Thursday, February 9, 2017

Postblogging Technology, December 1946, II: Never Stop Grifting

I thought that the Burnelli "lifting body airplane" scam gave up the ghost during World War II, but, it turns out that Chuck Yeager's predecessor was still flogging it in the 1950s. 

Governor Hotel,
Portland, Oregon.

Dear Father:

First, thank you for your presents, which, per your instructions, have gone under the tree pending your revival, with the exception of the new(!) "king-sized" iron lung. It is not a very sentimental present, but it is something I very much wanted. I dare not ask how much it cost.

It's not just that Grace is trying to find a face-saving excuse
If, by some chance, you are wondering why you've received this at your hotel, it is because I have sent it in company with Wong Lee, who will be meeting you at the expected place. Sign, counter-sign, you know the drill. (I will explain the reason for all the fuss when you arrive.)

For discretion's sake, I suggest that you extend your reservation at the hotel over Christmas, and leave your car. If you choose to let Wong Lee drive you, now you have reading material.

If not, while a "deuce-and-a-half" Dodge is not your usual ride, Dr. Rivers has had it fitted up for skiing excursions in grand style. It has all-wheel-drive, tyre chains, and many other things that your daughter-in-law would never think of. Wong Lee has driven it many times, in worse conditions than you will meet on Mount Shasta (probably) on your way to us at Christmas. 

You will be glad to know that your wife is here, having flown in from Vancouver on the 21st. Somewhat surprisingly, we have word that we are receiving the Earl on the 28th. He will be arriving by air, on the pretext of paying a visit to Mr. McCreery. I am not sure what the occasion might be, but I am too cynical to think that he has suddenly discovered a desire to see golden California. It is more likely to be a matter of money. I am hoping that the matter of Fontana remains off the table. If the other issue comes up, Bill, David and James are confident that our Russian friend. will make his new deadline, as long as we extend him the credit he has asked for, something that I hope you will press upon His Grace with your usual insider's technical flair.

I doubt that that it is a matter of magnetic recording machines, though. In fact, I am beside myself with nerves about what awful news might have inspired this flying visit. It does put a bit of a damper on the holidays.


Time, 16 December 1946


Nominations for Man of the Year for Bernard Baruch, John L. Lewis, Molotov, Senator Vandenberg, James F. Byrnes, Henry Wallace, not Henry Wallace, all of our politicians who have failed to cope with the new problems of science, and a distinctly enigmatic one for Hermann Goering. “I could write an essay about why, but you would have to wait 20 or 30 years to read it.”) Jo Ann Moore, of Ohio State University, wants us to have more faith in the Uno, and make fewer jokes and degrading comments about it.  Walter M. Hass, President of Empire Plow Co, objects to the company being called “moribund.” Several correspondents support the New York Physicians’ Committee for the Legalisation of Voluntary Euthanasia. One is opposed, and implies that it should be left to the doctor. The publisher’s letter is a tribute to the paper’s first out-of-town bureau, the Chicago bureau, which is very colourful, and has a specialist who regularly reads fifty medical and scientific publications.

National Affairs

“The Silent Struggle” The president saved Christmas and defeated nasty labour forever by ending the coal strike. Also, it was silent because he didn’t talk to the press much. Except that somehow the paper knows exactly what was happening in the White House.

“Horatius and the Great Ham” Judge Goldsborough’s decision to grant the Administration an injunction against the coal strike, and levy fines against the UMW and John L. Lewis for defying it, is a great victory. John L. Lewis is awful. The paper might come out later and say that labour is awful, instead of just implying it.

“Her Week” Eleanor Roosevelt is awful. She said mean things about Martin Niemoeller, and isn’t coming clean about her health. She’s about to die of something, just like Josephine Marra, Hector A. Orta, Alexander Cook, and Natalie Biro. Although Eleanor is going to die of a nervous breakdown or cancer or something, while Josephine and Hector died of being shot, Miss Biro committed suicide by jumping off a building, and Mr. Cook died of being under Miss Biro; but she’s going to die. Otherwise, why attach this tail to the Eleanor Roosevelt story? Unless, perhaps, you one to make heavy insinuations about a woman you don’t like very much.

“Present Laughter” The Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee heard testimony in Jackson, Mississippi, from 96 Coloured witnesses to the effect that they had been beaten, jailed, bribed (a $5 bill is the going rate), or given “friendly advice” not to vote. Senator Bilbo, recently quoted as saying that “The best way to keep a nigger from a white primary in Mississippi is to see him the night before,” obviously had nothing to do with this, or the fact that only 1500 of Mississippi’s 100,000 Coloured voters actually voted. This matter cleared up, Bilbo can resume his seat in the Senate –except for the Senate War Investigating Committee’s case against Bilbo for receiving $100,000 from Mississippi war contractors. Senator Taft is very eager to hear about that. Perhaps he’ll even hear that the $100,000 was broken down into $5 bills. In Chicago, Colonel McCormick’s Tribune is going as far as to suggest that states that do not let all their citizens vote, should be penalised under the 14th Amendment.

“Victory Dinner” The paper attended a nice victory dinner for the GOP, with roast turkey, candied sweet potatoes and lettuce salad, “licking their lips” while Carroll Reece told them that the mid-terms were a popular verdict, that the President had to go along with the new Congress. “Or else.” Other Congressmen are eager to get their hands on the Interstate Commerce, Federal Trade, and Federal Communication Commissions.

“Weather Clear, Track Fast” The Uno’s search for a new home is like a horse race, in that New York, San Francisco, Flushing Meadows, Philadelphia and now midtown Manhattan are in the race.

“Red Sky at Morning” The paper’s coverage of the Winecoff Hotel fire doesn’t have any pictures of bodies, but it does have one of the jumpers who leaped from the hotel’s seventh story, mostly missing or tearing through the firemen’s nets.  One hundred and twenty dead in the 13 story, “fireproof” hotel.

Time notwithstanding, Daisy McCumber survived her fall, although she suffered multiple broken bones and eventually had a leg amputated, dying in 1992 at age 86, still embarrased at being photographed in her underwear. 

“Five Years After” The Army had a memorial service to mark the fifth anniversary of the Pearl Harbour attack, but the Navy didn’t, as it “Wants to forget, not to remember.”

"We want to forget." Wow. Times sure have changed. 


“Lucky 115th” The 115th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers went quite well.

“No Relevance” Uno delegates like disarmament. Russian delegates do not like American bomb secrecy. Further bulletins as events warrant.

“It’s Official” Britain and America are having discussions about arms standardisation, but deny that this is an alliance against Russia. It is all about achieving full technical efficiency. 
Anyone recognise this?

Also, A following story about irritations and anxieties in Anglo-American relations trails off in true Economist fashion. What will happen? Who knows? But dark clouds are gathering! Following that is a story about how “the British Empire and Commonwealth” is just so large and peculiar that it doesn’t really make any sense, except that none of the colonies are ready for independence, for one reason or another, even though they have people who want it, who are probably all troublemaking collaborationists (U Aung San), communists (U ThanTun), or just too colourful to be trusted with self-government. (Nnamdi Azikiwe). A story following establishes, at great length, that the London talks on Indian self-government got nowhere, except to perhaps establish that there will be a “little Pakistan” in Bengal.
Mr. Gardiner

“No Refuge” In Palestine, “moderate Zionists” are thought to be turning against the terrorists of the Stern Gang. In Zurich, the World Zionist Council is torn between two candidates to succeed Weismann: David Ben-Gurion supports the partition plan as the basis for negotiating, while Rabbi Silver, of Cleveland, opposes it as giving up too much in advance.

“As the Ruhr Goes” The paper summarises the Fortune story.

I wouldn't mention it, but it gives me an excuse to post another picture from the Fortune spread.

Irish and Yugoslavs are excitable. 

“Nonstop Performance” The paper thinks that the idea of the Soviet Union celebrating the tenth anniversary of its constitution is silly, because it is a communist dictatorship.

“Journeyman Traitor” Father JosephTiso is on trial for treason in Slovakia, which is the half of Czechoslovakia that it easiest to pronounce.

“Moonlight” Captain Kenichi Sonei has been sentenced to die for abusing prisoners in Batavia’s Tjideng prison camp.

In Latin America, Argentina is Fascist again, or possibly just crackpot. Mexico is having land reform. In Canada, the Catholic Church in Quebec is upset that notenough French Canadians are settling on the land and raising good Catholics, while Amy Kelsey, of Creston, British Columbia, won the title of “Wheat Queen of North America” for turning in a sample measured at 66.5lbs of wheat to the bushel, close to the all time record of 67.7lbs. In Toronto, Coloured whist player, Leon Beard, fights the import of the American colour barrier, and taxi driver Alfred Reddish, twice decorated for courage by the Toronto police for fighting crime, is shot to death resisting a hijacker.


“The Bill is Tendered” The coal strike was very expensive.

