D  e  s  e  r  t     E  x  p  o  s  u  r  e  February 2006


Have Spacesuit, Will Travel
Is space tourism the ticket to success for the proposed spaceport?

For Love and Money
Ivan Thompson, the "Cowboy Cupid," stars in an award-winning documentary.

Connecting the Threads
The Southwest Women's Fiber Arts Collective weaves together area fabric artists.

Blooming in the Desert
"Little Vampire" author and painter Angela Sommer-Bodenburg.

Out of Africa
Festus Addo-Yobo, new director of NMSU's Black Studies Program.

Columns & Departments
Editor's Note
Desert Diary
Tumbleweeds in Brief
Top 10
Celestial Cycles
The Starry Dome
Ramblin' Outdoors
People's Law
40 Days & 40 Nights
Chocolate Fantasia
$1.98 Show
Clubs Guide
Guides to Go
Henry Lightcap's Journal
Continental Divide

Special Section
Arts Exposure:
Deming's Art Bloom
For the Love of Art Month
Arts News
Gallery Guide

Body, Mind & Spirit
Secrets of Romance
Echinacea & Colds
Lifelong Learning

Red or Green?
Dining Guide
Si Italian Bistro
Patio Café
Table Talk


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A Different Mountain View

It is clear that brave, macho, cool and cunning Jerry Eagan, author of "Who Walks with the Warriors?" (January), empathizes and identifies with the Apaches. It was cool how he juxtaposed Vietnam flashbacks of fierce firefights with Native American warriors preparing to battle Mexican and American enemies.

Eagan's sense of being a kindred spirit, at one with the Apaches, is not necessarily reciprocated. "'Go there! Take your time. See what is there!' the Apaches seem to urge," Eagan writes. More likely, the warriors would be shouting, "Get the hell out! Get off our land. This land is ours, not yours!"

The author's white skin precludes him from being kin or kindred. "What do you mean, 'we,' paleface?" Had Mr. Eagan been hiking in the Floridas in the 1870s or 1880s, his white skin would be spotted by Apaches from high atop the mountains. Then, not even the most elaborate breastwork could save him from being captured and tortured, or killed outright. Cynical? Perhaps.

Paul Hoylen Jr.


Pique Over Peak Oil

Your article on "peak oil" (Running on Empty? December 2005) appears little more than designed hyperbole to instill hysteria among the masses. Has the Desert Exposure become a parrot of the apocalyptic harbingers of doom and their mendacious balderdash? It does appear the content of this article is based solely on the joint babblings of William Joseph and John Fridinger and their myopic assertions concerning natural petroleum. The ranting of this pair of fabulists constitutes intellectual fraud and shameless audacity in their egregious attempts to create the doomsday scenario to instill fear.

Natural petroleum is not a fossil fuel. Repeat that: "Natural petroleum is NOT a fossil fuel." Never has been and never will be. Wow! Can this be true? Could it be possible that Joseph and Fridinger are fools, promoting a shell game and leading the public down the primrose path to destruction? How can that be, you say? Now, pay attention boys and girls, and relinquish your belief in Chicken Little and Ducky Lucky. Natural petroleum is a result of deep abiotic (non-organic) origin through a process of extreme pressures and heat, forced to near surface or surface by high pressures, much like that which forms diamonds. It has nothing to do with biological detritus. You mean all these years of watching TV commercials of the cute little green brachiosaurus morph into a pool of oil and then to a gas pump and into the little car which carries little Tommy to school are false? Well yes, we've been lied to for a long time. "Peak Oil," "Global Warming" and "Sustainability" are generated myths designed to rob Americans of Life, Liberty and Property.

The formation of natural petroleum from organic detritus near the earth's surface is in direct violation of the second law of thermodynamics, which dictates nothing heavier than methane can be formed at those low pressures and temperatures found near the earth's surface. These facts are beyond contestation and proven with thousands of prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journals for at least two decades.

Other sources include: coal oil (original kerosene), another energy source produced from coal which yields vast quantities of natural gas and oil. The US alone has coal reserves of 3.2 trillion tons, sufficient to supply the US for 1,000 years. Cost-effective extraction through low-temperature carbonization produces a yield of one barrel of oil, 3,000 cubic feet of rich fuel gas and 1,500 pounds of solid smokeless semi-coke from one ton of coal. So, 3.2 trillion tons of coal would yield—well, you do the math. Western oil shale deposits will yield 2.1 trillion barrels of oil. Test facilities have been erected and technologies perfected which will provide petroleum products well into the future. Anyway, natural petroleum is not depleting and will remain the premier fuel source well into the future. It could run out several thousand years from now, however, I'm confident the misanthropic agenda of the doomsday environmentalist will contrive a better method to destroy mankind long before oil collapse.

Bob Foster
via e-mail

Editor's note: Is there a petroleum geologist in the house? Failing that source of clarification, we turned to the American Heritage Dictionary, which defines "fossil fuel": "A hydrocarbon deposit, such as petroleum, coal, or natural gas, derived from living matter of a previous geologic time and used for fuel." Although petroleum IS a fossil fuel, it's true that cartoon notions of dinosaurs dying to help fill our pumps are erroneous, according to the Encarta encyclopedia: "Petroleum formed chiefly from ancient, microscopic plants and bacteria that lived in the ocean and saltwater seas. When these microorganisms died and settled to the seafloor, they mixed with sand and silt to form organic-rich mud. As layers of sediment accumulated over this organic ooze, the mud was gradually heated and slowly compressed into shale or mudstone, chemically transforming the organic material into petroleum and natural gas."


Chicken and Egg, Unscrambled

In Mr. Lightcap's December column, he declares a lifelong dislike of philosophy. He attributes this in part to the "unanswerable" question, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

But Henry, there is an answer! You begin by discerning the question's true nature. It's simply a four-part metaphor.

Step one: Kill the metaphor.

Literal question: Which comes first, experience or meaning?

Expanded question: Does definition derive from experience or meaning and what role might circumstances play?

Step two: Answer expanded question.

Experience precedes meaning, if only in thought. One must at least abstractly conceptualize a thing before meaning can be assigned and formal definition made possible. Of course, circumstance influences the entire process for the simple reason that humans exist in something less than a perfectly controlled environment. In short, shit happens.

Step three: Refine answer.

Experience creates meaning.

Meaning creates definition.

Circumstance colors all.

Step four: Practical application.

Question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Answer: The one first experienced by the individual asking the question. If both are experienced at the same time, both came into existence at the same time. Of course, this brings forth an additional philosophic premise: There are as many realities available as there are sentient beings attempting observation.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go for a walk. I've been spending far too much time indoors lately.

Randy L. Clark
Silver City


Editor's note: Is there an epistemologist in the house? (Perhaps on that walk reader Clark will find an answer to "Why did the chicken cross the road?")


Let us hear from you—even if your letter does not send us running to the encyclopedia! Write Desert Exposure Letters, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, email letters@desertexposure.com or fax 534-4134. Letters are subject to editing for style and length.



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