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Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of March 21, 2011

Readers write in about the power of the Internet to transform – or not – our physical world and the merits of US involvement in supporting Middle East democracies.

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Web can't change everything

While I do agree with Bill Davidow's Feb. 28 opinion ("The Internet is about to change our physical world") that the Internet changes the way we shop and receive mail, it is an overstatement to say that it will change our physical world to the extent he believes. It is true that our homes are not optimized for the digital age, but they can easily be optimized for it, without the need for a construction boom.

Personal interactions cannot and will not just disappear. Mr. Davidow says that we will increasingly conference and work at home, changing travel patterns and prompting new kinds of cities. But people travel for reasons deeper than just speaking and agreeing face to face. There's something to be said about in-person interactions, which engender a trust and confidence that can't be replaced.

 

Obama's role in Arab world

The Feb. 28 editorial on "Obama's democracy cred" proposes that President Obama beef up his policies to support democracies in unstable Middle Eastern countries. But it seems to only mildly oppose Mr. Obama's hesitant actions during the recent uprisings, which have cast a negative light on American foreign policy and made it seem at times as if Americans support dictatorships over freedom.

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