Pluto's status

Published : Mar 23, 2007 00:00 IST

THE article, "Pluto demoted" (March 9) by Prof. Amalendu Bandopadhyay explained clearly the reasons for which Pluto has been dethroned by the International Astronomical Union from its position as the ninth planet in the solar system. This article has helped my B.Sc. students understand why this decision was taken.

A.K. BoseDepartment of Physics,Dinabandhu Andrews College,Kolkata

Global warming

THE Cover Story ("The heat is on", March 9) is the first-ever strong media effort in recent times to sensitise the public about global warming and about efforts to contain it. In the context of inadequate, half-hearted and apathetic government initiatives, the media's role is significant. Successive governments in India have been singularly incapable of implementing policies to contain pollution and global warming. Sixty years after Independence, we are a nation without effective, long-term policies on pollution and health.

Dr. Vitull K. GuptaBhatinda, Punjab

IT is time a global effort, led by the U.S., the European Union, India, China, Japan and Russia, was undertaken to mitigate global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and by curbing consumerism among a privileged few of the world's population. Global warming can lead to water scarcity, rising sea levels and frequent storms. People will have to choose between sustainable development and destruction. Governments across the world must take up the challenge.

Akhil KumarNew Delhi

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GLOBAL warming will produce heat waves and heavy precipitation. Tropical cyclones will be more intense with greater wind speeds and rising sea levels will threaten vast populations. Developing countries are becoming dumping yards for the waste generated by developed countries. The impact of climate changes on food security will also be severe. Advanced countries are not following the Kyoto Protocol. All countries should create awareness about the crisis of global warming.

J.V. Narasimha RajuVijaywada, A.P.

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EACH one of us should go back to the basics of conservation to save the earth. Planting more trees, banning deforestation, using alternative fuels and promoting public transport and organic farming will go a long way in ensuring a better environment. The primary emphasis should be on sufficient fund allocation for research on alternative sources of energy and fuel. Each town and city in India should take steps to ensure that more and more people use public transport. In this respect, a lot can be learnt from many Western countries.

Jeevan KuruvillaVellore

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ALGAE multiply so quickly and produce so much oxygen that ponds with a total surface area about five times the size of Colorado would be enough to start reversing the growing greenhouse gas problem. Corn, with one crop per year, nets approximately 81 gallons of biodiesel per acre (soy nets 40 gallons). Algae yield 15,000 gallons an acre.

The quantity of biodiesel necessary to replace all petroleum transportation fuels could be produced from crop grown in approximately 9.5 million acres (1 acre = 0.4 hectares) - far less than the 450 million acres used for farming in the U.S. and the over 500 million acres of animal grazing land. Hydrogen is dangerous/explosive, extremely expensive and nets zero energy, that is, it uses more energy than it creates. Algae can be converted to biofuel easily. Conservation reduces the present and future production of carbon dioxide. Algae reduces already existing carbon dioxide. Can algae, usually pond scum, also be a planet saver? Yes, if we take action.

Tami FreedmanTennessee, U.S.

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TO say that global warming is caused by human activity is irresponsible. You have no scientific proof to back up your claim. Solar radiation is the real reason for any noticeable differences in the climate.

Jose EsparzaGeorgia, U.S.

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SCIENCE is not complete because it is all theory. How can you deny the natural ebb and flow of Nature? How is it that you disregard the fact that the earth has had many changes in climate so far? There are too many questions still unanswered but you blame the U.S. for climate change.

Harold J. KellerOhio, U.S.

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MAYBE we Indians should start a campaign to prevent our lifestyles from reaching the dangerous levels of the Americans'. I would suggest all Indians give up their polluting automobiles for bullock carts so that we can reduce the level of carbon dioxide emissions. All companies, especially the software companies, should be put on notice to stop paying their employees exorbitant salaries, which enable Indians to copy Western lifestyles. All aircraft should be grounded immediately, a step that will alleviate the problem of atmospheric pollution. Let us not ask for the right of polluting the atmosphere and sign the Kyoto Protocol immediately.

Thomas TitusNew Jersey, U.S.

