Sunday, April 19, 2015

Postblogging Technology: March, 1945, I: Out Ride the Sons of Terra, Far Drives the Thundering Jet

Captain (E) J_. C_., R.N., D.S.O. (Bar), D.S.C., M.M.
HMAS Kuttabul,
New South Wales, Australia.

My Dearest:

You are probably wondering why this packet is so thick, and have clawed it open, your heart torn between hopes of photographs of our babies, and fears of some horrid legal entanglement.
At least, so I conceive the balance, so that I do not imagine you, my darling, being disappointed by the tedious details you will in fact encounter in the document this letter wraps. The future is no brighter for it, but it remains bright as ever, at least.

To explain: as you know, I have been carrying on Uncle George's regular "investing newsletter," to your father since he left for the war. Well, he's in Australia, as I am sure your throbbing head of a morning has told you on a few occasions since he arrived. (At least you wil get some practice in holding your liquor ahead of dealing with more sailors!) Well, here's the newsletter, so please pass it on. It's especially important, since Uncle George places infinite reliance on your father's charm and tact in carrying his case with the Earl, to whom these sentiments will eventually be forwarded.

But enough of that. You are sadly deprived: of Santa Cruz in the bright spring, of the excitement as we ready ourselves for the United Nations Conference, of your babies and even your half-brothers' entertaining enthusiasms, the bright youth of Miss V_C._,, the adventures of Miss Von Q. and Mrs. (I cannot write that without a smile) Wong in the city, of Fanny's courting by Jimmy Ho (of which I am supposed to know nothing), even the continuing saga of Arcadia's roof and the malign plotting of the Engineer and his lieutenant, the Lieutenant.

As to the latter, it's all very sad. The Engineer fancies a bracing confrontation with the Russians, since he conceives Communism to be all around him, and us. We silly ladies are more concerned with dances and balls and parties, for what is a Peace Conference without them? And one cannot have whirling and music and romance, and clever old diplomats showing us how to waltz (am I odd to wish that I had been there to dance with Metternich and Talleyrand, whatever their politics? I shan't mention dashing Uhlans, as I have a dashing engineer, instead) if there is to be a great battle of ideologies instead! Well, actually, Miss v. Q. and Mrs. Wong will be very much involved in all of this, unless the FBI finds better linguists somewhere, as plans to eavesdrop on unnamed foreign delegations go ahead. The Russians, I am told, quite sensibly conduct all of their correspondence in cypher, but that does not mean that it cannot be compromised. Lieutenant A_ is on about technical means of doing so. I wonder if he has ever heard of the concept of "burglary?"

Perhaps, I have had the strangest passing conversation with the Engineer's son on the subject of whether Wong Lee might be to hand. And, yes, this is work that Wong Lee could do. But surely the FBI has its men?

Even sadder, your worries about Aunt Bessie were all too justified. Her habits and her health have caught up with her, and I have been spending entirely too much time with her and with Uncle Henry of late. In fact, just the other day I was called out of the University Library, where I have been taking notes for these newsletters of late, with news of an emergency up in Oakland.

While the emergency on that occasion proved to be Uncle Henry calculating that I could be pressurised into coming over a few hours early, the need is real enough. I do not think Aunt Bessie has very much longer to live.

Though it's an ill wind that blows no-one any good, as the rearrangement meant that Fanny's weekly afternoon off was put over from Sunday to Friday, and she left with a song in her lip! 

The Economist,  3 March 1945


“Verdict on the Crimea” Did you hear that there were talks at Yalta in the Crimea? There were! The Prime Minister made a statement. Parliament debated it. A High Tory resolution called for something about Poland. Also, Germany. We really ought to have a row with Russia over Poland and Germany, and the "double climax" of the war would be a fine time for it!

“The Distribution of Industry” The Distribution of Industry Bill will give the Board of Trade new powers to cause/assist/require/enable industry to spring up in distressed areas as previously, or now newly defined. Are the powers not enough, or too much? The paper is unclear. There must be more "research" to help us reach Full Technical Efficiency in the matter of Special Area Designating/Helping.

“Post-War Holidays” Two. And. A. Half. Pages. I mean, I am sure it is important to some –the inspiration is a new act on the Catering Industries, which might have something to do with the question of whether people will be allowed to go out to eat on the holidays or to be kept indoors? Perhaps? I’m guessing rather than actually reading the leading article, but it is more fun to guess than it could possibly be to read the article.

Notes of the Week

The French Foreign Minister was in London for preliminary talks leading to the United Nations Conference in San Francisco, on various questions of the moment, such as whether France will continue to be a Great Power or not. The Greek Government says that the new agreement with the communists of ELAS is working splendidly. Mr. Churchill thinks it is all down to Greeks being excitable. The neutral nations are all now declaring war on the Axis in order to qualify for membership at the United Nations Conference. The paper thinks that this is unnecessary, and that neutrals in good standing should be allowed to attend. Rumanians are excitable. 

The Prime Minister promises arrangements with the Dominions over emigration, which alarms the paper, as the nation needs all the reconstruction labour it can get, plus people to look after Britain’s aging population. But aren’t the Dominions facing the same problem? One solution is to expand the definition of “desireable” immigrants. That sounds tricky. How do you maintain the colour barrier when suddenly Chinese, say, immigrants are "desireable," instead of smuggled into the country in night and fog, to remind them of their place? The Prime Minister’s offer of British citizenship to Polish veterans is an example of how this can work, the paper amusingly says.

 Rumanians and, in particular, Egyptians, are excitable. Better hearing aids are sought, and might be subsidised by the new National Health Service. 

The wartime time shift might be continued in peace. Miss Myra Curtiss will chair the Inter-Departmental Committee on Care for Children Deprived of a Normal Home Life. Speaking of being deprived of a normal home life, the Labour Party has voted to readmit Sir Stafford Cripps. 

Orphan makes good!

The recent Commons debate on air accidents agreed that air travel was safe as houses, but could not agree on how often houses fall from the sky and kill people, or why.

Mr. Sandys has made the housing muddle even muddier by suggesting that factory space and land could not be released for prefabricated housing, so that production will be limited to those already ordered, and the 30,000 less-completely prefabricated bungalows ordered in the United States, and that the Government programme would shift over to permanent housing, presumably mostly of a denser kind. That is, the delayed ending of the war has made it impossible to fulfill the promises of last year, and Sandys’ “peculiar” statement that this will not lead to fewer houses being built is “peculiar” in the standard Sandys’ style. It is a lie, in other words. We are abandoning the prefabricated housing effort. The paper is displeased and thinks that non-traditional housing, preferably permanent, but, if necessary, temporary, should be an important part of the medium-term programme.

Daily Telegraph --Travel Section(!) See exotic East London!

Speaking of millenarian fantasies, the Severn Barrage is supposedly back on the table. Currently estimated to provide 2.19 million kilowatt hours at a cost of £47 million, vice £28 million for the 1933 version, it seems attractive from the point of view of saving a  million tons of coal a year, and because interest rates are currently quite low. But what if interest rates go up, or the price of coal comes down? What if construction costs go up? The price of coal, after all, must come down if British export industries are to compete. With many more important calls on the country’s capital reserves, the paper thinks that the Barrage is not called for. It’s odd that a shortage of capital had no effect on war production. I say that because I sought guidance at lunch the other day, and a very nice Jesuit visiting from Montreal gave me something of an explanation, which I shall try to pass on when you return. 

