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Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015: Deflation, carbon neutrality, ranked-choice voting, charter schools

Deflated football puzzle

This business about deflated footballs is a puzzle. First, it has been announced that the balls were legitimate in the second half and that is when the Patriots scored three unanswered touchdowns.

Second is that the gas law has been ignored. In high school we learned that the product of pressure and volume is proportional to temperature. At constant volume, football pressure change is directly proportional to temperature change. Consequently, with the ball inflated to 13 psi in the locker room at 70 degrees F (530 deg abs) and then taken outside to say 30 degrees F, a -40 degree change is obtained. Thus, with change in pressure, dP, proportional to change in temperature, a simple ratio is obtained:

dP/13= – 40/530 whence: dP= -52/53~ -1 psi. That change puts the resultant pressure at 12 psi, which would be out of spec for the prescribed range of 12.5–13.5 psi.

Ignoring Boyle’s Law is not new as the automobile industry allows their computers to announce that tire pressure is low whenever the temperature takes a serious drop. This is in spite of having all the necessary tools to calculate the change with their computer and sensors.

Finally, in taking a look at my pressure gauge, I see that each pound is marked off with a single tick mark and so I would not trust most people to read it correctly. That makes a third possibility for the deflation, which is willingly attributed to the Patriots.

Fred H. Irons

Orono

 

Not carbon neutral

In last weekend’s BDN Maine Review article, “ Behind Carbon Neutral Claims,” Reuben Hudson of Colby College states that Colby’s claim to be carbon neutral is based in part on the conversion of its heating plant from oil to wood chips. He says the key is that CO2 emitted into the atmosphere (from burning wood chips) had already been part of the contemporary carbon cycle (as living trees).

I would just like to point out that the same claim (of carbon neutrality) could be made about the burning of any biomass. The “slash and burn” agriculture techniques of tropical forests would qualify as carbon neutral under this definition.

The reality is that carbon dioxide released from burning living trees adds to contemporary atmospheric carbon dioxide. Eventually the carbon dioxide will be recaptured as new trees grow to replace the harvested trees, but meanwhile, Colby’s carbon footprint has not been reduced, despite its claim otherwise.

Nevertheless, Hudson correctly points out that burning our Maine trees provides jobs and income to local Maine people, a good enough reason to support the conversion.

Steve Bird

Belfast

 

Yes to ranked choice voting

I am a supporter of ranked choice voting. Since 1990, six of seven governors have been elected by a minority. Because of fear of the “spoiler effect,” independents, Greens, Democrats and Republicans have all been faced with voting against the person they don’t want, instead of for the person they do want.

Ranked choice voting gives us all the benefits of run-off elections, but with less cost and more participation. Former Sen. Dick Woodbury’s Jan. 26 OpEd made the case well, giving six excellent reasons to back this electoral reform. For me, his last reason may be the best: If a candidate knows that he or she may need to be people’s first and second choice, that candidate is less likely to attack other candidates to drag them down. Imagine if politicians had to focus on how they would help us, instead of how the other guy would hurt us?

Some opponents say the two-party system is best. Do you believe it’s working? Others say ranked choice voting is too complicated. Have you ever ranked the best quarterbacks in NFL history, or done any other “who’s better than who?” list? If you have, then you can vote in ranked choice voting with no problem.

Another way that ranked choice voting is better than regular run-offs is that here isn’t another period of time for political ads, mailers, and phone calls.

Scott Cuddy

Winterport

 

Charter school support

It has been quite a while since the Sept. 6 BDN article on Maine Connections Academy completing its first week. I go to this school as a sophomore. We are completing our midterms, and I have done very well so far, as have my friends.

I think of myself as a scatterbrained but generally hard-working young person, so I was fairly shocked at the comments on that article. My friends and I were called “video game-playing lumps” and “anti-social” and “drop-outs.” It hurt me very much to see these things being said about me. In my old school I was treated very disrespectfully and made to feel bad about myself all the time. My friends at MCA are so supportive and kind and I have so many more opportunities to expand my horizons outside of school.

To see adults speaking of my friends and me like the cruel people at my old school spoke of the “weird kids” was a bit of a surreal experience for me. The lack of empathy in the people making those comments was astounding. Imagine having a child come home crying every day. It may not be a reality to them, but for many people it is their lives.

MCA is a safe haven of kindness and humanity. Cruelty is a thing I would have preferred not to learn as a child.

Maria Christian

Eliot

 

Taxpayer Poliquin

Bruce Poliquin justified his vote against abortion asserting providing federal funds “would be in contrast to the moral conscience and religious beliefs of many taxpayers.” Employing this logic, as taxpayers, why must we bankroll the war departments’ worldwide killing machine? Additionally, our moral conscience rebels against the greed of the 1 percent and its shills in Congress.

Polls suggest a majority of taxpaying Americans agree with us. We are certain Poliquin’s religious and moral beliefs will not extend to either defense spending or taxing the bloated wealthy class, of which he is a member.

JamesMcDonald

Reesa Greenberg

Bangor

 

New school needed?

The SAD 28 board has cited safety issues as a reason for building the proposed middle school back from the street. Why is this a safety issue? There is an off-street drop-off/pick-up loop to provided now as well as large parking areas behind the school.

They also cite the need for an auditorium. Not only is there a gymnasium on-site,

the Camden Opera House is within walking distance from the school. There is also the Rockport Opera House and the very large auditorium within easy busing distance.

Jan MacKinnon

Camden

 



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