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For the 45th time, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers assembled for its annual meeting. The place was Manhattan. The attendance was composed of a group of the most eminent engineers in the country. The object was the exchange of ideas, discoveries and criticisms which each of these scientific minds had been maturing privately during the past year.
The Federal Government was present. The Government is interested in mechanical matters. Only a few years ago, war turned the entire Government into a great mechanic. Now for both war and peace aims, the Government keeps in touch with mechanical progress. So its liaison officer, Assistant Secretary of War Dwight Filley Davis, the man whose special function it is to foresee and mechanically to forearm for war, was on hand to open the session on National Defense. He set forth the two basic ideas of the War Department: 1) industrial preparedness as assurance against war; 2) the apportionment of its burdens in accordance with prearranged plans, so that the burdens might be equalized and provision made for their efficient carriage. Said he:
"If the War Department had even laid down a definite program before our entry into the World War and had computed approximately its munitions requirements under the program, our effective entrance into the European conflict would have occurred months sooner than it did; and the consequent saving in lives and money would have been enormous. In the item of leather goods alone, we estimate that $200,000,000 could have been saved.
"We have recently appointed 15 commodity committees to which have been assigned the task of getting together the total requirements of all supply branches for certain assigned commodities. Having ascertained the total requirements, the committee submits them to a designated supply branch. It is the duty of this branch to maintain contact with the industry and to make a plan for procuring the commodity in time of emergency. This plan is then cleared by the commodity committee and, when satisfactory, becomes the procurement plan for the War Department for the commodity."
Thus spoke War's hypothecator, pledging the nation's resources, in case of need, to war-preparing peaceful plans for future emergencies, enlisting scientists-peaceful scientists-in the interests of national defense. It was perhaps one of the last things one would have expected 25 years ago of the tall, good-looking, young Missouri tennisplayer, who, then at Harvard, offered the trophy afterwards to become famous as the Davis Cup, who for two years defended it in person, who sailed boats, played polo, who became Park Commis
sioner of St. Louis and started the Municipal Athletic League. His turn towards the field of industry in war came in 1921 when he was made a director of the War Finance Corporation, from which post he came to be the Assistant Secretary of War in 1923.
The scientists listened and fell to their
ALEXANDER KLEMIN He is the helicopter's prophet
deliberations on many subjects. Some of the main topics:
Dr. Julian D. Sears of the Geological Survey warned the engineers that they must find more economical means of producing, refining and using petroleum and predicted that the 1924 production of crude oil would fall 32,000,000 barrels behind the demand.
Prof. Alexander Klemin, in charge of the School of Aeronautics of New York University, discussed the problems and development of the helicopter. Only a day or two before, Thomas A. Edison, in an interview in Collier's Weekly, had declared that the next great invention would be a practical helicopter. Prof. Klemin explained the requirements of a successful helicopter and foresaw its future development, not as a rival to the airplane but as a supplement adapted to special purposes such as rising and descending vertically and hovering over one spot.
Henry Zoelly, a Swiss engineer, declared that the steam locomotive is lagging "pitifully" in scientific progress and foresaw the development of a turbolocomotive.
Colonel Tracy C. Dickson of the Ordnance Department of the U. S. Army told of the development of a 280,000-volt X-ray apparatus to take pictures through three inches of steel. The use of the apparatus is to detect flaws in castings, thus preventing gun explosions.
Dr. William LeRoy Emmet of the General Electric Co. told of the development of the mercury vapor turbine, explaining that he believed it would prove 40% more efficient than the steam turbine.
The principal speaker at the annual
dinner of the Society was Dr. Livingston Farrand, President of Cornell University, who deplored the loose thinking which characterizes the American people.
All the addresses, with few exceptions, were extremely technical, which was what the engineers desired and understood. They also understood the less technical language of Dwight F. Davis.
