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A— n FRIDAY* October 14, 1949
Crisis in Montgomery
In calling for a halt in apartment
construction in Montgomery County, the
county’s Civic Federation has proposed a
most drastic remedy for congested condi
tions resulting from burgeoning housing
developments. It is a remedy so extreme
that it should be considered only as a last
resort. But there can be no doubt that
the critical traffic, school and utility loads
Imposed on public facilities there and in
other parts of the Washington Metro
politan Area require drastic measures of
tome kind—and soon.
With housing still in short supply in
the District and its environs, it would be
a backward step to suspend apartment
construction just when the building situa
tion is beginning to improve. That said,
however, there is no disputing the need
for urgent action by State, county and
municipal authorities to bring public
services into step with the accelerated
pace of private construction. The public
pace has been distressingly slow, and
today’s overcrowded schools, traffic bottle
necks and other strains are the result.
There was a time when the shortage of
classrooms and the inadequacy of roads
and other facilities coul<J be blamed large
ly on material and labor scarcities after
the war. But that excuse is beginning to
wear thin. Now the emphasis is being
put on shortage of funds for public works.
This shortage is real enough and it can
be met by realistic steps. The plain fact
Is that more money will have to be spent
for education and traffic relief and other
Improvements before conditions get any
better—and that means more tax revenues
from some source or sources.
There is merit in the Montgomery
County Civic Federation’s suggestion that
a study is needed of the distribution of
the tax load In the county. A Federation
committee sometime ago reported that
some of the recent apartment projects are
falling far short of paying their propor
tionate share of taxes for schools and other
services. These large housing enterprises
have superimposed unplanned-for and un
expected burdens on county facilities. If
these housing developments are not carry
ing a fair share of the tax load, a re
assessment program might produce added
revenues without a general raising of tax
The problems faced by the citizens of
Montgomery County are akin to those in
Prince Georges County and in the nearby
Virginia areas. The traffic conditions in
the Maryland communities are especially
bad, with only a few road improvements
under way or scheduled. These disjointed
conditions cannot be allowed to continue
indefinitely. At present they seem to be
getting worse instead of better. Civic or
ganizations are justified in becoming
alarmed over the outlook. If public opin
ion becomes sufficiently aroused, govern
mental action to meet the crisis will follow
—provided, of course, the citizens are
willing to pay the tax bills.
The Norse Elections
The Norwegian parliamentary elections
are interesting in themselves and against
the political background of "free”. Europe
In general and of Britain in particular.
These are the first parliamentary elec
tions to be held in Norway since November,
1945. That was less than six months after
the end of World War II in Europe and
four months after Britain’s postwar elec
tions. In Norway, four years ago, as in
Britain, the Socialist or Labor Party won,
though not so decisively, since it had a
bare majority of one vote in the Storting
or Parliament. However, the opposition
was divided among Conservatives, Liberals,
Agrarians or Farmers’ Party, and Com
munists who, incidentally, fared well with
eleven seats. Soviet Russia then was
popular in Norway for its share in liber
ating the country from the Germans.
Despite its slim majority, the Socialists
undertook the government and put
through a program closely similar to that
of the British Labor Party. The idea was
that of the “welfare state,” favoring the
working classes at the expense of the
middle and wealthy elements. As in
Britain, there have been very heavy gov
ernment expenditures coupled with drastic
taxation, both inflationary in character.
But the workers have been largely cush
ioned against the effects by food subsidies,
rationing, rent controls and full em
Four years of this regime built up in
creasing opposition from the conservative,
liberal, farmer and business elements, who
wanted a halt to welfare socialism and at
least a partial return to private enterprise.
