Friday, March 10, 2006
The story sounded vaguely familiar. A claim was made in the
month of March that deuterium fusion had been produced in a
desktop experiment. However, experienced nuclear physicists,
using the same experimental setup except for better detection
equipment, found no evidence of fusion. By early summer, the
bubble burst. "Cold fusion" in 1989? No, "bubble fusion" in
2002, (WN 1 Mar 02) . But
like cold fusion, the corpse of bubble fusion keeps twitching.
In 2003, Rusi Taleyarkhan, who made the claim, moved from Oak
Ridge to Purdue University. There he claimed to confirm fusion.
Others found nothing. Last week, citing "extremely serious"
concerns, Purdue announced a full review of Taleyarkhan's work.
Maybe. Today's Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a UCLA
survey of 46,670 faculty members at 421 institutions. Sixty-four
percent called themselves religious, but there was only a 38%
response rate to the survey. I would have summarized the results
differently: 38% of faculty members are willing to respond to a
survey about their spiritual beliefs. Anything else is a guess.
President Bush this week signed an executive order establishing a
religion-based office in Homeland Security. It will pray the
levees hold in another hurricane. The Bush administration gave
more than $2.1B to church operated social programs last year.
North Korea did test two short-range missiles this week, however,
we haven't heard a thing about their long range missiles. Since
the election we haven't seen missile defense even mentioned
except in the budget. Last we heard it had failed every test.
After a seven-month journey, it is due to fire its thrusters to
achieve Mars orbit at 16:35 EST, about the time WN is sent out.
If all goes well, and many Mars exploration missions have not, it
will dip into the thin atmosphere to slow down, reaching its
lowest orbit in November to begin making observations.
They haven't exactly seen water, but they have seen geysers on
the geologically active little moon. There has already been much
speculation about possible life on Enceladus, but it's way early
for that. If NASA stays in its tail spin, we'll never know.
Founder of the Creationism Institute, he wrote "The Genesis
Flood," which founded the creationist movement.