Saturday, June 3, 2017

Postblogging Technology, April 1947, II: Pluperfect Hell

Oriental Club,

Dear Father:

I hope that I find you well. You find me perfectly, perfectly well, because I am wrapped up in a cocoon like the tiniest caterpillar, about to burst . . . Well, men never want to hear about that, and I do not think that you are the one to start. I would share all the news of the extended family with you, but there is a telephone strike on. (Imagine me making my fiercest face.) James somehow avoided being involved in a Gangland shooting in Los Angeles, as it turns out that Uncle Henry's mysterious benefactor at the dam is the same man he fingered for extortion, and the bad blood between them has resumed. He has even become so reckless as to have a Hearst man beaten up for Uncle's friend's colleague. Wong Lee is flying east to seek permission, after which this thing will be resolved once and for all. 

You should see the doll that James brought back from Los Angeles --Not really a doll at all, or, rather, more of a three-dimensional paper doll than anything else. Of course, the attraction is obvious, since once you sell the doll, you can go on selling little doll outfits indefinitely! Very intriguing. . . 


Already released, even if it won't hit the top of the charts until August

A wish for long life in peach blossom time.

[NSFW Warning: I've included a picture of the Grace Moore crash scene, complete with burned bodies, that I took from Life today, because I think that it's an interesting historical fact that it could be printed, and because it gives a little perspective to the "drop off in air passengers." It's about two thirds of the way down and small, if you want to scroll past it.]

Flight, 17 April 1947


“Conscription and the RAF” The RAF cannot use twelve-month conscripts, and because it can’t get enough volunteers, cannot function properly right now.

Lord Kemsley’s Munificence” Lord Kemsley has given the Royal Aero Club £100,000 to promote private flying.

“Collaboration” The new air traffic control system to be established on British imperial routes will be run by all ministries working together.

John W. R. Taylor, “Flying-Wing Development: Research Aircraft, Fighters, ‘Buzzbombs’ and Bombrs by Northrop: An Early Rocket-propelled Aircraft” J. K. Northrop will be in England in late May to give the Wilbur Wright Memorial Lecture, which will, presumably, be on the subject of how wonderful flying wings are now that Northorp has solved all the problems there ever were with them. John Taylor writes the talk in advance. Since the NM-1 of 1940, there have been a series of Northrop flying wings, all with swept wings (for stability reasons), and lacking the vertical “stabilators” seen on other country’s and companies’ efforts. They have included the XP-56 fighter and the MX-324 military rocket plane of 1943, which became the XP-79, which was designed to “revolutionise fighter tactics” . . . “[by] rac[ing] after an enemy aircraft and knock[ing] off its wing or tail by ramming it with the heavily armoured leading edge.” This is so silly that I can barely even comment. Armour is for stopping bullets. If the idea is to damage an enemy aircraft by collision, you want a non-deforming buffer, like a cow catcher; which would be heavy, which is just obviously a terrible idea. Also, Taylor notes that, unlike the Mx-34, the XP-79 had stabilators, as well as below-wing “bellows” rudders, so mark the stability problem “not solved, after all.” It was the end of the war that led to the XP-79 being cancelled, we are told, and not the fact that it was dumb.
I mean, seriously. The biggest problems with the V-1 were that they verged on being too expensive, which was why the pulse jet engine was chosen, and that the automatic pilot wasn't up to the excursions from stability of the conventional airframe. What was anyone thinking??

Meanwhile, the USAAF had also commissioned the B-35, which flew first in July 1946. Northrop has put jet engines in one of the B-35s, because jet engines are much more exciting than Wasp Majors, even if the result is a strategic bomber that can barely fly from one end of the airfield to the other. Meanwhile, Northrop was working on an all-wing “buzz bomb” with GE turbine engines. “Several of these missiles were supplied to the U.S. Army, but production has now been switched to an improved type –the JB-1A-- which uses a single engine based on the German V-1’s Argus impulse duct.” This seems like a pretty generous interpretation of the facts.

Here and There

There is an Italian “roadable,” now, the Aerauto P.L.2.3C, a pusher type with a nosewheel undercarriage. Curacao has a new airport, with underground hangars, if I am reading the article right. Laurence Le Page has proposed a helicopter plane to the Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee of the House, for some reason.
There you go, invented. Now that the hard stuff's done, it is all just engineering. 

The first “postwar international balloon race” will start from The Hague on Liberation Day. Participants from six countries are expected, and Lord Ventry will represent England. Farmer J. W. Tomkins, of Blatherwycke, North Hamptonshire, has commissioned a Miles Aerovan to seed 50 acres of his land with oats due to the late season and sodden ground. By the way, if you don’t like the rendering of “Blatherwycke” into characters, you will blow a gasket at what some wags have done with “Ventry.” Vickers found itself cut off by road from its Supplies Branch at Waltham, recently, and BEA send an Auster from its Communications Flight to fly the parts to White Waltham. Captain Geoffrey Wickner, who recently escaped to Australia in the Halifax WaltzingMatilda, with passengers, has sold his plane to a concern called Air Carriers, which proposes an air freight service between Australia and China, through Japan.

“Unveiled: New and Improved Types of British Service Aircraft: Prototypes and Projects of All
Not the most dangerous post-war RAF airframe. Huzzah!
Classes” The Westland Wyvern TF1, Avro Shackleton G.R.1, Blackburn S.28/43, Supermarine Attacker (E.10/44), Supermarine Seagull (S.14/44), Avro Athena T. 1 and Boulton Paul Balliol T.1 have been either unveiled or given new names, the paper says at the  head, before going on to a manufacturer-by-manufacturer breakdown and starting with the unmentioned Airspeed Ayrshire, a minimally-varied military variant of the Ambassador. The Shackleton is the marine patrol variant of the Lincoln, although the paper expects major changes. The Athena and Boulton Paul are turboprop trainers, with the Athena to use either the Mamba or the Dart. The S.28/43 is a development of the Firebrand, with dive brakes and torpedo accommodations, and methanol injection. Two variants of the Vampire, one with a Nene, the other with an unspecified power plant “may not be mentioned,” as may a new variant of Sea Hornet, the N.F. 21, which has a radar scanner in the nose, exhaust flame dampeners, and a hood for the rear canopy. The Hornet P.R. 11 is the photo-reconnaissance variant, with extra tanks and cameras instead of guns.
By The Flight magazine archive from Flightglobal, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Navy also has a Fairey Firefly night fighter variant, the N.F. IV. Heston’s twin-boom air observation post aircraft continues, now with an official specification as the A.2/45. Vickers-Armstrong wants to remind us that its steel-wool coated orphan, the Vickers Windsor, exists and is a credit to the designers; and that Vickers has also sold some transports to the RAF and earned a new name, as the Viking becomes the Valetta. Speaking of names, the Nene-powered Supermarine fighter is now the Attacker, and the variable-incidence wing seaplane is the (new) Seagull. Westland’s Wyvern T.F. 1 is another torpedo fighter, and uses the Rolls-Royce Eagle sleeve-valve engine, of which word has recently slipped out.

