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Slip of the glyph

Your well-founded polemic against glyphosate (NI 481) would have carried more clout if you’d managed to spell the stuff right. In four out of five references it morphed into glysophate.

Phil Heming Horsmonden, Kent

Windy black hole

Re: ‘Why the war on wind?’, NI 480. There is a powerful corporate wind-turbine lobby working the Ontario government. Wind-turbine towers get many times more dollars in public subsidies for private corporations than the worth of the energy they deliver, and require more fossil fuel to sustain them than they save. They are a black hole in the public treasury in a time of ever more infrastructural demands while also industrializing the landscape and killing birds and bats in large numbers. Yet greenwash propaganda keeps the looting of the public treasury going with articles like this fitting well to the ‘great green energy grab’ announced on the cover. The World Health Organization (WHO) now also ‘confirms at an epidemiological level an increased health risk from chronic noise annoyance’, dependent on the distance from the gigantic turbines.

In contrast, community-owned and-controlled wind-turbine power generation is far superior because it is better managed by local communities than by transnational corporate lobbies joined at the hip with corporate governments.

John McMurtry Guelph, Canada

While we agree with your point about the problems of corporate-dominated green energy (which is what the entire edition was about), we must point out that at present big turbines are far more efficient than small ones in terms of resources required and energy used for the amount of energy generated. – Ed

Unintelligent science

Re: ‘Race science rears its ugly head’ (NI 480). Academics promoting a link between supposed race and intelligence do not know their subject very well for two reasons. First, every attempt to find an ‘intelligence’ gene has failed – the best candidate so far accounts for about 0.03 per cent of the variance of IQ results (gene KV), meaning cultural and development factors are much more significant. Second, and more importantly, it is true that African Americans as a group score lower on IQ tests than Caucasians, but the flaw is then to think that a lower IQ equals lower intelligence. IQ tests measure a very narrow construct of intelligence. They leave out Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Spiritual Intelligence (among other things). And IQ is inversely correlated with EQ, meaning highly academic people who have higher IQs tend to have lower EQs, which I guess explains so much about Herrnstein and his followers...

Mark Oliver Melbourne, Australia

Our irrational hope

Re: ‘If you care about climate change, should you have children?’, NI 480. As a mother of twin 15-year-olds, I agree with a lot of what has been said about the consumer society we live in, how materialistic our children can be and how driven by peer approval they (and I) can be. So, not a great thing for the environment. However, I also live in hope that attitudes are changing, that we can teach our children to challenge, to think collaboratively, to value social and environmental benefits in parallel with financial gain. All of this is shifting and I am hugely encouraged by young people, who, recognizing that there are very few jobs for life and limited opportunities to get on the property ladder, are already starting to value ‘meaning’ over ‘profit’.

No matter how pragmatic we try to be about children and carbon emission calculations, the fact remains that it is never really a rational or sensible decision to have children. They are our folly, our irrational hope in a better future. I have the utmost belief that it is our desire to do well by our own children and future generations that informs our most transformative drive to create a healthy, fair and sustainable world.

Stephanie Karpetas