Friday, 28 Apr 95 Washington, DC
1. OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING ADDS TO CLAMOR TO RESTRICT THE
At first we only had to worry about Senator Exon's
Communications Decency Act of 1995, which would go after those who
use naughty words. But since the bombing, we even have Ted
Kennedy, staunch defender of the First Amendment, talking about the
"darker side of the information highway," a reference to the availability of
bomb instructions on the internet. The Clinton administration wants to
regulate the use of any encryption software that makes it impossible for
the FBI to eavesdrop on computer conversations. So far, all the noise is
coming from the Senate side of the Hill.
2. YOU HAVE A Y CHROMOSOME AND A PHD? YOU COULD BE DR.
It's tough enough explaining to your kids why you haven't
won the Nobel Prize. Must you now admit that you're not a "studmuffin
of science" either? Karen Hopkin, Producer of NPR's "Talk of the Nation:
Science Friday," who conceived the idea of a take-off calendar featuring
the 12 sexiest science studs around, has so far gotten only two
complaints from women and zip from men. Some 50 photos, submitted in
response to an appeal in the Annals of Improbable Research, are already
being ogled by a panel of expert judges. But, hey, if you've got the stuff,
they've got the time.
3. WHAT SHOULD THE ROLE OF THE STATES BE IN SCIENCE &
On Tuesday, White House Science Advisor John
Gibbons announced creation of an interagency review led by Commerce
Undersecretary Mary Good to look at state-federal partnerships from the
federal perspective. The view from the states will be provided by a task
force of governors, state legislators, university presidents and CEOs,
assembled by the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and
Government and co-chaired by former governors Richard Celeste
(D-OH) and Dick Thornburgh (R-PA). OK, it was a slow news week.
4. A FEW COLD FUSION DIE-HARDS GATHER IN ANAHEIM AND
The only story was the contrast in ambiance. A luxury
hotel in Monte Carlo, near Fleischmann and Pons' luxury lab, was the
venue for the 5th International Cold Fusion Conference; the wine bill was
picked up by an unnamed benefactor. A week earlier, at the American
Chemical Society meeting in Anaheim, cold fusion was relegated to a
poster session in a hotel parking garage; only five presenters actually
showed up. Rumors of sensational new results at Texas A&M and in
Italy failed to materialize. The Electric Power Research Institute, until
now the major patron of cold fusion research in the U.S., reportedly has
called it quits.
5. APS AND AIP CONGRESSIONAL FELLOWS ARE SELECTED FOR
John W. Cobb, a computational plasma physicist at Oak Ridge,
will be the APS Fellow. His PhD is from the University of Texas. Kevin
Beig, a chemical engineer from the University of Illinois, who is currently
at Sandia Laboratories, is the AIP choice.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note: Opinions are the author's
and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)