It also seems that the two Rolls-Royce turboprops, the Dart and Clyde, deserve mention. Roy Fedden is working on a small turboprop, christened the Cotswold; Bristol, besides the Theseus and Proteus, has the Janus in development; and Napier is working on the Nymph[?]. De Havilland has its H.3 under development, and Power Jets is working on a very small, 250hp turboprop.

In case you've forgotten.
“Britain’s Test Pilots, No. 21: HaroldLord Piper, Chief Test Pilot of Short Bros., Ltd” “Pip” Piper is a New Zealander by birth, who learned to fly in September 1918, managed to enter the RAF at the same time, having just turned 18 at a time when the RAF wasn’t being very picky about who might be assaulting its ranks from the far corners of the globe. As the war then ended, the RAF rethought its position, and Pip entered the N.Z.A.F.R., in which he flew for larks until selling his sheep(!) farm in 1927 to take up a short service commission in the RAF. He then flew about having adventures until Short took him on at Belfast as a test pilot when Short and Harlands began building aircraft there. His initial experience was with the Short-Mayo composite flying boat, which sounds like it was very exciting, with “somewhat disturbing” acceleration on release, and a heart-stopping period of several seconds when neither pilot could see the other aircraft, and just had to keep on steering on the assumption that the separation had been successful. On the bright side, the experiments led to the development of the RAF’s intercom system. After those experiments, Short and Harlands settled into repairing planes and building Stirlings and Sunderlands. Piper personally test flew 800 Stirlings and 100 Sunderlands.

“Fairey’s First Guided Missile: Details New Released of ‘Stooge’ Radio-controlled Projectile” The “Stooge” originated as a specification for a counter to Japanese suicide bombers. (Although at the end the article says that the Stooge was originally ordered by the Army.) It is therefore designed for fairly strenuous handling on the ground, since it will have to be carried around on a warship, perhaps erected on a firing stand, for long periods. Propulsion is by four main rockets, with takeoff assistance from four smaller rockets developed from the 3” AA rocket, which are jettisoned, along with a balance weight, 1.7 seconds after liftoff. Final velocity is 350mph, and the aircraft is controlled from the ground by radio guidance of the ailerons. It is thought that peacetime applications might include signal rockets and shooting lines during sea rescues.
350mph is a bit slow for a WWI AAM. 

“The Human Factor: Importance of Pilots and Navigators Stressed at GAPAN Dinner” Lord Nathan gave a talk about how flying is the coming thing, and that Lord Londonderry should be congratulated for making himself a pain about that, instead of the other thinks he likes to make himself a pain about. Lord Nathan thinks that the airlines ought to work on regularity and safety. Assorted commenters think that Lord Nathan is in the Government, which is BUNGLING civil aviation. Admiral Somerville recalled how he had first flown with Geoffrey de Havilland in 1913. (But don’t forget that the United States Navy has a better air force because all its air admirals are air-air-air and love aeroplanes more than girls, whereas all the English air admirals are secret battleship boys who hate aeroplanes and love gigantic guns.)
Apropos of homoerotic jokes, I'm dressing this one up with some photos from Life, which the library has somehow failed to lock up in Barad-dur. "Anti-Black racism needs psychoanalysis: Discuss."

“The Home of Fighter Command: Permanent Exhibition Underground at Bentley Priory” Bentley Priory has had a bad fire, which is sad news. The wartime operations room of Fighter Command is to be preserved as a monument, which is good news. This doesn’t leave much room for Fighter Command to do its work, but, fortunately, Fighter Command doesn’t do its work from Bentley Priory any more.

“When Lord Londonderry saved the Bomber” Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Salmond has emerged from wherever he’s been hiding since he suddenly resigned as CAS to recollect how the
So instead of Don Bennett, let's promote a company that pays for advertising. 
Geneva Conference almost scuttled the bomber, and Lord Londonderry put his foot down. In spite of the headline, this is a continuation of the article about Lord Nathan’s talk, and the conversation  moved on to important people suggesting that “in the future,” navigation would be done on the ground, and, finally, Don Bennett promoting himself.

 “Airfields in Great Britain: A Review of the Past: The Present Position: Suggestions for the Future: Precis of a Paper given to the Aerodrome Owner’s Association by H. R. Gillman” Before the war, Governments BUNGLED aerodromes. During the war, more and better aerodromes were built everywhere, and many private owners enjoyed improvements which were not costed and could not be paid for. In the future, large aerodromes would be owned by the government, and small ones by various other owners, who deserved subsidy from the National Exchequer. Future aerodromes will make more money if the owners try to make more money.

Civil Aviation News

“West Country Air Centre” Lord Nathan went down to Bristol bearing various gifts (including the West Country regional air centre), and was rewarded by being attacked for BUNGLING by W. G. Verdon Smith before he even began talking. He also implied that the Centaurus re-engined Constellation might go ahead, and that the Bristol helicopter would be a very fine helicopter.
I didn't know that they had water in Australia. CC BY-SA 3.0,

In shorter news, BEA chairman, Alan Milward, congratulated his airline on doing as well as it had, and predicted sunny days now that days are sunny and the Viking is cleared for flying. He complained about Northolt, and pointed out that BEA had been flying to Paris seven times daily by Easter. The paper discusses Lord Kemsley’s gift to private aviation a bit more, and notes that the PICAO talks on airworthiness are going well and that England is the star of the show, as it has advanced furthest in incorporating PICAO standards into its aircraft. Trans-Canada has ordered another 20 North Stars. KLM has ordered another two Constellations. The first Air India Viking just came off the Vickers production line. Spain’s Air Attaché is touring English aircraft factories and looking to buy not-Fascist-at-all aeroplanes.


E. H. Keeling, of the Battle of Britain Memorial, explains that the roll of honour reaches 1500 names by including 448 in Fighter Command, 718 in Bomber Command, 280 in Coastal Command, 14 in other Commands and 34 in the Fleet Air Arm. Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert writes to say that, on investigation, “Adjutant’s” accusations (about ATC training) were correct, and that steps have been taken. George Goodhew, of Goodhew Aviation, writes with the draft of a resolution on air-air-air for airmindedness airmindedly. Gordon Davidson (Oxon), a First-class Air Navigator writes to say that the recent concessions on air navigator training are all wrong.

