Friday, February 22, 2002
1. TRUE LIES: PENTAGON CREATES "OFFICE
OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE."
Its director, Brig. Gen. Pete Worden, was quoted this week as saying
the office could engage in information warfare, including spreading
inaccurate or misleading information. Worden is an expert, having
served as deputy to Gen. Abrahamson, head of the SDI program. In fact,
a deliberate disinformation campaign must already be under way---Defense
Secretary Rumsfeld told reporters the next day that Pentagon officials
tell only the truth.
2. SENSITIVE, BUT UNCLASSIFIED:
A NEW LEVEL OF SECRECY?
Back in December, stories circulated that editors of certain biology
journals were pressured by the White House to create guidelines for
withholding information that could be helpful to terrorists. When
WN made inquiries at the White House, we were given high-level assurances
that it never happened. The story finally came out on the front page
of Sunday's New York Times in a story by William Broad. All this is
painfully familiar to physicists who recall efforts of the Reagan
administration in the early '80s to create what amounted to a new
level of classification: "sensitive but unclassified." In 1982, at
a conference of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers,
the government blocked more than 100 unclassified papers from presentation.
Officers of the American Vacuum Society were arrested for allowing
scientists from the People's Republic of China to attend the annual
meeting at which all papers were unclassified. At the APS March meeting
it was easy to pick out the FBI agents, wearing bulky hearing aids,
and talking into the cuffs of their suits. In 1983 the APS Council
affirmed its support for "the unfettered communication of all scientific
information that is not classified." (http://www.aps.org/statements/83_2.cfm)
3. GRADING: CAN WE GO BACK TO POSTING
GRADES ON OUR OFFICE DOOR?
The 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act says student files
may not be released without parental consent. To one Tulsa mother,
that meant the widespread practice of students grading each others
papers in class, which embarrassed her son, must end (WN
30 Nov 01). On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court, unanimously ruled
that Congress did not mean to rule out "peer grading."
4. YUCCA MOUNTAIN: YES, BUT WHAT
HAPPENS IF WE RESUME TESTING?
The site passed all the seismic criteria, but opponents of Yucca point
out that it's only 100 miles from the idle nuclear test range (WN
30 Nov 01). Opponents of testing make the same point.
5. EMF: NEW ITALIAN SPORTSWEAR SHIELDS WEARER
Allegri debuts its carbon fiber jackets as protection from EMF emitted
by wireless devices. WN can assure readers that if they use these
jackets they will not get cancer from cell phones.