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Needed: A National Facts Center
May 1964 Radio-Electronics

May 1964 Radio-Electronics

May 1964 Radio-Electronics Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio-Electronics, published 1930-1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

1984 George Orwell - RF CafeCareful what you wish for, because you might just get it. We almost got it here in the U.S., a year or so ago in the form of Nina Jankowicz, aka "Scary Poppins," based on the bazaar video she posted. She was the candidate for ordination into the top post of a proposed new "Disinformation Governance Board (DGB)," akin to George Orwell's Ministry of Truth. Fortunately, reaction to her nutty past quickly nixed not just her, but the DGB. Technology visionary Hugo Gernsback, in this 1964 issue of his Radio-Electronics magazine, lamented the growing amount of bad science getting passed off as good science because there was not some central vetting agency to separate the figurative wheat from the chaff. With the encroaching Marxism occurring worldwide these days, I wonder whether Mr. Gernsback would still make this claim: "A National Facts Center must be built and operated by the Federal Government." Based on his record of championing private industry and academia - at least in its state of being in his day - I doubt it. I will point out, though, that 1984 was published in 1949, so surely Gernsback knew of the dangers of such concept in the wrong hands.

... Billions of Haphazard Facts Will Soon Drown Us ...

Hugo Gernsback, Editor-in-Chief

In our December 1959 issue, we wrote: An important government official, commenting on the chaos of electronic research, recently rebuked American research scientists for failing to make use of available Russian data. This occurred in early October, 1959, during the Chicago meeting of the National Electronics Conference, and was described in a news report:

"John C. Green, director, Office of Technical Services, Department of Commerce, said his office began translating Soviet scientific reports more than a year ago and, because of the impact of Russia's sputniks, had expected these translations to total 25% to 50% of its sales of science papers. Actually, he said, they amounted to only $50,000 out of the total of $500,000, or 10%.

"Mr. Green offered several reasons - researchers don't want new sources of information because they are already floundering in reports; some still discount the worth of Russian data, and others simply don't know the Russian translations are available.

"What scientific research needs," Mr. Green declared, "is a new professional - 'an information scientist' - to peruse the mountain of information and dispense relevant data to working researchers."

"Floundering in reports" is stating the condition far too mildly - "drowning in reports" would, in our opinion, be more to the point.

How could it be otherwise in an industry that mushrooms at such a fantastic rate of growth that it doubles its new inventions and devices every few years? What will the electronics field be in 10 years, 25 years, 50 years hence?

Today we have millions of electronic facts available to our researchers. Soon there will be billions of facts - what then?

Several times in recent years, research teams have developed 'new' devices, only to find that identical ones had been in use elsewhere for a different purpose. They had been fully described in technical papers, too.

Since 1959, an urgent situation has become well nigh desperate.

Useless, uncoordinated research and effort badly dog every industry today. Duplication in all endeavors is universal. Inventions or ideas are duplicated and "re invented" periodically in countries all over the globe.

The amount of effort and money that goes into these foolish duplications is not only wasted but a constant source of embarrassment to their authors.

• Thus a technical description of radar was originally publicized with text and picture in the December 1911 issue of Modern Electronics. But the idea lay dormant for 24 years. Then, with great fanfare, it was "re-invented" in 1935 by various persons.

• Early in 1964, the War Department made public its hitherto highly classified "television bomb" under its code name of "WALLEYE." This nonnuclear bomb, with a television camera in its nose, guides a bombardier to his distant target and is then exploded from its carrier plane, even in an overcast. It was fully described and illustrated 13 years ago by the writer in the January 1951 issue of Radio-Electronics.

Every inventor and thousands of technicians are only too familiar with these duplications and constant re-inventions all over the world. Not only are huge sums and fortunes expended endlessly on these useless redundancies, but every corporation, every large business is plagued with lawsuits from the original inventors and patentees.

OOne would think that patent offices the world over would know every patentable idea in every classification. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hundreds of thousands of patents are not worth the paper they are printed on - the same ideas were printed and explained in countless books, magazines and in the press years and decades before the patents were issued. Why?

• There are only so many patent examiners and they cannot see everything, in dozens of different languages. Hence, worthless patents are issued in every nation that has a patent office. Such patents then must be contested in court after they have been granted.

For this reason, the French - probably the first to do so - grant their patents "Sans garantie du Gouvernement" (without any guarantee by the Government). They learned from sad experience that a patent, in the majority of cases, was also an invitation to a patent suit.

The U.S. Patent Office is now hopelessly behind in its work. It takes an average of 3 to 4 years to obtain a patent. At the beginning of 1964 nearly 250,000 U.S. patent applications were pending! Experts tell us that we have far too few patent examiners, of whom most are grossly underpaid, despite the arduous, intricate work they have to perform.

It is also a sad state of affairs that, when finally a patent has been issued, the art has often long surpassed the patent - it has become antique and often useless, unless it has fundamentally new features. And such patents are rare.

How long is this unnecessary chaos going to go on, particularly in the United States, which has probably far more technical ideas, patents, processes and inventions than many other countries combined? Patent processing techniques must be revamped before we bog down in such an avalanche of facts that it will take us decades to extricate ourselves. We repeat here what we have suggested several times in the past:

• A National Facts Center must be built and operated by the Federal Government. Only the Government is big enough to build and run such a center. It would be far larger than even the Pentagon. Nor would the information which it supplied be free - not any more free than present Patent Office services. Whatever information was demanded by any industry or individual would cost a scheduled statutory fee.

• The center would be equipped with possibly the largest array of electronic computers in existence. Every important scientific, electronic and industrial fact would be coded and carded, as well as cross-indexed in various categories. All these billions of facts would be fed to the computers in such a manner that, upon inquiry, the proper information could be given, often within seconds.

These facts and information would not come solely from American sources. That would defeat the whole purpose. Facts would be culled from every country of the world - only in this manner could the center be all-comprehensive.

The Facts Center would have to be closely allied with the Patent Office - each would be dependent upon the other.

In this manner industry, researchers, inventors and others would not have to waste their time any longer in useless research - the key to their problem would be forthcoming within minutes from the Facts Center. To be sure, the key itself would solve no problems - it would state, however, where your vital information could be found. It would be an immense shortcut for all research. - H. G.

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Ministry of Truth - Stereo System

In George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984," the term "Ministry of Truth" refers to one of the four ministries that govern the totalitarian regime of Oceania. The Ministry of Truth, also known as "Minitrue," is responsible for propaganda, historical revisionism, and the control of information.

In the novel, the Ministry of Truth is depicted as a sprawling government building where the Party's version of reality is manufactured and disseminated to the population. Its main function is to rewrite historical records to align with the current Party narrative and manipulate the past to support the regime's present actions and policies. This process is referred to as "doublethink" and involves erasing and altering documents, photographs, and any evidence that contradicts the Party's version of events.

The Ministry of Truth is also responsible for creating and spreading propaganda through various mediums, such as newspapers, films, and the telescreen system. It employs a large number of workers who engage in constant rewriting and editing to ensure that all information aligns with the Party's ideology and maintains the illusion of an infallible and all-knowing government.

The name "Ministry of Truth" is an example of the Party's use of euphemistic language to deceive and manipulate the population. In reality, the Ministry of Truth is dedicated to spreading lies, distorting the truth, and controlling the historical narrative to maintain the Party's power and control over the minds of the citizens of Oceania.

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Separate the Wheat from the Chaff

The phrase "separate the wheat from the chaff" has its origins in biblical and agricultural contexts.

In its biblical origin, the phrase can be traced back to the New Testament in the Gospel of Matthew, specifically in Matthew 3:12: "His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." This passage refers to the concept of divine judgment and the separation of the righteous (symbolized by the wheat) from the wicked (symbolized by the chaff) at the end of time.

In an agricultural sense, the phrase describes the process of winnowing, which is separating the grain from the chaff. After threshing, where the stalks of wheat are beaten to loosen the grains, winnowing is done to remove the chaff. This involves tossing the mixture of wheat and chaff into the air, allowing the wind to blow away the lighter chaff while the heavier wheat grains fall back to the ground.

Figuratively, "separating the wheat from the chaff" came to mean discerning or distinguishing what is valuable or important from what is worthless or unimportant. It implies the act of sorting or differentiating between good and bad, quality and inferiority, or the significant and insignificant.



Posted June 19, 2023

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