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Environment

Influences Of JFK

July 28, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 30

As a Massachusetts native and a product of the 1960s, I was immersed in everything related to the late president Kennedy. I was especially influenced by the formation of the Peace Corps. I joined a Catholic volunteer group in 1968 and was sent to Lima, Peru, where I analyzed enzymes in fish meal proteins in the chemistry department of the Catholic university there. I also adopted a baby girl. Nothing seemed impossible, no matter how great the odds or obstacles.

In his letter to the editor, David Dime refers to our current President as “charismatic and optimistic,” and I totally agree (C&EN, May 12, page 4). However, our legislators suffer from terminal scientific illiteracy, and it’s getting worse. A few years ago, it was estimated that fewer than 10 of our more than 500 members of Congress possessed a science or technology background.

Worse, they seem to care only about their political futures and personal gain. In the same issue, the News of the Week article “America’s Changed Climate” states that Lamar S. Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology, calls a report by U.S. scientists on accelerating climate changes a “political document intended to frighten Americans” with “little science to support any connection between climate change and more frequent or extreme storms” (page 7).

Ann T. Kelley
Houston

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