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From Issue #17 May 23, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Safety, heat, humanities, expertise, and more.

By The Editor Twitter icon 

On “Red Light, Green Light

Peter:

I’m glad to see that someone has gone to the lengths of conducting proper scientific research on the topic, instead of simply whining about “revenue raising”…

In my state [in Australia] of a little over a million people, over the last 40 years the annual road-death toll has gone from over 250 to just under 100. In that time we seen compulsory seat-belts; improved vehicle safety standards (including air-bags); aggressive anti-drink-driving campaigns, laws, and policing (including random breath-testing); reduced speed limits on suburban streets; reduced police tolerance for “creeping” over the speed limit; and cameras at intersections that issue fines for both red-light and speed infringements.

Who knows which changes have made my life safer. Maybe there’s a sum-of-the-parts effect happening where it’s finally bludgeoned into our thick skulls that maybe it would be a good idea to, you know, drive safely?

On “Yes, And.

Tim:

I absolutely loved this piece. Hearing the insides of improv was really interesting, but that aside, I loved how he finished the article. When I was younger, I thought that there comes a point in life where you know what you’re doing. What I’m realizing is that we’re all just making it up as we go, and embracing that let’s you be happy. Thank you for this article.

On “Peak Experience

Adam:

“…sucking out every kelvin our bodies could generate.”

Although it’s true that being in the cold will reduce body temperature (optionally measured in kelvin), the loss of body heat would be more accurately quantified in watts or some other unit of energy. Kelvin are a measure of absolute temperature; if the cold had sucked out all the kelvin, their bodies would be at absolute zero.

On “Summit Cum Laude

Walter:

While I won’t argue that college isn’t for everyone, I do take exception to Ms. Mrgan’s blanket statement that “not much can be done with an undergraduate degree in humanities, aside from attending grad school or making an incredibly expensive paper airplane.”

I’d argue, in fact, that there isn’t a more valuable degree available both for living a well-examined, productive life and for finding your way in an economy that is increasingly complex and fickle. A degree in Classics or History or English or the like teaches you how to think, how to figure things out (like how to do ANY job in the world) and how to communicate clearly. Critical skills in today’s world. I’d be curious to know how many of this Magazine’s writers were the product of a liberal arts education.

On “Phish Scales

A different Adam:

As an aside, the “Rhombus” is a reference to an actual location — a standing monument at Princeton Battlefield in N.J. Apparently Trey and Tom Marshall wrote some music on it. You know, as long as we’re being canonical.

On “Give It Your Best Shot

Mike:

As I read this article I could not help but think of two women I took a college class with a few years ago. They were both mothers of young children, one of them had an autistic son, and were quoting Jenny McCarthy as an “expert” on this subject matter in a presentation they had to give (was a public speaking class).

That was my first experience with the anti-vaccine movement and I suspect our professor’s as well. We both chose not to engage them on the subject as neither of us knew enough to refute their arguments; but we both felt as if they were coming from a place of emotion rather than logic and the need to place blame for misfortune.

Reading the whole of this article made me feel very sorry for their children.

On “How He Met My Mother

Jake:

Just got back from months of travel and catching up on some past editions. Loved this one.…I’m finding myself much more drawn to the stories that don’t deal with tech. I, like most readers of the magazine (I assume) come from a Web/media background, and suffer from spans of being myopic, which can lead down some pessimistic paths. As I slowly work myself back into a culture I removed myself from for a time, I hope to avoid those pitfalls and keep the proper, positive perspective on the complicated and fascinating things going on all around me.

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You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats. We ceased publication of new work on December 18, 2014.
You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats.
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