From the Editors Our story on the true history of Monopoly was an eye-opener. “I was one of the many who bought the guy with the oilcloth on the kitchen table, painted with unsold and sample colors of paint, and the rest of the story we all believed to be a genuine rags-to-riches American success story,” Phil Seymour commented online. Brian Greene’s overview of string theory-—which picked up more than 20,000 shares on Facebook—pulled readers into a physics debate. “Maybe if it was falsifiable, string theory would have some hope of being helpful to science. Instead it looks more like faith-based mathematics, barely distinct from religious beliefs,” Bart Alder wrote on Facebook. And as for our cover story on Amelia Earhart, Ralph Ferrusi asked,“Would we still be as fascinated with Amelia if she wasn’t so gosh-danged pretty?”
Your story on PTSD in Civil War vets [“The Civil War’s Hidden Legacy”] reminded me of my returning from the central highlands of Vietnam in 1968. During the dark years that followed, reading books from other veterans, I began to realize that people do not return the same way they were and that stories of the outlaws of the Wild West were simply Civil War vets with no place to go.
How much more traumatic it must have been for the Confederate soldiers who had experienced everything their adversaries had endured, only to return to scorched homes, fallow fields and the hunger and misery that lingered in the South for years. Mental institutions in Virginia were overwhelmed with those who endured what you called “the conflict’s psychic wounds.” This included my great-grandfather, who spent a year and a half in a Union prison, and, following years of nightmares and bizarre behavior, was eventually committed to an inadequately staffed state facility.
Holes in the Dunes
The awareness of lethal voids concealed inside sand dunes [“The Mystery of Mount Baldy,” December] is far from recent. Ken Kesey refers to them as “the devil’s stovepipes” in Sometimes a Great Notion, first published some 50 years ago. Thank you for a fascinating article.
Erin Argyilan, a geoscientist studying Mount Baldy, replies:
I have heard about the holes described in the novel. The National Park Service was also aware of Kesey’s “devil’s stovepipes.” In his book, the setting is Oregon, where we know that other, smaller, slightly different holes exist. Still, we still have no scientific data on their size, how deep they are, how long they stay open, how often they occur, or exactly the mechanism behind how they occur. Even the park has said that they did not perceive those holes as a danger because they were so small. So this is a great example of a phenomenon that may have been occurring but has never been documented in a scientific format that can be shared with resource managers and with the public.
In “Game Changer,” we said Despicable Me 2 was a Disney film. It was produced by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment.
In “From Selma to Ferguson,” we wrote that “King and his demonstrators” were driven out of Selma by the police on “Bloody Sunday.” King himself was not present at that protest—he led the marchers in person two days later. And police actually drove the marchers back toward Selma. We also misstated the year of the Watts riots; it was 1965, not 1967.
In “Darwin’s Forgotten World,” we said the Kingsbrae Garden in New Brunswick, Canada, was the one place to see the Wollemi pine tree in North America. The tree can now be seen at several U.S. locations, including the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.