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The Associated Press ts entitled exclusively to the use for •’•publication of all the local nows printod In this eewspoper, as well as oil A. P. news dispatches. A—10 FRIDAY, November 4, 1949 The 'New National Capital' “The future of Washington,” Harland Bartholomew told the American Society of Civil Engineers in session here, “lies fully as much, if not more, in the Metro politan Area as in the now more or less fully developed District area.” That is a succinct description of the situation in which Washington and its suburbs find themselves with respect to planning for the orderly growth of this whole urban community. Mr. Bartholomew, noted as a city planner, regards the Metropolitan Area as the “new National Capital,” the component parts of which must find “ways and means” for adequate unified planning and control of development. It is this growing recognition of the fact that the District’s boundaries no longer limit the “new National Capital” that has led to increasing demands for more effective co-ordination of planning and execution of public works and public services within the expanding Greater Washington. The expansion has been accelerated by the trend toward extension of the Federal establishment into neigh boring Virginia and Maryland counties. Mr. Bartholomew and John Nolen, jr., director of planning for the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, told the society that this “decentralization” trend must be continued if Washington is to avoid the blighting effects of over loaded streets and services. The trouble in the past has been that the Federal movement into the suburbs, more often than not, has taken place under the compulsory haste of wartime, with inade quate attention paid to the effect of such moves on local highways, utilities and other services. The Pentagon-Navy Annex devel opment across the Potomac, despite the extensive Federal roadway network, im posed grave new problems on Arlington. Burgeoning residential developments over burdened county roads, schools, water, sanitation and other facilities. Similarly, in Maryland such projects as those at Buitland, the Bethesda Medical Center and elsewhere in Prince Georges and Mont gomery Counties have brought a train of local governmental problems. This growth cannot go on indefinitely without some over-all direction unless Greater Washington is to become a city planners’ nightmare. There is urgent need for Joint planning, for co-ordinated execu tion of approved plans, for interjurisdic tional consideration of utility problems and for better integration of other govern mental activities throughout the Metro politan Area. There are four pending proposals aimed toward achieving such co-ordination in one or the other fields. The Senate approved bill to enlarge the scope of the National Capital Park and Planning Com mission by admitting to membership rep resentatives of the District, Maryland and Virginia is a desirable step toward unified planning. General Grant’s suggestion for a National Capital Metropolitan Works Agency would fill a vital need with respect to joint financing and construction of bridges and other jointly undertaken pub lic works. The proposal for a Metropolitan Area Public Utilities Commission is de signed to remedy the lack of a regulatory body to handle special area-wide utility problems. The Sasscer bill would create a Disttict-Maryland-Virginia commission to conduct a broad inquiry into ways and means of bringing about further co-ordi nation. All of these proposals have merit. They attest the growing demand that all the Jurisdictional units of this rapidly develop ing Capital region plan and work together more closely and more harmoniously than ever before. For all have an important share of responsibility in the building of the "new National Capital” envisioned by Mr. Bartholomew and other planners of the Washington of tomorrow. Federal Fire Prevention It Is a surprising thing that a Federal office structure as modem as the Post Office Department Building could be the scene of such a serious fire as the one which occurred Tuesday. The fire was doubly surprising because it was the second to damage the building and its contents since its erection in 1934. As a result of the earlier fire, in 1935, the Federal Government instituted an exten sive fire-prevention system designed to forestall another such misfortune. At the time of the 1935 fire it was brought out that Federal buildings in Washington were without an adequate fire inspection and prevention setup. The District Fire Department had no authority to Inspect Federal structures and lacked the funds and personnel to do the work, even if granted jurisdiction. Although President Roosevelt suggested that the local • department be given inspection authority, Congress eventually authorized the 'Federal Works Agency to establish its own inspection and prevention service. Whether this system was at fault in failing to prevent the spread, if not the start, of the flames which wrecked the upper floor of the postal headquarters is a ques tion for the Federal board of inquiry to determine. It is hard, to understand, for example, how an electrical short-circuit la a transformer room could have led to A so widespread a fire, if fire waiis and alarms were adequate and were function ing properly. An aspect of the fire which deserves special mention was the fine work of the Fire Department, once the blaze was