In synch with readers

I found the article “Get in Synch” (September 2005, p. 20) written by John Chandler to be very helpful. For almost four years, I was a development engineer in the area of BLDC slotless machines, and I remain interested in drive topologies. Chandler's article was not only useful, but briefly summarized and concisely written. I will suggest it to some of my colleagues.
Dragan Tabakovic
Electric Metering Co.
Tullytown, Pa.

Unwelcome opinion

I read your editorial in the September issue and I must say I was disappointed in what you chose to express. What your comments have to do with the magazine, the business you represent, or your readers are not apparent. It seems to me you were making a stump speech about political correctness. You call for action against PC! That is inappropriate for a trade publication in my book. It sounds like you have a beef with your local government and your comments would be better placed in your local newspaper or the local city council meeting, where something actually could happen. The rest of the magazine I enjoyed, as I always have.
Bob Sander
Innovene USA LLC
LaPorte, Texas

Don't blame PC

I read your column “Not in my house” this week. First of all, it bothers me that an engineering publication is being used as a political soapbox. I'd like to believe that engineering is a pure science, above the fray of politics. Since you brought it up, what really bothers me is that you think the story is as simple as “political correctness” and “big government.”

The group lumped together as “the disabled” does not have a powerful lobby. Trust me on this. I'm an amputee. The people who execute public works do. So do the people who allege to be working for our benefit, but are really in the business of making sure the companies that currently dominate the market continue to do so.

So here's another angle on that scenario for you to ponder. The contractor who paves the streets sees a cost-cutting move on the part of the city. Said contractor did not get where he is without contacts in government in the first place. This switch to cheaper paving material is costing him money. Something must be done to offset this loss. Wheelchair ramps don't cost enough, but it's easy to throw in frills for the benefit of people who aren't likely to read about it. If you follow the money from the contractor to the regulating body you might wind up in some interesting places. I'll wager you'll find a brick manufacturer along the trail.

This sort of thing happens all the time. We complain about government intrusiveness, but we keep electing people who bring government largesse home to our district, who keep the employers in our area profitable, who in turn make sure their campaign coffers are full. And we the voters complete the cycle by voting for whoever has the funds to ram the most advertising down our throats.

Big business may complain about big government, but it's all smoke and mirrors. If you look behind the curtain, you might find that the sleeves from which “Punch” and “Judy” emerge actually come from the same place. Government grows because we encourage it by voting in people who respond to lobbyists who represent local industry who abrogate oversight responsibility to regulatory agencies.

Complain about “Big Government” all you want, we made it that way by our own complacency. We encourage it, conservative and liberal alike. This attitude has brought us things from safety apparel to mandatory drug testing. Whole industries have grown up around such regulations. You may agree with them, but they also have consequences, from the flagman in a hardhat succumbing to heat stroke to the worker who fails a drug test for eating a poppy seed bun on the wrong day.

The industries that provide the products that make us safer and healthier, that assist the handicapped and guard our security, exist to make a profit just like everyone else. If they can increase their returns by making us feel less safe, healthy, and secure than we actually are, so be it. There are not many businesses out there that won't sell you what you don't really need, if you ask for it.

There is not so much a wolf in sheep's clothing so much as wool over our eyes. And we put it there all by ourselves
Ronald Wible
Visual Link Internet