30 March 2001
1. SCIENCE ADVICE: BUSH REACTIVATES PCAST.
Every day lately, a
new rumor pops up about who will be chosen to be Science Advisor,
based, it seems, on a steady stream of scientists invited to meet
with the President. Although George W. still doesn't have a
science advisor, this week he brought back PCAST, the President's
Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, created by his
father in 1990. Don't look for a bunch of academic scientists;
the co-chair of the new PCAST is Floyd Kvamme, a Silicon Valley
venture capitalist. The other co-chair will be the White House
Science Advisor, assuming one is finally named.
2. POLYGRAPHS: MAYBE A SCIENCE ADVISOR COULD TAKE A LOOK AT THIS.
When it was discovered that a spy for Russia had held a
sensitive position in the FBI for years, it was clear that strong
measures were needed to prevent this from ever happening again.
The solution? Give polygraph tests to 500 FBI employees. "We
have no choice," an FBI spokesman explained. Meanwhile,
scientists at Sandia Labs are boycotting polygraph exams, because
they believe questions about their health and medications violate
privacy rights. But why is no one focusing on whether the
polygraph works? So far, no spy has ever been unmasked by the
3. OXYGENATED WATER: WHY NOT, IT WORKS FINE FOR COD FISH?
New York Times last Saturday ran an article on oxygenated water.
The Times was apparently unaware of the Vitamin "O" history.
The Vitamin "O" scam was first exposed by What's New
(WN 17 Nov 00).
The Federal Trade Commission charged that health claims for
Vitamin "O" were fraudulent
(WN 19 Mar 99),
and the maker was fined $375K
(WN 5 May 00).
Nevertheless, attracted by the huge
mark up, the number of oxygenated-water scams has actually been
proliferating. Professional sports teams are particularly
vulnerable. The result must be a lot of toilet breaks. By our
calculation, an athlete would need a liter of the water every 25
seconds to get a 1% oxygen boost. Even that assumes claims of
enhanced solubility are true, which they aren't, and the oxygen
finds its way into the blood stream instead of the bladder. What
ever happened to investigative reporting at the New York Times?
4. CTBT: JESSE HELMS CALLS FOR A TOTAL REPUDIATION.
Flushed with victory in the death of the Kyoto accord
(WN 16 Mar 01),
Helms figures he can keep the corpse of CTBT from being revived.
Citing Bush's's opposition to CTBT in a letter to Secretary of
State Powell, Helms calls on the Administration "to articulate a
new policy on nuclear testing, to withdraw the U.S. signature
from CTBT, and to terminate funding to CTBT organizations." Bush
has already called for a cut in programs that aid reduction of
bomb making materials in Russia. The opening for an assault on a
lifeless treaty was a new review of non-proliferation programs
ordered by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.