Friday, 23 August 96 Washington, DC
1. EMF: THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT ISSUES A LANDMARK DECISION!
Yesterday, in a unanimous decision, the court concluded that EMF cases do not belong in the courtroom. The 67-page ruling quotes from the APS statement on Power Line Fields and Public Health:
"...conjectures relating cancer to power line fields have not been scientifically substantiated" (WN 5 May 95). The court also relied on similar statements by the
American Medical Association, and by 17 prominent scientists, including 6 Nobel laureates,
who filed an amicus brief (WN 29 Sep 95). A homeowner's suit
had alleged that their luxury home was rendered uninhabitable by nearby power lines. The
ruling may put an end to EMF litigation in California and should also have a major impact nationally.
2. GOP PLATFORM: THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY IS OPPOSED.
CTBT, which has been a goal of past Republican administrations, should make it difficult for
terrorist states to develop nuclear weapons. Instead, the GOP platform calls for a national
missile defense system to intercept the weapons. In a major irony, the platform refers to a
study by the recently abolished Office of Technology Assessment to make its point that economic
growth is coupled to advances in technology. Federal programs, it argues, must emphasize basic
research, with R&D fostered by the tax code.
3. NLP PLATFORM: EMPHASIZES "SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN SOLUTIONS."
The Democratic Party Platform does not exist yet, so for balance we decided to cover the Natural
Law Party, which is holding its convention right here in Washington this week. It offers a
50-point "action plan to revitalize America." For all of America's problems, it seems, there
are "scientifically proven solutions." In each case, the proven solution involves "the establishment
of coherence-creating groups practicing Transcendental Meditation." The Natural Law Party,
according to string-theorist John Hagelin, the NLP nominee for President, "is the third-party
4. MOVIE REVIEW: "COSMIC VOYAGE" THROUGH 42 ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE.
Concerned that non-scientists might see it differently, I asked the entire staff at WN to view the
new IMAX film showing at the Air and Space Museum. She was almost overcome. She could
only describe her growing realization of the insignificance of Earth and its creatures as "frightening,"
as the "cosmic zoom" hurled viewers to the outer limits of the universe, plunged them down to the
domain of the quark and sent them tumbling through billions of years, one factor of ten at a time.
A musical score by David Frank rises to the grandeur of images that include a computer simulation
of colliding galaxies. That simulation alone used 950 hours on a Cray C-90 supercomputer.
But how magnificent, she thought, that mere self-replicating specks of matter, trapped on a tiny
planet for a few dozen orbits about an undistinguished star in one of billions of galaxies, have
figured this all out.