Friday, June 28, 2002
1. FREE ENERGY: APS BOARD SPEAKS OUT
ON PERPETUAL MOTION.
Well, it's not exactly the frontier of physics research, but somebody
had to say it. Already this year we've had the Jasker Power System (WN
25 Jan 02), Chukanov Quantum Energy (WN
8 Feb 02), and the Motionless Electromagnetic Generator (WN
5 Apr 02). Not to mention Bubble Fusion (WN
1 Mar 02), hydrino rockets (WN 21 Jun 02),
and whatever scam Dennis Lee is running now (WN
3 May 02). So, on Saturday, 22 June, the Executive Board of the American
Physical Society unanimously adopted the following statement:
"The Executive Board of the American Physical Society is concerned
that in this period of unprecedented scientific advance, misguided or
fraudulent claims of perpetual motion machines and other sources of
unlimited free energy are proliferating. Such devices would directly
violate the most fundamental laws of Nature, laws that have guided the
scientific advances that are transforming our world."
2. COUNTER-TERRORISM: ACADEMY STUDY EXAMINES THE ROLE OF SCIENCE.
"In the war against terrorism," the President declared on 6 June,
"America's vast science and technology base provides us with a
key advantage." In a report released this week, a huge committee
of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of
Engineering and the Institute of Medicine, lists actions that
need to be taken immediately to protect the nation: controlling
nuclear materials, producing vaccines, improving ventilation
systems, etc. That'll fix 'em. The report will be examined
carefully by terrorists, not to discover new opportunities--there
are lots of those--but to scratch old ideas off their list.
3. CYBER-TERRORISM: WAS THAT ON THE ACADEMY LIST?
The FBI is
watching suspicious electronic "visits" to digital systems that
control such things as flood gates in dams, reactor cooling in
nuclear power plants, and air traffic. The possibility that such
controls might be manipulated raises the specter of the Internet
being used, not just to disrupt or shut down facilities, but to
turn them into weapons. It demonstrates how difficult it is to
anticipate where or how terrorists might strike.
4. DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION: SENATE BILL CREATES A DILEMMA FOR BUSH.
The White House made it clear that any bill that cut $814M from
missile defense, as the Democratic version did, would get vetoed.
In a classic compromise, the money was restored, but the language
left it to the President to decide whether to spend it on defense
against non-existent missiles or in the war against terrorism.
Why not both? Just hire Arthur Anderson to keep the books.
(Christy Fernandez assisted with this week's What's New.)