And some observers had expected that
Norway would follow the general electoral
trend on the European continent during
the past two years, which has been slightly
to the right. However, the current elec
tions are a vindication for the Labor gov
ernment, its parliamentary majority being
Increased from one to at least eleven, with
a proportionate increase in its popular
However, the significant point is that
these gains were made almost wholly from
the Communists, who were virtually oblit
erated, their parliamentary representation
being reduced from eleven to one. The
Conservative, Liberal and Agrarian Parties
emerged almost unchanged in parlia
mentary seating and popular votes. This
indicates that, while the more radical
section of the workers have been cured of
their communism, they are solidified with
their more moderate fellows on the idea
of a welfare state favoring their class
interests. And since the workers are the
most; numerous economic group in Norway,
they continue to dominate the political
The outcome of these elections will be
especially heartening to the British Labor
Party. Economic conditions in both coun
tries are roughly similar, while the attitude
of the workers is much the same. British
labor strategists presumably will read in the
Norwegian outcome an indication that
enough persons who like the welfare state
will vote in a majority for the party that
gives it to them.
Rebuke to the President
In voting overwhelmingly—53 to 15—
against the reappointment of Federal
Power Commissioner Leland Olds, the
Senate has been perhaps a bit more em
phatic than it might have been had it
not been goaded into administering a
stinging rebuke to the President.
As the chief goader, Mr. Truman has
only himself to blame for this new blow to
his prestige. To begin with, in a thor
oughly ill-advised way, he sought to make
■it appear that the opposition to Mr. Olds
stemmed only from private utility com
panies selfishly intent upon ridding the
Federal Power Commission of a member
resolved to protect the interests of the
public. Next, even after it had been
pointed out to him that no company had
either testified or asked to testify against
Mr. Olds, and after the full Commerce
Committee had voted 10 to 2 against the
reappointment, he called upon the
National Democratic Chairman to urge all
the party leaders in all the States to
pressure all the Democratic Senators into
voting to confirm.
In other words, by implication, Mr. Tru
man suggested that one could question
the good faith and sincerity of those op
posing Mr. Olds because of his past radical
writings or because of a feeling that he
was biased. And as if this were not
enough to make the Senate see red, the
President then tried to pose the issue as
one of party regularity and discipline.
That is to say, he tried to whip the Demo
cratic Senators into line with the strange
and essentially ridiculous argument that
they would be bad Democrats, deserving
punishment, if they did not do as he said.
The party’s platform, of course, never
pledged anybody to support Mr. Olds, but
Mr. Truman seems to have ignored that
fact, along with the fact that it is the
Senate’s constitutional right and duty
either to reject or confirm—as it sees fit,
in wisdom or conscience—all such presi
dential appointments, regardless of parti
In the circumstances, It is not surprising
that twenty-one Democrats out of the
thirty-four voting joined with the Repub
licans in denying Mr. Olds another term.
The result might have been closer if there
had been no clumsy and bullying inter
vention by Mr. Truman. But that inter
vention certainly had the effect of hard
ening the opposition, and it may also
have persuaded more than a few of the
undecided to come out against confirma
tion. Whether Mr. Olds deserved to be
defeated, or whether exaggerated and un
justified conclusions were drawn from his
writings of twenty years ago, may be
debatable. What is not debatable, how
ever, Is that the President himself helped
to insure the Senate’s thumbs-down
If there is any moral to be found here,
it is simply this: That members of the
Senate, regardless of party, do not like
to have their motives questioned even by
implication, that they resent being
bludgeoned or bulldozed, that they are
jealous of their constitutional preroga
tives, and that they do not take kindly
to presidential dictation of the sort just
tried by Mr. Truman. All of which is
one reason why our form of Government,
despite its imperfections, is still about the
best in the world.
The Seething Red Empire
Although it displays a formidable facade,
the world behind the Iron Curtain creaks
and groans in a way that suggests it is
having serious trouble holding itself
together. The latest evidence along that
line comes from Czechoslovakia. What is
happening there, coupled with such events
as Yugoslavia’s secession and the recent
treason trials in Hungary, leaves little
room for doubt that the Kremlin has real
reason to worry about the stability and
trustworthiness of its satellite empire.
