Friday, 22 September 2000
UPDATE ON ROBERT PARK'S CONDITION.
He's out of the woods, and a
good thing too: no more trees for Bob, who was felled three weeks
ago. He's on the mend and promises to be back, caustic as ever.
1. HOW YOU GONNA KEEP 'EM DOWN ON THE FARM?
It wasn't too long
ago that research scientists were fighting for jobs. But eight
years of a hi-tech economic boom have changed all that. The
national labs have recently seen their annual attrition rates
climb into double digits, as the lure of six-figure salaries and
stock options takes its toll. Yesterday, the National Academy of
Sciences observed that "the pool of talented people drawn to the
nation's capital is reduced by the growing obstacles to
government service." The NAS report, "Science and Technology in
the National Interest: The Presidential Appointment Process" -
Who said that NAS titles aren't memorable? - called on the next
president and Congress to begin making S&T appointments early,
accelerate the approval mechanism for all nominees and reduce
portfolio and vocational barriers. The experience of the
national labs suggests an additional remedy: lots more bucks.
2. TV GIVES NEW COMMERCIAL MEANING TO MANNED SPACE FLIGHT.
week, NBC, whose International Olympic ratings have tanked,
struck another international deal, sponsoring a televised contest
to send a civilian into space in a Russian rocket. This week
ABC, CBS and Fox considered upping the ante in the network space
race. They would film 20 contestants at the Johnson Space Center
vying to spend a week on the International Space Station. NASA
says it will decide only after receiving a formal proposal. If
the ISS doesn't make it as a science lab, it might as a TV set.
3. BUDGET BLOCK.
GOP leaders are struggling mightily to send the
remaining 11 appropriations bills to the president before mid
October. But Senate Democrats and conservative Republicans
unexpectedly derailed the Treasury bill this week, raising the
specter of a Continuing Resolution and a lame-duck session.
4. HINTS OF HIGGS HALT LEP TURNOFF.
In Geneva, CERN managers
have decided to delay beginning the construction of the Large
Hadron Collider and keep the Large Electron-Positron machine
running for another month. This will help determine whether the
5 candidate events are evidence of the long-sought Higgs boson.
This week's WN was written by Michael Lubell.