Support troops by helping their families back home

Regarding the Sept. 10 article "From cheese grits to flea collars, a movement to help US troops": Our soldiers have committed to serving our country, putting their lives on the line, and they deserve so much more than they receive. To help support our troops, my wife and I volunteer for a Family Readiness Support Group at the 250th Signal Battalion out of Westfield, N.J. We do what we can to provide a sense of comfort to family members while their loved ones are overseas. Whether it be donating equipment and appliances to a playroom for kids, to fundraising, to just being there as a shoulder to cry on or lending a helping hand, every little bit helps more than we can imagine.

So, while you're driving home tonight, if you pass a National Guard Armory, or if you live near a military base, stop by or call and ask if their Family Readiness Support Group can use some volunteers. Holiday season is rapidly approaching, and a lot of kids as well as adults could use an extra boost.
Daniel Small
Springfield, N.J.

Shallow pool for intelligence recruits

Regarding the Sept. 2 article "Recruiting Spies: Tricks of a murky trade": I find it ironic that the anecdotal information cited in this article is very similar to what I experienced as an FBI special agent during the cold war. The intelligence community 30 years ago had the same issue of a finite pool of suitable candidates to serve as intelligence officers.

The problems associated with recruiting officers for the US intelligence community (CIA, FBI, etc.) is directly linked to a lack of focus in schools on foreign-language training, geography, and political history.

People in this country have little need to learn a second language based on our geographic position, economic might, and political clout in the world. But the rest of the world speaks multiple languages out of necessity.

Learning a foreign language teaches a country's culture, geography, and politics. So if this country wishes to become aware and better prepared, it must encourage and invest in language training.

Frankly, there is a finite pool of suitable candidates for this sort of work. It will take time to resolve, but we will succeed, given the time and resources.
John Bogdan
Lake Oswego, Ore.

So oceans are a CO2 sink, what's new?

Regarding the Sept. 9 article "Oceans to acid": The statement that the measurable carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere is less than that produced by biological and volcanic activity has been known by geologists and geochemists for many years. The uptake of excess CO2 by the oceans is also a known phenomenon. The second part of the equation is that, although initially the oceans may become somewhat acidic, eventually the excess CO2 combines with Ca+ (calcium) ions in the oceanic waters to produce CaCO3, which precipitates out as the common mineral calcite (dolomite, if some magnesium ions are present), and is known in layered rock form as limestone.

The bottom line is that these processes are not unknown to earth scientists, and it is somewhat surprising that the general concerned community is just now catching on.
Stan Hafenfeld
Albuquerque, N.M.

My other - er, only - car is a bike

My husband and I enjoyed your Sept. 10 editorial "Take a Bike" regarding bicycling to work. We are part of the 3 million (less than 1 percent of the population) who ride to work, and we have for several years. As the sign on the back of his bike says: Health Club? Parking? Gas Prices?

What more is there to say?
Susan George
San Francisco

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