Rochester Rag January 1996
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ROCHESTER RAG January 1996

(formerly the _News from Detroit_)

Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for independance.

-- C.A. Beard


Steve Langer
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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,

"Given the budget won't be balanced, Clinton will be reelected and chaos
will come by the year 2050, explain how you and yours will evade the coming

No doubt there are those reading this very journal who hold Congress to blame for the govt. shutdown. Polls show the bulk of the populace does. Media pundits say that Rep. are irritating their constituents to the point that they will be thrown out in the next election - and they are probably right. What have the Reps. done to deserve this acrimony? They have committed the only sin that politics can never forgive, they are attempting to live up to what they campaigned on.

In the weeks just before the 94 election, Newt and other Reps. flaunted their "Contract with America." To refresh our memories, this is basically what the Contract contained:

 - Force Congress to live under the laws it passes on the rest of us.
  - Cut 1/3 of congressional staffers
  - cut the congressional budget
  - Balanced budget amendmant and line item veto
  - Stop violent criminals
  - Welfare reform
  - Protect our kids
  - Tax cuts for familys
  - Strong national defense
  - Raise senior citizens earning limit
  - Roll back govt. regulation
  - Legal reform (eg torte limits)
  - Term limits
Typical mean spirited Rep. stuff, Anyway, after their sweep of the Senate and House, Reps pointed to the Contract as the reason for victory. In my analysis of that time, I mentioned that polls showed the bulk of voters had no idea that there even was a contract.

Nevertheless, the incoming Rep. class held themselves to it and have tried to deliver. They have kept their word to bring all the points to a House vote in the first 100 days, but as we all know, passage in the House does not guarantee passage through the Senate or a Presidential signature. Nevertheless, the struggle to pass the arguably most important part of the Contract, a balanced budget, continues. Clinton himself promised during the campaign (then again, what didn't he) that he would institute budget schedules that would lead to a balanced budget at the end of his 2'nd term. Gee, that would have been a balanced budget in 8 years, so why is a Rep. plan to do it one year faster so heinous?

Well, of course we all know how many balanced budgets Bill has prepared - none. And the folks who actually are trying to do so are being villified by (to put it nicely) a somewhat biased media who call Rep. plans to increase Medicaid spending by more than what would have occurred under the Clinton Health plan "... the equivalent of a death sentence for the nation's poor and elderly." So here we are. The single best chance to stave off national bankruptcy will be lost, Clinton will be reelected if Dole is the Rep. alternative and Americans will get what they deserve. Good for us I say.

On the Wager

For those new readers out there, on the eve of Clinton's election I made a bet with the readership of this rag that the misery index, computed by adding up all the changes in the figures listed below, would be worse after Clinton's first term. The wager was that if the Misery Index (MI) got worse by x %, I would collect that portion of income from the admitted Clinton voters and divvy it up among the rest of us as an apology. If the MI was lower after Clinton, I would take that percentage of my personal income and spread it among the admitted Clinton voters. Oddly, not one Clinton voter had the courage to risk their own money as they did the nation's, but I track the MI anyway.

			   ---- Clinton budgets* --------
			  |                             |
	      | 1992    1993    1994    1995    1996    1997
Unemployment  | 7.2%    6.6%    5.6%    5.7
Inflation     | 4.7%    2.8%    2.9%
Interest      | 7.7%    8.3%    9.1     7.9
Fed. Inc. Tax | 28%     48%     48%     48
(top margin)  |
FICA          | 15%     15%     15%     15
Cap Gains     | 28%     28%     28%     28
Gasoline      | $0.15   $0.20   $0.20   $.20
(per gallon)  |  (0)    (+33%)  (+33%)
 MI (totl)      90.6    141.4   141.6  
 *The astute reader will notice that Clinton is assigned
 5, not four, budgets. Why? Because while Bush assembled
 most of the 93 budget, Clinton made his tax changes 
 retroactive to before he was President. Nice huh?
On the Media

OK, some long time readers may have the impression that I think the major media markets are liberally biased. Let's assume for a moment that I'm wrong. Explain the following:

Religion, gun rights, anti-tax and anti-big-govt. news spawns followup news shows. Contrast with: Where are the legions of investigative journalists to seek connections between the Unabomber, spiked trees and GreenPeace? Or lab animal releases with PETA? Perhaps conspiracy is unknown among liberal sacred cows.

