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5.50 A YEAR 



What General Electric people are saying. . . 


Dr. Tonks is Manager— 
Physics Section—Knolls Atomic Power 

For several years we have been 
operating a reactor which is serving 
not as a prototype or a direct source 
of power-reactor performance in- 
formation but as an auxiliary in such 
a program—much as a cathode ray 
tube can be useful in testing tele- 
vision sets. We had experienced the 
limitations of a Ra-Be source in a 
graphite pile and foresaw that an 
experimental thermal reactor could 
serve as a very valuable tool. Purely 
as a substitute for the graphite pile, 
it could easily give us many more 
neutrons even at low power. Thus, 
activation experiments either for 
weighing absorbing foils or fuel 
itself could be carried out more 
rapidly. It became reasonable to 
think that with sufficient intensity 
and using a chopper we might make 
actual differential cross-section meas- 
urements, and a certain type of ex- 
ponential experiment in fissionable 
material became a possibility. Fi- 
nally, the criticality condition in a 
reactor makes it suitable for neutron 
absorption measurements by observ- 
ing the effect of the material under 
test on reactivity. 

These were the considerations that 
led us to build our first thermal test 
reactor based on the fundamental de- 
sign of Dr. Steward of this Labora- 

Our thermal test reactor has under- 
gone a logical evolution in accord- 
ance with its proved usefulness. From 
a small beginning with a power level 
of one watt, all-manual controls, 
makeshift shielding and borrowed 
fuel, it has justified development 
into the 10,000-times-more powerful 
reactor we are about to complete. 
It is still small as reactors go and 
yet can give thermal neutron fluxes 
for experimental purposes which are 
comparable with far larger units. 
And by exploiting danger coefficient 
techniques it can measure thermal 
capture cross sections of small 
samples and weigh isotopes. 

at the American Physical Society, 
Rochester, N. Y. 


Mr. Lawton is with X-Ray Research, 
Electron Physics Research Department, 
General Electric Research Laboratory 

We have recently found that 
certain polymers, or plastic ma- 
terials are cross-linked or ‘‘cured’’ 
when bombarded with high-velocity 
electrons. This curing process cross- 
links, or ties together, the long 
chain-like molecules that make up 
the plastic material. Some of the 
properties of this cross-linked ma- 
terial are greater form stability at 
high temperatures and improved 
solvent resistance. For example, con- 
sider polyethylene bottles or con- 
tainers (squeeze bottles). These, as 
you might expect, will collapse if 
subjected to high temperatures. A 
short time electron bombardment of 
such a bottle, however, will change 
its characteristics so much that it 
can stand up under steam steriliza- 
tion. You can start an almost end- 
less list of applications with sterile 
but unbreakable containers for phar- 
maceutical and biological materials 
which require sterilization after pack- 
aging. Unbreakable, re-usable milk 
bottles can be another possible use. 
Other plastic materials that can be 
cross-linked by the electron beam 
are nylon, rubber, and silicone prod- 

In some of our earlier work we 
found that certain liquid materials 
would polymerize to solid plastics 
when exposed to the electron beam. 
In this process, there is a joining 
together of many smaller molecules 
to form the long chain-like molecules 
that make up the solid plastic. This 
means of initiating polymerization 
does not necessitate the use of cat- 
alyst and high temperature that is 
required in the conventional chem- 
ical polymerization process. In fact, 
we found that polymerization could 
be initiated at temperatures as low 

as about 100° Fahrenheit below zero. 
Further, by controlling the pattern 
of the electron beam, it was found 
that specific solid plastic shapes 
could be produced in the liquid, thus 
providing a new and interesting way 
of casting objects. 

General Electric Science Forum 

WGY, Schenectady, N. Y. 


Dr. Burkhard is a Research Associate at 
the General Electric Research Laboratory. 

When one desires to find informa- 
tion concerning a field or particular 
compound he is confronted with the 
problem of consulting abstract jour- 
nals, books or files to find the data 
which he desires. It is possible by 
use of either hand-sort or machine- 
cards and equipment to ag tech- 
nical libraries which will have avail- 
able files of information pertaining 
to the entire field of science. Then 
one confronted with the task of 
making a survey of a given field 
could consult such a library, and, by 
making the proper sorts by hand or 
by machine, obtain (1) a list of 
references pertaining to the subject 
in question (2) obtain pertinent data 
concerning the subject. As an ulti- 
mate in this type of activity it would 
be possible with the machine sort 
ro to ey ptepare printed 
sheets of references, lists of com- 
pounds and their physical properties, 
or lists of materials having certain 
physical properties. By the use of 
such type files it would also be pee 
sible to correlate and analyze data 
ee to particular rescarch and 

evelopment problems from time to 
time without requiring the necessity 
of using research personnel to con- 
duct such surveys. 

at the American Chemical Society 
Chicago, Ill. 




Science News LETTER for November 14, 1953 

Nobel Prizes Awarded 

Dr. Hermann Staudinger wins Nobel Prize in chemistry 
for his work on high polymers. Dr. F. Zernike awarded Nobel 
Prize in physics for his development of the phase microscope. 

See Front Cover 

cancer cells grow, by allowing scientists to 
spy upon living body cells in color as they 
carry on their important life functions, is 
resulting from the pioneering studies of Dr. 
F. Zernike, the Dutch physicist who won 
this year’s Nobel Prize in physics. 

The new technique of “color staining” 
living cells by light waves without killing 
the cells is Dr. Zernike’s most recent re- 
finement of the phase microscope, which he 
visualized and developed about 20 years 

Dr. Zernike, professor of physics at the 
University of Groningen, the Netherlands, 
since 1920, was visiting professor in physics 
at the Johns Hopkins University in Balti- 
more in 1948. He participated in a sym- 
posium on optics at the National Bureau of 
Standards in October, 1951. 

The ordinary phase microscope uses two 
transparent rings to reveal, in black and 
white, previously unknown details concern- 
ing delicate cell structure. Two optical 
companies—Bausch & Lomb Optical Co. 

DR. F. ZERNIKE— Awarded the 

Nobel Prize in physics for 1953, Dr. 

Zernike visualized and made the first 

phase microscope about 20 years ago, 

recently refined it to allow study of 
living cells in color. 

and American Optical Company—now 
make instruments of this type in the United 
States. Only a few phase microscopes that 
work in color are being used in experi- 
mental work in this country at the present 

In the black and white phase microscope, 
a ring separates a small portion of light 
and distributes it over the whole field of 
view of the microscope, taking advantage 
of the fact that light travels in waves. This 
separated light, spread over the whole 
image, gives an evenly illuminated back- 

The image of the cell being viewed ap- 
pears bright where the phase of the direct 
light used for viewing is the same as that 
of the background light, so that the two 
light beams reinforce each other. It shows 
dark when the phases of the two light 
beams are different, so that by interference 
they nullify each other. 

Rings such as the one shown on the cover 
of this week’s Science News LETTER cause 
details in transparent objects to stand out in 
marked contrast in Dr. Zernike’s phase 

In the phase microscope by which cells 
can be seen in color, the ring that separates 
the light works in an opposite way in the 
red end of the spectrum than it does in the 
green end. Thus it gives some details more 
red light, some more green, depending on 
their thickness, enabling scientists to see the 
living cell in color. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Nobelist Pioneered in 
Chemistry of Synthetics 

> THOSE WONDERFUL synthetic fibers, 
plastics and rubbers that play such an im- 
portant role in the modern world owe their 
existence in large measure to the German 
chemist, Dr. Hermann Staudinger of the 
University of Freiburg, who has been 
awarded the 1953 Nobel Prize in chemistry 
for researches that began over three decades 

Pioneering in what has become known 
as high polymer chemistry, Dr. Staudinger 
is credited with establishing that the mole- 
cules of the synthetics like nylon have their 
atoms in long chains. Either by natural 
processes or by the skill of the chemist’s 
reactions, big molecules are made out of 
little ones by a process called polymeriza- 
tion. This is fundamental to many fields 
of industrial chemistry today, with products 
that gross many millions of dollars. 



Winner of the Nobel Prize in chem- 

istry for 1953 is Dr. Hermann Stau- 

dinger, whose work laid the founda- 

tion for macro-molecular chemistry, 

basis of synthetic fibers, plastics and 

Hardly any scientific compilation on 
polymers in the years since World War I 
has failed to give references to the funda- 
mental work of Dr. Staudinger and a host 
of fellow workers. Some American chem- 
ists between the two world wars studied in 
his laboratories. 

A relationship between molecular weight 
and viscosity was discovered by Dr. Staudin- 
ger in 1930 and aided in the development 
of the new synthetics. 

Molecules of the high polymers are com- 
posed of 2,000 or more atoms. The way 
the molecules regiment themselves deter- 
mines the differences between springy rub- 
ber, hard plastic and tough fiber. Natural 
substances such as cellulose, starch, proteins, 
chitin and rubber also have the long-chain 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Museum Gets Spider 
250,000,000 Years Old 

> A RARE 250,000,000-year-old spider of 
the hypochilid family has been added to the 
collection of the American Museum of Nat- 
ural History in New York. The spider 
was one of 45,353 specimens of nocturnal 
spiders, beetles and moths collected by three 
Museum expeditions this summer. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Permanent magnets made of ceramic ma- 
terial have recently been produced. 

