Skip to Content

Letters

Insights and opinions from our readers

Bold Geezer Innovators

I raved over your piece “The 100 Bold Young Innovators You Need to Know” (TR October 2003). The ideas are first-rate, the innovators indeed bold and, I have to say it, stunningly attractive. However, I just looked in the mirror, took a look around my workplace, conjured up the images of some of my colleagues, and now have a request for you: would you also please put together a piece on “The Boldest Old Geezer Innovators”?

Ashley R. Heath
The Woodlands, TX

The Technology Death List

While heartily agreeing with most of Bruce Sterling’s “Ten Technologies That Deserve to Die” (TR October 2003), we question his wish to do away with manned spaceflight. Something in the human spirit needs hands-on effort-not in every individual being, but in the collective soul. If we cannot explore in person, the space program will die even more surely and swiftly than it appears to be dying now. Without the hope of someday colonizing other points in space or at least studying free-fall environments, the whole effort will have lost its point. True, going to the moon, leaving a flag, and retreating makes little sense, but the trouble was in the failure to follow up.

Clifton A. Hoyt and Phyllis Ann Karr
Barnes, WI

I know sterling’s article was supposed to be humorous, but too many people think those points were realistic. I have grown fond of the lifestyle that permits me to travel, to find fresh nonlocal fruit and vegetables in the market year round, to have a refrigerator so I don’t have to go to the store every day. If it weren’t for our highly effective agricultural segment (those disgusting internal-combustion tractors) and the means to distribute produce throughout our land (those hateful tractor-trailers), we would be nothing but a huge Third World nation, with each person eking out her own living from the local soil.

John Peters
Fremont, MI

One technology that certainly deserves to be on your list is genetic engineering. Responding to no real discernible human need, genetically engineered crops and genetically modified foods are being foisted on the public in a stealth fashion (no labeling) with no consumer benefit and taking advantage of cross-contamination to eliminate organic and good conventional produce. The medical technologies are largely hype. The existing products are largely designed to make lots of profits while catering to human conditions that have become “medicalized,” such as shortness, for which human growth hormone is being sold.

Phil Bereano
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

Instead of doing away with manned spaceflight and prisons, why don’t we just combine the two into one simple solution? “What are you out for?”

Larry D. Helwig
Las Vegas, NV

Internet Already Reborn

The October 2003 issue included a description of Ian Clarke as one of the “100 Bold Young Innovators.” But an article in the same issue, “The Internet Reborn,” by Wade Roush, made no mention of Clarke’s contributions. Clarke’s Freenet project, running smoothly on thousands of volunteer nodes, has many of the features mentioned in Roush’s piece. Freenet also uses unique encryption technology that provides secrecy, authenticity and anonymity-an increasingly scarce commodity on the Internet.

Adam C. Powell IV
MIT
Cambridge, MA

Clean-Coal Contradiction

Regardless of how combustion products are filtered, coal can’t be oxidized without producing carbon dioxide (“Cleaning Up Coal,” TR October 2003). Contrary to your article’s assertion, there’s no way to pipe cubic kilometers of carbon dioxide off to underground repositories. The metal-ceramic filter described may have some useful applications, but coal gasification isn’t one of them. Clearer minds seem to prevail elsewhere in the same issue: in his list of “Ten Technologies That Deserve to Die,” science fiction writer Bruce Sterling ranks coal-based power at number two.

John Schaefer
Arcata, CA

Keep Reading

Most Popular

conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned
conceptual illustration showing various women's faces being scanned

A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click

Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.

2021 tech fails concept
2021 tech fails concept

The worst technology of 2021

Face filters, billionaires in space, and home-buying algorithms that overpay all made our annual list of technology gone wrong.

glacier near Brown Station
glacier near Brown Station

The radical intervention that might save the “doomsday” glacier

Researchers are exploring whether building massive berms or unfurling underwater curtains could hold back the warm waters degrading ice sheets.

Professor Gang Chen of MIT
Professor Gang Chen of MIT

In a further blow to the China Initiative, prosecutors move to dismiss a high-profile case

MIT professor Gang Chen was one of the most prominent scientists charged under the China Initiative, a Justice Department effort meant to counter economic espionage and national security threats.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.