Friday, 8 May 98 Washington, DC
1. HOUSE PANEL SAYS IT'S TIME FOR THE WHITE HOUSE TO CONFESS.
Only a small group of members were on hand when the House Science
Committee hearing got underway, but when the word got around that
there were TV cameras in the hearing room, another dozen showed
up. The purpose of the hearing was supposed to be to consider
what to do about the Chabrow report, which found the space
station to be billions over cost and years behind schedule
(WN 27 Mar 98).
But Dan Goldin said NASA needed more time to study the
report. Chairman Sensenbrenner called on the White House to
"admit mistakes and come clean on costs." George Brown agreed:
"A confession would make me feel better." The "crime," of course,
was bringing in the Russians. The only member with a plan for
what to do about the space station now was Tim Roemer (D-IN). He
proposed simply killing the turkey.
2. MORE TROUBLE: NOW THERE'S "THE NEW SCIENTIST REPORT."
testimony, Jay Chabrow, who headed the study, said the cost
overrun calculated by his panel does not include costs
possibility of catastrophic failure of any of the 93 launches
required for construction. Although the report says the
probability is "high," Chabrow said there is no way to tell.
Maybe they should have asked New Scientist magazine. On the eve
of the Wednesday hearing, the magazine released it's own study.
New Scientist concludes that the loss of five missions should be
expected and put the probability of losing at least one cargo --
through explosion, placement in the wrong orbit, etc. -- to be
99.5%. If the loss involves one of 33 shuttle missions or 12
Russian launches of essential hardware, it will add additional
billions to the cost and years to the assembly.
3. CTBT: WHITE HOUSE LAUNCHES A BOLD PUSH FOR PASSAGE.
that's the theory anyway. The 30 April issue of Nature said the
Administration is at long last ready to mount its campaign to
pressure Republican senators to take a stand on the Test Ban
Treaty. The pressure this week was bearable. Wednesday,
National Security Advisor Samuel R. Berger told a group of
business executives that "the Senate needs to do what the
President asked in his State of the Union Address." There was no
noticeable reaction from the Senate. Maybe next week.
4. DOE: NEW MEXICO COMPLETES THE TRIFECTA?
New Mexico politicians
oversee the Department of Energy appropriations and authorization
committees. Now they may run the place. Bill Richardson, former
NM Rep., was reportedly offered the job of Secretary of Energy.
5. SUMMER INTERNSHIP IN THE APS WASHINGTON OFFICE.
for an undergraduate physics major with great writing skills and
genius IQ. We're prepared to be flexible. E-mail a writing
sample and your resume to: email@example.com.
The deadline is May 29.