PIXELS 
Detail of lily pad



 EXCERPT 
Book cover
The Corinthians were the last to come forward and speak, having allowed the previous speakers to do their part in hardening Sparta on opinion against Athens. The Corinthian speech was as follows: “... An Athenian is always an innovator, quick to form a resolution and quick at carrying it out. You [Spar­tans], on the other hand, are good at keeping things as they are; you never originate an idea and your action tends to stop short of its aim. Then again, Athen­ian daring will out­run its own resources; they will take risks against their bet­ter judge­ment, and still, in the midset of dan­ger, remain con­fi­dent. But your nature is always to do less than you could have done, to mistrust your own judge­ment, however sound it may be, and to assume that dangers will last for ever. Think of this, too: while you are hanging back, they never hesitate; while you stay at home, they are always abroad; for they think that the farther they go the more they will get, while you think that any move­ment may endanger what you have alredy. If they win a victory, they fol­low it up at once, and if they suffer a defeat, they scarcely fall back at all. As for their bodies, they regard them as expendable for their city’s sake, as though they were not their own; but each man cultivates his own in­tel­li­gence, again with a view of doing something not­able for his city. If they aim at something and do not get it, they think that they have been deprived of what be­longed to them al­ready; where­as, if their enterprise is successful, they regard that success as nothing compared to what they will do next. Suppose they fail in some undertaking; they make good the loss im­med­i­ate­ly by setting their hopes in some other direction. Of them alone it ma be said that they possess a thing almost as soon as they have begun to desire it, so quickly with them does action follow upon decision. And so they go on working away in hard­ship and danger all the days of their lives, sel­dom enjoying their pos­ses­sions because they are always adding to them. Their view of a holi­day is to do what needs doing; they prefer hardship and activity to peace and quiet. In a word, they are by nature incapable of either living a quiet life themselves or of allowing anyone else do do so.”
"That is the character of the city which is opposed to you. Yet you all hang back; you will not see that the likeliest way of securing peace is this: only to use one's power in the cause of justice, but to make it perfectly plain that one is resolved not to tolerate ag­gres­sion. On the contrary, your idea of proper be­hav­iour is, firstly, to avoid harming others, and then to avoid being harmed yourselves, even if it is a mat­ter of de­fend­ing your own in­ter­ests. Even if you had on your frontiers a power of holding the same prin­ci­ples as you do, it is hard to see how such a policy could have been a suc­cess. But at the pres­ent time, as we have just pointed out to you, your whole way of life is out of date when com­pared with theirs. And it is just as true in politics as it is in any art or craft: new meth­ods must drive out old ones. When a city can live in peace and quiet, no doubt the old-established ways are best: but when one is con­stant­ly being faced with new problems, one has also to be capable of approaching them in an original way. Thus Athens, because of the very variety of her ex­pe­ri­ence, is a far more modern state than you are."




 EXCERPT  Battle of the Three Emperors, from War and Peace 1869 by Leo Tolstoy

ON the 18th and 19th of Novem­ber the [Russia and Austria] army advanced two days’ march, and the [French] enemy’s out­posts after a brief inter­change of shots re­treat­ed. In the high­est army circles from midday on the 19th a great, excitedly bust­ling activity be­gan which lasted till the morning of the 20th, when the mem­or­a­ble battle of Auster­litz was fought.
UNTIL midday on the 19th the activ­i­ty, the eager talk, running to and fro, and dis­patch­ing of ad­ju­tants, was con­fined to the Em­peror’s head­quar­ters (i.e., Alex­an­der I of Russia). But on the after­noon of that day this activity reached [General of the Rus­sian Army] Kutuzov’s head­quar­ters and the staffs of the com­mand­ers of columns. By eve­ning the adjutants had spread it to all ends and parts of the army, and in the night from the 19th to the 20th the whole eighty thousand allied troops rose from their bivouacs to the hum of voices, and the army swayed and start­ed in one enor­mous mass six miles long.
THE concentrated activ­i­ty which had begun at the Emperor’s head­quar­ters in the morn­ing and had started the whole move­ment that fol­lowed, was like the first movement of the main wheel of a large tower-clock. One wheel slowly moved, another was set in motion, and a third, and wheels began to revolve faster and faster, levers and cog-wheels to work, chimes to play, fig­ures to pop out, and the hands to ad­vance with regular motion as a result of all that activity.
JUST as in the mechan­ism of a clock, so in the mechan­ism of the military machine, an impulse once given leads to the final result; and just as in­dif­fer­ent­ly quies­cent till the moment when motion is trans­mit­ted to them are the parts of the mechanism which the im­pulse has not yet reached. Wheels creak on their axles as the cogs engage one an­oth­er and the revolv­ing pulleys whirr with the rapid­ity of their move­ment, but a neigh­bour­ing wheel is as quiet and motion­less as though it were pre­pared to remain so for a hun­dred years; but the mo­ment comes when the lever catches it, and obey­ing the im­pulse that wheel begins to creak, and joins in the common motion the result and aim of which are beyond its ken.
JUST as in a clock the result of the com­pli­cat­ed motion of in­num­er­able wheels and pulleys is merely a slow and regular movement of the hands which show the time, so the result of all the com­pli­cat­ed human activities of 160,000 Russians and French – all their pas­sions, desires, re­morse, hu­mil­i­a­tions, suffer­ings, out­bursts of pride, fear, and enthusiasm – was only the loss of the battle of Auster­litz, the so-called battle of the three Emperors – that is to say, a slow move­ment of the hand on the dial of human history.


 EXCERPT 
Photo of Daphne at her typewriter and with her first book.
Jennifer had exactly five pounds, six shil­lings and four­pence half­penny when she left No. 7 Ma­ple Street. She lugged her two suit­cases along with her into var­i­ous buses, and arrived at Pad­ding­ton with three-quarters of an hour to wait before the twelve o’clock train should bear her away from London for ever. Thirty-two shil­lings and six­pence of her capital went on her third-class ticket, and three shil­lings more on a cup of cof­fee, two rash­ers of bacon, and a ba­na­na, for she had eaten no breakfast.
During this wait she had time to think over her crazy flight from the boarding-house. It had been her home since she was six years old, and she had left her mother with­out one pang of regret. “I must be terribly un­nat­ural,” thought Jennifer sadly. “But it can’t be helped. I was prob­a­bly born without a heart, I believe some people are.” She sat, rather aghast at her­self, watch­ing the move­ment of people about the plat­form, the roll of trol­leys, the bustle of por­ters, the sudden shrieks and shunt­ings of departing trains. ...
Jen­ni­fer sat in the corner of the car­riage, and the train bore her swift­ly from the city she detest­ed, the roofs of houses stretch­ing to the horizon, the crowded, threaded streets, the roar and clatter, the luxury, pov­er­ty and squal­or, the nar­row faces of men and women, the train carried her past meadows and small hedges, glimpses of a nar­row river, scat­tered towns, and a dull make-believe of country.
Later her spirits rose within her, strange­ly disturbed and con­tent, for the flat­ness was left behind and they came upon rolling hills and a high white sky­line, paths lead­ing across the downs, sheep wander­ing in a thin un­broken line, and groups of la­bour­ers who raised their hands and waved.
And then suddenly, with no warn­ing, the breath­less grey sweep of the sea itself, breaking beneath the passing train, the high red cliffs of Devon, chil­dren who ran bare­foot upon the shingle, and little boats like toys, rock­ing against the tide.
They were in Cornwall now, her own coun­try, and a weird, be­wil­der­ing mix­ture of rugged hills and low, sweep­ing val­leys, grey scattered cot­tages, tall forests and swollen streams. In her ex­cite­ment she got down at the wrong station, the junc­tion for St. Brides, and she had the anguish of seeing the train stream away in the dis­tance, and her left with her luggage up in the narrow plat­form, some fifteen miles from her destination.


•  Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989), daughter to the du Mau­rier cigarette man, spent much of her life in Cornwall, where most of her bizarre and twisty novels are set. Some were made into films: My Cousin Rachel, Jamaica Inn, The Birds. Rebec­ca. She ended up a recluse, in a house lost in time. The Loving Spirit is her first book.


 EXCERPT 
Cover art showing a map of London Underground routes.
… I got London at last with an exceptional fresh­ness of effect, as the sudden rev­e­la­tion of a whole un­sus­pect­ed oth­er side of life.
I came to that human wil­der­ness on a dull and smoky day by the South Eastern Rail­way, and our train was half an hour late, stopping and going on and stop­ping again. I marked beyond Chils­el­hurst the growing mu­lti­tude of villas, and so came stage by stage through multi­ply­ing houses and dimin­ish­ing inter­spaces of market gar­den and dingy grass to regions of inter­lac­ing rail­way lines, big fac­tor­ies, gaso­meters and wide reeking swamps of dingy little houses, more of them and more and more.
The number of these and their din­gi­ness and poverty in­creased, and here rose a great pub­lic house and here a Board School and here a gaunt fac­to­ry; and away to the east there loomed for a time a queer, in­con­gru­ous forest of masts and spars. The con­ges­tion of houses inten­si­fied and piled up pres­ent­ly into tene­ments; I mar­velled more and more at this bound­less world of dingy peo­ple; whiffs of indus­trial smells, of leather, of brew­ing, drifted into the car­ri­age; the sky dark­ened, I rum­bled thun­der­ous­ly over bridges, van-crowded streets, peered down on and crossed the Thames with an abrupt eclat of sound.
I got an effect of tall ware­houses, of grey water, barge crowd­ed, of broad banks of in­des­crib­a­ble mud, and then I was in Can­non Street Station — a mon­strous dirty cavern with trains packed across its vast floor and more porters stand­ing along the plat­form than I have ever seen in my life before.


