HEADLINE NEWS, SCIENCE VIEWS

Edited by

DAVID JARMUL

National Research Council

National Academy of Sciences

National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1991



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Headline News, Science Views HEADLINE NEWS, SCIENCE VIEWS Edited by DAVID JARMUL National Research Council National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1991

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Headline News, Science Views NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Headline news, science views / David Jarmul, editor; National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, National Research Council. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 0-309-04480-4: $24.95. — ISBN 0-309-04384-0 (pbk.): $14.95 1. Science news —United States. 2. Science —Social aspects— United States. 3. Technology —Social aspects—United States. I. Jarmul, David. II. National Research Council (U.S.) Q225.H43 1991 303.48'3—dc20 91-7480 CIP Copyright © 1991 by the National Academy of Sciences No part of this book may be reproduced by any mechanical, photographic, or electronic process, or in the form of a phonographic recording, nor may it be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or otherwise copied for public or private use, without written permission from the publisher, except for the purposes of official use by the U.S. government. Printed in the United States of America

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Headline News, Science Views Contents     Foreword Frank Press   ix     Editor's Note   xiii 1   SCIENCE AND NON-SCIENTISTS         Getting the Facts Straight About Science Bill Cosby   3     Who Killed Yankee Ingenuity? Steven L. Goldman   6     On an Antidote for Science Phobia Ben Patrusky   9     Physics for Poets, Science for Society Leon M. Lederman   11     Making Sense of a Risk-Filled World John Ahearne   14     Making the Link Between Science and Politics Thomas H. Kean   16

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Headline News, Science Views 2   TECHNOLOGY IN EVERYDAY LIFE         Making Our School Buses Safer Charley V. Wootan   21     A Computer Future Without a Heart Samuel H. Fuller and Damian M. Saccocio   24     Toward Motoring Smart Robert D. Ervin and Kan Chen   27     Easing the Crunch at Our Airports Joseph M. Sussman   30     Protecting Our Phones from Terrorism John C. McDonald   33     The New Arsenal of Democracy Robert B. Kurtz   35     Building Houses People Can Afford Ezra Ehrenkrantz   39     Designing for an Aging America Sara J. Czaja   41     Preparing for the Next Big Natural Disaster Richard E. Hallgren   44     Our $1.5 Trillion Investment Robert F. Jortberg   46     Tough Choices About Rising Sea Level Robert G. Dean   48 3   A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE         Uncertainty and the Greenhouse Effect Robert M. White   55     Saving Sea Turtles John J. Magnuson   57     Who Owns Antarctica? Hugh Downs   60     Genetically Engineered Organisms: Monsters or Miracles? Nina Fedoroff   62     Rethinking Radioactive Waste Disposal Frank L. Parker   65

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Headline News, Science Views     Toward a Sustainable Agriculture John Pesek   67     The Paradox of Pesticides Michael R. Taylor and Charles M. Benbrook   69     Agriculture and Water Quality Jan van Schilfgaarde   72     Exploring the Mysteries of 'Deep Ecology' James D. Nations   74 4   THE NATION'S HEALTH         Food and Health Arno G. Motulsky   81     The Spitting Image: Baseball Players and Chewing Tobacco John C. Greene   83     Clearing Our Vision About Alcohol Abuse Robert D. Sparks   86     Needless Infertility Howard W. Jones, Jr.   88     Who Is Going to Deliver Baby? Roger J. Bulger   91     Accidents Are Not Always Accidental Susan S. Gallagher   94     Changing Behavior to Limit the Spread of AIDS Heather Miller and Marshall Becker   96     The Dilemma of AIDS Drug Experiments Robin Weiss and Theodore Cooper   99     Identifying What Works in Medicine Samuel O. Thier   101 5   MAKING SENSE OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS         Confronting the Facts in American Race Relations Gerald David Jaynes and Robin M. Williams, Jr.   107     Homeless Children: An Emerging Tragedy Ellen L. Bassuk   110

