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THE EVENING STAR
With Sunday Morning Edition

THEODORE W. NOYES. Editor
WASHINGTON, D. C.
SATURDAY.Mnroh 5, 1938
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herein also are reserved.
An Invincible Navy.
• By voting 20 to 3 in approval of the
bill expanding the Navy by twenty per
cent beyond London treaty limits, the
House Naval Affairs Committee has taken
the first hurdle along the path leading to
creation of a fleet capable of defending
the United States on both oceans. The
dimensions of the program thus initiated
axe truly staggering. They call for ex
penditure of $1,113,546,000 for three 35,
000-ton battleships, two aircraft carriers,
nine cruisers, twenty-three destroyers,
nine submarines, five destroyer tenders,
three submarine tenders, eleven sea
plane tenders, three repair ships and 950
planes. In addition, this utterly un
precedented peacetime construction pro
gram authorizes $8,000,000 for moderniza
tion of Government shipyards, $30,000,
000 for experimentation in new types of
war craft and $3,000,000 for a dirigible of
Zeppelin pattern.
Of even more striking significance than
the expansion immediately planned, is
the •'policy" amendment to the Vinson
bill, making it "the intent of Congress
that the United States shall have a fleet
sufficient to protect both coasts at once.”
The Government will be committed, if
Congress ratifies the recommendation of
the Naval Affairs Committee, to the
establishment of both Atlantic and
Pacific Fleets, at an estimated ultimate
cost of $3,000,000,000—spread over a
period of years. Admiral Leahy told the
committee that the present strength of
the Navy is wholly inadequate for two
ocean defense.
Opponents of naval expansion on the
contemplated scale had their day in
court along with advocates of it. The
almost 7-to-l margin by which the com
mittee recommended passage of the bill
is graphic indication that the arguments
adduced against it in protracted hear
ings produced little effect. Evidently
Chairman Vinson and his colleagues took
no stock in the contention that the proj
ect is "an invitation to war.” Of equally
little influence was the no less ludicrous
opposition claim that the program was
Inspired by Great Britain, because it
wants Uncle Sam to join John Bull "in
policing the world.” The categorical as
surances of. Secretary Hull that we have
no understanding with the British,
actual, secret or implied, on naval or on
political matters affecting navies, seem
to have satisfied the House committee.
The bill is a strictly home-grown prod
uct, It is conceived exclusively for do
mestic security and peace-keeping pur
poses. It has no strings attached to it
that could ever be used for pulling the
chestnuts of Great Britain or any other
nation but our own out of the interna
tional fire.
The House will begin to debate the
measure next week. There is fortunate
ly every prospect that the 20-to-3 vote
In committee is an augury of the over
whelming support awaiting the proposi
tion in Congress. Every day’s news from
a “world in high tension” argues for
prompt action in that direction.
There are writing men who still re
member the influence of Horatio Alger.
Horatio always led up to a great moral,
yet few woman writers were esteemed as
highly as Louisa M. Alcott. There are
still readers who peer into her books and
into Alger's, too, with a devoted interest
that time cannot destroy.
Japanese people speak a language that
few Americans understand. So do the
Chinese. A decision by this country
must be based as far as possible on the
discovery of a self-respectful mood.
Buried treasure may exist where wealth
in less value was assumed. The big
problem seems to be to get at it without
destroying too many lives.
Extinction.
The time has come, it appears, when
the human race—at least that part of
it represented by the populations of
North and South America and Europe
—can start worrying about “extinction.”
One very potent reason, as explained
by Professor Samuel J. Holmes of the
University of California at a meeting
here, is that rearing children has be
come an economic liability. He pro
poses, as the only feasible escape from
this eventual extinction, that the state
pay families for undertaking the job.
Folks no longer can be expected to dp
something for nothing. It may be that
Professor Holmes is right.
Now if extinction is to be prevented
by subsidy it is reasonable to presume
that the subsidy must be sufficient to
provide a real Inducement. A parent
Is now allowed an exemption of $400
for each dependent child on income tax
returns. Maybe, it is too much or too
little, but it is at any rate one official
estimate of the cost of supporting a
child.
In 1030 there were 11,440,390 children
under five years of age in the United
States. At least this number is essen
tial to maintain the population. There
would be an annual bill of $4,577,756,
000. There are probably an equal num
ber between five and ten years of age.
