Sunday, August 17, 2014

Postblogging Technology, July 1944, I: Victory Comes Late

My Dearest Reggie:

I see that I have once more broken the first rule of home front correspondents. I have worried you. No need for you to worry any longer. Firstly, Wong Lee and I have returned home, and there is no tong war in the offing. It turns out that even east coast "men of respect" have their limits. Our friend was delegated to break the news to his acquaintance that even his closest relatives had no time for malingering. There was a war on, and all he was being asked to do was tour and sing, something which he had taken on as an amazingly lucrative career, and he should get on with it.

Regrettably, men of respect only respect strength. Someone had to be seen to pay for encouraging the young man's selfishness, which is why I arranged an arrest even before D-Day brought this to  a head. You will, I am sure, have heard of that. What you may not have heard is that the case is quite thin. The arrested fellow has been an irritation for so many reasons that I do not feel the least guilty about moving forward, even though it is likely that this will degenerate and require even more extreme measures.

Well, that was a terrible attempt to lighten the mood! You may have heard that with school out, "Miss V.C.'s" research trip to Monterrey went ahead. Certain papers were seen that supplement the annals of old Monterrey, and I had an interesting conversation with the young lady on her return. She confirmed in the Santa Clara university library that Maquinna's daughter, Maria Jesus de Nutka, arrived in the old town in 1794, attended school in Santa Clara, married into an old Californian family, and had descendants. The portfolio at Monterrey added information about the "prince of Nootka" who accompanied her, of which of course I need tell you nothing, and led her to a family name (besides, obviously, her own, as she would have to be dense not to see the similarity) --and so, of course, back to the county records and to a reference to that old map in the family papers from the 1871 lawsuit.

"Do we still have it?" She asked. I did not see the point in denying it. It is not outside the realm of possibility that she will still need it. So I produced it from Grandfather's papers, seeing much else that I had forgotten for years, and waxing  nostalgic.

"1820 is awfully old for a house in these parts, especially such an Oriental-looking one," she observed from the date on the map. I shrugged. Even in those days there were wealthy sea captains in the Bay, involved in the tallow and coastal fur trades, I pointed out. And Chinese styles were in fashion in those days.

"Why is the name written in Chinese?" She asked. I shrugged again. I pointed out that the building was erected by Chinese artisans, and that this version of the property map had been drawn by one of them. "It means 'Arcadia,'" I said. No point in bringing up the awful Hilton book. Did you know that the Lady wanted to complete the estate with a pagoda on the south ridge? Imagine what our neighbours would think if we completed the bequest!

"Et in Arcadia Ego," "Miss V. C." said. I started, and had difficulty controlling my expression. I had had no intention of feeding that clue to her. But it turns out that she was just quoting some snatch of popular writing.  "It's an odd place to find Chinese carpenters," she continued.

There were not many other places to find them around the Pacific in those days, I observed. Arcadia was quite a sight. I am just glad that it was never reported by someone whose reminiscences  went into print --at least, not into print in a fashion that the good fathers of the Mission were not as eager to see suppressed as was Grandfather. So many things were lost in the Earthquake....

"Is that why Meares brought Chinese carpenters to Nootka? And no-one ever says what happened to them."

You would be so proud of the artful way that I let my face slip at this point. What can I say? I shall be in Vancouver inspecting the refit, and it is a beautiful summer, I have a line on good tyres, Vancouver Island is beautiful at this time of year. and I can probably find an elder who is willing to lead her down the next step on this little journey of discovery of hers.

The Economist, 1 July 1944


“Work and Wealth” The paper is disappointed with the quality of the Commons debate on the employment White Paper. The left should stop talking about public ownership. It was not part of the commission of the white paper, and will never happen anyway and wouldn't work if it did. The conversation that was not about this thing that should not be talked about (which will never happen) was about the size of the slice of pie that everyone gets, and not how big it will be. The paper is concerned about foreign trade, and dismisses talk of how higher productivity leads to higher incomes, as it, for example, is much more productive than it was in 1939. That just means that a smaller staff is “working very hard,” and would actually like to work less hard in the future, thank you. (Interestingly, just the line of thinking it projects on workers, whose demand for a 40 hour work week without reduction in earnings is rejected out of hand, and without so much as a glance at the mirror, either.)

“Leadership in Europe” Not only are Latins excitable, but, really, all Europeans except Britons are, and that is why they should be a great deal more grateful for British leadership than they are. Voltaire and Montesquieu, who from the names must be French, liked us. We must be nice! Gladstone and Palmerston and Canning were nice –an Opium War or another aside—so we are even nicer!

“Books in Distress” A shortage of paper is damaging the publishing trade. It should be realised that publishing is special –is that a plea for more paper? No, because the paper draws no conclusions and leaves the reader to draw only such conclusions as the reader might draw from the unvarnished facts plus adjectives in garnishment.

“Control of Land Use” The issue here is a White Paper on the way in which land under local authorities might be apportioned for various uses postwar, such as agriculture and land use. Fortune has a rather better-illustrated article on the same subject, and I have clipped and attached some of the artwork from my proof copies at the end of the newsletter, below. It is, of course, of interest mainly if you go against my advice and favour the younger generation’s hopelessly optimistic and romantic belief that the birds and the bees shall spring over a postwar Britain of cooing lovers and babbling babes. That is, if the Earl follows your daughter-out-of-law’s advice and get into private housing. There are, I notice at the end of the week, good reasons for not doing that, even if demand for housing in England is more robust than the doomsayers think. 

Notes of the Week

“After the Fall of Cherbourg” The taking of the port ends the first phase of the Normandy operation in its third week. It will soon be brought into use, and the focus of the fighting turns to outflanking Caen, where five major roads and four railways converge. The alternative to a stern test of strength there is a drive south in the Contentin towards St. Lo and Constance to gain more elbow room.

“Blows in the East” The powerful Russian offensive in the centre of the front ends a pause of many months which allowed the Russians to “recruit their strength,” as it used to be said. Heavy lossesof German manpower overshadow even the loss of ground. It is asked whether the Germans will really follow through on their promises of reinforcements for the Finns at the expense, it must seem, of Warsaw.

“Nazis at Bay” The vengeance robots are evidence of how sorely pressed Hitler is. Mr. Morison’s assurances that the bombing is ineffective compared with conventional bombing, so far documented only in astonishing figures shown to the fortunate few, should be given wider distribution so that the Manchester Guardian can stop panicking. (I assume that this is who is meant by “our more imaginative friends to the north,” although you will know better than I, Reggie, as I stopped the Guardian after Pearl Harbour because it was becoming too irregular in delivery.)

“Soldiers of Europe” Partisans are fighting, too.

“Far Eastern Success” The Japanese offensive against the Imphal-Kohima road is now officially at an end. Fears of another Bengal famine are now greatly eased, and Stilwell might finally take Myitkyina and advance the Ledo Road.

“Education in the Lords” “Homecraft, cookery and technical subjects” may be taught to boys and girls over the age of16 at the new Butler schools. Only a few years ago, Reggie, I would have had vast difficulty conceiving of the class of person who goes to school past the age of 16 as needing to know how to cook. That was before the best domestic I could get was an admittedly wonderful  neighbourhood girl  available for two hours after school.
“Young Persons” Speaking of, further coverage of the part-time schools for boys and girls between 16 and 18. They might be called “county colleges,” it is proposed. The paper suggests that their success will depend more heavily on what is taught than what they are called.

“Teachers Wanted” As the paper suggests, given the previous two items, not surprising. The paper again suggests that we must not lose sight of the need to improve the quality, as well as quantity of teachers. At least this time the wandering train of thought does not alight from that to the need to keep the burden of faculty salaries down. Indeed, the next item (on the McNair Report) even goes so far as to imply that “remuneration be equalised,” which would surely lead to higher pay.

“No Finnish Armistice” Finland has not yet finished surrendering.

“Where to Shop” The Plymouth Plan, which the paper has already reference with respect to land use control, is also interested in the development of shopping districts, whose location might also be controlled.

“Listener Research” The BBC is following American practice and making an effort to tailor programming to the desires of listeners. 

“The Murders at Gorlitz” The summary execution of escapees from Stalag Luft III is an appalling crime.

“War and the Daily Worker” Sir James Grigg continues to deny the Daily Worker a war correspondent, which the paper deems to be little more than Red-baiting at this point.

American Survey

“Nominations at Chicago” “The National Convention of the Republican Party, meeting at Chicago, has done what was universally expected of it,” and nominated Governor Dewey on the first ballot. To be sure, the paper would have rather died than admitted that this was the “universally expected” result last week. How would it have excused itself to some poor child who believed that the Convention might somehow end by nominating Bricker or Taft? It is a game, to be sure, but one that wastes a great deal of everyone’s time, and puffs up people like the Engineer, back from Chicago in the highest of spirits, which I would at least excuse as putting the passing of his late wife behind him, if that had affected him very much. Regrettably, Governor Warren refused the Vice-Presidential nomination, which went to Bricker instead. (I have no idea if the offer was serious or a publicity stunt.)

Taft, as head of the platform committee, apparently produced something more to the liking of the “machine politicians” than Dewey himself, who offends by being at once popular and platitudinous. Or so says the paper, anyway.

American Notes

“Preparation for Peace” The paper covers Nelson’s announcement that beginning 1 July, manufacturers will be allowed to place orders for machine tools for reconversion.

Does  this mean, to pick an example possibly not from thin air, the paper says, that Henry Kaiser will be allowed to go into automobile production while Ford and GM are still committed to war production? Yes, Nelson says, it would be unfair to hold back everyone until all industries are ready to move. The paper is here barking up the wrong tree. Assembly line car production requires vast tooling, and young E. has hardly even begun the work. His chances of breaking into the market are pretty slim, and Nelson must be aware of that. I am scarcely the best qualified automotive person to have said it to his face in my hearing! Returning to the paper, it gets in a last, snide comment to the effect that the firms which have been lavishing their advertising budget on ads extolling “free enterprise” are disconcerted by having it taken so literally on this front!

“Another Year of the OPA” The Office of Price Adminstration is extended for another year of inflation fighting. Although its pathetically-limited powers are further reduced.

“Hartzel vs United States” Mr. Hartzel cannot be convicted under the Espionage Act for merely writing and circulating horrible pamphlets denouncing the international Jewish plot to get America into the war. He has to actually do something more than offend, and the government failed to prove Hartzel’s intent to discourage enlistment.

“The Unauthorised Programme” The paper, struck by a reminiscence of the splendid Mr. Willkie (I question the paper’s taste, for Mr. Willkie is no Mr. G. Geoffrey Smith), is carried off in a swoon, and awakens to find itself prostrate on the settee. Or to put it another way, Mr. Willkie offers the GOP a platform of his own writing, to replace that offered by Governor Bricker.

“GI Bill of Rights” The paper notices the President’s proposal, more fully discussed by Fortune, below.
World Overseas

Poles, Lithuanians and Ukrainians are especially excitable. As are the Irish, in a missive from Our Dublin Correspondent, which describes the Irish public as “waiting daily for news of the invasion.” I hope no-one is waiting for daily news of Ireland from the paper.

“Banking under Nazi Control” Quite the most serious issue facing Germany right now is the governance of its banks, which, of course, will in no way be changed after unconditional surrender. In other words, if despatches from Ireland are coming out a month late, why is this rubbish even printed?

The Business World

“Co-operation: The Second Century” The paper celebrates the inauguration of the second century of the co-operative movement with the same restrained joy it has shown throughout its first.

“Rubber Prospect –I” The supply of natural rubber increased from 628 million tons annually in 1920 to 1390 million tons in 1940. When Ceylon alone produces 89 million tons, and all of Africa, Latin America and the South Pacific together count as “other countries” producing 224 million tons, one can see little prospect for artificial rubber unless it is cheaper, better or both. As it is neither, the industry has only niche prospects producing special rubbers for special purposes. So do not invest in synthetic rubber unless you have better information about the specific stock’s prospects. Very helpful, paper.

Business Notes

Money Conference Opens” The international monetary conference at Bretton Woods is due to be formally opened on July 1st. As a legitimate businessman, I wish it luck. As the comprador of a pirate clan, I can only say that our bets remain hedged. In a perfect world, there will be  a solution that makes room for both ledgers to show a profit! As to the details of the matter, I am working on a summary, but there is little point in putting  it to paper until the conference closes.

“Reconstruction Loans” The New International Monetary Fund might offer loans for reconstruction. The Polish Government-in-Exile has already put in for one.

The Earl presumably does not need my opinions on the proposed reform of the London Stock Exchange, talks on the reform of rent control, and the related question of the shortage of houses to let, much less talk of building society mergers. I do notice the publication of the report on War Damage Repairs, which notes that over 2 million buildings in the country require repair. The Committee on War Damage Repair now puts forward its plan for financing these repairs. Unsurprisingly, strict financial control is likely to be impossible. Hmm. I know that if I were a shady contractor, this is where my money would go. To put it more clearly, the returns on reconstruction work are likely to be considerably better than the returns on new building for the foreseeable future.

“Status of Statisticians” The stature of statisticians may be affected by their station in life, which will determine how many status seekers rise to the status of statisticians, a question of the greatest statistical relevance. To be less(!) amusing, the Royal Society of Statisticians is concerned with these matters, as pretty much every professional society in Britain always is.

Cable & Wireless” The returns of this company show that it has flourished remarkably in the war. Details to follow in twenty-five, fifty and seventy-five years, Official Secrets Act allowing.

“Dock Labour” The National Dock Labour Corporation has had a very good year. In spite of turnover of 1500 men in the last quarter, it has maintained a creditably low level of job action and absenteeism (3.7%), while employing up to 7000 more men on casual labour on peak days. Much war work, including training of soldiers to do the work in France, has gone on.

Flight, 6 July 1944


“Cobblers and Lasts” The paper indulges its favourite pastime of reshuffling the Service decks. Army Cooperation should go to the Army, anti-aircraft to the RAF, as usual. In the spirit of modern times, and because it cannot complain about air force control of the Fleet Air Arm any more, it adds that the Commandoes should go to the Marines. The question of control of the Met. Office can be deferred until the county cricket boards pull themselves together.

“Blasting a Way”  Word that aircraft are involved in the Normandy fighting pleases the  paper. It is especially pleased that Typhoons fire the “equivalent” of a six-inch cruiser broadside at obnoxiously non-dead Germans, and hopes to hear more about this.

“Flexibility” It is also pleased to hear about the heavy bombers attacking a concentration of German armour at Villers-Bocage, and hopes to hear more about that, as well.

War in the Air

The Germans have lost a great many men lately. The paper hopes that they cannot keep on indefinitely.  (The Economist, if it stopped to think about this,would by now be speculating that German science was busy inventing mitosis.) Bad weather has meant that aeroplanes were less involved than might have been. The paper notices that German reinforcements have been arriving and have been thrown into the fight. Once the Germans are fully committed, the paper hopes that a landing in the Pas de Calais will overrun the vengeance robot launching facilities. In the meantime, they are bombed day and night, and hopefully fighter interception will be more effective now that good weather has returned. A lucky hit on a French railway station in Orleans killed 120 German soldiers and wounded another 300 of a full battalion having a meal there. According to a German paper which promised, darkly, that the commander, had he not been killed, would have been executed for risking his men this way.
“Night Precision Bombing” We used to say that we could do this, and then the claim was “silently abandoned.” Now we say that we can do it again, using Pathfinder tactics. This is how we blew up the communications targets whose destruction delayed German reinforcements. Japanese air forces have abandoned New Guinea, and therefore MacArthur has reorganised his forces.

Here and There

Pravda proposes that the “flying bomb” has been introduced to reduce German pilot losses. The paper notices that another Indian Air Force fighter squadron has joined the fighting in Burma.  Sir Samuel Hoare is to be a Viscount for his services as ambassador to Madrid, but the paper celebrates because of his long tenure as Secretary of State for Air. All tumult and controversy past, it does look like he did good work there! Some airwomen of ADGB are soon to go over to Normandy. Group Captain JohnPowell, one of the stars of “Target for Tonight” has been awarded an American DFC. Master Sergeant John Mayer, Communications Chief with a Fighter Control squadron of Eighth Air Force, has been awarded a Legion of Merit for devising a new radio equipment. No less than 100 tons of priority cargo are being flown to Normandy daily. Evacuations of wounded will soon rise to between 1000 and 1200 a day. Juan Trippe of Pan-American thinks that America would be best served by a single American international carrier. The RAF is creating a special Locust Flight to “dust” swarms from the air in the Middle East. The expansion of Vokes business means promotions for all in the managerial suite!

“Invasion Close-Up”

Our correspondent went to an airfield in Kent to get the story of RAF Mitchell squadrons which had recently made a major attack on the steelworks at Caen, dropping 800 tons of bombs less than 1000 yards from our front lines. While there, he also had discussions with fighter pilots who chased “doodlebugs” and flew Typhoons to attack German armour, and even a German army corps headquarters. Wing Commander J. R.Baldwin, well-known for some daring low flying passes around te Eiffel Tower, is still alive, bless him, and  led the attack. (My late and excessive association with highbinders brings me to suspect that the “young and daring” I knew years ago might well, with a more mature eye, be seen more accurately as queer in the head.) 

Indicator discusses the “Retreat to Rationalism,” which he understands as a retreat from very expensive efficiency towards lower cost and less complicated solutions. The modern aeroengine, he points out, requires 70-odd gears! The carburetor, a hive of pressure aneroids, piston valves, pumps and mechanical and other compensating devices is another example. “Any carburetor which works satisfactorily is a monument to the ingenuity and persistence of the human race.” Ironically, at this very moment I have only to walk across the room to look down through the bay window at your youngest, who has some kind of disassembled apparatus from his Lincoln dismantled on a table on the garden patio. I do not know that it is a carburettor, but that is the way to bet from the language that floats up this Santa Clara August. Function must be perfect for the long trip to Canada, so that he can show up Lieutenant A, at last. Ah, well, perhaps he will have a turbineunder his hood soon.

I just hope that he does not succumb to temptation and start cleaning things with gas out in the garden, as Judith will have his hide.

“Ubiquitous W.A.A.F.s.” The Women’s service of the RAF has had its fifth birthday.

“Passing of a Famous Biplane” Swordfish production is being “tailed off.” It will be recalled that when the Fairey Barracuda was delayed in early 1940, then-Captain (A) M. S. Slattery, of the  Admiralty, approached Blackburn with a proposal that it take over the management of a manufacturing group in the Yorkshire and Lancashire areas that would take on a Swordfish production extension. A start was made on the new factory on 1 January 1940, and less than 11 months after work began, it delivered its first planes. The Barracuda, however, is steadily replacing the Swordfish in production.

“Idlewild Airport” Quite a long paper on the new New York municipal airfield being built on reclaimed ground at the head of Jamaica Bay. It says much about my state of mind last month that I went the better part of a week confusing this project with La Guardia.

New Fighter in Nine Weeks” the paper is very impressed with the Miles M. 20, an all-wooden fighter produced in just nine weeks during the Battle of Britain, when there was some concern that we were running out of fighters.

Behind the Lines

A special anti-tank bomb was used for the first time by the Germans against the invasion fleet. Japanese newspapers are appealing for grater aircraft production of “first-class” types. Germany is taking measures to secure its silk supply.  German optimism is fed by reports that London has lost 23 million work hours so far to the vengeance robot offensive, that London fire-watchers have been in a state of alert for almost 200 hours, and that the strain is showing; and that seven million Londoners are camping out, “and this is only the beginning.” But the German press also cautions that effective Allied countermeasures may be in train. A single weapon is rarely decisive. It might, however, lead to something more. It would be a pity if all of those defences along the Pas de Calais went unblooded.

F. J. Wingfield-Digby, “Fuselage Shells: Technical Comparison of Thick and Thin Skin Monocoque Construction” The Westland Whirlwind, an ephemeral fighter that went into and out of service in the mid-war years, was subject to extensive strain testing to show that its innovative, thin-skin magnesium rear fuselage was actually an amazing example of technological progress. It turns out that it was, and all concerns about the use of magnesium alloys in this role were misplaced.

