Erik Baard's cover article "Quantum Leap" (December 28), about physicist Randell Mills, provoked widespread reader response. Following are some of the many letters received in reaction to it.
JUMP STREET JOURNAL
This was a wonderful article, largely because it's the kind safer, more conventional publications won't touch. Whether Mills is correct in his theories or not, he's clearly discovered something that conventional quantum theory can't explain, and we have every right to follow his progress. Thank you for publishing the story.
James A. Ritchie
New Castle, Indiana
Congratulations on publishing Erik Baard's fine article "Quantum Leap" in the VV! The achievements of Dr. Randell Mills will solve the problem of energy, which is imperative because even the best combinations of energy efficiency and classical renewables cannot guarantee sustainable development. Forget fairy tales!
At the same time, a new realm of material science is being created by [Mills's company] BlackLight Power. I call it "peri-nuclear chemistry," and it has myriad useful applications. It is strange that the organizations that should be most interested, the American Chemical Society (despite accepting Mills's papers at its October 6 symposium) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineering seem to have nothing to say. And the reaction of Dr. Robert Park of the American Physical Society is in consonance with the ideas published in his "What's New" online column (a better name would be "What's New That I Hate").
I think my fellow chemists and chemical engineers cannot afford to ignore the advent of a new field of chemistry. The upper management of ACS and AICE should take notice.
Peter Gluck, Senior Consultant
Dynamic Network Technologies
I thought Mills was a con man, but that he's presenting papers at a regular science outlet proves he's a sincere crankand that he could raise $25 million boggles the mind! Nevertheless, it's the easiest thing in the world to get 20 percent excess heat in an experiment: just be off 10 percent in energy input and have over 10 percent error in energy output and there you aretime to issue an IPO. If your eccentric science is peer-reviewed by fellow eccentric scientists, you can keep your show on the road.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Erik Baard's article on the apparently revolutionary promises of BlackLight Power Inc. was by far the most in-depth and comprehensive journalism since anyone has taken notice to cover Dr. Mills's work. Hats off to you for some good old-fashioned journalism.
Scientific research is not for the closed-minded. Nothing in science is 100 percent. Give me science that is 100 percent, and I'll give you [Mills's] unified field theory.
"You could fuck around with the hydrogen atom, you could fuck around with the energy process in the sun. You could fuck around with life itself," claims Dr. Phillip Anderson, a Nobel laureate in physics at Princeton [quoted in Baard's article]. "Everything we know about everything would be a bunch of nonsense. That's why I'm so sure that it's a fraud."
These are the words of a man afraid his life's work may be based on false premises. He worked so long and hard on it. Obviously it must be correct!
Well-developed theories and systems of belief are like houses of cards, built piece by piece upon wafer-thin assumptions and extrapolated relationships. In my "uneducated" opinion (B.S. in physics), any theory that describes only one type of atom, and that only to a first-order approximation after much arduous work, is, by definition, incomplete. Physicists have intuited for generations that there is more to the story.
This is extremely important work that has had far too little coverage in the press. Imagine a competitor to oil to power vehicles, and the potential for peace this would herald!
Studying molecular biology, I've never been too appreciative of scientists who take themselves so seriously that they can proclaim absolute truth where only theory exists. It must be remembered that the great heroes in science and industry walked a fine line between being lauded as geniuses and heckled as frauds and failures! At least Dr. Mills is attempting to expand our understanding in a direction that others dare not venture. Please, keep us updated.
Spanish Fork, Utah
Super article by Erik Baard on physicsthe kind we don't get enough of!
Charlotte, North Carolina
Thank you for the fascinating piece on Dr. Randell Mills. That the new century should begin with men who are willing to dream big and take risks is encouraging.
Sandy Spring, Maryland
Brilliant! I must commend Erik Baard for having the guts to tackle such a controversial issue in deep detail.
Sure, Mills may be wrong, but Baard has given his ideas a chance, and given us something to ponder.
David M. Jinks
We should keep all our options open. Remember the tale of five blind men attempting to visualize an elephant. All of their observations were partly right. What we've learned to be correct is only partial.
