National Geographic : 2005 Sep
Forum fFOAu May 2005 Tales "Pick Your Poison" prompted many ofyou to write in with your personal poison tales, while "Einstein and . Beyond" inspired readers to offer their own theories on Einstein's ideas about the universe. Paleontologists and others weighed in on the "Dinosaursfor Sale" story (see box on following page), mainly arguing against the commercial sale offossils. Pick Your Poison Thank you for the wonderful piece on Leon Fleisher. His CD Two Hands is beautiful. As a person with dystonia, I also receive Botox injections, and his story was an inspiration. It is amazing how such a poisonous substance can help make people's lives better. Without Botox, I would be in more pain and unable to function as well. PAT HAEFS Glastonbury,Connecticut According to the essay on Zyklon B, the poison was used to kill more than one million people at Auschwitz. When Pope John Paul II visited this site in the 1980s, he blessed memorials that indicated that four million people were murdered there. How did NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC obtain this lower number? JOHN F. McKEOWN Canandaigua,New York FOR MORE INFORMATION Toget 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 publications, go to: nationalgeographic.com/publications After the fall of the Polish communist government in 1989, the truth about the number of people killed at Auschwitz was revealed. The communist govern ment had inflated the number of non-Jewish Poles who were killed at the camp. Holocaust historians now agree that between 1.1 and 1.5 million people were killed at Auschwitz, most of them Jews. I teach mythology, and I was surprised to read that Hercules was killed with Hydra venom. I have always taught that the venom that killed the mighty hero was blood from the lustful centaur Nessus. Am I wrong? DAVID A. KUNKLER Rushville, Ohio Not exactly. Hercules slew Nessus with an arrow dipped in Hydra venom. The dying Nessus gave a vial of his blood to Hercules' wife, Deianeira, tricking her into believing that it would ensure the love of her husband. Fearing that Hercules loved another woman, Deianeira soaked his tunic in Nessus' poisoned blood. When Hercules put on the shirt, the Hydra venom in the shirt drove him so mad with pain that he mounted a funeralpyre and demanded his companions light it. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * SEPTEMBER 2005 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY "Forthe increase and diffusion of geographic knowledge." The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C ., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 7,500 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., Presidentand CEO Executive Vice Presidents TERRENCE B. ADAMSON LINDA BERKELEY, President,Enterprises TERRY D. GARCIA, Mission Programs JOHN Q. GRIFFIN, President,MagazineGroup NINA D. HOFFMAN, President,Books and School PublishingGroup CHRISTOPHER A. LIEDEL, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES GILBERT M. GROSVENOR, Chairman REG MURPHY, Vice Chairman JOAN ABRAHAMSON, MICHAEL R. BONSIGNORE, MARTHA E. CHURCH, MICHAEL COLLINS, ROGER A. ENRICO, JOHN M. FAHEY, JR., DANIEL S. GOLDIN, JOHN JAY ISELIN, JAMES C. KAUTZ, J. WILLARD MARRIOTT, JR., FLORETTA DUKES McKENZIE, GEORGE MUOZ, PATRICK F. NOONAN, NATHANIEL P.REED, WILLIAM K. REILLY, ROZANNE L. RIDGWAY, JAMES R. SASSER, B. FRANCIS SAUL II, GERD SCHULTE-HILLEN TRUSTEES EMERITUS Joe L. Allbritton,William L. Alien, Thomas E. Bolger,Frank Borman, LewisM. Branscomb, Robert L. Breeden, LloydH. Elliott,George M. Elsey, Mrs. LyndonB. Johnson,Robert C. Seamans, Jr. COUNCIL OF ADVISORS RogerA. Enrico,Chairman; Darlene T. Anderson,Michael R. Bonsignore,HowardG. Buffett, Craig D. Campbell, Jean N. Case, JulietC. Folger,Robert B. Haas, Robert A. Hefner III, David H. Koch, Bruce L. Ludwig, SallyEngelhardPingree, W. Russell Ramsey, CatherineB. Reynolds,EdwardP. Roski, Jr., B. FrancisSaul II, Michele Sofist, TedWaitt, GarryA. Weber,Tracy R. Wolstencroft RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION COMMITTEE Peter H. Raven, Chairman; JohnM. Francis,Vice Chairman; Martha E. Church, Steven M. Colman, Scott V. Edwards, William L. Graf, Nancy Knowlton,Dan M. Martin, Scott E. Miller Jan NiJman,Stuart L. Pimm, Elsa M. Redmond, Bruce D. Smith, Hans-DieterSues, PatriciaC. Wright, MelindaA. Zeder EXPLORERS-IN -RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, SylviaEarle, Zahi Hawass, Louise Leakey,Meave Leakey,Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno, Spencer Wells. Conservation Fellow: J. Michael Fay MISSION PROGRAMS Vice Presidents: Barbara A. Chow,EducationFoundation; John M. Francis, Research, Conservation,and Exploration; JacquelineM. Hollister, Development; Sarah Laskin, Public Programs. Exhibits: Susan S. Norton. Expeditions Council: RebeccaMartin. Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden.Lectures: P.Andrewvan Duym, GregoryA. McGruder School Publishing: ErickaMarkman, Sr. Vice President International: Robert W. Hemandez, Sr. Vice President Human Resources: Thomas A. Sabl, Sr. Vice President Communications: Betty Hudson,Sr. Vice President Treasurer: H. GregoryPlatts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES DENNIS R. PATRICK, Chairman and CEO Timothy T. Kelly, President; EdwardM. Prince, Jr., COO National Geographic Channel: David Haslingden,President, International; LaureenOng, President, U.S. Digital Media: Chris McAndrews, President National Geographic Maps: FrancesA. Marshall,President; AllenCarroll, Chief Cartographer Television: Michael Rosenfeld, ExecutiveVice President Contributionsto the NationalGeographicSocietyare tax deductibleunder Section501(c)(3) of the U.S . tax code. 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