Letters to the Editor

EOP review disappoints

To the Editor:

I write to express my disappointment with the review published in the Wednesday, February 22 edition of The Polytechnic by Colton Schroeder ’12. It is my understanding that the Editorial Board of a newspaper has the responsibility of ensuring that the contents of that paper consist of correct facts, and professional opinions. Publicly slamming the students who undoubtedly put significant effort into their performances does not, in my opinion, meet the standard of “professional.”

Perhaps the reviewer was not enamored with the subject matter placed before him. When reporting to the public, a staff reviewer ought to have the strength of character to place such personal preferences aside and view each play for what it is. As anyone who does not know can easily determine, Schroeder is a biomedical engineering student, not a professional drama critic. He has no credibility to be making such strong, sweeping judgments as to the enjoyableness of the Evening of Performance. Furthermore, from his comments in the last paragraph of his review of The Fascinating Foundling, it is evident that he was not particularly thrilled about writing the review in the first place, which places an immediate bias on his perception of the material, a bias which is evidenced by his language throughout.

It is possible that the Evening of Performance is not worth the $8 admission price, but without even having seen the show, I can almost certainly guarantee that it will be better than Schroeder makes it out to be. Unfortunately, as a result of the review it is likely that far fewer people will pay those $8 to find out. I am not sure why such a scathing commentary would be published unless deliberately aimed at reducing the revenue of the RPI Playhouse and the Players. I doubt that was in fact The Poly’s purpose, but that is only because I have an open mind, as some of your staff evidently does not.

Aaron Roth
PHYS ’05

Katz hosts good seminar

On Thursday, February 23, Assistant Professor Mimi Katz gave a seminar for the RPI Physics department on climate science. The aim was to correct the impression left by Iva Giaever’s seminar, reviewed last week in The Poly. In a soft-spoken introduction, Professor Bruce Watson outlined four areas of research in earth and environmental science that have an impact on climate science: direct measurements of trends; external forces affecting climate; long-term records of past events; and computational modeling. Watson emphasized that these different approaches all converged on the same basic conclusion, that the earth is growing warmer and that this is due to human activity. Katz then went into the details—providing independent evidence from a variety of investigations—on the trends in methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, direct measurements of temperature from upwards of 39,000 weather stations worldwide, measurements of greenhouse gases and temperature derived from ice cores, ocean science and biology including the opening of the Northwest Passage in 2010, rises in sea level, the migration of birds into ever more northerly zones, and much more, all of which are consistent with global warming and counter to the expected cooling that would arise without anthropogenic warming. Katz discussed modeling of the atmospheric temperature, which can describe recent data, and which, under various assumptions, predicts modest to alarming future temperature increases. It was a convincing, if low-key presentation. A key point was the graph of global temperature data, which shows a steady upward trend over the last century. Katz pointed out that the myth of recent cooling is a case of cherry picking of a set of recent data points that fall within the expected scatter as shown by the data from earlier years.

It was a well attended seminar, and once again there was lively participation by the audience during the question period after the seminar.

Harry Roy
Professor of Biology