Social Networking: Letters and Other Responses to Our Last Print Issue

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SAVE THE HONEYBEE, STERILIZE THE EARTH

January/February 2015.

January/February 2015.

Over at Hacker News, readers of Josh Dzieza’s environment story “Bees, Inc.” (January/February) had a lot to say about the industrialization of the honeybee. Some excerpts:

From commenter cwal37: I grew up in Illinois and attended Urbana-Champaign. It is difficult to convey just how altered the ecology of the Iowa-Illinois-Indiana corn belt is—a giant swathe of land that was denuded, drained, and channelized. I worked with a professor briefly who practically begged farmers to let him install small riparian buffer strips to reduce the hypoxia-inducing agricultural runoff. But no matter how small the width of the strips proposed, it’s a hard bargain to hand over a strip of potentially producing land. It’s weird to be in the middle of this giant living machine, watching it flush its effluent down to the Gulf, and seeing all else shrivel and die around it.

And from commenter snow-wrestler: It’s time to recognize that we have taken the entire biosphere under our management and adjust our mindset accordingly. Up to this point we’ve been shopping in the great store that is the Earth’s biosphere. Now, we’ve bought the store.

And via email: Your story was the clearest account of the bee situation that I have seen. I will be taking copies to my next county Board of Supervisors meeting in an effort to get them to stop spraying the roadsides.
—Linda Leah Varney, Augusta County, Georgia

MY LOVELY WIFE IN THE PSYCH WARD

After we posted Mark Lukach’s January/February story “Crazy in Love,” the author heard from more than 1,000 people thanking him for sharing his story. For example, at the website Mad in America, commenter ruth writes: I am so very sorry about all of this. You and your beautiful wife have your hands full. My mom is schizophrenic. It grew worse over many years, and she was gone a good bit of the time when I was growing up (in the hospital). She is 81, and lives in an assisted living facility. I also have two beautiful daughters, one of whom had a major depressive episode at age 14, and was in the hospital for seven weeks. I hope for the very best for you and your wife.

OUR OBSESSION WITH STUDENT RANKING

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It is evident from Dana Goldstein’s article (“The Big Sort,” January/February) that the problem in our classrooms doesn’t originate within the educational system itself. All the superficial tinkering with schools—sending teachers hither and yon, changing class sizes and syllabi—is misguided and futile. Until childhood poverty is eradicated and impoverished families are no longer trapped in a culture of anger, despair, and low expectations, no changes we make within the school system will have any effect.
—Stephen E. Silver Santa Fe, New Mexico

School success is dramatically improved where there is acceptance, not judgment, and hope, not fear and guilt. The missing factor in schools with low student learning is a loss of a student’s dignity as a result of negative labeling.
—Alvin W. Holst, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Education 

WOMEN AND NEONATICIDE

A long conversation emerged at MetaFilter about “Babies in the Freezer,” our story at PSmag. com on the maternal killing of newborns.

Posted by Metroid Baby: I’m lucky that my inability to cope with problems affected only me and that I didn’t have anything as huge as another human life to confront. I’d like to say that, had I gotten pregnant at a darker time, I would have handled the situation responsibly. But there’s something about these stories that feels terrifyingly familiar. I’ve hidden other things, stuffed down less horrible secrets. I can swear up and down that I would never hide a baby in a freezer. But I can understand what would lead someone else to do it.

From Edgewise: I don’t doubt that there is some kind of thing going on for these women—they are not simply cold and indifferent murderers—but that doesn’t mean they should have zero culpability.

And from muddgirl: The human mind is a wondrous and terrible organ.

BITTER TWEETS

Spreading the word on Helaine Olen’s article on wealth inequality (“All Of Us Worried, None of Us Angry,” January/February), our own Nicholas Jackson tweeted, “Why aren’t more of us pissed off about inequality?” To which media watcher Jack Shafer responded, “Why aren’t more of us pissed off, period?” Which prompted Bill Kristol to channel Thomas Jefferson: “Because ‘all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable.’”

SPELL CHECK

On the cover of the January/February issue, I noticed that a title stated “My Lovely Wife in the Pysch Ward.” I am a psychology instructor, and my students try to spell “Psychology” this way all the time.
—Bob Strausser, via email

Yes. And we are embarrassed.
—The Editors

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