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July 2001
Vol. 10, No. 07, p 9
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Letters
March cover
Volatile Correction
Your article “Controlling Volatile Emissions” (March 2001, p 63) was well written except for the sentence beginning “Adsorption of pollutants onto a solid media . . .” It should have said either “onto a solid medium” or “onto solid media.” The word “media” has been abused quite a bit in the environmental engineering field in the past few years. At a recent conference, a speaker said, “There are a lot of medias out there.” Another speaker used “media” as both a singular and plural noun in the same slide caption.

Tom Holm

April cover
Pauling Memories
I greatly appreciated your Profiles in Chemistry piece on Linus Pauling, “Pioneer, Reformer, Scientist for the Ages” (April 2001, p 99). One feature of the man that was not fully brought out was his personality. At Oxford University in 1938, I remember him lecturing on topics later brought together in his classic book, The Nature of the Chemical Bond. Vivid, charming, and elflike, he almost persuaded us students that we understood quantum chemistry. He has been one of my scientific heroes ever since.

Brian Vickery

I greatly enjoyed your profile of Linus Pauling, who has always been one of my heroes. In 1962, during my first year at the University of Missouri, Columbia, Pauling came to the campus to give a seminar and receive some honors. I was a lowly freshman with no entry to graduate seminars, so I despaired of meeting him. But at noon in the Student Union cafeteria he came by with a tray and asked to share my booth. There was a formal luncheon in his honor in progress upstairs, but he said he had always hated such affairs and was glad to get away for a while. He chided me about my burger and fries while he ate his salad and fruit cup, and we talked about—what else—the nature of the chemical bond! That lunch was one of the intellectual high points of my life.

Bill Beauman
Chicago, IL

May cover
Weighty Windfall?
In your article “Genetically Modified Foods” (May 2001, p 49), doesn’t your statement that Starlink corn is resistant to human digestion imply that it is a good weight-loss candidate food?

Tom Powers



Author’s reply:
It is my understanding that the FDA expects that such resistance could result in an allergic reaction. So far, this has not been proved, and there are no recorded cases of such reactions. In fact, it would seem that people have been eating approved and nonapproved genetically modified (GM) products without any problems. It has, however, been pointed out that there is no real research to connect an allergy to, or disconnect it from, ingesting a GM product.

Although allergies have been on the rise in the United States, that does not mean they may be attributable to GM foods; it could just as easily be attributable a number of other environmental factors. At this point, weight loss is not a result, but if it could be, I’ll bet that GM foods would suddenly become popular!

Helen Gillespie

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