Sunday, July 7, 2019

Postblogging Technology, April 1949, I: A Generation of Pearls

Hyde Park Hotel,
Tampa, Florida,

Dear Father:

This comes to you by the hand of Willie Yeoh, because he does a fine "Wa Yeoh," complete with a real Fu Manchu goatee and a kris that he really has used to dispatch a Japanese soldier and perhaps a rubber planter a time or two. More importantly, if he fails to intimidate, he has quite the trick for smuggling a .25 automatic into meetings like yours. If the other side does cause a breakdown in negotiations, Willie has ended them before. 

Uncle George will give you an oral briefing on our discoveries in respect to third parties that you might use one way or another. Suffice it to say that, as far as the ex-President goes, we found a ledger detailing the Hoover payments in Pegler's lawyer's office, but not whatever material Pegler was holding over him. We have a lively suspicion about where it might be, but none of us has the stomach to torture an eighty-year-old, or the granddaughter, who is probably holding them. She has three children under four!  I sincerely hope that you will be able to bluff Hoover into thinking that we are in some kind of "mutual destruction" situation. Uncle George's information, which obviously must be kept discrete, will perhaps create the impression that all of the blackmail archives are in our hands, and not a single self-destructive letter by a perverted old drunk. 

Yours Sincerely,

PS: I am feeling really uncomfortable about Mr. Flynn paying a blackmailer, as opposed to being in jail. Is there perhaps something that can be done?

What's Going On at Aviation Week?

It seems that the Air Force's flip from turbojets to turboprops and back hasn't yet filtered down to contractors, as the firm designing the B-52's power switch is upset that it is still working on one for a turboprop, although the B-52 has switched back from the Wright F-35 turboprop to jets. Airlines have always been upset at aircraft manufacturer's sloppy work, but are getting more vehement, but they've given up the fight over flight engineers. Navy fighters were unable to intercept P2Vs making an atomic attack on the carriers in a recent exercise in the Caribbean. Douglas is suing Canadair for $1.4 million in damages over their British sale, which may affect future licensing deals. Clint Ramsay has a nice new job at the Aircraft Industries Association. The Vickers Viking is getting a production extension as the RAF orders a variant as a bomber trainer, while Brazil is nationalising Aerovias Brazil and Rolls Royce is buying out GM's share in Australia's Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. 

The 4 April issue's contribution to the advancement of science is a long article on combustion chamber research. It's contribution to politics is a rerun of last month's chain editorial, "The Election Gave No Mandate for Socialism!" 

Well. It gave a pretty solid mandate for civil rights, but we aren't getting those, either!

Delta is enormously pleased by its new hand-dial centre of gravity computer. This week's editorial wants to get the airlines into the black. 

In the 11 August issue, we learn that Glenn Martin is still trying to sell the Air Force on a turboprop version of its XB-48, that the tough part of guided missiles is guiding, that the All-Weather Flying Centre of the USAF has developed an automatic glide path flare-out for use in automatic landings of larger aircraft, as current straight ILS glide path landings are extremely hard. It transfers control from the glide path to the altimeter as the aircraft hits the runway threshold. Canadair is thinking of designing its own feeder airliner, because the Canadian north needs it, and dollars are short. A survey reveals the salaries of all aircraft manufacturing executives who made more than $25,000 last year. Donald Douglas is in the lead, with $95,600, plus a $13,000 company payment into his pension fund. 

Los Angeles' airport's FIDO was lit for the first time for reporters this week. Fairchild is going to build its own turbojet. This week's contribution to engineering is an article on subminiature electronics manufacture for expendable missiles, which "calls for efficient mass production."

Articles about aircraft production are excited about Doman's "pod helicopter" and sad about the Tudor, whose melancholy story gets another airing. Admiral Rosendahl writes to complain that no-one talks about airships any more. Vickers has lengthened the Viscount in hope of airline sales.

The Economist, 2 April 1949


"New Force or Lost Cause" The British Liberal Party has held its annual conference, just in time for April Fool's, which allows The Economist to write its annual article about how it is a liberal magazine, it really is; but voting Liberal is just throwing away your votes when you should, more in sorrow than enthusiasm, vote Conservative to stop the Socialists, because they are worse. 

I think. To be honest, for all that I read the article, The Economist may be endorsing the Liberal Party's platform of what-to-have-for-lunch-on-Sunday. 

"Men of the Kremlin" More thrilling political not-actually-news as The Economist dives deep ito the current organisation of the Kremlin. Beria is a Deputy Chairman. And so is Voroshilov! But Mekhlin is the Minister of State Control, and that sounds very impressive!

"Power in the Air" The Economist joined every single other one of my magazines at the Lords the other day to watch the opposition peers get upset at the way that the Government is BUNGLING the air. The Economist was quite pleased to see various right honourable lords lambast the government for excessive secrecy, but then everything got technical and it perhaps dozed off for a bit, but Flight was nice enough to lend The Economist its notes. Let's see: Ah, yes. Medium-sized, fast jet bombers with "electronic aids for accurate bombing at high speeds" are the coming thing! Well, I like hearing about the electronic aids, that's for sure.  Everyone agrees that there should be ships and aircraft carriers for when trouble breaks out at sea, far away from land, but the hard truth is that there isn't that much important that far out from land. Also, while the army will have to fight the Russians if they invade, the Russians cannot invade very well when their communications are being bombed; so it is agreed that the RAF should get a bit more money than the Navy and the Army. But only a bit! Finally, there is the matter of whether flinging a few atom bombs about will solve everything, or whether we need more bomber to drop non-atomic bombs. The "more bombers" forces seem to be winning out here. 

"Fourth Point at Work" You will recall that the Fourth Point was President Truman's programme for helping out the disadvantaged parts of the world. The UN is quite pleased with this, while The Economist does its usual step-forward-then-sidle-to-the-side-then-slip-back-a-pillar-then-come-up-the-other-side to finally arrive a position where it supports free trade as the Fourth Point. It then demonstrates to its satisfaction that foreign lending is necessary for balanced trade, finds America deficient on that score, and ends by urging President Truman into more Marshall Plan-like efforts in Africa, India and perhaps Latin America. 

Notes of the Week

"The More They Are Together" The Economist supports the kind of western union that includes the western union and the Council of Europe, but opposes the kind of western union that involves the Atlantic Pact. It is not so much that the latter is bad as that it is not as good as the first and everyone will get tired of the first from too much of the last. More then needs to be said --an entire additional note on the Council of Nineteen. Which leads one into the theme of anticipating conferences that are to be held, which leads one into the agenda for the annual meeting of the Labour Party, where socialists will no doubt call for nationalising the means of production. This then leads on to Morrison's effort to give three private members' bills appropriate attention, and the Italian Chamber of Deputies coming around on the North Atlantic Pact.

"Agreement on Dismantling" After months of wrangling, the Americans have had their way on not dismantling 150 German factories. There was compromise on the other matters. The Germans only get to increase their steel production by 2 million tons, and instead of building ships of up to 10,000 tons, they will be allowed to go to 7000. The Economist is pleased with the results, but appalled with the process, because the Germans got their way by complaining, and will no doubt keep on complaining until --bang!-- the Third Reich is back! Also terrible, the Chinese Communists, now that they are winning. No doubt the Japanese will soon become Chinese Communists. After all, there are Japanese Communists, and the Japanese are -- well, you know those east Asians!  Continuing in this trend of giving nothing Notes short shrift, the end of the International Trade Organisation meeting in Havanna means that it is time to start preparing for the one in Annercy. 

"Israel and the Assembly" "All is bustle on the Palestine truce front, particularly among the Israelis." Israel has a treaty with Lebanon, is patching things up with Transjordan, and is trying to make headway with Syria, in spite of the recent "abrupt change of government." If it can bring a settlement on the refugee question to Flushing Meadows, the Assembly will no doubt turn to it with relief from controversial items like the future of the Italian colonies and "nonsensical" (!!!!?!) ones like "the addition of Chinese to the official languages." "Clearly" Israel cannot have the refugees back, because it is strained enough receiving 1000 immigrants a day. But it would not be right if it did not lift a finger for the refugees it has dispossessed. (Remember how itd can't absorb more refugees because it hasn't the labour? The Economist or Punch. You decide!) How is Transjordan, a country of 500,000, to accommodate 300,000 "sick and dispirited" refugees? And is it fair that all outside aid must come from the west, and none from Israel? Right now, Israel is willing to pay compensation for loss of property, but only if the Arab countries pay it for loss of Jewish property. The Economist disapproves, and uses the excuse to go slyly anti-Semitic. (It is very "Old Testament.") It also wants the United Nations Guard in Jerusalem expanded, as otherwise the city will just "grow more Jewish," what with the recent transfer of five ministries and ten other government departments there, with a thousand civil servants.

"Two Kinds of Diplomats" Eastern bloc diplomats are terrible because they write letters to the editor. British diplomats in eastern European capitals don't write letters to the editor, because they can't.  This shows that the Czech action against Mr. Wildash and the Bulgarian action against Mr. Greenhill are unwarranted. (They're diplomats.) Lord Vansittart thinks that action should be taken against east bloc diplomats who write letters, and, to be fair, do all sorts of other "influence operations." The Economist thinks about this, and decides that it would be a mistake. Rounding out Notes is a discussion of something that the Archbishop of Canterbury said recently about the divorce and remarriage bill of 1921, a report on a press conference of the British Hotels and Restaurants Association that demanded that all catering wages be subject to the same regulations that now only apply to licensed establishment, Portugal's adherence to the Atlantic Pact, the latest educational guinea-pigging in Middlesex County schools, and good recruiting for the Canadian armed forces.  


E. B. Palmer explains that, in a nationalised industry such as coal mining, the nation's interests have to be considered, and not just the business. E. R. Childe thinks that the socialists are discouraging small investors with their socialism. Henry Brooke thinks that the LCC is building ugly public housing,  I think. Paul Derrick reminds everyone that the Liberal Party has a compromise between nationalisation and free enterprise, which is co-ownership.

From The Economist of 1849 With the utmost fairness, and because you might miss this feature otherwise, I am going to guess that the magazine's point is related to something going on in British politics back a long century ago, because otherwise I can't make head or tail of it, and I have, honestly, tried. It's a paragraph about how people, including politicians, should sometimes do less, in case what they want to do is a mistake. 
(Executive summary, with muppets.)

Harold J. Laski, The American Democracy is 800 pages, about 770 pages more than Laski knows about America, I  guess. Although The Economist liked the last chapter. Charles Singer's The Earliest Chemical Industry is a book commissioned from the president of the British Society for the Study of the History of Science to commemorate the centenary of Pete Spence and Sons. It is a beautiful and interesting book, although I think the reviewer is a bit baffled by the problem of reviewing it, because he spends a paragraph or two on Singer's discussion of the history of alum (mentioned in an Egyptian document of 1500BC, so occasioning a few pages about Egyptian writing; monopolised by a Pope to fund the war against the Turks, so another few pages about the fall of Byzantium, etc), which is surely a very small detail of a very large subject. A. C. Pigou's The Veil of Money is a good treatment of the theory, but only a "foundation" for understanding how money works. 

American Survey

"Life Insurance and Public Policy" Representative Coller and Senator McCarran want Congress to investigate the life insurance industry for the second time since 1932, because they have immense amounts of money and influence, and in 1948, Federal anti-trust legislation took effect over the business, and no-one is quite sure how that is going to work. Mr. Celler believes that the life insurance companies can "nullify the credit policies of the Government." The rest of the piece is devoted to the business, which in the war years was doing so well that it was having trouble finding investments. The last two years have seen a softening, presumably as people have less money to shove into life insurance payments. 

American Notes

Has anyone mentioned that there's going to be a Presidential
election in only three years? Time to publish some fluff
articles in Fortune and grand stand in the Senate! 
"ECA's Birthday Present" The ECA's next fifteen month authorisation will go ahead soon, but as The Economist goes to press, it looks like its allocation will be cut by 10% as part of Senator Taft's effort to cut government spending so as to not have to raise taxes, which would be bad for the economy at present. Taft's coalition of conservative Republicans and Southern Democrats, "which was cemented during the filibuster fight," has "well-informed and deep-rooted" concerns about the "country's economic health." Cuts in Britain's allocation are deemed especially reasonable, as not only is Britain, Britain, but it is being mean to film producers and is socialistic. Since the Administration has mishandled the Senate fight, it is left to Vandenberg and Alexander Smith to get the upper chamber back on track.

"Fellow Travellers at the Waldorf"   The Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace is deemed a communist-front conference, that the State Department would prefer to have suppressed, but can't due to pesky concerns about the Bill of Rights and so on. Communists and Communist-fronters and Wallace and the National Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions are bad, everyone can agree, but so are the various veterans' organisations and such that picketed against the conference, and Norman Cousins was there to be an anti-totalitarian Trojan Horse within the Trojan Horse, and much fun was had by all. 

"Wall Street and Controls" United States official policy, as dictated by the Federal Reserve Board, has been on the side of tight, anti-inflationary controls, but now, in a statement, Marriner Eccles says that a "recession" has been on for several months. Wall Street has responded with tentative signs of coming out of its swoon at the thought of the FRB switching to a more vigorous policy of credit expansion. 

"First in the Wheat Field" The American wheat harvest will be about 1.25 billion bushels, roughly equal to last year's very large crop, of which 300 million bushels remain in storage. Although the price of wheat has recovered since February, farmers are concerned to keep the floor under wheat prices. With a wheat agreement in the works, a second note goes on, Secretary Brannan will soon have to unveil the Administration's agricultural policy. It will be a return to acreage controls to keep the surplus of corn and cotton from rising to the same levels as that for wheat, and the cost of price subsidies from becoming unbearable. Rules that tie the amount of acreage a farmer can have in production of supported crops to the amount of price support the farm can draw, show promise. In related recession/subsidy news, the railroads' problems have returned, and they want a 13% fee increase, inspiring farmers, loggers and miners to threaten to turn to trucks and barges. The railways are particularly upset by the way that the airlines extracted an $8 million subsidy for air mail, and the maritime industry is pressing for its own subsidies and supports in the national interest.

Shorter Notes discusses the beginning of "gradual decontrol" of rent, at least at the federal level, and whether real estate lobbies will be able to turn it into a "disorderly rout." The coal miners are coming back to work after their two weeks' Memorial Day holiday, instead of striking, and the American Petroleum Institute reports that proved oil reserves increased to 23.3 billion barrels this year, as 1.8 billion were added, more than the amount of oil produced by a large measure.  

The World Overseas

"First Year of the Marshall Plan --I" If  you remember all the way back to the end of 1947, everyone was doomed, the end was nigh, starvation was universal, and no amount of help would help. A year later, everything is fine. It's really quite a wonderful miracle. For example, European steel, which was doomed by lack of full technical efficiency, has been setting production records due to . . . something. Who really knows what? (I have a hunch it wasn't that it abruptly achieved full technical efficiency!) Also, it turns out that with American dollars to pay for American wheat, European countries don't have to starve, after all. And they haven't turned Communist, or Gaullist, or both. 

"Counter-Blockade in Berlin, II: A City in Decline" Hurrying from the melancholy scene of an entire continent declining to decline, The Economist arrives in Berlin, keen to sniff out signs of irremediable crisis only conceivably ameliorated by necessary administrative reforms. And, lo, it is to be discovered. Life in Berlin has grown "shabbier, duller and sadder." Berlin needs coal, and new electrical generating equipment, which will be difficult to fly in, and much better arrangements for exporting its various specialist goods, which are still in wide demand in Bizonia. The airlift has to be "replanned." Industry must move out of Berlin. The "counter-blockade" requires more imagination. It's good to see The Economist expanding its expertise in administrative reform from local government to aircraft loading. Variety is the spice of life!

"Uno and the Backward Areas" As we've already heard, the General Assembly has seized upon Truman's Fourth Point. The Economist is appalled by the vista it perceives of backward countries, ignoring their "relative advantage in agriculture" and embarking on factory chimneys, mass production and high tariffs on manufactured imports. They fail to see that private foreign investment capital will soon give them their factories, and consequently fail to offer adequate interest to attract it. Instead, The Economist foresees a class of peripatetic expert clogging up the airways on their way to teach peasants to operate machinery "that, on the basis of local conditions, they ought not have." American "know-how" will fall on barren ground; ignorance will be bliss; and the antagonism of the Russian bloc will triumph. 

"Third Force Comes First" The Communists and Gaullists failed to win the recent election, which instead went to the Government's Third Force. This is all very discouraging for those who prefer their French in states of excited crisis! But have no fear, because there have been Gaullist gains in the latest round of voting. 

The Business World

"Steel Prices and Plans" The price of steel has been raised by 9% in Britain this week, reflecting significant exchequer losses on maintaining the subsidised price. The Economist acknowledges that it should be in favour of this (apart from the increased costs passed on to export industries like automobiles and shipbuilding), but finds a way to be --I think-- opposed. It moves on to Europe, surveys the steel development plans underway in France and Belgium at American insistence, before alighting on Bizonia, where steel production is currently at 8 million tons. The thought is that German steel production will increase until it is politically throttled at 10.7 million tons, and that by 1952/3, European steel production will balance demand at 140% of 1938 levels. But what if Bizonian production continues to increase, as it has everywhere else with technical progress, and cannot be throttled at 10.7 million tons? What if it hits 170% of 1938 production? Then there will be a steel surplus. The Economist calls for a more "judicious" approach to proposed steel developments. 

Nothing of the sort seems to have eventuated. 
By James Allan, CC BY-SA 2.0,
"Scottish Coal Development" The Economist's view seems to be that the best Scottish coal development is painless death in its sleep. Yes, Scottish coal production must rise from its current 23 million tons a year to its 1930s peak of 30 million. Yes, that will mean extensive development of the Forth coal fields; but, more importantly, we need to focus on closing down the Lanarkshire mines and managing the migration of 5000 miners, and a supporting population of about 8 times this, perhaps 100,000 people in total. Such a thing must be vast and slow, and the miners do not like it, as there are jobs for their families around Glasgow, but not around Fife, where mine wages are also lower. This is why the miners' unions are calling for pumping out the Lanarkshire pits, but there is no question of this. The job of the Coal Board is to produce coal, and the  miners better learn to like their new-planned garden cities of aluminum and steel prefabricated homes.

Business Notes

"The Budget Proposal" The Economist is very reluctantly impressed with a final budget surplus of £367 million, although of course for various reasons it can't go on. Having pressed for "disinflation," it now finds itself opposed to other disinflationary measures such as tax increases (SURPRISE!!!!!), as the current "downard spiral" is quite downwardly spirall-y enough. Some might argue that it is time for anti-disinflationary measures such as not cutting public expenditure, but The Economist has no time for that. The Government has so many tools in hand for arresting the downward spiral that it doesn't even have to use them! It does seem a bit disappointed that there is no tax relief in the budget. (DOUBLE SURPRISE!!!!) Also some more, a huge sinking fund and capital investment controls seems to be leading to an increase in liquidity. Bank balances are up, and The Economist detects a whiff of easy money, which is the kind of anti-downward-spiral it still has no time for. 

"Manpower Policy in Easy Lessons" Overall, the government is quite pleased with the handling of labour. Yes, manpower totals were missed by wide margins in coal, agriculture and textiles, but in all three cases, production targets were hit thanks to rising productivity. The targets, Sir D. Maxwell-Fyfe pointed out, were only the means to the end of hitting the target for production. And what of industries which were to shrink, but which grew? The example of building, which was to fall by 164,000, is examined. It is discovered that getting men out of building tended to put them into unemployment, and that is really not helpful. Also, the 86,000 additional workers in the retail industries turns out to reduce "waiting and worrying," so that's good. The Economist points out sarcastically that, after a day of overtime, textile workers won't have to wait in line at the shop as long, even though they won't be able to buy shirts. 

"The New Development Areas" Merseyside and the Highlands have been added to the development areas, making a total of seven, just as the cuts in capital investment has worsened the general problem that industry tends to flee the development areas, rather than the reverse. 

"Workers' Earnings" Earnings continue to go up. Women continue to be underpaid. 

A roundup of money news features currencies flowing here and there as countries try to get their hands on more dollars, and, to some extend, sterling. A paragraph on how Australian aid for wool exports to dollar countries is being "nipped off" by some mechanism involving Indian exchanges to extract dollars from Australia shows just how complicated it all is. 

The water is down there, the wheat is up here. It's
pretty amazing, when you think about it. 
"Extension of the Freight War" This is a story that matters to us, and you can probably correct The Economist in great deatil. It begins the story of the "freight war" with the  United Netherlands Navigation Company's rate cut on shipping to India, which, if I recall correctly, agrees with what you said. It now sees the war extending to the rivalry between British lines and non-conference lines, where I recall you disagreeing, and moves on to the shrinkage of the Hamburg export, which brought a Danish company fishing for Dutch business, which led to the Dutch cuts, at least, according to The Economist, and the Dutch moving in on conference shipping to India, because, as they saw it, the Danes were being accommodated. Then, since we're all agreed that the German trade is going to improve rapidly, we end with the prospect of a settlement in sight, and everyone wonders why I've bothered to write all of this.  

Also, the arrangement for cotton shipments to Canada is not working out, the Portuguese trade agreement is in trouble over leakage of sterling into the Portuguese trading area, and there is also trouble over rubber. American artificial rubber subsidies remain high due to "national defence" reasons, which limits natural rubber imports into America, which destabilises the natural rubber market and advances communist interests in Malaya. It is thought that the Russians will buy more natural rubber, but building up Eastern bloc strategic rubber reserves is a bad idea in this our twilight struggle. What a mess! In other dollar-replacement news, the Southern Rhodesian government is talking about a 20% export tax on Virginia tobacco to fund various government schemes and equalise farm incomes. Southern Rhodesian tobacco exports have grown from 22 million lbs to an expected 85--100 million lbs in 1950, so it is a booming business, held back mainly by the lack of native labour and domestic food production (you would have to think that the two are linked!). Tobacco exports are "inelastic," because Virginia tobacco exports go into a common pool, so there is not much room to raise consumer prices, but manufacturers would be hit, along with Rhodesian tobacco farmers. The Southern Rhodesian Tobacco Marketing Board has "widely decided to postpone thew new season's auctions" until it is sure that the tax is going to be introduced. 

Shorter Notes promises that the forthcoming White Paper on the National Income will be informative, that the Finance Corporation for Industry will drop a million pounds on John Lysaght's Scunthorpe Works, that the talks on Polish compensation for the nationalisation of British property have stalled, that employers have refused the cotton spinners' demand for a 15% wage increase, and that Sir Charles Davies, chairman of the Building Societies Association, is having a spat with Aneurin Bevan, who said that the Building Societies were "extortionate money lenders." 

Flight, 7 April 1949


"Back to Methuselah" It's the RAF's 30th anniversary. According to my etiquette guide, that means pearls! I like pearls. I can't afford pearls, but I like pearls. Maybe a pearl-hued walk down memory lane? Or two?

"Reliability" The RAF dreams of "sealed service," where a component can just be sealed up and used until it hits its serviceability hours. The recent announcement that the Goblin hit 924 1h 15 minute "combat sequence" "operational cycles" brings that moment closer. Flight and the RAF are pleased to report that, while a high-powered piston engine requires 1324 hours of maintenance hours for 500 hours running, the Goblin requires 13.2! That's good news for everyone who has bought the Goblin, and is a good omen for the Ghost-powered Comet, since the Ghost will probably be comparable. 

"Express Delivery: First BOAC Canadair Arrives Two Months Ahead of Schedule" I have mixed feelings. This is good news for Canada and BOAC, and I sincerely wish them all the best, but I AM NEVER FLYING ACROSS THE ATLANTIC IN A MERLIN-POWERED PLANE AGAIN. To be fair, they do replace other Merlin-powered types, but your chances of getting booked on North Stars is a lot worse than your chances of being booked on Yorks and Lancastrians, because they hardly carried any passengers. The plane was not only early, but over 900lb underweight, compared with an overweight allowance of 950lb, giving 1800lb more cargo capacity. The Merlin 626 has a two-stage supercharger with an intercooler and after-heater heat-exchanger box between the supercharger and the induction manifold. Coolant flowing out of the cylinder blocks is diverted through a matrix surrounding the duct through which the charge flows out of the second stage of the supercharger, maintaining a constant charge temperature of 40 degrees C, to prevent plug fouling in cruising flight. At takeoff boost of 21.5lbs, there is no net cooling, as the charge is already more than hot enough, but as climb continues, the afterheating maintains a steady 1760hp until initial climb is over and the ascent to cruising altitude begins. The noise-reducing "cross-over" exhausts will arrive shortly. The communications set replaces the Marconi T1154/R1155 of the war years with the AD/107-AD/108-AD/7092, with four times the power and superior D/F and communication, and a 3lb weight reduction. A Sperry gyrosyn and electric horizon gyro are installed, while Smiths provides a periscopic sextant, airspeed indicator, time of flight clock and P12 inverted compass. 

"Difoga's Successor" Some Dutchmen have built a model of a pusher two-seat small plane that even has a name: it is the Difoga 471, which, I guess, makes it the successor to the Difoga 470. (421, actually.) They see some potential, because the Promoter, which was based on the 421, didn't do very well, so obviously the massive market waiting for a pusher light plane just didn't like the Promoter, and is waiting for the 471 with bated breath. 

Here and There

The New York Times had an article about the possibility of transferring American piston-engined planes to Europe, which says that Britain is looking at 200 Superfortresses. Canada will spend £310,000 on aerial mapping this year, covering 450,000 square miles. Glenn L. Martin lost $16 million last year, and expects to continue losing money until domestic airlines are in the black, and foreign sales improve thanks to foreigners having dollars again. Sir Lindsay Everard's 70 collection of air mail stamps will be sold at auction by Francis J. Field, Limited. It has almost every air mail stamp ever, because Sir Lindsay was very, very rich, thanks to those "tied public houses" that The Economist was on about last year. The first B-36 with podded J-47s was test flown at the Texas plant this week. The USAF says that B-36s can take off from 41 American airfields and land at over 280.

Civil Aviation News

Swedish Airlines has offered to sell BOAC four Stratocruisers for sterling. BOAC's six Stratocruisers are months behind schedule, and Sweden needs sterling more than it needs Stratocruisers. Sir Francis Brake will succeed Sir John Stephenson as deputy chairman of British South American Airways. BSAA's Tudor IV tankers have flown over a million gallons of aviation gas into Berlin since their contract began in September. Not only are various new services getting more frequent and better, Flight has even more statistics about airlines-related-reaching-for-the-stars, as it publishes BOAC's operating statistics for December. 

