Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Bronze Age Collapse, VI: Sea of Flowers

EDIT: I can't spell.

With wild surmise, from a hill at Kerkenes Dag, a discovery:



This looks down on a sea of flowers in the spring

The Argument

This is a "Blog Comment Follow Up," so it's primarily a response to Graydon talking about thalassocracy. I have opinions! More importantly, Michael Munn does. Make what you will of this fabric of speculation, but Munn deserves respect. As I'm going to take a while to get to his argument, the shorter summary is that "thalassocracy" is an Athenian ideological conception meant to distinguish the Persian Empire-in-Europe as hubristic, in that it passes the "natural" boundary between Europe and Asia, while Athens' Delian League, which can be understood as an Athenian (European) empire in Asia is pious and godly, because it is a "thalassocracy." 

Incidentally, and on my own hook, I'll throw in some observations about the likely realities of Ancient naval warfare, these are in part aimed at the claims of the Trireme Trust but could just as easily go to the Nineteenth Century argument about the steam ram. 

To make things more complicated, I've also had a nice email from Lameen alerting me to a post at the Mountain reviewing Brown, Wichmann and Beck establishing that Chitimacha, a Louisanan language previously thought to be an isolate, is actually genetically  Totozoquean. That is, a Mesoamerican language transmitted by a prehistoric Mesoamerican colonisation of the Gulf Coast, perhaps at the beginning of archaeologically-attested corn farming there. The origins of the idea of "thalassocracy" are, it seems to me, linked to changing ideas about the religious foundations of natural sovereignity that are easily lost when we insist on immmanent national-religious identities that distinguish Asian (Phrygian, Lydian, Persian, Median, Cimmerian) identities --and languages-- from "European" (Greek, Scythian, Thracian). This becomes even more pressing when we consider the evidence that the boundary between "Europe" and "not-Europe" was moved from the Halys, which practically runs under Kerkenes Dag, to the Hellespont, thus moving the Phyrgians and Lydians from Europe to Asia. I continue to believe that the language changes with which the early Iron Age was so fertile would have been impossible were it not so hard to express Big Ideas without fancy new jargon with its own implict, prescriptive grammar. That is, that spread of ideas, and not migration of nations, should be the preferred model of language change for the Iron Age and the much-discussed Spread of Indo-European. This is why Kerkenes is important here. I might have lost this thread a bit, but Kerkenes is an archaeological anomaly which makes no sense in our understood scheme of the spread of Indo-European, so, naturally, I'm demanding that an alternative paradigm rather than an alternate reading of the archaeology and/or specific language history. 

This post is also an exercise in talking about books and scholars that I've read that deserve wider exposure, and it deserves a bibliographic section. I would put one in, were it not that it is already 4PM in the freaking afternoon as I write.

The Digressive Prologue, To Get it Out of My System, Hopefully

As readers of this blog may be aware, insofar as I understand the historical linguistics stuff, and my music tastes should sufficiently demonstrate the tin ears that handicap me here, I tend to prefer accounts of language change that privilege technological change, broadly understood, over migration narratives. New techne are brought by people, to be sure, but they can only teach with the vocabulary they have, and that vocabulary carries its own prescriptive rules that enter the local discourse and modify it, perhaps --perhaps!-- creating a language different enough from the original that we can then proclaim a genetic relationship with the prestige-tongue that brought the new techniques in the first place.

This particular change is particularly heavily loaded. We are talking about the formation of Eastern Woodland civilisation: turkey at Thanksgiving, college football, sundowner towns. Important stuff. The horizon our linguistic scientists have discovered, c. 850AD, is pretty clearly not the first moment of diffusion of corn farming into North America, much less of Mesoamerican crops, since tobacco precedes corn by perhaps a thousand years. What it is, is a cultural horizon 
What happened to you if you texted during lecture in the old days

that makes corn farming visible. It's a cultural horizon that is associated with the rise in North America of a civic architecture of mound-pyramids erected over levelled plazas on which sacred games are played, and with which are associated earth lodges in which the members of fraternal societies gather to drink the heavily caffeinated "black drink." I am not being entirely whimsical in associating all of this with the modern college campus, or in suggesting that if scholars as insightful as Tim Pawtucket can go on record suggesting that this doesn't reflect the propagation of Mesoamerican cultural influences through the Eastern Woodlands hinterland, then the denial is almost more interesting, than the archaeology itself. 

Fifteen hundred years ago, the glamour of Azatlan spread through this land. The moccasin and canoe blade of the sacred traveller, practically invested with the task of carrying toolstone down to the alluvial flats, but protected by the sacred glamour of the shadow of Azatlan. If it is erased, it is because a few centuries later, the routes reversed, and a new story, of a land of techne across the sea, was overlaid upon the story of the Place of Reeds. Lost, confused, yet mythopoeically overwhelmed with the project of creating a country for themselves, Americans compromised by building their own Place of Reeds that looks out over "seapower" rather than back the hutted knoll of their birth (1, 2, 3; though I'm not sure that I've ever rambled on about Wyandotte and American origins here.).  

Uhm, Kerkenes! You see the connection, right? Look! A video!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Postblogging Technology, November 1944, I: The Cannonball That Never Came Down

Wing Commander R_. C_. DFC (bar),
L_. House,
Isle of Axholme,
Lincs.

Dear Sir:

No words can express my grief at dear Walter's death and my sympathy for your loss, for you have known him, as friend and as a business partner, for longer than I have been alive. I shall always remember the man who was so patient in waiting to see the Capilano project show a profit.

Uncle Henry did us a real kindness in bringing his active partners into the dam project and greener fields of investment in America. In other news of old kindnesses repaid, I was able to tell Uncle George's friend that the document that would have proved his "Asiatic origins" is now in our care. I am no expert, but it looks as though the entire entry was added to the ledger recently, which explains the fifteen year discrepancy in dates between his grandfather's documented arrival in California and his own recollections! Unfortunately, this has not put our friend completely at ease, for he worries that railroad company rosters might turn up now. As far as we know, they were destroyed long ago, to the complete approbation of all involved, but that is not going to deter a creative forger!

Events will prove. I only wonder just how far enmity is going to motivate the Engineer, now that he has lost whatever faint chance he had of influencing the election.

As far as your son goes, you have asked me to report on how my "feminine wiles" progress. One needs to square the circle as between his desire to be a crack fighter ace, and my desire to see him tinkering with radios. My inquiries are proceeding in the direction of of squaring that particular circle. It remains to persuade him to persist through multi-engine training, where I understand the main opportunities in electronics lie. We shall see.



"GRACE."



Flight, 2 November 1944

Leaders

“Unbalanced Forces” Even though the Air Force is now turning over men originally allocated to Bomber Command to the Army and to the mines, everything is still for the best in our best of all possible air forces. The Germans did it worse!

“International Aviation” Do I feel like snatching a bureaucrat’s ear in one hand, and a journalist’s in another, and marching them off to the readership to apologise for their sorry wasting of everyone’s time? Yes, I will say, but only after meandering on for a paragraph or five.