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Headline News, Science Views     The Gender Wage Gap Robert T. Michael   112     Child Care in Disarray John L. Palmer   115     Effective Drug Treatment Lawrence S. Lewin and Dean R. Gerstein   117     Making Sense of Statistics in the Courtroom Stephen E. Fienberg and Miron L. Straf   120     The Economics of Reality Richard H. Thaler   122 6   SCIENTIFIC HORIZONS         Knowing About Trees John C. Gordon   127     Together to Mars—But with Deliberation Eugene H. Levy   130     The Less-Noticed Worldwide Revolution Peter H. Raven   133     Searching for Buried Treasure Charles A. Bookman   136     The Energy Crisis Beyond the Persian Gulf David L. Morrison   138     The Challenge to Human Uniqueness Herbert A. Simon   141     Making a Map of the Human Chromosomes Bruce M. Alberts   144     Developing New Contraceptive Options Luigi Mastroianni, Jr.   146     Farewell to the Night Sky David L. Crawford   149     Setting Our Science, Priorities in Order Frank Press   151 7   INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS         Getting Even in International Technology H. Guyford Stever   157

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Headline News, Science Views     The Growing International Competition for Brain Power Peter W. Likins   160     Industrial Cooperation in Japan: It's Not What We Think George R. Heaton, Jr.   162     Offering Tools for Soviet Democracy Paul C. Stern   165     The Surprising Reality About Hunger Robert W. Kates   167     Vaccines for the Developing World Phyllis Freeman   170     Easing the Fear of Giving Birth Julie DaVanzo   172     New Crops for South America's Farmers Hugh Popenoe   175 8   DIFFICULT CHOICES         Life and Death: More Than an Expert Opinion Ralph Crawshaw   181     The New Diagnostic and the Power of Biologic Information Dorothy Nelkin and Laurence Tancredi   183     Harvesting Organs from Anencephalic Infants Alexander Morgan Capron   186     HIV Screening and the Calculus of Misery Ronald Bayer   190     Laboratory Experiments on Animals Should Continue Norman Hackerman   192     Integrity and Science Arthur H. Rubenstein and Rosemary Chalk   195

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Headline News, Science Views 9   THE NEXT GENERATION         Kindergarten Stress Eugene E. Garcia   201     Abe Lincoln's Schoolroom Philip and Phylis Morrison   203     What School Volunteers Can Do Gilbert T. Sewall   205     The Challenge of Numbers Bernard L. Madison   208     On Darwin, Bibles and Classrooms Francisco J. Ayala   211     The Long Haul to a Doctorate Susan Coyle   214     The 'Mommy Track' in Science Paula Rayman   216     Dr. King and Blacks in Science Willie Pearson, Jr.   219     The Civilized Engineer Samuel C. Florman   222     INDEX   225 All of the articles and author affiliations in this book appear as originally published.

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Headline News, Science Views Foreword Frank Press President, National Academy of Sciences We live in an era of unprecedented scientific and technical achievement. Our lives have been transformed by computers, medical breakthroughs, space probes and a host of other changes—as well as by such dangers as environmental degradation and nuclear conflict. My own field of geophysics, in which we have learned how the continents move across the globe on tectonic plates, illustrates the fantastic progress that has occurred in a wide range of scientific disciplines. Yet, despite their importance, the many developments in science and technology remain mysterious to millions of Americans. People have little understanding of semiconductors, genetic engineering, global warming and other issues that are changing their lives. Opinion surveys and tests of U.S. students' knowledge show that public understanding of science and technology is weak. Even Americans with advanced training in non-scientific fields often know little about the revolution in biology or the amazing new materials being produced in laboratories. As science journalist Ben Patrusky writes in this book, "When it comes to science, many smart, achieving, curious and otherwise accomplished folk come down with a case of synaptic shutoff. Here we are living in what is truly an astonishing era in human history, a dazzling epoch of scientific and technological achievement—mere prelude to marvels yet undreamed of—and many of