"Empire-Builders: Ministry of Civil Aviation to Cost More Than £22 M Million" Which is too much. Because socialists are in charge. Even though the budget has fallen by  £3 1/2 million, and head count has fallen. (From 8,588 to 8,550. A reduction of 38 is quite a lot smaller than the maximum possible reduction of 8,588. Therefore, the Ministry is terrible. In particular, the typing pool is far too large, indicating quite extravagant amounts of typing going on.

P. B. Walker, "Fatigue: An Examination of the Types and Effects of Fatigue in Aircraft Structures: Precis of a Paper Given to the Royal Aeronautical Society on 31 March" Up until now, fatigue has not been a major cause of aircraft loss, but that appears to be changing, and not enough is known about it. Fatigue tests, in particular, are not well reported. The first problem is that, given rising first costs, planes will be expected to serve longer. Second, more flying in bad weather means more weather stresses. Third, stresses are increasingly being distributed through thin sheets, stringers and stiffeners fastened by numerous rivets, and made of light alloys with inferior fatigue qualities.Even worse, it is very hard to calculate even the static loads on these structures. External loads fluctuate. It may be that designers will have to rethink their move away from steel, and towards "extreme monocoque" structures instead of massive spars. Further investigation of gluing metal, instead of rivets, was warranted.

Don't try to read these summaries before breakfast. Tl;dr: It has lots of wheels,
so they can be smaller. 
"Stratojet Undercarriage: Tandem Main Wheels Simplify Stowage in American Jet Bomber" The B-47  has a unique undercarriage, which allows for easier stowage and design of the swept-back wings. So far, the B-47 hasn't skidded off the runway, and it has a parachute brake and eighteen built-in RATOs for liftoff, so you don't have to worry about wheel brakes, at least until the rockets are lit. Memo to pilots: Do not attempt to abort takeoff after the rockets are lit.

"Air Horse: Design Analysis of the Largest and Heaviest Helicopters in the World" The Air Horse is a development of Cierva's first helicopter. Cierva initially put two rotors on because helicopters otherwise tend to rotate in the opposite direction of the rotor, which is bad. The third rotor was added because two rotor designs pitch. They were joined up with a skeleton rig, and when it was realised just how much you could lift with this, they put hooks on the girders; only it was just as easy to do a monocoque, and now the Air Horse has internal storage, too. All of this was so attractive that Cierva's engineers charged forward to solve all sorts of other problems. For example, using a Merlin in a central position, even a single Merlin, raises cooling problems. So the Air Horse has a cooling tower at the front to scoop up air, and a variable-pitch fan to drive the cooling air flow through the radiator. Which is good, because not just the engine, but even the exhaust manifolds are prone to overheating! In spite of having three rotors, the Air Horse still needs rudders. At this point it is traditional to describe the transmission that carries the power of a single engine to three rotors that have to give about the same torque with the usual pitch-changing, inclination changing arrangements. The whole is so tortuously complicated that Flight has to call out Caroline Bailey-Watson to explain it. I won't bother you with the clutches and pinions and bearings and universal joints and rotor gearboxes and hubs and reduction gearings (at both ends) and splines and epicyclic trains and planet pinions and sun-wheels and planet carriers and taper-roll bearings needle roller bearings and flapping links and the oleo-pneumatic snubber unit and universal joints and torque shaft and swing-links and spindles and pitch-change drop-arms and swashplates, because even if I did, I wouldn't even have touched on the "hydraulic powered-control system and the inter-rotor control distribution for flight manoeuvre," which will follow in another article, next week.
The Air Horse, in all its ludicrously over-engineered glory.  

"Test Instrumentation: Automatic Observation and How it Functions" A Flight Observer for Blackburn and General Aircraft explains that planes go so fast these days that you can't keep up with manual note-taking, so automatic observation instruments use cine cameras to record dial readings as they go. There's a suspicious amount of suspicion in the write-up, with heavy emphasis on how the instruments can be used to show that the test pilot really did the tests that they were supposed to do. That doesn't make me any happier about the idea of flying on the Hastings or the Stratoliner, thank you very much!

Another agenda for the Anglo-American Conference on the Aeronautical Sciences is out.

Squadron Leader H. R. Brunn, "An RAF Postscript: Thoughts of a Long-service Engineer Office on Morale and Recruiting" Ground crew don't think that they are respected enough.

"Maintenance at a Minimum: D.H. Goblin Completes a Second 500-Hour Test Run" Everyone at de Havilland is pleased as punch. This isn't a 1000 hour run, though. The flame tubes and the static-blade assembly (damaged by fragments from disintegrated flame tubes) were replaced, and the second 500 hour run was interrupted at 200h to replace . . . the flame tubes. 

"Stratocruiser Here: Pan American's Flying Cloud Comes to London Airport" Originally intending a direct Gander-London crossing, Flying Cloud encountered adverse winds and had to refuel at Shannon after a seven hour crossing. Once in regular service, 11h crossings Heathrow-Idlewild are expected. That's the first "Heathrow" I've seen in a year. So British aviation is making progress on the long and difficult road that will, eventually, lead to only having one name for a thing. Forty Pan-Am personnel were crammed aboard in the futile hope that the usual new-plane-mysterious-crash would lead to promotions for all, As Reggie says. (Reggie is expecting Johnson's axe to fall on naval patrol aviation. I don't know if he's shared his concerns with you, but it has him up at night.)

"All Wyverns were withdrawn from service by 1958:
while in service and testing there were 68 accidents,
39 were lost and there were 13 fatalities;including
two RAF pilots and one 
United States Navy pilot."
Shorter news announces the existence of a turboprop powered version of the Westland Wyvern strike fighter, which will have an Armstrong Siddeley Python, currently announced at 4100shp. No more is known about its stablemate, the W.35, with a Rolls-Royce Clyde.


Simon Warrender explains that all sorts of former navy pilots would join flying clubs if someone else would pay for their hats. DMP writes to explain how the Stratocruiser has grown into a 135,000lb auw aircraft. Alex Thorne writes to say that the Bomber Command reunion wasn't closed early, and there were some "glass-breakers" in Albert Hall after 11pm, which is why the reunion committee is dealing with  a bill for over £100 in damages. James Hembrow wants the King's Cup race revived, and E. Chamberlain protests that atom bombs haven't made the proposed 600mph bomber useless, because you don't blow up bridges "behind enemy forces" with atom bombs. No, but wouldn't you blow up "enemy forces" with atom bombs?

The Economist, 9 April 1949


"Paying the Piper" The Economist is enormously pleased by the new budget, and especially the way that the Labour back benches are up in arms over it. Specifically, there is no cut in the purchase tax, but there is an increase in the depreciation allowance and an end to "Dr. Dalton's nonsensical bonus duty," which makes it a "Tory budget," according to one backbencher, which has more to do with the cut in the food subsidy, which The Economist barely touches on. It is distressed that next year's surplus will be so much smaller than this year's colossal one, but it is hard to project the rate of inflation that will determine it, so The Economist is more worried that the Chancellor isn't launching right into his implicitly promised effort to save the nation from the "slow strangulation of 40% taxation."

"End of a Beginning" That's the signing of the Atlantic Pact, which ends America's isolationism, and promises Europe "eventual liberation" in the event of a Soviet conquest, rather than effective defence.  That would be the next step --if it comes.

"History of Punishment" The Economist recently read and enjoyed "Mr. Radzinowicz's A History of English Criminal Law.  (My advanced powers of research have determined that Mr. Radzinowicz was born with a first name, which is "Leon.") It leads The Economist on to meditate on the fact that, even though the number of statutes carrying the death penalty expanded massively during the Eighteenth Century, executions did not rise accordingly because juries refused to convict. This seems to prove something to The Economist that makes it worthwhile to read all 800 pages.

"The Kravchenko Lawsuit" M. Kravchenko is the Bolshevik emigre who published I Chose Freedom. Les Lettres francaise alleged that the book was lies, and ghost-written at that. M. Kravchenko sued. The judgement, "on the whole," is a vindication.  Since The Economist has been ignoring a story that has ignited the French press for weeks, it has quite a bit of very exciting testimony to review, and quite a few digs to get in at Communists and fellow travellers, but for it, it all comes around to the disgraceful Russian treatment of the Neumanns.

Notes of the Week

"The New Food Policy" The food subsidy, which has risen from £265 million in 1945--6 to £568 million this year, clearly had to be cut off. The budget restricts the subsidy to £465 million by letting the price of meat, cheese, butter and margarine rise, with an increased cost, per adult ration book, of 4d a week. The resulting 2 point increase in the cost of living will increase next year as subsidies fall further, or prices rise higher. Related is a cut in the meat ration (due to the spat with Argentina), which, combined with the rising price, will make everyone very upset. The Economist tries not to rub its hands and chortle, contenting itself with a half-hearted jab at Ireland for not exporting  meat.

"Straw without Bricks" Back when achieving full technical efficiency was very important business for grownups, Henry Tizard was sent off to have a committee and make a report. He has now delivered his report to a world where productivity has been rising so inconveniently that we are on the verge of worrying about a steel surplus. The results strike The Economist as ludicrous. It singles out a chapter by an anatomist that concludes that since rabbits eat about 20 million pounds of herbage a year, their immediate extermination would yield --The Economist going on to point out that we are already exterminating them, in the form of rabbit stew. "The Committee needs to pause for a while from the commissioning of surveys and reports to reflect upon the impossibility of separating scientific from economic and social decisions, if 'productivity' is not to join a number of other flabby propaganda words in the mental limbo of the ordinary citizen."