“Down the Middle” The National Association of Manufacturers has “broken out in a rash of anti-unionism”, for which the paper thinks it “had a good right.” Averell Harriman is appalled that the power of the unions has grown to the point where one man can defy the Government and “recklessly tear down the life of the nation.” Averell. Harriman. Averell Harriman is upset that John L. Lewis is too powerful. I could just –but that wouldn’t be ladylike. For some reason, Field Marshal Smuts was invited to say a few words, which were along the lines of “unions used to be fine, but now they’re too powerful,” etc. Well, the Field-Marshal knows how to deal with uppity workers, as long as they’re black of skin, and coal miners are nothing if not black of skin. I’m sorry. I will hold further editorialising to a minimum. Walter B. Weisenberger promised that the NAM will be very conscious and active in solving social problems, just so long as the unions were brought to heel. Or something like that. My resolution about not editorialising didn’t last very long!

“Post-War Postponed” General Motors last week postponed its plans for “real postwar cars,” the prospective 1948 models. The reason is that die production is so far behind schedule. 1948 will be a “blank year” for low-priced cars, which will appear in 1949, instead. It doesn’t hurt that new models are expensive (between $57 million and $75 million for the changeover), and that America seems willing to pay for more expensive, older cars. Nash and Ford still think that they can get their 1948 models out, although Ford is thinking of skipping a 1947 model altogether, since even the small cost of retooling to create a distinct 1947 look might not be worthwhile. Packard already has its 1948 dies, and Studebaker is vaguely promising new 1948s, while Chrysler has nothing to say.

“Early Christmas” The 17.6% increase in freight rates, effective 1 January, authorised by the ICC, is an early Christmas present. The railroads are now expected to gross $1 billion next year.

“Silent Salesmen” Chicago’s Bert E. Mills Corporation unveiled an automatic coffee vendor this week. With automatic vending machines that already sell golf balls, laundry, toilet seat covers, hot dogs with mustard, and, soon, milk, butter, ice cream, and gasoline in automatic stations, it is an idea whose time has come. Other companies make cigarette candy, and other kinds of vending machines. Changemaking can be difficult, as in the case of the 6 cent chocolate bar, and the National SlugRejectors, Inc., is making good money. National Slug is looking at a soft-drink dispensing machine that will make change for a quarter and return 20 cents in change.

“Gene Meyer Steps Down” The only difference from The Economist’s coverage is that, the paper says that it is “plausible” that Eugene Meyer has resigned because he is 71 and needs a little rest. It may all be down to the Wisconsin Banking Commission’s dislike of international entanglements. As James B. Mulva[!], of same, says, foreign guarantees aren’t “Worth a hoot in hell.”

Science, Medicine, Education

“Oil Rays” An article in MIT’s Technology Review suggests that the organic material that eventually becomes petroleum is transformed by exposure to gamma ray activity from radioactive minerals over eons. The relevance is that thismight help geologists find more petroleum.

“Worlds to Conquer” Explorer Roy Chapman Andrews told the New York Times Magazine this week that the world “was not hopelessly over-explored.” For example, pilots report a mountain higher than Everest in eastern Tibet, while “stone-age fuzzy-wuzzies, ignorant of the outside world, live in [New Guinea’s] high cool ‘white man’s country.’” However, to make real contributions, they will have to make scientific observations about birds and people, and not just go there.

“Twilight of the Elms” Dutch elm disease is spreading, and will kill most, if not all, American elm trees. For that reason, towns should probably plant trees other than Dutch elms, such as Siberian elms, or future, fungus-resistant hybrids.

“Matter Over Mind” In Boston last week, at the Eastern Association of Electroencephalographers, William Gray Walter demonstrated his arrangement of an signal analyser in circuit with an electroencephalograph. In the hands of a good electroencephalographer, the device can diagnose brain tumours and epilepsy, but many brain activities are much more complex, and the hope is that the analyser can extract information that even a good electroencephalographer might miss. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, knowing that the brain is producing prominent waves at five distinct frequencies when the subject does something or other just makes things more complicated.
We're going to here more about this dead-ender cybyerneticist. By Source, Fair use,

“The Need to Know” Gastric cancer is the most hopeless of all cancers, killing some 80,000 Americans each year, 45% of cancer deaths. By the time that it is diagnosed, only 8% of victims can be treated, and 25% are beyond hope. The best protection is frequent X-rays of every citizen, but the handful of US clinics already have six-month waiting lists. At an extraordinary conference of gastric specialists in Chicago, Dr.Andrew Conway Ivy[!!!] of the University of Illinois Medical College recommended a national publicity campaign like the ones for tuberculosis and other public health menaces; and suggested that Congress increase the current $500,000 appropriation for cancer research.
At another Chicago conference, this one of radiologists, Dr. Milton Friedman, of New York Hospital and the Army, told about a fantastic case of intimate cancer, in which a soldier somehow experienced the beginnings of a “virgin birth.” [pdf]

“More Women” American medical schools are training more women to be doctors than ever before, with enrollment up from 10 to 16%, well above the 6% reported two years ago.

Julian Huxley has been made Director of UNESCO. Harvard has discontinued the S.B. degree it used to give out to students who couldn’t master Latin. Dr. Everett Moore Baker is to be the new director of MIT, despite being a minister, instead of a scientist. (Your youngest gives out a raspberry at this.) Charles Ernest Bunnell continues to be the President of the University of Alaska, as he has been for 25 years. Despite record enrollment, the Fairbanks university has a small enrollment (the paper forgets to say how many), increased by 215 ex-GIs and WACs who have had to go to school in Fairbanks because there is no room in universities that are not on the Arctic Circle, or because they like living there. At the other extreme, Columbia has 1313 foreign students from 80 countries and colonies, including 13 from UN staff families.
Ranked 202nd in the 2015 Us News and World Report  Survey. Anchorage is 79th.


Ernest Hemingway is on a shooting holiday. French Historian Bernard Fay, author of The Revolutionary Spirit in France and America: George Washington: Republican Aristocrat, has been sentenced to imprisonment at hard labour [for life] for compiling a “giant list of French Freemasons,” which the Gestapo used as a directory for arrests and executions. Elliott Roosevelt, travelling in Russia, is in trouble again for incautious comments on the United States, apparently reported by “[A]n Embassy secretary and ex-WAC named Ruth M. Briggs, who used to be Elliott’s friend back in North Africa.” I’m sure the paper didn’t mean that the way it sounded, because when has it ever been malicious towards the Roosevelts in the last ten pages?
In his defence, he didn't just arrest almost a thousand French Freemasons, of whom almost 600 were shot. He also helped persuade Marcel Lefebvre to start the Society of Saint Pius X.

Darryl Zanuck is in hospital, hand injured “by a flying polo ball.” Tommy Manville asked the police to find his eighth wife, last seen on the road with two suitcases. June Haver points out that actresses don’t have to have suffered to be great. “Jennifer Jones played a wonderful death scene in The Song of Bernadette without ever having died.” Frank Sinatra is awful. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor aren’t awful this week. General Eisenhower has taken a month’s leave of absence for hospital treatment of bursitis of the shoulder, while the Admiral has been relieved of active duty after a hernia operation by his own request.

John Roosevelt has had his third child, with Anne Clark Roosevelt assisting. Brother James has had his fourth, with his second wife, Romelle Schneider Roosevelt. Ilka Chase has married her personal physician, as has Norma Talmadge.  Correspondent Alfred Kornfeld has died in a Jeep accident in Germany. Laurette Taylor has died, as has Mary Beard, former director of the American Red Cross [pdf].

Glamour time!

Press, Radio, Art
The paper is pleased that the Philadelphia Record and Camden Courier-Post have kept publishing through a strike. Town and Country is America’s snootiest paper. Its first editor “made European travel fashionable” and was assisted by George P. Morris, author of Woodman, Spare That Tree. Its first editorial assistant was Edgar Allan Poe, and their first book review was of Longfellow’s Evangeline. It also pirated European novels. For the last 21 years, it has been owned by William Hearst, but he has never interfered with its staff of 13.

I'm pretty sure that Mad magazine made fun of this once. Fresh!

“Brave New Republic” the new version of The New Republic has brighter covers, twice the pages, and more ads, at a special “Henry Wallace rate” of $5/year. A printing of 85,000 copies featured articles by Vincent Sheean and Theodore White. The book reviews are expected to be more prompt and more preppy.

“Master Radioman” Charles Ruthven Denny, Jr., is the new chairman of the FCC. He is the man behind the “Blue Book” and he is not budging. Well, maybe he is budging a bit. It’s supposed to be a “two way street,” he says. Also, General Mills has revived Light of the World, because the churched crowd likes it. (Leaving me to wonder whether they’re capable of truly “liking” anything.)

John Rogers Cox’s “conservative,” “bucolic” stylings have won the Carnegie Prize again. George Grosz is the kind of social satirist the paper likes. He hates old Germany and Nazi Germany, but is fine with living in an American suburb and making money by drawinglandscapes and nudes. There is to be an exhibition of Dutch paintings “collected” by Hitler at the National Gallery to support worthy causes, since most of the paintings were “collected” from a Jewish art house, and so the owners have vanished into the National Socialist night.
"Robots, What's Keeping Them?" By George Grosz - studyblue, PD-US,

The New Pictures

Magnificent Doll is a “Hollywood history lesson about how Ginger Rogers created America by being a lady named Dolly who married one President and was wooed by all the other ones. And that’s it for this week, so the space is given over to a profile of John Grierson.
Ginger Rogers has a very strange online fandom.


