Friday, 27 April, 1990 Washington, DC
1. JAPAN COULD "DIG THE DITCH OR STRING THE WIRES" FOR THE SSC,
rather than participating in high-tech stuff like building the
magnets, Sen. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) suggested in an Energy
Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday. One-third of the SSC cost is
supposed to come from non-federal sources; Texas will provide
but that still leaves $1.7B to come from foreign partners. Most
partners would prefer to make "in-kind" contributions, such as
supplying magnets, but Johnston emphasized the need to "retain
advanced manufacturing technology in the US." Two Louisiana firms
are hopeful bidders on the magnet contract
(WN 16 Mar 90). Sen.
(D-KY) asked if other areas of science are concerned over the
impact of the SSC and was told that part of the $900M per year
during peak construction would be freed by scientists in other
energy programs shifting their efforts to the SSC; Sid Drell
emphatically that if the SSC will adversely impacts other fields
physics, "I don't want it." Eugen Merzbacher, APS President and
Physics Planning Committee Chair, testified that the SSC would be
unimaginable without technologies that have resulted from other
areas of physics. "It may in turn produce some useful technology
spin-offs, although this potential has at times been overstated
should not be used as a justification for the SSC. It should be
built only on the basis of fundamental scientific merit."
2. FRANK PRESS ADDRESSED OUR SCIENTIFIC RELATIONS WITH JAPAN
Monday at the Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences.
He proposed a voluntary code of behavior governing foreign
acquisition of high-tech firms, balanced contributions to the
science base of the world, and symmetry in access to training of
new scientists. President Bush also spoke at the meeting, but
talk had only symbolic significance for the support of science.
frank speech by Press, which also covered the problems of
universities and such community-wide issues as scientific
misconduct, was titled "Do the Right Thing."
3. ON TUESDAY THE ACADEMY DID "THE RIGHT THING"--ALLAN BROMLEY
was elected to membership. It was years overdue. Two months ago
the National Academy of Engineering elected John Sununu.
4. SPACE STATION FREEDOM TOOK ANOTHER DIRECT HIT ON MONDAY,
the release of a General Accounting Office report that NASA had
underestimated the hazard posed by space debris. GAO found that
NASA has been using an outdated space-debris model. Monday also
marked the beginning of 12 years of intense negative karma,
according to Elizabeth Clare Prophet of the Church Universal and
Triumphant, but for Freedom it was just a continuation of the bad
karma that has settled over the costly project. This latest
revelation comes on the heels of a report that NASA overlooked
excessive outside maintenance required by its design
(WN 13 Apr 90).
The impression is growing in Congress that, despite years
planning, the space station is not well thought out.