Readers Respond to the May Issue
“The Triumph of Dr. Druker” shows once again how supervisors with little vision try to stifle gifted researchers and deprive humanity of such life-saving treatments as a new cancer drug.
West Bloomfield, Michigan
Dr. Brian Druker deserves every honor for his perseverance and work helping develop the drug Gleevec. Although my wife, Jane, and I never met him, his kind of research is what helped her live with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) for more than 26 years. Jane rode the wave of experimental drugs, including Gleevec, which kept her going. We believed in a better tomorrow, and she went on to earn a doctorate in child psychology from Tulane University and work in the public schools. Today, I’m thrilled, as she would be also, that others suffering from CML will have a chance at life through the work of Dr. Druker and Gleevec.
The Global Mind
When I read James Gleick’s article about the worldwide replication of ideas [“Have Meme, Will Travel”], I immediately thought of the Jesuit priest, paleontologist, philosopher (and, to some folks, heretic) Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Attempting to integrate religion and natural science, he theorized that humanity is evolving toward a “noosphere,” a realm of human thought that would surround the earth—a global consciousness that would unite people spiritually. Apparently, Chardin’s idea did not achieve meme status: Gleick did not give him a nod in his article.
Merritt Island, Florida
I am curious to observe my thinking for the next few days and see what is original in my stream of consciousness and what is only memetic replication. Where does meme end and creative original thought begin? I imagine there is already, or soon will be, a study that investigates these questions. Thank you for a great article with such philosophical insight into our technologically governed lifestyle.
I was perturbed that “Lost City of the Maya” was illustrated with a photograph and a drawing of looted Maya pots. Looting and the rapacity of the art market have been largely responsible for the destruction of Maya culture. To showcase stolen pieces aids and abets a filthy, violent and illegal business.
Professor Emeritus, Anthropology
San Francisco State University
We share your abhorrence of the looting of archaeological artifacts. The vase in the photograph on page 45 to which you refer is in Guatemala and available to researchers. It is held by La Ruta Maya Conservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and repatriation of Maya art. The drawing on the same page, based on a photograph by Justin Kerr that is posted on his Web site, is a detail from a mural commissioned by Richard Hansen, the lead archaeologist at El Mirador. The mural adorns a bungalow there. —Ed.
The brick tower in the photograph on page 76 [“Faithful Monuments”] is not a historic 18th-century structure, as some readers may conclude. The tower was built in the 1950s to promote Mission San Miguel, Arcángel, and its cement bells have no clappers. The mission’s bell, cast in 1800, hangs in its colonnade and is still rung today.
Paradise Valley, Arizona
Message From A Mouse
The scientific efforts described in “Singing Mice” reminded me of a scene in the naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton’s 1911 novel Rolf in the Woods. “Rising on its hind legs,” its mouth “gaping,” a white-breasted mouse “poured out its music” for a good half minute. Rolf’s Indian companion Quonab commented sagely: “That is Mish-a-boh-quas, the singing mouse. He always comes to tell of war. In a little while there will be fighting.” A few chapters later, Rolf and Quonab engage in the War of 1812 as scouts and couriers.