Friday, 03 July 98 Washington, DC
1. UFOS: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE WORST KIND.
Caution! If you're the sort who lies awake at night worrying about whether
you might be whisked away by an alien spaceship for an examination of your
erogenous zones, read no further! Things "out there" have gotten so bad that
Lawrence S. Rockefeller funded a group of scientific experts in alien
abductions, psychokinesis, remote viewing, zero-point energy and other
advanced concepts to examine the evidence and tell us what should be done.
The panel boldly concluded that "At least some of these phenomena are not
easily explainable.... there always exists the possibility that investigation
of an unexplained phenomenon may lead to an advance in scientific knowledge."
That is, if the government would provide research funds for serious-minded
scientists -- like those on the panel.
2. EMF: HEALTH PANEL EXHUMES REMAINS OF POWER-LINE CONTROVERSY.
Exactly one year ago the National Cancer Institute released the
results of an exhaustive seven-year study that found no link
between exposure to EMF and childhood leukemia
(WN 4 Jul 97)
. An editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine declared, "It is
time to stop wasting our research resources." Most government
agencies agreed, and cut funding for research. Last week, a group
of scientific experts, most of whom had staked their reputations
on such a link, sorted through the detritus and announced they
had detected signs of life. The panel, assembled by the National
Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, voted 19-9 to class
EMF as "a possible carcinogen." While acknowledging the risk to
be "quite small compared to many other public health risks," the
panel chair declared that the government should provide research
funds for serious-minded scientists -- like those on the panel.
3. SCIENCE LITERACY: NOT SURE ABOUT THE HELIOCENTRIC MODEL?
Well, you're not alone. According to the 1998 Science and Engineering
Indicators, released this week by NSF, 27% of adults surveyed believe the sun
goes around the earth, and more than half believe atoms are smaller than
electrons. The WN staff tried to contact Copernicus and Rutherford for
comment, but James Van Praagh was not available -- he may have been on the UFO
panel. The good news is that, although we still have Ptolemaics,
understanding of basic scientific concepts is higher among Americans than it
is in other industrialized nations. Interest in science and belief in its
promise is also higher among Americans: 79% of those surveyed agreed that
scientific research is necessary and should be funded by the Government, even
if it brings no immediate benefits.
4. HOLLYWOOD: "INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION," THE MOVIE.
Rumors that James Cameron is negotiating with NASA to film a documentary
about the construction of the ISS are being denied. But perhaps
Congress could invite Cameron to testify on the cost overrun
problem -- who else knows how to turn a profit on a sinking ship?