Readers write: Buryatia coverage, book search, wildfire precautions, science at home

Letters to the editor for the Sept. 17, 2018 weekly magazine.

Valeriy Melnikov/Sputnik/AP
Students of the Damba Darzha Zayayev Dashi Choinkhorlin Buddhist university are seen at the Ivolginsky datsan, Buryatia.

Buryatia coverage

I was delighted to see the five-part series on Buryatia in the Monitor Daily. My sons and I spent two months in Mongolia on a bicycle tour in 1998. We went to visit Mongolian friends who came to my town – Golden, Colo. – to study at the Colorado School of Mines. Several of them lived with me for months. It is not easy to find current, accurate information on this area, so I am delighted the Monitor undertook this series.

Portia Masterson

Lyle, Wash.

Book search

Regarding the July 30 Home Forum essay, “The book next to the one I was looking for”: I have always wondered whether there is a significant difference in the percentages of books checked out based on the shelf location. Are books on the middle shelf more popular than those on the top or bottom shelves?

Jeff Payne

Trenton, N.C.

Wildfire precautions

Regarding the Aug. 3 Monitor Daily article “Wildfires force California to reckon with a not-so-new normal”: As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I found this article to be relevant, timely, and valuable. I hope the citizens of California start putting pressure on local governments to stop allowing developers to build communities in areas that are at high risk of wildfires. Thanks!

Dee Ann Tortorice

Walnut Creek, Calif.

Science at home

I loved the try-this-at-home science experiments in the Science & Nature section in the Aug. 20 & 27 issue. What fun! My mom and I also read about funambulism, aka slacklining or tightrope walking. Thanks for the fun and interesting reads.

Maribeth Condon

Traverse City, Mich.

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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.”

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