Web edition: November 27, 2006
Print edition: December 2, 2006; Vol.170 #23 (p. 367)
"Venting Concerns: Exploring and protecting deep-sea communities" (SN: 10/7/06, p. 232) barely scratches the surface of the problem. What is stopping someone from gene splicing the disease of choice onto heat-loving bacterium? Something that can live near the 600°F of melting lead will certainly survive the standard hospital-sterilization process.
The statement "2 tons of ore from ocean sites should yield as much copper as
80 million tons of material mined on land" can't be correct. That's 40 million to 1. No one mines that kind of ore.
The statement should have been that 2 million tons of ocean ore would yield that much copper.J. Raloff
In the article "Hot, Hotter, Hot: Climate seesawed during dinosaur age" (SN: 10/7/06, p. 228), the explanation for the increased ocean-surface temperature seemed to focus solely on atmospheric effects. I wonder if variations in undersea volcanism might have contributed to the sudden spike in Pacific Ocean surface temperatures during the Aptian epoch of the Cretaceous period. If so, then a moderately higher release of volcanic ash might have contributed to the sudden drop in ocean-surface temperatures.
In the study that was cited in "Life Blood: Drug stops mothers' bleeding after births" (SN: 10/14/06, p. 243), misoprostol was tested as a more practical means of inducing postdelivery contractions in women in developing countries, despite "troubling side effects." Because most women need no intervention to cause the uterus to contract, why not wait a few minutes to see which of them will require the medication, instead of subjecting every single one of them to "severe shivering and fever"?
Dian Duchin Reed
Where drugs may not be available, why not use the natural approach to curb postpartum bleeding, namely, encourage breast-feeding? A baby's suckling stimulates the mother's flow of natural oxytocin. Low tech perhaps, but the methodology has been working for millennia.
Virgil H. Soule