Sunday, April 7, 2019

Postblogging Technology, January 1949, II: Our Hearts Go Out for Avro

R_. C_.,

Dear Father:

Thanks for your kind concern. I am bearing up, I think, considering that I shot a man two weeks ago. Like you said, we tried to bring Mr. A. into the picture, since a foreign sailor found floating in the Bay is a matter for the spybusters, especially after we arranged a "tip" about his Green Tong membership. Unfortunately, the FBI immediately stepped in, with someone coming around to his office to tell him that he better keep his nose out of it, just like in a movie! This wasn't the end of it, because of course A. isn't without his own influence. I'm a little flabbergasted to report that no less than Shirley Temple was invoked. You'll note below that she was in Washington for the Inaugural, and of course she and A.know each other. The really flabbergasting part is that she knows ME! I am frankly beyond words that teenaged-me met Shirley TEMPLE(!!!!!) at a family gathering and didn't realise it! It says something about Temple that she can work a room so slickly.

Ahem. Close encounters with Hollywood stars in incognito aside, the upshot is that A. will be allowed to take over the case as soon as the Hoover Report leaves the front pages, so alphabetically-named agencies can step all over each other's feet again. In the mean time, everyone assumes that if you find a Tong man floating, it's because another Tong man's bullet managed to hit the target. (Insert hilarious joke about Tong men not shooting straight.) 

So, anyway, I mean, it's an urgent matter to me, but I've flowers and an apology wired from Shanghai in my room, which is either a bum steer or something is up. (The girls think they're from Reggie, and are wondering what he could possibly have done.) What could possibly be so sensitive about the Oregon Scandal seventy years on???

In other news, the millionth (okay, third) Avro Tudor to be lost is now history. I hear that James is telling everyone in sight that this is what you get when you let Don Bennett into your business, even though Bennett was out of BSAA well before the loss of Star Ariel. He is, however, creating a stink in the dailies about it being all due to "sabotage." What kind of maniac would sabotage an air liner? The suggestion that it is Avro's incompetence won't do, so I suppose we're all going to settle for blaming the Ministry of Civil Aviation. 

Yours Sincerely,

I'm a little surprised that the Tudor losses in the "Bermuda Triangle" don't get more play in the legend. In the mean time, I'm not going to let you forget some good old Marv Wolfman/Steve Gann goodness. 

Time, 17 January 1949


Barbara Klemka, of Wenham, Mass, writes that she doesn't like Joe Stalin any more. Edward Doyle likes bebop, and Mitzi Beck thinks that "toothpaste smooth" is an awful way of describing Sarah Vaughan's voice. 

I'd buy it.
A joint letter from the University of Rochester School of Dentistry(!), and another from Leo Levesque of Fort Kent Mills, Maine, denounces the imprisonment of Davis Knight for miscegenation.  Warren Baker of Tucson and Erik Fennel of Waialua, Hawaii, have opinions about Norbert Wiener. Baker thinks that mechanical brains don't have souls, so there, while Fennel makes his living writing science fiction (you can do that?) and is mad at Wiener for writing him into a corner., like those guys at the University of California who are running a university course on "astrogation." Aurelio Dozio of the Italian cavalry is upset that the Mexican cavalry are getting the credit for equitazione naturale

Hot takes of '49
The Publisher's Letter is on about William Rospigliosi, who is the chief of the Time bureau, who is over for "firsthand conversations with Time's editors and a reacquaintance with the changing American scene and idiom." So, in other words, he's been brought over for a brisk reminder that communism is bad now, and for some lessons about not saying "Gee-willickers" when "Gosh darn it" is called for.
National Affairs

Blah! Inauguration! Blah! State of the Union! Blah! Fair Deal! Blah! New Cabinet! Blah! More steel! More electricity! Less slums! More taxes! $42 billion budget! $1.2 billion deficit! $14.3 billion for defence! Blah! Actually, I take that back it looks like the Republicans are going to make a fuss about Acheson. Expect the press not to take it lying down, because he has friends. So even though he's no Dulles, and also he gave Alger Hiss the time of the day once, he'll be approved.

Senator Hubert Humphrey is this week's cover story, so we're going to be on about that for a while. He's a Minnesota liberal with a sad story, as he saw the South Dakota dustbowl, which was awful. Once again, I'm feeling guilty about growing up rich in the 30s. If only I could have had rickets, too!

"Turning Point" For some reason, it was up to Paul Hoffman to explain that things are looking pretty dark in China. Bill Bullitt disagrees, thinking that if America really wanted to save China, it would just take over the war, since there's nothing wrong with the Chinese soldier, and all that is wanted is a "fighting general." By the way, if the "dike of the Yangtze falls," Bullitt tells us that the flood will spread to . . . the Indian Ocean, sure, but that's old news. It will threaten "the independence of the United States." 

So I went and checked, and there's still no Reds under my bed, even though I put peanut butter in the trap, and not cheese, just like people said I should. It turns out that the problem is that I should have put Doug MacArthur, Mark Clark, Albert Wedemeyer or Lawton Collins on it, instead. That'll learn those communists!

"The Dream" A fun little story about Clark Council Hamilton, a Navy veteran who married Florence Hammond, from a "family of semi-literate Virginia dirt farmers," only to have his mother-in-law show a sudden gift for private investigation and the law, finding from his birth records that Hamilton was a Negro and swearing out a complaint to have him nicked for miscegenation . 

. . . Elsewhere in the South, incoming Florida Governor Fuller Warren drove to his inaugural in a float decorated with Southern belles and promised "competent liberalism," in spite of Republicans holding up the ball for four hours, still demanding a recount. 

"Big Blizzard" The blizzard that hit the western Plains gets a full page treatment, and well it should, with 30 passenger trains stranded across the plains by the end, and hundreds, even thousands of motorists and bus passengers hunkered down in blizzard shelters, like the 343 who were stuck in the tavern at Rockport, Colorado; while the 58 stranded at Lone Tree were fed from stranded Safeway trucks. 

Americana reports that men's clothing manufacturers are expecting men to flock to bright colours and pastel shirts in '49. Chicago publicist James Mangan has declared the nation of "Celestial Space," which comprises the entirety of outer space.


"No Footsie-Wootsie" Colonel Howley, the "hard-bitten commander" of the American Sector of Berlin, has balled out his subordinates for wishing their Russian counterparts a happy new year. Because communism is bad, you see.

"Clemency" The Germans attempted to massacre 160 American prisoners at Malmedy (the story makes it clear that there were survivors, but I had to look it up in an almanac to find out that 84 were actually killed) during the Battle of the Bulge, and a long list of SS officers and men were put  up on war crimes charges for it, but it now turns out that the American interrogation teams tortured confessions out of them, which means taht the massacre-ers will go free. (As will Ilse Koch, the "she-wolf of the SS.") 

"They Never Left Home" The UN is back in session at Lake Success, facing the same old problems. (Indonesia, if you were wondering. The Dutch say they're never leaving, and the Indonesians say they'll fight forever, and the Security Council says they'll talk about it . . . )

"Crossed Toes" So the Egyptians are willing to talk ceasefire and armistice. Now there is talk of a Palestine ceasefire, as pressure from Israel's new finance minister for higher taxes and war loans finally does what Arab troops could not. Also, the British look like pushovers over the Negev air fighting, I have to say. 

"When the Headlines Cry Peace" That's a quote from a newsboy, who says that it is easy to sell papers when the headlines cry "Peace." In this case, "peace" will mean the fall of Nanking, which can't be far away considering that the Communists have crossed the dike and taken the Northern Station. 

"Befana Gives" Roman motorists are giving the police Christmas (actually Epiphany gifts) so that they'll be nice to them. 

In France, the Poodle Club has mandated that all poodles born in 1949 will have names that start with "X," and the worst flu since WWI has 100,000 people on their backs. The French are calling it the "Italian Flu," and the Italians are calling it "the French Flu," which means that European unity has to be called off. Also, Matthilde Carre was sentenced to death for being pretty, having a German lover, and turning in 35  members of the Underground, which seems unjust, given that WWII was four years ago. 

"Sigh in Madrid" Franco has issued Spanish citizenship to all Jews born of communities expelled from that country by the Inquisition, because he is very nice now and in no way a Fascist. Spanish Jews will even be allowed to have a synagogue now! Also, a Cockney "aircraft parts store" owner from Hanwell predicted an earthquake in Italy with nothing but numbers and his brain, and it is quite the to-do in Britain. which Time joins in because it really, really likes to write in Cockney slang. 

The Kashmir war has ended in a ceasefire, and the South African government is fighting with Jacob Epstein because his travelling exhibit is being shown to segregated audiences. Epstein is furious about this, as he doesn't like Nazis for some reason, but Premier Malan doesn't care, because once he's done barring Negroes from art shows, he has to get on to barring them from existing. 

Latin America is about half Argentina being Argentina, and half Latins being excitable. Canada is noteworthy this week because everyone likes Mazo de la Roche's Jalna novels, while for some reason a University of Toronto history professor getting a job at Foreign Affairs is news. (I'd also mention the new chief of the RCAF in your neck of the woods, but  you know all about that!)


"Socialistic Prod?" The President's inaugural address confirmed that he is going to try to prod the steel industry into more production. Senator Ferguson detects the menace of looming socialism, while the industry continues to argue that is threatened by over-capacity, not excessive demand; and, anyway, depreciation allowances are too low.

"Cameraman in a Hurry" Charles E. Perry is the new president of Bell and Howell. It sounds as though the job isn't exactly keeping him busy. His hobbies include golf, making home movies (of course!) and yachting, which still leaves the 30-something "widower with three children" time to do a night school law degree. Also, Waltham continues to make watches, and Columbia's new 7" Microgroove will play as long as a conventional 12" record. RCA Victor's new "unbreakable" record has higher fidelity and is faster to change, but is geared for 45 rpm instead of the conventional 78, so the advantages seem "outweighed by the disadvantages." It would help if they were cheaper, but they won't be.

State of Business reports that Willow Run has cut back from 800 cars a day to 657, and may go lower, to 400. They blame "Regulation W," which requires buyers to put at least one-third down. In the television price war, RCA has just unveiled a 16" set at $495, down $200 on the competition. Emerson promises a 16" tabletop model for $400 within 60 days, while Hallicrafter's promises a 16" with remote control receiver for $395. The Department of Commerce's annual calendar of "Special days, Weeks and Months" in 1949 lists Idaho Potato and Onion Week, and, among others, "Woo Woo --National Sweater Week," while the week of 1 April will be "National Leave Us Alone Week." Lincoln Electric, which links pay to the cost of living, just cut the wages of its employees by 3%, reasoning that they could afford it, considering that just two weeks before, they'd paid out bonusses of almost $4 million. 