If there isn’t much to say about movies, this is a big week for books, as it looks back over a year that saw The Egg and I, Josh Liebmans Peace of Mind, Victor Kravchenko’s I Chose Freedom, and best selling novels by Taylor Caldwell, Daphne Du Maurier, Frank Yerby, Erich Maria Remarque, Evelyn Waugh, Gladys Schmitt and Frederic Wakeman. Several books about generals that are nice (Eisenhower and Marshal) competed with the more scorching views of Ralph Ingersoll and Theodore White. There were several books about Lincoln. In the future, there will probably be as many books about Roosevelt as Lincoln. The paper doesn’t pay as much attention to Albert Camus as some of my friends do. The Stranger’s rival in the field of books for smart ladies is –well, I shan’t say, because it is not appropriate.

This is pretty rsique for Grace. She said later that she brought Memoirs of Hecate County up as an excuse to talk about The Stranger,  a book she was still trying to sort out forty-five years later. 

Flight, 19 December 1946


“U.S. and Us” England and America, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i—n-g. . .

“Enterprise” The paper is very pleased with the A.W. 52 experimental mail plane, even though it will probably be a disaster.
Much safer to take pictures on the ground.

“A.M.T.S.” There will be an Air Member for Technical services on the Air Council now. This is a good thing, and the paper is pleased that it will be Roderic Hill. James says that he’s better than the average fly boy.

“Lightweight Automatics: More About the Miles Co-Pilot: Possibilities and Impressions” Miles has carried over its earlier work on a flying bomb automatic control into this new automatic pilot, suitable for use on small commercial aircraft such as the Oxford or Miles Aerovan. It weighs only 40lbs, is compact, and is expected to sell for £500, although Miles intends to offer it strictly on lease-hire, as it doesn’t trust the operator to do proper maintenance. It is “primarily electronic,” which means that the inputs are photoelectric, and signals from the gyros are taken off electrically and amplified to power aileron and elevator servos. It has only two gyros, and is, strictly speaking, a two-axis machine, but there is enough control in the third axis to suit all but military demands. There is “barely noticeable” lag in fore-and-aft control, none in lateral, and a selsyn feeding back control movement to a repeater motor in the control unit which readjusts the pickoff arms so that “a recorrection signal is transmitted to the servo.” The “stiffness” of the control unit can be adjusted “to suit different aircraft.” The real issue here is whether it can be adjusted enough to prevent hunting in a particular aircraft, but then the advantage of the lease-hire arrangement is that you’re not out five hundred quid if the autopilot you just bought can’t wrestle your plane into submission. It take about a minute to come into operation, but may be shut off instantly.

“Anglo-American Angles: Mr. Masefield Unravels Some of the Tangled Skeins Before the Royal Empire Society” If the English don’t cooperate with the Americans now, they won’t buy the new English planes when they start coming in after 1950.
Bristol Britannia. By RuthAS - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

“Ambient Comfort: Developments in Cabin Atmosphere Treatment for Complete Conditioning” Sir George Godfrey and Partners have been manufacturing the Marshall cabin blowers specified for the Tudor I and II, Hermes, Bristol 167, Ambassador, etc. They believe that they have mastered the problem of conditioning cabin air to a comfortable range of humidity with a mix of drying and humidifying units to be installed in common caissons in the blower ducts. Drying caissons contain 20lb of dried alumina, which will pick up the moisture in the air, while humidifiers have glass wool wicks. The alumina can be blown dry, and the trays beneath the wicks refilled with 15lbs of water from storage tanks, so the caissons have an indefinite lifespan.  There will also be cooler caissons using solid carbon dioxide, although the design has not been finalised. For a 7.5-hour flight from a tropical-summer zone to a temperate one, the total drying load will be 4.1lb water, wetting load 74.6lb, cooling load 65lb solid CO2. The total weight of installation at takeoff is 300lb.

Here and There

The South Africans have bought four Percival Mergansers outfitted as school rooms to be “school busses” for children from outlying colonial districts. The BOAC is having an afternoon exhibit at its offices, featuring the “tea-time practices” of the various countries that BOAC serves around the world. The RCAF is back to focussing on aerial surveying. (Nothing about timber-cruising, so don't sell the Norseman yet.) Dunlop has a nice little movie out about its war efforts in the field of rubber, starring Patricia Cutts, who seems to be making a career out of airmindedness. Miles Aircraft has a scheme to build houses for its employees; 70 have joined the scheme with the local authority to provide houses near the miles works, and new employees are welcome. James reaches over my shoulder to emphasise the story about the steam refrigerating plant to be installed in the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers, in order to cool the lower decks. They will be capable of producing 9 tons of ice an hour. James says that it won’t be enough: “Double it, then square it, then double that, just for good luck.” I think he’s quoting Lloyd George?

“De-Icing Today; Points of the Thermal System: Induction System Problems: Resume of an R.Ae.S. Paper by Mr. J.K. Hardy” Mr. Hardy is pushing for thermal de-icing systems. The alternatives are de-icing boots, only used on wings, and direct heating of inlet air, used in engine induction passages where boots are highly impractical. He points out that the modern thermal system was developed by NACA in the United States, and was widely used in Germany. In experiments, ducting hot air through between 8 and 18% of the leading-edge chord has been sufficient, although more might be needed in some cases. Because air mass declines with altitude, a thermal de-icing system using air has a maximum altitude, and existing technology should be good for up to 20,000ft in North Atlantic conditions, or perhaps even 30,000. Heat is from exhaust heat exchangers –a definite improvement on using exhaust gas directly! The experiments Hardy cites used four heat exchangers to keep the centre section, tail surfaces, cabin and two outer-wing sections of a C-46 de-iced. Experiments with heating the surfaces of the induction inlets continue, since pre-heating the air is a cause of major power loss. Although there has not yet been much work on de-icing jet turbines, it would seem that preheating the air is the only way to protect the compressor, and that this will be especially necessary in axial engines. Fluid de-icing, used satisfactorily on airscrews, ought to be replaced by the thermal method, Hardy thinks.
If you followed the Bristol Britannia link, you'll see icing in its Bristol Proteus blamed for the plane's failure to catch on. So, relevance. 

“Twin-jet A.W. 52: Tailless Experimental Mailplane with Two Rolls-Royce Nenes: Many Advanced Features” This swept-back flying wing jet has much the same layout as the previous glider and the same unusual control systems, employing correctors, controllers, tabs and vertical wing tip rudders. Removal of the boundary layer out board, in front of the controls, has already been tried on the glider, with two small fans on the undercarriage legs driving vacuum pumps. The jet will use pumps powered directly from the engines, which has required increasing their speed by 2000rpm, and the loss of 300lb thrust when the pumps are in full operation. This delays the loss of control due to wing-tip stall, the main problem with swept-back wings and the reason for experiments with forward swept configurations. The wing is not thin, and so cannot achieve high Mach numbers this way, as the thickness to chord ratio is 18%. The wing has, however, been extensively designed for smoothness for laminar flow to 0.53 chord. Since there is adequate fore-and-aft control, anti-stall devices can be used.  A separate cockpit is still needed, as accommodating the cabin in the wing at the current thickness would require a 200ft wingspan, which is far too much for existing structural practice. The correctors allow a major improvement on past flying wings, in that the AW52 will have stick-free stability. The correctors will provide trim control, synchronised Hobson extractors will make sure that the boundary-layer suction pumps work properly. If they don’t, the plane is fitted with a Martin-Baker ejection seat. Armstrong Whitworth is very pleased with the structural method used to maintain laminar smoothness, which is a development of the “box spar and thick skin arrangement” used in the Whitley and Ensign.” (Probably best not to mention the Ensign, I would have said, if they asked me.) It basically involves fitting the wing structure to the preformed skin, instead of the other way around. The cabin is slightly pressurised, and the undercarriage is by Dowty.

Not only does the article mention the Ensign, Armstrong-Whitworth placed an ad featuring it in this number. People say that it was very hard to persuade John Lord that he was wrong about something. 

Sir Ben Lockspeiser says that the AW 52 will be the test model for a future, large, all-wing aircraft with the requisite 200ft wing span and passenger cabin within the wing. Whatever the outcome of the experiment, he said, the AW 52 was a credit to Armstrong Whitworth and its staff.

Civil Air News

“Foundation For ICAO” The interim council of the PICAO has called the first meeting of the assembly of the ICAO, which will talk about navigational aids and other important things. It is also working out arrangements for the Middle Eastern Flight Safety Region, which will have centres at Cairo, Khartoum, Basra, Aden, Karachi and Bangalore, and a control area in Cairo. It will coordinate all fixing and air-to-ground communications facilities in the Middle east, in connection with air traffic control, sear and rescue and meteorology.  Talks continue about Hong Kong’s new airport, which will perhaps take up good land at Eastern Lantao, at Pingshan, or on reclaimed land inside Kowloon Bay, which might cost as little as £1.5 million. Kaitak meanwhile now has six airlines operating regularly through it, including BOAC, China National Airways and Cathay Pacific. Negotiations with Portugal over flying boat facilities at Macao have now ceased. AOA will soon begin operating a Transatlantic freight service using DC-4s. Helicopter Transport Company, a charter helicopter service, has begun operating in New Jersey. British European Airways will have a 70 aircraft fleet by the end of 1947.
Old Kai Tak


R. W. Clegg thinks that the paper did a great job of publicising ultra-light aircraft at the Paris show. J. S. Pole thinks that if the papers would should just stop talking about air accidents for the next twenty years.
Flight 903 crash site near Cairo. All 55 on board were killed, including Dean Everett Moore Baker of MIT, when a TWA Lockheed Constellation made an emergency landing due to the No. 3 engine catching fire. From Pinterest.