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INDIA and China are now creating modern infrastructure and giant manufacturing industries, contributing greatly to global warming because neither has any meaningful environmental regulations. Where do you think your industrial progress has come from? U.S. manufacturing has moved to India and China because the U.S. has such strict environmental laws that it has become unprofitable for manufacturers. India and China are now emitting much more greenhouse gases and contributing much more to global warming than your articles indicate. Instead of expecting the U.S. to pay by signing the Kyoto treaty, India and China should take responsibility for their own pollution.

Susan MurphyTennessee, U.S.

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MANY scientists agree that the `global warming' scare is a hoax. The new media, the Internet, will bring the truth to the forefront eventually so that people who can think for themselves will see the big lies being forced down our throats by the traditional media and people in governments.

Doyle JonesTexas, U.S.

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THE Cover Story reflects the "sky is falling" mentality of the greatest hoax ever pulled on the U.S. and the world: Man caused global warming. Here is an inconvenient fact for Al Gore and environmental extremists. The Mars Global Surveyor, a NASA satellite, has taken images since 1999 of the southern polar frozen methane ice cap. Since 1999, the ice cap has been growing smaller by 10 feet per year.

Could it be that the sun causes planetary warming, rather than man? The answer is evident. I will not support the Kyoto Protocol unless the Martians stop driving their gas-guzzling SUVs and ratify the Martian Kyoto Protocol.

Andy DelphArizona, U.S.

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C.E. KARUNAKARAN claimed that the earth had already warmed by 0.8 Celsius. While I might quibble with that estimate, the more pertinent fact that he failed to mention is that we can barely measure the earth's temperature that precisely. The earth's average temperature is 14.6 C o, plus or minus 0.7o. We cannot even be sure that there has been any warming at all so far.

There are two interesting points about the Inter-governmental Panel of Climate Change report of 2007. First, the real report is yet to be released. For the "Summary for Policymakers" to be released in advance is both bizarre and unethical.

In the third assessment in 2001, there were important discrepancies between the scientific report and the summary. Second, the use of a 90 per cent confidence level is also bizarre and unethical. The minimum used in real science is 95 per cent, with higher levels required in many disciplines. I would also like to point out two effects that were not mentioned. First, the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has undoubtedly significantly increased crop yields worldwide. Somehow, in these anti-American diatribes, the positive effects of carbon dioxide build-up are overlooked. Second, one effect of converting from gasoline to ethanol has been the near doubling of corn and other grain prices, already. I wonder how many people in poor countries will starve because of that?

James CarsonMinnesota, U.S.West Asia

THE articles on Lebanon and Iraq beautifully portrayed the situation in these two countries, or rather in the Arab world as a whole ("On the boil" and "Grim reminder", February 23). The U.S. has succeeded in creating civil war-like situations in Iraq and Lebanon. It has tried to present itself as a liberator (from Saddam Hussein) to Iraqi Shias and Kurds and is now trying to impress on the rest of the Arab world the dangers of a nuclear (Shia) Iran, thus trying to create division among the Arabs.

A.J. AbediAligarh

Guntur chillies

THE article "Smarter chillies" refers to the solar polyhouse (March 9). The Mandapadu polyhouse, set up by ITC, was indeed the first polyhouse in Guntur district. But the article is silent on the crucial intervention of the Spices Board in achieving this success by establishing more solar polyhouses in the district at 50 per cent subsidy.

Chilli farmers, in a meeting chaired by Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh in Guntur on March 22, 2006, raised the issue of the ineffectiveness of the pilot solar drier set up by the Board at an estimated cost of Rs.0.17 lakh in Rajupollayam village. They said solar driers were unaffordable and increased their cost of production.

They suggested that solar polyhouses were a cost-effective alternative with a unit cost of just Rs.40,000. It was at this meeting that the Minister directed the Spices Board to distribute 100 polyhouses through the `village organisations' - collectives of self-help groups at the village level - identified by the District Collector. The Spices Board has distributed 38 polyhouses in Guntur district.

B. Rajsekhar, IASPrivate Secretary toMinister of State for CommerceNew Delhi


IF Parzania is not screened in Gujarat, it will clearly indicate that the Narendra Modi government was behind the 2002 communal pogrom ("Missing in Gujarat", March 9). The Chief Minister may fear trouble, but banning the movie is not the way to avoid that.

Thanggin BaiteNew Delhi


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