I thought I was reading Flight for a moment --all the airlines are expanding and their bottom line is improving! They're still not making money, though. At least, not once the postal subsidy is taken into account. 

Science, Medicine, Education

"Rocket Takeoff" Time's version of Chuck Yeager's ground-level "rocket" takeoff in the Bell X-1 notes that he was airborne in only 2300ft, less distance than "most" regular fighters require, that he was at 23,000ft in 1 min 40 seconds, and that the X-1 only carries enough fuel for 2 1/2 minutes of flight. 

"Cut to Pattern" Russian science news is very communist --I mean, "bad." I mean, bad because it is communist. Specifically, it is bad because it endorses Lysenkoism, which is a crackpot version of genetics that Communists like because it is more Marxist than regular genetics, where you inherit your traits from your parents. Therefore, it is suggested, with a better environment, the oppressed peoples of the colonial world can soon achieve equality with their "strutting White overlords." But, Time points out, Western geneticists don't teach that "backward" races are backwards because of genetic deficiencies, but because of "defects of culture, early nutrition, etc." 

"Atom Time" The Bureau of Standards has created  a clock that measures time by the oscillations of atoms, which is the most accurate clock ever. 

That story about the woman who didn't even know she was pregnant is back, although it's a bit more believable because she was in and out of doctor's care with various symptoms, and because she is short (5ft 2) and "chunky" (146lbs), and for some reason she didn't tell her doctor that she'd stopped menstruating at 37. 

"Brushless Toothbrush" Dentist Charles Hyser of Manhattan doesn't think much of the toothbrush, which "does not do a very good job of cleaning," and which can cause cavities all by itself, due to abrasion. (I didn't know that!) That's why he invented his "Orajet" water pump cleaner, which all the dentists are in a rage about. 

"Doctors in the Palace" Homeopathic doctors are being admitted to the Palace to look after members of the British Royal Family, and Time does not approve. 

Jose Ortega y Gasset is back in Madrid from self-imposed exile, giving lectures on Toynbee's Outline of History, which just makes me sad. Next we'll hear that he criticises Franco in private. 

"Gang Busters" High school fraternities in San Antonio are much too much like street gangs. 

Press, Radio and Television, Art, People

"Monopoly for Cox" James Cox, the man who can say that he lost a Presidential election to Warren Harding, has been running the Dayton Daily News since forever. Now he has bought the other two Dayton papers, combined them into a single day paper, leaving his own News as the only evening paper, and Dayton as one of a growing number of towns with newspaper monopolies. He also has other newspapers and radio stations in other towns. Various newspapers are also upset at "off the record" briefings, and with politicians who complain that they're not being quoted accurately, when in reality the newspapers are always cleaning up their speech. In Britain, the new six-page allotment for the papers was used to expand "comic strips, features and fiction," proving that the British papers were being hypocrites when they said that American newspapers preferred comics to news. 

"East Meets Midwest" The opening of ATT's coaxial cable between Philadelphia and Cleveland means that television shows can now be telecast simultaneously as far west as Milwaukee and St. Louis. However, because there are only two cables, they must be shared, with NBC getting one (it has the most shows) and CBS, ABC and DuMont sharing the other.

A new survey, Radio Listening in America, tells us that quiz shows appeal more to people who have never gone to college, that men listen to more opinion and comedy, women to more drama and music. Radio's "approval" rating is dropping quickly, but perhaps not because of commercials, which split the audience pretty evenly between like, don't mind, and don't like, with only 9% wanting them off the air.

Fair use,
New in art this week is a show by Manhattan's Liturgical Art Society, which exists, featuring devotional art from Catholic churches. Okay, then! On the secular side, our man for the week is alive, bless my soul! Peter Blume paints giant canvasses.

"Stars on Strings" Children love puppet shows like Muffin the Mule in Britain and Kula and Ollie in America.  

Senator Warren Magnusson is in trouble over a dalliance with Toni Seven, millionaire heiress and pin-up girl. (Hey! That can be my new career! Oops, no, still disinherited. Darn!) Billy Rose and Lauritz Melchior said clever things, and the Duke of Windsor had a round of golf with ex-King Leopold of Belgium, along with other ex-kings and such. Sophie Tucker has donated her papers to a library. Eric Johnston must be looking for a new line of work, because he's in the news again. This year's worst-dressed list is very, very rude, and funnier for me than you. 

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart have had son, Stephen. Wanda Hendrix has married Audie Murphy. Tommy Handley, Britain's favourite comedian, has died at 55 of a brain aneurysm. Firth Shephard, of Arsenic and Old Lace and The Man Who Came to Dinner, has died at 57, of a heart ailment, and Victor Fleming, at 60. As well as Japanese war criminal General Umezi and Dr. August Hermand Pfund, of a heart ailment, and sculptor Robert Aitken and Dr. Clyde Fisher. 

The New Pictures

A Letter to Three Wives is an "anthology" comedy with three stories, of which Time rather liked the second, featuring Paul Douglas and Linda Darnell. Siren of Atlantis features a lost civilisation of Atlanteans down the road from a Foreign Legion post led by Maria Montez, an evil high priestess with the right amount of va-va-voom to save a publicity still, but not a picture. Whiplash is a bad boxing movie with Dane Clark, and One Sunday Afternoon is a period romance with songs in which not much happens other than some comic lines and sprightly music.


If you're missing your Time "Middlebrow-book-of-the-week, it was Carl Lanyay's Rudolph:
Tragedy of Mayerling
. Ronnie's (English) draft has a scrached-out, amiable denunciation,
written before she reminded herself that you don't talk about self-harm around Reggie.
 Alex Comfort's On This Side Nothing is a half-step-above-a-thriller novel of German deserters in WWII London. Osbert Lancaster's Classical Landscape with Figures is a collection of . . . cartoons? From Greece? Strange. Vera Brittain's Born 1925 is a tract of "dogged sincerity and dogged prose," while Louis MacNeice's Hole in the Sky is a collection of poetry, oh boy. 

Flight, 20 January 1949


"A Significant Appointment" The next Chief Staff Officer at the Department of Defence will be an airman, Air Marshal Sir William Elliot. Flight is so excited that all the teachers like airpower that it has to tell all the other kids. 

Late model B-36 with sprint jets and FI-CON.
"America Looks to Her Bombers" There is bipartisan support for the President's huge new "cold war" defence budget, but that has changed with the release of the air force spending plan. Carl Vinson thinks that Congress will reaffirm the 70 group force, but it is dead as a dodo if the big bomber programme goes through, as the only way to afford all of the B-36s, B-50s and refurbished B-29s (outfitted for aerial refuelling so that they can bomb Moscow better) is by cancelling assorted jet fighters, light bombers, helicopters and miscellaneous utility types. As Flight says, building the B-36 in numbers is basically a "production line of Brabazon bombers." Flight is fine with that. 

"Helicopter Operation" Next Saturday, N. E. Rowe, the Director of Research and Long-Term Development at BEA, will talk about helicopter services. They will require even more attention to weather, since helicopters basically stand still in a high wind, some kind of navigational aid like DECCA, planned "rotor stations" on tall buildings and some kind of change in the way that servicing is done to bring down u/s times, perhaps "sealed" maintenance, in which units are removed at the end of specified service times rather than routinely inspected. 

"A Shocking Problem: Details of the Unique Undercarriage Legs Devised by Lockheed for the Cierva Air Horse" The Air Horse might lose power at low altitude and fall to the ground at all sorts of angles, which would be hard on the undercarriage, which is why Lockheed made a hard undercarriage. It is a typical oleo-pneumatic undercarriage, but very finely machined to prevent it from locking up, and with very strong steel equivalent to DTD 254 machined from hollow billet rather than finished from drawn stock. The cylinder tubes were made in halves, and then screwed into Nitralloy sleeves, and the parts of the shock absorber mechanism were arranged coaxially so that there could be more of them. Lockheed wants everyone to know that it did a wonderful job, that only it could have done the job, and now that it has done it, it can do even more wonderful jobs with its experience. 

Finishing off the page is a story about a visit by some P2V Neptunes, which popped into various British airfields on their trip.

"Derby Remembers" The story about the Rolls-Royce Battle of Britain memorial window last week was so touching that Flight has decided to do it again. I know that I am being a very mean and cynical girl, but I've made my opinion about timewasting articles clear, and Flight knows what it needs to do.  Lord Tedder was there to make a speech about the "victory still to be won," which is the Cold War, which is just like WWII except in not being a war, and not being against Nazis. 

"Meteoric Climbs" Rolls-Royce is squabbling with Metrovick about whose engine rocketed which Meteor skyward faster. The answer is that the Metrovick Beryl did. 

Here and There

It's getting very hard to sympathise with these guys. 
The new Supermarine jet fighter now has a "510" designation. The French are going to buy the Vampire. Sweden is installing ejector seats in its SAAB B18B and T18B trainers. The long-range Beechcraft Bonanza with wingtip tanks has abandoned its planned 5000 mile record flight from Honolulu to New York due to adverse winds over California. Avro has published a pamphlet titled Avro and the Air Lift. Avro planes have made 25% of the civilian flights and carried 33.6% of the load, and the Tudors have done well even though everyone hates them for no reason. Almost 19,000 overseas visitors came to Britain in November, 26% by air. Air France's new heavy freight service carried an elephant from Saigon to Paris recently. Trans-Canada has a new director of advertising and a new publicity representative in Britain, in case you hadn't heard.

"Sound Investments" Flight has pictures to put together on the same page so that it can pretend that the DH108 is similar to the American sound-barrier breakers.

"Naval Jet: Characteristics of the de Havilland Sea Vampire Mk. 20 Deck-landing Fighter: Range of 1145 Miles" The Mk. 20 differs from the RAF's FB Mk 5 in having dive brakes, larger flaps and an arrester hook. For some reason, the catapult hooks are described as a "standard attachment" and not as part of the design. The 1145 mile range cited is for a 30,000ft cruise, only 590m being achieved at sea level. Unassisted takeoff distance is 1310 yards, top speed is 526mph, time of climb to 25,000ft at combat power is 25 minutes.

. . . And that's it except for a pictorial page, in contrast to the five page article on sport gliding that follows, with a blurb about Hamilton Standard's latest to fill out the bottom of the last page, "American Airscrew Advances" The new design has a self-contained oil system, whereas existing hydraulic airscrews tap the lubrication oil feed. This allows it to use a lighter oil, and so, more powerful pumps, thus, larger and wider blades.

