Moonshots, abortion, internet capital, mustaches

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Reprinted in the Star Tribune on November 21, St. An editorial from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks why America is returning to the “big cold rock in space.” Why really?

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson responds in a PBS NewsHour segment: “We don’t have the ability to go to Mars. What we learn to live and work on the moon will help us.”

What we already know about both the Moon and Mars is that their atmospheres do not support life as we know it. On the Moon, oxygen is buried in its rocky surface, and the concentration of oxygen in the Martian atmosphere is 0.16%.

According to PBS NewsHour, the projected total cost of the Artemis project through the planned 2025 lunar landing is $93 billion. The first phase took twice as long as predicted and caused huge cost overruns. Will the alliance with SpaceX help reduce costs? Probably, but it negates the main question.

“Is Artemis primarily a self-preservation project for NASA?” Isn’t it time for him to ask the question?

John F. Hick, St. Paul


The editorial gleefully discusses Project Artemis, which will return astronauts to the Moon and eventually Mars. It notes the technological advances that resulted from the space program. Yes.

However, the Artemis project will cost around $100 billion. Considering what other countries are spending on their projects (such as China building a space station and sending a crew to the moon), these costs are truly insane.

Wouldn’t the funds be better used to address the urgent crisis of climate change?

Nic Baker, Roseville


“Abortion’s New Frontiers” (front page, Nov. 20) describes what sounds like little trouble for the Red River Women’s Clinic, formerly in Fargo but now moving to Moorhead, because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe. v. Wade. But it’s like the tip of the iceberg that sank the Titanic, or the slight cough of someone disembarking from a trans-Pacific flight in early 2020 — except the problem portends a disaster far worse than a sunken ship or a pandemic.

An irresponsible Supreme Court decision, combined with the continued irresponsibility of our dysfunctional Congress, is an iceberg that has the potential to destroy the United States. It is not the ship that bears the name of our nation – our nation!

There have always been slight differences in the laws from one state to another. When I was a kid, you couldn’t buy margarine in Minnesota. Such differences are troubling to North Dakotans who cross the Red River for a medical appointment. But Dobbs’ Roe v. v. Wade puts us on a path where a Fargo woman visiting Moorhead for a legal procedure in Moorhead could be charged with a felony.

He returned to Fargo. Not only that, but now Moorhead clinic employees could face arrest and felony charges the next time they shop or dine at West Acres Mall. Not a plausible scenario, but an entirely plausible one.

US Senator Lindsey Graham recently introduced a proposed national abortion policy that would allow abortion before 15 weeks but ban abortion after 15 weeks. Graham’s proposal quickly died, shot down by extremists on both ends of the abortion debate. I often disagree with Graham. I suspect that his midterm proposal was more an attempt to save the GOP’s chances in the midterms than to preserve the nation, and I’m not suggesting that his proposal draws the line in the right place or makes the right exceptions. .

Still, a national abortion policy is what we need. No compromise can satisfy abortion extremists on either side, but the alternative is chaos — leading to the peaceful dissolution or collapse of a plausibly “United States.” Anyone interested in protecting our nation should write their senators and congressional representatives to demand a national abortion policy.

John K. Trepp, Minneapolis


A Nov. 20 lead article in the Minnesota section — “A Red Line Drawn, Now Victim of Internet Injustice,” which suggests people in Black neighborhoods are being deliberately overcharged for Internet access — is likely to make the problem harder, not easier, to fix.

A basic economic fact is that it is more expensive (per megabyte) to provide Internet service to a poor or rural neighborhood than to a rich, urban neighborhood. This is because the cost of running cable or optical fiber to bring the signal to the neighborhood is only weakly dependent on the total amount of bandwidth provided.

In an affluent neighborhood with high subscriber density, the cost per subscriber or per megabyte is lower than in an area with low subscriber density.

I think it’s a good idea for people in these rich neighborhoods to subsidize basic internet service to poor neighborhoods because it promotes socioeconomic mobility by making education and connectivity more accessible to all. I think most people in these affluent neighborhoods would agree and be willing to pay such a subsidy through their internet bills if lawyers explained it that way.

If advocates base their argument on demonetizing service providers through a “red line” comparison that ignores the underlying economics, it will be a hard sell.

Pieter Visscher, Falcon Heights

The writer is a retired physics professor.


On November 20, the Minnesota section included a photo of Birdie, a smooth collie, ready for the All-Breed Dog Show at the Canterbury Park Expo Center (“Going for a more attractive look”). The picture shows a woman holding a pair of scissors trimming the unfortunate dog’s nose whiskers in preparation for the show.

Anyone who cares about dogs understands the importance of a dog’s whiskers. Nose whiskers are crucial for transmitting information to the dog’s nervous system, helping it sense its environment, determine distances, and help it find food and water. They are also one of the ways a dog can show its emotions. Whiskers are important to a dog’s well-being, and their removal causes great stress to the animal. Please do not trim any whiskers from your dog’s nose, eyes or chin! The Minneapolis Kennel Club would do well to stop this practice immediately, as it is another form of animal cruelty.

Vicki Sinha, Eden Prairie

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