c/o Painter's Lodge,
Your Loving Son,
Engineering, 15 December 1949
|Monarch was the last pre-Barnaby battleship. Whatever.|
|Jan Steen, Rhetoricians at a Window|
Science, Medicine, Education
"Out Where the Click is Loudest" There is a government-guaranteed price of $3.50/lb for uranium oxide and a bonus for good finds, so no wonder the AEC's Prospecting for Uranium is selling out. The AEC says the way to do it is with a Geiger counter, and anywhere that registers more than four times the background radiation should be sampled. That doesn't mean that it is valuable, since thorium is also radioactive, but the booklet also explains how to tell uranium from thorium. As a free bonus, it also tells prospectors that uranium doesn't glow in the dark (that's fungus) or stop wristwatches.
"Party Line" Just in case you were getting tired of articles that weren't about how awful Communism is! Julian Huxley said in 1945 that Soviet science was very free and open. Four years later, it isn't, especially biology. It's because of Communism, Lysenko, and the way that party orthodoxy gets in the way of science.
"Polio Time" Summer is polio time, but the rate of increase in infections is dropping, so there might not be an epidemic this year.
"Welfare Island" John McPherrin, editor of the American Druggist, went to Britain to find out how National Health is working. He finds that the British like it, but that it is bad for them because it is undermining their self-reliance, or some such. Meanwhile, Sir Alexander Fleming was in Oklahoma to dedicate a medical research institute named after him. While in Boston, Dr. Claude Herman Barlow has just returned from Egypt with a great load of slugs carrying bilharzia flukes so that he can experiment with a better cure than the current one, an eight month course of injected tartar emetic.
"The NEA Takes a Stand" "What," you were asking, does Time think about the NEA saying that Communists can't be teachers? It manages not to say. Also, from Russia, the sinister news that young Russians want to be strato-navigators and Arctic explorers, and not ordinary workers. I'm a little confused about why that's sinister. The University of Alaska's second president after "leathery" Charles Bunnell will be Terris Moore, former University of California accounting instructor and world-famous author of Practical Farm Accounts. He will be in charge of protecting 698 students and 45 faculty from mosquitoes, cold and a Territorial Legislature that won't come through with the money.
"Second Wind" The stock market is up for the third consecutive week, construction is up, copper and lead prices are up. This has lead the National City Bank of Manhattan to suggest that the economy may be recovering faster than expected, unless the dreaded "fourth wave" of strikes leads to wage increases, or, alternatively, the shutdown of the entire steel industry to fight strike action and cut oversupply. Which would be good for the recovery because it is bad?
"Winner Take All" Sherman Fairchild has regained control of Fairchild aviation from his chosen general manager, Carl Ward. Let that be a lesson to anyone who tries to get a sweetheart deal like a $25,000/year pension for life out of a compliant corporate board!
"Happy Days" The domestic airlines have turned in a $11 million profit over the $16 million loss last year thanks to the biggest summer flying boom in history, and the business keeps growing, with American Overseas now offering a European "package" at $8 to $18/day and British Oversea's "round the world fare" now $1886, with total stopover time of one full year, and nonskeds either being allowed into to the best bits of the business to take the load off, or finding their own way to make money, such as the $9.95 Los Angeles-San Francisco fare that avoids the CAB by being within a single state. Now if only it could avoid the Hollywood hills.
"The Old Family Quarry" Joe Pacifico of Pennsylvania has won the first ECA overseas contract where the Agency guarantees to convert soft-currency revenues into American dollars. He will rehabilitate the old family quarry in Italy with new machinery and produce stone for both the Italian and American construction industries.
"Hot Rods" Powel Crosley is the first American manufacturer to produce a "hot rod" straight from the factory floor, the "Hotshot" Crosley roadster, supposedl a pint-sized Stutz Bearcat, although it looks more like a speeded-up jeep to me. It comes from the factory at a 7.8-1 compression that can be souped up to 14 to 1 for racing, and is factory priced at $789.
"Videotown" Newell-Emmett company says that in one medium-sized city 40 miles from Manhattan, the number of homes with TVs has gone from one in 50 to one in nine in a year. The American market for television sets, and television advertising, is growing very quickly. Also, the latest in attacks on "fair trade" is Goodall Company, which is cutting the price of its lightweight Palm Beach suits by 29% starting next week, but the news got out, and now dealers can't unload the old suits they bought at the old price. The suspicious minds at the National Dry Good Dealers' Association thinks that there is something suspicious about this.
Press, Art, Radio and Television, People
The Press reminds us that there's a heat wave on back East before blurbing John Lucius Astley-Cock, who is in charge of the Tribune's campaign against spelling, and Forrest Warren of the San Diego Union's "Half Minute Interview," who was buried last week after a long and worthy life. Also, the proposed WWI monument in Chicago is in trouble because it is a giant statue of a naked young man. "I don't see the problem," Ronnie says, demurely. That's the problem," I say. Then she hits me with a pillow.