The earth would look 80 times as bright 
from the moon as the moon does from the 



Science News Letter for November 14, 1953 

Space-Saving Machine 

> U. S. PATENT Office officials now are 
creating a “space-saving device” to solve 
their acute filing problem. They report, 
however, no plans to get a patent on their 

The space saver will be too specialized 
in its work to merit a patent, reports T. B. 
Morrow, Patent Office executive officer. 

By 1955 all patent-storage space in the 
vast underground three-acre file room will 
be exhausted. Patent officials have two 

1. They can expand their files—a costly 
procedure in the eyes of nimble-scissored 
budget trimmers. 

2. They can microfilm about 250,000 pat- 
ents, install a $130,000 reproducing ma- 
chine and, in five years, cut expenditures 
for filing equipment and printing by as 
much as $70,000 above the machine’s cost. 

Patent officials are excited over the pos- 
sibilities offered by the latter choice. 

In plan, the machine will microfilm the 
first 250,000 patents granted by the Patent 
Office. This will compress on 1,400 feet of 
film enough patents to extend the files an- 
other five years. By the end of that time, 
more patents can be microfilmed to extend 
the files another five years. 

Made up of electrical assemblies already 
proven, the machine will be able to scan as 
many as 1,000,000 patents a day on micro- 


film. It will be able to select automatically 
and reproduce about 1,000 patents a day. 
This is more than adequate since requests 
for the old patents are comparatively few. 

The machine’s economic advantages be- 
come vivid when it is considered what must 
be done if the Patent Office has to expand 
its files. This would entail renting or con- 
structing more storage space, either of 
which would be costly. 

The storage space would have to be filled 
with steel files to house the patents. These 
files are specially designed for the purpose. 
They are divided into inch-wide slots, 50 
slots to a row and 10 rows tall on both 
sides. The file slots are arranged accord- 
ing to a decimal system to make it easy to 
file and pull patents. Steel files to handle 
one year’s normal issue of 40,000 patents 
cost $25,000. 

Increasing the file space also means in- 
creasing personnel to handle the patent 
copies. One patent puller working at top 
speed can only draw about 1,000 patents a 
day from the files. Normal draw, at pres- 
ent, is 20,000 patent copies a day. 

Since the machine will make photo copies 
of patents ordered, the Patent Office’s print- 
ing bill will be cut. It costs about $15,000 
a year merely to replenish the printed sup- 
ply of old patents that becomes exhausted 
in the group to be microfilmed. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Disease Prevention Studies 

> A METHOD of experimentally produc- 
ing erysipelas, the nation’s number two 
swine killer, will help solve the problem of 
controlling the disease. 

A scarification of the skin method, which 
produces the disease in selected hogs, has 
been developed by Dr. R. D. Shuman of 
the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S. De- 
partment of Agriculture. It is similar to a 
smallpox vaccination for human beings. 

Tests of an experimental vaccine for 
erysipelas have been greatly handicapped by 
the lack of a means of producing the dis- 
ease. Hogs were vaccinated in field tests, 
but scientists were unable to determine defi- 
nitely if the animal had been immunized. 

The scarification method makes it pos- 
sible to determine a hog’s immunity or sus- 
ceptibility to the disease. For the first time, 
it is possible to measure the degree and 
length of immunity produced by vaccina- 
tion. Experiments have indicated that sows 
should be vaccinated before breeding, and 
baby pigs at weaning age. 

As yet veterinary scientists have been un- 
able to determine how swine get the disease. 
The American Veterinary Medical Associa- 
tion has suggested that the new method 
may be used to trace the complete history 
of the infection. 

Erysipelas is caused by a bacterium. In 
the acute septicemic stage, it is frequently 
fatal and its symptoms are similar to hog 
cholera. One form of the chronic disease 
is akin to arthritis, with lameness and swol- 
len joints. A skin form is frequently called 
the diamond-skin disease because of the 
red diamond-shaped patches that form on 

the skin. 
Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Body’s Natural Defense 
Against Cold Studied 

> TO PROVIDE better evaluation and 
treatment of injuries resulting from ex- 
posure, the human body’s natural defenses 
against cold are being investigated. 

Dr. Alan Hemingway of the University 
of California at Los Angeles is performing 
the study under a grant from the U. S. Air 

Cold defense mechanisms include: 1. 
shivering, 2. constriction of certain blood 
vessels near the skin’s surface to reduce heat 
loss, and 3. increased activity of certain 
hormones, which produces additional heat. 

Particular emphasis has been placed upon 

studying the body’s temperature-regulating 
mechanism in the brain. This is located in 
the hypothalamus and controls shivering. 

In animal studies, it was found that an 
electrical stimulus of a certain area of the 
hypothalamus stopped shivering suddenly. 
In actual practice, shivering is initiated 
when sensory nerves react to cold exposure. 
A sudden emergency involving self de- 
fense or flight may call for use of muscles 
involved in shivering, and thus “turn off” 
the shivering. 

The practical value of the research is re- 
lated to problems of cold encountered by 
airplane pilots. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


VOL. 64 NOVEMBER 14, 1953 NO. 20 

_The Weekly Summary of Current Science, pub- 
lished every Saturday by SCIENCE SERVICE, Inc., 
1719 N St, N. W., Washington 6, D. C., NOrth 
7-2255. Edited by WATSON DAVIS. 

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Association for the Advancement of Science: Fer- 
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ACTS oe a 


Science News Letter for November 14, 1953 

“BRAIN” AT WORK—A giant electronic computer, such as the ORACLE 
shown here, will be helping weather forecasters make predictions on a trial 

run within a year. 

J. C. Chu of Argonne National Laboratory is shown 

here illuminated by the light of the computer’s 2,000 electronic tubes. 


Weather by Giant “Brain” 

Plans now made for daily use of electronic computer 
as an aid in predicting weather. Wind charts drawn with its 
data will be sent experimentally to local forecasters. 

> A GIANT electronic “brain” will be 
making daily wind predictions to be used 
for local weather forecasts, on an experi- 
mental basis, within a year, according to 
plans of the nation’s top weather experts 
in Washington. 

Official announcement of plans for the 
first day-by-day use of an electronic com- 
puter in a trial run on weather forecasting 
is expected in 1954. The experimental pro- 
gram, planned eventually to give more ac- 
curate weather forecasts, will be jointly run 
by the Navy, Air Force and Weather Bu- 

Using electronic computers is a revolu- 
tionary method in numerical weather pre- 
diction, pioneered at the Institute for Ad- 
vanced Study, Princeton, N. J. The sys- 
tem is so new that there are comparatively 
few experts on it in the world. Yet it is so 
promising that government weather officials 
have completed plans for its trial, and need 
only the necessary funds to start the pro- 

During its operations, the computer will 
be fed information on air pressures at sev- 
eral levels in the atmosphere, from near the 

ground to about 30,000 feet. It will then 
perform mathematical calculations on this 
information and come up, within an hour, 
with the figures from which nation-wide 
upper wind charts can be drawn. 

These wind charts, needed in predicting 
weather patterns over the entire country, 
will be sent to local forecasters. With this 
nation-wide picture as a background, the 
weathermen will then apply their special- 
ized knowledge of local weather conditions 
to make their 24-hour prediction. 

In making forecasts at the present time, 
weathermen rely heavily on the skill and 
knowledge they have acquired, during 
years of practice, to make their predictions 
as accurate as possible. With a picture 
of today’s weather, they have to jump im- 
mediately from that to their own estimation 
of what to expect in 24 hours, or five or 30 
days. Thus, essentially, weather prediction 
is an art, based on certain physical princi- 
ples, but varying with the forecaster’s per- 
sonal judgment resulting from his expe- 

In the trial run with an electronic com- 
puter for making the wind charts, most, if 


not all, of the forecaster’s subjective judg- 
ments concerning winds will be eliminated, 
although he will still have to make subjec- 
tive decisions to go from the wind charts to 
actual weather forecasts. 

One numerical forecasting expert now 
foresees that high speed “brains” will even- 
tually eliminate most of the forecaster’s 
personal opinions from his predictions. The 
techniques needed to record automatically 
the required weather data, to send such in- 
formation to a giant computer, and to re- 
transmit a finished weather map to local 
forecasters are now available, or are ex- 
pected to result within several years from 
such programs as the one now being 

At present, numerical forecasting works 
like this: Information on current weather 
conditions across the country is fed into 
the computer. Stored in the computer’s 
“memory” are certain mathematical for- 
mulas describing the motions of great air 
masses. Using these formulas, the “brain” 
computes the winds one hour in the “fu- 
ture.” Then, working in one-hour jumps, 
these forecasts are repeated until, finally, a 
picture of the winds 24 hours in advance 
of the “present” is obtained. 

