Running on Empty
Getting There from Here
Full Steam Ahead
Beyond the Bluster
Cashing in Her Chips
The Art & Science of Diversity
Twins Be Nimble
|Exchange: To and from the editors
|All the letters all the time
Ideas for Increasing Life Membership in Alumni Association
In an issue some time ago under news of the Alumni Association, there was a list of the LIFE members. It was an amazingly small list.
Without getting into lengthy discussion about alumni loyalty and the many benefits of membership, it seems to me that it would be good if something could be done to encourage more of us alums to take the big step.
How about starting with a campaign offering special incentives to particular candidates, our emeriti, of whom each year we have increasingly greater numbers. Give the 50-years-plus alumnus special consideration for the fewer years he has left (if you need a reason) by reducing his life membership fee, let’s say $10 for each year of his alumniship.
In 2007, then, a class of 1940 alum would subtract 67 times $10 ($670) from the $1,000 fee giving him a LIFE MEMBERSHIP in the Alumni Association for $330.
If any reasonable number sign up, everybody gains. Any interest, emeriti?
Myron Hager ’40
Basic Human Rights
In her article “Are Embryos Persons?” in the spring 2006 issue of UMass Amherst magazine, Professor Lynne Rudder Baker concedes that an embryo is indeed human, but goes on to propose that embryos should nonetheless be used for scientific research (read: disassembled for their useful parts) because they are not yet “persons.” Essentially, Professor Baker’s argument is that the right to not be killed, the most basic of all rights, should attach only to humans who meet certain criteria, in this case a first-person perspective, rather than to all humans.
But if a first-person perspective is the touchstone of this right, then why wouldn’t the same standard apply to others who don’t yet or no longer meet the criteria, like newborns, the comatose, and those with severe mental impairments? If we accept Professor Baker’s argument that human non-persons, as she defines them, are expendable then its hard to see why not. After all, the usefulness of their parts is no mere theoretical possibility.
And it’s not like we’d be killing anyone, right? Just…defining them out of existence.
Jim Doherty ’90
U-Turn to Reality
In the Spring 2006 issue of your publication, Lynne Rudder Baker makes a very unrealistic discourse on the above topic. I had thought that Lynne wanted to encourage stem cell research, but on a closer observation, I saw [her] diverting to animals and then to human embryos which of course was the topic. I however noted with dismay, [her] assertion that "...the destruction of a human embryo is not destruction of a human person" thus, legitimizing such practices as abortion.
This is not just acceptable. We (humans) are gradually degenerating into "empty bodies", failing to recognize the spiritual aspects of our existence. Virtually every religion is against your position on the embryo issue, hence the war against abortion. I think Lynne and [her] likes need to make a u-turn to reality and not to use science as a parallel to god the creator.
Please help us pass morally acceptable legacies to the younger generation.
Owerri, Imo, Nigeria
Morals vs. Opinions
In her article, Lynn Rudder Baker explains that she has “made it my task to consider what kind of beings pre-implantation embryos are.” She proposes that there are two “reigning views of what persons are – simply animals, or animals plus immaterial souls.” She decided that these were inadequate so she attempts to devise a third view. She postulates: “A human person is constituted by a human body without being identical to the body that constitutes her.”
First of all, Ms. Baker has overlooked what I would suggest is the reigning view of people in the United States of what a person is – a living being individually and uniquely made in the image of God.
Second, Ms Baker argues that if a person loses her first person perspective, she would no longer exist as a person. If this were true, people in comas would no longer exist as persons since they do not have a first person perspective. This is a dangerous road to go down. If people in comas no longer exist then why not put their physical bodies out of existence as well? But we all know that some people in comas have recovered. Does that mean they didn’t exist but now they do again? Can people come and go out of existence? This reasoning is absurd!
Ms. Baker’s article is expressed as her opinion. But she suggests we make an important moral decision, whether or not to curtail stem cell research because of the destruction of pre-implantation embryos, based upon her reasoning. It is all too typical in our society for people to base moral decisions upon their opinion rather than upon a set standard of morality. Opinions and scientific discoveries change over time. I would propose that such moral decisions be based upon an immutable, perfect standard – the Word of God.
Meryl (Fuller) Freeman ‘77
Port Washington, Wisconsin
Full Steam Ahead and Behind?
I always enjoy your magazine, and the article on the new central heating plant was interesting and instructive. However, I was amazed that in this lengthy article, there was not one paragraph, sentence or word about the “new” steam plant that was constructed some years ago at Tillson Farm, and still sits there, apparently full of expensive and never-used equipment. The “explanations” which I have hard over my years of employment at UMass are disparate and wide ranging, and often fantastical. Here was an ideal opportunity to set the record straight and put the rumors to rest. While I’m sure the true explanation would have to be somewhat of an embarrassment to the University, I think it is incredible that you would simply leave this chapter completely out of your “history” of UMass power.
Asaph Murfin ’00G
What is Life?
I found it quite disturbing that the magazine of my Alma Mater would publish such an article as "Are Embryos Persons?" by Lynne Rudder Baker.
The stem cell research issue is certainly one of great controversy, and I am not sure that the UMass Alumni Magazine is necessarily the best vehicle in which to debate the topic. What bothered me most however, was the lack of any rebuttal article which may have pointed out a few things that should be considered after reading what Professor Baker had to say. So if you will permit me—
Professor Baker used words like "organism" and "person." These are just words, and like all words, we human beings define what they mean in the context of our language. A harmless truth until you start dealing with the business of human life. Then it gets serious.
It seems to me that attempts to define key words, such as "person," are at the very core of the points that the Professor tries to make.
I believe in God. I believe in life. And I believe that God created life. Therefore, logic tells me that God is the only One that has the true authority to define what "life" is, and what relationship "organisms" and "persons" have to "life." It would then follow that God has the lone authority to determine the definition of a "person," and in fact when it is that a person becomes a person. It is His view that is the totally accurate view, and thus the only view that has credibility.
Makes sense to me.
Professor Baker's article on the other hand, makes no sense to me.
Bob Crotty ’70
Yes, a human body and a human person (better known as a soul) are different, but only the One who created them both knows the difference. Every human being, including Professor Baker, began as an embryo. To claim that an embryo isn't human is foolish and ignorant. The only reason for claiming a difference is to excuse the murder of embryos. Don't insult my intelligence by making philosophical arguments to justify murder.
Van Moeller ’77
A Lasting Impression
I always approach the obituary section of UMass Mag with trepidation because I know that I will eventually come across obits for people I knew during my BA and PhD days. With this issue, for the second time, I found the name of one of my professors, Lee Beaty.
Miss Beaty (as we called her, although she could have demanded the "Dr." she had earned) was a formidable character. She was gruff, tough and often abrupt but she taught Shakespeare with great feeling. I remember her standing in front of the class, cigarette in one hand and cup of black coffee in the other, expounding upon some point or the other which was punctuated by the emphazemic cough she always said was "nothing." I also remember the day we had to write sonnets and I produced what I thought was a pretty good one. She pronounced that I had a tin ear and gave me a C. To compound my wounded pride, I had to ask her what a tin ear meant! As tough as she was, I always knew that she really cared about whether or not we understood Shakespeare, Chaucer and Beowulf. She wanted us to learn to love the literature as she did. She scared me sometimes but I kept going back for more.
I didn't stay in touch with her after graduation and I don't know how she lived her last 20 years, but I feel a loss knowing she is gone. She was an integral part of my education and I am so very glad and so very lucky to have known her.
Marcy L. Tanter ’86, ’96G
Degrees of Forgetfulness
It would have been of interest to your readers had you identified Dr. Stephen DeStefano, the researcher mentioned in the Mystery of Massachusetts Moose article on page 12 in the Spring 2006 issue, as a UMass graduate (B.S. Class of 1978).
Joseph S. Larson '56, '58G
Wants Alternate Views
I read with great interest Professor Baker's article, on the last page of the Spring 2006 issue in the Zip 01003 column, entitled "Are Embryos Persons?"
I look forward to your upcoming articles in the same prominent column presenting alternate views about embryos and person hood. Such is the legitimate requirement of a University publication when such a controversial issue is featured in other than a "letters to the editor" space. It is, after all, an opinion piece, not empirical evidence.