And speaking of coal, a bill to continue the Ministry of Fuel and Power occasions reflections on its record, and the need for a single ministry for coal, petroleum and electricity.

“Italian Rehabilitation” There’s not much useful to say ahead of the liberation of the North, which will occasion a complete reshuffle of the Government. But let’s say something anyway.

“Economic Charter of the Americas” We should talk about talking about. . .

“Tuberculosis at Large” The new mass radiological surveys show that between 1.0 and 1.5% of the population have tubercular lesions, of which between 0.3 and 0.4% require inpatient care. This implies that there are 80,000 sanitorium cases out there to be discovered, which will require a one-time allocation of an additional 80,000 spaces.


Nicholas Kaldor writes on the vexed question of how capital formation is to be achieved in the postwar. He thinks that he was badly handled on the score of likely postwar national income (the paper thinks his estimate is too high), and that consequently there was little risk that, with judicious planning, postwar reconstruction plans will have to be curtailed for lack of means. The paper replies to defend its position on national incomes without touching on the main criticism. But the leading article on the Severn Barrage bangs on the same drum, so I take it that there is no retreat here. (But see next week.)

Hermann Levy writes on the subject of patent medicines that the National Pharmaceutical Union is a cartel in restraint of trade in reference to certain patent medicines and semi-medical articles.

H. J. Gillespie, of the Mining Association of Great Britain writes in to point that it wasn’t them, Mom, it was the unions that started it.

American Survey

“Wage Issues” Are back in the news due to the public members of the War Labour Board recommending against any upwards revision of the Little Steel Formula. Wage increases for unionised workers in industry might be desirable, but would provoke increases in the cost f living that would hurt non-unionised and white-collar workers, which is why public opinion opposes it. They recommend instead an increase in the effective minimum wage in linen with the recent settlement in the textile industry, from 40 to 55 cents an hour, compared with the average for industry as a whole of 65 cents. The paper, remarkably, agrees, but American unions of the CIO, fearing a repeat of the coal strike this spring, feel the need to head it off with a revision of “Little Steel.”

“Advice to Conservatives” Walter Lippmann recently advised Senate conservatives, above all the Taft wing of the Republicans, to abandon their resistance to Mr. Wallace’s nomination now that the Commerce Department has been stripped of power over the War Finance Board on the grounds that good conservatives wouldn’t do that. The paper invokes Martin Van Buren’s failed nomination asMinister to Great Britain (I know. It's fresh in my memory, too!) as an example of the likely backlash, and helpfully adds that American conservatives need to be flexible, like British Tories, which they are not. “A species which is incapable of adaptation eventually becomes extinct.”

I don't know about that. Three generations of Tafts is a long time to wait on an extinction in politics, but hopefully Governor Warren will wield Darwin's handaxe in 1948. 

Europe's Cro-Magnon invader

“The Stroke of Twelve” The paper notices the midnight curfew “brownout” on the entertainment industry recently imposed to keep war production high through the fall of Japan. The paper thinks that it is a bit silly.

“What Price Steel” “Rundstedt, the weather and the manpower shortage” have combined for a steel shortage. The shortfall in the second quarter may be as much as 3 million against a planned 17 million ton production, the labour shortfall is 100,000 men, and war production is not scheduled to peak until June. The industry wants a price rise, which appalls the paper given the expected fall in demand starting soon. “The demand for a price rise in a declining market is an exceptionable one.” Meanwhile, fewer people were employed in the United States in January than any month since Pearl Harbour, with the potential labour force falling to 50,960,000 workers, and actual workers to 50,120,000. Which is why the Manpower Bill now passing the Senate is such a paltry substitute for a national labour draft.

The World Overseas

Canada needs more conservation. Italy needs more finance.

The Business World

The major story here is “Middle Eastern Inflation.” The striking thing is that while wars lead to inflation, that inflation was felt worst in countries that did their best to be neutral. The paper suggests that one of the causes of this is currency control, or manipulation, or something, such that the apparently inflated prices paid for gold in Middle Eastern currencies may be found to be more reasonable when the accounts with Britain are cleared.

“UNSCC” A recent estimate by an American industrialist that the different screw standard between America and Britain added £25 million to the war effort puts attention on the United Nations Standards Co-ordinating Committee. International standards would greatly help everyone. Another example is the 75lb and 100lb rail trade. Which is an interesting one, because wasn’t the accusation that the Americanstandards were an effective implicit form of protection?

Business Notes

“Share prices at the Rubicon?” Share prices have moved in various directions which might or might not signal upcoming dramatic reversals in apparent trends.  I don’t think I would read this even if we had money in British stocks right now!

“Capital Issue Control” Also what we are not doing is borrowing in Britain. Well, the Earl may, if he wants to build houses, so I suppose he should familiarise himself with this if he proposes to go into large-capital funding.

“Franco-Belgian Payments” Yes, very important. Also in need of attention, American cotton politics, the urgent need for revision of the British clothing ration, since Britain is running out of clothes to ration, and the repair of the Manchester Ship Canal. Excuse me, how could this possibly be controversial? Ah, I see that Chairman Sir Frederick West is explaining why the dividend had to be cut, and why he thinks that more planning is needed. Shareholder Horace B. Samuel wants the books fully disclosed, so that claimed taxation expenditures can be examined, but that would be bad for business. Which I hope is not a new nickname for Sir Frederick West.

“The Indian Budget” Requires more sources of national revenue, either by increased taxes, or by the nationalisation of profitable industries. Speaking of which, the Indian State Railways are now almost entirely Indian-owned, and have a postwar reconstruction requirement of Rupees 319 crores. (£239 millions.) What a neat character we have for “crores!” I imagine one of our old Hong ancestors contriving it, his sly smile at putting one over on some eunuch tax farmer, the story of the South Seas in the old days, Western Learning and Sugar coming from the  lands the Buddha walked... It works out to  £239 millions, by the way.

“German Notes Circulation” The Reichsbank reports that there are now 50 billion RM in circulation, compared with 39 million in September 1944. This is not to say that Germany is on the verge of a galloping inflation. Many things could happen; but, mainly, it could be about to be completely defeated and occupied. I suppose that the Reichsbank, source of this information, can hardly admit that. It's just odd to see the paper report this without acknowledging that the end is nigh.

The paper heard a scientific paper by Mr. T. J. Shaw on possible improvements to raising and marketing  fatstock, the currently largest share of British agriculture. The paper is excited. The current average earnings in Britain is up to 96s 8d in January compared with 95s 7d in July. The gap between male and female wages remains constant, and the 85% increase in earnings since October 1938 is only 35% due to increasing wage rates. The London Passenger Transport Board thinks that staggered working hours would reduce congestion in the system. Fifteen to 30 minutes might be enough. District heating schemes with central plants have promise, but might not be economically advantageous. We should experiment in rebuilding, but cautiously, and etc. The Ministry of Labour has a scheme for getting trawlers out of military service and into fishing.

