Saturday, November 17, 2018

Postblogging Technology, September 1948, II: Go A-Viking

R_. C_.,

Dear Father:

Ronnie emphatically did not miss the Standard Oil strike riot,
but doesn't want Reggie to feel guilty.
Well, here I am! It has been a long summer, full of exciting paper work and two fashion shows, which are something else when you are there as a Real Professional Buyer ('s assistant who is mainly there to fetch coffee). 

But you've heard all about my adventures, and about Miss K., because you have been in town every weekend ferrying mysterious packages (of boring five pound notes). Have I mentioned how honoured I was to fill in for you on the last one? 

In case you are wonder, Wong Lee and I missed the riot squad and the strikers by a good hour or so, although a vagrant wind carried some tear gas to us where we were having lunch. on the Embaradero. 

We would regret the time later, as I scheduled my trip for the last day of our lease, and picked up the last of my things to take them down to Stanford, and I do not know if you have ever moved household with nothing but your own labour, and rather more thanks to Wong Lee, who is such a dear, but it takes a long time, and once again I was on the road after dark, and, once again, the Lincoln developed hurt feelings over my driving on the highway, and, once again, I had the distinct pleasure of being towed into a service station, and after a ridiculous wait while the mechanic was summoned from home --for which, do not get me wrong, I am hugely grateful-- my old car's hurt feelings were relieved by kind words, a gentle hand, and, not to put too much faith in beside manners, a new fuel line. 

I was also relieved of my parting bonus, which has me grumpy. What's worse, and the point of this anecdote, I had my bundle of magazines helpfully located just below the suspected leak in the trunk, covering your little package, because the family business is my business, and we do not want our money to get wet. As a result, two issues of Henry Luce's organ were too soaked to be read, and you are being treated to two issues of Newsweek below. The Lincoln is not being treated to the scrap yard, although men I have never met are coming forward to volunteer the advice that it should be. 

Yours Sincerely,

Too proud to admit to having been put in harm's way, not too proud to hint that she wouldn't mind some help getting a new car. We'll hear more about this, as another uncle steps up. 

Flight, 16 September 1948


But America does. Well, sort of.
"Speed in Air Defence" Last week's The Economist was pretty scathing about the Air Exercises. I was expecting Flight to present a defence, but I was wrong. Flight is still the Royal Air Force's best girl, super-impressed by its training and equipment, but still discouraged by the relatively low rate of successful interception by the fighter defences. In spite of three years of progress, "window" still defeats the best radar. More importantly, the defending fighters just weren't fast enough, and the situation would have been much worse in the day had there been really fast attacking bombers like the ones that don't exist yet, with 300mph B-29s the best that could be laid on. Flight would have preferred it if some Hornets had pretended to be fast day bombers, like the jet bombers the Americans and Russians have. People think that this was because the Government is disgracefully covering up its lack of fast jet bombers. I'm confused. They don't have fast jet bombers!

"'Barrier' Broken" Speaking of fast, John Derry has flown a DH108  at faster than the speed of sound. Flight is very impressed with the fact that the '108 is a jet plane, and, notwithstanding the sweptback wings, otherwise conventional and no "rocket-propelled high-speed freak." "You might suggest that the DH 108 is a high speed freak, just without rockets, but Flight would disagree with you. It has "good every-day handling characteristics," as shown in its aerobatics display at low altitude. Flight goes on to admit that it is not an official record, because there weren't instruments aboard to confirm it.

To be fair, the three DH 108s built have only killed one test pilot so far.

"Air Exercises: Late-War Tactics Recalled: Jet Fighters Not Used at Night Nor Against 'Southland's Faster Types" "Southland" attacked "Northland" with bombers. For the purposes of the exercise, "Southland's" strategic targets were the same as in the war: that is, on the ground and occupied by "Northlanders." (Which upset The Economist.) Everyone was disappointed that "Southland" didn't field its Hornets as bombers, allowing Vampires and Meteors to attempt to intercept them at 30,000ft. Mosquitoes were still the  main night fighter force, which was very last-war, a full three years ago now! Flight has the "gen" about all sorts of improvements in coordination and control behind the scene, but can't let us unwashed have the scoop. (Reggie says that the real reason is that radios are boring now that we have TV.) Since jet fighters are so short-legged they can only do standing patrols if the attackers are being very well plotted. A Superfort attack on the last day of the Exercises was not well intercepted. Even Meteors and Vampires take over 8 minutes to climb to 30,000ft, and a 300mph bomber can go a long way in that time. Fog, cloud, and, at night, "window" made things harder. In conclusion, everyone thinks that there should be a jet night fighter. 

Reggie added this picture at some later date, perhaps during Ronnie's visit in Taipei in February '51, although no-one remembers why they would have had this letter with them at the time. It shows a Gloster Meteor NF12 with 10cm Westinghouse SCR-720 (AI Mk X), of which the Air Ministry still had several hundreds still in the box. Flight, Reggie pointed out, was talking around continuing delays in deploying the window-resistant 3cm Mk IX, languishing in development hell since 1942. 
Here and There

Firth-Vickers announced on 12 September that Lebanon Steel Company of Pennsylvania has been granted the American license for its special alloys for gas turbine engines. The USAF has established a British command in an extension of Transport Command's HQ at Bushey Park. Aero Digest had a nice article in the August number saying that British turbojets are a bit of all right compared with American. Several British aircraft, Beaufighters and Mosquitoes, have been bought and smuggled out of the country to Israel, and the Air Ministry is putting a stop to it. John Cunningham's Meteor altitude record has been confirmed. GAL wants to remind everyone that it is still waiting for an Ministry of Supply order for their GAL Freighter. Major Richard Johnson had to abandon his attempt to set a new speed record at the Cleveland Air Races due to weather. Handley Page reminds everyone that it has taken over maintenance for Miles Messengers and Aerovans. The current issue of the United Nations World says that Russia has between 16,000 and 24,000 frontline aircraft.

"Mach 1 Plus: John Derry's Wonderful Achievement in the de Havilland 108" Further details of Derry's alleged sound barrier breaking, in a shallow dive from 40,000ft. The Machmeter was at the end of the dial, outside temperature was minus 30 (Celsius), the Airspeed Indicator was reading 400, equivalent to 700mph true air speed, controls were tight, although there was no buffeting, as might be expected at Mach I. For a true record, this would have had to have been established by ground cameras, but Flight urgently assures us that this record is as real as a not-real record can be. 

 British West Indies Airways is to buy Short Sealands. All-American Aviation has cooperated with Douglas to convert a number of Dakotas for feeder services with "step down doors" and an extra cargo door. Under the coveted "talking about talking about" header, we have the latest bulletin about the Americans perhaps starting an airline subsidy, and the IATA Meeting. The subsidy will probably arrive long before many of IATA's noble goals, but that doesn't mean that I'm not getting tired of hearing about it! An interior layout of the SR45 has been published. It will carry 100 passengers on two decks, with 20 sleeping berths, two stairways, a cocktail lounge, a promenade deck, and a full kitchen. Air France is now operating 13 Constellations, 14 Skymasters, 44 Languedoc 161s, 45 Dakotas, 26 Junkers 52s, 17 Caudron 449s, 6 Latecoere 631s. The first KLM Convair 240s have arrived in London. 

"The SBAC Display: Some 40 New Aircraft: Excellent Progress in Gas Turbine Development" We have heard about most of the planes at the Farnborough show, although the Shackelton GR Mk I has been keeping its head down (including by not being at Farnborough), and this is the first appearance for the Vampire 5. A Meteor IV with an Armstrong Siddeley Beryl made for a change, since it needed a different attachment to the main spar. Martin Baker showed off a model of a delta-winged  jet fighter, which was interesting. Blackburn had a Firebrand to the show, and vaguely promised an exciting new coupled-turboprop aircraft for 1949. Westland's Wyvern was a no-show. The Tudor VIII and Nene Viking were shown off, because that is all they are for, as Flight admits, before pivoting to the Viscount, which showed up at Farnborough in BEA civil livery only 2-and-a-half years from the drawing board, while the Ambassador showed up still without internal furnishings, although George Errington did take off, climb away, and then circle back in and land with one engine feathered. A Hermes V and a Miles (Handley Page) Marathon showed up, and a Short Solent, but not a Tudor IV. The Saro SR/A1 finally flew, while the Planet Satellite did not. I might cover the SBAC static display of various aviation-related things for use on the ground or inside aircraft where you can't see them,  but it is all stuff like the Marshall turbine blower for refrigerating cabin air, or Cossor's new miniaturised Gee receiver. We've heard about them before. The same cannot be said for the Ministry of Supply's display of a model of a supersonic research ramjet rocket with four booster rockets to reach Mach 1.4, and a new giant Farnborough aircraft handling rig of some kind. (It's just a cradle, but it is called "the Hercules," because it is very big, and boys find that exciting.)


Reg Titmus writes that if the RAFVR would form a detachment in the West Country, the deprived old aviators out there would be very happy to have Tiger Moths. W. N. Cumming, "Deputy Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators," writes to take issue with the new "speech recording apparatus" at London Airport, which the Guild does not think is sufficiently well safeguarded to ensure that the whole conversation is played back. The reason it thinks that is that it is quite upset with the official report on the BEA Viking accident at Ruislip on 6 January, where it does not appear that the full conversation between aircraft and tower was reproduced from the Airport Control logs. It is therefore inappropriate to come to the conclusion that the pilot made a mistake (if I recall correctly, made a mistimed attempt to land blind), and people who aren't lawyers, by which is meant the Chief Inspector of Accidents, probably don't understand how serious it is to say that the pilot was negligent in failing to complete certain training.

Engineering, 17 September 1948

Due to having some time to spare while a handsome young man lavished attentions on the old Lincoln until it recovered from its swoon, plying it with candy, flowers, and, when those didn't work, a new fuel hose, which seems to have resolved at least the "not going" problems if not the "mysterious noises and quiver" problem, I had the rare opportunity of reading my Engineering numbers before writing about them.

I know!

So that's why I am going to deal with "The Design and Construction of the Anderson Dam," Parts Next and Part The One After together here. (I can't get into the 1 October installment, not that you'd want me to.) Also, it is because I can be brief. I don't get it. It's just one dam! The writer manages to make an epic story of the "penstocks" in the tunnel, and the need to dig through 125 feet of river fill "with elaborate dewatering" measures, and it all comes across as a mighty battle against the Forces of Nature, but it's not a very important dam, and if it is very important progress in the very important scientific and technical field of Digging Big Holes And Filling Them With Water, you couldn't prove it by me.
The end, until next  month.

By OpenStreetMap contributors -, CC BY-SA 2.0,
 "The Second International Conference on Soil Mechanics, Continued." This week's session covered a big paper by J. L. A Cuperus, Chief Engineer on the Netherlands Railway, on "Stabilisation of Rail Embankments," the organisational meeting for the next session, which is to be in New York, and a session on "Field Investigations" (which, snore.) Cuperus has spent much of his career fighting the main line between Utrecht and Rotterdam, and specifically the section between Utrecht and Rotterdam. This has the worst subsoil of any section in the Netherlands Railways, and the embankments were originally built by robbing soil from the adjacent ditches. Since this was greasy, liquid mud, it was layered on gravel and sand brought from a great distance. Certain problems were experienced, at least by the time that diesel passenger trains were running the route at speeds in excess of 6mph (being a continental, he says "100 km/h," but I do not want to get ahead of myself.)

Ultimately, the Dutch worked slag from a nearby iron plant that made for good material, although supply was limited at any one time and the work proceeded in sections. This gave engineers opportunities to experiment with (at least, the story seems too convenient) three methods for working in the material, and in a grand, Dutch compromise, they eventually settled on using all three. Hurrah!

