From our readers

From the Editors. Readers were enchanted by Tsuneaki Hiramatsu’s amazing long-exposure photographs of fireflies during the summer mating season [“All That Glitters”], calling the images“magical.” “How beautiful and wonderful a thought on a frigid night in Chicago,” Judy Rourke mused on Facebook. Others hailed Colin Woodard’s piece about the pirate Blackbeard. “Very informative article filled with interesting details of Blackbeard’s life and personality,” noted online commenter Stephen H. “Great Read!!”

Killing Activists
Scott Wallace’s article about the murder of a married couple in Brazil [“Blood in the Jungle”] rightly highlights the intimidation and violence that environmental defenders face in many places. The world is slowly awakening to the threat of climate change, the devastating health effects of toxic chemicals and the need to conserve natural resources, even as basic as water. It’s imperative for governments to support such activists and their right to speak out when the environment is under threat. And it’s imperative to speak out when governments try to silence the voices of environmental defenders.

Jane Cohen
Senior Researcher
Human Rights Watch
New York, New York

Scott Wallace expresses skepticism that “two illiterate, down-and-out men in their early 30s” could commit the murder of two environmental activists. Really? How much education does someone need to be able to commit a fatal ambush? Or to know that a shotgun is a highly effective weapon at close range? How does economic status affect the ability to commit murder? Here in the United States, we are more likely to say that poverty is a cause of violence.

James DeWitt
Lakewood, Colorado

Love and Marriage
Do humans really seek life-long mates [“The Science of Monogamy”]? While it seems we’re good with the long-term relationships, the life-long thing gets hard because our personalities are always adapting and evolving. Often this ends up causing a disconnect with the mate. It almost seems human nature to secure a partner but still sleep around—man or woman, it doesn’t matter. I’m not convinced that human beings are wired for life-long love—just long-term, if the chemistry is right.

Cassie Kolasky
On Facebook

Your excellent article on divorce [“Valentine’s Revenge”] emphasized Roman Catholic and Church of England situations. As ancient Hebrew society progressed, marriage was understood as a contractual obligation of both parties. Just before the religious ceremony, both parties signed a marriage contract (Ketubah) that outlined what was guaranteed to the wife by the husband. This was a radical innovation, and it included provision of child support, details of divorce law and even details of sexual satisfaction owed by the man to the woman. This tradition continues to the present day.

Henry Kaminer
New York, New York

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