dis covered and alarms sounded. All specta tors were impressed by the obviously efficient way in which the various units responded and went into action. The toll of injured firemen attests the courage of the men. And, speaking of courage, the telephone operators who refused to leave the switchboard should not be forgotten. They set a good example of selfless public service. Strikes and Our Economy Even if motivated primarily by political considerations, President Truman appears to have followed a sound course in refusing to rush in with the Taft-Hartley Act to force a settlement of the coal and steel strikes. In trouble of this sort, it is always best to defer Government intervention as long as there is a possibility that the con tending parties may arrive at an agree ment—or^ their own, through collective bargaining—before their dispute builds up into a national' crisis. Certainly, at least as far as steel is con cerned, events seem to have justified the President’s policy. With the Bethlehem agreement, there is good reason to hope that labor and management soon will settle their differences throughout the in dustry. And the fact that the situation is working out in that way, without a Government crackdown, is better than having a solution brought about through the semi-dictation of Federal intervention. Accordingly, especially if the coal shut down is ended in a similar manner in the next few days, Mr. Truman will have a right to feel that he has acted wisely in not invoking the law. The question remains, however, whether the President was correct last week when he declared that the crisis stage in the coal and steel strikes was still a long way off. What if no general steel agreement were now in sight, and what if the coal shutdown continues indefinitely? Can such trouble drag on for weeks on end without gravely affecting the economy of the Nation? In making his comment the other day, Mr. Truman seems to have been a bit on the optimistic side, the truth being that there is more than a little reason to believe that these two disputes—even though one of them is apparently in the process of complete settlement—have already brought us close to a real danger point. Thus, according to the Federal Reserve Board, the creeping paralysis caused by the strikes has had the effect of greatly curtailing our industrial production. In deed, within the past month, that pro duction fell to its lowest level in three and a half years, dropping about 20 points below the September figure, which was 72 points above the 1935-39 average of 100. This means, of course, that employment throughout the country declined propor tionately—a decline supporting Commerce Secretary Sawyer’s prediction some weeks ago that a continuance of the disputes would be directly responsible for throwing 2,000,000 Americans out of work by November 1. The fact is that coal and steel affect virtually every segment of our economy. Hence, when there is a protracted inter ruption in their production, the whole country suffers. Railroads slow down, manufacturing plants must either sharply curtail output or stop it altogether, depart ment stores and other retail outlets experi ence a marked drop in sales, layoffs take place on a constantly increasing scale, and governmental tax revenues fall off— a matter of no small consequence In a period of heavy deficits. In the circumstances, it seems fair to say that the President was on dubious ground in recently belittling the serious ness of the situation. Actually, how many weeks of declining production and rising unemployment are really needed to bring on a national crisis? What has already happened to our economy strongly sug gests that Mr. Truman tends to take a too-cheerful view of such matters. Re gardless of the improved steel outlook, the fact is that if the coal strike continues, he may have to resort to the Taft Hartley Act, after all—and soon. The Lords Curbed Now that the British House of Commons has debated and approved it for the third time, the Labor’" government’s bill to curb the House of Lords probably will go into effect before Christmas. The chief signifi cance of the development—apart from its long-range constitutional meaning — is that it makes certain that nationalization of the iron and steel industry can become law next spring, before the general election. Up to now, the House of Lords has had the right to delay final action on Commons approved legislation for as long as two years. The bill just enacted, however, reduces the delaying time to one year. When first introduced in October of 1947, the measure was frankly described by Laborites as being designed to prevent the Lords from blocking iron and steel nationalization until the expiration of the present Parliament in 1950. Reckoning with the possibility that the Conservatives might then be returned to power, the Attlee government wanted to make sure that the nationalization would be an accomplished fact before the election. Hence the legislative move against the Lords. In view of the fact that the Parliament Act of 1911 stripped the House of Lords of virtually all but its two-year delaying power, this new curb can hardly be re garded as a sensational or revolutionary change. Yet many Britons, in addition to the Conservatives, have vigorously de plored it for two reasons: (1) Because they view it as a rather brazen political maneu ver to nationalize iron and steel before the British voters have a chance to speak in next year’s