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Womyn and Males
Jay Nordlinger’s “War of Words” (June 20) prompted me to think of the loss of “ladies and gentlemen,” so common in my generation. Here is The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage — heartbreaking: “Except in jesting or teasing contexts, gentleman is obsolete for man, just as lady is obsolete for woman.”

Ed Kuhn
Hernandez, N.M.


Chemistry Corner
Regarding Rod Adams’s article “Nuclear Power after Fukushima” (June 20): Could Mr. Adams please explain how “burning a ton of coal releases between two and four tons of waste into the environment”?

Dwayne Weigel
Rockville, Md.


Rod Adams Replies: Coal is a complex hydrocarbon that is roughly 85 percent carbon. The chemical reaction for burning carbon is represented by the following equation: C + O2 → CO2.

Carbon has an atomic mass of 12, and oxygen has an atomic mass of 16 — meaning that when a carbon atom from coal combines with an O2 molecule from the air, the resulting carbon dioxide weighs more than three times as much as the original carbon.

There are many other minor components in coal and other parts of the waste stream, but that is the dominant reaction.


A Matter of Interpretation
In “The Week” (June 20), you commend Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion in a recent case and quote him: “There comes before us, now and then, a case whose proper outcome is so clearly indicated by tradition and common sense, that its decision ought to shape the law, rather than vice versa.”

This sounds much like judicial activism. However, one of the bedrocks of conservative political theory is that the judicial system is not to be used to “legislate from the bench.”

Mindy Reifer
Wesley Hills, N.Y.


The Editors Reply: In this case, the Court’s majority claimed that the Constitution requires California to release tens of thousands of prisoners. Scalia said that it is wildly implausible to assert that the Constitution requires a policy as absurd as this; he did not say that we should try to read the Constitution to yield desired policies. He is correct.

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