Civil Aviation News

Air Survey is going to do a survey in India. International Aeradio is putting in radio systems at twelve air strips in the interior of Burma before the monsoon breaks. Actually, I think the point of the article is that Aerradio is supposed to finish putting in radios at twelve strips before the monsoon breaks, and the news is more along the lines of the Government of Burma being testy about the delay. BEA has hired one REBECCA-equipped Dakota for the Berlin service, but has no plans to put REBECCA into its Viking fleet. ICAO is doing various worthy things, and various air services are advancing ever onwards. BSAA has formed Bahama Airways as a subsidiary. The Australians are spending ,£436,000 building 95 radar beacons in various places. The fight over the leases at Idlewild has reached a new peak of ferocity as the New York Port Authority battles to the death to make more  money off the Stratocruiser services that are imminent, whilst the airlines are doomed, doomed, they say, if the leases aren't extended before their Stratocruisers arrive.

"Background to Operation: Servicing: A Vital Cog in the Civil Aviation Machine: Field Aircraft Services" It turns out that "Field Aircraft Services" is a company, and that this article is about that company. It is an excellent company in every way, and should be considered for all of your aircraft servicing needs.

"Conscription and the RAF: A National Serviceman Relates His Experiences and Offers Some Suggestions" R. J. B. likes the RAF more than most conscripts, he admits.


L. Hollis doesn't like the way that people explain "jet propulsion," and explains that it should be called "reaction propulsion." J. S. Pole thinks that the solution to the RAF's recruiting problem ist to do away with hierarchy. "Ex-RAF Type" thinks that the RAF's abandoned airfields should be use d to give the ATC nice hats, and not sold for useful purposes. D. M. Laver says that people who are upset about the western defence union probably shouldn't call the future allies "potential gangsters," "Mongrel-brothers," "kennel-mates," "Huns," etc., as this isn't helping anyone.

Engineering, 21 January 1949

R. F. Davis, "Steam and Air Turbine Generating Plants" This somewhat misleadingly titled article is actually about experimental electrical power generating plants that run off traditional turbines that are spun by gasses other than steam. The argument is that the latent heat of vapourisation of steam is largely lost in steam turbines, and that all the various advantages to be gained from reheat and so on aren't going to recover that. Between my quick reading and my lack of engineering know-how, it wasn't clear to me how Davis dismissed the economiser, but he'd be giving up the argument and the whole research field if he admitted (or thought) that the economiser was a complete solution, SO, on we go to the major alternative, which is air, which, since it is compressible, has to be intercooled and so on, but seems as though it has potential in some experimental set ups here and there.

The "father of soil mechanics" was born into a
KuK military engineering dynasty. AEIOU!
Literature reviews K. Terzaghi and R. B. Peck, Soil Mechanics in Engineering Practice there's a bit of a fierce rivalry this month between rival "only textbooks in a neglected field." Terzaghi and Peck is the "long-awaited" sequel to their theoretical treatment, is enlivened by Terzaghi's vast knowledge of the field and has many examples from his practice. Altogether the last word on the field!

Dr. A v. Moos (which is a real name) and Dr. F. de Quervain have collaborated on Technische Gesteinskunde, which is a treatment of minerals-that-aren't-metal, which is technical enough that you can see why it still has a German name, and important enough (bricks, refractories, pots, and so on) that you wonder why. It sounds like a very good book for those who want to make pots, bricks and so on in a new country and need to find the material, mine it and manufacture it. Canada and the other dominions come to mind?

"The Engineering Outlook, III: Agricultural Machinery" In a refrain that will become familiar next week, the review of Britain's flourishing agricultural machinery business laments that far too much is being exported instead of being retained for the home market. The export target is around £2 million a month, and has not been quite achieved in spite of industry production approaching £75 million last year. Given that Britain has an estimated replacement requirement of £50 million a year, it is interesting to ask why. The implication, late in the article, is that Britain's needs are being underestimated. After all, the sugar beet harvest is still being brought in by hand in spite of the existence of, well, powered sugar-beet-harvest-takers-in, which might have a more technical name. In spite of this, the industry is the leading American dollar earner in the United States, largely thanks to enormous American demand for the Ferguson tractor. Speaking of tractors in general, the article gets bogged down a bit in the middle with an extended discussion of all the tractors being produced in ever-increasing numbers in Britain. At mid-year it seemed that the tractor implement production industry wasn't keeping pace, but now it seems that it is.

Speaking of possible flies in the ointment, it is suggested that Britain isn't producing enough different types of tractors to compete in all the various export markets (United States, other hard currency areas that are also worthy targets, soft currency areas where the possibilities of expansion are greatest due to the dollar shortage). This either means that the problems of the tractor business are equal and opposite to the auto industry, or that critics are never satisfied, or maybe both! Another possible problem is the lack of heavy-duty tractors, the ones with tracks, but this, the industry suggests, has a great deal to do with the intractable mess created by American patents in the field. Besides, if anyone wants a heavy tractor in Britain, the Shervick is about 60% of the price of new.

Gustav Wappers pretends that Belgian history is interesting
H. Philip Spratt, "The Origin of Atlantic Steam Navigation, 1819--1833"Covering off the exciting period in Atlantic steam navigation in which there was no Atlantic steam navigation, Spratt tells the tale of some extraordinary Atlantic crossings by ships with steam machinery intended for local work on the far side of the Atlantic. It seems that the engines were very inefficient (5 tons of coal per hour!) and that the engineering was dubious at best. One of the ships covered actually had to haul its paddlewheel on board and extend the length of the paddles as the coal was consumed, causing it to ride higher and higher in the water! Although as dumb as that sounds, at least it guarantees that this article gets some coverage here. (That and the fact that the second ship mentioned was first used t blockade the Dutch coast in 1830, or thereabouts. Which was news to me, but turns out to have been an attempt to discourage the Dutch from fighting the Belgian war of independence of that year, which was also news to me. Oh, those Dutch.

The Institute of Metals has published the agenda of its annual meeting, and British Thomson Houston has announced a Summer School for physics professors where it will bring them up to date on the latest developments in electrical engineering.

"16-MeV Betatron at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford" The said machine is a sort of circular electromagnet that spins electrons around its circumference until they reach a very high speed corresponding to an energy of 16 billion electron volts, which is a way of measuring these things. It is magnetic, the point is to use the electrons to smash through things and elucidate their structure, or perhaps generate X-rays by collision with appropriate targets so that they can illuminate their structure. The rest of the quite ample article is devoted to the technical engineering of the innards of the gizmo, as the simple process I just described turns out to be quite complicated in practice, especially when the operator's desire to control things like the number of electrons generated is taken into account.

British Standards Specifications The Association has made its mandatory preferences known in the fields of Coal-Tar Liquid Fuels, leaded zinc oxide, and still more road-to-tyranny-ish, methods for analysing nickel in steel. Oh, for the good old days, when any 19 year old of no formal education could set up his own laboratory and analyse nickel in steels his own way, competition-stifling "ring" be damned! (Tune in next week when we complain about how British industry is less standardised than high volume American mass production.)

Regional Notes Our correspondents strike a tone in January. Scotland begins the mid-month upset that the coal miners aren't quite making a half-million ton a week target and are thus setting the regional industry up to fall short of their targets again, but comes around, along with the industry, by the end of the month. Scrap supply seems adequate even by our correspondent's exacting standards, and steel sales are high, with domestic demand higher than can be met. From Yorkshire comes word of high domestic demand and a slight softening of foreign markets, with a redirection towards Canada and possibly Australia, important markets. From Cleveland and the Northern Counties, worries about the supply of pig iron coming out of the works, and suitable grades of iron ore coming in, but, once again, strong demand from domestic customers. In the South-West, intimations of impatience from the National Coal Board are blasted out by our correspondent, who agrees that the Southwest needs to mine more coal, more cheaply, and that, if anything, London has spoiled the region.


"Corrosion of Metals" Engineering has read several very interesting books and/or articles about the problem of corrosion. Given that we are running out of iron ore deposits, this seems like a good time to share interesting facts about rust. My reading didn't suggest that there are any very interesting facts about rust, and those who disagree, know where to look!

"The Electricity Supply Commission of South Africa" Back in 1917, the celebrated Charles Merz was invited down to South Africa to sort out what was what about electricity supply. Being too busy to go himself, he sent a junior who eventually found that South Africa needed an organisation just like Merz's Northeast Supply Board. This was therefore done, and this is the 30th Anniversary Report of the said institution, which, it turns out, has been just what South Africa needed, or so it tells us.

Notes reports that the Institute of Mechanical Engineers has heard about standardised screw threads, while the Civil Engineers heard a paper by Mr. Brian Colquhon on the subject of the construction of the giant hangar at Filton where the Brabazon was built. Of perhaps more importance was John Hodges' talk to the Engineering Association of the Ministry of Supply on "The Gas Turbine for Road Vehicles." Since I've heard some pretty strong skepticism expressed about the idea that gas turbines could be useful in such small powers, or, more generally, in autos, I read with interest, although I pretty much gave up after reading him saying that these turbines, which will spin at 20,000rpm, will be mechanically geared to the road wheels of cars. Maybe I am just a girl and therefore have not the bold, manly mind that imagines gears joined 20,000rpm to 2000 or so, but . . . okay, I just don't see it. And that's even before those learned disquisitions on thermodynamics and mechanical losses in tiny, perfect turbines! The Institute of Electrical Engineers gave their Faraday medal to Mr. C. S. Franklin, which, even though he is a radio engineer, is a lifetime achievement sort of award for a career that began in 1899. A worthy government board is having hearings about the re-development of the South Thames bank.
Uhm. . . By Karrmann - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


T. F. Wall thinks that the technical press is falling short of explaining how to do harmonic analysis of electrical waves, and writes in with an elegant derivation. I think. B. Wood has important misconceptions about the cooling of circulating water (in large power plants) to correct.

"The Unified Screw-Threads Standards" This whole thing has given me the impression that there are vast technical difficulties behind the fact that you can't screw an American screw into a British thread that go completely over my head. They still go over my head, but there are some nice diagrams that show why it is complicated!

"Rail-Drilling Machine" You know the (rail-)drill. Messrs. Kitchen and Wade have produced a new rail-drilling machine that is much better than previous rail-drilling machines. Specifically, it is easily controlled and has a very wide range of drilling speeds. Operators are standing by to take your orders.