election, and (2) because they dislike this kind of constitutional tinkering and suspect that it may open the way to additional innovations leading to a single-chamber type of government that could be harmful to freedom. Whether these dissenting Britons have exaggerated or not, even members of the Labor Party have conceded that misgiv ings are not altogether unreasonable. The , House of Lords—whose membership Is largely determined by heredity—has a i great deal of talent and experience In it L. A By delay, deliberation and the amendment process it has in the past frequently im proved upon legislation rushed through Commons. In curbing its strictly limited powers still further, Mr. Attlee and his government, though serving their own political ends, conceivably may be hurting Britain in the long run. CIO Cleans House Not many years ago it would have been almost worth the life of an outsider to call CIO union leaders liars . .. hypocrites . . . foreign agents , . . pinks, punks and parasites. If such a detractor had escaped with his scalp, he certainly would have been denounced with a vengeance as a Red baiter and a labor hater. But, as some one has observed, times change. A few days ago, on the CIO con vention floor, these epithets and others almost as strong were heaped on the heads of left-wing unionists—and not by Red baiters but by official spokesmen for the CIO. The occasion was the expulsion from the CIO of the Communist-dominated United Electrical Workers and Farm Equip ment Workers, and the adoption of a constitutional amendment barring Com munists and “fellow travelers’’ from mem bership on the CIO executive board. This is quite a swing around for the CIO, which has been less than an enthusiastic supporter of “loyalty purges’’ and the various campaigns against fellow travelers and Communist-front organizations. Just what, for instance, is the CIO definition of a fellow traveler, and what is to be the method of barring one from the execu tive board? These surface inconsistencies aside, how ever, the evident determination of the CIO to get rid of the Communists in its ranks should be welcomed. With some ten addi tional left-wing unions scheduled for pos sible expulsion, a battle royal is in the offing—with the left-wingers trying to hold their members and the CIO trying to lead the rank-and-file back into the fold. Certainly the great majority of the 1,000,000 members, more or less, hr the left-wing unions are not Communists or Communist sympathizers. They have been bamboozled by their party-line leaders. And it will be better for them, and better for the country, if they can be brought back into the CIO. The modern armed service must of course deal with precision material, and in the case of a battleship going into storage what exactly is the caliber of the moth ball? On its little-known or constructive side, nuclear fission has yet to demonstrate curative powers on any one since it sud denly relieved the Jap of a desire to stay in a war. In lively France, the so-called vote of confidence is understood to mean the posse gives the new Premier a ten-minute start. This and That By Charles E. Tracewell What is the funniest thing you ever saw a cat do? Well, the most comical recently, anyhow, was young Possie on the dining room table. This 6-month-old cat, whose fur pat tern makes him much resemble an opossum, tried to leap up on the table, which had a pad and cloth at the time, but no dishes. Possie is one of those odd, clownlike fellows, to begin with. That always helps, in the fun business. People with popeyes cannot say anything, for instance, without making other people smile. Some of the country's greatest comics have done nothing more than capitalize on their eyes, live up to their eyes, as one might say. * * * * Possie hit the edge of the table with both forepaws. Ordinarily this would have been good enough, but this time the pad beneath the cloth started to slip. As the cloth began to slide, young Possie realized that something was wrong, so he started to make clawing motions, first with the front paws, and then with all four. This treadmill action made the cloth move faster and faster. The faster it went, the quicker became the clawing movements of the cat. * * * * Soon there was a veritable furry whirl wind in motion. The white cloth and underpad slid slowly off the table, with Possie holding on man fully—or, rather, felinely—to the edge. It was not until the cloth started to fall completely off the table that the cat let go its hold and went off with it. This little drama of the everyday lasted only about 6 seconds, probably, but while it lasted it was as full of action as any comic film. The laughter that greeted this “ride for life” on a table edge seemed to be resented by the cat. It stalked off a few paces, then lay down, and looked around. Many cats resent being laughed at, Just as some of them do not like to be yawned at. Yet as among human beings, they some times will yawn right back, in a few seconds. It is impossible, however, to pull this trick on a cat more than once at a time; that is, if he yawns once, you may yawn your head off, he will not do it again. Yet the cat’s yawn, self-instigated, is the feline equivalent of a hearty greeting. They almost always do so when spoken to by their friends. They also greet one by sticking out their front claws. * * • • Once upon a time little Nipper, a tiger cat, made a hit in his family by lying on his back and pulling himself along beneath