F. Paul Richards, '68
More Open Minds on the Liberal Front
The study of Science vs. Religion used to be summed up in Dr. Greenbaum’s History Seminars as one of “Reason vs. Faith.” In your article on Steve Harvey you seem to dismiss it as one of “truth and deception.”
To assume religion is deception seems to belie the fact that scientists commit deception, too. Look at all of the falsified experiments to get one’s name in a journal, or one’s invention on the market. Likewise, is some priest, spending Christmas Day in some obscure hospital, caring for the sick and forgotten, a deceiver? Hardly.
In the Collegian, when I was a student, there was a letter to the editor (in Feb. of ’83) defining “Liberal” as someone who (among a number of qualities) was “open-minded.” I don’t think it is that way any more. Today, a Liberal seems to be stridently closed minded and negative about a number of topics—including religion.
If you mean that the dialectic between Science and Religion is one of truth and deception, then shame on you for allowing such stridently close-minded and negative nonsense in a UMASS publication. I say this, not due to my faith, but as an old style Liberal whose mind is always open, his ears are always ready to listen, his intellect is always willing to absorb and weigh, and his perspective is always open to change if the preponderance of evidence leads elsewhere and anywhere.
Topher Russo ’85
I was grieved to read the congratulatory article detailing Steve Harvey's "win" against the intelligent design movement. My husband escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia in 1986 after two years in prison because he didn't agree with the Communist philosophies. Debate of ideas and alternative theories was unheard of. Is that where we are headed in America? In addition, the article reminded me of the Biology of Cancer class that I took at Umass in 1987. I thought I would actually learn Biology, but instead I learned that :Mother Earth is grieving because of AIDS, Jesus apparently believed in reincarnation, and one whole class was devoted to shiatsu massage and its spiritual benefits. I lost both of my parents to cancer that year and I thought I could actually learn about the biology of cancer. I have always regretted that I never stood up in that packed lecture hall and asked the professor where his theology degree was from.
Colleen Clark Sust '88
First Person Concept
I have a rebuttal to Ms. Baker, in her piece regarding the stem-cell debate. She states the following in her philosophical essay:
"A being with a rudimentary first-person perspective is a person only if it is of a kind that normally develops robust first-person perspectives.
When an organism develops a rudimentary first-person perspective, a new being—a person—comes into existence.".
She discusses how there is no precise moment when that new person arises and my point is this: if you let a cluster of cells alone to develop, they ULTIMATELY WILL form that First Person concept (9 months later). Plus, anyone who has studied child development knows that newborn babies have no concept of first person-ness as she defines it (even rudamentary), until about 1.5 months of age. Does that mean newborns are not people?
I think if we used newborns for research, that would be murder. To me, a cluster of cells with 46 HUMAN chromosomes, destined to build a child is just that- a child- First Person or not.
Kathy Cail '95
Tree Appreciation 101
In the Spring 2006 issuse, I enjoyed reading Vincent Cleary's article on taking the "Plants and the Landscape" class. Not long ago he did a nice piece on "The Trees We Love." It would be great for UMass to follow up with an article about the wonderful wild and native trees that also grow on campus, particularly on the ridge known to "old timers" as "Prexy's Ridge." At least one of the white oaks there is over 280 years old; many other trees are also older than the campus. What a treasure we have there!
Elisa Campbell '80G
As usual I enjoy the magazine with all the diverse topics plus the letters from other alumni and "class notes".
First comment is an editorial idea. When you write a scientific article, why not include all the citations and references with hyperlinks so anyone interested can more easily review the background or details. These should include the e-mail addresses of the authors and main characters too.If you are short of paper to print these, then post some sort of link which will contain the whole list. You have some great photo and art work but don't attribute it to anyone. Why not give them credit like Time and Newsweek? The back cover is an example. I am clueless on what, when, why or who.
Second comment is on the new power plant. Forty years ago :-P as an engineering student I walked all over campus for my classes and was very interested in how all the buildings were connected to the powerhouse. When the snow fell, the pipelines were visible as paths of mud going everywhere. This interest was shared by fellow engineering students and some found ways to open the hatches and enter the valve and junction boxes in the ground to check out the tunnels and pipes. The fact that this activity was not on anyone's approved list made it even more attractive. I remember turning on the heat, first thing, when I got back to my dorm room after the winter holidays. It could take 6 hours for the system to purge the cold water and get the radiator hot but it never failed even on the coldest of days.
