IoS letters, emails & online postings (13 December 2009)

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Technological solutions to global warming which propose blocking sunlight ("The power of 10", 6 December) are a dangerous delusion.

Blocking out the sun may have an effect on planetary temperature, but it would have disastrous effects on the ecosystem, which would collapse. How would plants and plankton photosynthesise without full sunlight? How could we grow sufficient crops? How could we power all those solar panels? The sun energy we should be blocking is that from previous eras, which we continue to release through burning fossil fuels, not our current sun energy which is vital to the continual support of life.

Philippa Cain

Stroud, Gloucestershire


Believing that the magic wand of technology will somehow solve all our problems so that we can just carry on as normal is not science but science fiction ("What on Earth?", 6 December). To point to previous doomsday predictions is like saying "I know we are all supposed to die, but look at me – I've been going for years and never had a day's illness."

Steve Edwards

Haywards Heath, West Sussex


I have found your articles on energy and sustainable living useful and inspiring. Now could someone please help me with a simple matter which I am unable to resolve? Is it more economical to use an electric kettle or gas hob? Is there any difference in CO2 emissions from each energy source? I can't get any sense out of my energy suppliers.

Peter Fuller

Epsom, Surrey


If the Prime Minister is serious about making £12bn of efficiency savings, he should start by abandoning plans to waste £25bn on a nuclear missile system we do not need and the vast majority do not want. Labour must focus its cuts on unnecessary and unaffordable white elephant projects like the Trident weapons replacement programme and ID cards and rule out slashing front-line services like health and education

Alex Orr



Scotland has made a disproportionately large military contribution in every war in which Great Britain has participated in the past three centuries (D J Taylor, "Superior Scots", 6 December). Scots were used as cannon fodder for the conquest of India and Canada, and of African and other imperial interests. At the Battle of Arras in 1917, 38 Scottish infantry battalions went over the parapets, more men than the whole British army at Waterloo. And the Western Isles had the highest casualty rate per capita in the two world wars of anywhere in the British Empire.

Donald J MacLeod



The Tories might be stuffed with public-school educated, Bullingdon Club toffs, but New Labour has done nothing to dismantle the Lords, while removing universal student grants and introducing tuition fees – so doing untold harm to social mobility ("Class is the river that runs right through the English soul", 6 December)? For most of its tenure, the money saved by attacking the least well-off has kept taxes at Tory levels. This while insisting that the general population works longer than its parents and grandparents. Party political class war? Don't make me laugh.

Gavin Lewis



Judge Ball should have been more imaginative ("'Reformed' teenage burglar ... back in police custody", 6 December). Bradley Wernham should have been required to show house builders, car manufacturers and alarm fitters how he beat their security devices, and asked to suggest improvements.

Kartar Uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands


So retired people aren't included in "we normal folks" ("Noughty by nature", The New Review, 6 December?). Emma Townshend, beware the beat of comfortably shod feet. There are quite a few of us. And we're normal, whatever that is.

Gina Jolliffe

Brixham, Devon


I was dismayed that many broadcast journalists condemned the sentencing of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito. But your report on the tragic death of Meredith Kercher, by David Randall and Victoria Richards, ("A life cut short", 6 December) was sensitive and balanced.

P M Ross

Plymouth, Devon


Corrections and clarifications

In an item in last Sunday's The Feral Beast column, we wrongly stated that David Aaronovitch was a member of the Hasbara committee, an organisation that seeks to promote Israel's reputation. In fact, he is not connected to Hasbara at all. We now understand that the Hasbara website describes individuals as a "Hasbara author" merely because Hasbara itself has referred to these individuals' work on its site, and the authors may have no knowledge of this or connection to Hasbara, as was the case here. We apologise to David for our error.

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