WHAT'S NEW by Robert L. Park
Friday, 15 Dec 95 Washington, DC
1. FLASH! ROBERT S. WALKER, HOUSE SCIENCE CHAIR, CALLS IT
He has represented Pennsylvania's 16th District since 1977 and worked on the
Hill as a Congressional aide before that. This afternoon, he held a press conference to
announce his decision not to run for an eleventh term. His physical and political health are
excellent, he said, but he and his wife decided it was time. While denying that rancor on the
committee was a factor, he was critical of the "level of personal demonization." He identified
Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) as his heir apparent.
2. TRAIN WRECK III: THREAT OF A SHUTDOWN NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE.
Washington may be addicted to the adrenalin surge that comes from shutting down the
government, but the rush is not what it used to be. A shutdown tonight would idle only about half
as many federal workers as a month ago. Energy and Defense are among the agencies that
have been funded since (WN 24 Nov 95; 1 Dec 95), but NASA, NSF, EPA, NIH and NIST are still unfunded. Yesterday, the Senate agreed to the VA/HUD/IA
bill approved by the House last week (WN
8 Dec 95); the Senate also approved a spending bill for Interior.
But the President has vowed to veto both bills on environmental grounds. Yesterday, the White
House released a report on water pollution to put pressure on the Republican Congress.
Congress is applying pressure to the White House by linking a short-term
Continuing Resolution, to keep the full government in operation beyond midnight, to progress
on a seven-year budget agreement.
3. A HOME PAGE FOR THE NSF PHYSICS DIVISION IS UP AND RUNNING.
And its sister divisions, Astronomy, Mathematics, Materials
Research and Chemistry also have home pages. They are a source of information about
programs, policies and procedures. You can get to which ever one you want by going to the
MPS directorate page at http://www.nsf.gov.mps and
clicking on the right line.
4. STUDMUFFINS OR DWEEBS?
"CAUSE SCIENTISTS AIN'T GOT
Leon Lederman is developing a TV pilot to counter the negative image of scientists on the
tube, and the 1996 Studmuffins of Science Calendar went on sale this week. (Well, they don't all
look like Dr. January, but they at least look normal). So, is the dweeb image a new problem?
We at WN decided to investigate. This week we review the 1937 movie version of Irving
Berlin's "On the Avenue," with Dick Powell and Alice Faye. It begins with a scientist, played in
triplicate by the Ritz brothers, peering through a giant telescope and singing, "I'm the loneliest
guy in town," whereupon 50 chorus girls tap dance into the observatory singing, "Cause you
ain't got no rhythm." "For what I learned about flies, I got the Nobel prize"; the chorus responds,
"but you can't do the Charleston." "I'm a scientist to my fingertips"; response, "but you can't do
nothing with your hips." We will try to keep our readers informed of further results of our
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY (Note: Opinions are the author's and are not necessarily shared by the APS, but they should be.)