Time, 21 April 1947


Al Hamilton Menscher, of Albuquerque, points out that if democracy is better than communism, it is by not doing things like banning communism. William Anderson McCain, of Doylestown, Pa, agrees that communist propaganda needs to be heard and countered, while Henry Gotliffe, of Detroit, points out that communism will flourish wherever living conditions are bad, and that therefore America should work on improving living standards, promoting internationalism, and eliminating war. Ichiro Nishizaki writes from Tokyo that he really likes the paper’s back matter. Homer Brightman[?], of Glendale, California, is appalled by all the immorality in Hollywood movies these days, while M. Gualtieri, of San Jose, California, is equally upset that hat-check girls make more than kindergarten teachers. Several correspondents were appalled at news that ostensibly liberal Hollywood stars had flocked to the party that Heddy Hopper threw for Colonel McCormick. Carrol Cox, Jr., of Benton Harbor, Michigan, thinks that the paper is too hard on teenagers, with its talk of malted milks, two-hour phone-calls and jukebox musicals.

Remember, this was before auto insurance was mandatory!

National Affairs

“These High Prices” Everyone is upset at high prices, but divided as to who to blame. But, somehow, at the end of the day, the solution, according to Bernard Baruch, is to increase the work week to 44 hours, 5 ½ days? (If I understand the argument, more goods will soak up more money, and check inflation?)

“The Enormous Thing” The paper is appalled that the appalling Henry Wallace has gone to England to be appalling. He is so appalling that the paper appends a story about George Logan, an Eighteenth-Century Henry Wallace who inspired the Logan Act against private citizens conducting American diplomacy, which is what Wallace is doing, so possibly he should be charged. Not Logan, because he’s dead. The “windbag” Henry Wallace. UN delegates like arguing about Turkey and Greece. Further developments as events warrant.

Spoilers, obviously. Not that I've watched this seven times in the last week or so, or anything. 

“Quiet Interlude” The President’s mother came to visit the White House in an interlude before the contentious vote to confirm David Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, in a major defeat for Republican leadership in the Senate, as Arthur Vandenberg led twenty Senators to break with the party and vote for confirmation.  In shorter news, a tornado killed 91 people in Woodward, Oklahoma last week.
No Anti-semitism, here, folks! It's all about the TVA! (Which, truth to tell, drove Wendell Willkie into politics, so there were real hard feelings.) Robert A. Taft, Giant of the Senate (TM)

“Not Too Bad” The first week of the first national telephone strike turns out to be not that bad. In New England, where operators don’t belong to the 39 unions striking. In other places where Mr. Luce doesn’t live, for example, the Chinatown phone exchange in San Francisco, it has been a terrible business disruption. In Atlanta, teachers hope that no phones mean that teens will do their homework, and a metal products manufacturer in Walla Walla, Washington, thinks it’s nice not having the phone ringing all day.

I had no idea such a thing existed. Source. Imputed C. 2007, by Jeff.
“Congress’ Week” Congress this week was mostly about Senator Taft’s labour bill, which has been watered down in committee in “one of the worst lickings [Taft] has ever taken.”
“Detroit Dynast” The paper’s cover story obituary of Henry Ford is much more colourful than The Economist’s.
“Americana” In a roundup of stories of Americana, the paper notes the arrival of a pioneering flight of 8 Puerto Rican housemaids to address Philadelphia’s shortage.
“Europe Firsters” Various European politicians, mostly of the socialist persuasion, think that Europe should keep out of American-Russian quarrels. An Italian politician points out that a Russian-American war would be terrible for Italy, which would be occupied by both, “First by Cossacks, then by Negroes.”

“More Blessed to Give” Greeks are happy to have American aid, but upset that there are conditions, and that the Americans want to “clean up the Greek economy,” and control the “notoriously inefficient Greek government’s” spending. Better-off Turkey affirmed its intention of achieving democracy its way, notwithstanding American aid.

Communist Russians are terrible.

. . .  Because they object to Americans leaving potatoes to rot in the fields while claiming that they can't afford to give more food aid. 

“The Last of an American” Europeans respond to the death of Henry Ford in various ways. Socialists say mean things.

“Decay of the Conservatives” Many Conservatives are upset that the party didn’t find an excuse to vote with dissenting Labourites against the National Service Bill, thereby causing the Government to fall, leading to an election. The ostensible reason for this is that the Conservatives do not think that the English public is ready for a change, but the real reason is that “Big C-Conservatives have lost their faith in small-c conservatism.” They are, now, in fact all secret socialists, because they reject free enterprise.
Several Russian war brides aren't being allowed to leave Russia to join their British husbands. As near as I can tell, there are some issues.

“A Walk in Yenan” The paper sends correspondent Frederick Gruin to walk around the streets of Yenan and gloat at people that the Communists are gone forever.

“Pashka” Eastertime in Moscow is nice, actually, considering that it’s run by Communists.

“Out of the Woods” Poland’s ludzie lesni, or “forest people,” the anti-communist resistance, took a Government amnesty and surrendered last week.

“A Little Fruit” Burmese polling stations were adorned with bottles of lime juice this week, as it was expected that Communists and other troublemakers would throw sulphuric acid in the ballot boxes, and lime juice is thought to be sovereign against sulphuric acid in Burma.
I was about to speculate about the origins of the acid attack, before remembering Two-Face's origin story.

“Old Wine, Old Bottles” Japan had local elections. Some ultra-nationalists ran, and were elected.  

Smart women wear "sensible shoes." 

Australian mice are excitable, also Latins, Canadians not. The lead story points out that 5 cent candy bars are up to 8 cents due to the decontrolling of candy prices.

“Raven Among Nightingales” This week’s cover story is a business item, focussing on the troubles the airlines are having, and also the arrival of the DC-6 through the lens of Robert Patterson of United. Also in airline news, Paul E. Richter becomes the third major figure at TWA to quit in the last year because he is fed up with Howard Hughes. Also, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is warning about “boom mentality,” the US is buying domestic wool to support prices, and Henry Rosenfeld had to fight off speculators driving down his stock on word of a “collapse” in women’s apparel with a mimeograph of his bank balance sheet. The paper thinks that Burma Shave billboards are funny and congratulates Allan Gilbert Odell for coming up with a solid line of business.

Science, Medicine, Education

“Six Men on a Raft” A Norwegian anthropologist, named Thor Heyerdahl, and five companions, set out from the coast of Peru on a traditional balsam raft to prove that the South Pacific islands had been visited, and perhaps peopled, by South American Indians. Both societies have stepped pyramids, megalithic structures, elaborate feather head-dresses, and sweet potatoes, and since South America was ever so much more civilised than old Polynesia, it stands to reason that the influence was west to east. 
Well, at least it's not white people>black people. Baby steps.

“How to Find Uranium” Handbook of Uranium Metals, by Jack DeMent, explains how to prospect for uranium. While the mineral is not uncommon, big deposits are rare, and a strike would be very valuable, even if the Government has made uranium national property.

“Bus Ride to Manhattan” Last week’s smallpox scare is perhaps maybe beginning to die down a little as public health service investigators track down the wife of Eugene LeBar (the original, fatal case from New York City) and the other passengers with whom he shared his bus from Mexico City.
That's what we need to get rid of the anti-vaxers. A good smallpox outbreak!

