Friday, 29 October 1999 Washington, DC
1. CTBT: REPUBLICANS SPLIT OVER RESURRECTION OR CREMATION.
John Warner (R-VA), head of the Armed Services Committee, whose
announcement that he planned to vote against ratification doomed
the test ban
(WN 1 Oct 99),
now wants a bipartisan commission to
study the pact and recommend changes that would meet objections
that the treaty is not verifiable. Hard core opponents of the
treaty, however, are attempting to head off any reconsideration
by scuttling the worldwide surveillance system that the treaty
would rely on. A last-minute attempt will be made to eliminate
the US share of funding for the system from the foreign aid bill,
which is currently being rewritten following a Presidential veto.
2. R&Dx2: HEATHER WILSON (R-NM) CHAMPIONS DOUBLING BILL IN HOUSE.
The Federal Research Investment Act, sponsored by Bill Frist (R-
TN) passed the Senate on July 27. It also passed the Senate last
(WN 9 Oct 98),
but House action was blocked by Science
Committee Chair James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who has apparently
chosen to cede leadership in science policy to the Senate. In
spite of Sensenbrenner, Rep. Wilson, who sponsored the bill last
year, announced yesterday that she is doing so again. She was
joined at a press conference by APS Fellow Rush Holt (D-NJ), co-
sponsor of the bi-partisan measure, and American Chemical Society
President Ed Wasserman representing the Doubling Group Coalition.
3. PERPETUUM MOBILE: ABC TO EXPOSE FREE ELECTRICITY HUCKSTER.
Dennis Lee is three-fourths of the way through his 45 city tour
of the US to demonstrate his technology for making unlimited free
(WN 1 Oct 99).
He's been tracked by ABC Good Morning
America consumer reporter Janice Lieberman. Her report is set
for next Friday. Lee depends on "permanent magnet motors that
are more than 200% efficient" and the "Fourth Law of Motion" to
make free electricity. All it takes to get one of his machines
installed in your home, so you can be disconnected from the grid
before the Y2K crisis blacks out everyone else, is a $275 gift to
Better World Technologies, Inc., and I'm from the planet Mongo.
4. ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: INTERCESSORY PRAYER STUDY RELEASED.
study in Archives of Internal Medicine found fewer complications
among coronary patients at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City if
Christian volunteers prayed for them without their knowledge--but
only if the right scoring method is used. Even so, physicist Vic
Stenger notes that the "3 sigma," result, P=.04, would not be
publishable in Physical Review Letters. The study made no mention
of contrary results, such as Sir John Galton's classic 1872 study
of the longevity of English monarchs. Since they head the Church
of England, the daily Order for Morning Prayer includes prayers
for their health and long life. Despite this huge intercessory
cohort, Galton found no effect on their longevity compared to the
general population. Maybe he was using the wrong scoring method.