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° Zeppelin's First Flight,

< Observing a Firestorm v >


WORLD FOOD—"The food problem confronts the world with two dangers. One is the political danger of hunger. A lifetime of malnutrition and hunger is the lot of two thirds of mankind. Yet in the midst of this dire need there remains the economic threat of the food surpluses generated by modern technologies. The abundant food output of the U.S. already has begun to undermine its prosperity. A World Food Board, as an agency of the U.N., would be responsible for maintenance of stable world prices, and would arrange for disposal of surpluses.—John Boyd-Orr, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949" [Editors' note: The World Food Board was never created.]

ULTRASONIC NAVIGATION—"Photographs of the wave-form of bats' ultrasonic sounds, as seen on the cathode-ray oscilloscope, show that a typical ultrasonic cry lasts only for about one five-hundredth of a second. An audible sound of this extreme brevity is heard as a sharp click. The frequency always seems to drop at least an octave from the beginning to the end of the pulse. Observations show that bats can use pulses of ultrasonic sound to detect objects as close as six inches. Under these conditions an echo will return to the bat's ears before the pulse can finish leaving its mouth. It would seem easier for a bat to distinguish between echo and original pulse if the two differed in frequency, as they do."

BLUE MONDAY—"In a study on employee morale in a British factory, two sociologists at England's University of Birmingham report: 'Morale is lowest on Mondays; attendance improves as pay-day and the week-end approach.' On comparing men and women in the factory, the investigators made a surprising finding: Monday absence was less marked for women. Their tentative explanation: 'Women do not mind so much going back to the factory on Monday, since the weekend does not bring them true leisure.'"


ZEPPELIN'S AIRSHIP—"July second will long be remembered by aeronauts, for the first ascension of the great airship just completed by Count Zeppelin, the cavalry officer of Wurtemberg. On Lake Constance the last rope was cut at three minutes after eight and the airship began to move, trying to rise in a graceful curve. It attained a height of something over 1,300 feet and covered a distance of three and a half miles. One thing is very certain, and that is that no airship of the Zeppelin type will ever carry many people. The enormous expense incurred in building such airships would be a serious obstacle."

STAGE EFFECTS—"For years the public has been demanding more and more realism in plays. We present an illustration from a scene of 'Ben Hur' as played at the Broadway Theater, New York. The scene is the famous chariot race at Antioch, where Mes-sala is thrown, causing him to lose the race. The chariot wheels do not rest upon

TRICK CHARIOT on stage in Ben Hur, 1900

the floor of the stage, but are actuated by a small electrically driven motor inside the body. The chariot of Messala is arranged so that at the critical moment when Ben Hur's chariot strikes it, powerful springs on the axle throw the wheels off and the body drops upon a yoke which is provided with springs."

SEPTICWEAR—"The streets of our great cities can not be kept scrupulously clean until automobiles have entirely replaced horse-drawn vehicles. At the present time women sweep through the streets with their skirts and bring with them, wherever they go, the abominable filth which is by courtesy called 'dust.' The management of a long gown is a difficult matter. Fortunately, the short skirt is coming into fashion, and the medical journals especially commend the sensible walking gown."

CRAVING ICE—"The ice habit is making rapid progress in Great Britain, due largely to the incessant clamor for ice in hotels and public places by the thousands of traveling Americans. Consumption would increase if regular companies distributed it, but the business is in the hands of the fishmongers. Much of the ice is imported from Norway and a considerable quantity is manufactured."


FIRESTORM—"A correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger corroborates the theory of Prof. Espy, that a very large fire will, by a rapid rarefaction of atmosphere, cause an upward current, which must necessarily draw in from the surrounding atmosphere near the surface. He says of the recent large fire in Philadelphia: 'Until 9 o'clock, the strong southeast wind carried flakes of fire to neighboring buildings, and it appeared as though all the northern part of the city must be destroyed. At half-past ten o'clock I noticed the sparks ascending more perpendicularly and to a greater height, many assuming a spiral motion; I immediately made a circuit of the fire, and found the wind blowing strongly in from every side." [Editors' note: The term for this effect, "firestorm," was coined in 1945.]

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