APS News


Sinking Test Ban Politics

There is more to the story, "Sinking the Test Ban Treaty," than the simple political posturing described in Michael Lubell's analysis of the failure of the Senate to ratify this treaty. I was surprised that nothing in the article addressed the merits and demerits of the proposed treaty. As one who would like to see the ratification, eventually, of an enforceable pact banning these tests, I am also aware of the arguments treaty opponents made to the effect that the recent proposal was defective- especially as to its enforceability. I would like to see the APS News provide more information on this subject to help APS members understand the two sides of this issue. Simply leaving the impression that the treaty's failure was the result of squabbling political brats does a disservice to the very serious issues that are involved.

David V. Anderson
Orinda, CA

Editor's note: Richard Garwin gives a perspective on attributes of the test ban treaty in this month's Back Page. Readers are encouraged to express opposing views or comments in letters to the editor: letters@aps.org.

Festive Formula Flaw

The claim made on The Back Page of the December APS News that the "Festive Formula" yields the day of the week Christmas falls on for "any year after 1600" requires qualification, as the formula is based on the Gregorian calendar. While some European countries did adopt this calendar prior to 1600, many did not. Britain (and its colonies) did not do so until the 18th century, which UNIX users can verify with the command "cal 9 1752".

Tevian Dray
Department of Mathematics; Oregon State University; Corvallis, Oregon

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette