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Her Economy, His Economy

The battle of the sexes flared up on our message boards in response to "The Slump: It's a Guy Thing" (News, May 19). If men are losing jobs because they're clustered in construction and other currently weak sectors, one woman asked, why do they "shy away" from growing "female" fields? Taking the male side, meanwhile: a complaint that women safely ensconced in health care and education are part of a "giant state-sponsored cartel." Still, it wasn't all He said/She said. Some commentators urged a less "divisive" take on today's hardscrabble job market, pointing out that "one man's loss is not another woman's gain."

I can relate to this article all too well. I've been looking for employment for over two years, with only a handful of interviews to show for it. And my industry, construction, is of course hurting like a trapped bear. I've just about given up on trying. Good luck to all those looking for a new job. I haven't had any.

Screen name: Jim

"Men also shy away from some of the growing fields, such as nursing." If men are too arrogant and egotistical to enter fields that are growing simply because these sectors are perceived as too "female," whose fault is that?

Screen name: Kay

Consider that education and health care are mostly supported through government subsidies, whereas construction and manufacturing are not.

Screen name: Miggy

The divide doesn't seem to be male vs. female so much as productive vs. socialist. Women work in education—which is government-run—and health, which is a giant state-sponsored cartel. Of course, there is benefit in what many government employees, doctors, and teachers do.

Screen name: Mqurice

Creating conflict between the sexes regarding who is getting picked on the most accomplishes nothing.

Screen name: Howard

Hey, one question: If the premise of the article were reversed, would we see a graphic of a bear devouring a woman and a smirking man next to the bear? Or would that be "offensive"? Double standard here, maybe?

Screen name: logic

It's common sense [for an ailing company] to eliminate higher-paid men.

For once, women have an edge. But nobody wins.

Screen name: Jean

As long as companies are paying women 77 cents on the dollar for comparable work, and women accept these wages, the economics of competition are going to favor shifting to a female workforce. When the pool of qualified women is tapped out and women start negotiating more aggressively on wages, things will change.

Screen name: Djstates

"I know several talented, college-age young men who have chosen to pursue nursing.... The influx of men into the field will also positively impact pay levels.... Is this a long-awaited solution to the gender pay gap? Not entirely, unfortunately.... But I would submit that there is a quiet pink pay revolution underfoot that does promise some relief."

"One man's loss is not another woman's gain."

Linda Popky

Succeeding in Search Takes 'Personality'

Regarding "Inside Microsoft's (MSFT) War Against Google (GOOG)" (Cover Story, May 19): The name Microsoft Network is too plain vanilla.

MSN should call itself Magnetic Search Network and have a Mickey Mouse-type mascot, maybe a lovable ferret named WinSkippy.

A little personality would help. It's losing out to companies called Google and Yahoo! (YHOO), for crying out loud.

Screen name: Bob Tenaglio

Why do I use Google? No banner ads—no screaming, blinking, mewling, flashing, blipping, flipping, expanding, obscuring... and annoying ads.

Screen name: Julz

Microsoft has a strong presence in instant messaging that Google doesn't have with Google Talk. MSN could leverage on that strength to build its search business.

Screen name: Cherryhorse

No Basic Research? No Magic Bullets

Regarding "Big Drug R&D On Campus" (News, May 19): In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies announced expanded drug discovery efforts—efforts that work best when basic research has yielded an understanding of the disease process.

Yet during this period, most measures of basic research activity (the National Institutes of Health funding levels, the number of academic researchers in biomedical fields, the number of post-doctoral fellows, and so on) were flat.

Expanding drug discovery without basic research is foolish. Drug companies should create nonprofit foundations to fund academic research based on scientific merit.

Paul E. Eckler


The business agreement mentioned in the article was explicitly between Merck and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, not between Merck and Harvard University. Dana-Farber is a teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School, but it is an independent institution with its own clinical and research operations. Also, while Dr. Ronald DePinho holds an appointment as a professor of medicine at HMS, he and his lab and office are based at Dana-Farber. Companies wanting to know more about the agreement should contact Dana-Farber.

Anthony del Campo Vice-President, Research & Technology Ventures Dana-Farber Cancer Institute


The Case for Catastrophic Coverage

Schools should be mandated to offer comprehensive insurance coverage for students ("Is Your Kid Covered?" In Depth, May 19). Last year, as an MBA student, I was diagnosed with cancer and soon found my policy to be flimsy.

Schools need to band together in their insurance-plan purchasing. It would allow for better coverage and better prices. States also need to correct their mandates and redefine "reasonable" coverage to include catastrophic events. Students and parents cannot sit idle.

Screen name: Andres

Students can almost always do better for themselves in the open market. The caveat of buyer beware cannot be overstated with this market.

Screen name: Bernard Turnoy

The Dream of Fusion Energy Is Fading

When I was a nuclear engineer in the early 1980s, we had visions of having nuclear energy by fusion by the early part of the 21st century ("Rewiring Westinghouse," What's Next, May 19).

It seems that vision is fading away, and we will not be seeing this dream until maybe 2025. Why is it we can spend billions of dollars to fight wars, but refuse to spend a few billion to develop nuclear energy by fusion?

George Mouradian


Save Gas, Ride a Bike, but Wear a Helmet

The photo showing $4-a-gallon gas pump prices in "A 'super spike' for crude?" (The Business Week, May 19) caught my eye—not because of the gas price but because of the guy riding his bike with a little girl on the front. No helmet, either, and flip flops on his feet, steering with one hand, and talking on a cell phone!

I hope they both survived!

David Knapp


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