Letters to the editor

Author: Readers

Editor’s note: The letters that appeared in the spring 2011 print issue are marked with double asterisks (**).

Vitamin D, not C

**I liked Jordan Gamble’s article very much, but I think there is one typo in the sidebar (“Battling winter doldrums”) that may be significant to anyone battling Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It quotes a psychologist recommending vitamin C as a way to fight depression. I think she probably said vitamin D. This is the vitamin that becomes deficient when one does not get enough sunlight. Lack of vitamin D is highly correlated with depression. I’d hate to see people stocking up on vitamin C when they really need vitamin D.

As someone who suffers from SAD and had her first major depressive break freshman year at Notre Dame, I wish the light box had been available then. I bought a light-box visor when I lived in London for a year and wore it when doing chores. It worked wonders.

Julie Kosnik Hersh ’82

The other side of ‘The Global Good’

**In “The Global Good,” Carolyn Woo observes that globalization has been a boon for undeveloped and developing nations, particularly in Asia. No doubt. And no wonder. At the same time, the United States has been completely depleted of its wealth. Since our last trade surplus in 1975, our cumulative trade deficit is now approaching $11 trillion. It’s no mere coincidence that that figure closely matches the growth in our national debt during the same time frame. The USA has been transformed from the world’s wealthiest nation and pre-eminent industrial power into a skid-row bum, bankrupt and begging the rest of the world for cash to keep us afloat.

The process of globalization that Woo praises led to trade imbalances that collapsed the global financial system in 2008. And, instead of bringing peace to the world, we are now beset by a global epidemic of unemployment that is fomenting unrest and revolution.

Economists are at a loss to explain how their free trade theories have led to such a state. They will remain perplexed until, if ever, they stop rationalizing away the effects of overpopulation and once again consider the full ramifications of never-ending population growth — not just a strain on resources and stress on the environment, but its role in eroding per capita consumption and fueling unemployment.

Pete Murphy ’71
Clarkston, Michigan

Career calls

**The article on Geoff Keating (“The Natural”) shows the hidden forces that guide our career choices. I began woodworking 30+ years ago, but devoted less time as I earned a Ph.D. and got a full-time teaching position at 49. Another successful wood artist, Thomas Moser, has a Ph.D. in English and taught at an Eastern college before turning full time to his craft. It takes courage to spend so much time training in one area, then to turn to one’s natural abilities. Geoff is talented and blessed that he discovered his “calling” after 10 years in grad school. When does his catalog come out?

Michael P. Bochenek ’65
Hoffman Estates, Illinois

One more memory

**I was saddened to read in the spring issue of the death of Father Ernan McMullin, whom I met in 1959 when I was a graduate student at Notre Dame. My adviser, Thomas G. Ward, M.D., a lay Methodist minister, had a practice of inviting “special” people to have a brown-bag lunch in the laboratory. On one of those occasions Father McMullin was one of those invitees. We discussed the biologic and philosophic significance of the findings of Watson and Crick and the structure of DNA as a double helix. Father McMullin knew a great deal about DNA, and we all agreed the finding and the structure to be remarkable.

From time to time we met at the Huddle and chatted about this and that. Then I left Notre Dame to pursue a doctoral degree at Georgetown. Unfortunately for me, a Jew, I was required to take a philosophy course there taught by Father X, someone who had taught that course for 100 years and had not learned enough since he began teaching it. I was bored to death and told Father X that he was way behind in his understanding of biology, that the course was useless to me and that I was dropping it.

Then one day the phone rang and it was Father X, who had become dean of the graduate school. He said there was a visitor there at Georgetown, one of the great Thomistic philosophers of the world, and that when asked whom he would like to see while in D.C., he indicated he would like to meet with me. Sure enough, it was Father McMullin, who somehow knew I was a student there.

We met for dinner, had some laughs, and I never saw him again. But I have thought kindly of him over the years and suspect he is now in a place where he can laugh and think as often and as hard as he likes.

Charlie Calisher ’61M.S.
Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

A loyal fan

I have been re-reading my Notre Dame Magazines.

Over the weekend, I was reading the Winter 2009-2010. issue. On page11, there was a mention of attendance at ND sporting events.

I have only missed attending one home football game since 1964. My husband has only missed two home football games since 1969. I’m sure that is not a ‘record,’ but we are proud of our attendance through the “good and the bad.”

Thank you for all of your efforts to produce an excellent magazine that we all can be proud of.

Janet M. Cormier Siebenthal ’66M.A.
West Lafayette, Indiana