David Brown lives again!
"The Machine Tools Exhibition and Engineering Exhibition in Olympia" These are respectively the last and second to last installments of this coverage. The second to last features a discussion of attendance (121,000 attendees, 55,000 paid, in the end), and a fretful conversation about how much good it did --how many foreigners were seen, what they saw, what they might buy. The very last installment returns to reviewing individual exhibits, albeit American ones that wandered into Olympia by mistake. (One is a Chicago company that offers a machine tool that works directly from a pattern piece; another actually the British licensee of Vickers-Detroit's hydraulic control system, which uses a balanced-vane pump motor that does away with the veering seen in the British vaned motors that introduced the technology.)

Various machines are described in loving detail, including one, amongst all the motors with clutches and slip gear changes, which just has the cutting head run in a groove. Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.

"Single Deck Trolley Bus Chassis" British United Traction has some contracts in hand from Launceston, Port Hobart, Dunedin and Copenhagen for fleets of its new trolley bus, the chassis, motor, and control systems being shown here at some length, and electrical subcontractors noted.

"Conference of Biology and Civil Engineering" Is going to happen.

Regional Notes

Two weeks of Notes, which is actually interesting. The Scottish ones mention that Scottish works are going at absolutely full capacity to meet all of their orders --only the first installment then admits that they are actually going quite slowly due to all the mechanical failures caused by wear and tear, and inadequate scrap deliveries from the continent. Have no fear for Scotland, Next week's installment  acknowledges that these problems have been solved. Wales is mostly concerned with coal. The first week's installment is once again a tale of woe as potential buyers are turned away, and the Spanish trade languishes for lack of payment options. The next week features miners being hustled to high production colleries to fill the orders, and South Americans seen sniffing around for more coal. In Yorkshire the writer seems a bit obsessed with high carbon steel, makers of which are sniffing at the market like a dog that doesn't want to go on, and there is ever increasing coal production, now sufficient to take bunker orders. In part this has to do with the rain easing off, reducing flooding in opencast mines. In part, it is just that the mines are going better for unspecified reasons. Cleveland and the Northwest is blazing away on the strength of plentiful supplies of hematite ores.


"Research and Re-Search" This is a very The Economist-style leading article that reads as though it was composed in the seat at the British Association for the Advancement of Science convention in Brighton the previous week. This year's president, Sir Henry Tizard, gave a nice commencement address. Engineering extracts the headline number that the world's population has increased by "300 million since the Thirties." Elsewhere, the vague date is narrowed down to 1933, so fifteen years. That being said, Engineering doesn't have to work very hard to raise the "Malthusian" spectre of some disaster in which, for example, as in "Mr. A. G. Street, in one of his novels," imagining a national emergency in which every Briton has to turn out in the fields to "dig for survival." How that might happen is not clear. Britain's agriculture is very advanced; not long ago, every worker produced enough food for 25 people, and now the number is even higher. Britain produces enough food to feed twice the population of Canada; the problem being that it still has to import enough food for 20 million people which might stop if Canada's population suddenly halved? Doubled? I don't understand.

Now, if Britain suddenly lost the ability to finance its trade deficit, I can completely see how the whole country would face an "endless furrow" (see, I do know the title of one A. G. Street novel), but that has nothing to do with population. You could even argue that more foreigners buying more British things would be good for the trade balance!

Since facts, and to some extent even the warnings, come from Tizard, it is going to be interesting to see the actual facts.

Speaking, or at least thinking of, imports, the part where Tizard notes that Sweden and Switzerland have gone from having two-thirds of the productivity of the British worker to equal or more. Engineering believes this has a great deal to do with those industrious Teutonic-like people's superior technical education. It notes that Britain is spending more on research today than the entire national budget in 1885, and that to some extent this is having the perverse result of starving the schools for teachers.

That is not only a concern in itself, but a good way of introducing a very long AAS talk give by Wing-Commander Cave-Brown-Cave on "The Young Engineer," which is the main focus of Engineering coverage over the next two weeks, and which I will bluntly summarise here as "Engineers need more vocational hands-on training while getting more maths." Reggie agrees wholeheartedly, while my wizened old portable cynic, also known as Uncle George, tells me that they've been saying that since he was a lad at Keyham. It's not that it is wrong, it is that it is hard.

North Wales is picturesque. 

The Gauge and Toolmakers' Association, International Conference of Applied Mechanics, and Conference of Dust in Industry all had conferences this week. The toolmakers are upset about nationalised steel, the Applied Mechanics were talking about the site of their next international convention, and the Dust people are worried about explosions. Lord Citrine gave a talk at the Llandudno meeting of the Area Boards on hydroelectric development in North Wales, which will soon add another 20mkw/H in generating capacity with the completion of 1 1/2 miles of tunnels, and eventually 520 million. The Anglo American Council on Productivity proceeds, with appointments of the Council members announced this week; various luminaries of industry with interlocking directorates, and several trade union representatives in cloth caps and chips on their shoulders says one side, a certain amount of horse sense about what actually happens on the shop floor, say the other side.

"The British Association Meeting at Brighton" Having already covered the topics under Leaders, I've only left to note the session on "Measurement of Stress and Pressure," which devolved into a bitching session (pardon my French) on how modern oscillometers and such are so miniaturised, light and cheap that they are unreliable and the honourable attendees can't repair them when they break. Which reminds me of Reggie's tales of befuddled senior faculty with their shirt-tails hanging out,  railing at modern equipment they don't really understand.

"Flying Display of British Aircraft" Engineering covers Farnborough,. The picture spreads are good, and the engineering figures of the Percival Prince and Hastings were covered off in lavish detail. James is said to be skeptical that Handley Page hit the mark. Uncle George, as he always does, spins a tale of Frederick Handley Page's underhanded dealings back when he was in charge of disposing of British aviation war surplus in the early Twenties. Balancing between the two, says I, there is no reason a scoundrel can't deliver a good plane. It has happened, why, just look at Uncle Henry, says Ronnie, trying to keep a straight face.

S. J. Davies and F. G. Watts, "Fuel and Power Economy, with Special Reference to Heat Pumps" This is a two parter. It doesn't really introduce itself with the point, which is that heat engines in reverse, heat places, so I thought I'd mention it. The confusing part is, instead of heat being released to push pistons to produce mechanical power, you would think that pistons are pushed to release heat, but no! Because physicists hate it when people understand what they are talking about, the practical side of the heat pump doesn't have actual pistons. It uses fluids at various temperatures, expanding and contracting. This is the thermodynamic equivalent of pistons turning crankshafts, but good luck getting anyone to understand that! The maths are the same, even if the whole thing is impossible to visualise, and there are still mechanical bits involved --the actual pumps-- which do something entirely different from the "heat engine."

Davies and Watts discuss a heating installation based on space heating with piping filled with brine, Swiss installations involving cold water from lakes and rivers, and American applications that use water from wells, and also sometimes cold air, which is most common in the South, with the Consolidated Edison building in Los Angeles included in the last, as is only right. They're very skeptical of developments in America, and then launch into the possible coal and other energy savings at some length. Switzerland, as you'll remember, was critically short of energy in the last war, getting little coal and selling its current to the Germans for a nice price. This is why they are so far ahead of the game, and why the coal-starved British are now trying to catch up. Oh! That reminds me, Regional Notes  are on about conservation measures.

Newsweek, 20 September 1948


Most letters feature fans of Fred Allen and Gorgeous George, but if you get far enough down, it is Southerners complaining about there being a pretend Negro in the newspaper, and Kansans who are upset at Newsweek for making fun of Prohibition there. The Publisher's Letter is amazed at how far Europe has improved in the last two years. Back in 1946, the occupying forces of the Army were in disarray, with dismal morale. Now, it is high. French industry is recovering, there is a bumper harvest, and the reason that the French aren't taking more ERA loans is that they are hoping for grants in aid. Tourism is recovering, and so is couture. Britain is drab and austere, because the battle is for exports, and paint and construction materials are scarce. People are working harder, Sir Stafford Cripps is the man of the hour, and Labour's popularity is falling. This week's cover welcomes General Spaatz, who explains that the world's largest air force is not used enough in diplomacy. General Spaatz is very pleased with the diplomatic impact of the B-29 garrison in Britain.

The Periscope reports that  the Democrats have written off the Pacific Northwest and won't even campaign in Oregon. The Hoover Commission is expected to recommend sweeping streamlining in Washington. The New York prosecutor has segregated all FBI files on known and suspected Communist spies for the viewing pleasure of assorted Federal grandstanders. A group of Republicans, led by Hoover, are trying to get Dewey to change his mind on naming John Foster Dulles Secretary of State, for fear he won't be firm enough with the Russians. They prefer Senator Bridges. 

To be fair, Bridges would have been tougher on Communism. Probably. Can you blackmail an ideology?

The Administration is fighting Congress over withholding loyalty reports on civil servants. Dewey will campaign for Senator Revercomb in West Virginia in spite of him scuttling the liberalised DP bill. I can't see any D.P.s actually going to West Virginia, but I can see West Virginians not liking DP.s. The British are said to be working on a colonial army of Africans to replace the Indian Army. The US push to internationalise Antarctica is getting a cool response. Get it? More military aid is going to Europe, fewer materials, which are no longer so bottlenecked. The ERA is coming around to the idea that it is --gasp-- a currency problem, and that the world needs more US dollars. Bulgaria is purging pro-Tito elements, while the Russians are thought to be planning to partition Yugoslavia along ethnic lines. The Istanbul-Moscow trunk line is so heavily tapped along the way that even with clear reception, you can't hear anything from the other end. Labour Department staff are trying to make their underfunding by Congressional Republicans an election issue. The B-50 and XF-83 make it into the press, along with a rumour that the Air Force has restored its cut off 95 B-36s from the production order. Transport planes may be dropped from the current 70 group order to increase Air Force fighting power. The Navy's carriers are holding cold weather exercises off Labrador.

Farm real estate prices are  2% above the peak of the 20s boom, except in the Northern states and corn belt. The AEC is tightening control of "private atom plants." Ingrid Bergman's Joan of Arc is set to lose money for RKO. Hollywood sees more risk of competition from Italian movies than British. Bing Crosby has a new show up in which he will be a disc jockey rather than a musician, and Bob Hope is cutting back touring in favour of broadcasting from Hollywood. William O. Douglas is publishing his memoirs, while Isabelle Field's autobiography is being reissued, because it is mainly about her stepfather, Robert Louis Stevenson. Isaac Don Levine will co-author a twenty part expose of sensational doings within the Soviet New York consulate with Oksana Kasenkina.
Washington Trends reports that everyone expects the Cold War to go on,with further Soviet proddings here and there, mainly because Stalin considers foreign adventures to be good distractions from difficulties at home. There won't be a hot war this year, because parts of Russia are already "wintered in," but next spring will be dangerous. Talk of abandoning Berlin is "dying out." There will be a modification of the unification bill to prevent the service chiefs from appealing to Congress over the head of the Secretary of Defence. Armaments spending and farm price support will probably prevent any relief from inflation due to lower crop prices, but if taxes go up to cover all the guns, there will be an inflation break. The Administration is curtailing planned grain exports at 400 million bushels for the coming year, which is very low. There will be pressure to increase the target for price relief. Meanwhile, Britain and France have both curtailed their imports because of France's big harvest and British reorientation towards sterling bloc suppliers. Meat prices will remain high because herds are so depleted. The record cotton crop will take a long time to show up in reduced textile prices.

National Affairs

"Speaking Plainly, Carrying a Stick" Newsweek reviews the week in Berlin news. Unfortunately, the "Berlin news" is still mostly "speculation about what will happen next," so this week's news is next week's news, while last week's news was this week's news. (Black market riots against the Russians and the removal of the municipal government to the British sector, if you remember.)

"Disunited They Stand" A three page story covers the fights between the services. Or, actually, the Air Force and the Navy.
Actually, it's mainly a discussion of Defence Secretary James Forrestal's mental health. Extaordinarily frank and intrusive, it pretty clearly prefugures his suicide, and in general seems like the kind of journalism I can't even imagine being published today.  But no suicide talk around here!

"The Era of Air-Power Diplomacy," by Carl Spaatz 

 Diplomacy is important, because the alternative is atomic war, and that is no alternative at all.