On Myrrh

The three wise men supposedly brought the baby Jesus gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Why myrrh, an embalming fluid? Science has the answer. The current JAMA (J. of American Medical Assoc) announces that the herbs in myrrh are a pain killer. Mice on a hot plate with myrrh oinment on their feet took 3-4 times longer to start dancing around than those without.

On the State of the Union

On Jan. 23. President Clinton gave his state of the union address and was in full campaign mode. Among the major points in his speech:

I don't have the historical database to contest the first claim. The second is interesting, "... he's cut the deficit in half since 1991." Now how could he be responsible for deficit reduction that occured 2 years before he was sworn in? Could it be that h (Planck's constant) was set to 1 when I wasn't looking? Does the Uncertainty Principle now extend to the deficit and time, making it impossible to simulataneously know both with 100% accuracy? I think Clinton chose this date for two reasons. First, it was the peak deficit. Second (and not coincendentally) it was the year that the great S&L bailout was finally paid off, a recession began and interest rates fell to attempt to revive the economy. With less debt to pay, and a lower interest rate on it, of course the deficit fell. (Oh, and don't get all excited about blaiming the S&L debacle on Reagen's deregulation of them. Recall the loopholes that were left in by this group called the Keating 5 (all Dems) who recieved major campaign funds from S&L owners.)

The family values President wants a censorship chip. What the hell - why not? Under this Admin. we've seen moves to tap fiber optic phone lines, put govt. approved (read weak) encryption chips on personal computers, and internet snooping and censorship all go forward. Yet let Dan Quayle simply suggest that 2 parent families are better off than single, Christ, boiling in oil is too good for the baby hating, homophobic, sexist, racist (insert other cliches as appropriate) Nazi.

Raise the minimum wage. Better be careful here. May raise that unemployment rate that he's so proud of.

Put an army General in charge of the War on Drugs. Hmmm. I seem to recall a Constitutional prohibition against employing the military against domestic civilians, unless of course the RIKO laws wiped those limits away. Besides, I guess after Waco, anything is fair game.

Russian missiles are not pointed at us anymore. This Admin (including VP Algor, inventor of the internet, oops, InfoBahn) has a great talent for taking credit for things they had nothing to do with. Did Clinton preside over the dissolution of the "Evil Empire", the collapse of the USSR, or negotiate the missile reduction treaties? Besides, Russia still has (fewer) missiles and our subs still play tag with theirs in the oceans. The truly funny part is, Clinton tried to get away with this statement last year

 "For the first time since the Cold War, Russian missiles are no longer
  aimed at America's children."

  -- Bill CLinton, Jan. 24, 1995, State of the Union. (2 days after
     60 Minutes' Ed Bradley interviewd the Russian General of the
     Strategic Rocket Forces who stated his missiles are still aimed
     at the US)
Maybe Bill thought no one would remember, given the contagios amnesia which seems to afflict all of the principals in the Whitewater affair.

Guest Editorial:

Let's hear about the doers and the do nots.
Thomas Sowell, Detroit Free Press

People from non-english speaking nations are complaining that most of the things on the internet are in English. What did they expect, when the internet was invented by english speakers, namely Americans? Wouldn't it have been nice if the internet had been created by people who spoke every language in the world? Of course. This is just one of the many nice things that could have occurred if time and money were unlimited. The claim that non-English speakers will be at a disadvantage ignores the whole process by which economic and other benefits are created. The very reason that people invented the internet is that they intended to be better off afterwards. Should they be punished that their hopes were fulfilled?

This issue is important insofar as the fallacies that it represents are rampant in other issues as well. There is a tendency to take many benefits for granted, complain that they are not improvements and whine about what exists and what can be imagined. Since imagination is easier and cheaper than accomplishment, these people give themselves airs of idealism for being able to imagine something better than what exists. They celebrate a cheap substitute for reality. Underlying this is the assumption that wealth just exists and the only question is how to distribute it fairly. This mode of thought is typified by notions of the "rich" and the "poor" as if people were born with these fates stamped upon them. Comparisons of uneven distributions of wealth are made with no regard to the uneven distribution of contributions to that wealth.