War in the Air

As of this writing, the Japanese are at sea, and “Halsey’s 3rd Fleet” is preparing to receive them. As of this reading, the Admiral is still in command of his fleet, because to relieve him might prejudice the outcome of the election, and apparently America can win even when it chooses to put its second-raters at the helm. R. does a fine job of not sounding bitter about it at all. And, to be fair, he has Honolulu to enjoy, with the main question hanging over him being whether he will be made grand admiral at the end, or merely full four-star admiral. In Europe, we are bombing more, and more heavily. Serve the Germans right for freezing the Rhine! The paper notes that the Russians have entered Kirkenes, and reminds us that there was a Charles XII, because history broadens the mind. We move on to the battle in the Philippines Sea, which appears to have ended while the last paragraphs were being written, or some such. The paper is not sure what happened, but is confident that aircraft, and aircraft carriers, were involved. Britain has aircraft carriers, too, it points out.

Here and There

Tomato growers are upset that they will be displaced by the Blackpool Airport. Shannon’s airport will be a “free port.” Air pirates take note! The B-32, follow-on to the “Liberator,” will be called the “Dominator.” Hard to believe that I hear this the same month that General Stilwell is recalled. A cargo version of the B-29 is mooted. One F. S. Mitman, formerly associated with the light metals industry and then with Messier Aircraft Equipment, has joined the board of Brush Electrical Engineering. Two directors of a French firm which produced automatic pilots for V1s have been arrested as collaborators. Pan American has purchased 13 US Army Air Force C-39s, the so-called “DC 2 ½.” 

The 10,000th B-17 has recently been delivered, while the per-plane cost of the B-29 has now fallen from £849,099 to £150,000. It is amusing to note that an RCAF aircrewman, one P/O F. H. Partridge, is a grandfather, due to having his eldest daughter at 16, and she having just given birth at 17. “Amusing.” General Sir Frederick Pile believes that the flying bomb has come to stay as a weapon, and it is vital that Britain have plenty of research establishments after the war so as to counter new weapons.

John Yoxall, “R.P. Squadron: Impressions from a Flight in a BEaufighter Employoing Our Newest Weapons” Boys will be boys.

“Celebrating a Flight: On Saltburn Sands, Yorkshire, by Robert Blackburn, 35 Years Ago” The first Yorkshireman to fly! (Punchline now?)

Source: "The First Super Speedway"


C. B. Bailey-Watson, “Modern Airscrews: A Descriptive Review of the Latest Hydraulic and Electric Types in use on British Aircraft” As James has explained it, the basic problem here is the same as for any feedback control mechanism. A lag between actuating external influence and the internal compensation introduces an element which cannot be analysed mathematically, and which has to be managed. This is normally done by “damping,” which is internal to the mechanism. The designer introduces an empirically calculated friction or retarding influence. The problem becomes one of finding a dampener which is suitable to the widest range of conditions in advance. The next step, then, is to design an element of variable dampening, which “calculates,” as it were, the necessary resistance from case to case. James is a great admired of Honeywell’s work in this area in this country, although he can be patronising about saying that they are almost as good as the lads at Woolwich. But I do go on, and I am repeating myself, I know. Here are some pictures, to illustrate how things are done right now.

“Sons of the Air” A film about the ATC has its London premiere. No word on the status of hats, forage caps or otherwise.

Studies in Aircraft Recognition

The Mitsubishi S-03 Army Fighter "Tony", actually by subsidiary Kawasaki. It is a neat-looking plane, and has a license-built DB-603,and was captured on an airfield in New Guinea. The usual claim is  that air-cooled engines  have two main advantages: they are better suited to hot, humid tropical air; and to forward maintenance in difficult conditions. Which makes it odd that they were sent to New Guinea,  Still, it is a very pretty plane, and I think would look well in jungle camouflage. (See, I do think of such things, and am not always some sensible-shoe, short-haired type!) The rest of the short blurb is unexpectedly interesting, as it denounces the Japanese for not sending their most modern types to prewar air shows. Is this kind of hypocrisy a product of wartime, or are we simply seeing it more nakedly?


“Standardised Wiring” The SBAC will now insist on it.

“Scottish Aviation Project” ScottishAviation aims at a private, global airline based on Prestwick, with services to Moscow, “Pekin,” Vladivostok, Alaska and Vancouver. I should like to see the class of passenger on the Vladivostok—Vancouver leg. Will they have to check their pistols and bandoliers?

Behind the Lines

Swedish sources report that Germany has stepped up its production of poison gas. One unnamed German broadcast announces that the Germans will soon regain air superiority through unspecified means, because fighter jets are secret this week.  Another asserts that Germany’s situation is “incomparably worse” now than was Britain’s after Dunkirk, or Russia’s at the time of Stalingrad. Germany is building up its air forces in preparation for a winter offensive in the west. Germany’s steel and iron supply “has received such a blow that it cannot be repaired” from the fall or imminent fall of Luxembourg and the steel-producing regions of Belgium, in the view of a “neutral periodical.” The supposed glider bomb is, the Hs 293, in fact, a “reaction bomb” of the “doodlebug family.” Which strikes me as a bit overstated, inasmuch as it is a simple glider with a rocket boost. The pulse jet is not complicated, either, but it is worlds apart from a rocket in being air-breathing.

“Macviator,” “The Air and Shipping”  It is supposed that, postwar, some shipping lines will own some airlines. Or, on the other hand, perhaps the government will intervene with a heavy hand in favour of BOAC. We should really talk about this more, Macviator concludes.

Lieutenant General F. A. M. Brownrigg, “Airborne Forces: Principles of Their Use Explained” Using planes, we drop large numbers of brave boys on vital locations in the enemy’s rear which they have neglected to protect, which sounds to me like a tricky thing to pull off right there. The boys then capture them with their guns, and defend them with their teeth, since by that time they have run out of bullets, and also food. The more boys we throw away away doing this, the more likely that it will not all be futile, and the fewer who will require postwar employment, apparently a burden society is hardly prepared to meet.
Something about if we can just build enough refrigerators and cars, it will balance the three(?) years the Marine Corps spent trying to kill him?


“The New Martin Transport” The Martin 30 seater that does not exist yet takes a pretty picture. (Artist's impression.) 



“Demron,” “American Letter: Random Impressions of People and Things of Interest to British Readers” Much less amusing than it could be. References here and there will suggest that there is a another article subject that might be getting spiked by the censor.

Correspondence

Speaking of, Jack Platt defends the two-jet configuration against the rival single-jet. “Anti-Squirt” writes to correct W. S. Shackleton on the question of whether V-1 engines cut out when they began to dive. His sense, from far too many encounters with the things, is that this only happened due to fuel starvation or mechanical failure, and was not a systemic design flaw. GroupCaptain R. Fulljames thinks that the United Nations should have an international air force with which to bomb the world into  peace. 

The Botley Choral Society later gave him a more productive hobby than writing crank letters to magazines and famous people.
“Cameleer” is pleased that Flight published a colour photo of the new Hermes, and asks whether airports could install some kind of equipment to bring tailwheel planes to level so that their cabins can e boarded without an obnoxious climb. As a young mother –not that you will catch my children on an airliner  for years yet--  I can well see the point. But surely some kind of mobile escalator or elevator would be more efficient?


The Economist, 4 November 1944.

Leaders

“Extended Lease” The war with Germany will go on into spring or early summer, and the General Election will not be held until after the war ends, which requires the paper to deploy a new metaphor.

“Polish Guarantee” Poland is to be liberated by the Russians, so the paper guarantees that we will hear about Russians and Poles forever. Also, the Prime Minister assures us that Britain will accomplish everything for her Polish allies that not-too vigorous Parliamentary scolding can achieve.

