Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/8/2011 (3538 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Solving water shortage
Gwynne Dyer (The world is running out of water, Aug. 9) is once again describing gloom and doom for the world. This time it's water. Yes, we are rapidly using up our supply of fresh potable water because we have more people to feed.
But there is a solution waiting to be implemented. This was described in your paper on May 17, 2002, with pictures, by your reporter Helen Fallding. She had visited my basement laboratory and saw my plant-growing system based on the work of chemist Louis Errede, of 3M in St. Paul, Minn., who had invented and patented a self-watering process for potted plants.
It consisted of a special micro-porous plastic material that separated the plant's roots from the supply of water and nutrients. For three years, the plant I set up grew and prospered. I was satisfied and went onto supposedly more important work. I returned to this project after I retired from the chemistry department at the University of Manitoba and decided to extend the work to row crops.
Getting suitable material is another story, but I found what was needed and grew row crops in my backyard for several years. This new process was patented and has now been verified for field crops in Florida. It is expected to be on the market shortly.
There will not be a water shortage for the world's population since patents expire after about 20 years and the whole world will benefit.
As much as I admire Gwynne Dyer, it's ironic that he of all people doesn't understand power politics.
The water problem, such as it is, is a problem of power. By surface area, this planet should be named "Water" not "Earth," so there's no shortage of water.
The trick is to purify this water with desalination plants. The trick to running desalination plants is in harnessing the power of the atom.
In his anti-humanist, anti-futuristic article, Dwyer contributes to the "green-balling" of eco-hysteria. Will the poor people of Saudia Arabia or India have a better time of it if Canadians forsake their ornamental gardens, shower once a month and let stand on one, flush on two?
I am doing my part for the environment -- the human, technologically augmented environment that is natural to us, that is -- by encouraging a culture of beautiful futurism, such as the North American Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) and a nuclear economy, not unending austerity measures that are already writing off billions of people as "surplus" to the supposed carrying capacity of water.
Lake levels constant
In his Aug. 3 letter, Berens River Chief George Kemp incorrectly states that the level of Lake Winnipeg has remained "three feet above normal" since regulation began in 1976. The fact is Lake Winnipeg has remained at essentially its pre-regulation level.
Federal government water level records show Lake Winnipeg's average level was 713.4 feet for the period 1913 to 1976. Since regulation, the average level of the lake is 713.5 feet.
It should also be noted that up to 50 per cent more water can be moved out of Lake Winnipeg today because of channels Manitoba Hydro constructed as part of regulation. However, despite this increased outflow capacity, the amount of water that can flow into the lake still far exceeds what can flow out.
Manitoba Hydro has continuously operated the Jenpeg control structure at maximum outflow since July 2010 in response to high inflows. By late June, the volume of water flowing out of Lake Winnipeg reached 180,000 cubic feet per second -- a record. At the same time, flows into the lake were approximately 225,000 cubic feet per second.
Higher moral road
Letter writer Caitlin Buchel (Suicidal ignorance, Aug. 10) believes she takes the moral high road chastising Tom Oleson for his position against physician-assisted suicide. I believe Oleson's position to be the higher moral road because I'm against the medicalization of death.
Prescribing suicide is not a bona fide medical treatment and can never be squared with the oath doctors take to first do no harm.
The state and the medical profession as their agents no longer interfere with birth control. They ought to stop interfering with death control.
Drug prohibition is the only reason anyone would need any medical assistance to die. Furnishing the lethal drug is the act that is considered medical assistance in regard to committing suicide.
Humanity would be better served to repeal drug prohibition rather than empowering physicians as agents of the state to kill us even if we want to die. Soon enough, the right to die would become the duty to die.
Re: Good Samaritan's 'hell' over (Aug. 5). So the Crown feels it has an obligation to determine whether "there's both a reasonable likelihood of conviction and whether it's in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution."
Is it not also relevant to determine whether the accused person has actually done anything wrong?
Legion's long history
Re: Veterans from all the wars welcome here (Aug. 8). Your excellent article about the Royal Canadian Legion welcoming Canada's Afghanistan veterans was wrong on one point.
The legion was not formed after the Second World War. The Canadian Legion of the British Empire Service League was established here in Winnipeg in November 1925, during the period following the First World War.
The organization's name was later changed to the Royal Canadian Legion. Two plaques commemorating the founding of the legion are situated in the lobby of the Marlborough Hotel on Smith Street, the location of the historic inaugural meeting.
Tips from a pro
Re: Carry bag, clean clubs, rake traps, shut the !&# up (Aug. 9). I had a ticket to the seniors Elmhurst Golf and Country Club event which included a pre-game visit. I attended to watch Jack Nicklaus and his caddy dissect Elmhurst's fairways, rough, greens and rolling balls.
The caddy made notes to get ready. I came away announcing that we amateurs would easily knock off 10 shots from the scorecard.
All talk, no action
Like thousands of other Canadians, I wanted to believe the federal Conservatives when they said that if ever they formed a majority government, they would start making it tougher for criminals in this country.
Judging by the almost-daily stabbings in Winnipeg, the Tories are once again dragging their feet while people are getting violently assaulted and killed in this city and across Canada.
Keep talking tough. Mr. Harper, I'm sure those criminals are r-e-a-l-l-y scared.