Since many of these lines must be 50 years old or more and near the end of their life, are new steam lines part of the project? Most modern cogen units have condensate recycle to save the energy of cleaning and reheating the water feed to the boilers. No mention of that in the article either.
Chris Read '67
I am writing to thank you for your special section in the Spring 2006 alumni and friends magazine. I am a sixth grade science teacher in Eastern Mass., and we are just entering the alternative energy unit of our science curriculum this year. My students are very interested in how these energies work as we have been discussing the negative effect of humans in nature for the past two weeks. I am excited to share the information about the greasecars, the steam heating plant, and wind turbines during the project they will be doing on alternative energy. Thank you so much for the interesting information! I look forward to other articles I can use for my classes!
Dedham Middle School
As an alumna of UMASS Amherst '80 (Journalism/English), I have spent a great deal of my professional time writing commentaries on the rights of animals and the archaic forms of research we still inflict upon them. In the "Science Notebook" of UMASS Mag Spring 2006, an article ran entitled, "A Fat Pill," in which research being done on "engineered" mice to turn out yet another pill that promises to attack fat or whatever the possibilities might be.
We have caused ourselves poor health in so many ways, and many people see no ethical problem in transferring the product of our abuses to innocent animals, so more money can be funded and wasted on crimes against nature. It disappoints me to see that UMASS remains in the diminishing group of universities that still conduct wasteful experiments on animals, when they can be using state of the art technological advancements to concentrate on human physiology and psychology. Why are many of us overweight? I'm sure it has nothing to do with why these mice are fat...because they are engineered to be so by researchers. It is sad that these pill generating callous projects continue to be funded with money that could go to feeding starving children instead, not to mention cultivating a more humane and ethical society.
C. Veronica Guerra-Varno '80
William Heronemus Remembered
I was glad to read the article about Wind Hull One/Two and James Manwell ?81G, and also the mention of our mentor Mechanical Engineering Professor William Heronemus.
In 1982 I had the privilege of working with Professor Heronemus for my undergraduate thesis on the feasibility of using wind power to heat and power a residence. He was a man of great vision and passion concerning the need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Previous to being my thesis advisor he was my assigned guidance counselor. I remember meeting with him on several occasions in the evening in semi-darkness to talk about my future. He would always do his part to save energy, and set the example for his students. At present my wife and I own a heating contractor company where our mission is to replace old energy hog equipment with high efficiency equipment that uses less than half the energy. I hope that he would be proud of his onetime student.
I am glad to see that his vision lives on in both the Hull Wind projects and his former students.
Russell D Kimball ’82
Mill Creek, WA
I read the article "Getting There from Here" in the spring 2006 issue.
The article stated, "The average car travels 100,000 miles during its lifetime, uses more than 3,000 gallons of gas, and discharges more than 35 tons of carbon." In order to generate 35 tons of carbon the average car would have to use a lot more then 3,000 gallons of gasoline.
For example: A gallon of gasoline weights around 6.25 pounds. (Different grades at different temperatures weigh differently, but 6.25 is close enough.) 3,000 gallons weighs about 9.4 tons. (3,000 * 6.25/2000). If 93% by weight of gasoline is carbon then 3,000 gallons of gasoline might about weigh 8.7 tons. I know my numbers are off a little bit, but the point is: How does 3,000 gallons of gasoline generate 35 tons of carbon?
I am glad the author found the trip from Cambridge to UMass Amherst on public transportation "memorable and fun", since it probably took 3 times longer then if she just drove out in her car. Most people would prefer to drive.
David Merkel '72
Who Decides What Should be Taught?
It is interesting in the article, "The Evolution of a Lawyer" in the UMass Magazine how you seemingly glorify Steve Harvey as if he rid the world of some great evil by not allowing "intelligent design" to be taught in public schools. In my opinion, just the opposite is true. When I went to public school BOTH evolution and creation were given as possibilities to consider. That is what education is all about. Nothing was forced as to what option to believe, the student was allowed to decide.