"Dewey by a Strawslide" All the polls say that Dewey will win a smashing victory in both popular vote and the Electoral College.

South Carolina, Ronnie.
"Dixiecrat Split in the South" The big problem for the Dixiecrats is that they have multiple  candidates to run on the "more lynching" platform, none of whom actually want to run for them, so I'm not sure "split" is the right word, but now people are talking up the Governor of North Carolina, who is terrible. That is about what you'd expect of a region that just sent Herman Talmudge to the governor's mansion in Georgia on the grounds that it is only democratic to give the son of the last governor his job, as long as he is willing to fight against Coloured people voting. Southerners are upset about all this civil rights talk, says one Georgia journalist, so of course they voted for a terrible candidate, just to show 'em!

The Internet is much less forthcoming about Ms. Heiman than the men.
University of Ghana scene by By Rtevels - Own work,
CC BY-SA 3.0,
"Spies and Atoms" HUAC held its last session in camera, but the fact that they heard General Leslie Groves, Clarence Hiskey, Martin Kamen, Steve Nelson and Beatrice Heiman is tantalising. Also "tantalising" is the fact that committee member Richard Vail basically gave it all away by telling the press that Groves had confirmed that the Russians penetrated the Manhattan Project, contradicting the President's denial. Which we already knew from the Canadian investigation that turned up Alan Nunn May. The question right now is, who gave May the sample of U-233 that he gave to the Russians.

Feeling anti-American? Rub this picture vigorously across
 your chest and say "There's no place like Minnesota"
three times quickly. Also, it's "Bebe."
Communists in the typing pool?
"The Non-travellers" A lengthy story makes it clear that the gradual purge of Communist leadership from CIO unions owes something to Wallace as well as Walter Reuther. While Reuther led anti-Communist raiding, rank-and-file antipathy for Wallace weakened the leadership. Or so Newsweek says. I'll just edge out to an agnostic stance to keep peace in the house. Just to make that harder, Newsweek follows up with a story about 83-year old Anita McCormick Blaine, who lives in a mansion in the shadow of Tribune Tower, bears the name of the McCormicks and father-in-law James G. Blaine, and who is, somehow, still, now a Wallace girl. She has given a million dollars to the Foundation for World Government, and is now promoting people like Stringfellow Barr, former president of St. John's College, Annapolis, and now world apostle of world government. Newsweek takes a moment to remind us that decent world government proponents such as Upshur Evans[*], have no time for Wallace and his coterie of red herrings. (In our new language in which red herrings are actual herrings because they are red. Honestly, this election can't end too soon for me.)

Washington Times with Ernest B. Lindley Opinionates "The Middle East: America's Lifeline of Security" Ernest's 29 day junket across the Middle East with Admiral Connolly led him to conclude that Middle East oil is important, and that America will have more allies in the region if it signs more alliances.

Foreign Affairs

"The Planners and the Risk of War" America now  has a National Security Council to plan for the risk of war, and not actual war. The Russians sent Bulganin and Koneff to Berlin for the same reason. Now, planners in both countries are planning to not have a war, and to win it when it comes. To signify this, the Russian Air Force has "dozens" of Yak fighters flying over Berlin as a distraction from the "planes by the hundreds" landing in the western sectors. Another riot in Berlin, as residents of the Western Sector demonstrate around the Russian Memorial and throw stones at Russian soldiers, who threaten to shoot back, and do, at least to the extent that a single person in the crowd is killed. Excited Berliners strip the red flag from the Memorial, and all the occupying powers take a step back and contemplate the risks if they let German national feeling run out of control. A Russian counter-demonstration is only able to muster some 50,000, and disperses quickly.

"Less-Militant Unions" Newsweek's coverage of the Margate meeting emphasises the defeat of communist candidates for various TUC leadership positions before moving on to workers' dissatisfaction with recent cuts in the cigarette and beer rations, forcing the TUC to raise the possibility of reopening wage talks, "a nightmarish prospect for a government attempting to maintain an unsteady balance in a shaky economy."

"The Colonies Conundrum" Mussolini spent a whole decade "trying to turn a trio of impoverished, unproductive African colonies into a new Roman Empire," and failed. Let's see. Nineteen Forty minus Nineteen Thirty Six equals four, and four is close to ten, so that seems right. The allies have had three years to sort it out, and so far haven't. The Italian peace treaty gives them until 15 September, and the Allies threw it on the General Assembly, which thinks that the Red Sea coast colony of Eritrea should be partitioned to give Ethiopia a corridor to the sea at Assab in Danakil, and that Italy should get southern Somaliland back. France and the Soviet Union support this, because it might somehow get the Anglo-Americans out of Tripolitania, and allow France to annex  Fezzan, which, it turns out, is the bit in the middle of Libya. The Italians want their colonies back both for prestige and as an outlet for their crowded 47 million in the "narrow Italian boot."

You can tell that I spend far too much time around engineers, because at the very moment I read this, I must fly to my World Almanac, which is full of useful numbers, to discover Italy's place on the league of nations. Did you know that the Soviet Union is larger than Antarctica? My point is that Italy, at 116,000 square miles, is comfortably larger than the United Kingdom, at 93,000. And also New Zealand at 104,000, but I digress again. 

Leaving aside the highly attractive notion of millions of Italian emigres flocking to the balmy shores of the Indian Ocean, the Russians have volunteered to take over the problem and produce a solution, which is generally deemed to be a way of wedging into the American elections, which are central to the story, as they are central to all stories, because of Dewey's foot-in-mouth promise to Italian Americans that all the Italian colonies would be restored, perhaps including Ethiopia, aligning the Republican Party with the Nationalists in South Africa. So now the solution to all of these problems depends on persuading Dewey to modify the Republican platform. To which I can only say, "Oh, Good Lord." What a fine way of getting past the whole "civil rights" thing. I wonder if it is time for another of those Luce press stories about how this is surely the year that the Coloureds come back to the GOP.

There's also a bit about trouble behind the Iron Curtain, with Gomulka falling, and Titoists being purged, and unruly Czechs lining up to view Benes' coffin. In South Africa, the Cape Argus reports, to celebrate the Nationalist victory, a "special arena" has been set up near Pretoria where "Negro gladiators are pitted against each other for the entertainment of White spectators," with as many as fifteen combats going on at a time, and bracelets worn instead of brass knuckles. And there's a review of French politics by Newsweek's correspondent, who brings something special to the table by virtue of falling in with some fishwives and Renault workers rioting on the Quai de Passy. Communists, wages, prices, Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Boulanger de Gaulle, etc., etc. (Once as tragedy, once as farce, once as repetitive news stories recycled from week to week until, finally, in some distant future of flying, atomic cars, something actually happens! And, no, I don't count a reorganisation of the cabinet.)

"Harriman Compromise" Just when it seemed as though a minor disagreement about allocation of ERA funds would cause the collapse of the Western European project, the coming of WWIII, and the atomic destruction of the human race, a compromise was found. I know I was holding my breath!

"Father of Pakistan" Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who, it turns out, was ill, has died. It still might turn out that he has bequeathed a war for Kashmir to his successors. There won't be a war over Hyderabad, but only because Pakistan has no frontier with it so as to send troops to assist the country of 100,000 square mile, 20 million people principality (smaller than Italy, bigger than Britain, less than half the population of either). Since the "Razakar" militia of Muslim raiders apparently numbers 200,000 volunteers(!), Hyderabad's problem might not be a shortage of troops so much as of tanks, India having sent its "only armoured division" across the frontier.

"Ration of Romance" Remember when SCAP was in trouble for trying to ship out reporters' families? Now it has had to issue a regulating schedule to make sure that it doesn't end up with too many of its staff off getting married at once.

Foreign Tides with Joseph Phillips Chinwags "France: The Constitutional Cancer" The Fourth Republic's constitution is flawed. Consequentially, the government will not be able to guide the French economy to a further recovery, and this   is why the Assembly will be dissolved next spring, leading to elections, leading to the Eighteenth-Or-Whatever Brumaire of Bonaparte Petain De Gaulle. When it happens, when it happens, I say, I will issue an apology to every journalist I have poo-pooed. When it happens.

Speaking of affaires interminable (I love my new French-Chinese dictionary!) the Canadian affairs page features French-Canadian extremists getting hot under the collar about the Government's decision to repatriate the Count Jacques Duge de Bernonville, a Vichyite who made his way to Canada when things got hot and parlayed his bon tone into a job with a Canadian dairy.

The boredom of Canada is then balanced, as all things should be, by the colour of Latin America, where Chile has turned to the right and launched an anti-communist push.


"The Meaning of the Credit Curb" In Newsweek's telling, "cracking grain prices" and "supply catching up with demand" for manufactured goods means that inflation has been curbed, and that some kind of relief is needed to keep up activity. And so the Federal Reserve's decision to fight inflation by increasing credit reserves comes at a bad time,with bank profits slowing. Banks are likely to lend less to business (stocks) and buy bonds and securities instead, further curtailing business activity. I think. Newsweek ends its version of the Cripps speech at Margate (higher productivity only way to raise wages) by quoting Leslie Gold of the New York Journal American: "Jeepers, Cripps, What Rules Are You Living Under?"

"The Older the Better" The Employers' Association of Chicago reminded members that older employees have lower absenteeism rates, and that they should therefore overcome their prejudices and hire the over-45s. It also pointed out that older employees can be trained, and have lower accident rates, notwithstanding their slower reflexes.

Trends and Changes reports that most military research towards the next war will be done by civilians, that the Stratocruiser is through the CAA, that Eric Johnston has gone off to Moscow to sell American movies, that new building hit a whopping $1.78 billion in August, a 31% increase over last year, that Treasury Secretary John Snyder told farmers that there will be no cuts in the $253 billion national debt in the next year because of Republican tax cuts, and that they should buy savings bonds, as the government had few options to fight inflation. E. H. Harriman gold medals for chummy inside dealing (no, sorry, misread that: "safety") were given to a number of railroads. Robert Young of the Chesapeake and Ohio  has abandoned a contract for 71 of 192 sleeper cars on order since 1946 due to rising costs and hopes that his lightweight "Train X" will be running in three years. Kaiser-Frazer is opening an assembly plant in Rotterdam next year to sell the Kaiser Standard in Europe for about $2800. The Justice Department is going after International Harvester, J. I. Case and Deere and Company for the usual reasons.

"Buy Phantoms" The National Strategic Resources Board has placed a number of "phantom" orders in the machine tool industry, basically for tools that the industry will start producing (and being paid for) on the declaration of national mobilisation. Everyone is very excited about this, and a billion dollars of orders in the electronics industry will follow. On a somewhat similar theme, the voluntary steel allocations called for by Congress last year have come into effect. Freight cars, arms, tankers, furnaces, barges, oil equipment, prefabricated houses, atomic projects, anthracite mining, and aeronautical research are winners, farm equipment among the losers. That said, they could stay out of the allocations process and just buy on the grey market, instead.

"Steelmaker's Coal" So there's a shortage of good steelmaking coal, too. Metallurgical coal has low sulphur content, and sulphur ruins as much as 5% of steel produced. Clifford Strike, of F. H. McGraw and Co., and Nelson L. Davis, a Chicago designer, have a flotation process that is simple, inexpensive (one third of a cent per ton treated) that can produce 250 tons of metallurgical coal an hour. Their first installation will be in Jones and Laughlin's $10 million coal preparation plant under construction at East Frederickton, Pennsylvania, and will turn out 2000t of high grade metallurgical coal an hour.

What's New reports that Market Electric Products have an automatic record player that will play up to eight records in sequence. Minnesota Mining and Sheeting has a glossy reflective sheeting that can be applied to flat surfaces. Sigma Products of New York has a miniature inhaler for fighting bad breath with a replaceable wafer impregnated with essential oils. Nestle has instant tea, based on a soluble tea powder. Foster and Kester has a pushbutton can that sprays a transparent, flexible coating for protecting metal surfaces, furniture, leather, book bindings, wallet cards and metal tools.  Veeder Rooter has a tamper-proof magnetic coin counter for vending machines.