Queen Juliana transfers sovereignty to the  United States of Indonesia, 27
December 1949.
"The Assembly Re-opens" The Economist is disappointed in advance by the current session of the General Assembly, which, it determines, will let Israel in, and otherwise do nothing about such pressing issues as Indonesia. Also, we are upset that, between the opposed East Bloc and western powers, only "neutral" powers are reaching the International Court of Justice. Like Israel.

"After Tito --Kostov" Traycho Kostov has been arrested in Bulgaria for being a suspected Titoist.

"National Parks Debate" The Economist explains why the National Parks Act is a bad idea. (Some bureaucrat might do a bad thing.)

"Demography at the Cross-Roads" The British birth rate has fallen, as has the death rate. The Economist takes a victory lap. Having argued against the idea that there was some kind of "baby boom" going on since at least 1943, it has finally been  vindicated by a fall that is just a bit more significant than the one in 1945 --the last time, I suppose, that it could have made the same claim--. It confidently predicts that the British population will begin to decline again later in 1949. Interestingly, the Registrar General's statistics for the first time allow marriages to be plotted against deaths, and the rise in marriages in the post WWII versus the post-WWI era presumably reflects full employment now, slump then. It is possible, The Economist concedes, that, due to continuing full employment, the birth rate will continue to hold over the dead low rate of the 1930s, which can now be seen, it thinks, as "postponement" rather than a permanent reduction, "just as the surplus of the mid-Forties represented a draft on the future." With cheery enthusiasm, The Economist goes on to spell out the future of the 1950s and 1960s --a rising burden of "dependency" as more children and more elderly press on a declining productive population thanks to the drop in births during the 1930s, while the 6% reduction in women of childbearing age implies even greater decline in the more distant future.

I can't say that I'm 100% convinced that you should use a single year's data to predict the future out to 1980, but what do I know?

"The End in China" The Communists are winning; Chinese Communists might not like Russian Communists; General Chiang is still in charge.

"Backdoor for Spain?" General Franco, who is not and never was a Fascist, is willing to be friends with the West, who are not-Fascists just like him, including Labour, which is definitely not-Fascist, but also rather pink, which he doesn't like. So, really, Franco is making quite the political concession here! He thinks, and Mr. Bevin seems to agree, that Spain should be in the Atlantic Pact. After all, it has an Atlantic coast! Since Franco is by agreement no worse than your average East Bloc dictator, it is suggested that when Dr. Salazar (who is definitely not a Fascist) brings Portugal into the Western Alliance, he can invite Spain to all the Western Alliance parties, and it will be as though Spain is a member.

"French-Italian Customs Union" French Italian snore union is more like it! France gets Italian migrant workers, Italy gets French capital goods. The tricky part will be stabilising the currency exchange rate.

Massively online courses will save us all!
"Mining Output" "When so much criticism has been levelled at the British miner, it is refreshing to find that alone of all European miners, he is now exactly back to his prewar level of output per shift." Criticism of the British miner? Now that you mention it, I do recall something like that. Now, where did I see it, hmm? I feel like I should remember this. Was it in a magazine I read? Perhaps one printed on tissue paper? The Economist draws the obvious conclusion that something is terribly wrong with the European miner and that therefore coal output and coal exports and, in general, the economic health of the European continent is hopelessly doomed, and it is probably the British Coal Board's fault, somehow.

"Syrian Coup d'Etat" Colonel Hosni el Zaim, a Kurd, has overthrown the Syrian government and replaced rule by a financier with rule by a soldier. This is because the Syrian economy is in terrible shape because of the war, and that he will be unable to persuade the Syrian public that "the road to salvation is uphill all the way." Also, Afghanistan has been encouraging Pathan separatists in Pakistan's northwestern frontier province. This is bad, and they should stop, because the people up there are armed wildmen like the Fakir of Ip, and obviously if the Muslim states of the Indus basin get into it with each other, the Russians will be there in no time.

"Consumer Versus Technician" As you know, too many products from too many small firms is practically the first sin of British business (right after competition-stifling cartels). Last week, Herbert Morrison was at a conference of the Institute of Management (Management is a good thing) to talk about this, which you might think would be quite tricky, what with planning and export mandates and all. But not a bit of it! The problem will be cleared up right away by consumer choice, if things are just left to the consumer! Shorter Notes acknowledges that the French government is secure through 1951 thanks to winning the election. Two whole years without "France on the brink!" articles! Hurrah!

From The Economist of 1849 The Economist was reading in the papers about the "great trial at Norwich" and Sarah Hariette Thomas, and also a nice article in the Eclectic Review that says that if crime is increasing in spite of all these death sentences, perhaps it is time for a Science of Moral Diseases to replace hanging.

The American Survey

"The Readjustment Proceeds" A "business readjustment" is going on, we can all agree. Whether we'll end up calling it a "disinflation, slump, deflation, depression or some other name is still uncertain." Although considering that it's The Economist we're talking about, we can be sure that it is wrong, adn that everyone has already settled on "recession." Unemployment is up to 3.25 million,or 5%, from last year's 1.75 million. Wholesale prices have come down from 165% of the 1928 index to 158%. Long term interest rates are down from 2 7/8% to 2 1/4%. The stock market is "motionless." The harvest exceeds demand, so the price support obligation will be heavy, unless some very hungerypeople can be found, somewhere. Commodities are down. So are old house prices, and exports, while inventories are up. Personal savings are increasing, consumption dropping. The Economist hopes that demand will be stimulated by getting rid of controls and regulations, and not higher defence spending.

"Price-tag on the Dream Home" The American office holds up The Economist's standards by taking a wander through a few subjects (the public housing bill; the small number of homes built as rental units) before alighting on the main one, which is that the real problem is that Americans want far too much from their  homes, which is why they are too expensive. For example, electric light, indoor plumbing and central heating, which seem silly. Insulation, "unknown except at the top price range a generation ago," gets a pass, as it is economical. Venetian blinds are quite unreasonable, and so are large amounts of closet space; but most unreasonably expensive of all is all of those shining instruments that women want in their dream kitchen. A stove and a refrigerator and a dish washer and an electric washing machine and dryer and an ironer and a deep freeze and a "streamlined" sink and a "built-in unit for refuse disposal."

More sensibly, the President and Congress recognise that cheaper homes are needed, presumably with wringers and a good old cast-iron stove, but since they plan to raise the minimum wage, THEY RE BLUNDERING. Building trade wages will go up, because they are attached to the minimum wage like the deck to the keel; Taft-Hartley will make sure that deck and keel are extra-fastened. The only saviour is the innovator who brings cheap construction methods. Burned by the steel-and-aluminum house, the New York office recoils upon a new front, the nice new blocks of flats springingup in blighted areas of town.  Plywood and laminated wood, light weight steel structural members, gypsum, fibre board, wire mesh, asbestos tiles, aluminum sheets, new forms of glass andplastics, new paints and finishes. Welding will replace rivetting, and power tools, the handscraftsman. Ditch diggers! Trucks! Electric saws! Cranes, planers, pipe cutters, sanders! Standardised wood sections! Modular coordination! Unified systems of dimensions!

Will it be enough? Perhaps, combined with a recession that sends the inefficient and the incompetent to the wall, and an end to Government action that launched housing into an easy credit boom. Isn't that the opposite of helping? Perhaps Mr. and Mrs. America will have to rent instead of buying. Perhaps house prices will come down slowly in the future.

Oh. I get it. Someone at the  The Economist's New York office is having trouble finding tenants.

American Notes

"ERP Makes Slow Headway" After a week-long bitching session, Vandenberg put the Taft (and even harsher) Wherry amendments to a vote, and the Senate knocked them down by a wide margin. Too bad, so sad, Senator Lion of the Senate. No-one actually wants to cut the ERA because it is working. With that in mind, Senator Brewster's amendment to get the Dutch out of Indonesia by cutting their ERA money is going forward, because it looks like it will work. The next battle will be over China. The "usual circles" (that's you, Mr. Luce) want to dump so much money on China that only a  made-in-Connecticut umbrella can save the Gitmo, with the commies all dying of breathing greenbacks. Everyone who is not a missionary man thinks this is insane, so the question is giving Asia a conscience-soothing amount of money that doesn't flow back into America via a faucet in Palo Alto. Harold Stassen has come up with a "MacArthur Plan" that sends $2 billion to anywhere in Asia that promises to be not-Communist. This is great because it has "MacArthur" in it, and because every dollar spent in Japan, Korea and the Hundred Kingdoms will not be spent on New York real estate, which is expensive enough already. At least, it will be spent on New York real estate by people who aren't Koumintang.
After his 1965 release, Beck moved
into the basement of a house he built
for his mother and sister in the 1940s
and became a millionaire by investing
in parking lots, no Hoffa jokes, please.
He died in 1993 at the age of 99.