the davenport. Many cats have done this, before and since, but perhaps none ever succeeded in making such a swift journey upside down, causing so much laughter. For Nipper, too, was a clown-cat. Such an an animal can cause laughter merely by a cock of the head. It is something Inbred, and surely his friends would not say that he does not enjoy the sensation he causes. There was that time big black-and-white Thumper played summersaulting with a squirrel. He chased a squirrel, caught it, released it, and then turned a complete summersault over it. Not to be outdone, the squirrel ran at Thumper, and sprang right over him. This is a fact, one of the oddities of ani mal play. Little Oray has evolved a method of jump ing on the end of the davenport, then push ing off with all four feet. It is a perfect “bank” in the best speedway sense. Old yellow Quincy once went to the head of the stairs and fell over. There is a sort of chute there, and Quincy shot down the chute and landed on the floor'With a plop. He seemed very indignant when everybody Letters to The Star * Additional Readers Continue Discussion of Radio in Transit To the Editor of The Star: The Public Utilities Commission has con ducted hearings on the subject of mobile music in Capital Transit Co. vehicles in order to ascertain whether radio in transit is ap proved by a majority of the passengers. But the hearings were not necessary, since a majority vote is not a proof of right. The real question in dispute is not what propor tion of the passengers approve the music, but whether radio in transit is a proper and justifiable innovation. And here the answer is emphatic. Under our laws a corporation may engage only in that kind of business for which it has been chartered. The Capital Transit Co. is au thorized by its charter to carry on the busi ness of transportation; it has no right to pursue any other business, no matter how praiseworthy. It is not authorized to buy and sell eggs, speculate in cotton, adopt orphaned chil dren, build churches or homes for veterans. Nor has it any right to do any radio broad casting from its vehicles. In legal parlance, radio in transit is ultra vires or beyond the competence of the transit company. To be sure, broadcasting by the company is not illegal in itself. It is only unauthorized and probably might be excused, if it could be proved that it enhances the safety of transportation. As it really is more likely to reduce than to promote safety, the Public Utilities Commission should order the transit company to cease the unauthorized practice. J. J. KRAL. To the Editor of The 8t«r: In your editorial of October 31 you appear to minimize the objections to radio advertis ing in the Transit Company’s street cars and buses because the protestants are alleged to be in the minority. Since the poll of riders was taken by the paid agents of the radio station and the transit company, both of whom expect to profit by radio installa tions, the accuracy of the poll, and the method applied in taking it, are open to challenge, to say the least. Assuming objectors may be in the minor ity, the writer of your editorial should know that the majority of our statutes, State and Federal, are designed for the purpose of protecting minorities, especially those who may become victims of a monopoly, and the transit company definitely is in this cate gory, because it has excluded all forms of competition in the field of urban and inter urban passenger service, except taxicabs. If effective competition were extant, this controversy would not have developed. In this one sentence can be found the answer to the reason why some critics have been so thoroughly caustic, and in some instances unnecessarily abusive. This is understand able, however, when one realizes that ob jectors feel themselves being forced to sub ject themselves to a nuisance thrust upon them by a monopoly they must patronize. They regard it as a definite and premedi tated incursion upon their liberties. Noth ing more readily arouses people to active resistance and bitter resentment than the feeling that they are being coerced into submission by force unjustly and unfairly applied. Because of the absence of any other mode of service furnished by the traction company it is invoking "force”, intention ally or otherwise. You should not be mis guided in believing that all objectors have been vocal or demonstrative. H. J. ARNETT To th« Editor of Th« Star: "Another Spectator” in The Star of No vember 2 attempts to defend the rudeness of those in opposition to transit radio at the recent hearings by saying that they were "showing their contempt for a false ‘hearing’ already decided against them.” But rudeness is inexcusable on any grounds. And if they thought the decision pre-determined, then why did they bother to attend the hearings? Have they nothing better to do with their time? Before recent advances in costs and prices, when, under sliding-scale arrangements with two local utilities, rates were lowered time after time, these same persons no doubt were well satisfied with the Commission. They did not then talk of “false hearings." By the record, utilities’ fares and rates have not gone up in proportion to other items in our budgets, and no doubt this is due both to careful management on the part of the utilities’ officers and to close super vision on the part of the Utilities Commis sion. THE ORIGINAL SPECTATOR. To the Editor of The Star: A Washington resident and patron of the