WHAT'S NEW (in my opinion), Friday, 25 Feb 1994 Washington, DC 1. A +quot;WHITE PAPER+quot
WHAT'S NEW (in my opinion), Friday, 25 Feb 1994 Washington, DC
1. A "WHITE PAPER" ON "BIG SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION" was
released by George Brown at the AAAS Meeting in San Francisco last Saturday.
Brown, chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, proposed
three initiatives: 1) in the short-term, all research projects in excess of
$50M should be required to have Congressional authorization (the SSC never
did) to help ensure sustained Congressional support; 2) in the mid-term,
OSTP should prepare a forecast of the big-science projects that will be
needed through 2010; and 3) in the long-term, a panel drawn from the G-7
nations should establish big-science priorities.
2. BROWN PLEDGES TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT AGAINST ACADEMIC EARMARKS! At a
press conference in San Francisco, he declared his intention to use the NSF
authorization to bar any university that accepts earmarked funds from
receiving NSF grants. Unfortunately, some of the major beneficiaries of
earmarks, such as Wheeling Jesuit College, have probably never had an NSF
grant; still, it would be an effective deterrent for research universities.
At a session on "Science After the SSC," APS President Burton Richter
deviated from his prepared talk to comment on the controversy. The SS&T
Committee is enlightened, he said, because it conducts real hearings to
establish the facts. "But it is not the SS&T Committee that has been making
science policy. You need only look at the reports of the appropriations
committees. They hold no hearings and take no evidence; the reports express
the opinions of a few staffers....Science has to become an interest group;
it has to express itself strongly. If it does not, a few people will make
science policy and take that policy in an irrational direction."
3. ALTERNATIVE SCIENCE: SPY CASE REVIVES POLYGRAPH CONTROVERSY! The arrest
of Aldrich Ames, former head of counterintelligence at the CIA, focused
attention on the CIA's reliance on lie detectors to ferret out moles. Ames
took scores of polygraph exams over the years, and never flunked once. Is
it possible lie detectors lie? Recall the 1986 case of Larry Chin, a career
CIA analyst and spy for China; he also fooled the polygraph. In 1983 I was
waiting to testify before the House Security Subcommittee. OTA Director John
Gibbons was summarizing a study of the scientific validity of the polygraph
for the subcommittee. Loosely paraphrased, Gibbons was explaining that
these things couldn't distinguish between a lie and the sex act. Seated
next to me was General Richard Stillwell (ret.) of the CIA. He had no idea
who I was, but he could contain himself no longer; leaning toward me,
Stillwell muttered, "I wish these damn scientists would leave intelligence
to the experts."
4. THE BULLETIN OF THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY GOES ON-LINE! Beginning
with the March Meeting in Pittsburgh, you can request an e-mail version of
the Bulletin. Send your e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your
e-mail address in the message. The Bulletin will contain epitome, sessions,
and titles and authors.
Robert L. Park email@example.com The American Physical Society
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank