Readers Discuss Our May 2018 Issue

Feedback from our readers

Smithsonian Magazine

As we’d hoped, readers found our Exploration issue, well, moving. “Dinosaurs, time traveling with Einstein, Havana, glaciers...” subscriber Christa Avampato tweeted, “thanks for making my heart sing.” Caryl Leopold Smith of Brighton, Iowa, took a virtual journey. “I am 90 years old and can’t travel anymore but I just did, thanks to Smithsonian—to Cuba, Alaska, China and England!!” Speaking of moving (or not), our brief history of traffic signals (“Let There Be Lights”) prompted several readers to mention the role of the African-American inventor Garrett Morgan in creating a device with three signals. “Morgan’s system, which used the position of the lights to indicate stop/go, might have been easier to decipher for those who are red/green colorblind,” wrote Edward Pershey of the Cleveland History Center. Also, Norm Cohen noted the color pattern was borrowed from U.S. railroad crossings. While the color for “go” varied, “red seems always to have been the danger signal.”

Another Side of Einstein

We have a great many impressions of Einstein the genius. These unfiltered diary entries (“Albert Einstein’s Mystery Tour”) acquaint us with Einstein the human...and he seems to be much like the rest of us.

John B. Poisson | Facebook

Lost at Sea

As a musician, I really appreciated “The Sea Hunters.” UB-29 was the sub that torpedoed the SS Sussex and killed one of the finest composers of the 20th century, Enrique Granados, of Spain. I wonder if the captain of the UB-29, Herbert Pustkuchen, was aware of Granados’ contribution to Spanish culture. Sadly, war advances technology but diminishes humanity.

Stephen Jablonsky | Stamford, Connecticut

Lake District Legends

You mention the poet William Wordsworth (“Wild and Woolly”), but not his sister, Dorothy. In my opinion, her diaries and letters painted the Lake District more beautifully than any of her brother’s works.

John P. Reid | Newmarket, New Hampshire

I’d very much like to see this glory [the sheep-dotted landscape] before the year 2024 when subsidies will no longer assist the shepherds. Good luck to the families and their historical trade.

Karie Kriegel | Facebook

Havana Hero?

In “The Man Who Saved Havana,” you do not take into consideration the reason Havana had fallen into disrepair. Fidel Castro came to power in January 1959. At that time, the city was considered the “Pearl of the Antilles.” Yet by the mid-1970s it was a slum. The work of Eusebio Leal was a product of a Communist regime. As a Cuban-born American citizen, I am saddened that this man today is considered a hero.

Maria Matilde Menocal | Miami, Florida

Terror on Trial

We tax people to support courts to regulate the justice system, not to provide soapboxes for opinions (“A Tale of Homegrown Terror”). The fact that Ted Kaczynski, unlike the people he killed, is still free to present his arguments by publishing a book is proof that his actions were on trial, not his views.

John M. Hunt | Lookout Mountain, Georgia

Correction: In “The Lost Parrot,” we mistakenly characterized the Carolina parakeet as “North America’s only native parrot species.” In fact, the endangered thick-billed parrot, now found in Mexico, is also native to North America.

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