Letters to the Editor

An Englishman’s opinion

I don’t believe I have read a sillier article than this one, ever (“Dizzy over Lizzie,” Metro Times, July 2-8). Not only is Seagle’s “method” completely unoriginal, it is effectively a pyramid scheme. To, as writer Ronit Feldman says, “Find the two numbers that will multiply to 36 and also add to 13, the middle number,” one needs to solve a quadratic equation — the exact thing she was setting out to do in the first place!

Not only did Feldman not do the simple fact-checking that would have revealed this, but the tone of her article is misleading throughout, where it is not plain wrong.

Perhaps the most appalling thing that Feldman unintentionally revealed is the innumeracy that is rampant among high school mathematics teachers. That Seagle would set out to find an original method is admirable — that her teachers lack the aptitude to recognize it for snake oil is downright scary. —Konstantin Kakaes, science and technology correspondent, The Economist, [email protected], London, England

One bright girl

How very nice for a high school student to figure this out. It is very similar to the method presented on page 390 of the book Teaching Secondary School Mathematics Techniques and Enrichment Units, Third Edition, by Alfred S. Poasmentier and Jay Stepelman. I have used their method for years in teaching factoring.

Congratulations to a very sharp student. —Al Dow, [email protected], Chillicothe, Mo.

Look harder

Hey, Jack Lessenberry: What kind of media bending are you doing by trying to identify Dean with McCarthy and McGovern because they attracted new and young voters (“Whose flag shall we fly?” Metro Times, July 9-15)? So did Kennedy and Clinton, who were both very successful presidents. And Clinton’s having been just a governor of a Southern state didn’t make him incapable of dealing with Congress.

Yes, Dean sounds like somewhat of an ideologue, but you are dealing with an Ideologue (with a capital I) in Bush. Carter was too busy listening to God, whose messages are easily scrambled. Dean is much more concerned with the realities faced by his constituencies — jobs and health care — and with the Constitution. Take another, harder look. —Ingrid Wiegand, [email protected], New York, N.Y.

Green thoughts

I take issue with the continual presentation of Howard Dean as a “progressive” and/or decent choice for those who choose to vote Democratic in the 2004 election.

Dean has said explicitly that he is “not a liberal.” (Neither am I. I prefer “radical.”) He has long been in bed with big business in Vermont, owing to his allegiance to the ideas and implementation of NAFTA. He’s as much a militarist as many of the GOP, repeatedly stating his desire for the United States to have the “strongest military in the world,” despite the fact that we could be better spending that $360 billion elsewhere. He’s wedded to the idea of continuing the failed drug war, as he vetoed the marijuana reform bill that had tortuously crawled through the Vermont Legislature. He supports the death penalty. His idea for ‘universal’ health care still ties the application of said care to whether or not someone is employed and still includes the for-profit insurance companies that are the main opponents in getting any broad-based plan across. —Marc Reichardt, chair, Green Party of Michigan, [email protected], Ann Arbor

Who needs you?

It’s so annoying when straight people like Jack Lessenberry oversimplify the struggle gay people go through every day (“Hard-boiled sex & other stuff,” Metro Times, July 2-8). Gay folks suffer discrimination every day. Not just from employers, landlords and family members, but from strangers and even friends. It can feel like bleeding to death from a thousand paper cuts. Because of this we are usually the toughest bitches in any crowd. We don’t need a pat on the back from condescending liberal straight guys who just want to let us know that they think we’re OK. Don’t do us any favors. And please, don’t compare sexual orientation to hard-boiled eggs. You’re not as smart as you think you are. —William Hudson, [email protected], Detroit

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