Sign of the Times
Have You a Wrong Way Brain? (Jul, 1939)

Have You a Wrong Way Brain?


CAN new discoveries about the brain reclaim a million criminals? Can psychological research cut America’s crime bill in half? Can scientists, using drugs and surgery, eliminate dishonest impulses from the minds of crooks?

Questions like these may sound fantastic. Yet developments of recent weeks bring them to the fore. One of the most famous psychiatrists in the world, Dr. Carleton Simon, of New York City, has just announced a revolutionary new theory which may help science control criminal tendencies.

Must Tomorrow’s Man Look Like This? (Nov, 1963)

I love the last line of this article. After going over the pros and cons of creating a cyborg man they hit us with:
“It we don’t, the Russians will. “
Can’t really argue with that, can we?

Must Tomorrow’s Man Look Like This?

No electronic plug-ins needed, say these two doctors. Man’s own capacity for adaptation, with help from science, can fit him for new ways of life

By Toby Freedman. M.D., and Gerald S. Lindner, M.D.

THE design of vehicles is one of the oldest and noblest arts of mankind. Look at a model of a prehistoric Polynesian canoe. It’s as hydro-dynamically elegant and functionally beautiful as the X-15. The wheel, the ski, the kayak, the sports car—pure geometry in motion. No doubt the engineers of these perfect and symmetrical structures beat their heads against the wall when told they had to squeeze in a passenger. One of the earliest recorded utterances in Samoan is the comment of a legendary canoe builder: ‘Til be damned if I make the thwart four inches wider just to fit somebody’s big fat—-” (the inscription becomes illegible at this point).

What Kind of Girls Smoke? (Mar, 1922)

For those of you who don’t like to read here is a quick bullet point summation of the article:

  • Mark Twain didn’t like his wife cursing because she didn’t “know the tune”. I think this means either she was bad at cursing, or that she didn’t understand why you would curse. Obviously this means that no woman “gets” cursing, thus it is wrong for a woman to curse.
  • For a woman, smoking is like cursing. They don’t understand it. They are bad at it. They pout.
  • Women are weak and frail, like little children.
  • This is proved because when a ship is sinking women and children are let off first.
  • Children should not smoke, it’s bad for them.
  • Thus women shouldn’t smoke.
  • The author likes young boys with their “soft, beautiful faces, as delicate as a womans” and loves the change in their voices which change from “haunting sweetness” to the “bellow of the male animal”.
  • If a woman is good at smoking and likes it, that means she’s tough.
  • Tough women are bad and should never be allowed to have children.
  • I have no idea what the monkey on the front page is about. I don’t even really understand the caption. Are they saying that smoking is bad because a monkey can do it? A monkey can eat, does that mean eating is bad?

What Kind of Girls Smoke?

It’s a Fine, Manly Accomplishment for Women, Don’t You Think? — But What Are the Real Reasons Why Women Should Not Smoke?

By Wainwright Evans

IN Albert Bigelow Paine’s “Life of Mark Twain” the story goes that Mark Twain was given, in moments of strong feeling, to the use of English more vigorous and picturesque than anything to be found in the dictionary. It wasn’t Sunday School English, in fact. All this grieved his wife very much, and she sought by every means to break her distinguished husband of his habit of latitudinarian speech.

Atomic Tasters (Aug, 1957)

Atomic Tasters

ATOMIC tasters with extra-sharp taste buds are putting their unusual talents to work sampling foods we may be eating tomorrow. At research laboratories at Barrington and Maywood, 111., American Can Co. taste experts compare the flavors of canned meats and other foods that have been preserved by the traditional heat treatment with foods from the same sources preserved by irridation—gamma rays which kill bacteria and preserve the food.

Oil Well Fire Staged as Latest Crowd Thriller (Sep, 1934)

This would be a pretty amazing show. Though with today’s gas prices, it would be a very expensive one.

Oil Well Fire Staged as Latest Crowd Thriller

Setting an “oil well” on fire and then extinguishing the flames is the latest crowd thriller. An underground pipe line carrying twenty-five million feet of gas per hour is run from the gas main to an eighty-four-foot derrick. Most oil-well fires burn more gas than oil, so this set-up approximates a real oil well. A valve one-quarter of a mile from the derrick turns on the gas. The spectacle is staged at night, with only the faint outlines of the rig visible to the crowd some distance away. First a faint runner of flame is seen chasing around the top of the derrick, then there is a roar of gas, followed by a blinding flash as the oil well bursts into flame.