Recently, Dr. James H. Jeans delivered a paper before the Royal Astronomical Society (London). It so aroused Prof. Henry H. Turner of Oxford that he reverted to the venerable English pastime of "writing to the Times" about the "remarkable occurrence." Unlike so many letters written to the Times, Professor Turner's letter was taken up by the press on both sides of the Atlantic, reprinted and headlined and garbled until a small but respectable portion of the earth's inhabitants had been instructed that the Einstein theory had led scientists to believe that other suns than ours (i. e., some stars) had planetary systems of their own, which might well harbor life.
The point of what Dr. Jeans had to say and which Professor Turner admired was this: that by virtue of the theory of relativity it was estimated that the sun and other stars were not millions of years old, but millions of millions of years. Dr. Jeans hypothecated that our planetary system was produced by the collision or close approach of another star to the sun. Knowing the distance of the stars from each other, their speed of travel, and having an estimate of the length of life belonging to stars and to our sun in particular, Dr. Jeans calculated the mathematical chance of the happening of such an accident as he believed produced our planetary system. The chance was so small as to make the event seem impossibly improbable.
Then, suddenly, Dr. Jeans revised his estimates of the lifetimes of the stars by many millions of years. This greatly improved the possibility of such an event's happening.
So, Dr. Jeans' mathematics no longer allows him to say that the chance of there being other planetary systems is inconceivably small. So far as his calculations go, there may be planets belonging to other stars, and if planets, why not life?
Of course, Dr. Jeans did not confine his consideration of relativity to the hypothetical existence or nonexistence of other planetary systems. His other conclusions include: 1) that the universe is slowly expanding; 2) that stars, in giving off heat and light, diminish in mass (weight), that the sun, for example, loses about four million tons of weight a second: 3) that, as a star becomes smaller, its speed increases.
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The Current Situation
On the Stock Exchange, heavy volumes in trading continue, along with a continued although somewhat irregu lar advance in prices. As yet, no signs of security inflation have appeared except in a minor way. Brokers' loans are stationary, and purchasing is still largely for cash. Declarations of new dividends, especially among the weaker railroads, already go to show that the autumn's "bull market" has not been a merely speculative movement, but caused by fundamental economic rea
The real puzzle is with industrial securities. They have appreciated along with the rails, but more uncertainly and subject to larger reactions. Moreover, securities of different industries have Industrial behaved quite differently. news continues to become more encouraging. Last week, the copper industry began to cheer up, as the iron and steel industry had already done. Yet prospects of any industrial boom are still far away, and the slowly rising market for most industrial securities seems to predict a powerful although quite gradual improvement in industry itself next spring.
The large exports of gold recently made from New York in a single day ran to $12,000,000. It has been taken by some as marking the end of the danger of "gold inflation" in America. The exports of American gold were mainly occasioned by large foreign loans recently floated in this country. J. P. Morgan & Co., for example, in one day sent $5,000,000 in gold coin to the German Reichsbank, on account of the $110,000,000 German loan sold here this fall. This single gold shipment exceeds all exports of gold to Germany from New York since 1914.
Thus far, only an infinitesimal part of America's huge gold hoard has been drawn abroad. It is by no means certain that the movement will long continue; even if it should, it would take a long time to drain away the huge gold surplus now in the country.
Foreign loans may lead to temporary gold exports, but interest and sinking fund payments later tend to draw even more gold back to our shores. Not until the trade balances are on a very different basis than at present, is it likely that considerable American gold exports will continue.
It was time for the Bond Club of Manhattan to give another luncheon. To George F. Baker, "the grand old man of Wall Street," said to be 10 times as rich as the original J. P. Morgan, went an invitation. He accepted. More than that, he said he would make a speechthe first of his life. Persuasive as a dinner horn that news blared; great men
From 23 Wal!
rallied to the luncheon. Street came Thomas W. Lamont, Dwight W. Morrow, Junius S. Morgan Jr., George Whitney of J. P. Morgan & Co.; from 52 William Street came Mortimer Schiff, Otto H. Kahn, Jerome J. Hanauer of Kuhn, Loeb & Co.; from counting houses and director's rooms came other notables: Charles H. Sabin, Chairman of the Guarantee Trust Co : E. T. Stotesbury of Drexel & Co.; H. B. Thayer, President of the America Telephone & Telegraph Co.
