My World of “Ought to Be”
by Timothy Wilken, MD

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Thursday, October 03, 2002

Reason Writes

Today marks the completion of my daughter Reason's 22 revolution around the Sun. Happy Birthday! She left for New York City this past June and now works for a biotech investment firm as an analyst. We miss her. This morning, I repost a sample of her writings. Reason Wilken writing on September 21, 2001 : In formulating an intelligent response to the terrorists, it is important for this nation to remain committed to a rational course of action and to not let anger cloud our judgement. While it is necessary to find and neutralize those responsible for the attacks on America, care must be taken to avoid the involvement of innocent citizens. How can America preach the importance of human life and then proceed to bomb civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan or wherever these terrorists hailed from? Even in this time of profound grief and anger, to do so would lower ourselves to the level of those kamakazi pilots. The synergic scientists whose work I am studying believe that you should, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." What is it that most of us want others to do unto us? Synergic scientists answer this question as follows: Help others as you would wish them to help you. If I was being angry and destructive, I would hope that others would help me by containing my dangerous behavior. I would hope they would prevent me from hurting others and myself. I think America must act with strength and resolve to contain the terrorists and eliminate their threat to all humanity. If we wish to act as a synergists, America must put away its anger. We must realize that with crisis always comes opportunity. Opportunity to grow, to become stronger and more resilient. As we watched citizens from all over the country come together with surprising fervor to donate blood, help and supplies, it became very clear that America will get through this. Instead of allowing these attacks to weaken our morale as they were intended to do, this crisis has only proven the strength of our patriotic spirit and united our citizens. We will not be a nation whose inhabitants live among rubble and go about their daily lives in fear. America must remain resolutely united against terrorist attacks, so that tenants of high-rise buildings will never be required to keep a parachute handy under their desks just in case. (10/03/02)


Welcome to America

Timothy Wilken writes: I find myself frustated with those immigrants who desire the benefits of living in America, but are unwilling to bother learning our language. If learning English is a burden that they refuse to shoulder, how much can we expect them to know about our American values, our history and culture? In a synergic society, all citizens work together. That means they must be able to communicate clearly with each other, and just as importantly understand each other.Working together requires a common language, common values and a working knowledge of our history. I expect a synergic society would be very open to immigration, but those immigrating would be required within a relatively short period to learn the language, take classes in society mores, values, and history, and pass exams to demonstrate they understand. Special schools could be created just for this purpose. This would have the additional benefit of giving community an opportunity to get to know and examine these prospective citizens. This educational process should be a helpful screen for terrorists. Any immigrant stopped in the public space could be required to show proof of currently enrollment in such a school and/or evidence of graduation from the same. (10/03/02)


The Benefit of Protecting Nature

New York Times: Science -- Yesterday's Times carried a photograph of 20 or so muscular, blue-capped swimmers jumping into the Hudson River just south of the George Washington Bridge, about to embark on a 7.8-mile race downriver to Chelsea. The photograph was notable not only for what it said about the adventurous swimmers but for what it said about the river itself. The Hudson is a river reborn. Thirty years ago it was little more than a sewer along its entire 350-mile length, from the Adirondacks to the Battery, choked with untreated municipal waste and industrial chemicals. Nobody in his right mind would have jumped into its waters, let alone swum 7.8 miles. Today it teems with life. Its fish populations are healthier than they've been in years, boating is booming, towns that once turned their backs on the river are clogged with tourists. The recovery of the river is also testimony to what political leadership and an active citizenry can do to restore the environment. On the political side of the ledger, two initiatives deserve major credit. One was Gov. Nelson Rockefeller's $1 billion Pure Waters Bond Act of 1965. The other was the federal Clean Water Act of 1972. Together they imposed stiff controls on municipal and industrial waste and underwrote waste treatment plants up and down the river. The 1960's and 70's also fostered the growth of a powerful environmental movement dedicated to saving the river. The movement's first victory was a memorable court decision blocking Con Edison from building a hydroelectric plant on Storm King Mountain, just south of Newburgh. Its most recent accomplishment was a federal order requiring the to rid the river of toxic contaminants known as PCB's. The Hudson is not home free. Though manufacturing has declined along the river, residential development has boomed. A growing population inevitably imposes greater demands on the ecosystem. Further progress will demand continued vigilance by the private citizens who have fought so hard to restore the Hudson and by politicians in both Albany and Washington. Even now there are signs that the Bush administration is seeking to narrow the scope of the Clean Water Act. For the sake of the Hudson, and rivers elsewhere in America, that cannot be allowed to happen. (10/03/02)


What are Conservation Corridors?

New York Times: Science -- Conservation corridors are the interstate highways of ecology. In a world where wildlife habitat is increasingly fragmented (largely because of human activity), connecting two or more patches of habitat by a thin strip of protected and undeveloped land can help allow the movement of animals, plants and insects, reducing local overpopulation and other stress-inducing problems that at their worst can lead to extinctions. Intuitively, the idea makes sense. But there is a lot of debate, and little direct evidence, as to whether corridors actually work as intended. So a recent large-scale study by researchers from the University of Florida, North Carolina State, Allegheny College and Iowa State is welcome news to those who favor the concept. In the study, reported in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, eight 125-acre stands of pine forest served as the researchers' petri dishes. Within each, they clear-cut and burned five parcels of two and a half acres, creating successional habitats — for flora and fauna that are the first to take over a newly cleared area. Of the five patches, one was in the center and the other four surrounded it, 500 feet away. One of the peripheral patches was connected to the central one by an 80-foot-wide corridor; the other three were isolated. To avoid skewing the results, the unconnected patches were expanded to match the size of the connected patch plus the corridor. The researchers then tracked the movement of several species of butterflies, pollen and seeds into the peripheral patches. They found that there was more movement of butterflies between connected patches than isolated ones, and that there was better dispersal of pollen and seeds — largely the work of animals — as well. The results, they say, "clearly suggest a role for corridors in connecting populations of both plants and insects." (10/03/02)


Bush failing to Protect the Environment

New York Times: Science -- In a report to be released on Tuesday, the Democrats found a "dramatic decline" in enforcement of environmental statutes during the Bush administration compared with the Clinton administration based on analyses of data from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Bush administration initiated about half the number of administrative actions against polluting companies in two time periods compared with the agency under President Bill Clinton, the report said. ... The report said the total amount of penalties and remedies recovered from administrative enforcement actions was much less under Mr. Bush than under Mr. Clinton. From Jan. 20, 2001, to March 7, 2002, the Bush administration recovered $165 million from polluters, compared with $845 million recovered by the Clinton administration from Dec. 4, 1999, to Jan. 19, 2001. The report also compared the actions taken by both administrations in a three-month period, from April 20, 2000, to July 20, 2000, under President Clinton and from April 20, 2001, to July 20, 2001, under President Bush. In those periods, the Bush administration recovered $53 million while the Clinton administration recovered $289 million. Similarly, the report said, the average settlement with each polluter during the Bush administration has been about 37 percent of that in the Clinton administration, an average of $85,000 during the three-month period under President Bush and $226,000 under President Clinton. (10/03/02)


9:57:29 AM    

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