Saturday, April 18, 2020

Postblogging Technology, January, 1950: Straight out of Quarantine

R_. C_.,
Vancouver, Canada

Dear Father:

I bet you were wondering who this letter would come from this month, what with Uncle George saying "no," Auntie Grace and James in Singapore, Ronnie in quarantine because of Susan's diptheria, and me waiting on orders.

Well, it's me. I was hoping that this would be coming to you from Tampa, and I could tell you about what it's like flying straight into a  Florida rain squall with the most giant radar the combined Navy and Air Force could dig up blasting into the thick of it to see what comes back. But, I'm not. I'm in the backwoods of Formosa, "advising" the Koumintang Air Force on the delicate subject of Stop Doing What You're Doing And Do Something Else Instead. I can't say very much about that, apart from the obvious, which is that the Communists are using Russian equipment, and don't seem to be doing it well, so maybe we'll go some way towards cracking their communications, which will be helpful for finding the B-29skis before they blow up Seattle (which would be bad, and we're against it even though it'll help Wichita pick up some contracts, which would make the President happy).

On the "bright" side, this is the back end of God's creation, and all of Ronnie's mail is being burned, because the Post Office doesn't know how to fumigate diptheria germs and quarantine is quarantine.   So all I've got for this project is the post's subscription to Aviation Week, Time, and (for some reason) The Engineer.  Or, well, I would, but some horse's rear end cleared out all this issues since 1930 and diverted the new subscription to an office in Taipei three months ago, and so much for that. (The post still gets to pay for them, though, so not all is lost! Or, no, wait, that means even more is lost.) 

Onward and ever upwards!

Your Loving Son,

Aviation Week, 2 January 1950

No, they won't. 
Industry Observer reports that Wright Field is experimenting with towing helicopters to increase their range, although larger helicopters could just carry more gas. Propeller manufacturers are hoping that small planes will start using feathering props so they can make more money. Goodyear thinks that the reason no-one is buying castoring wheels is that the Stinson, Aeronca and Luscombe wheel struts won't take them. Northwest Airlines is trying to persuade the CAA to extend the R-2000's overhaul time over a thousand hours. Scott Aviation's new automatic oxygen mask is very automatic. Ralph Damon wants Lockheed to hurry up and deliver his last 10 Constellations. The Australians will start producing their own all-weather jet fighter, similar to the Lockheed XF-90, next summer. The French are working on a new and improved ramjet research plane. 

By ignis - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
News Digest reports that TWA and American are the latest to start transcontinental coach services. Goldsboro, North Carolina, may be the location of the Air Force Academy. The Air Force is going to give a castoring DC-3 a try soon. The Dutch and Belgians are going halfers for 150 Gloster Meteors to be made at Fokker. Canada will spend $10 million on airports this year, $3.8 million at Gander. 

"Convair Ready to Convert to Turboprop"

With Napier Eland engines for extra no-hopeness.
Convair is the latest builder to persuade itself that converting to a turboprop is just a matter of slapping the right engine on an existing plane. "Convair officials make no secret of the fact that the Convair-Liner airframe is well suited for immediate adaptation to turborprop power." They have a sketch and everything! From sketch to flying prototype will take, oh, say, eight months (that long?) and the Air Force will pay for it, because Convair will persuade it that it really needs a turboprop version of the T-28, what with money growing on trees and all. After that, it'll take about three years to turn out a mass-production turboprop airliner, and if it doesn't work out, it'll all be Wright's fault, because "the engine is the key." They'll also have to pressurise the Convair Liner to 20,000ft, but that'll probably be easy with a turboprop, so no big deal. Probably all the airlines that run the Liner will pool their turboprops, which will hold Convair's loss on the Liner to only the $50 million it has already sunk into it. Who knows, by the time they've sold another 200 Liners, they'll probably break even! European sales will probably not come through, because the British are cheating by being first and having cheaper planes. 

North American is still working away on its all-weather F-86D variant, which has the J-47 with afterburner and a new nose. 

PAA has agreed not to start its Holy Year Rome service until TWA is done complaining about it. Also, the PAA-AOA union gets a green light from CAB's examiner, although he wants a provision to protect employees. BEA's "maintenance bonus plan pays off." That is, the plan is credited with helping BEA get back in the black. Meanwhile, American airlines are also back in the black, United is buying some DC-6BS, and NWA has taken delivery of the last 377s. 

"Reveal Details on Transport Helicopters" Now that the economy is coming back, Aviation Week is letting the typesetters write the headlines again. Bell and Sikorski have both proposed big helicopter transports for airlines that think they can make a go of them. Bell's feeder would be based on a '48, and carry 12 people, or 11 paying passengers. Sikorski thinks it can get 13 into a version of the S-55. To fill out the article, details of the Piasecki HRP-2, McDonnell 65-C and the Cierva Air Horses are provided. The Cierva is the largest, and not even the most dangerous, as the McDonnell has two engines geared to the shaft. Everyone is still fighting over Alaska routes, although Alaska Airways did get CAB approval for five one-way flights to bring 75 cows into Anchorage for the Matanuska Valley Farmers' Cooperative Association. 

Aviation Week wants us to know that the aircraft industry is one of the top twenty, and that Arthur H. Tulley, of the Harvard Business School, is replacing Lynn Bollinger at the Aeronautical Research Foundation now that Bollinger has quit to pursue the Kippen-Bollinger Helioplane [sic] full time. That leaves it with space for a quarter column to frame a nice picture of the Aero-Car, so it prints the performance data for the Comet, because you really can't have "490mph at 105,000lbs for 3540 statute miles" in print too often.

The rules for the Miami Air Races are out. The stars having rejected rule changes, it will be flown on the same kind of course as this year's Dayton races.  

