Bitcoin is just a giant energy-sapping slot machine (Opinion) – Houston Chronicle

Regarding "Bitcoin miners benefiting from Texas deals," (Nov. 27): Texas Blockchain Council president Lee Bratcher essentially says that Bitcoin miners using Texas grid power keep prices lower for "traditional load" customers than if the miners weren't there. Other Bitcoin abracadabra holds that our oil and gas industry benefits from the miner-fueled electricity demand satisfied by production from marginal wells which otherwise would sit plugged. An unpleasant byproduct, though, is noise from fans required to cool the massive apparatus used to mine Bitcoin — not to mention carbon emissions from those oil-and-gas operations.
While all this rigamarole allegedly converts natural gas into a higher-value commodity — Bitcoin, which is analogous to "one dice with a thousand sides" — nowhere is there an explanation for any sort of real value that Bitcoin creates. There is every indication that it's just a giant electricity-voracious slot machine.
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J. Reynolds, Houston
Regarding "Why do old politicians keep running? (Opinion)," (Nov. 25): My former White House colleague Mary Kate Cary did an excellent job of analyzing why baby boomers (of which I am one) are so reluctant to give up high office or the hope thereof. I would add another factor: Self-imagined destiny. Look up popular publications of the 1960s and ‘70s and read how journalists of the day lauded the rising generation as supremely gifted. Of course, the fact the journalists were themselves baby boomers meant their praises were self-complimentary. This was particularly true of those on the left, who convinced themselves they were morally superior to their elders because they (the boomers) were against all the bad things (Vietnam and Nixon) and for all the good things (peace and love). If, starting in your twenties, you believe you were divinely chosen for leadership, why change your opinion after a mere half-century?
Incidentally, I doubt Mary Kate, a Virginia resident, mentioned Houston mayoral candidates John Whitmire and Sheila Jackson Lee in her original article. Besides, at ages 74 and 73, respectively, they are striplings compared with Joe Biden and Donald Trump!
Chase Untermeyer, Houston
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I was amused at Mary Kate Cary’s piece whose headline announced that elected officials Biden, Trump, Whitmire and Jackson-Lee “won’t retire.”
She implied that these individuals, elected by voters nationwide (Biden) and locally (Whitmire and Jackson Lee), or merely on the ballot (Trump), had some obligation to retire because, in her opinion, they are too old to serve. Of course they have that option. Just as the citizens who nominated them and voted them into office on more than one occasion had the opportunity to vote for them or their opponents. Local, state, and national laws do place term limits on most offices.
Ms. Cary, who is an adjunct professor at one of our nation’s outstanding universities (University of Virginia) may wish that these “old” elected or formerly elected officials would just retire. It would be interesting to know just how old (or young) Ms. Cary is and at what age she intends to retire. 
Jim Greenwood (80+), Houston
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Regarding "Smoking cut anxiety, but now cooking is a better vice," (Nov. 25): Theodore R. Johnson opined about how he struggled to break away from smoking. Admitting he continues to resist the pull of nicotine, the progression has finally settled for him while cooking and preparing food. He concluded that by substituting one habit for another, the routine is his solution. 
I began my nicotine addiction at conception. I suspect Mr. Johnson’s experience may have been the same. Almost every adult male used tobacco; smoking, chewing, dipping, sniffing. While there are some aspects of habit associated, the user’s first step must be to admit that the chemical addiction is the devil in the details.
When I finally accepted my addiction, I sought help by chewing Nicorette gum, the only product available at that time. At first, I chewed so much gum I developed mouth blisters! In my determination to break the addiction, I suffered through. Feeling the pain of what felt like scabs tearing loose from my lungs, I almost abandoned my quest. After almost three months, my lungs began to heal. The pain was replaced by the sweet taste of pure air. I had broken my addiction. That was July 1984. 
Since, I have no desire or tolerance for nicotine, or its smell. I conclude two important things from my experience: an admission to oneself that nicotine is an addiction (not just a habit), and a full commitment to break the addiction.
Jerry DeFoor, Jersey Village
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Regarding "Gov. Greg Abbott goes skydiving with 106-year-old World War II veteran," (Nov. 27): The staff at the Houston Chronicle should be ashamed that they turned what could have been a charming hero story into an anti-Gov. Greg Abbott trope. Only a few paragraphs were written about the governor’s skydive with the 106-year-old World War II veteran and the remaining paragraphs were about Abbott’s failed school voucher plan. Your readers learned nothing about the war hero Al Blaschke, but learned that the Chronicle is a journalistic disgrace vividly displaying its own political, anti-Abbott agenda.
Edward A. Vesely, Houston
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