Letters to the editor: Jan. 10

Published: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Time for net metering

Gainesville and Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) face daunting challenges: man-made climate change; fuel price inflation; diminishing potable water.

Climate change is bringing both severe droughts and floods. Oil prices have zoomed to $100 per barrel. Coal emits the most greenhouse gases, the principal cause of global climate disruption. Rising sea level threatens aquifers with salt water intrusion, while droughts are depleting lakes and rivers.

Gainesville and GRU obviously cannot solve these major global problems alone, but they can and should set an example of local actions that help. Rooftop solar thermal panels for hot water and solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can help immediately. Rooftop solar brings healthier air, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, brings high-tech jobs, uses no water and sunshine fuel is free.

In contrast, large centralized nuclear, coal, oil or natural gas power plants use copious amounts of water. During the 2003 lethal European heat wave and drought, several French nuclear plants curtailed output because of cooling water shortages.

GRU has a good subsidy program for solar, but should offer net metering. Billing customers for the net difference between electricity consumed and what the owner's system generates, allows the house meter to turn backwards during sunniest hours - a tremendous selling tool for solar. That means GRU would pay retail price for that excess power instead of the wholesale price. Solar benefits everyone!

I hope the City Commission and the new GRU general manager will switch to net metering.

Lee Bidgood Jr.,


Puzzled by this dispute

For years I have been puzzled by the controversy between evolutionism and creationism. Do the people who claim that the whole universe with everything in it came into existence in the span of six Earth-days not know about the many cultures on earth that have very different creation stories?

What is written down in the Bible under Genesis is just one of those. Why should it be the one and only literally true story? To study the different creation stories in context with the landscapes and cultures of their origin is quite fascinating and enlightening, and I highly recommend reading them.

The United States of America is a very large country and many of her inhabitants do not feel the necessity or even the urge to interest themselves in other countries and their cultures. However, in view of the ever-growing communication and business interactions with the whole world, we all have to open our minds to reality instead of keeping our children, so-to-speak, on a mythological island, detached from the real world.

The story of the creation as it is preserved in our Bible is beautiful. It is full of symbolism that can be explored and interpreted and discussed. But to take it literally?

Just for starters: Is the Bible talking of six Earth-days or six "eons"? The Judeo-Christian creation story has been included in a written work, combining mythology, praise of God, poetry and historically proven facts. But does that make it universal history by association?

Erika Wanninger,


Now is Hillary's time

I've been watching the struggle for the nomination by the Democratic Party of a candidate for president. It appears at this point in time that the race for the nomination in the Democratic Party has narrowed to either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

This choice presents a dilemma for the party. The problem is that the two candidates have at most eight years to be President. After that, the prospects are largely undefined.

It appears that it would be time for Hillary Clinton to serve for four or eight years, since, like John McCain now, she will be too old for the office in eight years if Sen. Obama were to win this year. However, if Senator Clinton were to win this year, Obama would be perhaps of ideal age to assume the mantle in 2012 or 2016.

Thus, the Democratic Party is faced with the need to get its long-term act together, and that appears to be: Sen. Clinton now and Sen. Obama later. What appears to be happening is that Sen. Obama, while enjoying the rush of being a leading contender, is perhaps doing the party a serious long-term disfavor. Also, he has much that he could learn to be able to lead better latter, to our collective benefit.

Fred Depenbrock,


Don't set back science for the sake of religion

The State Board of Education is reviewing the standards for science and math textbooks for Florida public schools for the next generation of our children. The board intends to include an explanation of evolution as the basis for all biological studies.

Certain small but vocal groups in opposition want to include creationism as an alternative to evolution in explanation of biological science. This small group is asking for the opportunity to offer a choice to students as to the perception of the science of biology.

What would this do to the future of scientific research in this country? Could this lead to the concept that there is no need to encourage medical research to find new cures for the scourges of the world? Diseases such as cancer, AIDS, or diabetes, heart disease, malaria, or tuberculosis. No need to advance scientific knowledge to improve the quality of human life on this Earth.

Students might not be encouraged to satisfy their curiosity and imagination, to seek answers to problems besetting mankind. Just discourage all creative thought, whether it be in biology, physics, space science, or even poetry or music.

By not including current scholarly research on evolution in textbooks, we are setting science back 150 years. The United States is already seriously lagging in science and math education in our public schools. Our country cannot afford to shortchange our children any further.

Evolution, like all scientific theories, is a theory that can be tested through rational, observable means. Creationism cannot be proven through detectable means. If one wishes to teach creationism it belongs in a course on theology, not a science class.

Nancy Parkinson,


You call these 'winners'?

The day after the primary vote in New Hampshire the candidates, along with the media pundits, were pontificating about their victories. I really don't see any winners in any party: roughly 60 percent of the voters cast their ballots for someone else. The only way you can really declare yourself a winner is to have one more vote than half: the majority.

Richard DesChenes,


Will you vote yourself a tax cut on Jan. 29?

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