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Spurious Science

March 20, 1994

The Sulphur Mountain group consistently uses the term "radiation" in describing the Doppler radar's microwave energy, purposefully evoking the mental image of radioactivity.

The term "emission" when describing microwaves is equally correct but less evocative. Just remember, your light bulbs "radiate" visible light. They also "emit" light as well. Are you fearful of your light bulb?

As far as acceptable risks go, just remember: electricity kills many Americans every year. Are you willing to live without electricity? We all know that simple precautions limit this possibility to an acceptable risk. Yet this real risk remains. It is also quite manageable. So is the Doppler radar.

The cost of the removal of the weather station would be borne by all of us through our tax dollars. Will that enhance our health prospects? No. Will it help Upper Ojai land values? Unknown. Time will tell.

One thing is sure: While the National Weather Service acted in an insensitive and ham-fisted manner, the Upper-Ojaians could have built a wider coalition if they had limited their outrage to just that issue. To use spurious science to frighten needlessly their neighbors in the valley in order to advance their cause is disappointing in the extreme.

LELAND P. HAMMERSCHMITT

Ojai

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