“Europeans and Russisians, 1940—70” “In 1919, the momentum of the nineteenth century still have weight to political assumptions of all-round increases in population. This time, the settlement will have the new factor of declining populations to be fitted into the pattern of peace. Whatever its provisions, it will determine the international foundations of Europe for several decades. If it should be based on the assumption of European populations as they were in the thirties, or as they are to-day, such a settlement would have created a dangerously wide margin of error by 1970. Even vigorous population policies –whose latest advocates in this counry are the Tory Reform Committee—cannot entirely reverse the powerful trends alredy in existence or alter the number of potential mothers twenty-five years hence.” 


I think that this means that the Russian steamroller is coming. Really, this time. The population of Russia in 1970 will be 250 million, 25 millions greater than the population of all the countries of north-western and Central Europe together. (Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany and assorted bagatelles such as Estonia and Latvia.) Economic development, having brought first the means to sustain large families, and then the means to limit them, has restored population stability to the countries of Europe. From a peak when one-in-three of the world’s population was European or descended from Europeans (I smell a rat,  but it may be a small rat), we are returning to the Eighteenth Century proportion of 1-in-5. Which, looking at the map, still seems awfully high. Or, better yet, a globe, which will show just how enormous Africa is. The decline in France began in 1935. That in England and Wales, while retarded yet into the future, will, like past growth, be more rapid. From a peak of 47.5 millions in 1940, the 1970 population is forecast at 43.5.


 Germany, will have 70 millions within its borders of  1937 on the basis tht that the relatively high fertility rates of 1937—8 are maintained and that postwar emigration balances wartime immigration. This is a 2.5 million decrease from former projections. Italy will be the next most populous country in Europe, at 50 millions, while that of Poland, again within its 1937 boundaries, will stand at 41 millions. By 1970, western European populations will be heavily overweight with the old, and the population will not answer to the bayonet count, or some such old-fashioned way about talking about brave lads in red pants. To put it in a more congenial way, Russia will have far more “males of a productive age” than the rest of Europe combined. Even Roumania, Poland and Jugoslavia will exceed by 2 million the 28 combined millions of productive-age males in Britain and France. Finally, ,“[t]o state these facts, however, is not to conjure up the bogy of another yellow peril on the eastern marches of France.” For goodness’ sake, no. It’s a Red peril!

“A Plan for Broadcasting –II” We should talk about talking about broadcasting. There are only so many frequencies available, unless there are more, so we need to think about dividing them up such that there is competition, and things don’t get too boring. And don’t forget television! It might be found that we have made major technical strides during the war, because radar is sort-of secret this week. Perhaps, if television is found to be far advanced, television advertising will kill radio advertising, and so private radio, as the talkies did silent film, because this is a perfect analogy that has not been heard again and again. Or perhaps not, because radio is easier to listen to than television is to watch. I wonder where the paper gets the idea that radio journalism might turn out to be boring and interminable?

Notes of the Week

“The China Problem” The problem with the Chinese is that they don’t do what we tell them, and now they’ve told us that General Stilwell has to go. Stilwell’s entourage of journalists have returned along with him, and have now introduced the American press  to the idea that the Chungking regime is corrupt, riven and ineffectual. And also, crowning insult, not democratic! (Perhaps the elections that Chiang did not have did not meet up to expectations of what not-held elections ought to look like?)

“Russia Stays Away” Russia is not at Chicago to talk about talking about civil aviation. Good on them!

“The Red Army at Kirkenes” The Russians have reached “western Europe.” 

This threatens cutting into capitalism’s increasingly scant reindeer reserve. But have no fear, because they are our allies, and the Prime Minister will chastise them if they withhold vital reindeer-derived goods.

“First In –Last Out” The paper compares British and American reconversion policies. Britain is doing terribly, apparently, and the new New York airport and the “new TVA in the Columbia Valley” are cited. I was not aware that there was to be a TVA in the Columbia Valley, and might have a word with my Congressman if there is, as I thought that the Bonneville Power Administration had been thoroughly neutered back in 1937. Though if matters need fixing on a TVA-scale, it seems to me that we should go to Victoria.

“Background to a Debate” To improve on Uncle George’s joke, I think that this is talking about talking about talking about social insurance in Parliament.

“Belgian Crisis Postponed” We were all set to have a crisis in Brussels this week, and now it’s put over because the communists’ cisis frock is out for cleaning! This even though the monetary reforms of which the paper are so keen have led to the coal miners not working, on the unreasonable and unpatriotic grounds that they should like to be paid, and probably also do not exist. The paper chooses to focus on food and pit-props, though. The paper is committed to the idea that miners should exist.

“Government or Resistance in France” Latins continue to be insufficiently excitable.

“The Future of Shipping” There is roughly as much shipping in the world as there was in 1939, but while Britain’s holding has fallen by half, that of the United States has trebled. 

This observation is made in light of the First Lord’s statement to the Commons in which he noted that in 1940—3, 4.415 million tons of merchant shipping, and 1.183 million tons of war vessels were launched from British yards. A debate ensued, in which members attempted to elicit the Government’s admission that this had been done wrong, and that its plans for addressing this is in the future were defective. The Government declined to admit this, and then all the members went out for tea. The paper observed that all will depend on details of financing, the future of international trade, and all sorts of imponderables of which we must talk about talking.

“Unconditional Surrender” The Prime Minister clarified the policy to the house this week.

“Common Soldier” Are Home Guardsmen killed on active duty exempt from estate death duties, as soldiers are? Sometimes.

“Mr. Eden in Greece” Mr. Eden is in Greece, attempting to determine why swarthy foreigners are so excitable. Americans tend to think that it is because we are backing the rightists. The paper suggests that not having any food might be an issue.

“Bulgarian Armistice” Now we are down to speculating on a Hungarian surrender. Sad times.

“Future Budgets" This story has appeared in every fifth number of the paper since 1853, I believe. The Government’s decision to spend more money in the future means that it will need more money in the future, which concerns the paper, for it is very economical.

“British Communists” Britons are excitable.

“William Temple” The Archbishop of Canterbury has died unexpectedly, a heavy blow for the nation. His name was William Temple, the paper adds, in case the reader cannot put a name to the heavy blow he has felt. He was a “common man’s Archbishop,” we are told. The advantage of having coffee with Jesuits is that one gets to see the reaction on dropping that line.

“Standing Down” The country is standing down. There will be increased rations at Christmas. The paper is concerned that people are getting too jolly, and must be prepared for life after the Armistice to go on being gray and unsatisfactory.

Perhaps people will even stop working and saving so hard, which will make prosecuting the war with Japan to a satisfactory end more difficult.

“War Marriages” Some divorces in the case of war marriages are to be made easier by legislation.

“Planning Inquest in the Lords” The Lords are not satisfied with aspects of the Town and Country Planning Bill, mainly in that not enough financial means have been provided for.

