Corby Kummer’s article, “Your Genomic Diet” (August 2005), did a superb job of distilling this exciting post-genomic technology into terms that nonspecialists could understand. I wanted to point out, though, that lunasin is a protein component of soybeans and not, as you report, an isoflavone, which is a small-molecule metabolite. Both of these components of soy, however, reduce cancer risks in cell culture, small laboratory animals, and humans. Despite this error, Kummer’s message is a good one: your genetic profile could be the key to knowing what to eat.
Your article on blackjack sensors (“The Digital Pit Boss,” August 2005) neglects to mention a huge advantage that this technology would confer on the casino by enabling it to efficiently spot card counters – players who track expended cards and adjust their bets depending on whether the remaining deck is “rich” or “poor” in critical aces and tens. A good card counter can tip the house’s .45 percent advantage to a player advantage of between .25 and .50 percent. Giving the casino the power to track betting patterns will put the truly skilled player out of business.
I enjoyed “Abused Substances” (August 2005) in defense of the drug Ecstasy. MIT’s Jerome Lettvin should pen a rebuttal! He thrashed Dr. Timothy Leary on the subject of LSD in their famous 1967 debate at MIT. Now that was a trip!
Barney C. Black
Falls Church, VA