Studies in Recognition Covers the Dornier Do 26K, and Siebel Si 204. I am somewhat skeptical as to the practical value of this edition of the series.


Blackburn Aircraft, Ltd, reminds us that random people named “Blackburn” writing to the paper are not related to the firm. Smith Aircraft, Ltd, must get this all the time. An anonymous author writes to ask why racing engines are not used in service, since they are so much more powerful than service types. A correspondent disputes claims for efficiency improvements from thrust augmentors, and the very optimistic F. C. Brown writes to ask whether exhaust-driven turbines might take over the entirety of aircraft auxiliary services. He thinks that this would allow the elimination of hydraulics, which, I am sure, he has had unpleasant practical experience. The question is whether routing tubes of high-pressure exhaust gas about the plane would be any improvement. 

The Economist, 8 July 1944


“The Low Countries” The people of the Low Countries are not excitable at all. Which is to say, they are the Englishmen of continental Europe, and entirely admirable. (Belgians, actually, are somewhat excitable.) The dastardly Germans have flooded their seaward defences against invasion, but liberation will  more likely come through France, and soon, and it will find the affairs of the formerly-occupied countries on a thoroughly unexcited footing.

“Five Year Plans for All?” The successes of the Red Army against the Nazis suggest that there might be something to this “Five Year Plan” thing, after all. The paper imagines numbers which show that other countries would not benefit from a Five Year Plan. Wasn’t the old concern with the Five Year Plan that its numbers were imaginary? A fitting bookend of an article, then.

“The Trumpet Blowers” The paper is quite pleased by the way that the Ministry of Information has come along, but supposes that strict censorship and domestic spying will be  needed less, or  not at all, after the peace, depending on this and that. I have to say that a forthright “abolish the lot” would be a great deal more comforting, and wonder how all of the hardline anti-Nazi controversialists it has recruited actually feel about the prospects of a peacetime propaganda arm of the British government.

Notes of the Week

“The Russian Offensive” Pleases the paper. The paper hopes that the Red Army’s “conveyor belt” system of supply will keep it attacking all summer. This seems to me a little callous with Russian lives.  In 1917--19, no western army attacked relentlessly, because they were out of men. Does Russia have an unlimited supply of men? Do “Tatars” reproduce by mitosis? I should imagine that after this effort the Red Army will wait for next year's class to make its final effort, and meanwhile be content to pin German troops down with local offensives -which, of course, may go far if the Germans strip the East. And there you are, Reggie: your cousin, the armchair strategist. I also cannot help a little snort when I see the Russian services of supply praised as efficient.

“A Somewhat Lengthy Affair” The Prime Minister laid out the history of the “flying bomb” in the Commons this week. I am glad that it finally has a name –“vengeance robot” belongs in the pulps. The reference in the title is to the premier’s rueful admission that the offensive may go on for a while, and the paper’s bright claim that it is of little weight strikes me as already a retreat from the optimism of last week.

Danes are not excitable.

“To Balance or Not” Looking through our ancestor’s hoary correspondence, I am struck that if we replaced “National Debt” with the old “Sinking Fund,” politicians would not even need to give speeches any more, just, in the spirit of the lapidary Latin tag of yesteryear, a lazy wave in the air and a reference to “Spectator,06/1752, 46” would suffice. I wonder whether apoplexy would have struck him down sooner had he not had the outlet of the packets he sent to his Eastern Pearl, or did his indulgence of his splenetic rage against his critics in them hasten his end?

“Resettlement” Lord Nathan believes that the Government should begin work on a resettlement policy now. The paper believes that the best resettlement policy is no policy. I exaggerate, but the point is that everyone should stick to their place and their work until they are officially released after due consideration that will take as long as  is needed, or as long as  it takes to trace the paper’s twisting line of through extended passages, whichever is the longer. I am facetious because I cannot help comparing "resettlement" with the “G. I.  Bill of Rights.” That $4000 mortgage guarantee is bold, but the boldness will be rewarding to us, and perhaps even the whole United States.

“They” and “We” There are to be “Resettlement Officers”, and they are to be properly trained and not distinguish between ‘they’ and ‘we.’

“The Monetary Conference” Continues.

“The White and Keynes Commission” The paper’s attention is, understandably, on the two wise men of the national delegations, who must deliver the postwar financial order.

“The Place of Silver” Mexico is interested in the place of silver in the postwar financial order, the Chiang government pretends not to be. Or that may be unfair. The Chiang government does  not care because gold passes in the United States. As to what passes in China, what care Chiang  and his cronies of that?

Finland is surrendering more. Poles are excitable.

“Brake on Planning?” The more amenities are planned for in reconstruction, the less profit local authorities will earn as they face the movement of homes and amenities to outlying districts, which should also be controlled, at least more than they are. These are, again, matters that press the Earl so closely that, on the one hand, I feel remiss in not covering them in more detail, and inadequate in my ability to give them their proper due.

“An Ambassador Recalled” Argentines are excitable.

“Herring Bill” The decline of the industry is to be addressed with a subvention of 2-and-a-half million.
“Scottish Agriculture” The amount of land in cultivation will not increase, may actually decline, but it is hoped that Scottish farmers will raise more livestock. As a fellow mutton producer, I feel the pain, even if tempered by the fact that it looks like am going to be able to sell pasture land for houses.

American Survey

“His Own Man” Governor Dewey is very grateful to the Convention for writing this nice platform for him, and will give it all the consideration it deserves, which is not very much. If Taft wants to run for President, let him win some primaries.

“The Republican Governors” If Governor Dewey tacks left, he will  find there some Republican Governors, but not others. The others are aging old guard and will soon go.

“Service Warning” The news that war production was down 8% in May occasions a warning from Generals Marshall and Arnold, and Admiral King, that any slackening will extend the war. It is supposed that the reduction in May, especially in the lorry progamme, was due to a shortage of skilled workers, especially in the foundries, and that the new labour prioritisation scheme came not a moment too soon. The paper remains appalled, however, that the National Service Act remains stalled.

“Income for Full Employment” The Federal Reserve provides some guidance on the future. On the basis of available information, there will be 60 million workers. Maintaining full  employment will require “an unprecedented volume of production” due to natural population increase and  because of expected continued increases in the level of productivity. Thus, a gross national income of $170 billion will be required to maintain full employment. This will be down from $200 billion in 1943, allowable on the strength of reductions in the work force. Were national income to stabilise at 1939’s $108 billion, there would be 20 to 25 million unemployed, a crisis on a par with the Great Depression. No wonder the public has postwar jitters, says the paper. (Meanwhile, Fortune's version of the public is ready for a boom. The American public needs to stay away from Doctor Jekyll's serum!)

“Publicity for Reverse Lend-Lease” The paper thinks that there should be more. The paper seems to have a bit of a guilty conscience about cadging munitions from its rich cousin, and wants us to know that it, too, helps out with the family finances when it can.

“The Free Philippines” The Philippines will be at least as free after the war as they were before.

World Overseas

Poles are excitable.

“The Canadian Indian” Conditions on reserves and in residential schools are unfortunate, and the latter in particular are failing to provide the looked-for assimilation of Indians into Canadian life. This should change. Or home truths about how "assimilation" actually works should be pronounced to those whose shell-like ears could scarcely bear them.

“Price Control in India” Inflation has abated, further measures are proposed, rationing in the supply side and, on the demand side, a 25% increase in rail tolls to deflate the economy and the issue of smaller gold bars so that the less-rich can enjoy  the privilege of hoarding gold hitherto restricted to the very-rich.

The Business World

“The Rubber Prospect –II” Summarising last week’s article, I lamented the lack of guidance. This number goes no better. What if there is a rubber supply cartel? Might there then be room for the American artificial rubber industry? What if Buna-S actually does have promise in automobile tyres? Then our confident prediction that the artificial rubber plants will soon shut down looks less certain! I do not, dear paper, think so.\
“Post-War Building in America”  From Our New York Correspondent. Ah. How I have missed ONYC. I assume, recalling his habitual temper across the distance of a half-decade, that the fall of Cherbourg has finally relieved him of the fear of an imminent German landing on Manhattan, and he has emerged from under the bed to resume where he left off.

So! Back in the light of day, he has opinions. He notices Mr. Churchill’s speech, which lays out the British planning for postwar housing. Nothing so definitive, ONYC laments, has emerged over here. ONYC, not often an enthusiast for state planning, has developed a taste for it in housing --not surprisingly, because he thinks that Everything is Going Awry.

First, to review the facts from six years ago, he notices that the 1925 construction peak was 937,00 units, never subsequently equalled. A drop in building during the Depression led to a decline in the available housing stock, not made up by a tepid boom in 1935—6. By 1939, 29 million units, almost 29% of the urban housing supply, was below standard. The Federal Housing Administration’s long-term, risk-classified, standardised mortgage has developed and stabilised the mortgage market, and naturally led to more building, with 1940 seeing a rise to two-thirds of the 1925 volume. Up to 80% was single-family residences, and the building tended to move out into the suburbs. (You will recall that our Fort Vancouver development closed in 1940, although construction did not actually begin until after Pearl Harbour.) The peak of 613,000 single family residences built in 1941 is an interesting comparison with the mere 60% of building as single family residences in the 1920s.

Due to various factors, mainly price but also location and the character of the would-be renters (that is code for race, Reggie, if you had not noticed), single family housing remained inaccessible to the bulk of the population earning less than $1500/year. The war years have seen Government-led building, much of it of a temporary nature, even as existing housing stock continues to deteriorate in spite of attempts to liberalise financing –even as control on materials restricts us! Population has continued to shift into the Pacific slope (and the south Atlantic states). For the future, ONYC asks whether low-income housing needs will be better met by private builders or by the state, whether a focus on private home ownership really suits a highly mobile  population, and whether investment should follow migration. His concern is that we are getting the balance between ownership and rental wrong. Given his track record, I am tempted to run out and cancel all our apartment building projects right now.

Business Notes

“Monetary Agreement with France” It is about time.

