Sunday, August 19, 2018

Postblogging Technology, June 1948, II: Blockades, Airlifts, Antitrust and Floods

(The surprisingly apropos theme for the Vanport Flood documentary, embedded below.)
R_. C_.
Oriental Club,

Dear Father:

I don't know if I've mentioned that Ronnie had a Monday in lieu of the 4th, and that we're flying spares out to the Zone and then turning the planes right around. 

Put two and two together, and here we are in our weekend boudoir in beautiful (not!) Frankfurt. I can't imagine what Ronnie is going to be like at work on Tuesday morning, but, as she says, she's flown the Atlantic more often than I have, and she aims to keep it that way! I'm not sure that that's going to happen. I may be back in Arcata soon. Right now, we have more planes and pilots in Germany than we have landing slots, which is the reason my CO sent me over with his Skymaster. (That and he's probably tired of me complaining about having to land on a Ronson.) The idea is that the Navy's instrument-flying whizkid will suss out the tricks to keep landings up. I'm not sure what ideas I'm supposed to be coming up with, but I will be doing a night flight into Templehof in six hours to see what's what. Then, who knows, I'll probably be in London on my way to Boscombe Down. Perhaps I can drop in and see you, if you're not off to Aldermaston to talk about sniffing for Russian nuclear tests. 

When you do get back home, watch out for trouble from the kin down California way. Uncle George had no sooner got Uncle Henry settled down over the Vanport floods when US Steel got the go-ahead from the Supreme Court to buy into Los Angeles. Uncle Henry can't blame that on us, but he is wall-eyed angry, and testing out the idea that if we'd only invested in Fontana, he'd be strong enough to keep Big Steel out of California. It's gibberish, but it gives  him someone to blame. Meanwhile, Grace and James are off to meet her father in Macao now that a Communist victory is more than a cynical joke. It's an all-the-stars conference on the question of whether we can get back into Hong Kong. The important point is that Grace isn't in California to manage him. I almost wrote "here!" This flying around the world is disorienting! 

And as if that's not bad enough, R. is going through the wringer. He is getting divorced, which is normal enough for the Hollywood types, but which has brought out H. He had this bizarre notion that his youngest son could have followed him into the Presidency, unlike his legitimate sons, with their habit of sticking their hands out. Can be? I doubt it. Divorce, you see. And family drama, because it turns out that H. has been talking to some friends at GE about promoting R., now that his movie career is, uhm, well . . . 

I had a thought in there, but I've lost it now. That's probably a little angel whispering that I should take a nap while Ronnie's out.

Your Son,

On the same theme, the music from the documentary on the Berlin Airlift, embedded last week.

The flood occurred on 29 May 1948, and President Truman toured the damage on 11 June, so I guess I can forgive Time for having dropped the story by the June 18th issue. But 39 people died! 

Flight, 17 June 1948


"Faster Than Sound" Captain Charles Yeager has flown the Bell XS-1 faster than the speed of sound. Flight offers a grimacing congratulation, with bonus whining about losing to Australia in cricket, to Bell, Reaction Motors, and Yeager, who might have "given it the gun" and reached Mach 1 a bit faster than anyone expected.

"Next Generation Pilots" Flight sells magazines to private pilots, so it can't be like the VA and just tell them to find their own scratch. It has to pretend that they're the next generation of RAF and BOAC pilots, instead. It seems a bit cheap to me, because most of those boys won't make it, unless we get into a real shooting war. But in the mean time, they'll have colour photos from Flight all around their bedroom! There's another bit following on about how we need to appreciate the flying clubs more. 

"Service Trainers" The British are introducing two new primary trainers, while the Americans are experimenting with going straight into advanced trainers, which works, too. 

Maurice Smith, "Prentice in the Air" The Percival Prentice is that side-by-side basic trainer that the RAF ordered. Is it as bad as people say? "Less than I was led to believe," Smith says. It also has instruments, so it can be used as a refresher for instrument flying and navigation, although that's not actually the job for a primary trainer.

"Swedish Ghost Fighter: First Details of the Swept-Back J. 29"
By Gnolam - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
 Considering that Saab began working on the design two-and-a-half years ago, the 28 degree sweep with 45 degrees at the wing root and knife edge leading edge of 75S sheet was pretty bold. 

"Hastings Home Again" The Handley Page Hermes is back from Australia more. It still has a tail-down undercarriage, and the RAAF still doesn't want it, but it is a plane. Also, Sir Arthur Sidgreaves has died at 66, a war casualty due to a breakdown from overwork. 

Bing has no idea why this picture shows up first in an image search for Sidgreaves. The Internet lacks a picture of the man, although the Wikipedia article clarifies that he was a suicide of the inconsiderate sort. 
Civil Aviation News

CC BY-SA 3.0,
The first Air India Constellation service landed at London Airport this week. Airways Training trainees are having a reunion, the British Air Charter Association has --would it be too much to say that it now has a charter? ICAO has new board members, and Austria and Finland are now members. A Short Solent service to South Africa has had to be cancelled so that the wing-tip floats could be shortened and strengthened. The remaining planes will not be taken off service, but will be modified as they arrive back in Blighty. The Canadian emigrant North Star service will begin flying on 31 March next. The report on the 16 July 1947 BOAC York crash at Az-Zubair, Iraq, in which all six crew were killed and all twelve passengers injured, is now out. The York made multiple landing attempts at Basra and then at Shaibah, but was frustrated by poor visibility conditions. On the fourth attempt at Shaibah, unable to see through the dust, the plane touched ground with extended undercarriage approximately twenty feet below the altitude of Shaibah and some distance away,probably due to loss of power due to temporary fuel starvation, perhaps because, distracted by QGH procedure, the pilot may have set the fuel cocks incorrectly, although it might have been due to bumpy conditions. Either way, the plane hopped over a tamarisk stand, climbed, then crashed.

The moral of the story is that far too much was asked of the pilot, and that the situation called for automatic landing procedures. Although given that it happened in Iraq, we probably shouldn't expect a battery of ground-based localisers to do it! Tasman Airlines' Sandringhams are going to return to service with limits on maximum cylinder temperature. 

"Crop Spraying: Air Aid for the Farmer" In the most excitingly new news in aviation since some racehorses flew in a plane and a new service was started, a helicopter belonging to Pest Control, Inc, are flying crop spraying runs out of Heston. 

"Transport on Trial: Service Tests of the Vickers Valetta" The Valetta has a nice, big door, and 2000hp Hercules engines, and will soon replace the Dakota, York and Halifax in RAF service. 

It is hoped that the design might also be used as a bombing and navigational trainer. 

"Personal Views: An Exclusive interview with Sir Miles Thomas After His Recent Trip to America" The chairman of BOAC sat down with Flight to talk about the Stratocruiser and the delivery delay, which is normal and expected in a new design, and also because of labour. The BOAC party was very interested in the small Boeing turbine, which the company is visualising as a power source for auxiliary equipment in large aircraft. They also saw the well-thought-of Convair 240, which, American opinion has it, is probably the last civil airliner ever to be developed as such, since the cost of prototypes has risen so high that Convair will need to sell 500 to make a profit. Future airliners will begin as military prototypes, because only the air force has the scratch. Fat chance for a transport bird, if you ask me!

"Valkomna: Thirteen Mustangs and Three Ju 86s Arrive from Sweden on Reciprocal Visit" Did the Swedes license build the Ju 86? Is it still a diesel ship? Article doesn't say.

"Bramcote Navy Day" The real British air force had a Day, including a show by Sea Hornets. Now that's a carrier plane.

And Firebrands. Lookitall the furniture!
Here and There

The Athena had its first test flight this week. Various people and planes are visiting and being visited. The ATC is off to Canada, the Swedes are in Britain, the Fairy Junior is in Brtiain, the Meteor Trainer is in France. Scandinavian Airlines is flying some fir and pine seedlings to Iceland, since archaeology says that it used to be forested, and some experiments are in order to see if it can be forested again. The government is selling off its avgas refinery, which the Tories think is selling off the family jewels, etc. The Interdepartmental Technical Committee on Servo-mechanisms is offering a summer course on servo-mechanisms. 

"Civil Aviation Committees: Councils and Committees Which Advise the Ministry of Civil Aviation" I hereby advise posterity that this article occurs at this point in this issue of Flight. Now where's my stipend?