One computer can now perform the mil- 
lions of steps necessary to make such a 24- 
hour prediction in somewhat less than an 

With the use of formulas not yet com- 
pletely worked out, which would take into 
account such energy sources as variations 
in the heat received from the sun and those 
resulting from water evaporation and con- 
densation, meteorologists hope eventually to 
be able to use computing machines to make 
numerical weather forecasts for five or 30 
days, or perhaps even farther into the fu- 
ture. Such long-range predictions, how- 
ever, are not expected very soon. 

Experts in numerical forecasting believe 
this system has two advantages over pres- 
ent methods: 

1. The computer can use and store in 
its “memory” many hundred times the in- 
formation a human forecaster can possibly 
keep in his head. 

2. A human forecaster cannot use a pre- 
cise, step-by-step, hour-by-hour method and 
stay ahead of the weather. He has to jump 
directly to the desired future time by sub- 
jective methods. Step-like predictions are 
more accurate than such relatively long- 
time jumps. 

Which of the electronic computers now 
operating in the country would be the most 
satisfactory for numerical forecasting pur- 
poses is a question representatives of the 
Weather Bureau, Air Force and Navy still 
have to settle. 

With this question answered, and with 
the necessary funds made available, the pro- 
gram will be put in operation. Then top 
meteorologists throughout the world will 
watch with high interest to see how weather 
predictions, made with the aid of com- 
puters, compare with the actual sunny or 
stormy conditions that mean either blue 
skies or rubbers. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 



ScIENcE News LETTER for November 14, 1953 

Atom Smasher “Cheats” 

“Swindletron” gives protons two boosts of energy with 

each electrical impulse, instead of just one kick. 

It operates 

at lower voltages than the giant accelerators. 

> A “SWINDLETRON,” a new kind of 
atom smasher that seems to “cheat” on an 
elementary law of physics, is being devel- 
oped at the University of California. 

Heretofore, the machines that physicists 
have built for smashing atoms have given 
only one boost of energy to atomic projec- 
tiles by a single electrical impulse. The 
“swindletron” gives two boosts of energy 
per electrical impulse. 

The “swindletron” can operate in the 
region of several million electron volts, but 
cannot rival in energy the big cyclotrons, 
cosmotrons and bevatrons. However, scien- 
tists say it will operate cheaper, easier and 
more safely in the energy ranges now cov- 
ered by Cockcroft-Walton and Van de 
Graaff atom smashers. 

In the Berkeley pilot model “swindle- 
tron,” more formally called the charge ex- 
change accelerator, protons, the nuclei of 
hydrogen atoms, are used as atomic bullets. 

The protons are shot at about 30,000 
volts through a thin, uncharged sheet of 
aluminum. In this “capture” foil, the slow- 
moving protons tend to pick up two elec- 
trons each. Being negatively charged, the 
projectiles are then pulled violently toward 
another aluminum screen which is positively 
charged. The particles are boosted to 
500,000 volts by this charge. 


Porcelain for 

> THE SAME sort of porcelain enamel 
that gives refrigerators, stoves and washing 
machines their glossy appearance promises 
to become a major low-cost house and office 
-building construction material, the Building 
Research Advisory Board in Washington 

Porcelain enamel panels now are being 
produced in a variety of colors and textures. 
They are suitable for exterior walls of build- 
ings and houses, for flooring, decorative 
trimming and laboratory work benches. 

Porcelain panels are not a substitute for 
regular load-bearing building materials, but 
they make high quality facing material. 
Attached to a strong building frame, the 
panels are exceptionally weather-resistant 
and are said to outlast the framework of the 
building itself. 

The panels never have to be painted since 
color is an integral part of them. A quick 
washing will restore their snappy look when 
they become dirty. 

Few office buildings and even fewer 

As they rush through this screen, the fast 
particles tend to lose their two electrons. 
So on leaving this “stripping” foil, the par- 
ticles are once again naked protons with 
a positive charge. They are violently pushed 
away from the foil, receiving another 
500,000 volt boost. 

Thus, with a single 500,000 volt charge, 
the protons are accelerated to 1,000,000 
volts. The physicists get twice as much 
energy out of the machine as they put in. 
In larger versions of the machine, it will 
be possible to get 4,000,000 volt protons 
with an expenditure of 2,000,000 volts of 
energy. Four million electron volts is the 
energy range of a standard type Van de 

The idea of the “swindletron” was con- 
ceived independently by Dr. Luis W. Al- 
varez, professor of physics at Berkeley. 
After his publication of the idea, he learned 
that it had been patented in 1936 by Dr. 
Willard Bennett of the Naval Research 
Laboratory in Washington, although Dr. 
Bennett had never published a scientific 
paper on the subject. The small pilot model 
in Berkeley, the first of the “swindletron” 
species, is being developed by Dr. John R. 
Woodyard, professor of electrical engineer- 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


houses now use the panels to their fullest 
advantage, the Board adds, but engineers 
and architects are excited over the prom- 
ise the panels hold. 

In addition to their ruggedness—they are 
difficult to chip—the panels are easily hung 
in place and may be one answer to the prob- 
lem of low-cost housing. 

Some filling stations and supermarkets 
already are using porcelain panels for ex- 
terior walls. Some office buildings and 
homes also are using them for interior dec- 

Tests at the Atomic Energy Commission’s 
Oak Ridge National Laboratories show the 
panels make good laboratory construction 
materials in radioactivity danger areas. Not 
only do they resist contamination, but also 
they can be easily decontaminated when 

To explore the possibilities of the panels 
from their chemical and physical properties 
to their architectural and esthetic qualities, 
the Building Research Advisory Board held 

a conference with porcelain enamel manu- 
facturers at the National Academy of 
Sciences in Washington. The open meet- 
ing drew many persons engaged in the con- 
struction business. Various conference ses- 
sions brought out research and practical ex- 
periences that experts have had with the 
panels to date. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

New Antibiotic Stops 
Viruses of ‘Flu in Mice 

> AN ANTIBIOTIC drug that can stop 
two human influenza viruses in mice was 
announced by Drs. D. A. Harris, H. B. 
Woodruff and Laurella McClelland of 
Merck and Co. Research Laboratories, Rah- 
way, N. J., at the antibiotic symposium held 
under the sponsorship of the Food and 
Drug Administration, U. S. Department of 
Health, Education and Welfare. 

The new antibiotic has been obtained in 
crystalline form from an organism called 
Nocardia formica. 

Besides its “favorable” effect on mice in- 
fected with the human ’flu viruses, it en- 
abled mice infected with swine influenza 
virus to survive twice as long as infected, 
untreated mice. 

It also delays the development of mumps 
virus in eggs. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Taste Governs 
Dentifrice Choice 

> AMERICANS CHOOSE their dentifrice 
for its taste more often than for any other 
reason, it appears from replies of 3,000 fam- 
ilies to a questionnaire by the American 
Dental Association. 

Of 81.4% who answered the question- 
naire, 18.5%, said taste was the reason for 
selecting the dentifrice they used, with an- 
other 9% giving aftertaste as the reason. 
One out of 18 used a particular dentifrice 
because the dentist recommended it. 

“A minority of respondents thought that 
ammoniated or chlorophyll dentifrice had 
an advantage over other dentifrices in the 
care of the teeth,” the association reports. 

The figures on this question show that 
23.4% thought an ammoniated dentifrice 
best for teeth, 20.2% thought a chlorophyll 
dentifrice was best for the teeth, with 16.3% 
thinking a plain dentifrice was best, and 
36.8% replying “It doesn’t make much dif- 
ference what kind is used.” 

Tooth paste is used by 69.1% of those 
answering the questionnaire, with 21.8% 
using tooth powder, and only eight-tenths 
of a percent using a liquid dentifrice. The 
others used soda, salt or some other denti- 

While 60.1% said they knew teeth should 
be brushed after each meal, only 29.1% said 
they actually did. The most common prac- 
tice is twice-a-day brushing. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


Science News Letter for November 14, 1953 

Arteriosclerosis Tendency 

Tendency toward artery hardening can be predicted 
by three comparatively simple laboratory tests, two of which 
measure the size of fatty particles in blood serum. 

> A TENDENCY to develop arteriosclero- 
sis, or artery hardening, can be predicted 
by three “relatively simple” laboratory tests, 
Dr. Thaddeus D. Labecki of the Mississippi 
State Board of Health, Jackson, Miss., de- 
clared at the meeting of the American So- 
ciety for the Study of Arteriosclerosis in 

This artery disease often leads to crip- 
pling and even fatal heart attacks. The 
tests, made on samples of blood and blood 
serum, reflect the body’s efficiency in utiliz- 
ing fatty substances. 

Many factors, such as sex, age, high blood 
pressure and diabetes, contribute to de- 
velopment of arteriosclerosis and heart dis- 
ease, Dr. Labecki explained. However, he 
pointed out, it is generally accepted that 
persons who develop disease of the heart 
arteries do not utilize fat in the proper 

Dr. Labecki’s research is part of a long- 
range project planned to investigate in what 
ways the tendency to hardening of the 
heart’s arteries reflects itself in certain sub- 
stances circulating in the blood. These are 
the lipoproteins, that is, large molecules of 
fat combined with proteins. 