“A Cold Christmas” Roofs are leaking, cellars empty. Stockpiling is hard, moving coal is difficult. We are moving, said the minister, “towards a terribly difficult winter.” Only 120,000 of 800,000 houses in dire need of repair  have been addressed so far, and while 141,000 workers will soon be enrolled in repair efforts, and 46 million square feet of plaster board have now been applied, it does not look like nearly enough is being done. Notice the leaking roofs? Not hard when I choose to lead with it! This is the upshot of the heavy damage of the robot bombing campaign. Let the water in, and it keeps on coming in.
Source: Library Time Machine

Correspondence

F.W. Stephens writes to correct the general misimpression that universal suffrage is always desirable. The vote in various colonies should be restricted to the rich, well-educated,and property-owners, producing at once a better-educated and superior electorate. How about skin colour? I understand that is being tried in some advanced societies, and with the cost of decent cosmetics. . . R. MacG. Writes that in order to achieve full technical efficiency, farming in Great Britain needs not less than 1000 milllions in new capital, which should be secured for it by various non-market measures. G. C. Allen, of the University of Liverpool, writes about measures to achieve full technical efficiency in the cotton industry, pointing to the example of Japanese industry as providing guidance in how to achieve it.

American Survey

“Alaska: The Outside Moves In” By Our Correspondent Recently in Alaska
 “’Alaska can some day support more than 10 –perhaps 35—million people . . . Alaska has 30,000 square miles fit for farming. . . “OCRA  quotes this with  very qualified approval. It will take decades, notwithstanding that the Territorial government is being flooded with inquiries from prospective homesteaders.  OCRA is also more taken by the potential of Alaskan pulp-and-paper than its farming, and questions whether the Alaskan industry will be able to compete with the Canadian or Scandinavian.

American Notes

“Whirlwind Finish” The President has made three speeches in three cities in three days, effectively countering persistent rumours about his health and regaining the initiative by pointing out that the GOP is dominated by isolationists; that the Administration’s war policy is justified by the success of the invasion of the Philippines, putting paid to the allegation that it was not supporting General MacArthur adequately; and pointing out that the Republicans can hardly repudiate the New Deal while adopting its policies. Governor Dewey was left to call the President an isolationist and lackey of big business, which is not going to fly, I don’t think.  “Wise Money” notes that pundits seem to be talking about two different elections. In one, for which polls exist, Fortune has the President with a 7 point lead, and bookmakers have the President a 3-1 favourite. In the other, which has the support of a Gallup poll, the President’s lead has shrunk to 2 points, and a “photo-finish” is expected. President Roosevelt, as has been normal in modern times, is expected to bring a majority of his own party into the House if re-elected.

The World Overseas

“Canada and Dumbarton Oaks” Oh, for God’s sake, paper.

“Uneasy Stabillisation in Germany” The Germans have been driven back to the frozen Rhine, which cannot be crossed by an attacking army in winter time, which must depend on floating assault bridges.  But why talk about that when we could talk about totalitarianism, Nazi Resistance fighters in training, underground factories and the Volksturm(For men of peace, Jesuit fathers seem to know an awful lot about old time warfare. I even got a demonstration of how to anchor a pontoon from an engineering lecturer, with soda crackers in a very nice mock turtle soup. The faculty club really is the best place for American food, steak, if you can get it, aside, in the town.)

The Business World

“Scotland: Development Area” Scotland used to be a Depressed Area. In the future, it is to be a Development Area.

Business Notes

“The New Issue” The government is suspending the offer of the new 10 year 2.5% war savings bonds, as the war is about to end. A shorter term exchequer bond is to be offered at 1 ¾ % us to be offered instead, what with the supply of mattresses being rationed and all. Russia has still not made currency agreements in any of the four countries in which its armies are fighting. Belgium’s new financial plan is wonderful, although the peasantry are revolting. Greece is having a currency crisis due to no-one wanting the drachma so long as you cannot buy food with it. Meanwhile, the Greeks are hoarding bullion in vast quantities. Progress is being made in allocating international rubber supplies, and engineering labour in postwar Britain. The accident rate in British mines is continuing to rise, except in Northumberland, which exception refutes the rule and proves that it is not a crisis. The Scottish mines are especially delinquent on production. Bullion is coming out of hoards in India now that the threat of Japanese invasion in Manipur is resolved. Texas Land & Mortgage is experiencing internal turmoil, Murex’s profits are falling, there has been much research and development in packing products for the tropics that will have larger implications in peace.

There is to be talk about talking about Utility Furniture, and also the post-war biscuit is at issue, as a proper quality of wheat may not be available.

Flight, 9 November 1944

Leaders

“Overlooked” the paper will not allow any aspect of the RAF’s war service to be overlooked. For example, the 2400 mile round trip flight to bomb the Tirpitz with 12,000lb bombs asked a great deal of their Merlin engines, and they delivered.

“Bombs and Battleships” Battleships are  done, cf. Philippines, Tirpitz.

“Getting Things Right” No-one ever thought about army/air force cooperation before Air Marshal Sir ArthurConingham. Air Marshal Leigh Mallory also exists, and Air Marshal Tedder is wonderful.
"Ugly" Barratt


War in the Air

The Fairey Firefly is announced,and rather conspicuously shown, with its extraordinary wing-folding mechanism, on an escort aircraft carrier, which, I am told are usually deemed to have too short a flight deck to support modern fighters. Mosquitoes carried out another of those raids where they blow up specific street addresses, this one the Gestapo headquarters in Aarhus, Denmark

The raid on Cologne was not aimed at an address, but did a very nice job on the Cologne suspension bridge. 

The paper points out that nowadays it is attacked after a flight of a few minutes from Allied lines, rather than after a long haul across Flak-armed territory, bad news for German civilians. Liberator wings are enormously strong. 


Walcheren has fallen. Nine hundred American Mustangs and Thunberbolts supported the day raids on the synthetic oil plants of Leuna and Merseburg. British carrier operations in Norwegian waters can be fairly compared to American operations off the Philippines. Oliver Leese is following Leigh Mallory and Mountbatten into exile in Indian climes. A new land commander in Burma seems about as necessary as a new fleet admiral in the Pacific after the Marianas battle, but perhaps General Slim is ill. 

Here and There

A U.S. Technical Mission is coming to tour British factories and research facilities. Apparently, Britain is achieving full technical efficiency much more quickly than expected. Alert The Economist! Air Commodore Whittle says that the jet turbine is here to stay, and that he is pleased that its first combat use was against the flying bombs. Jet turbine fighters are not secret , this week. T. P. Wright will be in town to give the next Wright Memorial Lecture. Canada will produce a model of the DC-4 with Rolls Royce engines, and this will be the most advanced transport airplane in the world.
"Reliable, if  noisy service"

“The Fairey Firefly: Old Name Revived in New Type: Both have Seen Service in This War” Which is to say that some of the old Fireflies  were blown up on Belgian airfields in 1940, and some of the new ones harassed Tirpitz’s beached and bloating corpse last month. It is interesting to see that the final Firefly IV could climb to 23,00 feet in 10 ½ minutes, had a ceiling of 29,500ft with a Hispano-Suiza 785hp engine, a gross weight of 3400lbs, and a wing loading of 12.5 lbs/sq ft. This is an amazing contrast with the new Firefly, the paper can assure us, even though all vital statistics are still secret., apart from a wing span of 44ft, a stall speed below 50mph(!) and the well-known 2200hp of the Rolls-Royce Griffon engine. The combination of wing folding with Fairey-Youngman flaps must make the wing as complex a mechanism as a Swiss watch or, worse, a Napier engine.

 and on a fighter's wing loading, to boot!

“One of Many,” “This is Test Flying: Half an Hour of a Production Test Pilot’s Life: The Routine of Checking: A Reply to the Romantics” Test flying sounds exciting, but is actually quite boring, and people who glamourise test pilots are bound to be disappointed bythe results.