“Reconstruction Equities” The volume of business is slackening, but reading the tea leaves suggests that in spite of anticipated further price increases, the market believes that the government will be able to keep interest rates down. The rentier must therefore needs invest in industrial stocks, and this explains the weakness in long-run government securities. Electrical engineering!

“To Let or to Buy” Given an expectation of gradually declining prices, prospective tenants will prefer to rent than to buy. This is likely to be the case after the war, as it was in the 1930s, and therefore it is foreseen that there will be a shortage of rentals. Something should be done.

 “Home and Colonial Changes” Lipton has been hit by the rising cost of tea due to Indian inflation.

“John Brown Re-financing” John Brown opens its war coffers to refinance its debt. The future might  not be as bright as the past for this maker of big guns and big ships, but there is nothing like money in the bank. And having once begun with steel, the paper moves on to coal and railways, neither very consequentially, as we only worry about these in the winter, when it is cold, and we wonder why something definitive was not done when there was still time, last summer.

Flight, 13 July 1944


“Brutally Frank” The paper attended the Commons on the date of the Prime Minister’s Speech on the flying bomb, but apparently mistakenly sat in the wrong chamber, hearing a music hall comedian’s impression rather than the speech given before the correspondent of The Economist. In this speech, the flying bombs are quite effective and even horrifying, and the situation is unpleasant. Only the overrunning of the launching facilities can bring relief. There will not be reprisals. We will just keep on area bombing German cities, which are not at all reprisals. On a more morally honest note, the premier admits that the problem with reprisals is that they keep escalating.

“The Plight of the Luftwaffe” is pathetic. In the east, for example, the main defence of German forces against Russia aeroplanes is that the Russian spearheads have penetrated beyond the range of the Red Air Force, even though some squadrons are shifting air fields twice a day to keep up. One might almost suggest that this is an argument for longer ranged bombers.

“Caen Taken” The paper takes the same line as The Economist here, at least. It must by now have occurred to the Axis that they are losing the war. The paper also notices the use of 400 Bomber Command heavy bombers in the attack on Caen. The paper wonders if there was a special need, given that shells are usually more efficient than bombs for targets within their range.

War in the Air

Operations now often take the form of battles for airfields. This is not new. What is new is word that the fighting for Caen has devolved, or evolved, into a fight for Carpiquet Airfield on its southern outskirts.

“The Versatile Mosquito” Mosquitoes are being used to lay mines in German navigation canals now. The Swordfish is going out of production, it is announced again. Hitler has relieved Marshal v. Rundstedt, and relief from the “European monsoon” has made air action more effective this week. It is no coincidence, perhaps, that we have made major gains on land, then. The paper praises a particularly clever attack on a flying bomb depot in France, and the third B-29 raid on the Japanese home islands.

Here and There

Australia is looking into giving the United States airbase rights. The RAF’s Mark XIV bombsight is announced. This, of course, means that it has been supplanted. I asked your eldest, and a moment later regretted it, as those cursed partial differential equations of “stability” were trotted out again. Is there nothing in this world that cannot be described by an “x=[something] times cos x+ alphabetic monstrosity?

Having little else to say (Air Marshal Hill sometimes flies a fighter in active operations! Pan American has bought Bahama Airways! Roy Chadwick has received an honourary degree from Manchester! Eventually, British airliners will have jet engines! F. A. Oddie, of Oddie Fasteners, has died! Edward G. Robinson is to be in a Hollywood film about RAF aircrew!) the paper looks to an American contemporary which claims that America has five fighters capable of speeds over 400mph, while England has 3, Germany 2, and Japan no score. The paper makes fun, for Americans are hilarious.

Invasion Closeup 

This week, our correspondent visits the Fleet Air Arm and US Navy units flying artillery reconnaissance for the fleet in Spitfires. He notices that the bumpy grass forward airfields in Normandy are quite dangerous for high-powered Spitfire Vs, which cannot put the airmen in good sorts about slow progress at Carpiquet. This is a very substantial effort. 435 sorties were flown in the first 24 hours. 710 hours were flown in the first three days, with 85% serviceability maintained. The paper notices that communication with the ships is by W/T, which seems a great deal to ask of a single pilot in charge of a hot ship in hostile skies, but perhaps the process of encoding a Morse message has got a great deal simpler since our day. Certainly radio reception has, for all of these planes to be doodling about in such a small area calling shots!

“Indicator” takes on the “Retreat to Rationalism” again. His point here is that variable lift devices are inevitable. He describes auxiliary lift surfaces that can be retracted flush with the plane’s surface or angled to work as spoilers. Has he seen the Barracuda? How many more of those contraptions can they put on a plane?

“RAF Maintenance Unit’s Record” An unnamed RAF maintenance unit of unspecified size, working in western Italy, turned out 26 overhauled planes, mostly P-40s, in five days. This is a very creditable record for a unit of this unspecified size, working in this location on planes of unspecified type. Aviation  would have just called this the world record for aircraft overhauls and left it at that, and, for a change, I would have agreed with their editorial approach.
“Team Spirit in Industry” Sir Stafford Cripps toasted the aircraft industry, American and British, in a 4th July banquet put on by the Worshipful company of Coachmakers and Coach Harnessmakers. Replying for the industry, Sir Frederick Handley-Page said that the industry was pleased that he was pleased, everyone was pleased, and a bumper all around, and, oh, by the way, if workers want higher pay, they should show “a willingness to shoulder greater responsibilities.” Having spent my first week back in California trying to find new second shift foremen, I see his point.

A new edition of G. Geoffrey Smith’s Gas Turbines and Jet Propulsion in Aircraft is announced. It features a frontispiece of G. Geoffrey Smith in a cardigan, with his tweeds thrown over his manly shoulder in a delightfully relaxed posture, his hair pleasingly tousled by the exhaust of a screaming jet.
“Countering the Air Torpedo” Anti-aircraft and fighters require careful coordination to work together pursuing high-speed targets flitting across the Kent countryside just higher than the crests of the Weald at high speeds.  

“Mr. Churchill’s Statement” Persisting in refusing to admit that it was fooled, the paper gives us the music hall speech in full detail. We have dropped 50,000 tons of bombs on flying bomb sites. Imagine how many Germans this much high explosive could have “dehoused!”

Behind the Lines

Strong Luftwaffe detachments have been sent to the Eastern Front. A little late, don’t you think? German aeroengines are being redesigned with sleeve rather than ball-bearings due to the general shortage. That this includes the BMW Bramo Fafnir 9-cylinder, a low-powered training engine, tempers my jubilation. A German newspaper reports that the most important effect of the flying bomb is the jubilation it gives the German people. Jubilation all around this summer of our heart’s happiness. Another winter is coming. Suggestions that a German flying base bomb is being prepared in Tallin, Finland, to bombard St. Petersburg is met with fear, as it might be used to bombard Helsinki instead. Also, Southern senators might refuse to certify the Electoral College returns if an insufficiently white supremacist President is elected, throwing the election on the House, and tiny little exhaust turbosuperchargers, fed a trickle of exhaust gas from the engines, might soon be raising and lowering undercarriages. Pull the other one, in other words. Another Henschel high altitude aircraft, the Hs 130, is bruited. The paper indicates that it would have three engines, one running the supercharger, as in the proposed French design of 1940. Japan is evacuating its cities on nonessential population in anticipation of a major strategic bombing offensive.

Studies in Recognition

Today we cover the Noorduyn Norseman, Stinson Reliant and De Havilland DH 86 Dominie, which is not going to be easily confused with any plane but itself. The really remarkable thing here is that the paper still has not run out of American preliminary trainers to profile! Many people, on the other hand, will be pleased when we run out of Dominies to fly in…

R. H. P. Nott, “The Opposed Piston Engine: Limitations Which Preclude its Use in Aircraft” It is nice to have thatcleared up.

“United Nations Petrol Programme” As a result of a vast building programme, the Allies now have “approximately” 450 refineries and natural petrol plants engaged in making 100-octane fuel or its components. Which seems a rather vague and artful formulation intended to produce a more impressive number. I suppose the real question is how much 100 octane we shall need after the war.

“Consolidated ’39:’ New U.S. 48-seater Air Liner to Cruise at 240m.p.h.” Very nice pictures rather belied by the fact that it does not actually exist yet, whereas the Lockheed does. I should be very surprised, as I suggest below, if there is not a Boeing entry into the market soon, as well. Even the paper is unimpressed by intimations that there is no running water in the “water closets.”


A sad letter from the father of a man killed serving in France in 1940 moves your daughter-out-of-law to tears after I passed her the paper. The correspondence-provoking power of the combination of ability and boredom is quite clearly striking the great anti-flying bomb encampment in Kent. 

The Economist, 15 July 1944


“Planning Criticisms” Yet more discussion of the Town and Country Planning Act, an important matter on which the Earl ought not be trusting my summary judgement!

“Will UNRRA Work?” It will be recalled that this is the relief and rehabilitation agency, which has a vast remit. I can hear the Engineer ranting on.

Even the paper notices that so far the agency only has half the funding available to him after the last war. This, it strikes me, more plausibly suggests that the funds available will be topped up than that starvation and unemployment will be allowed to stalk the continent of Europe after the war, in contrast to the aftermath of the last. But there are many pages for the paper to fill, and it is July, and it is this paper, so we must conjure with the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and no-one will be able to say that the paper did not warn them.

“Mother Russia” After the tour de force of review of the literature carried out by the younger generation, it seems almost too much to return to the subject, but I only summarise the paper. The point here is that current projections of the future of the Russian population are here compared with that of various Western European countries which can only look on with envy at Soviet Russia’s high birth-rate. “The uncanny vitality of the steppes seems to mock the ‘decaying vitality of the West.” With France, Britain and Czechoslovakia’s fertility all about 5% below replacement level, and Russia’s at 1.6, giving a 60% increase over a generation, is Europe doomed to be overshadowed by a Slavic colossus?