"Congress Eyes the Hoover Report" "Mr. Hoover, his job accomplished, has gone fishing, but his lieutenants will remain on the job." Exactly. Speaking of towering figures, the next note is about David Beck, of the Teamsters, who is trying out towering just as the ex-President tries ducking. I hope not literally!

Oregon's loss, UBC's gain. 
"Communists on the Campus" More and more state universities are trying to kick Communist teachers out, leaving private universities as their last refuge, ironically. It's outrageous, but hard to argue with cases like the Oregon school that expelled a geneticist who was propagating Lysenkoism.

Surprisingly, The Economist does disagree, seeing this as "taking a sledge-hammer to a nut." What does bother me is the University of Washington case, which essentially turned up six professors who were communists or fellow travellers, spanked the wrists of three, kept two (who were then fired by the President and Board), and one who was fired for being unsatisfactory for other reasons. Allowing communist affiliation to be cover for nebulous other reasons (which might included being Jewish), is bad enough, but now Dewey is shepherding a bill through the New York legislature that would extend the cover of bad faith to simply being a member of an alleged fellow-travelling organisation. Shorter Notes covers the New York taxi strike, which is endlessly fascinating to New Yorkers, and cuts in the voluntary steel priority allocations, because railcar builders and domestic heating have enough steel. Bad news for the President's steel plan!


I. O. N. Perkins writes that, while taxes are high, there is no reason to think that, say, 25% is the maximum before civilisation collapses, as recent correspondent, Colin Clark, writes. After all, taxes hold down inflation, and at least some people realise that their taxes actually pay for something worth getting. Laurence Wilkinson explains that holding the price of gold at $35/oz while American production doubles, is putting a huge strain on the world financial system, and that a fifty percent reduction in the world price for gold (by raising the price in dollars/oz) would have all sorts of salutary effects. However, he also concedes that devaluing world currencies in dollar terms would have the same effect, and wouldn't stoke American inflation.  Edward Nevin patiently explains why American Catholics are not a foreign fifth column of papist theocratic anti-communist totalitarians. A. J. Gurney talks with his higher-waged employees and feels the need to remind everyone that the income tax is progressive, and that you do not pay income tax at 9s to the pound!

The World Overseas

"First Year of the Marshall Plan --II" Everything is fine now (except for Bizonia exporting too much and not importing enough), so it is important to appreciate that everything wouldn't have been fine had the ERP not passed, and that things will get terrible again if they are cut. Although British, Belgian, Dutch and Swedish dollar deficits have fallen, British exports are showing signs of glut, Belgium cannot continue increasing its exports, Holland is doomed unless Indonesia gets back to earning dollars, and Sweden is doomed because Canada is moving into its wood pulp business. Norway is doomed, period.

"Political Economics in Argentina" Argentina's inflation is making the country more miserable as it struggles to find more exports to export. The Economist sees the cause of this inflation as the government's "easy money" policy of granting loans for capital expansion, especially under the Five Year Plan, which has not been accompanied by an increase in the national wealth. There follows a much more optimistic article about Jamaica. I think it sometimes comes down to the question of whether you have investments in a country or are trying to buy its chilled meat for cheap.

English Electric "nitially specialised in industrial electric motors and transformersrailway locomotives and traction equipmentdiesel motors and steam turbines. Its activities were later expanded to include consumer electronics, nuclear reactors, guided missilesmilitary aircraft and mainframe computers." By Mike Freer - Touchdown-aviation - Gallery page, GFDL 1.2,

The Business World

"The Budget Analysed" The Economist works through the figures to show that the "true revenue" surplus of £492 million, while £192 million less than last year, is actually only  £137 million less in disinflationary effect, and, given the impending recession, is a reasonable, as well as politically advisable reduction. It is quite pleased with the tax changes, which we already knew, and makes the interesting point that the cut in the sales tax on beer might be seen as a corrective for the fall in beer sales in favour of bottled wines in the last three months. Increasing the duty on telephone calls is intended to "quash" the rising demand for telephone services. Getting rid of Dalton's tax on share bonus payments is, of course, just part of dealing with Hugh Dalton's terrible, terrible class warfare on the rich. (As I interpret it.)

"The National Income" Well! Having said something nice, it is time to bring the reader back to Earth by showing that national income hasn't risen nearly enough since 1938, rising cost of living taken into account, for Britain to buy nice things again. While I don't disagree, I have to say that reading The Economist arguing with the Board of Trade's weird and wonderful construings of the numbers to come up with a "national income" at all, is a bit off-putting. The Economist takes it for granted that it is bad news that wages are rising higher than non-wages and has

an explanation in advance for why the rise in trading profits doesn't mean that capital is benefitting at the expense of labour. There's also the usual hand wringing about how higher consumption is financed by lower savings. This will lead to lower investments, at which point The Economist launches into an attempt to discover how, and comes up with one number that is almost £500 million and another that is £400 million, and concludes that these are "tolerably close," as opposed to, "I have no idea what I am talking about." Which could also be true! But, of course, if it knows what it is talking about then, it turns out that, would you believe it, taxes on capital are too high! We can't measure personal savings, says the White Paper, but, if we could, we would know they are going down.

Business Notes

The City is determined to reward the Chancellor for the budget with everything short of prosperity. Britain's gold reserve is rising. South Africa is founding a national financing corporation for industrial expansion. Various businessmen say that nationalisation is not a good thing and will not lead to full technical efficiency. Remember that story about how rubber exports to the United States earn dollars, but are threatened by American synthetic rubber production, which is subsidised for supposedly strategic reasons? Well, if you don't, here it is again! Also repeating, that story about falling commodity prices, this time Egyptian cotton and lead. There's also a note about the Freight War, where Indian lines have joined the Dutch to demand a larger share of the India trade, negotiations about clearing Bizonia's prewar, frozen sterling balance, the breakdown of talks about shipping rates for Baltic timber imports, and arguments between industry and the Board of Trade about how much wool there has to be in wool cloth.

Write Gostol for a free brochure. Also good for
Two "full technical efficiency stories:" First, L. H. C. Tippett is back from America, where he gets the impression that American cotton mills are falling back from the lead they once had, while the pottery industry has invested a million pounds on buildings and machinery since the war, aiming to hit an export target of £1.4 million a month by the end of 1949, with 12% of it going to America. In spite of problems getting steel, re-equipment has "not been unsatisfactory," with "100 continuous tunnel ovens" installed since the war, although some think that intermittent kilns give better quality control, and are more cost efficient when the price of fuel and the actual feasibility of long production runs is taken into account.

France's latest bond issue, a 5% offered at an effective 7%, has been well received. Gold shares are up, the Legislative Council of Northern Rhodesia has made it clear that it wants to tax the royalties of British South African somehow, and the solution might be the sale of the company's mineral rights to the government of Northern Rhodesia, as happened in Southern Rhodesia in 1932[huge subject start here?]. The upshot of the decision to open a dollar backdoor via silver has had the obvious consequence of creating a £30 million glut of silver coin in Britain as the Royal Mint issues new coin to cover that "so inexplicably absorbed in 1948." In other words, there is a glut of  issues, but not of coin in hand.

Flight, 14 April 1949


Flight is pleased to announce that Princess Elizabeth is the new Grand Master of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators of the British Empire. Three cheers pip-pip jolly good show by Jupiter what, Cholmondeley-Featherstonehaugh-St. James-Hornblower!

"Air Sailors" Flight goes the extra nautical mile to find an even sillier follow-up. The Fleet Air Arm loses the "A" on its cuffs.

"Beating the Bomber" Recent tests have shown that Meteors (and American jet fighters) can intercept B-29s at altitude with collision courses, but American Aviation objects that setting such a course requires spotting the oncoming B-29 at ranges beyond visual limits at the 40,000ft cruising altitude of the B-36, at which speed and altitude the B-36, with its enormous wings, can actually out-turn a jet fighter. Flight is not impressed, because the Vampire and Meteor are "well known" to have better high altitude handling than American jet fighters, and it seems to think that loaning the Americans some Vampires would soon show the weaknesses of the case.

H. F. King, "Fighter Requirements: Performance: Handling: Armament:Tactics:Function" Since Miss Bailey-Watson explained the Air Horse last week, this time it is Harold King's turn to write the same article he has been writing since at least the fall of 1939. You can see why Harold has an MBE, and Caroline doesn't. Harold is a man, and . . . That is all.

