Letters to the Editor
Readers write about how e-readers open up new possibilities for book lovers, why there should be a science Wordnik, and why labels don't accurately describe generations.
An e-reader opens up new possibilities for book lovers
In regard to the March 18 Opinion piece, "Kindle e-reader: A Trojan horse for free thought": One thing this commentary fails to mention is the unbelievable contribution that the Kindle e-reader and its Sony counterpart offer to the visually impaired.
There are so few books in large print and the weight and size of them make it very difficult to read when you have to hold one up six inches from your eyes. These devises have opened up a whole world of new possibilities, including the ability of the visually impaired to read books that are not available in large print.
The Sony reader currently has 600,000 books available and Google, Sony's partner, is releasing more and more. The possibilities are endless and so meaningful.
I am a very happy owner of the recently released Kindle 2. Not only do I find myself reading more, I also find myself buying "real" hard-copy books for friends and for myself. If I read a book on the Kindle that I especially enjoy, I buy a hard copy for myself to reread or to lend to friends. I also order the book at Amazon and have it shipped to friends in distant states.
Books on the Kindle are less than half the price of the hard copy, as are newspapers and magazines. I especially like newspapers on the Kindle because I no longer have to wait for the paper to be thrown in my driveway. Rather, I get up in the morning and turn on my Kindle, and there it is, waiting for me to read.
This technology is no different than videotapes, which everyone thought would kill the movie industry. Today, DVD sales are a major source of income for movie studios. I predict the same jump in income for publishers and authors from the new Kindle technology.
The case for a science Wordnik
Regarding the March 16 article, "New online dictionary redefines 'look it up'": Three cheers for lexicographer Erin McKean's revolutionary concept "Wordnik," which marries traditional lexicography to the computer age.
As I'm sure Ms. McKean well knows, Oxford University Press publishes a great many dictionaries devoted to a wide range of special areas of interest, one of which is of wide general interest and is titled "Science." I'd like to suggest that she give some thought to creating a "Science Wordnik." Such a device could greatly enhance science literacy in the world, for which there is an urgent need.
Ignore generation labels
Regarding the March 23 Opinion piece, "Gen Y: the next 'Greatest Generation'?": There is no "greatest generation." The term refers to the title of a book written by a TV news anchor, and although I haven't read the book, I doubt that it reveals much about how folks who were forced to endure both the Great Depression and World War II really felt about their circumstances.
Also, author Sara Libby says that Sept. 11 defined the "Millennial" generation's adolescence. But my generation grew up under the threat of nuclear annihilation.
The threat of terrorism today, coupled with yet another economic downturn, is just another reminder that Americans have never been allowed to live their lives in peace for very long without the threat of some catastrophic upheaval just around the corner.
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