What's New for Jun 28, 2002
- WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 28 Jun 02 Washington, DC
1. FREE ENERGY: APS BOARD SPEAKS OUT ON PERPETUAL MOTION. Well,
it's not exactly the frontier of physics research, but somebody
had to say it. Already this year we've had the Jasker Power
System (WN 25 Jan 02), Chukanov Quantum Energy (WN 8 Feb 02), and
the Motionless Electromagnetic Generator (WN 5 Apr 02). Not to
mention Bubble Fusion (WN 1 Mar 02), hydrino rockets (WN 21 Jun
02), and whatever scam Dennis Lee is running now (WN 3 May 02).
So, on Saturday, 22 June, the Executive Board of the American
Physical Society unanimously adopted the following statement:
"The Executive Board of the American Physical Society
is concerned that in this period of unprecedented
scientific advance, misguided or fraudulent claims of
perpetual motion machines and other sources of
unlimited free energy are proliferating. Such devices
would directly violate the most fundamental laws of
Nature, laws that have guided the scientific advances
that are transforming our world."
2. COUNTER-TERRORISM: ACADEMY STUDY EXAMINES THE ROLE OF SCIENCE.
"In the war against terrorism," the President declared on 6 June,
"America's vast science and technology base provides us with a
key advantage." In a report released this week, a huge committee
of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of
Engineering and the Institute of Medicine, lists actions that
need to be taken immediately to protect the nation: controlling
nuclear materials, producing vaccines, improving ventilation
systems, etc. That'll fix 'em. The report will be examined
carefully by terrorists, not to discover new opportunities--there
are lots of those--but to scratch old ideas off their list.
3. CYBER-TERRORISM: WAS THAT ON THE ACADEMY LIST? The FBI is
watching suspicious electronic "visits" to digital systems that
control such things as flood gates in dams, reactor cooling in
nuclear power plants, and air traffic. The possibility that such
controls might be manipulated raises the specter of the Internet
being used, not just to disrupt or shut down facilities, but to
turn them into weapons. It demonstrates how difficult it is to
anticipate where or how terrorists might strike.
4. DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION: SENATE BILL CREATES A DILEMMA FOR BUSH.
The White House made it clear that any bill that cut $814M from
missile defense, as the Democratic version did, would get vetoed.
In a classic compromise, the money was restored, but the language
left it to the President to decide whether to spend it on defense
against non-existent missiles or in the war against terrorism.
Why not both? Just hire Arthur Anderson to keep the books.
(Christy Fernandez assisted with this week's What's New.)
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.