H. T. Fry[*] explains why you're not already in the RAFVR. The hat-fitting appointments are booked up. W/Cdr (ret) thinks that the Air Force is BUNGLING short-service and permanent commissions. C. J. de LaPauld, the assistant chief engineere of Compagine des Moteurs Multiplex, thinks that aviation diesel engines are the coming thing. Lieutenant Colonel C. G. Elliott explains the duties of Carrier Air Group Liaison Officers during landing operations. G. A. Henwood wonders if we still need primary trainers. S. W. G. jokes about a strange letter asking about the effects on planes of variations in "g" (acceleration due to gravity) with latitude. "Comparator" replies to H. G. Conway of British Messier, reiterating his defence of the levered undercarriage suspension, and asks for more consideration of British practice in American design work. David Brice observes contra "Comparator" that the Convair XC-99 was at least considered as a civil transport at one point.

The Engineer, 18 June 1948

Seven-Days Journal

The Institution of Metallurgists had a meeting, and the President spoke at length about the ways of the world today. A long notice on the three-day summer school courses on servo-mechanisms notes that they are being given with the cooperation of the Ministry of Education and the Scottish Home Office at Heriot Watt College, Edinburgh, in Birmingham, Northampton, and, finally, Newcastle during 1-3 September. The courses will have lectures, demonstrations, and discussions of developments of local significance. The Electronics Group of the Ministry of Supply's Atomic Energy Research Establishment has now a 30 million volt synchrotron to provide information about the design of the very high energy devices now being built, including the 300 million volt synchrotron under construction at Metrovick for fundamental research into nuclear physics at the University of Glasgow. The report on the 26 November 1947 train collision at Farnborough, Hants., blames failure to follow proper procedure upon a loss of power to the automatic signals, which were not to blame, even though they are forty years old. Power failures happen, and the accident would not have happened had proper procedures been followed. Waterloo Station's hundredth birthday is very exciting. The Town Planning Committee of London County Council has recommendations for reconstructing the 170 acre site of Bermondsey, where war damage affects 35% of an area between London Bridge and the Surrey Docks. 21,000 people lived there before the war, and the reconstruction will provide 12,700 homes in a "neighbourhood unit" plan, with open areas by the river and an industrially-zoned area for warehouses and such. Roads will be "simplified," and there will be a tunnel similar to the Rotherhithe.

Edward H. Livesay, "A Transatlantic Train Service Comparison, No. 1" Livesay is the railway journalist from our neck of the woods (well, Victoria; well, Saanich). He likes to ride trains and report, and since he has ridden a lot of trains on both sides of the pond, he will compare. He thinks that British locomotives need to get more powerful, but can't get bigger. Steam is still the best solution, so he thinks some fundamental rethinking of design is needed to get more tractive power without longer running gears. He is hopeful that nationalisation will make this possible by consolidating services, and points to the Hudson locomotives working the "union" route between Montreal and Toronto as evidence of just how much can be asked of a conventional locomotive design.

R. A. S. Redmayne, "Ruhr Coalfield Statistics" The title might suggest a report on the report on the Ruhr coalfields, but this is nothing of the sort. Mainly, it is a criticism of the way that the statistics were compiled, and a discussion of difference in workings. Some differences are due to differences between the coalfields, but he thinks British collieries could learn from German haulage practices.

"The Turnaround of Shipping" The Working Party thinks that British docks need more cranes, and some should be diverted from export orders to improve turn-around.

"British Welding Research Association" The Association invited The Engineer to stop by and have a look at their nice new digs at Abington Hall, near Cambridge. It's quite nice, although I'm a bit dubious about laboratory space, considering that they've had to annex some space at the university for fatigue testing.

T. A. Crowe, "Some Recent Advances in Mechanical Engineering on Shipboard"  It has been twenty-five years since the Institution of Mechanical Engineers had a summer meeting in Glasgow, and there has been progress in the intervening years. Crowe proceeds to survey it through the lens of a series of geared-turbine liners built for Atlantic service from 1918 through the Queen Elizabeth, which makes this old news.


"Production Per Man Hour" Two years ago, The Engineer recalls, there were complaints up and down the industry about how output per man-hour was low, and that workers were not pulling their weight. Looking back, it appears that much of this was due to unsettled labour conditions due to high turnover and men rusty from war service. Nowadays, a healthier spirit prevails, and, if there is a problem, it is as likely on management's side as labour. Improvements in output per man hour now call for better management, not harder work.

"Operational Research" The Engineeer looks back on the growth of operational research during the war and points out that the Germans, being Nazis, were terrible at it.

Letters Kyle Willans explains why he voted against an increase in Institution of Mechanical Engineers annual fees. C. F. Brook writes to point out that shorting domestic industry of machine tools to maximise exports is the usual penny-wise, pound foolish thing to do.

A note describes the final session of the recent International Conference on the Safety of Life at Sea, which reviewed the subjects of the conference, including stability in damaged condition, watchstanding and radiotelephone equipment regulations.

C. F. LeMaire, "The Brussels North-South Rail Connections" M. Lemaire, the late works supervisor describes an ambitious plan to link the north and south rail networks in the city of Brussels, and consequent building of a new central station in the heart of downtown, extending electrification as far as 30 miles from Brussels, to a total of 300 miles of track, whereas now only the double-track line from Brussels to Antwerp is electrified. Two and half million cubic yards of earthworks are needed, at a cost of almost $100 million. Two viaducts will connect the new central station with the northern and southern networks, and a tunnel connecting with the Brussels-Antwerp line. The tunnel is to be dug 55ft deep and 115ft wide through shifting sand, using a novel construction method involving sheet piles. New North and South stations will also be quite elaborate.

"The Reina del Pacifico Explosion: Court of Inquiry Findings"  The explosion in the motor room of the new liner, undergoing trials off Belfast Lough on 11 November 1947, led, it will be recalled to the steam-flaying of 28 persons. All surviving asses were successfully covered, although dead people did several stupid things. Some blame was found at Harland and Wolff, and the cause of the failure (wear in some pistons) discovered.

"Vila Franca Bridge, Portugal" The Portuguese government has accepted the design and tender of Dorman, Long and Co., Middlesborough.

"Steel Production in Europe" The Steel Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has concluded that Europe's steel deficit for 1949 will be about 24% of requirement, and that given the importance of the Czechoslovakian industry, no-one should be getting shirty about their coup.

"Marsh Lane Station, Liverpool" The new LMS station is so nice that Liverpool owes the Luftwaffe a thank you note for blowing it up.

"A Ballast Cleaning Machine" The "Matissa" automatic ballast cleaning machine now being tested by the LMR is quite nice.
Other notes on the same page cover a new apprenticeship training scheme at Clyde Steel, and the latest news about Hungarian railway bridge rebuilding. Five long-span Danube bridges were destroyed, and eight on the Tisza. Soviet Army engineers built temporary replacements with rolled sections riveted together, and the Hungarian State Railways then opted for "semi-permanent" replacements of military bridge trusses of K lattice girder type, with a permanent modern, two-track replacement to follow as quickly as possible.

"A Smoke Eliminator for Natural Draught Boilers" The Fuel Research Station has been working on this ever since coal-burning ships held to convoy speeds started producing excessive smoke during the war. This turns out to have been due to incomplete combustion, and the solution is a variable air supply in the form of a new door for the boilers with some air inlets.

R. H. Dyson, "Achieving PMH in Industry" This is the long paper referred to in the leader about improving output per man hour. The Leader dismissed the idea that it was all laziness, and Dyson points out that British machine tools are at least as modern as American, and that British industry does good time-and-motion studies. So the  main conclusion is that British workers need to be treated better.

Industrial and Labour Notes

Coal output continues its upward trend, both total and per man hour. However, the setback since the beginning of spring is real and serious, and would have been worse  had improvements in opencast mining not occurred. Coal consumption is up 4.6%, and if output falls any lower, the coal export rate of 350,000 tons per week will have to be reduced, and possibly the supply of large coal, preferred for all uses. The International Labour Conference now being held in San Francisco has heard that in spite of the full mobilisation of labour reserves, full employment countries have not been able to satisfy the heavy demands of agriculture and industry. Greater labour mobility and flexibility is needed. In Britain, the Ministry of Labour is still issuing virtually no labour direction notices. The labour force has held almost steady at 20,350,000, and 290,006 insured persons were out of work, 13,189 uninsured.

French Engineering Notes

French steel supplies were generally satisfactory in April except for delivery delays in wire and sheet. SNCF received 38 French-built and 41 German locomotives in 1947. The Colonisation and Hydraulic Services of Algeria believes that the Chott Ech Chergul, the largest and highest lake of the High Plains, and its rocky terrain, might produce water from aquifers to irrigate 200,000 hectares and produce a billion kW hrs of hydroelectric power annually. By 1953, all wooden paving in Paris will be replaced by asphalt.
Or a nature preserve. It could be a nature preserve.

