FY 01 Senate): HEP (693, 704,
704, 677), Nuclear (348, 364, 364, 350), Fusion (246, 244, 247,
227) and BES (772, 1008, 791, 915), all in $ millions. Act Now!
1. MISSILE TEST: "ANOMALIES" REIGN ON THE PENTAGON'S PARADE.
spite of what the Pentagon describes as "anomalies" in Friday's
flubbed test, one spokesperson explained that several subsystems
had worked perfectly and implied the test could be scored as a
success. An impressive job of spinning to be sure, but in a bold
bid to clinch the first "Golden Spinning Wheel Award" of the new
millennium, General Kadish, the BMDO spokesgeneral, showed why
he's in charge. Failure of the sole decoy balloon to inflate, he
pointed out, is a plus, because it demonstrates that decoys are
not as easy to deploy as critics of NMD have suggested. Awesome!
2. DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS: STEALTH BILL MOVES FORWARD.
Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act tied the hands of the
FDA in regulating supplements, leading several states to impose
their own safety warnings and labeling requirements. Now the
Senate Agriculture Committee, without hearings or debate, has
approved the "National Uniformity in Food Act" (S.1155), which
has the effect of knocking down the state restrictions. And to
further limit exposure and insure passage, the bill will probably
be attached as a rider to some piece of unrelated legislation.
Ironically, the committee action coincides with the release of an
independent study showing that 8 of 22 brands of ginseng sold in
the US were seriously contaminated with pesticide residues.
3. THE LABS: WHAT ARE THEY READING IN LOS ALAMOS AND LIVERMORE?
Well, of course they're reading Harry Potter books like everybody
else. But what about books that are selling well in Los Alamos
and Livermore relative to the rest of the country? On that
basis, Amazon.com lists "Sharing the Vineyard Table," about a
local winery as numero uno in Livermore. Number two, however, is
David Lykken's superb "A Tremor in the Blood: Uses and Abuses of
the Lie Detector." It's even gloomier in Los Alamos: number one
is "A Spy Within," about the search for a WWII Los Alamos spy,
code named Perseus, and number two is "Man Without a Face,"
recollections of the former head of East German Intelligence.
And there, in fourth place, is "Tremor in the Blood," reflecting
the preoccupation of scientists at both Labs with the impending
polygraph screening. In fifth place, gulp!, is "Fire in the East:
The Rise of Asian Military Power and the Second Nuclear Age."
(Maria Cranor contributed to this issue of What's New.)