“The Mid-Day Sun” US and Canadian doctors have carried out the largest study ever of the health of white men living in the Tropics –US troops in the Pacific theatre. Contrary to theories of a “morbid decay called tropical deterioration,” it was found that after years in theatre, and months of work under the noonday sun, while GIs were typically 5—10lbs underweight, they were otherwise as healthy as troops in any other theatre, except garrison troops in Hawaii, who “went a little soft.” Aside from dysentery and eye troubles, there were few problems. There was no heat stroke, little malaria. Scientifically designed cloths, plenty of water and salt, insect control and new drugs made the difference.

Headmaster Harry Peters, of Cleveland’s University School, “more respected than liked,” is retiring this week after 46 years.

In education news, we hear that various concerned church persons want religious instruction in schools; and that Mimi Hart, of the University of Iowa, is the most beautiful of all of the many college beauty queens crowned this spring.

Press, Radio, Art

It is the 100th anniversary of Joseph Pulitzer’s birth. Harry Hanan’s “Louie”is very funny.
I don't get it.

The paper shares all the inside details (and by that, I mean, a horrible mishmash of the worst gossip imaginable about Packard and his wife) of Reynold Packards’ firing in Peiping, for being too expensive, and for reporting “facts and fancies,” such as the Russian atomic bomb plant on Lake Baikal. Harry Ashmore of the Charlotte News, is the best kind of southerner a progressive-but-not-too-progressive Republican. It is reported by CBS that 93% of American homes now have radios. The Blue Network is gettingbetter, says its top executive, Mark Woods.  There was a Surrealist (that’s one flavour of modern artist) show in Manhattan this week featuring Rene Magritte, while Andrew Wyeth got an award for being N. C. Wyeth's son, and still trying.


Frank Sinatra slugged a Hearst reporter for calling him a “Dago son of a bitch” in a bar last week. The nation is divided between those who think that it is understandable but not excusable, and the Hearst press, which points out that he is an anti-free-speech-pro-organised-crime communist. Fiorello LaGuardia received this year’s One World Award, “established in honour of Wendell Willkie.” Mr. Luce must have had such a crush on Wendell. Asked what century he would like to have been born in if not this one, Henry Wallace said, the 21st, 22nd, 23rd or 24th, assuming that we learn how to control atomic power for peace.

The online ads are crappy reproductions, and they haven't got rid of the Dutch tilt. Meanwhile, the Life volumes in the automated stacks are falling apart, whereas the shelf copies of Newsweek and Time that were sent off to the "Document Holding Centre" are in perfect condition!
Charles Lindbergh calls for extending Truman Plan-like aid to all anti-communist Europeans. Rudy Vallee is trying to have a comeback. Rear Admiral Ellery Wheeler, former Allied Control Commissioner in Italy, 53, is the latest Allied brass to marry a comely young Italian noblewoman of 25. CharlesBernhard Nordhoff has died.

The New Pictures

The paper liked ThisHappy Breed, although it thinks that it has too many artistic tricks and is occasionally patronising. The Teachers’ Crisis is a March of Time documentary about this terrible crisis. It really didn’t like Time out of Mind, mainly because it loathes the protagonist.

Allen Walsh Dulles, Germany’s Underground The brother of John Foster Dulles explains how some conservative German aristocrats tried to kill their Fascist leader once it became clear that they were losing the war. Dulles explains that there was actually quite a large German resistance. It was just “heterogenous.” William Samson[?] is a poet comparable to Dylan Thomas. Ainslie and Frances Conway homesteaded in the Galapagos Islands in 1937, stayed for a few years, and are now back, with also a book on the islands to show that you can live there. (Although the bit about wild cows rampaging through the lemon jungles, gorging on the fruit until they get sick sounds like something to see.)   


Later, aristocrats not killing fascist dictators became a signature move.

Flight, 24 April 1947

“Swan Song?” A long article about the new Rolls-Royce Eagle (a brand new high power military aero-engine being rolled out in 1947!) is not a waste of paper because someone might use it for something.

“The Other Extreme” Private civil flying could really use a 40hp light engine, which is relevant to the fact that the Government is BUNGLING private flying.

“Pennywise” The English public airlines might stop paying for passengers’ transport to and from the airfields they embark from. The paper detects Government BUNGLING, since this will surely lead to more seat cancellations.

“Flying Display at Halton: Air Attaches of Many Countries See RAF Home Commands Demonstration”

“Round the World: Successful Completion of 20,000-mile Flight in the Douglas Invader, Reynolds BombshellMilton Reynolds, the American pen manufacturer, recently flew around the world in his own A-26.

“To Geneva by Viking: Impressions on the First BEA Viking Flight to Switzerland” The flight left Northolt thirty-five minutes late, but Captain L. G. James opened up from the usual 1600rpm at 33 inch boost to 1980 rpm at 35, and made up the lost time. “There was, perhaps, a slightly noticeable increase in the normal engine noise.” Everyone agreed that the Viking is grand.

“BSAA Accident in West Africa” The accident investigation into the crash of BSAA York G-AHEW is complete. It appears to have been pilot error, and the captain’s training was deficient.

Thornton Engine Laboratory: Research on Rich and Weak Mixture Performance, Direct Injection, Fuel Boiling and Turbine Lubrication” Shell-Mex did considerable research into aero-engine performance at its Thornton facility during the war years. Work began early in the war with efforts to prevent premature detonation (“knock”) at rich mixture, which is defined as enough fuel in the mixture to combust all the air, that is, the highest power. In 1943, it was realised that fuels with up to 20% higher resistance to detonation could be formulated, and work began on engines to take advantage of this, culminating in the 150 grade “brought into use during the invasion of the Continent.” However, by that time it had been realised that while rich mixture response was well understood and reliable, weak mixture was not. This is when enough air is in the mixture to use all the fuel, and is the low power, high economy setting. The direct injection research was specifically with captured German direct injection engines, which were found to have an advantage due to evaporative cooling in the injection nozzle, and a disadvantage in that the primary German fuel, B4, did not give enough power to use their engines to their fullest advantage. The highly aromatic C3 fuel was promising, but the Germans never redesigned their pistons to use it properly. Fuel boiling became a concern as maximum operational altitudes rose from 20,000 to 40,000ft. A related problem was the difficulty in starting engines in cold temperatures do the crankcase oil congealing. This can be addressed to a point with more temperature-resistant oils, but the main solution was diluting the oil with gasoline, which liquifies it but reduces its lubrication value, and the lab worked to minimise dilution. Starting in 1944, it began to do some directed work on jet turbines, necessarily leaving many promising research directions untouched. However, they have had enough success with lubrication oil for turboprop reduction gearings that turboprops are even possible.
Closed in 2011, but the Thornton Science Park has empty space waiting for your research-related activities. (Stick around for my explanation for the Brexit vote.)