Notes and Memoranda reports that the Railway Executive is procuring another 1000 coke wagons, that there were twenty-one accidents involving twelve deaths at the 22,000 railway level crossings in Britain, that plans to improve Malta's water supply by a million gallons a day were underway, that ICAO's plans for North Atlantic flying control continue to mature. The UNEC believes that electrical consumption is growing so quickly in Europe that by 1950 the demand for new plant for repair and maintenance will be more than double total demand in 1937.  In Britain, electrical power consumption is up 4.8% over last year.

Time, 21 June 1948


Elmer Ryan of St. Paul and Clyde Beane of Los Angeles stick up for Stassen after his Oregon defeat. Virginia Davis Emery and Marjorie Davis write to support their brother, Garry's, decision to renounce his United States citizenship in favour of being a citizen of the world government to come. Robert Kreider, of the University of Basel, is concerned that television will be as bad for America as radio and Whizbang.J. Lon Duckworth of Druid Hills Baptist Church writes to defend the Louie B. Newton of the charge of being a "political henchman of communism." Time apologises. Edwin P. James writes to remind us that his great-great-grandfather was the first man to climb Pike's Peak, just fourteen years after discoverer Zebulon Pike predicted that it would never be conquered. Siegfried Giedion writes to congratulate Time on the nice review of his book, Mechanisation is Bad Except Back Then When It Was Good Also I'm A Dirty Old Man. Authors don't normally do that, but Jakob Burckhardt did, and Giedion notes that he is just like Burckhardt, except more modest. The Publisher's Letter is on and on about the Republican National Convention, which is the theme of the issue. I guess the fact that there's television facilities in the press workroom makes this technology news. At least until Senator Vandenberg is revealed to be an alien.

National Affairs

If Senator Vandenberg is running around saving the world because he wants to be President, then the race for the GOP nomination has actually done some good for the world beyond hopefully preparing the way for an early return of a Democratic Administration in 1952.

GOP movers and shakers who will move and shake the convention. It's going to be so exciting!

. . . When Dewey wins by acclamation on the third ballot.

"Varied Adventures in the West" The President is campaigning in the West, where it is Not Going Well due to the campaign's non-stop bumbling, although his Berkeley speech went over well, Time tells us, because he was hard on the Russians.
Thank God for the Cold War, right? 

More importantly, the 80th Congress was a disaster, although I have to tell you that there's a lot of push back in the press about that.  Time loves Vandenberg and Taft-Hartley and notes that Congress did manage to let a full 202,000 D.P.s in. Republican voters, if the turnout in the Indiana governor's primary is any indication, do not. (I know, I know, I'm suggesting that Midwest Republicans get "state" and "country" confused, which is snobbish of me, but the Indiana party has been running on anti-labour and taxes that farmers resent, which is almost like being against price supports, except completely different. Time also has some trouble with the difference between "national" and "local," ending off with stories about the death of Democratic Brooklyn ward boss Peter McGuiness, and the repatriation of the body of Silver Star-winning New York ranker Karl Petusky, the 9th Division's "Mayor of Broadway."


"Job for a Pressagent" Time is worried that the Communists are making rapid advances in Germany. The London Agreement to create a government in Bizonia and internationalise the Ruhr has antagonised the Germans and provoked a crisis in France. (If you're wondering, that's the official name of the country, changed from the Republic of France: Crisis in France is going to be on the money, and they're working on a new flag and national anthem.)

Ahem. Anyway, German politicians and labour leaders are upset about the Ruhr, and excited by the German People's Council's plan for an all-German provisional government, with Germans at the table in the peace negotiations. Meanwhile, German communists call for the return of German Poland, Polish Communists call any such suggestion high treason, and French Communists warn that a unified Germany would be a threat to France. You have to wonder if Moscow even wants the European parties to settle down. Meanwhile, the Senate's approval of a plan to enlist 25,000 DPs in the United States Army has given new life to the rumour of an American Foreign Legion, which has Italians, Germans and Polish expatriates lining up to serve in the "Senate army." On the East River, demolitions are going ahead frantically to clear 17 acres for the new UN headquarters in time for a 1950 opening, and in eastern Europe there is new talk of a Soviet ERP, which would be, effectively, a cut in war reparations payments. Prince Michael of Rumania got married.

Love those Fifties glasses. 
"Edge of an Abyss" There's a crisis in France! Georges Bidault is trying to swing the National Assembly behind the London Agreement in the face of worries that the Russians will launch their 60 divisions westward to prevent the formation of a new Germany in the west. General de Gaulle helpfully offered to form a new government. In London, Time gives its version of the Parliamentary Reform Act debate, because there's nothing more delicious than peers versus Socialists, unless it is an eighty-year-old who deserted from the East Yorkshire Regiment in 1888 showing up at Chelsea Hospital to get his records in order so he could go on the National Health Service, or the cancellation of the Trooping of the Colours on the King's Birthday because the Met service called for a storm. And not because, as rumours had it, the King was sick or that Princess Elizabeth had had a miscarriage. Ireland has cut the cost of canned beef exports to Britain, as the British can't pay the full price. The Italians, upset that only the French are having a crisis this week, had a riot in Parliament instead, while the Communist government of Czechoslovakia is now to be headed by Antonin Zapotocky in place of Klement Gottwald. Also, a Russian paper (those crazy Russians) said a Russian invented electricity before Franklin.

"Embers" Count Bernadotte has seen the Palestine truce put into effect, and introduced a marine patrol to prevent the migration of more, especially military-age Jews, to Palestine. Now he is off to Rhodes to negotiate a long-term settlement between Jews and Arabs, while, at home, the Irgun Zvei Leumi threatens to break the truce. Time then profiles Mickey Marcus, an American veteran who was commanding the Haganah's effort to open a supply corridor to Jerusalem before he was killed in action just a few hours before the truce.  And in North Africa, sectarian rioting between Jews and Muslims has broken out in Morocco, while Egyptian Jewish communities are raising money for the Egyptian Soldiers' Welfare Fund to show their opposition to Zionism.

Bobby Sox Communists are the worst Communists.
"Sick Cities" In China, Mukden is besieged, with everyone who can, fleeing to the south. The rest of Manchuria fallen, and northern China is likely to follow. Premier Wong Wen-hao had to explain his plan to evacuate industry to southern China to the Legislative Yuan, while Communist demonstrations are breaking out in the South, too.

In Latin America, Ecuadorians are excitable, while Mexico now has a rightist revolutionary party, the Sinarquistas. In Canada, the CCF (socialists) have given Time the vapour by becoming the official opposition in Ontario and winning three byelections, including down the hill in Vancouver Centre(!) Time expects a Liberal-Conservative coalition to face off against the CCF in the next parliament, ending Canada's three-party system in favour of a more conventional left-right split.


"Peace at a Price" The new Air Force and Army orders are a strong shot of inflation for the economy, leading to a parade of new stock market highs for aviation shares, and Grumman's 100% stock distribution. Wage increases mean no drop in demand. (There's a big story about it later o n, pointing out that the biggest chunks of money went to Boeing, North American, Lockheed, Republic and Curtiss-Wright. Northrop still has a contract for 30 YB-49s. Crashes? Who cares? It's a flying wing! Grumman gets the lion share of the Navy money, and Consolidated gets no more B-36 orders.

"Trolley Line" Hawaiian Air Lines is now flying 60 DC-3 services into Honolulu a day, making it one of the most financially successful American airlines, and winning Stan Kennedy the prized "Guy Henry Luce would like to have lunch with" mini-profile.

State of Business reports that May steel production hit a 7.5 million ton record in May, that the tax form won't be simplified again, that US trade declined in April, that the American Management Association thinks that American industry could improve its productivity by at least 10% with existing factories, that Manhattan's Witty Brothers' Boconize process is the best mothproofing method ever developed for dry cleaning, that GE hopes to have an experimental atomic reactor working within five years, that there won't be a gas shortage this summer. 

. . . On the other hand, it's now officially a bumper crop again, this time in America and Europe. Once again, elevators are full to overflowing and shippers are dumping wheat in the streets. The latest revision, to 1.36 billion bushels, has only pushed the price in Chicago down by 2 cents a bushel, due to the Government being expected to take 400 million for foreign relief.

