Fireflies Illuminate Humanity of the Sciences

I just gotta write to comment on, for me, the lift and lilt of Blair Braverman’s essay “A Map of Here” (Last Page, fall 2010 Colby). Braverman’s poetic prose treats a favorite denizen of my nights, the firefly, with a finely balanced mixture of narrative and image, fact and impression. I was reminded by Braverman’s essay, as I was by the article on the Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences, that penetrating analysis hinges on personal identification with the subject. The two, objectivity and subjectivity, forge ahead together, making even the sciences a deeply human pursuit.

Jim Foritano ’65
Cambridge, Mass.

Wind-power Story Was Silent on Noise

I waited until I returned from Vinalhaven this summer to respond to the winter 2010 feature story on wind power. It was fascinating to me that the article did not address the issue of noise, which I knew to be a problem before I went to my little island cabin. I am maybe one-half mile from the turbines as the crow flies. The summer was so languid that I was not disturbed during the day because there basically wasn’t any wind. However, at night the turbines were so noisy that I had to keep my bedroom windows closed, even during the heat of last summer. There are 16 year-around families just south of the turbines, some to the north, and a smattering of us summer folks less than a mile from the turbines. Certainly property values are affected but, more to the point, so is the quality of life itself.

The noise problem in Vinalhaven and elsewhere has been extensively written about in the Maine newspapers and, most recently, in the New York Times. Nearly a year after the turbines became operational, there is still no solution to the noise problem. This is also true of a dozen other turbine sites across the United States. For any community considering wind turbines, it is truly a buyer-beware situation. You can’t believe what the construction companies tell you, as the people on Vinalhaven have learned too late.

Lucy Blainey Groening ’56
Hartford, Conn., and Vinalhaven, Maine

Precedent for the Colby-Bigelow Partnership

I read with interest the article by David Eaton regarding Colby’s new partnership with the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. In the fall of 1974 I was a second-semester senior (I had transferred to Colby) with a major in environmental studies. For a senior project I contacted Bigelow, as my interests at the time were in marine science. I did an in-depth study of the feasibility of the Pittson Oil Company’s proposal to put an oil terminal in Eastport with the focus on the geography, weather, and tides of the western approaches and Cobscook Bay, a formidable place to navigate a small boat in good weather, never mind a supertanker in the fog. I was assisted and mentored by several oceanographers and other scientists at Bigelow. After finishing at Colby in January, 1975, I went to work at Bigelow as a research assistant working on such projects as red tide and investigating the Tamano oil spill in Casco Bay. 

I was also fortunate enough to meet my future wife there. My career in marine science faded, but we’re still married after 33 years. I hope that the Colby/Bigelow partnership lasts at least as long.

Charlie Le Royer ’75
Searsmont, Maine

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