“In certain individuals,’ he explained, 
“some of these particles deposit themselves 
in the lining of the arteries, particularly 
arteries leading the blood to the heart mus- 
cle itself (coronary arteries), and even- 
tually the thickening which results from 
the deposition causes obstruction to the 
blood flow. If a vital coronary artery is 


Lung Cancer 

> POLLUTED AIR over our big cities is 
more to blame for the increase in lung can- 
cer than tobacco smoking, Dr. Paul Kotin 
of the Universtiy of Southern California 
School of Medicine, Los Angeles, charged 
at the meeting of the American Cancer So- 
ciety in New York. 

Air-extracted aliphatic hydrocarbons and 
their oxidation products give signs of be- 
ing concerned with tumor production in 
skin painting experiments with mice, Dr. 
Kotin’s researches show. 

In cooperation with the University of 
Southern California’s School of Engineer- 
ing, he studied the exhaust products of gaso- 
line and diesel engines running at various 
speeds. Benzene extracts of materials 
caught on filter papers placed over the en- 
gine exhaust pipes produced skin tumors on 
approximately 50% of the mice on which 

suddenly obstructed, a heart attack occurs 
which the patient may survive or which 
may result in instantaneous or subsequent 

To determine how to find out whether a 
subject had a tendency toward, or actually 
had, arteriosclerosis, a group of 33 patients 
with coronary occlusion was compared with 
a group of 197 presumably normal patients. 

In each of these reported cases, the per- 
formance of three tests, including two tests, 
ultracentrifuge and chylomicron determina- 
tion, which so far have been limited pre- 
dominantly to research centers, showed the 
disease could have been suspected in all pa- 
tients, even if they failed to show definite 
clinical symptoms of the disease, Dr. La- 
becki reported. 

Two of these tests measure the size of 
the fatty particles in the blood serum. The 
large particles, called chylomicrons, are 
large enough to be studied with the aid of 
a high-power, dark field microscope. The 
tiniest of the particles, lipoproteins, are too 
small to be seen, but can be studied through 
separation into several categories through 
the use of a centrifuge rotating about 55,000 
times a minute. 

The third test is based upon the determi- 
nation of how much cholesterol, a fat sub- 
stance excessive concentration of which has 
often been associated with arteriosclerosis, 
circulates in the patient’s blood. This latter 
test has been long known to the medical 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


they were painted. Petroleum, natural gas 
and coal are the main sources of the air- 
polluting hydrocarbons. Previously, Dr. 
Kotin said, they have not been considered 
associated with tumor formation. 

These same aliphatic hydrocarbons, their 
oxidation products and ozone cause a per- 
son’s eyes to water on a smoggy day, and 
may be blamed for damage to the body’s 
respiratory tract. 

“We are creating a marked cancer haz- 
ard in the air over our big cities,” Dr. Kotin 
said, “by dumping all manner of fumes 
and gases into the atmosphere. 

“The increasing frequency of lung can- 
cer in cities as compared with rural areas 
all over the world indicates that the atmos- 
phere may be the principal cause of this 
disease. The agents responsible for the ac- 
celerated rate of lung cancer in man are 


almost universally distributed, and evidence 
points to the air we breathe as their source. 

“Until it can be explained why many per- 
sons who never smoke get lung cancer, or 
why more cases develop in air-polluted cities 
than in rural areas, or why there is less 
cancer of the larynx than of the lung which 
smoke reaches last,” he declared, “smoking 
can be considered only as one possible 
source but not necessarily the principal of- 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Cranberries Give Aid 
To Penicillin Effect 

> A CHEMICAL from cranberries has 
been purified and converted into a com- 
pound that may prolong the effect of peni- 
cillin in the body. 

The cranberry chemical is ursolic acid, 
found also in the shiny skins of other fruits 
such as apples. An amino derivative from 
it is the compound expected to prolong 
penicillin’s effect, Prof. Lloyd M. Parks and 
Betty Y. T. Wu of the University of Wis- 
consin found in research aided by a grant 
from the National Cranberry Association. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Devise Process for 
Reclaiming Asbestos 

> SCIENTISTS AT the National Bureau 
of Standards have learned to reclaim criti- 
cally short asbestos from discarded pipe 

Working at the request of the Navy’s 
Bureau of Ships, Elmer W. Zimmerman, a 
bureau chemist, discovered the asbestos can 
be reused if discarded pipe insulation is 
broken down with acids or alkalies to lib- 
erate the asbestos fibers from extraneous 

Asbestos-cotton fabrics that do not con- 
tain paint can be treated with a five per- 
cent solution of hydrochloric acid, then 
rinsed. Fabrics painted on one side are 
boiled in a five percent solution of sodium 
hydroxide for 15 to 30 minutes. In both 
cases the fabric is rinsed, but in the latter 
case a detergent is added to remove paint 

When cotton strands are mixed with the 
asbestos fibers, they can be “burned” out in 
a muffle furnace operating between 750 and 
840 degrees Fahrenheit. Careful control 
must be exercised at this point to prevent 
the asbestos from becoming brittle due to a 
lack of moisture. 

After the asbestos has been freed of its 
extraneous matter, the cloth is reduced to 
fiber in a rotary food blender or paper 
pulp beater and is ready to be worked into 
new insulation, paper and plastics. The re- 
covered asbestos is unchanged chemically 
and its fibers shrink little, if any, during 
the recovery process. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


Heal Bed Sores by 
Dried Blood Plasma 

> ULCERATED BED sores can be made 
to heal rapidly by putting on them a paste 
of dried blood plasma and Peruvian bal- 
sam, Drs. A. Bernice Clark and Howard A. 
Rusk of New York University College of 
Medicine report in the Journal of the Amer- 
ican Medical Association (Oct. 31). 

They tried the blood plasma paste with 
the thought that it would provide a nearly 
natural nutritional environment. The spe- 
cific cause of ulcerated bed sores is not 
known but poor nutrition to the part is 
thought to be a major contributing factor. 

The results with the dried blood plasma, 
however, suggested that it might also have 
an enzymatic action that dissolved dead and 
infected tissue. One long-standing ulcer 
with considerable necrotic tissue and infec- 
tion was clean in 12 days, after the third 
dressing with the plasma paste. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Antibiotic Fillings 
Help to Check Decay 

> ADDING A mixture of antibiotics to the 
fillings for cavities in teeth can help check 
further decay, it appears from studies re- 
ported by a dentist, Dr. Maxwell B. Colton, 
and a chemical engineer, Eugene Ehrlich, 
of New York, in the Journal of the Ameri- 
can Dental Association (Nov.). 

The antibiotics in the mixture tested were 
aureomycin, bacitracin, chloramphenicol 
and streptomycin. 

Zinc cements, silicate cements and silver 
amalgam, they report, have some bacteria- 
killing effect and, therefore, play a part in 
preventing further decay. Adding the anti- 
biotics increases this effect, and also gives 
germ-killing effect to direct filling resins 
that otherwise lack it. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Break Down of Muscle 
Ends Aphid Flying Days 

> WINGED APHIDS lose their ability to 
fly after a few days due to autolysis, or 
self-digestion of their flight muscles. 

Scientists have observed before that 
winged aphids, or plant lice, seem to fly 
more during their first four days than dur- 
ing later periods. Bruce Johnson, an ento. 
mologist at the Rothamsted Experimental 
Station, has found that this is due to a 
breakdown of the flight muscles. 

Autolysis of flight muscles has previously 
been found among ants and mosquitoes. In 
these insects, the nitrogen released during 
autolysis of the muscles is thought to be 
utilized for egg production. The similar 
condition among aphids also appears to be 
associated with reproduction, Mr. Johnson 
reported in Nature (Oct. 24). 

Science News LETTER for November 14, 1953 

Since they spread plant viruses during the 
few days of the flight period, aphids are 
economically important. The length of this 
period appears to be limited by the number 
of larvae laid by each aphid. 

When reproduction was delayed, the 
flight period was correspondingly length- 
ened. After aphids have lost the ability to 
fly, they may live for as long as three weeks, 
producing one to four larvae each day. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Way Nicotine Forms 
In Plants Unknown 

> ALTHOUGH MANY millions of people 
every day smoke tobacco in which nicotine 
is an important ingredient, the way in 
which the tobacco plant makes chemically 
the nicotine in its leaves is still unknown 

Dr. K. Bowden of the department of or- 
ganic chemistry, Leeds University, reported 
in Nature (Oct. 24) that the suggestion 
that nicotine is formed in the plant from 
the amino acid, tryptophane, has been tested 
and found wanting. 

Formation of nicotinic acid from trypto- 
phane in animals and microorganisms had 
been demonstrated two years ago. Dr. 
Bowden put a kind of tryptophane, which 
was radioactively tagged, into the soil in 
which the young tobacco plants were grow- 
ing. The leaves did become radioactive, but 
the nicotine separated out from them 
showed no activity, indicating that the 
tryptophane molecule as a whole is not con- 
verted into nicotine. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Ringworm Remedy 
For Patchy Baldness 

> THE KIND of baldness that comes in 
sharply defined patches, known medically 
as alopecia areata, can be helped by a ring- 
worm remedy, two Baltimore doctors an- 
nounced at the meeting of the Southern 
Medical Association in Atlanta, Ga. 