"Kinds of Leverage" The Supreme Court nixed the Justice Department's Antitrust Division's attempt to prevent the sale of Consolidated Steel to Columbia Steel, a US Steel subsidiary. Consolidated's six plants still make it the biggest steel maker west of the Rockies, and the sale would give Big Steel over 51% of Pacific slope ingot capacity, but Justice Reed says that this is not an antitrust matter, because, after all, it means that Big Steel is investing in Los Angeles steelmaking, and that's good. Justice Douglas pointed out that Justice Reed was a moron. US Steel is the definition of antitrust. Unfortunately, California business just wants more steel volume, and Uncle Henry can like it or lump it. Not a good week for him!

Science, Medicine, Education

"Faster and Faster" Not much to say here, as Time covers Symington's official statement about the XS-1 breaking the sound barrier, illustrating the story with another of those "artist's impressions" of the Russian jet pictures, and also a picture of Yeager in an idiotic helmet. Dry ice seeding is being tried in Canada, since rain is needed in the tinder-dry northern woods.

Reggie and Yeager famously rubbed each
other the wrong way.
"Mind Versus Matter," Writing in the American Journal of Surgergy, Dr. William C. Beck points out that practically everyone who has ever died of a carcinoma was diagnosed as a psychoneurotic at an earlier stage. He says that it is all very well to talk about mind over matter and the value of psychiatry, but medicine shouldn't overlook old-fashioned diagnostic aids like X-rays and tests.

Another case in which the procedure (and gadget) are invented first,
and a use for it is found, later. If you haven't followed the link to
George VI's March surgery, it is even more dreadful.
"Antitoxin" America is going to be allowed to join the World Health Organisation now that Indiana's Forest A. Harness has pushed through a provision requiring American representatives to have worked in private practice, so as to prevent any socialised-medicine-pushing-public-health-officials becoming members and slipping foreign ways through this door. Specifically, that means Dr. Thomas Parran can't be the American representative. In other insane news, Ernest A. Spiegel and Henry T. Wycis of Temple, have been experimenting with thalamotomies as a cure for schizophrenia, manic-depressives and psychoneurotics in obsessive states. Eight surgeries have produced results: one death, three in institutions, four improved enough to be discharged. No patient has yet become childlike, undisciplined, or epileptic, unlike topectomies. And their x-ray-guided "stereo-encephalotome" is quite a gadget. 

a suspicious tear suggests that Grace later effaced an
Anti-Semitic comment to spare her brother-in-law
embarrassment. No-one's perfect.
Time  notes the retirement of Lawrence Powers of Boston Public Latin  School, Archibald Henderson of the University of North Carolina, Max Radin of the University of California, Mildred Thompson of Vassar, Carl Purington Rollins of Yale, Paul Joseph Sachs of Harvard, Frederic Auston Ogg of On! Wisconsin, Joseph Henry Beach of the University of Minnesota, William Henry Chandler of UCLA and Giuseppe Borgese of Chicago. Because I am a numbers man, I report an average age at retirement of 68.1. Professoring doesn't seem to involve much heavy lifting. The Four Powers have approved a history curriculum for Berlin high schools, although the Russian representative registered a complaint that there is not enough Marxism in the syllabus. Herbert John Davis is leaving the Presidency of Smith after 8 years, because he was a dud. The schoolboard of the Osaka Prefecture has released a guide to help co-eds interact. Sit opposite each other, not side-by-side, no walks after dusk, avoid unrefined topics of conversation, "Always make clear your intentions . . . " Jules Levin became the first MIT graduate with a perfect 5, and is now off to Brookhaven.

Press, Radio, Art, People

"News Across the Sea" The London Times, Daily Express, Daily Telegraph and Financial Times have joined the Manchester Guardian and The Economist air-expressing copies to New York to build Atlantic comity and earn Yankee dollars. A New York Hungarian emigre paper has upset the Russians by smuggling issues into Budapest. Palmer Hoyt of the Denver Post has hired Norman Thomas to cover the GOP convention, following in the footsteps of other papers, which have hired David Low, Randolph Churchill, Clare Boothe Luce, Rebecca West, Louis Bromfeld and Katherine Brush.  Both of Portland's papers have moved to new digs this spring, which is ironic, if I'm using the word right, given the flooding, which I cannot believe is given this casual a coverage. We saw Uncle Henry the other day, and he talked our ears off about it, and you'll probably hear more, because he is now convinced that we sold him some swampland for a song, etc., etc. If there'd just been a Brooklyn Bridge on the site, we'd have hit a triple play!
Note skin colour.

"The Busy Air" Ronald Colman has signed a contract to narrate and act in 26 half-hour telefilms; David O. Selznick is forming his own television film unit; Hal Roach is going to turn a Hollywood lot into a production centre for other telefilm companies; 20th Century Fox has applied for its second television station, in Seattle. The FCC has approved commercial transmission of facsimile newspapers by radio. Faxtation WGHF in Manhattan will begin transmitting a four-page tabloid immediately, while 100,000 colourfax recorders will soon be available for attachment to FM radios. Howdy Doody's puppeteer has decamped to a rival television station in a pay dispute, so now Howdy Doody has competition from Peter Pixie.

Diego Rivera is in trouble with the Diocese of Mexico City, Kathe Kollwitz is having a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, being so modern that she has only been dead for three years, while Rene Margritte is having a retrospective in Paris, where artists are allowed to be still alive. Felix Topolskwi is having a show in London.

John Jacob Astor III and Princess Margaret have lately had measles, while Orson Welles is down with chicken pox. Peggy Cummins and Ronald Reagan have both taken falls. I usually read that as trouble with the sauce, but R. never struck me that way in our acquaintance, and I spoke to him just the other day, about the Lincoln. There is something bothering him. Family troubles? You're probably going to accuse me of being biased, on account of my opinion of J.

Governor Green's makeup for the RNC keynote gets some attention. (Max Factor 28). Petrillo has been relected president of the American Federation of Musicians, Howard Hughes has taken a jab at Senator Brewster, Cecil B. DeMille has hired Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature for Samson and Delilah, Walter De La Marre is a Companion of Honour, and Elizabeth Bowen a CBE. Richard Strauss has been given a clean bill of health by the De-Nazification court, and Bernarr Macfadden, 79, has married a 42-year-old. Elsie Janis and Gilbert Wilson are getting divorced, while the Eunice Walterman's paternity suit against Myron C. Taylor continues, as does Mrs. Mildred R. Lamarre's slander suit against General Benny Meyers, while Alvin York is in tax court.
Taylor's Wikipedia biography omits mention of Ms.Walterman's suit. 
John Lewis' son, Dr. John L. Lewis, Jr., has given the UMW leader his second grandchild. Danielle Darrieux has revealed her marriage to Georges Mitsinkides. Rabbi Joshua Loth Liebman has died at 41, of a heart ailment, and Lewis Schwellenbach, of a lingering illness, Otto Marburg of cancer, and Gertrude Atherton of being old. (Her 1923 top bestseller, Black Oxen, "described her own sexual rejuvenation by X-ray treatment.")

The New Pictures

Movie box office is down as The Bride Goes Wild hits the screen, with only June Allyson making an effort. Time wishes that Hollywood would get back to that old-time comedy. It almost loved The Pirate, but first-class production collides with too much "artiness" in this "ambitious, highly stylised film." Green Grass of Wyoming is a vehicle for Thunderhead out of My Friend Flicka, where he is reduced to "as meek a monogamist as ever commuted from Westchester."


Margary Sharp's The Foolish Gentlewoman is a novel that doesn't quite come off due to too much Heavy Thought being smuggled in. A. D. Divine's Diunkirk is epic history, and Charles Jackson's The Outer Edges should never have seen the inner middle. Robert Lovett's long-awaited autobiography establishes that his dismissal, at the behest of the Dies Committee, was due to the "warm heart and poor judgement of one brand of U.S. liberalism."

Flight, 24 June 1948


The lead leader is about the Queen attending a flying club to-do, showing royal recognition of their very important work. 

"Sober Thoughts About Russia" The Russians haven't been releasing much information about their aircraft. The recent, selected display of their new transport, the Il-12, show that they haven't been exaggerating. Now, the question is whether the illustrations printed by Aviation Week and the British newspapers, said to be based on cinefilm enlargements, taken via telephoto lens, of Russian four-jet bombers and sonic research aircraft, are accurate. Flight thinks that they are not, and are being used to manufacture a "scare" about the Russians being at a level with, or ahead of, British and American development.