Given this world view, it is not surprising that many journalists, academics and judges think there is something sinister about the fact that all groups are not statistically represented in all occupations and institutions. It also leads to little knowledge of the major institutions in this country, or the history of their development. Its as if these organizations just came into existence somehow to be tools of the powerful. Above all, there is little sense of how much damage can be done to the entrepeneureal spirit by loading it down with the idea that any resulting wealth has to be distributed as manna from the govt.


1. Beaumont Bruce wrotes:
From Thu Jan  4 15:36:48 1996
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 1996 15:36:25 -0500 (EST)
From: "Bruce Steinert, PhD - Urology Research" 
Subject: FW: Bosnia Airlift! (fwd)
To: Steve Langer 
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

Yo Steve,
So how are ya der hey. Thought you would find this amusing.

>       Cities of Sjlbvdnzv, Grzny to Be First Recipients
>        Before an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday,
> President Clinton announced US plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to
> the war-torn region of Bosnia.  The deployment, the largest of its kind
>in American history, will provide the region with the critically needed
>letters A,E,I,O and U, and is hoped to render countless Bosnian names
> more pronounceable.
>       "For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and
>Tzlynhr and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the
>world," Clinton said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up
>and say 'Enough.' It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some
> vowels in their incomprehensible words.  The US is proud to lead the
>crusade in this noble endeavour."
>       The deployment, dubbed Operation Vowel Storm by the State
> Department, is set for early next week, with the Adriatic port cities
>of Sjlbvdnzv and Grzny slated to be the first recipients.  Two C-130
> transport planes, each carrying over 500 24-count boxes of "E's," will
>fly from Andrews Air Force Base across the Atlantic and airdrop the
> letters over the cities.
>       Citizens of Grzny and Sjlbvdnzv eagerly await the arrival of
>the vowels.
> "My God, I do not think we can last another day," Trszg Grzdnjkln, 44,
>said. "I have six children and none of them has a name that is
> understandable to me or to anyone else.  Mr. Clinton, please send my
>poor,  wretched family just one 'E.' Please."
>       Said Sjlbvdnzv resident Grg Hmphrs, 67: "With just a few key
>letters, I could be George Humphries.  This is my dream."
>       The airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter to
>a foreign country since 1984.  During the summer of that year, the US
> shipped 92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities like Ouaouoaua,
>Eaoiiuae, and Aao with vital, life-giving supplies of L's, S's and T's.

2. Paul Campbell writes:

From Mon Jan 15 11:34:35 1996

I just read through a very long "liberal media rip" on Rush Limbaugh in which
(egads!) they actually used FACTS to rebut Rush's claims. There are still
gaping holes in a lot of parts (the parts that aren't just standard straw man
arguments and mud slinging). But there is some substance there.

The whole thing is available as:

I read through the other "anti-limbaugh" crap on the net..but there was
nothing else of substance. The "anti-Limbaugh" people seem to spend most of
their effort creating crude, tastless anti-limbaugh "art" (pictures, text,
animations), with nothing that could be called substance. The above piece
actually does have some factual content interspersed with the usual
list of suspects (substanceless attacks; relying on similarly flawed sources
such as the New England Journal of Medicine, other journalists, or anonymous
"experts"). I won't even bother with any other pointers because the stuff
doesn't deserve advertising. If you are so dead set on finding anti-limbaugh
crap, then go ahead and find the links on

As for myself, I find that Rush's claims are similarly rotten, but come on.
Some of the "evidence" is so stretched it is almost laughable.

Here are some examples from the report cited above:

LIMBAUGH: "Banks take the risks in issuing student loans and they
are entitled to the profits." (Radio show, quoted in FRQ,

FAIR: Banks take no risks in issuing student loans, which are
federally insured.

Reality: Both are totally wrong. The student takes the risk entirely. FDIC
pays pennies on the dollar if you can ever manage to collect. The banks are
paid by the federal government to make up the "lost interest". And we all get
screwed because the whole sham accelerates currency devaluation by supporting
the fractional banking system.

