WHAT'S NEW, Friday, 18 August 1989 Washington, DC
PATHOLOGICAL SCIENCE, PSEUDO-SCIENCE AND "CREATION" SCIENCE:
Rep. Wayne Owens (R-UT), whose district includes the U. of
Utah, recently sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to fellow members
of Congress, urging them to keep an open mind on cold fusion, in
spite of the negative report of the DOE Cold Fusion Panel (WN 14
Jul 89). James Brophy, Vice President for Research at Utah, is
still optimistic that Congress will eventually supply the $25M
the University requested to develop cold fusion, but Pons and
Fleischmann have yet to reveal the He content of their cathodes.
Joe Newman, the back-woods inventor of the "energy machine,"
announced he will take his case to the Supreme Court, following a
defeat in Federal Appeals Court. Newman is attempting to force
the Patent and Trademark Office to issue a patent for his energy
machine, which he claims produces more energy than it uses. "Put
one in your home," he once declared, "and you will never have to
pay another electric bill." At last report, however, his own home
in Lucedale, Miss. was still connected to local power lines.
The "creationism" battle has moved from Texas to California.
Christian fundamentalists are seeking to block adoption of new
science textbook guidelines that exclude biblical accounts of
evolution. The California Board of Education will vote on the
new guidelines this fall. Texas guidelines were amended in March
to require inclusion of "other valid scientific theories" along
with evolution. Since their guidelines are set statewide rather
than by local districts, the two states, which make up about 20%
of the market, have a disproportionate influence on publishers.
. WHAT DOES THE DOD INCLUDE UNDER "R&D" AND HOW MUCH R IS LEFT?
A panel of the National Academies of Science and Engineering will
undertake a 10-month $0.5M reexamination of how DOD characterizes
its activities as compared to other agencies. The DOD currently
accounts for about two-thirds of all federal R&D, but there is a
strong perception that the DOD has redefined R&D over the past 15
years. Thus, the level of DOD's contribution to the national R&D
effort may be overstated. Congress requested the Academy review.
3. "MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING IN THE 1990's:
Competitiveness in the Age of Materials," the long-overdue report
of the National Academies of Science and Engineering, points out
that DOD research in materials is often directed toward specific
applications in which costs are irrelevant. The result is that
the materials are generally of no use to the domestic market. The
report will be released at a book party on 26 Sep 89 at the NAS.
4. "PHYSICS IN YOUR FUTURE" HAS BEEN UPDATED AND REPRINTED.
The popular booklet, first printed in 1983, is a project of the APS
Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, with support from
AT&T, IBM and Xerox. It introduces young people, parents and
teachers to careers in physics. The 1989 edition is available
from the APS, single copies free, multiple copies are $1.00 each.