Emergency Power and Fuel" People wonder why American turbojets leave a smoky trail behind them. Is it the fuel? Or have they implemented after-burning already? Flight points out that Meteors also smoke at full power, and that afterburning (or rocket boosting) is very fuel-hungry. It seems more likely that the American problem is due to using gas instead of kerosene, which highlights the importance of fuel supply in keeping an air force airborne. We have plenty of facilities for moving and storing gas in this country, which makes it cheap to use, even in jets, and it's not that much more dangerous, at least in single-seat fighters. 

Maurice Smith, "P. 108 in the Air"  The Balliol is the Navy's version of the new side--by-side primary trainer. Smith flew the Mercury-powered prototype, although the service types will have Merlins. In an oddly retrograde step, the Mercury is seated in a mounting meant for the Mamba, making visibility poor on the ground for a radial. Ground handling is "fascinating," and operating the Mercury takes Smith back to the good old days of ten years gone. It seems to be a nicer plane than the Prentice.

"Chrislea Controls" Word from Exeter Airport is that Chrislea is giving up on the single-control arrangement for the rudder on the Super Ace, but keeping it on the elevators, effectively getting rid of the wheel control, because no one wants it, which is a bad thing in a plane you're trying to sell.

Here and There

 Several Australian airlines are flying large, heavy, awkward or other things around. Some are furniture, and one is a "totalisator," which is a fancy word for a tote board. Flight manages to find a picture of Chuck Yeager with his mouth closed to illustrate his record.

"Safety in Storms: American Research Into Thunderstorm Fling"  The USAF's All-Weather Flying Centre, at Clinton County Air Base, Wilmington, Ohio, finds thunderstorms with a modified radar, and then flies a P-61 through it. Gust velocities of between 31 and 43ft/s have been measured, whcih would have any regular plane grounded, allowing the Centre to refine conditions for grounding orders. 

"A Model Day" Flight covers the Queen and Princess Elizabeth's visit to the Northern Heights Model Flying Club on a notably cold and windy day for June. A similar article covers the Royal Aero Club's Guest Week-end" of return hospitality for foreign clubs. 

Maurice Smith, "J. 21R in the Air: Swedish Goblin-powered Fighter Described from a Pilot's Point of View" If you're wondering whether Smith gets to take a vacation with everyone else, the article is from his trip to Sweden, held over. The airfield was notably sloppy. The plane was nice, but not as good as the Vampire. Smith liked the two-dial ASI. 

Civil Aviation News

With the 2700hp Bristol Centaurus engine, the Ambassador has a maximum all up weight for short range operations of 52,500lbs and takes off in 1700ft. In the 47,600lbs auw condition, it hs a cruising speed of 312mph and a fuel consumption of 1.42 air miles per gallon. Handley Page has completed arrangements to take over production of the Marathon. A new charter airline has been formed to operate flying boats, Aquila Airways.  Douglas has released an artist's impression of a potential Douglas Globemaster replacement.

ICAO is in the preliminary stages of organising a global meterological reporting authority. Vikings are now in service. GCA procedures in Britain now require aircraft to have a visual fix on the ground at a break-off point before continuing to land. The average height at which an aircraft under GCA should be able to see the ground is 150ft, but it will vary with type. Group Captain H. J. Wilson has resigned from the RAF to be director of Planet Aircraft, where he will focus on getting the Satellite into development. The Eire Inspector of Accidents thinks that the probable cause of the Constellation accident at Shannon on 15 April was that the plane went nose up while flying too low while attempting an instrument landing. This might have been due to distraction as a result of a cockpit light failing, or because the second pilot, who was out of instrument landing practice, was flying the plane. Trans-Australian has ordered 12 Drovers for use in Queensland. Qantas will also be using the type, possibly in New Guinea. 

"Recent Russians: Transport and Training Aircraft by Yakovlev and Illiushin" The Yak-16, -18, and Il-12, recently exhibited at Helsinki, are comparable to American and superior to French and Italian aircraft, it is reported. 

"Miles Arrangement and Capital Reduction" The scheme for winding up Miles Aircraft (who gets how much for what) has been approved by the courts, and will now take effect. 

"Athena Flies: Impressions of the New Avro's Inaugural Tests" An eyewitness report says that the Athena didn't explode on takeoff, and was actually very quiet and well-behaved. Speaking of long-awaited planes with names that begin with "A," Flight went along to Armstrong Whitworth, where it was told that the Apollo is coming along nicely. 

"Coming of Age: 1927--48: Growth of de Havilland's Australian Company" De Havilland has been making trainers and small transports in Australia since before the Great Depression.


C. M. Carrington, a director at KLG, thinks that the aviation fuel tax is a heavy burden on industry. "Fly-British Supporter" thinks that the Hermes would be ever so much nicer with a Centaurus, which might give even more than 3500hp with an exhaust turbine, and so extend the life of the prop engine, even as the propjet is set back by icing problems. F. Whittle responds to M. de Lapalud, who dropped a line about how Whittle "treated with the utmost contempt" anyone who thought that the internal combustion engine still had a future in aviation. Whittle said nothing of the sort, and actually thinks that the compound engine might have a future. (This is part of a debate over a diesel-jet-turbine-prop engine with extremely good thermodynamics at the expense of positively Byzantine internal mechanics that might or might not see the light of day.)

Engineering, 25 June 1948

J. A. L. Matheson, "The Mechanics of Locked-Coil Ropes, Continued" I know (because I peaked) that the last number introduced Professor Matheson's article with the observation that wire ropes, mainly of the three-strand coiled type, are in "increasing use, and misuse" in industry. Misusing steel rope is a big no-no, but I won't tell my story about the tow rope parting on good old Enterprise again. So what's the cure for misuse of steel wire ropes? Math. Lots and lots of math. The good Professor has a complete mathematical solution for the way that locked-coil ropes work, and he is going to lay it out for us right here in the pages of Engineering, followed by a test of theoretical results against experiment, which agrees with some anomalies, followed by an investigation of the anomalies. I struggle to say anything more about this, because I have a feeling I've already said too much!


Engineering reviews H. W. Liepman and A. E. Puckett's Introduction to Aerodynamics of a Compressible Fluid, which will be very useful to people working with supersonic flow in aerodynamics and gas turbines. It does not directly address supersonic flight, since most of the work being done here is experimental, and the results aren't reliable yet due to test pilots deciding to "give it the gas" off the head, or, alternatively, killing themselves in insanely unstable flying wings. It does discuss flow in Laval nozzles, the design of supersonic tunnels, and, over two chapters, gives a linearised solution to the isotropic equation for subsonic and supersonic flow. You may not be able to solve a problem algebraically, but with enough time and slide rule grease, you can do it with arithmetic.

Henri Favre's Cours de Mecanique, Volume I: Statique is an entry into what I'm told is the very crowded field of introductory engineering mechanics textbooks. I'm sure it's much better than old Thomson and Tait, what with fifty years of progress and all, but Engineeering isn't impressed, except by chapters on the statics of elastic solids, which, I'm told, is a subject that many engineering curriculums don't even get into. (Not the Institute, of course!) The Zinc Alloy Die Casters Associatin has The Plastics of Zinc Alloy Die Castings out. Engineering liked it.

"Brittle Fracture in Milde-Steel Plates, II: Conclusion: A Reprint of a Report On Dr. C. F. Tipper's Paper for the Conference on Brittle Fracture in Mild-Steel Plates, Cambridge, October 1945" Doctor Tipper is a lady! Don't find many ladies in this field, tell you that! The paper is an experimental investigation of mainly the problem of ships splitting apart, see Uncle George, "I told him so," part one million. It appears that the place where some improvement might be made is in the carbon content of the steel.

Launches and Trials reports on Amboine, British Ranger, Belevelyn, British Strength, British Scientist, Ernest Holt and President Cazalet, not a bad haul of ships coming out of the docks or completing trials.

H. W. Pulos, "Export Vehicle Design, Conclusion" Is a good survey of the subject, generalised so that it covers rail as well as road vehicles. He points out that in hilly country (he's a little more obscure than that, talking about the total gradiant profile), you need more draw in all gears, not just low, because speed still counts. This "amounts to a plea for bigger engines, which are so heavily penalised by taxes here at home." That goes for locomotives as well as trucks, then! (Which Livesay said, last week.) He points out that choice of fuel will depend on the market, too. Gas, for example, evaporates far too quickly in tropical climates, and there is always a risk of pilferage, which might drive you to diesel (or, I guess, coal) when a first pass over the economics led you elsewhere. Tankage should be high, due to long distances between filling stations.