Here and There

A squadron of B-29s will visit England in the summer. Col Sasouschuk, the assistant air attache of the Russian embassy in London, has flown back to Moscow on a medical emergency. LaGuardia airport is subsiding into the swamp ooze. Aeromat Products, of Buffalo, have designed an airliner cockpit seat with a lumbar pad for long flights. An official American statement announces that the Bell XS-1 climbs at a rate of 120,000ft/minute after being launched from a B-29, weighs 13,000lbs on takeoff but only 4900lbs on landing, consumes 100lbs of fuel/minute, and reaches 80% of the speed of sound climbing from 15000ft. Electronic Transmission Equipment,Ltd, is the new title of the former Mullard Wireless Service Co., Ltd.

“Wheeled Instruction: Tour of the RAF’s Mobile Classrooms” The RAF wheels converted motor coaches around to the various airfields to train ground crew in turret, propeller, automatic pilot, tyre, carburetor, Dowty hydraulic systems, Bostick products, gas turbine engine, flight instrument and Lockheed products. (Although it is a bit more complicated than that, since the motor coaches are split up into four teams, and many of the general areas above area also split up by manufacturer, so that Rotol and de Havilland propellers have their own coaches. In fact, Rotol has several.

American Newsletter
“Ballyhoo Research: Buffeting and Twin Booms: Aircraft Nomenclature: Castering Undercarriages” Kibbitzer is shocked, shocked, that the Americans are talking up the USAAF’s 5051 mile, non-stop, Honolulu-New York P-82 flight. He reports that it is said to have poor handlingdue to buffeting from the twin booms, that guns and armour were omitted, andthe plane still took off at 30,000lbs, that its wing loading was 73.5lbs, andaverage speed was a disappointing 344mph, perhaps due to a failure of one ofthe wing tanks to jettison. In short, these are not “fighters” that can escort“world wide bombers.” Kibbitzer reports on the XB-45 and Convair 240 again. He goes on to criticise several small private airplanes, mentions the castering undercarriage as being promoted by Goodyear as an answer to crosswinds, and mentions a company converting Curtiss C-46s as high speed cargo transports, and proposes that the type might have wider uses.
My favourite in this genre is the Do-635, the "twin-engined fighter" that weighed 70,000lbs all up.

“Rolls Royce Eagle: New 24-Cylinder Sleeve-valve Unit of 3500hp” A twin-crank, flat H, sleeve-valve engine with a two-stage, two-speed supercharger, equipped to run an eight-blade, counter-rotating airscrew. Rolls-Royce has worked with sleeve valves before, designing a 22-litre, 24-cylinder, sleeve-valved engine called the Exe. This, you will probably recall James saying, more than once, was the engine intended to go into the Barracuda, and cancelled by Beaverbrook to concentrate resources on the Merlin, leading to a delayed and deficient aircraft with terrible results for all the German submarines that had to settle for being sunk by Swordfish, instead. (I suppose in some alternate history, where a mighty fleet of British carriers had headed east in 1943 to deal with the Japanese, it all might have mattered, but. . .) Rather than copying Napier, Rolls wants us to know that the form of the Eagle was determined by science. A 6” bore size was the largest practical, and crankshafts are effectively limited to 12 pistons.

To get the kind of displacement that Rolls Royce wanted therefore required a double crankshaft, meaning a flat H configuration –no mention of the 43L “X” that came before! Sleeve valves were chosen because they were in fashion in the day. “Poppet valves had reached the pinnacle of their development,” and sleeve valves are easier to maintain –until it comes time to regrind them! The Eagle is to go into the Wyvern, and, hopefully, some civilian aircraft, as well. Considering its sheer complexity, it has some very elaborate clockwork in it, and has some neat design tricks. For example, charge is cooled both in an intercooler between the supercharger stages, and after it has left the superchargers. Of course, this means that coolant is flowing through the engine in all directions at once, from one gadget to the next. In fact, the entire coolant mass is in constant motion, rather than there being a “reservoir;” Rolls-Royce has decided that the best solution to coolant system damage is for it to never happen, I guess.

“Eight-Blade Rotol: Details of Latest Hydraulic Contra-rotating Airscrew” Stationary Cylinder and Sliding Piston” This latest and largest Rotol airscrew was designed specifically for the Wyvern. As with the Eagle to which it is attached, this airscrew is full of new features that cry out for extended trials that they are not going to get, unless the Wyvern gets an enormous production order. (James points out the FAA has made large orders before; of the Fairey IIIF, for example, and the Swordfish. So, we’ll see. I do feel confident predicting that this little novelty number will never see the inside of a civil aviation job.)

Civil Aviation News

“Air Travel Plan” The IATA proposes a system of worldwide vouchers for air travel; one type to be used in the Sterling zone, the other in the dollar zone. On 16 April, the first Trans-Canada DC-6M North Star landed at Heathrow. Actually, it was just the “Mark I,” which is a Skymaster with Merlin 60 engines, and not pressurised. The six Mark Is now in service will be replaced by the pressurised Mark II, of a very different design combining aspects of the DC-4 and DC-6, in due course. “Some trouble was experienced with noise.” In other news, there is to be a conference of colonial authorities from 38 British colonies on civil aviation in London on 14 April. BOAC opened up a Central Training School at White Waltham two years ago, and it is now time for an article about it. Heathrow threw the “First International Air Ball” last week, although it was actually just a mixer.

F. Fyfe Mauritz points out that the BOAC mobile rig doesn’t do away with the need for in-air engine testing, since the engine isn’ t under load. G. S. P. Freeman dissects H. J. Manners’ ideas about infra-red. G. E. Lillywhite (S/Ldr) has ideas about bad weather landings that sound even more ridiculous than the usual run of correspondents. Rupert Simms, of the EmpireCentral Flying School, writes to correct some technical errors in the recent discussion of the Walter rocket engine as used in the Me 163. “Loyal Subject” digs up an old argument with Christopher Clarkson and “Test Pilot” over whether the Douglas XB-43 was a development of the XB-42, or the other way round, in order to point out a technical article on the plane in the American press that shows that he was completely right about everything.

Time, 28 April 1947


Francis J. Steven, of Milwaukee, and Matt R. Parker, of Wilmore, Ky, have quite different opinions about the Centralia disaster. Stephens points out that while the paper’s article suggested that Governor Green and Secretary Krug might be “murderers,” wasn’t it more reasonable to blame the Centralia Coal Company? Whereas Parker thinks that it is John L. Lewis who is the murderer, because unions are in charge of safety. (I didn’t know that!) Correspondents are upset about the inaccurate recent review of the Macomber Affair and have a variety of views about the annual religious blither from Easter.
So the truth is that I was guessing at the relevant volume of Life when I asked for retrieval, and got the January-February numbers, which is why I'm on about Duel in the Sun..

