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Readers Respond: Northrop, Jaguar & TEFC (?)

Jaguar XT

READERS WEIGH IN ON NORTHROP GRUMMAN, A JAGUAR "FLAME WAR" AND... WHAT IS A TEFC?

Mark M. -- who has a Northrop e-mail address -- responded to my blog on Northrop Grumman's conference call with analysts.

I pointed out the timeline of funding over the next few years will reach $10 billion, saying "That's a lot of money":

"$10 billion is not a lot of money over 5 years. The war in Iraq has cost at least 20 times this in the same span of time. The bailout of a single investment firm, Bear Stearns is costing 3 times this amount. $10B over five years is a small price to pay for keeping the Air Force flying."

After posting reader responses on the $370 oil change for a Jaguar, two emailers had more to say.

Eric G., who works at a dealership (not Jag) says I'm still misinformed when I complain about being charged for two hours of labor.

"Jane...you still do not know what you paid for. So how can you say whether you paid too much? The dealership will still be happy to explain your bill to you and what tasks they performed in those two hours."

Dawson H. responded to Eric's previous e-mail, fearing he might start "a flame war":

"Once I turned about 19 (now 24), I decided I'd had enough with the waiting and not knowing what was going on with my car when I took it into a shop. After a little research and I started doing the work myself...The first oil change I did was on the crummy Oldsmobile Achieva.

Whoever put on the oil filter overtightened it. The only way to remove it was to ram a screwdriver through it to get additional leverage on it. This is common for 'Factory trained service technicians' to do. They've been doing it for years, but they never once read up on 'Hand tight + 1/2 turn'...just because they are getting more than minimum wage, doesn't mean they are more qualified than the average Joe (that's me). I'm a freaking Credit Analyst...

Last brief example of the 'Factory trained service technician':

"Rear replacement brake pads on a 2000 Chevy Pickup - $225 (lowest quote available) -Cost to do it yourself - $40 for brakes, $30 for beer, and an hour showing your brother it's not that difficult. (usually only takes about a 1/2 hour without your brother and beer)."

BEST PRESS RELEASE OF THE WEEK

Coming into the inbox today was a press release with the following headline:

"WEG's New OptimalFlux™ Technology Reduces Heat Build-up In AC Induction Motors for Variable Speed Constant Torque Applications"

Sometime I think people make these titles up to mock me.

Let's break down this particular line phrase by phrase:

"WEG" -- Okay, I get it, that's the name of the company

"New OptimalFlux Technology"--this must be the new part, some kind of technology which...optimizes...flux.

"Reduces Heat Buildup" -- the new technology helps keep something cooler.

"In AC Induction Motors" -- this obviously is a motor, and I suppose the AC stands for the electrical current, not air conditioning.

"For Variable Speed" -- the motor's speed must vary.

"Constant Torque Applications" -- wait, the way the motor is used has speeds varying, and it's also constantly rotating.

Put it altogether and I think it means: "A company called WEG has a new technology which helps keep an electrical motor cooler when it's constantly rotating at varying speeds."

But wait! There's more!

WEG "has developed a new control regimen for standard totally-enclosed fan-cooled (TEFC) induction motors."

The company wanted to know if I'd be interested in doing a story on this. Clearly they are familiar with my work, as I have covered the TEFC market for years.

Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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