The Czech situation has all the ear
marks of a frenzied effort to put down
a rising tide of unrest. The Red tyranny
at Prague—undoubtedly acting in accord
with the wishes of its Soviet masters—
has issued orders to all the country’s
Communist-led county and village regimes
to tighten up drastically on their control
of churches and local political affairs. In
addition, it has carried out a sweeping
police action—described as its biggest to
date—in which thousands of doctors,
lawyers, small business men and other
middle-class individuals have been ar
rested and tossed into prisons and con
In explanation of all this, a Communist
source has been quoted as saying that far
reaching measures have been necessary
in order to foil a plot by the biggest
underground network uncovered since the
Prague regime forced its way into power
through the Soviet-inspired coup of Feb
ruary, 1948. Whether or not there is any
truth in the talk about plotting, there is
every reason to believe that great numbers
of Czechs are bitterly opposed to the
tyranny now ruling them. How could it
be otherwise? After all, here is a once
independent land rich in the traditions of
liberty and devoted to spiritual values,
with more than 70 per cent of its popula
tion Catholic. But it has had imposed
upon it a puppet clique of traitors who
have destroyed political freedom, struck
at religion, betrayed national economic
interests, and taken numerous other steps
designed to enslave Czechoslovakia to the
In such circumstances, whether it is
well organized or not, the development of
an underground by the Czech people may
be regarded as one of the most natural
things in the world. Moreover, In varying
degrees, the same holds true for other
peoples behind the Iron Curtain, notably
the traditionally anti-Russian, anti-Com
munist, overwhelmingly religious-minded
Poles. Indeed, no matter how hidden
they may be, discontent, unrest, rebellious
ness, passive resistance, a tendency toward
Titoism, smouldering hatred, and a burn
ing desire to get rid of the puppets must
mark the temper of scores of millions
throughout the dark satellite domain of
the Soviets. What else could come of the
oppression, the ruthless control and the
day-and-night terror that exist there?
The Czech situation, in short, is merely
another indication of how the world
behind the Iron Curtain seethes with
internal stresses and strains. Of course,
with the techniques of modern despotism,
with the secret police, with the terrifying
purge, with all the pitiless and gruesome
instruments of totalitarian control, the
Kremlin and its henchmen may be fully
equipped to keep that world well in hand.
Still, one wonders. Given some great and
sudden crisis, the whble black structure
conceivably would go tumbling down with
extraordinary swiftness. At any rate,
being rooted in evil, it definitely seems
to contain the seeds of its own destruction.
blackouts in Arlington
Arlington residents who have been an
noyed by electric power interruptions will
agree with the Arlington Public Utilities
Commission that something ought to be
done to correct the situation. An occa
sional brief blackout might be excused in
a rapidly growing community like Arling
ton, but when, as has happened several
times recently, the current remains off
for long periods, there is reason to com
plain. The modern age of refrigerators
and home freezers requires a more reliable
type of service than most of Arlington has
The Arlington PUC found during a five
month period of last year that an “un
common number’” of service interruptions
were reported by customers of the Vir
ginia Electric & Power Company, which
serves most of the county. Inquiries pro
duced “numerous and varied” reasons for
the breakdowns. But, whatever the causes,
the PUC said, the service was “subnormal
for a metropolitan area.” There is no
reason why electric service should be any
less dependable in Arlington than in Wash
ington or any other built-up community.
Residents of the county have read with
interest about the opening by the Potomac
Electric Power Company of its fine new
power plant near Alexandria. Pepco is
planning to merge with the Braddock Light
& Power Company, which serves Alex
andria, the Pentagon and a small portion
of Arlington County. Pepco customers
in the couQty thus are assured of an
ample source of power for some years
to come. If Pepco can render adequate
service to its customers, Vepco should be
able to do the same. The Arlington PUC
will have widespread support in its efforts
to find out why Vepco has been able to
give no better than “subnormal” service
in some parts of Arlington County.
This and That
By Charles E. Tracewell
Does the distinction between a pigeon and
a dove ever bother you? ,
It did H. J. of Qreenbelt, and he writes
“We are very Interested in pigeons and
want to learn more about them.
“Our reference book tells us that a pigeon
is ‘any of a widely distributed family <Co
lumbidae). One of the domesticated varieties
of the dove.’
“The book also tells us that the word
‘dove’ is applied specifically to many of the
smaller species of the pigeon.
