Letters to the Editor
Power to the People
Stimulated: I liked your article this week very much ["Bring It On," by Josh Harkinson, March 9]. You obviously did a great deal of research into the current state of affairs on an extremely complex issue.
The "environmentalists" and the "nukes" have been so polarized in the past that there has been very little cogent discussion. It was interesting to read that one of the activists who had been against Yucca Mountain now thought that perhaps 10,000 years was a bit too long to guarantee a radioactive waste site would be protected. The last thing I saw on this issue, I believe, concluded that it was maybe okay to have such a waste site, but that the 10,000-year requirement must be made longer. If you look at the changes in society and technology during the last hundred years, it is hard to imagine isolating a location even for that long. To extend it is ludicrous.
For some reason, the nuclear advocates -- mostly scientists -- have always felt that "when the lights go out" people will be crying for nuclear power. Although that may eventually be true, what appears to be swinging the votes toward nuclear power are the terrible things we are already doing to the environment with the power plants we currently have.
As soon as you start having to talk to the average man about issues by using scientific notation, you lose a huge portion of your audience. If you attempt to explain about the different types of radiation, most of the rest of them go away. There are so many people screaming about the dangers of radiation that no one hears anything else. At Los Alamos, there are several people who have excessive body burdens of plutonium, and it has never been shown to have affected their health. There have been people who have died from radiation poisoning, but most of them, I believe, received extremely high doses from neutrons from prompt critical accidents. There have also been problems from medical cobalt sources that are gamma emitters. I have never actually seen any comparisons of deaths or sickness classified by types of radiation or radioactive materials. In the popular press, it is unlikely that I will.
One of the things I got from your article is that there are very few heroes in this whole issue. When you insert the issue of profit versus health effects, profit seems to win every time. In my understanding, this is where the responsibility of government is supposed to lie. This administration in particular seems to be oblivious to that responsibility.
Unfortunately, even if one might think that nuclear energy is a viable option, there are so many true stories about abuses and poor design that you wind up trying to explain past mistakes rather than espousing a new and better solution. And, as you found out, many in the nuclear industry are not so pleasant to work with.
Obviously, you have stimulated my irritations with humanity in general, absurd claims about radiation, big industry and the value of our government. Quite a bit for one article! FYI: I worked for 30 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory as an electrical engineer. Please do not take anything I have said as gospel, but feel free to find out what is. As a matter of fact, please continue to do just that. I hope that this wasn't one single article on these issues and now you'll move on to the more important issue of sex in the Montrose area (which does, however, probably have a larger readership).
Wussies: Excellent article on the Morningwood Derby ["No-Balls Buzz," Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, March 2]. I have made pinewood cars for seven years, and having an event with adult cars is awesome. Too bad 94.5 wussed out when they got what they asked for. Satellite radio wouldn't have wussed out, but then again satellite radio actually plays music -- new music, lots of music, without yapping idiotic DJs like Rod Ryan -- so perhaps XM or Sirius wouldn't host a Morningwood race. But then again, 94.5 does need something to entertain its listeners while they play the same top ten songs over and over, all day long, after the four-hour Rod Ryan yapping marathons in the morning. Also, thanks for being the only media source in Houston that would actually show a picture of the offending pecker car! Excellent job as always.
Learn the classics: I find your suggestion that Marco of Dolce Vita derived his menu from Fat Boy Batali's incorrect and out of place in a restaurant review ["How Sweet It Is," by Robb Walsh, February 23]. Cauliflower Sicilian-style is just that, a classic Sicilian dish. Fried anchovies? Just because we don't see it in Houston doesn't mean that it isn't a traditional dish or that one must go to the closest TV to learn about it from the Food Network. Wow, enchiladas on a Tex-Mex menu? Grilled shrimp? How derivative! How Bobby Flay! Read an Italian cookbook, Robb. I think you might accidentally find a little inspiration right there.
Name withheld by request
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.