Time,  23 December 1946


Votes for Molotov, MacArthur, Governor Arnall of Georgia, Henry Wallace, James Byrnes, Senator Vandenberg and Senator Austin for Man of the Year. John F. Mullaney and Edward B. Finnegan, of Scranton, Pa., think that Marshal Tito has a sinister plot to reduce the American standard of living to that of the European peasant (I think because relief for Europe will cost so much?), and thereby raise a Balkan army that will fight World War III. Makes sense! Harry T. Mather and K. C. Norman, of Kansas, are upset at the paper for confusing Kansas City with a place in Kansas. Mrs. C. F. Ainsworth, of Hanna, Wyoming, disavows Wyoming’s involvement in the recent blizzard, which was  actually just passing through the state, and, besides, was much nicer and less assuming than a California blizzard. The article on Stephens College is either too hard on it, or the opposite, depending on whether you are a student there or at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.
In 1946, medical students thought that it was witty to suggest that a women's  college wasn't selective because the girls who attended were ugly. 

Also, medical students at the University of Missouri are awful. Margaret Hower Ohle, of St. Louis, disagrees with the psychiatrist who blamed shellshock on bad mothering. The 240-overseas staff of the paper write about their Christmas plans, which will be colourful and exotic and foreign, with raw fish in Japan, plum pudding in London and popcorn strings in Vienna. Interestingly, the paper’s correspondents in China and Japan live on estates, although the word is in quotation marks for Fred Gruin in Nanking because it is only 3 ½ acres.

National Affairs

“Round Two” The paper expands on the CIO’s claim that industry could afford to pay higher wages without raising prices, which is based on a report prepared for them by Robert W. Nathan, formerly of OWMR, now consulting on business at Nathan Associates. He points out that labour’s real wages are down nearly 20% since January of 1945 due to rising prices and the elimination of overtime, while net profits are up 50% over the war peak of 19443, and are approaching $15 billion, compared with $4 billion annually in 1936—9. Industry disagrees. There might be shaky times in 1947, and, anyway, cutting profits reduces risk capital and squeezes marginal businesses. The paper also disagrees, and ropes in comments by Walter Reuther and Phil Murray to the effect that   rising wages mean rising prices.

“By Law and by Ball” Senator Ball, of Minnesota, is the man who will draft the GOP’s response to labour. He is relatively liberal, a friend of Harold Stassen, and internationalist, so it is perfectly reasonable that he wants to modify the Wagner Act, end the closed shop, and bring back the right to fire employees in long-running strikes. Also in labour news, the CIO continues to try to edge out the Communist leadership of some of its unions.

“Happy Days” The paper is pleased with the President’s decision to “stand up to John Lewis.” Because he did so, all sorts of people have dropped by the White House to congratulate him, including Alf Landon, the Duke of Windsor, and Harry Woodring, who predicts that the President will be re-elected in 1948 with a Democratic Congress.

“1947 Model” The Administration’s 1947 housing plan throws out the veterans’ priority, the $10,000 cap, and probably raw materials controls after the end of the first quarter, at which point there will also be “some increase” in non-residential construction. There will be subsidies for residential builders.

“First Avenue, New York” Bill Zeckendorf, who bought up the slaughterhouse neighbourhood and adjacent tenements on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with plans to redevelop it, now wants to move the United Nations into it. Mayor O’Dwyer is backing the plan, and so are the Rockefellers. (Something I look forward to hearing about from some fellow members of the county Republicans.)   The paper wants to remind us that it is, like Fortune, so very much part of the New York scene, and takes some time to mention all the famous people who live there; and even its best crimes
For all that I complain, it was Time's editorial that went with this juxtaposition. Also, compare the complete absence of coverage of this anonymous disaster with the attention paid to the annual Christmas train accident. 

Another Christmas train crash, thisone of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s GoldenTriangle; 19 killed, 50 injured. Thank Heavens that they had already arrived, or I would have been up all night worrying about Reggie. “A.,” and Mr. and Mrs. “C.” Do not take that as approval of your plan to motor down!
“What Comes Naturally” The paper scoops Flight with coverage of the first flight by the Bell XS-1, piloted by Chalmers “Slick” Goodlin. Top speed is currently limited to 0.82 Mach, which, at the 27,000ft altitude of the test, corresponded to 550mph. Goodlin believes that it will reach 1000mph this summer, with a pilot.

Bell XS-1; Chalmers Goodlin

“Americana” the paper notes that the Bureau of Alcohol, tobacco and Firearms caught 86 moonshiners in North Carolina in October.  Altman’s Department Store, in Manhattan, is offering a collection of sequinned aprons ($35 each) and pot-holders ($5.) Ensign Flohr, of Banana River, Florida, gets the paper hep to the latest lingo by describing Rita Hayworth in a sheer nightgown as “Mellow-Rooney, Viddle-de-vop.” You can tell that “Miss V.C.” is growing into a lady because when I read that out to her, instead of rolling her eyes and walking away, as she would have done four years ago, she just started laughing.

“Author’s Day” Dr. John Dewey, married Mrs. Robert Grant this week. He is 87, she is 42. Edmund Wilson, 51, also got married this week. The author of Memoirs of Hecate County then got into a fight with a reporter on the train at Reno, was kicked in the pants, chased through half a dozen cars, and refused to do interviews in San Francisco. Now this is news!

“99% Sure” 79% of the electorate think that a Republican will win in 1948, while Republicans are 99% sure. The paper also mentions the Fortune poll that shows that only 16% of ex-servicemen will vote for MacArthur, 30$ for Ike Eisenhower.

“To the Crossroads” The paper wants to go to Ambassador Gardner’s next party.


“Nice;” “My Dear Friends;” Uno delegates like to play to the crowd for a while before settling the easy stuff.

 “By Acclamation” Most Uno delegates are dumber than Ambassador Vishinsky. Especially Sir Hartley Shawcross.

In the course of a debate over disarmament, Shawcross  let himself be boxed into opposing American atomic secrecy. It was quite the scandal, apparently. By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use (Old-50),

“Other Business” Uno delegates like being outraged, don’t like opening their wallets. Further bulletins. .

“On the Bum” Due to housing shortagescurrency restrictionsand, in one case, Socialist ardour, various ambassadors in eastern Europe are in as difficult a position as Al Capp’s Slobovian ambassador in Washington. (Who has a part-time job at an all-night diner to make ends meet, if you are too old and stuffy to read the funnies.) 

“Conscience of the Community” Henry Stimson has written a defence of the Nuremberg Trials in the January number of Foreign Affairs. The paper is not convinced.

“Travel Note” Ernest Bevin once told a diplomat that his foreign policy was to “go down to Victoria Station, get a railway ticket, and go where the hell I like without a passport or anything else.” As of this week, he has France on side; the Netherlands and Belgium will come next.

“The Succession” Stalin has laid out a succession plan. Molotov with be Premier; Beria the Vice-Premier; Mikoyan, Foreign Minister; Party Secretary, Zhdanov; Second Secretary, Malenkov; Defence Minister, Voroshilov. Stalin’s old allies, then, except Zhdanov, whom Eric Johnston quite liked –to mention one of the paper’s yesterday’s men.

“Indonesia” Indonesia’s “President” Soekarno, as the paper deploys the quotation marks, is this week’s cover story, and very unflattering cover it is.
I'd be harsher here if there weren't a major WTF, Time, moment coming.

The paper’s correspondent, Robert Sherrod, says that the white man’s name is so black in Asia that “I am inclined to doubt whether whites and coloured will work together in this generation.” Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, “middle of the road Dutch businessman Pieter de Jong” says that, having lost the German trade, if the Netherlands lose Indonesia as well, the Netherlands “Will become one of the poorest countries on the Continent.” The Dutch are upset that the Indonesians are so ungrateful for all that the Dutch have done for them.

“Chop-chop!” Before he reconquers China, the Gissimo will oversee the new constitution. He has ordered the National Assembly to make it very democratic.

Latins are even more exciting than usual, Canadians even more boring, as fifty disappointed, returning English war brides complain, among other things, about not having kippered herring for breakfast.
Romulo Betancourt voting in the Constituent Assembly elections, 1946


“Share the Wealth” This week, four of the largest American oil companies joined to buy into Arabian-American, which has the Saudi Arabian oil concession. They will develop the concession, transport and sell up to 20 billion barrels of oil under a 278-million-acre concession. Current production, at 200,000bbl a day, is being held back by the limits of the Middle Eastern market, and King Saud is eager to sell more and expand his royalties of 22 cents a barrel. The three companies expect to invest $250 million on, among other things, a 26” pipeline from the Persian Gulf to Haifa, which will allow Arabia to pick up Europe's demand, relieving the strain on American fieldsd. 

“Executive Wanted” The World Bank is finding it hard to replace Eugene Meyer. James Forrestal, William L. Clayton and Lewis Douglas have ben offered the job and turned it down, and it is said that Averill Harriman has been offered it as well.