  Tono Bungay is a report card on England by H.G. Wells. When he was 14, Her­bert went to Uppark with his mother, and where she was employed as the new house­keeper. When the first mar­riage ended up in fail­ure, George began send­ing car­toons to his sec­ond wife in lieu of writing notes. On the 100th anni­ver­sary of the land­ing of Martians in their Surrey town, Woking issued a commemorative e-book. Her­bert George Wells (1866- 1946) has the dis­tinc­tion for introducing human­kind to time travel.








-¦  August 2022  ¦-



  GROUND  CONTROL 


e n v o y      Today’s astronomers worry about micro-meterorites and cosmic rays bombarding the Inter­nation­al Space Station, close calls among satellites and spacecrafts, and especially wardrobe malfunctions in outer space.       Yester­day’s astronomers had fewer worries, more wonderment. Taking notes, they devised almanacs and calendars. Some built structures to greet celestial returns, Karnak’s temple turns orange with the rising of the midwinter Sun, and the standing stones at Stone­henge ‘has some align­ment on astro­nom­ical phenomena.’       The Babylonians divided the sky into twelve equal wedges, to facilitate the tracking of positions as well as move­ments. Then a map was passed around, show­ing longitudes and latitudes. The Vatican became intrigued, wanting to learn more of this new science, which arrived in Europe from Spain, in translations of Indian and Islamic texts, and a mechanism known as an astrolabe, that can show a map of heaven.
      Caroline Herschel (b.1850) started out as an assistant to her astronomer brother William Herschel (b.1738), polishing mirrors and mounting telescopes. When he then discovered Uranus, she too took a peek, and soon enough discoverd a satellite to the Andromeda galaxy: an elliptical dwarf galaxy.       Then a Harvard computer, while cataloging stars over several photographic glass plates by using a spectroscope, which charts ‘stellar brightness in proportion to luminosity-oscillation periods’ (i.e., the twinkle), devised a ‘standard candle for determining cosmic distances.’ Henrietta Leavitt (b.1868) had just invented a space tape measure to judge distances.

e y e w i t n e s s      The ancients were intrigued by natural glass found in nature, able to let light through, to enhance eyesight by magnification. These qualities were refined, when glass-making was invented, to help address loss of eyesight in the aged, among many other benefits. Polished with a concave or sometimes convex surface, fitted into a holder, this became a magnifying glass. Then someone fitted several lenses into a tube and invented the telescope.
      When the tube became much much larger, a glass plate treated on one side with a photo­sensitive agent was placed inside, and after a period of time, up to two years, yielded a photo­graph of stars.       Author Agnes Giberne (b.1845) wrote the first astronomy books for young minds, bringing them face to face with the Moon, the Sun, comets. “Among the Stars,” which came out in 1885, is 360 pages.

e x a m i n e r      Mary Palmer (b.1839) married a doctor, and amateur astron­o­mer, Henry Draper (b.1837), and became an astute student of the sky. His sudden death age 45 left her with money, paperwork and photographic evidence of their galaxy quest.       Mary Draper then bequeathed an annual sum, beginning in 1886, to Harvard College Observatory, to procure sufficient staff to finish her husband’s catalog of stars.
      The photographic evi­dence were captured on hun­dreds of glass plates, either 17x14 or 8x10 inches in size. Each plate is overlaid with numbered grids and placed, on an inclined plane, under a microscope. A light under the glass-plate illu­mi­nates the photograph.       The first computer, looking through the microscope, calls out each star’s name and grid position, while another computer enters the information into a ledger.       The glass plates are also studied using a spectro­scope, and requires an ap­ti­tude for mathematics to take readings ‘based on the bright­ness of stars.’ Descrip­tions can include normal, hazy, sharp, and inter-deter­m­inants (several kinds). Be­cause of the long exposure time, the pho­to­sen­si­tive agent was able to register ‘long inte­gra­tion times’ yielding data on color, temperature, chemical com­po­si­tion.       Wil­lia­mina Fleming (b.1857) was one of the first Harvard com­puters, a team of women scientists. She had no such background and trained on the job, which was to ‘compute mathematical clas­si­fi­ca­tions.’ It turned out she had a flair for the work: “From day to day my duties at the Observatory are so nearly alike that there will be little to describe outside ordi­nary routine work of measurement, exam­i­na­tion of photographs, and of work involved in the reduction of these observations.

e t y m o l o g i s t      NASA’s predecessor had hired female math­e­ma­ti­cians, as early as in 1935, as human com­puters in a segregated system. As­signed to dif­fer­ent de­part­ments, they would be tasked to take down notes, parse flight test scores, run cal­cu­la­tions, perform analytics.       Jeanette Scissum (b.1938) on her first day, in 1964, at NASA: “Math­e­ma­ti­cian, entry level. They didn’t have computers or a computer science pro­gram at A&M when I grad­u­at­ed, so I didn’t know how to do that. Once I did, everybody had me doing computer stuff for them.”       Math­e­ma­ti­cian Katherine Johnson (b.1918), work­ing in NASA’s flight mechanic division, was told that a space­craft would want to make a landing during prime-time television on a specific date. She then had to figure out when takeoff time must take place. Using analytic geom­etry, Johnson figured it out.       High-school whizkid Mary Winston (b.1921), with degrees in math­e­matics and physical science, worked in the com­puter pool, and was assigned to assist in wind tunnel tests at twice the speed of sound. Showing promise, she went back to school and got an engineer’s degree and became an aerospace engineer. Married to a sailor in the U.S. Navy, she became Mary W. Jackson. The National Aeronautics Space Administration’s D.C. headquarters is now named after her.      
Mathematician Dorothy Vaughan (b.1910), in a 28-year career at NASA’s Langley Research Center, became a specialist in calculating flight paths. Vaughan then had ac­cess to a new office machine, read the user’s manual, taught herself the machine’s lan­guage, Fortran (Formula Translating System), and learned how to program NASA’s first electronic com­puter.       Math­e­ma­ti­cian Grace Hop­per (b.1906) championed the use of English in com­pos­ing tasks fed into elec­tron­ic computers: “Man­ip­u­lat­ing symbols was fine for mathematicians but it was no good for data pro­ces­sors who were not symbol manip­u­la­tors. If they are they become pro­fes­sion­al math­e­ma­ti­cians, not data pro­ces­sors. It’s much easier for most people to write an Eng­lish statement than it is to use symbols. So I decided data processors ought to be able to write their programs in Eng­lish, and the com­puters would translate them into machine code. That was the beginning of COBOL (Com­mon Business Oriented Lan­guage), a computer language for data processors.”       Mathematician Evelyn Boyd (b.1924) joined IBM in 1956: “At a two-week training session I was introduced to the IBM 650 and the pro­gram­ing language SOAP. ... Creation of a computer program is an exercise in logical thinking. Afterwards I worked as a consultant in numeri­cal anal­ysis in an IBM subsidiary. When NASA awarded IBM a contract to plan, write, and maintain computer pro­grams I readily agreed ... to be a part of the team of IBM mathematicians and scientists who were re­spon­si­ble for the formulation of orbit computations and computer procedures, first for project Vanguard, and later for project Mercury.       Mathematician Melba Roy Mouton (b.1929) worked for the Army Map Service before working as a human com­puter for NASA, and fig­ur­ing out trajectory and orbit­al solu­tions for a metal­ized bal­loon in proj­ect Echo.       Writ­ing prop­o­si­tions and coming up with solutions by hand was routine for math­e­ma­ti­cian Annie Easley (b.1933). Then electronic computers came along and, although Easley learned Fortran and be­came a more-valued asset, she still can re­mem­ber the micro-ag­gres­sions: “My head is not in the sand. If I can’t work with you, I will work around you. I was not about to be [so] dis­cou­raged that I’d walk away. ... I’m out here to do a job and I knew I had the ability, and that’s where my focus was.”       Work­ing in the computer pool, Chris­tine Darden (b.1947) was given the task to come up with a computer program for sonic boom. Darden, who grew up taking apart and putting back together bicycles and other manu­fac­tured contraptions, is today an aero­space engi­neer: “I was able to stand on the shoulders of those women who came before me, and women who came after me were able to stand on mine.