That would make the annual bill $9,155,
512.000. But this has allowed for bare
maintenance. Nothing has been al
lowed to compensate the family for the
labor involved in child rearing—$200 a
child would be little enough. The bill
goes up to $13,733,268,000.
This is propabiy just a start. In the
Utopian society of the future surely
nobody would expect a boy or a girl to
cease being a dependent on the family
before at least the age of twenty. The
bill might easily be augmented to twenty
billions a year. And by that time, of
course, the state will have reached the
point of taking care of all the sick and
guaranteeing everybody an adequate
diet, and a lot of other functions which
will cost money.
Folks gasp at some of the expendi
tures of the New Deal. Maybe they
have not seen anything yet.
It would be graceless to scoff at any
sincere proposal to improve the physi
cal condition of the people of the United
States. But a pertinent question, it
would seem, is: What will we use for
money? Or, it might be asked, is it not
simply a choice between two ways of
extinction?
Lawful Government.
In a severe castigation of the practice
of the Virginia Legislature of the dele
gation of powers to boards and commis
sions which are reserved by the people
tfl the lawmaking bodies, Judge
Frederick W. Coleman of the Freder
icksburg Corporation Court, one of the
most outstanding as well as one of the
most outspoken jurists in the Old Do
minion, has sounded a warning which
should not only be heeded by lawmak
ers of his State, but should command
the attention of all citizens interested
# '
in promoting law and order.
In his remarks, addressed to the
grand jury. Judge Coleman said that
it is believed that if and when this in
tolerable practice is abandoned, the
people will have more respect for the
laws of the land.
The practice is a growing one in bu
reaucratic control, and is not confined
to Virginia, but it is extending into the
National Government machinery, grad
ually taking away from the electorate
that control of their Government which
the forefathers of the country reserved
to them in the Constitution. As Judg^i
Coleman pointed out plainly to his jury,
which no doubt will be called upon to
consider the cases of those charged with
violation of some of the laws made
through the delegation of power, the
General Assembly "has no authority
whatever to delegate to these sub-agen
cies or State departments the power to
make law's,” or "to promulgate rules and
regulations to have the force and effect
of laws,” violations of which may result
in fines and imprisonment.
He said further that the heads of the
departments who formulate these rales
and regulations are appointed to their
respective jobs and do not derive their
authority directly from the people to
make the laws to govern them, thereby
depriving the people of the right of trial
by jury.
Judge Coleman in making his remarks
in a charge to the grand jury gave them
that official status which should com
mand deep consideration, the results of
which they can carry back to the elec
torate in their districts to spread the
alarm. It should cause them and others
concerned with this growing trend in
government to realize that their birth
rights are fast slipping away, and
awaken them to the imperative need of
sending to the Legislature only those
representatives whose respect for law
and order carries with it a determina
tion for full support of their Constitu
tion.
——■ 1 --
Humanity again faces the responsibil
ity for conducting the quarrels of the
earth. Even the developments of human
speech are frankly insufficient for the
purpose.
The prosperity enjoyed by our movies
would create additional satisfaction if
patrons could look forward to a filled
market basket as part of the trip.
Music comes up for discussion in con
nection with radio and tends to reveal
the accordion as the world’s greatest
solo instrument.
Jobs, Just Jobs.
Once again, the Senate arrogates to
itself the appointive power of the Ex
ecutive branch of the Government, the
latest development being" adoption of
an amendment to the Independent Of
fices Bill making employment of at
torneys and experts receiving $5,000 or
more annually subject to Senate con
firmation.,
If the amendment has any saving
grace it lies in the proviso that in
cumbents are not to be disturbed, and
that those appointments now subject to
civil service will continue thus to be. In
this latter category come attorneys in
the Interstate Commerce Commission,
Employes’ Compensation Commission,
Veterans’ Administration and Federal
Communications Commission, legal per
sonnel elsewhere being exempt from
civil service, as experts traditionally have
been since this class made its debut in
the Wilson administration.
Outside of the fact, however, that no
general upheaval is contemplated in the
terms of the amendment, there is noth
ing to recommend it. Not only is the
way paved for perpetuation of all the
existing evils of patronage, but in addi
tion a barrier is raised against any ap
pointment, no matter how meritorious,
unless the Senate chooses to confirm.