Ralph Parkman, of San Gabriel, California, is upset that the Commission on the Freedom of the Press wasted its opportunity to take on sensationalist tabloids and “chain reactionaries” that “do not hesitate to suppress news contrary to their avowed policies.” The publisher’s letter celebrates a huge positive response to the article about Professor Toynbee. Since it comes from university professors as well as regular people, it seems like Toynbee is on to something.
So this is the top image search item for "Fake news Toynbee." Point is, right wing populist fake news has been part of the American public sphere for over a hundred years. "Rosebud?" Remember that?

National Affairs

“Everything’s Lovely” President Truman is out and about, enjoying spring weather, whilst BUNGLING costs of living and the possible, looming recession.

“Challenge” The House, upset at the spring strike surge, has passed a stunning anti-strike bill with a large enough majority (including 93 Democrats) to easily override a Presidential veto. Although the fact that Taft’s Senate bill was “flattened like a pancake” by his own committee emboldened some Representatives to vote for it on the grounds that it would be modified in the Senate.
It's the old, "We'll pass a bill so extreme that it can't pass the Senate" manoeuvre! Also not invented in 2017.

‘New Mood” The story turns to the strike surge, which has subsided dramatically since the United Steelworkers settled with US Steel for 15 cents an hour. Only the phone strikers are holding out, and they are crumbling, because it is okay to break their strikes, because they are girls. Hopefully this will happen before I have taught Fanny to speak Cantonese well enough to get through to the scab operators in San Francisco, because, right now, that looks like taking forever!

“The Greater Danger” Rising food prices obscure the real danger, which is, as the Engineer patronisingly explained last week, the world “cannot feed itself.” America, Canada, Australia and Argentina, with only 8% of the world’s population, are producing 90% of the world’s food exports; the obvious conclusion is that they will have to produce even more, or the world will starve. (The other obvious conclusion, pointed out last week by Krokidil’s cartoonist, is that they have to stop leaving surpluses to rot.) As the Engineer points out, the winter badly damaged Europe’s winter wheat crop, and Europe’s soil is exhausted. (Prompting a tear from James, who ranted on about “ions,” “nitrates,” “Liebig,” before calming down when I read the next passage, in which the Engineer went on to point out the folly of destroying Germany’s nitrate and phosphoric acid plants. “I never said he was a complete idiot,” James said. But how would he know? He’s the one who gets away with dodging family calls on the old blowhard because of “business.”
Believe it or not, this guy is going to make it another seventeen years. It looks like he's getting more cholesterol to his brain than blood!

Now, that said, I haven’t been afraid to use my bed rest as an excuse. . . ) The Engineer notes that, besides the world’s nitrogen production capacity of 2.6 million tons being about 1 million tons short of requirements, the world’s draft power has dropped, by as much as 65% in Russia; and as little as 20% in China, amongst the theatres of war. I guess the moral is how much more effective conscription is at taking up the land’s tractive power than is confiscation? As for how much more America could do, the answer is, probably, quite a lot. The 1947 wheat crop is predicted to be a bumper, and despite having 14 million more mouths to feed than before the war(!), American food consumption is up 65% per capita. Now, is export food aid driving price of living increases? The answer seems to be yes, as for every $500 million in food aid exported, Administration economists calculate a 17-point increase in the cost of living index, which, just to put this in perspective, has only risen from 209 to 280 from March 1946 to April 1947 –A very large and painful number, on the one hand, and one that seems clearly dominated by that “17 point” factor, on the other.

“Relief Ahead” The Administration has shown a “surprising” budget surplus of at least 1 and 3-quarters billion. (Uncle George predicted this months ago. “Being a cynic,” he said, “Means rarely being surprised.” Or never calling attention to your mistakes!) Anyway, this makes it more likely that the House will pass tax relief, but it will likely be much smaller than was promised in 1946, for the simple reasons that that was then, and this is now; and not because tax relief in 1948 would be credited to the President in an election year.

“Pluperfect Hell” The paper covers the Texas City disaster.

So, just to be clear, the Navy gave Byrd a fleet
to use in what was basically a publicity stunt?
“Big Icebox” Admiral Byrd is back in Washington after spending five weeks exploring Antarctica. “Most Americans were surprised to see him back so early.” His explanation was that Antarctica was a gigantic icebox, so who cares?

“Policy Planning” “For the first time in its history, the State Department prepared to plan, instead of improvise, foreign policy.” What? Anyway, the point is that the Department has called in three wise men, Burton Berry, Joe Johnson and, wisest of all, George Kennan, and they will have deep thoughts together until the next century is set on its course. The paper’s deep love for George Keenan has a great deal to do with his “firmness on Russia,” naturally.

“The Tourists” William Z. Foster, Harold Stassen and Henry Wallace are all in Europe, touring around and being Politically Significant in their various ways. (Foster is “noiseless,” Wallace “shakes” people, Stassen “confers.”)


Stunt Diver Frank Cushing became the second person to ever survive jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, making all of us who go into the city from the south very, very smug.  Johnny Torrio is very pleased that the FBI has caught the men trying to “Black Hand” him. A call from a man stranded in Manhattan rush hour traffic was rerouted through Ireland by operators to get around tangled local exchanges: the man’s aunt came to pick him up, and it only cost $12 for two minutes. (If we could charge Fanny and “Miss V.C.” $6/minute, we wouldn’t need to worry about finding London labs to precipitate silver nitrate!)

“Not Just ‘No!’” Russians refuse a lot, and do so slowly.

“A U.S.E.?” A United States of Europe is a great idea, and is probably just around the corner, with a union of the “Benelux” countries as a first step, if disagreements over the comparative advantages of Dutch agriculture and Belgian industry can be resolved, and the Dutch can stem their seething jealousy over the suddenly-higher Belgian standard of living.  

“Gaston at Geneva” Delegates to the talks about talking about tariffs and trades in Geneva talked about talking.

“Mercy” This is ironic, because no mercy was shown to war criminals (and three post-war anti-government “rightist” conspirators in Hungary) this week.

“Pomp” This is the first time I run into this year’s English budget, in these letters, by accident of timing. It’s probably just as well, seeing as how I would just be boring you if I went on about it. Surplus, high taxes on the rich and “middle class,” a whopping increase in the tobacco levy. But, as Dalton points out, nearly a tenth of the national income is being spent on tobacco! (Really? Grace makes the roundest eyes she can. . .!) A budget surplus allows deflation without raising interest rates too far and increasing payments on the national debt; high taxes service the debt; smoking needs to be discouraged, anyway, even if the doctors are wrong and it doesn’t cause medical conditions above and beyond its well known effects on heart and lungs.)
Because she's smoking. Also, complementing the Bushman picture, above on the subject of the weird erotic subtext of American racism.

“The Button” England is afraid that the island of Helgoland will come at  it in a future war, so they blew it up.

