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A cheer for Chien
A word about our sponsors
Coach weighs in
The eye of the beholder
Fruitful addition
A courageous study
Let's hear from others
Denying the facts

A cheer for Chien

Comments on Maria Blackburn's article ["Professor Chien, Diplomat," June]: With a similar background as Professor [Chih-Yung] Chien, whom I knew personally during my years as a physics graduate student, I don't believe this article does enough to describe the tremendous effort that Chien put into the Hopkins-Nanjing Center effort. I should know, since I retired from the federal government after 21 years, and I had firsthand experience in dealing with two cultures and two systems such as the United States and China. Also, if there were no Steve Muller, there would not have been a center either.

An old Chinese saying: A good horse still needs a good rider. Muller was the good rider to provide direction and support to a good horse, Chien, to finish the task.

David C. Wang, A&S '73 (PhD),
'84 (MS), '85 (MS)

A word about our sponsors

We were pleased that writer Jim Duffy mentioned the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing partnership with Peking Union Medical College School of Nursing in his article "20 Questions: China Edition" [June]. However, we want to underscore that this unique initiative, which offered the first doctoral program in nursing in China, is funded by a grant from the China Medical Board (CMB). CMB is an independent foundation that was started in 1914 as the second major program of the Rockefeller Foundation. It is dedicated to advancing health in Asia, especially China, by strengthening research and education in public health, nursing, and medicine.

Victoria Mock, PhD, RN, Director
Marie T. Nolan, PhD, RN, Co-Director
Doctoral Program Partnership Peking Union Medical College
School of Nursing and Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

Coach weighs in

Thank you for the wonderful story about the unsung heroes of our JHU athletics teams — our dedicated parents [ "Home Team," April]. They have made incredible sacrifices and commitments for the success of their student-athletes and our teams. Dale Keiger did a great job of highlighting our fantastic men's lacrosse parents, and we are deeply grateful for all these parents do for the young men and our lacrosse program.

However, the article would have been even better if Mr. Keiger had expanded its scope to include the parents of athletes who pursue other sports here at Johns Hopkins. It's important for your readers to know that the same story could have been written about any of our athletes' families. Our teams are outstanding across the board. This year, Johns Hopkins surpassed a previous best of 14th by finishing 10th in the final U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup standings, rankings that acknowledge the country's top overall athletics programs and reflect the strength of an entire program, not individual teams. The skill and drive of every athlete was required to achieve this prestigious ranking, and their excellence was fostered by fathers, mothers, and siblings who taught by example the values the article described so well: courage, perseverance, commitment, and teamwork.

Our athletes and programs succeed, in large part, because of the uncompromising moral and financial support offered by the parents and families of all Blue Jays teams. I want to personally thank each and every one of them for what they have done for our student-athletes and for Johns Hopkins University.

David G. Pietramala
Men's Head Lacrosse Coach

The eye of the beholder

Richard Halpern's observations of [Norman] Rockwell's work ["Neither Simple Nor Innocent," April] remind me of the patient who was asked by a psychiatrist to identify 10 geometric figures. As each figure was drawn and presented, the patient described a sexual fantasy. The psychiatrist advised the patient that he displayed signs of sexual perversion. The patient replied, "I'm not a pervert — you're the one drawing the dirty pictures!"

Edward C. Perko, Engr '54
Potomac, Maryland

Fruitful addition

This letter refers to "Golomb's Gambits" in the June issue. I would like to make an addition to the list of occupations that end in "monger." My Shorter OED says a "costermonger" was originally an apple-seller. The word was used in London to refer to someone who sells fruits, vegetables, fish, etc., in the street from a barrow. It was also used as a term of abuse, for example, by Shakespeare in 2 Hen. IV, I, ii, 119. "Coster" comes from "costard," Old French or Anglo-French for apple. "Coste" means rib, and is used to refer to a ribbed apple or an apple of large size. I first came across the word "costermonger" while I was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins in the late 1960s reading about Jewish immigrants in London in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Stephen L. Sniderman
Cumberland, Maryland

A courageous study

Thank you for "The Number" by Dale Keiger [February]. I am an Egyptian who spent six years at Johns Hopkins for my bachelor's and master of health sciences degrees. With every year that passes I am more appreciative of the relevant and applicable skills and information that I learned at Hopkins. Many of my classes were taught by Dr. Gil Burnham and Dr. Les Roberts, and I remember both very fondly — Dr. Burnham's distinctive way of talking and Dr. Roberts' skill at getting all students transfixed in their seats as he passionately talked about latrines. But what I distinctly recall in both men is how they always weaved ethics into their classes and their lectures. From far away here in Egypt, I remember reading the first article about the Iraqi mortality estimations they published in The Lancet. I am proud that I have had the opportunity to be taught by both men, and I think they must be proud for having the courage to apply their skills to such an important and thorny issue. What is happening in Iraq since its "liberation" has left many of us in this part of the world initially shocked and angry, and now numb. The least we can do is get out the cold hard numbers.

Maha Aon, A&S '00, SPH '02
Cairo, Egypt

Let's hear from others

For two issues now, you have published letters that equate opposition with the conduct of the Iraqi war to "hatred of America" [April, June]. This charge is irrational, deeply offensive, and itself . . . un-American. I am sure you have an abundance of letters, including some from thoughtful conservatives who support the current plan, more deserving of space in the magazine — individuals not requiring an education in what this country stands for. Can we please hear from them instead?

Mark Murphy, A&S '90 (PhD)
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Denying the facts

When I received the February magazine, I was proud of my former school to have done the [Iraqi casualty] study and to have the courage to publish its awful message. It is understandable that good patriots would not like the estimated number of victims of a war that was intended to be for a good purpose. But the emotions in most of the letters to the editor [April] are going in a strange direction, as if the amount of the estimate would matter or the mention of any victim would hurt the feelings of a good American. Some of the letters [seem to be] clear evidence of a blunt denial of facts, independent of the scientific method.

If I were an American citizen, I could not find words of false pride such as that expressed in the letters — just as I was silent and sorry and full of guilty feelings having survived the raids on Dresden and becoming old enough to realize the atrocities committed by the German people. We loved American soldiers as liberators, and we accepted their help to stop our own aggressors. This time, it is not as easy to claim that would-be aggression was sufficient reason for preventive warfare. I wished the authors and the magazine's policy would have enjoyed more supportive comments instead of the unfounded refutation of sad and alarming figures, "numbers" that reflect results of available information and are indicators impossible to deny.

Rainer Frentzel-Beyme, MD, SPH '72
Bremen, Germany

Return to September 2007 Table of Contents

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