Banker Baker got up. "The hardest shell," people say of him, "the softest heart, in the U. S." Addressing him,
strong voices often shake. At his whisper, people say, the 20th Century Limited* would stop in its tracks. Yet, as he stood before the boys in the Bond Club, it was Baker's voice that trembled. His speech, reported in full (146 words) was as follows:
"Yesterday morning when one of my family read to me that I had promised to make the first speech of my life here today I really fell down. I was never educated in after-dinner or afterluncheon talking, and I cannot do it. I cannot put words together to express my feelings for your kindness, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
"There is no organization that I know of in this country that stands higher for character and ability than this one; and if you continue to conduct your business and live your lives as you have been doing, to gain the respect and love of your fellows, you will accom
*Some indication of Mr. Baker's power was given last spring (TIME, Apr. 14) when the New York Central R.R. waited for him to return from the South before it dared to elect a new president. Born in Troy. V. Y. in 1840, he dominates half a dozen railroads, several banks, scores of industrial concerns.
h the best in life, and, withal most ortant, if you maintain that integ'for which you are all so noted, it bring you greater happiness and than great wealth."
ressmen, editors, bakermen all found found this utterance. Said The New k Sun (owned by Millionaire Mun):
Mr. Baker, waiting 84 years to make speech, says something which none › heard him will forget."
im to Gum
.. P. Larson, gum-maker, sued WillWrigley, ditto, for infringement of r patented name "Wintermint" in the igley advertisements for "Doubleit" gum. A former court awarded . Larson $2,860,000-profits on the of doublemint gum from 1914 to 8. By a legal wriggle, Mr. Wrigley mmed Mr. Larson's claim, subtracting m his opponent's claim the advertisbill for doublemint gum in that iod, reducing the total amount to 471,101.
In the winter of 1921-22 and the folving spring, the strong rise in stocks y effectually put out of business a rde of "bucketshops" and crooked okerage concerns. Among others was ; firm of Raynor, Nichols & Truesle, members of the Consolidated ock Exchange. The courts, like the lls of the gods, have subsequently ound slowly. Only last week saw the al conviction against individuals inIved by the Raynor, Nichols & Truesle explosion.
William S. Silkworth, former presint of the Consolidated Exchange, had come entangled in the firm's affairs, d was sentenced to a fine of $1,000 d 90 days in jail. The charge was frauding through the mails. Mr. Ikworth was, however, admitted to il pending the hearing of otions.
So slow are the courts, and so overowded the court calendars, that eedy punishment of evil-doers appears apossible. Moreover, penalties imosed by the courts are out of all nancial proportion to the scale upon hich the public has been relieved of its unds.
The Yellow Cab Manufacturing Co., or the first time in its history, cut its lividend rates, from 41c. a share per month to 21c.-or from about $5.00 to bout $2.50 per share per annum. Accompaying the announcement was an mnusual statement from President John Hertz.
The Hertz companies had a very emarkable history in the Chicago stockmarket. The favorites of local speculators, many of whom became rich thereby, the shares of the Hertz companies sold at constantly higher prices. Frequently Mr. Hertz has declared that his stocks were selling too high, but speculators paid scant heed.
When the Yellow Cab and Yellow Manufacturing stocks were brought on to Manhattan and listed on the Manhattan exchanges, many expected to see a further rise in price. Wall Street, however, was not only unenthusiastic, but downright rude and subjected them to a severe drubbing.
Now Mr. Hertz abjures all this: "I have had a bitter lesson. I was pitchforked into the stockmarket; now I am going to pitch myself out of it. I have done nothing for the last six months but worry over the stockmarket action of our securities. I had an eye glued to the tape most of the time and missed many a good night's sleep. I am through with this forever. . Surplus earnings from now on are going to be ploughed back into the company."
