31 August 2001
1. SENATOR WHO FROM WHERE? WHAT'S NEW HEARS FROM ITS READERS.
Even in August! We are truly grateful to those who point out the
goofs we make in WN, and try to acknowledge each e-mail. Last
week, however, we were overwhelmed by hundreds of complaints
after we relocated Sen. Jesse Helms to South Carolina. WN has
mentioned the Senator no fewer than 27 times over the years, but
we always put him in North Dakota. Sigh! If we didn't make a
goof now and then, how would we know if anyone reads this stuff?
2. ASTROLOGY: THE STARS WERE FAVORABLY ALIGNED FOR ACCREDITATION.
In June, after being accredited by the state of Washington,
Kepler College in Seattle boasted that it was the only degree
granting institution in recent centuries to offer a course of
study in astrology
(WN 15 Jun 01).
No longer. The Institute of
Astrology in Scottsdale, Arizona, has just won accreditation from
the federally recognized Accrediting Commission of Career Schools
and Colleges of Technology. According to the Associated Press,
this allows the Astrological Institute to seek approval from the
Department of Education for its students to get federal grants
and loans. Could this be true? For guidance, I turned to today's
horoscope for Capricorn in the Washington Post: "You don't have
the complete story. Deception involved." Just as I thought.
3. VOODOO ECONOMICS: CONGRESS RETURNS TO FIGHT OVER WHAT'S LEFT.
They'll be back on Tuesday. So much for finding an empty
parking slot in a Washington parking garage. So much also for
finding money for new programs without dipping into Social
Security as the surplus vanishes
(WN 17 Aug 01).
Is a disappearing surplus bad news? It's "incredibly positive news,"
declared President Bush last week at his ranch in Crawford,
Texas, "a fiscal straight jacket for Congress." As Jim Nussle
(R-IA), House Budget Committee chair, explained, spending the
surplus is part of a shrewd GOP plan to cut money available to
"the big spenders." Well, they've done a great job of it.
4. SCIENCE BUDGET: WHAT WILL THE EFFECT BE ON SCIENCE?
The House and Senate have different versions of the appropriations bills
that fund DOE, NSF, and NASA. The Senate bill is considerably
more generous to DOE, while the House bill is kinder to NSF.
Differences will be resolved in Conference. But with no surplus,
and with both Democrats and Republicans pushing pet projects,
conferees will be under enormous pressure to trim science.
5. ACUPUNCTURE: BRITISH STUDY FINDS IT'S SAFE.
A Reuters story yesterday says a British study found acupuncture to be safe when
performed by skilled people, but does it work? The story only
said acupuncture has been shown to relieve nausea. But were
there any side effects? You guessed it: the most common side
effect was nausea. WN had the same reaction to the story.