LETTERS

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April 25, 2006

Letters to the Editor

Global Warming

The impressive ignorance of climate science displayed in Laura Hamilton’s recent global warming column puts her very much in the company of other self-described “modern reactionaries” in the media. She, however, has less excuse than most, since she is resident at a University where in fact it is quite easy to learn about the physics of global warming. She implies that concern about global warming rests on just an empirical correlation between CO2 and temperature, whereas there is in fact over a century of basic physics and chemistry behind the forecasts of our changing climate; she cherry-picks Lindzen’s cloud feedback mechanism (published in the peer-reviewed literature without suppression, and shot down in that same peer-reviewed literature) in preference to a thousand or more scientific papers that come to very different conclusions. In fact, most of her assertions are simply cribbed from Lindzen’s recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, or from similar backlash columns by Will or Novak. Rather than getting all her information on science from the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, she and other students interested in the subject should try taking a look at our climate science blog, RealClimate.org, where the gaping holes in Lindzen’s op-ed are discussed, as well as many other issues. Even better, the truly curious should consider enrolling in PhySci 134.

Raymond T. Pierrehumbert

Louis Block Professor in Geophysical Sciences and the College

Student Government

With the Student Government elections in full swing, it’s easy to recognize the enthusiasm of good issues-based politicking. But this year we’ve seen tensions flare as an alleged dispute between two of the slates boiled over onto the front page of the Maroon (“Board Examines Alleged Election Violations,” 4/21/06). Without warning, a normally calm, orderly, and sometimes comical affair descended into a brawl of accusations, denials, and ultimately, deception. What’s worse is that those guilty of mud-slinging seem to have their political shoelaces conveniently tied in time for pre-election disillusionment.

The commotion stems from an incident involving the presidential candidates of two opposing slates on a Friday night at Jimmy’s. Ian Muhlhauser of A New Day alleged that Phil Caruso of Full Slate Ahead accosted him at the bar, threatening him trouble if he did not drop out of the race, an allegation that, given the informal circumstances, is both ludicrous and childish. Muhlhauser filed a complaint with the Election and Rules Committee, which promptly dismissed it.

However, the timing of the whole saga tells an even different story. While the incident in question occurred during second week, Muhlhauser and his supporters waited nearly two weeks, until just days before the election, to file their complaint. Their strategy smacks of underhanded political tactics, engineered to influence the electorate as much as possible, thus attempting to use a personal conversation to fool the student body. Unfortunately, they waited until their gripe had already been turned away.

Additionally, despite the confidentiality of complaints to the Election and Rules Committee, Muhlhauser and his associates jumped at the opportunity to leak his complaint to the Maroon. When the Committee had soundly rejected it, Muhlhauser continued to use the incident as a basis of his campaign while completely ignoring its absurdity. Obviously, the explanation that the complaint was entirely without merit didn’t suit Muhlhauser’s interests, so he turned on the Committee itself, lashing out with allegations of ethical misconduct. Never mind a complete lack of evidence, he thought it sufficient to use petty and baseless accusations to misguide the student body.

Muhlhauser’s attempts at an attack campaign have only shown what his slate’s candidacy is all about: personal squabbles and poorly executed smear politics designed to maliciously sway the electorate. Instead of joining the debate on student concerns, he and his running mates desperately chose to make political hay out of the system. The students deserve better from their executive representation, and it is clear that Muhlhauser brings nothing indicative of new and better days ahead.

Mark T. Watkins

Fourth-year in the College