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We need to remember one critical component in the fight against opioid addiction. That being: if you do not start...

The air you breathe

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Sunday, March 10, 2019

The March 6 edition of The Daily Reflector carried a column by Walter Williams in which most of the space is used to run through various historical cataclysms that failed to blow our planet apart — Krakatoa, the great earthquakes in Chile and Indonesia, and so on. He concludes that the Earth is not fragile and then finishes with an ad hominem attack on “environmentalists.”

I believe the readers need a little more information. The earth has an equatorial diameter of 7,926 miles. From the depths of the Mariana Trench to the top of Mount Everest is a total of 13 miles or 0.16 percent total variance from the diameter. Most life on earth is found in a 2-mile band or 0.03 percent of the diameter. The earth is basically a Q-ball with a microscopic biofilm on its surface. Into this biofilm we are spewing an incomprehensible amount of carbon dioxide. Instead of a punctate event, we are deliberately changing the air we breathe. Very different.

If you take a good mileage car, 30 mpg, and drive it 15,000 miles in a year, that equates to 500 gallons of gasoline. Gasoline weighs close to 9 pounds a gallo, so 4,500 pounds. Gasoline is almost entirely octane, C8H18, and complete oxidation produces 8 molecules of CO2 and triples the weight. So, multiply by 3 and divide by 2,000 pounds and your fuel-efficient car has pumped about 6.5 tons of CO2 into the air that you breathe. Multiply by 150 million vehicles in the U.S., same for Europe, same for China and India, same for the rest of the world, throw in planes, trains, trucks, power plants and the amount is beyond any comprehension.

The earth does have buffering systems. But, every chemist will tell you that any buffering system can be overwhelmed, and that is what we are doing to the microscopic biofilm that we live in. Pity that Mr. Williams continues to fail to understand what is happening.

Brian McMillen

Ayden

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Letters

May 23, 2019

I would like to say thank you to the staff at Lake Forest Elementary School of Pitt County. Thank you so much for your dedication to the students there and “Creating Lifelong Learners.”

Can you even imagine a world without teachers like Ms. Williams, the kindergarten teacher and the…

May 23, 2019

Should we make it against the law for men to have vasectomies? Oh, that's right. It's men making the decisions (about women's bodies). Maybe the government needs to outlaw Viagra. That should eliminate some pregnancies. Perhaps our government should start litigating men's health care issues…

May 21, 2019

I have followed with interest your series on the opioid epidemic with which we are currently struggling. A major concern has to do with access to treatment. The standard of care for persons addicted to opioids is medication assisted treatment, a combination of medication, such as Buprenorphine or…

May 20, 2019

Behold: the father of lies is come. (John 8:44)

The Washington Post just announced that Trump has passed the 10,000 mark of provable lies. I have never seen as dishonest a bunch as every member of this administration.

Just look at Attorney General William Barr. He auditioned for his job by writing…

May 19, 2019

In response to Dr. Cook’s Public Forum submission, I agree with the need for greater price and coverage transparency from medical insurance companies. I do hope that someday soon we achieve that goal.

However, as a gastroenterologist (GI specialist), I was taken aback at your inadvertent…

May 19, 2019

As a physician, I am interested in learning about cost-effective practices. Last year, I attended a conference where the speaker, a physician and chief cancer control officer of the American Cancer Society, spoke about screening tests for colon cancer. He spoke about a non-invasive testing method…

May 18, 2019

I read with great concern, shock and some anger your May 6 article entitled "New ECU leadership faces significant challenges." As an alum and North Carolina taxpayer, I believe ECU deserves better leadership.

Your article indicated ECU has seen a $60-70 million swing in cash flow since 2016 with a…

May 17, 2019

Like most people, I read Bless Your Heart to get a mild chuckle and an occasional feel good story. However, I found the comment in the third to the last entry in Saturday's column to be offensive: "Women who have abortions (with the exception of rape and incest) are women with no morals." In my…

May 17, 2019

In his May 10 letter to the editor about the Muller report, Vic Corey opines that "(W)e are about to expose all the crooked players in our government — the majority being lying, godless Democrats."

While we acknowledge the First Amendment right to express opinions, it seems to me that Mr.…

May 16, 2019

A major problem in our society today seems to be a lack of empathy. That ability and willingness to put ones self in other people's shoes, seems lost and archaic.

What happened to the following sentiments? "Give us your tied, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The…

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