Charles H. Zimmerman, "Case for Convertible Aircraft" Zimmerman is the guy behind that old Chance-Vought (before it turned into Convair) "pancake" fighter. Blended wing planes used to be his thing, but that's all a bit old-hat now, so now he's selling them as "convertible," by which he means that the props can be swung vertically to "convert" it into a helicopter. Zimmerman can talk up a storm, and the article even has some trig functions as he dives into his claim that the thing is stable and really can lift vertically. 

The Engineering page details a new hangar door with a "slat" concept and has a letter from W. A. Pitman of Chance-Vought defending the glue-metal bonding used in the De Havilland Dove and Comet and B-36. So I'm wrong, they are still using up the "Chance Vought" letterhead pages. 

Production describes the first Polish helicopter, while New Aviation Products describes a new, safe, portable runway light, and Metal Seal and Products' "Augur Movement" transmission for honing and lapping tools.  Several new potentiometers by Specialties, Flight Research's photo recording device, Shakeproof's power screw driver, Barber-Colman's dial hardness testing, and Armstrong Product's A-1 thermosetting resin round out the page.

Editorial thinks that coach is the way to go, airlines ought to be forced to use fixed-base operators in smaller cities, because capitalism is freedom, and J. Carmichael's Wright Memorial Address asserting that the 94 people killed by commercial aviation in 1949 was too many is complete blarney. Actually, 35,000 (the number of fatal accidents in the home) would be just jake.   

Time, 2 January 1949


i): Rich; ii) Invented "Timestyle;" iii) Handsome;
iv) Yalie; 
C. Leonard of Hawaii writes in to defend the GOP against the charge of being out of date. It's the party of fiscal soundness and business. (Unless you can loot the Treasury with a tax cut.) Hap Arnold writes to point out that, contrary to an article that says all the bigwigs but Eisenhower and Kenney hire ghostwriters, he doesn't. J.S. Brenner says that steaks are still so expensive because of all the middlemen. Gideon Seymour, executive editor of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune may edit, and he may be able to correct Time's bad math about circulation, but he sure can't write! Richard Beck is upset about all those left wing Democratic Senators going over to Europe and selling America short. Eric Mason of Toronto likes Isaiah Berlin because Berlin doesn't like "social consciousness." On the other hand, Richard Wiley of Balliol College wishes Berlin a hearty goodbye, don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you, on his departure from Harvard, where one year teaching supposedly revealed the inner nature of the modern American student to him. Helen Alvarez was not involved in the episode where a workman dropped a wrench from Tulsa's KOTV's 400ft tower, killing a pedestrian. Frederick Kelly, of Presque Isle, Michigan, thinks he knows "Hotelman Hilton" from his Time profile. He's a "big man" who "acts big," and America could use more men like him and fewer "big bureaucrats." the Army Information Office writes in to point out that there were fewer murders, rapes and robberies by the Okinawan occupation forces in the last year than Time says.  The Publisher's Letter celebrates Time's first quarter-century (which is why Winston Churchill is the "man of the half-century on the cover") by reprinting most of the introductory letter and even including a picture of Henry Luce and "the late Briton Hadden," who, it turns out, also started Time. If I had access to a library in this picturesque and quiet little tropical paradise (substitute other adjectives to taste), I would tell you this person with the unlikely name might have been. But I don't, and I won't. 

National Affairs

Time is beside itself that "the Chiefs of Staff" have decided to "defend Formosa against the Chinese Communists." It might not be a useful base, but it will be "a valuable irritant against the Communist-held mainland," and isn't that just how you do foreign policy? By setting out to irritate people? Time hopes that the President won't do anything terrible like recognise Communist China.  Also, Hungarian and Bulgarian communists are taking time off from being terrible to be even more terrible. 

"1950 Model" The President is back from his Miami vacation and hashing out the 1951 budget, which will be $42 billion, down from $43.5 billion last year. With revenues projected ata $38 billion, another $4 billion will be added to the deficit unless tax increases can be found, although, on the contrary, Congress is eager to cut some war taxes. After that, Time takes a spin around the President's cabinet, which it doesn't like very much. They're all dumb, it thinks. 

Some crimeish news has the latest Hiss perjury trial going into the prosecution's summing up, and Jack Pickering of the Detroit Times was on the scene of a phoned-in bomb warning that was supposed to be aimed at Walter Reuther. A bomb was found, but it didn't detonate. (Obviously.) The Detroit police figure that it must have been communists who object to the Reuthers' purge of Communists in the UAW, because Communists are terrible. 

Manners and Morals reports that people are protesting the music and advertising over the public address system at New York Grand Central. 

In Georgia, some doctor who was a POW in Japan is renting out a new 150 unit building to veterans by preference, and is apparently in trouble with the Klan. Because he's Jewish, that's why. May Schafer, 42, is "the most fearless woman alive," because she wrangled big cats for the entertainment of the crowd in the central ring at the Ringling Circus, and trained them off-season at Louis Goebel's Wild Animal Farm in Thousand Oaks, California. Or "was," because Sultan the lion had had enough of her, and killed her in front of her three children. That doesn't seem very entertaining.


An entire subsection, entitled  "Communists," leads off. It's about the cult of personality around Stalin, the emergence of Malinovsky as his likely successor, all the people who have been disappeared in the 1949 purges, all the Titoists who have been killed, and the Western Communist parties, which can get away with a lot more, because the world revolution hasn't spread there yet. In countries that are not Communist or Fascist, Don Jaime de Bourbon, Duke of Segovia, has parted with his wife, Charlotte Tiedemann, because she is not noble, and would be a problem if Franco suddenly decided that Spain should have a king again, and that king was Don Jaime. Anyway, she's just some "plump" German opera singer and will never amount to anything, anyway.  Also, the first batch of German war criminals got out of jail this week. Georg von Schnitzler of I. G. Farben was picked up by a chauffeur, but most of them walked down to the train station with duffel bags over their shoulders, cursing these modern democratic times. 

