HotAIR - AIR Vents 36-1


AIR Vents

exhalations from our readers


To the editor:

I am compiling, for publication in book form, a history of laboratory accidents. It would be of great benefit if your readers could supply me with evidence of modern (1960 and later) incidents.

I am particularly interested in benzene explosions. I am currently aware of three hundred sixteen (316) such incidents.

I am also excited by documentation of incidents involving red-haired research personnel who were leaning over bunsen burners. (One of my wives, whose hair was a particularly vivid shade of orange, was involved in just such an incident on October 14, 1975.)

Nelson Kallicack, PhD
Rutgers, NJ




At the risk of beating an extremely dead horse, let me add my two cents' worth to the debate about muskmelons. A muskmelon is NOT a good metaphor for a lepton. With all due respect to my colleagues (Schank, Bandsenhoffer, Aaaibdoy, deSelby, Hansbury-Tinglehoff, Chou, etc.), it is difficult to imagine how such an explanation could accomodate in any meaningful way the realities of spin.

Lennox Linklater
University of Edinburgh



Dear sir:

I am in contact with the ghost of Sir Isaac Newton. Please inform your readers of this fact.

Adelbert Gruner, M.P.
Crewe, England


Blowing His Top

In regard to Sam Dionne's research ("Can Superman Pull His Own Head Off?"), I feel compelled to point out that this is just another form of the ancient theologic/logic connundrum: if there is a God, can He create an object that He cannot move? I thought that the matter had been settled long ago, yet here is Professor Dionne raising the question anew.

Furthermore, Professor Dionne raises the question in a way that is wholly inappropriate for the twentieth century. Does he not realize that by promoting images of male stereotypical violence, he promotes and helps perpetuate a state of savagery that could lead, if unchecked, to unthinkable societal degeneration and depravity? Is he unfamiliar with the murder and rape statistics? What of the dangers, the horrors, of mass self-immolation and pummelling? The humanity, the humanity!

Professor Dionne, have you at long last, sir, no sense of decency?

Lee N. Dontassion-Sykes
Institute of the Humanities
Toronto, Ontario


Everyone Sees a Different Rainbow

J. Balsama's reply (in your most recent issue) to R. Schoolcraft's article (in teh previous issue) on viewing raindrop refraction through cigar smoke resurrected a painful issue. Balsama says that the "official" mnemonic for the colors of the rainbow is ROYGBIV. He even takes the trouble to say that this should be pronounced "Roy Gee Biv." Well, my name is Roy G. Biv, and I have been suffering nearly my entire adult life because of this dimwitted acronym.

The acronym is wrong. It originally used to be simply ROYGBV for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet. Everyone would look at the acronym and pronounce it "Roy Gee Biv." I have no problems with that. But then came that craze to popularize science in the 1960's after the Russians sent up Sputnik and NASA started sending up monkeys and Mercuries and Geminis, and some newspaper editor somewhere - I think it was in Chicago - decided that everything ought to be spelled nice and neatly, and so they cooked up an extra vowel to stick between the "B" and the "V," and of course no one knows any real colors whose names start with "I," and so they apparently dug through some art dictionaries and unearthed an obscure color that no one can recognize or remember - indigo, what a name - and insisted that everyone spell it ROYGBIV instead of ROYGBV, and thereby ruined my life. I am a laughingstock, and I have been since 1965, so I vote we return to ROYGBV. Will you all please join me?

Roy Gilmartin Biv
Irene, Iowa

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