Rise of the Machine

3 minute read

Re “Quantum Leap” [Feb. 17]: Hats off to you, Lev Grossman, for your lucid and informative article on quantum computing!
Susan Giegerich,

Grossman names the male physicists, calls them “highly influential” and “internationally respected.” Meanwhile the unnamed female physicist is described as holding a “bake-off” between quantum and classical computers. There has been much gnashing of teeth over why the number of women choosing physics at university has flatlined at 20% despite strenuous attempts by U.K. universities to boost numbers. Perhaps the answer lies with everyday sexism, of which this is another example.
Valerie Jamieson,

Fixing France
Re “Monsieur Reform” [Feb. 17]: While France has a great need of extensive fixing, 70 years or so of history tells us that socialists never achieved anything other than social turmoil and skyrocketing public deficits. They were in charge in the ’30s, the ’50s, the ’80s and certainly had the opportunities to fix whatever was to be fixed. But this never happened. Not that the moderate-conservative Gaullist party did any better. France is in deep trouble, and no savior has emerged. Arguably, those who could be are working somewhere else, outside of politics.
André Marquand,
St.-Raphaël, France

President François Hollande is good for speaking, smiling and laughing, but terribly bad for managing France. Americans are impressed with his wars in Africa, but he is a catastrophe for our country.
Raymond Riche,
La Baume-de-Transit, France

Go With the Flow
Re “Talk of Water Wars Is Hot Air” [Feb. 17]: With regard to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile, I just can’t help but wonder why the Egyptians were not able to see the matter (as Ethiopia did) with clear vision and pragmatism, which is a win-win solution. As the author of the article stated, my hope is that, at the 11th hour, the Egyptians come to their senses and that mutual interest prevails.
Sultan Feyissa,
Addis Ababa

Business Unusual
Re “China’s Netherworld of Shadow Finance” [Feb. 17]: The tragic story of Zeng Chengjie, whether conman or businessman, is a moving one. Perhaps the trust that he and other entrepreneurs won from those thousands of citizen lenders could be harnessed and directed toward more regulated (and sustainable) investments. The state should, on the one hand, encourage and nurture an investment-savvy population and, on the other, implement laws impartially to protect those raising capital.
John Haslette,
Bielsko-Biala, Poland

Horror Picture Show
The picture in Lightbox [Feb. 17] is one of the most sickening I have seen in a long time. A rebel in the Central African Republic is dragged on the ground and is about to get slashed by a soldier wielding a sharp knife, while onlookers complacently watch. Where were the vaunted French troops Hollande is so proud of having sent to restore order? Probably well entrenched in their compound, from which they don’t venture very far for fear of casualties. Shame!
Jean-Louis Desplat,
St.-Lô, France

Showing such acts maintains the negative image that all Africans are somewhat barbaric, need rescue or are hopeless. The picture was disrespectful to your readers and the poor man, who was not only brutally murdered but also made fodder for voyeuristic viewing.
Funmi Balogun-Alexander,
Addis Ababa

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