Business Tides with Henry Hazlitt Pontificates  "The Ethics of Capitalism" The World Council of Churches recently had a meeting and agreed that the Church wasn't too fond of communism or capitalism, and thought that the best course was some sort of democratic socialism in between them. Henry falls down on the floor and chews the rug over the "road to serfdom" that begins with the least peep of the door into a managed economy, points out that once one has inevitably arrived at full blown communism, one promptly puts everyone in murder camps, whereas capitalism is the pure mountain air of freedom. Therefore the World Council of Churches is silly and wrong.

I'm beginning to think I missed the issue in which he apologised for his prediction that there would be a failed harvest in Europe this year due to planning.

Science, Medicine

"Reciprocal Knowledge" Sir Henry Tizard gave a talk to the British Association about his 1940 Mission, when he brought the fruits of British science to America's benighted shores. Now, by analogy, it is time to bring science to industry, so vast dark continents' worth of factories can be lit by the shining beacon of productivity.

"Burning Battery" National Carbon Company, maker of Everready Batteries, has announced a new breakthrough, a battery consisting of a plate of pure zinc, which, once exposed to the air by removing a thin, plastic tube, begins to produce electric current as a byproduct of oxidation. The batteries last longer than conventional batteries of the same size, do not deteriorate on the shelf, and give a steady voltage until they expire.

Newsweek reviews some science books here. Dirk J. Struik, Yankee Science in the Making which is about the early days of American science, from Puritans through Civil War, at least in New England. Kenneth Swezey's[*After Dinner Science has interesting experiments for impressing the guests, or, at least, the children.

"Turbines for Busses" The dailies, which are terrible, are on about "jet-propelled busses," while Newsweek brings the scoop. Commissioner Sidney Bingham of the New York Board of Transportation is looking into the gas turbine as a bus plant, but still turning wheels, rather than firing jets. "There would be no danger of a crowded Brooklyn bus whooshing off toward the moon." 

Meanwhile, over at the SAE convention in St. Louis, GM Laboratories' John M. Campbell and Lloyd L. Withrow reminded the audience that the four-stroke, sparked internal combustion engine won out by natural selection, will be the  main form of  automotive power for many years yet, and is susceptible to at least a further 25% improvement in ton-mile performance, which is amazing when you consider that a 1% gain would translate into saving two million gallons of gasoline a day.

"Rubberised Respirator"  Drs. Harold Lamport and Ralph D. Eichorn, of Yale, have a rubberised "iron lung" that is much lighter and more portable than ones made of actual iron. Of similar interest is a tension bandage for early treatment of clubfoot, developed by Dr. Emil D. W. Hauser of Chicago. It is a form of foot binding that has been "highly successful" with seventy patients in Dr. Hauser's practice.

"Quacks on Parade" Last week, the acting medical director of the Food and Drug Administration reminded specialists at the 26th Annual Congress of Physical Medicine that quacks are still all too common, and keep 200 FDA inspectors busy running down new offenders. He cites the example of Dinshah P. Ghadiali, of Malaga, New Jersey, who has been treating everything from asthma to diabetes with his "spectochrome," a wall of flashing lights. The FDA caught Ghadiali and fined him $20,000, but he appealed, and is free, fine unpaid, and a millionaire, pending the appeal. Other frauds are selling the "Cosmo-Light," an "enema machine," and "radioactive tubes."

"Penicillin for the Lungs" Drs. George Taplin of Los Angeles, and Sidney Cohen and Earle Mahoney of Rochester have had remarkable success treating tuberculosis with penicillin and streptomycin dust inhalers, with hardly any adverse reactions.

In case you are missing your selection of Mr. Luce's organ this week, the education section has the kind of thing you are looking for, a rundown of all the universities that have appointed Great Minds as Presidents instead of generals this month. Also, Falk Johnson of Northwestern elicited gales of laughter from amongst the wise by making fun of the silent letters of English. Did you know that "knicknack" has the same letter silent, four times over?

Radio, Press, People

Allan Funt has arrived to play pranks on people, on TV this time! And if you were worried that the networks weren't doing enough to drive viewers away, NBC has joined CBS and ABC in scheduling Worthy Documentaries for the public edification. "Out of Living" will screen from 4:35 to 5 PM, Sundays, when, hopefully, no-one will be watching except invalids.

Bob Hope nearly choked on some food. President Benes' son, General Benes, is living in San Francisco and made a comment to the press to the effect that he hopes that Czechoslovakia stops being Communist soon. The Reverend Robert Anderson, who married the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson in defiance of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has been in exile in Los Angeles ever since, is to be made bishop of the South African Episcopalian Church next year, all good things coming to those who wait. Howard Fast is in trouble for suggesting that there were several hundred lynchings of Progressive Party members in the South last year. Hundreds of birds crashed into New York windows last week, either because of atomic radiation, or, just possibly, fog.

The press section leads off with a long feature about Vincent Fago, who has taken over Peter Rabbit from Thornton Burgess' original cartoonist. Next, it looks like economy, retrenchment and reform are over in magazines, since Newsweek can fill some column inches by talking about planned new ventures Nation's HeritageKaleidoscope and Feature, the last not so much a magazine as a digest of industry-written stories to be shopped around to newspapers and magazines looking for even cheaper content than they get by simply letting companies write "stories" for them.

Most (70%) newspapers have come out for Dewey, 16% for the President.

Dorothy Lamour hosted the first Sealtest Variety Hour last week, which is an American Federation of Radio Artists benefit. Those who attend live may or may not be disappointed that she doesn't wear her sarong, but will be pleased that she can do more than wear a sarong. For example, she can host a variety show at a cut in salary. Some people would say that this would be good publicity, but if those cynical people were right, there'd be a story in Newsweek about them. Aren't you glad that cynical old men are too busy having a gay old time to write you long letters?

Grandma Moses is 76, Martha Graham, Edith Kermit Roosevelt[**] and Cornelius Vanderbilt have married, Greta Garbo has filed for American citizenship, Susan Peters has divorced, Clement Atlee is in hospital for an early ulcer brought on by nervous strain(!), Rita Johnson is in hospital in a coma caused by a head injury, Ex-King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Rupert D'Oyly Carte (which is a real name) has died.

This unfortunately cropped shot included strictly as ironic comment.

The lead feature is part profile, part review of Ed Weiner's The Damon Runyon Story. I like Runyon. Did you know that certain French intellectuals think "noir" detective novels are a more authentic American contribution to Great Literature than novels about great while whales? But it's so much more work to read about great while whales!

Ruth Fisher's German Communism: A Study in the Origins of the State Party reveals just how quickly the Cominterm took over the German party. Helen Mears' Mirror for Americans: Japan, argues that if Japan prewar was aggressive and militaristic, it adopted foreign ways in its ambition of becoming another "Western civilisation."  The old Japan was conservative, and conserving; the new Japan, created in the Western image, was aggressive and imperialistic, and American foreign policy only reinforced those trends. Stefan Heyn's The Crusaders is a novel about the Second World War that can be compared to Mailer's The Naked and the Dead. High praise, if true. Ruth Gruber's story of the voyage of the Exodus, complete with the photos she took at the time is out as Destination Palestine. Joyce Carry and Edita Morris have novels out.

Perspective with Raymond Moley Tells Boring War Stories About "Roosevelt and Dewey, V" That's right, this comparison of Tom Dewey and FDR needs five columns. I peaked briefly at the end, where Dewey is "stiff" about that and "irritated" about this. With friends like these!

By the way, it is definitive this week. The Movies section this week does not have a New Pictures section. I hope you're not missing capsule reviews of the kind of movies that come out in September. ("Dead on Arrival.")

Flight, 23 September 1948


"Rearming Once More" Flight starts off by pointing out that it is tragic and all that Britain has to announce that it is rearming during Battle of Britain Week, before getting to the meat of the matter, which is rubbing its hands in glee over the prospect of Attacker and N.7/46 orders before turning to fret about the night fighter situation. Two seaters are needed, and no two-seat jet fighters are on order. Also, it is upset about the bomber situation. There is a high speed, two jet-engine bomber on order, and a four-engine "heavy" type with longer range[?], and now the Air Ministry has gone back to the specification to demand improvements in speed, range and operating height. Flight thinks that it is all very well to be ambitious, but there should be a short term solution.

I'm a little surprised that the Shackleton wasn't the starting point for a made-in-Britain atom bomber. It's not that the B-29 wasn't a better choice. It's the dollars thing. I guess we'll just have to see how things develop. I'll admit to being surprised that rearmament begins now, before the Korean War, but what do I know?
"The Personnel Position" The new scheme to bring back ex-RAF men with an eight years regular, four years reserve, and "further career prospects" should fix the problem with building up a nucleus for a wartime expansion.

"The Fly-Past: A Missed Opportunity" The Battle of Britain Commemorative Fly Past was a bust this year. Instead of mass formations of jet fighters sweeping over the capital in company with Naval squadrons and the Americans, it was dribs and drabs of planes, in no way "representative of British all-weather air might on parade."

"Lincolns Over London" Flight's correspondent flew in a Lincoln during the Flypast. A classified number of Lincolns and six Coastal Lancasters were to make a fly over at 145 knots at 2000ft, on routes that would allow most of southern England to see them. Then the morning Flypast was scrubbed by weather and moved forward to the afternoon. Flight's man flew in Lincoln LSB-Baker, which has the special bomb slips for the 12,000 lb "Tallboy," and a turretless nose "housing something extra-special in the way of bomb-sights." The course was easily made at 2200rpm. At 5:46, the whole force rendezvoused over Yarmouth. The formation managed to get over the zero line by 6:34, with occasional flashes of blue, and the aircraft down closer to 1100ft due to weather, with some planes having to cruise as slow as 115 to stay in formation, flying above a Swissair Dakota headed for "London Airport." With water puddling in the cabin, slipstreams forming on tails, and planes up to 160 ASI indicated, the Training Command heavies had had enough, and the exercise was cancelled over Coventry, still headed for Manchester.

Here and There

The Mamba has achieved a specific fuel consumption of 0.785 lb/bhp hr at 14,000rpm, giving an equivalent of 0.716 lb/hp hr with residual thrust considered. Kelvin-Kollsmeter thinks that the Mach 1.04 reading on its Mach-meter aboard Derry's DH 108 is accurate and equivalent to about 700mph, while Richard Johnson has set a new actual speed record of 670.981 mph in a normally armed and equipped F-86. The Americans have announced the XF-88 "penetration" fighter, XF-89 all weather fighter, XF-90 supersonic twin-jet fighter, Republic XF-91 and Convair XF-92 supersonic rocket-plus-jet interceptors, XB-52, and the new Northrop X-4 research aircraft.

 Schiphol has just opened what is claimed to be the first airport restaurant. Rotax has Jet Electrics out. Captain H. G. Harrison, the Resident Technical Officer at Fairey's for the last nine years, is retiring, which is interesting as a reminder that RAE has a delegated Technical Officer at all the major plants. The British in Berlin had a commemoration of the Battle of Britain recently; some Germans attended.

Civil Aviation News

The IATA General Meeting has gone awry! At some point in the middle of naps disguised as talking about talking about civil aviation sessions, someone put a motion on the floor "condemning traffic control methods"! And it passed! Lack of facilities for controlling aircraft in bad weather cost American airlines £7 million last year, and the computed cost of weather interruptions at European airports was £100/hour. This brief eruption exhausted everyone, and a technical committee was struck to form a special panel of airline experts who would consider the "major task and coordination on an international basis of the all-weather air traffic control problem," which was so much work that they couldn't even proofread it. The committee will meet on 1 May 1949, where it will presumably consider coordinating tasking. The IATA noted that £35 million in inter-airline transactions would be handled in London in 1949, which is a nice bit of business for London banks. Sabena is going to throw a party to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Channel service, the North Atlantic weather ship fleet will be at full strength by June, and two BEA airliners will be flying as "tramps" next winter on their return flights to Northolt, and everyone who wants to put freight aboard is on notice. BEA will also be putting Dakotas on the Chanel Island routes this winter.