"Pre-Stressed Cast-in-Situ Concrete Bridge" Nunn's Bridge, recently completed over the Hob's Hole Drain at Fishtoft, near Boston, Lincolnshire, has an effective span between uprights of 74ft, with a main girder depth of 4ft 2". It replaced a damaged, three-span brick bridge built by John Rennie, 140 years ago. By getting rid of the span uprights, the bridge significantly reduced resistance to flow, and so the bridge's contribution to flooding in the Fen country.

British Standards Specifications for this week include ones for sound insulation, water treatment for marine boilers (as nicely as possible, so the pilots can have their showers, please!) and universal decimal classifications, so that we don't have to do math with eleven-sixteenths and twenty seven thirty ninths. Or write that out, either!

Notes from The North, South Yorkshire, Cleveland and the Northern Counties, and The Southwest cover, as ever, fascinating news about the price of steam coal,  cast iron plates and angles, the shortage of high carbon and acid steels and of raw materials for smelting flux, and so on, from the various regions.


"Railway Motive Power in the Future" American use of diesel-electric has led to considerable enthusiasm here for the gas turbine locomotive of the (echoing radio announcer voice here) the FUTURE! Last year, P. W. Kiefer gave a nice paper on it as the Centenary Lecture of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and this year it is out as a book, A Practical Evaluation of Railroad Motive Power, and Engineering thought that talking about this book that it read might make for a nice Leader.

Should Britain go to gas turbines? There are reasons to think so. Nationalisation has changed everything; the past few years have shown coal in a poor light due to inferior coal giving unreliable performance. Existing locomotives are short on power and need to be replaced, anyway, and winter weather freezes tanks and makes watering unreliable. On the other hand, the steam locomotive is actually quite efficient. We've had fifty years to go on the steam turbine, and we haven't, and for all of Uncle George's ranting about how the Great Western broad gauge would have allowed condensers and vast fuel efficiencies, the fact that no-one else has gone in for that experiment speaks for itself. On the other hand, the Diesel-electric has better availability, and absent better coal, consistency, and is the American Way, so I'm sure it is the wave of the future. Brits are always stuck in the past, full technical efficiency, etc., etc. Kiefer talks about electrification, but unless the atomic age is the dawn of "power too cheap to meter," as they say at the Institute, no-one sees main line electric locomotives as likely. Could a coal-gas open cycle gas turbine locomotive use British coal more reliably than a steam locomotive? Possibly! In the meantime, there should be more work on detail design of other parts of the locomotive, such as the front end, since many incremental improvements are possible, and more research to go with all the testing now being done.

"Electrical Supply in 1944--45" Not counting railway generating plant and private generating stations for industrial and commercial undertakings, there were 573 authorised electricity undertakings in the Central Electricity Board and North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, of which 568 were actually supplying. Sixty percent were in the hands of local authorities, the rest private. These included 362 generating stations with 12,177 mW of plant, of which 98.3% was AC. The 114 largest had 90.1% of the total. 38,245 million kW hours were generated, compared with 37,790 in 1943--44, an increase of only 1.2%, reflecting the slowing down of war production in the period, compared with a 6.2% increase in the previous twelve months. Frequency standardisation, like AC conversion, was almost complete. Coal and coke consumption was 23.4 million tons, compared with 22.7 million in the previous year. Average cost was 39s 5d, compared with 34s 9d the previous year. Small amounts of gas, oil and diesel firing made up the balance. Average revenue per kW hr was 0.804d, up from 0.737, and working expenses absorbed 62.4% of revenue. Number of staff was 89,633, up from 88,988, with private companies more efficient than local authorities.

This is not that, but it is cool.
Nick Amoscato - Loch Lomond Electric Facility,
CC BY 2.0,
Notes reports that the Royal Society is going to have a conference on the distribution of scientific information; that the Ministry of Transport's report on road ferries concludes that some new and bigger ferries are needed, and that service should be toll-free unless the route requires major improvements. The British Internal Combustion Engine Research Association recently had a party at Claridge's, at which the chairman got drunk and denounced the word "diesel as damned un-English, then toasted Sir Edward Appleton for being a good egg. A report on the Lawers Project is out, showing that it will be able to produce 71 million kw hr in an average rainfall year due to being so high and wet. The International Institute of Welding is having a to-do, and everyone should come down to Waterloo Station's hundredth birthday and see the nice exhibit at the toll house, near Griffin-street.


A. D. Bonney writes to clarify remarks he made about "hammer blow" in his discussion of "Warships and Underwater Explosions." He thinks that abrupt failure due to explosive loading will be rare in the future as brittle materials are phased out. Engineering disagrees, since explosions produce explosive loading, and they can get bigger.

Obituary D'Arcy Thompson, long-time professor of natural history at St. Andrews, has died, which I am sure I am repeating from somewhere else in this letter. He wrote On Growth and Form back in 1917, and was always mainly interested in biological morphology, but had thoughts that might be useful for engineers.

A long note covers the festivities at the Institution of Mechanical Engineer's summer meeting in Glasgow, which saw ships, Albion Motors, steam plant, fractional horsepower engines, more ships and more steam plant; and then had a party at the Grosvenor, at which the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Glasgow University lamented the changes for the worst in these degenerate latter days and then fell over into his brandy.

"The Work of the National Physical Laboratory" is yet another report on the NPL open house. Engineering liked a model of the estuary of the River Wythe to estimate the effects of stabilising the bridge on the low water course. It liked all the blinking lights in the hydrodynamics tank, a swell plastic model of a swept back wing, and an investigation into high speed ball and roller bearings for gas turbines. The Electricity Division now has a vacuum-impregnating plant, which sounds dirty, but isn't. It has an equipment for quartz-controlled centimetric oscillations, producing 3 watts in various frequency multiplication, mixing and amplification trials. Many other things can be done, and Engineering was particularly struck by an exact measurement of the frequency spectra of ammonia molecules. Very exact measurements of molecular frequencies has exciting scientific possibilities. The Metrology Department showed off a device for automatically measuring the diameter and taper of  plug screw gauges. The Metallurgy Department is producing highly purified vanadium and titanium by calcium reduction, with hydrogen reduction in hand.

"Passenger Steamer Commandant Quere" The Woolston Shipyard of Thorneycroft has produced this mixed cargo and passenger vessel for the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique. It has superheated boilers, Parson turbines, and operates at a steam temperature of 700 degrees, with de-superheaters so that the whole output of the boilers can be put through the superheaters, and yet the ship can still draw steam for heating. Diesel auxiliaries provide power for services. Accommodation is for 134 third-class and 700 fourth-class passengers.

"Laboratory Corrosion Tests for Steel" Covers the British Iron and Steel Association's findings on what tests are appropriate. It likes the Armament Research Department's sea-water spray test, as it didn't require too much specialised knowledge from the operator, and required the least equipment. 

Labour Notes reports on the Amalgamated Engineering Union's annual conference in Brighton. Like the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions, it wants a pay raise, which the employers are --surprisingly-- rejecting. Perhaps this is because the Government is calling for a wage freeze to hold down the increase in the cost of living. Or, perhaps, it is because the employer always rejects pay increases. The dockers union is still on strike, as it rejected a tribunal finding upholding most of the penalties imposed on four dockers who refused to unload zinc oxide on the set rate, on the grounds that the cargo had not been properly classified as "dirty." The thought is that the strike will be ended by some reduction in the tribunal's disciplinary powers.

H. I. Andrews, "Mobile Locomotive-Testing Plant: LMS Railway, Conclusion" The article about the LNER's mobile locomotive testing plant was so interesting that here's another one!

S. E. Taylor, "The Institution of Metals and Metallurgy: Presidential Address before the Institution on Thursday, May 26, 1948" It would be unfair of me to spoil this thrilling talk. Those who want to hear it should jump in their time machine and go back to May so that they can enjoy the President's polished performance of popular points.

"Instructional Courses in Servo-Mechanisms" As heard elsewhere, the Ministry of Supply is holding summer courses on servo-mechanisms around the country.

Notes on New Books reports on Concrete Waterproofing, Engineering's annual Engineering Outlook, a nice guide book to Blackpool Tower, a book on company accounts, and another on Filing. (The tool, not the secretarial work.)


Two German correspondents write to say that they read American comic books to learn what Americans are talking about, which you'd never learn from Newsweek, it being written in English. Hoffman Nickerson, of Oyster Beach, writes to say that attacking the Soviet Union and burning its cities is a terrible idea, especially when, with a bit of propaganda, it should be easy to turn Russians against their government. The publisher's letter discusses Newsweek's convention coverage, and a special article on the 80th Congress's "box score."