“We have been under the impression that
the pigeon family includes the domesticated
varieties we see in our parks and the wild
varieties known as dove, turtle dove, etc.
“We also thought that while the dove
was a pigeon the name applied specifically
to varieties other than the domesticated,
and that ‘wild pigeon' applied to a specific
variety of the dove to distinguish it from
the turtle dove, mourning dove, etc.
“Are we right and is that what our book
is trying to tell us?
“Would appreciate learning where we
could obtain a pair of young pigeons.
“Your column is must reading in our
The Encyclopaedia Brittanica defines
pigeon as “a name of Norman introduction
for certain birds of the family Columbae
It says of dove, “A name applied to the
smaller members of the order Columbae,
but no sharp distinction can be drawn be
tween pigeons and doves.”
“Birds of America” quotes Prof. Alfred
Newton as follows:
“No sharp distinction can be drawn be
tween pigeons and doves, and in general
literature the two words are used almost
indifferently while no one species can be
pointed out to which the word dove, taken
alone, seems Jo be absolutely proper.”
A popular work which includes the ground
dove says: “This little dove of the South
ern States is the smallest of all the pigeon
family found in North America.”
* * * *
They are all pigeons, then, and they are
all doves, but no one calls one of the com
mon old pigeons a dove, and surely nobody
ever called the turtle dove a “turtle pigeon.”
Custom seems to play its usual role here.
It is customary to call certain birds doves
and others pigeons. Usually the smaller
ones are known as doves. The big ones as
pigeons. That is about all there is to it,
and it is not worth worrying over.
If one wants real homing pigeons, pigeons
for racing, it is best to get in touch with an
expert. Some of these men are retired men
who worked with the famous pigeons of the
Around Washington the specimens most
of us see most are the common pigeons of
the parks and the Carolina or turtle dove '
of our yards, the latter especially if we put
Often enough a band of abandoned pet
pigeons finds one’s bird feeding station and
manages to make something of a nuisance of
themselves by coming in small flocks from
a dozen to 20 birds.
They eat, one thinks, altogether too much
food, and give no particular amusement or
interest to the one who provides the bill
The dove, on the other wing, is always
welcomed, even when, as in a few cases, as
many as 40 fly down.
All in all the turtle or mourning dove, or
Carolina dove, as the books call it, is a
good feathered citizen.
His face is not beautiful, but there is no
need for it to be. The feathers are good,
especially on- a cold morning, when the dif
ferent grays, browns and blues are accen
tuated with a flush of pink. A very nice
bird, and it makes no particular difference
whether he is a dove or a pigeon. Actually
he is both or either, but.no one ever calls
him anything but dove.
Letters to The Star
Corrupt Political Machine Judged Better
Than District School System
To the Editor of The Star:
A news story in The Star of October 6
brought to light one of the most odious
aspects of thinking by officials of the Wash
ington school system. The news story con
cerned Adelbert Lee's revelations of a re
port on the High School Cadet Corps.
The odious aspect of thinking, however,
does not come from Mr. Lee. It comes from
another Board of Education member, Mrs.
James W. Williams. In her way of thinking
as expressed in The Star (but in my ex
perience not confined to her) the board
should hold private meetings to discuss
school affairs instead of airing them pub
licly where the press might be present.
It seems that while the schools teach
that the “Freedom of the Press” is one of
the cornerstones of democracy, thqy have
not taught that simple fact to themselves.
Public enlightenment of school affairs, it
seems, is not necessary in running -the pub
lic school system. £nd public opinion is
definitely not wanted.
Mr. Lee seenis to be one of the few school
officials cognizant of the fact that the only
way to get anything done in our school sys
tem is to enlist the aid of public opinion. It
has been my experience that while school
officials are willing to have the concepts of
democracy taught, they are unwilling to
put them into practice.
And one of the biggest hoaxes of the
whole news story is the quote from Dr.
Hobart Corning, superintendent, that the
report criticized “everybody and everything
but made no suggestion for a solution.”
since, in my mind, it is not worthwhile to
make suggestions to people who do not want
to change, and probably will be satisfied
with the status quo 50 years hence when
their ideas will be even more antiquated
than they are at the present time.