Behind the Lines

The paper sneers at the new German “Superman’s Super Plane,” which is merely a rehash of the Me 210.  My understanding is that getting an Me 210 to fly is quite the technical achievement, but what do I know? Some sources claim that a nonstop Germany-Japan service is being prepared. German flying schools are being shut down, and the men reassigned as infantry. A patented German autopilot is on show in a Stockholm exhibition. Perhaps it has something to do with flying bombs! The paper finds the recent Japanese use of suicide pilots who crash their planes into Allied ships to be well worth a joke. (“One Nip per Trip.”) It is claimed that German night fighter pilots are using a drug that enables them to see in the dark. 

General Karl Student of the German Air Force has been given First Parachute Army, which, since it presumably includes non-Luftwaffe field units, means that air force generals are commanding ground formations in lieu of less politically reliable army generals. Ever since the bomb plot, Father has been asking about what the "loyal generals" have on the Fuehrer, instead. Father has become such a cynic. Who would have imagined that living in Chungking would incline one that way?

“Catapult,” “Fleet Air Arm Equipment” A very interesting article, especially In light of the public announcement of the Firefly. It inspired me to pick James’ brain at some length and produce a short essay, appended, about why your youngest should pursue electrical engineering and multiengine pilot training rather than aeronautical engineering and fighters in order to advance his naval career most efficaciously. I should warn that it contains spherical trigonometry,  calculus, pulp stories, and an old fantasia of Isaac Newton’s about a cannon ball fired fast enough from a tower high enough that it never comes down.

The death due to enemy action last month of Brian Allen and his wife, Kathleen, is regrettably announced.

“Civil Anson” Some Avro Ansons are being used as private aircraft or even feeder airliners. Who would have thought?

“Civil Aviation: Royal Aeronautical Society’s All-Day Debate” Finally, someone is talking about talking about civil aviation! Unfortunately, Junior got this page crammed into his mouth, and I was unable to read it and give it the attention it deserved. With some encouragement. His sister was less obliging, but may come through if we do not have a civil aviation settlement at some point.

C. B. Bailey-Watson, “Modern Airscrew –II: Design and Construction of the Rotol Electric” This is a very nice piece, suitable for reverse pitch, for example. I am not going to excerpt its mechanism in any detail, however, as the article does not include the necessary circuit diagrammes, which are presumably too arcane for the readership. Or not released, as of little interest to mechanics. As I suggest in my essay, this whole idea that electrics are too complicated for mere mortals is only going to play into your son's hands if he goes down that path.


“Simple Flying-boat Beaching” Uncle George has already done this joke.

“Gas Turbine Engines” G. W. Vaughan, of Wright Aeronautical, assures the world that 10,000hp aircraft engines will be available for giant aircraft within the next decade. Wright is also working on a turboprop. Due to the needs of military security, no further details can be released. In the meantime, Wright promises piston engines in the range of 4000 to 5000hp.

Studies in Aircraft Recognition

Today we profile the Kawanishi “Navy 2” four-engined flying boat, with four Mitsubishi Kinsei 22s. The paper wants us to know that it is but an imitation of the Short Sunderland, as is the way of the devious but not creative dwarf barbarians of Wa. Well, the paper doesn’t say the last part. It does note that in spite of being a slavish imitation, the Emily has significantly better aerodynamic lines.

Correspondence

R.L. Gladwell echoes a recent correspondent on the subject of the superiority of wing-mounted jet engines to fuselage-mounted. Lt. Colonel A. D. McKechnie writes to remind us that he read in an old magazine about an old flight in A. V. Roe’s old triplane in 1910, or days of old thereabouts. The paper then corrects the anecdote with information from an old magazine. J. S. Pole writes to say that to-morrow’s light aircraft should be properly designed, although there may be fine points to his argument with "Indicator" which I have missed.

The Economist, 11 November 1944

Leaders
“The Fourth Term” 413 to 118. I could, of course, say more, as I find my old party affiliation crumbling into joy at the scale of the President’s win. This Is not the old Democratic Party. Ah, well.  The Republicans would have to be insane to nominate Governor Dewey again in 1948, leaving the road clear for Governor Warren. (I do not take Senator Taft seriously, and am even slightly surprised that he won re-election.)

“Parliament on Beveridge;” also “Beveridge on Employment;” and “A Plan for Broadcasting –III” The paper is certainly doing its best to support the Alaskan pulp and paper industry this week.

“Spotlight on Palestine” The paper is, in general, anti-Zionist, and the shocking news of the murder of this week is only going to reinforce this. Americans will, of course, disagree, but, as the paper not-so subtly points out, Jews who have actually escaped the Nazis hitherto have often preferred to go to America than to the Jewish Homeland-perhaps-to-be. It seems awfully callous of the paper to concede that it is uncertain about how many Jews remain in Europe, and then speculate that perhaps their zeal to emigrate will vanish with the Nazis. Who wold not want to shake off the dust of the land of death?

Notes of the Week

“Mission to Paris” General de Gaulle has invited Eden, Churchill, and such American high and mighty worthies as might wish to accompany them, to Paris.

“the Caudillo Speaks” General Franco has no idea who these “Hitler” and “Mussolini” fellows are, and quite resent the suggestion that he has been seen in their company. The paper is not fooled, and recommends that Spain be pushed around a bit before all reverts to normal in time for the orange season.

“Mr. Hudson’s Economic Defeatism” Mr. Hudson’s suggestion of a policy of promoting agricultural production at home is mere defeatism. Britain needs to –I’m sorry. Is this 1944, or 1844?

Source: The Victorian Web


“Or Never?” Something about the Planning Bill and compensation for war damage. Not to be more facetious than I need to be, but I really need to work up a measured comment on this for the Earl, as it bears rather heavily on my suggestion that family money needs to go heavily into repair and renovation so long as new building is restricted.

“Chicago Conference” What would a number of the paper be without talking about talking about civil aviation?  I may produce another paper for the Earl when this is done, or I may not. It is not likely to be that complicated, as, in the end, commercial airliners cannot land in countries without permission, and all the vapouring in the world about freedom of the air is not going to change that.

Canadian Liberals in Trouble” And the cow jumped over the Moon, in other fairy stories.

Persians, Slovaks and Swiss(!) re excitable.

“Merchant Navy Reinstatement” It would not be right for members of the Merchant Navy to be unemployed after the war, but also not right, the paper thinks, if they had reinstatement rights equivalent to those being put in place for members of the armed services, for some reason. The solution is that there be enough jobs for all postwar.

There is to be one miner’s union, while the new accidental injury scheme has had a tough welcome in the Commons, which will have to be renovated to meet the postwar membership of 640 members in an accommodation designed for 437.

“Air College” The paper is less impressed by Fedden’s new air college scheme than is Flight.

Correspondence

A recent letter to the paper suggested that the industry is mismanaged and that it needs to be nationalised to remove the control of a hereditary class of coalowners. COLLIERY DIRECTORS reply that it is the fault of labour. Andre Iste writes to point out that his recent comments on the French currency situation were brutally misquoted by the paper. The paper manfully lays the blame on a press agency and demands that it be allowed to send more correspondents to Paris.

American Survey

The paper is pleased by the defeats of Nye, Fish, J. J. Davis of Pennslvania and Stephen Day of Illinois.

“Lend-Lease: The Second Phase” The paper is displeased with the New York Time’s suggestion that a second phase is planned, although it does allow that it might be a good idea.

