Burn the lab coats 28th March 2007 I read with interest Olivia Judson’s article (News & curiosities, April) about stereotyping scientists by depicting them in lab coats. I then turned to page 49 and the “Lab Report” illustration. Erm… come on Prospect.
Karisa Krcmar Barrow on Soar, Loughborough
“President” of Spain 28th March 2007
Frederic Raphael’s correction (April) of Michael Burleigh’s reference to José María Aznar as “president” of Spain is actually incorrect. The Spanish habitually refer to their prime ministers as presidente del gobierno, although this may sound constitutionally strange to Anglo-Saxon ears.
John Whitton Exeter
Grayling and relativism 4th April 2007
AC Grayling’s account of relativism (April) is a bit of a hatchet job. Even if it is true, as the relativist maintains, that there is only “truth for me” and “truth for you,” with no objective standard, it does not follow that “one might as well rest content with whatever one currently happens to believe and seek no further.” Most of our beliefs are not as certain as they might be. I am not sure all my beliefs are true, even by my standards. It therefore makes sense for me to try to seek more certainty. A further point is that if “truth for me” and “truth for you” happen to be based on sufficiently similar criteria, we can begin to talk of “truth for us.” It would be easy to mistake “truth for us” for absolute truth, especially if “we” are plentiful in number.
Howard Simmons Grays, Essex
Obama and the israel lobby 30th March 2007
Your standfirst “Barack Obama… changes position to appeal to the Israel lobby” (Washington watch, April) is hardly fair. It is based on a statement reported by Ali Abunimah, whose website denies Israel’s right to exist, and who is scarcely a reliable source. Certainly Obama is distancing himself from Reverend Jeremiah White, an anti-white racist and a friend of Hitler-admirer Louis Farrakhan. The so-called Israel lobby is a minor factor. Bryan Reuben London South Bank University
Cooking oysters 21st March 2007
Alex Renton asks (March) why Europeans so rarely cook oysters. Though I cannot answer that question, I can answer a corollary—why do non-Europeans so often cook oysters? Simple. Before eating them raw, they wash them, which removes 75 per cent of the taste and gives a sort of unidentifiable soapy flavour. While I cannot speak…