Flight, 8 March, 1945

The careful-to-a-fault, technically minded reader (hello, my love!) will note the absence of the 1 March number of this paper. Inquiries care of the GPO, the United States Postal Service, the German Navy, or, really anyone. If we knew, it wouldn’t be “lost in the mail,” would it?


“The Salt of the Earth” The men of the prewar RAF are splendid. Absolutely top notch! Officers and “other ranks,” too! Please renew your subscriptions.

“All Tactical Bombing” Since strategic bombing is a “long-term policy,” and the war is almost over, all “strategic bombing” is now actually “tactical bombing,” even if it looks like strategic bombing. In conclusion, the attack on Dresden was not some horrible mistake.

“Monopolistic Autocracy” May well happen as a result of talking about civil aviation. That’s why we should talk more about talking about civil aviation.

War in the Air

Field-Marshal Montgomery has forbidden the press from reporting on the location of 9th US Army, now under his command, something something air power. Mosquitoes are dropping 4000lb bombs in Berlin. Tactically, I suppose. We keep on bombing German oil refineries, cleverly waiting until the repairs are almost done. Oh, those Germans must be so mad! Dr. Goebbels’ thinks that our bombing “can hardly be borne.” Because he is effeminate and weak. Also, something about the Germans started it, Mom! V2 bombing is probably almost over, as Holland may soon fall, and our air forces are attacking launch sites and trains. “Some day the story of air supply in Burma will be told in full. It will be an amazing story.” I look forward to being amazed. The Germans are losing, and aircraft were involved. The resumption of air raid warnings in London is due to bombers armed with V1s, which they launch from the air.

Here and There

The paper is selling hand-coloured enlargements of its photographs for 25 shillings each. Allison will not produce its 24-cylinder “W” liquid-cooled engine, said to bethe most powerful in the world at up to 3000hp. I am, right now, saying that our children are the two cleverest, prettiest babies in the world. No matter what the editor of British Babies says. USAAF Transport Command amazes us with the news that it operates 2000 aircraft on 160,000 route miles, carrying every day 200 passengers, 4 million letters and 2000 tons of freight in 15,000 hours, using 1.5 million gallons of fuel. I don’t know. “Two hundred” passengers is not an amazing, large number. It seems more “small” to me. They should increase that one.  

The Chance-Vought TBY-2 “Sea Wolf” is in production at Allentown, Pennsylvania. 

Douglas Aircraft Corporation has released information about it’s A-26 Invader, said to be the fastest bomber in the world. Which is American, and wrong, since the fastest bomber in the world must be the Mosquito. I'm pretty sure that it's in Newton's Laws, or Maxwell's Equations. Both of whom were British, notice! Three motor-industry operated “shadow” aircraft or aircraft engine factories are shifting over to peacetime production. The outlandish under-wing ambulance pod for stretcher cases which we tested with the Lysander so long ago has reappeared on the P-38. Professor A. V. Hill thinks that British air insurance rates are too high. American man-lb/month rates are rising! And employment in aviation there has risen quite substantially since before the war! Helliwell’s put on an Anglo-American, all-singing, all-dancing revue in the Borough of Walsall. It is amusing that the Beechcraft UC-45 is also called the “JRB-1,” “Expeditor,” and “Voyager.” Five new 100-octane plants will be built in the US by private capital under War Department authorisation to add to the 60 now operating. AirCommodore Primrose is retiring from the RAF to take a publicity position with Simmonds. Air Commodore Primrose has been AOC Iceland, Northern Ireland, and Airborne Forces Group.

C. B. Bailey-Watson, “Rocket Assisted Takeoff: Description of Installations and Method Used by Fleet Air Arm Carrier-borne Aircraft.” It’s not just an explanation of the obvious. It’s an excuse to use the phrase “anadyomenean effect.” And, yes, sounding that out in characters was worth using an entire line.

“Dropping an Airborne Lifeboat” The paper went on a cruise. Somewhere off the east coast of England, an airborne lifeboat was dropped for it to see. Thanks to the accuracy of the Mark IX bombsight, it landed within 200 yards  of the target dinghy, and so perfectly upwind that the 175ft lifelines automatically projected fore and aft by rockets were not needed. Less happily, the automatic parachute detachment devices failed to work, and the sail was hard to set. Fortunately, the sail is only needed when the distance to safety exceeds the capacity of the two 4hp Brittania “Middy” two stroke engines with their 11 gallons of petrol. While it is quite the contraption, it has saved enough lives to be worthwhile, even if the papr cannot say now many. Mr. Heath Robinson should be able to say the same!

G. Geoffrey Smith, “Turbine Propulsion: Vindication of the Principal New Power Unit in Use in Britain and America” The Air Ministry has officially stated that the first and only Allied jet-propelled aircraft to go into action against the enemy is the Gloster Meteor. (But only against flying bombs, and not against German manned jet aircraft.) 


It is powered by a Rolls-Royce jet turbine engine developed in collaboration with Air Commodre Frank Whittle, Power Jets and British Thomson-Houston. It is being produced under license in the United States to power its existing jet aircraft. De Havilland has a new jet fighter in the late stages of development. Current jet fighters have a short range due to high fuel consumption. The Meteor has a Dowty-type tricycle undercarriage with three levered wheels. Lack of airscrew clearance requirement means a low centre of gravity, which reduces ground rolling and braking problems and makes undercarriages shorter. Lack of engine vibration makes the planes much less tiring to fly.

John Yoxall, “Coastal Visit” Taking something of a break from flying over German territory, Mr. Yoxall visits the Combined Operations Room, which is some 100ft underground n some kind of tunnel filled with tortuous passages and cabin-like offices. There is a large map, constantly updated by WRENS, showing all of the air patrols and minefields and such. On the night that Yoxall visited, a  battle was going on between Coastal Command Wellingtons and German gunboats attacking Allied shipping entering the Scheldt for Antwerp. It was as exciting as watching people talk on “scrambled” telephones can be. Air Commodore Pearce, Air Vice-Marshal Hopps, and Admiral of the Fleet Tovey all showed up as the night wore on, and John got all their autographs. Except for Tovey, I presume, as he has hooks for both hands and a parrot on his shoulder, which continually shrieks, “Polly wants a tot of rum." Or so I gather from the inside gossip, and I never doubt a word from my husband's lips. Air Commodore Pearce is one of Tedder’s pets, Mr. Yoxall notes.

Then Mr. Yoxall flew to Belgium to observe the squadrons flying against the gunboats in beautiful late winter weather. He reports that the Belgian railways are operating again, and a little of the winter wheat is beginning to show in some fields, although the rest are still flooded. He landed on a Somerfeld track runway which is already being swallowed up by the Belgian mud, despite constant efforts by Belgian labourers.

Eric Mensforth is leaving his position as Chief Production Advisor to the MAP to resume his position as director of Westland and deputy managing director of Thomas Firth and John Browns. His only reward for all that war effort is more exhausting work directing multiple companies. Poor dear, he must be completely frazzled.

Indicator Discusses “Rational Internal Air Routes: Making the Best of Both Worlds: Travelling Ease as Air Transport’s Best ‘Selling Point:’ The Bogy of Intermediate Stops: ‘Through’ Services Essential: Preliminary Suggestions” I would take the train more if it only stopped where I wanted it to.