"Bells of St. Stephen's" St. Stephen's cathedral in Vienna is once again besieged by evil forces from the East, in this case Communists instead of Turks. Only not really besieged, but all this Iron Curtain thing is making it hard to get east European salamis. Also, in London, Karl Marx's grave is overgrown because Communists won't let socialists touch it. The House of Commons, on the other hand, has been all repaired and spiffed up after being blown up in the Blitz. And Harvey's Bristol Cream (and the more middlebrow "Bristol Milk") was in trouble with the Ministry of Food for awhile because it wasn't actually made with milk, but everyone agree that was silly and decided to stick a pin in it before it got to the American press and was turned into some kind of story about how awful planning was. Also, France is in disarray again. One teacher is having trouble making ends meet and sent a nasty letter to Le Monde, but that doesn't mean that he's a Communist, as he refused to do a story for L'Humanite, which makes him Time's sort of fellow, and it's off to the assembly, where Bidault's government just survived a vote of confidence, which is practically like losing one. In Japan, Russia's representative on SAC is in trouble over Japanese POWs still being held in Siberia. 

Which brings us to this hemisphere, where there is a heat wave in Argentina, an election in Jamaica, Eva Peron has a poodle, and Alberta is a strange, strange land. 

In reviewing the half-century, Time points out that lots of people were alive in 1900 that you'd never think were still alive, like Stephen Crane; that Winston Churchill was quite the fellow, and the British Empire was awfully big back then; but then there were lots of world wars (at least two!) and now there's a Soviet Union; science is mighty keen, and will soon raise us to the fourth floor, where we have flying cars and moon vacations; that airplanes are keen, although, on the other hand, Buchenwald was awful; that by 1990 America will probably have 175 million people, about the same amount of people working, that productivity will continue to rise by about 2% a year, so that the work week will be 32 hours or so, that the GNP will be $416 billion in 1948 prices. Or so says Sumner Schlicter. George Orwell says that Big Brother will be in charge. Who is right? Vannevar Bush is right. Everything will be fine just as long as American technology triumphs in the upcoming "hot peace." People who think it will all be peace and light are just dumb; American arms will be needed to protect peace.

How does that even work? And what does 1980 have to do with the last half century? You got me!


 Christmas sales turned out pretty good. The price of steel is up 4%, with the companies blaming the new pension plans. Pan Am and TWA are still fighting over Pan Am's attempt to absorb AOA. 

"Comet's Tale"

Time's version of the big Comet story comes here, in Business, and focusses on the plane's future as a fare-carrying workhorse. It "knocks the props from under London newspaper predictions of nonstop London-New York times of six hours," leaving the much less exciting twelve hour London-Prestwick-Gander/Goose Bay--New York route. At the same price as a Constellation, and two-thirds that of a Stratocruiser, American airlines are "disappointed" with the 12,000lb payload, compared with the Constellation's 20,000. Interesting. The story probably sells engine improvements short, though.

"Troubled Waters" After talking with Canada and America for months, Britain launched its own solution to the dollar drain due to oil purchases. It isn't going to buy oil in the dollar area at all until all sterling oil is used up, and will cut gasoline imports by one-third. This is only possible because the oil shortage in the sterling area has gradually converted to a surplus. Oil state Congressmen are up in arms, but some hope to get through it. 

A. K. Humphries of Pacific Air Transport gets a profile, and the new board of Kennecott Copper, replacing the one wiped out in that sad Quebec crash, is announced. ATT is issuing 600,000 common shares to employees, The Bureau of Internal Revenue can tax the AAA, even though it is a "non-profit club." 
Science, Medicine, Education

"Super-Relativity"Albert Einstein has announced a "Generalised Theory of Gravity," which would unite general relativity and quantum theory, also known as the very big and the very small. (They don't match up where they join, because Heaven messed up the cut.) 

"The Trouble With Gravity" Roger Babson, from whom we have heard before, continues to push ahead with his anti-gravity screen. Babson admits that all the physicists think that he's wrong, which is why he's been keeping it under the hat, considering that he manages the fortunes of some 15,000 people. But now that he's let it slip, his business admirers have been writing him nonstop for information about the anti-gravity screen. Only problem? Babson was asking them about an anti-gravity screen. He thinks it's plausible, not that he has one. 

He's the one who was going to build the atom bomb-proof underground city in the middle of Kansas, which became Utopia College, which became the Gravity Research Foundation, which became Webber College. He was also the Prohibition Party's candidate for President in 1940,  claimed to have invented the parking meter, and died rich, because apparently you can get trust fund babies to let you invest their money for them no matter how much of a screwball you are. 

"The Russians Knew" Did the Russians steal the atomic secret? The AEC and "responsible American physicists" have been saying for years that they didn't, that there was no secret. Now they've taken the radical step of reading old Russian physics journals and highlighting articles about atom bombs from 1940, in hopes of shutting certain Senators up. Fat chance of that.

"Death Draws Back" The American death rate hit an all time low of 9.8 per 1000 population last year. Childhood deaths are down 17%, syphilis deaths down 8%, but heart disease and cancer are both up. 

"Promising PAS" Para-aminosalicylic acid is the latest thing in tuberculosis treatment, say three San Francisco doctors who have treated 22 sanitarium patients for "more than two months." I'm convinced! (Actually, I'm not.) 