The doctors, H. M. Robinson Sr. and his 
son, R. C. V. Robinson, discovered the hair- 
growing capacity of the chemical more or 
less by accident. 

The chemical is benzyl benzoate. They 
were using it on patients with ringworm of 
the scalp, trying to determine its value in 
this condition. They noticed a rapid growth 
of hair in the bald areas of the ringworm 
patients who were putting the chemical on 
their scalps. So they decided to try it in 
the patchy baldness that afflicts some people. 

Of 40 patients followed for a year, 36 
got good results with the benzyl benzoate 
treatments. This chemical proved superior 
to such other methods as liquefied phenol, 
ultraviolet light and ointments, and it also 
did not require too frequent visits to the 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


Find Chemical Control 
For Virus X of Potatoes 

> POTATO VIRUS X, a widespread mo- 
saic disease that stunts plants and reduces 
yields, can be controlled chemically with 
malachite green, Dr. D. Norris of Aus- 
tralia’s Commonwealth Scientific and In- 
dustrial Research Organization at Canberra 
has reported. 

Laboratory tests show malachite green, a 
diaminotriphenylmethane dye, reduces the 
virus X content in potato plants to a very 
low level. 

At the present time, mosaic diseases are 
fought by developing resistant plant va- 
rieties and by destroying insects that trans- 
mit the viruses. A successful means of at- 
tack with chemicals has been sought 
throughout the world. 

The general problem of plant virus con- 
trol has been handicapped by lack of dem- 
onstration that there is a sufficient differ- 
ence between the chemical processes of the 
virus and the host to make selective chemi- 
cal therapy possible, Dr. Norris stated in 
Nature (Oct. 31). 

In his tests, stems of potato plants were 
put in nutrient cultures, some being ex- 
posed to malachite green and the virus, and 
others only to the virus. All plants of the 
untreated series had a high content of virus 
X, while in the treated series, one plant 
was free of the virus and the others had 
only small amounts of virus. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Three Vitamins Needed 
For Disease Resistance 

> FORMATION OF disease-fighting anti- 
bodies seems to depend on getting plenty 
of three vitamins in the diet, Dr. A. E. 
Axelrod of Western Reserve University, 
Cleveland, reported at a symposium on pro- 
tein metabolism at the University of To- 
ronto, Canada. 

The vitamins are pantothenic acid, folic 
acid and pyridoxine. When rats were on 
diets deficient in these, the antibiodies cir- 
culating in their blood in response to in- 
jection of a foreign protein were “markedly 
decreased,” Dr. Axelrod found. 

The foreign protein in this case consisted 
of human red blood cells that should stimu- 
late antibody formation in rats. Disease 
germs also should stimulate antibody forma- 
tion. If further tests show that response to 
disease germs is blocked by lack of the 
vitamins, it will help to clear up the prob. 
lem of the role of nutrition in resistance to 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


Soviet’s “Different” Ice 
Proved Crystal “Ghost” 

> A STRANGE sort of ice reported by a 
Soviet scientist in 1936 is being “melted” 
out of the scientific literature. 

“Beta” ice, supposed to be different from 
the normal hexagonal crystals of ice, is now 
shown to be merely a sort of “ghost” of 
ordinary ice in X-ray crystallographic photo- 
graphs. The verdict of “no evidence” to 
support the existence of this “beta” form 
of ice is given by Drs. Carl Berger and 
Charles M. Saffer Jr., Commonwealth Engi- 
neering Company of Ohio, Dayton, in 
Science (Oct. 30), who cite X-ray studies 
by Dr. Barbara W. Low. 

Soviet scientist N. Seljakov reported the 
“beta” ice as crystals grown from water at 
air temperatures ranging from 5 to 16 de- 
grees below zero Centigrade, 23 to 2 de- 
grees Fahrenheit. The American scientists 
grew ice crystals under these conditions, 
and demonstrated that the X-ray crystal 
pattern found by the Soviet scientist was 
obtained with ordinary ice when the crys- 
tals were set in the apparatus at a slight 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

New Vision Chemical 
May Help to See Red 

> CREATION OF a new vision chemical 
for daylight seeing which may even be the 
red-seeing chemical of the eyes is announced 
by Drs. George Wald, Paul K. Brown and 
Patricia H. Smith of Harvard University. 

The chemical is a light-sensitive, blue 
substance called cyanopsin. It has not yet 
been extracted from any eye retina. How- 
ever, it could be expected to exist in the 
eyes of freshwater fish, or any eyes that 
contain a special form of vitamin A and 
two other vision chemicals, retinene 2 and 
cone opsin. Cone opsin comes from the 
cones, which are the cells of the eyes that 
operate in daylight. 

Dr. Wald and his associates made the 
new vision chemical, cyanopsin, from an ex- 
tract of dark-adapted rods and cones from 
chicken eye retinas. The extract contains 
a mixture of two chemicals, rhodopsin and 
iodopsin, they report in Science (Oct. 30). 

Deep red light was used to bleach the 
iodopsin to a mixture of all trans retinene 2 
and cone opsin. To this they added a small 
amount of the specific cis isomer of reti- 
nene 2. In this way, cyanopsin is synthe- 
sized within five minutes in the dark at 
room temperature. 

The new pigment plays a part in the day- 
light seeing of fresh water fish, tortoises 

Science News Letter for November 14, 1953 

and American turtles, the Harvard scien- 
tists believe, because, even though it has 
not been extracted from any eyes, the eyes 
of these animals contain the chemicals nec- 
essary for its formation. 

Because cyanopsin absorbs light waves far 
into the red part of the‘spectrum, Dr. Wald 
suspects that it may be the eye chemical 
with which the color red is seen. It is the 
first eye pigment that could serve in a “red 
receptor,” he states. 

With two other previously known visual 
pigments, rhodopsin and iodopsin, it might 
form the basis for a system of three-color 
vision. But so far, Dr. Wald says, there 
is no evidence for this. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Suicide Danger in 

Plastic Surgery Delay 

> CANCER PATIENTS who have had 
one-third to one-half of the face cut away 
may go into a profound depression and even 
commit suicide unless the surgeon imme- 
diately outlines hopeful plans for recon- 
struction, Drs. J. J. Longacre, John Leich- 
liter and Paul Jolly of Cincinnati warned 
at the meeting of the American Society of 
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in San 
Diego, Calif. 

The reconstruction can be started six 
months to a year after the original opera- 
tion when the surgeon is sure all cancerous 
tissue has been cut out. When repair will 
be extensive, the first stage can be started 
even earlier, thus encouraging the patient. 

“It is not delayed treatment, but putter- 
ing treatment that seems to lessen the qual- 
ity of results,” Dr. Longacre declared. Less 
than four percent of the cancers recurred 
in the cases he described, although three 
out of every five patients had had recur- 
rences following earlier treatment by X-ray, 
radium and less radical surgery. 

When reconstruction was complete, he 
said, the patients returned to their jobs and 
resumed their former roles in the com- 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Defense Efforts Curtail 
Other Scientific Research 

> THE MAN-HOURS and man-years of 
research the chemical industry’s limited 
number of technical experts are devoting 
to national defense represent an unavoid- 
able delay in the achievement of construc- 
tive goals by applied chemistry, Charles S. 
Munson, chairman of the board of Air Re- 
duction Company, Inc., said in accepting 
the 1953 Society of Chemical Industry 
Medal in New York. 
“Perhaps the chemist who has developed 
a new rocket fuel to power a guided missile 
with an atomic warhead is the very man 
who might otherwise have discovered a 
polio vaccine a few years ago,” he said. 
Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


Ultrasonic Treatment 
Helps Bursitis Patients 

> RESULTS OF more than 3,000 treat- 
ments with ultrasonics, or high frequency 
sound waves that cannot be heard by hu. 
man ears, given to 300 patients were an- 
nounced by Dr. Ferdinand F. Schwartz of 
Birmingham, Ala., at the meeting of the 
Southern Medical Association in Atlanta, 

Patients who were helped were those 
with osteoarthritis, neuritis, varicose ulcers, 
sprains, and bursitis with or without lime 
deposits. Most of the bursitis patients got 
relief after the second or third “sounding,” 
as the ultrasonic treatments are called. 

This treatment requires experience and 
great care, Dr. Schwartz stressed. The 
method is still so new that no definite 
dosage, time element or signs for its use 
have been established. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


Birth Wasted Tissue 
To Cover Large Wounds 

thrown away after a baby is born, may be 
converted into temporary coverings for 
large burns and other big wounds, if ex- 
periments live up to present promise. 

The experiments were reported by Dr. 
Beverly Douglas of Vanderbilt University, 
Nashville, Tenn., and Drs. Herbert Con- 
way, Richard B. Stark, Doyle Joslin and 
Guillermo Nieto-Cano of New York Hos- 
pital-Cornell Medical Center, New York, at 
the meeting of the American Society of 
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in San 
Diego, Calif. 

Three human burn victims have already 
had such after-birth tissues transplanted to 
protect the surface of their wounds, Dr. 
Douglas reported. These transplants sur- 
vived for three weeks. 