LIMBAUGH: "It has not been proven that nicotine is addictive, the
same with cigarettes causing emphysema [and other diseases]."
(Radio show, 4/29/94)

FAIR:  Nicotine's addictiveness has been reported in medical
literature since the turn of the century. Surgeon General C.
Everett Koop's 1988 report on nicotine addiction left no doubts on
the subject; "Today the scientific base linking smoking to a number
of chronic diseases is overwhelming, with a total of 50,000 studies
from dozens of countries," states Encyclopedia Britannica's 1987
"Medical and Health Annual."

Reality: CRAP! I went looking for a SINGLE substantial report on exactly what
the effects (and addictiveness) of nicotine are. I can't find anything,
anywhere. There is currently a raging debate IN THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY on the
effects of nicotine. The Surgeon General is hardly recognized as a "leading
authority" in the medical community..especially when he has an appointed
(political) office and the current office holder has maintained the same
substantially disproven myth about condom usage as an "effective" preventative
measure against A.I.D.S.

My personal hypothesis is that above and beyond the nicotine itself, I would
guess that smoke particles cause most of the trouble (which is in line with
other RECOGNIZED lung problems) for smoking, and that constant irritation
of tissue in the mouth causes problems with chewing tobacco (try sticking
grass or hay in your mouth as per the usual "chewing" methods and try to
tell me you don't have problems with irritation..I used to have a bad habit
of chewing on alfalfa when baling hay and small fibers would work their way
into my gums and cause problems over the next couple days).

LIMBAUGH: "If you have any doubts about the status of American
health care, just compare it with that in other industrialized
nations." (Told You So, p. 153)

FAIR: The United States ranks 19th in life expectancy and 20th
in infant mortality among 23 industrialized nations, according to
the CIA's 1993 World Fact Book. The U.S. also has the lowest health
care satisfaction rate (11 percent) of the 10 largest
industrialized nations (Health Affairs, vol. 9, no. 2).

Reality: The U.S. has the lowest "health care satisfaction rate" precisely
because of a bunch of loonies running about screaming about how hideous
the whole health care system is. This is aside from the fact that this is a
measure of public opinion and has no basis in reality.

Second, the only other two claims are infant mortality rates and life
expectancy rates. Both of these factors have more to do with lifestyles than
with health care. For instance, it is well recognized that the unusually long
life spans in Italy are caused by diet. It is also well recognized that there
are a large number of vehicle-related fatalities, but more people drive in the
United States than other countries. Valid comparisons would be by
mortality rates in hospitals, measures of physician malpractice, or survival
rates for various types of treatable serious ailments. None of that was done.

Some of the claims do have a basis in fact, though, such as:

LIMBAUGH: Denouncing Jeremy Rifkin of the Beyond Beef campaign as
an "ecopest": "Rifkin is bent out of shape because he says the
cattle consume enough grain to feed hundreds of millions of people.
The reason the cattle are eating the grain is so they can be
fattened and slaughtered, after which they will feed people, who
need a high protein diet."  (Ought To Be, p. 110)

REALITY: Sixteen pounds of grain and soy is required to produce one
pound of edible food from beef (USDA Economic Research Service). As
for needing a "high-protein diet," the World Health Organization
and U.S. Department of Agriculture recommend that from 4.5 percent
to 6 percent of daily calories come from protein. The amount of
calories from protein in rice is 8 percent; in wheat it's 17
percent (USDA Handbook No. 456).

Right on the money! Regardless of what the currently "recommended protein
requirement" is (I really question the claims of most dieticians these days
since there seems to be no general agreement among dieticians of anything at
all except "everything in moderation"), animals just add an extra layer of
processing (and food value loss) to the system from sunlight/soil minerals to
your mouth. If that was all there was to it, then why don't we use plants in
sterile, controlled environments when necessary and otherwise convert soil
in a chemical plant to little blocks of "generic nutrient bars"? After all,
the whole issue of "taste" is pretty much out the window now (textured
vegetable protein is all the rage these days with food engineers). Also,
cat fish have a "food to weight" conversion of about 2:1 vs. much larger
numbers (I forgot the exact figure..about 20:1 comes to mind) for mammals in
general, and cattle are way up there on the scale.

