National Geographic : 2006 Feb
FORUM of identifier for U.S. Navy patrol squadrons, I did an Internet search that reveals that VP-101 was an active unit during World War II in the Pacific theater and was renamed on October 1, 1944. Is it likely that this item has been floating in the Pacific for over 60 years? MARK PESTANA Tehachapi, California According to the Navy Historical Center,the object appears to be a tag, possibly made of molded plasticcalled Bakelite, that was used to identify equipment for World War II Navy patrol squad ron VP-101. Oceanographerand flotsam expert CurtisEbbesmeyer says it is not unheardoffor objects to float in the oceanfor half a century before making it to shore. For instance, he found two items -a glass ballfrom 1955 and a rubber ball decoratedwith a late 1940s WarnerBros. cartoon that washed ashore in 2003. I have never seen a picture that has had such an impact on me as pages 86-7. This must not be Homo sapiens'enduring legacy for the planet. My trash will be saved and recycled. I will never throw away inorganic materials again. EDMOND SHIPMAN Bismarck, Missouri ZipUSA: Bridgewater, New Jersey The article on multiple births shows lovely, healthy toddlers and implies that low birth weight was their only potential problem. Unfortunately, fertility programs have also brought many, many heartaches. Assum ing the babies survive to be born, they may have been dam aged in the womb by whatever condition made pregnancy difficult in the first place. Certain childhood cancers, for example, appear to occur more frequently. Taking this route to parenthood is not a decision to be made through rose-colored glasses. Even the world's best neonatal units and pediatricians can only try to prevent nature from taking its course. GLORIA J. KOHUT Pediatricpathologist GrandRapids, Michigan Geographica: Color of Money As a paper money collector, I am delighted by your money feature. However, the statement that Elizabeth II "became the Th ec atin Assistac Program yo ned Sou ma beeii. Fo nerl 0 yeas, thi Mec prga h sprvie ou drg fre to million oAmrn. For more infrm tincal 180 -7 7-40 o 200 Merck & Co , Inc All rights reserved Putting patients first means getting medicines to people who need them, not just those who can afford them.