P. 1 and 2: The Meteor and Vampire are jet fighters. The Meteor is faster. The Vampire has better handling. Some Vampires flew across the Atlantic once. The Lockheed P-80 is also  a fighter. Here are some not very-good pictures. Page 3: The F-84 and F-86 are also fighters. The F-86 has swept wings. The F-86 is the fastest fighter of all. No-one knows anything about Russian jet fighters, but we assume that the Yak-16 and the twin-jet MiG are inferior to the Vampire and Meteor. Sometimes, fighters have to fly at night. There are atom bombs now. Fighters need to shoot down bombers with atom bombs. Those bombers might try to go fast, or be very high. Jet fighters will have to climb very fast to catch them. Jet fighters should not have high wing loadings. Page 4. After-burning will make fighters faster. Some US Navy fighters have afterburning. The XF-91 has rockets, too. British jet fighters are better at high altitude than American. Unfortunately, catching bombers means first finding, and jet fighters will probably end up whizzing right by the bombers, "There they go!" Right now, the solution for this is for the radar station to telephone the jet fighter pilot and tell him where the bombers are while he is sitting on the ground, waiting to take off. This is not likely to actually work. Page 5. Perhaps someone will, like the Germans, build specialised high-altitude reconnaissance planes. They will be even harder to catch! Fighters need to shoot bombers a lot. The British like 4 20mm cannons for shooting bombers a lot. The USAAF liked six .50 calibre machine guns so much that they are reluctant to change, even though this battery isn't very good at shooting bombers a lot. The USN is more sensible, and is buying a 0.6cal weapon, which is more of a difference than it sounds because of the square-cube law. The Russians used to have guns in the war. Probably, they still have the same guns. The Germans tried out giant guns and rockets. Page 6: Gunsights are important, too. Fighter jets could probably use armour on their turbines. Jet night fighters are a good idea. Perhaps the Meteor 7 will be adapted as one. The F-89 is even better, because it is an all-weather fighter. (Cake plus eating it!) Perhaps there will be a two-seat F-80 for night fighting. Perhaps jet fighters that are not night fighters will carry radars soon to shoot bombers in the dark(ish, I guess, if they are not night fighters.) Perhaps someone will find a way of building long-range jet fighters that will escort jet bombers. Some people say that the XF-88 can do that. Some people say that jet bombers might try to penetrate at low levels, and that turboprop fighters will be the best answer to that.
Meanwhile, in California, someone is boring a dry hole.

MBEs all around!

Here and There

South Africa is buying Marconi glide-path guidance beam approach installations for two airports. The Ministry of Supply is sponsoring a conference to "revive" interest in industrial turbines. The USAAF is officially cancelling its order of 43 Boeing B-54s in favour of buying more B-36s and B-47s. I feel quite vindicated for not trying harder to explain the VDT turbine! The Short flying boats used in the Berlin Airlift last year will not be returning to service when the ice breaks on Havel Lake because flying boats are stupid. "[C]ost and organisation are not justified by the tonnage carried."

Civil Aviation News

ICAO's Airworthiness Division had an Airworthiness Conference in Montreal where it was agreed that there should be a code of airworthiness. "Dib-Dib-Dib! I solemnly swear to bear all weights at the c.g., to avoid excessive structural loadings, to land at a reasonable g load, to avoid flutter, swing, ground-looping . . . "  Several old Imperial Airways men are going to have a party and remember Imperial. Other old people are invited. Sir Miles Thomas, the new head of BOAC, said nice things about flying boats the other day. Perhaps the Solents will be kept on the Cape run when the Hastings come on, if there are enough passengers. (Because while passengers love flying boats, they don't actually sign up to fly on them.) Various services are getting more frequent, more efficient, and more better.

"Air Horse, Part Two: A Further Examination of the Largest and Heaviest Helicopter in the World: Control Features" A very long and detailed look at how moving the Air Horse's control yoke turns the Air Horse via changing the rotational aspects of the rotor, which, as you might guess from last week, involves hideously complicated interactions that require a PhD in transmissionology to even begin to understand.

"Royal Occasion: Princess Elizabeth Installed as Grand Master of GAPAN"

Modern Ercoupes get rid of the "'Fool-proof' two-control system
because few people like it enough to sacrifice performance. 
Maurice Smith, "Ercoupe in the Air: Renewing Acquaintance with a Two-control 'Foolproof' Light Aircraft: Investigations at Farnborough" Smith went out to the Aerodynamics Flight at Farnborough, which has a collection that includes the Vampire, Mosquitoes, the DH108, a Fieseler Storch --and an Ercoupe. The reason for that is that its "unconventional controls . . . remain[s] . . . an ingenious and advanced design and an outstanding contribution towards flying for all."  Smith continues to like the controls and think them as safe and fool-proof as advertised, but is less impressed with navigational features like view.

"Pointing the Way to Safety" Air Commodore Brown, the Chief Inspector of Accidents, gave a lecture to the R.Ae.S. the other Thursday. His main point is that fires are not inevitable, and so anti-fire measures aren't actually futile. He recommends proper cockpit drill to reduce carburetor icing and foolproof control lock devices.

"Double-Decked Clipper: Pan-American Demonstrate the First Boeing Stratocruiser in this Country" £375,000 buys a lot of airplane! It is big and heavy, will get heavier, has a galley that can serve three hot meals to 75 passengers during a twelve-hour flight, and has turbo-blowers, even though Boeing would have preferred mechanical.


J. R. Gould writes to say that runways don't have to keep on getting longer if catapults were just installed to launch airliners into the sky at a few, gentle "gs," just the thing for Granny's visit to the Old Country! "Naviator" thinks that amphibians are just the thing for commercial operation, just so long as they are suitable for that particular commercial operation. Hmm. There's no letter from Simon Warrender this issue, and at first I was worried and thought that Flight should go round his digs and knock him up (Britishisms are hilarious!), but now I am thinking that perhaps he has a pseudonym!

E. A. Elders, of the Scottish Division of the Ministry of Civil Aviation tries to inject some gravity by explaining how and why Turnhouse airport near Edinbugh isn't abandoned now that BEA no longer stops there. Too late, Mr. Elders!


Business Roundup

Fortune heads the news of the slump by talking about the "end of full employment." You've heard the various numbers, but in a full page on the story, what springs out at me, at least, is Uncle Henry's problems in Detroit, some wild swings at unions, and an explanation of the fact that Negroes are the first to be fired in "Chicago and the other big cities" is being used as a supposedly "pat" example of "racial discrimination," when in reality it shows that "where wage rates are held inflexible, the marginal worker --often the Negro-- is sure to suffer." Fortune takes a moment to gloat about the ruin of the Fair Deal, which supposedly is all about the economy, it says, before immediately turning to the Senate filibuster fight, which is about the slump, how? The next two pages are devoted to John Lewis acting to cut coal production by sending his workers out on a two-week "fishing" holiday, which of course gives Fortune a chance to joke about Hoover's fishing holiday. I wish I were famous enough that the story I cooked up to cover a trip to meet blackmailers made The Economist and Fortune! Moving on, Fortune takes a quick cross-country trip to discover businessmen opposed to the minimum wage increase in Detroit and Alabama; and oilmen who are afraid of foreign imports ruining their business.

The cold winter hasn't just ruined the orange crop. It has Coloradans sour about how their state is missing out on the "westward move," and the Northwest worried about spring flooding when the ice on the Columbia goes, and browned off about brownouts. More trouble here for Uncle Henry, as while power is short for everyone else, the aluminum industry is getting 48% of the Bonneville and Grand Coulee output at two mills a kilowatt-hour against three from the TVA and even more from a private power company.  The thought is that tax-free, federally-funded expansion of hydroelectric power is crippling the expansion of private power and "openly encouraged municipalities and Public Utility Districts to take over the distribution of power." Also, there will be too much wheat in the spring, so Fortune comes out for easy money and takes another kick at the Fair Deal's anti-inflationary tax increases before using Belgium's talk of more private industry in steel (as it angles for a $16 million loan from the ERA) as evidence that someone in Europe is turning against controls and master plans. Fortune also spares a harrumphing for the roundup of Civil Aviation Board subsidies for the airline industry; which, I note, includes paying the airlines back the cost of grounding the DC-6 fleet! I suppose that in fairness Douglas should pay, but, if it did, it would go belly up, so it must be the Feds' job.

Lincoln is quite pleased with its adjustable turntable recordplayer that will play "all sizes and speeds of records," starting at $250. General Shoe of Nashville is trying to bring the "street boot" back in the spring. General Aniline and Film has a Librascope Tristimulus Integrator that can tell the difference between 100 million shades, Mohawk Business Machines Corporation's Telemagnet will automatically lift the receiver and play a phonograph record telling the caller to leave a message with the Tele-Magnet (which must also have a recording machine? Not a very good explanation, Fortune!) Altec Lansing has the world's smallest radio microphone, the Long Island Rail has gone bankrupt, Sears is going to put a Sears store in every key city in South America, Milwaukee's Joe Shlitz Brewing has bought a brewery in Brooklyn.

Fortune's Wheel 

Fortune wants us to know that its Hollywood story in this issue is the result of long investigation, and not talking to stars. This week's artist, Mitchell Jamieson, was brought up from Virginia to see the Connecticut sights for extra authenticity for the story on the New Haven line. R.. W. Gifford, Chairman of Borg-Warner, writes a long letter explaining that the Marshall Plan is doing it wrong, although he doesn't do a very good job of explaining why. Fred W. Mellis went to Scotland, and wasn't impressed by Loch Lomond, and thinks that the story about there being a hydroelectric work on the lake must be pulling his leg.