“RAF’s Twenty-second V.C.” Has gone to Flight Sergeant George Thompson, RAFVR, who, though himself grievously burnt, rescued two gunners from their burning gun-turrets, beat out the flames of their clothing with his bare hands, dragged them clear of the fire in their Lancaster over an enemy target,a nd then expired, as good Other Ranks V.C.s ought. (So embarrassing when a Flight Sergeant out-medals his AOC.)

“The Duke of Gloucestor’s Proctor” Is quite a nice Proctor, which he will be flying in while he is Governor General of Australia. That will discourage the Australians from buying American!

Civil Aviation

Dr. S. Konoski, “Sovereignty over Airspace: A Survey of Some Provisions of the Chicago Agreements” Let’s talk about talking about. . . ! Dr. Konoski is against something. I’m not sure what, but have taken the scissors to the number in case we have to know this later.


G. Young points out in response to Maurice F. Alward’s article on “Monocoques” that a good reason for using L or Z section stringers is in order to accommodate all the internal fittings. S. Franklin thinks that T. Hamilton-Adams’ letter on the oxygen-hydrogen propelled liquid gas shells was silly. B. Webb Ware shows that he can be as silly as Horace the Tame Steersman, though not Mr. Hamilton-Adams. 
Not likely!

Charles Aliaga Kelly, a Town Planning Officer, asks how small civil airfields can be. Colin C. Richardson thinks that “Indicator” is exaggerating the effects of weather on flying. ‘Zero-zero’ landings are now possible. E. Parbury contributes more math to the V2 problem. Roger Tennant, sensing that the steam is going out of silly technical proposal letters, contributes his own, pressing his case for asymmetric aircraft and towed gas tanks.

The Economist, 10 March 1945


“The German Problem” What about when we win?

“Capital for Industry” As signalled last week, the question of how much capital can be raised for industry is very important. (You will remember the paper toting up the numbers and concluding that Britons will have to live in steel huts forever to get exports going.) A Commons debate on Finance Corporations signals that it is the issue of the day. In the first period of reconstruction, the paper now thinks that it is men and materials which will limit work, not capital. In the second phase, demand may give out before supply, and the question will be industry’s willingness to invest, not the money on hand to invest.

NB: Not a steel bungalow

In short, the economists have thoroughly spanked the paper. But it will not give up. The related questions of High Productivity and Full Employment do not depend on the availability of money, but on its use as Productive Capital (the paper does not capitalise the last but why let it have all the fun?). This leads the paper to point to its eye-glazing series on a “Policy for Wealth” of last fall. The paper may not be able to talk about capital shortages any more, but it can still talk about labour Luddism, high taxation and cartels, all of which may lead to all that capital being misinvested in wasteful things such as houses. But with enough statistics, the public may yet be educated into the need for them to live in steel huts and wear breechclouts until Full Technical Efficiency is reached.

“Balkan Turmoil” The paper goes Full Uncle George. Or would if it didn’t feel compelled to add pages of details on just how the Balkans are currently turmoiled. It must be different from the way that they used to be turmoiled, and, perhaps, from the way that they will be turmoiled in the future.

Notes of the Week

The Allies just have to cross the Rhine and the Oder now. The question of the extra weight attaching to Great Power votes will be at issue in San Francisco. Also, regional security bodies. The French are excitable. The Miners' reply to Mr. Foote’s proposed “government by mine owners of mine owners for mine owners,” could hardly be anything other than rejection. The paper is just disappointed that it took seven weeks, and that there were no constructive counter proposals. This is apparently the eleventh hour for land planning in Britain, time also for a second international. That is, various European socialist parties are having an international meeting in London, just like the actual Second International in the old days (Ooh! Junket!) and has released a programme of “fourteen Points” for European peace. The paper is concerned with the Family Allowance Bill, which might, depending on income tax handling, be too much effort for too little actual subsidy. The London dockers’ strike is not recognised by their union. Great things are to be expected of Chiang’s new National Assembly, the paper does not think. It is the Communists’ fault, more or less. The Commonwealth is to be reorganised  in some way. Or there is to be talk about it? Also Poland, and a place called “Buganda,” deep in the heart of Africa. (Awfully remote to me, but I am sure that a Bugandan would say the same about Santa Cruz!) Germany is still losing the war, and this means that food is becoming short. A plan for the future of Merseyside is proposed, which plans for less poverty. Sweden is Looking Ahead, with a committee under the splendidly named “Gunnar Myrdal.”

“Housing Switchover Re-defined” The ‘switchover’ now means a cut of 100,000 units completed in the first two years after the war against the original 200,000 target as a result of cutting the temporary home part of the programme.

American Survey

Missouri River Development” By Our Correspondent in Colorado

The man who predicted the collapse of civilisation in the Rocky Mountain states due to something about cattle markets is back to talk about plans for reservoirs,flood control and aids to navigation on the Missouri, and the extension of irrigation to another 5 million acres, going ahead from the current Flood Control Act. This might be more practical with a Missouri Valley Authority on the model of the TVA. OCC in Colorado has apparently never met a Montana rancher.
Gavins Point Dam. Source; St. Josephs Post

American Notes

“The President Reports” The President’s report on Yalta was basically well received by the American public.

“Tools for the Job” Secretary Wallace was confirmed this week. Conservative circles are upset, and want even more powers taken away from the Department, or at least not added to it.

“Bark or Bite” The feared coal strike, and not that of the automotive workers in Detroit, is the most worrying potential organised labour confrontation of the next year. Paying coal miners more will, of course, lead to Americans freezing in the dark.

“Trial Run in New Bedford” The Manpower Commission’s alternative scheme to national labour mobilisation is to be given  a trial run in New Bedford.

The World Overseas

Nigeria has a new constitution! Our Dubin Correspondent returns with a report on Irish cows. Irish store cattle might be a viable postwar export, it is thought, in spite if international competition from chilled beef, but extra food for livestock will have to be found.

The Business World

The Railway Companies are meeting, and they are in general agreement that charges must increase, notwithstanding their current general prosperity, which cannot possibly continue, for very significant reasons. In conclusion, please send us money.

“Standard Production” The paper has noticed that British industry has not reached full Technical Efficiency. In fact, British industry even resists attempt to measure its efficiency. Still, the higher American standard of living proves the superior efficiency of American industry. Why is this the case? A recent book by Lewis C. Ord proves that it is because British industry isn’t American enough. American industry cannot sell an item at a profit, but makes up the difference on volume! Alright, I am being snide, and I blame you, dear, for I can hear you spluttering a wide ocean away!

Business Notes

Has it been sufficiently noticed that I ran out of time to compile this letter fully? I am wracking my brains as to why I thought this section contained something that someone might care about, and cannot now remember, nor find time to run down to the university.

Flight, 15 March 1945


“The Air Estimates Speech” A secret amount of money will be spent on an air force of a secret size until the end of the war at some future date. Afterwards, a different amount will be spent on a different-sized air force. Saying more would help the enemy in some way. The air force is splendid, every command of it, but especially the bombers, which won the war by preventing German fighter production from reaching its anticipated size with its industrial attacks in February, and so giving air superiority to the Allies at the crucial juncture. Also, the air offensive prevented the Germans from interfering with preparations for D-Day.

