Letters from the October 23, 2004, issue of Science News

Hand to mouth

“Skin proves poor portal for arsenic in treated wood” (SN: 7/24/04, p. 62: Skin proves poor portal for arsenic in treated wood) shouldn’t make parents any less wary of allowing their children to come in contact with the chromated-copper arsenate wood structures. What children pick up on their hands from a deck or play set may wind up inside via hand-to-mouth transfers.

John Peterson Myers
White Hall, Va

Amazing story

“Early life forms had a modular structure” (SN: 7/31/04, p. 78: Early life forms had a modular structure) is the most amazing paleontological article I think I have ever read. You state calmly that these “Canadian fossils are the oldest known examples of large, multicellular creatures” and that this type of creature “doesn’t appear to be related to any organisms that have lived since.” Would you please follow up on this discovery and let us know what develops?

Rob Walty
Monrovia, Md

Face it

I just read “Deception Detection” (SN: 7/31/04, p. 72: Deception Detection) and I must say that I am surprised that no one used high-limit poker players to analyze if a person is bluffing. The art of poker is calling people on their bluffs.

Martin J. Wagner
Indiana University

A successful poker player must be able to bluff successfully, at least on occasion, and conversely to detect “tells” from opponents, whether the tell gives away a good hand or a bluff. The current popularity of poker on TV should provide hundreds of hours of footage, including the players’ hidden cards, for researchers to analyze.

K.A. Boriskin
Bellingham, Mass

Too hot to be true?

“Parting Shots” (SN: 7/31/04, p. 74: Parting Shots) says that sunspots are 3,500°C. Yet further in the article, it says that the solar flare of Nov. 4, 2003, was 41 million°C. Is that a typographical error?

Bruce Barnbaum
Granite Falls, Wash

That’s no typo. The release of magnetic energy in the sun’s atmosphere during a flare heats the material that’s been ejected.—S. Perkins

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