Double Trouble

You have Holler in the August 29 Reader. The one from Clairemont was already printed a few issues ago in the same column. I know that, because the guy called it “Square-mont.” I’m curious why it was printed again.

There’s also a News Ticker item where it says a “16-month-old male fetus” was killed. It wasn’t killed, but it died later on, when the mother died. It was 16 months in the womb? Any baby? Uh, yeah, that kid’s gonna be screaming to crawl out!

  • Tony Owen
  • Chula Vista

Ecological Misfits

When I read the story about Donna Tisdale’s fight, I immediately thought of The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey. Perhaps if more people read it....

  • Allen Stanko
  • via email

Herpes Caused by Wind Turbines?

The recent cover article, “They’re Everywhere Out Here,” repeated a variety of myths about wind energy without closely examining the claims.

Credible, peer-reviewed scientific data and various government reports from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K. refute the claim that wind farms cause negative health impacts. Claims regarding health impacts from wind turbines can be explained by two new international studies that have identified a “nocebo” effect. Nocebo describes a situation in which individuals are led to expect physical symptoms, and actually experience those symptoms, whether or not the supposed cause of the symptoms is actually present.

According to Simon Chapman, a Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney who extensively studies wind farms, wind development has been blamed for more than 200 symptoms including herpes, weight loss, weight gain, cancer, nose bleeds, nocturia, dental infections, nightmares, and vibrating lips.

That’s a remarkable range of allegations, given that hundreds of thousands of people around the world work and live within or near wind farms without reporting ill effects. The suggestion is not that residents make up symptoms, but rather that they may be assigning common symptoms to turbines when the cause is more likely to be elsewhere.

In fact, wind power provides numerous health and environmental benefits, as adding wind to the utility grid displaces the most expensive, least efficient power source – usually older fossil fuel plants. That means less harmful air emissions such as greenhouse gases, mercury, lead, and the precursors to smog and acid rain. Also, since generating electricity from wind does not use water or create water pollution, require mining or drilling for fuel, or generate hazardous waste requiring permanent storage, it is the lowest impact form of utility-scale energy generation available to our society today.

Deciding the best way to meet our country’s energy demands requires a careful cost-benefit analysis; when all the variables are considered, wind energy is the right choice.

  • John Anderson, Director of Siting Policy, AWEA
  • via email

College? Yes, Thanks

We read with tremendous interest your recent article, “College? No Thanks.” In many respects, this article provided extremely strong evidence for the need for additional formal training by its author, as well as those who provided commentary for its counter-intuitive contents.

At the first level, the article lacked a coherent and well-defined thesis, something that is taught in English 101. Was the author himself seeking to dissuade youth and young adults from seeking higher education? Was the article simply meant to inform the public that there are others who see higher education as useless? Again, one of the earliest messages delivered in a first year English course is that of determining whether one’s essay will be persuasive, descriptive, etc.

A second argument in support of higher education is the failure to utilize sufficient empirical data. An abundance of research demonstrates that a higher education not only delivers economic benefits in terms of significantly higher wages and salaries (P < .001), significantly lower rates of unemployment and fewer bouts of joblessness, but benefits in virtually every life area. Education is linearly linked with less morbidity and longer life expectancy, lower rates of substance use disorders, higher rates of reported happiness, higher rates of marriage and lower PG CUT OFF overall greater life satisfaction. (Data confirming these trends are generally taught in sociology and/or social psychology classes).

Third, many of the courses taught as a part of the core curriculum are life-changing. All cognizant beings find themselves seeking to untangle the mysteries of life. Philosophy and religion courses assist us in systematizing those processes. Economic courses teach us that we can not only earn income from our labor, but our portfolio of income-earning activities should generate interest from our investment, rent from our talents and properties, and profits from our entrepreneurial activities. Music and art, based upon research, have been found to elevate our overall cognition while soothing and comforting our spirits. Literature allows us to experience life vicariously and to avoid the mistakes made by an Othello or a Gatsby.

In some respects, math and science teach us some of the most important lessons of all. As we learn to balance an equation, we learn that our friendships and loves require a similar balancing act. Our calculus classes teach us that in life, as in derivation, we oftentimes do not know whether we’re at a maxima or a minima until we make a change. Indeed, every tidbit of knowledge that we acquire has direct relevance to how we live, grow, and experience life and happiness.

Our teachers, our professors, our scholars who walk the hallowed halls of institutions of higher education are the great chefs who allow us to maximize our higher education experiences.

It saddened us so very much that Clairemont High School Counselor, Ms. Mary Jo McCarey, can make such global statement about “…uneducated and college-averse parents.” We were horrified that she would discourage underperforming students to not enroll in college! Open admissions colleges use electronic tutorials such as SkillsTutor and other less expensive software to remediate the academic skills of low-performing students. Colleges such as Texas College in Tyler, Texas, and many colleges here in San Diego County, assign caring counselors who seek to undo the damage done by counselors such as Ms. Mary Jo McCarey by encouraging students to transcend the artificially erected barriers that mask their potential and to fly and flourish.

Ms. McCarey, shame on you! Your high school should be sued by the parents of those youth whose dreams you have tarnished over the years.

Youth, adults, seniors, we urge you, eject the rambling rubbish spat forth in this article from the archives of your mind. Run, walk, drive, or crawl, but get yourselves to an institution of higher education if you have not already done so. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

  • Betty (Collier) Burston, Ph.D.
  • L.J. (Collier) Coombs, M.A.T., M.Ed., M.A., Ph.D.
  • Shartriya Collier, M.Ed., Ed.D.
  • via email

More from SDReader

Comments

Frederick Simson Sept. 4, 2013 @ 9:10 a.m.

I tended to agree with the article “College? No Thanks.” Unfortunately my predecessor letter writers Betty (Collier) Burston, Ph.D., L.J. (Collier) Coombs, M.A.T., M.Ed., M.A., Ph.D. and Shartriya Collier, M.Ed., Ed.D. display their own bias in their signatures while disparaging the article author's bias. It's a new world out there; why are they continuing to solve yesterday's problems for the youth who are concerned about TODAY? Their solution may still be OK for some kids, but it is not THE solution, albeit one that perpetuates their own interests. Any persons who resort to shame and fear, as these letter writers do in their closing paragraphs, reveal the weakness of their own argument and sabotage it. Adolescent students need hope for their futures, not piling additional fear onto their present existence. Ms. McCarey reminds us of the road not taken, and I applaud her for it.

Frederick Simson, A.A.S. (Associate of Applied Science) See, I can boast about going to college too!, USNR-R (United States Navy Reserve-Retired)

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