Odds and Ends

Dear Editor,

August 16, 2021

After the pusillanimous collapse of the Afghan government, the media are reporting that the Taliban will inherit the Afghan airforce. If our people do not render those planes and helicopters inoperable first I think that would constitute criminal behavior. The Taliban have no need for heavy weapons or even an airforce anyhow. A Marine regiment, with some army support, should be able to defend the main Kabul airport against the widely dispersed Taliban. But Taliban anti-aircraft weapons would make evacuation by air hazardous. After about 20 years of progress, women are about to resume their traditional role in Afghan society as virtual slaves.

A renowned humorist is supposed to have said, “If there are no dogs in heaven, I want to go where they went.” (“Alaska” mag. 3/20)

I’m obsessed with keeping records. I walked for 1.7 miles each morning for a total of 11,184 miles, definitely benefited from the exercise.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was a brilliant Italian astrophysicist and engineer considered by many as the “Father of modern science,” He was a champion of the Copernican theory of heliocentrism (belief that the earth revolved around the sun.) This was contrary to the official doctrine of the Catholic church. But he was allowed by the church so long as he expressed his belief as theoretical or hypothetical. However, on one occasion he did violate his instructions, The Italian Inquisition, through a jury of 10 cardinals convicted him of heresy and to recant and, essentially, live the rest of his life under house arrest. (“Galileo’s Daughter” by Dava Sobel)

Imagine being marooned on a ledge 130 feet from the ground while under attack by a swarm of killer bees. (See “A Thousand Killer Bees,” R.D., Sept., 21)

Though most of the country is desert, Saudi Arabia needs to import huge quantities of sand for building purposes. Desert sand is too smooth for grains to adhere to each other. Sand importation is a billion-dollar industry each year. (R.D., July-Aug., 21)

Bob Hall