Harvey, being backed by ACLU lawyers is not a surprise. The ACLU is on a campaign to take God out of every aspect of American life. This was never intended by the founders of our country, and is not intended by our Constitution. In fact, "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" (of religion) is being continually violated by this type of action. What is most disturbing is how UMass, on a consistent basis, allows only one point of view.
UMass, like most colleges today, is becoming a center of indoctrination rather than education. MANY students have told me personally how it is like "walking on eggs" at UMass being very careful not to say anything that would jeopardize their position in school by going against the grain of the one way of thought. Only left or far left thinking is allowed. Students that voice contrary opinion are shouted down and you have had at least one situation on campus where a student was actually physically attacked.
It would seem that one of the greatest sins of this life is to become a traitor to your own noble profession. Teaching is a noble profession. The opportunity to teach and educate another person, a person who allows you to enter their mind through this process, is both a gift and a huge responsibility. There are many excellent and dedicated teachers in our country, many who sacrifice a great deal due to their love of teaching and the fact that they can help others to learn and develop their minds. Yet it is not by accident that many, even most, of our college campuses have become centers of indoctrination rather than purely education. When you present, in an intimidating manner, only one viewpoint and ideology, that is not education but indoctrination. That is exactly what is happening in colleges across our country and this "disease" is spreading throughout the whole educational process from preschool to college graduate school. This is caused by professors and teachers who are indeed traitors to their profession. It is caused by administrators that not only allow it to happen, but encourage it. They are not interested in education, they want to impose their own viewpoints upon young minds.
Steve Harvey is not a hero, as your article implies, by ridding the classroom of another alternative, another possibility, that the universe might have been created by God. Presenting various points of view is what education is all about. Eliminating other points of view is indoctrination.
The World's Not Running on Empty Yet
Why, exactly, is it "maddening" that oil companies are raking in record profits? A worldwide increase in consumption putting stress on supply has resulted in a perfectly normal increase in price. Oil companies, like all companies, have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders. Do you propose to replace the current market-driven system with the state-owned structures that have failed so markedly in socialist societies?
Furthermore, as the Economist magazine pointed out in a recent extensive article, the world is not even close to "running on empty." A United States Geological Survey showed that only a third of the 3 trillion gallons of known supply has been produced, and that does not include the billions of gallons available from tar sands and shale oil.
It is true that our dependence on oil from politically unstable areas must be ameliorated, but scaremongering such as the cover of your Spring issue is counterproductive.
Robert D. Ruplenas '74
Are Embryos Persons?
In response to Ms. Rudder-Baker's assertion that an embryo is not a person because it has the potential to "twin" and thus not be an individual (her emphasis), what then will those twins be if not two individuals? Are not those two persons deserving of protection of law? The inaleienable right of every American to life should not be denied because of age bias or any other bigotry.
Suellen (Caterham) Brewster '87
Seeing Cold Fusion
Cold fusion is not an illusion. The cold fusion effect was replicated at high signal to noise ratios by researchers at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at China Lake, Amoco, SRI, Texas A&M, Los Alamos, Mitsubishi Res. Center, BARC Bombay, Tsinghua U. and over a hundred other world-class laboratories. By September 12, 1990, 92 groups in major laboratories reported replications. See: Will, F.G., Groups Reporting Cold Fusion Evidence. 1990, National Cold Fusion Institute: Salt Lake City, UT., http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/WillFGgroupsrepo.pdf) Hundreds of positive, peer-reviewed papers on cold fusion were subsequently published in mainstream journals.
You can find over 500 full text reprints of scientific papers from all of the institutions listed above, and many others, at our web site, http://lenr-canr.org/
Keeping Up With a Global Economy
The fall issue of UMass contained a 'smarting' reply from Steve Garbowit, Hamden CT, about outsourcing. Steve obviously, is a victim of an irreversible renaissance that America has been undergoing for the last decade. What all of us (including Steve) must understand is that for every $1.00 the US spends on global sourcing, we get $1.25 in return. This economy-boosting fact is proven and there are studies to back it up. The greatness of our American nation lies in accepting the new order and adapting to change. We all know, that in the end, the American consumer will always pay for quality at the most competitive price - be it back-office work or automobile manufacturing. In the early 80's we didn't accept and implement automation and robotics technology in a timely manner.
