Friday, 3 Mar 95 Washington, DC
1. TOP QUARK CONFIRMED BY FERMILAB! WEIGHS IN AT ABOUT 179
There were sweaty palms in Batavia last spring when they reported
spotting a top, but two groups have independently confirmed its
existence. The outrageous mass seems to predict they will find a zoo of
decay stuff when the main injector upgrade is completed.
2. ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: REPORT SEEKS TO TAKE NIH INTO A NEW
What may rank as the most credulous document in medical history
was unveiled yesterday in a Senate conference room. Senator Tom
Harkin (D-IA), who fathered the 1991 legislation that created the
NIH Office of Alternative Medicine, admitted that the program had
"gotten off to a slow start" due to opposition from "traditional" medicine.
It should soar now; the 420-page report, "Alternative
Medicine: Expanding Medical Horizons," lays out an OAM agenda for
research into everything from Lakota medicine wheels to laying on of
hands and homeopathic medicines. Homeopathic medicines employ
dilutions far beyond the point at which a single molecule would remain,
but the water "remembers." Where does physics fit in? Well, when
really weird things happen, like mental healing at a distance, it must be
quantum mechanics (Brian Josephson is cited for authority). Medical
ethics are not ignored; the possibility of distant organisms being harmed
by non-local mental influence is raised, and board certification of mental
healers is proposed
"to protect consumers from predatory quacks." An entire chapter is
devoted to "Bioelectromagnetics." This is tricky stuff: "Weak
EMF may, at the proper frequency and site of application, produce large
effects that are either clinically beneficial or harmful."
3. HOUSTON LIGHTING AND POWER MUST BE USING THE WRONG
A lawsuit has been filed against both HL&P and the Electric Power
Research Institute, on behalf of eleven families with children suffering
from cancer. The suit charges both the power company and EPRI with
"fraudulent concealment" of the carcinogenic nature of the fields "that
secretly and silently invaded their homes."
4. OSTP: ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR SCIENCE RESIGNS EFFECTIVE
The White House has already begun assembling a list of possible
replacements for M.R.C. Greenwood. Dean of Graduate Studies at
UC Davis before coming to OSTP, Greenwood has been forced to make
frequent trips back to California by the illness of a friend.
5. HOUSE PASSES THE "RISK ASSESSMENT & COST BENEFIT ACT OF
Part of the "Contract with America," the bill requires federal
regulators to conduct a formal risk assessment of any proposed rule that
would cost society more than $25M annually. That makes sense, but
critics worry that needed regulations will be exposed to endless litigation
if the bill becomes law. In any case, the
Senate has yet to pass any major contract legislation, having just
rejected the Balanced Budget Amendment by a single vote.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note: Opinions are the author's
and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)