"Lively Proof" Time wanders by the MoMA to see an exhibit of Fascism's favourite kind of art, "Futurism." Of course, the Futurists weren't all Fascists, and Fascism wasn't all Futurism. which Time underlines by featuring a Futurist painting by Renato Guttuso, who is a Communist. And then it's enough of that and Time goes on to point out that other Communists hate Guttuso because his work looks like Picasso and Communists currently think Picasso is decadent, unlike American conservatives, who currently think Picasso is decadent. But Communism is bad, and Fascism is a thing that happened a long time ago and is in the past now. Also, Carl Milles showed off a statue of Pegasus that is going in next to the reflecting pool of Des Moines' new Art Centre. Ronnie says that actually looks Fascist (although really just Iowan) rather than Futurist, but it is still a good illustration.
WPIX is showing some movies, because why not steal a story from Fortune? Time hopes that Abe Burrows is a success on summer radio and notices that David Garroway and Henry Morgan have summer shows, too. Prince Aly Khan and Rita Hayworth have booked suites for 22 at Del Mar, California for the racing season. Harry James and Betty Grable have given each other racehorses for their birthdays because that is how Hollywood stars live.
|Ms. Marsh turned 100 this year, ouotliving her son, but not two grandsons.|
Engineering, 18 July 1949
T. D. Walshaw, "The Effect of Phase Errors in Time-Base Indicator Diagrams" Oh, Good Lord. I need to know about this stuff, but just can't face it. Can I get back to you when I've digested this?
Captain J. B. Crowe has Mines, Minelayers and Minesweepers out. Crowe is an expert, and so, I understand, is the reviewer. That is important, because all we officially know about mines in the late war is the "garbled" accounts that have appeared outside confidential Admiralty accounts. Magnetic, acoustic, and pressure mines all appeared during the war. The reviewer indirectly suggests that it isn't hard to figure out how they worked; the real question was making them work, and he is off on an account of the batteries that drove them and the "counters" that frustrated sweeping. The batteries, I gather, are a work in progress, while the counters were devilishly elaborate. As for minelayers, there is awed admiration for the Abdiels and their wartime exploits.
|Because they were awesome, that's why. "Slowed to 33 knots."|
Needless to say, I'm ordering my copy today!
"The Fourth International Gas Conference" The distinguished engineers of the world's town gas industry are at the end of their rope, and they must know it. There's not much point in making gas out of coal when there is so much natural gas in the world and we are getting so good at piping it around. Papers divide between desperate attempts to save the industry and stealthy capitulation by the younger set, who are working on things like burners, which can be converted to natural gas easily.
"Twin-Screw Passenger Motor Ships Hibernia and Cambria"The Holyhead-Dun Logaire service of the LMR has two new diesel motor ships built by Harland and Wolff to Lloyds' special class. They're nice, but what we care about is the diesel installations giving 4800hp, good for 21 knots. They are comparatively high speed, but promised to be very reliable nevertheless.
Launches and Trial Trips includes only three motor ships compared with 6 steamers, quite a reverse from last week. The motor ships are tanker Exploradore, cargo liner Chandpara and freighter Exmoor. Steamships are freighters Irish Plane, Tregothman, George, Valbourg Nielsen and City of Philadelphia. Rounding out the steam fleet is the trawler, Lifeguard.
"The Education and Training of Technologists" The Federation of British Industries has a report out. It takes a stance against single-industry or subject schools, which means,so much for the Aeronautical College, for one. It prefers more schools like the Imperial College of Science and Technology, spread around the county, which sounds expensive. It is particularly upset that so many graduating "technologists" can't explain themselves in English, or, at least in my experience, be explained to in English. It wants a unified Masters of Technology, but is dubious that a widespread part-time Master's programme like this will produce well-rounded graduates. Perhaps more of the job could be thrown on existing colleges?
This has me wondering what the Navy would think of me going to graduate school?
"Railway Accidents in 1948" Summary of the latest Inspector of Accidents' report. Colonel Mount thinks that improvements due to safety education have gone about as far as they can, and that it is more important to improve 'devices" so that human error can't lead to accidents. However, track maintenance is also a problem. 91 train accidents were due to signal errors, and in fifteen, automatic train control would have helped. A trial with a magnetic-induction system is going to be made on the New Barnett-Huntingdon line.
Notes This is the fiftieth anniversary of the death of John Hopkinson, along with three of his children, in an avalanche while hiking in the Swiss alps. Two of his other sons died in the war, leaving only one son to survive his mother, who was very well known in the electrical engineering community, to which Mr. Hopkinson, himself the son and brother of electrical engineers, belonged. As to why this article is here, I would guess it is to show that British electrical engineering is a close community. The Institute of Welding showed the first increase in its membership since 1946, and heard worthy papers at its recent annual congress, as did a recent meeting of the association of engineering industries of South East England, mainly consisting of ever more heroic achievements in the field of exporting everything in sight from bicycles to diesels.
Apart from a letter from the principal of Loughborough College on the subject of the good work of Loughborough College, it is all technical dictionaries this week. Didn't I say? Cats and pigeons!