We, as a nation, languished below the technology curve in upgrading the quality of our auto industry. The Japanese took full advantage of that opportunity and flooded our highways with quality cars which they sold at highly competitive prices. Today they are here to stay & that market share that once belonged to the US auto industry is lost for ever! We must learn from our past mistakes. A stitch in time saves nine. The old adage about embracing technology on time is something we learned at the Automation & Robotics Laboratory in the UMass Engineering Quad. It applies today as it did 18 years ago: "If you don't do it, someone else will; And that someone will kill your business".
In today's global economy, the option to outsource is no longer an "if", but a resounding "when".
Saqib Alladin '88G
Bridge of Flowers Caretaker
It is always a pleasure to read about Shelburne falls, and certainly wonderful to live there (Ben Barnhart’s photographs are splendid!). Since much is made of the Bridge of Flowers it’s only fair to point out that much credit should go to Elaine Parmett ’95G who plays a very active role in the Shelburne Falls Area Woman’s Club. The Bridge of Flowers was initiated by the Club in 1929, which continues to lovingly oversee its care and maintenance.
Christin Courture ’75
Shelburne Falls and New York City
Cheaper Way to Beat the Heat
Reading “Going Up,” it was a surprise to learn that the newest residence halls will have air-conditioning, an expensive amenity that will be used only in summer. It would seem cheaper and simpler to install windows which open and to encourage the residents to adapt. Anyone who has spent both summer and winter in the area knows that, come November, you grow nostalgic for the hot August nights when you slept naked.
Jane Pereira ’70
Class Notes—Not the Place for Fanatics
I am always excited to receive my UMass magazine. The first thing I turn to is class notes. It’s nice to see what everyone is doing. As a proud grad of a university in a blue state, a lifelong resident of another (New York) and a card carrying Bush hater, I was offended by John Laraway’s remarks. Everyone is entitled to their right-wing religious fanaticism, but class notes is not the place for it.
Robin Weinstein-Alpert ’89
Bronx, New York
Phonies Take Off
Soon after your publication of my new business, Phonies LLC, in your 2006 winter edition, my product was selected by ESPN and appeared on Cold Pizza. Coincidence? In fact, Minuteman “Sam” is highlighted in the ESPN clip. Some old alumni contacted me too! Thanks again, I am budding and will keep you informed.
Frank Sykes ’90
Adventurous Spirit will be missed
In the winter issue of the UMass magazine on page 68 there is a great article “Up, Up, and Away!”. It tells of two of my classmates, Roma Levy and Nancy Luce Van Epps. Roma was at our 65th reunion last June. Nancy was my roommate our freshman year and I have kept in touch with her all these years. I always send a Christmas card and this year it was returned DEC. She was of an adventurous spirit also. I will miss hearing from her.
Carolyn (Monk) Myrick ’40
Temple, New Hampshire
Greetings from Texas
To All UMass Bandos:
I was your janitor in Old Chapel, home of the marching band from 1980 to 1994. Now living in San Antonio, Texas. Just turned 76 — my best wishes to all members and directors Mr. Parks and Mr. Hannon.
San Antonio, Texas
Seeing both sides
Thank you for your story on Shelburne Falls. I graduated UMASS with an MFA in 1980 and returned to the area, moving to Shelburne Falls in 1988. My experience was a true eye-opener.
Having lived in inner cities most of my life, I thought I was moving to a rural community with an artistic bent and looked forward to the change. I met with a head-on view of rural poverty and people with major domestic challenges and scarred lives. My neighbors were in bar brawls; occasionally there was a domestic violence case where I was asked to come in and patch someone up because I was a veterinarian and the offending parties had no health insurance. Unfortunately, someone living behind me in subsidized housing inadvertently rolled over on her infant and the infant died.
My dogs were held at gunpoint. There was a horrible murder of a young girl in Greenfield, "Freddie style." I believe that was some kind of horror movie. My house and surrounding area was the focal point of the manhunt.
