Friday, April 24, 2020

Postblogging Technology, January 1950, II: Isolate and Sterilise

R_. C_.,

Dear Father:

As I'm stationed at the edge of the world, no gossip this time round! Except, well, you may not have heard that Sarah has come down with diphtheria just at the end of the incubation period, extending Ronnie's quarantine.  It's still a bit uncertain what's going to happen to her magazines. The books will be saved, but the magazines are cheap enough to burn? Doesn't seem like the way to stop a plague ot me, but what do I know?

The mood here in Formosa is febrile, with all eyes on Hainan Island. The crossing to Hainan is much less of a challenge to the Communists than the Strait of Formosa, but, in the end, the outcome of the fight would seem to come down more to defections on the Koumintang side than the strength of the Communists, which has everyone eyeing everyone else suspiciously. I find that my Mandarin has more of a Hakka lilt than I ever expected, which gives me a bit of an in with the old revolutionary crowd. I try to be discrete, given that a follower of Dr. Sun might turn out to be a followed of the Soongs. But the point is, I'm hearing more rumours and gossip than  you'd believe. Basically, everyone is talking to the Reds --according to everyone else.

I'm almost tempted to list everyone I've heard denounced. That way, when the Communists come, I'll be able to say, "I told you so," no matter whose sector they land in.   

Your Loving Son,

Time, 16 January 1949


Andrei Vishinsky tipping hotel porters proves that he's terrible, say two correspondents, leaving even Time thinking that's a bit too anti-communist.  Several writers felt the strangest, warm feelings in their hearts when they read the Christmas story about the Salvation Army. Two correspondents point out that modern churches designed with modern architecture are ugly and awful, much like modern architecture. Freda Kirchwey, editor and publisher of The Nation, doesn't like the way Time talks about it. If L. M. Collins likes Frank C. Baxter so much, why doesn't L. M. Collins marry Frank C. Baxter? Our publisher doesn't want anyone thinking Time was trying to scoop anyone when it broke the news that the Joint Chiefs were sending a military mission to Formosa, which was so too news. Why, when Time first heard the rumour, it phoned Robert Sherrod, who saw Omar Bradley headed for a meeting with Dean Acheson in a civilian suit, and Louis Johnson was in the office, too! If that wasn't proof enough, then Sherrod heard a rumour, too. And that's how Time came to report that the JCS had reversed themselves and weren't sending a mission to Formosa, after all.

Wait a minute . . .

National Affairs

"With Rancour Towards None" The President gave a nice State of the Union address,except the part where he kept talking about doing the things that he wants to do, like repeal Taft-Hartley, because that stuff has no place in a State of the Union Address. It's kind of like blaming the deficit on the 80th Congress' tax cut. The Russian ambassador, who was there, looked very perplexed. On account of Russia being a dictatorship, you see. Dumb old ambassadors don't get that America is a democracy, where you can criticise the President! It's only criticising the GOP that ain't on, like when he suggested that life in America in 2000AD would be very nice if there were national medical insurance and Taft Hartley repeal and the Brannan Plan, and perhaps not so nice if the Republicans got their way. That kind of stuff has no place in a State of the Union Address.

Also, the President's plan to reach a $300 billion national income in 1954 (compared with $249 billion in 1948), with lots more steel plants and the like, is, first, the President poaching the GOP's platform, and, second, a repudiation of the New Deal, which used to think that America was fully invested. Also, it is in danger because of the 18% decline in business investment in 1949, which Truman thinks is a black mark, and wants to address with tax reforms maybe. While Time likes the sound of that, it is dubious about government being a "partner," and even more dubious about the idea that rising national income means rising tax revenues that will eliminate the deficit without budget cuts. The fact that the projected 1952 national debt is $263.8 billion "worries the President hardly at all."

A little closer to home, the President's defence budget envisions an army of 1.5 million men, with reserves of 900,000 in ten Army divisions and 48 antiaircraft battalions; 238 Navy combat ships and 414 other vessels; 48 Air Force groups and 13 separate squadrons with 8800 planes; and 2300 new planes, procured with $2.1 billion. The rest of the government will cost $12.5 billion, and Truman proposes $50 million for housing, and $320 million for education.
It goes on for another page
"Leaks and Gossips" As part of the State of the Union address, the President very clearly said that there were no plans to send troops to Formosa, establish bases there, or provide military aid to the Koumintang there. So it's important to realise that many persons within the Administration are eager to do just that and that they are all being held back by the President and possibly others and all the leaks that Time is reporting reflect a groundswell of pro-Koumintang opinion. Why, Herbert Hoover is in favour of supporting the Koumintang, and so is Senator Taft; and if a one-term ex-President and the Senate Minority leader can't overrule the President, why do we even bother having a Constitution? Clearly the only reason that the British are recognising the Reds is that they are socialists on the US taxpayer's dime, and the sooner they are cut off, the better, says the isolationists in Congress, and even though they are wrong, they are right.

"Echoes of 1949" It's been a long, long month since it was 1949. Let's remember those distant days when Admiral Bogan was writing angry letters about low Navy moral. Well, now he's stuck on land commanding the Fleet Air at Jacksonville. Leland Olds, refused a third term at the Federal Power Commission because he's some kind of pinko commie who supports hydroelectric dams, instead of making electricity the way God intended, by burning coal, is back on the Federal payroll at the Water Resources Policy Commission, which is terrible.

The Wiki biography is worth a read if you'd ever had
the impression that the dirtbag Left was a new thing.
Not that Reggie was showing much self-awareness here.
The rest of National Affairs is mostly the cover story, which goes to Senator Paul Howard Douglas of Illinois, who is a very liberal new Senator from Illinois in such a way that he is opposed to national health insurance, Taft-Hartley repeal and aid for housing. It's not that he's against them. He's for them! Only not the way that the President and/or Congress are doing them!

"The Choice" "Without public debate, indeed with almost no public awareness of the problem, a big and awesome decision,once postponed, was soon to be made." That's how Time introduces the decision to build a hydrogen bomb, which might be announced by the President as early as this week. I think everyone's a bit perplexed by how we arrived at it. A "hydrogen" bomb is like an atom bomb, in that it releases energy by breaking atomic bonds, which contain much more energy than the chemical bonds broken in conventional bombs. This phrasing is a bit simplistic, in that what an atom bomb does is hit a uranium atom with a neutron, causing it to break up  into one atom of a barium isotope and one krypton isotope, plus three very energetic neutrons. Since each neutron can then fission another uranium atom, you get a chain reaction. The fission process releases 200 million electron volts, which are the confusing units that atom scientists use to measure energy, before they scale them up to get "kilotons" of TNT-equivalent. So you can talk about this in terms of the breaking of the bonds that join the protons and neutrons of the atomic nucleus, but you can also talk about it as the conversion of mass into energy, per Einstein's mass-energy equivalence, since the barium plus krypton plus three neutrons weighs less than the original uranium plus neutron, so some of the mass has been converted into energy. But the mass and the energy locked up in the atomic bond are more-or-less the same thing, although explaining that requires me to talk about subatomic particles and the nuclear forces, and you probably don't want that, especially since there's loads of mystery math involved. The subatomic realm doesn't play well with freshman math.

Official CTBTO Photostream - "Ivy Mike" atmospheric nuclear test -
November 1952, CC BY 2.0,
Ahem. So, anyway, that's how atom bombs work. Which you knew. But maybe someone who is reading this doesn't! The hydrogen bomb, instead, works by colliding two hydrogen atoms so hard that they fuse. Once again, the result is less than the sum of the parts, and the loss is manifest in terms of a few million electron volts of energy, in the form of very, very high frequency X-rays. The trick is that while uranium-235 will fission spontaneously, you have to heat the holy heck out of hydrogen atoms to make them fuse --just how much depending on which isotope of hydrogen you use, although I notice the article doesn't say anything about that. Hopefully the Russkies won't to think to look up tables of atomic binding energy, and this will set them back a few years. Time explains that the only source of energy that can do that is an atom bomb. So you need an atom bomb to set off a hydrogen bomb! Practically, this would produce enough heat and light and radiation to cover ten times the area as an atom bomb, which makes a hydrogen bomb much more economical than an atom bomb. You can either blow up more communists with it, or miss by that much more, or (and here the thought is a bit muddled) get around counter-weapons, which have to stop ten times as many hydrogen bombs to stop as much explosion as if they were stopping atom bombs. Although because of the square cube law, covering ten times as much area requires much more than ten times as much explosive.