  ROCKETEER  


a n a l y s t      On April 15, 1726, while taking tea in the garden with his friend, Issac Newton (b.1642) pondered on an apple which had just fallen to the ground. William Stuckeley records how Newton mused:
      “Why should that apple al­ways descend per­pen­dic­u­lar­ly to the ground? Why should it not go side­ways, or up­wards? but con­stant­ly to the earth”s centre? As­sured­ly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. There must be a drawing power in, and the sum of the draw­ing power in the mat­ter of the earth must be in the earth’s centre, not in any side of the earth. There­fore does this apple fall per­pen­dic­u­lar­ly, or toward the center. If matter thus draws, it must be in pro­por­tion of its quan­tity. There­fore the apple draws the earth, as well as the earth draws the apple.”

a n g e l      The ancients, unconcerned of this “drawing power” that Newton was to articulate, mocked the gravity throne and continued sending prayers to heaven. En­treaties written in temple script on paper were then folded into a pouch. A lit candle attached to the pouch sends smoke inside, causing its ascent.       Humankind then followed the lanterns, yet the earliest ones didn’t know to carry oxygen, and returned spouting the wildest tales of beings living in the upper air. The four winds, curious, would approach with whistles and roars and yells, asking questions, including that confounded new con­tri­vance, a wind tunnel.       Sensing fear in their visitors’ eyes, the thunderous voices abated. Zephros drew closer and whis­pered: “We are wind gods of the four cardinal points, heralds of seasons, sons to Typhöeus, fifth and final monster born to mother Earth. We too seek a rea­son for exis­tence, and wheth­er or not it be­comes us to be suit­ed up in turbines, pumps, and such fetters.”       Notos spread icicles while parting his lips: “Can these regulation systems really help with my rest­less­ness? and what’s up with welded insulation?” Euros brought up the sorest point: “Can gravity weigh me down and curb my mood.” Boreas’ grum­ble rumbled: “Magnetosphere con­strains our empire but why? And who are these rocket­men and their reckless aerial turns in guidance and control?”
      Sensing fear in the visitors’ eyes, their thun­derous voices abated. Then Zephros drew even closer and whis­pered: “We are wind gods of the four cardinal points, heralds of seasons, sons to Typhöeus, fifth and final monster born to mother Earth. We too seek a rea­son for exis­tence, and wheth­er or not it be­comes us to be suit­ed up in turbines, pumps, and such fetters.”       Notos spread icicles while parting his lips: “Can these regulation systems really help w/ my rest­less­ness? and what’s up w/ welded insulation?” Euros brought up the sorest point: “Can gravity weigh me down and curb my mood.” Boreas’ grum­ble rumbled: “Mag­ne­to­sphere con­strains our empire but why? And who are these rocket­men and their aerial ad­ven­tures in guidance and control?”

a i r m a n      The four winds invariably took their gasping guests on the grand tour. Earth’s atmosphere is spherical and contains a precise mixture of gases such that oxygen becomes its miraculous chemical product. It has the same shape as mother Earth due to her gravitational grit, which she bestows also to water and all living things. The sea and mountains are deemed to be sentient by the ancients, and so too is Aether considered a being, having undergone “bio­chem­i­cal mod­i­fi­ca­tions by living organisms” ever since its aboriginal form coa­lesced into a paleo-atmosphere. Material enough for Earth to lassoo the grandson to Chaos with a girdle tight enough to separate the deity into distinct layers, and is the main cause of clouds.       This primeval sky god can only be discerned when he digs into his bag of optical tricks and throws mirages, or scatters light. Aether is patron to Earth, whose existence depends on a narrow band of the bottom layer, beginning at sea level.

a v a t a r      Innovative proto-aviators watched how birds populate the air and go where they will. Wings got built and tied to men. Jumps happened. Leonardo da Vinci (b.1452) had his own solution; yet his own design, wings that can flap, never left the sketchbook.      

   Bird wings are folding fans, able to expand and collapse. Each wing is a web of arm bones, having joints which, by evolutionary decree, have quills on the knuckles; each quill grasps one feather.

a e r i a l i s t      Divinities of the air were entranced to receive paper prayers heaven-bound using paper, glue and heated air. They also found out that hydrogen, when it is un­adulterated, possesses levitational abilities also. But being a gas, it would simply dissipate when in contact with one or more gasses.       Rare and difficult to distill, hydrogen requires a chamber, white-hot iron, run­ning water; and had to wait until a non-porous material to con­tain the new gas, was was dis­cov­ered around 1780, had not yet been de­vel­oped.       A ginormous pillow, with a small opening, tied to a large basket and fed a healthy gulp of heated air, took to rising into the atmosphere. Then, as the trapped air cools, this “hot-air balloon” will descend. The first companions chosen to carry out this maid­en flight were a french sheep, duck and rooster.

a c r o b a t      Smoke from large fires first showed the way during wartime: to send a signal, or initiate a maneuver. Kites were another way to harness wind behavior to send sturdier signals. It can also be used as a measure­ment of distance, or just to “test the wind.” Kites can also fight each other.
      Dog-earred generals carried mint editions of “The Myth of Icarus” into battle and tasked military engineers to accessorize kites so as to become fit for carrying a passenger. Even­tual­ly squadrons of pas­seng­ers paid visits to the sky, and giving notice that the empire of the four winds was coming to an end.       Kites were invented for children when they first became aware how they might have, as playpals: the four winds.       Not for war’s sake, Benjamin Franklin (b.1706) is prob­ably the first to use wind power to send a laboratory into space: kite + key + lightning storm.

a l c h e m i s t      Through trial and error someone came up with gunpowder. That a right mixture of carbon, sulfur and saltpeter (an efflorescence mineral found on the surface of stones) will produce a flash accompanied by fire that burns off – an explosion. A wrong mixture produces instead just “smoke and flames.”
      Soldiers saw the promise and quickly adopt­ed the recipe. Dream­ers invented fireworks. Paper tubes filled with confetti and a spoonful of gun­powder then sealed with a fuse sticking out. The tube is tied to a long stick that will act as a tail, then aimed towards the sky. Flame is introduced to the fuse and the detonation produces a propulsive force inside the tube, which ascends before spilling out its contents.       Al­though it was John Bate (b.1600s) figured out how to make compound-rockets, which boosted the appeal of his brand of “fyer workes,” it took until Hermann Oberth (b.1894) to sheath it in metal, for the first time, to insure a sturdier flight.
      Fireworks are propelled missiles guided during a brief initial phase of powered flight. Then a subsequent trajectory that obeys the laws of gravity, and codified as classical mechanics.

a r c h e t y p e       When World War 2 was over, pilots and other aero­nauticals returned to civilian roles.       Back to working for a paycheck, these airmen flexed their know-how and birthed an aerospace industry that now­adays has gone global. By 1960 the skies were al­ready beginning to get mighty crowded.
      Governments were wont to fund space ex­plor­a­tions, get bragging rights, so they practised by dividing up North Pole, a melting continent.       Long­i­tudes and latitudes led to pre­ci­sion map­ping of the world, and in the co-mingling of new dis­ci­plines rock­et science took off to map a hypothetical heaven.





  STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN 
Photo taken from outer space of Northeast Africa




   With over 50 space pro­grams, mother Earth is get­ting con­­cerned about los­ing emigrés to a hypo­thet­i­cal heav­en. Al­ready there are six space agen­cies in the Mid­dle East, and five in Afri­ca. Looks like eight in Cen­tral Europe, and around ten in the Amer­i­cas. Asia has may­be ten, if India, Paki­stan, New Zea­land and a part of Rus­sia are ex­clud­ed.




South African National Space Agency

Since 1841, Cape Town has had a mag­net­ic sta­tion. To­day it is part of a glob­al network collecting data on Earth’s magnetic field. Ear­ly think­ing gave “an im­por­tant role in mak­ing the plan­et habit­able” to it. In­side the iron core the metal turns liquid, mak­ing out the sur­face as the least-hot por­tion of iron’s prop­er­ties. This skin, as it sheds and cools, crys­tal­lizes and will emit rule-driv­en elec­tro-mag­net­ic arcs. A healthy geo-magneto­sphere can im­part spherical harmonics to the iono­sphere and ocean tides.       The Hermanus Magnetic Observatory now lives on uni­ver­sity grounds, and is al­so a part of the coun­try’s space pro­gram. To­day, the South African National Space Agency is the sole weath­er-activ­i­ty cen­ter for all of Afri­ca, em­ploy­ing sat­el­lite feed­back for fires and flood­ing.




New Zealand Space Agency

Learning that its re­mote loca­tion was ideal for a launch site — vast stretch of ocean, negli­gent ship traf­fic means a mis­fired rocket does no harm, this is­land nation slipped into entre­pre­neur­ial shoes, donned minis­ter­ial gloves, and opened its doors to wel­come sci­ence, aero­nau­ti­cal engin­eer­ing, re­mote com­mu­ni­cat­ing and space law.        The New Zealand Space Agency keeps track of methane in the atmo­sphere, and shares its data­base in a bid to slow global warm­ing.



United Arab Emirates Space Agency

United Arab Emirates started a space program in 2014. Eight years later this fledgling has land­ed on Mars, only the sec­ond nation af­ter Amer­i­ca to do so.      The UAE rov­er was devel­oped in-house, as­sem­bled in the Unit­ed States, took off, in­side a Japan­ese land­er, aboard a SpaceX rocket in 2020.
Apollo 12 takes a photo from deep space of Earth's atmosphere backlit by the Sun during a 1969 eclipse.