The Senate has been working toward
this “grand slam” for a long time. First
came the requirement that W. P. A. and
P. W. A. administrators should be nomi
nated by the President and confirmed
by the Senate; then followed the same
treatment for positions at $5,000 and
over in the Bureau of Archives; next it
was Social Security; then the United
States Housing Authority above the
$7,500 bracket, and finally, all the inde
pendent offices. That is, all but the
Tennessee Valley Authority, which was
left untouched as a concession to Sena
tor Norris.
Coming at a time when the Senate is
preparing to turn to the President’s re
organization program, which contem
plates extension of civil service "upward,
outward and downward,” the amendment
does not offer any particular encourage
ment to those who may have hopes in
that direction.
As the bill moves over to the House,
the action there will be watched with
Interest.
A Proposed Retrocession.
The suggestion has often been made
to give New York back to the Indians
even at less than the cost price if the
trade could thus be negotiated, but the
suggestion to give the District back to
Maryland has not been heard publicly
for many a moon.
Despite the apparent reluctance of the
red men to repurchase Manhattan for
anything likes the $24 bargain they orig
inally made, Maryland's attitude might
well be favored notwithstanding Repre
sentative Palmisano's reported comment
on Representative Nichols' bill that the
State would be getting the “skimmed
mtlk” rather than “the cream.”
The cession of all of the District except
the Federal land as proposed by Mr.
Nichols would give Maryland:
1. One used “numbers racket” in ex
cellent condition.
2. Half a million taxpayers and po
tential voters, well worn but serviceable.
3. One additional relief problem in
delicate condition.
4. One excellent traffic problem ready
for immediate solution.
It should be pointed out with em
phasis that these benefits will be addi
tional to the large income already de
rived by Maryland from local pari
mutuel enthusiasts at the Bowie and
Laurel playgrounds.
The plan would, of course, be a great
boon to Congressmen on the District
Committee as the four out of the twenty
members who have been attending the
hearings would be able to join the others
in concentration upon their own im
mediate communities.
California has always said that in or
der to understand the country an Amer
ican must cross the Rockies. And this
was before the State was placing on
display phenomena equaling those of
the present.
Los Angeles has been learning much
about this country after revealing the
world to the screen. More than a com
pany of skilled players it appreciates a
group of men who can take care of
themselves in the water.
When a* man has worked as hard for
a distinguished audience as Dr. Town
send has, he naturally feels a hesitation
about retiring to private life.
-- —»■ --
Leaders are being overthrown In
Japan whose one fault, excepting toward
Chinese, seems a willingness to oblige
too many people.
Good horses are still running, but a
person who feels competent to foretell
the future can find many things to talk
about beside the horses.
Having looked over cartoons he has
inspired Mr. McNutt may at least claim
to have equipped his party with an art
Impulse.
Shooting Stars.
By PHILANDER JOHNSON.
_
Plaint of Posterity.
Some of our greatest men have had
Defects that are considered bad.
With expletives they oft made free,
And took strong liquor with their tea.
When called upon to heed, today,
The lives of heroes passed away,
We strive, too oft in vain, to reach
Their dignity of deed or speech.
Their gift for high, courageous thought
We seldom find that we have caught.
Their grave defects, sad to relate,
Are easiest to imitate.
Human Nature.
“Do you think George Washington
used profane language?”
“Don’t know a thing about it,” an
swered Senator Sorghum. “But 111 say
I would have if I had been in his place.”
Jud Tunkins says a malefactor of
great wealth is liable not only to escape
punishment, but to get popular by de
claring- dividends.
February and March.
Life is full of strange regret
Caused by some contrasting thrill.
Now a Valentine you getx
Next a Tax Collector’s Bill.
“Money,” said Hi Ho, the sage of
Chinatown, “is a power for infinite
good, but it sometimes has a way of
getting into bad company.”
Supererogation.
When Moses those commandments wrote,
He said enough to last
The moralists who love to quote
Through all the ages vast.
Yet on the newsstands we observe—
Surprise both day and night—
The words of folks who have the nerve
To write and write and write!
“I never yet saw a loafer,” said Uncle
Eben, “who didn’t imagine he was in
titled to some kind of reward for beauti
fying de earth by his presence.”
