Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Postblogging Technology, March 1947, II: The Only Bad Publicity

Oriental Club,
London, England.

Dear Father:

I  expected to find you haunting the Reform Club with your cousin. Or perhaps the Royal Air Force Club; but I should have known. Have you kept a membership these long years? Uncle George is always grumbling about keeping up his club fees. Or are you the guest of someone even more adventurous than yourself?

I'm sorry. I'm sure there'll be a story when you get back. I'd tell you of exciting developments here in Santa Clara, but there are none! I'm flat on my back, your youngest is a fortress of solitude far away in Massachusetts as he writes final exams --as is "Miss V. C," who is keeping close to her digs at Stanford, except when she is up to San Francisco to borrow a telephone. (I wonder who she is calling that she needs to use the Chow's line? And, yes, I know what you will say, but you are wrong.)

Fanny is helping Teddy Tso study, I suspect --depending on how you define studying, of course. Vickie, I am persuaded, is improving slowly under professional care, and James is fluttering about trying to make sure that I stay in bed. Bill and David have been up to talk about something about air traffic control that they are feeling out with the Air Force. While it has little money to send their way, it has plenty of inspiration. One of the problems with ground control of aircraft is that you have all of this radio information streaming in, and operators can only look at so much at one time. If only there were a way to store it all, a very youthful Colonel says to them. "Well, actually," they say. . .

We'll see what comes of that. In the mean time, best of luck in England, and I hope that I see you before. . . 


PS: Only please, for my sake, come back by liner, and persuade your cousin to do the same!

Time, 17 March 1947


Emil Criscitiello thinks that everyone should listen to Monsignor Sheen on the radio, because atheists always end up becoming Leftists, and that’s bad. Rudolph P. Atcon, of Deerfield, Massachusetts, thinks that American money can’t save Greece because Greeks are lazy, although, to be fair, this is the fault of “terror.” Two New Jersey correspondents disagree about whether a denominational school should be allowed to use state school busses, as the Supreme Court says. Muriel Kurnitz, an American in London, really likes the Royal Family, England and the Empire. Other Americans like starlets, the King of Greece, and don’t like the Kansas City Star. In his letter, the publisher notes that the paper’s head office has a man who sends food, diapers, toiletries and even shoes to overseas correspondents who can’t get any.

"Just because he looks like a psychopath, is no reason he can't be a saint." By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8104378

National Affairs

“Beachheads” General Marshal is in Germany with John Foster Dulles, fighting the Russians. American money is in Greece, also fighting the Russians. It is not sure that Korea is getting any money, but it is getting a new policy. Harry Truman went to Mexico, where he laid a wreath on the memorial to some army cadets who died in the siege of Mexico, then back via to Washington, where he was due to take the Presidential yacht on a Caribbean vacation, before realising that the Russians were everywhere, and staying to hold Congress’ hands about money, Greece, and the trade talks in Geneva next month. In other important news, if not here on the West Coast, the injunction on the coal miners’ strike has been upheld by the Supreme Court, which also upheld foremen’s right to join unions, and the Atomic Energy Commission Committee has finally voted to recommend that David Lilienthal be confirmed as director of the AEC after much drama.

“Congress’ Week” The Republican-led 80th Congress has been in session for nine weeks, has accomplished almost nothing, except re-rename the Boulder Dam and eulogise Randolph Hearst, which is an odd thing to do, since he isn’t dead yet.
If  you're wondering about the images, these are scraped online. UBC Library has decided to scarify its physical holdings of Time and Newsweek. Okay, technically, they're going to a document depository, but who cites old news magazines?

In sensational news, the paper relishes the failure of a UAW strike against J. I. Case; Massachusetts is in a tizzy over a repeat juvenile offender, who was let out of training school twice before killing a girl; Forever Amber has been unbanned in Boston because the judge thinks that it is boring, not titillating; there is a stuffed shirt shortage in Washington (seriously!); the FBI says that crime rates last year “broke all records;” and National Selected Morticians has published some helpful tips for dealing with radioactive corpses in Mortuary Science [!], and one of the candidates in a Kansas special election is running against the state dry law.
J. I. Chase produced the first cotton picker, in 1942


“Opportunity” There needs to be a national moratorium on writing about the Moscow Conference while I'm cooped up. Unless George Marshal punches Vishinsky in the nose or something.

“Where We Stand” Russian Uno (UNO? UN? Opinion still differs) still hate international control of atomic energy, because they think it is a bourgeois plot. The paper is upset that anyone could think that the international bourgeoise has sinister plans.

“Woof” African Basenjis are the popular breed of dogs in England right now, because they don’t bark. Only they do, so perhaps the people who own the 75 Basenjis in the world should rethink the $250 they paid for them.

“One Should Not Peel an Orange” and “Low-Class Fascist” English parliamentarians get excited about ritual murder in West Africa, transport nationalisation, and India get upset with each other and say cutting things to each other which involve calling each other Fascists, talking loudly and peeling oranges in the House, which only low class people do.

The English and Palestinian Jews are excitable.

India is awful.

“What Would You Do?” German coal miners explain that they are apathetic and unproductive because they do not see the point of mining coal for export when they can’t get building supplies and such. Their director says that another pound of bacon a week would fix that, because what they need is fats. Meanwhile, a US Army officer reports that copies of Mein Kampf are going for $200 on the Berlin black market.

“The Long Reach” Two translated editions of Chiang’s 1942 manifesto were published this week. The paper likes the one published by Macmillan, not the one published by Roy, because it has “bitterly partisan and critical commentary.” The paper goes on to compare Chiang to the Sage. At length.

Latin Americans try to meet their dollar shortage by restricting imports and building up domestic industry; can’t because they can’t import capital goods. Seven hundred Brazilian-Germans who recently arrived back in Brazil aren’t wanted, because they are suspected of being Nazis.

Canada is not necessarily boring, as the Canadians are building nine weather stations in the far Arctic north to help Atlantic airliners and WWIII atomic bombers with better weather forecasts.
Because it's a cold war. Cold, get it?


“End of the Year?” The Bureau of Agricultural Economics is convinced that America will enter a recession by the end of the year, because consumer buying power is falling due to the rise in the cost of living. Our only hope is an early drop in prices. That same week, International Harvesters cut the price of tractors by 5% because profits are high.

“Hard-Headed Healer” The airlines are demanding that the CAB raise passenger fares; although Eastern wants a reduction in round-trip fares. They excuse themselves by suggesting that it is CAB’s fault for issuing too many routes to too many airlines. The industry hopes that Jim Landis is poised to fix it all.

In shorter news, Fred Astaire is associating his name with a New York dance studio, and American President Lines is reviving round-the-world cruises, though it is short of liners and the world’s destinations are short of fun. (And food.)
The Pacific Mail became W.R. Grace became the Dollar Steamship Company became the (Government owned) American President Line (It's that Roosevelt, bailing out the big guys again), but this picture of the Pacific Steamship docks at San Francisco in 1866 is here because it's cool. By Roy D. Graves Pictorial Collection, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley - Site; Image (uploaded file is cropped to remove sides), PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18293813

Medicine, Education
“It’s All in the Spine” Chiropractors are in trouble again after three patients died last week in Charleston, South Carolina. One was due to the familiar cause of spinal cord manipulation, but the other two seem to have been the result of “mauling” the brain.

No Boiling, No Burps” The American Academy of Pediatrics is powerfully impressed with the Shellie, which I may have mentioned to you a few times already.

Inventor, life-changing invention, social change. You'd think there'd at least be a Wikipedia article. It's almost like there's some kind of double standard operating here.

“The Nonessential Stomach” Dr. Alexander Brunschwig, of the University of Chicago, a cancer surgeon, recently removed a patient’s stomach, part of the liver, spleen, transverse colon and part of the abdominal track, to remove a massive tumour. He then connected the patient’s esophagus to what remained of his large intestine. The patient lived another eight weeks, which, Dr. Brunschwig thinks, makes the surgery worthwhile. More importantly, we learned that people can live without their stomachs, and Dr. Brunschwig is now even more famous.

