Letters: Primate Research, Ramadan, Libbys and Lewises Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne read from listeners' responses to the broadcast, touching on new research about chimp behavior, the celebration of Ramadan and the name of an NPR reporter reporting on the indictment of White House official Lewis Libby.
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Letters: Primate Research, Ramadan, Libbys and Lewises

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Letters: Primate Research, Ramadan, Libbys and Lewises

Letters: Primate Research, Ramadan, Libbys and Lewises

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Time now for your comments.

Are chimpanzees as generous as humans? That's the question posed in an experiment that we reported on in which chimps turned out to be indifferent when given the chance to feed pieces of banana to their fellow chimps.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Monica Hennessey(ph) wrote in from Haddonfield, New Jersey, to defend the chimps. She writes that the research, quote, "lacked scientific basis," and she continues, `This was apparent from the researchers' musings, that despite chimps' intelligence, they decided not to assist the neighboring chimp.' She writes, `It may, in fact, be their intelligence that led them to conclude the experiment was a farce. Chimps in boxes probably have not even remotely normal social structure. If the researcher wants to test the altruistic limits of primates,' she writes, `let her go to where they actually live and care for themselves in a meaningful way.'

MONTAGNE: And Katie McDunna(ph) of Boston writes about another story. `I greatly enjoyed Anne Garrels' story about observing Ramadan in Iraq. Amidst consistently troubling news about the situation there, it was delightful to hear of one family enjoying the simple and universal act of sitting down to a table together.' She continues, `My opposition to this war notwithstanding, I was encouraged by the words of an Iraqi person saying that life is still difficult but better without Saddam. With the recent news that the American death toll has reached 2,000, this story could not have come at a better time.'

INSKEEP: Finally, many of you took note last week of NPR's reporting on the indictment of a former White House aide.

MONTAGNE: Especially reports such as this one.

(Soundbite from October 29, 2005)

LIBBY LEWIS (NPR News): ...and Cheney set up his own influential foreign policy apparatus. The staff was run by Lewis Libby.

MONTAGNE: One listener wondered if this story presents a conflict of interest for NPR. Why? Consider the name of the reporter.

(Soundbite from October 29, 2005)

LEWIS: ...trial. Libby Lewis, NPR News, Washington.

INSKEEP: Listener John Mann(ph) of Toledo, Ohio, writes, `It has to be more than coincidence that Libby Lewis is reporting on Lewis Libby. Who's the NPR staffer with the sense of humor?'

MONTAGNE: Actually no joke, it is a coincidence. Our own Libby is one of a number of NPR reporters assigned to that story, but the two mismatched sets of Libbys and Lewises in our newsroom has caused some confusion even on the air. Here's NPR's Jean Cochran from a newscast last week.

JEAN COCHRAN (NPR News): The White House is bracing for a possible indictment today against Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Libby Lewis.

MONTAGNE: And Jean is not alone. Other NPR announcers have unintentionally flipped their Libbys on the air, but another listener, Rich Rikley(ph) of Buffalo, rejoices in the coincidence and adds, `MORNING EDITION should continue to employ this sort of fun wordplay in its stories.'

INSKEEP: You know, we always enjoy reading your comments on EDITION MORNING.

MONTAGNE: That's MORNING EDITION.

INSKEEP: To be in touch, go to our Web site at npr.org and click on Contact Us.

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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