Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Some letters on numbers and dates, and the tragedy of political debates on the Internet

Here are some letters ... I'll post the new ones on top as they come in:

On the oddity of looking for meaning in upcoming calendar dates:

A few years ago, I got an email from a friend informing me of an unusual occurrence. Someone had discovered that November 19, 1999 would be the last time that he date, when written out in standard form, would be composed completely of odd numbers (11/19/1999). For the next thousand years or so, there will be an even number in the date. It won't be until 1/1/3003 that an "all odd" date will occur. What did I do on that date? I went home and had a beer.

M. Argiropolis
Concord, NH

On the proposition that we need political candidate debates on the Internet:

Hello Mr. Hanania,

I just finished reading your article mentioned in the subject line and I can’t agree with you more. I have been registered to vote since I was 18 years old and was able to vote in the presidential election of ’84. I was young, enthusiastic, and not yet disillusioned by our political process. I’m now 40 yrs old and thoroughly disgusted with the people that we elect every other year. I no longer look to vote FOR someone but against the ‘other guys’ politics’. It’s a societal sickness that I liken to your description of the virus. The one question that I have for you as a man who seems willing to vent his frustrations, and has a venue for it, is do you have a suggestion for changing the situation, or are you just venting to vent? I hear the same complaint as yours all the time, I know because it’s mirrored in me as well, but I don’t hear a lot of people offering suggestions for change (for the better, that is). Do have anything to offer on this account? If so, please share it. I’m willing to listen, or read as the case may be.

Thank you for your time,

George Richardson
Las Vegas, NV

Just read your article on the upcoming on-line presidential debates, the article in which you slam the internet, the media companies that control it, and the mindless millions who read it. But most especially, you point out the fallacious promise of the technology, and its failures as a medium and as an agent of change.Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Dear God, thank you.

R West.
Buffalo New York


I just have to ask you something after reading that article. What's the point of even writing it? If what you say is true, that basically the internet is full of worthless sludge with Americans tuning into a YouTube video of a guy getting hit in the nuts over video clips of a worthwhile documentary, then no one would be reading your article. In fact, your article was at the top of the headlines list on Google News, which means it's a popular article.

Just curious,
Clay Ewing,

Thanks Clay

the point is not that is doesn;t help, but it isused the wrong way. A PEW Institute study said that most people are leaving print media for the Internet but that the majority of people reading news on the Internet are the same people who read it in papers ... in otherwords, the Internet hasn't really educated more people, just is now an alternative to the people who were already enlightened ...

Ray Hanania


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