National Geographic : 1982 Nov
Members Forum FLORIDA I enjoyed your article on Florida (August 1982). But I must take umbrage at the statement that "Florida, like Hawaii, is one of only two states in the nation with tropical weather." Not so. The "Valley" in southern Texas has tropical weather, palms, poincianas, and ruby-red grapefruit, the best grapefruit in the world. Dianne Runyon St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands Technically, only two U. S. states enjoy truly tropicalclimate-Hawaiiand the southerntip of Florida.However, plants and animalsthatflour ish there can also befound in other states. As one of the "pilgrims to a shrine of winter warmth," I was surprised, and not a little hurt, by the beginning of the story about Florida. So far, being in our early and late 60s, we have yet to "shuffle." We do wear shorts and polo shirts, as we certainly didn't retire to Florida to wear wool ies and ski boots. Sylvia F. Jewell Marathon, Florida Referring to page 215, please explain how water can drop more than four feet and expose "boat tracks." How do boat tracks get into the mud? Does this mean that if the Atlantic Ocean dries up tomorrow, we would see boat tracks? John J. Garzi Pasadena, Maryland The tracks were caused by boat keels or propellers gouging the lake bottom as the water receded in the drought. In the Florida article the reference to the arthritis medicine of Brooks Campbell says, "Bottled un der his own label, the liniment is licensed by the state government for sale in Florida." Is it possi ble for non-Florida residents to purchase it? Reg Campin Blaine, Washington Mr. Campbell has not submitted his linimentfor testing by the U. S. Food and Drug Administra tion, and it is currentlyavailableonly in Florida. We are unable to supply Mr. Campbell's address for the many who have requested it. It is the poli cy of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC to avoid recom mending any medicinalproduct. After reading "Florida: A Time for Reckoning," I was disappointed. In terms of economic future, Florida has one of the best in the country. I have lived in Memphis, Chicago, Atlanta, but Orlan do is the city that has captured my heart. Out of the ten million Floridians it would be hard for you to find one displeased resident. David Brown Orlando, Florida CARRARA MARBLE I just finished reading Irving Stone's The Agony and the Ecstasy, which recounted Michelange lo's titanic task of quarrying marble from Mount Altissimo, when my July 1982 issue arrived con taining the Carrara article. Having been to Italy to see the works of such a master, I can agree with Michelangelo's belief that marble is "alive." Thus the crystals of the "Pieta" must be in "ecsta sy," while those of the present-day "Thumbs" and "Fiats" must be in "agony." Milton Parent Burnaby, British Columbia SINDBAD Reading the article "In the Wake of Sindbad" (July 1982), I felt I was living a mythical legend come true. It was as if I had been transported and was myself struggling against the sea, involved in that same teamwork and comradeship. It was great to read and beautiful to experience. Leonel A. Oliveira Berkeley, California In your article "In the Wake of Sindbad," you mention "the golden age of Arab sail between the 8th and 11th centuries." You also mention the ka mal as a navigation instrument used in conjunc tion with the North Star to determine position. The star Polaris, however, was not in the proper position to be used as a North Star prior to around the year 1200. The sudden improvement in navigation that occurred in both Arabic and Western cultures around that time probably co incided with the discovery of how to use Polaris to determine true north. Fred C. Davis, Jr. Baltimore, Maryland Polarishas changed position over the centuries, but only afew degrees betweenA.D. 800 and 1200. Both Arab and European sailors used it as the North Star by the ninth century. The advent of the magnetic compass in the 12th century greatly increasedthe accuracyof navigation.