From Our Listeners

Letters: On 'Pink Slime' And The Planets

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Melissa Block reads emails from listeners about "pink slime" and the planets.


Time now for your letters and this correction. Yesterday, we aired a story about a Department of Agriculture decision on a product known as lean finely textured beef, or to its detractors - pink slime. It's made from leftover meat trimmings treated with ammonia and then added to hamburger. Well, the USDA is now allowing the school cafeterias to order beef that is pink slime-free.

In our story, we mischaracterize the views of Bettina Siegel who writes a blog called The Lunch Tray. She wrote us to say that it's not the ammonia used in the process that scares her. Her principal concern is that the beef trimmings come from what she describes as a highly-pathogenic source, and that they're widely used without any disclosure to consumers.

On to other matters. Also yesterday, I talked to Kelly Beatty of Sky and Telescope magazine about the dazzling dance right now between two super bright planets: Venus and Jupiter.

KELLY BEATTY: The only thing that outshines them in the night sky is the Moon. And, you know, the Moon is not in the sky, so there's no competition there.

BLOCK: Well, the appropriately named Matthew Brightman, of Lyndhurst, Ohio, writes this: thank you for telling me what those two immensely bright objects are in the sky. Every night, I walk my dog wondering what they are and why I haven't noticed them previously. Now, despite my laziness to find out on my own, ALL THINGS CONSIDERED has done the legwork for me.

But not all the legwork, Michael Hall of Arlington, Virginia, writes this: Our children are very excited. Now, can you do something about the clouds?

Well, if it's too cloudy for stargazing, you can have your kids read the next book for NPR's Backseat Book Club. The book is "The Mysterious Benedict Society." Then send their questions to Backseat Book Club at And as always, you can send us letters at by clicking on Contact Us.

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