"The Institution of Naval Architects" A boring article about calculation of beams is followed by C. V. Manley, "A Fifty Years' Survey of Casualties Reported Abandoned, Foundered or Missing" As Uncle George never fails to remind us, the world loses two ships a month, and even today an alarming number of them are never heard from again. It is hard to pull any deep explanation from fifty years of statistics, but some things stand out, such as the fact that safety has improved much less for smaller ships than larger, and the very high rate of loss in 1919--23 that is even harder to explain now that the same thing has not happened after this war. A discussant suggests scuttling due to depressed ship prices, reminding me of the low American grain harvest and Scottish coal, while Admiral Cunningham sticks up for the ordinary sailorman and suggests that it is due to floating mines. Another discussant drops another cat amongst other pigeons by claiming to pick out a trend indicating that current freeboard requirements are inadequate. Since more freeboard equals less cargo, I don't expect that one to go over easily!
"500hp Diesel-Electric Shunting Locomotive" and "The Protection of Steel Structures at Abbey Works, Margam" are worthy articles. Worthy. Well, the locomotive one is an ad for English Electric, but worthy. Worthy.
Labour Notes tackles explaining the dockers's strike, which I'll leave for the moment.
C. W. Smith, "Effect of Fit and Truncation on the Strength of Whitworth Threads" Well, this is what I get for dosing off around mechanical engineers talking about international standardisation of threads. Apparently when this was being talked up during the war, some American engineers objected to the way in which the Whitworth system trails off the section, suggesting that the threads weren't strong enough. Experimental work was done. They were wrong.
"Travelling X-Ray and Dark Room" Haven't we heard about mobile x-ray machines for doing mass tuberculosis surveys? Well, here is a detailed description of one built on a British Leyland chassis by Watson and Sons (Electromedical).
"The Detection of Small Leakages in Power-Station Condensers" And the British say that American English is ambiguous! This is about leakage of cooling water into condensate. The steam that runs through steam engines has to be mineral free, while cooling water isn't. To measure the extend ot contamination, some fluorescine was introduced into the cooling water. It is invisible to the naked eye, but flouresces bright green under ultraviolet light, provided by a mercury vapour light. Trials by C.Wood at the Ealy generating plant of the British Electricity Authority proves that this works very well and is very economical.
Flight, 21 June 1949
"Air Rallies" Are something that many readers care about.
|F/L Robert Dryland, 1922--1949|
|He can't be President because he's bald.|
S. S. Sears, of Nanton, Alberta, fowards a photostat of a page of the 1844 account books of the New York Phalangery mentioned in a previous issue. He inherited them from his grandfather, the secretary of the institution. History! Several writers roll with "Mr. Mangan" of Chicago's joke about claiming "all space." Correspondents argue with Newsweek about which anniversary is the diamond anniversary. (It used to be 75th or 60th, but the diamond industry lobbied for 30.) Miss Katherine Hooper of Quebec suggests using flamethrowers to eradicate locusts. The publisher reports that plenty of people who tried the Waldorf Astoria's recipe for cake didn't like it, and that the fact that it took "General Vassily Stalin" eight years to reach the top, versus Charles Kettering's 40, is an obvious tribute to the superiority of the American way of life. Newsweek's news show on NBC continues in spite of the heatwave back East. Secretary Johnson looks especially mean in his Karsh portrait because he knocked the Air Force, Navy and Marine's heads together, and now he's stuck in a party with just a Marine.
|Not an atomic flying boat|
The Periscope reports that the Air Force's strategic warfare doctrine is on the carpet at the hush-hush Weapon Systems Evaluation Group, and that the National Research Council will refuse to recommend young scientists for atomic energy fellowships if the FBI goes through with its plan to investigate their backgrounds even for nonsecret work. Daniel Cleary will head a War Claims Board that will divide $50 million in seized German and Japanese assets between mistreated former war prisoners and establish a general war claims policy. Senator Byrd's Virginia political machine may be trouble in the state's Democratic governor's primary. The President has legislation improving treason trials in the works. The House and Senate are fighting over an "anti-public power" bill before the Senate that would give private utilities the right to string up transmission lines for public power. Three months after Russia suspended shipments of manganese and chrome to the United States, it is offering it to France in return for steel tubing, one of the most important war production goods that America is refusing to sell to the Russians. Red Army occupation troops are confined to barracks when not on duty until further notice, and Soviet-zone refugees are arriving in western Germany at a rate of 45,000 a month. Germans who paid for Volkswagen cars back in 1938 are suing for their cars, now that the Volkswagen plant is turning them out at 60,000 a month. The Communists may only win 6% of the vote in the upcoming German elections according to polls, and the ECA is stepping up visits to American plants by foreign technicians, as they work better than sending American "know-how-to" missions abroad. The Russians are saying that the ERP isn't a European recovery programme, but rather a plan to dump American farm surplus on Europe, and since they don't have any point whatsoever, the Administration is trying to push back the McClellan plan that forces the ECA to earmark funds for the purchase of surplus farm products for export to Europe, which would also cut funds available for other, more vital goods. The defence establishment thinks that there should be some more top aviation company mergers to improve industry health, while Convair, Lockheed and Boeing are all designing planes to carry a third more passengers to capture surging "coach" traffic. Republicans have pretty much given up on the B-36 inquiry, but the board fight at Fairchilds has the Air Force's atomic plane plan on hold. The auto business thinks that the British could sell 25,000 small cars in the American market a year if they cut prices by 25%. The price of natural rubber and hogs are both down.
