Friday, 26 May
95 Washington, DC
1. JUDGE REJECTS CLAIM OF LINK BETWEEN
CELLULAR PHONE AND CANCER.
widower brought suit against cellular phone companies in
1993 after his wife died of brain cancer (WN 29 Jan 93). As
he explained on Larry King Live, "She talked on the phone
all the time and held it against her head." How much proof
do you want? It was enough for Wall Street; cellular-phone
stock plunged. But a federal judge ruled this week that the
"evidence" was not based on "scientifically valid
principles," as required by the Supreme Court in the
landmark Daubert vs. Dow Pharmaceuticals decision.
2. SENATE PASSES BUDGET RESOLUTION--BUT
RESTORES FUNDING TO NIH.
After a seemingly
endless series of Democratic amendments were rejected,
the Senate yesterday passed the Domenici budget plan. A
day earlier, however, an amendment to restore funding to
the NIH, offered by Mark Hatfield (R-OR), passed by an
overwhelming 85-14. The House version calls for a hefty cut
in '96, followed by a freeze until 2002. What made the
difference? Well for one thing, a coalition of biological
societies, led by the American Society of Cell Biologists,
sent "legislative alerts" to their members before the vote
urging them to contact their senators. Or maybe it was just
the increased concern with health that comes with
advancing years; on average, senators are seven years
older than their House colleagues, and 93% of them have a
Y chromosome. Every inflamed prostate gland is a vote for
3. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: ROEMER BILL
WOULD CANCEL SPACE STATION
. As they do each
spring, Reps. Tim Roemer (D-IN) and Dick Zimmer (R-NJ)
will try to kill the orbiting pork barrel. In '93, they came within
one vote. The threat is real enough that the chair of the
Space Subcommittee, Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI),
persuaded Bob Walker (R-PA) to bring back the multi-year
authorization he set aside two weeks ago (WN 12 May 95),
even though he can't get bipartisan consensus. George
Brown (D-CA) still insists that the station will rob space
science. Supporters argue that the money saved by killing
the station won't go into science. Hey! No one asked for a
transfusion, they just want to stop the bleeding.
4. BAD OMEN: POWER WAS OUT AT THE
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY YESTERDAY.
emergency lights failed--the batteries were dead. It was
already pretty gloomy: Wednesday, two former Energy
Secretaries, Hodel and Harrington, testified before a House
Committee that DOE should be abolished; a third, Watkins,
seemed to recommend that a commission be created to
study the issue first--then abolish it.
5. SENATOR PRESSLER (R-SD) PROPOSES
PRIVATIZING BASIC RESEARCH.
The Chair of the
Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee said
Monday that basic research should be carried out under the
free enterprise system. Most major discoveries, he
explained, come from industry. On the other hand, he
strongly favors EPSCOR.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note:
Opinions are the author's and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)