Labour Notes Britain's working population increased by 16,000 in November, a small reduction in men being countered by a small increase in women. Employment is at 20,377,000 compared with a peak of 21,649,000 in the last war, and unemployment continues around 1 1/2%. The dockyard unions are discussing nationalisation, the Coal Board has admitted that its plans for reorganising Scottish coal mining labour will have to be revised, the East Midlands coal mining region is showing an increase in production to 380.4 tons per worker per year, showing that it is the most highly mechanised region, is getting better, and only needs to bring absenteeism under control. Traffic on British railways is very slightly down, and various unions have won small wage increases.

Either the Grid will have the last laugh, or we'll all die.
"Development of British Locomotives" In the spirit of a year's end review, I take away the impression that diesel is growing by leaps and bounds, with diesel-electric and diesel-mechanical locomotives under construction everywhere only weeks, it seems, after the first experimental running. Steam and electrical locomotives continue to get better, but perhaps not enough, or fast enough, although the suggestion leaves authorities (like Engineering, as we'll see) hot under the collar.

Notes on New Books Books on electroplating, heating and air conditioning and metallurgy for engineers are noticed. So is the fourth edition of Wireless World's Radio Laboratory Handbook. But I want to mention Van Nostrand's Elementary Industrial Electronics, by W. R. Wellman, a textbook of electronics with plenty of examples from the fields of lighting, electrical control, and so on. It's the coming thing!

Time, 24 January 1949


Depending on whether you're from Wisconsin, Massachusetts or Chicago, President Truman is either a fine Man of the Year, a deplorable one, or worthy of promotion to Man of the Century.  People are also divided on Gary Davis' effort to become a citizen of the world, being for or against depending. Colonel Bodley, of Washington, Connecticut, corrects people on their misconceptions about caning at Eton, which sounds . . . Uncle George!

National Affairs
The first weeks of the new Administration meant talk about the Inauguration and the President's pay bump and new expense account, which provoked Wayne Morris into a fit, one of several he threw on the floor of the Senate last week. Various Republican congressmen are also having fits because the Democrats might do what the President promised, while John Lesinski and Clare Hoffman had a fight over whether Stalin was just a bad person, or "Mr. Hitler's pimp," which is a very rude word. At least John Rankin is off Foreign Affairs, because, he says, instructions came down "from Moscow." Speaking of Redbaiting craziness, Dean Acheson is in trouble for being Alger Hiss's friend. At the end of all the overwrought rhetoric, what sticks with me is that the President used to be responsible for feeding the White House staff, although not paying them.

"Washington Head-Hunters" A long story about how everyone from The Nation to the New York Post, from Communists to Zionists to Wallaceites, liberals, Democrats and gossip columnists have been after James Forrestal's head, even though he has been right about everything. Now, Walter Winchell is saying that his civil defence bill is a step towards "Wall street dicatatorship, while Drew Pearson is demanding that Congress release "the cross-examination of Secretary Forrestal when his Wall street firm was under investigation."

The Secretary of Defence --The Secretary of Defence--
has been spending the last two years sharing his paranoid
delusions with everyone who will give him a listen, and the
press is more interested in repeating the crazy talk than in, oh,
say, national security. I'd like to say that 1949 was a
different era, but, oh well. Obviously Ronnie is going to be
feeling awfully bad about herself when he is "bundled off to a
looney bin" in the spring. 
Honestly, the story goes on and on, piling this stuff up before finally breaking away from the awful sight of everyone hating Forrrestal to acknowledge that, first, he is in trouble over tax evasion, and, second, that most of the talk about how everyone is "victimising" Forrestal is coming from . . . Forrestal. You'd think that by this time Washington would be ready to bundle the man off to the looney bin, but he's friends with Dewey, so there you go.

"Antidote to Fear" Remember how there is going to be a Western Defence Union after the election? It's after the election, so there's a Western defence union, which is an antidote to fear, unless you're a Russian, but that's okay, because Communists don't feel fear. Speaking of which, David Beck of the Teamsters says that no-one has any reason to fear him, just as long as they do exactly what he says.

"Justice in Toombs County" Is a pretty savage scolding of a farce of a lynching trial in Georgia, and the new mayor of Portland and sheriff of  Multdnomah County are cleaning up all the illegal gambling joints there on a joint reform ticket.

Americana reports various things, including that the Federal Alcohol Tax Unit has found that only 3% of New York bars water their liquor and that a Princeton student turned in a 33,000 word thesis on a wire recording, but mainly that the 31 of 32 paratroopers aboard a C-82 that was downed at 400ft climbing from the runway by birds sucked into the engine somehow survived by jumping in a total time of only seven seconds.


  Eleanor Roosevelt has learned that you can't compromise with those Russians. Time is also pleased to report that Western Europe is "backsliding" on Communism. The idea is that Moscow is taking a  peace line, and that war-weary western Europeans are buying it. I'm being very brief, because like most stories about communism in Time, this tells me more about Time than about the world. Also in stories that are just inching along to anywhere worth going, the Egyptians and Israelis had a meeting in Rhodes about peace after the armistice that is going places.

"Water, Bread, Coconuts" The Navy evacuated 161 islanders from Bikini Atoll to nearby Rongerik, but they don't like Rongerik, and have moved to Kili, which lacks a lagoon, but has water, coconuts and breadfruit, unlike Rongerik.

Robert Marjolin of France is an "international official," and many French think that he is too international. He' doesn't care, because he is the prophet of hard times, bearing the news that only relentless austerity will save Europe from a "shift in economic forces . . . which has been going on since the 19th Century." Someone should tell the "thousands of refugees daily fleeing Communist tyranny mak[in] their way to Berlin."

I didn't get the gaiters, but I did get this snappy do.
"The Iron Master" Francois de Wendel, patriarch of the cannonfounding company and France's "Master of Forges," has died. I think it's mainly a story because Time wants to run a picture of him in dapper white gaiters.

Meanwhile, Hungarian Communists hate the church and the Danish Royal Family is very nice.

"Bulala" In Natal Province, race riots have pit the city of Durban's 300,000 blacks, as they say in South Africa, against its 110,000 Indians, with 300 odd dead. Given the way the Nationalists are going, Time suggests that the wrong skin colour got it.

"High Flying Terms" Tientsin has fallen, and the Koumintang is splintering over efforts to put together a peace offer that the Communists will accept, which is complicated by the fact that the peace offer the Communists will accept is "unconditional surrender."

"On An Island" Israel is going to have its first general election, which reminds everyone about the joke about the Englishmen, Irishmen, Scots and Jews castaway on a desert island, because there are so many parties, of which Ben Gurion's socialist Mapai, the Religious Front, and the new and dangerous "Freedom Movement," led by Irgun's Menachem Beigin, are the most important. Not counting the party representing the country's 33,000 remaining Arabs, because they can't travel or hold public meetings. The Freedom Movement is campaigning against Ben-Gurion's peace efforts, while Mapai is campaigning against "the only Fascist movement in history that isn't anti-Semitic." (Are they sure that Beigin isn't an anti-Semite? Because I have heard . . . )

Latin America is two pages of half-attacks, half gossip coverage of the Perons, some beautiful pictures of a bride in Havana who might have more money and more decolletage than is decent, and a brand new steel mill town in Chile. Given Newsweek's contrasting coverage, you're probably glad that Canada gets skipped!


"The Forty-Niners" GM debuted its '49 models, about which I'd say more, but, come on, everyone's heard! Thirty-thousand dollar Cadillac convertibles (drool!)! 90hp sixes! Hydra-Matic transmissions! 155hp with Dynaflow in the Buick Roadmaster! Oldsmobile's "Futuramic" V-8 "Rocket" with 7.25-1 compression, to step up to 12-1 whenever really high octane is available at the gas station. (This is boring because it is about gas mileage. Everyone talks about 25 miles to the gallon like it is some kind of achievement when my old Lincoln already gets 6 --although I suspect that not all of that runs out through the engine!) Meanwhile, maybe something is going on over at Chrysler and Ford, but who cares, because this is the week's cover story, and we're going to be hearing about Charlie Wilson of GM over the next few pages. That's not in the news, but it's also a firm "Who cares"? I've been to too many of Uncle Henry's 'dos to want to know any more about the men behind the cars.

Speaking of who cares, the latest about FOB pricing is in this number, so if you want to know more, you read it! More importantly but also impenetrably, the Department of Justice has just come out swinging against ATT (and Western), on the grounds that they are "conspiring to monopolise" the US telephone business. The Government's 73 page deposition, rumoured for more than a year, accuses ATT of patent restriction, buying out competitors, suppressing cheaper improvements that might have gotten in the way of ATT business (for example, the hand telephone, which appeared in 1917 but didn't become standard until 1927), and favouring Western with all production orders.

"Wavebreak" Farnsworth Television and Radio has been doing very well on Wall Street over the last year, because everyone wants in on tv. Then one day last week, a fine how-do-you-do, as  a clerk perusing their latest registration statement for an issue of 270,000 shares caught a glimpse of a $3.1 million loss line for the last six months. The President was called into the Exchange office to explain. E. A. Nicholas explained: They'd lost a lot of money for perfectly understandable reasons that were no problem at all, such as being told by accountants that they couldn't do their books that way. The Exchange dropped a trading ban, and everyone piled out of Farnsworth.

Science, Medicine, Education

"The Thinking Machine" British psychiatrist William Ross Ashby, of Barnwood House Mental Hospital, thinks that he has built "the closest thing to a synthetic human brain designed by man." Practical calculating machines "merely take orders and act upon them in complicated and predetermined ways," whereas his "homeostat" simply consists of four magnets suspended from swings and controlled by simple switches. Let the magnets be disturbed by any outside force, and they will begin to swing, each exerting force on each other, constantly tripping 27 electrical circuits which can be set to almost 400 million possible combinations. One of those combinations will counter the disturbing force, and, once it is found, the magnets will stop swinging and will   once again be stably lined up to the vertical in the presence of this disturbing force. It's not "intelligent," Dr. Ashby says, but he is sure that the method can be taught to play chess, for example, even if the device will have to be more complicated, and he is not sure just how.

"The Way of the Bird" This is a review of John Storer's Flight of Birds, and while you and I might be sick of this from Flight articles, it is kind of fun to see how birds teach us about airfoils, angles of attack, flaps, slots and so on. Hummingbirds are helicopters, albatrosses are gliders, egrets have catapult takeoff.

