It took the Science News editor in chief
to recognize the most prescient science
“fiction” movie of all time, Forbidden
Planet (“Science brings real life to the
technologies of fiction,” SN: 7/2/11, p.
2). Beyond civilization without instru-mentalities, the film also brought us
lasers before there were masers, Robby
[the Robot] analyzing molecular structure to duplicate anything and multiple
concepts that have come to fruition in
my and Tom Siegfried’s lifetime. If only
those handsets hadn’t had wires....
Tony Witlin, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Attraction and gender
Thank you for a great publication! The
meeting note entitled “Familiarity
breeds congeniality” (SN: 6/18/11, p.
17) raises the question as to why “men
showed no signs of especially liking
women who resembled a romantic
partner” while women did. One pos-
sible answer is that the ancient male
genetic dictum said to spread his DNA
as far and as often as possible; there-
fore, unfamiliar looks equaled differ-
ence and perhaps distance. On the
other hand, the ancient female genetic
dictum said to rear offspring in a safe
environment; therefore, familiar looks
equaled more of what she already
knew. Just a thought.
Mike Kletzly, via e-mail
“Geometry comes naturally to the
unschooled mind” (SN: 6/18/11, p. 16),
states: “such as lines that extend forever or perfect right angles.” I think an
old-growth timber forest is the perfect
place to visualize parallel lines going on
forever, as the trees are perpendicular
to the ground and extend virtually till
they go out of sight.
Irvin Hentzel, Ames, Iowa
It might be interesting to compare
Amazonian villagers’ limited experi-
ence with respect to geometric prin-
ciples with that of adults and children
blind from birth. This might shed some
light on the innate/acquired question.
Bill Britton, via e-mail
Catching the vibrations
A note about “What it means to ‘feel
the noise’ ” (SN: 6/18/11, p. 11): When I
worked as a complementary therapist at
a hospice, patients who were said to be
hard of hearing frequently responded to
the sounds of the Native American flute,
a particularly mellow instrument which
I would place close to the sternum of
these patients. One morning a 100-year-
old, profoundly deaf woman turned to
me at the completion of an old hymn
and said simply: “That was beautiful. I
wish I could hear it.”
Pat Edmunds, Six Mile, S.C.
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