"Law of God" Bringing us up to date on Dr. Sander, the mercy killer, who this week was charged with murder. Ernest Hooton thinks that's wrong, while the Archbishop of Boston is fine with it, because God is against murder, and for the death penalty. Speaking of what God is for, Oklahoma preacher Bill Alexander is going to run for the Senate against Elmer Thomas, but only because God told him too.  In New York, Hiss' team called a (very publicity-hungry) psychiatrist to testify that Whittaker Chambers was probably nutsy-cuckoo, near as science can tell from reading his Time articles. Tom Murphy was about to tear into that when trial was called for the weekend due to a juror calling in sick.

"Death Before Dawn" Whilst America's natural leaders are arguing about who is more psychopathic than who, and which papers in a hollowed-out pumpkin were typed with what and where, the Mercy Hospital in Davenport, Iowa, became this year's victim of a Christmas-time fire because of lack of sprinklers and the inmates being locked in their rooms.   Because that's what happens to Americans who are actually crazy.


"Between Friends" The British have recognised the Reds, just because they run the country, and just as they said they were going to do. Which is awful. The British were very embarrassed, and Ambassador Cheng Tien-hsi was urbane, scholarly and very Confucian. It is "What Russia Prayed For." But the US is probably right to be opposed to recognition, because it has Western allies Cuba and Ecaudor on its side.

"Bombs for Britain" The British have proposed that, if America gives them some atom bombs, they'll stop trying to make their own.

"Niet Bang Voor Werk" Holland is overpopulated due to being so small and having the highest birth rate and lowest death rate in Europe. The population has doubled to 10 million in fifty years, there's not  hardly room for them, and too many rules and regulations, and when the army comes back from Indonesia, all 10,000 of them, there won't be any jobs, either. Therefore, 13,000 of them are off to Australia, which isn't half fair considering that they had their chance back in New Holland days, and didn't jump to it then. But it's not as cold as Canada, and, like the slogan says, the Dutch aren't afraid of hard work, so they'll probably make a wallaby of a toomawoomba, as they say in Australia.

"Astounded and Shocked" Japanese Communists are fighting.

"Election Time" Britain goes to the polls 25 February. Also, Time has some nice pictures of Moscow, John Betjeman made a funny in the Daily Herald, and prisoners in the Russian camps sing songs, just like prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, because they are pretty much the same thing.

Foreign News

 Finland and Russia are having a spat, but it isn't much of one, because the Russians have noticed that every time they get upset, Finnish voters vote against whatever they're for, and vice versa. Also, Greece is going to have an election now that the war is over, and a Spanish duke won't let his daughter marry a matador because he is but a commoner.  A story from France has murder, so it tops this. And from the "where are they now" file, Jiddu Krishnamurti is in trouble for "alienation of affections."

In Latin America, the alleged Dominican plot to invade Haiti is in the news again, William Cowgill thinks he can triple Guatemalan coffee production with new methods, Mexico City's taxi drivers are on strike, and Allan Lamport has led a successful referendum in Toronto the Good against the Lord's Day Alliance and in favour of the Sunday Sports Committee.

In conclusion, Latins exciting, Canadians boring. Because there's nothing more boring than a theocracy devoted to preventing people from playing football on Sunday.


"Red into Black" The Committee for Economic Development has looked at the federal budget and concluded that it would be easy as pie to balance, just a cut here, a cut there.

"Squaring the Circle" Hallicrafters has made the first rectangular picture tube, which allows the whole screen to be utilised, and saves on cabinet space. In honour of the triumph, Time gives the company a very short profile. Also a story, more of one for the domestic sort, the price of eggs has fallen and the supply is sky high, and everyone who likes eggs is happy, and the Amana Cooperative gets the same story all over again. And Walter Gifford, departing the presidency of ATT after 25 years, also gets a profile. (Which means that he was president of the company for longer than it took him to reach the position.) Less short-lived is Sewell Avery's latest vice-president, fired for "non-compliance with company rules and policies."

"The Brush Man" The Fuller Brush Company's sales parties are the coming thing.

"Bitter Cherry" Last year, the British Colonial Development Corporation asked for a $100 million loan from the World Bank to buy tractors and bulldozers in Canada and the United States for assorted colonial development, which was to be just the "first bite of the cherry." Last week, the CDC came back with a request for details, leading the CDC to call the whole thing off.

By Lglswe - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.
"$1000 Car" If it comes off, it will be the Nash-Experimental-International, or NXI, a two-seat convertible using many cheap, foreign parts.

Technically, a review of

Science, Medicine, Education

"Synthetic Mica" That's mica as in the insulator, and not the stuff they make countertops out of. Well, it's the same thing, but the synthetic is to replace the strategic import as an insulating material. It required crucibles lined with platinum, which is a bit expensive, but the scientists hope to reuse it. Also, Irving Langmuir retires this year and the Audubon Society's annual owl count gets a story.

"The Drinkers" Dr. Robert Seliger of the Neuropsychiatric Institute of Baltimore has discovered that alcoholism is a national scourge, and that the country should continue to disapprove of day drinking. And where one dubious psychiatrist has blazed a path, another shall follow, as Chicago's Robert McMurry explains that labour-management disputes are transferrals of conflicts with parental figures. For which sort of insights he receives a $125 hour retainers from the auto industry.

"Progress Report" Both The Lancet and The Journal of the AMA have half century retrospectives out. They are agreed that there has been vast progress over the last fifty years, but can't agree on what. The AMA thinks there has been vast progress in surgery, The Lancet does not. The difference here is that The Lancet is more impressed with antibiotic drugs and improvements in anesthetics, which explain the surgeries that are done only now, or better, than in 1900; and moreover their further improvement means that surgery will be less important in the future.

"Matter of Principle" When Professor Ralph Hutchinson of Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, was offered a $140,000 trust fund, on the stipulation that none of the revenue from the fund be spent on Jews or Catholics, he decided to accept it, because money talks. Everyone else thought differently, and, this week, the trustees, led by Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, decided to give the money back. Would-be benefactor Frederick Dumont ('89) will have to find some other way to subsidise hate. Which you wouldn't think would be that hard in this sublunary world of ours. (Hat tip to my beloved for both the word and the translation.) Also, Friends Central School has published a guide on how to be a good parent (and that's that, taken care of!), And Professor Clara McMahon of Johns Hopkins has analysed an Oxford University "Dear Alumnus" letter and found it much more effective than the typical American request for a new football stadium or library wing.

Art, Press, Radio-Television, People

The Met is having yet another modern art exhibition, which inspires some kind of parody article (I think) about how six-year-old Hiroshi Nishida's one man show in Tokyo reflects his declining powers, on account of modern art being like what a three year-old can produce, and now he draws straight lines and stuff. Also, because he is Japanese, Time prints what it thinks is a Japanese poem. And a national painting contest mainly produced landscapes.

The New York Sun has been bought by the World-Telegram and will be folded into same. Which story, because it is something that happened in New York, requires three pages to tell, or roughly twelve times as much page as the death of The London Strand.   Also, this week, The Economist explained that the problem with the American press is that there's just too much of it, because newsprint is too cheap over there, so they fill pages with all kinds of blither-blather. And since it's January, there's another scandal over a Coloured man getting railroaded in a Southern court, with, this time, two reporters being charged for slandering the alleged victim by reporting on the railroading.

Ford is sponsoring five more TV shows on top of the Ford Theatre Hour and the Kay Kyser Show. 

Henry Hooper thinks that television is great. Eleanor Roosevelt thinks that the idea of a woman President is ridiculous.  Robert Taft in his new, horn-rimmed glasses is the same old gothic horror. (I paraphrase.) Lisa Kirk is being sued for $40,000/year in support by her estranged mother. Winthrop Rockefeller has divorced his coal miner's daughter, Faye Emerson has dropped Elliott Roosevelt, also Myrna Loy and Frank Sinatra, while the Aga Khan has flown back to India to introduce his 85,000 followers to Rita Hayworth, and Ed Crump is in trouble for trying to crash the press box at the Rose Bowl parade. Philips Lord is also getting divorced, while Monty Banks, Tess Gardella, Robert E Ringling, George Palmer Putnam, Isaiah Bowman and Wilmott Harsant Lewis have died, instead, just for variety.

The New Pictures Once again, the section is technically New Picture, because there is just one review, of John Wayne's Sands of Iwo Jima, which Time likes, and, in a repeating pattern, leads to a very short profile of John Wayne. This could easily have been about two pictures, because Cinema takes us back to The Bicycle Thief, although mostly to discuss the star's recent problems with being laid off at the factory and not being able to get work since.


