Friday, 02 Feb 96 Washington, DC
1. IBM: TOO MUCH PAPRIKA LEAVES SCIENTISTS WITH A BITTER TASTE.
The "goulash" ad (WN 26 Jan 96), which ran in
magazines ranging from Scientific
American to Rolling Stone, claims "IBM scientists have discovered a way to make
an object disintegrate in one place and reappear intact in another." Do you
believe that? Well, neither does IBM! An article in IBM Research Magazine says,
"it is well to make clear at the start that teleportation has nothing to do with
beaming people or material particles from one place to another." So what's going
on? There are several theories. One reader noted that many research scientists,
disintegrated at IBM labs, have been observed to reappear intact at universities.
2. NSF: APPROPRIATORS ARE URGED TO PROVIDE FULL-YEAR FUNDING.
In a letter to
Bob Livingston (R-LA), the House Appropriations Committee chair, and Jerry Lewis
(R-CA), the Subcommittee chair, members explained that scientists had alerted
them to problems that put our scientific enterprise at risk
(WN 26 Jan 96), at
a time when the Japanese are increasing their research effort
(WN 19 Jan 96).
The letter was initiated by Vern Ehlers (R-MI), a Fellow of the APS.
Sixty House members had signed with Ehlers by this morning. George Brown (D-CA),
ranking minority member on the Science Committee, was among the signatories,
but the Committee chair, Bob Walker (R-PA), has reportedly declined. Urgent!
It would be a very good idea to check with your Representative's office to be
certain he or she is among those signing the letter.
3. DOE: ADVISORY PANEL CALLS FOR SHUT-DOWN OF PRINCETON TOKAMAK.
Faced with a
fusion budget that was slashed from $357M in FY 95 to $244M, and a warning from
Congress to expect level funding for several years, DOE turned to its Fusion
Energy Advisory Committee for advice. FEAC got its advice from Congress in the
form of the report language that accompanied the DOE appropriation; it called for
restructuring the program away from costly development, while preserving fusion
science and US participation in ITER. The panel concluded this would require
shutting down one of major tokamaks.
They settled on the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor at Princeton.
4. START II: SENATE OVERWHELMINGLY RATIFIES THE 1993 ARMS TREATY.
would reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals to 3,500 each -- that means
destroying nearly half of Russia's 6,833 warheads. Prior to the 1991 START I
treaty, each side had more than 10,000 warheads. The treaty also bans land-based
missiles with multiple warheads. It's the only proven system of destroying enemy
warheads. However, the Russian Duma is now balking at START II because of the
proposed US missile defense system -- a system that could not hope to destroy
more than a handful of weapons. Deployment of the system would abrogate the
1972 ABM treaty on which START I & II were based. Debate on the treaty was
held up for months by Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC). The vote was 87-4.