“Road Closed?” The paper is distressed to hear that the Air Training Corps is being disbanded. Did they ever get a proper hat? I can’t remember.

Here and There

The ATA has lost 117 men and 13 women in the course of their flying duties. 

On January 31st, the ATA had 385 men and 86 women pilots actively engaged in ferry service. A PBY Catalina lifted no less than 65 men from the waters of Leyte recently. The “cluster” bombs recently dropped by fighter-bombers in support of the Canadian Army have “flustered” the Germans. “They give you the creeps,” said one captured Panzer Grenadier with an uncanny grasp of American slang. Cluster bombs are bunches of 26 fragmentation bombs with parachutes attached and timed to explode a short distance above the ground, for we are getting ever so much better at killing people as this war goes on.  (Also, I have no idea how this could actually be timed. Well, it's obvious how they would be timed, but not how they can be set to go off at a pre-selected height. Perhaps an electromechanical fuze automatically set by a radio altimeter? Or, much more likely, the article  exaggerates, and the timing is based on likely dropping altitude. They do not sound like weapons of precision to me.)

In response to the Speech Introducing the Air Estimates, Mr. Montague (Islington West) warned that we should not worship this “goddess of speed,” and darkly intimated that private enterprise will lead us all down the wrong path in aviation and rocket bombs and such. 
Once we can get where we're going quickly, we'll go there, and it will all end badly. Like paganism.

Speaking from the other fringes of lunar territory, Wing Commander Roland Robinson (Blackpool) thought that you could not spend too much on research, as the Germans had, leading to flying bombs. BOAC aircraft have carried queer cargo ranging from live frogs and fleas for research to 1000kg of morphine for Moscow, gold bricks, and a small packet of medical supplies worth £11,000. 

King Farouk visited a squadron of the Royal Navy off Alexandria and observed exercises “laid on” by the Fleet Air Arm. Because how could that possibly offend Egyptians? 

"Well Done, Condor," by Charles Dixon. Apparently some Egyptians were killed, and the entire European quarter of the city burned down. But we invaded Egypt, and have been there 65 years, so what's the harm?

America might use flying bombs against Japan, in which case the Japanese only have the Germans to blame. Oh, and the Americans, too. They might be used from carriers as part of the “softening up” process prior to the invasion. Speaking of Japan, Lt. General Reikichi Tada claims that the Japanese have developed an alternative to petrol by making alcohol out of potatoes and fuel and lubricants form pine roots. Ranger wants everyone to know that its small aeroengines are suitable for peacetime applications! Their twelve-cylinder, inverted, air-cooled engine gives 700hp with 100 octane fuel, at a weight of only 870lbs.  As there are a great many similar eingines, I would have thought that the makers would build their case on something less daunting than a requirement for a highly leaded, expensive, corrosive gasoline. Perhaps reliability might be more important?

Professor J.D.  Bernal will give a paper on the future of X-ray analysis at the 1945 conference of the X-Ray Analysis Group of the Institute of Physics at the Royal Institute.

V. L. Gruberg, “BOAC Wartime Services” New Routes! New planes! Strange adventures! Foreigners wear odd hats! Except for tow-headed African boys, either because their parents can't afford hats, or because they can't be made to keep them on their heads. 

“Transfers from Air Force to Army” Some men taken up by the air force and navy are going to the army, which needs more. Comforting thought! Early volunteers will be given a chance to compete for commissions.

Flight Handbook Air Marshal Tedder has written the introduction to the most recent edition! He’s so dreamy, and it has many drawings and pictures of planes. I wish you were still in Britain to get your brother a copy.

“Operational Japs” Japanese planes were much better at the beginning of the war than we thought. Some still have quite credible performance, and the workmanship is excellent. Official statistics are reported for many.

Costas Ernest Pappas, “Compressibility: An Analysis of Basic Factors: Some Practical Experiences with the Republic P-47 in Dives: Sources of Buffeting” This article has already appeared in Aviation. If you missed it, it concerns the limits to the compressibility of air at speeds approaching that of sound, which can appear over aircraft surfaces of the right shape at plane speeds significantly below that of sound at a given altitude. This famously led to test models of the P-47 losing manoeuvre control in high speed dives, and the interest here is with the news of jet fighters in action. Greater speed means compressibility is more of an issue. A troubling issue is that mathematical fluid dynamics begins with the approximation that the fluid is either infinitely compressible (air and steam), or infinitely incompressible (water). When this approximation is impossible, the partial differential equations of fluid dynamics become impossible to solve mathematically.

Fortunately, engineers already cannot solve partial differential equations. But they do need to know when to give up on their approximations and turn to empirical data instead, perhaps before the first P-47 shaped crater appeared around Farmington.

Civil Aviation News

New air fields! An air taxi service to take people down to Lisbon, where it is warm and soft and brown. 

The TUC thinks that Prestwick should be developed, and the new Forth bridge. Newspapers might be delivered from glider trains by parachute, thinks Sir Miles Thomas of the Nuffield organisation. Mr. Montague has more concerns about civil aviation. In general, there should be more monopoly where there is now less, and less monopoly where more is envisioned. Details emerge from talking about talking about civil aviation, which takes up the rest of the column, because who can get enough of railways and their air plans?


F. T. C. Sanson thinks that the recently published top speed of the Hawker Tempest (435mph) must be rubbish, and the Government should immediately say that it is much higher, because boys and their toys. I do not think that the poor boy understands superchargers. Does anyone? “Van” suggests that a light plane costs £1 14s/hour in the West Indies. Horace replies on the subject of tug and glider cargo aircraft, pointing out the difficulties on this planet, and wishing for a better, also in connection with the V2 discussion. He signs himself as “president, treasurer and chief stressman of the Interstellar-Space Circumlocation, Development and Exploitation Society (1987) Inc.” J. R. F. Wareham, W. E. Lang, and Ross Ingram have opinions about whether airscrews should be made of metal or wood. “Student” suggests that interplanetary rockets should be lofted to heights by gas turbines, and hopes that we will be able to send a robot to the Moon in the next ten or twenty years. Walter Dobson points out that it would be a very tiny robot, and asks for improvements in propulsion, perhaps atomic rockets.

An atomic rocket on Mars, where they have Radium Rifles. Image lifted from swordsandstitchery. Check out the vintate Masterminds of Mars cover!

Aviation, March, 1945

Another very thin number. The aviation business seems …slacker, although the paper still can’t be bothered to proof read. As see the “Briefing for January,” per the table of contents.

Down the Years in AVIATION’S Log

Twenty-five years ago, the first torpedo plane was delivered to the Navy by Glenn L. Martin, San Francisco had its first aero show, the Post Office said that icing was the main cause of winter forced landings, Major “Shorty” Schroeder flew a supercharged Liberty-powered Lepere biplane to 35,000ft. (He did not.) Fifteen years ago, the St. Louis aero show was in full swing, Lee Schoenhair set five weight/speed records in a Lockheed Vega, time-payments for aircraft were inauguruated by a finance company. Ten years ago, Pan American began work on its bases in Guam, Midway and Wake. The Army requested $11 million for a Hawaiian air base and $79 million for new equipment, including 800 new planes, while the Los Angeles air terminal reported handing 39,000 passengers in the previous year.

