WHAT'S NEW (in my opinion), Friday, 17 Dec 1993 Washington, DC 1. GATT R+D SUBSIDIES ARE F

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WHAT'S NEW (in my opinion), Friday, 17 Dec 1993 Washington, DC 1. GATT R&D SUBSIDIES ARE FIXED: THE HAND THAT ROCKED THE CRADAS! As we reported (WN 26 Nov 93), a draft of the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade, scheduled to take effect on 1 July 1995, threatened Administration efforts to encourage more cooperation between federally funded labs and industry through such devices as Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAS). Critics, led by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Rep. George Brown (D-CA), objected that: (1) the percentage of federal funding allowed was too low, (2) the definition of "basic industrial research" and "applied industrial research" too imprecise, and (3) the requirement to prenotify a GATT panel of each project came too close to revealing sensitive information. But the final agreement was changed to correct all three problems: the prenoti- fication requirement is gone, and the government can fund 100% of "fundamental research," 75% of "industrial research," and 50% of "precompetitive commercial development." Governments are still barred from contributing anything to "commercial development." 2. SO JUST WHAT IS "THE FUTURE OF THE NSF"? THE DEBATE GOES ON. The Senate Report language accompanying the VA/HUD/IA Appropria- tions Bill, you will recall (WN 17 Sep 93), was controversial. In September, prior to the conference on the appropriations bill, George Brown (D-CA) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) wrote to the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, Louis Stokes (D-OH), to urge the House conferees "to keep the Conference Report free of changes to the mission of NSF and to include language nullifying specific directives in the Senate Report involving changes to NSF's mission statement." The Conference Report satisfied half of that request; it was silent on the NSF mission, but did not disavow the Senate language. To clear up any confusion, Rep. Stokes wrote Brown that "The Senate language stands." But that doesn't mean the House will agree with it. According to Stokes, it means "the NSF needs to examine its policies in light of the Senate language." Once NSF has done so, Stokes promises to work with Brown to have the issues openly debated. Brown's complaint is that, although appropriations Report language is not legally binding, Executive Branch agencies see the language for what it is: "direct orders to be ignored at their peril." It is simply appropriation by intimidation. According to Brown, the result is "to substitute the view of a select few Members and their staffs for the orderly and open consideration of issues by all Members." 3. A TEAM OF FRENCH RESEARCHERS CLAIMS SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AT 250K! An artificial layered compound, grown epitaxially on a strontium titanate substrate, appeared to exibit superconductivity at almost double the existing 133K record. Previous claims at this temperature have not stood up, but this may be the strongest evidence so far. The paper was published in the 17 December 1993 Science magazine. The team leader, Michel Laques, believes the results should not be difficult for other groups to confirm. Robert L. Park opa@aps.org The American Physical Society


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