public buses has asked me to express the annoyance felt by many bus riders at the recent radio persecution. No doubt much of their pain is connected with the thought that, once well established, it could go on and on. Do you think the volume of sound is likely to be kept low, or may pedestrians and house* holders also look forward to the perambu lating programs like street pianos or elec tioneering convoys we have known? For my own part, I cannot help reflecting when the revolutionaries and dictatorial re gimes of Europe have seized power in mod em times, they are said to have begun with the key cities, and the brown-shir ted agents of the proletariat have first seized the radio stations and through them scared the citi zens into submission. What’s to prevent the use of mobile loud speakers, installed in buses, from being parked at every busy street comer during the “Red stroke” to facilitate the coup d'etat? Ridiculous? It was done in Prague. RICHARD L. FELDMAN. To the Editor of The 8t*r: Reading "Spectator’s” letter in The Star, October 31, 1 felt I must give my version of the first day of the PUC radio hearing. The PUC began the hearing by calling the names of representatives of many citi zens’ organizations, allowing them to make lengthy speeches. Some of these filibustering speeches were very insulting to those who do not care for the radios, implying that these people were neurotics or were mentally afflicted. However, if some of us who do not care for Capital Transit radio and are not “normal,” according to some of the speeches, would it be better to dispense with the Capital Transit radios or for Capital Transit to have us all sent to St. Elizabeths and have Washington, D. C., pay for our care? Another thing, there were some older people at the hearing, but they were mostly people ranging in age from 35 years to 55 or 60 years. And there were some young people there, too. A. C. OTTE. Proposes Use of Anacostia Field For Civilian Air Travel To the Mttor ot The Star: I am in complete accord with your edi torial concerning: the tragedy involving East ern Air Lines, particularly your proposal that the Washington National Airport toe closed to all but scheduled airline service, in view of the congestion at that airport. Let me offer the following suggestion in the hope that it will stimulate discussion and ultimate action: It is too much to expect private Him coming to Washington to use such outlying fields as Congressional Airport in Rockville, the College Park Airport, or Hybla Valley Airport, south of Alexandria, even assuming that they could accommodate large private planes of the DC-3 category, which they cannot. Washington should have a close-ta 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. airport lor private fliers. Why not the Anacostla Naval Air Station? The Unification Act has as one ol its ob jectives the elimination of unnecessary and duplicating military facilities. Bolling Field used by the Air Force and Anacostia Field used by the Navy are adjacent to each other to such an extent as to constitute one field with duplicating facilities. Why not con solidate the operations of the Navy and the Air Force at one field? Immediately, Ana costia Field could be made available to pri vate fliers. It is close-in, has necessary fa cilities, and would be large enough for the biggest private planes. The military forces might object but, unless future accidents are to be prevented, some such solution is mandatory. HUBERT A. SCHNEIDER. An Anxious Citizen Deplores Denfeld Incident To the Editor of The Star: Great issues were raised in the unification hearings on Capitol Hill, but questions far more fundamental and important to the American people now confront them. The American way of life is on trial. Are honest men to be punished for the courageous expression of convictions bom of long and distinguished service? Are these men to be condemned for giving, on demand, to the American people undisputed facts concerning the safety of our Nation? Is military leadership to be maintained only in the dangerous atmosphere of supine yes men? Are we to permit the sort of ruthless repression that we have so loudly decried in Europe? Are we to give substance to the charge of "American hypocrisy” that ap pears so often in the propaganda of our enemies and detractors? These are ques tions that the American people must answer. American naval officers have a long and noble tradition of placing country before self. Fresh in their minds is Admiral Rich ardson’s removal from command of our pre war fleet for his opposition on professional grounds to a concentration of naval forces in the Pacific—a political decision that led to national disaster at Pearl Harbor. Consider the plight of these officers and its fearful implication upon the welfare of our Nation. Must personal integrity which has been held above all else now give way to sychophantic submission to political whims when the very life of our country is at stake? The thinly veiled excuses for Admiral Den feld’s dismissal are transparent. A man whose career has been publicly character ized by his superiors as "forty years of distinguished service” suddenly is declared unqualified, admittedly because he disagrees on professional matters with a superior (who presumably is better qualified on the basis of several months’ service). How can such a man, who only a month ago was con sidered sufficiently qualified to be reap pointed to his job, now be declared so in