FWIW, the fan on my T60p doesn't seem to take a noticable amount of power. It also seems to be on every time I put my ear up to the vent, but I rarely hear it.
This is exactly the part of the problem. You noted that you rarely hear it (unless you put your ear next to it). That is probably because the fan is running at a lower speed (or your fan being a better quality or whatever). When my fan is at a lower speed (<2,900rpm), it is not loud. But my point is that the fan is always at a higher speed (>3,400rpm). My home office is an open loft on the top of my main bedroom (the entire room is about 500SQ), and my wife can hear the fan operation from her bed (about 25 feet away; 7 feet below). My wife is no Bionicwoman, so this shows the noise is not a trivial issue.
Further, the sensitivity to noise depends on the person. I read a lot of comments like "it does not bother me, etc." (By the way, Darren, I am NOT refering to your comment, so don't be offended). I don't see the point of these comments. One cannot impose his/her level of sensitivity to others. I strongly believe we should respect others' personal taste and preference--that is not something you can influence. Some likes blonde, and others like brunette.
With all due respect -- I fail to see how these 'techs' are qualified to comment on what is good and bad notebook thermal design. Do they actually know how much benefit there is to be gained from not having the fan on? I have a feeling that the fan's power consumption is tiny in comparison to the LCD, CPU and GPU...
Astro seems to believe that those of us who are complaining about the fan being always on are not logical. Then, let me ask you a question. A very simple question:
"Would you prefer your fan to be always on or not?"
You may not care. However, I bet your answer is "no fan" as far as your laptop is cooled properly. If there is a choice in design that can allow only interval fan activity, it is a much better design in my humble opinion.
It is hard to imagine that one would like his/her fan on all the time even if he/she is not sensitive to noise (and don't care). There is no benefit to be gain from fan being always on as far as the laptop is cooled appropriately.
More importantly, as others reported in this (and other) threads, not all T60s have continuous fan activities (even those with higher-end graphic cards). Also, Lenovo tech people (even though you believe they are not qualified to answer this kind of question) said the fan should NOT be on all the time. Finally, none of the 9 ThinkPads I've owned never behaved that way except this one. Then, isn't it logical to ask why mine does it?