Letters for Saturday — October 08, 2005

• Helicopters are not substandard

• Answers to the three questions:

• Justices need experience


Helicopters are not substandard

I am writing in response to the letter dated Oct. 1, 2005, titled, “Pushing Their Luck”, in reference to helicopter tours on Kaua’i.

I started flying airplanes in 1966 and helicopters in 1969, and have over 13,000 hours flying experience. As a licensed pilot I respect Mr. Soboleski’s experience flying in helicopters and watching the pilot respond to adverse weather conditions. However, I do not support his assertion that helicopter design and construction is substandard to that of airplanes. The same type of metals and composite materials are used in the construction of both.

I have toured a large helicopter manufacturer’s engineering facility where they shake, bake, freeze, bend, twist, push and pull components to determine operating life and limitations. Like airplanes, helicopters are engineered to fly in a variety of environments. There are helicopters all around this planet that operate in adverse weather (including high winds and heavy rain) on a frequent basis.

It is also worthy to note that air traffic controllers do not have the responsibility to tell pilots when to fly or not to fly. Those types of decisions are made by each pilot based on his or her training, experience, risk assessment, judgment, company policies, and Federal Aviation Regulations.

  • Jim Knapp
    Kapa’a

Menace of the night

An art piece completely shrouded in black fabric, with the caption ‘Menace of the Night’ prompted me to write this response.

After working through my initial outrage at what ‘Menace of the Night’ seemed to me to be portraying, I began to catch glimpses of how I am a product of my society. Initially, I thought: “Great! Once again the woman is the menace – instead of a woman’s beautiful form being openly celebrated, it needs to be viewed surreptitiously like a voyeur. Instead of being shrouded in light, the black color holds associations of evil and darkness. I thought of Eve, and how through the ages women’s sexuality has been portrayed as the downfall of man. I went as far as to wonder how this was different from the black shrouds Muslim women are hidden behind.

The artist, Joseph Mc Neilly is in his own words a supporter of feminist rights, and probably the first male, to join the antirape organization, Take back the Night. His intention, as I understand from talking with him, is to provoke viewers into realizing that women are vulnerable to rapists, and more so, at night. He also spoke about how few pieces are submitted to art competitions that depict the human form, and especially a naked body. Apparently, when he asked why this was so, he was told by the organizers that the conservative nature of our society made such pieces undesirable.

Why is it, I wonder, that the rest of creation gets to be appreciated and admired, but the naked beauty of a woman needs to be covered? Imagine covering up a flower, or a sunset, or the changing moods of the ocean.

Our society appears to have no problem celebrating beauty and divine proportion as seen in nature. By divine proportion I refer to phi. Phi is the number 1.618 that one gets when, for example, one calculates the ratio from spiral to spiral in a nautilus shell or the ratio of clockwise seed spirals to anti-clockwise seed spirals in a sunflower.

This same divine proportion, phi is evident in the human form. The golden ratio can be calculated by relating the measurement from the top of the head to the feet , and the measurement from belly button to feet. Another example is the ratio of shoulder to finger tip, and elbow to finger tip. These are many more examples of the divine proportion in the human form.

Isn’t it time we began seeing art that reflects a society in which the female form is celebrated as a divine expression of beauty. Isn’t it time we displayed it, appreciated it, and celebrated it, like we celebrate and admire the rest of nature?

The piece is currently being displayed by the Garden Island Arts Council, in the Kukui Grove Shopping Center.

  • Sharon Douglas
    Lawa’i

Answers to the three questions:

I have followed the intelligent design debate in The Garden Island with some bemusement. Although I do not consider myself an “evolutionist”, I do have a modest scientific background (Ph.D. chemist) and will offer answers to the questions posed by T. Moeller; however, in doing so I pose a few questions myself:

1. Either is possible (God or deaf, dumb and blind nothing as creationist). There is no scientific evidence either way. But if the former is true, some interesting questions are raised: Was God cruising the universe whilst deciding on a scientific experiment for amusement? The notion of God as extraterrestrial scientist is most appealing to me. If only we had one snippet of scientific evidence to back it up!

2. I don’t have a clue as to what gave rise to “information stored in a living thing” in the primeval earth. Geological evidence indicates it was an incomprehensible environment with extremes of heat, cold, pressure, electrical storms etc. Thus I would keep an open mind as to what could have transpired .

3. Lacking access to the massive physical forces alluded above, is it any surprise that scientists have not been able to reproduce chemical processes that may have taken place? But assuming a creationist argument holds, at which point did God choose to begin life? Did God just send down a few atoms or molecules and initiate the process with a bolt of lightning? Or were living organisms sent down, complete with “information storage” technology? These should be scientifically verifiable phenomena but where is the evidence?

Just because something appears so complex as to defy explanation doesn’t mean one needs to invoke an external force such as God. Personally, I find computers so mind-boggling that I am sometimes compelled to embrace an intelligent design argument. But does that mean Bill Gates is a God? Perhaps it could explain why he appears to live like one!

Final question: where is the intelligence in intelligent design? How does one explain the Dodo bird, the extreme frailty of living creatures, and why do I have an appendix?

  • Robin Clark
    Kalaheo

Justices need experience

Pray tell, how does being a conservative evangelical Christian attorney qualify one for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court? I’m beginning to think that the horror of ever increasing deaths in Iraq and the “means justify the end” standard for U.S. torture of prisoners have turned our cowboy president daffy. You’d at least think he’d want someone with experience as a judge. The shades of Rome keep becoming clearer.

  • Judie Hilke Lundborg
    Lihu’e
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