Travelers offer perspective on California, America

Several times a year my husband and I host long-distance bicyclists on our little farm. We benefit from their company and adventure stories and they experience a bit of a reprieve from a grueling bike ride. After a warm shower, the travelers share dinner with us around the table. We have had visitors from Australia, Canada, England, France, and Korea to name a few.

Most of these intrepid cyclists live modest lifestyles and see this as an affordable and adventurous way to see the world. We hear about their lives and their perspectives on our beautiful coast and the state of our country — which surprises them. They often comment on the poverty they see along the way. “Why are there so many poor?” “This is not what we expected to see in America.”

How does one respond? When they tell us of how their countries address poverty with social welfare programs we can’t help but be a little jealous. “Oh, we have those programs, too,” we respond. But as the funding for programs for children, education and health are whittled away, government and private agencies struggle to meet the every growing demand with fewer resources. I’m afraid if we can’t address these problems the news of the state of affairs in our country will leak out and deter tourists. We would miss hosting our wonderful international friends!

Evelyn Anderson, Arcata

We know where the Republicans’ priorities lie

I notice in Byron York’s column “Columnist: Biden and Bernie are too old to be president” (Times-Standard, April 10, Page A4), he makes no mention of mental competence. None. At least we know where the Republicans’ priorities lie. A warm body is good enough.

DeeDee Kornman, Eureka

Area reader reacts to hole: Seeing is believing!

The photo of a black hole released on April 10 is a reminder of the nature of science and how science is always challenged by the extremes and the enigmatic in nature. Science is always moving forward toward understanding the extremes and the enigmatic, and toward understanding the connections between the elementals and the extremes in nature. The better that science understands the extremes, the better it understands the elementals, and vice versa.

It’s how I see that all science should be, including the social and psychological sciences. If we (scientists and curious people) see something extreme in nature we are intrigued by it and challenged by it, and we move forward toward understanding it in terms of what we might already understand about the elementals. But sometimes the enigmatic and extremes causes us to revise our understanding of the elementals. This is a poetry that keeps unfolding as science advances.

We look for whatever it is in Mother Nature that challenges us, no matter how extreme or enigmatic. And we don’t back down. We keep moving forward, with wonder, patience, openness and confidence.

And some of us move forward with a sense of intriguing beauty, because our intrigue engages us with something mysteriously beautiful and wild in the real world, like a black hole. But this sense of beauty, mystery and intrigue can also be felt by scientists intrigued by human nature as well as Mother Nature, and who value the inseparable connections between the two.

Orion Palomar, Eureka

Aunt Becky faces up to 40 years; border’s busted

Celebrities seem to be being punished more than illegal immigrants. Although I think it is disgusting for the rich to pay bribe money for their children to get into great colleges, the illegal immigrants often do the same thing by paying coyotes even more to bring them to the United States. I believe both groups are cheating and should absolutely be punished. The reality is that is sickening to see threats of up to 40 years in prison for U.S. citizens who cheat, but not even close to that much time is threatened to illegals even if they come in and murder U.S. citizens.

This is a serious imbalance of priority. There is no room in a civilized society for this. With the voting season coming up soon we should all remember to vote for balanced individuals that get this.

Bruce Fillman, Eureka

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