News From Terre Haute, Indiana


June 9, 2013

Readers’ Forum: June 9, 2013


Questions from a wondering mind

Today’s letter asks some questions. Sometimes my mind just gets to wondering about things.

Certainly it is easier to tear something apart than to combine things. It took about six years to go from the idea of a controlled nuclear fission reaction creating energy to Enrico Fermi’s working model. In less than 25 years we had a working commercialized nuclear power station. Why has controlled nuclear fusion been 10 years away for the 60 years since then?

If wind energy is so green, why does it kill over 570,000 birds per year? Most of these are protected under federal environmental regulation. In a piece of selective enforcement, though, few wind farms are held accountable by the government. It makes one think, doesn’t it?

Also, remember the old conservation of energy idea from school — every action has an equal and opposite reaction? So the turning turbine takes energy from the wind. Each of these turbines slows down the wind a little bit. How many of these turbines can be installed before they become dangerous to the environment?  

Studies have proven that wind energy cannot provide more than 10 percent of the world’s energy needs before the turbines would have to be close enough together that they would actually start decreasing crop production and causing harmful climate change.

Speaking of energy, we all have battery chargers for various things around the house — phones, games, e-readers, etc. Why can’t all these companies come up with one standard plug on the device? In my family, the five most commonly used devices all need their own separate charger. Talk about fun while travelling.

On the same subject, any of these little black boxes we plug into the wall have a small transformer in them. These transformers use energy anytime they are plugged into the wall whether the widget is plugged in for a charge or not. Leaving these plugged into the wall all the time adds about 25 cents to your electric bill. Throw in all the other devices in your home that have some sort of clock or program — TV, DVD, thermostat, etc. — this doesn’t become a huge amount but it can certainly add up over time.

Finally, speaking of spending money, what has happened to the customer service ethic? Certainly not all the time, but all too often nonetheless, restaurant and store clerks seem to view their customers as a bother that interfere with their chat time.  

No one expects Buffy and Biff to take a real personal interest in me, the customer, but could they at least stop the personal conversation about plans for the evening, or a review of their last date, etc., while waiting on the people who pay their wage?

— Dwayne Owens

Terre Haute

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