In show business and related, Churchill's daughter, Sarah, may get a long term movie contract soon. Alan Ladd, Lizabeth Scott and Diana Lynn will all be cast against type in 1950 movies to stir up the box office. Virginia Mayo is starring opposite Milton Berle in his comeback picture, Always Leave Them Laughing. Gertrude Lawrence will have a network television revue next year, the Li'l Abner TV show is expecting to have trouble casting some of the sillier characters. The Hearst chain is trying to buy back The Washington Times and Herald, Father Fulton Sheen will have an inspirational column in newspaper syndication in the fall, Marie Beyon Ray will have a book on the psychological problems of retirement out next year. Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus is the literary sensation of the year in western Germany.
|Two things: First, sometimes the rumours are wrong.|
Guy Gabrielson will be the next RNC chair. Second,
Stassen's pick is credited with inventing the illustrated
lunch box. Wrong, but so what? It's the Fifties!
"Muted Bell for the Fourth Round" Further updates (almost two years after we started talking about it) about how the "fourth round" of strike action for wage increases isn't going to happen, this time mainly featuring Ching's success in heading off a management-provoked strike.
"Peanuts, Yes, Peanuts" The President's speech taking on the "economy lobby" presents their cuts as "peanuts." But in a time of deflation, he says, they might be enough to create the depression that no-one wants. Except, apparently, the economy lobby, including notably Taft, who made the usual argle-bargle speech about too much spending, too much debt, government waste, what about tax cuts.
"Operation Union Station" President Truman's answer to the journalists who stopped General Vaughan at Union Station to ask about his connection with various "5%er" lobbyists was to award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
"Blair House Hush Hush" President Truman's recent hush-hush meeting with Eisenhower, Johnson, Acheson, and AEC Chairman David Lilienthal can only mean one thing, Washington insiders say: Russia has the bomb. The President will not confirm or deny, but he will say that he disapproves of the $50 million foreign aid loan to Franco and that he wants the housing bill put into operation fast.
|This doesn't illustrate the Sanders story, but the|
Saunders story does wrap around it, which seems
illustrative of something.
"Storm Over Kaufman" The hall of shame of men trying to condemn Judge Kaufman for not railroading Hiss expands from Dick Nixon to Eugene Cox, Charles Potter, W. Kingsland Macy and some publicity hound named Harold Velde. Also, organised labour is gunning for Senator Taft in 1950, pointing out that he barely won in '44. The Democrats don't think they can beat him, but they do think he can beat himself.
Ernest K. Lindley's Washington Tides column this week is "Britain, Canada and the Bomb" He reminds Americans, again, that if it weren't for British and some Canadian know-how, they wouldn't have the bomb, and without Canadian and Congo uranium, they wouldn't be able to make any more. Cutting them out of the American atomic secret made sense in '46 because the world was supposed to be moving to international control of the atomic weapon, anyway. I've never heard that one before, but Lindley goes on to point out that if the British keep on being kept on the outside, they are going to dig deep and build their own atomic weapon and make "atomic liaisons," perhaps with France.
"Women Scorned" The "Six Housewives of Passiac" were beaten in the city election this week, frustrating their effort o go from city-commission to city-manager government.
"The Leaky Ship Seeks Any Port" Newsweek's interpretation of the strikebound ships at London (not Liverpool, like I said above and am not going to bother erasing) is a bit more generous than Timei's, although it is still a Communist plot and all of that. So since it is a Communist plot, clearly the Army (and scabs) will have to work the Port of London until further notice.
"Coolness to Cripps" Sir Stafford wants to cut British hard currency purchases by $400 million through year's end including $20 million in tobacco, $17 million in sugar, nonferrous metals by a quarter, paper and pulp by a third, timber and steel in "amounts not yet announced;" but the bacon ration will go up by a third to 3 oz per week, the meat ration from 21 to 26 oz, and the butter ration from 3 to 4 oz. Meanwhile, the Dominions are taking nearly as tough a stance as the States. Canada says that the Western Hemisphere is funding socialism (what you get for ditching the CCF), and that Britain must cut wages and be more competitive. South Africa wants an increase in the price of gold. India and Pakistan want machinery and raw materials that they can only get for dollars. The British press say that either Cripps is completely economically illiterate,or that he is concealing the full extent and nature of the crisis until he can get relief at the IMF meeting in September. At that point, either the sterling area will be put in a position of near self-sufficiency by some unspecified means (devaluation), or the complacency of the British worker will reach some unsustainable maximum and everything will come crashing down in wage demands as the British worker selfishly refused to work harder, longer and for less.
|Colitis does not appear to be responsive to dietary management, except for Crohn's.|
"Anti-American Talk" Americans are very upset that the British are saying that the American recession is America's fault, that American tariffs against British imports will affect British imports, and that they should listen when Americans tell them that they need to stop being socialist or the tariffs will go higher. After all, if the British can't make their economy work on the back of $6 billion in aid, it must be "organically unsound." Which it is! The price of sterling is too high! Trust The Economist to be The Economist, as Newsweek reminds us that it is not in a recession, since the level of economic activity in America is still well above "normal."
