Friday, 28 July 2000
1. NMD: 31 DEMOCRATIC SENATORS URGE CLINTON TO DELAY DECISION.
Secretary Cohen boasted to the Senate Armed Services Committee on
Tuesday that, "we have successfully demonstrated the bulk of the
system's critical engagement functions." He explained that the
July 7 test
(WN 14 Jul 00),
while not successful, "does not show,
as some have claimed, that the system is not technologically
feasible." He did not elaborate on what it would take to show
that. Unpersuaded, 31 Senators, led by Dorgan (D-ND) and Durbin
(D-IL), warned President Clinton that a decision now "would
imperil, not improve our national security." For Clinton, it's a
question of whether he wants his legacy to be: The President that
began the deployment process of Star Wars. For readers of WN,
it's a question of whether they would like to express their views
to the President in an e-mail. Background material to help get
you started will be on the APS home page on Monday
2. SPEED LIMIT: WHO HYPED THE SPEED OF LIGHT STORY?
in Nature seemed to say no revolutionary physics was involved,
describing the result as: "a direct consequence of classical
interference between different frequency components in an
anomalous dispersion region." But I doubt if many journalists
read it in Nature
(WN 21 Jul 00).
As far as I know, only the
Dallas Morning News got it right. The NEC press release used a
rather different tone: "[researchers] have proven that light can
travel faster than its acknowledged speed in vacuum." One can
only speculate on the objectives of the press release, but it's
the first time I've ever seen a press release on basic research
that had the company's Nasdaq trading symbol in the first line.
3. ADVENTURES ON MIR: THERE'S A FUNGUS AMONG US.
The view from
the world's most expensive tourist destination is being obscured
by living scum spreading over the windows. Courageous cosmonauts
must now live with fast-multiplying microorganisms. After years
of relative dormancy, these stowaways from planet Earth appear to
be rapidly mutating from solar radiation. Some 250 species of
bacteria and fungi inhabit Mir--and they've turned aggressive,
munching on anything organic, including electrical insulation.
Ecotourists can now have a, ugh, microbiology experience.
4. KANSAS: EVOLUTION VS CREATIONISM IN TUESDAY'S REPUBLICAN PRIMARY.
Should the stork theory of babies be given equal time?
Charles Platt points out that CryoCare is not "out of
business," as WN reported
(WN 21 Jul 00).
It is "unable to provide
service at this time," having "overestimated the potential growth
and profitability of cryonics." It should also be noted that Mr.
Platt reviewed Robert Park's "Voodoo Science" for the Wash Post.
(Maria Cranor contributed to this week's WN.)