TIME's editors must be watching too many mad-scientist movies if they consider genetically engineered salmon among "The 50 Best Inventions of the Year" [Nov. 22]. Serious concerns remain about the environmental and human-health impacts of these gene-spliced fish. Want more salmon? Protect its natural habitat, maintain water quality and manage wild stocks for sustainability. That's what Alaska has done for more than 50 years, and returns of wild salmon are at historically high levels. And wild salmon taste a lot better than anything you'll cook up in a lab.
Mark Begich, U.S. Senator (D., Alaska), WASHINGTON
You picked some great inventions to showcase. But as amazing as the Sony Alpha A55 camera is, its technology is not innovative. In the early 1960s, Canon came out with the pellicle mirror. The first consumer product with this feature, the Canon Pellix, was sold in 1965, and the product line carried on for many years. Though it was a 35-mm camera, it used technology that does exactly what Sony's "ingenious" translucent mirror does.
Michael Sterling, WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF., U.S.
A Little Respect!
Re "A Careless Man" [Nov. 22]: Whether I agree with Joe Klein's analysis of former President George W. Bush's memoir is irrelevant, but to perpetuate the myth of an intellectually disengaged President in a serious review by depicting him reading his book upside down is irresponsible.
Albert A. Smith, AMARILLO, TEXAS, U.S.
Kudos to Klein for telling it like it was. Nobody criticized Bush while he acted like a king because the message from the Administration was that it would be unpatriotic to do so. Joe's last line says it all: "We struggle to recover from the thoughtless carnage of his tenure." The thousands of families who lost loved ones will never recover.
Otto A. Hokamp, FULTON, TEXAS, U.S.
Glitter, Not Gold
Alex Perry's article "Cursed Stones" [Nov. 22], on Zimbabwe's diamond mines, shows that having rich natural resources doesn't always translate into blessings for a country. Selling one-fifth of the world's diamond output on the uncertified market would dent global diamond prices. And there is no guarantee that the money from sales, legal or illicit, would be used to solve Zimbabwe's economic problems. Robert Mugabe may yet again be left with depleted reserves, a shattered economy and a global community that won't be too happy with him.
Muoghalu Okechukwu, BENIN CITY, NIGERIA
Perry highlights the problems with the diamond business. With Christmas at hand, I will stroll through shopping malls and ask myself how many of these shiny little gems are sprinkled with blood, sweat and tears.
Kurt Kreibich, VIENNA
I was disappointed by TIME's snide comments about marijuana's making one stupid as judged from "stoner" movies [How Marijuana Got Mainstreamed, Nov. 22]. Should recreational alcohol use be judged from Red Skelton's Willy Lump-Lump? I hope medical marijuana will soon be available nationwide for arthritis, cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, nausea and all the pains of old age.
Roselyn Leonard, NEW ORLEANS
Forgive the sarcasm, but I've had back pain for 10 years. Maybe I should go get approved for marijuana "medicine." This problem is only going to get worse as people who want to get stoned use any minor complaint to get high legally.
John Stoddard, DENVER