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Taking Terror Offline

David Talbot’s story (“Terror’s Server,” February 2005) was the kind of rambling, analysis-free hand-wringing we came to expect from the mainstream press in the mid-1990s. Talbot’s main point—that terrorists are using the Internet—is obvious. Terrorists are also using telephones, credit cards, textbooks, and mail-order catalogues to plan their attacks. The Net amplifies individual voices, be they the voices of civil-rights activists, cancer survivors, or terrorists. The real issue is not whether terrorists use the Net, but whether society is better off allowing individual voices to be so easily heard. Next time, address the issue directly instead of simply hiding behind the terrorism flag.

Bradley Rhodes
Mountain View, CA

The Unobservable Mind

I salute Technology Review and Roger Scruton for the review on the limited -future of consciousness studies in neurobiology (“The Unobservable Mind,” February 2005). However, I feel obliged to ask your readers not to throw the towel in yet. Our current understanding of the mind might be likened to a Greek phi-losopher’s understanding of the physical world. We don’t know, we can’t know now, what the future of research will reveal about all aspects of the human mind in 10 years’ time, much less 2,000 years. Neurobiology is but one of the emerging sciences and technologies that will impact our views of being human. Other technologies include advances in noninvasive monitoring of the brain, advanced robot technology, and advanced modeling of complex neural systems. One reason that philosophers and scientists can’t agree on many aspects of human cognition and consciousness is that they simply don’t have empirical ways to compare their theories. That will change.

Jack Lynch
Cambridge, MA

Runaway Metaphor

Your October 2004 cover states that World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) founder Tim Berners-Lee is now “making Internet 2.0.” Internet2, however, is the name of a consortium led by 207 universities working in partnership with industry and government to develop advanced networking technologies. The Internet2 consortium and W3C operate completely independently of one another.

Sir Timothy Berners-Lee
Director, World Wide Web Consortium
Cambridge, MA
Douglas E. Van Houweling
President and CEO, Internet2
Ann Arbor, MI

Corrections

Alteon, the company mentioned in the article “Do You Want to Live Forever?” (February 2005) for its work on antiaging substances, is located in Parsippany, NJ.

Our March cover story, “Tech and Finance 2005,” misquoted Warren Packard of Draper Fisher Jurvetson regarding the nanotechnology market. Packard did not say that the market isn’t ready for nanotech. He said that the public markets will always invest in real businesses with growing revenues, profits, or promise, and that quite a few nanotech companies are beginning to show these qualities.

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