]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]         POTPOURRI          [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[
                   Compiled by Oleg Panczenko        (2/16/1990)
                      (Freeman 10602PANC)


The Following is from Nature 343, 398 (1 February 1990):

   Sagan appeals to world religious leaders


   Astronomer Carl  Sagan and 22  other well-known researchers
   chose Moscow as  the unlikely venue for  an appeal to world
   religious  leaders  in protecting  the  global environment.
   The appeal came  at a recent  conference on the environment
   and economic  development which  attracted over  a thousand
   religious,  political   and  scientific   leaders  from  83

      Ironically,  Sagan  traveled to  the  officially atheist
   Soviet  Union  to  announce  ``a  religious  as  well  as a
   scientific dimension''  to the  problems of  global change.
   Even more remarkable, the  conference was sponsored by both
   the  USSR  Academy  of Sciences  and  the  Russian Orthodox

      The  appeal  states  that  ``efforts  to  safeguard  and
   cherish the environment need to be infused with a vision of
   the sacred.''  Among those who have given their backing are
   physicist  Hans Bethe,  evolutionary biologist  Stephen Jay
   Gould and former MIT president Jerome Weisner.

      The appeal certainly reached a global audience.  It, and
   other parts of he five-day  conference, were the first ever
   to be televised with satellite time provided jointly by the
   East  and  West  communications  networks  Intersputnik and
   Intelsat and reached an estimated audience of 2,000 million
   people  in 129  countries.  Later  at the  conference, more
   than 100 religious  leaders joined to  hail the scientists;
   appeal  as  ``a  unique   moment  and  opportunity  in  the
   relationship of science and religion''.

                                                  Seth Shulman


Nicolae Ceausescu knew how much electricity people really needed.
Too bad he's dead.

The Following is from Nature 343, 399 (1 February 1990):

   Utilities see the green light

   San Francisco

   California's  electric-power companies  are  making friends
   with   their   long-time  enemies   in   environmental  and
   consumer-protection groups  and discovering  the surprising
   fact that there may be  money in not generating electricity
   -- or at least no more than is really needed.

      In a new  scheme proposed last  week, cash rewards would
   be    paid   to    consumers    adopting   energy-efficient
   technologies.    The   utilities   see   energy  efficiency
   benefiting  them  because  they will  have  to  invest less
   capital in new  power plants and  purchase less electricity
   from alternate sources.

      The  plan  brings  together  most  of  California's  big
   electric-power  companies,  the  Natural  Resources Defense
   Council and  the consumer organization  Toward Utility Rate
   Normalization   (TURN),   as   well   as   industry   trade
   associations and government agencies.

      In  submitting   the  plan  to   the  California  Public
   Utilities  Commission  (CPUC)  for  consideration,  backers
   claimed that  a $500-million  investment over  the next two
   years would result in savings of more than $1,000 million.

      Rewards  would  go  both to  the  small  and  the large:
   Pacific Gas and Electric,  the largest US electric utility,
   talks  of  rebates  of  up  to  $100  for  the  purchase of
   energy-efficient   refrigerators   and   air  conditioners,
   $15,000 for commercial  customers installing more efficient
   equipment  and  $300,000  for  large  industrial  customers
   building plants using the latest energy-saving technology.

      Participants stress that the  plan is not yet finalized.
   Each utility has outlined  different means of achieving its
   energy-conservation  goals  and   redistributing  the  cost
   savings  to shareholders  and  ratepayers.  By  the  end of
   March, CPUC is  expected to establish  several test studies
   to determine which are more efficient.
                                                 Robert Buderi

THE GREENHOUSE: WE NEED THAT CO2 BLANKET! -----------------------

The Following is from Nature 343, 404 (1 February 1990):

   Sir  -- The  study of  the oxygen-18  content of  the CaCO3
   shells  of  marine  organisms  by,  for  example,  Emiliani
   (Science 202, 627; 1978) has shown convincingly that we are
   living  at the  zenith  of the  present  Interglacial.  The
   presence of an atmospheric  CO2 blanket should therefore be
   considered as a blessing for the coming 50,000 years.
                                                  A.J. Rutgers
   Antw. Steenw. 915,
   9040 Oostakker,


The Following is from Nature 343, 497 (8 February 1990):

   Sex selection continues in Maharastra


   Legislative attempts  to prevent the  selective abortion of
   female fetuses in India's  western state of Maharastra have
   failed, according  to an  Indian pressure  group, the Forum
   against Sex Determination and  Sex Pre-Selection.  In 1988,
   Maharastra  enacted  India's strictest  legislation  on the
   issue,  banning  the  use of  amniocentesis  for  fetal sex
   determination.  But the political  will needed to implement
   the   act  has   failed   to  materialize   and  nationwide
   legislation  on   the  misuse  of   medical  techniques  in
   sex-selective abortion is still lacking.

     The  Maharastra  act lays  down  detailed  procedures for
   complaints.  But in a recent  test case, the forum found it
   was impossible to get the government to take action against
   a clinic that advertised sex determination services.
                                              Radhakrishna Rao

ANIMAL RIGHTS: FROM THE ASS'S MOUTH -----------------------------

Richard D.  Ryder introduced  the word  `speciesism' in  his book
Victims of  Science (1975), where  he drew parallels  with it and
racism.   This  crank  has   now  written  another  book,  Animal
Revolution:   Changing   Attitudes   Towards   Speciesism  (Basil
Blackwell, 1989).


 From David Asman, ``Panama's Hong Kong Vision'', The Wall Street
Journal, 15 February 1990, p. A14:3:

      In 1965 U.S. Marines  invaded and occupied the Dominican
   Republic.   While many  Dominicans criticized  the invasion
   itself, few objected  to a second  invasion: the landing of
   economists  sent in  by the  U.S. Agency  for International
   Development  to  ``restructure''   the  country's  economy.
   Restructure they did, and  the result became the foundation
   for a highly regulated economy --  one that has led to huge
   public-se   Go;n deficits,  entrenched do-nothing bureaucrats,
   a price-regulated market  and the arrest  for corruption of
   many top bureaucrats, including a former president.

EMPLOYER'S RIGHTS: YOU MUST BE JOKING! --------------------------

An interesting article is  David Orentlicher, ``Genetic Screening
by Employers'', Journal of  the American Medical Association 263,
1005, 1008 (16 February 1990).

GREENHOUSE: WHO'S AN EXPERT? ------------------------------------

Stephen  H.  ``Greenhouse''  Schneider's  PhD  is  in  Mechanical
Engineering  (Columbia University,  1971), according  to American
Men and Women of Science, 1989-90.

                            *      *      *

Return to the ground floor of this tower
Return to the Main Courtyard
Return to Fort Freedom's home page