National Geographic : 2006 Aug
LETTERS in 1933, San Fernando in 1971, and Northridge in 1994, where damage was estimated at 20 billion dollars. The preoccupation with the San Andreas Fault, with a few thoughts tossed at the Hay ward and Calaveras Faults, is ridiculous. ROBERT H. PASCHALL Bishop, California The New Madrid Fault Zone, an area that runs along Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri, was only mentioned on the insert map. According to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Center for Earth quake Education and Technol ogy Transfer, the New Madrid zone has historically been the site of some of the largest earthquakes in North America. In 1811 and 1812, four cata strophic earthquakes, with magnitude estimates of 8.0, occurred during a three-month period. At the time, the popu lation density in these areas was minimal. Not so in 2006. A quake there now with a simi lar magnitude could result in devastating loss of life. ELIZABETH COCKRELL LOEB Forrest City, Arkansas The New Venezuela I was disappointed by your article on Hugo Chavez. While he may deserve criticism, let us try to keep some perspec tive. Yes, he makes long broadcasts on the state-run television network, but he doesn't interfere with the pri vate networks, which over whelmingly oppose him. Yes, he has a lot of power, but he was elected in a landslide. You paint Chavez as a dictator, criticizing his "squandering" of oil money to help feed and educate his people. Would it be better for him to give away public resources to corpora tions for private profit, as is favored by our politicians? STEVE SCHNAAR Santa Cruz, California Your article leaves the impres sion that Venezuela's current government is a champion for the poor. During its tenure, unemployment has reached unprecedented levels, and even though the government tries to put on appearances of generosity, the programs reach a small minority. Worse yet, as the government boasts about its handouts, it does nothing to create jobs to truly help the nation prosper. MANUEL SCETTRI Caracas, Venezuela It's easy to judge President Hugo Chavez. He may be the wrong man for Venezuela. On the other hand, I can't recall any right-leaning president or dictator in modern Venezuelan history who made a difference or paid any attention to the poor of that country. ERNESTO WEISSON San Antonio, Texas A Dry Red Season You noted in the story how water from Lake Powell created green Little League fields and lush golf courses, but you did not note how many farms are irrigated nor how much power is generated. Granted there is always an environmental impact in damming rivers, but in comparison to the cost and hazards of nuclear power, also featured in the issue, hydro electric power is a real plus. BERNARD H. 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Redmond, Bruce D. Smith, Patricia C. Wright, Melinda A. Zeder EXPLORERS-IN-RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Jared Diamond, Sylvia Earle, J. Michael Fay, Zahi Hawass, Beverly Joubert, Dereck Joubert, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno, Spencer Wells MISSION PROGRAMS Vice Presidents: Barbara A. Chow, Education Foundation John M. Francis, Research, Conservation, and Exploration Jacqueline M. Hollister, Development Sarah Laskin, Public Programs Exhibits: Susan S. Norton Expeditions Council:Rebecca Martin Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden Lectures: P.Andrew van Duym, Gregory A. McGruder Communications: Betty Hudson, Sr. VicePresident Human Resources:Thomas A. Sablo, Sr. VicePresident International: Robert W. Hernandez, Sr. Vice President Treasurer: H. Gregory Platts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES Dennis R. Patrick, Chairman Timothy T. Kelly, President and CEO Edward M. 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