Anthony West's The Vintage is in the middlebrow slot. He is Rebecca West's son, and the book is a fantasy about a British colonel being tortured after death over, and by his guilt for prosecuting Nazi war criminals On the other hand, Daphne du Maurier's latest is about some people having an affair, but the structure is interesting. Louise Hall Thorp's The Peabody Sisters of Salem is a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, so there's that. And for those who like "postwar novels with homosexual themes," there's New Directions XI, which is a collection of postwar short stories with homosexual themes. And also experimental writing.

Aviation Week, 16 January 1949

Industry Observer reports that an Aeromatic constant speed prop with "Strato-Cruise" control has been approved for the Lycoming GO-435, a geared 260hp targeted at the Ryan Super Navion. Vickers-Armstrong denies that it is working on a four-engine turbojet with swept wings, which serves as confirmation that it has shelved the VC-4 and probably withdrawn from the four-jet bomber that was the counterpart of the transport.
In terms of pure reporting, Aviation Week is a terrible paper. 

Air Material Command is running a 150 hour accelerated services test to get the new B-50 variant int service faster, and the new skis for the Northrop YC-125B assault transport will be the largest aircraft skis ever. The RB-36's snap-open bomb bays will open or close in 2 seconds. The Percival Prince has been certified for worldwide operations, Thai-Asiatic Airlines will buy six Scandia transports, the Navy is transferring 82 Martin AM-1s to the reserves to standardise on the speedier Douglas AD series, and the Air Force and Navy are this close to standardising propeller requirements, and will probably be done before propellers become obsolete.

News Digest reports that Admiral Forrest Sherman's confirmation as CNO will be pushed back to 19 January because Senator Knowland wants an inquiry into the ouster of Louis Denfeld. One way of looking at aircraft shipped in December is that they weighed 2.3 million lbs, but don't worry, they're having the cottage cheese cup for lunch. Pan American is sending twenty mechanics to London to centralise Constellation maintenance.

"Ask $2.2 Billion for Planes" Aviation Week's campaign for a new English language continues. The story is that although the budgets for new aircraft have been cut, holdovers of unspent money from this year means that the total "ask" goes up, to 2152 aircraft from 2018. In other services news, the XF-91 has completed phase one of flight tests. On the civilian side, the CAA and CAB budgets are up, with supplements, to cover more money for navigational aids. There's also money for airports, Alaska, Washington National, and technical development. The NACA budget request is $77 million, up a full $14 million from last year, mostly to cover new building at various labs.

"USAF, B-36 Are Cleared Formally" It's official. Everything is above board and the planes are fine. Fine. Senator Vinson says so.

"Douglas Counts on Turboprop: Its Application to Present Airframes is the Answer: Jet Transport Projects Are Still on the Drawing Board" I've explained several times why I think that turboprop installations on current planes are not the answer. I also think that the noises out of the American airline builders are fishing for a subsidy for an American jetliner. As for why that sort of thing is needed, look no further than the General Service Administration dumping $200 million in spare part on the market. How can you compete with the DC-3 (mostly) with this going on?

Aeronautical Engineering has "Causes and Control of Powerplant Surge" Turbojet surge is mostly due to air flow speeding up, and there are so many places where that can happen compared with auto engines --where it's not like surges aren't a problem-- that you'd need a book to get it all down. instead of a book, R. B. Pearce of North American's Aerophysics Laboratory has a couple of pages, so he tries to start out with a general theory of stability in the compressor-diffusor system and offers a species of thermodynamic state diagram that he calls the "dynamic characteristic slope" as a way of analysing stable states, in the hopes that it will be used in many other areas of aerodynamics, making him rich and famous. Or at least as famous as an aerodynamicist is likely to be.

"New Heat Instrument" A new device called the bolometer is intended to "measure the sun's heat energy before it enters and is affected by the earth's atmosphere," in order to measure the insulating qualities of the atmosphere. It's relevant to firing rockets through the upper atmosphere, since we don't really know what is going on up there at a given time, and rockets go really, really fast.

"Convertaplane Prototype Tested" I don't know if they've paid Aviation Week off, or, more likely, the guys at Gyrodyne America are friends with the publisher. Either way, this is the latest story about that station wagon that flies on double helicopter rotors.

"Factors in Gas Turbine Blade production" In a national emergency, there would probably be a requirement for 20,000 gas turbine engines, of which three-quarters would be axial-flow compressors, which would require about 25 million compressor and stator vanes, two million blades, and 1 and a half million nozzle vanes. Manufacturing would have to  use very efficient techniques. Forging, to hitherto unprecedented tolerances, has been the standard method up to now, but uses heavy equipment and lots of dies. Lost wax casting, which uses materials such as Vitallium, which cannot possibly be forged or machined, is more expensive than forging and is not well suited to hollow parts, and doesn't allow the same grain or dimensional control as forging. Machining has the best control, but has problems with warping and deflection, and is more expensive. Finally, fabricating is cheap and easy, but produces cheap and easy parts. Nevertheless, it would be the way to go in a national emergency, as the Germans already proved. Although here, just like everywhere else, there are powder metallurgy enthusiasts promising miracles. "To date more than 500,000 axial-flow compressor stator vanes have been made by this process for a current production jet engine. Test work on the use of powder metal for compressor rotor blades is now under way." Rolling is proving successful with compressor blades. Mercasting is an improved version of lost-wax casting.

New Aviation Products reports on a Kennametal disk file, a new tool steel from Allegheny Ludlum Steel, Executone has a sound-proof booth for shops. Parker Appliance's 75-psi gate for an aircraft fuel system has an ad elsewhere in the paper, and a very long story in the feature.

Production reports that the TG-190 axial-flow engine, the civilian version of the GE J-47, will be certified for commercial plane use with a 5000lb static thrust. Boeing says that it will need several million dollars to expand their Seattle plant if they get the B-52 contract.
Contributed by Lt. Cmdr Robert Freitag

On the commercial side, the CAA is still fighting the Pan-Am/AOA merger, TWA has gone to it with its plan to fly Holy Year pilgrims, Seaboard Air wants to run a non-subsidised Atlantic freight route, American Airlines' William Littlewood is extremely unimpressed by the "non-standard" jet proposals from American builders, and Pan Am is furloughing 146 pilots as seasonal traffic falls. Florida Airlines blames unreliability in its 525hp Continentals on the Beech D-18C transport for its "inactivation." Beech complains that while the make is popular, it can't scare up interest in resale of the Continental type in the face of the Pratt and Whitney version. An Italian airline is the latest to buy DC-6s.

William Strohmeier has a letter about his stall warning system, so just like every issue. This time, it's about the first fatal crash of a plane with the system, concluding that this sort of thing is normal. S. H. Collier writes that small air lines need more care.

Time, 23 January 1949

This is different. The cover story is "Mark III: Can Man Build a Superman?" At least the profile can skip its football days at Annapolis. Unless it can play football. But, then, it's a Harvard machine, so it won't be able to play football well. 


Winston Churchill turns out to be a very controversial choice for Man of the Half Century. An adequate selection of criticisms of the old Tory, plaintive appeals for Roosevelt, angry denunciations of Roosevelt, and letters agreeing with the choice, pretty much fill up the whole column. Our publisher writes about what Time learned when it followed up on its charter lifetime subscribers from 1929. They seem pretty pleased with their subscriptions.
Died at 72 of cirrhosis. For them as like their scandal.
(I know I have a weakness for it.)

National Affairs

Now that America doesn't recognise the government in Peking, the government in Peking has seized the US Embassy. Time, and "ponderous, portly W. Walton Butterworth, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs" are upset.

"The Defence Rests" Since everyone has been bugging him about his Asian foreign policy, Dean Acheson has released one. He thinks that the Communists have a point about the whole poverty thing, but are wrong, and so must be resisted, which is why America will defend the Aleutians, Japan, Okinawa and the Philippines. Formosa is clearly left out. For Korea, we are only "responsible," Time makes sure to notice. America will help non-Communist countries, but only help. The rest is up to them. He also laid out "five principles of foreign aid," and left enough column space for a bonus denunciation of his Formosa policy. Or maybe that was editorial. Either way, since we haven't heard that Senator Taft is against it since last week, we were overdue to be told again! If Senator Taft and Time would like to come over and liaise with the mosquitoes and bed bugs for me, they're welcome! (To be fair, the commandant is beside himself about the bed bugs, and is fumigating everything in sight. I almost regret mentioning them.)

