Readers write: Power of science, regional change, enjoying and learning

Letters to the editor for the April 24, 2017 weekly magazine.

Alfredo Sosa/Staff
An abandoned coal preparation plant operated by the Kentucky May Coal co. rusts away on February 28, 2017 in Knott County, Kentucky.

Power of science

John Yemma captures some of the stellar glow of science in his March 20 Upfront piece, “The pure spirit of science.” But the gleam of science goes well beyond the wonder of new discoveries and the excitement of dedicated workers. It is the scientific mode of thought that can transform our nation and the world. Scientific thinking provides a logical, inspired pathway to solve problems and trigger scintillating inspiration. Let’s hope that we can find some way to utilize more of this vital “national resource.”

Dr. Allan Hauer

Corrales, N.M.

Regional change

Regarding the April 10 cover story, “Appalachia’s new trail”: I am encouraged that some people are accepting that coal is not coming back to eastern Kentucky in any big way. The days of high school graduates getting a high-wage job without college or specialized training are long gone. Some people choose to cast blame and feel sorry for themselves while others find a way to forge their own future. I applaud Russell Huff’s entrepreneurship and desire to stay in eastern Kentucky to be part of the solution.

Idaho County, where I live, faces similar struggles. Logging and timber manufacturing are traditional industries that used to offer many unskilled labor jobs. Unlike many small towns in the West, Grangeville, Idaho, is fortunate to still have a sawmill. Most of the operations are mechanized with few low-skill-level jobs. Skilled, technical-type jobs dominate. The diversification of new ideas and small businesses in the area is slow, but there are signs of hope.

Norma Staaf

Harpster, Idaho

Enjoying and learning

Regarding the April 3 Home Forum essay, “A golden host of my own”: Christopher Andreae’s articles are always delightful, and we learn something, too! More, please!

Dr. Karen Fanta Zumbrunn

Princeton, N.J.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.