Periscope reports that the President is bringing Jeff Larson into his re-election team, and that the Democrats are dividing north and south. (News!) Convair's F-92 is the most secretest fighter of all, because it has a rocket up its tail. Fighter pilots. Latest word of the fight for the Democratic Vice-Presidential nomination has Fogarty against Massachusetts' John McCormack. It's going to be an exciting campaign, you can tell, because there are hardly any Congressional junkets headed abroad. Former ambassador to the United States Alexander Troyanovsky is on the rise in the Kremlin thanks to the "peace offensive," which was his idea. The British Foreign Office thinks that, if the Soviets invade, it will be in August or September, but rumours that they will are just distractions from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Communist victory in China and Viet Nam would lead to a Communist-ruled bloc stretching from Manchuria to the Indian border. The White House is pressuring Arab nations to agree to Palestinian peace by threatening to abandon the Trans-Arabian Pipeline. Iran is  having trouble with Russian-backed separatists in Azerbaijan. French army officers in North Africa say that Communist workers in the factories back home are sabotaging new equipment. The British Foreign Office is opening up to the idea of talking to the Russians again. The potato crop is too big again. Ilka Chase's new novel is going to be a movie, and so is Hemingway's "Snows of Kilimanjaro." Jimmy Durante is coming back to radio, and New York political watchers are waiting for Warren Moscow's Politics in the Empire State. Everyone else is waiting for Huxley's Angel and the Ape and Karl Schriftgiesser's book about lobbyists, The Other Congress.

Washington Trends reports that the State Department and services are taking precautions against a Russian coup in Germany during the Presidential campaign. A naval force in the Mediterranean and jet fighters in West Germany should keep the Russians from any rash manoeuvres, while Washington will refrain from rocking the boat until the election is over. Hopefully the Russians will keep quiet in the belief that this "helps Wallace." Seriously? Seriously? Bypartisanship in foreign affairs will be strained by statements like Senator Tydings' observation that GOP members are unreliable partners in foreign affairs. Russian opinion will have its first test when they vote for a proposal to eliminate the veto at the UN. The President's re-election strategy includes price supports for western farmers and continued expansion of bank credit, which worries the Federal Reserve, although it cannot do much under current law. Negotiations of the bilateral treaties governing European recovery aid continue, and General Clay promises relief to American steel on the scrap front with a delivery of 440,000 tons of scrap steel in the next year.

National Affairs

Three or four pages on the GOP convention hardly bear comment after the fact, as all the predicted excitement went out of things like a lead balloon, leaving the Vice-Presidential pick, which was telegraphed in advance just as much as the nomination. Then it is off to the President's western whistle stop tour of the West, where he is either telling home truths about the 80th Congress or "blackguarding Congress," depending on your opinion of Robert Taft. 

"Hoffman's Go-Ahead" While Congress has another go-round on just how much money ERA should get, Director Hoffman has begun to send off the ships. So far, the bulk of the authorisations have been for food and consumer goods, with items like machinery to follow in the future. Industrial goods might begin to flow on 1 July, but will only pick up the pace in the Fall. At current rate of expenditure, the ERA will run out of money in twelve months, but Hoffman expects Taber to lose his fight to cut the ERA, so there will be more money after that.

"Taft-Hartley Questions" The courts are deciding what Taft-Hartley really meant.

I'm skipping Newsweek's 80th Congress Box Score, except for Ernest Lindsey's take, since it's his job to have opinions. He thinks that the 80th was not best or worst. It will be judged well by history for the ERA, even though that was not part of the GOP platform, to put it mildly. Looking at things that were, people will be pleased with the income tax cut, but not the promised new fiscal management, which will likely see the 1949 Federal Budget go into the red, thanks to $10 billion more in spending than the GOP promised. The reason for this is that the GOP is used to being in opposition, and opposition is always easier than governance. Compounding that, the world is not as the GOP thought it was. Which is to say, given that the original GOP armed services budget would have basically forced us to give up the European and Japanese occupations, basically means that the world exists. The real battle was between the isolationists and internationalists, the reactionaries and the "intelligent conservatives." (!)

"The Lady and the Filibuster" Glenn Taylor and Vito Marcantonio tried to run concurrent filibusters in the Senate and House to delay draft legislation through adjournment, but failed thanks to parliamentary manoeuvres (involving a telegram from Mrs. Frances Swadesh in the Senate). Two-hundred-fifty thousand men between 19 and 25 for 21 months of service, with the Army authorised to raise 25,000 non-citizens oversea, allowing the Army and Air Force to hit their authorised strength.

Foreign Affairs

The section leads off with a feature about the London "season," of upper-class sociability that could only be of interest to the shallowest social climber. Although Ronnie thinks that the suits in the pictures are very sharp. (The New Look dresses all go back to 1939, and have not aged well.) Hmm. I will be flying through, and I am paid in Yankee dollars. . . .  Noel Coward is withdrawing from society to his estate in Jamaica. Folke Bernadotte says that he has less than a 2% chance of negotiating peace between Arab and Jew, and has recruited 50 UN employees from Lake Success to enforce the truce. Australian, Chinese, Norwegian, French, Swedish and Danish volunteers with .38 Smith and Wessons are the closest thing the UN has to an international police force, yet.

"Stranglehold on Berlin" Well, this is what I'm here for! On 18 June, using the currency reform as an excuse, the Russians started turning back road transports on the way to Berlin. We, and the British, have responded with air supply, which the Russians can only stop by shooting the planes down. The thought is that the Russians have chosen this as a very undramatic way of making some easy gains. The mistake, the British Foreign Office thinks, was not forcing the trains through when the Russians claimed the right to inspect them, back in April. A related story underlines that the Russians are not completely crazy. The currency reform has all of Germany rushing around trying to buy stuff before their near-worthless Reichsmarks are demonetised, as rumour says they will be under the new Deutschmark scheme, which will only allow people to exchange 60 RM for DM in the first go-round. A 10-1 exchange rate is talked about, a drastic deflation of the fantastic volume of currency in circulation. Black marketers are the main target, but bank depositers and pensioners will be hurt, too.

In practice, the worthlessness of the Reichsmark has forced Germans to either barter, or go on the black market-based cigarette economy. The cigarette currency needs to be destroyed; everyone agrees on that. How this was to be done, however, divided the Bizonians and the Russians. In December, the Americans flew in their Deutschmarks, and prepared to distribute them once agreement was reached; but no agreement could be reached. At last, the Americans decided that they had to go ahead with the first stage of the Deutschmark distribution. This led Marshal Sokolovsky to close the zonal boundary to prevent Germans from dumping their Reichsmarks there, where they were still legal currency. Meanwhile, he began in his own plans for an Eastern Reichsmark, an overprinted Reichsmark. He also forbade the circulation of the Deutschmark in Berlin. The Americans then flew 2 tons of Deutschemarks into Berlin, where they had not originally intended to implement the reform. The battle for Berlin is a currency war, and it has already begun.

And, now, good American boys are flying Skymasters into Templehof when we are not trying not to tell men twice our age why we can't use stacking if we want to get 300(!) tons of supplies into Berlin every day through the first Tuesday of next November.

"Britain's ERP Jolt: The People Didn't Know It Was Loaded" the British government deliberately downplayed restrictive clauses in the ERP agreement during negotiations, and now The Daily Worker is making a stink. The most troubling clauses give the Americans the right to interfere with changes in the exchange rate and to prevent the British from building up stockpiles of American goods. The British do not think that these are going to be issues under the current administration, but are afraid of what idiots like Taber might do if the Republicans win in November.

Shorter news has Franco posting prices for the restoration of noble title, up to $10,000 to restore a lapsed grandeeship of Spain, South America or the Philippines. Paul Reynaud, last seen headed to Vichy prison for being leader of a losing side, is back to lead the Bidault government's adroit lobbying campaign for the London agreement to restore a German government n the west. An Irish trade delegation in London promised to drown the country in eggs and double the 100,000 fat cattle they sent to Britain last year if they were just given the same price the British pay their own farmers.

"The Edge of Upheaval" Premier Thakin Nu of Burma expressed support for Communism the other week, while several terrorist outrages in Malaya led to the shooting of two British planters and a Chinese foreman known to be a Koumintanger. This will, of course, lead to a Red wave overwhelming Southeast Asia next Wednesday, unless something is done. Also, British Guiana, where 7000 sugar workers went on strike, fought with police, and beat up three British overseers, who were forced to walk barefoot and bareheaded, carrying Red flags. 

