Friday, 1 Apr 94 Washington, DC
1. CLEMENTINE: "CHEAPER, FASTER, BETTER" SPACE CRAFT MAPS MOON!
"Light she was, like a feather...." A lightweight lunar orbiter
is generating a multi-spectral map of the moon. When it finishes
the job on 21 April, it will head for a late-August rendezvous
with the near-Earth asteroid Geographos. Developed and launched
in just 22 months for a trifling $75M, the 500-lb space craft is
just what NASA chief Dan Goldin had in mind--but Clementine was
built by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (WN 3 Apr
92). A science mission allows BMDO to test space hardware without
violating the Missile Defense Treaty. After years of planning,
NASA killed its own asteroid flyby to feed the space station.
2. IMPLACABLE FOE OF THE SPACE STATION TAKES OVER APPROPRIATIONS.
William Natcher (D-KY), the 84-year-old chair of the House Appro-
priations Committee, died this week. The Democrats had already
selected David Obey (D-WI), 54, to replace him. Although Obey has
been scathing in his criticism of the station, he will be under
pressure to support the President's budget request. But even the
White House seems soft in its support; testifying last week, Jack
Gibbons said he would rather see NASA's budget cut than NSF's.
3. CANADIAN/FRENCH EMF STUDY OF UTILITY WORKERS "NOT DEFINITIVE"!
A four-year study of 223,000 workers to see whether occupational
exposure to EMF was associated with increased cancer risk found
no increase overall. "A significant association between exposure
to EMF and leukemia and brain cancer has not been obtained," the
study concluded. That agrees with a study of utility workers in
(WN 19 Mar 93). Nor was the risk greater for
male breast cancer, melanoma or prostate cancer. An elevated risk
was suggested for one rare form of leukemia, based on only five
cases. The director of the study expressed surprise at the low
numbers. "I don't think we have the right agent," he said.
4. APS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RESPONDS TO WHAT'S NEW OF MARCH 11, 1994.
I quote: "A humorous WHAT'S NEW item commenting on a physicist
with a less-than-completely-wholesome scientific reputation, con-
tains a reference to a Physical Review A article he coauthored,
which attributes inertia to zero-point vacuum fluctuations. A
fundamental aspect of APS publication policy is involved here: as
a matter of principle, articles submitted to APS journals are
judged on their merits as perceived by anonymous referees and by
the editors. Our underlying policy is to let each paper speak
for itself. The paper in question was thoroughly reviewed, which
resulted in acceptance by the editor--a correct, perhaps even
courageous decision, in my opinion. The usual complaint is that
peer review protects the establishment and prevents heretical
ideas from getting fair hearing. We are therefore quite careful
to avoid any appearance of resisting change. As Eugen Merzbacher
likes to say, `every dog should have one bite.'" -- Ben Bederson