WHAT'S NEW, Friday, 16 June 1989 Washington, DC
NO NEW TAXES! "ASSESSMENTS" ON CONTRACTS ARE ANOTHER MATTER.
The Workforce 2000 Employment Readiness Act of 1989 (H.R.2235) is
intended to provide additional sources of funding for education
of women and minorities in areas of national importance such as
math and science. A Hudson Institute report points out that by
the year 2000 the US will not be able to meet its workforce needs
without attracting more women and minorities into such fields.
Alas, Congress now obeys the law of conservation of dollars,
alias "the zero sum game." Under the bill, all federal contracts
would contribute 0.5% to an "Education Improvement Fund." In the
NSF alone that would amount to a $10M cut in research funding.
"Is this a tax?," we asked Fred Mallard. "Quack," he replied.
. "THE PHYSICS PLANNING COMMITTEE" HELD ITS FIRST MEETING
Monday. The Committee, created by the APS Council in January, is
charged with developing a balanced plan for physics that would
enable the APS to provide information to the Administration and
Congress on request. The Committee, which was chaired by Eugen
Merzbacher, APS President-Elect, selected as its first major
focus the plight of beginning research scientists. To the dictum
"publish or perish" has been added "get a grant or get lost."
3. THE APS CONDEMNED THE SUPPRESSION OF PEACEFUL DISSENT IN CHINA
in letters to leaders of the Chinese scientific community. The
letters state that the repressive policies of the Chinese
government jeopardize continued scientific cooperation. The
Chinese government has been videotaping major demonstrations in
this country to identify dissident Chinese scholars.
4. LOS ALAMOS HAS BROKEN ITS ENGAGEMENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
after many weeks of stalling by the patent lawyers who run the
University. An impending collaboration with Los Alamos to verify
the cold fusion claims of Pons and Fleischmann was announced by
Pons before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on
26 April, but the match was never consummated. The secret formula
remains secure, along with the helium analysis
(WN 9 Jun 89).
5. TRANSFER OF FUNDS FROM MAGNETIC CONFINEMENT TO LASER FUSION
proposed by Robert Hunter, Director, Office of Energy Research.
Hunter, whose background is in laser development, would transfer
$50M from magnetic fusion to the inertial confinement (laser)
fusion program in FY 89, and another $50M in FY90. In hearings
before the Senate Energy Committee, the chairman, Bennett
Johnston (D-LA), commented that inertial confinement had more to
do with weapons development than energy development. He
expressed amazement that, in this age of high technology, fusion
energy is still 60 years away. Senator Bradley (D-NJ) was puzzled
that Hunter was recommending a delay in the Compact Ignition
Tokamak at the very time that a panel of the National Academy of
Sciences was calling for an accelerated effort
(WN 19 May 89).