AIRBUS AND BOEING: THE DOGFIGHT CONTINUES
Airbus executive Rolf Rue, who says Boeing is out of touch with its customers, should do some research on Boeing ("Booming Boeing," Cover Story, Sept. 30). He will learn some valuable lessons on customer service, which was emphasized by Boeing at a time when few companies engaged in research to gauge customer needs.
Boeing has done a remarkable job of maintaining its leading role in the commercial jet market, considering that Airbus was largely funded from the treasuries of Britain, France, Germany, and Spain. Using this money, Airbus made deals with airlines and leasing companies that a market-financed company like Boeing could not match.
Jerome R. Bulkan
Coconut Creek, Fla.Return to top
REINVENTING THE ANTIGRAVITY WHEEL?
The story "Take that, Isaac Newton," (News: Analysis & Commentary, Sept. 30) reminded me of an incident about 40 years ago, when I was an engineer doing gravity-survey work at the Franklin Institute Laboratories. With a colleague from General Electric, I visited Joel Fisher in New York to look at an apparatus he claimed produced an antigravity effect similar to what you reported.
Fisher was a wealthy businessman who had reported his experiments through the Gravity Research Foundation. An earnest amateur, Fisher had assembled a flywheel from the strongest permanent magnet he could find and spun it on a vertical axis at high speed. He claimed a sensitive gravity meter placed along the axis would show a small but definite diminution of gravity when the flywheel was spinning. He had had his work checked by a retired physics professor (whose name I forget), who was very puzzled by what seemed to be a real effect without any conventional explanation. Fisher believed gravity and a rotating magnetic field were intimately related.
The demonstration Fisher promised us ended in comic fiasco, unfortunately, as the automobile engine he used to spin the flywheel blew up and sent the audience running. I never heard more of Joel Fisher, and I often wondered whether he had further success.
Earnest amateurs are hard to find these days, and that's too bad.
William C. Yager
Blue Bell, Pa.Return to top
SNOOPING ISN'T AN ONLINE PHENOMENON
I have been deluged lately with articles and stories concerning the new online service offered by Lexis-Nexis ("Online prying made easy," Up Front, Sept. 30). I am a private investigator in Colorado. I have used online services for 14 years, and I have provided my professional services to the public for nine years. I am in a constant battle with individuals and businesses over the issue of the accuracy and privacy of information that is available on them, especially online. The information has been and always will be available. Online availability is faster and more expensive, but it is not always accurate.
The information provided by Lexis-Nexis combines information from sources that are only as reliable as the information provided to them. This same information can be obtained from a diligent and thorough search of public records in almost every state, with California being a general exception.
We should not assume our private lives are invaded only by computer systems. A person willing to commit fraud is not likely to use legitimate means (especially when he would have to pay an online service by credit card) to begin an illegitimate operation. Personal information is available in ways much more likely to be accessed for illegitimate uses.
Dean A. Beers
Pro-Serve Investigative Services
Laporte, Colo.Return to top