Letters to the editor, October 2008
This a traditional letter column. You are encouraged to write a letter of comment on anything that you find worthy of comment. It will (may) be published in this column along with my reply. As editor I reserve the right to delete material; however I will not alter the undeleted material. E-mail to me that solely references the contents of this site will be assumed to be publishable mail. All other e-mail is assumed to be private. And, of course, anything marked not for publication is not for publication. Oh yes, letters of appreciation for the scholarly resources provided by this site will be handled very discreetly. This page contains the correspondence for October 2008.
From: Peter Neilson
Your correspondent, Dr. A. E. Edgeworth, just might be the same as Dr. Arv Edgeworth, a prominent person among creationists. If so, one questions why he avoided his unusual first name in writing to you, and avoided mentioning creationism vs evolution directly.
It is the same. His email address say Arv but he signed it Dr. A. E. I thought he might be a relative of A. E. VanVogt. Avoiding mentioning creationism vs evolution directly is standard practice with these chaps. I think the plan is to get on stage in any way possible; it doesn't matter whether the audience is throwing tomatoes at you.Return to index of contributors
From: Willis Cummings
I was very late more near her. As thornsAnd be as sweet as. A truths a truth the[Reads].
I almost said the same thing myself, but then I woke up.Return to index of contributors
From: Richard Amirault
I ran across your (sub) webpage when doing a Google search for "Science Fiction Fandom" & "David Gerrold"
I don't know if you've heard about my show ... also called "Science Fiction Fandom" but it is a TV show for my local cable access TV channel in Malden. I also have a web page and put every show on the web for viewing in streaming (Real Player) video. http://bostonfandom.org
Mostly I go to various cons in the Boston area and tape, mostly panels . but occasionally other things. I am a member of NESFA .. but not an "active" member.
PS I'm surprised that "tiac" is still around. I think it was my very first ISP .. *way* back when.
You may be the only person who discovered my web site by doing a google search for "Science Fiction Fandom" & "David Gerrold". Give yourself a gold star for originality.Return to index of contributors
From: Dr. A. E. Edgeworth
I noticed you said a mutation changed light moths into dark moths in England. From everything I have read concerning this, that is not correct. The moths did not change, just the environment. It was just a shift in the population. According to many scientists you are wrong about most mutations not being harmful also. A helpful mutation would be very rare, if any exist. Can you name a mutation that actually improved the life form? Harmful mutations are readily observed, but not helpful ones. But whether harmful or just neutral, it still causes a net loss of genetic information over time. What is the source of a net gain of new genetic information over time? What is the mechanism for creating new genetic information? If everything started at net zero, where does the new stuff come from? Rearranged stuff is not the same as new stuff.
As a general rule I don't conduct extended debates about evolution is email. However I do appreciate your writing, and I am happy to answer at least this once. I am assuming that your comments are based on my article, "Are mutations harmful".
... continued on next rock ...
Hi Mr. Harter,
As I remarked earlier, I don't usually argue about evolution in email, and I am not going to in this case. However, I will make a few final remarks about those peppered moths. Yes, both light and dark moths existed before they started burning coal. However the dark moths were very rare, so rare that there were only a handful of observations of them prior to the industrial revolution. The light colored moths didn't start producing dark colored moths so that they could survive; I nowhere suggested any such silliness. The genetics of the peppered moth has been studied. There are actually two genes involved - either can produce a dark colored moth. Each has a light and dark allele. If both alleles are light, the moth is light; if one of them is dark, the moth is dark. There are simple mutations that change one allele to another; the mutations are reversible.Return to index of contributors
From: jamison loyola
I pleased to hear that ernesto is lucky; I suppose he must have a lot of chang-ji. Does he get it from mihran kimon patti?Return to index of contributors
From: Nancy C
I just want to let you know that I happened upon your web site and found it quite enjoyable. I've been browsing it for so long that I no longer remember how I happened upon it to begin with!
Anyway, I hope you continue to update your site with your insightful blurbs and tales. I'll be visiting every now and then to see what's new in your world.
Thanks for writing. If one writes, I suppose there always is the hope that people will read what you write and perhaps even find it of interest or of value. If one is publishing a journal for which people pay money, their interest has been validated with cold, hard cash. (Though, in these days cash is neither cold nor hard, being mostly bits in computer memory.) If one writes and is published in some media that pays its writers one again has negotiable evidence that people found one's writings of interest.Return to index of contributors
From: Linda Pringle
truthis Jesus,either was God,or a liar . He is either dead or alive . If dead you might be right However if Bible is true ,and in it 500 plus witnesses claimed to have seen him alive after the crucifiction.Maybe you could just ask him if he is alive. I have met many people who in doing so changed their minds
Well Linda, it's like this: Once upon a time I asked God if He existed, and He told me that He didn't. I took his word for it. After all, who am I to argue with God?Return to index of contributors
From: DR. J. ALVA SCRUGGS
As the world and we as fellow Americans all notice the McCain campaign for the Presidency may be in trouble. All the polls indicate that Obama and company may be elected in a landslide!! Therefore, American will probably see one of the most dirty trick efforts ever played by the greatest Dirty Trick team in history-The Karl Rove Machine!!! (BILL DRAPER, Missouri officials suspect fake voter registration. Associated Press, Oct 8 2008)
It is easy to list some of what Obama can be expect in this push by McCarran to win:
What do you think??
