March 1967

Eat the Whales

“A proposal to raise plankton-eating whales in captivity for the dual purpose of providing food for the expanding human population and saving the whales from extinction has been advanced by Gifford B. Pinchot of Johns Hopkins University. He suggests that the corrals for domesticated whales could be coral: the atolls of the Pacific. An important feature of the scheme would be to fertilize the water in the atolls artificially to increase the production of plankton. Pinchot notes: ‘These filter-feeding whales are in an almost unique position in the food chain in the sea, since they are large and feed on zooplankton. If they are exterminated, this extremely efficient mechanism for converting plants into animal protein will be lost forever.’”

Magnet Progress

“For a substantial number of applications, superconducting magnets now perform better and more economically than comparable conventional magnets. Moreover, it seems probable that in the not too distant future the growing need for stronger and cheaper magnetic fields in many areas of science and technology will be filled by superconducting magnets. At the National Magnet Laboratory in Cambridge, Mass., continuous fields as strong as 250,000 gauss have been achieved with a conventional electromagnet, but the electric power consumed by the magnet is about 16 million watts—approximately the power requirement for a town of 15,000 inhabitants.”

March 1917

Flying Car

“A luxurious limousine with a highly finished body and with its three occupants sitting in elaborately and comfortably upholstered seats, dashing along a road or taking to the air by virtue of its short wings and soon reaching a speed of 65 miles an hour and showing all the ease of maneuvering which belongs to the modern aeroplane. It is the delineation of the autoplane [see illustration] which was exhibited at the recent Pan-American Aeronautic Exposition held in New York. The autoplane has been designed by Glenn H. Curtiss and his engineers. The machine is designed to sell in the neighborhood of $10,000 [$190,000 in 2017].”

For a look at aviation technology in 1917, see a selection of archive images at

Women at Work

“A development of the war in Europe that has attracted widespread attention is the employment of women in munition factories. The most serious feature of the employment of women in mechanical work is an economic one. In England, France, Canada, and also in Germany, the movement is largely on a patriotic basis, and the wages paid to women are less than the men they replace received. After the war is ended, will women continue to seek this kind of employment? Will employers give women greater wages than at present? And more important than anything else is the question of what will become of the army of men, with families to support, when they return from the war and find their places taken by women, and those mostly unmarried? The necessities of the present are laying the foundation for future problems of most serious, far reaching and revolutionary importance.”

March 1867

Modern Traffic: Railroad and Canal

“We must dismiss the lumbering system of ‘trains’ for high-speed traffic, and resort to a single vehicle combining engine, tender and carriage, in which fifty passengers may go at an average rate of sixty miles an hour at moderate cost, and with but forty or fifty tuns of total weight in motion. The obstacle to rapid traveling on railroads at present, is the great weight and unsteadiness of the vehicles, involving an enormous waste of power and increase of risk at high speed. As for goods traffic, except express freighting, we must go back to and modernize water carriage, penetrating all parts of the country with a water system of rivers and canals, for steamboats of 250 tuns burden.”