 "Two-Billon Dollar Failure in Japan" You'll have heard elsewhere that there are rumblings of discontent with SCAP's handling of the Japanese economy. The industrial recovery in Japan, we are told, is a massive failure, with economic activity at 30% of prewar levels. "The Japanese face a future uniquely bleak in a bleakish world; five, ten or more years of sacrifice and gruelling work. The American taxpayer must prepare himself for an indefinite period of vast appropriations, hoping that some day a democratised, economically healthy and pacific Japan will be established."

Having pushed into the third page of the article, and marvelled at many, many excellent photographs, I have to stop and recapitulate that, to this point, the entire substance of the criticism, apart from the already quoted "30%" is that the Japanese merchant marine isn't making ocean sailings yet --but also isn't allowed to! And the 30% is wrong! It was a 32.5% low, back in 1946. The number is now 53%. This means, Fortune points out that 80 million are living on half of what "60" million scraped by on in "the Depression years." Except that the reference year is 1941. By applying a little known, highly-advanced research tool called The Encyclopedia Britannica, I discover that Japan's population reached 60 million in 1925, which is, 1941 minus 1925, carry the two, minus the four, take the square root of the negative sine of the algorithm is --sixteen years before 1941!

Finally, four and a half pages in, we reach numbers. Rayon production is 15% of 1937. Steel production, targeted at 3.5 million tons, was only 18% of that in 1947, 34% of it in 1948. Now, to the mind untutored in math, an increase from 650,000 tons to 1.2 million in a single year might seem like a lot; but it is, in fact, the very definition of "stagnating." Tax collection is similarly stagnating, with 90 billion collected of 133.9 billion assessed  1947, and collections stagnating to 78% of the assessment last year. Some workers stop working when they  have earned 50,000 yen  because their taxes are too high, Fortune has heard. Foreign exports are only 10% of 1938 levels, and Fortune has heard that a backlog of unsold textiles are building up. Uncertainty is stopping business; bureaucracy is lethargic; politicians are corrupt. All facts that are perhaps true, but not exactly quantifiable! Also, SCAP bureaucrats are a bunch of coddled and entitled want-to-be nabobs living in cherry-scented comfort and dreaming of the services of "eighty million obedient slaves."

It is true, and quantifiable, that there is no official yen-dollar exchange rate yet, and that a plan to transfer 75 Liberty ships to the Japanese flag was "scuttled" by the shipping interests, so there's that.

In a similar vein, an article follows denouncing the "Misuse of the ECA" as an American pump primer, with pressure from American producers to substitute American grain for Canadian and American tobacco for Turkish. You know what else would be considered using your privileged position to exert unwarranted influence? An "article" that is essentially a reply to a rude letter from the National Association of Retail Druggists, who were, in turn, upset by a Fortune article about "fair trade." Basically, there is disagreement about rules restricting who can sell "certain lucrative merchandise" and about who can call themselves "druggists."

"History is Catching Up with 'Union Now': Has the Time Come to Call a Constitutional Convention?" Just as I was starting to wonder about whether this month's editorial job was handed over to a drunken monkey, along comes an article about Clarence K. Streit's twenty year struggle to create a United States of Rich Countries. (He says "fifteen advanced democracies surrounding the Atlantic basin," but makes up a good share of his fifteen with Australia and New Zealand, presumably on the grounds that they are nice countries where English is spoken.) Anyway, extending the wonders of the American constitution to these other countries where government isn't sufficiently limited would also bring about peace and create a country that produces most of the world's steel, and who wouldn't want that? 

"Wall Street Doesn't Sell Stocks" I think Fortune actually cares about this notion that Wall Street brokers aren't doing a good enough job to promote stock ownership, because it keeps coming up. I won't waste your time over it, but it does keep coming up.

John Scott, "Interview with a Russian D.P.: 'Why Don't You Use the Greatest Enemy Communism has --the Russian People?'" Remember how Fortune was going to focus more narrowly on business from now on? The good old days! Anyway, a fellow  named Vladimir Petrovich Petrovski, who lives in a DP camp near Munich with four thousand other Russian, Ukrainian, Kalmuck and other DPs who won't go back to Russia, calls himself "Sabyk-Vogulov," is a religious fanatic, and is spending his time regaling American journalists with stories of his past and pleas for financial support to circulate pamphlets in the Eastern Bloc. 

"The Waltham Mess" Fortune disapproves of the $5 million RFC loan to save the Waltham Watch Company, and, even more, the thought of tariffs on Swiss watches. It is all the fault of the American Watch Workers Union, and not the Governor of Massachusetts, the mayors of Waltham and Elgin, the new Governor of Massachusetts, and a Pennsylvania delegation from the home of the Hamilton Watch Company. It is probably also the President's fault in advance, and it is also the fault of Waltham, which isn't very well run. One man who didn't run it well was Frederic C. Dumaine, the businessman who just took over the New Haven Line, so this is something of a taste of what's to come in that article.

"Capture of the New Haven" As I just suggested, Fortune isn't very happy with Fred Dumaine and the New Haven Line. But it loved Jamison's portfolio of beautiful New England cityscapes.

Even if Acheson weren't Luce's type, which he is,
Luce would still suck his cock in a second
to save China. 
"Secretary Acheson" I'm just going to hand the summary of this article over to Uncle George, in private, with you, because there is no way that this young lady is going to use the description of this article that Uncle George provided.

"Hollywood: The End of an Era?" Fortune's headlining investigation into the purported end of the big studio era and the possibly permanent and crippling fall in box office. On the other hand, Eric Johnston says that there's no problem at all.

They are nice pictures.
"Low-Flight Landscape" If I were paying for my subscription, I'd be a bit cheesed by now. Pictures are nice, but this is a business magazine. The whole point of the editorial change last year was to focus on business more. We lost half the back pages, and what do we get? A pictorial article about a photographer who takes aerial pictures! 

Henry won't touch that. 
It's one thing to fawn over Secretary Acheson, who is Luce's ideal of a dapper, suit-wearing man (even if Henry will make an exception for a well-worn leather jacket a time or two). It's another to faun over --shudder-- Robert Taft. But if Taft is going to be the 1952 nominee, and, in the meantime, is going to be lioning the Senate like a Lion of the Senate, then Fortune pretty much has to publish his platform two years in advance, which is what this is.

"New Finish For Old Fibres: The Synthetic Textile Resins Point up Once More the Industry's Need for Basic Research" Over the last decade, the consumer has seen new finishes giving enhanced properties of moth or mildew resistance, water repellency, "etc." they are designed to make wool washable, cotton wrinkle resistant, viscose rayon both wrinkle and moisture resistant. And yet, in spite of one announcement after another, Vinyon, Saran, Fortisan, Orlon and so on take up only 1% of the market, compared with 69% for cotton, 17% for rayon, 10% for wool. The potential is shown by mercerisation, which has been applied to "uncounted billions of yards" of cotton, but also the problem. Chemists still aren't sure how mercerisation works. A series of photomicrographs taken by American Cyanamid, shows the changes wrought by various new, laboratory-created finishes, with an eye to understanding how they work.

If you're wondering how a whole industry comes to exist without American chemists knowing how the chemistry works, it turns out that someone forgot to tell the Brits about full technical efficiency, and these finishes were developed in merry old England. Tootal Broadhurst's wrinkle resistant cotton finally appeared in America in 1939 under the "Tebilized" trademark, but spread slowly for reasons that obviously had nothing to do with a lack of inventiveness in the American industry and bald-faced attempts to get around the British patent, since Americans love innovation almost as much as they love private property, freedom, small government and personal responsibility. (There's a whole article about this just before this one, by one Robert Taft, a self-made businessman and tribune of the people from Ohio.)  To make an article out of it, there is a brief discussion of moisture-proofing rayon and preliminary work with "coating" wool at Monsanto, but this basically seems to be an article about American firms cracking the Tootal Broadhurst patent. 

Books and Ideas

"Light on a Hot Subject" is a featured review of Fritz Machlup's The Basing-Point System, which is a dismantling of the arguments for the practice of cartels of producers entering into agreements to ensure that their products are delivered at identical prices in identical regions.

Naum Jasny's Socialised Agriculture in the USSR lays out the case that collectivised agriculture in the Soviet Union is an economic failure. Henry May's Protestant Churches and Industrial America is a "fascinating record" of a time when The Congregationalist could editorialise about railway strikers that "Bring on then the troops --the armed police-- in overwhelming numbers . . . .let there be no folling with blank cartridges. But let the mob know, everywhere, that for it to stand one moment after it has been ordered by proper authorities to disperse, will be shot down in its tracks . . . " (Fortune thinks that's awful, as you would expect, although after this issue I feel the need to clarify.)

The Pollsters is Lindsay Rogers' very timely look at the firms in charge of public opinion. "Pollsters not only don't know what they are trying to measure, but couldn't measure it if they knew." Fortune thinks that, while it is timely and interesting, Rogers' conclusions are superficial. Edward Embree's Timid Billions is a treatment of the way that modern charitable foundations are too timid in the way they distribute cash, while Lord Beveridge's Voluntary Action is a defence of voluntary action in the modern, socialistic society. 

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