Friday, 27 November 1998 Washington, DC
1. MISSILE DEFENSE: IS IT TIME FOR A RIGOROUSLY TESTED ABM?
been clear for months that the Senate is not going to take up CTBT
without some sort of deal on a National Missile Defense
(WN 12 Jun 98).
With the Russian Duma now signaling a willingness
to ratify START II
(WN 20 Nov 98),
there is talk of a trade in the
US Senate. Robert Kerry (D-NE) floated the first balloon last week,
indicating his willingness to support a National Missile Defense in
exchange for an agreement on a unilateral reduction down to 2,000
weapons. What would make National Missile Defense more acceptable
would be a clause requiring the system to be rigorously tested
before deployment -- no "strapped-down chicken" tests, but tests
against missiles using simple countermeasures.
2. CAVEAT EMPTY: CODFISH WILL THRIVE IN THIS NATURAL PRODUCT.
week, USA Today, the most widely circulated newspaper in the world,
carried a full page ad for "Vitamin O". Every word of the ad is
literally true. "It's so safe, you can drop it in your eyes. It's
so natural, it contains the most abundant element on earth...without
the proper amount of oxygen our bodies can suffer serious health
consequences." Next to a picture of an astronaut floating in a
space suit, the ad explains that it was designed for use by
astronauts. "Vitamin O contains stabilized oxygen molecules in a
liquid solution of sodium chloride and distilled water to be taken
orally as a supplement, usually 15-20 drops two to three times a day.
Your bloodstream absorbs the Vitamin O and carries the pure oxygen
straight to your cells and tissues. There, it maximizes your
nutrients, purifies your bloodstream and eliminates toxins and
poisons." It must be admitted that the supplier, Rose Creek Health
Products, seems to have correctly gauged the scientific literacy of
the American public. They tell people exactly what it is they're
buying -- ordinary salt water. You can buy a two month supply
(4-ounces) for $40 plus shipping charges. The 1994 Dietary
Supplement and Health Education Act, exempts natural substances
from FDA regulation.
3. SPACE STATION: BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, MEDIA DUMPS ON ISS.
that the first module of the ISS is already in orbit and the second
is on the launch pad, the media is taking notice of what scientists
have been telling them for years -- the science won't justify the
(WN 20 Nov 98).
"Who needs this?" Time Magazine asks this
week. Sunday's LA Times editorializes that "NASA is on the wrong
trajectory." Questioning the scientific value of the ISS is now
chic. It just wasn't a story before, reporters said.
4. Y2K BUDGET ALARM: WHITE HOUSE DRAFTS A LEAN FY 2000 REQUEST.
It starts with a $28B cut in discretionary spending to cover the
shortfall created by the Omnibus Appropriation Bill. If science
is to be a priority, the White House will need to hear from
individual scientists. Write to