In a word, kudos on an excellent issue, especially the cover piece (“Mirage,” Autumn 2008) on water issues in the desert Southwest. I live in Reno, and we have water issues and willy-nilly, take-the-money-and-run development. Recently a referendum was initiated by fed-up locals via a petition drive; now water resources have to be identified before developments can be approved. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s a nice start.
My only other comment on “Mirage” is that massive development in places like Las Vegas and Phoenix is dependent upon air conditioning, also made possible by cheap electricity from the Hoover Dam.
David E. Palmer
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In the article “Get on the Bus” (Summer 2008), David Dobbs is right on the money when he encourages greater investment in light rail transit. The Los Angeles Bus Riders Union has it wrong. They forget that at one time, in the Los Angeles area alone, there were over 1,000 miles of electrified interurban track.
The infrastructure cost for light rail/tram track can be around $1 to $2 million per kilometer. For bus rapid transit, roads already exist, so their expensive construction costs often don’t get calculated into the price tag. Other aspects that should be accounted for are that rail transport uses one seventh the amount of energy compared to road transport and has a longer life span.
The article focuses on the short term, and in the process unintentionally defends sprawl, highways, and the automotive and oil lobbies. When it comes to the environment, the focus should be on the long term.
In addressing malaria, there is a simpler solution for people and the planet rather than yet another genetically engineered miasma (“The $38 Million Mosquito,” Autumn 2008). Jim Humble has found a cure for malaria: Treat the person rather than the mosquito. Chlorine dioxide kills pathogens in the body, so it rids people of malaria and more.
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