National Geographic : 2005 May
Forum aboutcaffeine. Some felt we should have concentrated on coffee farmers in developing countries; others wanted more information on the negative health effects of the stimulant. When it came to the ZipUSA story "Hot Coffee, Mississippi" though, readerspraised the writing and photography,giving it one of the warmest responsesfor any article in the series to date. Caffeine I am impressed with and congrat ulate T. R. Reid for his bio-psycho socio-economic rendition of caffeine. As a medical doctor prac ticing consultative and clinical environmental medicine, I am dismayed at the magnitude of cof fee use throughout the world. The people I see as patients are tragic victims of environmental toxins of all kinds, including caffeine. JOHN G. HIPPS Emporium,Pennsylvania "What's the Buzz?" is an awe some presentation about caf feine's sources and use in today's world. However, I believe that you have left out an important piece of the picture by not in cluding information on "fair trade" coffee, tea, and cocoa. Few Americans realize that agricul tural workers in these businesses usually toil in what can be FOR MORE INFORMATION To get NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC please call 1-800 -NGS-LINE (1-800-647-5463). Hearing-impaired TDD users may call 1-800 -548-9797. The magazine's website: nationalgeo graphic.com/magazine For an online index of all National Geographic pubications, go to: nationalgeographic.com/publications described as sweatshops in the fields. Many small coffee farmers in underdeveloped countries re ceive prices for their coffee that are less than the costs of produc tion, forcing them into a cycle of poverty and debt. Fair trade is a viable solution to this crisis, as suring consumers that the coffee we drink can be purchased under fair conditions. MARIE O'ROURKE Cassadaga,New York I was shocked by your indulgent and biased portrayal of caffeine addiction, which read like a 32-page ad for Starbucks and Red Bull. Your readers have a right to balanced presentations that include serious discussion of a subject as disturbing as sub stance addiction. What's next, an article on "The Pleasures of Alcohol" or even "The Wonderful High of Heroin"? KRISTIN A. KUCKELMAN Dolores,Colorado I was quite surprised to find no mention that caffeine can cause heartbeat irregularity. I was plagued with this symptom for several weeks. It increased in severity to the point that my husband drove me to the emer gency room one morning at NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * MAY 2005 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "For the increase and diffusion of geographicknowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C ., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. 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Elliott, George M. Elsey, Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert C. Seamans, Jr., COUNCIL OF ADVISORS Roger A. Enrico, Chairman; Michael R. Bonsignore, Howard G. Buffett, Craig D. Campbell, Jean N. Case, Juliet C. Folger, Robert B. Haas, Robert A. Hefner II, David H. Koch, Bruce L. Ludwig, Sally Engelhard Pingree, W. Russell Ramsey, Catherine B. Reynolds, Edward P Roski, Jr., B. Francis Saul II, Michele Sofisti, Ted Waitt, GarryA. Weber, Tracy R. Wolstencroft RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION COMMITTEE Peter H. Raven, Chairman; John M. Francis, Vice Chairman; Martha E. Church, Steven M. Colman, Scott V. Edwards, William L. Graf, Nancy Knowton, Dan M. Martin, Scott E. Miller, Jan Nijman, Stuart L. Pimm, Elsa M. Redmond, Bruce D. Smith, Hans-Dieter Sues, Patricia C. Wright, Melinda A. Zeder EXPLORERS-IN -RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Sylvia Earie, Zahi Hawass, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno Conservation Fellow: J. Michael Fay CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS-IN RESIDENCE Sam Abell, Annie Griffiths Belt, David Doubilet, Karen Kasmauski, Emory Kristof, Frans Lanting MISSION PROGRAMS Vice Presidents: Barbara A. Chow, Education Foundation; John M. Francis, Research, Conservation, and Exploration; Jacqueline M. Hollister, Development; Sarah Laskin, Public Programs. Exhibits: Susan S. Norton. Expeditions Council: Rebecca Martin. Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden. Lectures: P. Andrew van Duym, Gregory A. McGruder School Publishing: Ericka Markman, Sr. Vice President International: Robert W. Hernlndez, Sr. Vice President Human Resources: Thomas A. Sabl6, Sr. Vice President Communications: Betty Hudson, Sr. Vice President Treasurer: H. Gregory Platts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES DENNIS R. PATRICK, Chairmanand CEO Timothy T. Kelly, President; Edward M. Prince, Jr., COO. National Geographic Channel: David Haslingden, President, International;Laureen Ong, President, U.S . 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