James Randi --- Wizard (
2 Aug 1997 22:59:42 -0000

As if we weren't scared enough of promised millennial disasters, we
now have to face up to politicians who have little grasp of what the
real world consists of. Decdes ago, there was a proposal before the
Oregon legislature to change the mathematical constant pi from
3.14159.... to 3.0, this simplifying matters for everyone. Though the
measure passed the lower house, it was ignored from then on, and did
not become law. Now, according to "News of the World" from the
American Physical Society's Bob Park, a government project to study
ionospheric plasmas, which was to have been located in Canada near the
North Pole (a very advantageous position for such a project) had
prompted Senate Appropriations Committee chair Ted Stevens (R-AK) to
ask that the National Science Foundation move the location to Alaska.
Are we going to move the North Pole just to bring money into an
American locality? I strenuously object!

Park also reports that Wayne Jonas, the National Institutes of Health,
Office of Alternative Medicine Director, in arguing the incredible
homeopathic claim that biological information can be stored in water
and transmitted through wires, asks, "Even though this concept is
implausible, the potential implications it holds for understanding
basic biological and cellular communication are enormous. Can we not
afford to invest a small amount in pursuit of this question?" It's
been done, Wayne. Many times. "Small amounts" and very large
amounts. It fails examination. How many times must it be done,
before we toss this idea out with the rest of the quackery that the
OAM delights in?

Thank you for the initial response to the announced workshop, October
31-November 2!


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