"Nice Work" The President has had a very nice and relaxing week, which is the big news. The annual Secret Service report on Presidential death threats says that they received 1,925 this year. This is about a quarter as many as FDR used to get. Wallace was right! And Ford is building a special Presidential Lincoln with gold trim and running boards, but not bullet proof, as the Special Service prefers to have the zip to get out of trouble. Meanwhile, Congress had to hear from the usual lot of Prohibitionists.

General Arnold gets a nice obituary.  A one-page feature story on New York architecture should be really, really interesting to the other old guys at Time headquarters. (New buildings are "faceless warrens.") The NLRB won't reverse the ridiculous certification vote at Charroin Manufacturing. The latest conspiracy theory is that all of Taft's Democratic challengers have dropped out to guarantee that Taft will be the nominee in '52. since he's the one guy that Truman thinks he's guaranteed to beat. The Hiss trial is back in session, giving the prosecuter a chance to tear Blithering Binger  a new hole down where the sun don't shine, and Jimmy Byrne has popped up to run to be Senator (D. Third Reich).

"Shooter's Choice"  A story from Mississippi seems to be based on a rejected Erskine Caldwell novel. It would be funny if it didn't involve three Coloured children being gunned down and a prison trustee who balances a full time career as a small-time criminal outside jail with a part-time one as brutal thug inside. Which doesn't exactly put the Mississippi correctional system in the best light.

Manners and Morals reports on a trial of a fire-extinguishing bomb which didn't, leaving panicking spectators fleeing a burning barn in, of course, South Carolina, and Nick Drujinenko, illegitimate son of a White Russian and an Englishman, who has been crossing and recrossing the Pacific on the President Line, because he is not allowed to emigrate to the United States or re-enter China.


The United Nations had some exciting drama when T. F. Tsiang came up as president of the Security Council, leading to Russia cutting him dead. At the end of it all, the Russians formalised a walkout from all UN agencies and committees until such time as the Reds are recognised as the official government of China in place of the Koumintang Formosa rump. (I guess you could also make a case for the far west rump, but since no-one can track them down and get them to New York, it's a moot point. Everyone sure is lucky that the Panchen Lama decided to make nice with the Reds!) The Commonwealth conference in Ceylon has agreed that, while the Communists are advancing on the grounds of a shortage of bread, they have to be resisted by a surplus of bayonets. Also, blah blah Reds bad some more.

Policies and Principles reports that Ambassador-at-Large Philip Jessup told the Koreans to stop whining and to reform their monetary system, the British are upset at their blue tits, which are going wild this winter, that Honolulu pearl farmers have taken up dosing their oysters with anesthetics, and that, after Bubi, the Vienna circus elephant, went mad and turned on its trainer, its meat was served at Rudolf Scheiner's restaurant, because that is how the Viennese are.

"Culture from America?" That's what the British are talking about, when they are not talking about blue tits tearing cottage walls apart because the British can't put out coconut meat for them, as they normally do. Hopefully, the dollar crisis will relent and there will be coconut meat again soon, because stuck-up British people talking about American culture is a million times worse than mad songbirds bursting through your plaster.

"Slow Starter"  There isn't actually any new news about the British election, except that a group of British tourists are stranded in Stockholm because they've spent all of the money they were allowed to take out of Britain, and they will probably vote Tory. That doesn't mean that you can't have a headline that insinuates that Clement Atlee is some kind of middle-aged mother's boy.

"Off Shivering Sand" The sinking of HMS Truculent in the Thames after a collision with a Swedish tanker had a happier end than some of these stories, in that 15 of 79 survived. Almost all seem to have made the ascent from the submarine, grounded in 42ft of water, but were swept out by the tide. Doing its best to help, the RAF crashed a Lancaster carrying divers, adding 5 to the death toll.

Summing up six years of Time's Latin American coverage with one picture
From Germany, no official word on the results of talks between Adenauer and Schuman over the future of the Saar, while Hamburg is the gayest town in all Germany, which isn't hard. In Italy, a violent strike in Modena has led to six Communists gunned down, because the riot police didn't have water hoses or something. The struck factory rehired everybody at the end of the week, including 30 previously blackballed Communists. Time disapproves. It's much more fun to tell the story of two Italian towns feuding over the ownership of a bronze cannon that some strange old man gave one of the towns many years ago. And in South Africa, Malan has had to slow down his racial programme, because Finance Minister Christian Havenga is worred about foreign financial pressure and commands the votes of one of the smaller parties in the government.  Premier Malan would prefer it if the rest of the world would stop interfering.

In this hemisphere, the incomprehensible politics of Bolivia roll on, driven by devaluation, which has priced their tin out of the market. Costa Rica is doing its best to be promoted from the "exciting" section of Hemisphere to the boring one.  Venezuela is not. A knife fight in Managua over the virtue of Hedy Lamarr kills two, a man is nearly killed in a Mexican cathedral for trying to chip off a piece of a relic, and an embezzling scandal damages the reputation of Panair of Brazil. Canada, having just settled a routes dispute between Trans-Canadian and Colonial, is in trouble again over  its share of wheat exports.


Before we actually talk about business, here's yet another business-sponsored research group determining that the Federal budget really ought to be balanced, and here's how.

The IATA's new glossary of air jargon is really silly. The Fouga Cyclone is a "jet powered glider," by which is meant a light private jet plane with a Fouga engine that can actually go somewhere because it is designed to glide most of the distance. Time's coverage of the CAB hearings on the Pan American/AOA merger have nothing new to say.

"Cocktails for Two" Harvard Business Review's Abraham Imberman says that the key to avoiding violent strikes is taking the union leadership out to dinner and getting their daughters into the best private lessons. Even Time can see why only a Harvard man would think this was a good idea.   Also, stocks are up, and the Cunard liner Caronia is going to put on the most sumptuous cruise yet by cutting out the destination. Almost six hundred well-heeled American travellers will just steam around various tropical ports for 80 days before being dropped back off in New York. Along the way, they can break the monotony of sea-going first class luxury with thousand dollar safaris and the like. Twenty grand for a super-suite, although you can't get one, as Harold Vanderbilt and Charles Urschel have already booked.

"Fresh from Old Monterrey" Clayton and Company have opened up a three million dollar food processing plant in Monterrey to make edible oil products like  mayonnaise from cotton oil, which is not what I think of when I think of "fresh" food!

"A Question of Size" Now that Edwin Nourse is out of the government, he can join the Trade and Industry Law Institute, which is doing a study to prove what it already knows, which is that big business is just fine and that the Truman Administration's trust busters are bad and wrong. Yes, monopoly is bad, but most of the time any remedy is worse, and the trustbusting law is 60 years old, so it is probably obsolete. Meanwhile, five of Philadelphia's six biggest department stores are in trouble for price fixing. Their iron clad defence? They stopped doing it last Fall, so no worries.

Science, Medicine, Education

"The Thinking Machine" Mark III's profile starts out with "his" grandmother, "Bessie," old as the hills. (Bessie started work in 1944, which is forever in computer years.) "Some scientists think that Bessie's descendants will have more effect on mankind than atomic energy. Modern man has become accustomed to machines with superhuman muscles, but machines with superhuman brains are still a little frightening. The men who design them try to deny that they are creating their own intellectual competitors." The article does its best to explain how Mark III and its ilk are given complex instructions, and get almost as confused as when they explain what it does, and why. Mainly, iterative calculations meant to approximate solutions to problems that can't be solved algebraically, including the flight range of bomber and the details of atomic chain reactions. It tries to explain digital (yes/no) computing, which is inherent to this kind of electrical computing device due to their basic reliance on switches, but gets hung up on the related problem of "binary"math. Time wanders around the hardware for a moment, because everyone knows about vacuum tubes, if not AND, OR and NOT gates, and the problem of "reducing" questions to "binary." Then, just when it seems like it might have to buckle down and understand something, who should wander in but Norbert Wiener. With a loud sigh of relief, it's off to the "new science of communication and control," which is anything but.It's so much more fun to talk about the "next" industrial revolution and wonder what the Mark III is "thinking."Norbert Wiener thinks that the human brain is like a computer; Warren McCulloch, professor of (of course) psychiatry at the University of Illinois, isn't afraid to be quoted as saying that the brain is a computer, with every neuron doing the same work as the vacuum tubes in a Mark III. The difference between human and machine is that humans have so many more neurons, or "memory."