“Marie and Charlie vs. David” David Selznick is out at United Artists. The paper puts the blame on Mary Pickford.

“K.F. Takes Over” Kaiser-Frazier is buying out Graham-Paige, leaving the rest of Detroit to continue wondering just how long Uncle Henry and Mr. Frazier’s money can hold out.

“Trouble at Jahco” Bill Jack is out of the former Jack and Heintz Precision Industries on a “year’s leave of absence” that everyone in Cincinnati expects will go on indefinitely. Speaking of bailing out in time, William A. Coulter is out of Western Air Lines.

“Mr. Kilroy’s House” A house for $70 a month, says the ad. Well, eight houses at $70/month, so far. Built at Westbury, Long Island, by developer William Levitt with various production shortcuts, they are selling at $9,990, well ahead of anything similar, and there will be more of them. Another successful developer is J. Myer Schine.
Levittown, Pennsylvania' not Levittown, New York. Am I the only person around here who is old enough to hear "Levittown" and think Gladiator-at-Law?

Science, Medicine, Technology, Education

“Fair Prospect” The worst thing that scientists can imagine happening, the paper says, is for government research funding being restricted to “short-range, ‘practical’ projects.” This week, Dr. Vannevar Bush promised that this was not to be, that the government was well aware that it was due to lack of support that “many branches of [American] science . . . lagged behind Europe.” They will, however, have to sit down and shut up about it coming as military funding.

 “Childhood of Man” The first volume of the Smithsonian’s Handbook of South AmericanIndians is devoted to “The Marginal Tribes.” Some are legends, others “fossil cultures,” but none are the “’carefree savages’ idealised by civilisation-haters.” Lacking agriculture, they pick tiny seeds, “break hard nuts with stones, eat skunks, grasshoppers, alligators, armadillos.” They also have odd and colourful ways.

“Mysteries of Antarctica” Admiral Byrd’s expedition to Antarctica is revealing that the continent, the combined size of Europe and the United States, is mostly boring icecap, albeit with bare peaks up to 15,000ft thrusting out. Only a few million years ago, it was tropical, as a seam of coal only 180 miles from the South Pole shows. I would like to know more about how that could possibly be, but the paper is more interested in the oil, minerals and uranium that might be there. The expedition is also hoping to find out more about the Antarctic “weather factory,” which affects the climate of South America, Australia, and Africa; and find the geomagnetic South Pole.

“Not for Children” The Army’s new flu vaccine causes serious reactions in children.

“Recharged Babies” Alexander S.Wiener, of Adelphi Hospital, Brooklyn, treats erythoblastosis in newborns by a highly efficient total transfusion.

“Kill or Cure” Louis Lipschutz, clinical director of psychiatry at Wayne County Hospital, is publicising a “psychosurgery” in which the frontal lobes of the brain are slashed across to cut the nerve connections of the thalamus. This “prefrontal lobotomy” was invented by Egas Moniz in 1935, but used to be treated as a “desperate last resort” in 2000 cases of intractable psychological problems.  In England, doctors are excitable about the Health Act.

Because the University of Berlin is in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the Americans are starting their own. The paper notices a plan to exchange 148 American and English primary school teachers for a year. In New York, 1000 teachers left in the last school year citing low pay. A teacher named Philip Lynch, earning $51.25/week, pointed out that he had just been offered $60 by a war buddy to tend bar.
This appears to be at variance with the official history of the Free University of Berlin, which assigns the original ins;piration to student anti-communist activism at the end of 1947.

Press, Art, Radio

Damon Runyon has died at 66. David Charnay[?] isn’t, which means that he could cover a story about a brawl over Peggy Joyce’s affections: a story about a story that's probably a story. Hap Arnold is writing for the local paper in retirement. 

“Sitting or Standing” A controversy has broken out in London over whether the memorial statue of FDR should show him heroically standing, or heroically sitting. As Augustus John (Future First Lord Caspar John’s father, James points out, not at all bitter at being squeezed out of the race for Engineer Vice-Admiral, and wouldn’t that have been a scandal?) says, showing him standing would be an “intolerable solecism, dishonouring a great and unvanquished spirit. . . “Which seems a little much. It is not as though future generations will come to believe that there was some kind of Catholic-Rockefeller-Zionist-Communist-Internationalist conspiracy to keep the President’s handicap a secret!

Nat Cole’s King Cole Trio is the winner of Metronome’s annual poll of best small band acts, while June Christy is best girl singer. Record sales are up tenfold over last year.

“Esthetic Ads” Paul Rand has published his best ads in Thoughts on Design, where he argues that they are actually art. The paper is not impressed.


Henry Mencken’s Christmas book has been dropped by its Canadian publisher for being too rude, while Leora Thompson describes Eugene O’Neil as a brooding angel of sanctified sex appeal(!) RobertH. Best and Douglas Chandler will finally go on trial for treason. Elliott Roosevelt isn’t treasonous, but he is loose-lipped. Joseph Stalin doesn’t think that Eric Johnston isn’t a real Republican. James Mason says that he gets so many gangster roles because “there is a taste for sadism, especially in the post-war period.” George Raft isn’t just being pilloried by Westbrook Pegler. He is also being sued for beating up an attorney named Edward Raiden[!]. Ray Bolger and Eugene Goossens are ill. Lord Burghley, Roscoe Turner and Dr. Chengting T. Wang have married. William “Big Bill” Dwyer, Lewis J. Valentine and Senator Josiah Bailey have died.


E. E. Cummings has a book about Santa Claus out. He’s the poet who doesn’t use capital letters, isn’t he? Elias Zacharias has a book out, too. It's about him, so I imagine that it's odd, too.  I have had great fun teasing ‘Mr. A.” about it. I did not tease him about Jean-Paul Sartre’s new Portrait of the Anti-Semite, which seems like useful reading, given some of the people gathering around the new central intelligence agency, at least per Mrs. Chow. Also, the paper’s neighbour, Granville Hicks, has written Small Town, which I imagine is about how funny hicks are. Intentionally, or not.

The New Pictures

It’s a Wonderful Life “is a pretty wonderful movie,” and probably “Hollywood’s best picture of the year.” Jimmy Stewart, back from being an Air Force colonel in the war, plays the hero, while Lionel Barrymore is a villainous banker –and by now I’ve given you about twice as many words as I’ve spent on most new movies. Because while the house was dragged to see it on the grounds that it had Grant in it, it is a wonderful movie, and I highly recommend it. Perhaps you could stop in Portland and see it, if the weather closes in on Mount Shasta? The one controversial matter is that the movie is an independent production by Frank Capra, distributed by Liberty through RKO, and the studios aren’t likely to be happy that it is taking screen time from their offerings.
It's surprising that more of the Air Force's postwar big bombers haven't been named "the Hustler."

Flight, 26 December 1946


“The New Aviation Centre” Lord Londonderry is giving the Royal Aero Club a 21-year lease on Londonderry House at a nominal rent as a public service, since he used to be an Air Minister before he was a full-time Fascist.
I take it that its "Piccadilly clubhouse" was Londonderry House.

“Spitfire Saga” Joe Smith gave a nice talk to the Royal Aero Society about how wonderful the Spitfire is. The paper summarises it briefly before it summarises it less briefly later.   

I'm a little surprised that I can't find a copy of the original Joseph Smith article online, but I'm still not going to spend any time summarising the summary, much less the summary of the summary. There's quite enough out there already.

“Prospects and Portents: Resume of a Lecture by Dr. A. M. Spueffing, Professor of Aerodynamics at the Montgolfier Institute: Interesting All-Wing Research: ‘Boomerang’ Airliner Project” The Professor Doctor’s paper shows that in the future, airliner speeds will rise, until at last they need to build all-wing sweptback airplanes. They will be so stable at transonic speeds that that it will need stability-spoilers to turn. It would be best if it were launched from a catapult, however. If that is not practical, he proposes a boomerang plane instead, which would require a gyrostabilised cabin –at which point it finally occurs to me that “Spueffing” is probably meant to be pronounced “Spoofing.”
The article had me going for a moment. It wouldn't be the craziest thing said seriously about flying wings in this year of Our Lord. 

C. B. Bailey-Watson, “Duplex Airscrews: Power for the Brabazon I: Coaxial and Contra-rotating Airscrew Arrangements” The Brabazon I powerplant will consist of four pairs of Centaurus engines, with individual units of each pair being angularly disposed to one another with their crankshafts converging at 64 degrees, each driving torsion shafts that drive co-axial airscrew shafts, with the outer shaft driving the rearward airscrew, the inner shaft, the forward one. This is the simplest possible arrangement, since it only requires a single pair of gears on ear engine/airscrew drive, giving a very high mechanical efficiency. David Brown, of Huddlesfield, will do the manufacturing. The engines are completely conventional, except that they are only supported from one side. The bevel drive is also only supported from one side, and requires its own cooling system, drawing 300 gallons an hour, plus 30lbs for lubrication. The outer power shaft is assembled of three components, and the airscrews have complete constant speed arrangements, including reversed pitch, with additional airscrew controllers, as the demand on the airscrews is greater than in normal c.s. installations.

