Friday, 3 September 1999 Washington, DC
1. SPY HYSTERIA: BUT WILL YOU STILL RESPECT ME IN THE MORNING?
"Safe sex" takes on an entirely
different meaning under a new DOE
policy requiring employees who hold
security clearances to report any
"close and continuing contacts"
with foreigners from a list of 25
sensitive countries. In response
to employee requests for
clarification of "close and
continuing," one-night stands were
specifically exempted from the
reporting requirements. This could
be the biggest romantic turn-off
since nipple piercing.
2. BUDGET: WHITE HOUSE GIVES SCIENCE TOP BILLING.
No one was
surprised that White House Chief of
Staff John Podesta would use a slow
news week to promise a veto of
Republican spending plans and tax
cut proposals. The White House is
spoiling for a fight. What was
remarkable was that, of all the
issues he could have used to
justify a veto, he chose to devote
his speech to the impact on science
funding. He quoted Allan Bromley's
op-ed in last week's Washington
(WN 27 Aug 99):
lost sight of the critical role
science plays in American life." He
also lashed Congress for diverting
almost $1B to earmarked projects,
"undermining the discipline of
competition and peer review and
slashing funds for higher priority
projects." Even James
Sensenbrenner (R-WI), House Science
Committee chair, while charging the
Administration with significantly
overstating the amount of money
that can be made available for
science, welcomed the
Administration to the cause of
increased science funding.
3. NIF: DIRECTOR RESIGNS AMIDST TALK OF COST OVERRUNS.
Even as DOE
was undertaking a complete review
of the National Ignition Facility
at Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, the director of the
$1.2B project, Mike Campbell,
resigned for "personal reasons."
The announcement followed a blitz
of anonymous faxes revealing that
Campbell had misrepresented himself
as a PhD. His bio in the '95-'96
edition of American Men and Women
of Science claims a PhD in Applied
Physics from Princeton in '77, but
he had no bio in earlier editions.
He is expected to lose his
security clearance. He was named a
Fellow of the APS in '88 and
received the APS Excellence in
Plasma physics award in '90. The
DOE review of NIF is focusing on
the causes of a rumored $300M cost
4. EVOLUTION: WAS THERE A KANSAS BEFORE THERE WERE PEOPLE?
Grace Dangberg Foundation was
created in 1982 "to improve the
quality of history education."
Eight months ago, it proudly
announced that it was developing a
new textbook on the history of
Kansas for seventh and eighth
graders. The book was to begin
with the rich fossil record of the
inland sea that once covered the
state. That was before the Kansas
School Board deleted Darwin from
the curriculum. "You don't want to
offend any group in Kansas," the
foundation's director said,
explaining why the book will now
start with the arrival of native
Helene Grossman contributed to this issue of WHAT'S NEW.