November 30, 2006

From Alan Morris:

Re: Science teachers’ association accused of oil company influence (Nov 27): Congratulations to the High School Science Teachers who refused the copies of “An Inconvinent Truth”. The movie is full of junk science, ignores that global climate change is constant, and presses a political agenda instead of preparing for the potential effects of a natural event. Exxon has a right and a need to fund science education. They and all other industries are facing a growing shortage of scientists and engineers caused by poor quality science education in the public schools, public perceptions of “geeks”, and the lack of corporate respect for science and engineering staff.

Alan Morris
Elko, NV

November 27, 2006

From David Ewing:

Re: Molecules may “anchor” memories in the brain (Nov. 21): Your article asserts that:

“Bressloff said the big debate on consciousness is, ‘can it be explained simply in terms of a bunch of nerve impulses in the brain? In my opinion, the answer has to be yes’—and his findings reinforce that.”

This is the equivalent of claiming that the behavior of quantum particles explains General Relativity. Granted, you couldn’t have General Relativity without the existence and behavior of quantum particles, but it is a great leap to say that they explain the behavior of the larger phenomena, which appear to operate on a different set of principles. Likewise with Bressloff’s claim; certainly there could be no consciousness without the underlying material, but that doesn’t describe, let alone explain consciousness itself. Crick seems to have indulged in a similar conflation.

David Ewing
Venice, CA

From Bob Scott:

Re: Pot may be both good and bad, researchers say (Nov. 25): In the article it is quoted: “Cannabinoids are the most widely used drugs of abuse” - IMHO this statement is blatantly incorrect.

Alcohol and tobacco are certainly far more widely abused, and dangerous drugs than cannabinoids. They kill more, make more seriously ill, and have infinitely higher costs to the health-care system.

It’s “high time” [no pun intended] that the truth about alcohol, and tobacco use, were faced for what they are by the “main-stream” society, law-makers, and enforcement officials.

The scientists, too, need to quit trying to prove that “pot” is harmful, and instead direct their energies to proving, and educating all of society as to the harm caused by alcohol, and tobacco.

November 19, 2006

From Avery Moore:

Re: Cleansing nuclear fallout from the body (Nov. 13): Your article on was indeed interesting, if incomplete.

Assume a procedure to allow such particles to be excreted succeeds. Where do such radioactive particles then go? Given current medieval standards of water purification and the bizarre practice of dumping human wastes and countless other toxins back into the the food chain: that’s where they will go.

Affecting lower organisms first, over time the radiation will come back up the food chain and contaminate countless other generations, and countless more species. If works like this project are to succeed we must halt contamination of the food chain. Not just present contingency plans should some nutbar arrive with a remotely plausible suitcase full of trouble. As commendable as it is to strive to purge humans of unwanted and deadly contaminants, like depleted uranium, the question remains are we solving the problem or just moving it?

Avery Moore
Victoria, BC

From Fred Colbourne:

Re: Neanderthal DNA partially sequenced (Nov. 16): After recent fossil discoveries in Spain and now again as a result of studies of Neandertal DNA, speculation surged about the possibility that Neandertals and modern humans interbred and that we now bear Neandertal genes. A hypothesis to this effect might be based on elements of the modern Y-chromosome having been found in Neandertal DNA.

I would feel more confident about this hypothesis if modern genetic material had been found in Neandertal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) rather than nuclear DNA. Because mtDNA is transmitted maternally, finding modern human mtDNA in Neandertals would suggest intermarriage and thus strengthen the argument that mixing of the two populations produced at least some fertile offspring.

As it stands, the results obtained so far can be explained away by saying that modern hunters may have casually bred with Neandertal women who bore mixed children in Neandertal family groups. We do not know if these children were fertile or infertile, though we may suspect that a separation of a few hundred thousand years resulted in hybrid dysgenesis, infertility in the offspring. If offspring were infertile, the size of family groups would tend to fall.

Many years ago, Ezra Zubrow (SUNY) developed a demographic model of Neandertal populations and their extinction (The Human Revolution, Mellars and Stringer, eds). He showed that not much would have been needed to push Neandertals to extinction in one millennium. Perhaps hybrid dysgenesis accelerated the process. In my opinion, if hybrid dysgenesis were factored into the Zubrow model, extinction might have occurred in less than one millennium.

By contrast, hybrid dysgenesis would not have prevented modern humans from replacing Neandertals. There was a plentiful supply of new arrivals from the Near East and northern Africa.

From Pete Perry:

Re: Pollution may impair brain development worldwide, researchers say (Nov. 7): i have been saying this for years, and have even told the Government that the ‘Yob Culture’ is down to brain damage, particularly from the carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides emitted from car exhausts. This is dealyt with more fully in my two books, This Garden Earth and Vandals in the Garden, published in 2005, and early 2006 respectively.

Pete Perry
MOTF Enterprises
Stevenage, Herts, SG1 5LW

From Philippe Buchet:

Re: Men’s testosterone levels dropping, study says (Nov. 4): Your article speculates that the drop in testosterone levels may be due to rising obesity rates and decline in smoking. I wonder if it might be due to meat consumption? Just this week, a study reported a possible link between elevated risk of breast cancer and higher rates of red meat consumption. . . possibly due to the use of hormones in beef.

November 09, 2006

From Jon Grewer:

Re: Men’s testosterone levels dropping, study says (Nov. 4): I recall a study done some years ago using tennis players that found that tennis players that won had raised testosterone levels and players that lost had diminished levels. Perhaps in the age of clouded male roles here in the US, males here generally feel that they are loosing? It would be interesting to check the testosterone levels of football or soccer fans to see if their testosterone levels change with the win or loss of their teams.

From James Swayze:

Re: Study: dinos took repeat pounding before final exit (Oct. 26): Kellor is close but no cigar yet. At least she is on the right track to put this pig of a theory to rest.

No the meteor that caused the Chixalub crater did not end the dinosaurs, but neither did the second impact that Kellor notes. Look, it’s quite simple but why these so called learned scientists don’t see it is quite beyond me. I guess they just try to make things too complicated.

Simply put, if the so called KT boundary layer is evidence of a meteor/comet dino killer, then we should see the layer actually associated with it’s victims. It is not! It is instead overwhelmingly found several meters above the last dino bones!

Picture it in your own mind. If a meteor hit us today would you not expect that in a year or two when the dust fallout came back down that it would land directly on the legacies of human existence, like cars and trucks and b building? Wouldn’t you expect it also to be found beneath some of these vehicle, about dino size, where rain runoff had caused it to flow into and around and beneath the rusting hulks?

Likewise, if the only animals left to eat the huge dino carcasses that allegedly must needs have been lying about in supposed abundance during a dust layer caused freeze, were shrew to mink sized early mammals and such, then they could not have dis articulated such huge remains. Thus there should be lots and lots of well articulated dino bones lying about directly associated with the KT Boundary (iridium dust laden) Layer running straight through them. Furthermore, as they thawed with the fallout, the fallout actually aiding the thaw by darkening the snow layered upon the carcasses thus soaking up the sun’s energy, it would produce muddy runoff of the dust that would then run through and underneath the carcasses.

It is plain as day! The dinos were dead long before the eventual impact/s. I get so sick and tired of every science documentary just blithely stating as fact that a meteor caused the 65 million years old extinction. It does not stand simple logic!