Maybe, maybe not, because things could change. Here the paper takes its characteristic tone. Things might be looking bright for Russia, and this must be wrong. Casting around for evidence (and material to eek out another half-page), the paper moves on to Russia's various pro-birth policies, which suggest that the Russians do not believe the projections, and that this means that they might be wrong. (As a newspaper, the paper also needs to cover the changes in Russia's pro-birth policies, announced this month, so the above is in the way of setting the scene, as well.)

So what are these measures?  A modest monthly subsidy for for each child in excess of 3, with the fourth as of the recent announcement earning for the mother 6100 rubles/month, all the way up to 23,000 for the eleventh. Children of large families are furthermore to receive a 50% reduction on kindergarten fees, will receive larger rations, medals, and will be restricted from overnight shifts and given a confinement leave to be  increased from 9 to 11 weeks. Even children born out of wedlock are to benefit! Although this is balanced by the removal of the right to press paternity suits. Unregistered marriages are no longer to be recognised, divorces made more difficult to get, as a means of promoting family stability. In all, the paper concludes, the policy is the most radical of its kind in the world, and seems intended to remove all material embarrassment from the parents of children. (This is especially important, the paper notes, when women made up 40% of the industrial work force even before the war.)

Italics mine, Reggie.

Notes of the Week

“Victory Week” Caen and La Haye de Puit have fallen. The advance on Arezzo continues. The Russians have taken Vilnius. Japanese resistance on Saipan has ended. The air offensive on Germany has resumed with a massive attack on Munich. London has had three nights respite from the flying bombs. Yet casualties have been heavy (15,000 on Saipan alone), and the way ahead remains hard. The paper has never yet heard of, nor met, this “Pollyanna” of whom some talk.

“De Gaulle and Washington” General de Gaulle went to Washington, negotiated successfully, and did not throw a single titanic tantrum. The paper is amazed.

“Russia over the Bug” It is. Amusing things might be said.

“Hitler’s Generals” The Wehrmacht has lost more than twenty generals in the last three weeks. This has sparked dark rumours about political differences between the Nazi Party and the general officer corps, and some see the dark hand of Himmler’s thugs. This is an unnecessary hypothesis, although the paper does wonder if the relationship between the two is strained in the light of Rundstedt’s dismissal. Still, the younger officers are all good Nazis, and rumours of differences are greatly exaggerated. The paper, after balancing on the fence, comes gently down on the “no rift” side.  This, I suppose, means no military coup, and that the country will instead continue to leak its vital fluids through Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. What some call treason, others will call diversifying one’s portfolio for long-run prosperity.

“Capital Reconstruction” the strongest incentive to industrial efficiency is full employment. A tight labour market is the best thing for this, as it promotes labour-saving and time-saving appliances but this will in turn require investment in capital goods. British industry was undercapitalised before the war, and will be so at its end. Therefore, second best incentives for capital investment should be considered. Tax policy and investment strategies might be changed, and “Efficiency depends not only on capital equipment but on successful collaboration, the abolition of restrictive practices the elimination of the worker’s fear of unemployment and reduced piece-rates.” And so a paragraph that begins with a labour shortage ends with unemployment. The paper is the paper is the paper, Reggie.

“An Orderly Unwinding” Wartime controls are to unwound in an orderly fashion.

“Education in the Lords” The paper has reservations about attempts in the legislation to supervise religious instruction and tell students what to think about things. That sort of thing is better left to the free press.

Bretton Woods continues.

“Gandhi and Pakistan” This is the question of partition. Not much to be done about it, just watch and wait to see if India follows Ireland down the path of partition, Canada that of federation, or America in civil war. That British departure leads to such things might almost lead… No, we shall not think such things! Though perhaps we could learn something as regards places yet to be left in Africa.

Jugoslavs, Greeks, Argentines are excitable.

“War Pensions” In a spirit of charity, the Minister of Pensions rises to defend himself against the notion that current policy ostensibly restricting pensions to those in need was in fact too generous. Further in the matter of disgraceful, spendthrift generosity to those merely dying in battle, the increases in services salaries and benefits announced in March go into effect this week, and will surely silence all critics. It is not as though soldiers and officers really need to be paid, when they’re just going to be  fighting over in France, with nothing to spend their money on save soldierly amusements! And what is that? Send money home to their family? Oh, don't be silly. They are the ones who administer the family trust fund in the first place!

American Survey

“Democratic Tug-of-War” The Convention is expected to be even less exciting than the Republican, since after all even the press can’t invent reasons to suddenly believe that anyone but Mr. Roosevelt will be nominated. The Southern states will continue their fight against Mr. Wallace, but the paper seems to think that just because the President has effectively thrown him to the wolves is no reason to suppose that someone else, such as Senators Truman or Barkley, or Secretary Byrne, might actually be nominated. Pressed to find a reason for thinking this, the paper comes up with the point that Mr. Wallace is pro-Negro, while Governor Dewey actually appointed a Negro politician to an important position. Thus, appointing one of the esteemed Southerners  noted will finally lead to the break between the Coloured voter and the Democratic Party, leading to the Coloured vote flocking back to the GOP in those states where it left the standard in the first place.
“Primary in Oregon” It is thought that Wayne Morris will unseat Senator Holman in the GOP primary and go on to defeat the Democratic nominee, an itinerant butterfly collector who lives in a hollow stump. The paper seems to care because it does not like Mr. Holman.

“War Priorities” A smooth transition from wartime to peacetime production is in the balance as the War Production Board duels the services, which, revising their want list on Normandy experience, want more heavy shells, tanks,  trucks, and ships.  Heavy trucks now share top priority with landing craft and heavy artillery. Munitions output, which totalled 1.8 billion in May, must rise to $2.2 by autumn if the 1944 goals are to be met. Yet the steel industry has been losing ground steadily, from 99% of rateable capacity in May to 94.3% this month. It has been announced by Mr. Batt that Britain will export 100,000 tons of steel to the United States, and the industry needs another 50,000 men. This will test the new labour controls in the face of the recent trend to “labour evapouration” which seems best explained by an undetected movement of labour from war to civilian production.

“Flying Bomb Isolation” It is thought that in some way the flying bomb is reducing American isolationism.

“Surplus Aircraft” The War Department might sell surplus aircraft after the war. The industry is upset. There is reference to sales of supposed surplus hunting rifles that turned out to in fact be “very deadly weapons” that were snapped up by unknown buyers on the West Coast lately. Given how well armed the American hunter is, this does not make a great deal of sense, unless one bears in mind that many of the Army's automatic carbines were made with folding stocks, which would be very easy to conceal underneath a winter coat.

Not that I know anything about this.

World Overseas

“Saskatchewan Election” The election of a socialistic party in Saskatchewan is a clear indication of imminent apocalypse The paper agreeably quotes the Winnipeg Free Press to the effect that it is all a pipe dream, and that tears must surely follow.

“Power Shortage in Switzerland” is happening.

“The Middle East in 1962” Dr. A. Bonne, of the Jewish Relief Agency, concludes that the Middle East is underpopulated, not over-, that the problem is the low standard of living of its population, that a proper development of its agricultural potential could support a population of 30 millions, of whom 3.6 million will live in Palestine, comprising 1.5 million Arabs and 2.1 million Jews. (Turkey is to have 17.5 million and Egypt 24.) Though there are admittedly some political obstacles to be overcome.

Letters to the Editor

“The Cost of Service” A department-store professional writes to rebuke the paper for supposing that various such retail service fripperies as escalators and tea-rooms were unnecessary and being paid for out of the paper’s pocket (harrumph.)  The secretary of the Co-operative Union responds to the paper’s birthday felicitations by pointing out that the taxation advantages enjoyed by cooperative undertakings ensure the movement’s bright future.

The Business World

“Debenture or Equity” Which to buy? Two pages of prose in which the paper drags us to a conclusion that I share in the technical matter at the end. 

“Inquest on Coal” I twitted last week’s number for ignoring coal in the summer and then announcing the end of the world in February. Not everyone is so neglectful. Here is a major report, which the paper calls “one of the most illuminating documents of the war.” The paper is appalled by the small amount of coal lifted from the ground during the war, and the White Paper on Coal Statistics” provides the explanation. It is the miners fault for getting old,tired, dying on the job too much, and getting too much black lung. The problem needs to be solved by Government control, national service, and also mechanisation where appropriate. The paper remains at a loss at how one could possibly encourage young people to enter a wage-earning industry, or remain in it when other industries pay more. What could possibly be done? It is racking its brains, Reggie! Racking them! It will probably turn out to have something to do with rationalisation, consolidation, national cooperation and coordination. For these are the obvious solutions.

In other news, open cast coal mining is not working out as well as expected.

Business Notes

Bretton Woods continues, with talk of Keynes’s  view on gold standards. (He is against them.) In related news, the abatement of inflation in Iraq has led the government there to cease gold sales.

A rise in the official cost of living will lead to wage increases in various industries according to the various schedules there existing. I suppose that it beats sorting it out through labour action, but it carries the risk of emptying vital trades of labour, as I snidely point out concerning coal, above, Reggie.
Union Castle’s official books show a slight increase in profits. I hope they are not so naïve as that. Good Lord, we practically had official permission to exceed the Lloyd’s Register tonnage on incoming ships in 1943!

Harland & Wolf follows John Brown’s lead, with its own twist (a preferred stock issue.)  Work hours lost to labour action was down again in April and May, year over year. The resources of the building industry are to be concentrated in the London area due to the flying bomb menace. Naval ratings, marines and airmen will assist with construction work. They will be billeted with private families.

Aviation, July 1944

Down the Years in Aviation’s Log

25 years ago, the London Daily Express offered a $50,000 prize for a flight from England to India with a one ton payload, and American Handley-Page, Ltd, registered as an air carrier at Ogdensburg, New York. Fifteen years ago, Frank Hawks flew twice across America in 36hr 49 minutes elapsed time, Amelia Earhart was appointed assistant traffic manager with Trans-American, Curtiss and Wright merged. Ten years ago, the air mail scandal’s aftermath continued, Cleveland Airport handled almost 12,000 passengers a month, Ranger was commissioned, James Wedell was killed while giving flight instruction, UAL ordered thirty de-icers for its Boeings, De Havilland bought British Empire rights for the Hamilton propeller, Admiral Reeves became the first pilot admiral, Hisso produced a 1140hp radial, New England Lobster buys a plane to “contact fishing fleet.” A quick check of the Navy List reveals that Admiral Reeves in fact qualified as a naval observer, but a bit of exaggeration is par for the course in this paper. Of an 1100hp Hisso radial engine, history appears to show no more. It is almost as though some people "hype" new technologies. 

