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Pulling the Plug on Electric Cars; Hypocrisy, Pro and Con; God, More Letters


Pulling the Plug on Electric Cars

Assault on battery: I find it remarkable that anyone still thinks that the battery-powered electric car is in any way a solution to our pollution issues ("Running on Empty," June 27, on car makers' efforts to thwart electric cars in California). I would venture to guess that the GM EV1 will produce 1,000 times the pollution over its lifetime than even a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado. Sound outrageous? Well, we have to look at all the pollutants these two will produce. Let's say the life span for each car is 150,000 miles. In that span the EV1 will go through six sets of batteries. At roughly 500 pounds each, that adds up to 3,000 pounds. That is 3,000 pounds of toxic waste seeping into our ground water. For the next 15,000 years. Caddy wins.

Oh, and let's not kid ourselves about what powers the EV1. When [author] Michael Gougis says that Detroit wants to keep us tied to "a worldwide transportation system ... fueled by dead dinosaurs," he somehow neglects to mention that his beloved electric cars burn the same fossil fuel, although much less efficiently, as a Honda Civic. What do we think makes electricity? Magic? Unfortunately not. Coal, natural gas, and even diesel fuel make electricity here in the Bay Area. We get some from nuke and a tad from wind.

Until we revolutionize the way we produce electricity, and the way we store it, the battery-powered electric car will be as bad an idea, if not worse, than nuclear power. Remember how that was sold to us? Clean energy!

An area worth future research is the hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius or the Honda Insight. But let's leave the electric car behind us.

Seth Brookshire
Ashbury Heights

Jeez, we've only got a quarter-tank left: Fantastic article. But the EV battle is about more than just air quality. It's also about oil dependency. There are many ways to fuel an electric car. For internal combustion cars there is only one way. And that way is running out.

Johann Joseph
Santa Clara

Hypocrisy, Pro and Con

"Do as I write, not as I do": I was overjoyed to see the self-righteous assholes at the Guardian violating the live-work rules ("People Who Work in Glass Houses ...," Bay View, June 27). For years we have had to suffer through the tragedy du jour: [Owner move-in evictions] this week, Ellis Act next week, yuppie dot-coms the next. And now we find that [Publisher] Bruce [Brugmann] and gang justify their use of a live-work unit as an office because some consultant spends the odd night on the couch. These people are just as dirty as the people they go after. Keep up the good work.

Anthony Kleppe

Actually, we haven't really needed to dig: Sorry, buddy, hypocrisy isn't against the law. But mindless muckraking should be. What a pathetic waste of time and space, always trying to dig up dirt against your competitor, who rarely does the same in return. Slow news day?

Brian Way

God, More Letters

Design flaws: Mark Athitakis expressed the problem with nouveau creationism and intelligent design theory perfectly ("Looking for God at Berkeley," June 20, on attempts to use scientific reasoning to debunk evolution) when he noted that their [proponents'] arguments would be more respectable if they weren't busy pandering to fundamentalists, avoiding peer review, and ignoring genuine scientific research that addresses their claims of "irreducible complexity."

[UC Berkeley researcher] Jed Macosko is particularly annoying when he chides legitimately submitted science papers for playing "what if" with the evidence when his own theory boils down to (in his own words) an "assumption ... that there must be another intelligence out there, whether it's an alien life form or some deity or something from outside our universe, or from a higher dimension that we can't observe." Of course, he doesn't believe any of these "alternatives" except for his own Judeo-Christian god.

Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education has my profound respect for still having to put up with the same old crank anti-science backlash being paraded around in science's clothing.

David Fitzgerald

South of the equator, are religious conservatives considered left-wing?: I guess this is what happens when strongly religious people become scientists. What's the difference between a Christian saying "It's so amazing it must have been God's work" and a scientist with Christian beliefs saying the same thing? Nothing at all.

Are they scientists looking for explanations or Christians looking for validation? I'll bet the latter.

Keir Dickson
Woden, Australia


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