Friday, 22 Jan 93 Washington, DC
1. FLASH! WILL HAPPER TO STAY ON AS DIRECTOR OF ENERGY RESEARCH
at DOE. At NASA, Dan Goldin hasn't heard one way or the other.
2. WATKINS ADMITS THAT JAPAN HAS NO YEN FOR THE SUPERCOLLIDER!
In a letter to Congressman George Brown (D-CA), outgoing Secretary
of Energy James Watkins urges the U.S. to go it alone. Without
Japan, there is no chance of reaching the DOE goal of one-third
foreign funding. Instead, Watkins urges Congress to cough up the
entire $5.5B needed to complete the behemoth accelerator now, and
let construction proceed on an optimum schedule. That's the way
the Navy builds ships, the Admiral said. Brown commented that the
fate of the SSC will be determined by the new Administration. At
this point, it doesn't seem to be a high priority with Watkins'
successor, Hazel O'Leary, but Watkins was a convert to the SSC.
Of greater concern are reports of a bitter debate within the
Clinton Administration over the importance of basic research.
3. REPORT ACKNOWLEDGES THAT NASA SPINOFF CLAIMS WERE EXAGGERATED!
"To much of the public," a NASA report admits, "NASA's technology
transfer reputation is based on some famous examples, including
Velcro, Tang and Teflon. Contrary to popular belief, NASA created
none of these." NASA merely publicized them. The study concluded
that "there have not been very many technology transfer successes
compared to the potential." This rare outbreak of candor was
applauded by NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin, who called for the
study. In 1991, during a Senate debate on an amendment to slash
funding for Space Station Freedom, Sen. Heflin (D-AL) produced a
NASA list of 74 "space spinoffs"--everything from synthetic teats
for piglets to portable ice rinks. WHAT'S NEW challenged anyone
to document that a single item on the list actually owed its
existence to the space program (7/19/91). There were no takers.
4. NOT EVERYONE AT NASA HAS BEEN INFECTED WITH THE NEW CANDOR.
During the inaugural bell ringing on Monday, some of the networks
carried a transmission from Endeavor showing the crew ringing a
miniature replica of the Liberty Bell. The picture was marked
"LIVE," but in fact the astronauts were in their sleep cycle. A
spokesman at NASA explained that "it was live when it was taped."
5. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA IN HOT WATER OVER WEAPONS LABS--AGAIN
UC has managed the nation's two nuclear weapons labs, Los Alamos
and Lawrence Livermore, since they were founded, but the appro-
priateness of that relationship has been repeatedly challenged.
Last week, the DOE inspector general charged that the University
had improperly withheld information during the negotiation of its
$150M contract to manage the labs. The information concerned an
SEC inquiry into insider trading by a senior official of LLNL.
The accusations could jeopardize the contract. At issue is the
extent to which the official, the general counsel for Lawrence
Livermore Laboratory, participated in the contract negotiation.