The paper is appalled by abortion pills and pastes.

Plumbago indica, one of a number of herbal abortifacients. Abortion is the cover story in next week's Maclean's, too. Although I haven't generally inflicted its contents on you, that is enough for me to call a news trend.  CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=733052

This week’s cover story is Arnold Toynbee, because he predicted that the English would have to retreat from Indian and Palestine. “Predicted” here means that he thinks that “civilisations” are always rising and falling, so it is only natural. It is also natural that America should catch it, because it is the last hope of “Western, Christian civilisation.” It seems like the paper gives him much more space than the regular cover story, but perhaps that is because it gets to go on about important subjects like Egypt and The Universal Church. (In English, you can tell that they are important, because they are capitalised. I just wrote the characters bigger, instead. I’m sure Master Kong would approve.)

It's not that I don't have the greatest respect for Toynbee's Very Serious historical project, but here's the cover of the 1967 issue of Playboy with the Toynbee interview.  Gwen Wong was the centrefold that month, so that's something  fraught.
Press, Radio

“Southern Exposure” The Atlanta Journal digs up fraudulent voters in therecent gubernatorial election. Randolph Hearst is still not dead, although he does live a strange and isolated life. In a scandalous but not entirely dissimilar development, the Daily Mail has hired a supposed leftist named Frank Owens as publisher.

“Between the Ears” Columbia “shoved” Information Please off the air last week to run a “documentary” about juvenile crime made by Edward R. Murrow’s new Documentary Unit. It is worth every penny, the paper thinks, struck by a Georgia county’s plan to execute four teenagers with a portable electric chair. 


Barbara Hutton has married someone, since it has been a long time since she married someone. With tax day approaching, the paper notices that while J. P. Morgan famously died with an estate of only 16 million and half of that went to taxes, the reason is that he disposed of more than fifty millions beforehand in various ways to avoid the inheritance tax. I don’t know what the relevance of that is this year, but Clark Gable’s claim that he makes less than “$1000” a year because the top income tax rate is 90% and his agent takes 10% needs something in the way of ridicule.
The tax man is coming for Clark Gable? Hunh. (Source.)

Ernest William Barnes, the “long-nosed Bishop of Birmingham,” is reported to be on about euthanasia, pointing out that unless the dullards, feeble-mined, and illegitimate children born of “irresponsible and undesirable parents” are done away with, there will be trouble down the road. At least he is not a feeble-minded, atheistic, Leftist. The paper still hates Margaret Truman. Various people have died, Including Halford Mackinder and Carrie Chapman Catt.

The New Pictures

Approximately twenty years after the Jennifer Jones poster came out, the actual movie follows. Duel in the Sun, it turns out, is definitely a movie. The paper enjoyed it, and expects it to make loads of money, but possibly not win any awards. For those who want a worthy Western instead, there is The Sea of Grass, in which an old-time rancher fights homesteaders, and the homesteaders win. “Also showing” is Suddenly It’s Spring, which is a “plump, shiny comedy,” although the paper’s summary makes it sound more like a murder mystery-to-be.
Have I mentioned my theory that Americans are ambivalent about the visual signatures of mixed race heritage?


A German named Hermann Hesse has won the Nobel Prize for literature for a book called Steppenwolf, which is a very serious and worthy book, you can tell, because the paper didn’t like it. You take a book that no-one likes, you age it seventy years, and then it is a famous classic that deserves a Nobel Prize, is how it works, it seems to me. Except that the rules (I looked this up) don’t let you give the prize to a dead person. Quite the conundrum!
That's why they couldn't give the Prize to Jack Kirby, and had to settle for Bob Dylan. Source.

R. Scott Stevenson has a book out about Morell Mackenzie, who started WWI with a throat operation; Nancy Bruff has a book out, which is about what her books are usually about. Henry Adams, who is one of those old, dead people who wrote books that are retrospectively classics, has a new book out, in the sense that someone named Herbert Agar has condensed and edited his history of the early United States; and Paramhansa Yogananda has written The Autobiography of a Yogi, for those who like that sort of thing. It’s a very long review, so I guess the paper does like that sort of thing.

I would say that I am going to bed now and will pick this up tomorrow, but I already am in bed.  

Flight,  20 March 1947


“The Civil Estimates” Vote D of the Ministry of Supply covers aircraft equipment and research and development, and it is all done in a very confusing way, so it is not clear what the budgeted £86 million is being spent on, and about half of it is already covered in the Air Estimates, and maybe some of it is in the Naval Estimates; but maybe 46 millions are to be spent on air-thingies.

"Air Route Accidents” The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued statistics showing that air travel in the United Kingdom is slightly safer this year than last. Last year, there were 434,000 passengers in 93,600 flights; there were four accidents in which 29 passengers were killed and one injured, or 0.43 accidents per 10,000 flights. This is all but identical to the annual figure for 1941—5, but reduces the number of deaths per passenger flight from 1 in 10,600 to 1 in 15,000. The paper notes that in terms of deaths per passenger, air travel’s safety record is appalling, even if the absolute numbers are low; and also, that discrepancies in Air Ministry figures tend to shake its confidence in Ministry numbers.

“The Freighter Fuss” Air safety wouldn’t be such a problem if the papers didn’t keep talking about them part next. According to the papers, BEA recently cancelled the purchase of 14 Bristol 170s because they couldn’t meet its requirements for holding altitude in the takeoff with a cut engine. Bristol has until the end of the year to comply with BEA’s more stringent standards of speed and climb, and foreign sales have not been affected, because foreigners don’t mind flying into mountains, not like effeminate Englishmen (and women, but you can’t criticise the fair sex for being effeminate! Cue the Brazilian rescuer who was upset at Dorothy Spicer for screaming so much while they were trying to reach her in the wreckage.)

“Rocket Engines: American 6000 C4 Unit for Bell XS-1: Earlier German Units Compared” The Reaction Motors C4 is very like the earlier H. Walter HWK 109-509, which was installed in the Me-163. They are both multi-chambered regenerative rockets. The difference is that the Germans used a much more dangerous, but more energetic fuel; and the German engine had a separate, “cruising” chamber producing 660lb thrust for longer-ranged level flight. The American engine can run on anywhere between one and four chambers, or from 1500 to 6000lb thrust, while the original version of the Walters motor could be throttled back as far as 220lb, but only at a loss of fuel efficiency. Besides energetics, the German engines had the advantage that their fuel ignited spontaneously, while the C4 requires a lighter.
The HWK 509. By No machine-readable author provided. Baku13 assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=810628

Here and There

More on the Nene Tudor, which will be a long fuselage Tudor I, and not the Tudor II. Republic has produced 440 Seabees, 62 for oversees customers. Captain Lionel Messenger recently completed his 200th Atlantic crossing at the controls of a BOAC Constellation. Glenn L. Martin says that people aren’t going to like it when they see British jet airliners shuttling between New York and San Francisco at 500mph, while American types do only 300mph, but that is how it is going to be. At the other extreme, de Havilland reports that the Fox Moth is still selling in Canada. An Australian Liberator recently made the first weather flight over Antarctic waters.
Damnit! Source.

H. A. Taylor, “Mission to India, Part III: Random Impressions of India and the RIAF: The New Air Navigation School: Pilot Training: With the Paratroop Pupils” Indians are backwards, and have poor plumbing. The RIAF is incompetent, and the Navigation School isn’t operating as such, because its airfield is a dumping ground for unused Dakotas and even more dubious types. Students are being sent to England, but they were sent here, where at least it can work with the Navigation-Signals School, which actually has students, because they do not need to fly; and, anyway, they are trying to buy some Ansons. They are training regular pilots for single-engined fighters, at a station in the Punjab, and working on conversion to Dakotas, the first twins in the Indian Air Force. He also went to the parachute training school, and thinks that sport parachutists are mad, because no-one could possibly enjoy parachuting, and the paratroopers certainly don’t.
They look like they're having fun, although that shouldn't exclude the possibility that they're nuts. Source.

