Letters to the Editor: May 16

May 16, 2013 

UK Food Services' quality, selection merit support

Last month, the University of Kentucky Department of Mathematics and the UK College of Arts and Sciences, as well as private supporters, presented an enlightening lecture regarding mathematics as art form. Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Erik Demaine and his father, Martin, were most engaging in their presentation.

Following the lecture, we were treated to a reception and an opportunity to view the exhibit, "Curves in Math, Waves in Glass, Origami and Glass Works," at the UK Art Museum.

UK's catering services provided the refreshments. The selection, the quality, the staff service — all were excellent. You could hear among the conversations people discussing the fine fare.

With such an example of high-caliber performance and the reported relationship with local producers as well as its being a department that is self-supporting and profitable, it would be regrettable to lose such an established entity.

Yet, in these times, it is difficult to allocate the needed millions to save this service when there are funds needed by so many areas at the university.

I hope that decision-makers will try to find a way to keep the UK Food Services without financial detriment to other needs.

Mary Gregory

Mount Vernon


Science for hire

The feedback column in the April 29 Herald-Leader by Dominik D. Alexander, an epidemiologist engaged, along with a colleague, by the National Mining Association, reminded me of the efforts of the tobacco industry in the 1970-80s.

They employed scientists to offer proof that tobacco was not harmful to human health; even built a building on the University of Kentucky campus for the purpose.

I do not dispute the author's pointing out technical flaws in the way data was collected for the study he questioned. He pointed out that the authors acknowledged the same flaws.

But, duh, nit-picking over where a relative lived when they died of a given disease is ignoring what is obvious to observers living in the environment in question.

Seeing dead streams following overburden being dumped into them, reading the validly researched studies of the causation of black lung in coal miners, and talking to individuals of the discomfort they experience living in that environment is certainly convincing circumstantial evidence that coal mining, particularly current strip mining practices, is the culprit.

I wonder if "unflawed research" utilizing accepted statistical analysis methods would be any more convincing to those dedicated to disproving increasingly more accepted knowledge of the health hazards of exposure to coal dust and other toxins produced by modern mining techniques?

E. C. Seeley

Lexington


One-way streets OK

Many years ago, it was deemed by those in charge that it would be beneficial to Lexington to make some streets one-way while other streets would remain two-way.

I worked downtown for 42 years in a bank that changed its name several times and retired in 1991 when the bank was named First Security National Bank & Trust Company.

My entire career was on Main and Upper or Main and Walnut (now Martin Luther King Boulevard). It really seemed better for all when Main Street changed from two-way to one-way back then.

Don't change something that works better now then it did years ago. It's just fine now.

Herb Petit

Lexington


RIP George Jones

When I read the news of the passing of country music superstar, George Jones, I found myself shedding some unexpected tears.

Having charted No. 1 songs in five decades, Jones transcended time, generations, continual shifts in the country music genre, as well as changes in our country in general. His iconic song, He Stopped Loving Her Today, repeatedly has been ranked No. 1 in polls of the greatest country music songs of all time, and rightly so.

He leaves us with his vast library of recordings, a lasting impact on artists in an amazing variety of music genres and a treasured place in the hearts of so many of us for whom he provided much of the soundtrack of our formative years and the seminal moments in our lives.

As I see social media postings of the seemingly infinite number of songs that have impacted people in ways so personal and profound they feel compelled to share them, I, too, feel inclined to share and quote.

Upon further reflection, however, I wonder if the Possum, himself, asked the question we fans of traditional country music stars should be asking ourselves, today: Who's gonna fill their shoes?

Rest in peace, Possum. We will never stop loving you, and no one could ever fill your shoes.

Tracie A. Handley

Lexington


Stop ag-gag bills

"Despicable, unconstitutional, ridiculous, immature, idiotic, and mendacious." And that's just how Tennessee newspapers characterized the state's ag-gag bill, which Gov. Bill Haslam announced Monday that he would veto.

Ag-gag bills criminalize whistleblowing that exposes animal abuses, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems on factory farms.

Instead of encouraging whistleblowing and preventing these violations, ag-gag laws ensure that consumers and regulatory authorities are kept in the dark.

Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and Utah have enacted ag-gag laws, but such bills were defeated in eight other states, thanks to a strong outcry from the public and newspaper editors.

In 2013, new ag-gag bills were introduced in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming.

The language has been invariably drafted by the infamous anti-consumer American Legislative Exchange Council.

Thirty newspapers and 60 national animal protection, workers' rights, civil liberties, public health, food safety and environmental conservation organizations have recently gone on record as strongly opposing ag-gag bills.

Each of us who feels that our government must never restrict our right and obligation to know where our food comes from should urge our state legislators and governor to oppose the ag-gag bill.

Lyle Rutter

Louisville


Oil spill solution

This concerns the Deep Water Horizon British Petroleum oil spill of 2010. What I have wondered is why oil companies between the U.S. and Mexico do not have a pumping system on standby for such emergencies.

With such a system, all except for the tar might be vacuumed from the well head until it can be capped. With a flow rate of 1 million gallons per day, this is something that translates into 750 gallons per minute.

A piping system with pneumatically driven pumps could vacuum or pump the water up to the surface to a waiting tanker.

The piping system could have a set of pumps working sequentially, evenly spaced from the sea floor to the pipes, discharge into the tanker.

An emergency pumping system such as this would easily pay for itself by minimizing or eliminating the damage a single oil spill creates.

James A. Lindgaard

Richmond

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