. "Strike Freeze in Australia" The coal strike in Australia has coincided with its bitterest winter in a century, with gas on for only 90 minutes, morn and night and the streets of Sydney darker than during the wartime brownout. 700,000 are out of work for lack of coal, and a million out of 8 million Australians will be in the streets by the end of the month. The Communists say that it is their doing, while the workers say that they're out over low pay and antiquated conditions all on their own. The Government has responded by arresting the Communists in the union leadership, and the workers have responded by suspending negotiations. Isn't this going to ruin Australian Reverse Christmas?
Does Australia have Reverse Christmas? I don't know! I didn't even know they had winter! I'm not surprised they have an international communist conspiracy, though. Everyone's got one of those.
"Trouble for Nehru" A Calcutta mob threw shoes at the Prime Minister, which is apparently a gesture of extreme disrespect, when he turned up on a fact-finding mission to learn about the food shortages, economic difficulties and Communist(!) and right-wing opposition to the Congress Party.
"Otto Abetz in the Dock" Abetz is an alleged prewar Fifth Columnist who used to run the Comite de France-Allemagne before showing up as Hitler's ambassador to Vichy in 1940.He is charged with war crimes and can be sentenced to death if convicted.
Also, the Western Allies are negotiating to clear Russia's claims to German reparations again, and Vassily Stalin just been made commander of "Day of the Air Fleet" at Moscow on 17 July. A Major-General of the Red Air Force since 1946, all I can say is that if B. J. Hurren can handle an air show's publicity, any random 29 year-old off the street is qualified to run one.
"Tito is Still Tito" Several diplomatic incidents marred the week when Tito was supposed to cap his defection from the Cominform by taking American money. They include a speech reiterating Yugoslavia's claim on Carinthia, delays in closing the Greek border, and the shooting of a British officer on the Trieste demarcation line.
"Red Snowball" So the Pacific anti-Communist pact is dead. Newsweek blames Acheson. Madam Sun Yat Sen is about to join the Communists. The Canton government is falling apart. The State Department is "kowtowing" to the Communists by closing the reading rooms at the Shanghai and Hangchow legations. The proposed oil embargo is falling apart.
In Canada, acting Prime Minister C. D. Howe (St. Laurent is on vacation) is warning of further austerity measures to reduce Canadian dollar purchases and cutting sterling purchases even as the British cut Canadian buying, which will impact the Canadian industrial expansion. And it looks like the Canadian shipping strike is going to end in the collapse of the CSU.
"Signs of a New Buying Spurt" Newsweek is the latest paper to detect the end of the recession, while in the next story we're told that Walter Reuther is a "ringmaster" of a labour boss because the twelfth annual congress of the UAW was so smooth.
"Right with Eversharp" The reverse of the Fairchild story, as Martin Straus II, former chairman, was turfed by the stockholders' committee for the red ink he spilled all over the company's books with his entry into the ball-pen market. Even the Schick Injector razor couldn't save the company, and it sure didn't save Strauss.
Trends and Changes reports that C. C. Pearson is out at Curtiss-Wright over that company's bad --well, year, it says here, "forever," says I--; Standard Oil is issuing stock to cover its new refineries; the wheat forecast is down 11%, which is still too much, says Secretary Brannan, who has ordered next year's planting acreage down to 69 million. The stock market is up to its first profit since 1947, the railways are still whining, and there's going to be a trial of the Brannan scheme to let grain prices find their own level and then provide support up to the floor, even though many farm lobbies are against it.
What's New reports that the Sheaffer Diamond Reflector Company has a shadowless flashlight that uses a multiple-faceted reflector to eliminate the shadows and distortions of regular flashlights. Dietz press is issuing an eight piece table mat set, each with a different grace, because 82% of those questioned didn't know a table grace by heart, and that cannot be allowed to stand. Progressive Enterprises of Los Angeles has an all-in-one table gadget combining a paper town dispenser, napkin and sandwich-bag holder, available in five colours. Carbonneau Industries of Grand Rapids has a record player attachment that allows a standard 78rpm record player to play 33 1/3 and 45rpm long play records. The Navy has a ship stabiliser just like the one everyone else has.
Business Tides "More Inflation to the Rscue" Ronnie's most hated columnist hardly needs an introduction. Remember how the Council of Economic Advisors and J. M. Keynes and lots of other people think that a bit of pump priming and spending will get the economy going again based on the theory that demand drives production and production drives wages, which drives demand via the "money illusion" that doesn't notice that inflation is happening? Well, Henry thinks that there should always be a budget surplus, and that it is just silly to think that you can't have a surplus in a declining economy, which is why the President abandoning his demands for more taxes is a not-good-enough thing because the only thing is to cut taxes and spending, but instead the President wants to spend money and cause inflation, which only helps when inflation is accelerating.
I can't believe that this man is the celebrated author of Economics in One Easy Lesson. The only thing I know about economics is what I read in the paper, and I can see the holes! What's more amazing is that he's firmly in the "Hoover was right" camp. And he's met Herbert!
