Friday, 4 June 1999 Washington, DC
1. MIR: PLUG PULLED AFTER BRITISH BILLIONAIRE BUNGLES BAILOUT.
In a last desperate bid to save the wobbly spacecraft, Russia agreed to let Peter Llewellyn play cosmonaut if he would pay for the training and round up investors willing to lay out $100M to get first crack at all the research results, like -- well that was the problem. Industry likes to be paid to build space stations, but who would invest in one? Mir will be abandoned in August because no one could think of anything useful to do with it -- and it's being replaced by a bigger and more expensive version.
2. ISS: AT LEAST IT WAS QUIETER ON MIR.
The International Space
Station reached a milestone -- it's had its first repair mission.
It was not entirely successful. Astronauts did fix the broken
radio and replace the flawed battery packs, but they had to wear
ear plugs while they worked because of a noisy fan -- a fan that
must run 24 hours a day. They tried wrapping the fan in foam,
and thought maybe it was a bit better. But even at the slightly
reduced level, the ISS crew will be required to wear ear plugs.
3. HYPERDRIVE: "STAR WARS PROPULSION DRIVE SOARS TOWARD REALITY."
A May 18 NASA press release from the Marshall Space Flight Center
explains that the "hyperdrive" in Star Wars gets its punch from
fusion, so NASA's busy developing fusion propulsion at Marshall.
"Achieving the level of technology portrayed in Star Wars is
quite a challenge," according to an MSFC official, who said it
would also require "overcoming the physical limitations of space
itself in order to travel faster than the speed of light." As
soon as they take care of the fan they'll get right on it.
4. SHIFTING PARADIGMS: SOCIETY FOR SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION MEETS.
Yes folks, it's going on right now in Albuquerque, with talks on
Newton vs Einstein (Newton wins), alien abductions, evidence of a
human consciousness field in World Cup soccer and, of course,
cold fusion. A major theme of the meeting is "the Suppression of
New Science." So far, the best quote came after an invited talk
attacking Darwinism. Asked what the benefits to society would be
if "intelligent design" won acceptance, the speaker solemnly
explained that, "We could avoid wasting time looking for natural
explanations where none exist." It's that kind of meeting.
5. COX REPORT: ONE MORE PLOT TWIST.
In addition to the reasons listed in WN
(WN 28 May 99),
Randolph Herber at Fermilab points to another reason why China
would let the CIA know they had stolen our secret: the data was
real - they knew it, we knew it - but China wanted the US to plug
the holes in security before others got the same information.
Now that everyone is on record, expressing shock and outrage, the
discussion should return to the hard reality - you can't keep
secrets forever so we better focus on nonproliferation and get on