International Space Station

The era of comfort in zero grav­i­ty took place quiet­ly, in 1988, as the first module of the International Space Station flew to­wards the strato­sphere. It was designed to be “an auton­o­mous space habi­tat for eight months,” wait­ing for the next com­po­nent. Zarya was equipped with “con­tain­er con­nec­tions for con­tin­genc­y trans­fer of water, con­tain­er bags, wipes, fil­ters.” There were six nickel-cad­mium bat­­ter­­ies, two solar ar­rays, three dock­ing ports. A pres­­sur­­ized valve unit with air ducts, fun­nel con­­tain­­ment fil­­ters, dust col­­lect­­ors, smoke de­tec­tor, gas anal­­yz­­er, gas masks, port­­a­ble fans. A pole, hand­­rails, hooks, in­stru­­ment con­­tain­­ers in the cabin. In 2020, Legacy loos were re­placed with new ones. On the draw­ing boards: a waste manage­ment system com­mon to all vehicle plat­forms.       Fif­teen nations are mem­bers to this Inter­national Space Station, a poten­tial­ly expand­able habi­tat, while five co­or­di­nate the day-to-day. All have signed agree­ments cov­er­ing legal, finan­cial and polit­i­cal imp­li­ca­tions in how the sta­tion is util­ized, its traf­fic routes, crew time. ISS is ser­viced by a team of three robots, cap­able of inde­pen­dent or con­joined activ­i­ties.














Italian Space Agency

Italy looked at the 19th cen­tury sky with scien­tific eyes. Inven­tor Luigi Gus­sali (b.1885) would go on to pro­pose, in 1946, the use of solar rays as a pro­pel­lant. Engin­eer Gioulio Gos­tan­zi (b.1875) thought in­stead it would be nuclear pow­er. He also thought about the plight of weight­less­ness, lethal rays from the Sun, whose prox­im­i­ty would bring on heat death.      Italy joined the space race in 1968 with a satellite launch. Twen­ty years later, the Italian Space Agency moved next door to the Vat­i­can.
Photograph of Mercury

Collage of actual and artificial Earth moons

China National Space Administration

China sent a satellite to space in 1970 for a song. Aboard was a music tape on per­pet­ual loop play­ing a eulogy to Mao Zedong, broad­cast­ing the sino revo­lu­tion to outer space. A space pro­gram emerged, orbit­ing around the figure­head of rocket­eer Tsien Hsue-Shen aka Qian Xuesen (b.1911), who had re­turned af­ter being ex­pelled from JPL for polit­i­cal un­cer­tain­ties.       By 2007, the China National Space Administration could af­ford to use a spent sat­el­lite for target practise, and cre­ated a debris field con­tain­ing some 30,000 pieces.       China has now built its own space station. Begun in 2016, the final parts come on­board six years later, which was the plan. But not be­fore an un­an­nounced rocket launch carry­ing two mod­ules to the build “re­entered Earth’s at­mos­phere and crashed west of the Mal­dives in the In­dian Ocean,” anger­ing every­one. Dur­ing the build, there have been rotat­ing con­struc­tion-and-main­te­nance crews liv­ing aboard.       Engin­eers in Cheng­du have de­signed Moon 2.0, a fixed a “fixed” il­lum­i­nat­ed sat­el­lite, 22,000 miles (33,400 km) up and fif­ty miles (80.5 km) wide. In 2022, alien signals were detected.


Indian Space Research Organisation

India’s first Moon mis­sion end­ed on Novem­ber 14 2008 when ground con­trol lost con­tact with the lunar or­bit­er, but not be­fore its sens­ors had detect­ed magmatic water on a crater. The sec­ond Moon mis­sion was launched in 2019 and, hav­ing suc­cess­ful­ly gone into lunar orbit, some sixty-two miles above the sur­face, the space­craft re­leased a robot land­er on an orbit­al des­cent that would last five days for a smooth land­ing. That was when a cyberattack dis­abled the land­er and cre­ated a new crater on the Moon.      In be­tween these two lunar mis­sion, the Indian Space Research Organisation sent a space­craft which ar­rived and then went into or­bit around Mars, and did this when oth­ers have tried but all have failed.      Want­ing bet­ter end­ings, the nation seems trans­fixed on the lat­est scifi releases from Bolly­wood, adrift in tem­por­al time shifts, smart-mon­sters, time-trav­el­ing love songs, and a mission to the red plan­et based on the real one.









European Space Agency

Europe at the end of World War 2 was shell-shocked, there had been a mas­sive brain-drain in every field. Rem­nants of aero­nautic sci­ence kept in con­tact and in 1975 came togeth­er to sign on to a “cohe­sive ap­proach to space.” Establ­ished for un­crewed space ex­plor­a­tion, the European Space Agency soon enough changed its ap­proach to space sci­ence. Ini­tial­ly found­ed by ten nations, ESA now has twen­ty-two mem­bers, and a wait­ing list.     e    Mis­sions over­lap. Ariel and Cheops are two exo-planet hunt­ers. Mercury and Venus are about to re­ceive visitors. Is there life on Mars? will have to wait long­er, be­cause of the war in Ukraine. What hap­pens when dark mat­ter touches dark ener­gy? A mis­sion to draw a map of one per­cent of the known uni­verse. An asteroid defense solu­tion, a way to cor­ral space debris.
Photograph of Venus silhouetted by the Sun

Collage of space rocks in the Asteroid belt







National Centre for Space Studies

France went through the rub­ble of World War 2 on the search for all things bal­lis­tic. Vic­tor­ious though bat­tered, the nation had al­ready set alti­tude rec­ords when the 18th cen­tury was still young. In 1947, a lab was set up to tink­er with these finds to glean achieve­ments in German “rocket pro­pul­sion and guid­ance.”        In 1961 France estab­lished the National Centre for Space Research, with a mis­sion to trans­pose civ­i­li­za­tion to space. Be­fore that could hap­pen, they inaug­u­rat­ed space medi­cine in 1982 by hook­ing up astro­naut Jean-Loup Crétien (b.1938) to moni­tors. The go-to space agen­cy for all things UFO, with a col­lec­tion go­ing back to 1954.        To­day, France’s aero­space pro­gram, hav­ing just joined the air force, faced a setback from Covid-19.


NASA

When World War 2 ended, Amer­ica set in motion Opera­tion Paper­clip, to retrieve Ger­man rocket sci­ence. They found pro­duc­tion site blue­prints, V-2 rockets (100), other tech­nol­ogy. They also found rocket­eer Wern­her von Braun (b.1912), who was amen­able to con­tin­ue where he had left off, and who crossed the Atlan­tic in­to anoth­er life.      Soon enough, in Pasa­dena, the rocket-build­ing Jet Propulsion Lab was con­duct­ing numer­ous tests. The govern­ment noticed, and in 1958 built NASA with them and the Cold War in mind.      In 2019, never be­fore seen foot­age from the Apollo 11 mis­sion were stitched with mem­or­able mo­ments for an edge of the seat ac­count of the first crewed mission to the Moon.      To­day, NASA wants to be the first to reach jupi­ter moon Europa, in 2030. It wants to part­ner with oth­er space agen­cies for an expedition to the moon, and may­be build a telescope on the far side. Their astro­biolo­gists are moni­tor­ing how the human body can be harmed by cosmic rays and its “diverse com­bi­nations of multi­ple ion-energy beams.”
Collage of Mars and moons
Closeup photo of Kuiper belt object Ryugu

Japan Aerospace Exploratory Agency

Hideo Itokawa (b.1935), grad­u­ate at Tok­yo’s impe­rial uni­ver­sity with a major in aero­nau­tics, test launched a small roc­ket in 1955 and ushered in Japan’s space age.      Fast for­ward four­teen years, when three sci­ence lab­or­a­tories found that they all need­ed more room. Since their re­search into radio astron­omy, deciph­er­ing the magneto­sphere, and secrets of X-ray were com­ple­men­tary, they came to­gether in 2003 as the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. 宇 宙 航 空 研 究 開 発 機 構 (JAXA)’s motto is “ex­plore to realize,” and today con­ducts inno­va­tive research. Theirs is the larg­est ISS mod­ule and giv­en whol­ly to expe­ri­ments. JAXA has al­ready sent a space­craft to rendez­vous with space rock Ryugu and, be­fore releas­ing a land­er, took a pot­shot to cre­ate a crater and ex­pose some under­ly­ing stuff. Plac­ing 0.19 oz (5 grams) of soil into an envel­ope, the land­er flung these ancient sam­ples back to Earth, some 190 mil­lion miles (300 million km) away. Now it wants to re­peat the exer­cise on the martian moon Phobos.











