A bill in the last Congress “to provide a comprehensive framework for the United States to prevent and prepare for biological and other WMD attacks” was described in a lengthy Senate report last month. The report provided a detailed congressional perspective on a range of biosecurity issues, inspired in part by the Graham-Talent Commission on the subject. However, the bill was not enacted, and its provisions did not achieve consensus support. It drew criticism in particular from Sen. Carl Levin whose dissenting comments were appended. See “WMD Prevention and Preparedness Act of 2009” (pdf), Report of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, December 17, 2010.
The Indian physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995) was remembered in several fascinating and inspiring articles in the December 2010 issue of Physics Today. Perhaps the most stimulating one of them, written by Freeman Dyson, is freely available to non-subscribers on the Physics Today website. See “Chandrasekhar’s Role in 20th Century Science” by Freeman Dyson.
We were pleased to receive a copy of “The Black Bats: CIA Spy Flights over China from Taiwan 1951-1969” by Chris Pocock with Clarence Fu, Schiffer Publishing, 2010.
Did President Calvin Coolidge really issue an executive order on “homeland security”? That seems to be the conceit of a “Compilation of Homeland Security Related Executive Orders (EO 4601 through EO 13528) (1927-2009)” prepared and published last year by the House Committee on Homeland Security. In fact, of course, “homeland security” is a term of recent vintage (and also a questionable one for a nation of immigrants). It was never used by President Coolidge. But his 1927 executive order 4601 was modified a few years ago to include reference to the Secretary of Homeland Security, thereby justifying its inclusion in this 544-page volume. Disturbingly, the editors misspelled “Foreword” as “Foreward.”