April 19, 2012

75 First Street suite 104
Cambridge, MA 02141

Dear Sir:
September 13, 2012 vol. 489 no. 7415 wow.  What an issue.  Three points:

1) Page 185 Quirin Schiermeier Ice Loss Shifts Arctic Cycles.  Thanks for pointing out that the ice cap has been so small so recently.  I had been expecting the thing to be effectively gone in a couple or three years and that the result would be a catastrophe.  Maybe not.  I feel reassured. 

2) Page 198 Sharon Weinberger Wasted Energy.  I don’t see how the H. G. Wells heat ray could be so hard to make.  All you need is a small parabolic reflector and a big spark such as you might be able to get by tampering with a neighborhood transformer.  Such a device, striking instantaneously at long distance in utter silence, would be of more use for those trying to destroy the peace than those trying to defend it.  I say let the black ops guys have their way on this one.

3) Page 288 P. Plug et al Ploughing the Deep Sea Floor.  I had no idea trawling was reducing the sea floor to a shapeless mass.  Does this not entail destroying things of scientific interest?  Ancient shipwrecks for instance.  And humanity was already astir during the last ice age when sea levels were lower.  One would have to assume that the littoral environment was important then as it is now.  Of course most things would have been obliterated as the surf line rose past sites of human activity, but some things might have survived that would be of great interest.  Are we losing something here? 

Sorry for the excessive enthusiasm.


M. Linton Herbert

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