Canadian Space Agency

The Royal Canadian Air Force fought for the allies in World War 2, and flew trans­port, recon­nais­sance, fight­er and bomb­er mis­sions. After­wards, they main­tained their fleet and thought about go­ing high­er. In 1962 they sent a roc­ket into space.      Today, the Canadian Space Agency shares its knowl­edge for the “bene­fit of Canadians and human­ity.” CSA has joined the Arte­mis mis­sion to the Moon, and their web­site has indigenous Moon tales plus the thirteen-moons cycle of First Nations.      Foot­age from an astro­naut train­ing camp in Canada exists, so too of a singing astronaut.
Collage of Jupiter and moons

Collage of Saturn and moons











UK Space Agency

Sometime in 1933, august Brit­ish sky watch­ers cre­ated the world’s first interplanetary society. After World War 2, the govern­ment set in motion Oper­ation Backfire, in an ef­fort to re­cov­er V-2 roc­kets. In 1957, a rocket launch suc­cess­ful­ly reached an alti­tude of 124 miles (200 km).      To­day, the United Kingdom Space Agency is a cham­pion for sustain­able devel­op­ment, wants to tac­kle space debris – an emerg­ing men­ace, and design their space­port. Patience may be reward­ed perus­ing the Royal Air Force web­site to find a folder on UFOs, “com­pris­ing entire­ly of cor­re­spon­dence with mem­bers of the public” and go­ing back fif­ty years.












National Space Agency of Ukraine

Hearhiy Fedorovych Pros­ku­ra (b.1876), grad­uate of Moscow’s im­perial tech­nical col­lege, went into the manu­fac­tur­ing of pumps, gears and tur­bines for pur­poses of hydraul­ic thrust. Gath­er­ing to­geth­er like-minds, they formed an aero­nau­tics club, and, in 1937, shot a mis­sile high over Khar­kiv in Ukraine. Fast for­ward to the 1960s, when the soviet govern­ment re­tooled an auto­mobile plant there and be­gan manu­fac­tur­ing roc­kets. This fac­tory is to­day the National Space Agency of Ukraine, a descen­dant of the soviet space pro­gram.      On February 24 2002, Rus­sia invad­ed Ukraine and a spe­cial force was sent to cap­ture Khar­kiv, where the space agen­cy has its head­quarters.
Collage of Uranus and moons

Collage of Sputnik-1 in outer space

Russian Federal Space Agency

Russia’s rational ren­der­ing of heaven had its begin­nings in the 19th cen­tury. Theor­ist Kon­stan­tin Tsiol­kov­sky (b.1857) mulled on how human­kind will sur­vive in space and drew cut-away space­ship habi­tats. Scien­tist Fried­rich Zan­der (b.1887) figu­red out prac­tical appli­ca­tions for liq­uid-fuels, a neces­si­ty for es­cap­ing Earth’s grav­ity. Adher­ents and stu­dents built an acad­emy, which was fold­ed in­to a classi­fied mili­tary pro­gram in 1992, and Roscosmos is its public face.      When they sent the first dog into space, in 1957, their motto in 1957 was ‘In Space We Trust.’ The first wom­an, Valen­tina Ter­esh­kova (b.1937), and first man, Yuri Gar­garin (b.1934), were also Russian. Cosmo­naut Alex­ei Leo­nov (b.1934) per­formed the first space walk in 1965 (12:09): “I stepped into that void and I didn’t fall in. I was mes­­me­r­ised by the stars. They were every­­where – up above, down be­low, to the left, to the right.” The best-look­ing sat­el­lite is still the first, also launched in 1957: Sputnik-1, a globe with four an­ten­nae.      When the soviet union fell, its space pro­gram was split: the main site re­mained in Rus­sia, but a sliver, respon­sible for roc­kets, was marooned in Ukraine.


Romanian Space Agency

Conrad Haas (b.1509) was a “fyer workes” tech­ni­cian and had devel­oped a multi-stage display that al­ways drew a gasp from his audi­ence. He was born in pres­ent-day Romania, where a taste for shoot­ing things in­to space has never waned. The Moon was wooed in 1906 by aero-mechanic Traian Vuia (b.1872), inven­tor of the “auton­o­mous take-off aeroplane”. Henri Coanda (b.1886) wooed her four years later in a “jet aero­plane”.      When direc­tor Fritz Lang (b.1890) made Woman on the Moon, a 1929 silent black-&-white scifi ad­ven­ture, he brought on board rocketeer Her­mann Oberth (b.1904) to make the look and feel of sequences involv­ing space­flight authen­tic. Oberth re­calls: “Dur­ing my work on the film I was able to con­vince Lang that it would be great pub­lic­i­ty for his movie if we did some serious re­search at the same time. He was able to finance me and I was final­ly able to be­gin per­form­ing actual expe­ri­ments.”      Today, the Roman­ian Space Agen­cy has signed on to the Arte­mis mis­sion, NASA’s lunar explor­a­tion expe­di­tion, and hosts the an­nual Yuri’s Night.
Collage of Neptune and moons

Collage of Pluto and moons







German Aerospace Center

In 1907, mechanic Ludwig Prandtl (b.1875) set up a rudi­men­tary aero­dynamic lab­ora­tory and con­duct­ed ex­peri­ments. Soon enough, inter­est came from a society, an asso­ci­a­tion, an in­sti­tu­tion and a con­sor­tium. They all shook hands while study­ing the sky, in hopes of design­ing the per­fect air­ship. Their ef­forts were re­pur­posed dur­ing World War 2.      In the final days of fight­ing, astron­o­mer Gerard Kuiper (b.1905) drove an al­lied jeep into Ber­lin to find and bring physi­cist Max Planck (b.1858) to safe­ty. The 87-year-old theo­rist was re­search­ing how atoms (mat­ter) and sub-atoms (light) are gov­erned, and many were pay­ing at­ten­tion.      When the fight­ing was over, near­by aviators, gen­erals, research­ers, cod­ers and scien­tists found each oth­er again, and re­sumed re­search for a pro­pul­sive physics as a space society. Then became the German Aerospace Center, a nation­al cen­ter for energy, trans­port and aero­space research.


  PIXELS 
Detail of lily pad

 EXCERPT 
Book cover
The Corinthians were the last to come forward and speak, having al­lowed the previous speak­ers to do their part in hardening Spar­ta on opinion against Athens. The Corin­thian speech was as follows: “... An Athen­ian is al­ways an innovator, quick to form a reso­lu­tion and quick at carry­ing it out. You [Spar­tans], on the other hand, are good at keep­ing things as they are; you never originate an idea and your action tends to stop short of its aim. Then again, Athen­ian daring will out­run its own resources; they will take risks against their bet­ter judge­ment, and still, in the midset of dan­ger, remain con­fi­dent. But your nature is always to do less than you could have done, to mistrust your own judge­ment, however sound it may be, and to assume that dangers will last for ever. Think of this, too: while you are hanging back, they never hesitate; while you stay at home, they are always abroad; for they think that the far­ther they go the more they will get, while you think that any move­ment may endanger what you have alredy. If they win a victory, they follow it up at once, and if they suffer a defeat, they scarcely fall back at all. As for their bodies, they regard them as expendable for their city’s sake, as though they were not their own; but each man cultivates his own in­tel­li­gence, again with a view of doing something not­able for his city. If they aim at something and do not get it, they think that they have been deprived of what be­longed to them al­ready; where­as, if their enter­prise is success­ful, they regard that success as nothing compared to what they will do next. Sup­pose they fail in some undertaking; they make good the loss im­med­i­ate­ly by setting their hopes in some other direction. Of them alone it ma be said that they possess a thing almost as soon as they have begun to desire it, so quickly with them does action follow upon decision. And so they go on working away in hard­ship and danger all the days of their lives, sel­dom enjoying their pos­ses­sions because they are always adding to them. Their view of a holi­day is to do what needs doing; they prefer hardship and activity to peace and quiet. In a word, they are by nature incapable of either livi­ng a quiet life them­selves or of allow­ing any­one else do do so.”
“That is the character of the city which is op­posed to you. Yet you all hang back; you will not see that the likeliest way of securing peace is this: only to use one’s power in the cause of justice, but to make it perfectly plain that one is resolved not to tol­er­ate ag­gres­sion. On the contrary, your idea of proper behav­iour is, firstly, to avoid harming others, and then to avoid being harmed yourselves, even if it is a matter of de­fend­ing your own in­ter­ests. Even if you had on your frontiers a power of holding the same prin­ci­ples as you do, it is hard to see how such a policy could have been a suc­cess. But at the pres­ent time, as we have just pointed out to you, your whole way of life is out of date when com­pared with theirs. And it is just as true in politics as it is in any art or craft: new meth­ods must drive out old ones. When a city can live in peace and quiet, no doubt the old-estab­lished ways are best: but when one is con­stant­ly being faced with new problems, one has also to be capable of approaching them in an original way. Thus Athens, because of the very variety of her ex­pe­ri­ence, is a far more modern state than you are.”