When they start selling LURPS (the current form of those "generic nutrient
bars") at a competitive price, I will probably buy them for lunch 3 days out
of the week. If they start making LURPS more interesting (currently they all
taste about like a cross between a hard biscuit like "Milkbones" and a granola
bar) so that they are at least enticing to eat, then I'll probably switch to
them for breakfast and lunch. But I seriously doubt they'll ever improve the
variety problem to the point where I will eat them for all three meals. The
only other problem with LURPS right now is that you have to drink lots of
liquids with them or they will give you the worst case of constipation you
ever experienced. What would be competitive? Well, $2-$3 a bar would be about

Also, since this is right up Steve's alley, what are the potential problems
with living permanently on a needle and not eating at all other than finding
new places to stick the thing because of collapsing veins? Could a little
tube be surgically inserted somewhere and you just plug in a fresh "cartridge"
whenever the old glucose bag runs out? This is a serious question since I can
see the potential application for invalids and people who are vegetables but
their families (or the doctors living off the insurance money) won't
voluntarily pull the plug.

Ed: What I know about medicine would not crowd a pack of matches. Perhaps Dr.'s Donahue and Potts can address this last point.

3. NC State Jeff writes;

From Mon Jan 22 14:36:04 1996

Dear Stevey,

Leigh and I plan to survive the coming catastrophe by moving in with you.
Can you send me your phone number so that I can contact you when
the catastrophe arrives?

hope things are fine, Jeff

P.S.  I also would like your phone number so that I can bother
you with questions about linux and find out how you're doing.

Ed: 507-281-5608

4. Texas Tom writes;

From Mon Jan 22 15:55:01 1996
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 15:55:18 -0500
Subject: Re: No Subject

>"Given that Clinton will be reelected, teh govt will go broke, etc.
>how will you and yours survive the coming catastrophe?"
If Clinton gets reelected, I don't think it will matter as much as whether
the Republicans in the Congress and Senate are reelected.  Clinton will
probably stop some riders on bills and stuff, but in general, big business
will probably run rampant all over everything.  I wish all this Balanced
Budget stuff would leave education alone, regardless of party.


P.S.  Why does the Rochester Rag get sent to the hero from Clear and Present

Ed: Jack Ryan is the nom-de-plume of a reader who is aliasing himself for reasons of national security.

5. Doug Wilken has some historical perspective.

From Tue Jan 23 10:51:33 1996

My Dear Steven,

I see that you are predicting a collapse similar to the
German Republic of the 1920's.  I think our economic system
is in much better shape and that you are overlooking something
very important:  regardless of what happens to the Republicans
-- and I think they have done some incredibly stupid and short
sighted moves in all of this -- they have forced the issue of
balancing the budget into prominence.  The consensus is now
that the budget must be balanced.  That is an accomplishment
in and of itself.

Now we are going to have quite the national hangover as we recover
from this rather excessive drinking bout.  We could have gone thru
recovery almost painlessly back in 1980.  It's gonna hurt now, but
I think that we will do it.

I am of the opinion that President Clinton does want to balance
the budget, he just does not want the opposition to get the credit
for it.  Gingrich comes across the same way.  I must admit that
when recently Gingrich and Dole were bending over a log trying to
get Clinton to agree to a budget and Clinton essentially moved
his proposed budget numbers even farther away I did feel (and still
do) a certain level of disgust......

Have you noticed that the DFL has gone into campaign mode?  We were
watching the CBS sitcom's last Monday and an ad came on how the
Gingrich and Dole were trying to poison the environment, starve
children, cause old people to die from negligence, etc.  Good grief,
we are starting to see levels of falsehood similar to those propagated
by the British Empire on the American media during the 1st world war.
And I was disgusted by the "willie horton" ads run by the Bush campaign.

How can any thinking being (hopefully the general public) think that a
minor change in a program is going to lead to mass extinction?  Good
grief, have any of these people being polled bothered to run any numbers
through a calculator?

You want to know aggravation?  Senator Wellstone was on the St. Cloud
State Campus two weeks ago and I could not attend the public forum
due to class stuff.  He is one of the most outspoken accusors of republican
"plans to crush the helpless".  I wanted to get a question in to actually
pin him down on some numbers rather than sharp yet vague accusations.

I'm not sure too many of the media types have run any decent analyses
of budget numbers either.  They quote figures in the range of $200 Giga
and neglect to state that these are over a seven year interval and
amount to about 2% of our $1.5 trillion "budget" right now.  Argh.