“Airborne Power Station: Self-Contained Auxiliary Generator Plant for Large Aircraft: First 3-phase A.C. System on the Shetland” Flying boats have always had auxiliary generators because they are boats, and float well out in the water while the crew rambles about in launches looking for land in the bone-chilling fog. This one is the first 3-phase AC system, like the title says. It was a good way of testing the equipment, which is a very challenging design, because it has to give 24v DC for most of the housekeeping.
The plummy accent of the narrator is very appropriate.

“The Wing” A pictorial feature on the YB-35. 172 ft in span, 53ft long, the B-35 has an empty weight of 89,000lb and a normal auw of 162,000lbs. It carries a crew of fifteen, nine on duty, six resting, in a 37 ½ ft long pressurised compartment in the centre, has a wing area of 4000 sq ft, and a wing loading of 53.2 at normal all up weight, “by no means exceptional” by modern standards. It has a barbette defensive system, with two gunners.

“Radar in Civil Aviation: Uses and Possibilities: Grouping and Analysis of Equipment: Precis of a Paper Given to the Bristol Branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society by F. R. Willis” The author discussed two systems in use in England, the BABS, or Beam Approach Control System, and GCA, or Ground Controlled Approach. [pdf] The former is interpreted in the air, and has the disadvantage of not giving a glide path, and requiring a cathode ray tube to be effective, which adds weight. GCA uses centimetric and meter-length radars to find aircraft miles out from the airfield and “talk them down.” It is thought that the talking part will give way to direct control through the autopilot in the future. Neither of these systems have met with PICAO’s approval. It prefers an instrument landing system based on the SCS-51. Short-distance aids, which give more precise control in areas of dense flying, include DME (Distance Measuring Equipment), GEE and ACR. DME is handicapped by competition in the VHF spectrum, and England and America have not come to an agreement about which wavelength to use. GEE is well known, but requires careful synchronisation between “master” and “slave” units. The range is 450 miles, accuracy of fix at that range might be as high as one-third of a square mile, and I do not understand why this is a “short-range” aid. It is useful in Europe, because it is both accurate and flexible –not confined to a few “beams.”

ACR (Approach Controlled Radar) seems to be a way of saying GCA without giving anything away to Dr.Alvarez’s publicist. It is just a rotating radar linked up to a PPI, and has the usual problem of ground interference, especially at low altitudes. I want to scream like a wife whose husband insists on flying on business. Not having ‘ground interference’ of radar or aircraft is the point here! Willis moves on to discuss “long range aids,” which include GEE and LORAN. It is hoped that aircraft LORAN sets might help detect turbulence. No aircraft have been destroyed by turbulence yet, but that is because airliners are normally grounded when turbulence is expected, and that can’t go on. Aircraft probably do not need an air detection system, or, at least, not one associated with the long-range navigation set, because it is unlikely that they will need it on long flights in lightly travelled parts of the world. Some kind of collision avoidance system might be possible.

Indeed, “Later phase of development promised almost boundless technical possibilities.” This is where Willis discusses Teleran, the new RCA “composite system” that is supposed to meet all the continental airlines’ demands for everything.[!] It consists of a radar signal, which is superimposed in a television screen on an area map, and then broadcast to a television receiver on the plane. The pilot will be able to see his plane as a spot of light moving across the map, along with other aircraft, although this would require “separating” the different radar signals and broadcasting “A separate picture for each stratum of air space.” For landing control, Teleran broadcasts a vertical extension of the runway to enable the pilot to find his bearings. (This doesn’t seem to be an actual glide path, though.)
The January 1947 issue of Modern Mechanix has pictures!

“Britain’s Test Pilots: FrederickRonald Midgley, Chief Test Pilot of Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft, Ltd.” Midgely, like Penrose, has never been in the air force. He started as an apprentice at Vulcans, went into autos as a draughtsman, took up flying, got on as a pilot with a chartered airline with a press connection, became a test pilot at Hawkers in 1940 when they were producing aircraft like mad and needed someone young and expendable to take the new planes up and see if they came down again the right way. The paper mentions two of his colleagues as being killed, one test flying a Typhoon, the other as a Navy blind flying instructor. Then he was traded to Armstrong Siddeley to do the same with Whitleys, where he got on with special flying, including engine work, fitting Hobson carburettors on American jobs with automatic controls, and a bizarre undercarriage that was John Lloyd’s baby. Having survived that, he naturally got a promotion. He has had many adventures in the air, including being struck by lightning in a Dragon Rapide, and one on the ground involving a dislocated spine in a sportscar accident, but is still alive; although the AW52 will probably fix that. 

Fortunately for Midgeley, he is going to retire later in the year for medical reasons and take up a job as an airport manager. Though, to be fair, as a flying wing goes, the AW52 wasn't much of a killer.

Civil Aviation News

“Air Traffic Control System: Lines on Which the Ministry of Civil Aviation Are Planning” This isn’t technical, just the stuff that The Economist loves. (There will be a central office, with a boss who has a title, which is spelled out and then acronymed, and there will be regional branches, which also have very official sounding names, and they will have bosses with titles, etc.)

In shorter news, there is to be yet another attempt to turn the Burnelli lifting body plane into a practical reality, this time in Canada, and the American Civil Air Regulations have been amended to provide a greater degree of safety. From now on, no instrument approach or landing is to be attempted on a airport with lower visibility than the regulation allows.

Ex-FAA reports that he knew an AA gunner once who said that he shot down the first V-1, a month earlier than officially reported. Group Captain D. Saward, the manager of navigation and telecommunications at British European Airways, writes to correct H. A. Taylor. The military GEE set was not 800lbs, but rather 70lbs, and the current commercial version weighs 30lbs, or 38lbs installed, the total installation with furniture and computer weighing about 60lbs. He suspects that the 800lb weight is for the H2S Mk III with 6ft scanner, on the basis that he knows that the original H2S Mk II with 3 ft scanner was a 620lb installation, and the Mk III was considerably heavier. R. H. Reynolds, of the Empire Test Pilots’ School writes to say that he is not the R. H. Reynolds who wrote the “Dicing with Death” letter about how awful it is that test pilots talk to the press.

“A Friendly Comparison: RAF and USAAF Aircraft Compared” The paper only got a half-page of good letters this week, so it ran this bit. American planes are terrific! Responses to follow.

Time, 24 March 1947


Yoko Fukushima writes from Tokyo to point out that the Japanese are awful, and will never learn unless they are crushed beneath the American boot for another 25 to 30 years, or, at any rate, however long her career as a translator lasts. Joann Junyer, of New York, thinks that it is silly to worry that calligraphy is no longer taught in American schools, that typewriting is a perfectly good substitute, and that the time should be taken up with drawing classes instead. I feel like a crotchety old lady, suddenly. Pedro Lopez, Associate Prosecutor for the Philippines, thinks that the occupation taught Filipinos to be artful dodgers, and that this is the problem there, and in France, China and Greece. Various correspondents disagree about Senator Ball’s attempts to ban the closed shop. F. B. Griffith points out that union bashing is just the old trick of pitting farmers against labour, notes that farmers want dollar-a-pound butter but don’t want labour to have the dollar to pay for it, and quotes someone as saying that “When there is enough butter, there is too much!” Various correspondents have strong opinions about readability. 

National Affairs

“Spring” It’s spring, prices and the crime rate are up, everything is available to buy except houses, but people aren’t buying because they are developing more frugal habits. A barfly in Indiana thinks that things just aren’t right, somehow.

The President gave a speech on the new policy on Greece and Turkey, flew down to Key West to start his vacation, slept late, and wasn’t in Detroit, where his daughter made her radio debut.
And ended her set with "Last Rose of Summer," in case you were wondering. American Presidents have embarrassing relations, part the millionth. 