 EXCERPT  Battle of the Three Emperors, from War and Peace 1869 by Leo Tolstoy

ON the 18th and 19th of Novem­ber the [Russia and Austria] army ad­vanced two days’ march, and the [French] en­e­my’s out­posts after a brief interchange of shots re­treat­ed. In the high­est army circles from mid­day on the 19th a great, excitedly bust­ling activity be­gan which lasted till the morning of the 20th, when the mem­or­a­ble battle of Aus­ter­litz was fought.
UNTIL midday on the 19th the activity, the eager talk, running to and fro, and dis­patch­ing of ad­ju­tants, was con­fined to the Em­peror’s head­quar­ters (i.e., Alex­an­der I of Russia). But on the after­noon of that day this activity reached [General of the Rus­sian Army] Kutuzov’s head­quar­ters and the staffs of the com­mand­ers of columns. By eve­ning the adjutants had spread it to all ends and parts of the army, and in the night from the 19th to the 20th the whole eighty thou­sand allied troops rose from their bivouacs to the hum of voices, and the army swayed and start­ed in one enor­mous mass six miles long.
THE concentrated activ­i­ty which had begun at the Emperor’s head­quar­ters in the morn­ing and had started the whole move­ment that fol­lowed, was like the first move­ment of the main wheel of a large tower-clock. One wheel slowly moved, another was set in mo­tion, and a third, and wheels began to re­volve fast­er and fast­er, levers and cog-wheels to work, chimes to play, fig­ures to pop out, and the hands to ad­vance with regular motion as a result of all that activity.
JUST as in the mechan­ism of a clock, so in the mechan­ism of the mili­tary machine, an im­pulse once given leads to the final result; and just as indifferently quies­cent till the mo­ment when motion is trans­mit­ted to them are the parts of the mech­an­ism which the impulse has not yet reached. Wheels creak on their axles as the cogs engage one an­oth­er and the revolv­ing pulleys whirr with the rapid­ity of their move­ment, but a neigh­bour­ing wheel is as quiet and motion­less as though it were pre­pared to remain so for a hun­dred years; but the mo­ment comes when the lever catches it, and obey­ing the im­pulse that wheel begins to creak, and joins in the common motion the result and aim of which are beyond its ken.
JUST as in a clock the result of the com­pli­cat­ed motion of in­num­er­able wheels and pulleys is merely a slow and regu­lar movement of the hands which show the time, so the result of all the com­pli­cat­ed human activities of 160,000 Rus­sians and French – all their pas­sions, de­sires, re­morse, humil­i­a­tions, suffer­ings, out­bursts of pride, fear, and enthusiasm – was only the loss of the battle of Auster­litz, the so-called battle of the three Em­perors – that is to say, a slow move­ment of the hand on the dial of human history.


4L83R7 31N5731N Quote: 7H3 M345UR3 OF 1N73LL1­63NC3 15 7H3 481L17Y 70 CH4N63.
 EXCERPT 
Photo of Daphne at her typewriter and with her first book.
Jennifer had exactly five pounds, six shil­lings and four­pence half­penny when she left No. 7 Ma­ple Street. She lugged her two suit­cases along with her into var­i­ous buses, and arrived at Pad­ding­ton with three-quarters of an hour to wait before the twelve o’clock train should bear her away from London for ever. Thirty-two shil­lings and six­pence of her capital went on her third-class ticket, and three shil­lings more on a cup of cof­fee, two rash­ers of bacon, and a ba­na­na, for she had eaten no breakfast.
During this wait she had time to think over her crazy flight from the boarding-house. It had been her home since she was six years old, and she had left her mother with­out one pang of regret. “I must be terribly un­nat­ural,” thought Jennifer sadly. “But it can’t be helped. I was prob­a­bly born without a heart, I believe some people are.” She sat, rather aghast at her­self, watch­ing the move­ment of people about the plat­form, the roll of trol­leys, the bustle of por­ters, the sudden shrieks and shunt­ings of departing trains. ...
Jen­ni­fer sat in the corner of the car­riage, and the train bore her swift­ly from the city she detest­ed, the roofs of houses stretch­ing to the horizon, the crowded, threaded streets, the roar and clatter, the luxury, pov­er­ty and squal­or, the nar­row faces of men and women, the train carried her past meadows and small hedges, glimpses of a nar­row river, scat­tered towns, and a dull make-believe of country.
Later her spirits rose within her, strange­ly disturbed and con­tent, for the flat­ness was left behind and they came upon rolling hills and a high white sky­line, paths lead­ing across the downs, sheep wander­ing in a thin un­broken line, and groups of la­bour­ers who raised their hands and waved.
And then suddenly, with no warn­ing, the breath­less grey sweep of the sea itself, breaking beneath the passing train, the high red cliffs of Devon, chil­dren who ran bare­foot upon the shingle, and little boats like toys, rock­ing against the tide.
They were in Cornwall now, her own coun­try, and a weird, be­wil­der­ing mix­ture of rugged hills and low, sweep­ing val­leys, grey scattered cot­tages, tall forests and swollen streams. In her ex­cite­ment she got down at the wrong station, the junc­tion for St. Brides, and she had the anguish of seeing the train stream away in the dis­tance, and her left with her luggage up in the narrow plat­form, some fifteen miles from her destination.


  Daphne du Maurier (1907- 1989), is daugh­ter to the du Mau­rier cigar­ette man, and spent much of her life in Corn­wall, where most of her twisty and mystical novels are set. Some turned into films: My Cousin Rachel, Jamaica Inn, The Birds. Rebecca. She ended up a recluse, in a house stuck in the past. The Loving Spirit is her first book.


 EXCERPT 
Cover art showing a map of London Underground routes.
… I got London at last with an exceptional fresh­ness of effect, as the sudden rev­e­la­tion of a whole un­sus­pect­ed oth­er side of life.
I came to that human wil­der­ness on a dull and smoky day by the South Eastern Rail­way, and our train was half an hour late, stopping and going on and stop­ping again. I marked beyond Chils­el­hurst the growing mu­lti­tude of villas, and so came stage by stage through multi­ply­ing houses and dimin­ish­ing inter­spaces of market gar­den and dingy grass to regions of inter­lac­ing rail­way lines, big fac­tor­ies, gaso­meters and wide reeking swamps of dingy little houses, more of them and more and more.
The number of these and their din­gi­ness and poverty in­creased, and here rose a great pub­lic house and here a Board School and here a gaunt fac­to­ry; and away to the east there loomed for a time a queer, in­con­gru­ous forest of masts and spars. The con­ges­tion of houses inten­si­fied and piled up pres­ent­ly into tene­ments; I mar­velled more and more at this bound­less world of dingy peo­ple; whiffs of indus­trial smells, of leather, of brew­ing, drifted into the car­ri­age; the sky dark­ened, I rum­bled thun­der­ous­ly over bridges, van-crowded streets, peered down on and crossed the Thames with an abrupt eclat of sound.
I got an effect of tall ware­houses, of grey water, barge crowd­ed, of broad banks of in­des­crib­a­ble mud, and then I was in Can­non Street Station — a mon­strous dirty cavern with trains packed across its vast floor and more porters stand­ing along the plat­form than I have ever seen in my life before.


  Tono Bungay is a report card on England by H.G. Wells. When he was 14, Her­bert went to Uppark with his mother, and where she was employed as the new house­keeper. When the first mar­riage ended up in fail­ure, George began send­ing car­toons to his sec­ond wife in lieu of writing notes. On the 100th anni­ver­sary of the land­ing of Martians in their Surrey town, Woking issued a commemorative e-book. Her­bert George Wells (1866- 1946) has the dis­tinc­tion for introducing human­kind to time travel.




-|  August 2022  |-

  ROMANCE COMICS 

  EPILOGUE  

Looking back at the Golden Age (which took place on Earth-Two), it has come to light that the biog­ra­phy of Lois Lane, begin­ning in the early 1950s, has prop­er­ly be­longed to the Silver Age.

All along, readers had grown up w/ a golden-age Lois. There was a golden-age Clark; and Super­man too. It turns out there has been – and al­ways has been – some oth­er Lois, who lived on Earth-One, w/ anoth­er Clark and a dif­fer­ent Super­man.

In 1956, fan loyalty was rewarded when DC Comics put out the first issue of SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND LOIS LANE. Once again, a newer Lois Lane sprang forth, and helped to usher in the Silver Age. This Lois again came fully formed – and a lived-in back­story spooled out. The first two tales, about a witch and a wig, looked for­ward to­wards the ex­pe­ri­men­tal 1960s -- when beauty was re­de­fined, and back­wards, w/ a ginned-up glance at the bat­tle of the sexes, when it was still in black-&-white.

What is left of the original Lois are some stories about the Man of Steel in which she fea­tures prom­i­nent­ly, where she proves her­self an intel­lectual equal of a super man. These historic events em­bark em­bryon­ic­ally from the heart­land of America dur­ing the on­set of World War II. They then roam globally, and extra-globally, only to dis­em­barked at the un­test­ed out­post of the Cold War.

Lois of Earth-Two became marooned until the DC uni­verse took on a re­im­ag­in­ing. By 1978, her story was re­thread­ed in­to the con­tin­uity. Lois mar­ried Clark in the late 1950s, dis­cov­ered his secret identity, went on to new adven­tures -- even after their son was born, pass­ing the mortal coil in 2005, in events occur­ring dur­ing Infinite Crisis. All of this hap­pened be­fore the 21st cen­tury woke up.