"Near the End" Writing in Physics Today, George Gamow proposes that physics has almost run out of mysteries of nature. Having worked out the speed of light and Boltzmann's Constant, and most recently something called the "Planck Constant" that measures the smallest possible unit of time, it now just needs its spatial equivalent to have a theory that explains the whole universe in neat and tidy mathematics. It will take fifty years, and the fun might not be done, as electrons might turn out to be packed with more fundamental particles that they can study.

"U is for Ulcers" Dr. Garnett Cheney, of Stanford's School of Medicine, thinks he may be on the track of an ulcer cure. It is "vitamin U," which has had good results with guinea pigs. He gives his patients Vitamin U in cabbage juice, about a quart a day, although he also finds Vitamin U in unpasteurised milk, celery, fresh greens, egg yolks, cereal grasses and certain aninal and vegetable fats.

Another hot take!
 "Wine or Pollen" An estimated one-and-quarter million men --okay, not all men, but the way Uncle George goes on!-- in the US have gout. It's very embarrassing, because the idea is that if you have gout, you deserve it; but modern physicians now disagree, saying that gout is not necessarily caused by rich food and drink. Specifically, allergist Dr. Joseph Harkavy thinks it might be caused by pollen, and modestly allows how allergy treatments might cure it. An article about accepting aging goes down with this one like blue cheese with port.

The annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges featured 400 college presidents meeting to talk about money, mostly. At one college, specifically Olivet, the President has fired a bunch of Bolshevik professors in a "purge." It's probably a good year to leave a college where you aren't wanted, though, because teachers' pay is up smartly. It is reported that as many as 2 million American school children will suffer educational "impairment" due to poor facilities or teachers.

Press, Radio and Television, Art, People

The New York Times is in trouble for reporting that a source close to the Dutch Foreign Ministry was pressing Dutch Catholics to resist a settlement in Indonesia. It turns out that it was actually a "source beyond reproach." Nation's Heritage,  a six pound magazine with lots and lots of pictures, is available in 5000 cpies from the publishing interest of Malcolm Forbes, son of the publisher of Forbes, and seems to be motivated by the idea that very rich people want very large magazines. Los Angeles, which is very spread out and has 258 community newspapers, is getting a Shopping News, which brings together all of the . . . shopping news. Talk about giving the communist press a sitting duck! Spencer Moosa had a funny column out from Peiping about how the censor won't let him say that Red shells are bursting all around him as the city enters its 30th day of siege. Robert Considine writes a million words a day for the Hearst chain and freelance, and Elmo Roper won't write any more words for his syndicated column, because he is taking a fall for his election coverage.

He does Fortune covers. No further comment.
Picture by Matthew Robins, 2011.
The European Communist press has discovered realism in Art. Time thinks that this makes Communists philistines, but it is not a good week to go down that road, because it has features on Walter Murch and Thomas Cole to pump out. Murch, I hope, has his life insurance paid up, because he is second story on a Time Art page and he is still alive! Cole knows  how to play it, and has been dead for a respectable 101 years.

CBS is beating NBC's ratings on Sunday night on the strength of the Jack Benny Show, with ABC struggling in third with Stop the Music and the Walter Winchell Show. It's Your Life is a radio show about people with illnesses who talk about their illnesses. Midwest listeners and physicians both like it.

This week's People leads off with mostly funny, mostly self-deprecating comments by Somerset Maugham, Senator Alben Barkley, William Saroyan, Nelson Rockefeller, Bruce Barton and Moira Shearer. That's nice, dear, but we're here for the celebrity gossip! Ahem. Aly Khan's marriage with Rita Hayworth is going ahead, Marian Anderson has had surgery for a throat cyst, Elizabeth Firestone gave a piano concerto to an audience that as paid for with Firestone money, J. Parnell Thomas and Adam Clayton Powell have been to hospital, Will Durant was in San Francisco working out the ol' middlebrow, with Bertrand Russell, Bernard Shaw and Albert Einstein all moving down-forehead to cut into his territory. (All four are for peace. Peace is good.)

Herbert Hoover's grandson has married a Stanford Co-ed in Virginia City, Nevada. Keenan Wynn has remarried, as has Jack Buchanan, "British song and dance man." Nelson Doubleday has died, opening up an opportunity for someone else to decide what middlebrow is. Actually, because he's been declining due to cancer for a while, there's probably an interim replacement already --Hey! That's what all the peace is about! Ronnie's so smart!  Dr. Gordon Earle Richards has died, ironically, of leukemia. Orthon Friesz, of coronary thrombosis, Baron Pompeo Aloisi, unfortunately not of poison gas, and Admiral Takarabe, who "took the fall" over the London Naval Treaty.

The New Pictures

Command Decision comes to the silver screen from Broadway with the sharp edges knocked off the dialogue and Clark Gable. Not that Gable is ever sharp-edged, but he is replacing Paul Kelly, who has them when he needs them, but you don't come here for theatre, so I won't go any further with that. The Accused is about "a pretty PhD  (Loretta Young)who commits a murder in self defence . . . " and I have to go wash my hands now. (It's a literary reference. Shakespeare. Yes, I'm doing okay.) The movie is about Loretta romancing the lawyer trying to defend her for murder while she copes with her guilt and the smart cop and "semi-villain" investigating it. I'm glad I shot a Tong man, because there's no detectives on the case, handsome or not, and I already have a fiance. So Dear to My Heart is a Disney/RKO production about someone's Indiana boyhood, with Burl Ives ballads and inserted cartoons. It's okay, and the lead, Billy Driscol, "is not at all repellent," which is high praise for a child actor coming from Time! Chicken Every Sunday is also nice and sentimental, and has Celeste Holm.

The review lists Sourwood Mountain as one of two Burl Ives' classics in the soundtrack, but I couldn't even find it on Youtube. I have mixed feelings about Ives, given that I remember him mainly for singing neo-Confederate songs, but it doesn't seem fair that his best material is that thoroughly lost. 


The new middlebrow regime continues as Robert Elias's biographical study, Theodore Dreiser: Apostle of Nature gets the Serious Treatment.  Time liked it, but thought it wasn't anti-communist enough. Because that's Time for you. David Davidson's Hour of Truth is his memoir about how he went to war and came back fine, which doesn't strike me as wining any awards. No-one comes back fine, Uncle George says (not even counting the gout). Alan Villier's The Set of the Sail is fimly in the men-who-love-ships genre. Villiers followed the sail until there were no more sails, then came ashore and began to write some books before disappearing into the Indian Ocean sunset on a dhow. Lajos Zilahy's The Dukays is a novel about international intrigue, and features the Emperor Karl of Austria "ripping off a false beard."

Flight, 27 January 1949

"Another Mystery" The mysterious loss of  BSAA Avro Tudor Star Ariel somewhere between Bermuda and Jamaica occasions Flight to offer its deepest sympathies to  " not only for the victims in this latest mishap, and their relatives, but for A. V. Roe and the Corporation." After all, both have had some awful luck. The passengers had to bad luck to fly in a plane that Avro and BSAA claimed was safe, while Avro had the bad luck to design it. Flight supposes it might have been due to flying into some clear air turbulence, dismissing talk of sabotage as unlikely.

"Putting it Across" There's been a lot of talk about the economics of refuelling in trans-Atlantic civil flying. There'll be more in this issue. We still have no idea if it will work, but Flight thinks it has potential. I'm leaning towards "If Geoffrey Smith thinks it'll work, it won't," myself.

"Morale in the RAF" Is a thing Flight likes to worry about. It even connects this exciting, pressing issue with boring, yesterday's news about the mass air battles with the Israelis over the Palestine-Egypt battle area.

"'Group' Activities: Hawker and Gloster Aircraft in the News" There's a Sea Fury trainer now, the Pakistan Air Force forwards a picture of a Centaurus Tempest, and Meteors still have Derwents.

Cal Aero Tech is testing it, so they're probably to blame for
buying this pointless publicity. 
"Technical Functions of the SBAC: Standardisation and Procedures: Airscrew Performance Estimation" The Society of British Aircraft Constructors has issued a series of Specification Handbooks that are very, very important. For example, they explain how to make an airscrew right, so that even in distant Canada they can make plywood right.

. . . Those two stories can afford to finish weak, because the reader's attention is drawn as though by a magnet to "FAI Rules for Point-to-Point Records." If you don't do your flight from Killarney to Killmorny right, you won't go into the record book! Also, John Cunningham recently flew a Ghost-powered Vampire very high, very high indeed, and Mr. Gilbert Magill's Rotor-Craft XR-11 is being looked at very favourably by the USAF due to having rigidly-mounted blades without hinges or pivots. Instead, the blades are pitch-controlled. "Lag is imperceptible."

Here and There

Bristol now  has a second type of Proteus engine, and has hired Stanley Hooker away from Rolls Royce. Henry Hughes and Sons, in association with the National Institute of Industrial Psychology, has a new set of psychological aptitude tests that is, I think although it doesn't say, better at finding out which apprentice will pass the exams, and so is worth investing in. The US Navy is ordering the biggest blimp in the world and also 120 Douglas Skynights and some helicopters. Here is your weekly reminder that there are planes in Britain that look like Lancasters and have one or more  Jet engines. They continue to be only and entirely for testing jet engines in the air, and they continue to be as interesting as evergreen in interest as horses in planes and charters flying large pieces of equipment abroad.

Civil Aviation News

Sir Miles Thomas is taking over as chairman of  BOAC in June, which I think we already knew. Various interesting things are being shipped air charter. Sometimes, the story makes it sound as though we have things to learn. Fruit and vegetables don't need pressurisation, but they do need humidity and temperature control. Oops, I hear someone saying. Star Ariel disappeared suddenly while cruising in clear air and in good weather at over 20,000ft. BSAA is grounding the Tudor, and the Ministry has asked Lord Brabazon to inquire into the design and construction of the Tudor IV to find out just what is going on. The Saunders Roe SR 45 will be called the "Princess"" class.

"External Tanks: Modes and Methods of Carrying Extra Fuel" Aircraft have auxiliary fuel tanks outside the hull now. The F-80 has them on the wing tips, so you should be careful landing if you haven't jettisoned them. The Germans tried towing a fuel tank behind in a little glider, which was a weird thing to do, but might have promise. Other than that, here's some pictures!