Got to love those federal furloughs.  All this media attention on the
poor suffering gov't workers.  If I were a gov't worker being furloughed
here is my survival procedure:  (1) call my creditors and (2) explain
that I am temporarily furloughed but all backpay will be forthcoming
in short order so not to worry.  Creditors will work with you if you have
a good track record and run into problems.

How much attention did the AT&T layoffs really get?  How about USWest
layoffs?  I walked into Fingerhut (my 2nd job) and got a pink slip --
they loved my work, they were just cutting back and I was the new guy.
I didn't notice NBC out there bemoaning the fate of the droves of
Fingerhut layoffs either.  Any of us in the private and semi-private
sectors have the same insecurities.

Obviously, the solution is that everyone have a federal job, right?

-Doug Wilken

Ed: I seem to recall a similar level of euphoria during the passage of Gramm-Rudman. Yahoo.

6. Our man in Britannia writes;

From Wed Jan 24 07:13:19 1996

> "Given that Clinton will be reelected, teh govt will go broke, etc.
> how will you and yours survive the coming catastrophe?"

Steve, don't get me wrong, but I thought the government was broke
years ago!  Therefore, this is nothing new.  The last 2 times in
recent history that the US government had a chance at balancing the
budget was JFK and Nixon.  Under JFK, there as actually a surplus one
year, but that situation was quickly remedied.  Nixon's attempt was
stopped by the Supreme Court since it was unconstitutional, which is
different than being right or wrong.

Well to survive the "coming catastrophe", I will stay in the
U.K. where the Tories (Conservatives but not like Republicans) will
loose the next election (whenever that is) to the Labour Party
(Liberal but not like the Democrats and recently a lot more like the
Tories).  The UK probably won't join the single European currancy
until it is too late and will cost the country much more.  So who
knows where it will all end up.  At least Hillary is not running the
Government over here.


   David H. Gay                               email:
   Royal Institution of Great Britain
   21 Albemarle Street                        Phone:  +44 (0)171-409-2992
   LONDON W1X 4BS, UK                         Fax:    +44 (0)171-629-3569
	"640K ought to be enough for anybody"
		-- Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, 1981

From Wed Jan 24 10:50:25 1996

My Answer:

I hope that Bill Clinton's winning the '96 election is not a forgone
conclusion. I'm desperatly looking toward other Republicans to bear the
standard of conservatism in govt. Perhaps Forbes, Dornan or Keyes? We'll
see how they shake out in the coming months. Even Dole would be better than

As to the second part of the question: too late! The govt. is already
broke! That's why we're presently trying to downsize govt. and balance the
budget, etc. Let us not forget the countrie's moral bankruptcy as well...
Conservatives stand the best chance of dealing with these issues as well
(in as much as a govt. can. It's really up to us to be responsible for our
own actions. WE must be the moral agents of change. We lead by example.)

In the meantime, Exercise all the tax deductions and loopholes you can and
keep smiling! :)

Joe Nottoli

"Caffeine is the fuel of creativity!"

Ed: Problem is, I don't think any of the announced Reps. have a chance.

Quotes(s) of the month:

"America was built on challenges - not promises."

-- Jan. 23, 1996. Bill Clinton's State of the Union Address. Explaining why it doesn't matter if he and his wife are congenital liars.

Fix of the month:

"Should the physics community in the US adopt professional birth control (to ease the employment shortage) as the AMA has done for medicine?"



1. Dec. 28, Minneapolis: Govnr Carlson announced that a year of stepped up police activity including massive foot patrols, no-knock house raids, and frequent random car searches, has paid dividends in the war on crime in the Twin Cities. Carson also boasted that 150 illegal handguns were confiscated. Despite these "stunning" sucesses, the murder rate set a new yearly record - 95 and counting - nearly double last year's 65.

2. Rochester, Jan 27. : Snow fell in record amounts this month leading to lots of snow days from school, and very busy bars.

New York

1. Jan. 9: While the blizzard of '96 dumped 21 inches of snow on the city, delegates to the UN Global Warming Conference were turned away from JFK Airport and the conference had to be re-scheduled.

Ed: By the way, I also saw a cover of Newsweek (Jan. 22 1996) that laid the blame for the snow on global warming. Recall I predicted this in the last issue.

Wash. D.C.

