Readers Respond to the July/August 2022 Issue

Your feedback on Ukraine’s treasures, Mary Sears, and trains

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All Aboard

Most of us have some dreamy idea about trains (“The Long Haul," July/August 2022), whether it be a trip on the Orient Express or hitching a ride on a boxcar. These photos show the diversity and ubiquity of trains—and the ways they make our lives easier. —Kathy Robinson | Asheville, North Carolina

The Costs of War

What a joy it is to see that these iconic treasures (“Russia’s Attack on History," July/August 2022) are tucked away for safekeeping—and that they have been over and over again. Someone had the foresight to save these works, and others brought them back to glory. I hope peace comes to the region soon so these works can return home for visitors to enjoy. —Patricia Kastenholz | Tipton, Indiana

Making Waves

“Solving the Ocean" (July/August 2022), about Mary Sears, is a real jewel of an article, full of great historical detail made personal and interesting. As a nature and science educator I was thrilled to see an unsung, behind-the-scenes female scientist celebrated. —Christine Parsons | Stoddard, New Hampshire

Another View of the Rodeo

Countless animals have paid with their lives to satisfy people’s desire to play cowboy (“Show Time," July/August 2022). Cattle are zapped with electric hotshots so they’ll charge out of the chute, calves have their necks twisted as they are violently slammed into the ground, and horses are viciously spurred into bucking. “Retirement” is a one-way trip to the slaughterhouse. In 2022, when cruelty to animals is condemned, the rodeo mind-set must evolve. —Jennifer O’Connor, PETA Foundation| Norfolk, Virginia

Handheld Device

In “The Cutting Edge”(July/August 2022), about the stone tool from the Homa Peninsula, I was disappointed to learn that “visitors to the Smithsonian will not get to hold the tool.” Why not? How simple it would be to take a cast of the stone, produce replicas and let people have a hands-on experience! I know I’d love to grip and inspect a tool made by an early hominin. —Sam Stone | Norfolk, Massachusetts

New Energy

While it is comforting that resistance to change from wood to coal is a part of human nature (“Fueling the Future,”July/August 2022), we simply don’t have the luxury of a 60-plus-year-long lead time to switch from coal and oil to renewables. —Leslie Basel | Seattle

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This article is a selection from the September issue of Smithsonian magazine