“A Reporter Among the Poets” Since Mr. Gruin has moved on from Yenan to Hangchow, “city of Buddhist temples and merry poets.” “Armed with a well-thumbed copy of Herbert Allen Giles’ translations of Chinese verse,” Mr. Guin joins the Peach Festival pilgrims there.

“Hao Hao!” It is the Ever Victorious Genmo’s will that Chang Chun be democratically elected Premier of China.

“Un-British” The English have executed three Irgun men in secret in Acre Prison near Haifa. The paper thinks that this means that the Army is setting policy in Palestine, because, besides being terrorists, they were specifically accused of abducting and whipping an English major, damaging “the prestige of British authority.” Explosions and gunfights followed, more are expected, as Irgun promises to kill ten English soldiers for every one of it, executed.

“A Reporter Among the People” The paper’s Moscow correspondent got out and about amongst the people, has insights. Nice people, bad government.

The cover story is about the President of Mexico, which I am going to skip over, though without Uncle George’s cheekiness, because out branch of the family has so few dealings there. (Though James is intrigued by the idea of a “Mexican TVA” on the Gulf Coast.) In perhaps not-boring Latin American news, Simon I. Patino died this week. 

Canadians are not only boring, but have an exaggerated view of their own importance, given that 51% of them expect WWIII to happen soon, and that 39% of them expect it to be fought in northern Canada and Alaska. If it is, they will have to be nicer to the Eskimos, currently frustrated that they cannot use their “baby bonus” allowances to buy rifles and boats to feed their children.
Eventually, we just enrolled all the men in a special militia unit and issued them surplus Lee Enfields. I mean, jeez, why so cheap? By US Mission Canada -, CC BY 2.0,


“Vote of Confidence” Wall Streets, upset that stock prices keep drifting lower, are even more upset that Allan Sproul, supposedly representing their interests on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, backed Marriner Eccles’ high margin policy.

“Battle of the Citadel” As the issue goes to press, it is not clear whether the New York Stock Exchange will be struck by the new union, led by M. David Keefe, and representing its 20,000 brokerage-house workers.  
“Double-Barrelled Feat” The paper explains that Milton Reynold’s round-the-world flight was a successful attempt to break Howard Hughes’ record, in the name of advertising his new “Bombshell” pens.
“Disputed Leader” Larry Bell (53), of Bell Aircraft, facing a stockholder revolt over his new, five year contract with $55,000/year salary, $160,000 annuity that would add $10,000/year to his $18,000/year pension after he turned 65, and a $5 royalty for each unit he sold over 5000 of a motorised wheelbarrow he had invented, won out over Wall Street investors by virtue of holding proxies for over half of outstanding shares.

Yes, it's impossibly smug, but let's contemplate a day when "doctors and lawyers and business executives" lived in the same neighbourhoods; as opposed to doctors and lawyers have very nice houses in exclusive neighbourhodds, and "business executives" living in castles on the Moon.

“The Price of Plenty” A columnist named Mark Sullivan is appalled by government farm price supports, which has even left the Government buying surplus product, like so much of the potato crop and a million dollars worth of turkeys.

“No Model Change” Henry Ford’s will was well drafted by experts, and stands pat on company organisation and finances.   

“Designer of Dreams” Architect Raymond Fernand Loewy builds towns for miners in the Brazilian jungles and hopes to branch out to  other places where there are mines but no towns, as opposed to bad towns.
Apparently this wasn't what Loewy was about, at all. By Source, Fair use,
“Loaded to the Gunwales” The Maritime Commission has declined to take Marine Flasher and six other ex-Army transports on Atlantic passenger services off the sea on grounds of poor standards of accommodation. There are ten thousand people on the waiting list for 852 berths on Holland America’s three ships. On the “bright” side, air tickets are easy to get, and probably will be until the summer. So go now, and fly the early spring skies.
Turns out that the people being abused were Jews. Surprise!

“Bright and Dark” “Smart” Paul Gray Hoffman, president of Studebaker, says that the “best advertised recession in the history of the world” is not likely to happen, and that if it does, it probably won’t be that bad. On the other hand, it looks like we’re in for a housing bust, with only 750,000 units started compared with 1 million in 1946, due to builders pricing themselves out of the market.

Science, Medicine, Education

“Unrepentant Science” Should scientists be on the defensive for inventing the Bomb? James F. Conant, of Harvard, says no. “Science is on the offensive and extending into new fields. From all sides we feel a demand for more understanding of science and of what it can do for humanity.” It must move ahead, because that is the scientific method. In the future, science will extend from the physical sciences to the “social,” and do some good in every field from psychology to history.
“Restless Molecule” It turns out that ammonium nitrate is explosive!

“Pampered Rodent” To meet America’s insatiable demand for furs (not that my birthday is not coming up, or anything), American breeders have gone all in for the chinchilla.

“The Smallpox Score” The final score for the Manhattan smallpox outbreak was 11 cases and one death. Vaccination drives are everywhere.

Since I've already done the smallpox one.

“Life in a Mining Town” A team of navy doctors spread out through soft coal towns all through the country to find out whether life in a mining town could be healthy, and concluded that it couldn’t, or at least, wasn’t. The average miner lives in a company-owned, one-story, unpainted wooden shack more than 30 years old, and of the 1154 surveyed, only one in ten had a bathroom with tub or shower. 75% had outdoor privies, only a third were properly screened. Well over half the towns had no sewage system or garbage collection. Half the milk consumed was unpasteurised, spending on state public-health services was half the level of non-mining towns, the water supply was not inspected, and miners were registered in prepaid medical-care plans compromised by doctors appointed by favouritism.

“Morphine Substitute” Morphine is the best pain-killing drug known, but cannot be carelessly prescribed because of its habit-forming tendencies. Fortunately, German doctors have developed an even more effective and cheaper synthetic substitute
“The Facts” An English reverend is appalled at the deplorable morals of American students. American educators and editors are appalled that he is appalled, and question his facts, and the paper plays the “you, too” game by citing another English vicar, Reverend W. G. Hargrave Thomas, as thinking that no social stigma should attach to spinster schoolmarms if they felt like having a baby or two. In other morals-related school news, segregated schools for the American-born children of Mexican fruit pickers have been ruled illegal in Orange County and everywhere else in California; and poor scores in spelling show that American educational standards are in decline.
Morals and educational standards: two things that have always been on the decline. Speaking of wacky notions, I've never seen this Churchillian eccentricity before.

“Brown Takes the Man” Brown University has set up a Veteran’s College in Providence to educate ex-GIs too old to go back to high school, and unable to meet regular admissions standards to college. They range in age from 20 to 38, have two years to prove themselves capable of regular university work, a and may transfer with full credit to Brown at the end of any semester. One-third of the original enrollment has already made the jump.

“Oppy’s Relief” Robert J. Oppenheimer has finally found retreat and relief from the pressures of war and the atomic race by going to the Institute of Advanced Research in Princeton, where, apparently, his job is to have tea with Albert Einstein if the man ever shows up, and receive money floating down from on high, or from the Bambergers, whichever.

