If pioneer Washington radio station WRC got its call letters from the Washington Radio Club [Horizon Letters, Dec. 8], it was a fortuitous coincidence because it is generally accepted that the call letters came from the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), which owned and operated the station beginning April 1, 1923. Its slogan was "The Voice of the Capital." When the National Broadcasting Corporation, wholly owned by RCA, came into being, on Nov. 15, 1926, WRC was a charter member and remained an NBC station for many years.
Theodore M. Hannah
John Mathews' "Twisted History of Neckties" (Horizon, Dec. 8) was fascinating but left out any mention of Freudian thinking on neckties.
I had occasion once to appear on a program with the late Dr. Sandor Feldman, an old-school orthodox Freudian psychoanalyst who left the male members of our audience squirming uncomfortably when he theorized that neckties are an obvious phallic symbol.
Dangling from the neck as they do, they are a discreet way of proclaiming one's gender without the need to walk about with one's pants open. That, Feldman said, is why men feel uncomfortable in the presence of women who wear neckties.
Jay B. Stern
If you're reading this, then we've probably gotten safely over the Y2K hurdle and you're breathing a sigh of relief. But it's not all smooth sailing from here on, not by a long shot. When the peoples of the world finish celebrating the profound accident of having 10 fingers, they still have to face the Y5K problem.
You are probably familiar with the definition of the Gregorian calendar, according to which there are 97 leap years in every 400-year span. Ninety-seven divided by 400 is 0.2425, so according to the Gregorian calendar, the average year is 365.2425 days long. But the average sidereal year (the year measured with respect to the `fixed' stars) is 365.2422 days long. That means that the Gregorian calendar erroneously introduces three extra days every 10 millennia.
By about 5000 A.D., the calendar will be a day out of step with reality; 3,300 years after that, it will be two days off and so on.
"No biggie," I hear you saying, "I can live with that." But reflect for a moment. These errors accumulate. The longer we wait to make the correction, the more disruptive it will be. Recall that, when England switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1752, shortening September by 11 days, there was rioting in the streets. The citizenry went berserk and demanded the return of the segment cut out of their lives.
Okay, now you're convinced. But I hear you whining, What's the rush? There's plenty of time to fix it.
No, that is the kind of thinking that got us into the Y2K mess. The time to solve the Y5K problem is now.
David L. Book