Housework: cleaning and laundry or mowing the lawn?

What is housework? In the entertaining July 6 article,"The artful dodge of housework," housework is considered in a loosely traditional, domestic-chores fashion: washing, folding, dusting, vacuuming, etc.

A recent study cited, conducted by Rudy Seward at the University of North Texas, found that fathers spend an average of six hours a week on housework, "down from eight hours a week in 1989."

It would be helpful to know which chores were measured in this study, and whether men over the last 15 years have really spent more time duck-hunting, bass-fishing, etc. Or were they, perhaps, contributing to the family in ways not measured by such studies?

The article was right on in many respects, and yet the very seminal question "What does it take to run a modern household?" is still missing from the discussion. Are there, perhaps, tasks other than "domestic chores" that are necessary to keeping a healthy and vibrant home running?

Are there any tenured sociologists out there measuring women's contributions to other kinds of housework, work traditionally deemed as male: mowing the lawn, shoveling the driveway, painting the house, cleaning the gutters, staining the deck, cleaning the grill - you know, those kinds of things?
John Albright
St. Paul, Minn.

High detainee standards within reach

In Max Boot's July 7 Opinion piece, "Terror-suspect treatment in perspective," he plays the same old game - we're not as bad as (insert here the name of your favorite villain) so stop making a fuss.

In the Iraq war, we have not committed atrocities as horrific as those of Pol Pot or Stalin, but neither should we be let off in comparison to the numerous colonial powers named whose brutality was part and parcel of their rule.

As Americans, we believe in self-determination and abhor colonialism. We don't judge our troops by impossible standards; we judge them by the standards enshrined in the Constitution and the Geneva accords.

Millions of Americans have abided by these standards in times of war and served this country honorably. We should expect no less in this conflict, or in any future war.
Grif Fariello
San Francisco

Media coverage could help find Natalee

In the July 8 article, "In Aruba, resentment over a storm of US media," a media critic for The Washington Post says, "the [Natalee] Holloway coverage is being way overdone."

You have to be kidding! When Shasta Groene was found alive and in good physical condition in Idaho earlier this month, thanks were given to the media for keeping the story mainstream, and for bringing awareness to the young girl's appearance.

Without such coverage, she probably would not have been found when she was. If some disruption in Aruba for the time being means that Natalee has a better chance of being found, good for the media for sticking with the story!
Jessica Rose Stopes

Robots must not replace humans in space

Regarding the July 7 article "Why man ... and not machine?": The question of whether robots or people should go into space is a simple one: Do we care what we learn about other places enough to want to experience them ourselves?

Even though missions such as the Mars landers have generated some interest, they don't stir the fire in people that putting people, instead of robots, there would.

Robots are a valuable tool in the exploration of space, but even if they can accomplish things more cheaply, going into space should not just be a matter of cost.
Philipp Hromek
Barrie, Ontario

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