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We may be on a roll...
I want to congratulate you on [Issue 1.2] of 21stC. I thought the substance was excellent, very interesting, and very well-written. Keep up the good work.

    Joan Leiman, Ph.D.
    Health Sciences Division

I've been enjoying 21stC. I like the Metanews and the fact that, like Wired, there are endless things to check out, so that one never has the sense that "I've finished with this issue." How does that happen?

    Joseph J. Elia Jr.
    New England Journal of Medicine/
    Massachusetts Medical Society
    Waltham, Mass.

We'd conjecture that it happens through efforts to give readers as broad a sample as possible of the research and scholarship taking place in the modern academic community, with Columbia as a lens.

    --The Editors

Ripples across the web
Your online e-zine is exactly the sort of content that will give the use of the web/net critical mass. Brief, cogent, relevant packaged in "what you see is what you get" wrap. My sincere thanks and congratulations.

    Tim Brennan
    Centre for Information Systems, Taranaki Polytechnic
    New Plymouth, New Zealand

I would like to congratulate you and your magazine staff on the launch of what appears to be an excellent publication--both style and content are fantastically good. A lot of creative effort and skill have obviously gone into producing such a well-polished, good-looking initiative, and the quality of the writing is easily the equal of the original design.

    Tom Miller
    Imperial College
    London, England

If you like what's on our web site now, just wait until we start loading up our hypertext and multimedia files. Our World Wide Web edition is constantly expanding; we're interested in hearing from more readers about specific things they like, don't like, or might like in both the web and print editions.

    --The Editors

Getting acclimated to subtlety
Professor Allan Mazur's dissent on action about global climate change, "The inevitability--and limits--of dissent" in the winter 21stC, obscures some absolute facts pertinent to the survival of the human race with a reasonable quality of life:

    1. Some day, the increase in human population must stop.
    2. Some day, the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide must stop.
    3. The earlier action is undertaken on these stoppings, the easier they will be.
    4. In face of a plausible, but uncertain, risk of major damage, a rational society acts cautiously.

Presumably Professor Mazur would argue against No. 3, citing things such as the Superfund for cleanup of toxic waste as being more expensive than it is worth, or chimney scrubbers making some factories so uncompetitive that they close, putting people out of work. The fault is virtually never acting too soon, but rather taking the wrong action; furthermore, any effective action is likely to cause some economic dislocation, which must be considered as part of the problem.

Professor Mazur's penultimate sentence "Or we might simply prefer to let the next generation watch out for itself" is a value choice indeed--a damned shameful one.

    William M. Kaula
    Professor of Geophysics Emeritus
    University of California at Los Angeles

Professor Mazur replies:
I am gratified to see a letter about my essay for it shows someone has read it, even if with poor comprehension. For a damned shameful obscurantist like me, who would leave our children to their doom, I suppose the only reasonable action is to slither back into my hole and molder.

    Allan Mazur
    Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs
    Syracuse University

A Pulitzer for one of ours!

21stC would like to congratulate one of our Faculty Advisory Board members, E.R. Shipp, on winning the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. Shipp, assistant professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism and columnist for the New York Daily News, won the prize for her writing about race, welfare, and other social issues. Along with reporting for the News and teaching, Shipp also serves as the faculty director of Bronx Beat, the J-school's tabloid newspaper written by students and distributed to the public throughout the Bronx and online (http://moon.jrn.columbia.edu/BronxBeat/). She's one of Columbia's unique talents and most vibrant personalities. We're delighted to bask in a little of her reflected glory, and we look forward to many more years of her wise counsel.

    --The Editors

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