Posted Feb. 04, 2011, at 7:49 p.m.
Smoking, climate change
Some people still don’t believe that smoking causes cancer. Despite years of data and the fact that medical science can explain why, they know someone 95 years old who has smoked all his or her life.
This serves as an analogy to explain some people’s belief about climate change. Despite years of data and the fact that climate science can explain the relationship between atmospheric carbon and global warming, skeptics cast doubt, so they don’t want to believe.
With smoking and cancer, the vast majority of medical scientists believe in the relationship between the two. So it is with carbon emissions and global warming: The vast majority of climate scientists believe in the relationship between the two. The difference is that if someone chooses to smoke, despite evidence pointing towards ill effects, he or she is primarily impacting their own lives (secondhand smoke effects notwithstanding). With climate change, inaction risks the health of the entire planet and all species — present and future — that call it home.
The prudent course of action is to assume that conclusions reached by the vast majority of the world’s scientists are correct and move away from carbon-based fuels as quickly as possible. I am reminded of a cartoon that shows a presentation about clean energy. Listed benefits include energy independence, green jobs, clean water and air, and healthier children, and some guy at the back stands up and yells, “What if it’s a hoax, and we create a better world for nothing?”
Warmer trends continue
Science moves forward through rigorous testing of current theories. But such testing must be based on sound data and accurate science, or it is not useful. Unfortunately, the letter “Balance science, politics” (BDN, Jan. 31) contains some misleading statements.
The North Atlantic oscillation is a good index of dominant weather patterns over Europe, but its footprint on the U.S. East Coast is relatively weak, its link to ice changes in Greenland varies by location, and its link to long-term climate trends is even weaker.
Contrary to what was stated, the East Coast is actually experiencing a long series of record high monthly temperatures.
In England, despite recent cold winters, the 100-year temperature trend is unmistakably increasing, especially in the last 25 years. The deep ice core called GISP2 does not include the most recent 150 years, so stating that 9,100 of the previous 10,500 years are warmer than “now” is simply incorrect.
The letter implies that Don Easterbrook is “involved” in the project.
In fact, he never was and is retired. Furthermore, his findings have been roundly criticized by many of his scientific peers as being incorrect. The irony is that in asking for “balanced” reporting and stating that we are reading articles “dictated by politics, not science,” the author is requesting exactly what he fears. He is asking the BDN to balance the conclusions of peer-reviewed scientific studies from reputable science journals with cherry-picked Web postings from dubious sources.
Made in Maine wind
Being a Mainer, I feel lucky to live here. We have some of the best people and nicest landscapes in the country. I live on a lake in Lincoln, where we are treated to morning reflections of the sun off the water and wintertime snow cover that is worthy of a postcard.
Recently, we have begun to see wind turbines being erected in the distance for the Rollins Wind Project. There has been some negative chatter recently about how the turbines would adversely affect the view from homes just like mine. I have to say that I’ve heard the chatter and I’ve seen the turbines, and the two just don’t add up.
Seeing wind turbines from my home represents seeing clean energy being produced here in Maine, helping our state and region get off our addiction to foreign oil. The turbines represent hardworking Mainers being put to work to construct the structures and more Mainers working on an ongoing basis when the facility is producing energy.
The turbines represent wind power as a Maine export — just like paper, blueberries and lobster. Renewable wind energy is another product that we can stamp “Made in Maine” and take pride in manufacturing here within our borders and taking advantage of a growing industry.
I believe that modern technology can coexist with our natural resources. It’s already happening in Maine — and I look forward to seeing it continue.
Whoopie for Legislature
I’m proud of Maine! Good job, legislators, for introducing bills to make whoopie pies the state dessert and debating on whether or not an amputee can carry a switchblade. Obviously, there is some deep-seated belief in both of these or any other pertinent enterprises.
Gee, I wish I could have a job, though. Having a college degree, loads of work experience and a behavior cute enough to have aptly named the ‘Whoopie Legislature,’ I’m sure that we could put our heads to together and make some kind of job growth or become more business-friendly.
If I can think of that on my modest remnant of brain activity after suffering through college’s woes, there has to be someone else willing to step up to the plate and do something that is actually pertinent for once.
Job well done
I’m writing this at 6:25 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3, because my delivery person, Jonathan, after the weather and all its problems yesterday, had placed my BDN at my breezeway door sometime before 5:30 a.m. Last night, before I went to bed close to midnight, I said to myself, “If Jonathan has delivered my paper to my doorstep in the morning, he ought to get a medal!”
Well, he did and he should.
Over more than 24 years, I have had the BDN delivered to my home by many deliverers, young and old and usually reliable, but Jonathan is the top of the heap. Some time ago, after a snowy night and roads not all that great, I got my foul-weather gear out and prepared for the trek down the driveway to pick up the paper. I opened the door and found it on the step. That began a period I hope never to end before I do of faultless deliveries whatever the weather.
It seems like a small thing, but the aged — and I’m certainly one of those — depend on small things. Thought you ought to know that your paper server is one of those “small things.”