“The Republican Future” The GOP must be rethinking things after seeing Hoover, Landon, Willkie and Dewey all go down to a popular President. But it shouldn’t. Things change.

The World Overseas

“Canada and Newfoundland” Newfoundland is a basket case, and Canada has been looking for a colony to oppress. It is a match made in Heaven!

Spain Without the Axis” Hitler? Who? Have we mentioned our “organic democracy” and Western heritage recently? Cervantes was Spanish! Columbus! Can we trade with you before our economy completely collapses?

Russia at War

Marshal Stalin strongly implied Russian intervention against Japan after VE Day in his speech at Revolution Day.

The Business World

“France’s Liberation Loan” Will end in tears, I suspect the paper will say, although I am certainly not going to address the wall of words the paper devotes to it. The paper continues to hold out the Belgian scheme as the model to follow.

Business Notes

“Machine or Hand-Made Goods” the cliché is that the Americans have favoured mass-produced goods for broad domestic consumption, while British manufacturers have favoured high skilled production for middle class and upper class consumption. In reality, there is a place for skills in America and for mass production in Britain, and vice versa and vice versa all over again.

Argentines, Roumanians and Greeks are monetarily excitable. As are Australians, surprisingly enough! I think I need to write “cobber” and “ mate” now.

“Redundancy in War Factories” A demonstration before the Commons of workers laid off from an aircraft factory underlines the need for more talk about talking about reconversion.

“Winter Coal” There is to be  a scheme to help householders with winter coal, necessary in light of an emerging coal shortage, at the moment framed in terms of SHAEF’s need for more locomotive coal.

Temporary Plywood Home” Bad news for would-be builders of concrete steel and aluminum homes. A new competitor that has actually been used to make homes has emerged! With luck, however, it can be made so complicated and unwieldy that it won’t actually be built.



“Bicycles After the War” The world will need a lot, and the British industry is hoping to reconvert to meet the world’s demand, perhaps producing six million units per year, up from less than 4 million in  1937, with a short-term goal of  a half million produced per year, but only if capital for new machinery is forthcoming. India, meanwhile, has said a firm “No, thank you,” to British cycles on grounds of protecting its native industry. How, the paper asks, can Britain than repay its war debts to India? Perhaps, one speculates, by exporting hither things not made in India?

“Safety in Industry” It turns out that dispersal, overwork and overcrowding have been bad for workplace safety.

And now for the monthlies.

Aviation, November 1944

Down the Years in AVIATION’s Log

Twenty-five years ago today, the Post Office announced a record of 8,988 miles per forced landing in the previous six months. Authorities were quoted as saying that variable pitch propellers had possibilities, and Upson, in Goodyear II, won the first postwar balloon race. Fifteen years ago, the Army ordered $1.642 million in planes and parts, while the Navy asked for six million to improve Pensacola. Ten years ago, Scott and Black won the MacRobertson Race, four female pilots flew across the continent in formation, and Captain Irving Chambers, developer of the catapult for shipboard launchings, died.

Line Editorial

“Russia: Threat or Promise?” James H. W. McGraw, Jr. notes the staggering potential of the Russian market. Due to its rapid population expansion of 2.5 million/year, Russia has three times as many youngsters under 16 as the United States. This points to both its current and future potential status as a commercial market. Russia needs to rebuild its industry, and its people would like to enjoy a Western standard of living. However, it will need export credits, and we should be prepared to import Russian goods to pay for the exports.

Aviation Editorial Leslie E Neville tells us that “It Takes Human Relations” to keep unions out of a factory.

J. Carlton Ward, President, Fairchild Engine and Aircraft Corp, “Contract Termination: Key to Airpower and Security” Just hand over the money, and nobody gets hurt.

Dick D. Moyer, Service Engineer, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, “Give ‘Em the Data. . . And They’ll Fix  it Fast!” Why won’t anyone tell me what’s going on? A variety of war stories illustrate that with proper cooperation, Fourth Echelon repair capabilities can be used effectively.

Frederic Flader, President, Frederic Flader,  Co., Consulting Aeronautical Engineers, “The Economic Future of Aviation Technology” Each improvement in ton-mile costs will generate additional ton-mile demand. Future aircraft, earlier installments in this series have shown, will achieve these imporvements through lighter and more aerodynamic designs. But engines will improve, too. Specifically, turboprops offer a potential for significant improvements, and the addition of regeneration cycles to existing proposed turboprop installations show an ultimate improvement from 58c per ton mile to 35c. What looks like a discussion of the future of aviation turns out to be an advertisement for a new design.

C. L. “Les” Moyer, Formerly Chief Test Pilot of Sikorsky Aircraft, “What’s Ahead for the Helicopter” This is an extract from his forthcoming book. Will helicopters be produced in the hundreds of thousands, at prices comparable to contemporary automobiles? Moyer thinks that prices could be comparable, if the price of cars goes up a great deal. Will helicopters be a product in line with cars? Well, 9.000 a/c/month is the current, fully nationalised effort, and while car engines are produced at roughly $1/horsepower, aircraft engines are closer to $10/hp. A decent two or three place helicopter will need a 200hp engine, so the engine alone will cost as much as the average person is likely to want to pay (taking cars and helicopters as substitutable goods, then). Mass production may cut costs, but it has to come into play, first! He does not think that performance will be too low, although various ballpark estimates of necessary structure weight per ton and horsepower/lb intimate that a large helicopter will be very large and expensive. Then, later, mass production will lead to an industry that can compete with cars, by a process left to be worked out as an exercise for the student.

Wright Aeronautical celebrates its 25th birthday, while Curtiss-Wright releases information about the postwar “civilian” C-46. I would probably not have been quite so easy about seeing my husband board one of these last year had I known then that its crews called it the "flying coffin."

Arthur S. Brown, Sales Manager, Scott Aviation Co., “A Place for the Distributor of Aircraft Accessory Sales” People should give us money.

Frederick H. Smith, Sperry Gyroscope, “What Kind of Instruments for the Personal Plane?” All kinds!

Joseph S. Pecker, “Basic Drives for Helicopters” Looks very practical.


“Better Fuel Tanks Made Faster” Curtiss Wright makes better fuel tanks, faster!

Donald A. DuPlantier, Chief of Structure, Nashville Division, Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp, “Analysis of Continuous Beams Having Variable Moments of Inertia” I can do algebra! And a bit of calculus, which I will put off right to the end so as not to scare anyone.

“Suspension Mount Controls Instrument Vibration” The idea that a piece designed to be mounted in suspension would be a good approach for aircraft auxiliary makers to take.

Herbert Chase, “Mass Machining Features Buick Shortcuts” One has an image of an automobile factory as a place where bits go trundling by a worker on an assembly lines, so that he can tighten a nut all day long.
Not always so, apparently.

“How the Hydraulic Fuse Promotes Flight Safety” Aeroquip wants you to know that it has designed a hydraulic fuse. It is 5 inches long and weights 1.75lbs, and, if you have slept through all the other articles on the subject and do not know how a fuse works, Aeoquip will explain why they are a good idea. Actuallly, it will explain this whether you need the explanation or not, because this is a paper. Perhaps Aeroquip is investing in Alaskan pulp-and-paper, too?

B. Mattson Compton, Aviation Director, City Schools, Ogden, Utah, “Nomographs Facilitate Sheet Metal Layout” The Ogden, Utah, school district needs an aviation director? He’s clearly not very busy directing school aviation, though, because he’s got time to work on an article about nomographs.