Line Editorial

Junior is back! “Free Enterprise: The obligation of Management and Labor to Cooperate . . . in War . . . in Peace” D-Day is not just about fighting. It is about production! I, for one, am glad that we have James H. W. McGraw, Junior to assert these controversial and little-known truths. More substantively, there must be no strikes now, because American troops are fighting in France! But there were strikes! Nine thousand men were idled at Chrysler Detroit for six days, 25,000 lumber workers in the Pacific Northwest, etc. “By the end of the third week of May, 70,000 workers in 26 plants in Detroit were idle because of strikes.” D-Day seems to have happened rather earlier than I thought.

Anyway, as usual, there is a curve in Junior’s pitch. Union leadership is doing its best to curb strikes, and deserves the support of management in promptly resolving grievances. Labor Boards, too, should hear grievances more quickly. Disputes are inevitable, strikes are not, and most unionised factories, at most times, run smoothly, and perhaps even more smoothly because they are unionised. Better labor-management relations will prepare the way to reabsorbing returning servicemen.

Aviation Editorial

“Invasion has Spotlighted Our Need: To Stay Armed” In the future, America should keep on buying warplanes at a high rate even in peacetime, because it will make us safer. Or help us win wars. Or we can build a giant ladder of airplanes to the Moon. The important thing is that Aviation says that we should spend a lot on aviation.

Herb Powell, Associate Editor, Aviation, “Boeing B-29 Superfortress: Biggest, Fastest Highest Flying Bomber Carries Largest Bomb Load Greatest Range” New details emerge. The wing section has been seen previously on the Sea Ranger, but to get the necessary strength at the stipulated wing length, sweepback and dihedral, the thickest Alclad section ever (3/16ths of an inch) have had to be used. The cabin pressurisation is maintained from the superchargers, regulated by two AirResearch controllers. The structure is made piecewise of tubular sections on jigs, then assembled, a method that proved disastrous at Willow Run but which presumably works well at Renton. It probably did not hurt that flush rivets were used throughout, and that Boeing took great care standardising fasteners and settings. Very large wing flaps give the B-29 the same landing speed as the B-17. (So there, Martin!) The plane is virtually all-electric, with 150 motors, although the landing gear is hydraulic. The B-29 has a dual nosewheel, “the first such ever devised,” which, given German experiments with very large aircraft , strikes me as unlikely. The difference is, of course, that Boeing’s installation actually works! Thee foot tyres were chosen, while those of the main undercarriage are 56”. 16-ply Nylon S.C. synthetic tread is used. The total weight of the landing gear is 7000lbs. Construction was so fast that “in numerous instances” production of parts of the plane were underway before the parts were blueprinted. It is to the credit of Boeing that the plane is actually a good one –experience counts, I suppose, although rumours of trouble with the Wright engines suggest that not all experience counts equally.

Firms contributing range from Chrysler Dodge, brought in to supplement Wright engine production, Bendix, supplying the ‘super generator,” Minneapolis-Honeywell, of course, Libby-Owen-Ford, doing the plastic glass,  and so forth. In the spirit of throwing together the longest and most interesting technical paper possible without giving any classified material, Powell ends by directly pasting in (even the print font changes!) a description of the tortuous path of a new wing spar chord through various millers, straighteners, grinders and anodising baths and on to assembly shops. It gives one something of a sense of where all that money spent on capital goods has gone! If British industry really is as undercapitalised as The Economist thinks, it will have a very great deal of difficulty competing with Boeing. That is, if "mass production" aircraft become a significant thing.

On the same page, “Quality plus Quantity Made D-Day Air Power Possible”  “Ten-tenths air cover which featured great land-sea operations against Fortress Europe gives final proof of American manufacturers’ formidable smash-the-Axis doctrine.” Though the picture then provided is of C-47s, so “quality” here includes the plane that the Army wishes would go away so that it could get more C-53s! It would seem more accurate to say that the ability to land an entire corps of parachutists behind enemy lines is sufficient apology for keeping the C-47 in production, and in defence of the article writer, that is what he eventually gets around to saying.  

Vice Admiral John S. McCain, “The Blitzkrieg Goes to Sea,” Let us here remind ourselves that a man from the bottom tier of the Academy has arrived one “star” back from Raymond Spruance by virtue of becoming an aviator. (Or perhaps by being the son of Mississippi plantation aristocracy. Whichever.) The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations tells us that the United States Navy can “duplicate today, from the decks of carriers –in numbers of planes, at least—the ‘thousand plane raids’ that caused so much excitement in Europe a few months ago.” This, he says, would involve using only half of the Navy’s carriers. Really, Admiral? Assuming that half the aircraft are bombers, and that each carrier has 90 planes, are we saying that the Navy has the equivalent of 45 fleet carriers? Or are we, gasp, exaggerating? In Aviation?

In the future, super-carriers with super-decks and more armour and better subdivision will still further increase the fighting strength of the carrier fleet. In conclusion, our carrier arm is a terrible juggernaut of the sea that can level whole island fortresses in a single strike and defeat the Japanese “Maginot Line” of the Pacific and win every war ever single-handedly. And we desperately need new supercarriers because the existing ones are so small and puny and useless.

I take my earlier sneer back, Reggie. Low grades or not, Admiral McCain has this whole “admiraling” thing down as completely as any Admiral Lord Vaguely Nelsonian-Sounding Name, Ret., writing to the Times of London. All that is missing is a call to keelhaul the engineers for being so d—d greasy.

“How Women Flyers Fight Russia’s Air War” I do not think that I need to review anything so blatantly cooked up, do I?

“Here Are Your Markets, Part III –Mountain and Pacific Regions and Conclusions” California will buy more things than Montana, because it has more families! And more money! Mr. Potter is very aggressively avoiding saying anything useful here. Even when he stumbles into something that looks like an insight –his maps strongly suggest that population density in the west is related to average family income, suggesting just how mobile populations in the West are—he aggressively flees in the direction of recapitulating the Census yet again.

William E. Nelson, West Coast Editor, Aviation, “Design Analysis No. 7: The North American P-51 “Mustang” Hyperbole seems to be the disease of the week. Apparently, the P-51 is “officially credited” with being the fastest fighter with the highest ceiling, which I am pretty sure that the Air Ministry has never done. As Nelson notes, this is done in an aircraft that is not actually aerodynamically innovative to any great degree. Most of the article is therefore spent on details of construction. I know more than I ever wanted to know about what parts of the P-51 are made with 24ST, which with 24O. He briefly describes the Merlin engine, suggesting that is much more innovative. (I am looking through my notes to see if I had registered before that the two-stage supercharger has an aftercooler served by its own heat exchanger.) But there is little more detail than that, and no hint of how the P-51 achieves its range. (Large quantities of fuel are noted, though.) Although Powell also says that “second degree curves, calculated as mathematical expressions, are employed on the external lines of fuselage, fillets, ducting and air scoops.” Your eldest has an explanation of this that will go into a mere three pages of foolscap of closely-argued mathematical expressions, or "algorithms," as it is now the fashion to call them down on the water, where your son is involved pretty much full time in making the MIT miracle machine work on a boat.

Or he would, if he did not keep getting himself lost about two and a half pages and then wandering off to talk to his wife about something.

Kenneth Campbell, “Fan Cooling ‘Ups’ Engine Performance” Quite a nice little bit of engineering here analyses the actual performance loss due to cooling effects of air-cooled engines (very high for high performance engines, so rather telling of the reasons for their failure in cold climates and successes in warm and humid ones, and th tradeoff between the not-insignificant power loss of running the fans against the gain in heat rejection. The conclusion is exactly the proof of what needed to be proved, that the fan pays for itself.

Leland A. Bryant, Vultee, “Tooling Dock Technique Saves Time, Speeds Accuracy” There is a right and a righter way to use a tooling dock.

Charles W. Morris, AirResearch Mfg. Co., “So You’re Going to Pressurize?” Unlike some writing in this number, the representative of the company that solved the problem in the B-29 deserves a chance to swagger around the room. In short, it is harder than it looks. Apart from air circulation, it must be appreciated that there will be leakage. Given this, we can work out the air supply per passenger, hence the necessary volume at the blower. Now we have to deal with pressure differentials for elevation and with variations in outside temperatures and resulting variations in volume at specified circulation weights. It appears that cabin air will be quite dry at high altitudes, and that keeping cabins from being stuffy in tropical conditions will be a challenge. AirResearch, of course has something of a lead in developing solutions to these difficult issues.

With that I draw my main conclusion. I cannot buy AirResearch, as it is not being traded, but the cumulative burden of this number is that it is going to be hard to beat Boeing into the “stratosphere” club, and I will be  taking a heavier position in Boeing. This is one aviation stock with a postwar future.
Herbert Chase, “Hole Piercing Proves Faster –And Cheaper Part 1” We have discussed whether rivets are best sunk in holes drilled by the operators, through holes drilled by the rivet driver itself, and by through predrilled holes. Martin Aircraft believes the latter, though Mr. Chase needs at least two numbers to prove this.

William Findley continues with his vital and timely series on the load characteristics of cellulose acetate plastic. An editor continues on methods for forming sheet aluminum, with scrap allowances and punch and die clearances for various alloys provided in this number for blanking and piercing operations.

“Electronics Smooth Supercharging” We are told –again—that Minneapolis Honeywell makes electronic automatic controls for turbosuperchargers.

H. L. Wheeler, Chief Group Engineer, Armament, Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, Fort Worth, Texas, “Convair Classes Broaden the Specialists.” We haven’t heard for several months about how Consolidated Vultee, as it is now, trains engineers in “the latest developments in the other man’s department.” Wheeler’s point is that the programme he spearheaded at Fort Worth has now been adopted in San Diego, and he is quite pleased with himself.