Here and There

The paper notes that Mr. de Freitas, the Parliamentary Undersecretary for Air, refused to fly back from Paris due to the weather, that occasional correspondent James Bridges set a new record by flying a Meteor IV Le Breguet-Croydon in 23 min 37 sec this week. The paper went to a double feature at the British Council Theatre this week and saw Tomorrow by Air and A Single Point Fuel Injector. The paper’s date’s chaperone briefly removed herself to go for popcorn when the main feature reached the bit about inlet injectors. Justice Morris held for the Government against the shareholders in  in the suit over the Short Brothers nationalisation. KLM is now flying Dutch flowers to London for sale. A 90mph gale, the worst ever recorded in Brisbane, severely damaged five Douglas airliners, valued at £100,000. Qantas had them parked outside their hangars and was negotiating their purchase.

J. Laurence Pritchard, “Birds Can Fly: Perfect View and Control: No Engine Failures: Vertical Landings” Captain Pritchard, the secretary of the Royal Aero Club, studies birds and supplies many pictures of birds flying, landing, etc. I am not sure who he is arguing with, or why the paper published this, but they are nice pictures.

Civil Aviation News

“Atlantic Dilemma” The dilemma is, who should operate Gander, and how much should they spend on giving it the latest generation of radio aids, when the day is probably not far off when New York-London is the normal route.

In shorter news, the paper notices the Electropult, is pleased that the United States Army and Navy are investing in a new approach aid for Gander and will allow PAA to operate it. The British Travel Association has launched a “Come-to-Britain” campaign in America, and some of the people who come, may fly there. There are new services in India and Northern Ireland.

“For Naval Needs: Latest Firefly IVs on Test at Heston”


“Obstruction Unlimited” thinks that air license examinations are being BUNGLED. Philip D. Trevor agrees with Miss Ferguson that they should bring the Civil Air Guard back. J. A. Allan is upset that the Ministry continues to try to prevent him from committing suicide with ultra-light aircraft.
“Spitfire and Seafire: Their Development Described by Supermarine Chief Designer” Fascinating as all of this is, I am not going to summarise this article for two very good reasons. The first is that it is old news by now. The second is that your youngest spirited it off, then lent it to “Mr. A.,” who promptly spilled hot chocolate with liberal lashings of marshmallows and brandy all over it. If you want to know what is in it, you can either see if you can find a copy on the newsstand, or ask your son, who has it memorised it.

Foreign Service News

Swarthy foreign air forces are lining up to look at the Percival. The French are looking at the Derwent as the power plant for their Nord 1000 tandem two-seater with swept-back wing. The Americans have decided that, between the Ordnance Department, War Department and Army Air Force, guided missile development will be done by the Air Force, with a “referee" to decide what constitutes a guided missile in a given case. The Russians are interested in German jets.
General Aurand was a bright guy with good intentions, but stripping "guided missiles" away from teh Army is just going to cause it to focus on "ballistic missiles" instead, and recruit some morally dubious German scientists to replace the experts who go to the Air Force. (And Navy, but that's another story.) Redstone missile.

Time, 30 December 1946


Henry H. Butler, of Minneapolis, is crying with disgust at the news that German rocket scientists have been brought over to help the Army make rockets.

"Karel Jan Bossart [1] (February 9, 1904 – August 3, 1975) was a pioneering rocket designer and creator of the Atlas ICBM. His achievements rank alongside those of Wernher von Braun and Sergei Korolev but as most of his work was for the United States Air Force and therefore was classified he remains relatively little known." Per Wikipedia.

Several correspondents are on about grouse season and the paper’s “If Salvador Dali wrote a Shakespeare play.” Suggestions for preventing the next Winecoff Hotel disaster range from having ropes in every room to sprinklers and fire alarms. John McNulty kids the paper about being dropped from the Social Register. T. Mallin, 1st Lieutenant, Air Corps, expects the Fourth Reich any day now. Several correspondents scold George Orwell for being nasty about women and fashion magazines. Edward James Smythe[*], of the Protestant War Veterans of the U.S., is upset that he is being called a bigot merely for saying that there is “an unholy alliance between the Roman Catholic-controlled political machine of New York. . . and the Jew-Communist-controlled political machine of Governor Thomas E. Dewey.” For some reason, the letter of the publisher hands some free publicity to that godawful John Towers, pardon my French.
Edward James Smythe

National Affairs

“New Shoes” The American Red Cross gave out new shoes to Viennese children for Christmas. News!

“Again, Plenty” The 1946 crop broke the wartime peak of 1942 by 2%, with corn at 3.3 billion bushels (against a 2.6 billion average), 1.6 billion bushels of wheat, 37% above average, and new highs in rice, soybeans, cherries, potatoes, tobacco, peaches, pears, plums and truck crops. Only cotton and rye were down by wide margins –but we still haven’t decided what to do about the famine in the rest of the world. I take it back: the lead story wasn’t news, but it was an excuse to run that photo. I’m going to sound hypocritical, but I approve of the paper’s insinuating ways when it is trying to get my opinion across!
Sly editorial interventions are only okay if I agree with them!

“Home for Christmas” The President can only spend 24 hours in Independence before flying back to the White House due to various concerns such as Karl Compton’s draft plan for selective service and the slow pace of transporting “qualified European refugees” to America.

“Shortcomings” The paper is reminded that it doesn’t like the President when he says something mean about Chiang.

“Back to the Senate” Senators Vandenberg and Connally are coming back to the Senate from the UN. Who will replace them? Or, rather, replace Vandenberg, since Connally won’t be missed? It will probably be John Foster Dulles.

 “The New Refrain” The CIO’s Big Three sound a lot more conciliatory about labour action next year.
“Roll Call” Since November of 1948 is practically tomorrow, Harold Stassen has announced his candidacy, which is totally unprecedented. Arthur Vandenberg, John Bricker, Earl Warren and Tom Dewey all responded by implying their candidacy, or allowing others to imply it, which is completely precedented.

“Good Enough to Marry” The US Occupation in Germany finally gave way and allowed marriage to Germans, providing the marriage license is signed by their commanding officer and the mayor of the German girl’s town, and that the groom is about to leave the ETO. (Obviously no American girl would marry a German.)

“Cougar in the Caucus Room” The Senate War Investigating Committee has been interviewing Senator Bilbo for three days. A story is told about how Vicksburg contractor Michal T. Morrissey happened to be passing by Senator Bilbo’s 27-room brick mansion near Poplar, Mississippi, and saw that the Senator was “trying to build a lake with a mule, a one-armed Negro, and two boys.” Touched, he fetched a bulldozer, dug the lake, and accidentally charged the $3672.91 cost to Keesler Army Air Field. It remains to be seen whether Bilbo will be ejected from the Senate because his election was irregular, or because of moral turpitude, as the Senate would prefer. It would take two-thirds of the Senate to stock moral turpitude, and there probably aren’t the votes, whereas the “irregular election” charge requires only a majority.
Because irony is an overachiever, the Tuskegee airmen trained at Keesler.

“No Dog in the Manger” Martin Kennelly will be the new Democratic candidate for mayor of Chicago, charge with being “the king-cog of a ruthless machine which kept Democrats in power in Chicago and Washington.”

“The Potters” Lou Reese, the hobo who came to Scio, Ohio, in 1933 and started a pottery, gave a very nice bonus and pay raise to his 827 employees to celebrate the pottery’s fifteenth anniversary and the fact that it made $3.5 million last year. 

“Escape in Mid-Air” A mid-air collision between a Universal Airlines DC-3 and an Eastern Air Lines DC-4 that could have killed 85 people and become the worst disaster in aviation history, fortunately instead ended with both planes landing safely.

“Death of a Wild Man” Governor Talmadge of Georgia died last week of hemolytic jaundice and cirrhosis of the liver, although the paper blames a final meal of fried chicken, ham and grits, red gravy, and hot biscuits. An exciting constitutional crisis has ensued, while the Governor’s body lies in state beside a nice floral tribute from the Klan.

“To Each His Own” At Christmas, National Park Ranger Bill Butler will rest up from a fall taken while looking for a lost Marine Corps transport plane high on Mount Rainier. His wife will cook a 19lb turkey in their snug cabin.

Time is selling Bill Butler's efforts a little short, it turns out.

Lana Turner will give out 500 very expensive presents, because she is a Hollywood star. Seventeen-year old Park College freshman Richard C. Rowe is looking forward to  banana cream pie at home. Ham Fisher will get up late, play golf, host an eggnog party at the Lord Tarleton, then have a crowd of cronies over for a dinner party at the Copacabana. Walter Reuther will surprise his daughter with a tiny electric phonograph, and have sour cream pancakes for breakfast. One-legged, whiskery, Charles Miller doesn’t like Christmas carols, because they remind him of his childhood, and will instead spend the day, like every day, at the “grim, Lysol-haunted Municipal Lodging House,” rousing himself from his nest of tattered newspapers to have a chicken fricassee dinner. Like most Americans, William Dampier, of Indianapolis, will have five children playing with presents in the front room of his frame house, enjoy a vast meal, and look forward to a long holiday between Christmas and New Years.

“The Inflexibles” Uno delegates like compromise. Further bulletins as events warrant.

“Motion Carried” The Security Council has established a commission to investigate border violations in the Balkans.

“A Christmas Hope” All England is following the progress of Highland Monarch, which is carrying a consignment of 250,000 turkeys from Argentina. Or some of them are: the rest have to be content with an extra ration of a pound and a half of sugar, and half pound of candy for children and over-70s. (though stores are well-stocked with tangerines, pineapples and other fruits.)