As a city girl, I moved to Shelburne Falls and was met with more difficult challenges than I faced as a nameless person on a street. I was mugged, violated, and robbed in New York but I saw the underbelly of rural Massachusetts in Shelburne Falls.
I am hoping the arts thrive in Shelburne Falls and adjoining towns. I also hope that people in need seek and find help.
With great respect for all our communities and the people who live in them,
Deborah (Beechert) Lichtenberg ’80G
The Meaning of Scientific Integrity
Your winter 2006 issue was, as usual, outstanding. One article, however, was a tad disturbing…giving food for thought. I refer to “Science Under Siege.”
Kevin Knobloch ’78 of the Union of Concerned Scientists apparently got his degree without having taken a course in logic. He asserts that the UCS’s mission is “protecting the earth and human life” by “addressing the biggest threats to these like global warming, nuclear proliferation, and the global food supply.” His program of “scientific integrity” desperately needs to acknowledge that it is “human” life which is exacerbating global warming and only “human” life which has developed nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.
Animal species other than homo sapiens are not similarly guilty! Walt Kelly’s much missed comic strip years ago found Pogo Possum profoundly pronouncing “We have met the enemy, it is us.”
Ergo, if scientific integrity is to have meaning it needs to concern itself also with the protection of the defenseless innocents of other species as well as the human one.
Vic Urbaitis ’56
Hendersonville, North Carolina
In Pursuit of Scientific Truths
The recent article about Kevin Knobloch and the Union of Concerned Scientists made clear the problem…with science. Dr. Knobloch’s assertion that science is the best tool we have to pursue the truth and is the bedrock of a participatory democracy is more than just arrogant and myopic, it is plainly false. Consider, for instance, the “self-evident” truths put forward in our Declaration of Independence (the bedrock of our participatory democracy) regarding equality and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Science reveals little about these truths. What about mercy, compassion, justice, beauty, or love? If science is so much about truth, why is it that more than 30% of scientists have been reported to lie and cheat (Nature, June 2005)?
Science is not the only finder or guardian of truth. In fact, science is so limited that those truths that are self-evident—truths that provide meaning and purpose to life—cannot be explained by the scientific method. And thank goodness for that!
Jeffrey C. Ives ’92G
Ithaca, New York
We enjoyed the articles about alpacas and our village of Shelburne Falls. Coincidentally, one of the village’s newest businesses is Eddie’s Wheels, manufacturer of mobility carts for disabled animals. We are also the only maker of carts for alpacas afflicted by meningeal worms. There is a feature story about Ben, a disabled alpaca, on our web site - www.eddieswheels.com.
More Young Alumni, Please!
Your magazine is great and I read it religiously but I feel it overlooks the importance of young alumni. For example, I am one of, if not the, youngest founding member of the Alumni Club in Boston and one of the youngest Life members of the Alumni Association. I often feel like I’m surrounded by old people (though I don’t mind) and I feel like the alumni magazine needs to cultivate the younger spirit of the recent graduates. You should highlight those of us that are doing well and taking the time to promote the fact that they are proud graduates. Even though we have just graduated, we young alumni are out there working with the likes of Boston College and Cornell graduates, and are proud of our education and what it has allowed us to do.
I work for the Executive Compensation Group, a premier financial services firm in Boston. We work hand in hand with MassMutual and alongside people from the most prestigious colleges and universities.
I think young executives would get a boost from more support from the alumni magazine.
John Bartolo ’04
Adoption Issue Hits a Nerve
This past weekend I was reading your magazine. My husband Robert ’69 is an alumnus and the adoption issue hit a nerve. I may be of some help to this grant generously donated by the Rudd family. I grew up in an upper middleclass neighborhood and was given all the privileges of private school, country clubs, etc. and a loving family. At age 16 I got pregnant and ignored it and ended up having a child at age 17. I put the child up for adoption and last year, 27 years later, I received a phone call. It has been a difficult year but wonderful at the same time. Even though I cannot speak for her I am sure I should participate in the study. I am happy to answer any questions or be a part of a focus group.
Keene, New York
Praise, compliments and kudos for the excellent Winter 2006 UMass Amherst magazine! The cover caught my immediate attention, and I especially enjoyed the “Why You Should Love Polymers” story.