Frank Whittle went to Brussels to tell a meeting of IATA members about jet turbines. Turboprops will be available almost immediately, while jet airliners will be held up until air traffic control improves enough to get rid of stacking. New turboprop engines will take longer to develop than jet, and axial ones longer than centrifugal. However, it took 40 years to develop the internal combustion engine fully, and will not take anywhere near as long with the jet. Jet engines, for example, can be produced in whole families of different powers by simply scaling them up and down. He reiterated the advantages of jet turbines, and put a word in for kerosene against those who were promoting gas on grounds of availability. ICAO, not to be outdone by IATA, is going to investigate airfield lighting at an informal meeting in London on 15 September. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is throwing in some demonstrations at Farnborough on the 14th so that the ICAO members will know what they are talking about talking about. 

BEA has scrounged up two Halifaxes, a Hythe and two Wayfarers to join its Berlin service. The civil side of the airlift has been lifting nearly 100 tons a day since 15 August on 11 planes making 30 flights a day.  Two Hythes, in particular, carried 340 tons and achieved 204 sortie hours in August, compared with 10 Dakotas making 165 sorties in the week 12--18 August, carrying over a million lb coal. An Airflight Tudor II, presumably Bennett's job, lifted nearly 320,000lbs of freight 4--10 September, making between two and four sorties a day. MOre new services are flying more things more places with more  passenger air miles. United's second officer training school in Cheyenne, Wyoming, has been approved, which, since it has 120 officers training currently, makes it comfortably the largest thing in Cheyenne. No one minds, because they have an  airline, and can get out of Cheyenne, Wyoming. American is offering some great deals to attract new passengers. Wives fly for half price if they accompany their husbands, as long as their seat is three steps behind their husband's seat, children under 11 also qualify for the concession, which mystifies Flight, since children under 11 already fly half rate. United has a mobile belt conveyor for unloading and clearing luggage more quickly. It can unload a DC-6 in five minutes instead of 9, currently.

The very successful Fairey Gannet
"SBAC Souvenirs: Farnborough Exhibits in Action and Repose" Some words to go with some nice pictures. The Avon-Lancastrian was particularly interesting, because while we know that it is an Avon testbed, we do not know anything about the Avon. Everyone liked the Percival Prince and was disappointed there was no sign of the Westland Wyvern, and is excited about word that the Navy has a "more recent" turboprop on order. Flight keeps saying that, so it's as good as official. Last weeks' Flight implied that it would be a Blackburn plane, but this one seems to be saying that it will be a Westland. All we need now is rumours about Fairey, Supermarine, Hawker and Saro. Contrary to Reggie's recollection, an actual Aerocar does exist, and did fly at Farnborough.  Everyone thought that the DH Gipsy Queen 75 with feathering reversible propellers was quite the neatest little thing. The Vickers Valetta has enormous carrying space for its size. Blackburn Cirrus showed off a new engine in its six cylinder inline family, the 300hp Grenadier. 

"Carrier-Borne Bomber: Composite Powered XAJ-1: P and W. Double Wasps and a GE Turbojet" This is the plane that the Navy will drag my fiance back aboard a carrier to fly, if anything does. You can't see me, but I am wrinkling my nose, crossing my eyes, and casting my strongest hex on it! Flight calls it the latest in American fission fashions, on the grounds that it is the plane the Navy is looking to as an excuse to have atom bombs, too. The mixed power plant, familiar from the Ryan ships and the Martin Mercator, uses the piston engines for takeoff and cruise, and the turbojets for combat power. It is heavier than any existing carrier ship, but still lighter than the Neptune "which has recently completed a number of successful carrier takeoffs." It carries a crew of three, has a pressurised cockpit, tricycle undercarriage, wing folds, and those exhaust collectors for thrust augmentation seen in the Rainbow and the Convair 240. (The writer of this feature has been living in a faraway land where they talk aviation differently, since he refers to an "XR-12 Photo-Scout," and "Convair-Liner transport.") Flight theorises that this is the atomic bomber to go with the Navy's super carrier, which the Air Force continues to point out is ridiculous. Look at a map! Are you really taking an 80,000 ton ship up to the coast of Russia, which doesn't have a coast? "In the opinion of this writer (a mere layman), it seems a fantastically expensive way of delivering an atom bomb on the target. The aerial part of the bill is practically unnoticeable, compared with the cost of the giant carrier and its huge flotilla of protective escorts, representing in all a total investment roughly estimated to run as high as 1000 million dollars." 

Fiance. I like that word now. 

"Aircrew Selection: The RAF's Methods of Choosing Flying Personnel" Link Trainers, aptitude tests, "Coordination testers." A lot of rigamarole to show that the RAF has surplus applicants again. All been administered, Uncle George points out, by WWI-vintage Air Marshals who qualified by sitting on a horse without falling off. A short bit after that reminds us that Aero Research is  still working on ever superior synthetic resin glues, and that their latest Aerolite glue is used in the RAE's new, experimental, all-plastic wing. 

"Nimonic Alloys: Their Application to Aircraft Gas Turbines" Nimonics are the various alloys "based on the 80/20 nickel chromium solid solution" first developed in 1908. They have excellent resistance to "creep," which I choose to imagine as a sort of slow, sneaky movement in the direction of being longer. Nimonic pieces can be rolled, cast or forged (depending on which particular Nimonic alloy), and are used for applications where they don't have to move (combustion chambers), as well as in turbine blades, where it is easier to imagine them "creeping." Nimonic melts at 1380 C, and forging can be done from 1180 down to 1050 C. The material is stiff at the best of time, and the manufacturer recommends no more than two blows before reheating. The furnace should be oxidising, with a low sulphur content. 

From All Quarters

The Brabazon undercarriage has been given various heavy, clanging, metallic tests at Farnborough, discussed this week in Flight's sister magazine, Aircraft Production. Field-Marshal (Okay, okay, "Marshal of the RAF") Lord Douglas's report on Fighter Command's war is out. The RAF's ground crew recruiting programme is described in a little more detail than the Leader. A full column explains the aerodynamics of transsonic flight. Someone needs to have a talk with the advertising salesman!


B. J. Hurren, who is now the "Sales Development Manager" at Fairey, which I hope doesn't take too much brain, writes to say that the Gyrodyne is so a helicopter. P. Laffey really enjoyed the Farnborough SBAC Display. And so did F. Sneckitt, of London. (Which is a real name.)

Engineering, 24 September 1948


Harold N. Fisk, Fine-Grained Deposits and Their Effects on Mississippi River Activity This sounds as boring as you can imagine, but it's not. After all, Engineering points out, the Mississippi is the most economically important river in the world. It has a discharge of over 560,000 cusecs on average in the middle of the flood plain, up to 2.4 million at the maximum. The flood plain extends over eight degrees of latitude and has an average width of 75 miles. The head of the flood plain has a level of 45 feet above the bottom, 60ft with diking. This is comparable to the Yangtze, and is the result of the glacial history of North America. At the peak of the last Ice Age, the sea level was 40ft below today, and the Mississippi was a river in a hurry, gouging a deep valley on its way to meet the shrunken sea. When the glaciers melted and the land rose, the Mississippi filled up that valley with alluvium, forming an economic region more important than Amazon, Congo, or Yangtze. It's not the river's fault! It's the Civil War! The depositing process created "islands" of solid material, the "fine grained deposits," and a series of meanders, which are mathematically predictable from the infill process, but complicated by those deposits. The Corps of Engineers has reduced the meanders, and the length of the river, to 970 miles, but, again, those islands complicate things, as they do the formation of natural dykes and levees, and backwater swamp areas. 

The section also covers an introductory textbook on radiology and radioactive phenomena by Hans Gueben, a Professor at the National Polytechnic in Liege, which seems worthy, and A. D. Hall's Industrial Applications of Infra-red, which is a very discursive book because of the sheer range of applications of infra-red heating, from broiling steaks to drying cosmetics to curing foundry moulds. It might also rid dogs of fleas! I know some dogs . . Sometimes, I have to work and go to boring classes about what Heidegger means when he says what he means. And, no, you can't just say, "But he was a Nazi" and get out of the discussion, because it is about Language, and Meaning, and these are important. The point is, I would like to sleep in, and a dog starts barking.

"Anodic Oxidation of Aluminum" Without surface oxidation of aluminum to create Alclad, the Navy would not have a job for Reggie, so I approve of it in principle, but draw the line at long articles about how it is best accomplished (chemical baths, if you are interested) so as to create the proper foundations for a proper coat of lacquer to which dyes can be applied to create pleasing designs of coloured aluminum. . 

With this week's closing installment of its coverage of the Farnborough Flying display, Engineering gets into a subject it can get its teeth into, the rotor head of the Bristol 171 helicopter, which is advertised as unusually safe, with all materials certified for 75,000 fatigue hours. As we are told, seemingly for every helicopter design, all the other helicopters are in trouble if they have a rotor failure, but the particular design of the 171's rotor head means that, without power, the blades will continue to spin, unpowered, and parachute the helicopter to safety. I am not sure why all the designers seem to claim that this is a unique property of their particular helicopter, but it probably has to do with the specific ways that the blades tilt under air pressure. Yes, I know I could read the articles closely enough to understand the competing claims, but I am not going to, and, in fact, am sticking my tongue out at you right now. 


"The Crystalline State"

Professor Bragg gave a talk at the AAS. He pointed out that all materials have a "crystalline" state, which means that their atoms form regular structures in which every atom is at the point of some kind of prism, hence crystal. That is a simplification that is only true of pure materials, however, and ever since a German scientist noticed that x-ray returns from material powders could be shown to be refracted according to their structures, and Professor Bragg's father began using x-rays to discover the structure, and hence properties, of complicated materials, this insight has made the Braggs lots and lots of money, and led to Progress, not just in metals, but in biology, where x-rays are being used to deduce the structures of gigantic proteins of thousands of atoms, which work is currently just on the border of the impossible, but will no doubt have great results in the future. 


The Biology and Civil Engineering conference has gone ahead, and heard a paper from W. L. Newman and A. J. Healy on "Soil Conservation in New Zealand," which revealed that New Zealand has serious erosion problems, which is interesting considering that Engineering was just singling out the efficiency of its agriculture. They also had a paper from that Dutch fellow with the slag embankments. The Cavendish Laboratory hosted a talk by Lawrence Bragg on the same subject as above. The Royal Engineers (Transportation) Supplementary Reserve put on a public day at their training facility at Longmoor the other day to remind railway industry workers that they exist, and would be a great formation to build up some reserve time in. No drill hall meetings and square bashing required, just show up and play with the Corps' pet trains for a weekend. EMI is giving training courses for electronic engineers at their private house in London. 


G. Wood thinks that engineers would get more professional respect if they wrote long, woolly letters about Christianity and Marxism to the Editors of Engineering.  J. Slee thinks that all of this dynanometer testing is silly, that if you really want to know how good a locomtive is at dragging trains around, you should just give it a go for a few months. Science. Feh. 

This week's coverage of the "British Association Meeting in Brighton" concentrates first and foremost on the question of whether Britain should adopt the metric system, which some are in favour of, and some oppose, on the grounds that they will end up dividing the angle up by 100 instead of 90, and suchlike silliness. Another engineer speaks up to ask that if, at least, the kilogram is out, British engineering should at least get rid of hundredweights. Then it was off to the Brighton Railway Works to look at locomotives, including the "Battle of Britain" class and one that had gone 18,000 miles between servicings. My Lincoln could do that, with a big enough rocket.

"The Institute of Metals" had a session and heard mainly about measuring microhardness and microstructures. 

