IT is characteristic of the ineptitude which has lately characterized the handling of the subway Situation that the present plans, which contemplate the expenditure of several hundred millions of dollars, make no adequate provision for connecting the subway system with the new Pennsylvania station in this city. We remember that one of the most important sections of the exhibit of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 was an unusually fine model of the then proposed North River tunnels and the great terminal station in the heart of Manhattan Island. The sectional model of the station showed at the easterly end of the building a four-track subway, with easy approaches thereto from the arrival and departure platforms of the express and local trains of the company. Now when the Pennsylvania Company embarked on the vast undertaking involving about one huncr million dollars expenditure, which has resulted i giving Manhattan Island direct steam railroad connections- ,\ith the vest and with Long Island, it was on the understanding that the city would build a subway down Seventh Avenue; and the company received every reasonable assurance that by the time their station was completed the city would be in a position to bring to the gates of its terminal and distribute the many millions of passengers, both suburban and long distance, that would have occasion to use the Pennsylvania system. The Pennsylvania Company have made good"-the city has done nothing. Nay, not only has it failed to live up to a most urgent moral obligation, but in the plans for future subway extension, it has ignored the Pennsylvania terminal altogether. The case is bad enough as regards the railroad company, but it is infinitely worse as regards the interests of the public; and when we say the public we have in mind not merely the residents of New York, but those of every city in the United States who may have reason to enter or leave New York over the lines of this company. For the situation which confronts the traveller at the close of his journcy to New York is both annoying and ridiculous. If he have any conception of the cost and importance of great engineering works (and every intelligent and informed citizen has this) he will realize, as his Pullman car sweeps through the great tunnels beneath the Hudson River and emerges in the noble station building, that only a combination of the highest enginecring ability and a far-sighted and wealthy management could have planned and carried out a work of this magnitude solely for the purpose of placing the passenger, with all possible expedition and comfort, in the very heart of the great city. Having disembarked upon the incoming platform, he naturally, inquires which stairway or inclined ,',alk will take him to the platforms of the world-renowned New York city subway. To his astonishment and chagrin, he will discover that as far as rapid transit in the city itself is concerned, he has been deposited several city blocks from nowhere. After tramping down a cross street, he will fnd himself, with the majority of his fellow passengers, standing without shelter from wind or weather on a street curb awaiting the next car of a not-too-frequent service. Then, after something less than a mile of strap-hanging, our grip-encumbered passenger will reach the coveted subway. "Verily,” he will say to himself, “this mountain in labor has brought forth a mouse." This is the very anti-climax of transportation! N or is it sufcient answer to say that the traveller can take a “taxi.” There are millions of passengers using the new Pennsylvania depot who cannot aford the “taxi,” and must perforce make use of some fve-cent fare system of transportation such as the elevated or subway system. The objection is particularly strong when taxi rates stand at the present exorbitant fgures. What with plans and counter plans of rival transportation companies, of boards of estimate, of the Public Service Commission, and of individual city officials, this subwnablyll matter has gradually got Itself mto such a complicated “snarl,” that we freely confess we long ago gave up as hopeless the attempt to keep in any intelligent touch with the situation. But of this much we are certain, that in failing to make any provision for running at least one of the subway lines through or by the new Pennsylvania terminus, the city has been guilty of the most serious blunder that it could have made. 'e believe, however, that the case is not entirelv hopeless, and that a way can yet be found to re-a;-range the contemplated plans so as to enable travellers who wish to enter or leave New York city by way of the Thirty-third Street terminal to do so without the inconvenience, irritation and considerable loss in time which are incurred under the present conditions. "The Last Word" W E have received from a correspondent, who is a leading shipbuilder of this country, a clipping, from one of the great London dailies, in which, under the caption of “The Last Word,” its naval correspondent makes some rather startling comments on the gunnery trials of the English super-dreadnought “Orion"-the first ship to mount a battery of guns heavier than the 12-inch. 'e gladly act on the suggestion, for the reason that the criticism made by this naval writer is based upon a popular error which we fnd to be very widely distributed. 'e refer to the suggestion, which amounts to a belief with a great many peoplc, that the fring of the main battery of a warship-particularly if all the guns be fred together in a salvo-imposes such severe strain on the structure of the vessel as to weaken it even to the point of destruction. “The best brains in England,” says the naval correspondent, “are perhaps unable to devise a structure capable of standing the terrifc shock of ten 13.5-inch guns fred simultaneously." Later, in the same article, this writer delivers himself as follows: “There is some reason to believe that there is truth in the theory advanced by some that, so far as our present knowledge goes, eight 12-inch, six 13.5-inch, or four 15-inch, represent the utmost broadside that we can build any ordinarily-sized ship to stand with certainty. Anything over this ratio, they say, is useful for paper comparison, and may possibly survive an action long enough to be of material service, but the time