 Besides the speech, Greece and Turkey are to get $400 million and American civilian and military advisors and supervisors. I am being brief with the details, here, but it is only because I am being complete. Unless you are taking some very odd papers in London, you know as well as I do what a big deal this is. It is just that I was reading our distant cousin’s account of the siege of Mexico in Great Uncle’s papers. It is so amazingly different when you hear about it as something going on from day to day, with no idea how it will end! Will someone be looking at this in eighty or ninety years? Will they appreciate just how important it seems to us, today? Or will the fact that America decided to ignore (or implement) Isolationism and Self Determination and the Monroe Doctrine, etc, in Greece, of all places, be as unimpressive as General Scott’s march from the coast? 

“At His Post” Lewis W. Douglas has finally left New York on his way to be ambassador to England, filling a position vacant since September. I wouldn’t even mention it if I didn’t want to drop the name of the new ambassador to Greece (Lincoln MacVeagh), on the off chance that he ends up marrying Lana Turner or becoming President, and my great grandchild is reading this right now (plus eighty years) and thinking, “Oh, him.”.
They won't, although there's probably a back story here. (MacVeagh was an archaeologist as well as an ambassador, and is interred at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and Bryn Mawr Classical Review is awesome. He also married a Ferrante, for what it's worth.

“Shakedown” The Navy held exercises in the Atlantic and Pacific this week, including an attack on Pearl Harbour that the referees deemed a complete success, since 260 aircraft from three carriers easily overwhelmed the 75 planes, unmanned radar stations and two antiaircraft battalions protection Oahu. In the Caribbean, the operation was a mock amphibious attack; in both theatres, submarines were deemed to have sunk capital ships. (James says that submarines are always overrated on exercises, just like battleships used to be, and that if they were really being realistic, the referees would probably have to rule everyone sunk by everyone and call it a day.)

Half of an Allis-Chambers ad because you can't image a two-page ad
in the archival format. Thanks, low-pressure economy!
“It Seemed Like a Good Week” Former Labour Secretary Lew Schellenbach said this week that Communists should be “excluded from participation in any kind of public activity, including the right to run for public office.” The paper seems to think that this is a good idea, quotes Milton Murray as saying that there were Reds in the Newspaper Guild, and approves Allis-Chalmers’ firing the “Communist-line” union man who lead the strike, Harold Christoffel. Other communists got their comeuppance, although, unfortunately, the paper thinks, some didn’t.  [pdf]

“Congress’ Week” Congress at least managed to fund the government, although Democrats are having a jolly old time accusing the GOP of being extravagant, living outside the family budget, etc. It will all lead to even greater increases in the cost of living, to be sure, and just to make the point, our own Helen Gahagan Douglas showed up with a shopping basket containing $15 in groceries that used to cost $10.
Meanwhile, Tom Dewey’s Republicans are “purring” along in Albany, which makes them the “pilot plant” for 1948. To pay for teachers’ raises and other educational costs, he is increasing car license fees, cigarette taxes, state income tax and local taxes. He is also banning public service strikes.
That shopping basket stunt never gets old. Helen Gahagan as Ayesha, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. Source.

“Boomerang” George Plummer McNear, who bought the Peoria and Western, and has fought the unions ever since, up to, and including the killing of two pickets in 1946, was murdered on the street by someone with a shotgun last week. There are no clues, but a $41,000 reward.

“Into the Void” The astrodome of a TWA Constellation flying over the Atlantic has popped. Since the cabin was under pressure, the navigator, who picked the wrong time to take a star shoot, was sucked out and lost in the Atlantic. TWA has introduced safety harnesses for navigators, like the ones in B-29s.


“New World” America being more advanced than the world, in this feature it is the “Ides of March,” not “Spring.” England is having weather; Ireland is having a shamrock shortage; Italy (Naples) is having a bakers’ strike; Peter Kapitza emerged in Moscow to give a paper, squelching rumours that he’d been purged. Greece and China are fighting Communists, two fronts in a worldwide “Deadly Conflict,” as the paper sees it. (Moscow disagrees.) Winston Churchill thinks that, had the American foreign aid grant occurred after WWI, the last war could have been avoided. I suppose that we have to stop counting down to WWIII now. But not so fast, as someone named James Burnham has written a book that proposes that we are already in WWIII, but haven’t noticed, because it is afraid of waking us up while we are sleeping in the nursery above the side door, and so has had Teddy Tsu drop her off down in the road. Again, I am sure that you’ve heard all of this, except the part where Fanny has taken up with a new beau. The paper talks about Moscow for a while, where Marshall and Vishinsky are clashing over German reparations, before noticing that that is boring, and launching into an extended discussion of plays showing in various European cities. News!

“That Old Feeling” UN (Uno? UNO? The debate continues) staffers like high pay. Further bulletins as events warrant.

English, Bahamians and Filipinos are excitable. [Base Agreement]. The royal tour of South Africa is going well.

Chickcharneys are Bahamian elves, and hate Neville Chamberlain. It's complicated. 

“Love’s Labour’s Lost” Japan has a developing trade union movement, fostered by SCAP. The title is a laboured metaphor about how labour and management can’t learn “the arts of love” until “Papa” MacArthur tiptoes out of the parlour and turns the light off. Which brings the paper, in its very last sentence, to a point that is not about Japanese unions at all; MacArthur has proposed to end the occupation early, since the Japanese have learned all about democracy. Also learning about democracy is Siam, where The King and I is to be screened uncensored.

Latin Americans remain excitable, Canadians, boring. 


“The Blue-Chip Game” In this week’s cover story, paper reviews the American oil companies’ investment in Saudi Arabian oil at considerable length. The “blue chip” part is that the companies have had to sort out who owns what stock where. The man on the cover is an oil industry executive and geologist by training named Gene Holman [. . .].

“A Crash in Grain?” The speculators who crashed cotton in October seem to be aiming at grain next. Prices might be rising quickly in response to foreign demand, and speculative selling is at a fever pitch. The state exchanges are imposing margins in hopes of cooling it down.

“Take a Wire” Sears Roebuck gloated this week that it had “caught the whole radio-phonograph business with its pants down” by introducing a table top radio phonograph with a wire recorder, allowing it to play back shows for later listening. The only concern is keeping up with demand. It is only $169.50, and Sears had only 5000 sets on hand, with production capacity of 150 a day, when it introduced the product last week, and it has already sold 1000.

“Cheaper Steel” The ICC is mandating a 31% reduction in freight rates on steel shipped from US Steel’s Geneva plant, reducing the price of steel for West Coast consumers by about $4.40 a ton. Talk is that it was held up by Uncle Henry’s demands for his own freight reduction at Fontana, which he will probably get, shortly. Oh, the advantages of being the buyer of Averill Harriman’s ore.

Science, Medicine, Education

“Heavy Traffic” The Air Transport Association of America has published a proposed “block control” scheme for aircraft. Implementing it will require radio aids which haven’t been developed yet, but which seem practical. And, then, because this is America, the end of the article is handed over to S. Young White, a New York-area inventor with 183 patents to his credit, who has proposed a “Maximum Airport Utilisation” scheme with radio energy crackling everywhere and automatic controls for all. 

“High Pressure Convention” “Thirty of the nation’s leading circulation specialists and a group of industrial bigwigs” had a convention in Cleveland to launch the American Foundation for High Blood Pressure, as city living and rich food is leading to increasing levels of hypertension leading to circulatory troubles. Most think that people need to cut out rich food; but Dr. Keith Grimson of Duke University is all for something called “sympathectomy,” in which the sympathetic nerves are cut. He thinks this might be effective in a third of all hypertension cases. Other doctors complain that they can’t do enough experiments because the Animal Protective League won’t let them have stray dogs.