In mouse experiments, Dr. Conway and 
the Cornell group found that 18 human 
membranes transplanted to open wounds on 
the mice survived an average of 12 days. 
Transplants of mouse membranes to mice 
lasted even longer. This compares with 
five and a half days for survival of skin 
grafts that are sometimes used to cover 
large wounds and burns. 

Such wounds need fast covering by skin 
or other tissues to prevent death from loss 
of fluids, salts and blood elements. 

The after-birth membranes are readily 
available in large amounts in the maternity 
wing of any hospital, the doctors pointed 

Skin grafts from dead donors, available 
through a bank of such skin, for covering 
large wounds were reported as another solu- 
tion to the problem by Dr. James Barrett 
Brown of Washington University School of 
Medicine, St. Louis, at the American Col- 
lege of Surgeons meeting in October. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 



Science News LETTER for November 14, 1953 

Avıations Next 50 Years 

In its first 50 years, aviation has grown from an infant 
into vibrant manhood. What lies ahead? The sonic barrier 
was spectacular, but the thermal barrier is deadly. 


> IN ITS first half-century, aviation has 
grown from an infant into vibrant man- 
hood. Whereas the Wright brothers’ first 
successful powered airplane struggled to get 
off the ground to fly those historic 120 feet, 
today’s modern jet bomber flexes eight 
mighty engines and roars into the blue 
pushed by hundreds of thousands of horse- 

What lies ahead of this thriving industry? 
What will its status be 50 years hence when 
the airplane becomes a centenarian? 

Some of the boldest experts decline to 
predict. Aviation already has far surpassed 
the wildest dreams of 1903’s most outspoken 
experts. It could do so again. 

But it may not. The industry may be 
approaching technological bottlenecks. 

Cracking the sound barrier was heralded 
as a major accomplishment in aviation. But 
a much more formidable barrier looms at 
the horizon. It is the so-called “thermal 
barrier.” It is the heat created by air fric- 
tion when a supersonic plane cuts through 
the sky. It is capable of melting the air- 
plane and broiling the pilot. 

Approaching Thermal Barrier 

Already the thermal barrier is a serious 
problem. Refrigerating systems are being 
built into test planes to keep their pilots 
alive. But refrigerating systems, some of 
them big enough to air-condition whole 
theaters, are heavy and impose severe aero- 
dynamic penalties upon the plane. 

At Mach 3, when the plane or guided 
missile is flying three times as fast as the 
speed of sound, aluminum begins losing its 
strength due to the heat. Hope, however, 
is offered by such metals as titanium and 
stainless steel. These metals combine excel- 
lent heat resistance with lightness and 

Improvements in jet engines have yielded 
great economies. They probably will be 
made even better in the next 50 years. But 
generally speaking, the efficiency of turbojet 
engines depends somewhat upon their oper- 
ating temperatures. Materials must be de- 
veloped that can withstand the terrific 
temperatures inside these airborne blast 
furnaces. Ceramic linings seem to offer 
some promise. 

With the development of hotter-operating 
jet engines, metallurgists will have to create 
metal parts to work in the heat thrown off 
by the engine flame. Gears must mesh 
without melting. Shafts must spin without 

The advance of aviation is not wholly 
dependent upon dreamy-eyed aeronautical 
engineers. The visions of these men are 
given substance by steady progress made in 
allied fields. For instance: 

Today’s planes are flying at altitudes far 
higher than once were thought at all pos- 
sible. At these heights, ordinary oils fail to 
lubricate the engines. Instead, the oils boil 
off, leaving the mechanism unprotected. 

However, as it became apparent that this 
problem was arising, petroleum technolo- 
gists worked out synthetic oils to do a better 
lubricating job over a wider range of tem- 
peratures and altitudes. The synthetics 
have been designed to stick with the engine 
and not evaporate into the thin, almost non- 
existent air 40 miles above the earth’s 

The petroleum engineer met the chal- 
lenge. But will he always be able to turn 
up an answer to the aeronautical engineer’s 
problems? Will other scientists be able to 
keep pace? 

Out of the scientists’ laboratory comes the 
eyes of today’s pilot. Out of his laboratory 
comes the hands and feet of the pilot. Out 
of his laboratory comes the brains of the 

Man already is outmoded in many cases. 
His muscles are far too puny to pull a 
supersonic plane out of a dive without the 
aid of powerful little motors. His eyes are 
bound by haze, cloudiness and darkness to 

a narrow “operating range.” Radar is re- 
quired to offset that. 

His mind, already jammed to the burst- 
ing point with things to remember, must 
be supplemented by automatic controls that 
fly his plane with reflexes keyed thousands 
of times more highly than those of the best 

Will science be able to continue offsetting 
each human handicap with a mechanical 
advantage? Perhaps some intimation of the 
answer to this question may be obtained 
when the Air Force’s new jet interceptor, 
the F-102, is examined. 

In operation, this plane is largely con- 
trolled by instruments. The pilot handles 
the plane only at take-off and landing. 
After take-off, the pilot flips a switch and a 
man on the ground flies the plane by re- 
mote control to the vicinity of the target. 
Then the pilot flips another switch and in- 
struments in the plane take over. 

The instruments search out and track the 
target. They guide the plane as it stalks its 
prey. Instruments even fire the plane’s 
weapons at the proper time. Then, mission 
accomplished, the pilot flips the switch and 
his ground-based co-pilot flies the plane 
back to the landing field. 

All of this in 50 years! But despite the 
fantastic headway aeronautical engineers 
have made in the last half-century, the next 
50 years of aviation may be the greatest. 

In 2003, someone may come across this 
article and smile, knowing that the “vibrant 
manhood” of aviation, to which this writer 
refers, merely was the time when the infant 
took its first wobbly step. 

Orville and Wilbur Wright made head- 
lines that cold Dec. 17, 1903, when their 

THE OLD—This “Wright Flyer” was the latest thing in aviation when the 

picture was snapped in 1908. 

It had carried the first Army passenger into 

the sky only three days before. 



This photo is the first showing the Air For 

Science News Letter for November 14, 1953 


ce’s glittering 

Super-Sabre, the North American F-100. The first production model, which 
can fly faster than the speed of sound, has a combat radius of over 500 miles. 

plane zoomed into the sky, flying 120 feet 
in 12 seconds. Three tries later, the plane 
flew 852 feet in 59 seconds. Other aviation 
pioneers still are making headlines. 

A 37-year-old Marine Corps pilot, Lieut. 
Col. Marion E. Carl, recently climbed to a 
breath-taking and record-setting height of 
§3,235 feet over California’s Muroc Dry 
Lake. This shattered the altitude record 
previously held by Bill Bridgeman, test pilot 
for the Douglas Aircraft Company. But Bill 
still has flown faster than any other person. 
He swished through the sky at 1,238 miles 
an hour in an experimental plane last year. 

Sir Miles Thomas, chairman of the Brit- 
ish Overseas Airways Corporation, recently 
revealed that British aircraft designers are 
working on bigger and better jetliners to 
whisk passengers anywhere in the world 
within 24 hours. He said the planes will 
carry about 100 persons and will be able to 
hop from London to Australia in a day. 

He also revealed that British engineers 
are planning an atomic-powered flying boat 
that can carry 200 passengers. Engineers 
estimate the plane will weigh 250 tons, but 
will be economical because it will not have 
to sacrifice passenger revenue to fuel. 

Sir Roy Dobson, managing director of 
A. V. Roe and Company, predicted atomic- 
powered planes will be in the air within 
25 years. 

In the United States, work on future 
atomic-powered planes is progressing quiet- 
ly. The Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Cor- 
poration, Boeing Airplane Company and 
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation all are 
working on the airframe design. Pratt and 
Whitney Aircraft Company and the General 
Electric Company are attempting to work 
out the nuclear engine. 

Today the world teeters on the edge of 
space travel. Rocket experts are beginning 
to talk about space platforms, rocket ships 
and interplanetary voyages. Will the first 

rocket ship streak to the moon within the 
next 50 years? 

It may, but many problems must be 
solved first. Gen. James H. Doolittle re- 
cently pointed out that a ballistic missile 
traveling about 20 times the speed of sound 
would generate temperatures of about 
15,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This, he said, is 
far higher than any sustained temperature 
ever achieved on earth except in an atom 
bomb. No known material can withstand 
such heat. 

Some material, however, will have to be 
developed if an earth-launched missile is to 
reach outer space. This is because the mis- 
sile must travel about 20 times the speed of 
sound to escape from the tentacles of the 
earth’s gravity. 

Perhaps these problems seem overpower- 
ing at the moment. But it must be remem- 
bered that the problems of 1903 were even 
more baffling, for no one ever had made an 
engine-powered airplane that flew. 