Press, Radio, Art

“Decency and Hysteria” David Lilienthal says that he probably wouldn’t have been confirmed if the press hadn’t been so decent to him, while in Oslo, Henry Wallace accused the American press of being hysterical about Russia. One way to parse the paper’s combination is that they are two different men talking about completely different things. The other is that Henry Wallace is awful.

“Mission in Moscow” Harold Stassen, in Moscow to talk (firmly, I imagine) to Comrade Stalin, somehow got the Herald-Tribune a Moscow bureau. Other papers are jealous.

“Thunder, Left and Right” The American Newspaper Guild is a CIO outfit. So should it go with Milt Murray’s anti-communist drive and forbid communists from being members of the Guild?

“The Hams” Ham radio operators proved their worth with B. H. Standley (W5FQQ)’s thirty-six hours of continuous broadcasting from Galveston.

“The Open-Ended Game” Ronald Colman’s Favorite Story is the latest transcribed show to have Big Radio worried. After Bing Crosby left the fold, and sold his new show to 208 ABC stations, it seems obvious that the money is there, and Colman following suit (at a guaranteed $150,000/year) makes the transcribed-show builders smug.

“Berlin’s Best” German Jewish exile, Henry Koerner, has returned to Berlin for an exhibit, which Berlin critics quite liked, giving the paper an excuse to go to town on German stereotypes. Also, James Whistler is a famous artist who is dead, making him extra-famous, and George Rowland’s Principles of Chinese Painting would be more offensive if rich American buyers didn’t need something to evaluate all the art they’re –Wait, that makes it even more offensive!


Sonja Henie was detained in Paris by immigration officials and strip-searched by a female customs officer “with a mustache” (and we all know what that means!) because of two undeclared $100 bills that were just “mad money” that she had forgotten about. It is reported that Vittorio Mussolini has moved to Argentina and bought a big ranch. Betty Crump, daughter of Boss Ed, was named Queen of the Memphis Cotton Carnival, got good press from the Memphis Commercial Appeal. General Wingate’s remains have been found; Princess Hermine, widow of Wilhelm II, reports that he was a wonderful man who detested Hitler and was sad about the second war. Grace Coolidge, at 68, recalls her husband as a man who didn’t say a word for two months towards the end of his life. (The paper points out that the public Coolidge was the most garrulous of modern American presidents; but, of course, the whole “Silent Cal” thing was to play up rumours about his Indian ancestry, so that’s all right.) Countess Victoria Calvi di Bergolo, niece of the former King of Italy, has managed to marry a non-American, non-general/admiral. Frederick Wood, son of the Earl of Halifax, who lost both legs in North Africa, has married Diana Kellett. Princess Catherine of Greece has married Major Richard Brandram. Charles H. Treat, 47[?], former All-American at Princeton, has died, apparently of a suicidal fall from a hotel window, after years of suffering from an apparently incurable case of tuberculosis. Louis Leipoldt, also predictably, has died of a heart attack, and Christian X and Herbert Spencer Jennings, of being old.

The New Pictures

The paper thinks that The Egg and I ought to be the perfect comic film; the problem is that it is alittle too rapid-fire for it sown good. Calcutta, with Alan Ladd, isn’t a western, even though it has Indians, mayhem and melodrama that we’ve all seen before. The Other Love is about Barbara Stanwyck, playing a moderately famous person, being committed to a Swiss sanatorium for a rest cure, only to be told that she has advanced tuberculosis; only to learn that her doctor is lying to her out of unrequited love; only to escape with a racecar driver to Monte Carlo; only to live in sin until she learns that he wasn’t actually lying to her; only to return to the sanatorium to die in that fetching Hollywood way. Not getting full reviews are European imports Torment and A Cage of Nightingales. Torment sounds wild (and from Sweden?), while the latter movie is from France, and is only “good humoured.”

“The Tragic Sense of Life”

I’m told by a very gracious visitor from the Poor Clares (Not unrelated to teacher retention, since there has been talk about the Archbishop of Malacca getting a “roving commission” from some Singapore schools) that FranzKafka is one of the most important modern authors, so it makes sense that a new book by him gets an enormous expanse of coverage, and now I am too sheepish to kid about it being a “worthy book.” I am still not going to any more detail about this endless review of Max Brod. I’ve skimmed it –he is important to Science, I’m told, for example. But there are so many people you can find who are better qualified than I to discuss it!

I'd bother you about the current number of Scientific American, but it is basically all stuff lifted from the industrial press, sometimes by companies  that at least appear to be taking credit for other people's work.

Or, in this case, just pull your "science" out of your ass.
Ore maybe I'm just grumpy that the thing that pushed 100 people being killed in Centralia out of thew news was 500 dying in Texas City. (Also, bed rest! Aargh!)


  1. As the guy your Somerville comments are directed at, allow me to make two points.

    A) I'm on record (on another forum) as saying that Somerville was a terrific admiral, probably the best Carrier driver the Royal Navy had, and I did not know then that he had done any aviation work (just his radio work prior to WWI and his radar work prior to WWII), so I'm actually gladdened to hear that he had even a little aviation exposure early in his career, and not that surprised. As his years at HMS Vernon suggest, he was an officer who was fascinated by and understood technology, which was one reason he was such a good admiral.

    B) But as I recall, when I was discussing the RN and aviation career paths, your counter argument was that the RN was pretty good about promoting men to admiral at a young age and getting the older men out of the way, and Somerville is actually a fantastic counterexample of that: he's older than Admirals Nimitz, Tovey, A. Cunningham, Halsey (just barely), etc. Essentially, the only admiral's who mattered in the war and were older than him (in an Anglosphere Navy) were King and Pound. Yeah, he was retired shortly before the war, but due to disease, not age.

    Again, the RN made exactly the right decision in keeping him around, but he was an old geezer during the war.

  2. Let's not forget that the RN's war didn't end up offering many other opportunities for admirals to be carrier drivers. Who even remembers the Home Fleet's RAAs, notwithstanding the hunt for the Bismarck and exciting Tirpitz-related adventures? And then, when the Royal finally had a chance to build up a Pacific Fleet to be Tonto to the USN's Lone Ranger, they gave the job to Vian, a destroyer man --or, in the RN's unofficial translation, "a moron." (Actually, it turns out that Vian was a Gunnery Branch guy who chose destroyers. Point modified.)

    Allowing that ABC, the other guy that got to play with carriers, was a destroyer guy, the Admiralty just basically ran things like the Navy Department: gave the boats to guys who couldn't do enough maths for a specialist branch. Spruance and Somerville seem to have been the only Allied carrier admirals of the war who were capable of intellectually dominating their flying officers . . . and look what happened to them.

    (Also, by speaking in character, I get to channel the opinions of an imaginary Engineering Branch veteran, so my tongue is slightly in cheek.)