Just to frighten us even more than mad doctors destroying huge clumps of nerves in case it helps with high blood pressure, the paper mentions that a foundation has been formed to study Hodgkin’s Disease, the invariably fatal, cancer-like lymph node disease that kills so many young people, and the abriupt recall of the drug, Analbis,prescribed as a palliative in sore throats. It turns out that overdoses are easy to administer, and sometimes fatal.
It turns out that bismuth suppositories for sore throat are still a thing. Otherwise, Time's Medicine editor is doing a terrible job this week. Dr. Grimson was still campaigning to be allowed to cut open people's chests and destroy their throat nerves to fix hypertension in the 1960s.

“The Curse of Bigness” American state colleges “welcome almost every native son who has a high-school diploma and a craving for higher education.” That means that the University of California now has an enrollment of 50,000, and President Gordon Sproul has decided that they’ve let in too many of the inferior sort. Some other colleges claim to be going broke because of high enrollment, because they routinely subsidise students with their enrollment. Whether that is true or not, it is the reason that they are raising tuitions! However, if tuition rises much further, warns Colgate’s Emerson Reck, the middle class will be priced out. The only solution, as he sees it, is “federal subsidies with no strings attached.”

“Test Case” The NAACP is using Heman Marion Sweatt, refused admission to the University of Texas law school on grounds of race, as a “separate but equal” test case. Texas can either start a law school in a coloured college, or let Mr. Sweatt into the Texas school, which they preferred. The state legislature responded by funding a coloured-only university in Houston and a law school in Austin, but the latter, at least, hasn’t enrolled any students.

Press, Radio

“Admit One” Percival L. Prattis has been admitted as the first Coloured correspondent in the Congressional Press Gallery. Louis R. Lautier, of the Atlanta Daily World, was turned down on typically specious grounds.

The paper also notes that The Army Times has received a complaint about featuring pin-ups, which it will ignore, because ladies have moods, and that the late John Benjamin Powell is the kind of China correspondent it likes. His 27 year-old son will take over the China Weekly Review, and is also the kind of China correspondent the paper likes.
Powell is not as conservative as his father, Time says. And how, as it turns out. There's an idea that it's all down to confusion over Unit 731, hence the photo, although I also wanted to point out that I know that I've linked to Fox News above, but I thought that the context made it worthwhile.

“Paper Chase” The Philadelphia Bulletin ran practically ad-free last week because its circulation is so high and newsprint is so short.

This is kind of important, given the recent talk about how
no-one is going to buy these new gadgets because reasons.
“The Children’s Hour” Mrs. George F.Hanowell is upset that children are being exposed to lurid radio dramas, and wants them done away with, after which she can move on to comic books and mystery movies.

In shorter news, Chicago bars are finding televisions a big draw, and a radio station in Atlanta doesn’t play that many commercials.


Stephen Spender has been hired by Sara Lawrence. Doris Duke Cromwell has been hired to report on fashion from Paris for Harper’s. Clara Bow appeared in public, still the “It Girl” in her forties, but now with long hair. Tyrone Power and Rita Hayworth are separating from their spouses. Laraine Day is not separating from Leo Durocher. Kirsten Flagstad is back in America, where she clarifies the facts for the press. She was never a Fascist, because anti-Fascists like her. (It’s the Franco defence!) Sari Gabor Hilton has had adaughter by Conrad Hilton. Errol Flynn has had his second daughter and third child by Nora Eddington Flynn. Also dead, some formerly famous[?] people.

The New Pictures

The Private Affairs of Bel Ami is “the story of a scoundrel.”  The Adventuress features Deborah Kerr, Trevor Howard and some Nazi spies. It likes Kerr, but thinks that she is becoming too “Hollywood,” too quickly. Blaze of Noon is about men who fly and a woman who “watches and waits,” enough said. There is flying stunts, comedy, and Jean Wallace, but then romance sets in, which Anne Baxter, and, the paper thinks, it all goes soggy.

Pitcairn Mailwing. By Don Ramey Logan - Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36748643


Oswald Wynd’s Black Fountain proves, says the paper, that bad books win American book prizes. It is “stock and wooden, fitted out with set speeches.” Russell Lord has written a book about The Wallaces of Iowa, which, yes, is about those Wallaces, and the sort of necessary book ahead of the 1948 campaign. How will we know to vote for Henry Wallace unless we know that his father blew thewhistle on the Teapot Dome and that his grandfather was a give-‘em-hell preacher and newspaper ma? Also, he is wonderful. Irwin Edman, philosopher, has written a book called Philosopher’s Quest, which the paper illustrates in an interesting way.

The "friend" is identified in the footnote as Jinx Falkenburg, who will appear again.

Having come this far, the paper notices that it hasn’t reviewed a really Worthy Book yet, and remedies the lack by noticing a new edition of a Russian novel.

Flight, 27 March 1947


Domestic bliss with Bon Ami.
“Two Sorts of Progress” Someone got a medal for flying 616mph, and Captain Pritchard gave a talk at the first annual dinner of the Helicopter Association of Great Britain, where he complained that airplanes land much too fast these days, and someone is bound to be hurt, and the helicopter is the answer. The paper agrees with the first bit, at least, and sees a nice contrast. We’re getting better at going fast, but also need to get better at going slower. Only, people have been saying that for years, and what has happened instead is that planes have been getting better at landing fast. Perhaps that will change before my grandchildren are old enough to fly, but I suspect that what will happen is that supersonic airliners will be landing at 500mph and reversing their engines or pre-rotating their tyres, or their wings will rotate up flat for more braking, or there will run into wires, or they will just throw grapnel hooks out the back. And their poor grandmother will finish going all over grey.

“Airscrew-Turbine Development” In latest developments, the paper still refuses to talk like an American and say “turboprop.” Also, the Theseus is nice, and shows that “This country is holding, if not improving, its lead in aircraft gas turbine development.”

“Air Transport Economics” All the crashes may be due to economies, but who knows given how hard it is to parse airline’s books. The exception will be BOAC, when its financials are published. The English public is warned that they will be grim and bloody, mainly due to the ridiculous armada that the company must fly.

John Grierson, “Flight Equipment for High Latitudes: Crew Protection More Important than Elaborate Heating Arrangements for Engines” John Grierson is in charge of the three Walrus amphibians that were shipped aboard the whaling ship Balaena. He is upset that the Byrd Expedition won’t let him use their homing beacon, and that the Norwegian fleet is not coming through with their promised daily weather reports, but he still predicts that they will take plenty of oil. He finds that Janitrol heaters are enough to keep the hull of the Walrus warm, and are better than electric flying suits. This frees the crew to wear an ingenious immersion suit developed by Surgeon-Lieutenant Gab of the Naval School of Aviation at Eastleigh. Forced landing equipment includes a special, double pyramid tent, a Primus stove, which did not have to be specially plumbed for leaded fuel, as the expedition decided to use a specially-formulated, 91 octane unleaded fuel, because the extra expense saved on maintenance in difficult conditions. The sleeping bags were a modified RAF design, because the expedition could not get hold of North American supplies, and emergency rations were leftovers from those specially manufactured for Aries. Both an air mattress to go under the sleeping bags and modified, “tented” dinghies (the terrifically cozy looking ones I was talking about last month) come from the Balloon Development Unit. There is a floating, waterproof emergency wireless with hand crank generator, and emergency parachute packs to drop supplies.

Here and There

The Goblin-Bluebird will save 4430lb in weight compared with the original, will have an enormous reserve of power, and is not as inefficient as one might think, given that the original engine-screw combination only had a 45% efficiency. The Brabazon III will be the Armstrong Whitworth Avon, and will be powered by four A. S. Mambas.
Apollo, it turns out, as all the river names are taken by Rolls Royce. 

Shell reminds us all that the synthetic detergents they have developed from oil are particularly well-suited to cleaning aircraft fittings, as they do not attack aluminum. Williamson has had an order for some cameras from the Geodetic Institute of Denmark for an aerial survey of Greenland. The paper is pleased that Sweden has undertaken to build Vampires, Ghosts and Goblins, and this adds up to millions in “real exports.” A recent Notice to Airmen warns that the Vickers transonic models will be testing for six months from April 1st 1947. Lt. Colonel W. G. H. Miles, the European regional representative on PICAO, was killed in an air accident at Naples on 8 March. (Note that this accident appears to be misattributed by operator in the Wikipedia list for 1947.)