"The Ticker and the Flicker" Dr. Louis Richard Krasno[!], assistant professor at the University of Illinois, has developed an "astonishingly simple" machine called a "flicker photometer" under the direction of Andrew Ivey, who just happens to be vice-president of the university. It is a revolving light in a cylinder. If the patient looks into it and sees the flicker of the light at 10 revolutions a second, his brain and retina are getting enough oxygen, and h e's fine. If he can't, he's probably going to croak that afternoon. Just to double check to see if there could be something else wrong with the patient, they then give him a nitro pill, which ought to dilate his vessels and make him more sensitive to the flicker, if the problem is lack of oxygen. Since the blood vessels that feed the retina and the brain are probably related to the ones elsewhere in the body, hey, presto, early diagnosis! 

. . . I hope that when people make fun of Dr. Krasno in future years, he'll at least be able to come over all smug and say, "Hey, at least I got tenure!" 

From the LA Times
"Continuing Mystery" Last year saw a new peak in poliomyelitis, with 43,000 cases reported in the USA. Doctors looking at the statistics have concluded that they have no conclusions. It isn't related to temperature peaks, holiday crowding, swimming, travel, over-exertion or even, definitively, contact with polio victims. All the doctors can suggest is more thorough isolation and quarantine. 

Illinois has stepped in to end segregation in East St. Louis, Illinois. 

"Monument on Deck 38" Professor William Sumner Jenkins of the University of North Carolina has capped his thirteen year quest to microfilm lots of American historical documents and assemble the Monumenta Americana at Study Deck 38 of the Library of Congress. Also, the US Navy is going to sponsor a series of five-year fellowships at the Naval Academy for future Admiral Mahans, and two Cornell drinking societies have been banned permanently for almost getting a mechanical engineering student killed in a drinking contest. There's one problem solved completely and forever! 

Press,  Radio and Television, Art, People

"Death of a Tradition" The London Strand, which used to publish Conan Doyle and such other no-name layabouts as Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie and H. G. Wells, has closed. 

"Closed Door" The Defense Department this week upheld General MacArthur's decision to ban The Nation's Andrew Roth from Japan. Time, which hates General MacArthur, The Nation, Andrew Roth, and restrictions on press freedom, is judicious. How else can they handle it? Also, Austine McDonnell Cassini Hearst and  Evelyn Peyton Gordon are two gossip columnists in Washington, which means that they practically run the country, which, given their bylines, explains a lot about how this country is run. Anyway, they're fighting over girl stuff. T. S. Matthews is replacing Luce as editor in chief of Time, which is why it's suddenly okay to mention Hadden again. Roy Alexander replaces Matthews as managing editor. 

Bill Tillstrom, of Kukla, Fran and Ollie gets a feature story in Radio and Television. Don't worry if you've never heard of him. I barely have, and I'm only 24! 

H. C. Honegger has dug up three stained-glass windows that went astray some years ago, and returned them to Sempach, Switzerland, from whence they came loose to begin with back in 1814, and everyone is happy, including Honegger, who gets to claim it as a $100,000 donation. The mysterious E. Box is having an exhibition in London, and Clayton Price in New York. 

Ms. Cintron, but only because Georgeanne "Gigi" Durston
seems to have fallen off an Internet cliff. 
Clark Gable has eloped, big news; William O'Dwyer is honeymooning with Sloan Simpson, strange news. Conchita Cintron is giving up bullfighting for domestic bliss. Gigi Durston is swapping domestic bliss-related situations with Faye Emerson, the man in question being the one and only Elliot Roosevelt. Elizabeth Taylor is "silly." Photogaphers tell Tex McCreery and Jinx Falkenberg that their hardest subjects were Thomas Dewey and Fiorello La Guardia, who "would never sit still," while their favourite trick was sitting Herbert Hoover on a stack of books so that he would stay awake for an entire session. John Pierce Anderson is happy with being the husband of the American ambassador to Denmark, because all he does is clip puffed wheat coupons, anyway. Margaret Truman has threatened to be in the news again, and Connie Mack isn't dead yet. There's another Vanderbilt, Cousin Henry's marriage gets in the paper, Cary Grant and Clark Gable are getting hitched, news so big you tell it twice. Howard Hopson and Jacques Stern have died. 

The New Pictures

On the Town is all singing, all dancing, and Time loved it. 


I'm just an engineer, but I'm going to guess that Elizabeth Goudge's Gentian Hill is one of those middlebrow novels that Time is impressed with, and expects us to be impressed by the fact that it is impressed by it. It has that loopy-around-the-subject beginning, mainly introducing the author, that reminds me of The Economist only much less like climbing barbed wire, if barbed wire were made of boredom. Then it finally gets to the book a bit, but in that, "Oh, it's a Goudge book, you're going to buy it anyway," way. On the other hand, Kenneth Wiliams' Lincoln Finds a General is going to be a multivolume work about how first Lincoln couldn't find a good general, and the war went not so well, and then he found Grant, and everything worked out well in the end. At least, that's what it'll say when it's done. E. Lucas Bridge's Uttermost Part of the Earth is about this place. Well, more accurately, about my bungalow, which is even more picturesque. No! In fact, it is not. Poop. It is about Tierra del Fuego, which is allegedly even closer to the edge of the world. Which sounds ridiculous to me. My bed slants, and I'm in danger of rolling off it! The review does try to make its case by pointing out how scary Tierra del Fuegan women are, but I'm not buying it. This is Time. It was started by men who were scared of pretty much any woman! (But mostly the pretty ones!) 

Ahem. Also, Hans von Eckhardt's Ivan the Terrible is about how terrible Ivan was. Because Communism! (Did you know that reverse causation isn't ruled out by quantum theory? You can kick it out of the picture, but only with a really ugly fixup. It's one of the things Einstein is trying to improve on.) 