Line Editorial

“America Wants Competition: Only American Initiative Can Preserve it in World Trade” The dark and sinister forces of cartelisation are about, and will lead to control of domestic economies, which would be bad. America must resist this, so that it can maintain its position in world trade in spite of, Junior says, “having and maintaining wage scales far higher than those of nations whose competition we must meet.” Junior defends high American wages, pointing out that they did not lead to uncompetitiveness before the war. American productivity was far higher than in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Soviet Union and Japan (where it was 4 times higher!) America believes that free international trade is in everyone’s best interest. Why do some countries, by which he mainly means Britain, now disagree? Because competition on a level playing field would mean deflation at home.  If American wages reflect productivity and competitiveness, than must British wages be two-and-a-half times less than American? No wonder about the steel huts and breechclouts!)

Aviation Editorial

“Continued Air Supremacy Needs THREE-WAY Research” Leslie Neville’s all-capitalised “three way” seems to refer to industrial, government and academic research, and it is the middle one which he conceives to be controversial. As you will see in a moment, it's a bit of a running theme in this number. 

Brigadier-General Robert T. Olds, Commanding General, 1st Troop Carrier Command, AAF, “They’ll Put Wings on Armies” It turns out that air transport has been quite important in this war, especially in New Guinea and Burma. Who knew?

John H. Connelly, President, Southwest Airways, “Let’s Keep Using Those Contract Schools” The air age requires lots of people trained in air-things. That is why we should have an enormous school system producing air-trained young people. For example, a huge pool of pilots will be needed in peacetime in case there is an air war or something. Or airlines are asked to pay too much for pilots. That could happen, too. In conclusion, please send us money.

Allen Harris, Fairchild Engine and Airplane Co. (2, 3), “Staying Ahead Through Basic Research” NACA needs lots of money to invent new airfoils and such.

Raymond L. Hoadley, “How to Get Your Share of Export Sales” I include the customary quarter-page summary cartoon, even though I have no idea what it is saying, except that the Export-Import Bank and Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce need to be fully funded.

C. J. Hansen, “Design Analysis of the B-25 Mitchell” It is time to talk about the heavily armed North American medium bomber that no-one cares about any more. A great deal of weight, and about the same crew, were hung from a twin-engined frame as from a four-engined, with the disappointed hope of achieving some kind of economy of scale. Which criticism of the concept of the “medium bomber” I suppose doesn’t invalidate the actual design, but I do not see anything interesting in it, either.

K. R. Jackman, Chief Test Engineer, Consolidated Vultee Corporation, San Diego, “How May We Simplify the Postwar Laboratory?” Why should a laboratory be simplified? Well, if you remember the kerfuffle over the Fedden Report, American aviation industry engineering deparrtments are getting very large. The prewar method of transferring ideas from the lab to the floor often consisted of “arm-waving” and “sketches," while underwartime conditions of mass production, it has required complete production drawings and planning and scheduling records. It is far from clear that that should continue postwar. We may, in fact, be closer to the former than the latter. How do we restore the close relationship between the drawing office, tool room and shop floor? (Britishisms!) He goes on to explore the potential of “departmental” and “cell” systems, and uses the prewar example of Chevrolete’s engineering department in 1938 as an example of a way that things were done in a completely different industry under completely different conditions.

J. Wellwood Beale, “Rebuilding the Boeing Stratoliner” Boeing’s favourite vaguely Eskimo-looking cherub returns to the paper with another technical article. The old stratoliner was basically a B-17B. Now that there is a B-17G, the new Stratoliner is based on that. The changes from D to G were substantial, so the new Stratoliner is very different from the old one, even if the change was mainly confined to replacing the wings. As you will recall, this meant going from aluminum pressed struts to alloy tubular struts, new; Frise-balanced ailerons, Alclad coating for the monocoque structure, new elevators, new landing gear, new engines (and cooling flaps), an oil dilution system, and on and on. 

Women and old men: wartime!

George Gerard, Senior Researrch Engineer, Republic, “Determining Bend Radius –Via Analytical Approach” With various light metal structures in use in industry, it becomes important to know, from basic data such as the strain distribution curve and ultimate tensile strength, what the bend radius is likely to be. A method for calculating it via mechanical integration is shown. It is tested against empirical results and shown to be a reasonably good fit.

Chester S. Ricker, “Design and Operation of the FW-190 Gear Retraction Unit” Ricker points out that his unusually compact unit, with an overall reduction (of drive to final gear ratio) of 10,500 to 1, is well worth attention. Copying it will  no doubt be worthwhile in some factory somewhere. German engineering is good engineering.

Howard D. Ingalls, Vice-President, Maintenance and Organisation, Northeast Airlines, “’Perpetual Overhaul Overcomes Plane Shortages” Northeast Airlines thinks that its experience is useful and generalizable, even though it is a very small airline.

E. L. Lindsey, “Tools and Traits vs. Troubles, Part II of a Series” I missed the first one, but this is a general essay on diagnosing airplane problems by inspection. I pointed it out to your brother, and now my copy of the paper has five razored pages, including the first page of the Maintenance Notebook. At least I have the second, including an ingenious use of a laryngeal mike to diagnose bearing chatter.

The tape-recordings we have been working on for Uncle George's friend could be useful here, because we could apply electronic "filters" to isolate sounds of different frequencies, which might be caused by different bumps on the gears. I think?

“Offer New Finance Plan for Planes, Parts, and Repairs” Sir! Yes, Sir! That is, I am making unkind fun of the grammar. This could be an important part of a postwar aircraft company’s business plan. Or not. It depends on the size of the air transport industry, and whether cost of planes will be the key barrier to entry, doesn’t it?  

“Aeronca Presents Chum 2-Placer” Aeronca will make an odd-looking small plane, if anyone is interested.

“AVIATION’s Lubrication Cnart for Stinson” Even your little brother isn’t interested in this one.

M. D. Lowenstein, Lieutenant, USNR, “Tomorrow’s Avigation Faces New Factors” You know how the Earth is actually not a plane, but rather a rotating sphere? Of course you do, because”fictional frame” forces are part of the physics curriculum, your centrifugal and Coriolis forces and the like. Well, Lieutenant Lowenstein supposes that the very fast, very long range planes of the future will need to take these into account in ‘avigation.’

Philip Coleman, “High vs. Low Air Transport, Part III” I cannot argue with a paper with as much math and data in it as this one has. My instinct is that it is wasted effort, that postwar civil aviation will operate at the same altitudes as current bombers more out of technical inertia than anything else, until jets come along and change everything, but I have been known to be wrong before.

Aviation’s For Better Design

“Utilization Keynotes Change of C-46 into CW-20E” The Curtiss-Wright C-46 has been redesigned in various ways for civilian use as the CW-20E. An access panel provides convenient engine access, the cockpit windscreen is a convenient V-shape with sliding windo, and something something elevator mountings.

Aviation News

“New Representative Committee Gets Big Role in Shaping of Postwar Personal Aviation” Lets talk about talking about personal aviation! Will everyone commute to work in helicopters? No-one thinks so, but we have to pretend that this is something that could happen, or all the helicopeter companies would stop getting money from gullible investors.