It's weird that we start out defining computer "memory" by analogy to human memory and end up defining human memory in terms of computer memory, but I'm an engineer, not a psychiatrist, and these things go right over my head. (Ronnie thinks they should ask a philosopher, instead.) But while actual computermen don't necessarily think very much of McCulloch, they get right on board with this "memory" thing, because if there is one thing they want, it is more computer memory. Mark III has "magnetic memory," which we've heard about in terms of magnetite tape and stuff, but there are more powerful memories on the horizon, such as Professor Williams' memory tubes, which Julian Bigelow's team at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Studies is trying to pack into folded "cortexes" to provide enough memory for weather forecasting. Meanwhile, chemists and economists are fighting for a slice of time on the Mark III with ambitious promises. Future computers will design new chemicals; simulate entire economies. (Current ones will just do their mathematical busywork for them. Point is, they should get some access because the future is so bright.)

"Computermen point out that the human brain and the machines speak basically the same language of binary arithmetic." And Time hires basically the same kind of writers as Aviation Week. Proof by bare assertion is not proof. I'm no high-flying idealist. I'm fine with the human brain being a computer, but it is pretty obviously not switch controlled, and is probably best imagined as an analog computer. However, the paragraph (entitled Mechanical Stenographer) returns to reality quickly enough. All the computermen actually want to do, for now, is create a computer that can recognise words, and therefore do stenography. Meanwhile, Claude Shannon, of Bell Telephone, is working on  a computer that can play chess; or orchestrate a melody, or "do simple logical deductions." Which makes me wonder about how Shannon ties his shoes in the morning, because you can do simple logical deductions with a folded-up piece of paper, while a bit of basic combinatorials tells you that a computer that can play chess needs trillions of times more vacuum tubes than the Mark III.

As for when the computers are going to revolt and overthrow us, everyone agrees that it will be at least months and months. Dr. Shannon tells the story of a phone dial exchange (which is "very similar" to a computer) having a nervous breakdown due to overwork, Norbert Wiener thinks that they can get "neurotic," and McCulloch points out that human brains have been getting smaller since Cro-Magnon times, because civilisation makes us stupid. So, eventually, the computers won't need to throw a revolution, because we'll decline into dependence on them anyway.

"A Needle for Doctors" There might be a doctor shortage in America, the reason being that doctors don't let enough people play doctor. It's "Petrillo and Fishbein economics"!

"Deadly Strain" Tired of being scared of polio and tuberculosis? Port Huron Hospital has been invaded by the O-111 strain of normally harmless coliform bacteria, which has killed 34 babies there this year. It's a success story because they isolated the killer. Ronnie points out that coliform bacteria spreads for sanitary reasons. Moral of the story: Don't have your baby at Port Huron.

"Four or Two?" Should America really double its four-year college enrollment spaces by 1960? Harvard President James Bryant Conant thinks not. After all, it is basically educational malpractice when we talk about "educational opportunity," when most of those spaces won't be at Harvard. Really, most of these students will just be disappointed. A four-year college is too much for the poor dears, and, once again, it's not Harvard. It would not be "socially desirable" to give them four year degrees. The solution? Two-year colleges. And speaking of the mentally deficient, educational reformer Alice Morrison Nash has celebrated her fiftieth year at Vineland Training School with a gala shindig, while Columbia's dean, Harry Carman, is retiring, and Harvard is cracking down on the shameful lack of rope-fire-escape-shimmying practice by making all of the college residents practice shimmying out of their second-story windows. Fires at Kenyon and Oklahoma having killed twelve.

Leonid, Port Jefferson
Art, Radio and Television, Press, People

Pablo Picasso draws faces all funny. News! Leonide Berman, who has a show in Manhattan, paints very spacious paintings.

 "Prize" Tail-Wagger's Club is a television show about animals that decided to give a pony away as a prize on its first show. Aside from Trigger the pony being as big as a horse and the studio being on the second floor, further excitement followed, and the show has promised to, in the future, never give anything away bigger than a guinea pig. Or maybe a dog. Man-eating tiger, but that's the limit. Maybe an elephant? In Europe, television people only talk about boring stuff like technical standards. The French want their 819 line system adopted continent-wide, while the British think their system is top of the line.

The Supreme Court has thrown out the City of Baltimore's action against three city newspapers for publishing details of an alleged crime before the verdict was rendered. Herblock is getting a retrospective at Washington's Corcoran Gallery. Canada's comic publishers are getting around the parliamentary ban on lurid true-crime stories by publishing lurid true-romance stories. Grownups are appalled! Meier and Frank's department store has cancelled all ads with the Oregon paper that covered the NLRB verdict against it for unfair labour practices, and the Chicago Tribune's vaunted new atom-bomb alarm can hardly be heard on the street over the traffic, although there's enough noise to warn the staff to flee to their company-provided atom bomb shelters. (Something to think about for those whose bosses only provide health insurance, a summer vacation and maybe a Christmas turkey.)

The Maharaja of Baroda is economising, because it is hard to live on $532,000/year. Carol II of Romania is selling the rarest European stamp, a Swedish 1855 error-variety worth $30,000, ownership previously unknown. Just in case you were wondering how the crowned heads of Europe prepare for revolutionary times. Caesar Patrillo gets some good press for supplying the VA radio show with free music. Robert Rossellini's marriage has been annulled, clearing the way for him to wed Ingrid Bergman. Alben Barkley and John Nance Gardner are eccentric. Dorothy Kirsten will marry a Texas doctor once her divorce goes through. Xavier Cugat and Kay St. Germain are getting divorced.Margaret Truman and George Bernard Shaw still manage to get in the news by saying silly things. It has been pages since we heard from Robert Taft, so here he is, calling for the use of Taft-Hartley in the coal dispute. That's what we're looking for in People! Carol Reed, Oscar Hammerstein and James Thurber have opinions, while Bob Hope has a dislocated shoulder. Jackie Robinson has had a baby, whereas Walter Arthur Maier, Carroll Shilling, Joseph Schumpeter, Ernest Poole, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach and Ann Louisa Lewis have died. I'd draw some consolation from the fact that out of this long list only John Lewis' mother lived to a ripe old age, except that the bloody Krupp baron made it to 79. The moral of the story is that heart disease and alcohol kills, the balance between the two being decided by whether Ernest Poole's death of pneumonia at 69 was to be expected, or due to the bottle. 

The New Pictures

I'm sure we've heard about Danny Kaye's The Inspector General before. Maybe in an issue of Newsweek, now bound for incineration due to diphtheria spores? Anyway, it is inspired by Gogol's Russian novel and by Danny Kaye, who is funny enough to carry a movie that settles for slapstick and hijinks rather than going for bigger game. Whirlpool gives Gene Tierny a chance to to be an insomniac kleptomaniac married to a "crackerjack psychiatrist" who goes to a sinister hypnotist for help, leading to pretty much the expected. Ferrer is good. "Miss Tierney's vacuous look (not a new look) makes it hard to tell if she is hypnotised or not." Tight Little Island is based on a wartime incident in which a freighter loaded with Scotch for export was wrecked on a war-rationed-scotch-deprived Scottish island. It is a "tight little comedy of spun gold." And Baby Makes Three, Tell it to the Judge, and The Lady Takes a Soldier are bland drawing room comedies, Hollywood's penance for last year's dark and heavy  features of traumatised ex-soldiers, psychotic criminals and mistreated Negroes.


The more things change!
William Saroyan has a collection of short stories out that is more about Saroyan "inventing his own character" than anyone else's. Eric Williams' The Wooden Horse is a light-hearted war romp set in a German concentration camp, where a large number of POWs were able to escape by digging a tunnel under a vaulting horse, after which many of them were shot. Light-hearted, I said! But the author and a friend made it back to Britain in the hold of a Danish butter ship, so all's well that ends well. (Except for being shot.) J. H. Powell's Bring Out Your Dead is more light-hearted fare, about the 1793 Philadelphia yellow fever epidemic, "when the dead lay everywhere and the living dared not come near them." Congress shut down, President Washington hid out at Mount Vernon, nad neighbouring cities refused admission to refugees from Philadelphia. Fortunately, Dr. Benjamin Rush hit on a cure that involved mercury purges and massive bloodletting, which quickly put paid to the epidemic by killing everyone before they could catch the disease and spread it. (Not that yellow fever is spread by contagion.) Anyway, Philadelphians thought he was a hero, and most of the 5000 or so Philadelphians who remained to feed the hungry and bury the dead count as real heroes. Richard Llewellyn, of 1940's How Green Was My Valley, is back with A Few Flowers for Shiner. Time either hates it, or Richard Llewellyn, or possibly both. He is just a "fever" that Hollywood caught in 1943. Epidemic analogy!