Aviation Week, 9 January 1950

News Brief reports that the reason people are saying that the X-1 made 1989 mph is that someone carried the two wrong, or something like that. The X-1 can probably go Mach 1.5, which works out to 1000mph, and the X-2 might get 1700mph at 80,000ft when it actually exists. The CAA is working on requirements for JATO for civil transports, which would seem to boil down to handing a billion rockets off the wings and firing off enough of them to make them go, and then more to balance the ones that don't go off. Or something. I ain't reading all those words for something I don't believe will ever happen. It'd be like reading an Economist leader to the end. The relevant Senate committees are going to be looking pretty closely at airline "over-subidisation" because Western Union has been tattling up a storm, figuring that all that air mail must be cutting into the telegram business. Me, I'd blame the telephone, first, but Western Union can't fight Ma Bell, so there you go. 

News Digest reports that Eastern Airlines is suing Captain Bridoux of the Bolivian Air Force for causing the Washington disaster. "Him, your Honour! It was him what done it!" Jackie Cochran has set a new speed record for a propeller driven plane around a 500km closed course, which proves that her P-51 can stay in the air that long and therefore she isn't responsible for the Odom crash. Gerrit Van Daam, who claimed to have invented the first machine gun propeller synchronisation, the wing de-icer, a propeller spinner de-icer and nonfrosting glass, has died in Buffalo after a six-month illness at the age of 56. A federal judge has made it official. Pan American can't fly pilgrims to Rome for Holy Year until the CAA says it can. Pilot error is the probable cause of the KLMN crash in Bombay on 12 July that killed 13 US "newspapermen" (I'd put in a "six" if I was sure that I remembered correctly that at least one of the "men" was actually a lady) says the inquiry. 

Industry Observer reports that the WAA's assets will be completely cleared out by the end of the month. Battelle Memorial Institute has six Air Force research contracts. The USAF is nudging Uncle Henry to bring the Adrian, Michigan plant out of mothballs to be the site of the big German aluminum extrusion presses, which will be used for "new airframe manufacturing techniques." A big Washington meeting will set new tri-service-CAA guidelines for radio interference. The industry will adopt the same hardness tables used in other industries. 

"Lockheed's Proposals for Jet Transports" Lest anyone think that Lockheed has been ignoring the jet transport, here's some drawings they did! And some numbers! Numbers like "150,000lbs" and "40 to 50 passengers" and "530mph" cruising speed. Which is all much better than the Comet, which goes to show that Lockheed's got numbers! Lockheed is the "dark horse" in the jet transport business because all the competition regards it as the company to beat! All that's left is for someone to give it lots of money to make jets. And for the engine companies to come through, because if America doesn't have a jet transport tomorrow, it will be all their fault. Kelly Johnson favours fuselage fuel tanks and "light" afterburners and relaxed rules for doors. 

Congress is going to deal with everyone wanting money, the B-36, the fact that Washington State doesn't want Boeing to move, atom bomb or no atom bomb, a $600 million air base programme, a national air traffic control plan, a new airport for Washington, and the fact that the private owners don't want all that fussy air traffic control.  Over from Britain, A. E. Russell of Bristol gave a Wright Memorial talk devoted to the turboprop's long range advantage. 

Aeronautical Engineering has Robert McLarren, "Rocket Power: Its Place in Aeronautics"   "There already remains little doubt that very high-performance aircraft, all defensive and most offensive missiles of the future will be propelled by rocket power." Aviation Week is doing this a lot. And, yes, McLarren is a contributor, not the editor, but this stuff is everywhere. On this one, by the way, Mr. Leduc in France would make a strenuous objection, and I'm not so sure that even jet engines are out of line for future interceptors. Also, did you know that the rocket is one of a family of motors that use the "momentum principle" for operation? The others don't have time for that silly little law of conservation of momentum! Diesels and gas engines have people to go, places to do! The rest of the article consists of the rocket equation and a bunch of disingenuous argument falsely implying that rocket engines are more fuel efficient than turbojets. 

"Film Evaporation Aids Flow Study" I don't even care about the article. I'm just pointing out that Aviation Week is hiring the illiterate again. Although Uncle George will be pleased that it turns out to be about NACA successfully adapting W. E.Gray's RAE method for studying boundary layer effects with a liquid film. (You get the model wet, and the part that dries out in the wind tunnel fastest as the most frictional air flow over it.) 

"Turntable Speeds Compass 'Swinging'" Fairchild is marketing a compass with the needle replaced by a "special turntable and electrical indicating unit." It reduces the time required to "compensate" magnetic and Flux-Gate compasses from 6 to 1 hours factory fresh. It consists of a big old turntable (Yes!) on which you park the actual small plane you're swinging. Then you, well, swing the plane 'till it points in a compass direction, says the "electrical indicator," then you get in the plane and check the compass, and if it says different, you give it a good old whack with your wrench. Or fiddle with the knobs and screws, but that takes forever because cockpits are so darned small and they get hot and stuffy in no time, especially in Formosa, and double quick you want to hit something with a wrench. I need my wench!

Er, please don't tell Ronnie I called her a "wench." It was just for the gag, Honest Injun!

I think my copy is missing a page, because turn over, and we're in the middle of a talk from the Wright Memorial shindig by a Vickers-Armstrong guy who discusses all the ways that the electrics can fail prematurely in high altitude flight. Super interesting to me, and I'm going to have to find another copy, but maybe the average reader doesn't care as much about cupric oxide wearing off exposed bearings and the possibility that a bit of chlorinated paint is the cure. So would be getting rid of the dc power systems with their commutators, rectifiers and transformers; but even after years of work, air forces aren't 100% happy with the constant speed alternators they've got, and no-one's happy with high altitude ignition systems, either. (Too much sparking, mainly, as the atmosphere's insulating value falls with pressure.)  