"Breathing Wings" I continue to be impressed as all heck by Northrop's publicity boys. This week they're pretending to have invented boundary layer suction, and to have it in such an advanced form that they can put it on the YB-49, which will be able to "circle the Earth at the equator without refuelling" with "breathing wings."
"Monkey Wrench Scientist" Newsweek goes gaga over Charles Kettering, who, forty years ago, took a gang of co-workers from National Cash Register to found Dayton Engineering Laboratories. He invented electrical ignition after a friend of Henry Leland was killed by crank kickback, as happened in the day (the backlash of the starting crank only broke his jaw, but complications set in). Running on a steady diet of black coffee spiked with Jamaica rum, the Delco lads invented electrical ignition all by themselves in a week and "women thereby became automobile drivers." Next he pretty much single-handedly invented high compression, which will bring us 12-1 ratios just as soon as the oil industry gets on with rebuilding all of its refineries.
Truly, Charles Kettering is an everything-inventing scientific genius of the kind that only capitalism can bring forth. In other news, the Russians are rejecting Einstein because of their silly devotion to ideology over truth. Wanted: materialistic explanation of the red shift; which, Western scientists say, means that the universe is expanding. (Or was expanding. It might not be any more.)
"Missing Links" Scientists think that the Peripatus could be the missing link between the worm and the lobster that they've been looking for for so long, so hard. Unfortunately, they won't know for sure, because four peripati sent to Chicago from New Zealand died of the heat, and now they can't do science on them to be sure.
"In the Wild Space Yonder" The United States Air Force School of Aviation Medicine is studying the "probably human elements involved in flight through space." Brigadier General Harry G. Armstrong of the School scoffed at the scoffers. "Space flight is already here," he said, and it was past time to study how to adapt spacecraft to the crews that will man them." Space medicine must determine the conditions that men will meet, and also the ones that the little miss will complain about. Because men will put up with the vacuum of space for as long as they can (about three minutes), while women will go to their doctor andcomplain that there is no air out there, and that absolute zero and cosmic radiation are bad for their complexion and other living things.
|Saving you the trouble of looking up the link|
"Experiments at Randolph Field," which basically consist of taking a C-47 up and diving it like crazy, have established that people can "swim" through the air and maybe orient themselves visually. Respiration and circulation will probably remain normal, although crew members will probably have to force themselves to exercise against tension springs to prevent their muscles from atrophying. Dining might require an apparatus of clamps and pumps rather than cups, straws, knives and forks. Beds will be "semicircular troughs" rather than flat bunks, with strong netting and straps to keep him from floating away. Liftoff "gees" of four times gravity or so will not be a problem, but the sudden transition to weightlessness might be. And the mind might not be able to keep up with the speed of the spaceship.
On Mars, space travellers will be confronted with gravity about a third of the Earth's, and will be capable of vast feats of strength, just like good old John Carter. The atmosphere, only a minute fraction of the Earth's, has no oxygen, which is a bit of a problem, and temperatures are cold, cold, cold. The explorer will need a spacesuit with heater and oxygen tanks and will be confined to distances of a few hundred yards from the ship. Still, a trip to Mars would be very worthwhile both for what it will tell the earth scientists about the world, and because along the way, we can stop in orbit and check out the weather, or just cancel the trip to Mars and pop in to Paris, which will be about an hour from New York on your Mars ship, so, actually, who needs Mars?
"Rim Black for Glasses" Doctors say that rimless glasses can cause cancer. Actually, a report by four Philadelphia dermatologists to the Archives of Dermatology and Syphilology says, by my reading, that all glasses can cause cancer, and also chronic actinic dermatitis, which doesn't sound exactly nice, even if it's not cancer. Round and elliptic glasses are just worse, which is why they recommend that glasses be treated with a lacquer called rim black that cuts off the "dangerous rays."
This seems like pretty irresponsible journalism, to me. If you're going to say that something as common as windows (because, let's face it, that's what we're talking about) can cause cancer, it needs to be from the stage of the AMA, and backed up by a study of the billions of people affected.
Press, Radio-Television, Art, People
The press page leads off with the New York Newspaper Guild demanding a week-long paid paternity leave for new fathers in its new contract with the National Guardian, and the Stern family of Philadelphia, which owns a bunch of newspapers. That allows it to have almost a full page of boring news between the top of the page and the KLM crash at Bombay that killed, amongst twelve or possibly fourteen other American journalists, Elsie Dick of the Mutual Network. Newsweek is understandably upset about the biggest single tragedy to hit American journalism since the 1920 Los Angeles Times bombing, even if it buries the story for advertising sake. What bothers me is that this is the third KLM Connie accident since October. It was a tricky accident, since the landing was made in monsoon rain, and the KLM pilot would have been a bit rusty for Indian conditions after the boycott, but monsoon flying is the company's bread and butter. The San Juan and LA crashes, you kind of expect, because, come on, non-scheduleds. But KLM? Either there's something wrong at the top, which is hard to believe of KLM, or those predictions about what would happen when the airlines ran out of wartime pilots are coming true. (Not that we're so hot, either.)