What do I think? I think you are a real nut, that's what I think.Return to index of contributors
From: Jim McBeth
I'm Jim McBeth, a writer with the Daily Mail in Scotland
I'm doing a piece about Piltdown Man with reference to the possible involvement of Arthur Conan Doyle in the hoax.
I see from the net that you have made a study of the subject
I wondered what your thoughts were on the involvement of ACD
The arguments for his involvement are interesting but not really convincing. Although I presented everyone's theories on the website, I think it is clear that Dawson was a principal in the affair. It is open to question whether there was anyone else involved in the hoax. It is conceivable that Doyle recognized Dawson for what he was and thought it would be a capital go if Dawson would pull off a truly magnificent hoax. However the people who argue for Doyle being involved argue for him being the sole hoaxer, and that just won't wash.Return to index of contributors
From: Tom Weatherby
Under the "winning an argument, another good one is to repeat the statement back.
Peruvians don't make enough money.
You would say, in a slower questionable response, "they don't make enough money?"
Puts them on defense. But I stilll like your part about the liquor. I'll give it a shot . . . or two.
I like it. It's a nice way to say, "You're kidding, right? You're really saying they don't enough money? Come on, you've got to be kidding." without actually using the words. Let them fill in the blanks.Return to index of contributors
From: Governor Mike Huckabee
Dear Huck PACkers-
I wanted to write you to convey my disgust with the passing of this 451 page bailout bill. Wall Street has gone trick-or-treating in Washington a little bit early this October. Wall Street is getting the treats and America is getting tricked. The “Axis of Arrogance” has tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the Main Streeters and in doing so hid a sty full of pork in a bill whose constitutionality is questionable at best. Friends, the folks in Washington continue to treat your wallet as their tip jar and this has to stop.
Just check out a few provisions in this bill:
Sec. 211. Transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters
Sec. 308. Increase in limit on cover over of rum excise tax to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Sec. 309. Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa.
Sec. 312. Deduction allowable with respect to income attributable to domestic production activities in Puerto Rico.
Sec. 317. Seven-year cost recovery period for a motorsports racing track facility.
Sec. 322. Tax incentives for investment in the District of Columbia.
Sec. 325. Extension and modification of duty suspension on wool products; wool research fund; wool duty refunds.
... blah, blah, blah ...
Apparently there is a person named Richard Harter who lives in Georgetown, South Carolina. At sometime in the past the persons who construct email lists confused that Richard Harter with me and got our email addresses mixed. As a result I get his spam and I suppose he gets some of mine - but not all of it, you may be sure. This explains why I am on the Huckabee mailing list. Since Governor Huckabee sends me email I think it is only fair that I publish some of it.Return to index of contributors
From: Peter Neilson
Your scheme for numbering your editorials runs out fairly quickly, in about 900 months. That'll be only 45 years after the Unix 32-bit date field overflows.
Wait, you'll have implemented the san language by then, and will have used it to develop an algorithm for automatic and retroactive correction of poorly specified sequential fields, wherever they may be found.
Sorry to have bothered you with a non-issue.
How did your find about that? That's supposed to be a deep dark secret between me and my corporate sponsors. Speaking of which, their last check came back from the bank marked "insufficient funds". This seemed strange to me because Megalithic Corporation is, so to speak, rock solid, so I called the bank. The bank manager explained that the insufficient funds weren't Megalithic's, they were the bank's.Return to index of contributors
From: Tal Seifan
Assuming you are the same Richard Harter who solved the toilet seat problem in 2005, I would like a favor. Naturally, if you are not that Harter, I apologize for wasting your time.
I want to teach biology students some principles in game theory, and I wanted to use your paper. Usually, when I mention a paper, I also add a picture of the author/authors. I will be grateful if you could provide me with your picture (I promise the only change I will make is resizing it).
I am indeed that Harter. You are more than welcome to use the paper. Apparently I don't have a good portrait photo on the computer; however I have attached one that was taken in Venice a couple of years ago. I hope it will suffice.Return to index of contributors
From: Peter Neilson
My dear spouse Cheryl reports that she received that *very same letter* from Sarah Palin. You say Sarah's sending e-mail to strange men. Well, she's also sending e-mail to strange women. And Cher is (as she herself will admit) quite strange. (I am married to one of the very few women who loathe shopping for clothes but will spend hours happily in a hardware or farm-supply store.)
Sarah is heading for a load of trouble with these e-mails to strange men and strange women.
As for sending her the money she asks for, that'll have to wait. BHO promises us change. When he gets elected maybe he'll see that I have some spare change in my pocket, and I can send her some.
I dunno, this all gets very spooky. Could it be that Sarah Palin is a Nigerian? I suppose not; those letters from Nigeria are always offering large sums of money. Politicians ask for lots of money and offer a little change in return.Return to index of contributors
From: Michael Farrel
Hey, did you write the Anger Management story?