Yet in 50 years, aviation has run the 
gamut from gliders to intercontinental 

bombers. The future could be just as 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

New Comet Faint 
And Short Tailed 

> A FAINT new comet has been sighted 
not far from the pole star in observations at 
Palomar Observatory in California. 
The new comet will be known as Abell 
Comet after its discoverer, George Abell. 
The object is of the 15th magnitude and 
it has a very short tail. What will happen 
to this new object can not be told until 
other astronomers have observed it for a 
short time and its orbit can be computed. 
Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 



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Science News LETTER for November 14, 1953 

- Books of the Week - 

For the editorial information of our readers, books received for review since last week’s issue are listed. 
For convenient purchase of any U. S. book in print, send a remittance to cover retail price (postage will 

be paid) to Book Department, Science Service, 1719 N Street, N. W., Washington 6, D. C. 

Request free 

publications direct from publisher, not from Science Service. 

ALL Asour Dinosaurs—Roy Chapman An- 
drews—Random House, 146 p., illus., $1.95. 
Dinosaurs, the author assures us, were the 
strangest animals that ever existed on this earth. 
They all died out at the end of the Age of 
Reptiles, some 60,000,000 years ago. 

ALL Asour Rapio anD TELEvIsion — Jack 
Gould—Random House, 143 p., illus., $1.95. 
Directed to boys and girls between the ages of 
9 and 12. 

ALL ABOUT THE SEA—Ferdinand C. Lane— 
Random House, 148 p., illus., $1.95. Telling 
young people how the sea was formed, of the 
mountains under the ocean depths, life under 
the waters and the wealth that can be mined 
from sea water. 

Frederick H. Pough—Random House, 150 p., 
illus., $1.95. The author is the expert who 
was sent by the American Museum of Natural 
History to observe the growth of the new vol- 
cano, Paricutin, in Mexico. Here he tells what 
scientists know about the reasons for earth- 
quakes and volcanic eruptions, 

hill—Random House, 148 p., illus., $1.95. A 
senior meteorologist of the U. S. Weather Bu- 
reau explains for young people how to observe 

A new and refreshing 
on mathematics 

Mathematics in 
Western Culture 

By MORRIS KLINE. In this survey 
Dr. Kline shows that mathematics 
is a vital part of human knowledge, 
intimately related to Western 
thought. From the Egyptians and 
Babylonians to the present day the 
author examines the motivations 
for great mathematical ideas, ex- 
plains the ideas themselves in lively, 
non-technical terms, and relates 
mathematics to science, religion, 
philosophy, literature, music and 

This is a book which presents to 
the general reader who lacks special 
knowledge the human interest and 
importance of this vital branch of 
our culture. $7.50 

At all bookstores 

114 Fifth Avenue, N. Y. 11 

the weather and how forecasts are made. 
Charmingly illustrated by Rene Martin. 

ızarıon—Irving Salomon, Chairman, and other 
delegates—U. S. Department of State, 18 p., 
paper, small quantities free upon request to 
publisher, Washington 25, D. C. Considering 
the criticisms and accusations against UNESCO 
that have arisen in the United States, and pro- 
viding facts to answer them. 

Mine Erriuents—William W. Leathen—Mel- 
lon Institute, 8 p., illus., paper, free upon re- 
quest to publisher, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pitts- 
burgh 13, Pa. Acid bituminous coal mine efflu- 
ents, along with industrial wastes, constitute a 
major problem in Pennsylvania. 

CuristMas Ipea Book—Dorothy Biddle and 
Dorothea Blom—Barrows, 221 p., illus., $3.50. 
How to decorate your home, table, doorway, 
gifts and tree to make the holiday more festive. 

DesicN For Dectston—Irwin D. J. Bross— 
Macmillan, 276 p., $4.25. Describing in simple 
terms the process known as “statistical decision.” 
Suggestions are made for further and more 
technical reading. 

Doctor PycMation: The Autobiography of a 
Plastic Surgeon—Maxwell Maltz—Crowell, 261 
p., $3.50. The story of a surgeon who could 
save his patients from the tragedy of scarred, 
ugly faces and give them new, normal lives. 

Docrors, PEOPLE, AND GovERNMENT—James 
Howard Means—Little, Brown, 206 p., $3.50. 
Attacking the problem of how to improve the 
nation’s medical service. 

L. Van Peursem and Homer C. Imes—McGraw- 
Hill, 383 p., illus., $4.50. Textbook for pre- 
medical and preengineering as well as chemis- 
try students. 

HicH FıpeLıty Tecunigues—John H. Newitt 
—Rinehart, 494 p., illus., $7.50. High fidelity 
sound reproduction has recently made tremen- 
dous strides, the author explains, and these ad- 
vances do not necessarily involve great expense. 
This book is for the engineer and serviceman, 


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but also for the man who likes to “build his 

How CHILDREN Learn To Write—Helen K. 
Mackintosh and Wilhelmina Hill—Govz. Print- 
ing Office, Office of Education Bulletin 1953, 
No. 2, 24 p., illus., paper, 15 cents. Children 
learn to write by writing. Teachers will learn 
here how to present opportunities for writing 
that has a real purpose. 

How to Live WitrH Your TEEN-AGER— 
Dorothy W. Baruch—McGraw-Hill, 261 p., 
illus., $3.75. Addressed to perplexed parents 
by a psychologist, this book contains the re- 
assurance that the “blame for everything big 
and small does not have to rest on your shoul- 

THE CALUMET Dance— William N. Fenton— 
AND Sonas— Gertrude Prokosch Kurath—Govr. 
Printing Office, 324 p., illus., paper, $1.50. The 
ritual of the dance varies locally in detail, but 
everywhere there is an underlying pattern which 
sets limits to the expression of individual per- 

DeVoto, Ed.—Houghton Mifflin, 504 p., illus., 
$6.50. An important narrative of North Ameri- 
can exploration. The editor has chosen for re- 
production here about one-third of the original 

Man, TIME, AND Fossıns: The Story of Evo- 
lution—Ruth Moore— Knopf, 411 p., illus., 
$5.75. A companion volume to “Gods, Graves 
and Scholars,” this book tells the story of man’s 
evolution as revealed by the research and dis- 
coveries of recent years. 

Prapma: A Primer of Public Relations for 
the Pharmaceutical Industry—Public Relations 
Committee APMA—American Pharmaceutical 
Manufacturers’ Association, 90 p., illus., $4.50. 
Public relations, for the drug manufacturer, in- 
volves letting the public know about his prod- 
ucts without raising false hopes. 

PARKING AS A Factor IN Business: Part 2, 
Economic Relationships of Parking to Business 
in Seattle Metropolitan Area—Louis C. Wag- 
ner—Highway Research Board, 37 p., illus., 
paper, $1.35. The downtown business district 
is still handling as much business from shop- 
pers, but it is losing out to suburban centers in 
relative importance. 

Van Laer, Translated by Henry J. Koren— 
Duquesne University Press, 168 p., paper $2.50, 

(See p. 318) 

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BLACK LIGHT AND GLOWING MATERIALS KIT: The Book of instruction suggests 26 experiments on 
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The Equipment consists of: Six mineral specimens—Wernerite, Semiopal, Autunite, Green 
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Books of the Week 
from page 316 

cloth $3.25. Discussion of a number of philo- 
sophical problems in the light of modern scien- 
tific data. 

AND BIRTH InyJury—L. Emmett Holt, Jr., Theo- 
dore H. Ingalls and Louis B. Hellman, Co- 
Chairmen—Association for the Aid of Crippled 
Children, 255 p., illus., $4.00. Proceedings of a 
conference to which more than thirty special- 
ists in this field contributed. 

Primitive Herirace: An Anthropological 
Anthology—Margaret Mead and Nicolas Calas, 
Eds.—Random House, 592 p., $5.00. Bringing 
together the writings of anthropologists that 
“would restore the sense of wonder earlier gen- 
erations drew from accounts of primitive and 
exotic men.” 

Guide for Company Interviewers—Richard S. 
Uhrbrock—American Management Association, 
31 p., paper, $1.25. Now that demand for 
talent exceeds the supply, company interviewers 
will welcome this step-by-step guide for pick- 
ing the best men. 

Nutrition: Volume IV of Acronomy—W. H. 
Pierre and A. G. Norman, Eds.—Academic 
Press, 492 p., illus., $9.00. A critical analysis 
of the present state of knowledge, needed in 
this rapidly advancing field. Contributed by a 
number of specialists. 

Synopsis oF MEpIcAL PsrastroLocy — V. E. 
Brown — V. E. Brown, 109 p., illus., paper, 
$3.50. Intended as a reference manual for 
students’ use in the laboratory. 

THE THEORY oF Metais—A. H. Wilson— 

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Science News Letter for November 14, 1953 

Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed., 346 p., 
illus., $8.50. The author has attempted to in- 
troduce all important physical principles and 
to give applications which are of wide interest. 

TELEVISION RECEIVER Desicn: Monograph 2, 
Flywheel Synchronization of Saw-Tooth Gen- 
erators—P. A. Neeteson—Philips’ Technical Li- 
brary (Elsevier), 156 p., illus., $4.50. Tele- 
vision engineering demands more than the ap- 
plication of radio experience; television receivers 
embody new developments in circuit design and 
the use of electronic tubes. 

UNDERSTANDING Boys—Clarence G. Moser— 
Association Press, 190 p., illus., $2.50. Written 
by a child guidance specialist for adults. 