Aviation Week, 23 January 1950

News Sidelights reports four fatal crop dusting accidents, all involving people walking into rotation tail rotors, out of 727 accidents, 23% with fatalities. Low-flying crop dusting is nearly twice as dangerous as normal flying. The CAA recommends new planes capable of flying slower, and stall warning devices, which are now mandatory for crop dusters in some states. The Navy says that the slashed 1950 budget means reducing carrier groups from 8 to 6, light carrier groups from 11 to 8, carrier air groups from 14 to 9, patrol squadrons(!!!) from 30 to 20, Marine squadrons from 16 to 12. Five carriers will be sent to the reserve fleet and five cruisers, leaving 13 cruisers and 14 carriers active. Senator McCarren is on the war path after the Army chose Tennessee for its Air Engineering Development Centre over southern Nevada. I hate to be seen agreeing with Pat McCarren, but Tennessee? The Department of Defence would like to see the government throw in some money for long-term commercial aircraft development, while the Association of American Railroads would like everyone to know that they'll have a fit if Congress tries. Airmail postage is going up, and the National Air Council wants everyone to know that it is going to start doing planning or something like that soon.

News Digest reports that Temco is buying bankrupt Luscombe, and makes the resignation of Albert Hall and Gordon Fonda at GE's Electric Research Laboratory into a big to-do. Admiral Sherman is through the Senate, TWA wants to put Constellations on the transcontinental coach trail, modified to carry 70(!) passengers,Solar Aircraft is selling its "casket" business, Capital Airlines is buying 5 Constellations, and various services, stocks and airports are getting bigger and better and richer. Hughes is testing its new twin-jet helicopter, the Sabre is up to 216 sorties in 205 hours, de Havilland Canada and the RCAF may go in for a plan to buy Chipmunks for Canadian flying clubs, and Bellanca has a drawing of a large jet transport that Washington can pay for, if it likes.

Industry Observer reports that TWA and Eastern are nearing a final decision to buy 65 Martin 4-O-0-4s, the twice-as-good replacement to the 2-0-2s. Stall-warning devices continue to expand into new markets. Ercoupe is improving on its simplified two-control plane by making it an unsimplified three-control plane. McDonnell's XF-88 penetration fighters are back in St. Louis after getting beat up in a landing, and McDonnell is inviting the Air Force to take them over.

"Factions Open Fight Over Plant Dispersal" Wichita and Seattle are now officially fighting over the B-52. (Chance-Vought's proposed move from Connecticut to Texas is also in the news, but its mainly the B-52.) The Department of Defence has officially denied any plan to move defence production inland, calling it the "ostrich approach to defence." It's all the Mid-Continent Industrial Council, and perhaps, behind them, the Administration.

And then there's the crazy ones. "The threatened Communist move, unopposed, into Fromosa has augmented widespread fears on this [Commie atom-bombing the West Coast] score." As Senator Knowland puts it, if Formosa falls, America's last line of defence will be pierced, and the West Coast will have to be fortified, not used as a base of industry. I think Knowland is in favour of West Coast industry, so I guess the moral is more "Save Chiang" then "Save Wichita." The general assumption is that we'll forget about all of this after the midterms, which would be good news for the Northwest.

Hap Arnold gets a nice, long obituary.

"CAA Withdraws Slope Line Support"  This is the twin, illuminated, converging line of lights that was supposed to guide aircraft into runways, building on the testing we did at Arcata. (Fortunately involving electric lights and not towering torches of burning gas.) The CAA has decided to back away because the method doesn't work in the mountains, or, in other words, about half the airports that need something. This is a win for the ALPA, which prefers a different layout. ALPA's single line is much cheaper and requires a minimum of land acquisition, which is what scuttled twin-line "slopes" at places like Chicago. With America undecided, I guess we are also going to have to wait for ICAO to choose its preferred system.

"70-Group AF Outlook Dim" Well, considering that the Air Force is funded for 48, that seems right!

"NACA Report" Supersonic fighters are coming everywhere. Aerodynamicists are under pressure to develop designs suited for transonic and supersonic flight. Boundary layer control seems to work, but we have a lot to learn about high speed stability and control.

New Aviation Products reports on "Craze-Proof Plastic for Windows." If you're wondering why you're hearing about this again, it's actually about a new product, Sierra Products' Sierracin 212, much lighter than previous plastics, but also more expensive.  The rest of the feature doesn't seem like much, but in the interests of completeness and for anyone missing Engineering, I'll mention Niles-Bennett Pond's new Vertical Jig-Borer and H. L. Ramsey's Expediter Belt Grinder.

By FOTO:Fortepan — ID 967:Adományozó/Donor: UVATERV. -, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Aeronautical Engineering reports on "First Details on Russian-built Transport," specifically the Ilyushin Il-12. which is "comparable" to Western planes. Again, we've heard about this elsewhere.

"New Instrument Aids Lubricant Research" GE  has an electron diffusion instrument that can "see" thin lubricant layers by shooting them with X-rays to see what sparks. ("Diffusion" makes it seem less exciting, but that's not how light "waves" actually work.)

"Plastics Research Accelerated" The Air Force reminds everyone that good new plastics will help it to air force, so everyone get cracking on  lighter plastics that are also less likely to crack in the cold and from sunlight!

Ben Smilg of Air Material Command writes Engineering Forum to complain that the recent article on wing divergence failed to mention that wing divergence is only a problem with forward swept wings or wings loaded with external stores outboard of the wing's aerodynamic centre and well forward of its elastic axis. and the preferred method of calculating divergence is inferior to the one that should be used. Other than that, great article!

Avionics reports on "Cheaper Way to Test Jet Pilots" It's another article about those arcade-ride simulators, this one the latest from Link. Since at this point, arguing that ground trainers is useful makes for about as important an article as one about the latest craze in nut-fastening, the "wrench," you'll be glad to know that this is actually a long catalogue article about the "Linktronic" jet trainer, describing the pilot controls and instructor's display, which does actually look like it would be at home in a flying saucer control room.  While it would be tricky for you to follow up on the details, I still wonder how much is worth repeating. The pilot receives inputs from a bunch of instruments that replace the old aural signals, the instructor has 24 "bug" switches to send the student's way, there is an automatic recorder, and an electronic "brain" that controls it all. ("24 computers housed in very accessible cabinets--" by which is, of course, meant regular old analog machines that take in the pilot's control movements and translate them into "successful flight and landing" or "crashing in flames." Which is one thing that the Linktronic doesn't do. It's a big change from the Link Trainers of fifteen years ago!

The industry is arguing about the best kind of smoke detector again, because Kidd finally has a visual detector as good as the ones the Brits have been using for a year or two. CAB reports that the recent Alaskan Air DC-3 crash was caused by the pilot visually flying into a mountain, raising the question of why he was visual flying when he couldn't see. The answer obviously isn't that Alaskan was employing a pilot who could IFR, to save money, so it is necessary to find a better explanation, which is that the pilot was just dumb.

Aviation Week loved Wilson's Slipstream. Letters hears from the industry about industry's concerns.A shareholder is unhappy with the Pan Am-AOA merger terms, the President of United Helicopters has something to say about financing helicopter purchases, and Richard Moore of Lear wishes Aviation Week published more news about subcontracting suppliers.

Time, 30 January 1950

Back to normal this week, Time promises a look inside Tito's Yugoslavia and a feature article about the commerce secretary, who has been very good at getting coverage around these parts.

I thought Peckham not having a Wiki was the worst
thing this week until I went to Kirchwey's wiki
and only saw pictures of her father and husband.

Benjamin Kirson of Holicong, Pa, thinks that if we don't defend Formosa it will be just like Munich. John Lozo of Woodbridge, NJ, misses the chance to make fun of Chamberlain while criticising Truman. Oops! F. M. Henley tells a story about a uranium prospector who ran into a flying saucer out in the Mojave Desert in '47 that sucked all the atomic energy out of his uranium strike to power itself up.  Geoffrey De Havilland writes to complain about Time's coverage of the Comet, and Time tells him that if he honestly thinks that the Comet has the same payload at the same range as the Connie and the Stratocruiser, he needs to "lower his flaps and come back to Earth." Fred Rodell feels the need to write and say that Time was right and The Nation was wrong about whatever story Rodell was on about. (I missed the chance to absorb the details at the time, and I ain't going back now.) The Publisher's Letter tells us about Time's only woman senior editor, Content Peckham[!].

