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December 25, 1948


Author Affiliations

U.S.N.R. Washington, D. C.

JAMA. 1948;138(17):1225-1227. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02900170019006

As a layman, I approach this symposium with considerable humility—aware of the easy opportunity for disaster, such as accompanied the lecture of a friend who had traveled in the South Seas and, on his return, spoke to an audience of engineers. He mentioned that when he was in the Trobriand Islands, he had been impressed by the clarity and translucence of the atmosphere. It was so clear, he said, that he could frequently see the natives standing in their dugout canoes at a distance of 10 miles. At the end of the lecture, one of the audience of engineers thanked him and commented that many present, competent to calculate for the curvature of the earth, had noted his remarkable discovery, that the natives of the Trobriands were 69 feet tall. Taking this lesson to heart, I will avoid any reference to technical matters, leaving them to be dealt with by

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