How Nuclear Radiation Can Change Our Race (Dec, 1953)

This is a remarkably uninformed article about what effect a huge nuclear war would have upon the human race. The author seems to think that the radiation would create a race of bald, big brained super humans (Homo Superior) with no wisdom teeth and only four toes on each foot. Depending on the number and disposition of these new super humans they would either a) kill all the normal humans, b) be killed by all the normal humans, c) enslave the humans, or d) co-operate with humans and help them.

Of course this all relies on the well known evolutionary behaviour of synchronized mass-mutation, where by large numbers of a species spontaneously develop the exact same set of beneficial mutations.

Adding to the author’s credibility is the caption on the third page:
“These cows were exposed to the radiations of the first atomic blast in New Mexico, in 1943.”

Funny, I always thought the Trinity test was in July of 1945. But apparently it was in 1943. The plot thickens.

I, for one, welcome our new mutant overlords.

How Nuclear Radiation Can Change Our Race

An atomic war could produce an entirely new species of man. Would he be friend—or foe?

By O. O. Binder

“Now hear this, Earth! I am Mutant Man, Homo Superior! I have been created by radiation forces out of the loins of you, the human race, after your great and terrible Atom War. Yes, I am a step above and beyond you and I am now your master for better or for worse. You created me in your blind, savage, senseless war of atomic radiation. You have only yourselves to blame if I turn out to be your— Frankenstein Monster!”

Would You join a Mob? (Sep, 1934)

Very odd article about group psychology and suggestibility and how they lead people to join lynch mobs. The author manages to completely ignore the fact that in the vast majority of cases lynching victims were black and the mobs were white. Additionally, the author constantly refers to the victims of mobs as “the killers” or “the slayers” even though most of them were grabbed out of holding cells before anything resembling a trial.

Would You join a Mob?

by Prescott Lecky

AT THE University of Iowa, a student recently hurst into a psychology classroom. Dramatically he gave details of a local kidnaping and cold-blooded murder. The criminal had been caught, had confessed, and a mob was forming near the county jail to lynch him. How many would go along and help the lynchers?

At the height of the excitement, 200 students answered the following questions: How many would participate with the mob? How many would go along as spectators? How many would stay away?

Electrocuting Whales and Machine Gunning Sea Lions (Nov, 1931)

BIRGER HOLM-HANSEN, a Norwegian engineer, has invented a device for the instantaneous electrocution of whales. It consists of a small but powerful generator which is carried in the whaleboat, and a flexible, insulated line conveying a current of high voltage to the harpoon. At the in-slant the harpoon hits the whale the current is thrown on and the electric charge shot into the monster.

Phone Designed for Eavesdroppers (Feb, 1932)

This is pretty interesting indication of how recent our idea of “privacy rights” are. Apparently people were so curious as to what others were saying on the phone line that they would tap into them and listen in. This caused the voltage to drop and the signal to degrade. The solution? Add pre-installed, high-quality phones where they could “officially” listen in.

Phone Designed for Eavesdroppers

TELEPHONE companies are much concerned by eavesdropping on rural party lines because it interferes with transmission over the line. To take down the receiver increases the electrical resistance of the circuit.

It is proposed to stop fighting the apparently incurable tendency of rural subscribers to listen to other people’s business and to recognize it by installing special telephone instruments to which eavesdroppers can listen without increasing the electrical resistance of the circuit or interfering with its legitimate use.

We CAN Control the Weather! (Jan, 1948)

Very interesting if somewhat optimistic article about weather prediction and control. Their secret weapon is a new computer with an very impressive (for the time) 20K of memory which will allow them to predict the weather and model the effects of any potential interventions.

To show just how off they were in terms of necessary processing power, check out the list of Weather Modeling machines on the the top 500 supercomputer list. The fastest has 1020 processors and 4TB of memory.

My favorite of their weather control techniques has to be creating giant oil slicks off the Florida coast and setting them on fire to deflect a hurricane.

We CAN Control the Weather!

The electronic computer makes it possible, says Dr. Zworykin, scientist.

BY WILLIAM WINTER, based on an interview with DR. VLADIMIR K. ZWORYKIN, Vice President and Technical Consultant, RCA Laboratories

WHEN Mark Twain made his famous quip that everyone talked about the weather but that no one ever did anything about it, he had no way of knowing that the science of electronics, even then in its infancy, not only would promise a revolution in forecasting but would show the way to actually control the elements.

Yes, thanks to electronics we soon will be able to predict in a few minutes the weather for several days ahead. Even more important, man may be able to prevent the development of hurricanes and other violent storms, or divert them, prevent killing frosts, eliminate local fogs, and even cause rain to fall in regions of drought. The benefits to aviation and agriculture alone would be tremendous, to say nothing of the direct savings in lives and property.