Cape Cod eccentric Charles Davis wants to build an 80ft tall memorial to Winston Churchill at Dover, England. For peace. 

“Behind the Windbreaks” Spain may be on its way to bankruptcy, but the wind won’t blow General Franco away. It has been months since there has been a political execution, there are a lot of police, and the army can buy food in government stores. No-one can afford to eat, and the country is short of capital investment, but the Uno hates it, and xenophobia is always a political winner. Franco's critics want an economic blockade, but then who would fight international communism?

“The Chiffoniers” A Paris police edict forbidding rag-, and garbage picking in Paris streets has met stiff opposition.

“Euthanasia in the Otoros” The paper tells a colourful story about witch-murders in the Otoro Hills, which I only repeat because it gives the paper an excuse to make snide comments abouteugenicists in the West. I guess the tide has turned.

Mary, daughter of William J. Averell, married a young man of breeding, who was promptly given a seat on her father's railway's board. From this eminence, he participated in the Oregon Land Scandal with Governor Stanford, and got even richer. Her son, Averell, sat on many boards, blundered through public service, ending up by doing a fine job of escalating the Vietnam war. Naturally, Mary was a major supporter of the Eugenics Record Office in its noble work of forceably sterilising the "sociably inadequate." 

Diehards’ Defeat” Ever-Victorious-Marshal Chiang has turned against “ideological reactionaries” in his own party.

“Decline and Fall” The English are out of Burma more. Winston Churchill is not impressed.

“Ripsnorter” 650 Japanese werekilled, and 40,000 homes destroyed or damaged, by seismic waves of water thisweek. But since they are only Japanese, it is appropriate for “famed Fordham seismologist Father Joseph J. Lynch” to call it a “ripsnorter.”

“January in December” Dramatic price cuts in December that helped make Christmas merry are due to business overestimating the impact of the removal of price controls. But cocoa, steel and lead are all up, and with steel. There might be price rises in durable goods soon.

“GM Files a Brief” GM gets in on the anti-labour action.

“Big Steel Buys Again” Columbia Steel offered to buy Consolidated Steel, of Los Angeles, for $8,293,379 in cash this week. The stock, worthless only a decade ago, went from $19 to $27 on the Los Angeles Stock Exchange on the news, and is still going up. It is shocking news, in that Alden Roach has long preached the need for West Coast steel companies to compete with Big Steel, but the offer was too sweet for principles, I guess, and it leaves Uncle Henry out on his own, the last big West Coast producer.

“End of the Boom” The fur industry is frightened by a sudden fall in the market, as an auctin of 25,000 ranch-raised mink brought prices 30% below last December, and only 60% of pelts were sold, while Manhattan’s Motty Eitingon declared bankruptcy, asking for a six-month moratorium on its obligations. Their ambitious expansion into “Bomouton,” a method of making beaver-like fur by plasticising sheep pelts, had gone astray. With seven plants built, and talk of selling 15 million mouton coats foundering on a failure of the processing process. With prices already falling, the industry couldn’t let Eitingon go to the wall, and so rallied round to make a $250,000 loan through Irving Trust.

“The Ballroom King Expands” William Karzas, of the “wonder ballrooms” of Chicago, which can earn a band $4000/week, is expanding, buying three Midwestern ballrooms and aiming for a coast-to-coast chain. 

“The Fund Kicks Off” The IMF is under way, but the World Bank isn’t. The latest word is that Dean Acheson may be drafted in to head it.

“Peace, It’s Wonderful” S. Buchsbaumand Co, of Chicago, used to be known as a staunchly anti-union firm that busted a union in 1919 and beat another in a 16-week strike in 1935, and was known to fire employees who were related to a union member. But in 1941, it welcomed Local 241, International Chemical Workers’ Union, and has labour peace ever since.  A consultant has been brought in to find out why, and he has concluded that belligerent confrontation is not good for business.

Science, Medicine, Education

Coldest Cold” Science reporting is boring, so the paper points out that the USSR, “which, like California,” is always boasting, claims to have the coldest place on Earth, in Siberia, where the temperature was recently measured at -70.2 degrees Centigrade. The coldest spot in North America is in the Mackenzie Valley in Canada, where the temperature at Fort Good Hope has been known to fall to a mere -79 F. Once done making fun of the Russians (for being right), the paper can move on to the point, which is that the world has three cold-air producing regions: northern Canada and Siberia are well-known, Antarctica not so much. Admiral Byrd believes that he will encounter temperatures in the range of -100F on the Antarctic’s polar plateau, but there is still much to learn (the paper said last week) about how that effects the weather in the rest of the Southern Hemisphere. This week it points out that the atmospheric layer of the “troposphere” is lower over the Poles than at the equator, I guess because of temperatures, and for this reason, the lowest temperatures on Earth are high above the Equator, while above the North Pole it probably only falls to -45F, good news for atomic bombers and transpolar airliners. (The paper does not say, but I will.)

“Simplest Life” In a recent experiment, English-born biologist Professor Kenneth Vivian Thimman of Harvard showed that, when he cultivated the cells of the coleoptiles of oats in isolation, idioacetic acid will stop them from growing, and that malic acid will restart growth. “It was not an important discovery, but, jotted down in a book with a thousand others, it might help eventually to explain what life is.”

“Surgeon’s Report” This week, the first postwar conference of the American College of Surgeons caught up with the wartime improvements that managed to save 96% of the wounded. They included a dramatic plastic surgical reconstruction of a hand shattered by a grenade explosion, an aortal artery patch using lucite tubing, the use of blood accelerant tetraethyl ammonium, which dilates blood vessels and relieves Buergers disease; and radioactive treatment of deafening caused by abnormal growth of lymphatic tissue in the Eustachian tube.

Hope for Lepers” Three sulfa drugs (streptomycin also looks promising) are having good effects on leprosy. This year, the Carville, Louisiana leprosarium was able to release 37 patients, and hopes to release 40 more next year. In spite of being highly uncontagious, the law in every state but New York requires that lepers be segregated. It is estimated that there are 2000 lepers at large in the United States, unaware that they have the disease, or concealing it because of the stigma. It is endemic in Texas, Louisiana, California and Florida, is hard to diagnose, and may well be treated in a much more liberal way soon, thanks to the wonders of modern medicine.

“Cancer in Russia” In Soviet Russia, people have cancer, too. Treatment is not up to American standards, but they are trying, and the University of Moscow’s Dr. Grigori Roskin and wife Nina Klyueva have found a South American trypanosome with a peculiar affinity for cancer cells which can be introduced into cancerous mice, killing the tumours –and the mice. They have found that it is a toxin in the trypanosome that isresponsible, and have found that it shrinks tumours in human patients. Some other toxins, such as diphtheria and tetanus, also seem to work. They are also investigating a serum test that might detect cancer early.

“Light Flu” So far, the expected post-war influenza epidemic has not shown up, and, in fact, the rate is down this year. Experts think that this might be because of less travel, fewer mass meetings, more staying at home, fewer swing shifts.

Ohio’s Antioch College places its students in educational jobs for half of their curriculum. Dictionaries of “the American language” were bestsellers in Japan and Denmark this week. Bobby-soxers are flappers; drizzles are boys who “always walk with the same girl;” “acorn” means “to experience adversity;” “agazed” is “astonished”; “acceptress” is “a girl who always says ‘yes;’” “eujifferous” means “impressive”; and “to chew a long Nabisco” is to “go stag.” The only way that “chic” can be defined is to use it in a sentence. “You have to be a chic before you are heck to flying.”
I didn’t know half this stuff, and after checking with the younger set around the house, I still don’t. 

The new Cardigan Mountain School in New Hampshire charges $1100 a term, and still makes the boarders do chores. “Bring ‘one dustpan, one mop, one broom.’”

Tuition's up a bit since 1946.

“Wanted: Woodsheds?” A trend of school strikes is spreading across America.


The Admiral is in the column, this time for forgetting his wallet in a cab. John L. Lewis beat up a photographer who tried to interrupt his shave. Prince Chichibu, younger brother of Hirohito, likes Blondie, doesn’t find Dick Tracy or Moon Mullins funny, has no idea what to make of Li’l Abner, and thinks that Terry and the Pirates is a children’s story. Ingrid Bergman and Frank Sinatra are this year’s least cooperative stars. Marian Carr is the Insomnia Girl, Betty Grable the dream girl (these are the same; not opposites).


“Nudes Out of Place” Speaking of, Belgian painter Paul Delvaux likes to paint nudes, “mysteriously out of place,” which has given him “a growing reputation as one of Europe’s finest fantasists.” And he had an exhibit in Manhattan, sponsored by Henri Spaak, President of the General Assembly. Sculptor Henry Moore makes odd things and is very famous.

If you are missing the press news, it is: first, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s sports editor earns $12,000/year, because he supplements his newspaper work with a radio feature; and, second, a prewar Paris newspaper for expatriate Americans is starting up again. On the bright side, I’ve probably wasted less of your time reading this than I did of mine, writing it.

“Brrr” In London this week, six BBC staffers were put to sleep by hypnotist Peter Casson. Hypnotic acts are now banned at the BBC until further notice, because putting people to sleep is the Beeb’s job.

