Letters to the Editors; March 2003; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 2 Page(s)
Some of the types of science covered in the November 2002 issue met with rather strident reader criticisms. Among those were notes about animal research and how to prevent catastrophic forest fires, as well as the following letter on the SETI efforts discussed in "An Ear to the Stars," a profile of Jill C. Tarter. "I am the founder and head of SUKR, the Search for Unicorns in Known Reality," writes Mark Devane of Chicago. "We have scientifically proven that unicorns exist. By factoring a really big number by a series of fractions, we have determined that there are at least 10,000 planets in this galaxy home to unicorns. As in your November issue, I suggest you run my profile on the very next page after two articles in which you take quack science to task. I await your pleasure." We can't make any promises, but we can offer other letters sounding off about the issue on the following pages.
In "Burning Questions," Douglas Gantenbein writes that crown fires, "the most devastating type," can "easily cross a five foot firebreak scratched out by crews." Certainly, but using ground crews to scratch out firebreaks is not the best way to fight such a conflagration. The primary means is by application of fire-retardant lines downwind using aircraft or by direct application of water with foam (to increase penetration) using water bombers.