competent as to warrant public dismt««fli in a disgraceful manner? The American people should be interested in what are the neces sary qualifications of their Chief of Naval Operations, besides high integrity, long and distinguished naval service, wide professional experience, broad outlook, recognized ability; and that intense loyalty and respect of sub ordinates which mark the true military leader. ‘This shabby treatment of an obviously able and straightforward public servant ip comparison with that of Gen. Vaughan, seems utterly fahtastic. A curious contrast in the character of the principals involved in this deplorable affair emerges clearly for all to view—one man of high moral courage and unselfish purpose, another man whosfc scruples give way to fierce political ambition, a third whose attitudes suggest the lnflnpry^ of early upbringing in the political slime of a Missouri ward, and the fourth, an overly dignified novice who confuses military sub ondination with blind obedience. It indeed is ironical that the first must go. Nothing could be calculated better to confirm the complaints that have been expressed by the Navy than what now has occurred. America has grown great and strong be cause intellectual honesty has been allowed to survive high among other freedoms. Let us hope it will not be stifled or sacrificed on some cheap political altar at this crucial time when all the world looks to America for moral leadership. There is something too uncomfortably reminiscent of the rise of Hitler in the ominous cloud now looming over the Pentagon. Now is no time for the flouting of democracy. ANXIOUS CITIZEN. Another Argument For Federal Union To the editor ot The Star: During the past week, which contained the fourth anniversary of the United Na tions, we heard a great deal of lip service paid to the sacred. Ideals of international politics, “human rights." "world brother hood of man," “international understanding and co-operation” from our "great states men” of the day. But these cliches mean nothing except when implemented by a con crete plan of action. I invite attention to the fact that no al liance by treaty, charter, compact or other agreement formed by and between sovereign governments ever was made which was not followed by war either among the parties thereto or with the members of one or more other such alliances. The League of Na tions ended in war among its members, the same fate befell the parties to the Kellogg Briand Pact, the Holy Alliance, the Triple Entente, the Little Entente, and scores of others. Even the 13 American Colonies as parties to the Articles of Confederation, de spite all the things they had in common, were fighting among themselves when the Constitutional Convention met in Phila delphia in 1787. The only thing that could have stopped their fighting was the Con stitution, which is an agreement among the citizens of the United States, and is not dependent upon support by the governments of the States. The only thing that can stop the bickering and quarreling among the democracies of today and give them strength to stand against the colossus of communism is a constitution binding together their citizens in a federal union. House Resolutions 107 to 111 and Senate Resolution 57 propose a conference of delegates from other genuine democracies to examine and recommend the steps necessary to achieve an organic union of free people, based on law, which will be too powerful for any aggressor to attack. Study this quotation from former Su preme Court Justice Owen J. Roberts; “We are faced with the problem of stopping war once and for all . ,. The task of preserving peace can be achieved only as it was done in the case of our own original 13 sovereign States; namely, by placing the ultimate re sponsibility on the shoulders of the people themselves, the peoples of the States con cerned. And while it is not presently pos sible to apply ttils principle to the world as a whole, its acceptance and adoption by the genuine, established democracies will suffice.” George Washington said, ‘*It is indispen sable to the happiness of individual States that there should be lodged somewhere a supreme power to regulate and govern the general concerns of the confederated repub lic, without which the union cannot be of tag duration.” J. R. ANTHONY. Jr. By-Product of Atom Split Yields Strange New Metal Bureau of Standards Tells of Studies of the Element Technicium By Thomas R. Henry When a uranium atom splits in two, about 6 per cent of the by-product left in the atomic furnace is a strange new metal— technicium. It is quite similar, in most of its properties, to the hard, gray1, brittle metal manganese which has wide use as an alloy in various steel-making processes. Systematic study of this new element now is being made at the United States Bureau of Standards. A sample of three milligrams, about all that exists in the world, has been provided. Bureau physicists are using this primarily to determine its spectrum, the wave lengths of visible and invisible light which it emits when heated until it is luminous. This gives light on its atomic and molecular structure, which is essential as a basis for determining further prop* erties. “Fingerprint Process.” The process is similar to taking the ele ment’s fingerprints. Every one of the 93 elements of which everything in nature is built emits different wave lengths. When one of these is detected, anywhere in the universe, even from the light of a