Letters to the Editor

Readers write about architecture influencing mathematical breakthroughs, goods made in China, and immigration policies.

Architecture influencing breakthroughs in math

Thanks for the July 30 article, "Chasing down zeros at math camp." I was amazed at the disconnect between the esoteric discipline practiced by members of the American Institute of Math and the architecture of the new headquarters they are building for themselves. What patterns of thought brought them to the crenelated Spanish castle design that is pictured? Is there some vague connection between the origins of mathematics in Mesopotamia and the later occupation of Spain by Muslim conquerors?

There is a conviction among many architects these days that buildings ought to somehow express in their form and detail the activities they are intended to house. I hope when the building is completed, we can hear from the mathematicians whether their ability to break through math barriers will be in any way shaped by the architecture of the building.

John Stopfel
Rockport, Mass.

Issues with products from China

As someone who has learned to love creating their own items from scratch, whether it be clothing, a meal, or a decorative accessory, the Aug. 7 book review, "Escape from 'Made in China,' " gave me a feeling that we are assaulted by the market of items not made locally. I am dedicated to not shopping where the majority of stock is "Made in China," and it brings a puzzled look to those with whom I share my decision.

Even my daughter could not see what seemed obvious to me when she announced that she had saved enough money to buy a hand-held electronic pet. I explained that her independent decision to buy this toy was dictated by the manufacturer who was appealing to the spending power of a 10-year-old. Nonetheless, she purchased the digital pet and has played with it passionately ever since.

I would not like to try the experiment written about in "A Year Without 'Made in China:' One Family's True Adventure in the Global Economy," but I know it is important for us all to be aware and alert to this far-reaching flood of consumer goods that is affecting our everyday lives.

Laurel Bracey
Las Cruces, N.M.

For every producer of tainted Chinese food and substandard children's toys, there is a corporation here in America importing these goods at huge profits. Who are these companies and why have they not been held accountable? Shouldn't the companies making the most money from this be responsible for their own lack of oversight on the products they sell?

Barbara Johnson
Sequim, Wash.

Problems with immigration

Having read the Aug. 3 article, "In Central America, child migrants now face perils alone," I am compelled to respond. The primary attraction that has sparked the illegal migration northward for the children mentioned in the article is the lure of jobs and money and an easy entry into the US, not the chance to be reunited with family.

This type of migration is not new; this dilemma has been played out for over 100 years now. Politicians have long traditionally downplayed and refused to enforce our laws on immigration, knowing full well that they could eventually exploit these illegal immigrants, particularly their children. This is without doubt the most reprehensible posture of all. The fact is, this lax law enforcement has contributed to the creation of a huge illegal labor pool in this country, a type of indentured servitude if you will. This is outrageous, especially when you consider it was done intentionally.

Larry Butler
Delta, Colo.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to Readers Write and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to OpEd.

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