As we sweep nonchalantly into 2009 and a sea of political intrigue, we can easily overlook the drama unfolding in science. That’s what Breaking News is about – sharing the drama, catching the flak!
First the bad news. A few weeks back I got the following email from Halton Arp in Germany:
There is terrible news about Tom Van Flandern. He was brought to the hospital with blood clots in his lungs and expected to die within the hour. A very risky blood thinner avoided that threat. But the cause remains colon cancer metastasised – untreatable. I talked to him in his bed in the hospital last night. He will try to beat the odds but he realizes it is improbable. He was concerned about carrying on the work of the Meta Research Bulletin in notifying independent researchers about important events which would be avoided by normal media. The only person that he and I could think of was you. Your interests in newer and more correct theories, your connection to the South African magazine, attendance at conferences, etc, etc. You should talk to Tom, about this.
As soon as I could, I phoned Tom in hospital. Regular readers of this column, and those brave souls who read The Virtue of Heresy, will know that Tom Van Flandern has been mentor, advisor, colleague, and friend, all rolled into one—despite our strong and unreconciled disagreement over the Martian “face” at Cydonia. He brought up the matter of Meta Research, and I told him what Chip had said, by my understanding, that Tom wanted me to edit and distribute his bulletin. What followed completely surprised and humbled me. “Not quite,” Tom said from his hospital bed, “It’s way more than that. I want you to take over from me as president of the Meta Research Institute, Inc.”