Auros (auros) wrote,

  • Mood:

more politics, plus linguistics

I just emailed this one, since I already know Eshoo's position on the matter...

Suggested by the World Wildlife Foundation.

Dear Representative Eshoo,

I urge you to support the amendment that Representative George Miller plans to offer to H.R. 1904, the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, when that bill comes to the floor.

I strongly oppose H.R. 1904. It would damage public forests by authorizing road construction in roadless areas, blocking the public from participating in forest management decisions, and constricting the review of hazardous fuels reduction projects required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) -- all without providing any assurance to communities that they will be any safer from forest fires. In fact, scientific studies show that the increased logging and road building that would result from the bill may even increase the risk of fire.

Congressman Miller's substitute is a sensible alternative. It will protect roadless areas, maintain public input to forest management decisions, and continue to provide for NEPA review of forest fuels reduction projects in all but a limited class of projects. By requiring that hazardous fuels reduction projects in the urban-wildland interface be given priority, Congressman Miller's substitute will bring meaningful protection to communities while reducing the likelihood that such projects will enable unnecessary logging.

For all these reasons, I urge you to oppose H.R. 1904 and to support the Miller substitute.

(etc etc)

Note: For any of you who think the "thinning the trees reduces the chance of fires" argument actually holds water... The problem is that extensive studies say that while it may be true that it's a bit easier to quench a fire in thinner forest, the fires get started because of dry brush growth on the forest floor. And when you thin the trees, more light reaches the ground, which means you get both more brush growing, and more of it drying out quickly. That's a recipe for more fires, not less. Furthermore, the plans the Republicans have been pushing include some language about having the logging companies do brush reduction in exchange for the right to take out trees, but these clauses lack any kind of teeth: The Forest Service will not be provided the resources or proper authorizations to actually enforce them.

I learned something interesting today... So, when I was working on Romanian, I found out that they use S and T characters with commas below them (to represent what we spell "sh" and "ts", respectively), but had been using versions with cedillas (like the one on the 'Ç' in French) up until quite recently. I had been under the impression that this conversion was some sort of simplification effort (it's certainly easier to see and write the comma versions, esp on the T, where you have to connect the cedilla to that narrow vertical stroke). But it turns out there's more history!

Apparently the use of the cedillas was a compromise because they had been using the comma version in their writing up until mass use of movable-type printing presses became common in Romania, around the 1860s, at which point they started using character-dies with the cedilla because that was what was available in dominant fonts. (The French of course use cedillas, and I think Hungarian may have been using cedillas for something at the time -- and the Austro-Hungarian Empire would've held Romania at that point, right?) When computers showed up, originally they only supported the cedilla version (that's what's in the ISO 8859-2 standard). ISO had to create a new standard (8859-16) to correct this oversight, and in the last decade or so, Romanian printed material has shifted back to using the comma.

End happy-linguist!Auros babble.

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