Friday, 29 July 94 Washington, DC
1. SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE RESTORES $821M TO DOD UNIVERSITY RESEARCH!
Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee chair, Daniel Inouye
(D-HI), acknowledged that the $900M cut in university research
voted by the House (WN 8 Jul 94) stimulated
more mail than any
other item in the $243B defense budget. The subcommittee agreed
to cut only $79M, but that will still have to be reconciled with
the House. The ranking minority member, Ted Stevens of Alaska,
used the occasion to scold universities for treating research as
an entitlement. What's needed, Stevens declared, is to restore
competition in awarding funds. Yes, this is the same Senator Ted
Stevens who made the University of Alaska the top recipient of
academic pork -- over $100M since 1980, much of which went to a
screwball plan to harness the energy of the Aurora Borealis
(WN 2 Nov 90).
Senator Inouye agreed with Stevens and complained that
Alaska, Hawaii and South Carolina are "left out in the cold."
2. DOE WILL PAY TEXAS $210M TO DISPOSE OF THE REMAINS OF THE SSC!
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the most ardent defender of the collider
in the US Congress, still hopes the corpse might be revived, even
though worms are already at work. He wants to link participation
in the LHC to an agreement that CERN will join the SSC if it's
restarted. In the world of the living, Texas agreed to settle
its $539M claim against the DOE for a $149M payment to Texas plus
a $65M Federal contribution to a regional medical facility. The
facility will use the LINAC to bombard cancer cells with protons.
3. "SCIENCE IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST" WILL BE RELEASED NEXT WEEK!
The White House policy statement on science, in preparation for
months (WN 4 Feb 94), will be released on 3 Aug 94. The release
was stalled while the White House sought a "suitable occasion."
Senator Mikulski has used the time to tighten control of science
policy (WN 15 Jul 94).
It is not clear what makes August, which
is normally a dead month in this town, suitable; most scientists
are off at international meetings or on vacation. Rick Boucher
(D-VA), chair of the House Science Subcommittee, has scheduled
hearings on the White House policy for the following morning.
4. ALTERNATIVE QUANTUM THEORY: ACCOMMODATING "CAUSAL ANOMALIES"!
A 1993 paper in the Journal of Parapsychology reported that the
timing of radioactive decays, recorded in the absence of a human
observer, can be affected months later by a willful human act!
Once again, theoretical physics is up to the challenge; the lead
paper in the July issue of Physical Review A accommodates this uh
umm curious finding with "a slight modification of normal quantum
theory." The author adopts the view that the physical universe
"consists merely of a set of tendencies that entail statistical
links between mental events." The various possible timings of
decay events remain in a state of "potentiality" until "some
pertinent mental event occurs." We're still waiting for that.