Friday, 9 June 95 Washington, DC
1. ENERGY CRISIS: HOUSE REPUBLICANS REVEAL PLAN TO ELIMINATE
Six months after enactment of the DOE Abolishment Act, the Energy
Department would become the Energy Program Resolution Agency; it
would have three years to dismantle itself. The nuclear weapons labs,
Sandia, Los Alamos and Livermore, would be transferred to a civilian
Defense Nuclear Programs Agency in the Pentagon, which would also
be responsible for cleanup from weapons production.
The civilian nuclear waste program would go to the US Geological
Survey (apparently they have forgotten that they were calling for
abolishment of USGS). An Energy Laboratory Facilities Commission
would decide which programs and laboratories to shut down. GOP
leaders in both the House and Senate praised the plan, which was
prepared by a task force headed by freshman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS).
2. NUCLEAR MELTDOWN: ENERGY AUTHORIZATION BILL HITS
The House Energy Subcommittee approved an authorization yesterday
that cuts $31M from nuclear physics--with all of it coming from the five
university-based accelerators: MIT, Yale, Texas A&M,
University of Washington, and North Carolina. An effort by Vern
Ehlers (R-MI) to restore the funds failed on a tie vote. Even if the bill
passes the House, it is only an authorization and the
Senate is not in the habit of passing authorization bills.
3. SPACE SICKNESS: A MULTI-YEAR SPACE STATION AUTHORIZATION
passed the House Space Subcommittee on Wednesday. Bob
PA), Science Committee chair, and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Space
Subcommittee chair, called the bluff of Democrats (WN 26 May 95) who
had threatened to withhold support. Moreover, an amendment by Tim
Roemer (D-IN) to kill the station was crushed 3-18. The bill takes
$2.12B a year for the station off the budget table through 2002. The
effect would be to strangle space science.
4. EXHIBITIONISM: INVENTOR GIVES $10.4M FOR SMITHSONIAN
Jerome Lemelson, an engineer and inventor of numerous high-tech
devices, wants the center to promote innovation and inspire the next
generation of inventors. The center, to be located in the
Museum of American History, will be headed by Arthur P. Molella.
Molella, you may recall, was the curator responsible for "Science in
American Life," the exhibit that outraged both the American
Chemical Society (WN 14 Apr 95), which paid $5.3M for it, and the
American Physical Society, which first complained publicly about the
blatantly anti-scientific bias of the exhibit (WN 18 Nov 94).
5. EMF: "EARTH ENERGY PENDANT" OFFERS PROTECTION FOR ONLY
It was developed by a physicist, according to a New Jersey
mail- order company ad. The pendant uses a "Tachyon crystal" to
ground fields from computers and power lines. WHAT'S NEW has no
idea how the pendants work; nevertheless, we are able to assure our
readers that if they wear one they will not be harmed by EMF.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note: Opinions are the author's
and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)