The problem with physicists who put Dr. Mills down is that they reject before they analyze. This is a bit reminiscent of the reaction to a Geneva, Switzerland, patent clerk who told physicists of the early 1900s that Newton was wrong at high speed. Even when the patent clerk showed them that he was rightthat the precession of the orbit of Mercury showed that Newton needed correctionshe was scoffed at. Einstein was the patent clerk.
As an investor in BlackLight Power, I say the real laugh here is Dr. Robert Park of the American Physical Society, who apparently claims to know everything about the simplest atom, hydrogen, and so sits smugly back instead of studying Mills's results. But Richard Feynman, the Nobel laureate who is the "father" of quantum electrodynamics, said, "I go to my deathbed unhappy, because we still don't know all there is to know about the simplest atom, hydrogen." I'll take the word of Feynman over Park any day.
Nice piece by Brian P. Dunleavy on college football ["Game Misconducts: College Football's Real-Life Top 25," December 28]. Now let's see one on the "real" Top 25 alternative papers. I'm sure the Voice is right up there in the rankings, with a few interesting skeletons in its own closet.
If the best Dunleavy can do is say that a school like the University of Texas is due for problems soon even though he doesn't have any to report on now, maybe he should reflect his own on weaknesses. Even journalists have them, right?
Awwwww, aren't you brave for "exposing" the big bad world of college football. Shocking, indeed. Why don't you run down the list of employees at The Village Voice and list your collective rap sheet, along with other ethical lapses?
I'd be willing to bet you could match any football program in the country.
Brian P. Dunleavy's poll about college football was a complete joke. What is the point of listing arrests when many of the charges are later dropped? Perhaps The Village Voice should survey its own employees to determine how many of them have been arrested. Whatever happened to the principle of innocent until proven guilty?
Anyone can be arrested, but if they are not convicted they have done nothing wrong.
E. Clement Ogbahon
Give credit where credit is due! Even though Joe Paterno has slipped considerably, he is still the best coach in college football. Admittedly, LaVar Arrington's behavior placed an ugly mark on Penn State football. A few years ago, Joe wouldn't have tolerated it. Maybe he is beginning to lower his standards like the rest of our society. After all, Who are we to judge? We kept a president in the White House who disgraced our country and lied to us on national television.
Perhaps Brian Dunleavy can explain to me exactly how African Americans are being exploited while in college, and why it was so important to list the percentage of black male graduates as well. As a Voice reader, I would like to know. The article didn't sit too well with me.
Brian P. Dunleavy did a good review of college football. I could even see where an argument could be made that college football and basketball players should be paid if the institutions fail to give them an education. Look at the amount of money these programs take in from TV ($6 billion from CBS alone).
Upon initially perusing Brian Dunleavy's article, I thought it was well informed and made some good points about the downside of college football. As an avid fan, it hurts to hear negativity, but it's better to know the truth.
However, upon further investigation, I've come to feel that the article is nothing more than a somewhat informed rant. I say this because Dunleavy's credibility is tainted by two factors: his bias against the game, exhibited in his stretch to find something wrong with Penn State (if that's the worst you can come up with, why not tip your hat and say "nice job"), and his inaccuracy (the last time I checked, Sanford Stadium was on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, not Tuscaloosa!).
I also have to beg the question: Why disparage through innuendo Wisconsin and Minnesota as being racist institutions because of the low number of African Americans in the student body compared to the number of athletes? Both states have a smaller percentage of African Americans than the percentages represented in the student bodies of these schools. Shouldn't they be commended for providing opportunities to minorities at a higher percentage than the general populations of the states they serve, whether or not it involves participating in athletics? And why single out these two schools? I'm not a fan of either university, but at least show the same figures across the board.
Brian P. Dunleavy replies: I am a fan who is aware of various long-standing problems in college football. The point of the piece was to show some of the ills in college football in the areas of academics, player behavior, recruiting, and sportsmanship in hopes of raising awareness about these issues. Statistics on graduation rates, minority athletes, and minority enrollment were taken taken directly from an NCAA report. My intention in citing the minority enrollment/graduation figures for some schools was to highlight the potential exploitation of minority athletes. The relatively low graduation rates for African American athletes at some institutions may be an indicator of their lack of concern for minority athletes after they have finished representing their schools on the football field. The incorrect location given for Georgia's stadium was due to an error in the editing process.