"CAB Faces Helicopter Problem: Must decide Whether to Authorise Passenger Service in New York area, When Mail Pay may be Missing" The headline pretty much says it all, which is why I wrote it out. The airmail subsidy makes commercial flying possible, but it also makes it weird.

Production reports that Boeing is trying to find a commercial market for its tiny little, 180lb thrust, 502 turbine, maybe on the ground. After all, it'll go into the same space as a 3000lb diesel, delivers 1 hp/lb compared with 6 for a typical auto engine, and has only one-sixth as many parts. As a freewheel system, it has an "infinitely variable" transmission, which means that the compressor runs at its efficient speed, and the turbine speed is controlled by gas flow. It is pretty fuel inefficient, but Boeing is dreaming the same dreams as Bristol about putting in gadgets to recover the energy lost in waste heat and from compression. 
So cute!

New Aviation Products reports on the latest aircraft loading computer, an electrical gizmo from India that replaces "slide rules and charts." Or the old load balancing calculators. But mentioning the competition in an article like this would be too much like journalism! It's the usual analog device, by the way. You flick an amazing number of switches to adjust the bridges in an electrical circuit, and when everything is balanced, the circuit's output goes to zero, as shown on some dials. Just don't go taking off if there's smoke coming out! Set Screw and Manufacturing has a self-locking and adjusting screw. Metco Laboratories has anew plastic coating. Huck Manufacturing has a new blind rivet, Ansol Chemical a new fire extinguisher, Gardner-Denver a portable air compressor, New Hampshire Ball Bearings, the tiniest little ball bearing ever, Electrometal has a fast stopping motor, Kennametal the latest Brinell hardness tester. 

Air Transport checks in with air coach. It turns out that with everyone piling in, Capital Airlines is starting to have some trouble with declining ridership. The Census Bureau says that at this point, some people are flying nonsked coach because scheduled flights with better service simply weren't available. Also, American flying is getting ever safer domestically. Overseas, American flag fliers are loads safer than some, with no fatal accidents since way back in April of '48. MATS is in trouble for flying scheduled services to Latin America, which you'd think would be the airlines' job. Now that besieging the CAB for permission to fly pilgrims to Rome is officially the coming thing, Federated Airlines has put in an application. Ralph Damon points out that jetliners still have their problems, but he's impressed by the Viscount. The NEA Convair-Liner crash at Portland in August was caused by a proplock failure in the reversible-pitch props, which we already more-or-less knew. Bad news for those counting on propeller gadgets, notably the Stratoliner. Elal, Israel's flag carrier, is starting scheduled services with a bus-around-Europe tour to be flown by a second hand DC-4. You know the drill, stop in London, stop in Paris, stop in Zurich, on to Israel. BOAC will handle servicing. American Airlines has a phone line you can call to check to see whether your flight is actually going to, you know, fly. It's being sold as being like the weather forecast number, but I'm not seeing it. American may not know whether it's going to rain tomorrow, but it ought to know whether its planes will fly! US airlines are going to keep on keeping on with "credit cards." BEA's sensible, European system just gives you a 5% discount after you hit 200 hours. 

Letters features the sad story of "National Flight System," which started out in the middle of last year or so as a combination correspondence course for ground engineers and a national dealership network based on same. Various would-be dealers sent in $500 each to get in on the ground floor, and then NFS vanished. Aviation Week had a guy snoop around San Francisco looking for them, and eventually found the principals working in a television store in the suburbs by asking the elevator operator at the old building, looking them up in the phone book, and talking to one guy's wife. NFS still has one full-time employee handling the correspondence course, who will continue until the 400 students currently taking the course finish up. In the meantime, everything is everyone else's fault but the principals, the dealers have no leg to stand on since the company never promised them anything, so it's really their fault for being suckers. As a California registered corporation, the courts agree, and won't shut NFS down as long as there's money coming in, which is all going to the creditors. And since Aviation Week had them dead to write at the "Capital Television" store, the president wrote a nice letter to go into the latest issue, expanding on the important and pertinent "Everyone else's fault but mine" point. 

Later, a talk with the wife. 

Editorial is sad that no-one is buying helicopter shares, perhaps out of a concern that the president, chairman and chief engineer of said limited liability helicopter company will be selling televisions in an "outlying shopping district" by next week some time. Also, one airline that won't fly coach service because it cares so much about the customers, is putting cargo in first class, which just goes to show. 

Time, 9 January 1949


The Letters page starts off with a violent argument between fans of the Boston and Philadelphia symphonies, just so you're up to date. William Quaintance of Moline, Illinois, objects to his medical fees going to anti-socialised medicine propaganda. Roland Cuerva thinks that the doctors could afford to pay a lot more, considering how much they think it is reasonable to charge for life-saving operations. Dr. Lyon Stein points out that an American NHS will just lead to army strikebreakers, as always happens in Britain. Various correspondents differ strongly as to whether or not the Catholic Church is a force for evil. Our publisher is thrilled that the London papers took Time's nomination of Winston Churchill as "man of the half century" so seriously. One columnist said that Time was "atrociously written but vividly readable." You know, I think I might be able to diagnosis the problem with the British press now! Louise Hyde, he goes on, correcting some earlier publicity text, does not "make you feel thirty," but, rather, "thirsty." Because she sells soda!