Same joke, different station.

“By a Thread” Radio stations live or die by the ratings produced by C. E. Hooper, Inc. This week, their methods were criticised by Joel Murcott, radio editor of the Hollywood Reporter, and then his opinions were blasted by Charles Ernest Hooper. At issue is how many households the Hooper researchers have to call to build up a valid picture of a show’s popularity.

“Perfectionist” As radio recordings spread, the radio recording engineer is becoming an ever more vital member of the studio.  Mary Howard, of NBC, is one of the best. She also has opinions about the quality of Uncle George’s friend’s show. It is not that recording quality is ruining his voice. It is that the radio stations aren’t replaying it with the right equipment. The grooves of a record are cut at varying angles and depths, and must be played with the right needles. “Until radio stations learn that, these big, nighttime transcribed shows are going to flop.” Which is very interesting because the first tape recording machine will be delivered at Philco in July, now. I hope we’re not in a race with cancellation!

In case you were wondering about this week’s cover feature, it is in the Religion section, which I never cover, even though it is about Marian Anderson.

The New Pictures

Stairway to Heaven is a very self-conscious English attempt to be the Movie of the Year. The paper thinks that it would like it more if it weren’t trying so hard. It features David Niven and Kim Hunter, because when you are trying to be Great, regular heart-throbs won’t do, so sorry Miss Turner, Miss Bergman, Mr. Powers. It’s in Technicolour, too.

Abie’s Irish Rose was financed by Uncle George’s friend, so I suppose we have to be up for a family outing to see it after Christmas. I’m told that it is one of those things that everyone hates because everyone loves it, and that it “Will go on making money for another 25 years.” What the paper doesn’t like is that “jokes about racial and religious groups, and those just aren’t good clean fun at all in this modern day of 1946.”

No more jokes about skinflint Jews and belligerent Irish! 


Rexford Guy Tugwell, former New Dealer and Governor of Puerto Rico, has The Stricken Land out. It is about his time in Puerto Rico, and explains why it’s not his fault that it hasn’t turned into a model commonwealth. It’s the Puerto Ricans’ fault!

Adventures by Sea of Edward Coxere is a reissue of the memoirs of an old-time sailor man that amused the paper. Arturo Barea, The Forging of a Rebel: An Autobiography, is a look back ten years ago to the horrible winter of the siege of Madrid, which even this girl, her mind then full of, by turns, things feminine and things mathematical, remembers.  What the paper likes is the portrait of a sick Spain and the way that it implies that the Republicans were wrong, and that Franco was, if not right, then less wrong.
A worker on the Hallicrafter production line in New York City. 

Radio News, December 1946

For the Record

Radio servicemen may also find work in the new field of electronic “gadgets” such as photoelectric-operated burglar alarms, garage door openers, automatic radio controls, and “electronic devices for playing tricks.” Since, in general, there exist no ready-made devices for these tasks, the serviceman can build something to meet the customer’s need. For example, automatic garage door openers aren’t really burglar-proof, but could be made so by introducing a coding device. This just leaves the job of telling the customer what they need, which, of course, requires advertising in Radio News so that it doesn’t have to rely on endless pages of shortwave listings to fill out its editorial pages.
Still funnier than Aviation. 

Grote Reber, of Wheaton, Illinois, reports that he has picked up radio signals “from the Milky Way,” using a sheet metal mirror 31.4ft in diameter and 20 ft in focal length to pick up long-wave radiation. It turns out that the cosmos is very active at 160mc, although the message is only cosmic static.

Another area where radiomen may find work is in the job of radiological protection, operating Geiger counters in the “decontamination” of ships and personnel who have been affected by A-bomb blasts.
There is word from the FCC that service allocations for marine navigation and radars will be coming this fall. The Facsimile Committee of the NAB has agreed on standards for facsimile transmissions that it will recommend to the FCC.

Walter B. Ford, “Mobile –On Ten Meters” Amateur radio enthusiast Walter B. Ford was able to build a 10 meter transmitter and converter that he could put into the bed of his Ford truck, providing communication servies to archaeologists out in the Mohave and California deserts.

One representative circuit diagram. I can't remember which article it is from.
J. J. Teevan, “The Television Receiver Antenna: Although There Are Many Types of Television Antennas, Each Has its Specific Application: Study Your Installation Problem and Choose the Antenna Carefully” The main assumption here is that local television services will choose their broadcasting frequency willy-nilly, which seems unlikely to me. If they do not, you really do not have to build your own antenna. However, the Telicon Corporation thinks that you will, and Mr. Teevan is only too glad to explain the advantages of Telicon equipment. He also sells us on some Bell equipment a few pages later.

Paul H. Wender, “Striking Displays Can Sell Radio Service” The paper really is desperate for copy.

Lt. Colonel M. J. Luichinger, “The ‘Spindle Eye’: This Floating ‘Radio City’ Was Used to Send Press Dispatches, Radiophotos and Broadcasts, as well as the August Radio News story, to the Mainland” There was a radio ship at Operation Crossroads. Successor to the famous Apache, it had an RCA 7.5kW high frequency voice transmitter, a Hallicrafters BC610 transmitter, a master, sound-treated broadcast studio, an auxiliary broadcast studio, a recording laboratory with Presto recording and playback tables, and a bank of RCA recording, mixing, and patching equipment. It had another bank of Hammerlund Super-Pro receivers, RCA AD-88s, and National receivers, Acme transceiver units in its radio photo laboratory with associated receiving amplifiers, oscillators and level control apparatus. It had teletype facilities,

“Unusual Phone Transmitter: A New Commercially Designed Modulation System Permits Cost and Size of Over-all Transmitter to be Reduced Considerably” Taylor Western Transmitters, of Los Angeles, California, is proud to bring you this neat bit of engineering.

Jordan McQuay, “Sound Amplification by Air-Stream Modulation: High Sound Levels May be Obtained at Low Power by the Use of This New System of Sound Reproduction” Sound amplification is normally done by electronic amplification after the sound has been recorded by a piezoelectric mike. For outside broadcast, however, the heavy amplifiers make the loudspeaker horns unnecessarily bulky, because of the attenuating effect of weather. Working with Dilks, Incorporated, the Signal Corps Engineering Laboratories came up with a novel solution, air-stream amplification, which applies amplification directly to the sound output of the piezoelectric component. (It’s not a microphone at the bullhorn end, because it is the opposite of a microphone. I think?)

William G. Routh, “Electric Developments in the Rubber Industry” Goodyear uses dielectric heating and some electronic switches in a number of processes that involve having pretty secretaries that the paper likes to photograph. Thanks to electricity, “Joe Citizen” will have better coats, boots and mattresses soon.
Honey shots work; the number of them in recent issues of Radio News probably points to editorial desperation, but they're so artless that I'm fine with reproducing them.

Communication Operators QTC

 Marine operators, including Alcoa, airlines, the Navy, and Todd shipyards are all hiring radiomen. A number of shipyards are ordering bulk freighters that will need communications operators.

R. L. Parmentier, “Designing an Auto-Transformer” A good ham can build this from scraps; J. C. Hoadly, “Simple Square-Wave Generator,” ditto. Didn’t this exact story run a few months ago?

George Lichterman, “Autotune Transmiiter” I can think of a few musicians who could use one of these! Jokes aside, this is just a navy-built channel pre-selector.

L. M. Dezettel, Engineer, Allied Radio Corporation, Chicago “Build Your Own High Speed Flash” I guess this is one of those electronic “gadgets” the editor was mentioning.

C. H. Parker, “Are You Qualified?” Many who apply for radio jobs are underqualified, while some who don’t are overqualified. This could be fixed by a combination of tests and mandatory courses for radiomens’ licences, which would also keep out an anticipated flood of veterans who would take all the work from deserving readers.


J. Wenser, of St. Louis, takes exception to the idea that Service-trained radiomen are no good. David P. MacArthur and Joe Tisdale, of Tisdale’s Radio Service, Benton, Arkansas, are very interested in the  idea of an easy-to-get D license that would allow operation of a low-powered vhf equipment, or possibly even no license operation. E. B. Cullin, of the British Sound Recording Association, is very interested in new sound-recording methods being tried in America for possible licensed production in England. M. D. Stahl, of North Canton, Ohio, is an antique vacuum tube collector, who is interested in hearing from long-term readers. John Bender, a geophysical engineer in Houston, Texas, writes to say that there is no scientific basis for using treasure finders to look for oil, although he does point out some indirect evidence for the possible presence of oil which can be detected.
The Zuni-Bandera vocanic field is a small geological province explored back in the old Texas wildcatting days. The odd thing is that it is sometimes called the "Zuni-Benders" Field, something I found by googling John Bender, geophysical engineer. My theory, of course, is Bandera>Banders> White American ethnogenesis. But one man's theory is another man's crackpottery. 

“Now You Can Build a Television: To Stimulate its Radio and Television Training Programme, the New York Technical Institute of new Jersey is Offering Men Interested in Television This Unusual Opportunity; A school Particularly Suited to War Veterans” And their guaranteed tuition loans., as the article points out.

The New York Institute of Technology in New Jersey is now offering courses on building televisions. The Institute wants you to know that its tuition can be paid for out of the G.I. Bill. 


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