THE FILM AND I
Thank you for an honest review of Anna and the King["The Emperors' Old Clothes", Dennis Lim, December 21]. As a Thai, I found this film ludicrous in the extreme for its complete distortion of our history, its ignorance of customs and protocol surrounding the monarchy, its dreadful dialogue, and most importantly, for its reinforcement of that totally mythical view of my countrywherein a foreign teacher of questionable origins wields tremendous influence over a monarch who was actually far more educated, intelligent, and far-sighted than herself.
MARK OF EXCELLENCE
Having just read the latest article in Mark Schoofs's series "AIDS: The Agony of Africa", I would like to compliment Mr. Schoofs on both the adroitness of his language and his sociocultural observations.
As a nurse practitioner working specifically in the area of HIV/AIDS, I was particularly moved by the author's clarity of prose in describing dire circumstances in such a distinguished manner and with such eloquence.
Kathleen L. Neill
The series of articles by Mark Schoofs onAIDS in Africa has been excellent. The proportions in which this disease is killing are breathtaking, and I appreciated Schoofs's straightforward and sincere approach.
I have forwarded copies of his articles to my colleagues who are working in the medical field in Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire.
K. Isatu Barrie
Thank you for Peter Noel's continuing coverage of the violent and fascistic tactics of the NYPD. Generally, I think the Voice is crap (especially the pretentious, largely incomprehensible, mighty white arts coverage), but Wayne Barrett and occasional gems by Guy Trebay and writers such as Blanche Boyd make it worth a look. Your paper is the only publication in town that I can count on to publish voices that the daily rags and the NY Press ignore.
Karen Cook's article about the Sierra Club controversy in New York City was outstanding ["Green vs. Green", December 21]. So often journalists seem to get only part of the picture, but she got it all. As a longtime Sierra Club activist in New York City, and the chair of the group's ecological restoration committee, I congratulate you on publishing this excellent article.
Tricia Romano hit it right on the money with her article on Krust ["Welcome Home to the Jungle", January 4]. His new album is experimental, good, but hard to follow, while Aphrodite's album is, well, why even buy it?
LA L.A. FAN
Re Michael Musto's La Dolce Musto:
Tooo f*cking funny. I just moved to L.A. from Washington, D.C., and can't bring myself to read the L.A. Times. I read The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the VV online.
Thank God for the Internet 'cause Musto's column started my morning off with a laugh and a smile. I love his candid honesty.
Cheryl A. Black
Los Angeles, California
I'm a first-time reader of Michael Musto (picked it up from The Drudge Report). Since I'm one of the older generation, it was with some trepidation that I opened his piece. But I enjoyed his stuff. I'm awarding the sniggle of the day to his gossip.
New Iberia, Louisiana
SHE PLUS ULTRA
I enjoyed reading Donna Ladd's article ["Apology, Please", January 4], but I feel that she mislabeled the Rutherford Institute as "ultra-conservative." This is a label we got stuck with during the Paula Jones case. The Clinton spin machine was very effective for a short time in trying to demonize our work. People also try to politicize us, but we are not a political group either. In fact, I am personally apolitical.
We are a civil-liberties group that has taken on a variety of cases. I do appreciate both Ms. Ladd's coverage and The Village Voice.
John W. Whitehead
* In last week's Press Clips, an editorial regarding APBNews.com was misidentified as having appeared in The New York Times. The comments quoted appeared in The Washington Post.
* Due to a tabulating error, four "Films of the Century" were incorrectly ranked in last week's Film Critics Poll. The accurate rankings, available in full at www.villagevoice.com/take/one, are: (8) The Passion of Joan of Arc; (9) Au Hasard Balthazar; (10) Rashomon; and (22) Seven Samurai (tied with M). Due to a production error, four films (The Straight Story, Boys Don't Cry, Go, After Life) were incorrectly ranked in J. Hoberman's piece "The Big Picture."
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