distant star, it is certain evidence that the element exists there. Technicium was for many years one of the “lost elements.” The structure of the atomic table required its existence, together with a similar element, rhenium. Neither could be found on earth and there was no evidence of their existence in the sun or stars. About 15 years ago rhenium finally was found, in minute traces, in lake waters. There was still no trace of the missing eka-magnesium, now known as technicium. It first appeared as a purely synthetic ele ment in the atomic furnace residues. The fact that it results from uranium fission, which is constantly in progress in nature, indicates that there must be minute quanti ties of it in the rocks. Probably these are too minute ever to be detected. Bureau of Standards physicists want to find out just how it differs from both man ganese and rhenium. The amounts in ex istence always will be extremely minute, but these may prove to have unexpected values in industry. * * * * Earth’s oldest land is a belt of folded rocks extending east and west across Northern Quebec, Ontario and into Manitoba. This is the conclusion from new measure ments of the age of these rocks being carried out at the Massachusetts Institute of Tech nology and reported to the American Asso ciation for the Advancement of Science by Dr. Patrick M. Hurley. Previous measurements, based on the rate of disintegration of uranium and thorium in granite rocks into various forms of lead, have given the maximum time since these rocks were formed as about 2,000,000,000 years. This may not be very far from the time of the original freezing of the previously molten crust of the earth. New Method of Measure. At Massachusetts Tech, Dr. Hurley and his associates, working under a grant from the Office of Naval Research and the Geo logical Society of Ameri<$, have used another method of time measurement more difficult but perhaps more accurate than the lead ratio. It is based on the emission of atoms of helium from disintegrating uranium. These leave discernible tracks in the rocks. One sample of rock measured in this way gave an age of 2,400,000,000 years, almost a half billion years greater than had been determined hitherto. The helium method. Dr. Hurley reports, is subject to many pit falls but has been developed since the war so that, for the peculiar type of rocks usqd, it is on a fairly stable basis and can be accepted with considerable assurance. The whole belt, Dr. Hurley says, consists of the roots of an ancient mountain range which ran half way across the continent nearly 2,000,000,000 years before the first forms of higher life appeared on earth. It includes some of Canada’s largest gold mines. It appears to be the oldest part of the ancient rock bed known as the Canadian shield which covers much of the northern part of the dominion. Questions and Answers A reader can let the aniwer to any question of fact by writing The Evening Star Information Bureau, 316 Eye street N.E., Washington J, D. C. Please Inclose three (3) cents for return postage. By THE HASKIN SERVICE. Q. Is Australia classified as a continent or an island?—D. M. F. A. Geographically Australia may ba re garded as the world’s smallest continent and also as the world’s largest island. It is. however, the custom nowadays to classify Australia as a continent, and this makes Greenland the world’s largest island. Q How wide and how deep is the Colorado River as it flows through the Grand Can yon?—B. D. A. In the Grand Canyon, the Colorado is 300 feet across and as much as 42 feet deep. The swift current of the river carries a tremendous load of silt. Some one has figured that this is equivalent in tonnage to that hauled by a continuous line of 10-ton trucks, travelling at 25 miles per hour, going past a point at intervals of 10 feet. - Q. Did Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth ever play together—H. H. A. Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth never played on the same team together. Ruth left the Yankees in 1934. DiMaggio joined the Yankees in 1936. Q. What happened to the frigate Berapia after her capture by John Paul Jones in the Bonhomme Richard?—V. O. M. A. The Serapis was taken back to Trance by John Paul Jones’ men and turned over to that country. Q. Are there trees that are strictly either male or female? Is this true of palm trees? —C. B. P. A. There are certain trees strictly male and female, for example the holly and willow. The pine tree and the oak are monoecious, having both male and female flowers in separate cones, or clusters, on the same tree. In the palm trees all situa tions are found. Some species are bi-sexual, having perfect flowers, as in the cabbage palmetto and the California fan palm. The doum palms are entirely male or female, as are also the babassu palms of Brazil. Q. What is a boatswain’s pipe—B. J. A. A boatswain’s pipe is the note or notes sounded on a boatswain’s call as a signal. A boatswain’s call is a whistle of a peculiar, shape used by a boatswain. Q. What is the legend of the crossbill? —D. D. A. A fable of the Middle Ages says that the red plumage and curious bill were be stowed on the bird by the Saviour at the crucifixion as a reward for having attempted to pull the nails from the cross with its beak. A Sail of Song Richness and color—where can they be found In more abundance than when from the elm The mockingbird Viunchet upon the air A~ tail of tong, with beauty at Itt helmt EDWARD D. GARNER.