Friday, 19 March 1999 Washington, DC
1. NMD: BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE PASS MISSILE DEFENSE BILLS.
The version passed overwhelmingly by the Senate on Wednesday
calls for deployment "as soon as technologically possible"
(WN 29 Jan 99)
. It became acceptable to most Democrats with passage of
an amendment offered by Mary Landrieu (D-LA) reaffirming the
commitment of the US to negotiated nuclear weapons reductions.
Yesterday, the House passed its 15-word version
(WN 5 Feb 99)
by a vote of 371-105, without amendment. John Spratt (D-SC), who
co-sponsored the bill, declared that its best feature "is what it
doesn't say." It doesn't say when, it doesn't say what criteria
it should meet, it doesn't say anything about treaty violations.
It just says, "It is the policy of the United States to deploy a
national missile defense." Meanwhile, a successful intercept of
a slow-moving target by a souped up Patriot had no significance
for a national missile defense system against ICBMs.
2. VITAMIN O: FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION CHARGES FRAUD.
read about it first in WN: USA Today carried a full-page ad for a
"dietary supplement" that consisted of salt water at $10 an
(WN 27 Nov 98)
. The FTC is seeking to force Rose Creek
Health Products to refund consumers' money. The claim was that
"stabilized" oxygen dissolved in the salt water was an effective
treatment for everything from indigestion and obesity to cancer.
The ad was later carried in newspapers around the country. Blame
Congress. The 1994 Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act
invites this kind of fraud by exempting natural supplements from
scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration. But why should the
FTC single out Vitamin O? Millions of people buy homeopathic
remedies over the counter every day. The remedies far exceed the
dilution limit; in other words there is no prospect that the dose
contains even one molecule of the listed ingredients. Congress
specifically exempted homeopathy from FDA approval in 1938.
3. APS AWARDS: GOOD NEWS FOR MEMBERS.
In honor of the APS
Centennial, Annals of Improbable Research has posted an article
by Scott Sandford, analyzing trends in APS membership and awards.
Membership has leveled off in recent years, while growth in the
number of APS awards has been exponential since 1950. If these
trends continue, there will be one award per member by 13 Apr
2076. At the celebration of the bi-centennial in 2100, there
will be 307,000 awards per member
4. FUTURE ENERGY: NEW AGE ENERGY CONFERENCE MOVES TO COMMERCE.
Booted out of the State Department
(WN 12 Mar 99)
, it's now the
First International Conference on Future Energy (it used to be
"Free Energy") and it will be held "In cooperation with the U.S.
Department of Commerce." But it's the same wacky stuff. It would
be good if some scientists attended. You can get details from
the Integrity Research Institute