Letters from the October 14, 2006, issue of Science News

Name game

“Named medical trials garner extra attention” (SN: 8/5/06, p. 93), I think, has it backwards. It’s not that labeled trials are more likely to be funded. Rather, well-funded, large trials are more likely to be named. We research chemists label only the important projects. The name makes the project easier to track and reference.

Charles D. Shuster
Columbus, Ohio

Behind the IQ numbers

I suspect the findings in “Racial IQ Gap Narrows: Blacks gain 4 to 7 points on whites” (SN: 8/5/06, p. 85) might be correlated with the reduction in lead exposure over the same timeframe. I wonder if the greater reduction in early-childhood blood lead for blacks might be sufficient to explain the effect described in the study.

Richard B. Mott
Ringoes, N.J.

What can we conclude from these facts? Not much, because, as the psychometrician states, we do not actually know what intelligence is, nor do we know what intelligence tests actually measure other than performance on the tests themselves.

David P. Vernon
Tucson, Ariz

Whom do you trust?

“Outside Looking In” (SN: 8/12/06, p. 106) states, “Yet individuals with Asperger syndrome can still look at a face and assess characteristics such as trustworthiness.” Statements like that are mystifying to me. I think I am about average in social intelligence, but I can’t imagine even thinking of looking at a stranger’s face and deciding whether or not the person is trustworthy.

Molly Weeks
Pembroke Pines, Fla

People assess the trustworthiness of others all the time—in business deals, purchases, and asking for directions, for instance.—B. Bower

Fuzzy maybe, warm no

Regarding “Obsidian artifacts can record ancient climate” (SN: 8/12/06, p. 110), did the researchers take into account that most arrow points and spearheads would have been in contact with the inside of game, a considerably warmer and more humid environment than the ground where the points were found?

Daniel Woitulewicz
Detroit, Mich.

The material would be inside game—and at a higher temperature than the environment—for only a short while.—S. Perkins

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