Friday, January 7, 2005
1. MISSILE DEFENSE: SCALED BACK TO PAY FOR THE GROUND WAR IN IRAQ?
The FY06 budget plan leaked by the Pentagon trims $5B from missile defense over six years as part of the president's pledge to cut the $500B budget deficit in half. Meanwhile, the White House is said to be preparing a $100B emergency spending bill to pay for the war in Iraq. $5B won't make a dent in this deficit, so why take it out of the president's vaunted missile defense? Maybe the idea is to save it by eliminating testing. Tests are embarrassing anyway (WN 17 Dec 04) . And who needs them? The only hope of missile defense is to sow doubt in the mind of a would-be attacker. Testing would remove the uncertainty.
2. MEDIUM DONE: IF ONLY THE HURRICANE HADN'T WASHED THE BODY AWAY.
At WN we're still trying to figure out why superstitious nonsense persists in an age of science. Last night we sought clues in the NBC prime-time program Medium, based on the exploits of "Research Medium and Criminal Profiler" Allison Dubois. She solves murders by chatting with dead victims. In this episode, she takes a Texas Ranger to a spot in the middle of a field where a boy is buried. Before they can get back with a search warrant to dig him up, a hurricane hits Texas and he washed away. Sigh. Some silly programs are fun; Spiderman's super powers come from being bitten by a radioactive spider. But there's a huge difference -- Medium takes itself seriously. There really is an Allison Dubois who thinks she's a medium, and she's an NBC consultant; NBC should be ashamed. The James Randi million-dollar prize for proof of the supernatural was pointed out to Dubois. "He'll never give the money to anyone," she sensed. Amazing! So we are offering the WN Challenge. She sensed where the boy was buried; if she can sense where his body floated to, she gets WN free for life, and beyond.
3. ADJUSTMENTS: FLORIDA STATE FACULTY OPPOSE CHIROPRACTIC SCHOOL.
There is a faculty revolt brewing at FSU. Both of FSU's two Nobel laureates, Bob Schreiffer in physics and chemist Harold Kroto are opposed, fearing the impact on FSU's academic reputation. A map of the campus parodies the planned chiropractic school with a Bigfoot Institute, Astrology School and Crop Circle simulation Laboratory. The Legislature has appropriated $9M annually for the school. Chiropractic was founded in Davenport, Iowa by Daniel Palmer. It actually began as Palmer's School of Magnetic Cure, but Palmer discovered, as Mesmer had discovered in Paris, that it worked just as well if you left the magnets out, and the name was changed to Palmer's School of Chiropractic.