Sir Henry Tizard, "The Passing World" Sir Henry reminds us that science and scientific education is very important, and looks back to 1885 as showing how far we have come. The crude death rate was then 20 per thousand. Now it is twelve. One in every seven children died in the first year of life. Now, it is one in twenty-five. A man of 20 could expect to live to 41. Now, it is 48, and he will be the healthier. The stunted and distorted children of 1885 have vanished, people are getting taller, and while much of this has to do with science, a great deal more of it has to do with health. On the former, he points out how much lower the death rates of the late great war were than past wars, with America fighting a world war with fewer deaths than in the Civil War, although its population has risen by five times. On the latter, he notes the virtual eradication of malaria in Georgetown, British Guiana, by progress in public health. People are more vigorous now, and he points out one often overlooked result of this. Thanks to the fall in the birth rate alongside the declining death rate, Britain has relatively fewer children to look after and a larger work force in proportion to the population, although the number of the aged is increasing. 

The spread of preventive medicine does raise one concern, which is the rapid rise of world population, already highlighted by everyone who has talked about this speech. Those who concerned themselves with food overproduction in the Thirties (presumably not anyone actually starving) forget that increase of 300 million, or 20 million a year. In 1885, Sir William Crookes spoke to the AAS and warned of an imminent catastrophe, that "we will not have food enough to eat," due to a global shortage of wheat. He did note that chemistry might come to our aid, via nitrogen fixation, but that, he thought, was a distant hope.

Now that we do have fixation, and many other achievements of plant breeding and chemistry, one turns to wonder about the future of food. Once again, there are distant, scientific prospects, such as nutritional food yeast from molasses and carbohydrates from micro-organisms, but these are far-off prospects, and or policy should emphasise that food will be scarce and dear for years to come. Food scarcity will only be resolved if the rest of the world brings up the productivity of its soil to Britain's level, or something short, although perhaps not to the still further 20% increase in British production that is possible through better winter grass cultivation, more use of marginal lands, and other things. It is a difficult world we live in, he finished, but a promising one.

For example, the large wheat harvests that "could" happen in the next few years might start happening this year. And next year. For example. 

Labour Notes  consists of trade union luminaries talking to each other about the need for wage restraint.
I still have no idea who Leonard Miller was. 

James Moore wonders what happened to Bleriot Lamarre, who was tangled up with Benny Meyers. It turns out that he is working as a gas station attendant in Oakwood, Dayton, Ohio, while his suit against Meyers wends its way through the courts. The fate of Feller the White House dog remains a matter of controversy. Feller is cute, so I can see it. Newsweek's letter to us is very proud that it fingered the problem of Communist infiltration in Burma, Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies five weeks before the State Department.  It also lets us know that the whole fiscal-currency issue is boring and that we won't be having the Berlin Crisis over it, any more. We'll have it over something else.

I've been to parties like that.

USS Sealion seems to be meant. 
The Periscope reports Dewey will raise Congress' pay when he is elected. The Navy is intensifying research in Arctic and Antarctic waters, because it is important for submarines. Herbert Hoover has written labour leaders to tell them that his Commission doesn't intend to recommend abolishing the Labour Department. The Administration is going to try to take the "Communists in Government" plank away from the Republicans by charging 50 civil servants, and also by finding out who is tipping off Senator Ferguson about Administration moves on the front. The President won't campaign in the South, so as not to remind Democratic voters that the South or the President exist. The Navy will complete its first "schnorkel" cargo submarine on the West Coast next fall. The GOP promises to remove various "nuisance" excise taxes in the next session. The British are still whining about dismantling German plants, now arguing that if they aren't dismantled and removed, the Russians might capture them. The ERA and Argentina are squabbling about the terms of Argentinian sales to the Program. People hope that the assassination of Count Bernadotte with shock the General Assembly into implementing his plan to internationalise Haifa. The Swedes report that the Russians are becoming more aggressive in the Baltic, building new airfields in Germany and operating fighters with rocket missiles over the sea. The British will nominate Herbert Evatt of Australia as the next president of the General Assembly. The Russians are stockpiling natural rubber. The Justice Department will ask Congress to plug loopholes in the anti-lobbyist bill in the next session. CAB may try to solve the airlines problem by cutting the number of airlines allowed to fly various routes, while the XF-91 is the latest exciting fighter. Early signs are that the US will have another billion bushel plus wheat crop in 1949, which might be difficult to sell. Freight volume on inland waterways will come in at a third over 1947's 110 million tons, far above the wartime peak. Doubleday is planning a $25 limited edition of Eisenhower's Crusade in Europe, with an autograph in every copy.
There is no sign of a coal shortage this winter. The new Robert Mitchum movie is being rushed into the theatres to "test audience reaction" to his dope arrest. Now that Hughes owns RKO, Jane Russell's next movie, for RKO, can count on a big push. Bob Hope's new radio show was a complete bust, and Jack Benny was practically the only big name to go the season without cast changes. Olga San Juan will be the featured vocalist on the Jack Carson show thanks to her performance in One Touch of Venus.

Washington Trends reports that Republicans now expect to sweep Presidency and Congress in November, and it is reported that party polling tracks public. Truman has no chance, barring a miracle. Democrats are worried about funding and voter lethargy. No break in prices is expected before the election. The ECA will include some military aid, and a formal military alliance between America and the Western Union will be signed in 1949. Voluntary enlistments in the armed forces are running well ahead of expectations at 1500 a day. The Republicans are expected to maintain defence spending and reintroduce universal service legislation.

National Affairs

I don't know if you've heard, but there's an election on. No more HUAC stories!

"Purge of Dixiecrats" The continuing saga of the party that wasn't a party trying to find a leader to lead it, continues. This week, Joe Hill called Truman a "Commiecrat," while Byron Skelton said that the Truman wing was a cancer on the Democratic Party. This inspired everyone in Texas to head down to Houston for the state convention, where the Dixiecrats had a rousing meeting, paid for by Neville Penrose, after which a voting majority of Trumanites moved in, purged all the Dixiecrats, and passed a loyal oath. So the Dixiecrats, who have already taken over the state organisations in South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisana, were held at bay in Texas. However, Jesse Jones has endorsed Dewey. At no point did any of these firebrands intimate that they might actually run for President on a Dixiecrat ticket. That makes Governor Thurmond the most likely man to make the move. Maine went Republican in its early Presidential election, giving us two months before we learn if the nation goes with Maine. While in Tennessee, mountain music star Roy Acuff is running for the Republican nomination for governor against the delightful Carroll Reece.

A short piece reports that the Census Bureau has found that 5.8 million working Americans out of 58.3 million work for the American Government, down 900,000 from the wartime peak. The average American civil servant earns $47.77/week, compared with $51.68 for factory workers.  A very long one tells the story of Milton Quill's fight with New York Communists. He is the Communist president of the Transport Workers, but the other Communists made him mad and then kicked him out of office, so he stopped being a Communist, although Newsweek suggests that he had it coming. 

"Red Gold" Newsweek is awestruck that Ben Gold of the Fur and Leather Workers union admitted to being a communist before the House Education and Labour Committee, which is now getting into the red baiting game. It then swung into action with relish, demanding to know if Gold would support America in a war with Russia. 

"From Con to Con-Saver" James Monroe Smith, who you may remember as Huey Long's handpicked LSU president, and then as a convicted embezzler, and then as a convict, and then as the "head of academic studies at Burritt Preparatory School for Boys in Spencer, Tennessee, has resurfaced as the head of a rehabilitation programme for convicts at Angola jail, where he served himself. 

"Wrong Seat for the Ras" The daily newspapers got all in a tizzy when Ras Imru, the Ethiopian ambassador to the United States, was kicked out of Constitution Hall just before Truman's address to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This disgraceful example of the American colour bar later turned out to be nothing of the sort. It was all a big misunderstanding on Ras Imru's part. He had the wrong seat. Newsweek reminds us that the Daughters of the American Revolution only forbid Negro performers on stage, and "do not draw the colour bar in the audience." "In fact, it is the only large public auditorium in Washington which does not practice racial segregation."

Ethiopia isn't really at issue except in Pretoria, but you can see why Black nationalists were antsy, not that anyone gives a shit about their opinion. 

Washington Times with Ernest K. Lindley Bores About His Vacation "Notes on the Middle East" Ernest is still giddy about his "21,000 mile" tour of the Middle East. I choose not to imagine what his vacation slides are like.


"Sten Gun Heard Around the World" The one consolation of Count Bernadotte's seemingly inevitable assassination is that it was carried out by the Stern Gang. While it is too much to hope that it will turn Israeli opinion against further conquests, it might discourage them from trying to take the whole of Palestine and the Transjordan. Also, the usual lot can pat themselves over the back about the Stern Gang being Communist infiltrated. 

"Russia's Plan to Veto the Airlift" Newsweek says that the Airlift is a grand symbolic and political victory and the Russians hate it. Then it backs up to review the course of the Moscow and garrison commanders' talks, because the "great victory" makes sense of it all. The four power talks in Moscow were a great victory for East-West negotiations, because Stalin agreed on quadripartite control of  currency in Berlin, subject to trade and transportation considerations as worked out by the garrison commanders' talks. The talks were convened, and Marshal Sokolovsky demanded quadripartite control (and thus a Russian veto) over air movements. They wanted to be able to "veto" the Airlift in the future. Well, that's not on, so the Airlift will be resolved, if it is resolved, by a new round of foreign ministers' talks, and in the meantime the Russians seem to be trying to provoke a shooting war by sending soldiers into the Western sector to apparently kidnap Western (that is, Allied sector Berlin) policemen. It still remains to be seen what hand Air Marshal Winter will play. On the other hand, the turmoil over the black market may be telling us that the winter weather will be irrelevant, because the Deutschemark is dissolving the all-too solid blockade into air. (There's another Marxism for you, since I've been on about the Eighteenth Brumaire for the whole letter.) 

In shorter news and unexpectedly shorter news, Ilse Koch has had her sentence commuted, because the Red Witch of Buchenwald is insane, not evil. The unexpected part is that Hyderabad has surrendered after only three days of "fighting." 

"Enterprise Valley" Newsweek's man in London was so tired of covering the silly season Parliamentary session that he hopped the train up to Sheffield, "a valley of free enterprise in a desert of socialism" to see what all the fuss about steel nationalisation is about. It's pretty good colour, especially compared with Time's try-too-hardism. "In the early September evening, this gray city of steel craftsmen lies drenched in an acrid, smoky twilight. Passengers leave the London train, coughing, to enter streets that are an endless panorama of gray, dim stone. Here the monotony is broken by the gaunt windows of a bombed church; there by a big movie billboard advertising The Best Years of Our Lives. Eight miles beyond Sheffield lies Thorncliffe Valley, where the smokestacks of Newton Chambers barely clear the man-made mist and the foundry fires flash dimly through the smog. Here is a vale of enterprise as free as can be found in socialist England, prospering in spite of an ideology that would smother it." Fred Vanderschmidt was invited by the managing director of Newton Chambers, Sir Harold West, who is married to a St. Louis woman, and was wowed by his paternalistic care for the workforce and the success of the steelworks, which has seen overall productivity rise 18% since 1938, with dividends at 15% over par and the stock listed four times par on the Sheffield Exchange. He feels that steel will be straightforwardly denationalised under the next, Conservative government, whereas there is no unscrambling the coal situation. 

"Forging a Sword" Hurrah! Just one of my papers actually covers what Herbert Morison actually said about rearmament on Battle of Britain Day! Which is: Demobilisation will be slowed down; fighter production will be nearly doubled, and stored fighters refurbished; there has been considerable progress in civil defence. 

"Chancellor's Cheer" Cripps was, we are told, actually smiling as he gave his six months' review in the House, and blushed when the House cheered. He reported that the trade deficit has fallen 55% from 1947 to an annual rate of $1.12 billion; That exports earned $2.924 billion, $104 million more than predicted, and 140% of pre-war level; that invisible exports showed a $194 million surplus instead of the $64 million predicted. This all means that Britain has achieved a negative balance of payments, which, if continued, will, with ERA payments, allow the British to maintain their existing gold and dollar reserves intact. The main dangers now are global inflation, higher than expected defence expenditures, and the risk of pressure to convert surplus sterling balance with European trading partners into gold or dollars. Cripps can now hold firm against devaluation, so that's good for Britain, bad for us, given that the threat of devaluation was the main spur of that side of our business, and the ongoing fall of the Koumintang is giving us a home for all of that bullion! Speaking of which, Chiang Ching-kuo's lovely new fad for publicly executing Shanghai black marketers makes it to Newsweek, which approves, on the grounds that faraway people aren't actually real, so it is okay to joke around about shooting them. 