(Not just a Russian thing)

Foreign Tides with Joseph B. Phillips, "War Talk in Europe" Phillips has recently been in Kassel, which used to be a very nice medieval town, and is now a horror from bombing. If only everyone could go see it, Phillip thinks, there would be no more wars. Europeans are afraid of a war, not expecting one. They are of two minds about whether the Russians want a war, with Czechoslovakia saying "yes," and much other evidence saying "no." They are also worried about American volatility, and would like it just as well if they were able to defend themselves.

 In Canada, loggers in Hornepayne, Ontario, rioted against DPs living in their camp, and the Toronto district labour council requested a halt of DP entry until their trade qualifications were certified. The Canadian Seaman's Union is striking, and the Canada Steamship Lines have now issued masters and chief engineers with shotguns, revolvers and tear-gas guns to repel "Commie rat" boarders. In Latin America, this week sees Peru and Paraguay taking their chance to be excitable.


The lead feature is on the price of living, the second on Conrad Hilton, very short and no pictures, so not like the regular pr piece. Iron Age reports that the FTC will probably issue a control order on steel late this year or in early 1949 to prevent price fixing. Another profile gives us Howard Ketcham, a 46-year-old industrial designer with a specialty in bright colours. He recently got the Jersey Central to pretty up their coaches in blue and orange. Thumbs up from Ronnie, so I guess he's good.

A story entitled "Bad News" gives the negatives of the Film Agreement, but could just as easily cover the Port Authority of New York's takeover of Idlewild, since it is bad news for foreign airlines, which have been told that they are going to have to move there from LaGuardia and pay a new and  higher tariff.

Trends and Changes reports that while two of fifty New York restaurants gave customers margarine when they asked for butter, and no LA restaurants did so, 80% of San Antonio and St. Louis restaurants did so. The Air Force is going to add more rockets and try to fly the X-1 at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound, and Macy's decision to pay triple-time bonusses to employees who crossed illegal picket lines in 1946 has been upheld. What's New reports on a plastic trombone and a du Pont synthetic tanning agent that produces a softer leather that can be washed or dry cleaned repeatedly without damage.

Speaking of  too much. The lobbyist story was some farm
lobbyists paying disguised bribes. I'd talk about it, even though
it's boring, except that, considering that it wouldn't
even be a crime nowadays, it just makes me sad. 
"Indictments for Four" The Justice Department has indicted some Washington lobbyists for being just too much.

Science, Medicine, Education

"Temperature by Noise" Newsweek is taken by a thermometer developed by the Institute of Metals of the University of Chicago, which uses electrical current induced by heat in a tungsten wire, which is a kind of "noise."

"Atomic Airplane" The Air Force's NEPA project is working on an atomic-powered plane, which will either fail to get off the ground, or fly around the world at supersonic speeds without needing refuelling. Andrew Kalitinsky, the youthful chief engineer, was allowed to give a brief, public talk on the "fantastic possibilities and frightening problems."

"Scientific Homes" The Bureau of Standards was asked to look into the matter of housebuilding back in 1940, and quickly came to the conclusion that building the same kind of home from Georgia to New England was unscientific. This month, the Bureau's RMS 109: Strength of Houses: Applications of Engineering Principles to House Design is out to bring the prescientific age to an end.

"Engineer's Ivory Tower" The American Society for Engineering Education did a survey of aspiring engineering researchers and concluded that they preferred theoretical work because they didn't like people that much.

"For Disabled Housewives" It has been estimated that there are 3 million disabled housewives in America, and this week GE opened up a model kitchen arranged to help them cook, wash and iron their own homes in the Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine Centre of the New York University --Bellevue Medical Centre of New York. Newsweek was shown around by Jamie Coffman, "a pretty, 25-year-old brunette bedridden for six years after an automobile crash." At the institute, she teaches "new tricks in housework to her fellow cripples." A double amputee tailor teaches job skills to others, an example of what the Centre hopes to achieve for more patients.

"For Tired Hearts" In Chicago last week, the Interamerican Cardiological Association met to discuss the latest findings. These include the drugs dihydroergocornine, a treatment for high blood pressure, ammi visnaga, a nonpoisonous blood vessel dilator, a treatment fr dropsy including lots of water, some acid (ammonium chloride, mostly) and reduction of salt intake. Dr. E.M. K. Geiling, of Chicago, described the use of radioactive-isotope-tagged digitalis to trace its movement through the body.

"Assaults on TB" The last time we checked in, doctors were becoming disillusioned with streptomycin, but the annual meeting of the National Tuberculosis Association confirmed that they were getting ahead of themselves, and that, although tuberculosis in the body is notoriously harder to hurt than tuberculosis in the test tube, the new antibiotic offers real promise against tuberculosis and other acid-fast bacteria. Paraaminosalicylic acid also shows promise, as does the new surgical method of decortication, which sounds appalling. "Of 37 patients on whom Dr. O'Rourke performed [the operation] at the Kiefer Hospital between January 1946 and April 1948, only one died." Another replaces thoracoplasty with something that sounds like ballpeening.

"School for Bad Boys" Most juvenile reformatories are awful, but the Justice Department's National Training School for Boys is wonderful. Delinquency is down, recidivism is down, boys enter five years behind their peers educationally, with subnormal health, underweight, malnourished, with bad teeth, skin ailments runny ears and improperly set or broken bones. They have scars, unsightly ears and noses, and are neurotic, suspicious, cynical, shortsighted, and know how to "work the angles." But, by the time they leave, they are little angels, or close to.

Speaking of educational reform, this is the fiftieth anniversary of the Antioch Programme, which is another of those alternative college experiences that changes everything. for the minute number of students whose families can afford to send them there, and choose to do so. Oh, that does make me sound like a reform school boy! What can I say? My education was as alternative as any --Five Legged Stool essays and maths, and I turned out all right!

I think.

Radio-Television, Press, People

Leonard Stillman is back on radio, and TV is still on the GOP National Convention.

"Nancy, Sluggo and Ernie"  Everyone likes Ernie Bushmiller's Nancy. PM is back as the New York Star, only it is completely different, and will get even more different until editorial staff has hit on something that will sell. In other news, the International Typographers Union has lost its hearing before the National Labour Board over its unilateral contract answer to Taft-Hartley.

Mrs. Senator Taft promises the GOP convention that if her husband becomes President, she won't write a newspaper column, not like that lady. Gregory Peck thinks that in some ways, Negroes are better off in Haiti because they are more free. Margaret Truman doesn't like being called Maggie. Lana Turner did not enjoy her handling by the British press. Fritz Kuhn, formerly the head of the German-American Bund and more recently an escaped prisoner from Dachau, says that "Germans aren't human." General Chennault denied charges of warmongering and told the press that Stalin was as bad as Hitler or Mussolini. Treasury Secretary John Snyder went to Fort Knox, opened the vault for the first time in four years, and looked at $2 billion in gold, confirming that it is very shiny. Court treasurers have raised the budget of the Imperial Court in Tokyo to $400,000 per year. Rufus Jones has died of old age, and Earl Carroll, Beryl Wallace, Venita Varden, Remo Bufano, and 39 others have died of being aboard United Airlines Flight 624.

World Historical Asshole Henry Hazlitt Comments "Ordeal by Planning" Hayek blah! Jewkes Blub! Socialists Boo! Tyranny a-coming!


The Emperor Waltz gives Bing Crosby the chance he's always saying he wants, to be a real, ordinary actor in a role, and not one of the gang, or a kindly priest/doctor or wacko traveller. Here, he's just a travelling salesman who falls in love. It's okay. No word on whether Bing is now Oscar material. Vive Fernandel is a disappointing adaptation of a Zola story. Twentieth Century Fox's British co-production My Own Executioner is a valiant attempt at a blend of drama and psychiatry that is reduced to a sermon on psychiatry. Which is bad. Betty Hutton is great in The Dream Girl.


It turns out that there are books about party conventions. Newsweek tells us about some. I don't. Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One is a Waugh novel (satire) set in Hollywood instead of Britain, which is a moist island far across the sea about which no-one cares. Unfortunately, some Englishness got in through Waugh's hat and ruined the novel.

Perspective, with Raymond Moley, "Young Republicans" Since 1936, Richard Nowinson[*] has been publishing a magazine called The Republican, devoted to bringing the Republicans, and two-party government, back from the brink. Specifically, he meant to reach young people, who had little contact with the party. Moley thinks he deserves attention, especially when the Republicans finally regain the White House, and it is up to him to bring to the young the message of "economic freedom, a more efficient public service, relief from obtrusive scolding authority, a smarter, more effective diplomacy, and constructing action concerning the cost of living." Well! However can a Wallace compete with that ringing manifesto?

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