Letters for August 27, 2009

Animal cracker

Re “Animal house” (Arts&Culture, Aug. 20):

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The nonprofit Animal Ark is home to some of the world’s most exciting animals.” —Jessica Santina

It is sad to see this reporter couldn’t see right through the hypocrisy of the people at the donation-dependent Animal Ark: They can have the exotics, but we, the rest of the self-supporting, tax-paying, exotic-animal owners are being labeled as illegal smugglers of exotic wildlife?

Never mind that the vast majority of wildlife and parts smuggling is happening in the Third World countries, not in the United States. Get your facts straight, and stop reporting half truths.

Besides, what is wrong with legal, honest, for-profit exotic animal business? Isn’t that what America is founded on: free, self-supporting enterprise instead of money-sucking, donation-dependent leaches?

If it is OK for farmers to charge us for meat and eggs, or domestic animal breeders for domestic pets, why isn’t it OK for exotic animal breeders to charge for their animals?

Exotic is a concept animals don’t understand. What is exotic in the U.S., such as tiger, is not exotic in India, since tigers are native there.

Co-founder Aaron Hiibel admits that they started as pet owners, but they “quickly realized they weren’t meant to be kept as pets.” So if they realized it was wrong, why didn’t they just get out of owning exotic animals, instead of getting more and more animals? Didn’t they themselves learn by doing it as they went along?

I have been a responsible exotic animal owner for more than 20 years. Our animals are a mix of the animals we bought or re-homed, but we financially support this 100 percent ourselves.

We started the non-profit organization REXANO in Nevada, www.rexano.org (Responsible Exotic Animal Ownership), a free resource to educate the public about the truths and realities of exotic animal ownership and to dispel the myths perpetrated by hypocrites who think they should be the only ones keeping these magnificent animals.

Zuzana Kukol
President REXANO

History? What’s that?

Re “Love of money” (Letters to the editor, Aug. 13):

Rich Dunn makes some convincing arguments, but I am not certain history backs up his notions about a gold-based currency.

Modern America is often compared to ancient Rome, yet, they rarely compare the financial issues Rome fought, which are near identical to ours. Multiple emperors following Marcus Aurelius took Rome off of a very solid gold coin, in an effort to pay the bills by issuing various copper and bronze coins and even one silver-washed bronze coin.

To paraphrase Sarah Palin, the coin was still a pig in silver wash, and life in general continued to go to Hades in a basket for decades longer, until Rome went back to “real” money. Rome was rife with all the things seen now. Corrupt officials, tax cheats, many on the government dime, and the leaders blamed the “greedy,” same as Obama does now. Not fiat money, which was the major cause.

Washington tried to pay his troops in fiat money, same story, different time. A wagon load of Continentals would not buy a loaf of bread. One can follow the booms and busts in America by simply studying how valid the money base was. It’s like a late friend of mine used to say, ‘We have more money than ever in history, it just isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.”

Dunn claims not enough gold exists … well, since current legend is that we have gotten more gold out of the tailings, using modern methods, than ever came out of the ground in the heyday, then what? We have no more old mines to recycle? Gold is all mined out everywhere else in the state?

It seems that too many of our leaders follow the old lie, that “socialism works, if only the right folks are in charge.” Seems the only thing we know about history is that we never learn from history.

Ron Ryder

Faith-based power

Re “A matter of belief” (Filet of Soul, Aug. 6):

I agree that right now we have to depend a lot on “faith” when investing in green technologies. Too bad. We had 16 photovoltaic panels installed on our roof this spring by the “Life With Solar” Company (a.k.a. “Reno Sunrooms”). This company exerted themselves to pull all the relevant details together, and purely won our business by presenting a coherent picture. We’re producing more than our household power needs most days, and banking credits for the winter. By comparison, NV Energy’s office handling net-metering issues seems under-manned and under-helpful at this time—thus the necessity for going on “faith” in our relationship there.

We recently installed a U.S. Sunlight brand solar-powered attic ventilator. We don’t have a Costco membership anymore, but a friend of my wife’s bought her two solar attic fans there. She claimed that her house was 20 degrees cooler after having the fans installed. She had been warned off from other brands of solar-powered attic fans, and found the Costco-stocked brand well recommended. I looked to see what brand that was and contacted U.S. Sunlight Corp. directly. Online they were announcing a new product, a ventilator fan designed for mounting inside attics and crawlspaces, etc., commonly installed at gable vents to exhaust oven-hot air from attics. A cord is run from a small PV panel mounted in the sun.

Wishing to quantify a bit of the “faith in greenliness,” I placed a thermometer in the attic space before I installed the fan. Before powering up, the thermometer was hard against the top of the column, well above 130 degrees (more likely 150 degrees or more). After one hour, the thermometer read 111 degrees. In another hour, it read 99 degrees, which was the outdoor temperature that Sunday afternoon. This moderating effect seems to be cumulative. I now have great faith that I may further improve matters by laying down a reflective radiant barrier fabric over the existing attic pile insulation.

I find that many of the relevant institutions, agencies and businesses whom one would assume to be responsive to the growing public interest in green alternatives are instead all but asleep at the wheel—leaving us to proceed too much in faith-based mode.

The recent scorching weather had me stumbling across concepts such as “earth tubes” and “solar chimneys” which have been widely used in Europe for decades but are hardly whispered about in this country still. Germany has official standards for the “Passivhaus” (Passive House) entity: well-established, reliable design and construction specifications for completely stand-alone, passively-powered buildings and homes.

Michael O’Neal


Re “Rock album” (Musicbeat, Aug. 20):

A photo of Charlie Daniels was misidentified in the story as a “photo of Charlie Wilson.” This has been corrected on the Web site.

Re “Trying to concentrate” (Greenspace, Aug. 20):

Sierra Sun Tower is not the first solar thermal tower in the United States. It is the first solar thermal tower in southern California. This has been corrected on the Web site.