President Trump ignores science at our peril. Sophisticated computer models predicted two days before landfall that Hurricane Harvey would stall over Texas and Louisiana and dump up to 50 inches of rain. Similar models predict many more expensive weather events from a hotter planet in which the atmosphere holds 7-14 percent more moisture that will come down in deluges.
Climate change skeptics often dismiss these climate models suggesting that, because they are not 100 percent accurate, we should not make any decisions based on their predictions.
President Trump’s 2018 budget drastically cuts the climate and earth science budgets at NASA and NOAA at a time when we desperately need more research to improve models. If you’ve suffered from our recent Bay Area heatwave, take note that 10 of the hottest years on record have occurred since 1998. By the way, Hurricane Harvey is expected to cost $70-108 billion.
Private sector cannot cure California’s ills
Tim Draper’s commentary sharing his belief that the private sector will step up if we cut government is one more of his loony ideas to add to his six Californias proposal and school voucher ideas. The private sector is motivated only by profit margins. Its creativity is only a means to that end. Earning a profit off each homeless person offers incentives to be creative in how to increase the number of homeless. To them, fewer homeless is a losing proposition. The same with criminals. That is, more prisoners, more prisons, more profits. We already see the problems of the private sector taking care of the sick, doctors who rack up unnecessary services or needed medical care denied because it eats into insurance company profits.
Molten salt reactors are safe alternative
Stephen Williams (Letters, Sept 12) wrote on the current use of nuclear
reactors during the Houston floods. There are problems with these reactors, but there is a safe and practical alternative. It is called a molten salt thorium reactor. It operates at atmospheric pressure and requires no cooling water, so it does not need to be located near the ocean, lakes, or rivers.
Thorium is four times more plentiful than uranium and can utilize spent fuel from current reactors. It can’t be used to produce dangerous plutonium. Its footprint is a fraction of current reactors and could be located almost anywhere.
Molten salt reactors use molten fluoride salts as a primary coolant, at low pressure. The only problems seem to be political, not engineering. Further information is available on various websites.
Robert E Wallace
The Russians aren’t to blame for fake news
The Russians are less to blame for fake news than the people who believe it. Unless we start thinking more intelligently in this country, we might as well give up on the idea of a democratic government. How can we believe the ridiculous stuff that we hear? Even people who don’t like Hillary Clinton should know that she was not running a child pornography ring out of a pizza parlor. Come on, people — think! Turn off the cell phone and read a little history and literature; take a college level course that includes critical thinking; learn how to talk to people who have different life experiences than yours. Tone down the anger and listen with empathy. Be willing to change if change makes more sense. You might even find that it improves the quality of your conversations at the dinner table.
Kudos for publishing many acts of kindness
Congratulations to The Mercury News for articles highlighting both the small and not-so-small acts of kindness in the midst of great trial and angst during the hurricanes. The Orlando man handed over his newly bought generator to the woman who needed it for her elderly veteran dad. And in a nearby article a woman sacrificed her very life so her unborn baby could be born.
Sometimes all we seem to hear are the horror stories of desperation and depravity. We need to hear that, yes, humanity is still beautiful.
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