Friday, September 12, 2003
1. EDWARD TELLER: PHYSICS WILL BE LESS INTERESTING WITHOUT HIM.
He died Tuesday at age 95. His passionate anti-communism and work on exotic weapons made him an almost
mythic hero to many. Always a technological optimist, he produced a flood of unconventional ideas on a wide
range of subjects. He was most effective when he worked with other great physicists such as Hans Bethe.
He was strongly supportive of: Star Wars, the X-ray laser and Brilliant Pebbles.
2. ENERGY BILL: WHITE HOUSE WANTS DRILLING IN WILDLIFE REFUGE.
The Administration plan to finance the Iraq War with Iraqi oil is not working, so the White House has
renewed its call to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. The plan made it into the
House version of the energy bill, but the Senate is balking, with a filibuster possible. The
Administration also rejected Senate provisions on global warming, saying they are inconsistent with the
President's strategy on the issue. The "strategy" is to turn to hydrogen fuel cell automobiles some day,
with "voluntary" emission controls in the meantime.
3. SHUTTLE: DAMN THE FOAM, FULL SPEED AHEAD.
Based on its Return-To-Flight plan, NASA hopes to fly the shuttle again as early as March and conduct as
many as four missions in 2004. Members of the House Science committee are uneasy about such an ambitious
schedule, but even before the accident, Columbia's mission was to be the last "science" mission of the
shuttle. NASA chief Sean O'Keefe acknowledges that NASA is considering robotic shuttle flights to
resupply the International Space Station.
4. BIOSPHERE-2: ANYONE LOOKING FOR A REAL CONVERSATION
Biosphere-2, the $200M dream house of oil billionaire Edward P. Bass, was built
as an experiment to see if a self-sustaining human colony could be built on
Mars as a refuge from the unruly masses on Earth. Alas, a
Garden of Eden it was not, although ants and morning glories have reportedly
thrived. Bass turned Biosphere-2 over to Columbia University to convert into
a legitimate science project. Columbia soon tired
of it (WN 24 Jan 03), and DOE was approached next. Sadly, the rather neat idea
of climate change research in a terrarium never quite caught on. Bass, who might
have been getting a little testy by then, sued
Columbia claiming they had let the property run down. Last week, Columbia and
Bass reached an undisclosed settlement, so once again the owner is looking for
a new tenant. Anyone interested in acquiring a place
with lots of windows and an indoor ocean, should contact Decisions Investment