Visiting Neighbor’s
Impressions of Capital
To the Editor of The Star:
When one comes to Washington the
natural feeling is that of awe. The reali
zation that here is formulated all the
plans and policies, foreign and domestic,
which control the destinies of what we
like to feel is the greatest country in the
world; that here come s$td go emis
saries of all the other countries, large
and small the world over, is perhaps
gigantic to our suburban minds.
Here, too, gather the great political
minds; we of the backwoods, feel that
they must be great, they get away with
so much. To most of us the inner work
ings of the Senate, the House, the State,
War and Navy and executive depart
ments are, to say the least, mysterious.
We wander up and down the avenues,
survey the massive structures which
house the New Deal and its predecessors.
We drift along Connecticut avenue and
find it a fine avenue, but barely a shadow
of Madison avenue in New York City.
Having spent a portion of our life in
the Army we call on a friend or two, wan
der about the Military Establishments
and listen in on a concert of the Marine
Band, and find this magnificent musical
organization playing in a room hardly
large enough for a high school class play.
Musicians are crowded together to the
point where the trombone plays in the
cornetist's lap. A good spot for a few of
those free and easy New Deal dollars, but
why build a concert hall for the armed
services? Their Job is to fight and not to
play music. We shudder to think of what
the Army and Navy have to play in. No,
we haven’t been to either place, but we
are going.
Ana then, there are the taxis, hard
working, long hours, little pay, two taxis
where there should be only one—no lia
bility insurance. "Yes, if my wife wasn’t
working for the ‘X. Y. Z.' we couldn't
make it” and “We've been trying to get
that compulsory insurance enacted for a
couple years, but I guess they're too busy
up on the Hill.” So say the local hacks.
And the cop on the corner—some day we
hope to ask a question he can't answer;
and, oh, yes! While we write, a plane
soars overhead, and in our mind’s eve
we can see the traffic lights turn red,
hear the siren and after a moment, see
the airliner slide into that one-way mud
road that serves as an airport for this,
the Nation's Capital. And we wonder
why more pilots don't go “haywire.”
Ah, yes, the spy scare, and the F. B. I.
and the old pensioners at the “family
hotels,” and the “February rates "—and
“business is bad,” and furnished apart
ments which are not furnished, and the
“pay-day sales ’—reminds us of canteen
checks in our enlisted days—and George's
birthday and the four-hour sales, and
the last but not lease the guide who said
that any avenue which was named after
one of the original thirteen colonies
would lead us direct to the Capitol. The
poor trusting souls started to walk up
New York avenue. We did get to the
Capitol, but there was a slight detour.
J. M. WILD.
Shows Fallacy of Tax
Based on Ability to Pay
To the Editor of The Star:
In your issue of February 26 Mr. C. V.
Burnside expresses himself in favor of
taxation according to ability to pay. The
spread of this idea in face of its complete
divergence from commonly accepted busi
ness principles is remarkable.
Governments are set up by society as
instruments to render it certain services.
In like way a business man sets himself
up as an instrument for service to his
community. Imagine his undertaking to
exact a price for his services or goods,
not at their current value, but according
to the size of his customer's pocketbook.
Crazy? Surely, but that is the idea back
of taxation according to ability to pay.
In equity the business rule of pavment
for value received should be the rule for
Government and community services to
the individual. The value of such serv
ices is nowhere so completely reflected
and identifiable as in the price of land.
The difference in price between a city
lot and an equal area in the country, is
the difference in value of such services.
Were the city to erect a building on a
citizen's lot for his use, he would not
question its right to payment for such
use. He should have the same view as to
the value it gives to his bare lot by its
services. But should he build at his own
cost, wherein lies the city's right to re
quire him to pay again for the building
by taxing it? Police and fire protection?
But an adequate tax upon his lot should
cover that. Such building tax is in real
ity a fine under penalty of confiscation
of the entire property.
To many this lone land-tax idea bears
no comparison for fairness with the drag
net way of securing revenues. But say
we banish from the community all who
are not landowners, including children,
tourists and other transients. Then esti
mate the slump in land values by relation
of the remaining land-owning population
to the area involved. The result would
show the total contribution of the ban
ished to the community land values.
This total would include what should go
to their credit as payment toward the
community expenses under a land value
tax. The resultant figures would doubt
less be a huge surprise to many of us.
These are some of the reasons why the
writer, a land owner, advocates a land
value tax in place of all other taxes.
