Mailbox-NormalThe long view

Dear Editor:

Solveig Torvik’s “The irreversible tipping point” (Aug. 28) reports many of the scientific observations in the annual State of the Climate Report. Climate change is certainly a fact. Over the last 500,000 years the Earth has had five long ice ages and five short, warm inter-glacials in a cycle of about 100,000 years. Imagine each cycle as a single year. We then have a year of 10-and-a-half months of deep winter, one week of spring, one month of warm summer, one week of fall and then it’s winter again. Not unlike Mazama.

Considered on that scale, the last half-million years is represented by five years and it is late July. Human history started just four weeks ago. Large-scale carbon burning started just yesterday. Somehow, with typical human self-importance today, we find it necessary to take credit for being the cause of climate change.

The problem is that no activity of man in the last 100 years can possibly be the determinant of cycles of warming far in the past. Ninety-nine percent of the warming in the current cycle happened before we started our carbon burning binge. Those who clamor to “stop global warming” foresee not another cycle but an endless warming. Shrinking, drying continents amid rising oceans. Flooded cities, fear, famine. I doubt it.

A much more convincing theory of the Earth’s current epoch of ice age cycles was presented by Ewing and Donn in the mid-1950s. It warned that the current inter-glacial was near its end, forecasting climate change for the colder. This provoked the first round of climate change deniers who denied an ice age could be coming. Today’s climate change deniers are denying a predicted future of endless warming due to human activity.

I suspect everyone is right in this debate, given just the right view of time. The Earth is at the warmest part of the ice age cycle. The Earth is warming and that is being helped by human carbon burning. The Arctic Ocean is melting and when it is finally ice-free there will be enough humidity in the arctic to begin depositing snow. A new ice age will have begun.

Dan Aspenwall, Winthrop


Getting physicals

Dear Editor:

“Do you smoke?”


“Why not?”

“Because it’s stupid” … “bad for you”… “gross.”

Welcome to school physicals at Liberty Bell High School.

Before the athletes step on the court or field, they must complete a mandatory health assessment and physical exam. This year, over two thirds of the high school athletes received free physicals, thanks to volunteer professionals: Dr. Mark Love, school nurse Laura Brumfield ARNP, Dr. Leesa Linck, and the support staff of Denise Kittleson RN, Beth Temple MA, Martha Grosenick RN, and the Wilson family.

Height, weight, blood pressure, heart, lungs, joints, alcohol, tobacco, mental health, eye screening with donated follow-up by Dr. Ugo Bartell – full physicals were provided and students had time to ask questions and explore their concerns. Thank you all.

Now if only the students could answer correctly, “Where’s your appendix?” Can you?*

Dr. Ann Diamond, The Country Clinic, Winthrop

(*abdominal right lower quadrant)