"Speedbird Stratocruiser: A New Aircraft for BOAC's Western Route" BOAC is doing three services a week between London and New York, one to Montreal, six to Bermuda. Starting with the delivery of its six Stratocruisers, it will go up to 6 to New York, three to Montreal, retaining the six to Bermuda. How many will be by Stratocruiser is uncertain, because they are expensive to operate. The Stratocruisers will be serviced at Filton, which will also be the training station, probably. The planes will have main deck seating for 50 passengers by day, 52 by night with berths for 27. Various arrangements with lounges and snack bars use the two-floor layout that arises from the "double bubble" fuselage. The flight will take twelve hours, and lounge seats will not be bookable. No distinction between first and second class is planned, although sleeper berths are a higher charge. The Strat will cruise at up to 25,000ft, with cabin pressure maintained at sea level equivalent to 15,000ft and then rising to 5500ft equivalent at 25,000ft. Temperature is maintained at 70 degrees with outside temperature as low as 60 below. Air is conditioned and de-odourised. The "double bubble" also allows a ground-level freight door servicing the galley and freight deck. Cruising speed will be about 340mph.

"Air Ambulance Demonstration: Service Medical Officers Witness Methods of Casualty Evacuation" A Hoverfly with stretchers on external riggers, and a glider "snatch" are demonstrated, as well as new arrangement for side-by-side stretchers on the Hastings.

"Refuelling in Flight: Development and Economics of a System which Increases Payload and Reduces Maintenance: Precis of a Paper Given to the Society of Automotive Engineers by Mr. C. H. Latimer-Needham, chief engineer of Flight Refuelling, Lrd" There are some interesting graphs showing the cost breakdowns, but there have been ten years of trial, and even though in-flight refuelling probes are going on the B-29s coming out of "mothballs," there's no sign that the civilian airlines are going to do this, even though they are spending enormous amounts of money on giant planes for crossing the Atlantic. I don't know that this is settled, but I think it's settled.

"Helicopter Operations: Some Problems and Prospects: Useful Data from Operations by the bEA Experimental Unit: Means of Reducing Costs" We've heard about this paper. The main issue is that it is hard to takeoff in the dark, or to navigate, after liftoff. Maintenance is also too expensive, and you will remember talk about "unit maintenance." The discussion is the only new material, and it is interesting that some of the experts think that Rowe's "rotorstations" are too small. Since so much of all this is about the idea of being able to takeoff from the roofs of large buildings and fly to the roofs of other large buildings in other cities, the possibility that we're being optimistic about the places where you can do that is more important than the navigation thing --which is important, but is mainly something that will solve itself as helicopters get bigger, and navigation aids get smaller. It seems to Reggie, anyway.

Courtesy of the Museum of Flight, Seattle. It turns out that
GE, or whoever is behind this blurb, is vastly understatingthe control issues
involved in moving all of this air around
"Turbo-Supercharged 4000hp Wasp Major" I always thought that Uncle George's way of dealing with these articles was mean. Yes, the technical press repeats itself. You know why, I know why. They publish press releases as news, and the releases are advertisements! So now because I am in  a hurry this morning on my way to work, I am digging my nails into my palms so as not to go back on myk principles. The Wasp Major has a turbocharger in its exhaust that feeds power back into the engine by compressing the incoming air, and which also discharges some of the compressed air for additional thrust. It has an intercooler, and, probably more interestingly, replaces the conventional throttle on the air intake with control of the exhaust valve that controls the variable discharge. This is effectively a brake on the compressor, which controls air inflow in a different and, it seems, more efficient way.


G. R. Barratt points out that speed is not the sole determinant of ram temperature rise,because air density also counts. No ram temperature rise in outer space! David Ogilvy, Alex Metcalf and "Airminded" have opinions about National Service hats. "Flat Aback" is on about RNVR hats, and Francis Ashford about German hats. Two correspondents are very upset about the Bristol ad saying that the Bristol Freighter is the only twin in the Airlift right now,since there are still plenty of Dakotas flying. Christopher Blackburn agrees with Simon Warrender that flying boats are the best.

Your reminder that 20 people died because BSAA's board decided that it knew better. Good thing that doesn't happen in aviation any more. 

Engineering, 28 January 1949

E. A. Bruges, "The Construction of Energy Charts for a Dissociated Gas" A theoretical article for engineers that hasn't much to offer us investors.

Literature The Terzaghi "fan club" is not to be left unanswered! Here is D. W. Taylor's Fundamentals of Soil Mechanics! Professor Taylor may not be the Father of Soil Mechanics, but who can forget his ingenious curves for stability of slopes? Dr. Hvorslev provides a chapter on subsurfacec mechanics. I don't know if L. E. Hunter's Standard Design of Reinforced Concrete Road Bridges is going to be met with competition in the market or not, but the reviewer's complaints about its limited scope and typographical and other errors suggest that he or she might have something in mind. Just my thought!

"The Engineering Outlook, IV: Machine Tools" Britain produced something like £30 million in machine tools last year, under a mandate to export 60% of them, which Engineering thinks is excessive, and which will lead to a massive obsolescence problem at the end of the 25 year depreciation period. Britain has about 800,000 machine tools in operation, and in 1947 less than 29,000 British machine tools were delivered to the industry, and barely over 2000 imported. To put this in perspective, the Americans at peak wartime production produced almost $1200 million a year in machine tools, but the figure has fallen to $300 million in recent years due to competition from used tools, with exports only a small proportion of that and falling due to teh dollar shortage. There is ample room for British exports, and while the tonnage exported has fallen to some extent over time, value is up 25%, even if this  has to be discounted to an average price increase of 10%.

Russia would be a major market for British exports, but Engineering complains that ERA rules that prevent recipients from selling to Russia, in effect reserve that country to American exporters. (It would also have the effect of excluding Russian grain from Britain, so you can see why people might get a bit conspiratorial about this.) A rumour of a £48 million Russian order from Craven and Sons has been researched and firmly scotched. Another threat in the long run is the revival of the German industry, as Germany builds up the necessary highly-skilled workforce. 

Since in the long run the most important export market is the United States, and it is vitally important that the industry produce tools with special capabilities that American tools cannot match, Engineering takes some time to point out trends in tonnage and value, and the spectacular machine tool exhibit that had me expressing so much frustration, even though Engineering is bound and determined that it was a very important event. It is all signs for the optimist. In fact, there's a lot optimism going round this month.  Notably, net output per industry operative has risen from £266 in 1935 to £324 in 1936 to £415 in 1946, all the more important since the industry cannot expect more labour in the near future. 

"Standardisation in the British Air Industry" I think we've heard in Flight about the onwards march of SBAC's standardisation campaign, which compares favourably with American efforts. 

"X-ray Examination of Cast Turbine Blades" It takes very powerful X-rays to blast through solid pieces of metal of such thickness, and the special-purpose machine built for the Production Inspection Branch of Armstrong Siddelely Motors sounds very impressive, with a massive lead-and-cast-iron door between the operator's cab and the examination room with a safety interlocked. Safely cowering behind their metallic protection, the operators unleash the power of the atom( industry trademark pending) on the hapless turbine blades, seeking to catch excessively porous castings before they can escape into the wild and bring an aircraft down. The article goes on to explain that in spite of the massive scale of the operation, they still can't generate rays powerful enough to assess porosity in bade roots, leaving plenty of room for machines like the 16 billion electron volt betatron. Fortunately, porosity in blade roots is less important than in the blades. 

"Cunard White Star Twin-Screw Passenger Liner Caronia" This is going to be a long article as you might guess from Caronia's starring appearance in Time and Newsweek this month, and there is no point in overdoing it in the first number, which goes on for only two pages, and doesn't even begin to exhaust the machinery, although it does work up to it by spending a page getting from the bottom of the boat to the footings of the turbines. I don't notice anything particularly novel, except that some of the blades are made of something called "stainless iron," which I am going to guess might be stainless steel with more (or, who knows?) less carbon. 
Launches and Trials MS Hertsford, MOP 226-C, Holberg, Alenquer and British Chivalry, one refrigerated liner, two single-screw cargo liners, an oil tanker and a dredger; SS Oris, Bombardier, both trawlers. British Standards Specifications catch up with the free and easy ways of cresylic acid and Media for Biological Percolating Filters. 


"Heavy Oil Engine Working Costs" Editorial can't say "Diesel" yet. It seems that there is room for improvement on the use of high-volatility oil working, for more automation around the engine room, and for better economy of lubricating oil. 

"The Standardisation and Use of Locomotives" Engineering was very, very upset at the implication that diesel-electrics are more efficient than steam. It believes that this is an easy misreading of a figure known as "utilisation," a useful American concept imported recklessly into Britain. It explains what it does and doesn't mean, and refutes to its satisfaction the notion that diesel has any such advantage over steam. It is all very G. Geoffrey Smith-ish, but still might be right. I don't know!

(It's not.)
Notes mentions the James Watt Medal recipient for this year, which goes to Dr. Frederick Ljungstrom for his indefatigable efforts to promote Dr. Frederick Ljungstrom. 

And then ..Whoo-boy. Uncle George has reasons for not taking these letters over again ranging from battle exhaustion to gout, but I almost had to have him surgically excised from my shoulder when I sat down at the lunch break with him to go over this one. It's a summary of Admiral Kingcome's "Marine Engineering in the Royal Navy: A Review of Progress During the Last Twenty-Five Years," given to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Even through the summary, I fancied that I could hear Sir John's voice, and I've only met him twice! I know how much he means to James, and to you, and of course all of this is interesting in its own right, but if Uncle George wants to write this, he can write it and not dictate to me!
"Kingcome" sounds like a skookum West Coast name, but is actually the name of the minor Royal Navy dynasty that produced the 1862--64 Commander, Pacific Station, and an Engineer Vice-Admiral of the Fleet. It's some kind of comment  on something that it's the former that gets a Wikipedia biography 

Not the first Parmetrada plant, but who remembers the Whitbys?
Ahem. Sir John summarises progress in fields ranging from increasing steam conditions, where he is, as you know, inclined to self-flagellate in spite of the relative failure of the more aggressive American approach, and in less dramatic but still meaningful improvements in fuel efficiency from 73% to 85%, marred, as you know, by the failure to adopt economisers until midway through the war. He also mentions the work of the Admiralty Vickers Gearing Research Association in reducing "self-" noise, and the Parsons Marine Engineering Turbine Research and Development Association, which is working on dramatic improvements in the next generation of naval steam plant, whenever it should come along. 