Other reasons are the simplicity and
decidedly lower cost of levy and collec
tion, to result in cheaper government and
a lower living cost to all of the com
munity. WALTER N. CAMPBELL.
Suggests Plan to End
Tax-Eater Government
To the Editor of The Star: •
Sunday’s Star contained two excellent
and significant editorials, one of them
entitled “Tax-Eater Government,” the
other “Dangerous Power.” The former ,
is particularly significant but it offers
no remedy. May I suggest that the
remedy might lie in taking the profit
out of job holding, which can be done
by the application of a principle which
should be as sacred in a democracy as
the bill of rights, the principle of com
petition.
Competition is the final answer in
the voice of all the people. It is the
only way by which the many are pro
tected from exploitation by the few.
Mediocricity strives to protect and per
petuate itself by creating monopoly, and
those who would profit by monopoly al
ways rail loudest against competition.
If the principle of competition were
applied to tax-paid jobs, both as to
ability to do the job and price at which
the job will be done, taxes could be re
duced 50 per cent and the great scramble,
wire pulling and manipulating for tax
paid jobs would be eliminated or re
duced to an irreducible minimum. This
could be accomplished by requiring all
applicants for jobs to state in their ap
plication the price at which they will
take the job, then awarding the Job to
the lowest bidder among those qualified.
Of course, qualification should be de
termined, as far as possible, by. civil
service examination open to all the
people, not the few who may be friends
of those in power.
HOWARD B. SMITH.
THIS AND THAT
BY CHARLES R. TRACEWELL. ■
"BETHE8DA, Md.
"Dear Sir:
"I enjoy reading your articles in The
Star. In one article you included a list
of foods to attract birds. Later some
one, I think, asked in a letter about
cardinals, and what to feed them.
"A few years ago a neighbor from New
Jersey told me that cardinals like canta
loupe seeds. I tried it and cardinals
soon found them.
"I save some seeds for the winter.
Your list did not mention cantaloupe
seed and I wondered why.
"Respectfully, E. H.”
* * * *
Of such small nuggets of everyday
wisdom is the art of feeding the birds
built.
All seeds of this nature are liked by
the red birds.
The prime favorite, of course, is the
sunflower seed.
There is probably nothing in the
world a cardinal would rather And than
a sunflower seed.
Not even a seed of the cantaloupe.
Fortunately, sunflower seed can be
purchased at every feed store. It might
be difficult to get cantaloupe anywhere,
except from a seed grower.
The sunflower is such a prolific plant
that its seeds are many and highly
stored with carbohydrates of exactly
the type liked by the cardinals.
* * * *
Perhaps few persons would be able to
eat enough cantaloupes to garner much
seed, but the sunflower seed can be
bought at about 15 cents a pound.
This comes pretty high, however, for
feeding the birds.
If there is any turnout whatever at a
feeding station, the owner will find it
impossible to keep up the pace at that
rate.
Fortunately there is no need to serve
pure sunflower or cantaloupe seed and
nothing else; they are best mixed with
other and less expensive grains and
seeds.
This gives the birds the opportunity
to hunt and find for themselves, some
thing which they seem to enjoy as
much as their human friends.
* * * *
Another way to feed these specialty
seeds is to put out a cupful of them
in a special place.
This permits such birds as the cardi
nals to have them more or less to them
selves.
We prefer the other method, of mix
ing some of these larger seeds with
every' batch of feed put out.
The squirrel, a ‘'bird” without wings, is
particularly fond of the sunflower seeds.
This diverting rodent will shovel his
way through a large amount of fodder
to get at one sunflower seed.
* * * *
In a cantaloupe eating family perhaps
enough seed could be saved through the
summer.
If this were dried and put afcy in
paper bags, it would be in good condition
for fall and winter feeding to the birds.
As indicated, only a small amount,
not more than a handful, need be
added to several pounds of general food.
Birds are a great deal like humans,
after all. They prefer to feel that they
are making their own way in the world.
Their realization of any human agency
in feeding is very remote, we believe.
They do not understand much about it,
one may feel, despite the contrary be
lief by some enthusiasts that they do.
The fact that they may appear tame,
and even eat out of the hand, does not
prove that they know who it is who is
feeding them.
All they can know is that food ap
pears, that there it is, for the eating, and
so eat they must, do and will.