It is amazing to me that Lieut. Col.
William Barkman had the courage to make
the criticism in the first place, much less
than see Mr. Lee’s fortitude put to the test
of making the whole affair public, since in
our present school system subservience to
the way of thinking of some higher-up has
been the rule for years and years. For a
system supposedly divorced from politics,
it . is, in my opinion, run in a manner that
would put the most corrupt political machine
This will probably be another instance
whereby Mr. Lee will be accused of head
line-seeking, but it is my opinion that due
to the current management of the Wash
ington public schools, the general public
should be happy and encouraged to have
the services of a man like Mr. Lee who has
the courage to bring things to light concern
ing our schools that would otherwise be
banged around in private circles and at pri
vate meetings, until they died of their wounds.
Whether we believe Mr. Lee to be right or
wrong in his attitudes toward school affairs,
we must, nevertheless, congratulate him for
brmging them to view'.
The public school management, it would
seem, has an obligation to the public—to be
public. JAMES A. LEMON.
Potomac River and Tributaries
Called Superb Recreational Asset.
To the Editor of The Star:
Having just returned from a week end of
crusing along the headwaters of the Potomac
by canoe, I found your editorial on the work
of the Interstate Commission on the Poto
mac River Basin timely indeed.
There is both good and bad to report on
the present recreational opportunities of this
splendid river system. The Cacapon River
last Saturday was clear as crystal and every
pebble at the bottom of its deep pools was
visible along with every bass in the river.
The ripples and rapids between pools were a
little too shallow for comfort because of the
low stage of water, but even so we took two
heavily loaded canoes from Sargent to the
mouth with no major damage. This included
dragging them for much of the two-mile
stretch below the Great Cacapon Dam where
most of the flow is diverted through a tun
nel. Even the main Potomac from Great Ca
capon to Hancock w'as clear. We came away
with a strengthened belief that the upper -
Potomac and its tributaries offer splendid
opportunities for white-water canoeing,
camping and swimming amid impressive
scenes of wilderness beauty.
As for the bad part, it is rapidly diminish
ing, but is still present. For example, a rail
road coaling station is discharging sulphur
or other waste into the main Potomac. Every
hamlet dumps its trash onto the river bank.
The only convenient access to the river at
Hancock is via the town sewer.
When the last danger-spots have been re
moved, the population of the Middle Atlantic
States will wake up and realize that they
have at their door a superb recreational asset
of clean, swift-flowing water, rippling over
ledges between islands of river grasses end
plunging through roaring rapids to tide
water. The Interstate Commission on the
Potomac River Basin deserves the thanks of
every sportsman in this area for the progress
that has already been achieved. H. H. L.
More Considerate Handling
Of Juvenile Delinquents Urged
To the Editor of The Star:
Aside from “atypical” children, there are
probably many boys and girls in this and
other cities who would benefit from consulta
tion on personal problems with profession
ally trained personnel other than their
These are not always “results of many
school failures.” either. The notion that
only the stupid child is the victim of cir
cumstances or apt to be maladjusted results
in demonstrations like Milton Babich’s and
the Loeb-Leopold case. Until the commu
nity solves some of its emotional and psy
chological problems, the schools cannot
correct everybody’s personality.
The home, even a broken one, is nob al
ways to blame for everything that goes
wrong, either. Inadvertently, by relying on
class distinctions alone to keep the sheep
separate from the goats, many schools are
actually increasing these problems, and the
same goes for church and other youth-work
Just providing some one to talk to, with
out judgment being pronounced on confes
sions, etc., that turn up, would be a step
forward. Most teachers are too busy, most
administrators too formidable. As long as
we are going to have parental neglect or
even well-meant but ignorant meddling in
problems of adolescence, some few are going
to go dramatically wrong. In childhood,
people are seldom as wrong-headed or- as
responsible as adults often suppose.
Intelligence No Index.
