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In "Dull Punk, Disco Balls, Dead Bodies" (Locals Only, Jan. 7), Rich Kane writes: "Oh: their bassist, for some reason, wore a football helmet during their set . . . and we tried to think up some snide metaphor to explain why this was."

So how about this: "And it made us think about the poor little retarded kid who lived at the end of the block, who always ran around the house wearing his Rams helmet."

Todd Ebert via e-mail


Dear Commie Girl: We would like permission to create a link to your page from our stock-market-related Web site. We have a link called "interesting links" in which we would like to include links to sites (and even single pages) with different categories of interest. Our site is becoming very popular and is located at It is visited daily by people who invest in the stock market and who are looking for interesting stock profiles regarding companies with significant upside potential. You see, it is important for us to always have something interesting for our frequent visitors. If they revisit daily, the "interesting links" will become the point of interest while we update our site. (Our content remains constant for days and sometimes even weeks.) Therefore, if you would like us to possibly feature your link in that section of our site, please let us know by responding "please link" and be sure to include your site address again.



Nick Schou's report on a meeting of a committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) really belongs on the editorial page and should not have been presented as a news article ("Cancer Politics," Dec. 24). It begins with factual errors. The author says that the committee reports to various government agencies who fund its research. Schou then says that the private sector (multinational corporations) funds the majority of radiation research. All of this is simply untrue. In the U.S., the vast majority of radiation research is funded by the National Cancer Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health. Some research is funded by private foundations that support a variety of health-related research programs into causes and treatment of cancer, AIDS, diabetes, aging, etc. In this case, the NAS committee is contracted by government agencies to study a specific topic and is not doing research at all.

The controversy around the newly created BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) VII Committee reflects a sad situation in American policy-making today. Activist organizations, stoked by public fears fed by misinformation and sensationalism expressed in the media, have managed to upset the objective construction of expert panels. The result is a weakening of our ability to set meaningful direction on difficult issues. The BEIR VII Committee was established to evaluate the long-held hypothesis that risk from ionizing radiation exposure is directly proportional to dose, even to the very low levels that are a fraction of what is received every day by the public (cosmic rays, radon, soil, etc.). This so-called "linear nonthreshold hypothesis," derived from studies at very high doses, has been the basis for protection standards but should not be applied to determine risk estimates for low doses. Activists, however, need that assumption if they want to continue to claim any small radiation exposure can be harmful. The simple fact is that, at low doses, there have not been any demonstrated effects on human health—much like one aspirin is okay while too many may be harmful. So if the science won't support an activist agenda, they have to attack the scientists themselves and attempt to tarnish their reputations and motivations.

Schou's article reflects two sad situations: activists who refuse to allow good science to prevail for public consumption and policy development, and reporters who push an agenda rather than report the news.

Eric M. Goldin, Ph.D. Certified Radiation Safety Specialist via e-mail Nick Schou responds: First, my article never stated that radiation is more dangerous than the scientists on the BEIR panel believe, just that if it's worth asking how dangerous low-dose radiation is, it's worth seeking answers from scientists who have been deliberately excluded from this formal debate. Second, it's long been standard scientific logic that the dose determines the poison. But while many Americans reach for aspirin every day, very, very few people deliberately seek out radiation, even at very low levels.


We gave you bad directions to Beautiful Lake Tom Wilson in last week's the County. The dirty, stinky, fetid, malodorous, toxic pond is near the corner of Moulton Parkway and Laguna Hills Drive in Aliso Viejo.


In your [WHO WROTE IT?] article about white rappers, you criticized just about everyone but forgot totally about the Beastie Boys and tried to put brilliant artists and lyricists such as Eminem and Everlast in the same category as a no-talent joke like White Dawg ("Invasion of the Angry White Rappers," July—yeah, July—9, 1999). My friends and I are rap artists and are about to release an album, and trust me, as someone who knows music, I know that you don't know shit about rap or even music. You are a fuckin' dickless fagot. Go buy some Yanni, bitch. Fuck you.

Silas via e-mail