Then, just in case you're in danger of running into the crash story scanning back up the page, we finish up with a long article about the editor of the New York Daily Mirror, whose name is French for "milk," which is so funny that the lait came out of my nose.
|And that is how Uncle Reggie came to spend the rest of his life|
hiding from hit squads of CBC Radio anmouncers --Beth.
|"Selznick was an amphetamine user, and would often dictate long, rambling memos to his directors, |
writers, investors, staff and stars. The documentary Shadowing The Third Man
relates that Selznick introduced The Third Man director Carol Reed to the
use of amphetamines, which allowed Reed to bring the picture in below budget
and on schedule by filming nearly 22 hours at a time."
Princess Margaret is causing gossip in Paris, General Clay has retired to his summer home on Cape Cod to write his memoirs, Linda Christian, bride of Tyrone Power, has spent $2400 on maternity costumes, Governor Luis Munoz Marin of Puerto Rico has a pretty wife, Douglas Fairbanks has a KBE, Czechoslovakia's two top tennis stars have defected in Gstaad, Switzerland, and Rose La Rose is sueing Universal for using her name as a punchline. Jennifer Jones (30), has married her boss, David O. Selznick (47). The bride wore white. The ex-bride wore a granny dress. Greer Garson has married a Texas oilman. General Clay and David Lillienthal have won the coveted Freedom House Freedom Medal of Freedom for this Year of Freedom 1949. Kenesaw Landis II, 39, lawyer and political columnist for The Chicago Times, has died after a long illness.
The New Pictures
The revival of Harry Lloyd's 1932 Movie Crazy gets the head in Newsweek as well as last week's Time. It isn't a "new picture," but, then, the Newsweek department is actually Movies, and I thought I should just mention this as a masterpiece of the PR art, even if it is a hidden one, since it isn't like the weeklies are going to tell us just how a re-release of a seventeen-year-old movie lands the top billing in two papers.
An actual new picture is The Fountainhead, which is a dramatisation of Ayn Rand's novel of the same name. It's an "undisciplined preachment," "illogical," and sometimes "ludicrous." Psst! I have a feeling Newsweek didn't like it! The Big Steal is some hugger mugger set in Vera Cruz with Patric Knowles, Jane Greer, and William Bendix that goes to show how much better Hollywood is at dealing with realistic stories of multiple screwballs chasing each other over a stolen thirty grand of US Army payroll money down Mexico way than with crazy, far-out stories about architects dealing with difficult customers. The Great Dan Patch is about a champion harness racing horse and some humans who drop into the stable once and a while and pretend to have human problems for as long as there is no racing to be done.
Upton Sinclair's tenth Lanny Budd book is out, inspiring critics across the land to ask, "What, aren't you done yet?" Like all middlebrow readers, Newsweek prefers the "Men of Good Will" series, but is willing to admit that it learned something about matters atomical while following Lanny's historical adventures from Yalta to Moscow to New Mexico. Inserting fictional characters into real history is an entertaining but ephemeral exercise, Newsweek thinks, with the risk that the hero (and his family) turn out to be central to everything that ever happened. Pff. Did Budd get to Nagasaki? I don't think so!
And speaking of middlebrow, next up is Vincent Sheean's latest, already reviewed at Time and "reviewed" here. Ben Ann Williams' Fraternity Village is a short story collection following the ninth novel he has written since giving up journalism for fiction. Hobert Skidmore's O Careless Love s a "fresh comedy" involving a big city girl stopping over in a West Virginia town between busses and being mistaken for a prostitute, which doesn't sound "fresh" to me so much as "very, very sour." Ward Thomas' Stranger in the Land is the same, only the double-reverse, if you know what I mean. But since it is about a man who has too much sex with men, it is "Dostoevskian," and not "fresh." Are you done yet, you ask, and you are disappointed, because there are still novels to go, by Winston Clowes, James Street and Rosemary Taylor, which are about --. Oh, never mind, that was a hint. Yes, I'm done.
|Infrastructure equals Communism|
Flight, 28 July 1949
Engineering, 29 July 1949
J. Lamore, "Tides and Current Velocities in a Sea-Level Canal" Interesting but irrelevant to us.
P. J. Bouma's Physical Aspects of Colour: An Introduction to the Scientific Study of Colour Stimuli and Colour Perceptions is a good summary. J. Crowther, Science in Liberated Europe is the story of Mr. Crowther's trip to laboratories in France, Denmark, Holland and Czechoslovakia. It mostly reprints statistics and short summaries of research that he was given. J. B. Davy, An Interpretive History of Flight. An illustrated history of flight from HMSO, but using pictures from the Science Museum. It sounds like an illustrated version of a Flight Correspondence column. The most recent plane featured being a B-17C of 1934. Tables of the Bessel Functions of the First Kind of Orders Forty Through Fifty-One is the ninth of fourteen planned volumes to be produced by Harvard on a BuOrd contract. It is very well put together and presumably quite accurate, who knows. The values were calculated by the Harvard automatic sequence-controlled calculator. I think we are very, very close to the point where it is more economical and more efficient to have a Harvard calculator than the fourteen volume series! Yes, yes, that's an exaggeration, but it probably won't be in a few years.
