Translation by Machine (Jan, 1956)

This is a pretty optimistic article describing all of the steps and approaches to getting a computer to translate between two languages. Given that machine translation still sucks even though we have had 60 years of research and literally billions of times the computer capacity, I’d say it was a harder problem than they expected.

Translation by Machine

Its wide study has been stimulated by the need of scientists to keep abreast of publications in several languages. Although a mechanical translator still does not exist, encouraging progress lias been made

by William N. Locke

Suppose you became interested in working in a new field opening up in your line of work. Your first step would be to get all the background you could on the subject. To take a concrete example, let us say that the new field was the design of electrical switching networks. Looking through the literature, you would certainly find the pioneer 1938 paper by Claude Shannon on the theory of such networks, and a number of other, less important, papers. But how likely would you be to discover a Russian paper entitled And even if you saw listed somewhere an English translation of its title (“The Application of Boolean Matrix Algebra to the Analysis and Synthesis of Relay Contact Networks”), how could you know that this article in the Russian language was the most important contribution to the field next to Shannon’s original paper?

Forecast: A SKY FULL OF SATELLITES (Jan, 1958)


By Richard F. Dempewolff

MAN’S GREAT DREAM of stepping off his island in the universe to explore the spangled reaches of space took a giant step toward realization on October 4, 1957. That date marks the exclamation point in history when a 184-pound moon, boosted by a mighty rocket smashing skyward from an airfield on the Caspian Sea, was programmed into an 18,000-mile-per-hour orbit around the earth.

Hand Iron Creates Steam, Eases Work (Jul, 1938)

Hand Iron Creates Steam, Eases Work

A NEW hand iron, which contains a water chamber from which steam emerges through holes at the tip of the ironing surface, has been developed. Distribution of the steam is said to do away with the need for sprinkling, dampening and rolling the material to be ironed. The iron holds about one pint of water and operates on either AC or DC current.

Rides Golf Course in Silent Car (May, 1934)

Rides Golf Course in Silent Car

ABLE to travel across hazards, over fairways and through the rough, this odd three wheeled vehicle shown above is used by Tom Lesure, greens keeper at the Pasadena, Cal., Municipal Golf Course, in patrolling the well known California links.

The car is light enough for use on any part of the course without tearing up the turf, and as it drives through a friction clutch and is well muffled, there is no noise to disturb players.

The use of this car saves Mr. Lesure not only hours of time, but an average of 16 miles walking every day.

When Pioneer “Ideas” Were Jests (Jan, 1924)

When Pioneer “Ideas” Were Jests

Chance as Well as Necessity Responsible for Origin of Things Believed Indispensable to Mankind

WHILE necessity has long been accredited with being the mother of invention, it is safe to suppose, from the experience of striving geniuses, that accident has had much to do with the birth of a great percentage of the ideas which have astonished, as well as benefited, mankind.

What the loss to the world would have been had the phonograph not been discovered while its inventor was supposed to have been experimenting with the early telephone, is a matter for easy conjecture. Not only has it improved the tenor of life in many homes, but it has rendered aid to the business world in recording dictated letters for later repetition to typists. The industry that it represents has an annual output valued at more than 158 million dollars.

Hospital Has “Blood Bank” (Jun, 1938)

Hospital Has “Blood Bank”
A hospital in Los Angeles, California, is equipped with a specially designed refrigerator which serves as a “blood bank,” storing quantities of human blood for later use in cases requiring blood transfusions. The “blood bank” is expected to save more than $10,000 annually and eliminate delays in operations. The refrigerator is kept at a temperature of four degrees above freezing, an alarm being automatically sounded when the temperature varies. The blood is kept on hand not longer than two weeks, a fresh supply being secured at regular intervals.

Early Chain Saw (Feb, 1938)

Power-Driven Timber Saw Has Stationary Blade
A POWER-DRIVEN saw used to cut timber during the construction of a huge wood crib at Grand Coulee Dam in Oregon features a blade that actually stands still while the cutting process takes place. The “secret” of the novel saw is that the teeth run on an endless chain around the blade, which merely serves as a guide for the teeth as they cut into the timber. A three-horsepower compressed air motor drives the chain. The saw is so designed that it can also be used under water without impairing its efficiency.

Early Drum Machine (Jun, 1960)

What the heck is a flooglehorn?

You Play it Sweet, Side Man Gives the Beat
SOME oscillating tubes, housed in a cabinet sitting next to your piano, guitar or flooglehorn, can turn you into a one-man orchestra.

The cabinet, actually a new electronic instrument called Side Man, produces a variety of instrumental sounds—from bass drum, torn torn and wood block to maracas, brush and cymbal.

New in Science: First Vibrating Pager, The Bat Signal (Feb, 1952)


Garter Buzzer
tuned to a transmitter informs the wearer that she is being called on her walkie-talkie. Receiver in model’s hand is only slightly larger than a pack of cigarettes but has a range of 12 miles, will be marketed when frequencies are allowed. Hoffman TV and Radio Co., Los Angeles.

World Biggest Doll is this Hopi Indian Kachina prepared for the Arizona State Fair in Phoenix. Standing 65 feet high, it completely dwarfs Miss Mary Ann Davis who poses near its drum base. Giant artificial feathers sprout from its headdress.

Seeret Weapon? No, just a super spotlight projector developed for German Sky Publication Co. in Salzgitter-Bad, Germany to beam advertisements on the night clouds. Called Astralux, it is 36 feet long, weighs 2-1/2 tons and produces 4,500,000 candle power. At an altitude of 16,500 feet an ad covers over 225,000 square feet.


These have finally become popular now, but they use LED’s instead.


An automobile tail light, resembling a neon tube, has been developed by an Indianapolis, Ind., inventor. The streak of red light, running across the car is easily seen from any position in the rear and it also outlines the width of the vehicle. This is especially desirable in the case of unusually wide buses. The light is tubular in shape and from fifty-four to ninety inches in length. Two standard tail light bulbs, which are placed inside the tube, supply the illumination.