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Letters

March 16, 2005



Navy holds purse strings for dolphins' destiny

Regarding your March 8 editorial "Beached whales and navy sonar": Acoustics in water are very different from acoustics in air. Because of the drastic differences in the physical characteristics of water and air, there is a 62-decibel difference between a sound level measured in air versus the same sound measured in water. So a Navy's 235-decibel sonar is not at all equivalent to a shuttle launch, as your editorial implied.

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Also, the Navy is actually the largest funding body supporting marine mammal research in the United States. There are efforts to understand better marine mammals' behavior and patterns, as well as the actual, direct physiological effects that sound energy has on them. Potential benefits of such projects would be better prediction of animals' whereabouts (so they could be better avoided), and a better understanding of how to design systems that will accomplish functional objectives without harming animals.
Stephen Lynch
La Jolla, Calif.

I appreciate your balanced commentary regarding the Navy's use of active sonar and its deleterious effects on marine mammals. The Navy and the current administration are ignoring evidence from respected scientists and established world bodies. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which issues permits to noisemakers, is planning to revise upward the level at which it says noise affects marine mammals. [Editor's note: Due to an editing error, the original version misstated Liss' comment on NOAA's noise level revisions.]

When asked at a recent public meeting about the mounting evidence, the head of NOAA's acoustics team told my organization that consideration is always given to good science. Since the Navy funds half of the world's research on the effects of noise on marine mammals and a large chunk of the other half comes from the oil and gas industry, one could ask where the "good" science is in that.
Cathy Liss
President, Animal Welfare Institute
Alexandria, Va.

Museum's car show also shows artistry

The March 11 article about the issues surrounding the exhibition of amazing cars at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts misses one big point: All the cars were designed by artists! Automobile design and styling has been around since, well, these cars were first produced.

Art, design, industrial design, whatever you want to call it, is the greatest achievement of humankind: the combining of function and beauty.
Joseph Coates
Iowa City, Iowa

No ethical exceptions for CEOs

Regarding the March 9 article "How CEOs are being held to higher ethics": Do you seriously think CEOs are being held to higher standards than what our normal moral and ethical standards should be? Since when have extramarital relations been acceptable under any degree of ethical standards?

The article makes it sound as if Boeing's CEO is an ethical scapegoat when he clearly violated ethical and moral standards of what should be expected of a husband and an employee.
Alex Gerbig
Duluth, Minn.

We don't like Bush; we're just polite

Regarding Godfrey Sperling's March 8 Opinion piece, "America still divided on Bush, but less bitter": I don't know where Mr. Sperling has been, but in my circle of friends and relatives in the Midwest and on the East Coast, we remain angry and outraged that Mr. Bush was reelected.

It is exhausting and socially unacceptable to be furious all the time, so we may not let our anger blaze at full force, but that doesn't mean that we're not harboring deep misgivings about where we are headed.
Jessica Bellinder
New York

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