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Evaluating Advances in Science

The "Directions in Science" issue, Jan. 2, is fantastic. The article "New Legal Tools Needed to Preserve Earth," is particularly excellent - exactly on target in its analysis of two major shortcomings in today's political-economic system for dealing with global issues, environmental and otherwise.

The author concludes: "Until those tools are overhauled the environment - and our survival - will remain in peril."Unfortunately, he offers little reason to be optimistic that such an overhaul is forthcoming. The article, in fact, does not portray a very optimistic point of view. I fear that with this viewpoint, the article is accurate as well. Andreas von Flotow, Cambridge, Mass. Assoc. Prof., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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