The human agent in the feeding is
only incidental, one with the wind, the
clouds and the blowing rose vines.
This is just as well.
Cannot man do something, now and
then, without obtruding his own per
sonality into it? It is Just as well that
now and then something comes along in
which he plays but a small part.
* * * *
Feeding the birds is good, because it
permits the feeder to stand apart, for
a time, and watch nature at work.
If he insists on trying to tame the
wild birds, he is missing the greatest
Joy of the feeding.
The birds do not know him, and do
not want to know him.
The feeder and its food get no par
ticular thanks from the birds, let that
much be realized.
“They know me,” bah!
* * t *
What are all the family trees in the
the world to the cardinals in our
garden?
The only tree they know anything
about Is the big one to which the feed
ing station is attached.
They do not know it as “tree.”
They do not know it as anything.
“Tree” and “bird" and “food” are just
words invented by man to stand for real
things.
The creatures know the real things,
but they do not know they know them.
That is the difference.
We can force ourselves on their atten
tion, and they will look at us, in time
may even eat from the hand, but that
diverting spectacle means nothing to
them.
* * * *
Put out the food, and let the birds
alone.
That is the best thing to do.
Wild birds need no other attention,
aside from a little water, and some dust,
if it can be made this time of year.
Water and dust baths are enjoyed by
all birds at all seasons of the year, but
they seldom get to take a dust bath
during the winter, except where thought
ful persons have provided for them.
They are more fortunate as regards
water bathing. Often on warm days ice
will melt in little pools large enough for
the songsters.
It is possible to loosen the earth be
neath some shrub, and mulch it care
fully. so that it approximates dust. This
may be done even in the coldest weather.
There is no situation they like better
than beneath a bush.
Those interested in this work should
experiment with all sorts of leftovers.
Some bird or other will eat almost every
thing.
STARS, MEN AND ATOMS
Notebook of Science Progress in Field,
Laboratory and Study.
BY THOMAS R. HENRY.
Determination of more than 100 new
basic measuring sticks of nature is an
nounced by the Bureau of Standards.
The fundamental "length” in crea
tion recognized by physics is precisely
6.438.4696 angstrom units—one angstrom
unit being precisely .000000003937 of an
inch. It is the length of one wave of red
light emitted by the element cadmium
when it is made luminescent. This is
a length which is the same everywhere
in nature and which never will change.
The yardstick and the foot rule are man
made things. Their ends will wear away.
They will stretch and shrink. Any one
of them is apt to change by a billionth
of an inch or so almost any time.
But if all man-made standards of
measurement were to be destroyed they
could be rebuilt with this one wave length
of red light. By means of it any two
such standards can be precisely com
pared. This particular unit was taken
almost half a century ago when Dr.
Albert A. Michelson made a precise cali
bration of the meter stick in terms of it.
It happens to be a sharp line in the
spectrum of cadmium which can be
produced with comparative ease.
But “checks” were needed, even on
this fundamental unit. Theoretically,
any wave length of radiation would serve
as such a check if it appeared sharply
in the spectrum so that it could be very
accurately measured and its length de
termined. For a long time physicists
have been searching for lines of this
sort which can be used as secondary
standards—comparing with the almost
inflnitestimally short wave length of the
red line of cadmium as the inch com
pared with the foot or the millimeter
with the centimeter.
'-'uc essential purpose 01 inis is to nave
a measuring stick with which to measure
other wavelengths of radiation—upon
the exact determination of which de
pends the development of spectrum
chemistry and, especially, the determina
tion of the elements in the make-up of
the stars, planets and outer space. The
International Astronomical Union spon
sors the specification and adoption of
these units. A prerequisite for the adop
tion of any radiation wave length as an
international secondary standard is that
the length must be determined with no
margin of difference whatever by three
independent observers.
This is a very slow process. Thus far
a total of 284 such lines have been
adopted. Twenty each are emitted by
the elements krypton and neon. Iron
has furnished all the rest, 244. Every
one of the 92 elements, when made
luminescent, gives out a light precisely
its awn. Not a single wave length of
this light is duplicated by the light of
any other element. A single wave length
belonging to iron in the light of a star
would constitute irrefutable evidence that
the element was present in that star—
providing, of course, that everybody
agreed on the identification of the line.
