National Geographic : 1989 Dec
NATIONAL GEOGPIC MAGAZINE: GEOGRPICA LOUIEPSIHOYOS, MATRIX Lighting the Way to a Jet-lag Solution Exposure to bright light can speedily alleviate jet lag and may combat insomnia and sleep disorders that plague shift workers, according to a study by Dr. Charles Czeisler and Dr. Richard Kronauer, both of Harvard, published in the journal Science. Czeisler and his colleagues conduct ed 45 experiments involving 14 healthy males that included five-hour doses of bright indoor light each day. The researchers found that the subjects' body clocks-"human circadian pace makers," in scientific terminology could be reset in two to three days. Early indications that the study was on track appeared in an article on sleep by senior writer Mike Long (GEO GRAPHIC, December 1987). In fact, while working on the article, Long became the study's first jet-lag subject. Long flew nonstop from Tokyo to New York across 11 time zones and then, suffering from an acute case of jet lag, went directly to Czeisler's labora tory at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. After three daily cycles of exposure to bright light and darkness, Czeisler shifted Long's body clock from a Tokyo setting to a Boston one in less than one-third of the time it would have taken naturally. Personalized Maps for the Masses n the late 19th century map publisher Alfred T. Andreas found what one scholar has called "a curiously seductive way to bring maps to the common people." Andreas's scheme was a pictorial atlas-of a county or a whole state-which, for a fee, would be decorated with a purchaser's por trait, his biography, or an illustration of his farm. Andreas's Minnesota atlas, pub lished in 1874, was purchased by 12,000 of the state's 100,000 households. A few years ago Paul Gilje of Burnsville, Minnesota, bought one of the original atlases. Soon he and his wife were seek ing out the illustrated buildings in order to photograph those still standing. Gilje estimates that about a fourth of the atlas's houses, barns, churches such as St. Patrick's Catholic church JIM BRANDENBURG in Lanesboro (below left)- and stores remain. He is amazed by the atlas's accuracy and detail. Minnesotans were proud to have their buildings depicted, Gilje be lieves. "It was just a few decades after Minnesota was opened to settlers," he explains, "so people were eager to demonstrate to their eastern neighbors that this was a civilized place." Gilje often meets people who live in homes illustrated in the atlas but who haven't heard of the atlas itself. Most are astonished to see their homes in a book more than a hundred years old. Great Lakes Pollution: Still Dangerous oxic pollutants continue to trouble the Great Lakes region (GEO GRAPHIC, July 1987). Birth defects in birds like this double-crested cormo rant, which has a deformed beak (below), may be caused by toxins in Lake Michigan fish. A National Wildlife Federation re port warns that eating 11 servings of large Lake Michigan trout during a lifetime creates a cancer risk of one in 10,000. Under Environmental THOMASA SCHNEIDER Protection Agency standards, a risk of one in 100,000 is minimally accept able. The federation found that the risks from eating smaller trout and other species, such as perch, are much lower. "We're not saying 'Stop fishing' or 'Don't eat fish,' " says Mark Van Put ten, director of the federation's Great Lakes office. "But we are providing information so people can begin to shift their consumption. The long-term solution, of course, is to eliminate pollution." Among steps that the federation and other environmentalists consider criti cal to the protection of the Great Lakes is a "toxics freeze"-a policy prohibit ing any net increase in the most danger ous chemicals in the Great Lakes ecosystem. Other steps include impos ing uniform water-quality standards throughout the lakes and setting a timetable to reduce dumping of toxic chemicals. The goal is zero toxic dis charge in the next century.