I Love Lois

Lois Lane

Working nine to five as a reporter for a city daily must not leave time to do much else. As a single female work­ing and liv­ing alone in Metrop­­lis, how do you find bal­ance in your life?

Lois Lane, Clark Kent and Super­man are the creations of writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, two Cleve­land teen­agers nur­tur­ing keen tastes and quick psyches, who com­bined com­ple­men­tary skills to make mani­fest their dream of another world. Invent­ing a city of sky­scrapers where an other­world­ly creature lives and makes its living as a news­paper­man, while woo­ing a wonder­ful woman, and using as his secret iden­tity a coward’s persona. Over­night their comics become a best­seller, star­ring the Man of Tomor­row oppo­site Lois Lane.






The Golden Age 1938-1955 

Lois Lane is already there when Clark Kent arrives on his first day at the Daily Planet, she’s a lonely hearts advice columnist. Clark, a seasoned reporter, gets called in to the editor‘s office and is assigned a new beat. In a supreme act of irony, he’s to cover some­one who has been seen in Metrop­o­lis and word has it a cham­pion of the op­pressed. Proxim­ity to the vibra­tions of an un­known being not­with­standing, Lois soon slips into a vaude­villian vortex. Some­how a das­tard is sure to create chaos, usually a damsel-in-distress epi­sode plays out, acrobatic acts can follow before dis­plays of un­natural skills bring back the normal. This and a secret iden­tity plot to string it all to­gether and tie in­to a bow.

Page after page, the reader gets to know more about a super-being living in Metrop­o­lis, while he him­self is get­ting to know more about Lois -- expos­ing her to the maw of may­hem by his dada duels w/ weird foes. Lois can’t see Clark for the super-simula­crum that he’s hiding be­hind; is drawn to Super­man instead. Clark smiles and winks at the fourth wall, at ease and worldly wise.

Lois and Clark start dating right away, in the first story they put on evening attire and go out on the town. The next week she flies off on assign­ment to a foreign land and, due to mis­adven­ture, ends up blind­folded and stand­ing in front of a firing squad. Back home again, Lois thinks little of drop­ping a sleep­ing pill into Clark’s cock­tail so as to chase a lead and beat him to a scoop. This brazen stunt back­fires when she lands in trouble and, for the very first time, falls out of a window.

But first, she hones in on Clark’s beat by looking up the Man of Mys­tery herself, trying to score an exclusive. Go­ing to a travel­ing circus where he was perfor­ming for charity, an unexpected occur­rence ensures she will not get her scoop. Editor Perry White some­times sends both out together, espe­cially when murder has occurred. On these occa­sions, Lois often ends up solo because Clark can and will dis­appear at the first sign of trouble. One time this hap­pened, she was tied down next to a table saw w/ the on-switch deployed, too an­noyed though not sur­prised w/ Clark to bother about her imminent demise.

Chastened to live anoth­er day, Lois ex­pands her com­fort zone, find­ing it in her­self to bring joy to a thawed cave­man, out of time and grave­ly dis­ori­en­ted. Lois was as one reborn some other time when she ran around w/ a great ape. Through all this, Lois kept up her advice column, where once a grate­ful writer be­queathed a gold mine to her and which, sad­ly, she lost. She then plunged her­self into a murky episode about a fifth colum­nist move­ment in Metrop­o­lis, wad­ing into espio­nage, dis­infor­ma­tion, and sab­otage.

Around this time she meets Lex Luthor. Picking through the day’s press releases, Lois sees a tony and toothy one: Some­one has called a gather­ing of the million­aires of Metrop­o­lis. Intrigued, Lois finds a way into the man­sion and hides behind dra­pe­ries. Eight men enter, followed by their host; Lois pulls out her notepad. Al­to­ge­ther, these men con­trol rail­roads and air­lines, real estate and finan­cial firms. Each in­volved in pro­hi­bition-era rac­kets. One has a pub­lish­ing firm haw­king inspi­ra­tion­al books. Another runs a secret fascist cell. The last to speak turns out to be a com­mon man who had shown up dis­guised in order to give a rant on the wicked­ness of wealth. Lois is taking this all down, fill­ing one comic book page w/ nine long speech balloons. When sud­den­ly Luthor ap­pears w/ a wea­pon and knocks every­one -- in­clud­ing Lois -- out.

By 1943, budding popularity for her charac­ter pro­pels Lois on­to the cover w/ Super­man, gasping as he goes head-to-head with crime’s comedy king, the Prank­ster. Lois is also on the splash page, be­cause she has in­ad­ver­tent­ly wan­dered too close to a giant jack-in-the-box … Then a year later lands her first series, LOIS LANE GIRL REPOR­TER, focus­ing on her exploits with­out Super­man or Clark, which had a thirteen issue run.










The Silver Age   1956-1970 

The winds of change began blowing in the mid-1950s, when DC Comics re­ha­bil­i­tat­ed a dor­mant charac­ter from the past and re- intro­duced Flash, giving him a new back­story and wear­ing a dif­fer­ent cos­tume. Grad­u­al­ly, this new uni­verse fold­ed out­wards and at first divi­ded into two.

In 1956, a seminal tale had taken place on Earth-One, where Barry Allen was work­ing late one stormy night, when a light­ning bolt comes crashing in, strik­ing chem­i­cal vials filled w/ stuff. Bar­ry is knocked out and falls to the floor. Ly­ing in a sus­pi­cious-look­ing soup of labor­a­to­ry juices the entire night, he under­goes a molecular sea change. What had lain on the lab floor that Octo­ber night was a police-lab scien­tist. What woke up the next morn­ing turned out to be an agile Adam – har­bin­ger to a new aeon.

This refashioned “human thun­der­bolt” draws a chalk line at the start­ing point, re­sets the timer to zero, jumps into his cos­tume and takes off. Soon enough he learns of the exis­tence of Earth-Two, and he visits w/ the orig­i­nal Flash, semi-retired but still con­tend­ing w/ super-foes. Overnight, the aggregate number of costumed beings doubled -- then grew, as readers couldn‘t get enough.

The Lois of Earth-One lived a com­pli­cat­ed exis­tence, be­ing rou­tine­ly sub­ject­ed to Imag­i­nary Tales of what-ifs that bedevil story­lines, con­found­ing known facts w/ famil­iar fan­tasy. This Lois had her own title, which ran for 137 issues, end­ing just in time to usher in the Bronze Age, and are known chief­ly as hav­ing im­part­ed a level of light-heart­ed­ness to her life.

In between, Lois left her clas­sic looks be­hind and is shown on a 1968 cover tear­ing down part of her own mast­head con­tain­ing the words "GIRL FRIEND", and throw­ing it to the ground. This was just one step less shock­ing than her get-up: knee-high go-go boots and a rock­ing aqua­net hairdo, declar­ing that she was over the Man of Might. This fit of fem­i­nist zeal sub­si­ded, though, and the des­ig­na­tion re­ap­peared on the next cover. Lois Lane, born on Earth, had up until then led an un­earthly exis­tence, all because she chose to be near the one she loves, and do bat­tle w/ battalions of babes intent on becom­ing the one to make children w/ the alien Adonis.









   As our story begins, Lois is about twenty-three years old, and Clark is two years older than that.




▶ Champion of the Oppressed
Action Comics №1 - 1938
Lois Lane sprang into life fully formed, along­side the genesis story of Superman. On his first day at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent is smit­ten and begins to court Lois.

When Clark is then assigned to cover a mys­tery man show­ing remark­able poten­tial, Lois is intrigued and goes on a first date to find out more. Twirling about the dance floor, he asks pointedly, “Why is it you always avoid me at the office?”

“Please Clark-! I’ve been scribbling sob stories all day long. Don’t ask me to dish out another.” Bored and star­ing away, her eyes hap­pen to lock on­to Butch, who’s been star­ing at her for quite some time.

See­ing his move Butch cuts in, then things turn ugly, and Lois gets an ink­ling that Clark may not be a man’s man.
When Butch facepalms her date she storms out and calls Clark, for the very first time, “… a spineless, un­bear­able coward!”. Catching up w/ the car that has just abducted her, Superman up­turns the vehicle and catches Lois, for the very first time, as she spills out of the back­seat win­dow. What he does next is famously depicted on the iconic front cover - lifting the car above his head. ... turning his attention back to Lois, she backs away in mild terror until he says, “You needn’t be afraid of me. I won’t harm you.”

Transfixed, she lets the strapping stranger scoop her up into his arms and, leaping high, carry her away. This winning formula provided years of creative chaos as the three main characters circled each other round and round.

This ends the first tale of Lois Lane’s life, and the beginning of her startling adventures to document the existence of this mental marvel and physical wonder, devoted to daring deeds she knows will reshape the destiny of a world.




▶ How Lois Got Her Job
Lois Lane №17 - 1960
(An Untold Story) (Demand Classic)

Every year on the anniversary of her first day to work for him, Perry White has thrown an office party to celebrate. One time he turned sentimental -- opened up: “... When Lois first asked me for a job, I told her I would hire her if she brought me three scoops in three days! She did it ... w/out Superman’s help!