1. Dec. 30: Secy of Energy Hazel O'Leary (near and dear to physicists as the women who presided over the shutdown of the SSC) is now fighting for her political survival. It is alleged that her luxurious jetting around the globe has cost tax payers $650 Million - and that for merely 2 of her trips.

2. Jan 4: XMas sales showed subnormal growth this year as consumers were reluctant to use credit for purchases.

3. Jan. 9: Paula Jones, who gained notoriaty during the 92 Presidential election by claiming that she was one of Clinton's lust interests during his governorship, won her case in federal court to sue Clinton for sexual harassment while Clinton is still President.

4. Jan 19: Hillary Clinton has been subpeoned for story on the Whitewater affair.

5. Jan 30: Polls show consumer confidence at a two year low. The White House claims that this is due to concerns about the Congress halting the govt. and causing another recession.

Ed: Of course, last week in the State of the Union, Clinton said it was the best economy in 27 years due to his policies. Tough to keep up with this guy.


1. Jan 4: An Italian UN Peacekeeper was intentially shot today in the first breach of the peace that was due to hostile Serb intentions. Previously, an American was injured when his vehicle hit a mine. Meanwhile, Secy of State William Perry flew over the area in the bullet proofed cockpit of a rotary wing troop carrier.

Net News;

1. I just thought these were neat.
The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News
Number 253  January 4, 1996  by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein

CERN.  Physicists from a Julich/Erlangen-Nuernberg/GSI/Genoa
collaboration passed a beam of antiprotons through a jet of xenon
gas.  Occasionally, some of the antiproton's own energy can be
converted into electron-positron pairs.  In the case of nine events,
the newly created positron's motion was well matched to that of the
antiproton and they formed an atom, in effect an atom of
antihydrogen.  Antimatter has been produced in the lab artificially
for decades; antiprotons, for example, were first produced in the
1950s.  The positron was first discovered in the 1930s.  But not
until now have anti-atoms been made and detected.  The Low
Energy Antiproton Ring (LEAR) at CERN makes it possible to
slow antiprotons down sufficiently to perform a variety of physics
experiments, including the insertion of antiprotons into ordinary
atoms and the creation of anti-atoms. In the present experiment, the
anti-hydrogen atoms were not trapped, and very quickly annihilated
with ordinary matter in the vicinity.  Scientists at CERN hope soon
to actually capture and study the new exotic atoms.  First of all,
one wants to be sure that all the physical laws that pertain to
atoms---such as quantum mechanics---also govern the behavior of
antimatter as well.  (CERN press release, 4 Jan.)

lectures, Richard Feynman imagined an experiment that explored
what would happen when you shine light at an object passing
through an interferometer, a device that can split the object into a
pair of wavelets which are later recombined to produce an
interference pattern.  This experiment has been unrealizable in
electron and neutron interferometers because neither type of
particle interacts strongly with light.  Now, using their atom
interferometer, an MIT team has shone single photons on atoms
inside the interferometer.  As Feynman correctly described,
scattering a photon from an object inside the interferometer can
destroy its wave properties.  If one can in principle determine a
pathway for the atom by detecting the position of the scattered
photon, then the object acts as a particle.  On the other hand, if the
two atom-wave paths are separated by less than about one-half the
wavelength of the light, a scattered photon can no longer provide
information on which path the atom traversed, so the wave
properties are not destroyed. In a variant of the experiment, the
group detected only those atoms that scattered photons in a narrow
range of directions.  As it turns out, the once-washed-out
interference patterns reappear at the sacrifice of information about
the paths the atoms took.  (Michael Chapman et al, Phys. Rev.
Lett., 20 November 1995.)

A GIGANTIC CELESTIAL MASER provides evidence for the
presence of a supermassive black hole in an active galaxy.
Theorists believe that in galactic masers coherent microwaves are
produced and amplified within gas clouds; the energy supply would
come from a nearby black hole.  The new maser is ten times more
powerful than any previous specimen.  Furthermore, the
astronomers at the Max Planck Institute (Germany) who discovered
the new water-vapor giga-maser believe that it hints at the
existence of yet more powerful masers at higher red shifts and that
the study of such distant objects may facilitate an alternative
measurement of the Hubble constant.  (Koekemoer et al., Nature,
14 December 1995.)

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