T. Y. B. Edds, "Experiences with Ethyl Silicate in the Foundry" Ethyl silicate is one of the so-called organic silicates that mimics the well-known chemistry of the "organic" carbon molecules that are the base of human life. Silicon organics differ from carbon in that they are at home at high temperatures, and because their oxidation produces sand and not carbon dioxide, which would be a problem for science fiction's "silicon-based life." In the foundry, ethyl silicate is extremely promising as a binding agent for refractories. Furnace walls and the cores in precision castings are two promising fields of application. The former might mean higher temperatures for reducing new metals, while the latter promises more accurate castings.
"High Speed Capstan Lathe" Since it has been several pages since Engineering gave anyone a free ad, here is the said lathe from Alfred Herbert. Like all the other modern industrial lathes, it has all sorts of features that will make your capstan lathing more labour efficient, faster and cheaper.
"Electrical Accidents in the Home" Remember my comments on the dark but inadvertent humour of electrical accidents in India? Here is the British sequel. I got into trouble with Ronnie about being flippant, because at the end there are short descriptions of the deaths of a three year-old and a five-year old due to gross negligence by manufacturers and parents. It is tragic, but also most of the accidents are just a bit ridiculous. The invisibility of electrical current makes the dangers all too easy to ignore.
"Construction of Welded-Steel Barges" This article is what you get when you cross Worthy with Advertising. I have no idea why it is here.
Launches and Trial Trips Three motor ships and two steamers this week. The MS include tankers Bjorn Stand and British Loyalty, and freighter Lockwood. Steamers are freighters Elixabeth Nielsen and Strathdore.
British Standards are published for ignition cables for airplane engines, waterproof building papers and condensor tube plates. Quite the come down from defining what "comfort" means!
"The Dock Strike in Retrospect" So here's the story. The Canadian shipping strike pits two unions against each other. Thus, the crews and unions can cordially disagree about whether a given ship is "black," that is, crewed by scabs, or "white," that is, not, and free to be unloaded. British dockers have been chewing this over for months, which is why some are blaming international Communists (who, in Canada, back one of the Canadian unions against the other). To hear the dockers tell it, all they wanted was to declare the two ships "black," and get on with it, but that would, in itself, be an intervention in the Canadian strike and also was too uppity to be born, and the dockers were invited to unload the Canadian ships, or no ships. The dockers in general didn't like this very much, but there disagreements within the union, and strikes spread to other ships. Because they carried perishable cargoes, the emergency order was secured, and the Army moved in to unload the ships, which briefly seemed as though it would cause a general strike. There isn't enough Army to unload all the merchant ships in British ports, and this led the Dock Labour Board to suggest that decasualisation be reversed, at which point the Government stepped in to remove the head of the Board and say no such thing would happen, which led to a vote that ended the strike, although some say it was irregular.
I think I've got it now. No guarantees.
"Electricity Supply in Scotland" The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board continues to expand its hydroelectric power offerings, although right now it is mostly a steam business due to nationalisation. Hopefully, hydro-electric will be the bulk of their offerings again eventually, and their experimental wind-power offering in the Orkneys is promising.
The Nuffield Foundation's annual report is out. Although founded to help medical science, the Foundation has given money to the Glasgow cyclotron; a huge x-ray machine to Birckbeck, albeit for biomedical research under Bernal, along with an electron-computing machine; general support of Cherwell's Clarendon Lab's work with liquid helium for low temperature research that might be useful in nuclear physics, and to Blackett at Manchester, who is using meson scatter to discover the fundamental building blocks of the universe, whatever they might be. (Not atoms, and not even electrons and protons.) The British Electricity Supply Board has set up a Research Council. London Transport has begun work on the Camberwell extension of the Bakerloo tube line. The latest Lloyds' report on world shipbuilding shows Britain still doing most of it, but the rest of the world catching up. Statistics for Germany and Russia remain unavailable, and the Japanese ones are incomplete.
The discussion of technical dictionaries continues, and a very brave Kenneth Barnaby writes to correct just one of the scathing points made in the memorably negative 15 July review of Basic Naval Architecture.
At the Institute of Transport Conference, Professor Raymond Birch gave a keynote address that, unless the next bit is better than the first, was a complete waste of time. Marx was a bad philosopher because he was bitter. In the Middle Ages, agriculture was king. Transportation needs a "philosophy." Timber and silk were yesterday, iron and steel are today. I think perhaps the brandy flowed before dinner.
Oscar Parkes, "German and British Battleships" Parkes, the noted naval architect and historian, gave a paper on same at the Edinburgh meeting that was a gentle pallet cleanser after "the crews scuttled the excess shipping fleet after WWI" and "Everything you know about ship lines is wrong." He gives a very interesting summary of the design of Bismarck and Tirpitz in this extract, comparing them extensively on the Scharnhorst battlecruisers that came before, which is a bit of a problem in that, if he has anything to say about the Scharnhorsts, it is not included in this extract. Anyway, while, as I say, it is interesting, it isn't terribly relevant, and we can all wait for it to come out in print.
"Grinding Attachment for Centre Lathing" is an ad for G. Wolf and Company, and G. A. Mellor, "Creep Strength of Some Magnesium Alloys" is worthy.