“The Brabazon I: Structural Aspects of the Bristol 167: Essential Simplicity Without Heterodoxy” No heresy here. This is actually fairly important, since there are a long list of experimental, very large aircraft built in the last two decades that failed because the designers lost control of structure weight. It is, however, very boring. The article title is also a bit misleading, since the 167 was designed for a pressure cabin from the beginning, and the designers have played around a bit with using pressure-sealing diaphragms as structural elements.

Yoke dress by Milliken. Fashion, right?
“Fashions in Folds” A pictorial of various wing-folding schemes on Navy planes.

“Air Estimates Debated” The air force won the war; demobilisation is almost complete, which is why there are no mechanics, which is why there is no flying. The air force needs to attract good mechanics and keep them, which is why the barracks are getting spiffed up. Hon. Cons. Members, not surprisingly, do not focus on these subjects so much as the regrettable lack of auxiliary air force squadrons, which could keep trim in peacetime with low flying fox hunts. Also the RAF hasn’t developed a good, big airliner, and its scientists and technicians are inclined to be civil service eggheads who would never chase a fox in a fighter jet, any way. Other Cons. Members thought that England should have very large bombers to drop atomic bombs wherever wanted, and enormous missile bases to fire rockets and robot controlled missiles and such. A female parliamentarian asks about equal pay and opportunities, right down at the end of the column, where women’s issues belong. Grr.

H. A. Taylor, “Mission to   India, Part IV: Thoughts on the Monsoon: ‘Cu-Nim Indicators’: Back to a Snow-Bound Britain” The monsoon is awful to fly in. The reason that everyone is talking about “cumulo-nimbus cloud detectors” out there becomes clear when Taylor explains that they are common in the monsoon, and easy to run into at night, and induce terrible turbulence. Then, back to England, practicing receiving weather reports on the way –VHF, Taylor says, was often nearly incomprehensible, a good reason to be cautious about GCA. Oh, the good old days, when HF QDMs were given in a clear voice, and the controller hung his head out of the window of the tower to remark, “Motors west” or “Motors over.” Yes, yes, good old days that –How many times have I complained about this kind of nonsense already?
"Motors over!" Note that this bygone, primitive era is fifteen years ago. 

“Theseus Air Testing: First Bristol Airscrew Turbines Fly in a Lincoln: Some Features Discussed” The Theseus is now the first turboprop to have flown, for a total of 137 hours. The paper notes that it has already discussed the engine, and, for a change, manages not to say anything more about that, perhaps because the “controller” unit is so fascinating. It cannot say anything bout how it works either, because patent pending. However, it uses the airscrew pitch to maintain the ratio of speed between the turbine blade that turns the screw, the compressor, and the turbines. This in turn allows a wide range of operating speeds with very little variation in power output, which would be convenient in keeping down airscrew rpm and so noise. The Theseus is now expected to be little more than a scale model of a 5000hp unit, which might go on the Hermes V, unless I am misreading the article and the Theseus is meant. The heat exchanger is deemed a typical Bristol gadget, which I hope doesn’t mean that it is as misguided as the sleeve valve.

Civil Aviation News

“More About the Tudors” The various new makes of Tudors, and old makes modified to meet BOAC’s concerns, if that is possible, are all delayed by various reasons including the fuel shortage. Some desperate hopes are expressed about the Hercules that might replace the Merlins. Again, they are sleeve valves. PICAO is talking about special visas for flight crew. In related news, the Americans are making special efforts to clear away this “red tape.” There are all sorts of concerns about how customs clearance is going to work in airports, not just for luggage, but people, as well. What does one do with someone who presents at the door of an airplane with plans to live in the United States permanently? Inspectors need either prisons, or some discretion in issuing paroles. (Time gets in a short bit about an American who was refused admission through Customs on return from Havana because he was wearing shorts. He had to take a boat back to Cuba, change, and come back through.) 

Pan American is introducing special, discounted round-trip tickets on several routes, with permission from the CAB. The story of the Hermes with a Bristol turboprop engine pops up again. It sounds like the Theseus is meant.

This Britannia prang was due to landing issues, not engine flameout in the Proteus (Theseus successor) engines, but, sigh, anyway.


Suddenly, planes are in the background
of aftershave and whiskey ads.
High class men fly --airlines.
F. J. Seward writes to ask why two sources disagree on Fighter Command casualties during the Battle of Britain. D. S. F. Winsland thinks that air accidents hardly ever happen compared with road accidents, so we shouldn’t worry about it, and if there is a transport board to investigate air accidents, it should also look at all the other kinds of transport, in case the railroads are having one over on us. Those are, respectively, a one paragraph and a three-paragraph letter. The rest of the correspondence page is taken up by a letter from D. K. N. Evans accusing the Government of BUNGLING private aviation. You know, I was joking about fox hunting in planes a moment ago, but suddenly it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Time, 31 March 1947

Correspondents differ on Truman’s plan for Greece, General Marshal and the Moscow Conference. Katherine Kernan thinks that American Protestants should stop fighting Catholics when the real enemy is atheism. Leo Becher, of Milwaukee, thinks that the English should be allowed to become a State of the Union. Several English correspondents are not impressed by that, and do not think that they are “frightened” by “the crisis.” The publisher, perhaps provoked by the response to “The Crisis” as well as to “Spring,” writes a not-apology. It wasn’t the idiotic opinion of one writer. It was the consensus of the idiotic opinion of all the paper’s bureaus.
The English are in a less apocalyptic mood than Rockefeller Plaza.

National Affairs

“Twitch” “Certain familiar signs were noticeable again last week. Was the U.S. economy on the verge of another fit?” The signs are a possible steel strike and rising prices.

22nd Amendment?” Congress has proposed an amendment to restrict persons to serving only two terms as President.

“The First Loyalty” Way back in 1883, President Arthur approved a rule saying that applicants for civil service jobs could not be asked about their political beliefs. This was fine back in those days, when the radical fringe wasn’t very radical, but now that they are communists, it has and should be changed. Also in Communist-fighting news, Congress is working on a new way of providing world food aid so that if more money is appropriated for aid, it only goes to non-Communists.  Follows another story about Greece.

“Same Rights, Same Privileges” Race riots at Fremont High School in Fresno, California.

K Street High School, later Fresno High. If Fresno is the model for Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Sunnydale, then. . . 

In political news, Supreme Court judges are sniping at each other in public, Congress has finally bestirred itself to pass something, specifically, a bill to ban portal-to-portal suits, which will be vetoed. It is also moving its tax cuts forward, unlike the UMW coal strike, which is now officially off, as is the strike at Allis-Chalmers.

In not political news, Robert McCormick, Jr., visited Hollywood and attended some parties thrown for him by Hedda Hopper, and a former top picketer on the San Francisco docks has been read out of the union for becoming a follower of Father Divine, who apparently forbids striking.

“Reeny Season” Teenagers like fast cars, especially jeeps, and are using new words, like “boodles,” and “reeny.” Teenage girls are keeping “slam books,” in which they say nasty thinks about their friends, and “jelly chains” are fashionable as are yo-yos, ankle bracelets, and knitting.
I don't think that Time expects us to take this article entirely seriously. Source. This is the month that Congress revives its own "smelt swallowing" challenge, BTW.

Communists and communism are everywhere, and terrible. Also, the Moscow conference is not going well, because the Russians are paranoid, and think we don’t like them.

