Three cheers for the new column "Why Things Are" {Style Plus, Nov. 2}. While I enjoyed most of the questions and answers, particularly the two on physics, I am compelled to note that one statement violates Newton's third law of motion.

Why do objects fall at the same rate toward the Earth regardless of their weight? Why does Marlon Brando fall at the same rate as a paper clip when dropped from the Empire State Building? It is because "heaviness is a two-sided coin. As you get heavier, gravity pulls harder, but it is also that much harder to budge you. So weight doesn't make you fall faster or slower." Bravo! Well done. The column should have stopped there.

Instead, it goes on to point out an ever-so-slight complication: because these objects pull on the Earth as they fall, the Earth comes up to meet them, and because Mr. Brando pulls harder on the Earth than a paper clip does, the Earth comes a little faster and a little farther toward him and, lo and behold, Mr. Brando wins, providing the experiments are done one at a time.

All right, but when the column then says that Mr. Brando exerts only an "infinitesimally slight pull" on the Earth, it destroys a fundamental and beautiful symmetry in nature: that forces come in equal and opposite pairs; that every action has an equal and opposite reaction; that no matter how hard you try, you can't lift yourself and the chair you're sitting in by pulling on the sides of the chair. Indeed, by using a bathroom scale and Newton's third law, we can easily measure the strength of Brando's gravitational pull on the Earth. It isn't infinitesimal; it's about 300 pounds! MICHAEL PAGE Manassas