Friday, May 18, 2007
A 30 Apr 07 memo notified Los Alamos employees that random polygraph tests
of 8,000 personnel in high-risk categories will be conducted by the DOE as
part of a new counter-intelligence program. Three years ago, a National
Academy of Sciences study done at the request of the DOE, The Polygraph
and Lie Detection, (WN 18 Apr 03)
concluded that the high incidence of false positives made the polygraph
worse than useless. Nothing indicates it will work any better for randomly
chosen personnel. The polygraph, in fact, has ruined careers, but never
uncovered a single spy. If you have an orgasm while being tested and lie
about it, the operator can probably tell. For anything else, it's a coin
episode in the continuing Rusi Taleyarkhan sonofusion mystery ended as
Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), chair of the Science Investigations Subcommittee,
asked for the report (WN 23 Mar 07) .
Last week, the subcommittee concluded that, although Purdue had bungled
the investigation, the still-secret internal report reveals serious
deviations from accepted scientific practices. In today's installment,
according to Science, there are new allegations, as a result of which the
University is undertaking a broader study, expected to take another 3
months. It's already been a year.
Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure at Iowa State University. The
Discovery Institute was shocked at this blatant disregard of the cherished
principle of “viewpoint diversity.” With Jay Richards, a theologian,
Gonzalez wrote The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is
Designed for Discovery. It's a daffy twist on the anthropic principle,
which was already daffy enough. The simple fact is that his colleagues
voted him off the island. It's not like he was tenured and then fired.
Something happens to scientists who think too much about the anthropic
principle. Frank Tipler and John Barrow wrote The Anthropic Cosmological
Principle in 1986. Last year it won Barrow the $1.4M Templeton Prize.
Tipler probably thinks he should have gotten it in 1994 for The Physics of
Immortality, but he's not giving up. In his new book, The Physics of
Christianity, out this month, Tipler equates the Holy Trinity with the