Friday, 9 October 1998 Washington, DC
1. ISS: DAN GOLDIN DECLARES, "WE ARE GO FOR LAUNCH IN NOVEMBER."
Well, maybe. Russia has not built the service module
that is needed to keep the ISS in orbit, and if it's not
in place by September 99, the first components may
decide to return to Earth on their own.
NASA's solution is to pay the Russians $60M to
finish their service module by July. In exchange,
Russia would forfeit its research time on ISS to the US.
The Russians must be devastated by the loss.
Rep. Tim Roemer (D-IN) recalled that
most of the research time NASA bought on Mir was spent
fighting fires. The $60M is the first installment of a
proposed $660M leveraged buyout of Russia's space program
(WN 25 Sep 98).
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) said he can't go along
with the bail out, but members of Congress often say things
2. 1998 IG NOBEL: DEEPAK CHOPRA AWARDED THE PRIZE IN PHYSICS.
Sheldon Glashow (Nobel 79) accepted on behalf of Chopra,
citing Chopra's use of quantum mechanics in the pursuit
of economic bliss. In his best-seller,
"Quantum Healing," Chopra explained
that, "We need to consult the quantum to understand
how the mind pivots on the turning point of a molecule."
You can learn a lot from a guy like that.
The science education prize went to Delores
Krieger of New York University for demonstrating the
merits of therapeutic touch. It was accepted
on her behalf by 11-year old
Emily Rosa, whose career in science took off when she
debunked Krieger's theory in the Journal of the AMA
(WN 3 Apr 98).
3. MORE IG NOBEL: JACQUES BENVENISTE WINS IN CHEMISTRY -- AGAIN!
The only person to win two Ig Nobels, first for discovering that
water remembers biologic activity, and now for showing that the
memory can be transmitted over phone lines. In a moving tribute,
Dudley Herschbach (Nobel 86) described similar experiments in
his own lavatory. After water was informed of biologic activity,
the experiments were recorded and played back for the audience.
Benveniste's work might not imitate Nature, Herschbach concluded,
but it does give one a new perspective on the Call of Nature.
4. SCIENCE POLICY: SENATE PASSES RESEARCH INVESTMENT ACT.
Frist-Rockefeller bill, S.2217, passed by unanimous consent. It
calls for doubling civilian research over 12 years. Together
with the Ehlers Science Policy Study, it lays the groundwork for
increased federal funding of science in the next Congress.
5. CLIMATE CHANGE: DISPUTED REPORT INCREASES KYOTO COST ESTIMATE.
A study released today by the Energy Information Administration
predicts energy costs will soar by 2010 as a result of the Kyoto
accord. Meanwhile, new studies of arctic and antarctic ice cores
confirm that temperatures are also rising, mostly since the start
of the industrial revolution. Moreover, the ozone hole has grown
to record size. Healing of the ozone is slowed by warming.