And if you want to see a double standard, the framing stories are that de Gaulle is holding campaign-style rallies again, and that the SCAP is reversing its policy of breaking up the zaibatsu. A few rallies are a crisis, a change in antitrust policy is the end of a crisis. Parading  condemned currency smugglers through Shanghai streets is a perfectly normal thing that could happen anywhere.

 I hope not! 

Foreign Tides with Joseph B. Philips Cliches "Too Many People" Two weeks after The Economist of 1848 out of all the voices we hear in the press, was the voice of reason on emigration,  "scientists are peppering us with warnings from many directions that there are too many people in the world," which seems to mean that someone told the AAS that "population growth is outstripping natural resources," and that William Vaughn's Road to Survival is a national bestseller. Having vaguely heard a bandwagon through the "acrid mist" of muddle, Phillips seizes a handy swing and makes a Tarzanish move in the direction of the presumptive platform. Are populations growing rapidly? Yes, they are! In India and the Soviet Union, that is. Do you notice the places that I left out? Europe and America? Philips doesn't! Instead, he tells us about that time that Ernest Bevin told him that long ago, before the war, a million Europeans left for America every year, and that without that safety valve, the world would have had the world war, which, since the Americans cut off emigration in 1923, and there was a world war in 1941, is absolutely airtight. Italy, it seems, has the biggest problem, since there are 2 million surplus Italians a year, and "religious and cultural hostility to birth control" is such that "in no foreseeable future will Italy ever follow the course of France." Italians have gone abroad to work in agriculture and construction in northern Europe, but cannot stay, and cannot emigrate to South America for lack of shipping bottoms, and also because we are talking about South America here. Philips then moves on to point out that if one tries to ameliorate conditions in the colonies, the burgeoning populations there will consume more, and the world's natural resources will run out still more quickly. 

Philips is apparently too busy for a World Almanac. Perhaps I should write him and let him know that Italy's population was 33 million in 1901, 36 million in 1911, 40 million in 1921 (the last census with American emigration), 41.6 million in 1931, and 43 million at the last census revision of 1936, 46 million now, probably, the 1941 Census having been cancelled. Births per woman have been falling for at least seventy years. In other words, the rate of increase in the Italian population has been falling since at least 1901, and "two million a year" is pure moonshine. But! It is moonshine that supports the Dewey/Nationalist crusade to give Libya, Eritrea and Somaliland "back" to Italy! 

Canada is greeting Cripps happily in case he has found a magical way of getting Canada to trade more with Britain than the United States, because of dollar shortages and also Canadians not liking Americans (the experts tell me). Since this is impossible, however, it is a make-believe day, which at least distracts Ontarians from the news that they will be facing electricity dim-outs until the spring due to the shortage of electricity, which at least is a sign of how quickly industry is expanding there, and an impetus to continue developing hydroelectric power on the St. Lawrence. In Latin America, Peron is consolidating his dictatorship, and his police are so draconian that no-one dares to protest except old women with nothing to lose, and the President of Honduras is actually holding an election, which has everyone in the region looking on anxiously, because it is a "tinderbox," and who knows what will happen in all the other countries if someone gets a taste for politics. Wars, coups and revolutions, because Latins are excitable!


The front page of the section is a roundup of strike news, which includes some very difficult strikes, including the one by 170 security guards that has thrown 100,000 men out of work in Detroit auto plants, and the one at Standard Oil. 

"From the Spirit's Mouth" Frederick Goldsmith has been touting stocks in a newsletter with 400 subscribers for  up to $39,000 a year since 1916, claiming to have "high sources." Sued all the way up to the New York Supreme Court, he finally had to reveal his source:  A 1916 seance that put him in contact with the spirit of James R. Keene, a famous speculator of bygone days, who has ever since sent him signals from the Land Beyond via Bringing up Father and the "Pepper and Salt" column of the Wall Street Journal. This is apparently illegal, as is the latest and continuing FTC anti trust actions,  against Chicago pork packers, the Railway Express Agency and Bausch and Lomb and its main competititor, American Optical.

Trends and Changes reports that The Association of American Railroads has discovered that the main cause of annoying train "sway" is caused by out-of-true wheels, that the Canadian Ace Brewing Company of Chicago is on the dock for a $3000 fine for failing to disclose, in 147 singing commercials, that its beer is brewed in America, that Shell's synthetic glycerine plant in Houston will produce about a fifth of the nation's supply, that Imperial Oil is opening a refinery in Edmonton, using a war surplus 7000 ton Alaskan refinery that will be dismantled and shipped 1000 miles by rail and road over seventeen months, and that Chicago's municipal airport has taken the title of busiest in the nation from LaGuardia. 

"Unveiling a Plant" Oldsmobile's new Kettering motor plant model is a dream of a new mechanical age. New machine tools will have electrical and hydraulic controls, not mechanical. A robot with 90 special cutting tools will work on as many as seventeen engine blocks at once in progressive machining, with the final assembly no longer needing to be moved continuously. The new plant is an enormous investment in capital, at between $14 and $18 million, but the new high-compression engine it will produce is the future of Oldsmobile and perhaps the industry. The first engine will have only a 7.5-1 ratio, suitable for current generations of high test gasoline, but up to 12-1 will be possible in the future, and the engine will ultimately be as efficient as a small diesel. Also in the news at GM is a major shuffle in the top offices.

What's New reports that General Rubber is experimenting with a "robobomb" pulse jet helicopter with twice the power of conventional helicopters for short distances, suitable for  airport-to-shuttle services and "carrying heavy military equipment at river crossings," which seems like a very specific requirement. United States Plywood has a "puncture proof" heavy duty plywood board of hardwood and laminated fibre, conceived for storage bins and chicken coops. Du Pont has commenced commercial production of titanium, hard to refine but very strong and suitable for jet engine and plane bodies. Breau Plastic has a bath spray of transparent plastic with a built-in thermometer suitable for washing woolens, since water temperature is easy to adjust. 

Henry Hazlitt's column is on "The Fetish of Bond Parity" explains that the Federal Reserve's support of the government bond market to hold the price at par is the "principal inflationary factor in our economy." This is because it holds the interest rate down, and cheap money means inflation. After the last war, the Liberty bond fell as low as 82 below par (worth 82 cents on the dollar), and this was deemed a terrible betrayal of bond holders, since with inflation, their money in bonds was down to 62 cents in 1922 dollars vice 1918. However, those who held the bonds until 1932 were able to redeem that at par, and also enjoyed the benefits of a substantial decline in the cost of living. (That's "deflation" to  us woolly-headed girls, and a bad thing because that means your earnings have fallen at least as far.)  Inflation has similarly cut the value of a 1942 dollar in savings bonds to 69 cents, which is the loss which would be realised if they sold right now, at par.  Whereas once the next depression hits . . . .

The Special Report on Farm Price Supports is quite interesting, but perhaps a bit of a mouthful for this letter. I shan't write you a special report on them, since we are hardly in agriculture any more, but I will note that some people think that they will have an inflationary effect next year. I'm tempted to write a special report for Daddy, but whatever he might think about this or the other, he is no fool about grain futures. 

Science, Medicine, Education

"Scientists at Work" A roundup of science news to celebrate the AAS Meeting: Martin Kamen is in Washington to talk about using carbon-14 in biological research, and to testify before HUAC. Edward Condon, a previous victim, also circulated at the meeting. President Truman's welcoming address to the AAS, expected to be anodyne blather, was a blast against the HUAC inquiry under current chairman, J. Parnell Thomas. Harold Urey and David Lilienthal then popped up to point out that all of these loyalty witch hunts are making it hard to hire qualified scientists, and that while the 40% turnover at Oak Ridge was normal, replacing the lost workers was proving difficult. 

Farrington Davis, another wartime worked, now a professor of chemistry at Wisconsin, told the AAS that the power of the atom bomb was nothing compared to the power of the sun, that a 20 kiloton atom bomb produces only 1% of the energy that falls on one and a half square mile of land a day, and that a bumper crop of Iowa corn converts about 1% of that energy during its growing season, which, he says, and, when I think about it, I say, is not bad at all. Maria Telkes, of MIT, put it another way, outlining the design of a five-room house in Dover, Massachusetts, which will be warmed by a solar-heat unit all winter instead of a furnace. This is not the much-advertised "solar house," with windows arranged to "reject high-angle summer rays and admit lower-angle winter rays," but one with, rather, the solar collector panels we  heard about in Fortune last time,although here the heat is stored in a tank of sodium sulfate dekahydrate. 

"Our Fading Food" George Denny brought the Town Meeting of the Air to the convention, where it heard Fairfield Osborn warn that there are too many "four-legged animals" foraging on the Earth's 4 billion acres. "Machines and medicine" have allowed the Earth's population to increase from 400 million to 2 billion in the last two centuries, and "the earth is becoming over-crowded." Other participants were "less ominously Malthusian," but explained that the end of the Earth's capacity "was in sight," and one or two even suggested using Wigener's rockets to set up "overflow colonies elsewhere." I know that Reggie is all in on this, but Uncle George shows with math that it is a bit impractical. I had no idea that it took that many tons of kerosene to lift a human being as far as the Moon. God and Nature did us no favour stranding us so far down in the "gravity well." Although when I mentioned this to Reggie, he replied, "But, of course, atomic rockets!"

"Mysteries of the Cell" David Bonner of Yale gave a nice session on the mysteries of the cell, and, in particular, the secrets of building new cells, which are the building blocks of heredity. Somewhere in the cytoplasm is the classic "gene" that carries inherited characteristics, unless Soviet biologists are right. Of perhaps equal interest is the fact that malignancies of the gene seem to be the cause of cancer. 
Stockbroker, seven-term Republican Representative from New Jersey, asshole, convict. Interestingly, the corruption case has already been kicked off with a Drew Pearson column. 

"For the Sneezers" A triple story covering Dr. Oren Durham of North Chicago, who has a massive study of pollen-free places in the United States, mostly in the West, and successes with two new drugs marketed as relief for hay-fever victims and asthmatics: The Schering Corporation's Trimeton (prophenpyridamine) and Thephorin, chemical name not given, reported to the Illinois Medical Journal by Dr. John Peters, of Oak Park, Illinois

"Doubt on Hormones" Since 1939, testosterone propionate, a form of the male sex hormone, has been prescribed for advanced female breast cancer, with claims of lengthening life. Last week, Drs. Max Cutler and Melvin Schlemenson of Chicago reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that these claims are unfounded. There is a brief rally, but no sign that it extends life, and they recommend that well-established surgical and roentgen ray treatments be continued to their limits before testosterone therapy is attempted. 

"Soldiers in the Arctic" The Surgeon General sent some lucky soldiers to Fort Churchill, Manitoba, to see how long they could endure Fort Churchill, and, if there was time, cold and Arctic conditions. It was soon found that Fort Churchill causes irritation, declining mental alertness, dipsomania and "mental surrender." The study was curtailed before more serious symptoms could appear, although it was tentatively observed that cold made people cold. In related news, studies of Siege of Leningrad survivors show that sieges and prolonged starvation is very good for the blood pressure. 

"Why Students Flunk Out" Fifty percent of young men and women flunk out of college in first year, a shocking fact that can be remedied. Student mortality, Dr. Archibald MacIntosh, President of Haverford College, says, depends heavily on selectivity of admissions, but his new book, Behind the Academic Curtain, is aimed squarely at parents, not admissions. Parents often do not do enough to make sure that a school is right for their children. Behind the parent is the freshman class, which is often exposed to a school's least competent instructors in its first two years. Third is the lack of academic guidance. 