“How to Get Top Efficiency from your Vacuum Pumps” Pesco explains how to maintain their products. Aeroprop propellers and Eisemann magnetos get similar coverage. Various improvised maintenance equipment from airline shops across the nation are shown.

“Rebuilding the Clippers” An unsigned review article describes the work that Pan American’s Atlantic Division does in maintaining the Boeing 314s. Did you know that refurbishing these monsters, which have only been in service five years, required the replacement of 20 wing web members and 23 hull bulkhead numbers in each plane? That all tail surfacesm, propellers, hydrostabilisers, wingtips and outer wing panels had to be removed, and hoisted into an out-of-the-way corner, at which point the main hull and parts were put up in jigs, that skin was removed by drilling out rivets, and that every exposed piece was carefully polished with steel wool on each side before being reprimered to avoid  trapping any corrosion, which would apparently migrate through the hull, otherwise? I should like to clip this article and send it to Flight, although it also occurs to me to wonder how all of this maintenance is done on shipboard. (Your son snorts. They just dump old planes over the side and take on new ones. Not surprisingly, this is not exactly advertised in Congress. You can certainly see why the Admiralty likes its covered hangars!)

A. A.  Hartsinck contributes this number’s contribution to talking about talking about civil aviation.

Raymond L. Hoadley, “Industry’s Sales Soar …But Not Profits” To briefly summarise without bothering to read the article, the colossal revenue numbers returned by aviation industry firms have no bearing on profits, which are so meagre that even the slightest increase in the tax burden will cause the industry’s collapse. Also, the aviation industry is an excellent investment, and everyone should buy shares. To be fair to Mr. Hoadley, he does actually summarise the financials of the largest 14 aircraft manufacturers, including preliminary results for 1943. That those results are preliminary, and so can be presented in any way he chooses, is entirely accidental.

Aviation News

Twentieth Air Force Formed: New Global Bomber Fleet Poised to Strike Anywhere in the World” Twentieth Air Force will operate B-29s, and perhaps even use them against Germany as well as Japan under its remit as an “independent” force, not tied to any particular theatre.

Various persons authorise Americans to use the new words “airpark” and “flightstop.” Ferry Command uses a temporary spray finish to protect planes on the crossing from seawater corrosion. “Cousin H.C..’s brainstorm to build community airfields for private fliers gets satisfyingly little coverage. Hopefully the lack of attention will permit him to rein himself in and focus on the Hawaii project.

America at War: Aviation’s Communique No. 31” “Germnany’s war machine took three staggering blows in one week: (1) when the USAAF completed its over-Europe shuttle terminus in Russia; (2) when Allied forces knocked Rome out form under Nazi Italy; and (3) when –finally and most emphatically—Anglo-American invaders poured into Europe paced by the power of 11,000 planes.” The writing of she English, it is a strangeness to the communique be-proser. I suppose that it is fitting that this page is illustrated with a picture of the Miles 35. One strange duck goes with another. The communique suggests that heavy, strategic bombing contributed to the success of the invasion by undermining German preparations.

The Mosquito victory in the ongoing Blue Riband is noted here again.

So is a decrease in labour at Boeing Vancouver from 10,000 to 9000, presumably as demand for Catalina flying boats and Jacobs trainers declines.

Washington Windsock

Blaine Stubblefield notes, again, that during the Battle of the Atlantic, some cargo was flown for safety reasons, and marvels, again. Stubblefield also notes that it is hard to get everyone to agree on just what is the world’s fastest plane, that sometimes aeronautical developments are oversold to the public, and that people sure are talking a lot about civil aviation. For example, those people down at the end of the bar, talking so loud that the bartender can’t even hear Blaine ask for another bourbon, now that he’s done his column for another month.

Aviation Manufacturing

“President reports 170,000 Planes Built; May Total was 8,902; Cutbacks are now in Sight” Actually, it looks like cutbacks are placing themselves in sight. Presumably we can look forward to even greater reductions at the end of the year, though not necessarily in number of types. General Arnold thinks it would be ideal if the Air Force could cut down to just two production fighter models, but standardisation is difficult in a competitive environment. Various Chambers, people, boards, parliaments on about contract cancellation and reconversion. Still no decision on Fontana, of course. It would be nice to have some sense of how long the war with Japan will last. Perhaps the President could meet with the Emperor and set a schedule? It would make financial planning so much easier. The Navy has officially cancelled the Conestoga. The world’s biggest wind tunnel, at the NACA Ames Aeronautical Laboratory in Moffett Field, California, is now in operation.

People talk about civil aviation on a page illustrated by the “bomber-size” Hamilcar glider.

Aviation Abroad
The paper reports British 12  month aircraft production of 27,273 planes, that the Atlantic has been flown 15,000 times since the war began, that the Tempest exists even more, that a new FW-190 with a 2000hp inline engine, and the He 219 also exist. Pictures of a Warwick illustrate. Those are very long wings!

Aviation Finance

Hoadley reports that the airlines are  very happy about the  mass release of transport planes to the airlines, and that this will lead to a great increase in 1944 traffic –but, of course, to no increase in profits whatsoever. He also notes that “It has becoming a generally accepted fact that that provision for released war workers is the responsibility of government.” Apparently, the spirit of free enterprise generously extends to recognising the need for government in such areas of American life as might cost manufacturers money!

Side Slips

I would clip the Maguire cartoon if I could bear it. Here is last month's, instead. Some of my London friends would probably detect subtle nuances, and invoke Doctor Freud.

Sideslip's jokes are at least as hilarious. “We never thought the science of aeronautics would change the methods of raising babies, but it has. Friend of ours mentioned taking care of his year-old heart-breaker and we asked (naively it now appears) if he was good at changing three-corned pants. “They’re four-corned pants now,” he replied in a superior tone, “wing area is much greater and boundary layer control is much better.”

Fortune, July 1944

The Fifth Victory Savings Bond Drive is on, and Fortune celebrates its illustrators with the publication of Richard Ede Harrison’s Look at the World.

The Fortune Survey
Americans are broadly in favour of peacetime conscription. They also think that veterans should have first call for jobs after the war by a two-to-one margin.


Four correspondents, three Californians and one private writing from a post in Alabama, write to say that they are appalled by the paper’s gentle treatment of interned Japanese. One writes in favour of the article. The paper replies to the mistaken facts of the first three correspondents. As usual, it is argued that Japanese truck gardeners undersell Caucasian by losing money, and are reimbursed  by a vast and shadowy conspiracy. Hmm. Not to dictate policy to other shadowy conspiracists, but it would seem more economical to just buy liquor for the kind of Caucasian who uses conspiracies as an excuse for his inability to compete.

The Job Before Us

After the war, we should have some kind of league of nations. General Marshall says so, and there is now even an international food board, with all sorts of countries represented, even quite unimportant ones.

Various other boards and staffs exist, and are poised to do a better job than the often improvised arrangements of 1919, when a single man like Hoover might hold the strings of relief.

“Management in the Transition: A Bill of Particulars for those Who Prefer to be Ready for Peace When it Comes” A detailed study of Firestone, which seems scarcely fair considering that the shortage of tyres in this country makes their transition to peace production all but assured. The real issue is whether there will be enough firms like Firestone to absorb peacetime unemployment, or whether the country will spiral into a depression. It is naïve to think, as some do, that government can maintain demand, and that it will suffice for industry to do the producing. The real question is the postwar balance of real to synthetic rubber, and this article gives me little more confidence in my ability to judge rival claims about their relative share of the market than I had coming in. I am fairly confident that the American synthetic industry will collapse, but, at the same time, some formulations will continue to be important, perhaps including in tyres. The paper seems to think that well-managed Firestone has a better chance than most to flourish.

“Doctors of Management” Firms which make a business out of advising management are on the upswing. The “management consultant” has been around since the 1880s, and now the ‘industry’ books $20 million/year. I notice, however, that the category includes firms which I recognise as credit investigators and business investment newsletters. This is a very diverse business.

“America and the Future: For More Profitable Debate” The paper modestly proposes that since modern business cannot exist without modern government, that there be less talk of “laissez faire,” which never really existed in the first place. Private enterprise cannot cope with a multitude of social-economic problems, and, postwar, management of the business cycle will be a public-private affair prominently involving the Federal Reserve system.

…And there follows a four-page “biography” of North Woods tall-tale Paul Bunyan, and, no, Reggie, I am in no way joking. Fortune has not managed to get D-Day coverage in to the number, but it does have something to tell us about “Babe, the Blue Ox.”

“Security in the Antipodes”

New Zealand has a generous social insurance system and millions more sheep and cattle than people. Its generous social arrangements are attributed to its “homogeneity.” Page over, and we are told that it is a dominion “created by British newcomers,” and that “The Maoris are now a small but amicably treated minority.” I am sure that if you asked a Maori in his cups, this is exactly what he would say. “As small as we are in numbers, here in our ancestral land due to the influx of British immigrants, nevertheless we are quite amicably treated. Amicably, I say!”

The paper does, however, manage to note that New Zealanders behave in various ways surprisingly differently from Britons, considering the small gap of time and distance. “They wear no jackets, and un-English like hats.” That they have socialistic medicine, and a surprisingly low infant mortality, save in the Maori population, might be stipulated as a futher difference. To stimulated recovery from the Depression, the government offered interest free housing loans that resulted in the building of 15,000 rental units.

“Needed: Nine  Million New  Cars” Another sector of American industry that will be selling into a high-demand market. The nine million is the actual cumulative deficit against projected sales had the years 1941—45 been peace years with demand at established trends –established in a depression! The actual total expected to be made in the first five years after the war is 20 to 25 million! Fortune believes that there will be as much as $100 billion in savings in the hands of a public which has virtually abolished installment and individual demand. Broadly, this implies that if employment can be maintained, the real problem will be ramping up production to soak up the money without causing inflation! The matter is, however, clouded by the war plants. All the big car companies, save Nash, Willys and Hudson, are operating war plants. There is, therefore, a surplus of plant –but, at the same time, lost tooling for peacetime production. Willys proposes that the “Jeep” can be sold to farmers as a combined tractor/transport. Ford, the other major “Jeep” maker, thinks that this is ridiculous, that the Jeep transmission is not up to ploughing. Willys and Crossley are looking at smaller, cheaper cars; GM, Ford and Chrysler are aiming at larger cars. I cannot help noting which companies were deemed efficient enough to run war plants, and which ones were not.