Remember, Heirens, Lee Scott and prob
ably Unhruh were well above the average in
Sudden occasions arise demanding adult,
mature judgment and control, and the child
does not behave like a man. It is question
able whether many adults would act their
age in similar situations, judging by the
number of people we are now supporting in
insane asylums. Psychiatric treatment is
not a method of disposal for annoying minor
children who cannot protect themselves le
gally; St. Elizabeths, for example, is not a
As for the indifference of top adminis
trators in Washington, it is an advance that
such a thing as the Strayer report has been
prepared here. Many places do not even
care whether problems exist or not. They
, rely on elimination, ewilt and aure, of the
Letters for publication must bear
the signature and address of the
writer, although it is permissible for
a writer known to The Star to use
a nom de plume. Please be brief.
unworthy or unfit. The law-enforcement
agencies could be instructed to rely more on
law and less on social prejudices in dealing
with children. People who handle such
cases generally do not care whether they
punish the real culprit or whether they han
dle the case in scientifically approved
manner or not. They are not well paid
enough to act as nursemaids. They simply
regard America as inexhaustible in resources
of intelligence and personality, as they once
regarded its forests and lands. MRS. H.
Peanut Chompers Annoy
Distracted Movie Fan
To the Editor of The Star:
I guess I'm just an oia fuddy-duddy but
I do like to enjoy a movie in peace occasion
ally. But in this ‘'modern” era this has
become somewhat hard to do. The dialogue
has been practically drowned out by the
miscellaneous chewing, chomping, crackling,
and crunching sounds. I used to think the
cellophane wrappers on candy were bad—■
but they really weren’t. After the wrappers
were off the candy, the 'latter could be
consumed with reasonable quiet. Not so
with popcorn and peanuts. These emit a
continuous cacophony limited only by the
capacity and ingenuity of the chewer. When
people pass by me and brush my eyeglasses
off it is bad enough—but bearable. I can
even stand it up to a point when teen-age
girls go into .a giggling and whispering jag
in front of me. But when I’m trying to look
at a romantic or action scene, nothing more
quickly or thoroughly spoils it for me than
the disgusting odor of peanuts at close
What do people go to movies for, anyw'ay?
To eat? It makes just as much sense for
theater managers to serve turkey sand
wiches and cold beer as to allow the sale
of popcorn and peanuts. And it wouldn’t
spoil the shows any more. I may be wrong
but I’m told that in certain dark regions
of New York City—perhaps Brooklyn—they
even hawk ice cream up and down theater
aisles. How utterly revolting!
But seriously, it seems to me that the
managers of the large dowmtown theaters, at
least, would realize that many of us come
for the movies—not the extraneous sound
effects. People being what they are. they
should not be encouraged in their rudeness
to spoil other peoples’ fun.
Do away with popcorn and peanuts in our
theaters. One can always get a sandwich
after the show if hunger sets in.
A Forgotten “Boss”
Pens Note to Gen. Vaughan
To the Editor of The Star:
It would seem that Gen. Vaughan has
overlooked me In his statement that he is ;
only responsible to Mr. Truman and Mrs.
Vaughan. Of course I am only a taxpayer,
but I am multiplied by several millions who
must resent having to pay salaries to people
who disclaim any responsibility to us for
their actions. ESTHER P. POTTER.
More Protection Asked
Against Sex Offenders
To the Editor of The St»r:
Again we are informed by the press that
an atrocious sex crime has been perpetrated
on an innocent little boy, age eight. What
a shocking and revolting thing this is.
However, until adequate laws are passed,
the police must go through the farce of
picking up all known offenders, and gener
ally the one responsible is a man with a
record of previous violations, or at least
is well known among his acquaintances as
a sex pervert. How long are we going to
stand for these perverts prowling the city
searching for victims, and finally selecting
IRENE MOORE VAN ECKHARDT.
Danger to National Defense Found
In Tendency to Copy British
To the Editor ol The 6t»r;
May I comment upon an item in The Star
of October 8 headed "British Recall Own
Service Row in 1919 After R. A. F. Was
Born.” In an Associated Press dispatch
from London October 8 it is said that rep
resentative leaders of the British services
claimed they could remember no modern
dispute among them equal to the Air Force
Navy battle now raging in the United States.