America at War

General Arnold says that we won the Battle of the Ardennes. (Don’t tell The Economist!) Aircraft were involved. We wil bomb Japana lot, says Arnold, possibly into 1946, says General Hanson, so we need air bases closer to Japan. Bombing must be much heavier than it now is to have a decisive result in the long run, after Japan has finished dispersing its industry. “The big story in the air war right now is jet power.” Only Germany has active jet fighters, says the paper. Scooped! (What's worse, the paper is perfectly well aware that it has been scooped.) 

Washington Windsock

Blaine supposes that: the next war will be different from this one, that blimps and dirigibles might come back, that even inland cities might want international airports, that even though the “flag” corporation will not win out at Washington, Pan American practically already is one, that wages for airline pilots will fall due to competition from demobilised pilots, and that all the complications due to the postwar boom in civil aviation will mean that “there will be more specialists in aviation than in medicine.” What does that even mean? That there will be more stressmen than ears, eyes and throat doctors? More air stewardesses than nurses?

Aviation Manufacturing

Aircraft production in 1946 is set at 82,250 planes. Thirty thousand existing aircaft are now surplus. Jet fighters, when they come, might be followed by jet bombers. Total aircraft production in January was 6,235, a decline of 165 from December, but a 1% increase in structure weight. An urgent, high priority Lockheed fighter is to be produced for the Army. It might be the most important plane of the war, and further details are expected “by the time you read this.” It is, of course, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star noticed by Flight as well (though I do not think I mentioned it there, because I was being lazy), and the weekly beats the monthly.

Ford wants to “robomb” Japan. Ford still does not understand this concept of "launching area." It's all so silly that I'm almost sad, knowing that Uncle Henry would be in the middle of it were it not for Aunt Bessie's condition. 

Transport Aviation

Talking about talking ..and about Consolidated’s gigantic new Model 37, the proposed 204 seat over-ocean transport giant, which is obvious moonshine, given that the printed design sketch has six-pusher props. Why not make It asymmetric, or an all-wing model, while you’re at it?

Side Slips

Our columnist repeats a joke from last month. I’m not sure why, as when you don’t need jokes that are actually funny, the sky should be the limit? The horrifying alternative is that he thinks the ones that he prints are funny.

Because Australia's in the Southern Hemisphere! Get it? Get it? 

Fortune, March 1945

The Job Before Us

America is hugely powerful, and should do stuff. The President wants Congress to approve the agreements which he has already made. Robert Heller, of the Business Committee of the National Planning Committee, has published an “investigation” of Congress entitled Strengthening Congress.The paper has long believed that the conventional wisdom that there will be a postwar bust and depression is wrong. Now it quotes Marriner Eccles (who must have swinging arguments with Gunnar Myrdal about the relative size of the Navy and War Department budgets), chairman of the Federal Reserve System, who thinks that a postwar inflationary boom is on the way.
You can tell that he's not stodgy, because he leans back in his chair. Fun!

Mr. Eccles, the paper points out, is not always correct. For example, he was painfully wrong about the 1937 boom. The paper also thinks that the state of English today is terrible due to too much Washington jargon. Or something. Then it quotes some fellow named Lord Macaulay, because he said something the paper likes in language the paper likes. Next step: Eight-Legged essays!

“Still a Little Left of Centre” The paper gives Henry Wallace a l very detailed treatment, just like the one they gave Uncle Henry right before everyone stopped taking him seriously, poor Uncle Henry. If only he could bring himself to say more outrageous things, so that people would take him seriously again. At least he still has Hawaii…

“The Wall Street Situation: Warning: Any mention of securities in the document hereunto attached is not to be construed as a suggestion to invest in or speculate in same” I’m not sure that the last bit is a subtitle or a liability statement, so have omitted the capitalisation for very important reasons and not because my brush hand is getting tired.

Stocks were very low in 1942, so if someone had bought them then, and sold them recently, he would be very rich today. And if he picked the right horses….The point is, we’ve got quite the boom market going on, and we have had boom markets before, and, turn page, see, pictures of turmoil on Wall Street in 1873, 1907 and 1929, showing how, in the old days, it always ended in tears. A man looking back in 1929 would remember (if he were very, very old) ten crashes in a century. Could it happen again? Certainly, but the paper is betting on a lasting boom. (Again.)

Call me naive, but I had no idea that "prewar machine tools" were being stored this way. Probably more will need to be replaced than "engineered rebuilt," and this puts a new perspective on the supposed overhang of machine tools. Speaking of which, one of the "jokes" in Sideslips that I was poking fun at was a suggestion box entry suggesting a design for a tent over an operator's machine tool. The punchline was that "Or you could repair the leak in the roof right over my machine!" How many leaks, how many roofs, how many rusting machines?)

The essay is much longer than even my digression, but I am not sure what its point is, so this summary is not. (Except that we will be talking about two rather disgraceful stock scandals in other stories, so that if I could be bothered to leaf through every page of this number to read to the end of this article, I might learn why I should buy stocks, anyway. That may not be the point, but it is this paper, so that's the way that I am betting.)

“Melodrama in Nuts” Elastic Stop Nut Corporation, is a melodrama, in the sense that its rich war days have come to an end with cutbacks and cancellations, cue incidental music. That is, if it had a musical score like a melodrama, it would be a melodrama? Or, (buried lede here) could it have something to do with the suicide of the President on the day that the current fiscal year ended? That does look melodramatic. Certainly the firm went from hundred thousand dollar years to a 46 million year. And certainly the SEC is looking into it. The Swedish patent owners think that they have been shortchanged of their profits, and since we are unfortunately not at war with the Swedes, this means that ESNA might have to pay up. The thought here is that ESNA might have overproduced in expectation of dumping its supply on the services, and will now have to restate its financials. I summarising, the taxpayer has lots of elastic stop nuts it doesn't need, speculators who dumped ESNA stock have lots of money, people who bought into ESNA don't, and neither do the Swedish inventors of the elastic stop nut.

“The American Brain Barrel” There exists a National Roster of Scientific and SpecialisedPersonnel. It would be very prestigious to be on it, and it would get you draft deferment! An electrical sorting machine will automatically spit out a specialist for any job for which someone thinks to specify a specialty, and for which there is someone in the Roster. The example of the Army using the questionnaire results to find 301 persons on the Roster who were both French language proficient and ham radio operators is singled out. Some see the Roster as having much postwar potential. The American Mathematical Association and the American Institute of Physics both think that it is silly. Taking the paper against the associations of mathematicians and physicists, I’m inclined to go with the latter. How many of these French-speaking radio operators were actually ready to parachute into Occupied France? Now that would be a questionnaire and a half! Anyway, at least the National Roster has an impressive office where smart men talk to each other and operate electrical paper-shuffling machines. 

Add caption

Beardsley Ruml: Portrait of a Large Consumer with a Substantial Purchasing Power, the Popular, Fiscally Planning Treasurer of Macy’s Pays Off –With Ideas—As He Goes” Beardsley Ruml has been made chairman of R. H. Macy and Company. Having gone to Macy’s from academia in 1934, Ruml became treasurer, and his plan to promote pay as you go has paid off in the stock’s astonishing success. Peering through Ruml’s “Nine Point Programme" for full economic-fiscal reform (you may remember "taxes are obsolete as a means of raising revenue"), I notice that he has not given up on his idea of high income and estate taxes. They are not to raise money, but rather to counter “money’s tendency to come to rest.” But I like having lots of resting money! It’s like watching a sleeping baby, without knowing that it is about to wake up, and that Fanny has the afternoon off! 

