Treat global warming now - while we still can

Your June 8 article "It's a drought - no, flood!" makes the same mistake that most media coverage of global warming makes: It presents scientific uncertainty about the details of climate change as a cause for complacency about climate change.

When years of scientific study yield no certainty of what comes next, alarm bells should sound. Uncertainty means that the risks we are taking with our planetary life- support system defy prediction.

The main advance made by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) over the past five years has been to describe, after the event, what has happened since 1995: The earth got hotter, and humans definitely helped. The IPCC has made little or no scientific progress detailing what we should expect over the next five years.

Henceforth, research dollars should be spent weaning humanity from fossil fuels, not wasted chasing certainty where it cannot be caught. Whether we will make the changes that common sense dictates is anybody's guess: Scientific uncertainty pushes decisions about climate change into the uncomfortable realm of morality, which exceeds the expertise of scientists, economists, and most politicians.

We could continue to wait for the next IPCC report in 2005 (and the next after that). But by the time we are over the edge, we won't need the IPCC to describe the results.

Matthew Orr Berkeley, Calif.

Olympic Games still deserve support

Regarding Tom Regan's June 9 opinion piece about the Olympic movement, "Take the games out of the Olympics":

Tom, don't loose faith, and don't let bureaucratic conditions or scandal cloud the pure efforts of thousands of athletes worldwide. If we let negative elements distract our support for athletes, we have lost, they have won, and the majority of athletes who compete fairly will ultimately suffer.

As someone who has worked in the Olympic movement for 12 years, I continue to observe so much more that is good about the Olympic movement. Just a few weeks ago, an athlete earned a berth on the US Olympic Team, only to relinquish the spot unselfishly to someone whom this athlete felt was more deserving of the position.

The Games remain the single largest peaceful gathering of youth in the world. This deserves the public support and public scrutiny of those who are the custodians of this vital event.

Philip B. Milburn Colorado Springs, Colo.

'Hamlet' film is not to be

I must disagree with David Sterritt's June 9 review of "Hamlet." The recent film, starring Ethan Hawke and directed by Michael Almereyda, is not saved by even Mr. Hawke's considerable acting talents. It is easily the worst adaptation of "Hamlet" that I've ever seen.

Although Shakespeare's plays are too long to be easily adaptable to the silver screen, making some cutting unavoidable, the material cut from "Hamlet" renders the film incapable of standing on its own.

The dialogue that leads Hamlet to realize that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are in the king's employ is removed. The film seems to give Hamlet oracular powers, as there is no way he could have figured this out given the script.

And so much is cut from the scene where Hamlet confronts his mother that she is given no reason to change from the king's side to Hamlet's.

Even in the scenes where Polonius could be interpreted humorously, Bill Murray's strength as a comic actor goes untapped and his lines fall flat.

Chris Colvin San Francisco

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