UNESCO Facrs—U. S. National Commission 
for UNESCO, 16 p., illus., paper, small quan- 
tities free upon request to publisher, Depart- 
ment of State, Washington 25, D. C. Facts 
about the objectives and accomplishments of 
UNESCO and why the U. S. Government par- 

VAGRANT Vikinc: My Life and Adventures— 
Peter Freuchen, translated from the Danish by 
Johan Hambro—Messner, 422 p., illus., $5.00. 
An Arctic explorer tells the story of his ad- 
venturous life. 

Henri Lemaitre, revised and enlarged by An- 
thony Thompson—UNESCO (Columbia Uni- 

versity Press), 296 p., paper, $1.75. Common 
terms used by librarians, such as “complete 
works,” “detective story,” “fiction” and so on, 

with the equivalents in French and German. 

American Automobile Association, 20 p., illus., 
paper, single copies free upon request to pub- 
lisher, 1712 G Street, N.W., Washington, D. C. 
High school driver education reduces accidents 
by 50% or more, although only a fourth of 
high schools offer this driver training. 

WITHIN THE Living Pranrt: An Introduction 
to Plant Physiology—Erston V. Miller—Blakis- 
ton, 325 p., illus., $5.00. Based on the author’s 
plant physiology course at the University of 

Worrp MepıcAL PERIODICALS—Joint Commit- 
(Columbia University Press), 237 p. $2.00. 
Listing 4,000 periodicals with place of publica- 
tion and language. A subject index is included. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


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Defeating Winter 

> LIVING THINGS use a wide variety of 
means in defeating or evading the deadly 
blight of winter! Plants, in general, have 
the hardest time of it. 

Lower forms, being mostly aquatic, keep 
refuge in the water, as fish do, and stolidly 
stick it out. Water seldom freezes all the 
way to the bottom. Some of these pond 
inhabitants, at that, produce desistant spores 
in autumn, that fall to the bottom and lie 
dormant until spring. 

Higher plants either trust the fate of com- 
ing generations to their seed and submit to 
being frozen to death, as the annual herbs 
do, or crouch beneath coverings of dead 
leaves and drifted snow, or even retreat 
into bulbs, rootstocks, etc., leaving no parts 
exposed above the surface. Trees, shrubs 
and woody vines either shed their leaves 
and stand as skeletons through the bitter 
season, or cling stubbornly to close-reefed 
evergreen foliage, and wrestle it out with 
the storms. 

Animals, being motile for the most part, 
have a wider choice. Some, like short-lived 
insects, entrust the fate of the species to 
eggs or pupae, as annual plants do to seeds, 
and make no attempt to live through the 
winter. Others, notably birds, frankly run 
away, migrating southward in vast flocks as 
winter moves down the map, to return 
north with spring. 

Hemlock Hollow Farm 

Largest breeders of Sherman rats in the East. 
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Many hibernate; and there are all de- 
grees of hibernation. Some, like ground 
squirrels and frogs, pass into a “death- 
seeming swoon,” from which it is extremely 
difficult to arouse them without warming 
them up to springtime temperature. 
Others, like bears and some species of squir- 
rels, sleep deeply or lightly, as particular 
environmental conditions dictate. Some 
bears go into their dens in autumn and are 
not seen again until spring. Others emerge 
during thaws and forage for a little extra 
food to supplement their stored fat. In the 
South, of course, bears do not hibernate at 

Many animals, like hawks and owls, 
chickadees and nuthatches, the fox, wolf 
and weasel tribes, rabbits and quite a num- 
ber of rodents, are able to find enough food 
to keep their life-fires going full blast all 
winter, especially since the majority of them 
are able to make or find warm shelter of 
some kind. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

An inch-square bar of a new titanium 
alloy containing aluminum and tin can 
withstand a pulling force of 110,000 pounds. 

Hydrogen peroxide seems to wear out, 
though kept in a tightly closed bottle, be- 
cause its extra oxygen atom is easily de- 
tached, producing oxygen and water. 


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Science News Letter for November 14, 1953 

New Birds Discovered 
In Arabian Sultanate 

> A NEW babbler, lark and warbler were 
discovered by an expedition of the Acad- 
emy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia to 
the Arabian Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. 

William K. Carpenter headed the ex- 
pedition to the independent Arab state 
which covers an 800-mile strip of coastline 
fronting on the Gulf of Oman and the Ara- 
bian Sea. 

The new lark was named Ammomanes 
deserti taimuri, Muscat Desert Lark, in 
honor of Sultan Said bin Taimur of Mus- 
cat and Oman. Carpenter’s Streaked Wren 
Warbler, Prinia gracilis carpenteri, was 
named for Mr. Carpenter. Turdoides 
squamiceps muscatensis, Muscat Brown 
Babbler, was the third subspecies discovered. 

The lark is an exceptionally dull-colored, 
grayish race of desert larks. The Muscat 
Babbler has a shorter bill, wing and tail 
than its closest relatives and is less brown- 
ish in color. The new warbler has fine 
markings and is somewhat larger than 
similar birds found in India. 

Complete descriptions of the new sub- 
species have been published by the Acad- 
emy of Natural Sciences. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 


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DENTISTRY—What is effect of adding anti- 
biotics to tooth fillings? p. 312. 

GENERAL SCIENCE—How does the defense 
effort curtail other research? p. 313. 


INVENTION—How many patent copies are 
requested per day, on the average, at the 
Patent Office? p. 308. 

METEOROLOGY—What are the advantages 

of numerical forecasting over present methods? 
p. 309. 


PHYSICS — Why is the 
named? p. 310. 

“swindletron’’” so 


Photographs: Cover, Fremont Davis; p. 307, 
United Press Photo; p. 309, Argonne Na- 
tional Laboratory; p. 314, Department of De- 
fense; p. 315, North American Aviation, Inc.; 
p. 320, Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Co. 



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Science News Letter for November 14, 1953 

e New Machines and Gadgets - 

For sources of more information on new things described, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to SCIENCE NEWS LETTER, 1719 N St., N.W., Washington 6, 
C., and ask for Gadget Bulletin 700. To receive this Gadget Bulletin without special request each week, remit $1.50 for one year’s subscription. 

%% CURTAIN WALL panels made of cel- 
lular glass covered with porcelain enamel 
now are available. Designed for non-load- 
bearing walls, the panels combine good in- 
sulating qualities with attractiveness. Now 
being used in a Missouri grade school, the 
panels are lightweight, vermin-proof, long- 
lived, fireproof and dimensionally stable. 
Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

% LAPPING MACHINE is said to pro- 
duce close-tolerance finishes on metals, 
glass, quartz, plastic and other materials. 
The machine features a 241nch diameter 
cast-iron lapping plate two inches thick, re- 
volving on ball bearings at a working 
height of 38 inches. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

x “CLIMATIC PAD” is inserted under 
the pillowcase to warm up the cloth on 
nippy winter nights. An electric pump, 
placed on the floor, quietly circulates warm 
water through the plastic tubing of the pad 
in the winter or cool water in the summer. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

% THERMOSTAT HAS been redesigned 
to blend with household walls to present a 

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pleasing appearance. Semi-spherical 
shape, the thermostat’s outer shell can be 
painted or wallpapered to match the walls. 
The thermostat, shown in the photograph, 
is 3.5 inches in diameter. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 



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4 BABY DISH set is made of a rugged 
cellulose acetate plastic. The cup has a 
round, weighted bottom which turns the 
cup upright if it is knocked over. The cup’s 
lid, which has a sip-hole, cuts down spillage. 
The dish has a three-inch suction cup on its 
bottom to attach it firmly to the high chair 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

to NEW “RUBBER adhesive” is a black, 
fluid cement that “sticks rubber to any- 
thing,” the maker reports. The cement is 
said to produce a strong, flexible, long-last- 
ing bond, and is good for attaching rubber 
weather stripping to auto windshields and 
trunk lids, for re-securing rubber floor mats, 
stair treads, tile blocks and for mending 
rubber boots. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

40 RAIN SKIRT wraps around milady’s 
waist to ward off rain droplets that get 
past her umbrella. Useful while grooming 
pets, working in photographic darkrooms, 
or boating, the skirt is made of a trans- 
parent vinyl plastic film. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

x%% SEALER FINISH for knotty pine and 
other natural woods used in the home con- 
sists of synthetic plasticized resins mixed 
with a quick-drying gum base. Sprayed 
or brushed directly on the wood, the finish 
maintains surface protection for at least five 
years, the manufacturer reports. 

Science News Letter, November 14, 1953 

Do You BR A 

At the speed of sound, a pilot would 
have to exert 5,700 pounds of pressure on 
a modern fighter’s control stick to over- 
come airstream forces if the plane were 
not equipped with a hydraulic boost system. 

Concrete building blocks must stand 900 
pounds per square inch pressure; recent 
tests of a fly-ash block showed it could take 
1,285 pounds. 

About 1,800 different jobs are required 
to extract oil from the ground and get it to 
the consumer. 

Cow’s milk and human milk have equiv- 
alent caloric values, but cow’s milk contains 
more protein and minerals. 

Automobile accidents have injured 26 
citizens for each American serviceman 
wounded in all the wars ever fought by the