From the July 23, 1932, issue


A tiny drop of fuel oil no larger than the head of a safety match has been torn into 100,000,000 particles at the research laboratory of the General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y., it is announced.

Intensely hot combustion results at high efficiency. Engineers are expected to apply the discovery to a new oil furnace.

To effect this high-temperature combustion, oil under pressure is brought into a direct head-on impact with air under approximately the same pressure, causing the superfine atomization and facilitating easy conversion of small particles into a gaseous hydrocarbon by heat.


Lighter automobiles that provide more luxurious, safe, and economical transportation would be built if automobile designers just took a few lessons from aircraft engineers.

W.B. Stout, veteran automotive engineer and designer, had a chance to tell how the automobile of tomorrow should be built. And he used it at the recent annual meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers when he spoke as aircraft engineering vice-president.

Automobile designers, he argued, must shake off the heavy weight of “dumb design” and build cars that are in line with up-to-date knowledge and improved practices. Design cars like airplanes and save weight, make them ride and control better. Lack of forethought robs the auto owner of half of the luxury he should get from a given wheelbase, Mr. Stout argues. Only a quarter of the ground space covered by a car is delivered to autoists in usable space.


The old belief that diseases are carried through the air is substantiated for at least one group of contagious diseases in recent studies made by Dr. Merl G. Colvin of the Yale Medical School. Ordinarily it is supposed that microorganisms will not travel through the atmosphere unless attached to droplets of moisture, so an individual must come comparatively close to an infected person or come in direct contact with something with which the patient has had contact in order to contract the disease.

The group of diseases known as the virus diseases, of which chicken pox and measles are common examples, are supposedly caused by minute ultramicroscopic forms so small that the ordinary microscope does not magnify enough to show them. The viruses themselves are difficult to handle in the laboratory. Bacteriophage, however, which approximates the size of the viruses, is comparatively easy to handle and so has been used by Dr. Colvin as a test agent in a study of the spread of virus.

Dr. Colvin has been able to measure the distances that bacteriophage travels through the air and the speed at which it travels and finds, contradictory to the common belief, that it traveled some 35 feet from his laboratory in 5 minutes. Not only that, but bacteriophage lurked in the dust of his room for at least 18 days. After a thorough sweeping and mopping of the room, there was more phage in the air than before, which, according to Dr. Colvin, shows the inefficiency of certain modern cleaning methods.

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