Sharing information on the Internet – for the greater good

The possibilities of the OpenCourseWare movement described in the Jan. 4 article, "How to go to M.I.T. for free," is exciting news that brightens the future for everyone worldwide. Free access to the content of university courses could serve to unite humanity in tackling a host of environmental, economic, and political problems. This type of information sharing might even encourage reasonable solutions to wars and conflicts. Instead of training youth for battle, government services in all countries would benefit enormously by providing low-cost, useful knowledge for every citizen through $100 laptops with Internet connections, as noted in your Jan. 5 editorial, "Laptops: easy fix for global education?"

OpenCourseWare could also bring purpose to a prison population wrestling with boredom. And e-mail requests that I receive from French West Africans asking for aid and opportunities to study in America cause me to recommend that English for beginners find a prominent place in the OpenCourseWare movement.

Breaking the cycle of ignorance, poverty, and isolation through self-study via Internet access is a practical, peaceful means to bring democracy, cultural understanding, and religious tolerance to people of all ages and interests.
Anne Hofflund
San Diego

No one deserves rape

Regarding the Dec. 28 article, "In dorms, men and women now room together": Unfortunately, when the author quoted me in this story, he juxtaposed my concern about incidents of rape in coed college dorms with my belief that women must show themselves respect if they want men to respect them.

Some people have thus interpreted my comments to mean that I believe that women who dress immodestly are asking to be raped, or at least deserve it if they do get raped. This is not what I meant in the least.

While I at first shared my concern about the potential negative situations created by coed dorms, I then was addressing my thoughts about modesty more generally – about a culture in which modesty is not valued by either sex and there has been a near-total breakdown of courtship and dating rituals.

No rape victim ever deserves the physical and emotional suffering she undergoes.
Meghan Grizzle
Cambridge, Mass.

Reaching out is harder than lashing out

Thank you for the Jan. 8 article, "An African archbishop finds common ground in Virginia." While Archbishop Peter Akinola has energy, enthusiasm, and dedication to recommend him, I can only reflect that it is much easier to unite people against a common enemy than it is to challenge them to reach out to what is misunderstood – in this case homosexuality.

Whatever language one uses – biblical or political – speaking out harshly against a particular group of people is hate, pure and simple. The message Jesus brought was to love our neighbors, but 2,000 years later, some clergy are still passing by the downtrodden traveler.
Karen Owen
Warrenville, Ill.

Use Pentagon budget to fund Iraq efforts

Regarding the Jan. 10 article, "How will Bush sell his new Iraq plan to the public?": Any new money for increased effort in Iraq should come from existing funds in the Pentagon's budget that have been appropriated for weapons development. It isn't "star wars" weapons that are killing our troops or that our troops need.
A. Nettles

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