Web edition: May 6, 2011
Print edition: May 21, 2011; Vol.179 #11 (p. 31)
Ain’t got the beat
Obviously, Bruce Bower hasn’t tried to teach tourists how to dance. “A man oblivious to music’s tempo” (SN: 3/26/11, p. 9), though not common, is not rare. In the last 35-plus years I’ve shown more than 10,000 visitors to New Orleans how to do the Cajun two-step or waltz, and perhaps 1 to 2 percent exhibit “beat deafness.” In spite of the music’s strong beat, I have run into one or two a month who are not blessed with even the slightest sense of rhythm. I do refrain, however, from asking them to be included in a neurological study.
Ben Rauch, Chatawa, Miss.
Regarding “A man oblivious to music’s tempo”: I have never been able to dance or skate to the music. My partners would say, “Move with the beat,” and “You’re not keeping time.” I would ask them to explain what they meant by “the beat” and never got a decent answer. The condition has never been a problem (to me). In fact, I never thought I had a problem!
Don Wilfong, San Ramon, Calif.
When my wife shared your article with her fellow music teachers, it drew peals of laughter. One by one they responded with, “They don’t know Jonathan,” “They’ve never met Heather,” et cetera. While thankful that true “beat deafness” is not common, each has dealt with this with one or more students.
Jim Hogan, El Sobrante, Calif.
The next pollinators
I read “Backup bees” (SN: 4/9/11, p. 18) with great enjoyment. The article mentioned planting alternative forage for blue orchard bees near almond orchards. This is good. However, most industrial farms practice extensive monoculture (miles of the same crop), where there is no alternate forage for any pollinator, native or nonnative. Without a variety of food blooming at different times, any insect pollinator in the area will have a short, troubled life.
Alternative pollinators can, and should, be found to honeybees. More important, new methods of agriculture that provide a variety of food sources for pollinators must be developed, or we are all in a lot of trouble.
Karen E. Bean, Maple Falls, Wash.
Bean is a beekeeper at Brookfield Farm Bees & Honey Inc.
Excellent point. The smaller farms benefiting from wild pollinators that I mentioned had good bee habitat nearby. And without thoughtful farming, domesticating new pollinators could mean nothing more than exposing more species to the disease risks, pesticide exposures and habitat problems that honeybees often face now. —Susan Milius