Skip to content

Food for Thought

A taste of life as a ‘piscivegan’ A taste of life as a 'piscivegan' It was good to learn that David Pimentel, PhD '51, is still active as an educator ("Good Eats," January/February 2009). I took his Insect Ecology course around 1960, and one of the things I learned from Professor Pimentel was to take […]


A taste of life as a ‘piscivegan’

A taste of life as a 'piscivegan'

It was good to learn that David Pimentel, PhD '51, is still active as an educator ("Good Eats," January/February 2009). I took his Insect Ecology course around 1960, and one of the things I learned from Professor Pimentel was to take advantage of odds and probabilities to extend your life—and, I would add, to age healthfully.

Years ago, I became a piscivegan (fish and vegetable eater) based on extensive research. Some of this came from Cornell professors such as T. Colin Campbell, PhD '62, whose studies convinced me to give up dairy products. Avoiding meat was a result of research from many sources, but I continue to eat fish because of the abundance of studies on its merits. As for organic foods, many are included in my diet, but not all. For cost reasons, I eat fruits and vegetables that have not been found to contain pesticide residues, such as peeled bananas.

Buying fresh food locally and avoiding food shipped from far away to save on energy is more of a lifestyle choice than a nutritional/energy conservation choice. Waste, spoilage, and disposal of what is not eaten offsets savings (and don't forget the time required for more frequent shopping, including transportation, that getting fresh food requires). I conserve energy in other ways, such as prudent use of utilities, including being a holdout on a home computer, e-mail, and modern electronics of many sorts. I am seventy years old, and my hope is to be a supercentenarian—one who lives more than 110 years—in good health!

Gerald Schneider '61
Kensington, Maryland

Isn't it exciting that Cornell is at the fore-front of sustainable agriculture and a focus on "going local" to conserve energy and resources! However, I was dismayed that one of the best examples of this effort, the Cornell Plantations, wasn't mentioned in the article. We should be proud that the Plantations, with about 4,000 acres under its supervision, is leaving a very faint carbon footprint. The staff has substantially reduced emissions and fuel consumption from its mowers and vehicles, greatly reduced the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, and is working to eliminate invasive species from its horticultural collections. The Plantations is one of the finest botanical garden/natural resource management areas in the country and part of the vanguard that keeps Cornell "ahead of the curve."

C. Daniel Groth '70
Amelia Island, Florida

Ironic Butterfly

The article "Order Out of Chaos" (Currents, January/February 2009) highlighted the excellent work done by Professor Steven Strogatz to enable a broader audience to learn more about the behaviors of complex dynamical systems. I applaud his accomplishments, and I wonder if anyone has considered the irony of touting his efforts while Cornell is wiping out the very department, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, that provided the unique environment to support his productive career. Please bring back T&AM!

Duane Storti '79, PhD '84
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

Freedom and Responsibility

Your article about the gorges ("Wild Water," November/December 2008) brought back many memories of my years at Cornell. I walked along the rim of Fall Creek Gorge going to and from class, climbed around on the gentle falls below the Suspension Bridge, and swam in the gorge above Beebe Lake. I don't recall there being any accidents during that period. We were aware of the hazards and careful not to overextend. These experiences helped prepare me for a later life filled with hiking and climbing in the Colorado mountains. There are thousand-foot drop-offs, steep loose surfaces, extreme weather conditions—and absolutely no warning signs or fences. As was the case at Cornell fifty years ago, each individual is expected to be aware of the conditions and act accordingly. I would encourage the local authorities to simply emphasize awareness and personal responsibility. No fences or fill-ins, please.

James Strub, BArch '53
Colorado Springs, Colorado

To impart further perspective on the dangers inherent in the recreational uses of the campus gorges, it would be interesting to know how many students have died in traffic accidents in commensurate time periods. My suspicion is that these figures may outclass those for drowning by significant amounts, thus indicating that safety resources might be better allocated elsewhere.

William Atkinson '50
Weston, Massachusetts

Ed. Note: As the article stated, there have been fifteen deaths in the gorges since 2000. According to Deputy Chief Cathy Zoner of the CUPD, there has been only one traffic death on campus during this same period.

Reversing Field

In response to the letter in the January/ February 2009 issue from Richard Novitch '79 regarding the article "Uneven Field: Financial Aid Policies Threaten Ivy League Competitive Balance" (Sports, November/December 2008), I am once again reminded that one of the great things about Cornell is its diversity of viewpoints. What Novitch finds to be "farcical and offensive" is of serious concern to approximately 900 varsity student-athletes; their dedicated and hardworking coaching staffs; the thousands of students who pack Lynah Rink, the Friedman Wrestling Center, and other venues to cheer the Big Red to victory; and thousands of alumni and friends who follow and support Cornell Athletics. Furthermore, this "uneven field" is much larger than just athletics; it affects Cornell's ability to recruit the top students who will further enhance the University's diversity. I realize that not all Cornellians view this as an issue—but I do, and I am doing what I can to help level the playing field.

Jay Carter '71, MS ORIE '72
Hillsborough, New Jersey

Slippery Slope

It was interesting to read a view of Cornell from an Ithaca College undergraduate (Letter from Ithaca, November/ December 2008). I had occasionally wondered what the experience felt like—and the Ithaca College grad/pizza delivery joke brought it home.

Years ago, I went on a CAU Mediterranean cruise that docked at the Greek Ithaka, and its mayor came on board. He welcomed us to his island in imperfect English, imperfect enough that he paid tribute to Ithaca University. Someone hissed. President Emeritus Frank Rhodes, our geology professor for the trip, thanked the mayor for taking the time from his day job to greet us, as graciously as only Frank Rhodes can. But the damage had been done; to explain the circumstance would have only embarrassed the man further.

Banter is an inevitable and a healthy part of the college experience, but the lines between banter, taunting, and being hurtful can be slippery at times—as slippery as Libe Slope in winter.

George Ubogy '58
Greenwich, Connecticut

Remembering Jakub

"Alumnus Dies in Gorge" (From the Hill, November/December 2008) astounded me. Jakub Janecka '98 came to Ithaca frequently, and each time he called me and we spent a bit of time together. During his October trip he did not call; ergo, I had no idea he was in town. I wish I had.

I knew Jakub well in his senior year. He lived with me and my son Christopher Morris '96. He played Cornell rugby while Christopher was coaching. We mourn the loss of an educated, enlightened, empathetic human being. His gift of an original painting by his father (a prominent artist in Prague) hangs in the room he had when he lived here, but he won't come by again. Our real loss, his father's, and the world's.

M. D. Morris '44, BA '76
Ithaca, New York