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Bostonia: The Alumni Magazine of Boston University

Summer 2009 Table of Contents

Letters To The Editor

Bostonia welcomes readers’ reactions and encourages expressions of opinion,
pro and con. Submit your letter below.

Waste Paper

My daughter is an alum, and I saw the article “Should Universities and Newspapers Get Married?” (“Perspectives,” Spring 2009) in her copy of Bostonia and was immediately outraged. At the peak of newspapers, the United States was consuming 111 pounds of newsprint per capita every year. It takes roughly two pounds of wood to make one pound of paper. That means that a thirty-five-foot pine tree, twenty-two inches in circumference (or the equivalent), was cut for every person just for newsprint.

Those who access more information should take responsibility for its environmental cost. The carbon footprint is enormous. We must consider not just the energy costs involved, but the loss of oxygen-producing trees. The EPA just announced that it was going to regulate carbon dioxide. Maybe it should start with newspapers.

Now information can be provided electronically without wasting trees. I thought that BU would be in the forefront of environmental action, not at the rear.

Yaakov “Jim” Watkins Denver, Colorado

The “marriage” of newspapers and colleges is a positively stunning thing to imagine. Take the most zealously leftist stratum of American society, subsidize it with taxpayer money, inculcate naive college students in blind veneration of the most liberal of political regimes, and claim to produce “journalism.”

Journalism is not the offspring of this marriage; the child of this union is named Pravda.

Brian Sinclair West Roxbury, Massachusetts

Setting the Record Straight

I’m writing to you in regards to an article titled “Gulf Trip Celebrates BU Excellence” (“CommonWealth,” Spring 2009). In the sixth paragraph, which reads, “In addition, BU alumni from the six nations that share Arabian Gulf coastline...” I would like to point out that there is no body of water in existence called the Arabian Gulf. The gulf I believe the author is referring to is the Persian Gulf.

A correction should be made in the article, and an apology should be given for the inaccuracy of these statements.

Please understand that Iranians have fought hard to keep the name Persian Gulf. I know that this complaint may seem silly to you, but imagine you read an article in a prominent magazine or journal that referred to the United States of America as the United States Beneath Canada.

Furthermore, as evidence I would like to cite UN Working Paper No. 61. The working paper states that the official name of the body of water to the south of Iran shall be named the Persian Gulf.

Omeed Askari (CAS’10) President, BU Persian Student Cultural Club

Ed. note: Thank you for pointing out that Persian Gulf is the proper name for this body of water. Bostonia regrets the error.

Sargent Camp Closes

After reading about the imminent closing of Sargent Camp (“CommonWealth,” Spring 2009) in my son’s Bostonia, I was transported back to the years 1964 through 1968. My father, Peter Sorgi (LAW’50), was an alum, which enabled us to attend the Sargent family camp. As “city” kids from Quincy, Massachusetts, we looked forward to our time in the woods. The canoeing on the pond, campfires, and day trips to Peterborough and Mount Monadnock were the highlight of our summer. The mosquitoes, the so-so food in the mess hall, and the lumpy cot mattresses all added to the experience. Those vacations were the best ones of my life! I bid a fond farewell to Sargent Camp.

Claudia Sorgi Hingham, Massachusetts

Credit Where It Is Due

I enjoyed “Sounds of Silence” (Spring 2009) very much. It is a pity, however, that Neural Signals, Inc., and the work we have done for over four years with Erik Ramsey was not more prominent. From 2004 to Frank Guenther’s arrival two years ago, we did an immense amount of work; I found your summary way too short and not inclusive enough. For example, we provided evidence that Erik could detect thirty-two of thirty-nine phonemes using neural net analyses; we detected unit firings related to imagined movements of his articulators as well as stable signals related to eye movements; and we achieved control of the cursor during a learning task and studied sensory responses, including responses to tone inputs. So, if you are publishing another piece, please mention those achievements. I fully understand writing primarily about the Guenther laboratory’s great work, and that is most appropriate. I support it fully.

Phil Kennedy, CEO, Neural Signals, Inc. Duluth, Georgia

Ed. Note: We regret that space constraints prevented us from giving full credit to Neural Signals for all its good work

The Life of O'Reilly

Thank you for publishing the excerpt from Bill O’Reilly’s book (“Alumni Books,” Spring 2009) in Bostonia online. I had been considering buying or reading it, but now I know that would be a waste of time and money. O’Reilly proves to be totally self-absorbed and to be self-deluded by a false image, since the reality is he is of limited intellect that is constantly being further diminished by an inability to look at the world with eyes not predisposed to seeing what he wants to see. Oh yes, the lack of intelligence is also clearly displayed by his insipid writing style, with its complete lack of depth.

Myron Binder (CAS’64) Mill Valley, California

Remembering a Teacher

Thank you for running the lovely obituary about Alan Holliday (“Faculty Obituaries,” Spring 2009). He was by far the best teacher I ever had at BU. He taught his students to love what they do, to be happy with who they are, and to be creative in whatever path they took. He wanted us to be happy, and he taught us how to do so. Thank you for that gift, Alan Holliday. It was money well spent.

Lauren Goldberg Zeligson (COM’93) Tulsa, Oklahoma

Money Matters

Kudos to MET lecturer Mark Passacantando (“CommonWealth,” Spring 2009) for providing basic financial education too often lacking in the college curriculum.

As someone who teaches students and recent grads how to get jobs in entertainment through my information Web site, YourIndustryInsider.com, and how to get jobs in all industries by doing one-on-one consulting and professional résumé writing through my company, Momentum Advantage Career Services, I think practical life skills training is crucial to helping our grads become successful professionals.

Recent grads often have no answer to the question, “How much money do you need to make in order to support yourself?” When I explain to my clients how to figure it out and then, once they do, help them find a job that makes them financially self-sufficient, it’s a real turning point to, dare I say it, adult life.

Jenny Yerrick Martin (COM’88) Los Angeles, California

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