close this bookVolume 2: No. 34
View the documentNews -- ethics
View the documentNews -- high-tech politics
View the documentNews -- telecommunications
View the documentResources -- bulletin board services
View the documentNews -- job opportunities
View the documentResources -- books
View the documentResources -- new journals and projects
View the documentDiscussion -- TeX/LaTeX vs. WYSIWYG
View the documentComputist -- Ruay-Shiung Chang

An NSF report says that the U.S. spends too little on R&D and spends it poorly. R&D spending has leveled off, from 7.5% annual growth in 1980-85 to 0.4% in 1985-90. Our non-military R&D as a percentage of GDP trailed Japan, West Germany, France, Britain, Italy, and Sweden by 25% in 1989 and 34% at present. (Even including military research, we lag by 3%.) Japan spends 3% of GDP on non-military research; the U.S. spends 1.9%. In addition, many U.S. industries develop new products much more slowly than other countries. "Implementation of a national technological policy, establishing a rationale and guidelines for federal action, should receive the highest priority," according to committee co-chair Roland Schmitt, president of RPI. [UPI, 8/12. agentsee.]

A panel of economists says that the U.S. and California economies will not stage meaningful recoveries until the mid-'90s. Declining interest rates are a positive factor, but there's no baby boom to fuel housing sales. Government, industry, and consumer debt forestall the usual anti-recession measures, and German and Japanese recessions hurt U.S. exports. Defense cuts will keep the California economy shrinking into 1994. [Steve Kaufman, SJM, 8/13.]

The House VA/HUD/IA Appropriations Bill cuts $75M from the Administration request for the Earth Observing System (EOS), but gives $83M to the Consortium for International Earth Science Information Network (Saginaw, MI). Last year CIESIN received $28M, but retiring committee chairman Bob Traxler (D-MI) wanted to leave his district a little extra as a parting gift. CIESIN would disseminate EOS data if EOS had the money to collect data. $13.5M has been cut from SETI, of which $8M went to the Delta College Learning Center. The Senate is cutting back on pork, so Senator Byrd couldn't repeat his last year's gift of $35M to 1400-student Wheeling Jesuit College; Rep. Mollohan (D-WV) covered as best he could with $2M from the House bill. Now the House/Senate Conference gets to have its say. [Robert L. Park, WHAT'S NEW, 8/14.] The address for all members of Congress is U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510, or U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515. Both are at (202) 225- 3121. [James P. Love (, com-priv, 7/21.]

"Reinventing Government" discusses bureaucracy as an equitable solution to past problems and why we need a different solution today. David Osborne and Ted Gaebler have studied innovative and successful government and social service agencies. Common threads include "competition between service providers; empowerment of citizens by pushing government into the community; measurement of outcomes, not inputs; goal-driven rather than rule-driven; oriented toward 'customers,' not 'clients'; anticipating problems; emphasis on earning rather than spending; decentralized authority; market mechanisms; and steering all sectors of the community into solving its problems." Michael Pellecchia comments that "when you take these concepts to heart, the presidential election looks distant and the prospect of change from the top down looks remote." [SJM, 8/17.]

Federal SoapBox is an editing and mail-merge program with a graphical database of government contacts, including staff listings, descriptions of 500 agencies, committee assignments, and biographies of selected personnel. Three free updates per year. SoapBox Software (Corte Madera, CA), (415) 927-2562. [CC, 8/11.]

For a 3136-line list of news/media-related BBSs, send a "get media bbslist" message to [Peter M. Weiss (, PACS-L, 8/18.]

You can reach Bill Clinton as, and Marrou (Libertarian) as For Bush, fax to (202) 336-7117 or write to Will Feltus, Dir. of Communications, 1030 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005 about communications issues. Jim Warren ( has been trying to arrange online position statements and email debate. [MicroTimes, 8/3.]

VP candidate Al Gore visited Thinking Machines Inc. (Cambridge, MA) last Tuesday. TMI responded by announcing new vector chips that would permit a teraflop CM-5 for $250M. The largest CM-5 so far, a $30M Los Alamos machine, would support 1/10 that speed. [Gady A. Epstein, The Boston Globe, 8/12. agentsee.]

President Bush has awarded Bill Gates the National Medical of Technology for developing DOS and making PCs a common desktop appliance. Gates, 36, is the youngest American and first software-industry executive to receive the award. [Boardwatch, 9/92.] Gates purchased the original DOS, and it was IBM that created the market -- but never mind.

The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) promotes government/industry research and cooperation. James J. Tietjen, president and CEO of SRI International, has been named to its board of directors. Tietjen was formerly president and CEO of David Sarnoff Research Center, now an SRI subsidiary. [SJM, 8/17.]

Former NSF director Erich Bloch has joined the board of Convex Computer Corporation (Richardson, TX). Mr. Bloch, a 30-year IBM veteran, also serves on the Council on Competitiveness. [PR NewsWire, 8/10. agentsee.]