Science in Society Archive

Science in Society #40 - Letters to the Editor

Science in Society 40

I totally agree with The Full Monty on Food (SiS 40). I grow food in my own garden, and
harvested more than 50 kilo of sweet potatoes and two batches of fresh corn every year, plus many kinds of vegetables and fruits. Of course we still need to buy some meat, veggies and grains. Please see my plots,  but it’s a pity you can't hear the bird song.
Li Kangmin, Wuxi, Shangdong, China

No Nuclear! But Cold Fusion OK

It is alarming how the G8 nations are determined to build new nuclear power stations (Nuclear Renaissance Runs Aground, SiS 40), that would no doubt spread to other nations..

New Zealand is committed to opposing nuclear power, and I hope will remain so.

It would not take much of an accident to totally contaminate our small country.

Your articles on low energy nuclear reactions (From Cold Fusion to Condensed Matter Nuclear Science and others in the series, SiS 36) were very informative and showed how nuclear power can be harnessed for us without harm. Please publicise the benefits of low energy nuclear reactions

I am also an advocate of solar power (Solar Power to the Masses, SiS 39), and can see the day when solar panels will cover the roofs of our homes.

I am glad there is an organisation like I-SIS to keep us informed!
Cecelia Martin. Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies
Look out for a new series on low energy nuclear reactions coming up in next issue of SiS.

Concentrating Solar Power Debate

I have been enthused by the idea of CSP since first learning about it a couple of years ago. But your article Solar Power to the Masses (SiS 39) gave me some food for thought.

I understood that high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission lent itself to underground or undersea cabling, and therefore assumed that it could actually reduce the visual impact in the landscape (see, and also wondered if running cables under the ground would reduce electro-magnetic field effects above ground do you know if this is the case?

Nick Dunlop the Secretary General of e-Parliament, an organisation he set up to network parliamentarians around the world is an ardent advocate of the super-grid (HVDC) as a way of  linking the various forms of renewable energy (CSP in the south, wind, tidal, photo-voltaic and hydro further north) in order to create an effective, affordable and stable renewable power system.  I mentioned your article to him, and he tells me that he was recently at a meeting where there was a debate about small scale solar generation being the solution, and while persuaded of its benefits still feels that in the long run a supergrid enabling CSP to be fed into the grid would be an important element, and would be of benefit to the small scale and micro-generation systems.
David Ashton, UK

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies
There is much confusion over the HVDC supergrid. It has been proposed just for CSP and Africa-Europe connection, but also for wind power and pan-Europe connection. The HVDC cables are not completely buried underground, and where cables are installed unburied in the seabed, there are environmental impacts that have not been assessed. CSP however, can be localised, just like other solar installations, and does not depend on a HVDC supergrid. I have not been able to find any detailed description of the supergrid project, and remain unconvinced of its merits.

Dream Farm Chile

Hola! Together with my family and partner, we are creating a demonstration farm in El Manzano in the VIII region of Chile, based on permaculture and agroecological principles, see  I have been reading and studying your articles  about dream farm for couple years  (most recent Dream Farm 2 a Work of Art, SiS 40), and we are slowly but steadily evolving towards the dream farm model. We intend to apply for government funding.

We are also currently running Permaculture Design Certificate Courses here in Chile and would like to include the dream farm model as part of the curriculum, if that is OK with you.
Javiera Carrión, El Manzano, Chile

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies
No problems! Contact us if you need other help

Sublime reactions

I belong to a small group of women, post-graduates who come together to study and discuss cosmology, and ways of moving current understanding through our writing, art, poetry, music, storytelling, and reverence (and irreverence when necessary). We call ourselves the Cosmic Boat Women, as we are all somewhat rebels and castaways from the mainstream learning community here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We have been following your writings on water (most recent, Liquid Crystalline Water at the Interface, SiS 39) and liquid crystalline form (latest. Quantum Jazz, The Tao of Biology, SiS 34) We think you rock, and we are so glad you are giving the world of science the kick in the arse it so badly needs. Not to mention that you are coming up with what we think are the keys to blowing this whole paradigm open.

I also read In Search of the Sublime (SiS 39) and in response to the magnificent insights it contained, I send a poem I wrote [below, short version, and slightly edited] about one year ago, before I read your article, that reflects what you were saying. The poem was inspired by an experience I had after reading about some discoveries at Berkeley regarding quantum coherence in the photosynthetic process. What struck me was the amount of time the researchers considered to be the crucial 'lingering moment' of resonance, a few femtoseconds! Yet that’s all it takes for something to get our attention.

I am a poet and a musician with particular interest in the harmonic nature of form and energy, which I think is what draws us into our own moments of sublime connection to all-that-is.

On behalf of all of the Cosmic Boat Women, rock on! 

Falling into Femtoseconds

On my bike ride to work today,
stopping for a traffic light,
I noticed the gingko tree growing out of a square
in the sidewalk at Fifth Street and Mission.
I pass it nearly every day.  It’s not new. 
I just noticed it. 
For the non-duality yogi, the next question would be,
Who is doing the noticing?

Some hue of color changed slightly, maybe, or
some way the light was hitting it this time of the year
that caught my attention.   A thought rose: Beautiful Gingko.
Then another,
Memories of golden Gingko trees in Autumns past:
It’s already September, nearly Equinox. 
Something grabbed me, only for an instant, and I fell
into that femtosecond, when the light of the Gingko resonated
with something in me
and out of the quantum field rose
thoughts, memories, feelings of
warmth, beauty, and belonging
all those things that happen all at once when nature
strums a chord.  I wonder

Christine McQuiston (pen name: Purple Hazel Green), San Francisco, USA

Article first published 30/11/08

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