“Hell and High Water” The heavy snows of winter are giving way to flooding all over England. Thirty four of 40 counties of England, and many parts of Wales are affected, but not Scotland. Central London’s water supply is contaminated by flood waters, and there are power failures in the Tube. Coal mines have been flood, thousands are homeless, thousands more marooned. Three thousand soldiers and hundreds of German prisoners were working desperately to bolster the dykes of the Ouse last week, failing on Friday, with a 25,000-acre flood resulting, destroying the winter wheat and new potato crop. The winter has already cost a million head of young hill sheep, and now the flooding has drowned tens of thousands more.
The world's farmers are going to come through in 1947 (not that that will stop famine in Asia), but that's not obvious in the Ouse Washes right now

“Ein Tywysoges” Princess Elizabeth is this week’s cover story, and like some damn, sympathetic fool, I am setting this issue aside for my daughters, but you don’t want to hear me gush.

Very Smooth” Lord Mountbatten, who is expected to ease India into independence by June of 1948, was officially welcomed as the new Viceroy of India, right after he popped by Wavell’s digs to let him know that he’d been replaced. (When you have difficult news to share, it is always best to keep mum and let the recipient figure it out when her key doesn’t fit the lock any more.)

“On the Record” MacArthur gave a press conference this week, the first since 1941, in which he argued for anearly peace treaty with Japan, apparently quite on his own and without discussions with the White House; not that he can consult, because, formally, he is the United Nations commander, and the only thing the United Nations can agree on is, etc.

“End of a Symbol” The retreating Communists withdrew from Yenan before the ever advancing, ever victorious armies of the Goumindang.
It's worth stressing that although Yenan and Shaanxi Province are consistently described as being in the remote northwest, this is the heartland of the Qin, Han and Tang dynasties.

Latins are excitable, except the Mexicans, who are planning four huge dams in Vera Cruz and Oaxaca state to drain the swamps, open rivers for navigation and generate power, and Paraguay, where there is a bit of a civil war on. Canadians are less boring than usual, due to a spy trial.
Somehow this never happened?


“Colour Line” The FCC has decided not to grant CBS a license to broadcast colour television using its mechanical system. This is effectively the FCC deciding in favour of RCA’s electroniccolour television technology, which will probably not be available until the mid-Fifties. The New York Times is upset at this interference in the free market, but as the FCC would point out, the free market is restricted to the number of broadcast frequencies. I think it is the right decision (mainly because it means people can co on buying and installing televisions without worrying that they will suddenly become obsolete due to not working with the CBS system), but it is too bad that we don’t get to see CBS colour broadcasting in action before deciding against it.

“Black Batches and Beards” Smith Brothers Cough Drops executives wear beards, and so do Poughkeepsie residents, in honour of their good old business with excellent financials. Getting a similar, Fortune-light treatment are Chrysler and the maple sugar business. (Where the end of the OPA means that last year’s price of $3.39 has given way to $5, and may reach $7.)
We're in the part of the fashion cycle were beards are bold and transgressive again. 

“Quick Thresh” The price of wheat fell rapidly on commodity exchanges this week, but not dangerously so. Part of the reason is a Department of Agriculture forecast that the 1947 wheat crop will be the biggest of all time.

In Easter sales, dollar volume was off 1%, still enough to worry retailers, who sense more reluctance from consumers to buy shoddy stuff. Designers who overindulged in pleats and swirls in response to the removal of OPA restrictions found less than enthusiastic consumers. Hats are pretty, costume jewelry is weak, scarves and short jackets are in. (I need to show you my “hot jive jacket,” because it is News!)
I think this the cut we're talking about. The "hot jive jackets" have bolder colours and sometimes slogans. Not that Grace can wear them right now --or that she's supposed to be out shopping!

“Shot in the Arm” The CAB’s 10% increase in passenger fares has saved the airlines. Or doomed them, with fares now 50% higher than rail rates.

Science, Medicine, Education

“Good and Bad Atoms” J. A. Hutcheson, associate director of Westinghouse Research Laboratories, is unimpressed by the idea of using an atomic pile to just make steam. Sure, it is atomic power, but it is atomic power that carries the outmoded thinking of the coal age forward. Atomic piles produce energy in all kinds of ways, and heat is the most degraded of them. For example, beta rays are nothing but electricity, and if a pile could be created that only produced beta rays, there would be noneed for expensive boilers and turbines. He admits that there is no known way of doing that; but surely there is some kind of “black box” that will produce atomic power more elegantly. Meanwhile, in the latest number of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Ansley Coal writes about “Reducing Vulnerability to Atomic Attack.” He foresees a future in which nations stockpile ever more atomic bombs, build ever more underground factories and deep underground shelters for population; but all of this readjustment cannot keep pace with increases in the number and effectiveness of atomic bombs. The only solution, he concludes, is international atomic control.
"Ansley Coal" may be a misprint, but I'm not sure what for.

“Peculiar Weather” It turns out that England’s weather this winter is due to the failing of the prevailing westerlies that ordinarily blow across the Atlantic. This allowed cold winds from eastern Russia to reach western Europe. This was due to a southernextension of the northern polar cap, a body of cold air that ordinarily reverses the west-to-east circulation of the winds, but only in the Arctic. It also bulged into Alaska, bringing record colds of -83 degrees, into central Canada and the United Staes, and as far south as Florida and Texas. No-one knows what made the polar masses grow so large this year, but it is hoped that proposed Arctic weather stations will help us understand them in the future and predict future occurrences.
A weak polar vortex. Talk about your cold war!

“Orchids Without Coal” US medical schools turned out a record-breaking 5800 graduate last year, leaving them in serious financial distress, due to high enrollments, tuition that does not cover fees, shrinking endowment incomes due to low interest rates and the cost of research. “We cannot grow orchids in a greenhouse that lacks coal.”

“Social Physicians” A group of doctors had a conference in New York to discuss “Social Medicine,” as promoted by Dr. John A. Ryle, first professor of social medicine at Oxford. I am a little confused about what they’re after. There is talk of social problems, which often have a medical component, but also of diseases with obscure causes. “Why do workingmen die of stomach and skin cancer twice as often as professional men?” I guess that one reason is that they’re poor, and that is definitely “social,” but might there not also be occupational hazards? If so, “social medicine” would be about finding them, which is something that medicine already does.

“Neuroses Out of Town” Are country people better adjusted than city people? Back-to-nature enthusiasts like to think so, but a recent case study of a typical Ohio rural county discovered that it is just because there are no therapists there.

Atomic School” The school founded for the children of workers at the top secret Los Alamos laboratory is very eccentric in many ways. It started as a college prep school for the children of scientists, but now offers vocational courses for the children of tradesmen, as well.

Radio, Art, Press

The biggest things in radio right now are guest stars and Milton Berle.

“Kid Stuff” An exhibit of children’s art at the Manhattan Museum of Natural Art turns that joke about how “My kid could do this” on its head. Also, Max Ernst has had an exhibit.

“Let Freedom Ring True” A crowd of Economist writers recently got together and wrote a book about how the free press is supposed to be free. It is called A Free and Responsible Press, and if the point is that the free press needs to be more anti-communist, I will tear my eyes out –or not, because I need them. Fortunately for my eyes, it turns out that the problem is the gutter press, not communism.

“’X’ Marks the Spot” Curtiss Publishing Company has abandoned its plans to produce a Life competitor after two years of work, leaving only Marshal Field’s U.S.A. of the planned postwar magazines. Also, Slim Lynch has now earned Washington State Press Club prizes for both photography and copy. Also, Louis R. Lautier is in the Senate Press Gallery after all, thanks to the Senate Rules Committee overruling the daily correspondents’ committee.


Jinx Falkenburg is this year’s Radio Sweater Girl. (Nina Foch is the Hollywood Queen, because sweaters have lots of queens.)

Evelyn Waugh is leaving Hollywood, because plans to film his novel have fallen through, and the winter is over in England. Andrei Vishinsky says that a newspaperman needs strong legs to catch his interviewee, and to get away from him after the interview is published. Senator McKellar is pictured, forcing his attentions on Hilma Seay, 1947 Maid of Cotton, because that sort of thing is funny when it is not your daughter. Caroline Otero has reappeared, and Anna Dodge Dillman is suing for divorce. Shelagh Rank Packard has had a daughter, Carmen Miranda has married, as have Norman Corwin and KatherineLocke. Abbot Tai Hsu has died, as have Sir John Watson Gibson, and William Starling Burgess.

