Letters to the editor

Who needs Dr. Science?

I generally don’t succumb to the temptation to write letters to editors, but after Richard Rice’s letter [“Unsolved Mysteries of the Day”] in the Feb. 23 issue, I couldn’t help myself. I just happen to be able to answer his questions!

Richard asked, “If four lanes on I-26 south and north of Asheville are sufficient, why are eight lanes needed through the city?”

It’s an attempt to prevent the ugly bottlenecks that happen on Smoky Park Bridge. I don’t like it either, but this town of ours is growing at an absurd rate! I disagree with the proposed widening of the interstate, but both sides have valid arguments.

Richard asked, “Why do gays and lesbians find it necessary to tell everyone about their sexual orientation when nobody in their right mind gives a damn?”

Now this question is intentionally inflammatory, unless I’ve completely missed something. Most gays and lesbians, like most straight people, have no desire to advertise their sexual orientation. You are assuming that everyone you meet is, by default, heterosexual. This fallacy causes you to assume that the only people in the world who are gay are the ones who are vocal about it.

Richard asked, “What is so important that causes drivers to use cell phones while driving?”

I agree with you on this one, Richard. It’s a terrible idea to talk on the phone when you’re driving.

Richard asked, “If men weren’t supposed to have breasts, why do we have nipples?”

This one’s easy. Human fetuses, male as well as female, are virtually indistinguishable for a good portion of their development. The sexual organs develop from the same cluster of cells. I’m not sure if the correct term for it is “vestigial,” since that term is used to describe an organ that no longer serves a function for the entire species, but it’s close.

Richard also made a convoluted point about the “war” in Iraq. Food for thought: Isn’t a war something involving two armies, not just one?

Finally, Richard asked what the hurry was in bringing American troops home from South Korea, Germany and Japan. My answer is this: None, if you’re an imperialist.

I’m glad I could help with your unsolved mysteries! It’s unfortunate that you blame a political party for the world’s problems, though. That’s a mystery to me.

— Corbie Hill

Shopping for Kyoto

[Two weeks ago], the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming went into effect, marking the first time the world (with the notable exception of the United States) united to address the greatest natural disaster since the last glacial period. The treaty reduces global emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that trap the sun’s heat, melting the glaciers and flooding coastal cities throughout the world. [Last] week, U.S. government scientists confirmed a definite rise in the temperature of ocean waters, the driving force behind global climate changes.

Despite our administration’s boycott of the treaty, each of us should do our share to minimize emissions of these gases by limiting the use of fossil fuels in our cars, our homes and our diets.

Yes, our diets. According to Cornell University Professor David Pimentel, production of animal-based foods accounts for 8 percent of the national consumption of fossil fuels — nearly as much as driving our cars. It requires nearly 10 times as much fuel as production of plant-based foods. The additional fuel is used to grow animal feed, to operate factory farms and slaughterhouses, and to process and refrigerate meat/dairy products.

We can show our support for the Kyoto Treaty and planetary survival each time we visit our supermarket.

— Albert Bowers

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