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Blunders Among Our "Best"

Your writer erred in trivializing geography as "so 20th century" ("Best Ideas," "The Best of 2005," Cover Story, Dec. 19). Geography as a discipline studies the cultural and physical interactions of this world. Our global linkages make application of this type of knowledge strategic. Perhaps what your writer wanted to say was that location is no longer a defining parameter for work. That is the rich style of analysis I have come to anticipate from BusinessWeek.

If this seems like a curmudgeon's comments, well, yes, I have a graduate degree in geography that continues to serve me well in my business career. Having the technical skills, tools, and inclination to evaluate business problems over space as well as time results in effective solutions that actually can be implemented.

Judith A. Cichowicz


I want to congratulate you on your backward slide into the Dark Ages with "Best Leaders" (Cover Story, Dec. 19). Of the 21 leaders you recognize, only two are women: Caterina Fake of Flickr (YHOO) and Marissa Mayer of Google Inc. (GOOG). I'm especially delighted to see that you chose to depict Mayer as a leggy blond cartoon character. Nicely done. As a business owner and a woman, I want to thank you for allowing my invisibility to remain intact for 2006.

Kristina Halvorson


Re "How much is that (designer) doggie in the window?" ("Best Ideas," Cover Story, Dec. 19). Puggles are a "best idea?" Try telling that to the thousands of mutts that die in shelters every day -- some of them pug/beagle mixes -- because people see a flashy price tag and think it means a better dog. For every Puggle bought, 10 more pug/beagle mixes (without the fancy name) are killed in shelters.

I, for one, am ashamed that you would think the selling of a mixed-breed dog for a high price is a good idea. This is a scam, ripping off hapless consumers who don't know any better. The average price of a shelter dog? In Ohio, $8 and a photo I.D. can get you a Puggle. Or a Doodle, or a Cockerpoo, or just about any other mutt -- er, designer doggie -- a person could want.

Stacey Webb

Greater Ohio Boxer Rescue


There is nothing designer or magical about these dog crossbreeds. They are produced to make money, with little regard for the long-term consequences. Cross-breeding can also produce a dog that has the worst attributes of its parents. And even if the dogs themselves are wonderful, they are often purchased on an impulse, with little thought to how a dog will fit into a family's life.

Adopting a dog from a shelter or a rescue group: Now there is one of the truly "Best Ideas of 2005."

Eleanor S. Campbell

Chester, N.J.

I do border collie and Australian shepherd rescue. There are lots of advantages to purchasing or adopting an adult dog. The five windowsills in my house that have been chewed by foster puppies and the carpet that needs replacing from all the house-training I've done attest to that fact.

Tracy Daniel

Montgomery, Ala.

As a contestant on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, I feel the need to address comments made by Martha Stewart to BusinessWeek, where we were referred to as "opportunists" and "exhibitionists" ("I consider myself the visionary still," People, Dec. 19). I hoped she had been misquoted since her entire cast has given her the professional courtesy of not voicing any negativity about her.

As a professional and a business owner, I came to The Apprentice: Martha Stewart with some apprehension. As contestants, we gave up weeks of our personal and professional lives for the opportunity to work with Martha as she reinvented herself after her incarceration. We did this not as opportunists but with the hope that we could work with a proven business leader. We treated Martha with respect, admiration, and a desire to learn from her the entire time we were there.

None of us needed to reinvent ourselves. We were all, and are, successful in our own right. I suppose you can argue that my participation in the reality television genre makes me an "opportunist" or "exhibitionist," but any fame or fortune generated is short-lived (thankfully so). I am proud to say that I have happily returned to my life and put this experience behind me. Perhaps Martha should do the same, with dignity, without malice or insult.

Chuck Soldano


"The Blackberry widow's tale" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Dec. 19) clearly demonstrates that an expert for pay is willing to say that an invention is obvious after seeing the results. But was it obvious to the expert before he saw the invention, and if so, why did he not develop it? It is amazing how everything falls into place after seeing the results.

The whole issue of "obvious" is subjective, and it always depends on the U.S. Patent Trade Office Examiner, the judge(s) and possibly the jury, and how persuasive the patent attorney is.

The inventor should be rewarded for his intellectual contribution, or the company can wait 20 years and use the invention freely -- a simple choice.

Harold Nissen

Scarsdale, N.Y.

Intel Corp. (INTC) chairman Craig R. Barrett is about half-right in his essay "A corporate science project," on America's failure to prepare our young leaders to carry the mantle into the global technology battles of the future (Outside Shot, Dec. 19). Barrett failed to mention the other half of the equation for developing scientists, engineers, and math majors in our colleges and universities, which is a vision for corporate long-term career paths.

As a retired veteran of the Silicon Valley technology corridor, I had the pleasure of working with many top technologists laboring on the most advanced projects, civilian and military, that introduced the desktop computer, the Internet, optical storage, lasers, and high-density microprocessors, to name a few. America's advanced-technology corporations (including Intel) have changed drastically over the past few decades, and while they still seek the best minds American universities have to offer, they also have a dark reputation of sloughing off those dedicated employees as they approach 40 years of age. Worse, they add insult to injury by forcing long-term employees to train new hires to take over their jobs.

It is fortunate that Andrew S. Grove was a co-founder of Intel in the 1960s, as his chemistry degree probably wouldn't qualify him for long-term employment at that same company today unless he were willing to relocate to Asia and take a drastic pay cut.

Tom Carroll

Madisonville, Tenn.

Re "Flat-panel pioneer" (Voices of Innovation, Dec. 12): While conceding George H. Heilmeier's priority in building the world's first liquid crystal displays, in all fairness I have to point out that his approach, using the "dynamic scattering" mode of liquid crystals, never advanced beyond creating simple wristwatch and pocket calculator type displays. The real breakthrough occurred in the early '70s, with the introduction of the "twisted nematic" mode of liquid crystal operation and the invention of "active matrix" ddressing, using thin film transistor arrays, with the undersigned being responsible for the latter. My pioneering paper, entitled "A 6 x 6 Inch 20 Lines per Inch Liquid Crystal Display Panel" was published in the IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices in 1973 and is generally credited with forming the basis of today's worldwide expansion of liquid crystal display technology. I am also responsible for the introduction of the term "active matrix" into the literature.

T. Peter Brody


Advantech US


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