Friday, 7 April 95 Washington, DC
1. BUDGET: WALKER WANTS TO TAKE THE SPACE STATION OFF THE
Take a huge tax cut, couple it with a provision that requires the loss to be
made up with reductions in discretionary spending, then exempt a huge
program that has been mislabelled "science," and things start to look
bleak. It all came a step closer this week. Tuesday, the House passed a
$189B tax cut that requires offsetting spending cuts. On top of that,
Rep. Bob Walker (R-
PA), the chair of the Science Committee, said he wants to pass a
multi-year authorization for the Space Station, taking it all the way to
completion in 2002. That would have the effect of taking the station off
the authorization table, which would mean smaller authorizations for
other programs. "Science is part of the government spending stream,"
Walker said. "1995 spending is our baseline, so by 2002 some programs
will find they are below the
1995 spending level." The appropriators could choose to cut the station
anyway, but that won't help the others. Since the only remaining
justification for building a space station seems to be international
cooperation, one Republican member of the committee ruefully proposed
that it be transferred to the State Department.
2. DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE? WALKER SEEMS A LITTLE AMBIVALENT
"It's good that scientists have different doors they can go to; it
adds diversity," Mr. Walker commented to a group of reporters
yesterday. But he added that, "If the Budget Committee decides that a
Department of Science is a way to handle elimination of other agencies,
we will hold hearings soon." The meeting marked the triumphant close of
the exhausting first 100 days of the
104th Congress. He may feel different when he returns on April
28 from Spring Break, or the "House District Work Period," as they prefer
to call it. If there is a Science Department, NIH won't be part of it. "If you
believe as I do that basic science is where you put your priority, NSF
does pretty well.... I don't see that what goes on at NIH has much to do
with what goes on at
NSF." Was it only last year that NSF was told to "organize around goals
the way NIH is organized around disease"? (WN 4 Feb 94)
3. GARY TAUBES WILL RECEIVE THE 1995 AIP SCIENCE WRITING
for his article in Discover Magazine, "Welcome to Femtoland."
The award is for a journalist writing about physics and astronomy for the
general public. Sally Ride and Tam O'Shaughnessy will receive the AIP
award for writing for children for their book, "The Third
Planet." Taubes is best known to physicists for his unflattering look at
Carlo Rubbia in "Nobel Dreams" and his scathing account,
"Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion."
4. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: ANNOUNCING "INFINITE ENERGY
One year ago we noted the premier issue of "Cold Fusion Magazine"
edited by Eugene Malove (WN 29 Apr 94); it lasted two issues. Now it's
spring again and Mallove has brought forth a new blossom.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note: Opinions are the author's
and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)