Sir Stafford Cripps gave a talk on the economic state of the nation that reeks of his usual self-satisfaction. He observes that civilian employment stands at the record total of 19.2 million, which means that the only future increase will be natural, from more people being born than die. This is not dire news for exports, because productivity is increasing at a handsome 5% rate, and if this can be maintained, the dollar crisis will sort itself out. He admits that coal export levels have only been maintained by running down stocks, but hopes that this will be vindicated by further output increases, and points to steel's record 14.5 million ton production as evidence that the best lies ahead. Auto production was up 17%, commercial vehicle production up 10%, the adverse balance in trade reduced from a gargantuan £630 million to probably less than £100 million, three cheers, hurrah. 

Also, there has been progress in cement and Scottish hydroelectric, and even abroad, where Austria awaits an International Bank of Reconstruction agreement to proceed with its own hydroelectric development. 


I'm pretty sure that the last bit didn't get into the
final draft of the letter. (It's not as though I can read
them.) I'm including it anyway.
L. Hartshorn is either for or against metrification, it's hard to tell because he's so clever he should write for The Economist. A. H. Orcutt, of the Gear Grinding Company (which is a real company) writes to say that his company has had some unpleasant experiences with companies buying specialised grinding machinery second hand on war disposal. It is often the case that the buyers come to his company for technical assistance too late, and have to be told that their bargain purchase simply cannot do the job. Since his is a specialised branch of the industry, and there are many other branches with no doubt similar issues, he wants to bring it to everyone's attention. J. Leyland continues the conversation about the circulation of cooling water, specifically, pointing out that Mr. Woods, author of the letter in last week's number, has his head where the sun don't shine, as they say down in the tulas. 
"Thermic Drilling of Concrete and Stone" Thermic drilling is an extension of the more-exciting-sounding "oxygen lance" method of clearing the drain holes in steel furnaces. It consists of a steel tube with a flow of oxygen that ignites wire at the tip to produce a very, very, very hot tip that burns its way through concrete and stone more efficiently, it is argued, than a mechanical drill. Perhaps suspecting that the experts won't be convinced, M. Semet and Company allow that the results are most convincing for reinforced concrete. 

"Polyphase Commutator Machines" Appear to be mostly a particular kind of electrical motor with the wires hooked up just so, which have advantages over other motors, say B. Adkins and W. J. Gibbs to the Institution of Electrical Engineers last December. 

J. R. Riggs and E. W. Skerrey, "Priming Paints for Light Alloys" Light alloys need to be painted to reduce corrosion. The primers are metal-based, and, after experimentation, it looks as though chromate-based ones are best. 

"The Measurement of Acceleration by Electrical Means" Mullard Electronic Products has developed a thermionic valve with the cathode mounted on an elastic, which means that the current changes proportionately to the acceleration that the valve is undergoing, which makes for a very compact and accurate measurement, applicable to testing aircraft and the like. In a similar spirit, the Eastern National Omnibus Construction Company wants us to know about the "Essex" Omnibus-Washing Machine, which I gather has significant advantages over other omnibus-washing machines. 

A short piece on the Minister of Shipping answering questions about when there will be radar on all Channel-crossing ships (soon!) reminds me that I forgot to cover  a bit about the new Tilford Radar Station, which is a surface-search radar and control station that will allow the operators to provide a continuous commentary for ferries and other craft on the Tilford route during fogs. It is the kind of thing that you would think that GCA implies for air traffic control (but doesn't). I'm just glad that we're seeing progress towards the goal! 

Labour Notes talks about the worries of shipgbuilders and shipowners, who face increasing costs due to the high cost of labour. Patternmakers are also feeling the heat, and an interesting comment from the autos section indicates that Germany and Japan are already back in the market as competitors. 

"Wiped Joints on Aluminum-Sheathed Electric Cables" Lead is the traditional sheathing material, and the industry has mastered "wiping" the joints, which is an involved process that amounts to smoothing them out, I think. (No, wait, it is literally wiping them with molten lead, with tallow in there, somewhere, somehow.) Aluminum is cheaper than lead and has some other advantages, but the joints were a problem, and various elaborate alternatives to wiping were being used. No longer, because Johnson and Philips have come up with a wiping method. It still uses lead, in case you were imagining melting pots holding molten aluminum! 

"The Design of High Voltage Air-Blast Circuit Breakers" I'm not at all clear what this means, and I am not going to splurge on either a long distance call to Reggie or hold this until I have lunch with Uncle George again next Thursday. Needless to say, the article wasn't much help. It's lazy, I admit, but as far as I can tell, these things are only in use on main transmission lines for really high voltages, and I will therefore pretend that they're too specialised to admit of me figuring out what they actually are. 

O. V. S. Bulleid, "Railway Rolling Stock Tendencies in Design" This is the article that I've already hit the highlights of as "Developments in British Locomotive Design." This one covers off rolling stock, although the accompanying pictorial still emphasises locomotives. 


Newsweek's article about the Army (and the other services) and doctors provokes many, many letters from unhappy doctors. Morris Forkosch writes about a recent article about the murder of American prisoners of war on Makassar in 194. He make sit clear that the culprits were punished, but then goes off in the weeds by agreeing with one correspondent that the bodies of those executed should not be released to their loved ones, because they did a bad thing. The publisher's letter (For Your Information) points out that international flying is awful because of all the time wasted getting visas.

The Periscope reports that various incoming Administration officials and journalists are pushing for decolonialisation, reforming the Agriculture Department, educating young people, arguing for decentralising government in case of atomic war,, handling HUAC very gently, extending the Freedom Train's life, misquoting Labour Secretary Tobin, worrying about a possible Red China, arguing about letting Italy into the North Atlantic security pact, and loaning Israel $100 million ahead of the elections to bolster the moderates in case the new state turns to Russia. The eastern bloc has its own ways of putting pressure on Israel, holding up exit visas on Jews from countries like Poland and Rumania. Poland, in particular, is only allowing Communist Jews to emigrate, leaving the Israelis with the "delicate problem of either admitting avowed Communists or barring immigrants from Eastern Europe." The morale of Airlift personnel remains fragile due to the sheer amount of flying they do, and the Administration wants to give everyone a medal. Russia seems to be dragging its feet repatriating French internees, while the State Department has given a stern warning to the Greeks about not forming a military government. The Agriculture Department has a headache over reports of extended cotton plantings this season. The old acreage restrictions have been lifted, and farmers are hoping that the new "basis" is more generous. There's a surge of interest in something called "cold" rubber, which is cheaper to make than current artificial rubber and "30% better for most uses" than natural rubber. The B-36 is now the world's best bomber, the Navy is going to have to close some shore facilities in 1950, which will be controversial, various nostalgic movies about the early days of the film industry are in the works, while Universal's upcoming Kiss the Blood on My Hands has been retitled and the British-made ballet film The Red Shoes is an unexpected hit.

ABC's loss of Bing Crosby has it looking favourably at a takeover bid from 20th Century Fox.  Senator McCarthy is writing a book about housing,

I'm sure McCarthy could have made a difference in housing, too. 

George Creel is writing a book about Russia's Race for Asia (I wonder what that's about!?) and Sylvia Dee, songwriter behind "Chickery Chick," is bringing out a first novel about teenagers, Never Been Kissed.

Washington Trends

Ordinarily, this section goes on and on, just like The Periscope, but this time it is entirely devoted to the idea that resistance in the Senate will limit the extent of the President's "Fair Deal," using the filibuster, which it is sure to keep in spite of the Democratic majority because the Dixiecrats love it and Republican liberals won't fight it. What will the Senate do? It's a bit vague on some fronts, but highlights Taft-Hartley repeal, the extension of the federal minimum wage to currently exempt groups, and the housing bill's provision for rent control and more building subsidies as likely fights.

National Affairs

"The March of the Little Fellows" Inauguration! Blah! Lots and lots of stories, of which I thought the one checking in on Governor Dewey was in poor taste. This was, however, effectively checked by Shirley Temple in a plunging floral number. I'm not sure why she was at the Inaugural Ball, but she she was  hanging out with Chief Justice Vinson (who does not look well). Mother would say that even dead and a Democrat, Vinson would still be an improvement on an Agar.
 "World Fair Deal" As part of the Inaugural Speech,the President spent some time explaining why Communism was bad, which is nice, because it was previously unclear to me. It's because they hate freedom. The World Fair Deal  involves giving lots of money to Europe to promote advancing and technology, and "hoping for the best in Asia," which may not turn out well, so now we will also give scientific and technological aid and capital to backward areas, too, for watering the deserts and so forth. Ernest K. Lindley says the same thing again, which is nice, because it saves me the trouble of summarising his column.

"The Bourbon Balance" An article about my Dad! Oh, no, it's about Republican Senators seizing on the Inauguration to make cracks about the new luxury tax. (It should be on Inaugural Ball tickets, not baby oil, etc.) Also, and I do not know if you've heard this, but communism is bad, and Dean Acheson might be soft on it.

"A Lift for Israel" A longer story on the hundred million dollar loan to Israel says that the new state will spend the money on 8000 new farms, improve 16,000 old farms and 6000 citrus groves, and irrigate 42,000 acres of land. The loan is at 3.5% interest and matures in 15 years, and is deemed a good investment. The Export-Import Bank has also earmarked $65 million for Israeli industrial development, which I think is separate from the hundred million. "Only America's imminent de jure recognition . . . would be a heftier pat on the back."

"The Big House Lady" Miriam Van Waters has been the superintendent of the Framingham, Massachusetts Women's Reformatory for seven years, and everyone thinks that she has been doing a wonderful job of reforming prisoners, reforming penology, reforming society, and, in general, reforming reformatories. I'm sorry, but while I'm usually a sucker for a nice lede, this one  includes a doggerel poem of praise by a prisoner that has this literati's back up. Anyway, the story falls apart with the usual sordid details, in this case of "sexual perversion among prisoners and prison officials," which I assume is an implied complaint of condoning Sapphism, so when Mrs. Roosevelt intervened after her dismissal, my eyebrows tried to crawl up the top of my head because this could turn into a really ugly case of talking about what you're not talking about.  also, Bruce Howard, after his idiotic intervention over aluminum scrap, is going to be allowed to resign quietly to spend more time with his horses, because he is a devotee of Aphrodite, not Sappho.

Foreign Affairs

"Bitter for America, Too" This is the lead of two stories on the collapse of the Koumintang ahead of the slack of theYangtse, when the Red Army will cross the river and unify China. It's about the Koumintang's bids for a peace settlement, and is only more important than the second story, about Chiang's retirement, because everyone thinks that the Generalissimo isn't really retiring.

