From: LARRY KLAES (ljk4_at_msn.com)
Date: Sat Aug 23 2003 - 16:20:30 PDT
----- Original Message -----
From: What's New
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2003 6:28 PM
To: What's New
Subject: WHAT'S NEW Friday, 22 Aug 03
WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 22 Aug 03 Washington, DC
1. HOMELAND SECURITY: REPORT CITES FAILURE TO SHARE INFORMATION.
British diplomats used to receive hardship pay for being sent to
either Washington or Calcutta in August. Congress is on August
recess, and only congressional committee staff and the people who
bring you What's New are left in Washington (WN 8 Aug 03). The
Minority Staff of the Senate Government Affairs Committee, under
Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, issued a 46 page report alleging
the Administration has failed to inform state and local officials
about terrorist threats, watch lists, and investigations in their
jurisdictions. The problem may be real, but the motivation for
the report is unquestionably political. After all, it's August.
2. FULL DISCLOSURE: SCIENTISTS OR "ACADEMIC ENTREPRENEURS"? In
letters sent yesterday to editors of both Science and Nature, a
group of 30 prominent scientists urged the journals to require
authors to disclose any financial ties to companies or products
that stand to benefit financially from their articles. It was on
the letterhead of the Center for Science in the Public Interest,
a nutrition advocacy organization, and cited specific examples of
recent articles or editorials that omitted disclosure. The APS
Guidelines for Professional Conduct are Clear: "Any professional
relationship or action that may result in a conflict of interest
must be disclosed." www.aps.org/statements/02.2.html
3. ENVIRONMENT: WANT TO STOP FOREST FIRES? GET RID OF THE TREES.
The WN editor is qualified to comment on anything having to do
with trees. The President was in Oregon today raising campaign
funds and promoting his Healthy Forest Initiative. He did well
on the fund raising. His forest experts are lumber companies.
They offered to help and promised to thin out all those old-
growth trees that are the real problem. The White House images
of a "healthy" forest always look like a manicured park, while
the environmentalists conjure up a tangle of undergrowth choking
the unshaded ground. It reminds WN of Ronald Reagan's comment
when asked about a plan to log a redwood preserve: "When you've
seen one redwood," he said, "you've seen 'em all."
4. MARS: IT'S NEVER BEEN A DAY AT THE BEACH. Mars enthusiasts
have been quick to infer from the scantiest of evidence that Mars
was once warm and wet. Not to worry, they insist, once we're
there we'll be able to tap into all that subterranean water for
drinking and even convert some of it into rocket fuel for the
trip home (WN 7 Jun 02). Uh, before you go off to Mars with no
water for the trip home, maybe you should take a look at the
Science magazine issue that came out today. At an International
Mars Conference at Caltech in July, planetary scientists threw
frozen water on the warm-Mars myth: "Although water has at times
flowed across the Martian surface, it has not lingered as a
liquid long enough to alter the planet much chemically."
(Our thanks to Andrew Essin, the 2003 What's New Summer Intern.
This year he will be on a scholarship at Cambridge University.)
THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND and THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY.
Opinions are the author's and are not necessarily shared by the
University or the American Physical Society, but they should be.
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