I am saddened and appalled that the United States' security agencies allowed such an
obvious Soviet spy as George Koval ["Iowa-Born, Soviet-Trained"] to operate freely throughout our nuclear facilities and to give the Soviet Union the secrets for making the atom bomb. I wonder how many other spies are operating today within sight of the CIA?
Robert E. Savage,
Fort Myers, Florida
Better than James Bond
The article about Soviet spy George Koval was fascinating, enlightening and far more exciting than anything from author Ian Fleming's imaginative James Bond arsenal. Koval's story was as shocking to the American intelligence community as Soviet spy Kim Philby's was to the British government's MI-5 and MI-6 agencies—and to our own CIA and FBI, since Philby served as the British intelligence liaison with both of those agencies.
Joseph R. Calamia
El Paso, Texas
Pursuing the Narwhal
Kudos to biologist Kristin Laidre for taking on such an elusive animal for study ["In Search of the Mysterious Narwhal"]. I hope her efforts are rewarded handsomely and that the scientific community benefits.
Not only did I enjoy the topic of this article, I was thoroughly impressed by how well written it was. It reads like a short story. Now whom to root for? Laidre for her perseverance or the narwhal for its ability to maintain its fairytale-like mystery?
Julie Yumi Oda
Los Angeles, California
Avoid Outer Space
The article about the suits worn during manned spaceflight ["Suits, Boots and Gloves"] gives a graphic picture of the frailty of protective clothing. What makes anyone think that long-term human space exploration would be possible given this fact, let alone the other problems of sustaining life in outer space? Money thrown away on such programs needs to be put into fixing the very real problem of sustaining life on this planet, the only home humankind will ever have!
Newark, New Jersey
July 20 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Millions of television viewers back on Earth watched astronaut Neil Armstrong take his first historic step on lunar soil and proudly proclaim, "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." I look up at the Moon and wonder when we will go back. I wonder if we'll ever get to Mars. Human exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond would restore national pride and serve as an investment in our future and a benefit to humanity. Let's keep the dream alive and make the unknown elements of space known to our world.
San Marino, California
"Cowboys and Immigrants" speculates on whether two disparate American myths can be reconciled. Evidently, the unabashed, gun-slinging type (exemplified by George W. Bush) and the mild Ellis Island variety (Barack Obama and Franklin Roosevelt) are in need of a marriage to heal rifts in a country beset with contradictions. Such an amalgamation is debatable. The frontier cult of the individual may have seen its day—for Obama now has his foot in the door (albeit tentatively), while a horde of Ellis Islanders with stiffening spines crowd restlessly behind him.
As the great-great-grandson of 1845 immigrants to the Oregon Country, I find "Cowboys and Immigrants" to be a gross misrepresentation of Western history. The American frontier was not developed by cowboys but rather upon the wit, will and work of courageous farmers and miners with characteristic freedom of spirit and mind (of both men and women). Easterners often fail to understand the mixture of individuality and cooperation that underwrites Western culture. It is unfortunate that modern writers continue to confuse Hollywood imagination and rhetoric with historical reality.