dismally prophesied in the past, when naval warfare would not mean a ship resisting the blows of the enemy so much as surviving her own gunfre, seems (possibly) near at hand." It may be stated once and for all that this “bugaboo” of the harmful efects of the fring of a ship's heavy guns upon the ship itself is without the slightest foundation of fact. Indeed, the stresses set up in the ship as a whole by the recoil of its batteries are almost insignifcant compared with those which result from the action of the sea in heavy weather. The writer remembers how, when the “Lusitania” was being driven at 23 knots into a heavy Atlantic gale, the two slip joints where the upper deck structures had been cut through to allow for the longitudinal bending of the ship as she rode over the waves, showed a movement of fully one inch. Rough calculations showed that the fexure of the ship, considered as a beam, must have amounted to twelve or ffteen inches. Now our battleships have reached a length of between fve and six hundred feet. Their decks are not cut as are those of the Atlantic liners, and it will be realized that when they come to be driven hard into a head sea, carrying, as they do, the heavy concentrated loads of the turrets, they will be subjected to stresses of an extremely heavy character. But all of these conditions are well known to the naval constructor; and the working out of the stresses due to fring the heavy guns forms only a part of the many calculations which he makes in proportioning the diferent parts of a ship's strcture. The energy of the recoil of a 12-inch gun is accurately known. It is transmitted from the trunnions through the girders of the gun carriage to the turntable, and from the turntable through the barbette structure to the framing and plating of the ship. All of this structural material is given such extra strength as may be necessary to take care of these recoil stresses. During his recent stay with the Atlantic feet, the writer took occasion, on board the “North Dakota,” to go through such portions of thc ship as would be most afected bv the recoil and examine the paint for those cracks ;hich in a ship are the earliest evidences of straining of the structure. This he did both after the heavy gun practice by day and practice with the 5-inch secondary battery by night, and in neither case was there the slightest sign that the structure of the ship had been afected. The ships of our navy can fre their whole broadside just as long as the ammunition supply holds out and with never a thought as to its efect upon the ship itself. Hobbs' Theory of Continental Glaciers A N ingenious hypothesis in regard to the history of continental glaciers and their relation to atmospheric phenomena has been worked out by Prof. W. H. Hobbs. There are at present two of these glaciers, one of which covers Greenland and the other Antarctica. These great ice sheets difer in many important particulars from the mountain glaciers of lower latitudes. In the latter the land surfaoe always proJ ects above the highest levels of the ice and snow, the glaciers occupying only the hollows and troughs of the mountain slopes. The continental glacier, on the other hand, blankets practically the entire rock surface, except at thc margins forming a fat dome; its model is independent of its basement; and its movement is independent of the grades of the underlying foor. A peculiar system of winds prevails over each of the polar ice caps, in which the distribution of barometric pressure appears to play no part. The winds blow radially outward from the center of the polar continents, i. e., they fow down the ice slope, often with great violence. I sually of sufcient strength to lift the dry granules of snow a couple of feet or more in the air, when the wind develops greater strength the drifting snow rises to the height of a man, and during the characteristic polar blizzards is probably carried to heights of 100 feet or more above the ice surface; yet the direction is always and invariably outward from the center of the dome. On the other hand, the upper air currents, as shown, for example, by the drift of smoke from the volcano Erebus, in the Antarctic, and by the movement of cirrus clouds, are in the opposite direction, i. e., toward the interior of the continent. Normally drifting from the northwest, when the outward flow of surface air assumes great violence the smoke of Erebus swings around IJnd moves directly south, with an accelerated velocity, as if the upper air was being drawn strongly inward to replace outward movement in lower levels. These wind systems are explained as follows: Each of the great ice sheets cools the air in contact with it, and the cold and heavy air drains down the slopes of the polar continent. The upper air is drawn down in the central vortex to replace it. This air comes from a region charged with ice particles, i. e., from the level of the cirrus clouds. The descending air warms adiabatically, according to a well-known law; its ice content is melted and vaporized, only to be condensed again when the cold surface of the glacier is approached. Thus the glacier is fed entirely by the moisture of the upper air. This is the opposite of the process that occurs in the case of mountain glaciers. In the latter the surface winds blowing up the slopes are adiabatically cooled, and the glacier is fed by the moisture which they discharge. The fne dry snow deposited over the interior of the continental glacier is continually swept down the slopes, forming the rounded, dome-like surface. According to this view, the old theory of two polar anticyclones must give place to that of two continental (glacier) anticyclones, the centers of which-the wind poles of the earth-are not coincident with the geographic poles. In Pleistocene times the vastly larger ice sheets must have given rise to correspondingly vaster permanent anticyclones. Direct evidence of a Pleistocene anticyclone has been obtained by Prof. Solger of Berlin, who in studying the fossil sand dunes of the North German plain, has shown that the prevailing winds at that time came, not from the west, as they do to-day, but from the east.
This article was originally published with the title "A Fatal Omission, “The Last Word”, and more" in Scientific American 105, 22, 470 (November 1911)