Picking up the cue, Lois blows out the candles and hands the first slice to Perry. While his mouth is full, she gives her side of the story. On the first day at work Perry had given her a choice of several assignments, she chose the easiest one: securing evidence on a team of safe-crackers.


Dressed as a clean­ing lady, Lois walked into their lair w/ a vacuum clean­er, plugged it in, turned it on. This dis­guise turned up pure gold when a torn-up note was re­trieved, then taped back to­geth­er. Impli­ca­tions were de­duced; arrest war­rants even­tual­ly issued. More cake was passed around.

Her next assign­ment was to secure the first-ever photo­graph of a reclu­sive royal, prone to strong­arm tac­tics to en­sure his pri­vacy -- she comes back w/ the photo. Clark and Jim­my ask for an­oth­er slice -- at the same time.

The guest of honor takes this oppor­tunity to sit down, staring into the cavern now develop­ing in the cake. Her car had un­ex­pec­ted­ly broken down on the third assign­ment, and she ended up walking miles out to now­here in order to inter­view an ar­chae­o­lo­gist who was claiming a new dis­covery. She gets her story, and it’s a doozy but, w/ no easy access back, Lois devises the most inge­nious meth­od known to cor­re­spon­dents worldwide – en­ab­ling her post to reach Perry. It is front page news, and Lois lands her dream job.





▶ Man or Superman?
Superman №17 - 1942
Lois and Clark once teamed up to track down the Talon, titular head to a gang of thieves. She later returned to her desk, think­ing she was go­ing to write up a scoop, only to learn that Clark got there first. Exas­pe­ra­ted, she then asked and he then gave a reason so lame that it was enough to make her wonder if Clark might be Super­man. (There have been many ver­sions of this story since.) Clark is the arche­typal nerd, wear­ing glasses be­cause he really has to -- it’s his secret iden­tity. But how his phys­i­og­no­my didn’t give him away as son of Kryp­ton is one for the books. This instance of will­ful ignor­ance appar­ently is im­pos­sible. Because mental snapshots. In one telling, while at the office a com­mo­tion on the street below draws them to the win­dow -- a neck­lace rob­bery was in pro­gress. She sud­den­ly got a feel­ing she knew what Clark would do next, which was to give a flim­sy ex­cuse and dis­ap­pear, then a min­ute will pass and Super­man should (and will) fly past the win­dow. This quiz­zi­cal look does not go un­noticed by eagle-eyed Clark as he stages a retreat. Chang­ing into his cos­tume he thinks back to the very first time Lois ever did all of her won­der­ing. It had hap­pened one morn­ing when he had flown over the Daily Planet, and she had caught a quick glimpse. Lois was round­ing a corner and be­came aware of his land­ing on the roof of her office build­ing. “… and now he’s dropped out of sight! Good gra­cious! Maybe he works on the Planet staff, under a secret iden­tity!”





▶ Miss Lonelyhearts
Lois Lane №3 - 1958
Lois once went above and beyond her duties as the advice columnist. She had shown up at the eighth floor landing window of the Belvue Apartments, where a despondent man was threatening to jump. Lois climbs out, telling him she too wants to jump, “Er-(gulp!) Do you think you’re the only person in the world w/ a broken heart?” Prompt­ly los­ing her foot­ing, Lois goes over the edge.


Man­ages to catch the cor­ner of a elec­tion ban­ner hang­ing be­low. Be­fore it can tear off she has swung into po­si­tion to plum­met through a num­ber of wind­ow awn­ings. Cushioning her fall un­til a fire­man’s net catches her. This viv­id dem­on­stra­tion of fall­ing in love cures the man’s sick heart, so he climbs back in and goes to where Lois is being treat­ed. You’re won­der­ful, Miss Lane! The next time I com­mit sui­cide, it’s go­ing to be over you!





▶ School for Scoops
Lois Lane №29 - 1961
Through pluck and per­ser­ve­rance Lois becomes the number one female reporter in the United States! The Uni­ver­sity of Metrop­olis asks her to give a lecture course. Hearing this news, racketeer Nick Roker sends two gun­men to the campus. Because.

Lois proves a preco­cious professor and, w/ the help of Jimmy Olsen, stages re-creations of actual cases. Jimmy walks the class through the first scenario. Drugged by a gang she’s been after, Lois gains conscious­ness to find that she is bound, gagged, inside a tiny base­ment. Some­one behind is about to put a blind­fold on her. At this critical moment, Lois locates the base­ment’s electric meter and mem­orizes its serial number.


This bit of infor­ma­tion helps break the case and gets her a scoop. Before dismiss­ing the class, she hands out wri­ting assign­ments.

The next day students are greeted by a grue­some set piece: Hav­ing once crossed the line w/ racket­eer “Duke” Benson, he has en­ticed her over to his office and there ties her to a chair, plac­ing a bomb beneath the chair before his exit. Ignor­ing the lit fuse, she leans for­ward and nudges the phone off its cradle, picks up a pencil w/ her mouth, and dials 9-1-1, ... in the time it takes for her to grade this sec­ond assign­ment, Lois has deduced that two are not written by journal­ism students.

Think­ing to instruct her class by treat­ing this develop­ment as a case study, she outs them on­ly to real­ize too late they were sent to off her. Lois’s quick think­ing dis­tracts them long enough for Jim­my’s signal-watch to sum­mon Super­man, who makes a brief cameo at the very end.





▶ Lois’s College Scoops
Lois Lane №55 - 1965
(An Untold Tale)

One time, Lois took Jimmy Olsen and Super­man to her college re­union. There she grew nostalgic and, picking up a school scrap­book, leafed through to find a clip­ping of her first scoop for the Raleigh Review. It was an im­possible first assign­ment: to join an all-male only fenc­ing team and write about the expe­rience. The fenc­ing captain, who was a good sport and will­ing to go along, gives Lois a week to practise before they were to meet in a bout.


Through diligence and sheer love-of-report­ing, she out­fences the cap­tain, land­ing Lois her very first scoop.

Then she puts down her cup of punch and begins to leaf through a second scrap­book, lo­cat­ing a clip­ping of her first-hand ac­count of dis­cov­er­ing a new comet – by fluke, dur­ing a night at the Small­ville ob­ser­va­tory, where she was using the tele­scope to write a paper for astronomy class.

The last page held a tat­tered clip­ping of her strang­est scoop. Tak­ing a solo field trip for biol­ogy class, Lois had stum­bled across – and captured on film – a live pter­an­don and a liv­ing sabre-tooth. Her biolo­gy teac­her is wowed. Those pre­historic crea­tures van­ished with­out a trace, Lois! But thanks to the movies you took, we know exactly how they looked and acted!





▶ How Clark Kent First Met Lois Lane  (Bonus Tale)
Adventure Comics №128 - 1948
(An Exclusive Adventure of Superboy)

While still in high school, Clark receives a letter from the Daily Planet:  Clark Kent, 713 Main Street. Con­grat­u­la­tions! You are one of the two winners of our an­nual con­test to hon­or the best school news­paper re­por­ters. Your prize is a free-trip to Me­trop­o­lis, where you will be al­lowed to work as cub re­por­ter for one week. 

Overjoyed and full of bonhomie, Clark shows up and is introduced to Lois Lane, the other winner; he takes an instant shine to her. The editor tries to break this spell by assign­ing a competition to see who can bring in the best story of the day, with the winner getting a front page byline! Lois suggests a side bet to Clark, “The loser treats the winner to an ice cream sundae?”

I never bet … but I’ll make an excep­tion in your case!” After handshakes, Lois ventures out and, based on a hunch, stumbles into criminal activity, resulting in being tied up and about to meet her end – Superboy arrives and saves the day. After he has dispatched her attackers, this unknown being glides over and unties Lois. On an impulse she jumps into his arms and asks to be carried away from the scene, a request the Boy of Tomor­row was fated to grant. She later on wins the compe­tition (Clark has been busy else­where) and, after work, he takes her to a soda fountain and pays his bet. They spend the week chas­ing stories, then it’s time to wave good­bye to Lois from a train plat­form, wondering if he’ll ever cross paths w/ her again.


|  NOTES

[1]
BASED ON reports from, among others, Tricia Annis, Tim Hanley, Steven Thompson, and Internet searches.
[2]
BACK COVER AD – The back cover ad for Action Comics №1 was bought by the Johnson Smith & Company in Detroit, Michigan. They were purveyors of, among other things: - pocket radios - midget radios - midget pocket radios - magic radios - crystal radios - radio & television books - experiment sets - wireless transmittals - telegraph sets - electric phones - electric baseballs - world mikes (a microphone) - deluxe microphones - big entertainers (an air mattress) - Stinson Reliant giant flying planes - all-metal model airplanes - wigs (blond only) - yacht caps - live chameleons - x-ray glasses - booklets on hypnotism, learning to dance, learning to tap dance, ventriloquism, and ju-jitsu - whoopee cushions - joy bussers - rings - luminous photos - luminous paints - movie projectors - telescopes - field glasses - world's smallest candid cameras - bull dog fish hooks - and Japanese rose bushes.