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07.08.09

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Yay/nay? good/bad?

I was really impressed by the depth of the reporting for this article ("Inside the Pornocopia," June 24). This was comparable with the New York Times or any paper!

However, as I read to the end, I was hoping for answer: Yay or nay, what is good, what is bad? I guess there are no easy answers in life—and the data is not there yet.

Sophia Yen
Atherton


Decoders of b.S. is more like it

Paul Davis' "Grow a Spine!"  (July 1) illustrates how hard and fast we've fallen for this dame called the internet.  Now, like reintroducing ourselves to the dog who's been sitting by the door all this time, waiting for our return, Davis thinks we'll have to retrain ourselves to read.       

What the hell?  If it's true that we've become "mere decoders of information," then a timeless yarn like Tom Sawyer becomes just so much undisciplined data to organize, file away, and forget. 

After all, there is no need for recall if we can electronically re-package a meandering Mississippi River narrative as a characterless hyper-story geared for those who think they might die in the next minute or two.

Oh sure, we'll still have our share of delightful summer days curled up on the hammock with a glass of iced tea, but we won't be flipping pages.  More likely we'll be texting a cyber-friend about that new animated flick, Huck Finn's Day Off , loosely based on a novel by some guy named Twain.  Supposed to be an author or something.

Tim Rudolph  
Santa Cruz


Get outside and play!

Thank you to Paul Davis for his honest and informative article. As an educator for 30 years, mostly at the college level, I strongly advise parents to not waste their money on technological gadgets for their children. Invest in musical instruments, art supplies, books, playtime in nature, dance, hikes, month-long summer camps, etc. Your children will be happier, healthier and better educated instead of bored and restless with user-friendly technology. The choice is stimulation or education.

After designing and teaching online courses, providing tech support and system administration as a director of online education, I see computers as tools with lots of data storage space. Computer usage is mundane and my technological learning curve is becoming a plateau. Sitting at a computer is mind- and butt-numbing. Fortunately, I grew up when education was more holistically challenging. I savored reading an entire book and used my imagination. I developed depth of focus, intellectual curiosity and the ability to ponder.

Please ignore all the frantic internet/media frenzy. Children need to use their whole bodies and brains to learn then expend their energy in play.

Larysa Tanya Shmorhay
Sebastopol


 

Corporate farming responds

As a sixth generation U.S. farmer, I fully understand the romance of yesteryear's food production systems, but a reality check is in order.

As filmmaker Robert Kenner is making the circles promoting the release of Food, Inc. ("What's Cooking?" June 17), his message about the modern food production system is nothing but a circle as well. The most glaring example is the mention that food shortages are looming, yet the solution is reverting back to food production methods of the 1930s when one farmer fed 10 people. Today's American farmer feeds 164 people annually with the safest, most reasonably priced food the world has ever seen.

Today's food system is safe, "green" and efficient. Cornell University just released a study indicating that today's food system emits 63 percent less carbon per unit of food produced than the same unit of food produced in 1954. Science and technology combined with human initiative has allowed the U.S. farmer to provide food, fiber, fuel and pharmaceuticals more efficiently than ever before imagined.

With all of that said, I am willing to make a deal. If Kenner is willing to show his film in black and white and silent as movies were in the 1930s, I'll go back to my grandfather's era of food production.

Trent Loos
Loup City, NE


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