One claimed that they had trouble in 1919
but said, “that we have learned to get along
together and probably they (meaning the
Americans) will, too, in time.”
It may not be a safe plan for the United
States to follow British procedure at all
times. Whatever they did about their
armed services in 1919 must have been han
dled all wrong, for they were caught totally
unprepared for World War II as they had
been unprepared for World War I.
Why not admire and respect the British
without emulating them and copying their
blunders? I am not one of those who
shouts about our having rushed to the aid
of Britain in the last two wars. On the
other hand, I believe that we have a habit
of thinking of Britain as a bulwark between
us and any possible danger to us from the
continent. This feeling gives us a false
sense of security and we were content to rest
on our oars. She has proved in two wars
that she is not able to be a bulwark. That
is, she has proved it to every one but herself.
This leaves us on our own. We should do
our own thinking and our own planning.
What is good for British armed service ar
rangements may be very bad for our Ameri
can forces. Our problems are different.
One man's meat may be another man's
poison. LAURA K. POLLOCK.
Chaplains Called Government Agents;
Ministers Agents of God
To the Editor of The Star:
J. M. Dawson makes out a pretty good
case for tax exemption for church-owned
non-profit property, in his answer to Dun
can Burgoyne. But it’s a draw, for Mr. Bur
goyne has him on the subject of Government
A minister is ordained to preach the gospel.
When he accepts a chaplaincy he agrees to
submerge those controversial issues which
separate Baptists from Presbyterians, etc.,
because he is now being paid from the taxes
paid into the Government Treasury by all
the people. In so doing he surrenders the
commission of his ordination, and becomes
a Government agent.
He was God’s man, with a commission to
preach God’s message without fear or favor.
Now he is pftid by the state. He has be
come the state’s man.
Anyway, it was an interesting discussion
while it lasted. And you are to be congratu
lated for a very fair presentation.
DONALD F. HAYNES.
Reader Praises Coverage
Of Episcopal Church Convention
To the Editor of The Star:
May I congratulate and thank you for
your careful and accurate news coverage of
the recent General Convention of the Epis
copal Church held in San Francisco. It was
a tremendous service to the many thousands
of church people in ttiis area who were inter
ested in the convention to be able to read
detailed accpunts of what went on day by
day. You kept us fully informed in some of
the best news writing I have ever read.
REV. RAYMOND DAVIS.
Bureau Physicists Study
Hot Element Prometheum
One of Original Metals of Universe
Is 500 Times Hotter Than Radium
By Th onuis R. Henry
An element 500 times hotter than radium
is being studied by Bureau of Standards
It is prometheum. one of the rare earth
metals which presumably was one of the
original elements which went into the com
position of the universe. All that ever was
present on earth, however, must have dis
appeared well over 2,000,000,000 years ago
and ever since the atomic table was con
structed it has been listed as one of the
“lost elements” which theoretically should
exist but of which no trace could be found.
The sample now being investigated by
Dr. William F. Meggers, head of the Bureau
of Standards spectroscopy section, weighs
about a sixth-thousandth of an ounce and
is practically all that now' exists in the world.
Half Life of Four Years.
It has a half life of a little more than
four years. This means that of any number
of prometheum atoms originally present
half will explode in this period. Each will
shoot out an electron from its nucleus
and thus be transmuted into the next lower
element in the atomic table, another rare
element known as neodyimum. Then in
another four years half of what remains
will likewise be transmuted until eventually
the amount left on earth will be reduced
to a point where it cannot be detected.
Radium has a half life of practically
8.000 years. Thus the prometheum radiation
is much more intense, being exceeded only
by the new synthetic element curium wnieh
is built up from uranium.
Ail the prometheum now on earth is the
result of the splitting in two of atoms of
uranium 235, the source of the energy of
the atom bomb. The split halves are un
equal and each has a separate element. More
than 40 such elements have been identified,
most of them well known to physicists.
Prometheum is a notable exception.
