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6:15pm, January 6, 2004
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Let's kick it around

"The Shape of Space" (SN: 11/8/03, p. 296: The Shape of Space) cites reports that the shape of the universe is that of a soccer ball. An image in the article shows that the soccer ball appears as a mirror image of itself when viewed through each of its faces. If the universe were a finite bubble and there were an infinite number of universe bubbles packed tightly together, wouldn't the bubbles be changed into soccer-ball shapes by pressing against one another? And if you were inside of one of these bubbles, wouldn't it appear that you were looking at a mirror image of your bubble repeated infinitely?

Stephen Meredith
New Paltz, N.Y.

A dodecahedral universe? Shades of Johannes Kepler.

Stephan Waters
Falls City, Ore.

Bad news

"Bioengineered crops have mixed eco effects" (SN: 11/15/03, p. 317: Bioengineered crops have mixed eco effects) was such a wonderful example of reporter bias that I had to share it with my children. Growing genetically modified, herbicide-resistant beets and canola "lowers the abundance of other plant species and certain insect groups that typically grow along with these crops." But genetically modified, herbicide-resistant cornfields "have more weeds and insects than regular cornfields . . ." Gee, opposite effects, and both sound bad. Little wonder that "each camp may be tempted to see support for their views in the findings."

Rycke Brown
Grants Pass, Ore.

Gossamer, ha!

The article "Will Climate Change Depose Monarchs? Model predicts too-wet winter refuges" (SN: 11/15/03, p. 310: Will Climate Change Depose Monarchs? Model predicts too-wet winter refuges), implying the demise of the unique Mexico-Canada migration, seems too pessimistic. Monarchs have shown a great degree of adaptability. There are monarchs of the western United States, resident populations in Hawaii and on Caribbean islands, and a migrating population in Australia. I am betting that even if the weather forecast for 2050 is correct, the monarchs will find a way to survive it.

Jim Nottke
Pfafftown, N.C.

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