High-tech employment no 'joy ride'

Regarding your June 6 article "Today's hot job recruits: dropouts": the piece focuses exclusively on a very small segment of the population, namely young college students or dropouts who have attended good universities and live in areas where high-tech growth is quite rapid. No mention is made of older IT workers or those who do not live in the major technology centers such as Silicon Valley, Calif., Los Angeles, or Austin, Texas.

And while there is plenty of data regarding the salaries and stock options that are paid to technology workers in certain areas, there is no reminder that the cost of living in locations like Silicon Valley is significantly higher than in other regions of the United States.

Unfortunately, articles such as this that look exclusively at the business side of high tech fail to also examine what all these high-tech workers are actually developing. One would be hard-pressed to find an article on biotechnology that talked about how much scientists were getting paid, as opposed to discussing the impact of such things as genetically modified organisms and the Human Genome Project.

Finally, the Monitor, combined with other major media organizations, have run hundreds of articles that give the impression that anyone who is at least somewhat skilled in the high-tech sector is on a euphoric joy ride through the economy, hopping from one pre-IPO start-up to another. As a high school student and enthusiastic computer user myself, this is a nice image to think of. But please, tell me something I haven't already heard.

Abiel Reinhart Junction City, Ore.

Tamil Tigers deserve bad press

Your May 31 article "Sri Lanka: under siege but intact" was accurate and objective. I have been traveling to the island nation and, as the article points out, the troubles between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils go beyond its colonial history.

However, I was disappointed that you didn't discuss additional reasons for the US to put the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the terrorist list. They're mainly drug trafficking, money laundering, human trafficking, and killing innocent people that do not agree with them. As the article points out, the LTTE has also resisted the democratic path, settling instead on an armed struggle.

Chris Silva Cupertino, Calif.

Reality TV hinders one's own reality

Your June 2 article "Get real," on the rise of "reality" shows on TV, neglects to mention the most fundamental aspect of the psychology of these shows. The vicarious experience provides an "opportunity" to indirectly experience others' real emotions and challenges, which in some cases can be quite intense. The real irony is that this experience comes at a price, namely preventing one from experiencing one's own life fully, with all its associated genuine personal feelings.

Rafael K. Reyes San Francisco

South Africa and AIDS

Regarding your June 2 article "Chastity tests: unusual tool for public health": I thank you for highlighting this curious virginity testing. It points to the dire situation faced in South Africa, other Southern African countries, and increasingly the rest of the continent - as well as to the potential for child abuse, gender bias, and other human-dignity and civil-rights violations. Once again, you have proven your mettle.

However, regarding the following statement, "An African folk belief that sex with a virgin can cure AIDS puts virgins here at risk of rape," how can you make such a broad generalization about so large a land?

N.J. Unaka Boston

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