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Headline News, Science Views its beneficiaries are indifferent to, if not altogether bored by, the very enterprise that brought us to this most exalted station.'' This popular indifference poses a challenge to a democratic society facing important decisions about AIDS, drugs, national defense, medical technology and other issues involving science and technology. How can voters and policymakers act wisely about issues they do not understand? Our economy requires excellence in science and technology, from the factory floor to research in such cutting-edge fields as optics, biotechnology and microelectronics. International competition in both basic research and technology is increasing steadily, and people's jobs and prosperity are certain to be affected by how well our nation fares. Americans also will encounter many questions involving science and technology in their daily lives, from evaluating the risks posed by radon or pesticide residues to deciding whether to purchase safety devices for their automobiles, what to eat and how to preserve the environment. In the world of the 1990s and beyond, knowledge about science and technology is not a frill but a necessity. The path that separates scientists from non-scientists runs both ways. Many scientists, engineers and other technical experts make an inadequate effort to explain their work and concerns to their fellow citizens. Even if their specialty bears directly on important issues of the day, these experts may be reluctant to venture beyond their classroom or laboratory to speak with public officials, journalists or even at a neighborhood gathering. Many of them, trained in the rational ways of the scientific method, find the larger world maddeningly illogical and imprecise. Yet this is precisely why more of them need to roll up the sleeves of their lab coats and share their special expertise with the larger society. Former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, writing in this volume, is correct in arguing that, ''In these days of complex problems and high-tech solutions, it is essential that those who understand the laws of nature be more involved in the making of the laws of man." Headline News, Science Views seeks to bridge this gap between science and the rest of society. It features 75 brief

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Headline News, Science Views essays by some of our country's most prominent scientists, engineers, physicians and other experts. The authors discuss terrorism, space travel, rising sea level, sustainable agriculture and other issues in language that is remarkably free of jargon. They outline issues in a way that makes science and technology interesting even for people who struggled to pass high school chemistry. All of the articles originally were syndicated nationally by the National Academy Op-Ed Service. The volume was edited by David Jarmul, who has directed the service since its inception in 1983. We hope Headline News, Science Views will help bring the worlds of scientists and non-scientists a little closer. Neither group is well-served if, like the continents, they continue to drift apart. Washington, D.C.

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Headline News, Science Views Editor's Note The articles in this book originally appeared on the editorial and opinion pages of daily newspapers. They were distributed by the National Academy Op-Ed Service. Begun in 1983 under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council—the institutions whose reports serve as the basis for many of the articles—the service provides more than 250 newspapers with timely articles by scientific and technical experts. The papers receive the weekly articles free with exclusive rights within their cities. Among those that have published stories from the service are The Atlanta Constitution, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Detroit News, The Houston Chronicle, The Miami Herald, Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Francisco Chronicle and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch . The wonderful cartoons and drawings in this volume were published originally by editors at subscribing newspapers. The artists and editors granted us permission to reprint the illustrations here. The service would not exist without the continued support and encouragement of the editors at the subscribing newspapers, who have helped us bring these complex scientific and technical issues into the arena of public debate.

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Headline News, Science Views We also are indebted to hundreds of study committee members, staff officers and others within the Academy who have shared their expertise and offered advice on story ideas. The entire staff of the Academy news office supports the Op-Ed Service in many ways, from reading drafts to gathering clips; Gail Porter, former director of the office, and Patricia Worns, the copy editor, contributed to every article in this volume. Our greatest thanks is reserved for the authors, who took time out from busy schedules to prepare these articles without pay and under tight deadlines. Making the transition from scientific text to newspaper prose was not always easy, but it was made much smoother by authors whose prominence was matched by their patience, eloquence and genuine desire to reach out beyond the scientific community to the American public. David Jarmul

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Headline News, Science Views HEADLINE NEWS, SCIENCE VIEWS

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