Thoughts on Martin Gardner and the Gulf Coast

Tom Danehy (June 24) was obviously most influenced by Martin Gardner's mathematical work, but I think it's telling that Gardner told Skeptic magazine: "I'm not a creative mathematician in any sense. Oh, I've invented a few puzzles but they are very low level math. I get the journals and read what the real mathematicians write about. Of course, this is the secret to the success of my column. By not knowing much mathematics, it was hard for me to understand what I was writing about, so I had to learn how to explain it so the general reader could understand it."

The man was truly a generous, humble and gracious being. For myself, it was Gardner's prolific science-writing and the fact that he nearly single-handedly founded the modern skeptical movement that had the greatest impact.

Regarding Renée Downing (June 24): While it's the sane perspective, it's naive to think that the BP disaster is really going to "wake" people up to the dangers of deep-sea oil drilling. Citizens of the Gulf Coast seem to believe the hurt to the pocketbook is more harmful than the hurt to the environment.

Frank Jude Boccio

Pima County's Leave-Donation Policy Lacks Compassion

Thank you for the article about Carlee Hill, Christopher Johnson and, of course, baby Max ("His Name Is Max Thunder," July 1).

Sharon Hill is a source of strength and love for her family. Sharon is also a Pima County employee and has taken Family and Medical Leave to help care for her daughter. Other large area employers, including the city of Tucson and the UA, allow employees to donate paid leave to a fellow employee once they've run out of leave. However, Pima County only allows "compassionate leave transfer" if it's for an employee's own medical condition.

The Hill family should be able to focus on family, not money, at this difficult and wonderful time in their lives.

Maya A. Castillo

President, Pima Chapter, Service Employees International Union Arizona Local 5

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