Letters

A Call for Separation of School and Sport

Regarding "College Jocks: Part-Time Jobs Are OK, But Pay for Play?" Feb. 18: Not to take lightly the effort put out by college jocks, but whatever happened to "It's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game"? College sports are supposed to be viewed as fun, spirited, a place for camaraderie, and for that you pay somebody?

Money takes the real meaning out of college sports. If a student opts out of college early to join the pros, can the college recoup what was spent on trying to educate that dropout?

Maybe it's time to separate sports and education altogether. After all, pro teams are businesses and are the direct beneficiaries of college athletic departments. Maybe the pro teams should set up their own recruiting schools instead of having taxpayers and alums foot the bills.

Greg Schifsky

Portland, Ore.

By 'fresh' water you mean 'melted'

In the article "Shrinking Great Lakes: Where Is All the Water Going?" Feb. 20, you err when you state that the Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world's fresh water. They contain about 5,440 cubic miles of water, barely 0.06 percent of the world's fresh water, most of which occurs as glaciers and permanent snowpack (69 percent) or beneath the ground (30 percent).

Fresh lake water accounts for about 0.30 percent of all fresh water, so the Great Lakes contain about 20 percent of all the world's fresh lake water.

Michael E. Campana

Albuquerque, N.M.

Associate professor of hydrogeology

University of New Mexico

Both the caption on the front page and the body of the story refer to the eight US states and two Canadian provinces that surround the Great Lakes. As far as I can discern, Ontario is still the only Canadian province that borders the Great Lakes.

Richard M. Strum

Shelburne, Vt.

Use blindfolds when taste testing

Certainly the esteemed panelists who served (or were served) on your Monitor Taste Panel took the assignment quite seriously in "Creamy DoveBar Wins by a Lick," Feb. 20. From what we gleaned from the article, however, the panel may have used a flawed methodology.

It appears that the panelists knew which bars they were tasting. A better method would have been to serve the ice cream in a way that the panelists could not distinguish, visually or otherwise, which bar they were tasting. This would eliminate any prior inclinations and expectations.

Knowing, for example, that you were tasting a DoveBar, which has a rich reputation, could influence your ranking. Expectations do influence preferences. If, however, a panelist did not know what he was tasting, he would have fewer external influences, which would help him concentrate on the messages from his taste buds.

The panel's conclusion on where to group the Good Humor bar was puzzling.

With a rating of 42, the Good Humor bar scored twice as high as the store brand, and it scored just nine points below the Eskimo Pie. Why, then, was it lumped with the store brand and not the Eskimo Pie?

We suggest that the Monitor convene a second panel and do the taste test right. (We might even volunteer.)

Erik and Elaine Randolph

Penbrook, Pa.

New improved food may be tasteless

While we are addressing concerns about genetically altered food, as in the opinion page article "Genetically Engineered Plants Are Safe and Necessary" Jan. 28, would someone note the not unimportant need for flavor? As a case in point, tasteless, gas-ripened tomatoes with the resilience of tennis balls are not the way I want to obtain the nutritional benefits of lycopene (which is isomeric with the highly touted carotene).

John G. Merriam PhD

Bowling Green, Ohio

Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed (200 words maximum) to oped@csps.com

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