As I read the article, surprise! There was a brief story regarding the development and study of medical stent implants!
What a wonderful way to “catch up” on the department of polymer science and engineering. My last work was a as senior scientist at Sovereign Specialty Polymers, Seabrook, New Hampshire, for the past 27 years.
In July 2006, I incorporated myself as a consultant and I have been doing polymer R&D in several different areas.
My most interesting current work is research and process development in the area of drug eluting cardiac stents, associated polymer development, polymer bonding to exotic metals, solid drug migration through solid polymers and a variety of associated medical work. For a number of years, I did R&D in kidney dialysis for Baxter Healthcare, as a supplier of specialty polymers. Our management terms our research in cardiac stent implants both evolutionary and revolutionary. We also do a number of other medical R&D and process development activities.
I am a graduate of UMass Amherst with a chemistry degree and I have taught advanced chemistry subjects at UMass Lowell in their evening program for thirty years. As they say, there is no better way to learn a subject in depth as to teach it. I taught polymer chemistry, advanced organic, industrial chemistry and chemical applications. The days seem to grow shorter as time passes. Where is Einstein and Time Dilation when one needs it?
You may recall that I opened a polymer plant in Korea in 1990, got introduced to a lovely young Filipina in the Philippines, and we were married in 1992. We have tow sons, Jerrel (age 7) and Brent (age 5). Both boys are into several sports as well as excellent school work, and there never seems to be enough hours in the day!
My special congratulations to UMass Amherst for the prodigious accomplishment with the department of polymer science and engineering.
Keep up the excellent reporting, interesting articles and overall excellence!
Harold Garey ’60
Shelburne's Rebirth Lauded
Friary’s article, “Falling For Shelburne Falls,” brought back many memories. Following my graduation from UMass in 1963, I lived in the Falls and taught in the local high school until it closed in 1967 when Shelburne joined the Mohawk Trail Regional School District. I joined the faculty at the new high school where I remained for two years until returning to UMass to earn my doctorate.
In those days, Shelburne Falls was in insulated, conservative community with few options for its high school graduates. Most went to work in the one remaining textile mill in Colrain, or a cutlery factory in Shelburne Falls, or farmed. Greenfield Community College had just opened but attracted few of Shelburne’s young, and UMass was not really seen as an option. Town politics were dominated by a few old line families and there was tremendous social pressure to conform to their thinking as to how the town and its churches and schools should be run. I recall one young minister being encouraged to leave town after beginning a sex education program. As well, I recall Orwell’s 1984 was banned from the high school curriculum because it allegedly encouraged communism, a total misreading of the text. In that year, I remember a student asking me during class if it was true that I was a communist Jew.
Despite the obvious constraints that a liberal leaning, young and unmarried teacher felt, Shelburne Falls had a beauty and simplicity that I found very difficult to leave. I made many friends there and have always felt welcomed when I’ve made return visits. I was glad to learn that the town has had a rebirth and is home to so many UMass alumni.
Paul H. Levy ’63, ’66G, ’71G
Silver Spring, Maryland
The music of Shelburne Falls
I enjoyed your article about the magic of Shelburne Falls. I wish it had included some reference to the Mohawk Trail Concerts, a concert series now celebrating its 36th anniversary and an artistic staple of that community. Arnold and Ruth Black, founders of the MTC were long time residents of Shelburne Falls and so are several of its board of directors. Although the concerts take place at the Federated Church in Charlemont a large portion of the audience are residents of Shelburne Falls and vicinity. MTC’s outreach school program has brought music to the school children of Shelburne Falls and surrounding towns. Many of the artists performing on these series are either faculty or students at UMass and Five College music departments.
Professor Emerita UMass Music Department
Perfect Hair; Sore Teeth
When at age seven, I made my first visit to a dentist; I had four cavities, but my hair was perfect. My family may have skimped on basic preventive dental care, but not on hairdressing. Nowadays, I see a dentist twice a year, quite by chance, a fellow UMass alumnus. Reading “Shear Genius,” however, about a hair salon for children, was enough to make my teeth ache.
Jane Shaw Pereira ’70
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All the letters all the time