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Far from enhancing our Fourth Amendment rights, devices such as the Whizzinator actually result in the further loss of privacy and dignity (Jim Washburn's "I.P. Freely," June 8). In order to ensure that the urine is coming from the subject's body, the military requires observers to stand close enough to be able to testify that they saw the urine leave the body. It is because of the use of such things as the Whizzinator that this unconstitutional—not to mention appalling—invasion of privacy has been perpetrated on our men and women in uniform for the past 20 years. We have sworn to protect and defend a Constitution that no longer protects us.
I watch Iron Chef, and I don't think it's the laugh riot that Steve Lowery claims Americans find it ("The Cutting Board Is Sacred," June 8). For some reason, I do understand that the chefs who appear on it actually might take their culinary performance seriously—even if they are done in trappings that approach Cecil B. DeMille's movies in grotesque pageantry. Somehow, I can understand the value of a job well done, of giving your all, of not making excuses like a weakling and coward. Evidently, there is some other country that exists east of Orange County that is not America. This must be the place where I grew up, the place where people were taught things like "A day's pay for a day's labor." I had thought this was America, but perhaps I was in error.
As a technical professional who has been involved with the LFAS program for a number of years and a lifetime member of the Sierra Club, I was distressed by Matt Croker's [sic] article on Low-Frequency Active Sonar ("No Food to Free Willy," June 8). It was definitely unbalanced and misrepresented the data on LFAS. It appears to me that Croker did not personally do any research on the scientific data available regarding LFAS. It seems likely that neither Croker nor [anti-sonar activist] Diana Mann bothered to read the executive summary of the LFAS nor the full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). If either did and understood what they read, then they willfully and grossly misrepresented the facts. On the other hand, if neither understood what they read, then ethically, they shouldn't have been speaking and writing about it. For those honestly seeking the truth, the link to the executive summary of the LFAS EIS is www.surtass-lfa-eis.com/stage.htm. Perhaps the article was written more to sensationalize the exploits of Ms. Mann than to present the LFAS story in a balanced way. I realize that sensationalism sells stories. I also realize that sensationalism may be a useful way to gain attention, obtain political power, make one feel important and make one feel like they make a difference in the world. If the purpose of this article is to educate and search earnestly for the truth, then it is a sham and a waste of time. Feel free to contact me if you desire help in writing a balanced article on the subject.
Matt Croker, er, Coker responds:Are you referring to the "glowing Environmental Impact Statement sponsored by the Navy" that Michael Stocker, an acoustician currently writingHear Where We Are: Reawakening the Sensuality of Sound Perception (a book exploring how sound affects our sense of placement and how we humans and other animals use sound to connect with our surroundings) has blasted for ignoring animal evaluations? Do you mean the same EIS that concluded there was no credible evidence that any human had ever been injured by an LFAS broadcast despite the fact—revealed later only because a scientist involved in the Navy research was forced to testify in a federal lawsuit—that a snorkeler exposed to a 125-decibel (dB) LFAS blast was traumatized? (The Navy says LFAS pulses will be 230 dB at the source, 180 dB a nautical mile away, and as loud as 140 dB 300 nautical miles away from the source.) You mean the same EIS that excluded anecdotal evidence of whale strandings in the Canary Islands after sonar blasts in 1985, 1988 and 1989—the only reports of whale strandings there ever? That excluded dolphin deaths on the Atlantic coast after sonar testing in 1987 (after which the Navy resisted calls to obtain autopsies of post-sonar stranded cetaceans)? That excluded three humpback whale beachings in northern California after sonar testing in 1995? That excluded increased strandings in British Columbia of porpoises, seals and orcas—so many orcas that ABC News reported the previously thriving population was eligible for an endangered-species listing—after sonar testing in 1996, the same year 12 Cuvier's beaked whales and 200 dolphins stranded near Greece after similar testing? That excluded increased gray whale strandings, uncharacteristically aggressive behavior and 150 starvation deaths along the California migratory route, where acoustical testing took place in 1998—the same year three whale calves and a dolphin calf died or were stranded in front of witnesses immediately after sonar testing in the Hawaiian Islands? That excluded three pilot whales beaching on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas after sonar testing in 1999? That excluded a dozen beaked whales stranded on various beaches in the Bahamas after sonar testing in March 2000? Do you mean that EIS? Nope, never heard of it.