Friday, 20 March 98 Washington, DC
1. CO2: TINY OREGON RESEARCH INSTITUTE LINKED TO PETITION.
petition, apparently mailed to academic scientists in all fields,
had no letterhead, and the return address was a P.O. Box in La
Jolla (WN 13 Mar 98). It opposes the Kyoto accord and asserts
that increased atmospheric CO2 is beneficial. The mailing
included an article that was disguised to look like a journal
reprint -- it wasn't, but it did have the affiliations of the
authors: The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine and the
George C. Marshall Institute. The GCMI is headed by Fred Seitz
(WN 21 Jun 96). Before taking up the defense of CO2, it was best
known for its unqualified support of the Star Wars fantasies of
Ronald Reagan. The OISM, headed by Arthur Robinson, is involved
in issues ranging from nuclear bomb shelters to home schooling.
There was no response from OISM to phone calls or e-mail.
2. CLIMATE CHANGE: GEOPHYSICISTS PREPARE TO TAKE A POSITION.
committee of the 34,000 member American Geophysical Union has
drafted a statement of the organization's position on global
climate change. While stressing the uncertainties in climate
predictions, the statement says anthropogenic emissions of CO2
and other greenhouse gases are affecting the global climate.
Unlike the OISM petition, the AGU statement does not advocate a
global experiment to find out what further increases would do.
Instead, the statement calls on scientific organizations to urge
all nations to limit emissions of greenhouse gases.
3. BUDGET: SCIENTISTS ARE URGED TO SUPPORT TOBACCO LEGISLATION.
It was billed as a discussion between science leaders and the
Administration's top science guns (Jack Gibbons, Neal Lane and
Harold Varmus) to consider how the President's FY 99 budget
request can be advanced through Congress. It was simple: the
scientists were told they should lobby Congress for President
Clinton's plan to use a yet-to-be-negotiated tobacco settlement
to fund investments in science, education and the environment.
This is the first year the President has staked out a claim for
leadership in science, but under his budget plan, any surplus
would go to prop up social security. Republicans are thinking
tax cuts, with tobacco money going to highways and water bills.
There will be a serious squeeze on science if appropriators in
both houses are not made aware of the needs of science.
4. SPACE TOURISM: THE FINAL FRONTIER OR UP-SCALE BUNGEE JUMPING?
On Capitol Hill next week, the Space Transportation Association
will release a NASA study that gushes over "space tourism."
Several companies are already taking deposits on trips ranging
from two minutes in low gravity in a jet flying a parabolic arc,
to a suborbital rocket into near space at prices of $100,000 and
up. Be the first on your block -- you won't be there long enough
to get sick. There must be too much disposable income around.