Friday, 1 December 2000
1. WHAT THE HAGUE?
Negotiations on greenhouse gas reductions
ended in stalemate this week, with delegates unable to agree on
how to implement the 5% cuts of the Kyoto protocol. The U.S. team
wanted extensive emissions trading, and credits for forests as
"carbon sinks." But European delegates insisted that as the
largest polluter, the U.S. should make significant reductions at
home. The city had offered free bicycle use for the eco-friendly
conference, but delegates passed, whining about nasty weather.
2. NEW AGE MEDICINE: THE CELEBRITY FACTOR, A ROYAL PAIN.
U.S. we are treated to Hollywood stars testifying before Congress
on the benefits of alternative medicine
(WN 12 Feb 99),
which Congress supports at a level of $50M a year. In the UK, Prince
Charles created the Foundation for Integrated Medicine in 1996.
He is now urging the government to shell out 10M pounds for a 5-
year research program in alternative medicine. However, a Lords'
committee has just completed a critical year-long study of
alternative medicine, detailing the risks posed by lack of
recognized training, standards and research.
3. WARNING - THIS DEVICE PRODUCES ACOUSTIC WAVES.
Just in time
for the holidays, the British Department of Health is rushing out
cell phone warning labels, taking to heart a recent report
(WN 20 Oct 00)
that recommends a "precautionary approach" to use by
children, this despite finding no real evidence of a health risk.
4. FBI IN SEARCH OF "X" FILES.
FBI agents expect to be sifting
through the mud, snow and trash of the Los Alamos landfill for
"quite some time." They're reportedly hot on the trail of the
missing Wen Ho Lee computer tapes, said to have been tossed into
a dumpster in Los Alamos' top secret X division. Nearby, another
weapons lab has security problems of a different kind - Sandia
may need a new batch of guards after 14 lab security workers
shared Wednesday's $131 million lottery jackpot.
5. ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK, THE PENNSYLVANIA POLKA?
same day that Penn State scientists concluded that life on land
originated 1.4 billion years earlier than previously thought, the
Pennsylvania School Board this week proposed Science Standards
that allow teaching of theories "that do or do not support the
theory of evolution." Many local board members support the move,
one proclaiming, "Our beliefs in Butler [school district] are
pro-creationist." Written public submissions will be accepted.
6. SEEKING SCIENTISTS FOR A YEAR ON THE HILL.
We can't promise
who'll be president. We can assure you that spending a year in a
Congressional office is worthwhile and memorable. Application
deadline for the APS Congressional Science Fellowship is 15 Jan
01, details at