This article makes a convincing case for the influence of Brian Kernighan *69, who was key in developing the computer languages used in Apple and Android devices that absorb hours of attention on the part of hundreds of millions of people each day. But then the panel picks a football coach and the managers of two blogs that get plenty of eyeballs but have trivial effects on political outcomes. Perhaps these foolish results come from the panel’s procedure of looking at various realms of accomplishment and picking significant alumni. Thus a top sports coach gets a slot along with a best-selling author and a blogger, with not enough thought to the actual impact of each of these fields. This list is nowhere as bad as the lists that rank talk-show hosts and movie stars above major officeholders and corporate chieftains, but is ill-considered in a similar way.

Richard Lachmann ’77
New York, N.Y.