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Like a Vice Tax
David von Drehle summarized it well in "Oil's Silver Lining" [Nov. 19]: The $100 barrel gives us another chance to change our ways. It's a true gift to the planet from the present economic circumstances. And rest assured, prices are not likely to drop. How could they, since worldwide discovery of oil peaked in 1964? In China and India, hundreds of millions of households dream of getting a car or even two. Let's hope the exponential rise of oil prices will guide us all toward greener aspirations that will encourage the production of a less polluting alternative to cars. Otherwise one planet will not be enough.
Nicolas Morin, PARIS
A Web of Faux Friends?
I hope Joel Stein doesn't believe that the 50 million Facebook members are the superficial, dull, self-centered people he described, or else I would feel a bit offended [Nov. 19]. Although I use the website, I don't finish all my sentences with 10 exclamation points, and I still appreciate a good dinner with wine. Many Facebook members don't attach importance to popularity but just want to entertain themselves. They have enough personality to know they are not losers if their contact list doesn't beat all the records. MySpace and Facebook are part of a humanizing revolution of communication in a society that has already lost its traditional sense of community.
Chloé Marquet, PARIS
While reading "You are not my friend" I nodded in agreement, suddenly feeling like Stein and I were having a dialogue instead of one-way conversation. I too have blindly signed up with numerous social networks, resulting in an inbox blizzard of far-out birthday reminders and cyperbased karate kicks from friends of my friends. It's time to wake up and realize that you can't make real friends online. One can argue that services like Zyb and Twitter let you do just that, since most of our real friends and family are stored on our mobile phones, but the point is that the people who matter most to you are not the ones on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo or any other online universe. The ones who matter most are the ones you meet and greet, hug and talk to out there in real life.
Anton Greiffenberg, COPENHAGEN
As an Argentine, I am very proud of Moreno-Ocampo [Nov. 12]. I want to congratulate him for getting so far in his career and working so hard to bring justice to Darfur. I recognized him right away when I saw his picture in this article, and I wish him very good luck.
Elina Salvarregui, NASHVILLE