“New Method Banishes Wire-Stripping Risks” Frank Stellwagen and Victor J. Canzani of Fairchild Camera have invented a new way of stripping synthetic resin insulation off wires that does less damage to delicate strands. Concentrated sulphuric acid and caustic soda at 350 degrees, and solder at 1100 degrees  were tried, but turned out to be unsafe, as they tended to splash on workers. Instead, liquids A and B were used. The method is patented, but Fairchild wants you to know that it can be licensed at a very reasonable cost.

John Brennan and Ralph Hall, Paint Shop Foremen, American Export Airlines, “A Plane is as Fit as its Finish” We do important work, too. Finishing aircraft used in marine environments is very challenging work because of the ever-present threat of corrosion. Old finishes must be stripped, corroded areas apprehended and remediated where possible, and new finishes applied with great exactness. AEA can do this on its flying boats. I wonder about marine aircraft operating from less luxurious bases, though.

“System Makes the Difference in Instrument Overhaul” Embry Riddle is wonderful.

“Snow Doesn’t Ground RCAF” Because it has invented snow removing!

“Airmail Goes RFD” Remember those thrilling demonstrations of Lysanders picking up mail with their tailhooks? You may not, but I certainly do. Well, now it turns out that theUSPS invented it. For a certain definition of "invented," where the word means, "copied well-established military practice."

James B. Rea, “Calculated Cruising Foolproofs Long Range Flights” I could be snide, but there’s actually a painfully earnest article here on calculating how much fuel you will use in a longrange flight. With a chart! And another showing flights from San Francisco to Honolulu, with lines to show the dividing point between getting there and crashing into the sea for various operating conditions from  headwinds to engine-out conditions. I do not think I needed to be reminded of this.

Juan Nolan, “Mexico Offers Flyers Thin Air . . . And Opportunities” Come to Mexico. Spend your Yankee dollars.

“China and U.S. Chip in for New High in Cooperation” I doublechecked, but I am not reading Time by mistake. Chinese pilots are allowed to fly American planes.

Chester S.Ricker, “Design and Construction of Nazi V-1 Flying Bomb” Same article as in Flight. As near as I can tell, the autopilot was removed before the paper could examine the machine. I could be wrong, but there’s a great deal of emphasis on the mounting, little discussion of the actual device.

Raymond L. Hoadley, “Preview of Coming Airline Finance” Airlines are doing very well right now, and everyone should invest. 
.

Aviation For Better Design

Martin has come up with a junction box with a transparent cover. And aviation grade Windex, I suppose.

Aviation News

T. P. Wright says that we need better prices before the personal plane market will really move. The first official picture of the A-26 appears. Aeronautical Products, Inc, exhibit their first mockup of their first postwar commercial helicopter. Now all they need is for Congress to pass some minor modifications in the laws of nature and they’ll be set. The London Star is reporting that the Alies are picking up “patriots behind German lines” by parachute dropping special rigs that allow them to be picked up by aircraft hooks, package style. Etc. sounds safe.

Yes, it's a repeat, but I love this ad. Did you take a doubletake before you realised that this wasn't a shopfloor amputation? I think that's intentional. Good day to be the first aid attendant!


America at War: Aviation’s Communique No. 35

The German war is still not ending, and aircraft’s involvement is not to be held against them, as 34,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Germany in a single week the other week, and have you heard about those paratrooper assaults? The facts that the British are inept doesn’t disqualify them from being the ultimate terror of future wars. The P-47N is coming. .50 calibre incendiary bullets are an exciting new thing. Rocket-assisted takeoff units are called “JATOs.” Applegate Amphibians has combined with Romer Weyant’s firm to take over Dart Aircraft Corp. (?) Just so that you know.

Washington Windsock

Is Blaine Stubblefield a hopeless drunk, bone lazy, or has he just burned all his bridges to useful sources? Opinions differ.

Aviation Manufacturing

“September output is 7,598 planes, down 341. W-11 schedule calls for 101,944 Craft in 1944.” The paper and the War Production Board combine to explain why this is so. Bigger planes, new planes, demands for modifications, labour shortages. There are delays in delivering the A-26 and B-29 in particular, and heavy cancellations of aircraft the services don’t need, the latest of 1900 P-38s from Lockheed, 1900 C-47s from Douglas-Oklahoma City, and 435 P-40s. The P-63 programme was cut by another 325 units, and the Boeing Kaydet line cancelled entirel to free up labour in Wichita. It is increasingly hard to retain labour as people see the production cuts. Meanwhile, surplus trainers are selling well, but for whatever reason, no civilians want P-40s or B-24s, which cost more to break down than the salvage is worth.

Also coming up short is the paper, which in a bizarre section at the end of Aviation News describes the pictures it would have liked to have shown of a Barracuda landing. Rumours in the Aeroplane, of two six-engined planes designed “to take Hitler to Japan” are noted. Bolivia has fined German Lufthansa for smuggling 250lbs of cocaine to Germany.

Sideslips

The paper is hilariously reminded that  Americans invented the buzzbomb, hilariously fails to note that its anecdote reveals that the American machine had a much simpler autopilot and no pulse jet engine. Another anecdote reveals the existence of slot machines in officers’ clubs. I hope the morals of theenlisted men survive proximity to gambling!  Also hilarious: helicopters.

Fortune, November 1944

The Fortune Survey

Leading off this number is a last minute edition of the survey, which you can tell from the fact that it’s a kraft paper insert into the front cover of the paper. The President is securely in the lead, although weak spots in April and August are perhaps due to his tussles with Sewell Avery and the fall of Paris and war-end enthusiasm. The paper suggests that in spite of his 7 point lead, the President remains vulnerable due to uncertainty about him on the part of the electorate. The young and women are strongly for the President, while the old are for Dewey. Coloured voters and servicemen are also likely to vote Democratic, as is labour. The President is weak with white collar voters, and with farmers, even showing weakness with Southern farmers during the fights over the poll tax.

Fortune’s Wheel Associate Editor Jean Ford flew the North Atlantic in a converted B-17 to research her article. The paper wants everyone to know that in spite of the tough assignment, she is a  very feminine southern girl! Cover illustrator Ralston Crawford is an abstract painter, and Congressman Reid F. Murray of Wisconsin is a nincompoop for confusing the paper's article on margarine for advocacy of non-dairy bread spreadds.

Correspondence

“Guns in the Middle East” General J. d. Lavarack writes to respond to the allegation contained in Mr. Babcock’s article about the Middle East in which he suggested that Australian solders sold all their guns to local Arabs to fund “hilarious farewell benders,” resulting in their being lots of guns in Syrian hands for the possible future purpose of shooting Zionists. General Laverack points out that the Australian army keeps track of its weapons, and knows that this did not happen. The paper, however, points out that Babcock heard this story from several people, so it must be true, and says that Australians should not be ashamed of being drunken hooligans, as they are also first-class fighting men. Oh, no! I've already used up my "cobber" and "mate" material. It would be funny were it not so tragic this week that we're standing on dubious anecdotes about how many guns the Arabs have while debating arming the Jews for self-defence against those guns.  

“No Magic Formula” Mr. Heshmat Ali of Washington, D.C.., writes to suggest that the situation in the  Middle East will not be easily resolved. The paper agrees. All depends on America’s ability to formulate a mature foreign policy. Problem pretty much solved, then.