National Affairs

"The Loaded Question" The US public is sort of like the patient waiting in the doctor's office while the specialists argue in the next room. H-bomb or no H-bomb? Some say it will cost $4 billion, others $300 million. "If [the scientists] were successful --as they believed they might be-- the H-bomb would draw on the Sun's method of transforming hydrogen into helium to produce an explosion dwarfing the atomic bomb." David Lilienthal says it is a terrible idea, which leads Time to wonder why anyone so limp and watery is being allowed into the discussion. After all, the Russians know how to build a hydrogen bomb, too.So America should build it first.

So the problem here is that we've known how the Sun makes energy since the 1920s, when Arthur Eddington proposed that it was by colliding two protons (simple hydrogen atom nucleii, is another way of saying it). Everyone laughed at Eddington at the time, because the Sun wasn't nearly hot enough to overcome the Coulomb barrier, but in 1939 Hans Bethe proposed that protons "tunnelling" through the barrier, as  predicted by the Schrodinger equation, and amply illustrated in nature, could collide and then experience a particular kind of decay that ends up producing deuterium, a proton+neutron hydrogen atom, which would then collide with another proton to produce helium-3. Due to the Coulumb force "dipping" in the deuterium/tritium range, this is a much more likely reaction. Articles like this imply that the hydrogen bomb will produce heats capable of inducing the proton-proton fusion in sufficient quantity to bootstrap the subsequent deuterium + proton fusion. It is much more likely that the hydrogen bomb will use deuterium, which is expensive, and tritium, which is very expensive, because it has to be made in cyclotrons. Thus, $3 billion sounds more likely than $300 million.

"The Reckoning" Alger Hiss is guilty of perjury. The defence will appeal. A half column story discusses the President's tax message to Congress, but who cares, because it won't pass.

"Change of Mind" The US is going to have relations with not-Fascist-at-all Spain without recognition, which could be a model for American relations with Red China. Speaking of, a long article about how the Navy is sending a carrier group to the Pacific without "shoot"orders, and how Congress has so far turned down an aid package for Korea, which is embarrassing for Congressional Republicans after they made hay out of criticising Acheson for not being clearer about American policy on Korea. Senator Knowland says that an aid package for Korea is coming this session.

The XO and quartermaster tried to tell Captain Brown he was
going the wrong way, but "their advice was ignored."
While at home, Democratic house leadership was able to get the housing bill through, while the Senate repealed the margarine tax and, contra Aviation Week, Forrest Sherman is still awaiting confirmation. The coal action continues. USS Missouri, fresh out of drydock, has run aground off Point Comfort after somehow getting six miles outside the navigational channel.

This is not the kind of thing you expect from the gun club.

Profile of Secretary Charles Sawyer follows. He's the Fair Dealer business loves! Also in politics, something something Boss Hague, and J. Waties Waring is in trouble for calling for the Coloured to come out and vote in November.

Manners and Morals reports that the "drapes" are getting into trouble for wearing pants with narrow cuffs, which are immoral. The "drapes" wear their hair "seaweed long," wear pink shirts buttoned to the throat, lose jackets without lapels, and those black zaks, which is to say, slacks with sharp nips at the bottom into narrow cuffs. 'Drapes," one teen girl observed, "are real dads." It's the final breakdown of community morals!

Report on Yugoslavia Blah good communists blah!

Foreign News

"Slam!" Not something the "drapes" would say, but the unsatisfying resolution of a confrontation over a building in Berlin. The Russians and East Germans get to keep the Reichsbahn-Direktion, which is the control building for the "Soviet-controlled railroad spiderweb radiating from Berlin." Sounds sinister! Somewhat related is the repatriation of 15,000 of the last 29,000 German detainees in Soviet camps, with the remainder to go into regular East German prisons, while Time makes Czech and Polish cooperation with the Russians' boycott of Security Council sessions presided over by the Koumintang into some kind of onerous burden. And the anti-Communist won the election in Finland, then sent a stiff note to the Russians denying that Finland harbours war criminals.

"Red and White" Time covers the Labour manifesto for the 1950 election. Labour is for welfare, Churchill is against socialism.

"Belated Truth" Generals Revers and Emmanuel Mast are in trouble after a top-secret report was found in the possession of a young Indo-Chinese. It was apparently passed on by a "double or perhaps triple informer" named Roger Peyre, and was supposedly sold to fund some political lobbying. General Mast has retired even more, Peyre has boarded ship for Latin America, and the Communists are having a field day in the Assembly over it.

"The Illustrious Unknown" The Commission de Recuperation Artistique has recovered numerous French artworks from Germany, only to find that they cannot trace the owners. Illstrated by a picture of a square crammed with statues.  Come on, says the Commission, someone has to remember the statue of the camel. How many camel statues can there be?

Communists in Ceylon, Russia and China are bad. Also, fussing over Formosa is so much fun that Time is thinking of branching out to Hainan, also the home of a Koumintang garrison, this one under Hsueh Yueh. The Communists are having trouble organising a landing, the local branch of the Nationalist air force (30 B-25s, P-51s and Mosquitoes) is operational, and he has 160,000 men, paid, for a change, in silver dollars, ready to repel a landing.

In this hemisphere, Mexico is drilling for oil, Irving Lindberg is at the Mayo Clinic for treatment and has been given the strong impression that he ought not return to Managua, Nicaragua, where he may not be welcome. I guess he's going to have to be content with any money he has embezzled from Nicaraguan customs dues since 1912, and not go back for more.


US Steel is sticking fast to increasing the price of steel to pay for pensions for workers. Preston Tucker has been found not guilty. Sir Geoffrey Heyworth of Unilever flew into Idlewild in a Constellation last week, met with Charles Luckman and his staff over several days, and "in haste and apparently with considerable heat," fired him. His diversions into permanent waves, margarine and Pepsodent toothpaste have not gone well.

"Over the Waves" The Commodity Credit Corporation has dried eggs, potatoes, Mexican canned meat and gravy  for sale to overseas buyers any offer for a shipload or three will be considered.

"The Big Parade" The New York auto show was something, but there's hardly any pictures, and the ones there are, I can't clip, so hopefully this will wait a week or four till Ronnie is back on the job. On the sales side, units are up, prices down, and the first half of 1950 will be at least as good, or better, than last year.

"Bringing Up Baby" "Baby" is the American synthetic rubber industry, and the President wants Congress to give him the authority to "bring it up" right, so that it doesn't turn into a juvenile delinquent now that natural rubber is cheaper.

"Thorny Money" The RFC is in trouble over its loans to business on all fronts. Last week it finally decided to seize Lustron, expecting to make no more than $10 million selling its machinery, out of a $37.5 million investment, but that's just the introduction to the big story, the loan to Houston oilman Glenn McCarthy, builder of the Shamrock Hotel (remember this guy from Fortune?) He is in debt to the tune of $70 million, and who is he going to turn to but the RFC? This, on top of $44 million to Uncle Henry, $12 million to Northwestern Airlines and $6 million to Waltham Watch, is the last straw for Congress, particularly Senator Fullbright.

Science, Medicine, Education

"3,350,000,000 Years Old" That's how old the Earth is, good old science says. Thanks, science! (It's based on radioactive decay rates. Not exactly clear how, should look that up.)

"Double Danger" Cal-Tech President Lee DuBridge says we need to back up our technological research with basic science, or we'll run out things to engineer. I can't disagree, but, I mean, come on, obviously that's what a research university president is going to say!

"The Diggers" Harvard's Fogg Art Museum is pleased as punch with an ancient manuscript of the book of Isaiah that recently turned up in a pot in a cave above the Dead Sea. No, wait, read that too quickly. The first of the three scrolls so far found was Isaiah. This one is the book of Lamech, which isn't in the Bible, but somehow still qualifies as the "oldest Old Testament" text. It will take about six months before the antiquarians can unroll and read it.

"Busy Antibodies" Dr. Charles Rammelkamp, working at Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming, has established that rheumatic fever is the result of antibodies developed to defeat strep infection, reacting to attack the body. Treatment of rheumatic fever therefore calls for preventive treatment of strep throat with antibiotics.

"No. 97" As we know, chemists have found a number of "artificial" elements by bombarding uranium with free protons in a cyclotron. First there was plutonium, then americium, curium and neptunium. Considering the way plutonium goes boom, it might be deemed crucial to find more, and this week Element 97 was announced. It might be called "berkelium," and I am going to guess from the fact that it is not a national secret that it is very, very unstable and short-lived.