Radio, Press, Television, Art, People

Newsweek is taken with two new quiz shows, Jack Barry's Juvenile Jury, and its octogenarian counterpart, which started as a summer replacement, but which is continuing in the fall. Newsweek then goes on to report that NBC is introducing the strictest restrictions on quiz giveaway shows yet, ahead of action by the National Association of Broadcasters, itself meant to head off action by the FCC. 

"Yale Printing Lab" The Yale Daily News, which has wanted its own printing plant since it was founded seventy years ago, finally has one thanks to the tricks tried out at the Chicago papers. Their method combines Vari-type with photo offset, and uses three Differential Spacing Justifiers from the Ralph C. Coxhead Corporation and an American Type Founders Chief 22 offset press. With cameras and some other equipment, the complete changeover cost about $22,000. In New York, where the Journal of Commerce has locked out the ITU, editors, writers and office help are getting a 20 page edition out with Teletypsetter and the Type-O-Writer, manufactured by the Kellogg Switchboard and Supply Company of Chicago, which fits over a standard linotype and activates the corresponding keys on a linotype keyboard by solenoid when the typewriter-style keyboard of the Type-O-Writer are pressed.

"Times Herald Shadow" The death of owner Edith Medill Patterson of the Washington Times-Herald has led to trouble at the newspaper as her only daughter, Countess Felicia Gizycka, has contested the will, which leaves ownership of the paper to a trust.

The art section is taken up with a feature article on the director of the Metropolitan Museum, Francis Henry Taylor, who has been on the job since 1940, so I don't really understand why he needs publicity now. 
This week in honeyshots, it is either Kerr or Slezak kissing their
babies in identical poses. Notwithstanding cropping, I'm
going with Kerr. The Times-Herald story is very intriguing
and involves two suspiciously-timed suicides. Ronnie would have
very much liked to have said more. 

De Gaulle has assured American journalists that he doesn't intend to overthrow the republic. Carter DeHaven has been arrested for "lurking" near his ex-wife Flora Parker's house with a gun and a fake sheriff's badge in his pockets. Deborah Kerr is back in Hollywood after doing a movie in Britain with Spencer Tracy, with a big kiss for her baby. Robert Nichiyama, former kamikaze pilot, is on his way to Lafayette College, Pennsylvania on a scholarship provided by the GI insurance payout of Robert Johnstone. Marion Weston Gaumont is divorced Joseph Gaumont, because he is a Democrat, and she is a Republican. Garry Davis, the Texan who renounced his American citizenship in an attempt to become the first "citizen of the world," was removed from his camp outside the Palais de Chaillot, next to the Paris UN meeting, where he was seeking his UN visa. Norvell Lee has been arrested in Virginia for refusing to sit in the back of the bus. Walter Slezak has named his third child, Leo Lauritz Walter Slezak, which Newsweek thinks is just too much. 

Lana Turner is expecting. Winthrop Rockefeller has had bouncing, 5lbs 4 oz heir. Francis Hitchcock has married Stephany Saja. Minna Everleigh, Dr. Ruth Felton Benedict, and Emil Ludwig have died.

Movies has a huge review of Orson Welles' Hamlet that gets into the business angle. (Newsweek liked it, especially the cinematography, in case you were wondering.) It also enjoyed the just-this-side of noirish The Saxon Charm with "some delicious humour [that] expertly points up a provocative theme." That's code for "there's sex in it," if I decode correctly. Embraceable You is "glum." The Room Upstairs is "pedestrian." A Southern Yankee is formulaic Red Skelton. Rachel and the Stranger is intended to be melodramatic, actually unintentionally comical. 


John Flynn's The Roosevelt Myth gets a signed review by Newsweek Washington editor Kenneth Crawford, because the review is likely to be a very small fraction as controversial as the book, which, whoa Nelly. All the usual nonsense is served up in the review as in the book, to the point where I'm surprised that it wasn't Roosevelt personally bombing Pearl Harbor, because you can't trust a Japanese to do a man's job. Crawford thinks that is going a bit far. David Donald's Lincoln''s Herndon is a life of Abraham Lincoln's law partner, because it is America. He was a tragic. Richard Hofstadter's The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It is a brilliant book by a young history professor at Columbia, the kind of man who is usually more brilliant than he can put across on paper. Not surprisingly in this day and age, the secret theme of the long book is the sanctity of property, traditional American liberties, and "great" Presidents overstepping the limits at every turn.

Shorter books cover Pat Frank's contemporary thriller, Affair of State and David Stern's Francis Goes to Washington. A crisis like Berlin could blow up at any time and take us to war, but as long as Francis is there to take charge, everything will probably work out.

Perspective With Raymond Moley Gets Over His Dewey Crush By Writing "Politics in the Northwest"  I read this column. I regret it. 

Flight, 30 September 1948


"The Defence Debate" Flight is upset that the Government didn't come clean about how much and how quickly Britain (and the Five Powers that buy British) is building up its defences. Antony Head pointed out that, what with all of Russia's fellow travellers, they surely have all the gen, so it is only fair to share it with the House. 

"The Royal Air Force" In his question, which was  more of a pointing out, Anthony Eden said that the RAF has 231,000 on strength, of which 131,000 were National Service men and women, who are not very satisfactory, since 22  months of service is hardly long enough to learn a trade and practice it. Max Aitken pointed out that the trouble was that industry wanted the tradesmen too, and it pays better. Group Captain Wilcock made the usual "nice hats" argument that the RAFVR would be ever so much larger if the Air Ministry would just give it hot ships to fly around in, such as for example all of the grounded Tempests. I don't know. The Tempests have the Sabres, and must be monsters to maintain. Flight takes on the accident report business from last week and points out that the Chief Inspector of Accidents shouldn't work for the Ministry, if the Ministry of Civil Aviation also employs air controllers. Pilots will tend to feel that the Ministry is the "judge, jury and executioner."

H. F. King, "BEA Service to Berlin, Part 1: Scheduled Services and the Civil Air Lift: Methods and Results"  King, along with Flight photographer L. W. McLaren, flew to Germany in a Viking, landing on the "jarring" PSP runway at Fuhlsbuettel Airport, where they had lunch at the restaurant and bought twenty cigarettes, a bar of chocolate and a bottle of beer for a total of 1s 9d, which is not a lot, and a good deal for air travellers. A Dove, Halton and a Norwegian Airlines DC-3 were on the tarmac, and a concrete runway is making good progress. Once in the corridor, the Viking radioed in to Fulsbuettel three times, then switched to Gatow frequency over the Frohnau beacon, then reported in at five and 2 miles before making an uneventful landing on a dusty field crammed with Dakotas, Yorks and Skymasters. They took lunch at the lakeside home of E. P. Whitfield, the BEA Manager, Germany, watching Hythes and Sunderlands land at Lake Havel, two miles away. A Hamburg shuttle service allows BEA to make 54 seats available both ways to Berlin every day. BEA's DC-3 freighters are bringing in raw materials and flying out manufactured goods, including Telefunken radios, Zeiss cameras and door-locks, and pianos. Troop mail is carried by two chartered Skyflights Haltons, which have moved 419,000lbs of "Care" packages in 29 sorties. One aircraft is at the disposal of the German charity organisation, Hilfswerk. The Vikings do not refuel in Berlin, although they may  have their oil topped up. They fly in 100 gallons each sortie for airport operations. As already noted, BEA has just received a new charter fleet, and they, and ground staff, began arriving in Berlin while King and McLaren were there. As a relief from all the Dakotas, Liberators, Halton and flying boats, a BSAA Tudor I made a dawn landing on Thursday with 20,600lbs of bean flour. 

Here and There

Australia will manufacture Bristol 170s for the RAAF. Sponson is very excited about the Tribian's possibilities in Norway. Rolls Royce is flying a Wellington(!) as its Dart testbed. The design is almost fifteen years old! The first trial B-45 has crashed. Crislea has arranged an exclusive import deal with a major Argentinian aircraft dealer, because why let a little thing like bankruptcy stop you? General LeMay is the new head of the Air Force's Strategic Air Command, replacing Kenny. 
"The Elizabethans"

Civil Aviation News

BEA is buying 20 Ambassadors, which will be in service on continental routes from 1952. The IATA Conference wrapped up with a brisk discussion of exchange rates. Hunting Aerosurveys has a contract to "discover the most suitable alignment for projected trunk routes from Slough to Avebury, Sheffield to Leeds, and Warrington to Lancaster. Lockheed will be building a freighter version of the Constellation. Plessey has a lightweight, five channel VHF radio transmiter/receiver for light aircraft that passes all relevant regulations. It has intercom between two stations, a radiophone and single dial tuning. The Vickers Viscount prototype made a special visit to Villacoublay, Paris, at the request of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Trans-Canada is the latest airline to offer an excursion rate trans-Atlantic. 

"Bomber Salute" The Flypast might not have been much, but Flight got some nice pictures. 

"Hermes IV: Outstanding Operational Versatility" Handley Page spends a great deal of time on the plastics, rubber and gel that keep the cockpit sealed against weather and the windows from fogging up, with a collision-avoidance radar crammed in right at the nose. The structure is "massive," and very strong. The undercarriage is by Handley Page and Electro-Hydraulics, the engines are Hercules, and the maker claims that the plane is very efficient from a tons-mile point of view. The Ministry of Supply has ordered 25 Hermes IVs for BOAC, with first delivery in January, and first service  sometime soon after that. 
By The Flight magazine archive from Flightglobal, CC BY-SA 4.0,

"High-Lift Research: Youngman-Baynes Aircraft with Full-span Slotted Flaps" Heston Aircraft has built a test aircraft with Youngman flaps, previously employed on carrier aircraft, but now to be proven for civil use. A fully extended Youngman flap just about doubles lift, and much of the research is focussed on the mechanisms that extend them, which have to work at all attitudes and be super reliable. 

"Fuel Pumps for Gas Turbines: Successful 500 Hour Non-stop Test Run Made on Petrol" "Petrol" is English for gas --I know you know that, so I have no idea who I wrote that for! It's just that I have lots of time and space, since this is a whole article that I don't have to summarise, because you have to be a wild-eyed lunatic to think that gasoline has a future in jet engines. Though as it turns out, most of the article is devoted to the Dowty fuel pump, and not the idea of gas in turbines. Dowty has been doing fuel pumps for a while, and this one is very nice. It is not live-line, but is a radial pump, has an overspeed governor and an overpressure bypass valve. 

"Masefield's Sixteen Points: General Conclusions on Civil Aviation and Trends of Development: Precis of a Paper to be Given by Peter Masefield to the Institute of Civil Engineers" Civil aviation will need subsidies for about seven more years. Right now, up to 705 of costs are overhead, with air traffic control one of the most serious weaknesses. Turboprops will be in service imminently, while jet turbines will follow, for routes of between 300 and 2000 miles. Ramjets will follow, with rockets in the more distant future, bringing any point on Earth within an hour's block time at an economic fare. Large aircraft are needed for long routes, because direct operating costs are related to hours flown, revenues to passenger miles. Ground costs are an important part of overhead, so aircraft need to be designed to existing airports.  

The XF-88 gets a blurb. 

"New Cabin Blower Designs: Efficiency of Roots Type Increased" Wade Engineering sends in a note about its new Roots-type centrifugal blower for pressurising airliner cabins. The Roots design is not an actual compressor, so Wade has worked around this disadvantage by meshing rotors to produce "an internal compression factor." I'm just at a loss here. This is a new firm trying to enter a crowded and competitive field with an old design that isn't even ideal for the application. Maybe it'll work out for them! I'm just a French major, so what do I know? But it sure sounds like a waste of money. 


Richard Clarkson writes to point out that he did not design the DH 108. P. M. Anson has doubts about whether London Airport traffic control will be able to handle jets, because they whiz about so fast. H. R. Lea is very upset that the locals complain about the noise from nearby airports. It is very selfish of them to prefer their hearing than progress per ardua ad astra. 

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