What's New for Dec 21, 2001
una at LANL.GOV
Mon Jan 7 08:26:41 CST 2002
Items 1 and 3 below may be of interest to TAXACOM readers.
>WHAT'S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 21 Dec 01 Washington, DC
>1. REMOTE CENSORING: HHS IS GIVEN AUTHORITY TO CLASSIFY. It's no
>secret that restricting the spread of scientific knowledge is one
>of the responses to terrorism being considered in Washington at
>the highest levels. The story is that the head of one scientific
>society was summoned to the White House and admonished that a few
>papers published in the society's journals might have aided
>terrorists. It's reminiscent of the 1980's, when societies were
>pressured to exclude papers from open scientific meetings if they
>dealt with "sensitive but unclassified" information that might
>aid Soviet weapons scientists. What's different today is that
>the society feeling the pressure is in the biological rather than
>physical sciences. Marty Blume, the APS Editor in Chief reports
>that he has not been contacted since Sep 11. Although he's not
>unhappy to be ignored, Blume was somewhat chagrined that physics
>has become so irrelevant. According to the New York Times, the
>President just granted the Secretary of Health and Human Services
>power to classify information as "Secret." So much for Clinton's
>policy of reducing reliance on classification. As for WN, some
>people still think it should be censored, but that's not news.
>2. SECRECY: APS POSITION ON FREEDOM OF SCIENTIFIC COMMUNICATION.
>In 1986 WN carried the first report of what the FBI called "the
>library awareness program." FBI agents, who resembled Elliot
>Ness less than Inspector Clouseau, asked a University of Maryland
>librarian for circulation records of "persons with East European
>or Russian sounding names" (WN 5 Sep 86). The librarian refused.
>The APS council had already affirmed its support for "the
>unfettered communication of scientific ideas and knowledge that
>are not classified" http://www.aps.org/statements/83.2html .
>3. BUDGET: CONGRESS IS STRUGGLING TO ADJOURN TODAY. But it still
>hasn't finished three of the 13 FY 2002 appropriations bills.
>Unappropriated programs are running on the seventh continuing
>resolution. It expires today. Meanwhile, the White House is
>already working on its 2003 budget request. The darling seems to
>be NSF with its strict peer review and low overhead. More than
>95% of the agency's budget goes to support research. However,
>the 8.5% budget increase is not quite what it seems. For
>example, it includes the transfer of several laboratories and
>programs to NSF, including three Smithsonian programs: the
>Astrophysical Laboratory, the Tropical Research Institute and the
>Environmental Center. You may or may not find that to be a good
>idea, but it's not new money.
>4. OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY: SPECTACULAR LATE DECEMBER WEATHER. Even
>as I type these last words (2:22pm)we reach the winter solstice.
>Meanwhile, Francis Slakey is in his official running garb to run
>a leg of the torch relay from the Capitol steps (WN 14 Dec 01).
>THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY and THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND.
>Opinions are the author's and are not necessarily shared by the
>American Physical Society or the University, but they should be.
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Mailstop K-710, Los Alamos, NM 87545
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