<i>IoS</i> letters, texts & messages (25 October 2008)

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It may seem reassuring to be told that we can borrow our way out of a debt crisis, but as someone who works in the health service and has benefited from the education system, I think this latest act of borrowing from our children shouldbe designed to help their future rather than our current needs ("Brown to splash billions on schools and hospitals", 19 October).

More schools and hospitals will mean bigger repayments to the corporations who build and profit from them, as well as the possibly unaffordable costs of operating them. What investment we can make should go into long-term renewable energy generation, local food production and support for smaller organic farmers, and a hugely expanded public transport system and infrastructure for walking and cycling.

More borrowing for big hospitals and schools? That reminds me too much of the Mayan temples built ever higher to placate the gods as the population expanded beyond its resources and collapsed.

Dr Colin Bannon

Crapstone, Devon

Big reductions in the consumption of energy would do more to cut emissions, sooner and more cleanly, than many of the now fashionable renewable energy schemes would ("Green energy is not so much a middle-class conceit, more the only way forward", 19 October).

The increased usage of green energy will come only slowly and must be done rationally as some of the schemes are anything but green. Wider education, including better awareness of the laws of thermodynamics by all of us, is essential to make any significant change possible. Renewable energy is not possible. The nearest approach to it is solar power: solar power produced directly through expensive photovoltaic systems, and almost directly and much more cheaply through solar heating, thermodynamic and other schemes using the air, oceanic and inland currents and recycled biological pathways, which all derive from solar radiation. These will be available for billions of years.

Robin Turner


While Edward Turner makes a useful distinction between assisted dying and assisted suicide, he also gives the James family's moral defence ("I accepted my mother's right to die, but Dan is different", 19 October). "He was young, paraplegic man, probably with several decades of life ahead of him..." I think most able-bodied people would quail at the prospect of being in such a position.

Cole Davis

London NW2

I am a person with multiple sclerosis. I have physical and cognitive problems which have caused me difficulty and have meant making changes in my lifestyle ("Suicide law campaigner backs Daniel James's family", 19 October).

I have had to give up things that I have enjoyed and change some of my plans for the future. However, I am not terminally ill. The vast majority of people with MS do not die from it.

Jane George


Nikola Tesla is of greater visionary significance for the technological revolution than any of the science or engineering visionaries you list (The New Review, 19 October). His ideas are behind everything in which electricity and radio play a part. He built the 20th century.

James Baring

Passenham, Northamptonshire

India has launched an unmanned space probe to the moon, will launch another by 2010, a manned mission by 2014 and have astronauts on the moon by 2020. The millions of pounds we send India in aid every year, to ease the plight of the millions living in abject poverty, are obviously no longer required.

Clark Cross

Linlithgow, West Lothian

Charles Darwent's hateful review of my uncle Andy Warhol's recent show at the Hayward seems to be oddly personal ("Portrait of the artist as a self-hating nihilist", 12 October). I am specifically offended by his references to Warhol's mother, my grandmother, who is seen in one of Warhol's art films. Describing her as a "senile old bat" and "this old bag" is ridiculous.

James Warhola

Tivoli, New York, USA

People like Brian Eno and Vivienne Westwood are not artists, they're cod philosophers selling art-like snake oil ("So, just what is the Art of Life?", 19 October). In art terms this period will quickly be forgotten or recalled only for its "emperor's new clothes" approach to art.


via the message board

This is what philistines have always said about the artists of the day. There is too much "things have gone downhill" kind of talk and not enough interest in progressive art.


via the message board

"Britain has not had a Winter gold since Torvill and Dean...", Sport, 19 October). I vaguely recall staying up to watch some Scottish ladies throwing stones as recently as 2002. Perhaps they don't count?

Glenn Cox

Alcester, Warwickshire

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