Time is reporting on a group of working-class fox hunters
to counter Labour criticism. This is cuter.
"Election Without Issues" The Japanese national election had no issues except Red China, which is why Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida's conservatives won a clear majority of 266 out of 466 seats, although it doesn't explain why the Communists increased their seats from 4 to 35. In the rest of Asia, the French have dropped General Nguyen Van Xuan and will turn to ex-Emperor Bao Di to form a government that can counter the communists. Burma is "in chaos" because assorted groups are revolting, including "Red Flag" communists and the Karens. In Indonesia, the Dutch are still trying to put their "United States of Indonesia" together over the resistance of the leaders of the actual "united states," who want to include the Republic, which makes the Dutch mad, because what's the point of an independent Indonesia if it is actually independent. Meanwhile again in India, Nehru is holding a conference of Asian leaders who are really mad at the Dutch and think that Asians have been submissive for too long.

"The French and His Pay" This is the cover story, which is about how French workers are pissed off about inflation. This being Newsweek, it is pretty brief, which is nice. Also in France, a black marketer named Mathieu-Louis Giudicelli, sentenced to death for collaboration, escaped his cell and vanished, while in Britain everyone is still upset over Rita Hayworth marrying Prince Aly Khan, while in Germany, people are restive about trials of Communist leader Max Reimann and of workers who refused to dismantle a German plant for reparations. In Britain, people are restive about the reduction in the bacon ration and Edith Summerskill's comment that she can't tell butter from margarine.

"Writing An Armistice" Two stories from the Middle East. First, the armistice in the Negeb has been finalised. Second, President Truman has congratulated Chaim Weizmann on his election as President of Israel. Actually, that's three stories, but I think the President of Israel isn't a big deal? Also, British recognition of Israel (and Trans-Jordan in its current borders) means that Bevin's Palestine policy has been defeated and that Britain is "backsliding."

Also, the Russian push for a peace with Austria and Germany is very, very sinister.

Foreign Tides with Joseph B. Phillips Has Worthy Thoughts (Snore) About "The Iron Curtain of Ignorance" Cultural exchanges of tourists and also literature between Russia and America would be nice.

In Canada,Catholic schoolteachers in Montreal (which is most of them) are striking and politicians, labour and industry are working out the details of steel industry expansion. In Latin America, terrorism against the government is up in Cuba, America is going to recognise the violently-installed governments of El Salvador and Venezuela, and Peron is doing odd things.


"The Tempest at American" After four stories on labour relations ranging from the important (contract battles have shifted from wage increases to pension benefits) to silly (someone who coughs on a radio tuberculosis education spot is now deemed a voice actor and must join the union), we move on to Ralph Damon's resignation from the board of American Airlines over the proposed merger with American Overseas. Chairman C. R. Smith is strongly in favour, and he and Damon have been clashing over one thing or the other ever since Damon returned from operating subsidiary Republic Aviation during the war. Howard Hughes has intruded his publicity-hungry presence by offering Damon the president's job at TWA. Or recommending to the board of directors that they offer him the job. Whichever.

"Frozen Profits" The National Guard is airlifting feed to a million snowbound cattle in the Midwest after the latest blizzard in a relentlessly snowy winter on the Great Plains and even on over into the Imperial Valley, where 3.5 million smudgepots are protecting fruit trees, with one orchard burning 4000 gallons of oil a day, or $8000. Perhaps 26% of the crop has been lost, in the Imperial, or four million dollars in cantaloupes, peas and watermelons. Prices of avocados and Yuma grapefruit are climbing while, in the Northeast, unseasonable mildness is hitting ski hills. (Melted profits?)

No mention of new integrated housing areas to replace it.
"Vanport Flood Sale" All the Northwest is flocking to flooded Vanport for a massive lumber sale as the wartime housing project is dismantled for everything from entire buildings to toilets.

What's New reports that Firestone and the H. J. Rand Foundation of Cleveland have combined to produce a new mattress for the bedridden consisting of a series of air cells 1 3/4" inches in diameter which can be alternately inflated and deflated to massage their bodies and reduce the risk of bedsores. Bell Telephone's new telephone booth has a ceiling fan that changes the air several times a minute. (Ronnie approves! Telephone booths can get quite steamy.) American Machine Works has a new handtruck that can negotiate stairs more easily and carry up to 500lbs. Knighton Foundry of Birmingham, Alabama, has a concrete building block with a marble face for more efficient university-building. Scott Radio Laboratories' new record player switches automatically between 33 1/3 and 45 rpm to play Columbia and Victoria records, but is only available on the console radio-phonograph in the $600-and-up bracket.

Business Tides with Henry Hazlitt, "Our Discompensated Economy" Last week, Henry was complaining about how big the Federal budget was, but you weren't here for that. This week, he is complaining that taxes are already too high, and should not be increased; and that inflation is high, which is the government's fault. So the government should fix that. Since that might lead to uncomfortable conversations about the tax increase, it is now important to launch into an explanation of how the idea of "a compensated economy." in which taxes are low in slumps and high in booms, balancing the budget and keeping inflation and deflation in check, is wrong, or, at least, too hard to accomplish. That didn't make a lot of sense, but it helps to remember that the New Deal is Bad.


"Solar Furnace" Felix Trombe, of the Paris Institute of Chemistry, has found a new way of using the heat of sunlight directly. He thinks that previous efforts, which have focussed on solar-powered steam engines, are a bit silly, but by using a searchlight mirror, he has produced temperatures of 6000 degrees Fahrenheit at the focal point. His furnace can melt 80lbs of iron in an eight hour heat, but its more interesting application is in melting heat-resistant refractory materials such as thoria, zirconia, magnesia, alumina and the rare earth oxides. This is useful enough that the US Naval Observatory has given Dr. William Conn of Rockhurst College a contract to build a solar furnace 9ft in diameter.

"Einstein Simplified" Newsweek liked Lincoln Barnett's The Universe and Dr. Einstein, because it explained what was up about all that relativity stuff without being patronising and simplifying, like Ronnie is doing now! 


 The lead story is about the New Your University-Bellevue Medical Centre, which opens this week, but seems like local news. The next one is about a new B vitamin, which I thought was a rerun, but turns out to be about B-14, not B-12. It has had some success with cancer tumours in lab animals, and promotes red-blood cell production in humans.

"Sleep Without Hangover" Insomniacs  will be pleased to hear about a new barbiturate (sleeping pill derived from barburtic acid), butabarbital sodium, which is more tolerable on the kidneys than phenobarbital and which has a less severe "hangover" of grogginess, headache and irritability. Also, the American Cancer Society is pleased to report that although the number of cancer deaths in America have increased by 50% since 1935, the cancer death rate has hardly budged in Vermont due to their public education campaign.

Mrs. Roosevelt's fifty years of tyranny imposing an integrated reform school on
this upscale Hudson Valley community came to an end in 1981
"Wiltwyck's Unquiet Ones" Wiltwyck is New York's hard case reform school, and is the subject of a recent documentary, "The Quiet One." Sixty-two boys are at Wiltwyck, all problem cases no other school would take, 6 White and 56 Negro. Apparently, it is a very good and successful school, although it doesn't have the money to survey its graduates, so it has to rely on bare assertion.

Press, People

Inaugural! Blah! (Bob Trout covered it on the radio for CBS. Here's all about Bob Trout!) In less important news, Bing Crosby has gone from ABC to CBS, and not NBC, as you've heard. It's another stock deal that avoids heavy income taxes, and, perhaps more importantly, given radio's gentle decline, it commits Crosby to a television show, though not for a while. I wonder if they'll wait for a national coaxial cable hookup? That's a lot of amplifiers! Also, The New York Times is shuffling its bureau chiefs, so you'll need new trading cards, and Ted and Dorothy Thackrey are journalists.

Marcel Cerdan has been accused of beating his girlfriend, Edith Piaf. Bernarr MacFadden is back in New York after his three-day second honeymoon with his third wife, Jonnie Lee. A salesman rode a bull through a china shop in Hamilton, Ontario, an American woman who married a Russian is coming back to America because she's had enough, the University of Washington has dismissed three professors for being Communists, and Claude Marsan, on trial for public indecency, demonstrated his "three hour courtship" to a Hollywood court and got into even more trouble. Jeanne Crain and Candy Jones have had babies, Mickey Rooney is engaged, Tyrone Power's  marriage will be in Rome on 27 January, Arline Judge has married, David O. Selznick has divored his wife of twenty years and two sons to marry Jennifer Jones (Yuck!) and Charles Ponzi has died at 71 in Rio, as has Paul Alling, the US ambassador to Pakistan, of amoebic dysentery, which he contracted in Karachi last year. That's not good publicity for Pakistan, but I'm not sure how someone dies of dysentery after a year of treatment at Bethesda! .

The New Pictures

A full page allows long reviews of the new Ford/Wayne western, Three Godfathers, which is too sentimental to be dramatically effective; Chicken Every Sunday, which Time liked more than Newsweek; Acts of Violence, the Van Heflin/Janet Leigh vehicle starts out as an "intelligent and impressive story" and ends up ridiculous; and two British imports, Take My Life and Mr. Perrin and Mr. Traill. The first is an "intriguingly ingenious" but perhaps bloodless mystery, while the latter is  set in a private school and a love triangle between Marius Goring, David Farrar and Greta Grynt, as well as the "ingrown and defeated intellectuals who make up the school staff," which just sounds sad.

Art Time does an Art column mainly to burnish its middlebrow credentials. Newsweek, whatever its faults, doesn't. So when it enters the art world, there's actually something the matter, and this one's a doozy. Harold Rosenberg is a lawyer who has become a painter. He is fighting with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and most especially its president, Roland Redmond, and new director, Francis Taylor. There's some cat-fight-ish details of deals between the Met, the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate, but it all comes down to Rosenberg accusing Taylor of being opposed to modern art, and having far too much influence over the board of trustees.


Famed, (or self-promoting) business consultant Frank B. Gilbreth died of a heart attack in 1924, but this book out about how an efficiency expert raised twelve children is out, only twenty-five years later. By a son and his wife, it sounds very entertaining.  R. C. Hutchinson's The Elephant and Castle is . . . "Dostoevsky-level?" I take that bit about Newsweek not going for the middlebrow, back!

Perspective, with Raymond Moley, Returns From Tom Dewey's Hindquarters With "Can We Afford to Be Free?" The Hoover Commission report shows that the government is fantastically inefficient and bureaucratic, which shows that the General Accounting Office has been tragically inadequate to its job. Moley launches into a column's-length discussion of the Comptroller General's office going back to Wilson and Harding, and rounds off with a spirited denunciation of Congress for not doing more things about things. At least it isn't a column about how big the services' budgets are!

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