Smaller cars might not be on the horizon, but lighter ones are. The 2000lb car is perhaps five to six years away, and will come about due to improvements in materials. So is the high-compression gasoline engine that will propel it with 90 octane gasoline, saving 20 to 25% on the fuel bill. A rear-engine car is a remote possibility. Price will be up. The wholesale price of a postwar Chevrolet, Plymouth or Ford may be $1200, a 60% increase over 1942. The industry anticipatorily blames labour, while labour complains that it will not be at fault, since wages will be up only 14%, and that productivity gains of 2%/year, accumulating over 5 years, more than justify this increase. The higher future prices therefore will have been caused by grasping future management.

Farm Column

Some Southerners are tired of being treated as the nation’s No. 1 economic problem. True, farm acreage and employment is highest in the country in the states of the inner South and wages lowest, but at least they  have diversified out of cotton (down from 21,600 acres in 1926 to 11,400,00 in 1943) to kudzu, lespedeza, blue lupine and crimson clover, which I think that Ladd Haystead has picked out of a list for their colourful names. They are just fodder crops. More fodder crops, in rotation with cotton, can maintain the soil and crop productivity, plus perennials such as scuppernong grape, domestic blueberries and blackberries, all perennials which can greatly increase farm profitability. The example of “Negro farmer” Andrew Wilson, who once “mined” the soil the old way, and who is now being induced to plant long rotation fodder and perennial crops is conjured up. How, exactly, scientific rotation schemes differ from leaving the land to rest under rough grazing and berry picking is left up in the air a bit; I suspect that the “Negro farmer” bit covers it to some extent. Finally, there is the matter of poultry, which would add to Mr. Wilson, and other’ profitability, if there weren’t a bit of an excess on the market.

Business at War

This month’s example is W. H. Nichols, of Waltham, Massachusetts, a firm of machinists. Nichols impresses the paper’s correspondent with his homespunness. He dresses plainly, shows him a modest, clapboard house near the mill, opens his mail with a jackknife on the floor, as he needs no office, and tells a tale of building his own bicycle as a boy in Hamilton, Ontario, on which he “set a world quarter mile record by his own telling,” then ran away to the United States when his father ordered him to a divinity school. He has been making precision pumps for the rayon and latterly nylon industries since 1932 and sells a very large number of his “Gerotors” every month. He runs a “one man show” of 750 employees, although in spite of having no office or support on management somehow manages to spend most of his time tinkering with a model locomotive. He thinks that the future is exciting and hopes to retain 500 employees under peace conditions.

“$275 million in Snacks” “US cheese eaters will get a little less cheese this year than they got in the depression year of 1932 –a mere 540 million lbs.” This is because their record production is largely taken up by the Army, Red Cross, etc. After the war, cheese will go from a dietary supplement (Americans ate no more than 6lbs/year per capita) to something rather more than that, if production totals hold. Moreoever, only 20% of the population ate 80% of the cheese, so broadening the base of consumpdtion also promises an expanded market. As a broad guideline, some Europeans eat four times that much; so could Americans. This is of course, unlikely. The business is not expanding on the basis of cheese becoming a staple, just a more important snack than it is now.

Source: I Live in a Frying Pan

“Idaho’s Henry Kaiser” dehydrates a lot of potatoes, mostly for the Army, but, postwar, etc, etc. 



    Much off topic, but the fact that the marine ecosystem of the northeast coast seems to have been transformed by peri-contact invasive species sounds right up your street.

  2. It's hard for me to believe at first blush that the actual biotic productivity of the Fundy (and Gulf of Maine) intertidals experienced a significant peri-contact boost, but the genetic tracing to Bay of Biscay (Fundy) and North/Norwegian Sea (Maine) populations seems on target. All we're missing now are Channel and Portuguese littoral populations.

    Now, if get evidence of a spike in biotic productivity, I would still be very surprised if it happened as late as Champlain's voyages. In fact, if the transformation had gone to completion by Champlain's time (can we infer that from the failure of the first colonists to observe it oingoing?) might even point us to a much earlier date. Since it's hard to put European mud in the bottoms of our beloved Greenland Norse, a solid early dating would give more credence to the hypothesis of pre-Columbian Bristol fishers --people I am a bit more agnostic on. (Unexplained westward fishing expeditions from Bristol can as easily be going to poach pilchards on the Cornwall coast as to North America, and would have a great more reason to keep it secret.)

    1. Hmm, the amphipods are considered an ecological keystone species in Fundy, and seem to prevent the mudflats consolidating into biologically less productive saltmarsh. They are a very big food source for shore birds and also fish:

      The ornithology is better understood because you can watch them more easily than you can watch fish, but I think the fish are actually more interesting for their economic consequences. As for the ragworms, everyone knows they're bait, but there's also this (

      The construction of burrows by individuals increases the sediment–water interface. When they ventilate their burrows, individuals verticalize oxic zones into the sediment and promote microbial and meiofaunal growth alongside their burrows.

      i.e. they're driving oxygen and hence primary productivity deeper into the sediment. Productivity that then gets cycled up into the open water by the amphipods.

      Swinging for the fences with some wild speculation, perhaps we should think of the banks fisheries as semi-artificial ecosystems? The more ships, the more ballast mud, the more little beasts upcycling micro-flora and runoff into cod and haddock...the more ships. Obviously, if I controlled the Environment Canada grantmaking process I would immediately want Dr Addison to have his student Einfeldt go catch some critters off Newfoundland, and perhaps check his DNA sequences against the Bristol Channel and the Tagus and hell, why not somewhere in West Africa to boot?

  3. Cod shoals were noted on the banks as of 1497. If they're anthropogenic, then that's a license to put on our tinfoil (horned) hats and wander off in search of ancient Viking seafarers.

    If. This strikes me as an implausibly largescale environmental change. It looks like we're not going to see it in the genetics of cod, either, as there is interchange between adjacent cod stocks. I certainly vote for Fishery and Oceans giving large grants to all, though. MOAR science, plz!

  4. First point; you don't have to make the strong-form argument that it created the Banks ex nihilo. Drawing more and bigger shoals and maintaining them over time would be a big historical factor in itself.

    Second point: ecological changes can be quick, especially in those critical interface zones, when something important changes. It's pretty much the paradigm case of a systems dynamics tipping point wotsname. And we know that, well, there are European critters in the mud, rather than North American ones.

    Which leaves us with two options: either there weren't any, and the ecological niche was unoccupied, or there were, and these ones outcompeted and replaced them, i.e. they had some kind of adaptation to the environment the hypothetical others didn't. (It's as if this spookily mirrors some other debate about North American history! Although polychaete worms can't go back and fix the parish records or maintain legends about Indian princesses.) Either way this implies change. Cod are pelagic, after all, so they move. A limiting factor is the fish generation time, as IIRC they're quite long-lived. As for the critters, the amphipods produce a generation per year and barely overlap, so the population could flip very quickly.

    Except in the upper Fundy, where they reproduce *twice as fast*: OH HAI I AM YR IMMIGRANT COMING OVER HERE TAKING OUR FEMALES.

    I found that looking for basic data on generation times, but it turns out to contain a smoking gun. Not only are there distinct populations that reproduce twice as fast, the same distinction exists in Europe, and the twice-as-nicers come from the British Isles (specifically the Dovey in Wales and Whitby in Yorkshire) and are all over Nova Scotia. They discuss various explanations, but we now know that they're genetically different. The worms are longer-lived but they do two generations/year, so again there is the possibility of rapid introduction.

    Third point: if I really wanted to go full-on tinfoil I'd unfreeze Kirsten Seaver out of the Greenland ice cap and theorise that the transition from fishermen calling in Greenland to pick up deck crew for the season, to fishermen sailing direct to the Banks ex-Bristol or Lisbon, is actually a technological change. The big secret that the Portuguese and Bristolmen are keeping is that they're artificially seeding the fishing grounds and hence developing more and more of the coast as a fishery. They have a great source for the right stock - the Bristol channel, the wattenzee, whereever - which the Greenlanders emphatically don't. Hence the Greenlanders' role goes from being sought after Newfoundland pilots, to just being casual labour, and then to no particular role and so they give up and leave. It's not like fishermen wouldn't know that fish eat lugworms, after all, even if they think of it as bait or something. That is, however, officially tinfoil territory.

    An interesting question that you might be able to answer is how much mud ballast was being delivered to the far side of the ocean. The marine biologists have a pretty good handle on the population density, so you could get an estimate of how much genetic material is being introduced from ((sailings * average tonnage)/ballast fraction)*population density per tonne. Apparently you get as many as 961 worms per square meter, but obviously you'd need to fudge a conversion to cubic meters. They dig down to 15 cm, so we can assume a 1 sq m*0.15m.

    (It's as if this whole story weirdly mirrors some other issue in North American history or something. leaky pump iz leaking, into the muddy stinky bilges.)

  5. This is some serious loonposting right here, but:

    estuarial mud is given by the geotechnical literature as having a density of 1.3g/cm^3. One square metre to depth 15 cm = (100cm*100cm)*15cm. Multiply cubic cm by 1.3 for grams. Divide by 1000 for kg, 195kg, that's some heavy stuff, no wonder they used it for ballast. You get about 5 of those to the tonne, or 4928 worms/tonne @ 961 per sq m. The Molasses Reef wreck used stone but at least it gives us a number, 40 tonnes, which is getting on for 200,000 worms/sailing. They can have between 1000-10000 young.

    1. The Banks are young as fish habitat; exposed to air during the last glacial maximum, inundated about 8000 BP. (Much like Doggerland.)

      I'd want to know, not that the worm species are a genetic match, but that there was something there to replace at all. Bird transport (of eggs or young; there's recent work where snails have a better than 10% survival rate in bird guts...) back and forth strikes me as the null hypothesis.