@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

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Up Front: Letters to and from the editor
Campus Currents: UCSD Stories
Shelf Life: Books
Cliff Notes: Student life and sports
Class Notes: Alumni profiles
Looking Back: Thoughts on UCSD
Credits: Staff and Contributors
Interview with Chancellor Fox
In Celebration
The Angry Years
The Animated Physicist
Over There
Making Waves
Julia and Us
The Incredible (Green) Hull
Going Down in History
Peace of the Gods

Up Front May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Letters to the Editor

Power to the People
In “Power to the People” in the May 2009 issue, Ms. Sides states that the solar trees are capable of producing one megawatt of power annually. I can only assume that this was a typo. I have a very moderate size solar array on my home. It is a 4.2 Kw system, which means on a nice sunny day we are producing 4,200 watts of electricity at any one moment, or 4.2 Kw per hour. We average around 40Kw per day, which equals around 14.6 Mw per year. Clearly, the system installed at UCSD produces much more. I am guessing that she meant to say that it is a one megawatt system, which means that it is producing over 10 megawatts per day (depending on the weather and season).
Trevor Norton, M.F.A. ’97

As a regular reader of @UCSD, I must hold the editorial staff responsible for the dismay I feel while reading “Power to the People.” It convinced me that a well-crafted set of facilities is operated under the guidance of John Dilliott, but would he say that the natural gas used in the co-gen plant is not a fossil fuel?
Bruce C. Brown, M.S. ’69, Ph.D. ’73

Reply from Stephanie Sides: Mr. Norton is absolutely correct. UCSD has a one-megawatt system (peak power produced at any given time) on campus, which produces an estimated 1.6 gigawatt-hours (1,612,997 kWhs/year) of energy annually. In reference to Dr. Brown’s letter, I probably should have inserted “more traditional” before “fossil fuel.” Though I do go on to say that, while the combustion of natural gas creates a contribution to smog, most of that is cleaned before release into the air, which has traditionally been the beef with other kinds of fossil fuels.

Revenge is Sweet
In the “Revenge Is Sweet” article on page 7, we must first address the use of the term GOD. The capital “G” refers only to the true God. All mythical, false and/or pagan deities should be printed in the lower case (i.e. sun god).

Between the two, my vote would go to the Triton for its long standing role as ­mascot, and superior beauty. The sun god is hopelessly ugly and stupid.
Franc Uberti, Muir ’77

Revelle and Global Warming
Thank you for the article on Roger Revelle, UCSD’s visionary leader. Unfortunately, there was a significant omission: Revelle’s final thoughts on climate change. A paper co-authored with S. Fred Singer (and published shortly before Revelle’s death), concluded:  “The scientific base for greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time. There is little risk in delaying policy responses.”

Your readers deserve to know of this coda to the work that Revelle pioneered. If nothing else, it underscores an intellectual independence that is much to be admired. 
Jill Singleton, Revelle ’75

Response from Professor Naomi Oreskes: The words “the scientific base for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time” were written by S. Fred Singer, and first published in 1990. He repeated them in a paper co-authored with Roger Revelle. Since then, Singer has marketed them as Revelle’s words, and a series of conservative pundits have echoed him without bothering to check publicly available records. Revelle wrote in 1990 that “There is good reason to expect that because of the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere there will be a climate warming. How big that warming will be is. . .very difficult to say. Probably somewhere between 2 and 5 degrees centigrade at the latitudes of the United States, probably a greater change in average temperature at higher latitudes and a lesser change at lower latitudes….” He believed that the United States should begin implementing regulations to foster energy efficiency and to shift its energy production to nuclear power to mitigate the risk of a larger global warming. He didn’t consider such actions to be “drastic.” To him, they were obvious steps to take in a nation that once prided itself on its technological mastery.
Naomi Oreskes, a UC San Diego professor of history and science studies is also provost of Sixth College.

In our May 2009 In our obituary of Adela Wilkeson in May, we incorrectly gave her degree as Ph.D. ’74, it was in fact M.D. ’74. Also Victor Vacquier’s age at time of death was 101, not 68. We apologize for both these errors.

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