Letters to the Editor

Readers write about developing plug-in hybrid technology, fining NFL show-offs, the benefits of antiplagarism software, and family friendly prisons.

Use plug-in technology in school buses, and beyond

Thanks for the article, "It's a plug-in hybrid – and it's a school bus," from April 2. Hopefully it will spur more interest in greater efficiency for everyday transportation. Hybrid school buses are really diesel-electric buses with a plug-in addition. New York City began purchasing diesel-electric buses years ago because officials found that this technology improved fuel economy by up to 40 percent. Perhaps the Monitor should consider publishing an article on New York's evaluation of the buses' performance.

We will need more power plants and a strengthened electrical grid as more electrical energy is used to recharge batteries for plug-in vehicles of all kinds. If this is not done, it will probably lead to grid outages more severe than those that have occurred in the past.

Therefore, plug-in adapters need to be designed so that the batteries of diesel-electric vehicles can supply power to the grid as well as take power from it. Then, perhaps, people will also be able to power their homes and businesses via their vehicles when the grid fails due to overload or natural causes such as storms.

G. Stanley Doore
Silver Spring, Md.

Fine athletes for bad behavior

In response to Jim Klobuchar's Opinion piece, "NFL codes of conduct in the entertainment age," from April 13: Mr. Klobuchar doesn't begin to cover all that has gone wrong with the NFL and its out-of-control players. As if the off-field conduct were not enough, the recent trend towards allowing the taunting antics of players on the field is worse, as it actually impinges on the game itself.

I would think the NFL would have figured out that it is a real turnoff for viewers to watch some overpaid running back with mediocre talent strut and parade around the end zone after a two-yard run when his team is still behind by 17 points in the fourth quarter. My tactic to control that kind of behavior would be to charge fines large enough to match the athletes' oversized salaries and egos: Fine them $500,000 for each infraction and see how long it takes them to clean up their act.

Mark Rohlfs
Philomath, Ore.

Teachers love antiplagiarism device

In response to the article, "Students sue antiplagiarism website for rights to their homework," from April 10: I had to laugh when I read this article. We use "Turnitin" (www.turnitin.com) at our school, and it is very successful at educating students about what plagiarism is and what the results of plagiarism are.

I hope that the four students who are suing Turnitin do not win their case. However, that is up to the courts to decide.

As for Michael Smit, who says he wrote papers with marketable ideas during college: If one of his ideas ever gets used by someone else, perhaps he will praise Turnitin because the site's storage of his work will provide evidence of exactly when he formulated his idea.

As a teacher, I say, "Go, turnitin.com!"

Bruce Doig
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Make prisons family friendly

In response to the April 11 article, "Serving prison time as a family": The idea of putting entire families in prison is the most humane thing I have read in a very long time! Certainly more money needs to be spent on a family-friendly prison for education, better food, and so on. But what a peaceful, civilizing effect it must have on the prisoners to be allowed to maintain a family life.

Joan Montgomerie

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 will appear in print and 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@csps.com.

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