Mr. Hertz's own holdings of his stocks are now greater than they were a year ago.
Cotton Trading in Chicago Chicago, long the world market for grain and livestock, has hitherto shown scant interest in cotton. This month, however, trading in cotton was for the first time in history inaugurated on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Production of cotton is more and more moving westward into the southwest; already Texas is overwhelmingly the leading cotton-producing state. Chicago brokers claim that the cotton market should accordingly move westward to Chicago. Yet the Chicago, like the New York, cotton market will presumably handle little actual cotton, and be primarily a "hedging" market in cotton contracts. Under these circumstances, nearness to the cotton fields is of minor importance.
The real significance of the move is the struggle of the Chicago Board of Trade for existence. The wheat market is moving from Chicago into Canada, despite the unusual Chicago activity this year. The cereal and meat business is already hag-ridden by Government interference and agricultural coöperation. The waning business on the Chicago Board in cereals and provisions may thus be supplemented by the newly undertaken business in cotton.
Nineteen twenty-four will set a new high record in the issuance of new bonds. By Dec. 1, $2,127,823,688 of bonds had been issued, compared with $1,608,595,788 for the entire year of 1923, $1,675,131,561 for 1922, and $2,145,406,132 for 1921-previously the banner year for bonds. The present year, however, has seen on the average larger bond issues, since to Dec. 1 only 6,589 issues were sold, compared with 7,689 in 1923, 9,434 in 1922, and 7,227 in 1921.
One peculiar feature of the 1924 bond output is the large amount of state and municipal issues. It is expected that this year the new obligations of these
I desire to enter my protest against the publication of the picture of William Jennings Bryan in your issue of this week. If it were used apart from the critical articles that you publish from The New York World, no one would know whose picture it was.
The publication of this picture I consider as a despicable attack upon a man who, while you may differ from him vitally, does not deserve this sort of treatment at your hands. You received the picture from some other source but this does not excuse its publication by you.
This letter is not intended as a defense of Mr. Bryan's policies or his attitude in the recent election, but it is a plea for fair play on the part of your journal.
WM. E. SWEET.
I quote from TIME of Nov. 24: Who suddenly killed Cock Robin? "I did!" cried Minnesota.* "I marked hum sure. I wounded him sore." Robin
Red Grange, most brilliant of backs, took the field at Minneapolis with his fellow Illini and at once raced off around end for a touchdown. He started other races, but Minnesota ends crashed him, Minne. sota secondary defense heaped upon him. In the second period, he was subdued. In the third, his arm hung limp, he left the field for the season. Meanwhile, Minnesota's offense plunged, pounded, plowed. Illinois sank back to third in the Conference standing. Score: Minnesota 20, Illinois 7.
Who writes this "stuff" for you? If this is a specimen of his sport news, better eliminate all of it. The phrases used
I want to repeat that my subscription to TIME is canceled.
C. J. RATZLAFF. That the Gophers did "wound" Red Grange, did "crash" him, did "heap upon him" no eye-witness will deny. Football is a rough game, but a casualty does not necessarily denote "dirty play."-ED.
As you may understand from what f lows, I have a deep regard for your paper. In your issue dated Dec. 8, I was especially interested by a letter from Subscriber Ducke regarding the existence of little fishes 64 miles below the surface of the sea. He points out that this is impossible because the temperature of the water there is only about 32° and the pressure 21⁄2 tons per Sq He might have added to these common-sense objections the impossibility of obtaining food Irrefutable as these reasons may see they are not conclusive. Fishes are know to exist five miles down, where the temperature is about the same and the pressure almost as great. For a popular explanation of how these miracles are possible, one has only to refer to the chapter on "Cave and Deep-Sea Life" in Professor Richard Swar Lull's Organic Evolution (Macmillan, 1920.
I fear that some of your readers may have been led by your publication of Subscriber DuCloe's letter into discounting some cf Nature's true miracles.
It would seem clear that the statements it the article did not exceed the bounds of Nature.