Letters & E-mails



The Buzz on Bees

Adam Federman’s story on the decimation of North American bumblebees (“Plight of the Bumblebee,” Autumn 2009) made me wonder one thing. I understand that many commercial bee colonies are fed on a solution of high fructose corn syrup as a cost-cutting measure. Perhaps this is contributing to the susceptibility of the bees to strains of Nosema bombi and other bacteria or viruses? High fructose corn syrup certainly doesn’t help human health much. Maybe it could degrade the systems of a bee’s body enough for all kinds of infection and other damage to take place?

Harry Newman
Brooklyn, New York

Blaming Earth

Your article on geo-engineering (“Hacking the Sky,” Autumn 2009) is kind of skewed, for there are assumptions in it that cannot be upheld:

  1. Global warming is solely due to humans.
  2. It is assumed that Earth has been at a constant (more or less) since at least the 19th century, as if it is a static piece of rock. This is not the case, if for no other reason than there are earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, hurricanes, and monsoons.
  3. No mention is made of the recent alteration in the Earth’s axis. This may be small, but it has a great effect.

No matter how we manage to reduce humanity’s influence on the warming up of Earth, we will not be able to counteract Earth itself. This does not mean we should not attempt to minimize humanity’s influence, but it does put a different spin on it.

James Secor
Liverpool, UK

Blame Game
Tell us what you think:

Letters to the Editor
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I would suggest to Betsy Hartman, who is quoted in “The Division over Multiplication” in your recent Population Issue, that there is no need to attribute blame either toward low-income populations for their high fertility, or toward high-income populations for their high consumption. Most of us would behave in exactly the same way if our roles were reversed. And properly assuming responsibility for our high consumption in the developed world should not eclipse our responsibility toward lower income, lesser-developed populations who desperately want to reduce their fertility and educate their children in order to join the middle class.

Finally, hurrah for “The Kindest Cut,” also in the Summer edition. Vasectomy really is one wonderful solution that needs to be advanced as much as possible. I had one myself, and I could not agree more with Matt Leonard!

Steven Bloomstein
Sucre, Venezuela

Coyotes in the Midst

The Autumn 2009 issue is wonderful. So many extremely important subjects, most of all the outrageous expenditure of tax payers’ money to kill 89,710 coyotes in the most cruel ways possible: “denning”; cyanide poisoning; and snaring and leghold traps, which often result in frantic animals chewing off their own feet. Even in the city, the usefulness of this omnivore is apparent, as they clean up messy trash cans and yards. Ignorant government agencies should be prosecuted for cruelty to animals – anyone else would be.

Muriel Geach
Long Beach, California

Water World

Very nice interview with Dr. Hansen in the Autumn 2009 issue. His discussion of ocean acidification reminded me that ocean effects were what finally convinced me carbon is a real issue.

Robert Margolis
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

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