+' Rolla Peace Newsletter, April 4, 2017

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Rolla Peace News

April 4, 2017


Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

3. 1984 TODAY
4. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          From Our Readers: March For Science Revisited



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 2017, (and all subsequent Thursdays until peace is established) from Noon to 1:00 PM. Please try to join us. The temperature is predicted to be in the 50s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.


New Approach Missouri is circulating an initiative petition to place legal medicinal marijuana on the November 2018 ballot in Missouri. Petitions are available for signature at Peace of Mind, 703 Pine St., Rolla. Currently, medicinal marijuana is legal in 28 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

3. 1984 TODAY

Today, about 180 theaters nationwide, plus a handful from other countries, are screening the movie version of Orwell's 1984, starring John Hurt and Richard Burton. The only showings in Missouri are 2 in Kansas City and 1 in St. Louis (surprise, surprise!), and by the time you get this it will be all over, but if you have or can rent this movie, it wouldn't be a bad idea to be reminded of what could happen here if things continue the way they are trending. The theater owner who organized this action says “Orwell's portrait of a government that manufactures their own facts, demands total obedience, and demonizes foreign enemies, has never been timelier.”

Here's a link to the trailer, which will probably tell you if you want to see the whole thing or not. I don't know what I was doing in the 80s that had me miss this, but it's certainly just as relevant now.

One of the more Orwellian of Trump's associates, Sean Spicer, is caught lying again by ProPublica, a news organization that still thinks truth is important. And for your delectation, this article contains a Saturday Night Live skit that nails the administration's “alternative facts” policy. Enjoy!

4. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)


Interest in the March for Science seems to have grown since I wrote about it three weeks ago . There are now 400 marches planned on April 22 in 38 countries .

Donald Trump has been good for Science. I can't remember such a popular interest in Science since Sputnik and the early days of space exploration.

I've received some very thoughtful comments from our readers. An organizer for a satellite march writes in:

“basically I’m in agreement with what you’ve written, particularly the more qualified second part.

“I think some of what the science march is aiming to do is to focus politically on the need to keep the corporations from riding totally roughshod over what little protections our climate, air, water, soil, food, etc. have right now. Even workplace safety and our ability to be protected from all sorts of toxic chemicals depends on respecting and acting on the science, rather than deep-sixing research, killing regulatory agencies, as ineffective as they are, and allowing the chips fall where they may, years after the thieves have made off with everything in the unlocked barn.

“We can’t accept the notion that everyone is entitled to their own facts and administrations like Trump's are entitled to establish public policy based upon ‘alternative facts,’ especially after they’ve canned the researchers, killed the research budgets and then their Director of OMB, Mulvaney, can state, ‘Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the President was fairly straightforward — we're not spending money on that anymore; we consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.’”

My response: I totally agree with “the need to keep the corporations from riding totally roughshod over what little protections our climate, air, water, soil, food, etc. have right now.” and that public policy should be based on the best Science available and not “alternative facts.” So I wonder why we aren't marching for a science-based public policy and public control of predatory corporations. That would make a lot more sense to me. Incidentally, there is another big march on April 29 — the People's Climate March — which focuses on some of these issues.

Leona Heitsch writes:

“Back in l950 thereabouts, Robert W. Parry, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan told us...‘come back next year and we will come closer to the truth as we teach’.... He KNEW the crinkles and wrinkles that stand in the way of really understanding Science, at all levels. So much of the stuff I hear on the radio, NPR, misses the boat for any real scientific understanding. Marching will help??? Maybe we need to learn to boil grass, eat bark and lichens.”

My response: Great idea, Leona; but I don't think there is enough grass, bark and lichens to feed a human population of 7.5 billion people.

And Sean Fagan writes:

“Great newsletter once again, however let us not forget that although science has created terrible weapons, harmed our eco-system, and polluted our air, it has also done some great things.

“Science has cured polio, small pox, and a great number of other deadly diseases and sickness. Science has connected the world through various forms of communication. It had allowed us to explore the heavens and the deep oceans. It has helped to create the very method for you to write and distribute this newsletter.

“I truly hope that science will one day be the instrument of peace that will cure the faults of man. There's always hope.”

My response: Yes, Science has accomplished great things; and truly, there is always Hope; and that is the force that keeps us going through all hardships!

As a final note:

In the final paragraphs of the article I wrote three weeks ago, I suggested that we evaluate Science as a whole by asking ourselves which world would we prefer for our grandchildren to grow up in:

“the Paleolithic Era when the human population was under 10 million, life expectancy at birth was perhaps 33 and Science provided little more than crude stone tools? Or would we have our grandchildren grow up in today's world where almost 50% of the 7+ billion people on Earth live on a few dollars a day and millions, perhaps billions, live in fear of extreme violence from other human beings? (Don't assume that our grandchildren will necessarily live the privileged existence that we live.)”

I've given considerable thought to this method of evaluating Science and am not completely satisfied with it. However, I have been unable to think of anything better. Perhaps some of you readers can help me out.


Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Grassroots Rolla: top of rightmost column).

If you don't wish to get notices of peace events in the Rolla area, let me know and I'll take you off this list.

If you want to be added to this list, let me know.

Wage peace,

helenm (at) fidnet.com