Friday, 11 June 93 Washington, DC
1. THE RACE COULD BEGIN AGAIN--AND THE U.S. HAS THE STARTING GUN.
President Clinton has reportedly rejected the pleas of Lawrence
Livermore Director John Nuckolls to conduct nuclear tests beyond
the 1996 deadline for yields less than one kiloton. No decision
has been made on resumption of tests in the meantime, for which
Nuckolls is also lobbying. France and the UK are also said to be
urging the U.S. to resume, UK because three scheduled tests are
for a British warhead. France prefers to do its own testing, but
would like the U.S. to take the heat. The latest excuse for
testing is to develop techniques for disarming Third-World bombs.
2. ALL THREE SPACE STATION OPTIONS EXCEED LIMITS SET BY PRESIDENT
(WN 9 Apr 93). The redesign team said
it couldn't be done. NASA
Administrator Goldin had discovered that some of the station's
costs had been deliberately hidden; including them helped shove
the options over the Presidents' limit. "Option A" is a
pseudo-Freedom design; it has fewer "science" racks and immobile solar
panels (actually there is also an "A-1 option," but things are
complicated enough without going into that). "Option B" is the
closest to the original--and the most expensive. The cheapest is
"option C." A single "big can," "C" is also the most radical
redesign. Which option do you suppose the House Science, Space
and Technology Committee would pick to authorize? "B" of course,
the most expensive--and the one most closely resembling Freedom.
It would cost $19.3B for parts and another $6B for assembly.
Total costs over its 10-years life time would come to $38B.
3. A WHITE HOUSE ADVISORY PANEL IS RECOMMENDING "THE BIG CAN."
The panel, headed by Charles Vest, President of MIT, advised the
President that "B" is too expensive and too risky. The "Branch
Freedonians" in Congress, however, led by George Brown (D-CA),
vowed to go up in flames rather than accept any radical departure
from Freedom. The intensity of their commitment was evident when
NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin presented the options to a House
subcommittee. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), suspecting that Goldin
favored "option C," reminded Goldin that he was under oath, and
seemed to accuse him of suppressing information on the jobs that
would be lost if "B" is not selected. There is also a fight over
the angle of declination of the station's orbit. The White House
wants a 52-degree declination to enable launches to the station
from Russia. That alarms space shuttle proponents in NASA who
fear the competition; they want to stick to the usual 28.5 degree
orbit. All of this seems to favor "option D"--none of the above.
4. IF LIFE WERE PERFECT, THERE WOULDN'T BE ANY BEER COMMERCIALS.
Mathematicians (and all women) are offended by a commercial for
Amstel Light Beer featuring three bar stool jockeys sharing views
on what life would be like if it were perfect. "Women wouldn't
talk during the bottom of the ninth," the first Joe Sixpack says.
"And algebra," another says, "it would actually come in handy."