Carlton Hayes has retired at 67 after 50 years at Columbia: seven years as a student, 43 as a teacher. Lincoln Levison, of Greenfield, Illinois, has ignited a controversy by opting to educate his seven-year-old at home, on the grounds that he is a Seventh-Day Adventist. The school superintendent has fined him, and now Greenfield is in trouble for violating his religious freedom. This led to an Illinois court ruling that parents can teach their children at home, provided they give them the same schooling as the public schools. Which should be uncommon enough that it isn't going to come up very often, I would think.

Eric Partridge is one of those educators who worry about words a lot and has written books like A Dictionary of Slang to prove it.

"Virginibus Puerisque" A survey by the Yale Banner has found that about half of Yale's student body has had sexual intercourse, with fraternity boys more likely to be experienced. One in ten Yalemen are married, engaged or at least going steady. Only 8% expect their brides to be virgins.

Art, Press, Radio and Television, People
Levine, Reception in Miami

Apart from a travelling van Gogh exhibit, the big Art news is Jack Levine, who comes out of the WPA and had a show at a Boston gallery this week.  Although a bit about Grand Rapids-style furniture is pretty interesting. It's not something that you think of, when you think of "art," but it obviously is.

 The New York Times has raised its price from three to five cents. Fleur Cowles' Flair is the latest women's magazine to launch in America, the Los Angeles Herald-Express has a reporter and photographer in jail over the noble cause of courtroom photography, and Look magazine is in trouble for publishing an article about Lincoln's many wise sayings that Lincoln never said. It turns out that Look got them from the Congressional Record, where they wer inserted by Republican congresswoman Frances P. Bolton, who got them from a friend, who got them from radio commentator Galen Drake, who thought he might have got them from the Royle Forum, the house organ of a New Jersey machine maker, which got them from an advertising insert, which got them from a pamphlet by the Committee for Constitutional Government, a reactionary Washington lobby backed by New York state publisher Frank Gannett. And there the trail goes cold.

It has been scientifically established that the Chicago Sun-Times is the most readable paper in Chicagoland, and not scientifically established but generally agreed that radioman Frank Coley is funny when he mispronounces things.

"Air Wave of the Future" Television may or may not doom baseball, boxing and possibly roller derby due to being on tv, unless it doesn't. Is roller derby even real, or do we just like thinking that it is?

Nancy Nyi has filed a paternity suit against Sun Fo. Gertrude Moran is engaged, and David Mountbatten, Marquess of Milford Haven, is getting married. Father Divine says he caused New York's water shortage with his magic powers because the city didn't respect him. Jesse James' son, Jesse, Jr., is fighting a suit by Oklahoman J. Frank Dalton, who claims to be the real Jesse James. Henry Ringling North has been robbed. Eleanor Roosevelt and Sister Kenny are more admired by American women than Clare Boothe Luce, Helen Keller, Madam Chiang and Margaret Truman, who fill out a list of women most admired by American women. Karl v Habsburg has married and will now make baby Habsburgs. George Orwell has died of tuberculosis, which is sad, as has Alan Hale, of pneumonia at only 57, and Samuel Putnam, at the same age, but of a heart attack.

The New Pictures

Twelve O'Clock High is "the freshest and most convincing movie of the current cycle about World War II." Time was very impressed.  East Side, West Side is "a lackadaisical tour of the glamour belt."


Richard Cargoes' The Tormentors is about Russian prisoners of the NKVD. In conclusion, Communism terrible. Monica Baldwin's I Leap Over the Wall is about how Monica stopped being a nun in the middle of WWII and went on to experience real life. Ralph Korngold's Two Friends of Man is about some pre-Civil War anti-slavery men. "Abolitionists," they were called, and the translation is right there in my dictionary, no need to waste Ronnie's time on the telephone, because, honestly, as hard as it is to make a connection, it's the only thing saving my pay! Actions and Reactions seems to have been reviewed after the editor left for the day, because it somehow doesn't have an author! It's a short story collection, Time liked its "leggy prose," and, down at the end, it somehow turns out that it is by Rudyard Kipling, and saving the fact for the bottom is suddenly superior reviewing technique.

Aviation Week, 30 January 1950

Industry Observer reports that the Defence Secretary is going to get another of those deluxe Constellations like the one Lockheed was building for Tom Dewey in the fall of '48, oops. The Pan-American-TWA Convair 240 deal is off. The unspecified $6.3 million USAF contract for Pratt and Whitney is said to cover production versions of the long-awaited VDT version of the R-4360. A better version of the GE J-47, giving 5200lbs thrust, is imminent, although Allison's J-35 still has the edge at 9200. Air Material Command has some P-63s in flyaway condition if you have the cash. The extension of Dallas' Hensley Field to 7500ft will allow it to test fly the F7U, which doesn't seem like a huge endorsement of a carrier fighter. Hufford Machine Works of Redondo, California, is building giant, 200t stretch-wrap form press for Lockheed and Douglas, even bigger than the ones it built for Boeing-Wichita.

News Digest Admiral Denfeld is retiring, Senator Johnson is pushing for money for another airport in Washington, the CAA is warning pilots not to fly under the influence of antihistamines unless they are certain the drug causes no side reactions. Boeing is talking with the machinists union, and Sperry's contract for a new antiaircraft artillery fire control system is even bigger than its largest previous contract for bomb sight computers, which ran to $22 million. It will take two or three years to fill.

"New Approach to Knotty Prototype Issue: Plan Proposes $12--15 million program in which airlines would test transports" This is the latest in the unfolding story of America trying to back its way into some kind of subsidy program that would get a jet transport off the ground.

"New Bellanca is Faster and Heavier" And a private plane, so we don't care. Also in the news is the first test flight of the CF-100 and a five year extension of the McCarren plan to develop American airports.
The Clunk is more important but the -93 is fancier.

"YF-93A Makes First Flight" It does!

"C-W Enters AF Helicopter Bid" Curtiss-Wright has acquired the license for the Doman Helicopter's rotor system and is using it in a proposed Arctic rescue helicopter.

CAB is still trying to sort out Holy Year services.

"Trouble Brewing on 70-Group Cut" How much trouble can there be? The House Armed Services Committee wants a 70 group air force, but there's not near enough money for it. Case closed.  The Committee is going to make a fuss over money that the Administration pulled out of the Air Force budget, but there's already that deficit. The Committee is also going to make a fuss over Denfeld's ouster. Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin has appointed himself Denfeld's champion, but showboating hasn't prevented Sherman's belated confirmation.

Aviation Week is hopeful that there will be a cut in the transportation tax this year.

Aeronautical Engineering has an article about the IAS deciding that something called "aeroelasticity" counts as a new science, and so will have its own sessions at the next IAS annual convention, a story headlining a discussion of the convention agenda. It will also hear about powerplant factors, safety, helicopter stability, instruments and super-and hypersonic flight. There will also be a meteorology session.

Frederick Brewster, "Aircraft Built by Outside-In Jig Technique" I think the stories in Flight and Engineering will serve, although the pictures in Aviation Week are pretty nice, and there's also coverage of the reorganisation at Fairey, which doesn't  have much to do with the technique, but is certainly news!

New Aviation Products has "New Low-Cost Navigation Trainer" Link's cheque must have cleared, because here's another advertising-editorial story about a new Link product. Also, Superior Tube Company, of Norristown, Pennsylvania, has limited quantities of titanium tubing, suitable for aviation use due to its combination of high strength and low weight. It is available in annealed, half hard and full drawn. Following in my very lazy tradition of not covering everything in this section, I will mention Motch and Merryweather Machinery's thread-chasing aid.

Air Transport reports that the CAB has a new set of pilot tests, and has sent a show-cause letter to American Airlines asking why its registration as a common carrier should not be revoked for its coaching shenanigans. In thematically related news, Aero-Holland has folded and Handley Page might finally have a buyer for some 22 Marathons, while the Ambassador, Hermes, and Avro Jetliner are all pushing ahead to ultimate doom and disappointment as the DC-3 fails to go away.  At least the Constellation can fly so much further than the DC-3 that it has its business to itself. Now if it can just it can make money! TWA seems confident that it will.

New Books has a review of Development of Aircraft Engines, by Robert Schlaifer, and Development of Aircraft Fuels, by S. D. Heron, combined in one volume by Harvard's business school press, and give a select and partisan view of a huge and complicated subject. Better than nothing, but considering how confused people get about the subject, I really wish there was more than that available.

Editorial is back, probably because there's a page to fill, mainly explaining how Capital Airlines is the best, and is back, and is very free-enterprise-y. Speaking of, Aviation Week is very disappointed with the way that CAB is handling Holy Year.

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