National Geographic : 2011 Apr
LETTERS • December 2010 Corrections DECEMBER 2010: GAUDÍ POSTER The Organic Windows art on the "Design by Nature" side does not show a marine diatom, as labeled. What is illustrated is another tiny marine animal called a spherical radiolarian. On the time line, the correct date of the nave's completion is 2000. David and Solomon It appears that in Peter Paul Rubens's 17th-century painting on the cover, David is wearing spandex biking shorts. PAUL MCKELVEY Cedar Park, Texas This article took me back to the two summers I spent as a volunteer worker on two less controversial digs in Israel, Tel Michal and Tel Gerisa. I found it awesome to touch materials that had been touched by other human hands more than 2,400 years earlier. Less fascinating was observing how often certain archaeologists and professors seemed more concerned with preserving their own interpreta- tions of finds than with the hon- est search for the truth---exactly the sort of disputes described in your article. One thing we were lectured about is that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Considering the utter destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. and by the Romans in A.D. 70, it is a wonder that so many things that fit into biblical narratives have been discovered and continue to be discovered. DEAN C. NELSON St. Paul, Minnesota It matters not at all whether David's city was mud or marble, or whether it existed at all. It is immortal, transforming, and magnificent because the city lives in words that have triumphed through 2,500 years. Of course David slew Goliath. Davids slay Goliaths every day. The Bible records eternal principles of the human condition. Its parables and psalms spring from our common experience of mortal life. Dig away, skeptics and believers alike. The truths of the Bible are intuitive, precious, and unim- peachable---bones or no bones. FRANK AND AUDREY CARROLL Custer, South Dakota Salmon or Gold The proposed mine in the Bristol Bay area is another environmental nightmare in the planning stages. The Pebble Partnership is pledging to maintain the integrity and safety of impoundment ponds in perpetuity. How long is that? It's absurd. BP said its operations were safe too. Corporations always say that, but Superfund sites around the country are testament to the capacity of industry to dodge responsibility. The planet is finite. If those deposits of gold and copper weren't there, we'd do without them. Better to live within our means now and save what we have left. Is this planet a garden to tend or a sponge to squeeze? MOSS HENRY Santa Rosa, California As you stated, mine owners promise jobs and an infusion of money. Mine owners have promised the same things for years, but delivery has been a different matter. The results have not varied: short-term jobs, short-term money, and virtually permanent environ- mental damage. MARTY BANKHEAD Lake Oswego, Oregon As a former Alaska commercial fisherman (never in Bristol Bay for salmon, but in the area for more than 20 years in other fisheries), I have extensive experience with the natural glory and bounty there. The fragility of the sub-Arctic and tundra environments is well known. Pebble mine is centered in the middle of the headwaters of not only Upper Talarik Creek, which leads into Iliamna Lake and the Kvichak River, but also the Koktuli, Mulchatna, and Nushagak River systems. Be- tween these two systems, with one spill, the potential exists to wipe out the single-largest pristine salmon, trout, and steelhead environment in the world. This cannot be allowed to occur. Once it is gone, it can never be replaced. I am not a rabid environmentalist by any stretch of the imagination, but my vote is "Hands off!" PHILLIP M. MIKE SNOWDEN Snohomish, Washington Email email@example.com Write National Geographic Magazine, PO Box 98199, Washington, DC 20090-8199. Include name, address, and daytime telephone. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.