Friday, 30 September 1988
ALVIN TRIVELPIECE RESIGNED THIS MORNING AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OF AAAS to become the Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratories
and Vice President of Martin-Marietta Energy Systems, which
manages Oak Ridge. The Oak Ridge Directorship has been open
since February of 88. Trivelpiece joined AAAS in February of 87
after stepping down as Director of Energy Research at the DOE,
which supports Oak Ridge. He led the effort to persuade the
President to back the Supercollider, and continued to advise the
DOE on the on SSC while at the AAAS. He joined a DOE delegation
in January to urge Japanese participation in the accelerator
project. Martin-Marietta is a bidder to manage the SSC.
. SHOULD THE FBI BE EXEMPT FROM LIBRARY PRIVACY LAWS?
athletes with size 40 necks be exempt from steroid tests? When
Judge Bork was being considered for the Supreme Court, a reporter
revealed a list of video tapes he had rented. Revulsion over this
invasion of privacy led to the introduction of a bill to bar
disclosure of video rental records. In light of the FBI's recent
interest in reading habits (WN 3 Jun 88),
the bill was expanded
to include library records. Under the "Video and Library Privacy
Protection Act of 1988," such records could not be disclosed
without a court order. The bill has strong bipartisan support,
but the FBI has powerful friends, and is lobbying hard for an
amendment that would have the effect of reducing library privacy.
The amendment involves a "national security letter" to libraries
directing them to comply with FBI requests. There is precedent.
A similar letter to banks enables the FBI to examine your bank
transactions without a court order. Despite the public outcry
over the FBI's snooping among the stacks, librarians at national
laboratories report they still have frequent visits by FBI agents
urging them to be on the lookout for "people acting strangely."
One librarian complained that all physicists act strangely.
3. A "NOBEL PRIZE IN ENGINEERING"
will be awarded by the
National Academy of Engineering. The first Charles Stark Draper
Prize, consisting of a gold medal and $350,000, will be announced
in October of 1989, and biennially thereafter. Endowed by Draper
Laboratory, the international prize recognizes engineering and
technology achievements "contributing to the advancement of human
welfare and freedom." Robert White, the NAE president, noted
that society tends to reward the discoverer of basic scientific
principles but overlook the engineer that makes use of them.
4. GENERAL JAMES ABRAHAMSON UNEXPECTEDLY RESIGNED AS HEAD OF SDI
just one day before Congress passed a Defense Authorization Bill
that holds FY 89 SDI funds at about last years level. Although
Congress removed many of the restrictions on SDI that led to the
President's veto, little enthusiasm remains for a space-based
missile defense system even in the Pentagon. Abrahamson is not
interested in an SDI scaled down to ground-based interceptors.