But it so happens that all these 284
lines are yardsticks. They are all, with
the exception of a few of the iron lines,
within the wave-length range of visible
light, from the deep red to the deep violet.
There is need of some “inch sticks,” pre
cisely determined wave lengths of light
lines in the ultraviolet, where they are
so short that they have no effect on the
human retina, and hence are invisible.
Lines are difficult to measure precisely
in this invisible region.
It so happened that the rare gas ele
ments krypton, argon and neon contain
some reasonably sharp ultraviolet lines.
Dr. Curtis J. Humphreys of the Bureau
of Standards spectroscopy section has
made exact determinations of the wave
lengths of 104 of these, nearly all in
the region where the wave lengths are
too short for the radiation to be visible.
The length determinations, the bureau
announces, are accurate to at least one
part in 10 millions, which is about the
limit of accuracy attainable with present
instruments.
It only remains for two others, inde
pendently, to check on Dr. Humphreys’
measurements for them to be considered
by the International Astronomical Union
as nature's inch sticks, or tenth-inch
sticks, relative to the long cadmium yard
line.
At the same time the bureau an
nounces the findings by Dr. Carl C. Kiess
of the spectroscopy section of several
new wave lengths in the infrared spec
trums—where the lines are too long for
the radiation to be visible—of iron and
titanium. They will serve as new finger
prints of the elements in nature by
which they can be detected wherever
they occur—in the blood stains left by a
murderer or in the structure of a star
a few million light years away from the
earth.
Offers Suggestions to
Remedy Traffic Situation
To the Editor of The Star:
For the past couple of years a great
deal has been said and written about the
traffic situation in Washington. It seems
to me that the public has missed the
whole key to the situation. As a resi
dent of the city for 20 years, during
which time I have been both driver and
a pedestrian, I offer some suggestions
which I think might be helpful.
Regulation of taxicabs by a law pro
viding that any cab driver involved in an
accident, regardless of fault, have license
suspended for a month, at the same time
providing that taxicabs be diminished *
in number by about half. These vehicles
have dominated Washington traffic and
the streets will never be safe until they
are regulated in some such drastic man
ner as this.
Indiscriminate enforcement of traffic
regulations on all drivers, including those
of taxis, buses-and street cars. These
latter classes seem to be under divine
protection; for two years I have seen
only one taxi and one bus driver stopped
by an officer.
Provision of an intelligence test as a
prerequisite for a driver's permit. This
would eliminate in large measure the
accidents caused by sheer stupidity.
Regulation of pedestrian traffic by
means of a suitable light system and
enforcement thereof by fines. As both
a driver and a pedestrian I can sin
cerely say that I believe it is more often
a pedestrian than a driver who is at
fault.
Other regulations, including adjust
ment of the speed limit to 25 in down
town sections, 35 in suburban. Common
sense will show that these limits are
more easily enforceable than one like
22 for the simple reason that a driver
glancing at his speedometer can more
easily see a 25 than a 22 due to longer
marking lines.
These proposals are not all that should
be enacted and some may seem too
radical or drastic. But I believe that If
enacted they would accomplish a great
deal more good than “drives,” “safety
campaigns” or such absurdities as the
new auto inspection law or the hom
blowing law. At least they would be
worth a try. F. PHILLIPS.
Alliteration.
From the Jsmestown <IJ. Y.) Post.
A scientific expedition reports that the
Island of Cocos yields cuckoos and crus
taceans. This hasn’t been equaled before
as an exercise in alliteration since the
song about K-K-K-Katy. •
ANSWERS TO
QUESTIONS
BY FREDERIC J. HASK1N.
A reader can get the answer to any
question of fact by writing The
Evening Star Information Bureau,
Frederic J. Haskin, director, Washing
ton, D. C. Please inclose stamp for
reply.
Q. Who is Vivian Hulten?—W. H.
A. Vivi-Anne Hulten is one of the
world s greatest ice skaters. She began
to skate in Stockholm, her home, at
the age of 8. She placed third In the
last Olympics and when In training
skates from four to five hours a day.
Her improvisations on ice are remark
able. She has been giving free exhibi
tions at the Rockefeller Center skating
pool and was oflered a large sum to
appear at a recent ice show, but refused
as she is not yet a professional.
Q. How much money do the news
papers spend for pictures?—K. H. B.