The New Pictures

TheLate George Apley is based on a novel that is a “cleverly genteel variant on the water-drip torture.” The film is not that; it is a “friendly, quietly amusing, rather slow picture,” although I like the Gay Nineties dress that Vanessa Brown is wearing in the outtake in the paper. Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour are back with My Favourite Brunette. This seems to be one of those pictures that the paper is embarrassed to like, so that’s a good sign if you’re looking for something relaxing. Pursued was supposed to be a western with a difference, but the differences “aren’t interesting.” The Years Between is a worthy English problem picture, and Nora Prentiss is silly.


What kind of a name is Feike Feikema? The name of someone who writes novels about Iowa, I guess. And soil conservation. Exciting! “By a river in Siouxland he stood weeping,” the paper quotes, and doesn’t seem to be making fun. The worthy books segment is taken up by a life of the man who translated that Arabian book that every Lothario likes to quote. You know, “Loaf of bread, jug of wine, and thou. . .” Nevil Shute has a book with no planes in it, The Chequer Board, which sounds as though I ought to like  it.

Not even vaguely contemporary, but the screenplay is based on a Frederick (Feikema) Manfred novel.

Scientific American, March 1947

Fifty Years Ago

American magazines are having difficulties
adjusting to the new advertising environment ,
so I am trying to make allowances, but this is
not the Very Serious magazine my grandfather
used to read in the early 1970s.
Marconi is showing off his new “wireless,” the trans-Siberian is making rapid progress, Herr Andree will setoff in June from Spitzbergen in an attempted balloon flight to the North Pole, the San Joaquin Electric Company is installing three 340 kW General Electric generators on a plume to provide power to Fresno, there is growing agitation for good roads, Andrew Carnegie thinks that good training makes good employees, the Niagara works are to supply power to a new aluminum refinery, and Herr O. Schutt, of Jena, has come up with an electric discharge lamp.

100 Years Ago

There are eighteen cotton factories in Georgia, pen factories only in England and the United States, minerals in Missouri, and capital has been arranged to build 1200 homes for the toiling factory workers of Manchester, England, who travel to and from their work on trains.

“Brazil: A Coming Industrial Empire” You can tell that Scientific American is on a higher plane than Aviation. In Aviation, Western Airlines buys articles. In Scientific American, the Government of Brazil does.

Fred D. Peters, Editor-in-Chief, Materials and Methods, “Precision Forgings” the idea of precision forging is to produce a piece with high tolerances without further machining, which may not even be possible in given cases. Therefore the Steel Improvement and Forge Company solved the problem of precision forging to produce many items with possibilities that go far beyond military applications. Its technique is to carry out initial forgings of the “blocking” at high temperatures, and then forge to precision tolerances at much lower temperatures –so-called cold forging. Die design is critical, and only certain alloys are suitable, but the result is much lower costs. The company has mainly worked on turbines for jet engines, but current work with 12% chromium steel for compressor blades may lead to wider use of the technology with lower-alloy steels suitable for “innumerable other applications.”

“Job Rating for Square Dealing” Something about aptitude testing and timekeeping? Anyway, warmed-over Taylorism. They don’t even use punch cards and IBM sorting machines, like the aircraft companies during the war.

Some short blurbs (out of the “New Products” section, so probably to fill out a page) introduce flexible power shafts with extended life due to stainless steel layers, Friction sawing, which works on “an unknown base—“ Oh, come on, this is just sad. I’m beginning to wish I renewed my subscription to Radio News!

Previews of the Industrial Horizon, by A. D. Peck

Mr. Peck is excited by the possibilities of radio for controlling large factories, eyeglasses for workers, radiant heating and heat pumps for houses, better names for new materials, and new 70 ton railcars built for the Chesapeake and Ohio with roller bearings in theaxles for the first time.

Charles A. Breskin, “What Plastics Mean to Plywood” Remember all those de Bruyne articles and the ones in Aviation? Mr. Breskin hopes you don’t.

Howard C. E. Johnson, Ph.D., Chemical Editor, Chemical Industries, “Metals Plus Hydrogen” Metallic hydrides like calcium hydride are quite useful in industry, notably for drying. Titaniumhydride is a good coating for copper surfaces. It might also alloy with coper, as zirconium hydride does. Sodium hydride dissolved in sodium hydroxide is good for descaling metals. I think the point is that hydrogen makers are looking for new markets?

“Fungus on Optics Prevented by Radioactive Metal-Foil Strips” This sounds like it might work.

John Markus, Associate Editor, Electronics, “Electronic Insurance in the Shop” The title is a bit obscure, but the subject is a number of electronic gadgets that detect jams in large presses and prevent the press from cycling, possibly causing disastrous damage when moving parts encounter pieces where they are not supposed to be. The electronics in this case consist of induced currents through the void spaces which are interrupted by the jams. The electronic “slug” picks them up and locks the mechanism. Since this is a little light, the article adds in discussions of a long-sought “audio filter” that gets rid of needle scratch, announced by H. H. Scott of the Technology Instrument Corporation, an “electronic eye” that allows the blind to “read” by listening to the device “speak” the words, and an RCA electronic time interval counter, now re-engineered for civilian applications. The first is, in some sense, electronic insurance for the shop. The latter two –well, they make up the column space.

Alexander Klemin, “Instrumentation, Measurement and Control” This is a precise of a paper given at the First National Instrument Conference, and has the air of an after-dinner speech. The paper then segues into precis of several other papers, one on “supersonic” testing, the other on Sound and Vibratory Movement testing.

“Atom-Powered City Predicted by Chemist in Ten Years” Milton Burton of Notre Dame, and formerly of the Radiation Chemistry Section at Oak Ridge, is not just some chemist, but I still think his talk to the American Chemical Society is being a bit optimistic. He also thinks that radiation will be used to treat common substances such as natural gas and clay to create new, industrially useful materials.

Once again, the precis leak over a page, which must be filled in with blurbs for a portable induction phone for railway maintenance crews, an “auto ventilating” equipment that will keep cars at a constant 70 degrees, and mobile substations for emergency use during blackouts.  Page over, and it turns out to be not fill at all, as the paper discusses 2,4-D, television as a “remote viewing” application in industry, overload clutches, and the fabled powdered-coal locomotive. (At least, James says, it is better than the powdered-coal battleship of fifteen years ago.) Finally, J. E. Goldman, of Westinghouse Research Laboratories, is proud of an electromagnetic of unprecedented power, to probe the mysteries of magnetism.
If Westinghouse had hired Jinx Falkenberg's publicist, do you think we'd be talking about WRL, instead of Bell Labs?

New Products and Processes

A “quantity computer” for mixing and diluting oils; a transparent, or one-way mirror, adhesive labels(!), rayon laminates, and, at last, some punch cards, as an “automatic typewriter” from Flexograph makes its appearance. An unidentified company has an electrofluid drive, which is just an electrical motor driving through a fluid coupling, a six-station turret lathe, a carbide glass saw, and “atomic welding,” which uses an atomic hydrogen arc to weld alloy steels at temperatures exceeding 1500 degrees.


This section seems especially futile in that it starts with a review of G. Geoffrey Smith’s Gas Turbines. It is a pretty mixed bag of technical books, including a primer on microcalorimetry, The Preapration and Use of Visual Aids, Careers in Aviation, Alfred Still’s Communication Through the Ages and so on. Technical handbooks, scientific self-help, history of science [H. T. Pledge, Science since 1500], and, finally, a bit of communism, as we note David Lynch’s The Concentration of Economic Power, which is about how some corporations are too big for anyone’s good.

Telescoptics: A Monthly Department for the Amateur Telescope Maker

I mention this so that you’ll know it is here. It is interesting to hear that chemists are making fast progress on plastic lenses, although they are not nearly up to astronomy yet. 

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