Dr. Meggers’ job is to determine the spec
trum of the element and the structure of
its atom. This is accomplished by render
ing it luminous and photographing a spec
trum of the light it emits. The light of
each of the 92 elements is unique, consisting
of wave lengths that are not duplicated an
the light from any other element.
Hundreds of new' wave lengths hitherto
unknow’n in nature, have been found an
In its physical properties, the Bureau of
Standards physicists find, the "lost element”
is closest to the rare element samarium.
This is one of the so-called rare earths for
which no use ever has been found. It can
be reduced—as presumably could prome
theum—into a soft, gray metal.
* * * *
A hurtling ball of rock about a mile in
diameter, latest discovered of the hundreds
of minor planets which circle the sun, is
forcing astronomers to abandon some of
their ideas of the origin of the solar system.
It also may serve as a means of weighing
with far greater accuracy the little planet
Mercury, closest and hottest of the sun's
Discovered about a month ago by Dr.
Walter Baade of the Mount Wilson Observa
tory, this little stone in the sky approaches
closer to the earth than any other celestial
body with the exception of the moon. It is
about 4,000,000 miles away at its closest
Passes in Mercury’s Orbit.
Alone of the “lice of the sky,” as the
minor planets sometimes are called, this
one actually passes inside the orbit of the
planet Mercury and comes within a little
more than 20.000,000 miles from the sun.
At such a time its surface temperature must
be about 10003 Fahrenheit. It is probably
hot enough to be faintly luminous. Its great
est distance from the sun is about 156,000,000
miles, when it recedes into the orbit of Mars.
Until quite recently all the minor planets
were believed to be confined to the space
between Mars and Jupiter and to be the
remains of some large planet which once
filled that position and was broken up into
small pieces. Now several have been found
far inside Mars’ orbit, and theories of the
evolution of the solar system based on their
distribution must be discarded.
Because of the close approach to Mercury
some estimate of the mass of that planet
may be made from the observed gravitational
There is a possibility, it is claimed, that
the new minor planet is what is left of a
comet from which the tail has been swept
by its close approaches to the sun.
Questions and Answers
A reader can ?et the answer to any question
of fact by writing The Evening Star Information
Bureau. 316 Eve st. n.c.. Washington 2, D. C.
Please inclose three (3* cents for return postage.
By THE HASKIN SERVICE.
Q. How many cells are there in the brain
of a man —N. T. S.
A. The number is variously estimated at
from 10 to 15* billion. The human brain is
said to be the most highly developed and
complex structure known in the universe.
Q. Is the peeling of an apple valuable in
the diet?—B. G. G.
A. The peeling is more than six times as
rich in vitamin C as is the flesh near the
core. The skin of the apple also furnishes
desirable bulk in the diet.
Q. What is a chalet?—W. J. D.
A. This is a type of dwelling which orig
inated in Switzerland and is found also in
neighboring Alpine countries. Its unique
feature is that a single roof covers not only
the living quarters but attached stables and
Q. What degrees in Masonry were taken
by Franklin D. Roosevelt?—H. N. A.
A. Franklin D. Roosevelt was a member
of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite
of Fremasonry, receiving the degrees of the
rite, from the fourth to the thirty-second,
inclusive, in Albany, N. Y., in February, 1929.
He was a member of Holland Lodge, No. 8,
F. & A. M„ of New York City.
Q. Which did Milton regard as the greater
work, his “Paradise Lost” or "Paradise Re
A. Milton is said to have regarded “Para
dise Regained” as the superior work.
Q. What is the altitude of the city of Jeru
A. Jerusalem lies at an elevation of nearly
3,800 feet above the level of the Dead Sea,
and about 2,500 feet above the Mediterranean.
There is no taint of prison on his soul
Though half his life gave him. no other
Than cold stone walls each day he saw
A page unblemished as his faith, a new
And hopeful chance to write upon the
Of history that India was free
At last. No broken promise changed his
Or his belief that better things must bt.
Now that new dead lie in his native land.
Disease and famine stalking grimly near.
With sects at war that never have learned
To see each other’s good, to understand,
Indelible the marks of doubt and fear
On lesser men—unmarked his tranquil
brow. BARBARA PALMER.
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