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Computer potatoes must learn of perils tapping...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Computer potatoes must learn of perils tapping the 0) keyboards

As an avid computer user and someone who has studied ergonomics and repetitive stress injuries, I found the article ("Body Language: Listen to our body while you're computing," May 14) to be very informative and easy to understand.

I am in the occupational therapy master's program at Towson University. Last semester we studied the effects of repetitive stress injuries on a person's ability to function in his environment, as well as how these injuries can be prevented. Occupational therapists help restore function in people who have lost independence due to a disease, illness, or injury.

As a therapist, I can use the concrete tips mentioned in the article to teach patients a healthier approach when to using a computer.

I was shocked at the number of repetitive stress trauma cases recorded in 1994. With almost 50 percent of America's homes equipped with personal computers and an expected increase, I am surprised at the lack of coverage by the media on repetitive stress injuries.

Americans are not going to change their busy, overworked lifestyles in front of the computers, so it is imperative that health care providers, media, and researchers disseminate information on preventing injuries. This article was definitely a good start.

Carin Gsellman

Baltimore

Microsoft would hook users and then charge high prices

I disagree with the conclusions Mike Himowitz makes in this column about Microsoft's antitrust issues ("Will Microsoft lawsuit really benefit consumers?" May 18).

Bill Gates is exactly like the robber barons of old, not because he wants to charge outrageous prices for his products (that will come later), but for other reasons that are obvious to me and my developer and hacker buddies.

For the short term, Mr. Gates wants an easy way to "hook" the consumers on the Microsoft way of life, an expensive imitation of the real thing. But the big prize is the Internet itself, which is the last bastion of relative freedom for the computer user and which runs on a rock-solid Unix backbone (Unix, not Netscape, is his real adversary here).

Mr. Himowitz should talk to some low-level systems people, not lawyer and marketing types, before he makes such naive pronouncements on issues that may decide the future of individual rights.

Kathy O'Brennan

Annapolis

Jewish state is what Arabs consider to be 'catastrophe'

By subscribing to he Arab conception of the 1948 "catastrophe" ("For Palestinians, a catastrophe," May 10), Ann LoLordo manifests a misunderstanding of almost 1,400 years of history.

From the beginning of the Muslim conquests in the 7th century, Jews and Christians were expected to know their place in Islamic society. Formation of a Jewish state on land conquered by the Muslims 1,360 years ago, where Muslims would be subject to the rule of non-Muslims, is conceptually unacceptable to the Muslim world. This is the true nature of the "catastrophe."

The state owned most of the country's land during Ottoman and British rule. This has not substantially changed since the founding of the modern Jewish state 50 years ago. A large majority of Arabs who farmed land did so as sharecroppers, never certain of the whims of the few major Arab landowners or of displacement by Bedouin raiders.

The catastrophe in reality was the military victory of the Jew, the second-class citizen, over the Muslim believers.

In 1948 as today, the best that the Arab intellectual community can offer the Arab world is the exhortation to Arabs to modernize their society, not for societal betterment, but so the Arab world can beat the Jews.

Sol E. Gerstman

Baltimore

We must let Israel's system finish its job with Sheinbein

Jaime Flaks writes ("Sever U.S. support of Israel until it extradites Sheinbein," letters, May 13) that as an American Jew, he is ashamed of the help that is provided to Israel by the U.S. One of the primary reasons why Israel enjoys the support of the United States is because it is the only democracy in the Middle East. As in the United States, it has are rules and regulations dealing with criminals.

If another country requests the extradition of someone living in the United States, that person is entitled to due process under U.S. law. He is entitled to hearings and appeals. The same holds true in Israel.

Samuel Sheinbein is currently within the system, and it is incumbent upon us to wait for the system to work. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced his support for the extradition provided that it is legal under Israeli law. What right do we have to ask Israel to circumvent its laws, when we would be rightfully outraged if Israel asked the same of us?

Joshua Gurewitsch

Baltimore

Cartoon's reading focus shows life beyond 'Seinfeld'

One more point for literacy, I thought, after seeing the heartening May 12 editorial cartoon by KAL. I am amazed at the coverage the press, print media ironically included, devoted to the apocalyptic event -- the last episode of "Seinfeld."

KAL's thoughtful message echoes the morals of the bygone "TV Turnoff Week." By watching the May 8 episode of "Homicide," the last with Andre Braugher, I violated a monthlong practice of abstinence from television. I had even missed episodes of "Homicide," a show (the only one I watch) that develops intriguing characters and alludes to urban issues.

The boycott was not entirely conscientious; I simply did not have time for the activity. These past weeks have been defined by studying for upcoming exams, of items such as Revolutions of 1848 and protein synthesis.

When I have a couple hours, I attend a jazz concert, hike on the NCRR trail, sift through the City Paper or pound words out on a typewriter. After I graduate from Dulaney High School on May 31, I will use my weeks of freedom (while the TV set remains silent) to attend performances, relish the outdoors, meander in conversation and, of course, read.

Shihwe Wang

Cockeysville

Tennis takes a back seat to Big Tobacco's marketing

The Virginia Slims "Legends Tour" in Baltimore this week is not an athletic event. This is a marketing event. Philip Morris, which makes Virginia Slims, wants to attract young women and teen-age girls. The reason they sponsor a tennis match is to align themselves with healthy, athletic women in the hopes this image will rub off.

Virginia Slims is a sick surviving mate to the Marlboro Man. She might also be considered the sister of Joe Camel, another seductive role model who is more familiar to kids than Mickey Mouse.

Lung cancer deaths among women have increased more than 400 percent in the past three decades, while lung cancer rates among men are leveling off as fewer smoke. Lung cancer has surpassed breast cancer in annual mortality among American women, and 90 percent of lung cancer is smoking-related.

The overt appeal to women by Big Tobacco followed the feminist movement in the 1960s. They developed names like Virginia Slims, touting it as "slim and sassy!" or "a woman thing." But "the woman thing" is developing lung cancer at a younger age than men. Female smokers are three times as likely to get cancer as males. And there's an increasing amount of evidence linking cigarettes to cervical cancer, cancers of the vulva and vagina, breast cancer, early onset of menopause and osteoporotic bone fractures.

The objective of Virginia Slims is to addict young women. Why has Baltimore welcomed them? Why are world class female tennis players lending their names to an event sponsored by Philip Morris?

Dr. Albert L. Blumberg

Baltimore

The writer is president of Smoke Free Maryland.

Coverage of slain troopers did not give proper respect

Your incidental coverage of the ceremony honoring the 37 Maryland State Troopers who have died in the line of duty was an insult ("Troopers killed on duty to be honored today," May 11).

It is a shame that these fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice were not accorded the proper recognition and respect that they so richly deserved.

Patrick Dempsey

Ocean City

! Pub date: 5/22/98

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