Cybele Pomerance, assistant to the managing editor of the Modern Language Journal, is offended by claims for novelty in the recent article on Service foreign language education methods, and also by the decline in the use of phonetics in domestic educational instruction due to the influence of various progressive theorists. She points out that the new armed forces method is basically just the Berlitz school dressed up to give jobs for supposedly scientific linguists. Professional jealousy?

The Job Before Us

The war will go on for a year, and after that, the paper has trepidations about Russia, because it’s not free and stuff. In the meantime, we can revoke the Johnson Act, and get ready for the postwar, so that it looks less like the Depression of 1919—21 or the boom that led to 1929—33. So far we’ve been lucky with inflation. In spite of huge increases in spending and record Treasury deficits, the cost of living index has barely budged since May of 1943. One of the mysteries of the war is that there has been sufficient consumer goods made to absorb the surplus dollars, and no flight from the dollar to …other commodities? The OPA has done a fine job. Little Steel, even if it is adjusted upwards 20%, will make little difference, as most employees have had at least that much increase in compensation, one way or the other. Walther Reuther has suggested that this is fine, because the war has seen at least this much increase in technological efficiency, but this is not necessarily the case. As the recent British White Paper suggests, high employment depends on moderation in wage demands. Will postwar goods be more expensive, though also more “plush?” Some think so, but the paper cites others who do not. Since one of them is Charlie Sorensen, I’m not convinced.  The paper also takes a moment to notice that it liked Wendell Willkie.

Pass up wage increases to secure your financial future. That's good advice right there.

“Merchant Marine I: The Postwar Fleet|: The Industry Will BE Solvent, Its Ships Modern, Its Cargoes Larger: But a Whale of a Surplus Will Remain: Sell, Lay Up,or Scrap?” Scrap. That was easy! The paper does  note that this is not just a problem with the Liberties. There will be 600 new tankers, 1200 new dry cargo, 6 to 700 hundred of the new Maritime Commission types, and some 500 Victories. How much of this 57 million (deadweight, if you were wondering) tons will be operating in 194Q? It depends on cargo. I may be a bit optimistic here about our chances of getting back into the business in Whampoa, but I also think it depends on a host of other issues, all of which bear poorly on the postwar prospects of these ships

“Radios, Refrigertors, and Radar” Now here are American strong points. The article is a profile of Philco, if you were wondering.

“Seller’s Market” Kaufman’s of Pittsburgh is doing quite well.

“Will Butter Win the Peace?” Margarine has done quite well during the war years, but perhaps butter will come back in peacetime. Margarine costs about half as much to make, but isn’t as nice. The industry is making progress, however. Dairy state politicians won’t let it be coloured yellow, however, and that’s a problem. The paper suggests that the dairy industry shouldn’t worry, as milk and cheese production might pick up some of the slack.

“Mayor Wyatt  of Louisville’” Wants to reform, streamline and redevelop Louisville, which has some nasty bits, and, to judge from the paper’s photographs, no Coloured people at all.

“Housing: The Why of Planning” Some 37 million housing units were registered by the 1940 Census, and some 1.75 million units of war housing were built. We will need from 1 to 1.6 million new units of housing annually for each of the next ten years, including repairs and renovations, perhaps a total investment of $8 billion. This will be hard to achieve, because a large proportion of the population of the U.S. do not have the income to own or rent decent places, and thus let the building take care of itself. Costs must be ameliorated somehow. Perhaps this will take the form of subsidised public housing, although Congress has not been keen on extending existing schemes. To be clear here: this is what the paper wants and expects. it illustrates several USHA schemes, including the Queensbridge, New York public housing model, and the planned Wilmington, Delaware developed suburban community, the Aluminum City Terrace development at New Kensington, Pennsylvania and the Baldwin HillsVillage in Los Angeles, California. The paper makes heavy weather of funding and legal obstacles that hardly seem decisive to me, and I certainly like the looks of the Wilmington development from the air. We are told that real estate developers are dead set against public housing that will undercut our prices. The solution would seem to be subsidies for would-be home-owners,, and, fortunately, we already have this quaint "mortage" instrument to work through, but this is not likely to satisfy the kind of people who can build a utopian experiment like Queensbridge. We can hardly leave it to the poor people, as they will probably want to live like the middle class!


“Thunder over the North Atlantic” Part of the untold story of the Atlantic bridge is the development of weather forecasting on the route, which involves numerous meterological stations in very remote places. We know  a lot about North Atlantic weather now, which came in handy at D-Day. It is noted that Gander is shut down between 20 and 25% of the time by weather. An airbase in Greenland, whose name I cannot even imagine rendering into characters, is closed by low ceilings about a quarter of the time. Meeks Field in Iceland is afflicted with winds of up to 150mph from September to May. The farthest northern route shown on the map actually has the best weather. -60 degree temperatures apart, that is.


The Farm Column

Ladd Haystead, on farming, in November. Yes, I would like a turkey! Or maybe some ham. Will large number of new farmers head to the Southwest after the war in the path of Coronado and assorted Indian corn growers who used to flourish in isolated wet areas? Perhaps. Probably not. Will W. R. Nelson’s scheme of breeding good, solid cattle stock and feeding it on lespedeza and Atlas sorgo continue to flourish? Perhaps. Probably?  If cattle and new settlers combine on ranches, where they would cultivate black grama, dropseed, tobosa, burro grasses, African Lehmann and Boer grasses? Will they expand, will they flourish? Who knows, That's Ladd, signing off from the middle of his favourite botany handbook, and off to have a drink with Stubblefield.

Business at War

Still no Mr. Janeway to give the column colour and a complete lack of useful content, alas. This month’s number is on the corporate excess-profits tax. The paper thinks that it deters investment, and should be reduced or eliminated altogether. Of course it does. It also presents an analysis by Walter G. O’Neil of Lee Higginson, Corp, published in the Harvard Business Review, which shows that the tax also promotes risky investments.

Books and Ideas

The paper reviews Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, definitely the talk of the town right  now in some circles. The upshot seems about the same as I have been hearing from all of the “the American way of life is in danger” advertisements I have been seeing in the paper, but instead of an overwrought cartoon, it’s an entire book.

Harold G. Moulton and Louis Marlio, The Control of Germany and Japan suggest that the two countries be controlled and  monitored forever, in case lightning strikes twice. It certainly would be embarrassing if Brazil or the Hottentots started the next world war. (Or a monumentally aggrieved China, but that is another story.)

Business Abroad Tells the amusing story of a “Scotsman” (of course), who, in Paris when departing German officers hastened to dump francs and marks to buy pounds and dollars, parlayed his £2250 on hand into 9 million francs at the top of the market, then into $180,000 at the 50-to-the-dollar official peg, then into £45,000 at its official peg. This is supposed to be a story about monetary problems, seguing into the problem of the lira. To me it reads like a German officer getting shut of the franc and the mark at a very propitious time. We’re doing quite well on the yen and Hawaii dollar, by the way, though I want to cut this off before the movements start to look suspicious.

Report from London

The paper’s correspondent in London has been reading the Times in bed in the morning and clubbing all night, and wants us to know that it’s alright, because the times is what you read to get a sense of what those queer English people are thinking. This out of the way, he explains what the Tmes tells us the British think of the Beveridge Report, the Planning Bill, the Education Bill, and the Russians. They like ‘em! I did not know that the Astors controlled the Times. Perhaps Lady Astor is just trying to drum up circulation?