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Editor's Note: Our Fifth Column is currently on hiatus, but will return

AUG. 31, 10:39 A.M. ET : When given a choice, people over the age of 50 prefer reading negative - rather than glowing - news about young folk, a German study finds. Reader carol789 sees a trend:

So boomers resent getting old and younger people resent boomers for taking all the good jobs. Will somebody please pay me to study why it gets dark at night?

AUG. 25, 9:56 A.M. ET : Alvaro Vargas Llosa evaluates Brazil's development progress and concludes that it's headed in the wrong direction. Reader deepak.sapra offers a different view:

The article represents a very one sided view of the situation. Brazil's cash transfer schemes at home and its strong posturing at fora internationally have definitely had a positive impact on its people. No longer is the old adage, "Brazil is the country of the future, and will always be" true; i would credit this government for bringing to the fore a more confident and self assured Brazil, something which to my mind, is now the part of an irreversible process. Lula's party might not be the best bet for the city of Sao Paulo, whose interests Serra might be able to defend better, but it is surely a far better option for the rest of the country!

AUG. 24, 6:55 A.M. ET : Jeffrey Simpson's nationalistic column on the potash wars gets some surprisingly lively (for potash) comments from readers such as be serious, Slip2 and kdeluca:

Tell a person that they cannot sell their home because the highest offer is from a foreigner and see what reaction you get. If ownership means anything it is the right to sell what you own.

Go for it Simpson. Raise 40B from your socialist friends and go go!

I have heard this argument for 40 years and it is as true now as it was then. Canadian commercial empires rest on the resources of the land which, in theory, should belong to the people.

AUG. 23, 10:05 A.M. ET : A Facts & Arguments essay-writer details how much *nicer* people are in Calgary than Toronto. Reader Bunk spares you the trouble of reading many of the other responses:

This is like the ULTIMATE globe article. It will simultaneously allow commenters to bash Calgary (a current whipping boy) and Toronto (the old standard) and for each to bach each other.

AUG. 19, 8:40 A.M. ET : David Eddie uses his advice column to discuss the case of a man who's being excluded from his brother's wedding ceremony because he doesn't belong to his church. Readers karmagirl and Jim McBob offer their insight into this prickly situation:

Happened to me when a friend asked me to be her maid of honour. As our friendship wasn't based on religion, she forgot I wasn't Mormon when she asked. She cried when she had to come back later to tell me I wasn't allowed in the Temple during the ceremony. She chose a different maid of honour and didn't ask me to hang around outside to be in the pictures after the ceremony. Instead, we had pictures taken together at the reception on another day. Hopefully the writer and his family can work out something similar rather than creating even more strain.

My advice: Go to the wedding. The inconvenience will last for one day. If you don't go, you will carry this around with you forever. In the longer term, going with the flow will allow you to put all this behind you and move.

AUG. 18, 11:22 A.M. ET : This year's Beloit College Mindset list is out, kicking off the prelude to fall semester and a deluge of commenters with bones to pick about other generations. Reader UnabashedOpinion, happily, is among those who understand the point of the list and why it's relevant:

Many commenters here miss the point of the annual Beloit list. When one stands in front of a lecture hall of fresh(wo)men, one is prone to drop contemporary cultural references to illustrate a point. If done poorly, the prof loses the respect and attention of the class. However, by being aware of, and acknowledging the cultural mindset of the students, the prof can begin to expand their minds, beginning from where THEY are, rather than from where the otherwise self-absorbed professor might be.

AUG. 17, 1:17 P.M. ET : North Korea on YouTube and Twitter? Apparently, but as reader EMPEE reminds us, it's not just a Stalinist novelty:

The antics of North Korea would be funny if so many of its citizens weren't starving to death.

AUG. 16, 10:28 A.M. ET : New research appears to counter those who would let their infant children cry through the night as sleep training. Readers cyan blue and Krokodil Gena offer their own, different opinions:

Well, one of my in-laws let her son sleep in her bed each night, and as he became a toddler and then a young child he stayed up later and later and only went to bed when she did, in her bed. He is nearly seven, and still sleeps either in her bed, or in that of her parents. Now in my opinion that's dysfunctional.

It is not natural to cry alone. We are animals and no animals are left alone crying. We forgot about our instincts. Being a mother of 16 months old baby I always want to cuddle my baby when he cries. We learned to avoid our instincts just because it is convenient. We are all independent we have too much space. I just hope all those scientists eventually will change us and we will go back to our roots.

AUG. 13, 1:57 P.M. ET : In Jeffrey Simpson's column about former National Gallery head Shirley Thomson, reader eepmon leaves a short but kind eulogy:

I had the privilege and honor to be invited to Shirley's home to talk about what she loves - art. I will never forget her wisdom and insightfulness. This line is just gold, "One never hesitates before a masterpiece." Shirley is the legit of legits. I agree, we need more people like Shirley who can see the bigger picture. Rest in peace.

AUG. 11, 7:29 A.M. ET : Op-ed contributor Dan Smiley's piece on our tendency to blame kids and texting for sliding standards of written English generates this cheeky, and funny, reply from reader Physcher:

hx 4 teh gr8 articel. Ill giv ac opy 2 my profs w my esays so tghey dont juge me ive alwys bin told that my enlgisg was por. bt Y cnt I jst spel thngs the way I wont. I wnat 2 tell all thos ppl that indult my speling & my eng 2 stop callnig me looser tat cnt ammount 2 any thimg. Shakspeers riting wasnt pwrfetc Y dnt U aslo call him also a looser. Y dnt U aslo corecy him. cuz hes ded. I meen f U under stand wat I rte isnt that good enouf. & f U dont unmder stand waht i rte may be U R teh dumb 1. lol

AUG. 10, 9:33 A.M. ET : A case of double air rage turns heads among our readers, who seem captivated by the tale of a flight attendant who cursed out a passenger over the PA system and then fled down the emergency slide. j_wilson, Garreth Wheeler and QuietRoads1 are among those who took time to share their thoughts about this bizarre tale:

Most hate the jerks who won't wait until given the OK to get up on a plane. They don't seem to understand that all those people still sitting are 'actively' still sitting, follow what's really a pretty good rule. Detain and question any passenger for a couple of hours who ignores an order from a flight crew member. That should keep them on their cans.