And the evening, for I see through her and know perfectly well that she is hoping to be parking with Jimmy Ho tonight. My fingers are crossed for her (though I will not breathe a word of encouragement, as that would take away half the fun! Well, not half the fun. Some of the fun.) and will do my part by looking after my own babies.

Fortune is into selling things with babies this month.

“Spain: Unfinished Business” Now that it is done profiling Beardsley Ruml, it moves on to Spain, which is quite square, much like Beardsley’s face. Aside from that, they seem to be quite different, the main question being just how more Fascist Spain might be. Quite! The paper suggests. The Falange runs everything, and is blatantly incompetent. That should change.

“What’s New in Welding” A full explanation of welding, including all the new wartime techniques! (Unless there are also classified ones. What say you, dear? Any hints?) A quick scan at least informs  me that because of its lower surface resistance, aluminum requires three to five times the current to weld that steel does, which is why new welding machines that store and then release current were needed.

Susanne K.Langer, “Make Your Own World” Sounds ambitious. Ms. Langer, one of the most creative American philosophers, suggests that business might remake the world on international principles, since only a fundamentally perssimistic, crash-minded businessman has the mentality for it. So the United Nations and free trade are justified by philosophy. Female philosophy. I'm not sure how strongly Professor Langer holds to this view, though, because I know that Fortune pays very well.

Wikipedia and Fortune!

The Farm Column

Ladd Haystead says that the dairy industry will slide into postwar reconstruction with nary a ripple, because with 60 million employed, and lots of soldiers who have learned to like plenty of milk, the 119 billion pound rate of production, 15 billion pounds above the 1933—39 average, will be easily absorbed. The price of $3.27/hundredweight is also up $1.46 from the prewar average. Consumption will, understandably, fall with the postwar decline in pay, but prewar fluctuations were absorbed by the industry. On the other hand, pessimists think that the industry will have a hard time finding markets to absorb their production beyond store-and-door delivery, even though nutritionists recommend the consumption of a staggering 600lbs per capita. (the next generation of American is going to be as big as a Punjabi sepoy!) The key, then, is processors: butter, evaporated milk, cheese, ice cream and powdered milk. Butter has its work cut out for it competing with margarine, although Ladd hasn't much to say about that. (Perhaps because his enthusiasm for weird plants and small grains extends to oilseeds?) He does have a great deal to say about ice cream, the serviceman's favourite food, and he hopes that this market will expand, as does everyone else with an eye to the post war refrigerator business. He has talked about the cheesmakers' hopes for their industry, as well. It's powdered milk that comes up. I remember your anguished letters from New Caledonia well enough to raise an eye here, especially when the paper optimisticallyd escribes it as tasting like “chalky water,” which sells chalky water horribly short. However, bakeries used a great deal of powdered milk before the war, and even a recovery from the current 3% to the old 5% usage will absorb a great deal of the liquid milk left over from all that ice cream and cheese production. (Hopefully.) Were the amount of powdered milk used in commercial bread to increase, the sky might well be the limit.  Or perhaps we will move from door-to-door to piped in delivery.

Business at War

“The Industry Back of Industry” This column is devoted to the refractories industry, which is basically brick makers, except there are various special bricks needed to make the structures in which alloys, iron, optical glass and so on are made. The industry managed to expand to  meet the country’s vastly increased wartime needs without full WPB priority because brickmakers have been getting better so quickly for so long. They’re also a price-fixing cartel, apparently. Which is not much of an argument against price-fixing cartels. If only steel were half so successful at meeting production targets at prewar labour levels!

“Coming: Ersatz Gasoline” Now this seems as silly as anything Mr. Janeway used to publish. It’s not hard to make gasoline out of coal. It’s just expensive. That Germany, which has lots of coal, and no gasoline, didn’t convert entirelyl to “ersatz” gasoline is probably the best indicator of just how expensive. The idea that America, with lots of oil, will follow is like the idea that the synthetic rubber industry will survive the return of Asian competition. (Supposedly, some of the opposition to Wallace comes from the synthetic rubber industry, which opposes his plans to let the ruber-producing countries back into the market.) The paper even notices North America's heavy oil reserves, like some old Alberta-booster. Heavy oil is expensive, but it is still surely easier to make gasoline out of it than out of coal. But then we circle back around to the idea of turning natural gas into gasoline. "Others" think that natural gas is better used as is. But then doesn't it have to be transported and stored? Hopefully with a few less explosions?
Books and Ideas

Friedrich Hayek, author of the recent Road to Serfdom, reviews William Beveridge’s Full Employment in a Free Society. He didn’t like it. Too much Keynes. Trading depressions are like exercise. They’re supposed to be horrid, and  keep us slim and healthy. Or slim, anyway. They keep poor people slim, and we're not poor, so what do we care? (Mr. Hayek --Doctor Hayek?-- is not the patron economist of the would-be real estate developer, I have to say. Can't sell house lots to men without money in their pockets!)  

Hayek on Beveridge: a Pictorial Representation

Business Abroad

Speaking of stock scandals, British Celanese, 'cousin' of American Celanese, is in trouble for booking a very large dividend, resulting in a large gain for the stock, and then admitting that it was due to a favourable tax settlement with British authorities rather than to an increase in sales. American investors have complained, and, because they are foreigners, the NYSE has issued a formal reprimand. Then everyone got into their private helicopters and flew off to their air-houses.A company called Armco is selling things to Argentina. Hopefully, from the name, to their army, as they seem like swell gents, and deserve nice things. (Regrettably for my sly bit of sarcasm there, it turns out that Armco stands for "American Rolling Mill.") Belgium's currency reform is apparently looked on with favour on the Franco-Belgian border on account of Belgium's franc being "hard," and the French one being "soft." Lithuania and Poland are looking to imitate the Belgian example. Well! If Polish politicians think that a financial initiative is a good idea, then what need to drive all the way to San Francisco for a second opinion? (That's more sarcasm, occasioned by reading Uncle George on The Economist on the prewar Polish financial situation, in which the Government seems to have deemed keeping money out of the hands of mere peasants to be more than worth the possible costs of not re-equipping the army and air force.)

And that is it for the month. You will notice that I have fallen short of my goals of comprehensive reading of the papers in three out of four cases. I can blame the Post Office (or someone) for the lack of a number of Flight, but the rest is all down to time. I hope you do not mind. After all, we are less than a month away from actually holding events in the great hall of Chiwei Taoyuan, and not only do I have to get the roof finished, but it turns out that our guests will be snooping through closets and sideboards, evaluating you, my dear, with a judging eye.

Now you know how we women always feel! Oh, sure, you may be thinking that wise old professors of anthropology won't be judging you by your taste in whiskey, but that's what those Kwakiutl and Nootka chiefs thought, and now they've gone down in (pre)history as head-hunters and cannibals! You won't mind if I buy you a new wardrobe for display, just to be safe? It would be a sacrifice, and I might have to pick up something for myself while I'm at it.

Don't worry, though. I've already hidden your collection of heads.

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