Sorry, no, it is one of those things that circulated in email lists. I dare say it was written by some humorist but I can't find any information about it on the web. There must be thousands of copies out there.
... continued on next rock ...
I had an idea to write a short movie using that but I don't want to get sued down the road. Oh well, saves me a lot of work. Enjoyed your site BTW. Think I would be considered one of those Creation idiots too. Thanks for getting >back to me and keep up the good work, Michael
Thanks for the kind words. As an after thought I checked urbanlegends.com and snopes.com. They didn't turn anything up. I suspect that it is an urban legend; it has all of the earmarks of one.Return to index of contributors
From: Peter Neilson
As one who was (like me) not designed intelligently--any intelligence I may have fell randomly upon my exposed neurons back when I had some--you will enjoy reading this review...
No, you won't, You'll grumble, slurping your soup with too much noise, >wishing that science could just be science without the religious politix.
Well I read it. I dunno, it's pretty much a case of preaching to the choir. People who have had an education that includes a basic understanding of science will nod their heads and agree. That such people are a small minority of the population may be a depressing fact. Then again, one can take the view that the dream of a well informed citizenry was always a utopian fantasy.Return to index of contributors
From: Chip Hitchcock
The reason the hardware packages don't have the same count is the same reason hotdog buns and hotdogs come in packages with different counts.
I dare say it is. Would there be any point in asking what that reason might be? I didn't think so.Following Peter's suggestion of Googling the phrases in the Jewish survival joke leads to a recollection of a hoarier piece involving a Jewish Brit who had done so many good things they couldn't avoid knighting him. Instead of the usual folderol they simply told him "Show up on X", where he saw various people briefly declaiming in some language he didn't recognize (presumably Latin) before kneeling; at his turn, he said "Boruch hatah adonai, elohaynu ...", at which point Victoria turned to Albert to ask "Why is this knight different from all other knights?"
One guess who I heard that from.
The Evial One himself I would imagine. I've heard it myself from him ... more than once.I had written:
I dare say it is. Would be any point in asking what that reason might be? I didn't think so.
Only the illuminati know for certain; suppositions include their desire to keep the rest of us guessing and the training some of them had in business school (cf Prof W. C. Fields's dictum "Never give a \r\e\k\c\u\scustomer an even break.")
One of the great disillusionments of my life was when I discovered that the illuminati weren't too bright. Business school, eh. You liberals are all alike - you just can't resist poking fun at our president.Re who might have narrated an ancient anecdote from the Jewish Joe Miller.
The Evial One himself I would imagine. I've heard it myself from him ... more than once.
No; I got it from his imitator -- who may or may not have discovered it independently.
That possibility had also occurred to me; in the humor department his imitator plays Saruman to the Evial One's Sauron.Return to index of contributors
About your Mt Everest gibberish .... I guess you believe that scientists think that the atoms that make up the mountain carefully deposited themselves in a roughly conical shape, layer upon layer until the last atom rested on the top!
The formation of mountains is not an micro process but a macro process primarily the result of tectonic plate collisions. Thus the math involves astronomically smaller numbers than you claim.
As for the *10,000,000,000,000,000 *planets, isn't it amazing how statistics can say almost anything and always be right and always be wrong!
I'm sure you're very disagreeable. No argument here with that.Return to index of contributors
From: Sarah Palin
I know that John McCain is the right person to lead our great country forward in these challenging times. Republicans across the country and I share his vision for keeping America prosperous and secure and look forward to helping communicate that vision to the American voters.
As Governor of Alaska, I have worked hard to bring reform to politics-as-usual, fight corruption and waste, and make certain that government serves the people, not the special interests.
Our Party's entire ticket, from top to bottom, is committed to an agenda of cutting wasteful pork-barrel spending and keeping taxes low so that American families can decide how to spend more of their hard-earned money instead of bureaucrats in Washington. We must act now to increase our energy independence and ensure our economy grows strong and offers opportunity to all of our citizens.
I applaud John McCain's personal example of dedication and sacrifice to our country, and I know he has the courage and experience to make the tough decisions that will keep America strong to face the threats to our security from Islamic terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and tyrannical regimes.
Like John McCain, Reform Republicans are optimistic about America's future -- and confident that we will build on our past successes to make our great country even greater.
We reject the Democrats' fearful and pessimistic mentality. When we are able to get our message past the liberal mainstream media filter – directly to the voters – the vast majority of the American people agree with our confident, optimistic view of principled, conservative government and opportunity for all.
But the Obama Democrats and their allies are set to raise over $1 billion to relentlessly flood America's airwaves with their negative and false attacks against our Republican candidates.
That's why I'm asking for your help. Please help give us the resources we need to fight back against the Democrats and their fearful tactics of doom-and-gloom. Help us fight for a better future for all Americans today by making a secure online contribution of $2,000, $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $35 to the Republican National Committee.
I am honored to have been asked by John McCain to join him at the top of the ticket in this historic presidential election -- and now I am asking you to join with me and all of our candidates as we fight for victory on November 4th.
Sarah,Return to index of contributors
This page was last updated October 16, 2008.