Friday, 10 April 1992 Washington, DC
1. THE APS PLANS TO ASSIST PHYSICISTS IN THE FORMER SOVIET
Ernest Henley, APS President, issued an appeal for
donations to a special fund for FSU physicists. The action was
recommended by a task force convened at Henley's request. The
task force will draw on the fund to help provide physics journals
to FSU institutions and to establish a program of small research
grants. The APS task force also is considering shipment of
donated equipment to FSU physicists. It was physicists who led
the democratic movement in the Soviet Union during the darkest
years of the Cold War. They earned the admiration of the world.
Now they need our help.
2. SCIENTIST SHORTAGE? NSF CREDIBILITY IS DAMAGED BY BLOCH
When former NSF Director Erich Bloch argued for
doubling the NSF budget, he waved an internal study projecting a
625,000 shortfall of scientists in the next two decades. The
author, who headed the Division of Research and Analysis, told a
House Investigations Subcommittee on Wednesday that the study was
not a forecast, but a "depiction of a hypothetical situation."
Current NSF Director Walter Massey told the subcommittee that he
was instituting new internal procedures to prevent any recurrence
of such episodes.
3. CLAIMS THAT SSC IS "ON TIME AND UNDER BUDGET" WERE
by House critics Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and
Howard Wolpe (D-MI)
in hearings yesterday. But a scripted dialogue between Boehlert
and Victor Rezendes of the General Accounting Office, intended to
expose overruns and delays, was blunted by the questioning by Joe
Barton (R-TX), whose district includes Waxahachie; overruns were
shown to be under 5% (that would be a small miracle in DOD), and
the project is potentially ahead of schedule. The most serious
charge was that the SSC had attempted to conceal a $50M overrun.
Boehlert agreed that, "The project is good science," but said "we
must go with projects giving the biggest return for America."
4. AN ENGAGING DEBATE: IF A PATRIOT AND A SCUD "PASS IN THE
is that an intercept? That's how General Drolet of
the Missile Command defined "intercept" in a congressional
hearing Wednesday. In some engagements the Army reported more
Scuds destroyed than Patriots fired, according to the GAO. But
when the Congressional Research Service applied the Army's own
methodology, it turned up only one hit. Rep. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
wondered why the hearing was being held: "We all saw the Patriot
work on CNN." But Physicist Peter Zimmerman challenged Ted
Postal's use of conventional video to draw conclusions about high
speed events (WN 3 Apr 92). An Israeli
Air Force expert said his study found no evidence that a Patriot
ever took out an al Hussien warhead: "by that definition, the
Patriot was a failure--and in a populated area there can be no
other definition of success." And yet, Israel is accused of
selling Patriot technology to China. Now that's a sale!