Letters: Republican "debates," the Conficker worm

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Kai Ryssdal: Political eyes and ears turn to Rochester, Mich., tonight, and Republican presidential debate number 3,462 of this cycle.

All right, I exaggerate, but it does kind of feel like that, right? Yesterday we offered one plausible reason the debates have become so numerous and so numbing: More viewers, hence more ad revenue.

Fred Gosbee of Round Pond, Maine, wrote to disagree.

Fred Gosbee: Please don't dignify the public shouting matches which our politicians now engage in as "debates." Nothing in the following definition applies to the disgusting spectacles we have seen over the last several election cycles. Perhaps "tantrum" is a better term to use.

I talked to author Mark Bowden last week about his new book, "Worm," and an especially nasty piece of software called the Conficker botnet. At one point, Mark said a way to fight viruses like that is to create a new, more secure Internet.

Bill Pinkston works in network security in Houston, Texas, and says there's an easier way.

Bill Pinkston: What users can do is take advantage of security patches freely offered by Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and other vendors. It shouldn't be necessary to do this, but it is. The flaw that Conficker exploits was fixed years ago, and if users would update their systems as suggested, we could drastically improve the security situation.

Yesterday, commentator Reza Aslan talked about why revolution hasn't come to some countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia among them. Follow the money, was his advice.

Ted Preisser, now of Orlando, used to live in Saudi Arabia. He says there's more to it than just that.

Ted Preisser: One, Saudis believe that their government is legitimate as long as it is seen as adhering to its Islamic principles; and two, it is where the holy places of Mecca and Medina are located, and turmoil in Saudi Arabia would create a crisis in Islam itself.

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