Friday, 5 November 1999 Washington, DC
1. MISSILE DEFENSE: WARNING SIGNS OF A RETURN TO THE ARMS RACE.
Congress has decided it's better to try to shoot down nuclear
missiles than to stop their development. Now there are troubling
indications that attempts to renegotiate the ABM Treaty will lead
us back into the arms race. China is equipping its missiles with
(WN 17 Sep 99)
and a little-noticed story out of
Russia this weeks reports the first anti-missile rocket test in
six years. Meanwhile, Ukraine is planning a missile defense.
2. FREE ENERGY: "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" EXPOSES SCAM.
is in Charlotte today, nearing the end of his 45 city tour of the
(WN 29 Oct 99).
People who never learned, never understood, or
never believed that energy is conserved, flock to his shows. On
Tuesday, USA Today, which carried a full page ad announcing Lee's
(WN 1 Oct 99),
ran a good story about Lee, but buried it in
Section D. Janice Lieberman, ABC News consumer reporter, who has
been on Lee's trail from the beginning, flew to Houston on Monday
to interview him in person, but he recognized her and refused to
talk. She gave her report this morning on Good Morning America.
I was the ABC science consultant for the report, and was able to
assure GMA viewers at the end that, "Dennis Lee has broken a lot
of laws, but he hasn't broken the laws of physics."
3. MEDIA FELLOWS: A LOT OF DENNIS LEES ARE OUT THERE.
can do something about it. If you know physics graduate
students, or even exceptional undergraduates, with a talent for
communicating science and an interest in learning how the media
works, we've got just the program for them. In affiliation with
the AAAS, the APS will again sponsor ten-week summer fellowships
in major mass media organizations. Fellows do real science
reporting. See: <http://www.aps.org/public_affairs/>.
4. SPACE STATION: WILL THAT BE WITH EXTRA PEPPERONI?
year ago the Commercial Space Act was signed into law. The
intent was to encourage commercial use of the ISS to defray
costs. It's fair to say there has not been a stampede to get on
board, even though the charge for research space is expected to
be below the marginal cost. (That's like getting a ticket from
New York to San Francisco for less than the cost of the in-flight
meals). But now there's a breakthrough! Pizza Hut is paying
more than $1M to put its logo on the side of a Russian rocket
carrying a piece of the ISS. Advertising in space is not without
precedent; in 1996, a $3M micro-gravity Coke machine, bearing the
Coke logo, was tested by astronauts on Endeavor. While a world-
wide audience watched, they got foam. Worse, Coke was upstaged
by Pepsi, which cut a deal with Mir cosmonauts to inflate a giant
replica of a Pepsi can while space walking
(WN 31 May 96).
potential is HUGE. Perhaps a commercial launch company could
carry Viagra advertising with the slogan, "We always get it up."