Friday, 7 May 1999 Washington, DC
1. SPY HYSTERIA I: SHELBY VISITOR MORATORIUM IS SOFTENED.
week, Richard Shelby (R-AL), chair of the Senate Select Committee
on Intelligence, introduced S.887, a draconian bill to establish
a moratorium on the Foreign Visitors Program at the Department of
Energy nuclear laboratories
(WN 30 Apr 99). The bi-partisan bill
that emerged from the committee yesterday, however, is reportedly
much improved. It applies only to classified areas, which would
affect very few visitors to the labs. It calls for monthly
reports on any wavers and for a report assessing the merits of
international scientific research vs the national security risk.
2. SPY HYSTERIA II: SUSPECT DENIES ANY INVOLVEMENT IN LEAKS.
A lawyer for Wen Ho Lee issued a detailed rebuttal of the various
accusations that have been bandied about in the media for the
past two months. Although Lee has been fired from his job at Los
Alamos for alledged security violations, he has still not been
charged, and the Cox Report has still not been released. The
statement insists that not only had Lee never given classified
information to anyone, he and his wife had repeatedly cooperated
with Federal investigators on the trail of Chinese agents.
3. NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE: "THIS WAY! I'M OVER HERE!"
The first intercept attempt with the NMD currently in development
will mount a microwave beacon on the target. A spokesman for the
program explained that they want to be sure the Exoatmospheric
Kill Vehicle (EKV) is in "the right position to do the job." The
beacon will enable ground stations to track the target and pass
the information on to the booster carrying the EKV, "so the
missile will know where it needs to go." No word yet on whether
rogue nations will agree to put beacons on their missiles.
4. ECONOMY: GREENSPAN ATTRIBUTES PROSPERITY TO NEW TECHNOLOGY.
In a speech yesterday, the Federal Reserve Chairman credited the
nation's "phenomenal" economic performance to technological
innovation that has accelerated productivity. This, of course, is
precisely the sermon the scientific community has been preaching.
5. SHUTTLE: NASA EXAMINES ADVANTAGES OF AN ALL-FEMALE CREW.
Naturally, the considerations are purely scientific -- every bit
as scientific as the John Glenn mission last fall
(WN 23 Oct 98).
In explaining how the idea originated, NASA officials point to a
report by the NRC Space Studies Board last year which included a
recommendation that NASA look for gender differences in human
response to space flight. Exactly how a single-gender mission
would assist in identifying differences was not made clear. One
female scientist contacted by WN observed that the mission should
include a 77-year old female as a John Glenn control. Another
wondered what might be next? After all, we know nothing about
the response of children to space flight. Maybe a teletubby crew.