I enjoyed "A key mission for Germany: Beef up the military" (European Business, Nov. 25), since it shows clearly that the military concept of the cold war doesn't meet today's requirements.
However, to my knowledge, more than the mentioned 110,000 German soldiers died in the battle of Stalingrad. The 6th army had about 300,000 soldiers. Approximately 90,000 of them were imprisoned after the battle was over. And only approximately 6,000 returned home.
My former landlord was one of those 6,000 men who came back some years after the war was over.
Munich In "Mega Europe" (Special Report, Nov. 18), you imply that Slovenia used to be part of the former Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact. Slovenia was never part of the former Soviet Union. Neither did it belong to the Soviet bloc. After World War II, Slovenia was a constituent of the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. Having broken with the Soviet Union in 1948, Yugoslavia introduced a milder version of socialism that was based on common ownership and self-management. In 1991, after a 10-day war, Slovenia gained its independence from the former Yugoslavia, not the Soviet Union.
Public Relations & Media Office
Government of the
Republic of Slovenia
Ljubljana, Slovenia "Wireless Web, take two" (European Business, Nov. 25) asks: "It's new and improved, but will it sell?" My biased opinion is a definitive yes. Mobile data are currently going through a significant transition from mostly text-based services on small monochrome screens to downloadable color games on significantly larger screens with polyphonic sounds, or messages with color pictures and short video clips. With the technologies in place, mobile operators and handset manufacturers now need to move away from acronyms such as GSM, SMS, MMS, J2ME, GPRS, WCDMA, and 3G, which mean nothing to John Doe, and focus on promoting the use of the technology. They can start by illustrating what the user can do with the new handset they are about to purchase or already have.
Copenhagen I believe there was a misunderstanding in "High tech in China" (Cover Story, Oct. 28), implying that Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. engineers can tinker with the chipmaking equipment to "skirt the ban" on the sale of advanced technology to China. That is not what I said. I was talking about the possibility of our engineers making smaller transistors by adjusting their process-engineering methods. SMIC does not modify equipment to circumvent regulations. We strictly follow conditions prescribed by governing authorities.
Joseph Xie, SMIC
Senior Director for
Shanghai "The battle over a radical new plane" (Science & Technology, Nov. 25) clearly neglects the needs of the flying public, which will eventually pay for the whole blended-wing aircraft. The airplane, except for some new whistles and bells, has not transported the consumer quicker across land and sea since the first transatlantic jet flight in 1958. In contrast, since 1975, the PC has evolved leaps and bounds over the airplane.
Consumers want safe, economical, but quicker flights in order to spend less time in the squalid gauntlet of commercial jet travel. Edward C. Wells, the legendary Boeing Co. engineer, said: "Life is too short to spend it working on propellers." I say: Life is too short to spend it traveling on subsonic jets!
As a 100,000+ mile flier on at least one airline, I would prefer the blended-wing design. Who needs a window seat when we now have LCD screens at every seat and could have digital cameras mounted all over the plane. Passengers could see the view from left, right, front, back, above, and below the plane. If the airlines were so worried about denying window seats, they would eliminate center seats...nobody wants them!
Rochester, N.Y. If Fastweb's service to the Italian market is close to nirvana, as the CEO of that group insists, then many people living in Italy risk the fate of Kurt Cobain ("Almost nirvana in Italy," Readers Report, Nov. 25, regarding "How to achieve digital nirvana," Technology & You, Nov. 4). For over a month, I haven't had an Internet connection at home. Why? A few months after signing with Fastweb, we were told our neighborhood wasn't wired. Then Fastweb informed our original supplier that we were now Fastweb clients, so we were cut off totally and could be reconnected only with Fastweb's authorization. Feeling our pain, Fastweb offered us an ADSL connection. Instead, there were technical problems that were Fastweb's fault. A cynic might say it was all a trick to get into our home and that we are probably counted as one of the 250,000 clients the company boasts about to investors. But I'm willing to put it down to simple incompetence.
Rome In The Politics of Fortune (Book excerpt: "A foreign policy harmful to business," Oct. 14), Jeffrey E. Garten questions the right of the U.S. to make a preemptive attack on others in the name of self-defense. Once was the time when the first you knew of an impending attack was the enemy gathered at your footbridge over the moat with their halberds at the ready. Now, without notice, the enemy can land a nuclear bomb or biological weapon over your castle wall from 1,000 miles away.
Garten recommends that the nation's top business leaders play a major part in determining foreign policy in the face of such threats. The behavior of many of the "nation's top business leaders" in the past two years would indicate that they do not have the moral and ethical qualities to undertake such responsibilities.
Edward W. Gibson
Sydney "Will Sun rise again?" (Cover Story, Nov. 25) is unusually harsh and overlooks Sun Microsystems' underlying strategy that a good many techies and telecommies think is right on target. As the user interface dumbs down from loaded desktop to limited handheld in order to meet market expectations, more of the processing, the apps, the storage, and the communications will reside on the network, just where Scott G. McNealy plans to be.
South Kent, Conn.