National Affairs

Boxer off Korea. It's actually a traditional USN name, and not a reference to the
Boxer Rebellion, but Reggie didn't know that at the time. 
"For Better or for Worse" Time was excited about the mission to Formosa last week, and couldn't wait to find out what would happen. Me, too, because I'd learn what I was doing here! As it turns out, the President ended up backing Acheson's plan, which calls for money and arms for the Philippines, French and the Indonesians, and more American troops, planes and ships for the Western Pacific, but no Formosan mission. That doesn't mean I'll be coming home soon, though, because I'm "liaison," not "mission." Unless, as Time predicts, the Communists are here by Tuesday. It does mean that the Navy's decided to send a task force built up around --get this-- USS Boxer. You know how I could really help? If I were "liaison" to the Navy Department! 

"Back to Work" The 81st Congress is set to work on things that probably won't pass (Brannan Plan and Taft-Hartley repeal), things that will (social security expansion and federal education aid), and things that may or may not, like national health insurance. The Senate is likely to filibuster any releaf on oleomargarine taxes, civil rights and the new DP bill. A billion is likely to come out of foreign aid, 2 billion out of defence. Nebraska's new Senator, Kenneth Wherry, is promising a new fight against the Vandenberg wing on foreign policy.

"For the Common Good" Leon Keyserling, of all people, is running an Administration charm offensive against business. He praises American business for its dynamism, which is set to raise the national income to $300 billion in jig time, and that increasing the nation's wealth is more important than redistributing it. Cartels, he says, may be bad, but that doesn't make all "big business" bad. Controls are not a good thing, and it is not up to Government alone to pull the country out of depressions and inflations. Much depends on business spending, and Time interprets it as a rejection of "deficit spending," as well. Then it is off to Missouri and Illinois to check in with the President on vacation and Senator Lucas' reelection campaign.

"Bygones" Arleigh Burke has made Rear Admiral, in spite of running Operation 23. This shows that Forrest Sherman has managed to persuade Louis Johnson to reinstate Burke on the promotion list, and the navy is now very happy with him. 

"What the FBI Heard" Well! I  never! It turns out that the FBI's case against Judith Coplon was based on illegal wire taps! The defence, which roped in 77 G-men and grilled them on the stand, managed to establish that practically everybody in the whole FBI heard Coplon talking to her lawyer --which also shows they committed perjury in the last Coplon trial. Some agents had no "personal knowledge," while others were just plain unaware of the Supreme Court's ruling against wiretapping privileged conversations. What would he know? He was just an FBI man and a lawyer! At one point, two separate investigations were wiretapping Gubichev's phones at the same time. Also, the Hiss case is still on. 

"40 cc. of Air" Dr. Herman Sander of Manchester, New Hampshire, is on trial there for injecting Mrs. Abbie Borroto with same, causing her rapid death before cancer could take her. 

"Life of an Angel" Frederick Vanderbilt Field is the great-great grandson of Cornelius, rich, and a lifelong communist, so it gives Time the greatest pleasure to announce that he  has divorced his wife and taken up with Anita Cohen Boyer, who was not only divorced from a Russian spy, but a Jew. Not that we mention that. 

Manners and Morals reports that the New York Central has stopped broadcasting commercials at Grand Central, preferring to lose $93,000 a year rather than its customers' good will. 


Britain and Yugoslavia have a trade deal. China and Nehru are having a bit of  a spat. The war in Greece is more-or-less over, but the Communists are still holding on to some 28,000 children that various people want returned. The UN has been to see the children, and reports that they are not being mistreated, except that they are being indoctrinated as Communists and will soon stop being Greeks, as they will be "absorbed." Also, the International Refugee Organisation continues to hope that at least the 26,000 specialists in their camps (teachers, engineers, doctors, scientists) can find a home. This week, they managed to get 56 of them released to Pakistan, so that's progress, I guess. Also, and for some reason, the Baedekker guides get a long profile, and Time prints a picture of the assembled Communist dignitaries on Lenin's tomb at the last October Revolution Parade, and then provides very short biographies.  No idea why.

Foreign News

King Farouk just divorced Zaki Hachem and is expected to marry someone else now. Radio Peking says that the Communists are hunting down Nationalist war criminals. There's a trolley driver strike in Hong Kong that will probably maybe probably won't lead to a Communist takeover or at least strikes by other utility workers. The Republic of Indonesia officially exists. Czechoslovakia has banned tipping, as it is capitalistic, and Hungary  has nationalised most industries. Two French scoundrels, Lange and Salve, have been convicted of selling forged Resistance papers at 50,000 francs the set. It turns out that notorious British jewel thief Barry Fieldsend was actually antiques dealer and man-about-town Bertie Holliday, but he shot himself with a walking-stick pistol in the Wheatsheaf Hotel, Virginia Water, Surrey, so it's alright now. Geoffrey Hall's New Nursery Rhymes for Old is a censored version of Mother Goose that is doing gangbusters since kids really don't like all that gruesome stuff about mice getting their tails cut off and so on. 

In this hemisphere, Trujillo has given himself the right to declare war, which it sounds like he might use against Cuba if the State Department can't restrain him. In Argentina, Peron is ridiculous and bad. In Quebec, the Catholic Church is obscurantist. 

Science, Medicine, Education

"15,000 Scientists" Another year has passed, which means another Triple-A. No-one's on about overpopulation and soil erosion this year. Instead, everyone is talking about True magazine's claim that "flying saucers" are spaceships from Venus. Rumours that the Air Force investigation of flying saucer incidents has revealed that aliens are monitoring the White Sands trials from above have been circulating for months, and there is talk that the Air Force confiscated a crashed spaceship with one three-foot-tall, monkeylike alien body being recovered, a radio still in contact with the aliens, and various instruments. Other versions say that some of the aliens survived, and are being held in a pressurised chamber "filled with carbon dioxide to simulate the atmosphere of Venus." The Air Force not only denies everything, but has disbanded its Project Saucer, because its very existence was provoking too many stories.  