A. The daily newspaper publishers of
the United States and Canada spend
more than $8,000,000 a year for pictures.
Q. Why isn't it possible to telephone
to Tangier Island?—T. H.
A. The island was connected with the
mainland by telephone in 1907, but the
12-mile submarine cable is out of repair
at present.
Q. How many kinds of trees are there
in Canada's forests?—O. W.
A. There are 126 distinct species.
Q. Are most of the people Involved in
bad automobile accidents inexperienced
drivers?—W. H.
A. An analysis of traffic accidents in
1937 shows that 97 per cent of drivers
involved in fatal accidents had had one
or more years’ driving experience.
Q. Is “all right" always written as two
words?—E. C. N.
A. “Almost.” “although," “altogether”
and “already” are spelled as single
words, but “all right” is written as two
words.
Q. What is the legend of Drake's
drum?—E. H. W.
A. It is a drum owned by Sir Francis
Drake, gentleman-pirate of the day of
Queen Elizabeth of England. He made
it a custom to carry his drum with him
wherever^ his professional life or his
adventures carried him. As he lay
dying there is a story to the effect that
he summoned his brother. Sir Francis
said to the latter that if ever England
was beset from the sea, Sir Francis
would return in spirit and animate some
English naval leader, if Drake's drum
was beaten. It is said that upon a few
occasions, the drum has been struck and
England has been successful in naval
warfare, when, for a time, it looked as
though the enemy would win. A recent
fire destroyed the home of Sir Francis
Drake, but the drum was saved.
Q. When did N. B. C. start broadcast
ing from Hollywood?—L. H. W.
A. The National Broadcasting Co. be
gan broadcasting from Hollywood in
1932.
Q. Where did Wendell Wilkie, the
utilities magnate, go to school?—W. H.
A. The president of the Common
wealth & Southern Corp. went to CVlver
Military Academy and later attend'-d
Oberlin College, the University of In
diana and the University of Chicago.
Q. Was George Washington a regulr;
church-goer?—N. T.
^ A. It was his custom to attend churc:,
sendee on Sunday morning.
Q. For whom is Johns Hopkins Uni
versity named?—M. H.
A. It is named for Johns Hopkins, a
financier and philanthropist, born in
1795. died 1873. He become a grocer in
Baltimore at 17, and in 1822 founded
the house of Hopkins Sc Bros., building
up an almost monopolistic trade in
Maryland, Virginia and North Caro
lina. He used his large fortune in rail
way and banking operations, and gave
over $3,000,000 to found the Johns Hop
kins University.
Q. Where is the River of No Return?
—L. R. C.
A. The Salmon River of Central
Idaho is so called.
Q. Please give the dates of some of the
spring garden tours in Virginia and
other States.—H. L. M.
‘ A. Virginia will hold its annual garden
week from April 25 to 30. The North
Carolina Garden Club tour will be held
from April 9 to 23. The Pilgrimage
Garden Club of Natchez. Miss., will have
a pilgrimage week from March 11
through 24. Man-land's annual House
and Garden Pilgrimage is scheduled for
April 29 through May 8. New Orleans
will hold its annual spring fiesta from
March 17 to 25, when many fine old
homes and gardens will be open to the
public.
Q. In what country are fat-tailed
sheep found?—I. S.
A. The broad - tailed or fat - tailed
sheep are found in many parts of Asia.
They are chiefly characterized by the
enormous accumulation of fat on each
side of the tail bone. The tail Is
esteemed a great delicacy, and to protect
it from being injured by dragging on
the ground, it is sometimes supported
by a board or small pair of wheels. The
fat of the tail is often used in place of
butter.
If Star-Gazing
Is Your Hobby—
You will be delighted with the book
let on ASTRONOMY offered by this
bureau. In this 48-page illustrated
publication you will find answers to
hundreds of everyday questions, as well
as an authoritative survey of the entire
subject. Brush up on the marvels of
modern astronomy. Order your copy of
this interesting little booklet now. In
close 10 cents to cover cost and handling.
USE THIS ORDER BLANK.
The Washington Evening Star
Information Bureau.
Frederic J. Haskin, Director,
Washington, D. C.
I inclose herewith TEN CENTS in
coin (carefully wrapped) for a copy
of the booklet on ASTRONOMY.
Name.
Street or Rural Route.
City.
State.
(Pleas* order by mall only.)

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