Dialogue

Kudos

A couple of years ago, I wrote to the magazine to complain about the lack of photos of women in whatever issue I had just finished. I am writing today to say that this fall's magazine is remarkable for the high number of photos with women in them. Bravo!

Elizabeth Corwin, SAIS Bol '82 (Cert), A&S '03 Tampa, Florida

Runner's High

The effects of psilocybin on Roland Griffiths' volunteers ["Crash Course in the Nature of Mind," Fall] appear identical to the physiological and psychological effects of fat-burning metabolism. These originated in the adaptive survival strategies of our hunter-forager ancestors. For example, transcending the fear of death was essential to our ancestors who survived in small bands, hunting wild animals. Fat-burning metabolism can produce an extraordinary feeling of fearlessness. Ernest Shackleton and 27 men survived 15 months in the Weddell Sea of Antarctica over 100 years ago. They survived on seal blubber, which produced the effects of fat-burning metabolism and fueled their ultimate survival.

Cardiologist Jack H. Scaff Jr., founder of the Honolulu Marathon, wrote Your First Marathon: The Last Word in Long-Distance Running. It has several chapters describing the physiology and psychology of long slow distance (LSD). According to his book, which includes his analysis of medical research, LSD triggers fat-burning metabolism. Our main fuel becomes fats rather than carbohydrates and sugars. This produces endorphins in the muscle to reduce discomfort, and endocannabinoids are released by the brain so that we feel better. Because of the endorphins, most long-distance runners are not bothered by bad weather. The fat-burning endorphins/endocannabinoids produced the same result experienced by people who undergo long fasts.

Scaff also described additional familiar effects of fat-burning metabolism. Our thinking becomes more abstract and creative, less mathematical. We have our best thoughts while hiking or running. Our hearing, smell, and sight improve. The speed of transmission of vision from our retina to our brain increases. Our joints become more effective and less prone to injury.

At age 66, I retired and spent six months hiking from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail, which is 2,650 miles long. I have personally experienced the transformative effects of long slow distance and fat-burning metabolism. Taking a pill seems like an incomplete shortcut for the real thing.

Albert L. Wallace, A&S '71 Orange, California

Credit Due

When I first glanced at the cover art of the fall issue, I immediately thought of The Dance by Henri Matisse and figured there was an art story inside. I was surprised and disappointed to find that the blurb on the artist—clearly inspired by Matisse's work—gave no reference to Matisse. While Wang's art is not exact, surely the magazine should have provided some insight or connection to Matisse, possibly as it related, or didn't, to the subject of the article.

Kathy Borrus, A&S '98 (MA) Washington, D.C.

Keep It Civil

In the fall issue, President Daniels [Message] refers to the new Agora Institute and its efforts "facilitating the restoration of open and inclusive discourse." I couldn't help but notice the juxtaposition of that message with the first letter to the editor [Dialogue] in which Mr. Hirschhorn refers to a policy he doesn't like as "based on ignorance, illogic, irrationality, racism, and mean-spiritedness."

All of the thoughts in his letter could have been expressed without the inappropriate language impugning the motives of a person or persons who hold opinions different from his.

Henry Quigley, A&S '66 Corpus Christi, Texas

Boxed In

The use of a cardboard bassinet in Baltimore ["Safe Slumber," Idea, Fall] goes back at least to the 1950s. During my time as a medical student and a resident in pathology at Johns Hopkins, we had three children delivered at Women's Hospital in Baltimore (1958, 1960, and 1963). Each was sent home with us in a "cardboard box," as we joked about it. It turned out to be a convenient item to use during the first months of our children's lives in an apartment on Broadway with limited space. We also used it when visiting my wife's parents or other friends in town. I don't remember the box coming with any supplies or diapers, however.

Allen Pusch, A&S '56, Med '60 (MD), HS '64 Rancho Mirage, California

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