Wish I had the cojones to do that at work. Although, I don't have an inflatable slide, which really makes the story.

For those who support the flight attendant, many are missing the point. The job of a flight attendant is probably mis-understood and undervalued by the GP and its industry, BUT the Flight attendant still behaved completely unprofessionally. He/she is supposed to be able to weather all manner of storms. Whatever you feel about your job should NEVER, I repeat NEVER be presented to your clients in this way.

AUG. 9, 8:54 A.M. ET : Ivor Tossell writes about the age of the phoneless phone - when people use mobile devices almost entirely for text and data transmission rather than old-fashioned conversation. Readers SusieQusie321 and Mike Quinlan are among those with thoughts on the matter:

A friend's son dated a girl who couldn't fathom that phones were invented for talking... she was involved in a conversation about mobile phones and was wondering what it would be like if they were originally used for "voicing" (talking) rather than all the cool things they are used for. The statement made me laugh and wonder how many other kids have the same thought!

After reading all I could thing of was that much of the author's criticism could equally apply to a door bell, or to go further back in time a door stricker. Somehow the biggest factor, namely the economics of talk, somehow is never brought up.

AUG. 5, 11:16 P.M. ET : Margaret Hollingsworth's Facts & Arguments essay on her childhood speech impediment strikes a chord with many readers, including manologic:

Kids from that era could be so cruel. I stammered badly and got my fair share of taunts and then, sadly, when I learned to speak properly, I picked on other kids who had speech problems. I feel bad about it but that's how the schoolyard was in those days and teachers did nothing to discourage it.

AUG. 5, 11:46 A.M. ET : Swimmer Mark Tewksbury is named Canada's chef de mission for the next Summer Games. Reader waynes2 has some insight about the new boss's character and skills:

I consider this great news. The company I worked for sponsored Mark for several years before the Barcelona games and he was the best choice we could have made. He was eager to earn every dollar we gave him and made himself into an outstanding speaker. He has a fantastic personality and more integrity than most athletes. If he approaches this new role with the dedication and attention to detail that he demonstrated as an athlete and as a speaker for our company, he will do an outstanding job.

AUG. 4, 11:11 A.M. ET : Dozens of U.S. billionaires pledge to give away at least half their fortunes to charity. Readers slike, The Apatheist and Lymetime have critiques, but attempt to get beyond the good rich guys/bad rich guys dichotomy:

Wouldn't it be better if the rich gave healthy pay raises to all those average workers who toil for little which would support yet more jobs so that everyone could have the dignity of a good paying job instead of the need for charity?

This is fantastic. Although I would like to see the immense amount of money go towards infrastructure and education instead of just health care. If these billionaires decided to build Americans first high-speed rail system which could take millions of cars off the roads, they are arguably doing the same if not more than investing it straight into health care.

Instead of giving the money to charity how about they encourage manufactorers to actually make things in North America? That being said, at least it's something positive.

AUG. 3, 12:53 P.M. ET : A Globe online polls asks whether companies such as RIM should be obeying the security and content demands of foreign countries. Reader hodet critiques the poll and poses another question:

Wrong question. It should ask if RIM should be doing business in these countries. If they choose to then they have no choice but to obey the laws of that land, no matter how much our own society disagrees with them. Like a previous poster said, imagine if another country did business here and refused to obey our laws.

JULY 29, 12:33 P.M. ET : A poll in Globe Drive asks which sex drives better. (Results are here.) Readers Waxford and Bad Lady are among those with interesting responses:

Considering 95% of all people, whatever the gender, drive like complete garbage, I hardly think there's a considerable reason to favour one gender.

This is a better exercise in how the sexes gauge their own abilities than anything else. Men are notorious for overstating their abilities, women for underestimating. Both tendencies are equally harmful and we should probably look at what we're doing wrong as a society to create people who are so out of touch with reality.

JULY 27, 5:59 P.M. ET : Readers RabidBurt and A Barstoski eulogize Maury Chaykin in an abbreviated obituary:

Terrific character actor. As someone already noted, the Nero Wolfe TV series, with Chaykin as the orchid-loving, beer-swilling investigator, remains one of the most entertaining, tho criminally underrated, offerings in the history of the medium.

Some character actors just fill space, Maury filled the screen! I always felt he was destined for greater accolades and acknowledgement for his acting skills. What a loss for the acting community, his family and those who relished his screen time.

JULY 26, 4:59 A.M. ET : Reader Stealthiest responds to a story in Globe Life about so-called helicopter parents:

It's about education and trust. My parents gave me what I needed to fend for myself in the world. I was also lucky that they weren't separated and feeling the need to over-compensate in order to get custody. ... They also didn't have a neighbourhood full of other parents watching over them and judging them. Let's just say that it was never hard to find other kids who had the same inclinations and freedoms that I had.

JULY 26, 8:50 A.M. ET : Neil Reynolds goes against the tide in supporting the Conservatives' census policy, leaving many readers fulminating. Unite Pangea attacks Reynolds's logic:

One reason that other countries have stopped using the census is that they track their population by other means. We could alternately suggest that we are given identity cards that we use as Drivers licenses, health cards, library cards, bus passes, etc... and have all that information collected by the government. Personally, I would think that would be more intrusive - not less.

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