Letters from the January 8, 2005, issue of Science News

Below the surface

I would suggest that the Italian hydrologists cited in “Fighting Water with Water: To lift the city, pump the sea beneath Venice” (SN: 10/30/04, p. 277: Fighting Water with Water: To lift the city, pump the sea beneath Venice) consider the law of unintended consequences. Similar actions begun in 1978 at an oil field in Wyoming drove methane to the surface and resulted in a large kill zone of the dominant sagebrush Artemisia tridentata.

James A. Erdman
Crestone, Colo

The researchers in Italy say they would minimize pressure applied to the aquifer, so as not to crack strata that seal water in place.—S. Perkins

Dopey competition

In “Gene Doping” (SN: 10/30/04, p. 280: Gene Doping), you wondered, “Should gene enhancement, or doping, be permissible for athletes attempting to improve their performance?” Sure, but in separate competitions. Athletes would register as either “doped” or “clean.” The problem with doping is not the doping, it’s the cheating.

Sam Cox
Loveland, Colo

A little brain power

Along with everyone else, I’ve been fired up by the amazing discovery of Homo floresiensis (“Evolutionary Shrinkage: Stone Age Homo find offers small surprise,” SN: 10/30/04, p. 275: Evolutionary Shrinkage: Stone Age Homo find offers small surprise). Clearly, our preconceptions about brain size and intelligence, reasonably achieved by the evidence we had, must now be discarded.

Oriole Parker-Rhodes
Anglesey, Wales

Boom times ahead?

After reading “Solar Hydrogen” (SN: 10/30/04, p. 282: Solar Hydrogen), I noted that nowhere in the article’s text was it stated how the hydrogen is going to be stored. Storing hydrogen safely and economically is difficult, to say the least.

David E. Beeson
Winona Lake, Ind

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