"Country Doctor, 1950" Time tagged along with the general practice of Drs. Elmer Howard Reeves and Robert A. McShane in Arnold, Nebraska, to get a sense of what being a country doctor is like these days. They saw 300 patients in their offices last week, made 40 house calls, delivered four babies and performed four operations. Their community has about 5000 people, and they  have installed an x-ray machine and an electrocardiograph in their  10 bed hospital. They're building an office that will be big enough for an outpatient clinic and a laboratory for a lab technician. There's a receptionist, and probably a nurse or two, but they're just girls, so they don't need names. 

"Genius and Madness" London neurologist Walter Russell is afraid that not enough people think that doctors are crazy, so he's released a complete list of psychological diagnoses of famous dead English authors. Jonathan Swift liked poo, which makes him crazy, and Charles Dickens liked whips and chains. 

Irving Lorge's Teacher's Word Book is revolutionising the teaching of English by explaining that English words have many meanings. 

"Magic in Hiroshima" Matsui Tomikazu has recovered from being atom-bombed to become a leading publisher of childrens' books. And isn't that the main thing?

Art, Radio and Television, Press, People

Bernard Karfiol has an exhibit, and John Marin has an art book.

"The 69th Most Popular" CBS' Sunday afternoon Invitation to Listening is "unashamedly highbrow,"  and will be doing a series about religion this season featuring Kierkegaard and The Golden Bough, which is a bit of a thing in science fiction circles, but also Very Serious and not exactly a church lady's cup of tea, either. A bunch of new faces will be onboard this season, including Harold Stassen, Ellis Arnall and Harold Burton. Also, Time wants us to know that it does okay in the ratings. So there. 
"An Eagle for Cleverness" Ivo Meldosi, previously known as a photographer for the Fascist-era press, got off on collaboration charges in '45 for "insufficient proof of guilt," and has since managed to snap photos of Greta Garbo, Princess Margaret in a bathing suit, and the one and only Salvatore Giuliano. Now he has been arrested for "aiding and abetting banditry," which everyone thinks is  just too much. 

"Subtle Chauvinism" The Daily Worker's sport columnist, Lester Rodney, keeps getting into trouble, this time for quoting San Francisco University's basketball coach, describing substitute Willy Wong as "exceptionally fast, intelligent and a good shot." The "intelligent" thing was the "subtle chauvinism." Rodney clearly doesn't understand why it is "subtle chauvinism," but he is willing to apologise. 

Bernarr Mcfadden is repositioning New Physical Culture as a women's mag. The Detroit News is in trouble for labelling Paul F. Kassay an underground Communist agent responsible for the attempted UAW bombing. Kassay, it turns out, lives in his own house, has for years, passed a security check in WWII, is not a communist, and has an iron-clad alibi for the bombing and the assassination attempts. Oops!

Dr. Harold Urey is upset that his remarks about not understanding Einstein's General Theory is being taken as evidence that scientists are too dumb to understand Einstein, when what he was really saying was that he was a chemist. Arthur Koestler is in trouble for public drunkenness and punching a policeman. Clifton Webb wants everyone to know that even though he played Mr. Belvedere in Cheaper by the Dozen, he really doesn't know a thing about kids. Rear Admiral Joseph Clark is being sued by "a Miss Selma Sinclair" for "hitting her after an argument" in the lobby of an apartment building owned by the admiral's wife. Admiral Clark says it was an accident, but Miss Sinclair is suing. George Murdock of Yale is in deep trouble for saying that, in a few generations, Americans will be fine with "premarital but postpubertal sexual relationships." Ida Lupo is getting divorced, Henry Fonda may get divorced. Illya Ehrenburg is upset with the way he is portrayed in General Bedell Smith's memoirs, and Time is upset at Ehrenburg. Rita Hayworth has produced an Aga Khanness. Historian Samuel Morrison has married 44-year-old Priscilla Barton, a Boston socialite. New Zealand track heo Dr. John Lovelock has died in a train accident at 39, Charles Brickley and Hervey Allen of a heart attack, Emil Jannings of cancer. 

Business in 1949 is a special feature, or possibly a section. Remember how there was a business recession? Time does! It was the year when the Justice Department got even more antitrust happy, corn was used for fabrics, and Americans got into jet engines. 1950 will probably be a year of inflation and low unemployment. Everyone is sad about the federal deficit, and expects lots more houses to be built. The dollar gap is holding, and maybe farmers don't want price supports any more. (Hah!)

The New Pictures 

Prince of Foxes is beautifully shot on location in Italy, but Tyrone Power is no Andrea Orsini, and Wanda Hendrix is especially no Italian princess, and the script is just not anything. 


Samuel Shellabarger's The King's Cavalier is a romping historical novel. Damn you, Time, you set me up to vault the middlebrow entry, and then plunge me into courtesans seducing kings and adventurers stabbing each other with swords, and then I wander unprepared into Richard Crossman's The God That Failed, which is one of those books that  makes "Communism turns out to be bad" into some kind of literary journey. And as if that isn't weak and watery enough, it's at a remove, because it traces the "intellectual journey" of all those authors that the God that Failed, Failed. Someone, in the book and in the review, honestly calls himself "a half-virgin of the Revolution." Jocelyn Brook's The Scapegoat is one of those spooky little novels where some kid goes to live with a relative on a spooky farm and terrible things happen. Frederick Buechner's A Long Day's Dying is, by Time's read, a middlebrow Book that Failed. "[A]s threadbare as its style is elaborate." 

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