National Geographic : 1992 Nov
many early Texas oilmen invested their explora tion grubstakes in Pennsylvania oil fields before heading south to make their fortunes. JERRY LYNCH Oil City, Pennsylvania In a recent national survey conducted by a Univer sity of Maryland geographer, three of the United States' 20 best beaches were between Perdido Key and Seagrove Beach. Grayton Beach, Florida, ranked second, after Hawaii's Kapalua. C. KEITH COMER, JR. Santa Rosa Beach, Florida The map ignores Cape Coral, which has nearly 80,000 people, more than either Fort Myers or North Fort Myers, which you show. Among cities in the state, we rival Tampa in land area; only Jack sonville is larger. M. RASICOT Cape Coral,Florida Trobriand Islands In 1943 I spent several days in the Trobriand Islands and wish to convey my appreciation for your authentic account of a paradise in the South Pacific. In my free time I visited with the chief, who was very polite and informative about the Trobri anders' customs and their sharing of goods. It was refreshing to read that very little has changed. DARRELL G. GEROT Dover, Arizona The islanders are described as having an idyllic life style with references to laughing children, male teenagers enjoying privacy with girlfriends, and adult male fishermen who think their life cannot be improved upon. I am left wondering about the women. No mention was made about what they think of life in the Trobriand Islands. KATHLEEN CANNON Dayton, Ohio Paul Theroux states that "For a reason that no one can explain, the birthrate is lower than might be expected." Then he writes about the yam, one of the staple foods. The yam, or Dioscorea,was long known by certain Mexican Indians to have a con traceptive effect. In 1939 Dr. Russell Marker, an American chemist, determined the molecular structure of diosgenin, a steroid substance with progesteronic effect derived from the yam root. Based on this information, Organon, a leading producer of contraceptive pills, uses the diosgenin from Mexican yam roots as the raw material for some of its products. MELY LECHTICH DE REVAI, M.D. Caracas, Venezuela Letters should be addressedto FORUM, National GeographicMagazine, Box 37448, Washington, D. C. 20013, andshould include sender's address and telephone number. Not all letters can be used. Those that are will often be edited and excerpted. Forum Christmas Seals' keep our efforts afloat. Without your generous support, people with asthma, emphysema, lung cancer and pneumonia would be sunk. It's a matter of life and breath.® t AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION® SThe Christmas Seal People® Space contributed by the publisher as a public service.