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No. 125: Sep-Oct 1999

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More Nominative Determinism

Following in the trail of Feedback's page in the New Scientist, we herewith offer two more cases of nominative determinism or ND. This phenomenon, as readers of SF are well aware, occurs when a person's last name is related to his or her occupation.

A solid example of ND is seen in the name of the Director of U.S. Programs for the Rodale Institute. The Institute, it turns out, is studying carbon and nitrogen balances in organically managed cropping systems. Nitrates originating in such agriculture contaminate the ground water and often end up in drinking water. The EPA has determined that nitrates in drinking water can be harmful; thus this study. Who directs the study? Dr. Laurie Drinkwater!

(Anonymous; "Organics Reduce Groundwater Pollution," Acres U.S.A., p. 11, May 1999. Cr. L. Cortner.)

And to whom does the journal Marine Observer turn when expert opinion is required on marine phenomena, including fish identification? Dr. Peter Herring!

From Science Frontiers #125, SEP-OCT 1999. 1999-2000 William R. Corliss