50, 100 and 150 years ago: January 2023

1973

Hydrogen power

“The fundamental dilemma represented by what has been called the ‘global energy crisis’ can be simply stated: Earth’s reserves of non-renewable fossil fuels will inevitably be depleted and, in any event, the natural environment of the Earth cannot easily assimilate the by-products of fossil fuels. – fuel consumption at much higher rates without suffering from unacceptable pollution levels. Major categories of energy consumption such as transportation, space heating and heavy industrial processes are primarily fueled by fossil fuels. If the “energy gap” of the future is to be filled by nuclear energy in the form of electricity, then the United States will have come a long way to becoming an “all-electric economy”. One can argue for the indirect use of nuclear energy to produce a synthetic secondary fuel that would be delivered more cheaply and would be easier to use than electricity in many large-scale applications: hydrogen gas.

Ranked universities

“Although the volume of secret government research conducted at American universities has declined sharply over the past decade, in part due to student and faculty protests, a number of large institutions, primarily state universities, continue to undertake classified projects. In fiscal year 1972, the Department of Defense entered into at least 29 classified contracts with universities, not counting contracts for work performed at off-campus facilities. Among the contracts, 12 are with two institutions: the University of Texas and the University of Michigan.

1923

Happy tax givers

“In Thebes, the ancient capital of Upper Egypt, archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania have found demotic or common language papyri that fill a gap in history from 309 to 246 BC. raise heavy taxes with minimal injury and dissatisfaction. As the manuscripts deal primarily with financial matters, perhaps our own Ptolemies will learn from them how to create within us a nation of cheerful givers.

Shale oil heating

“From Sweden comes the report that peat briquettes, which have been impregnated with shale oil, are a very good substitute for coal. The impregnation process simply involves mixing powdered peat with 10% by weight shale oil and then briquetting. The price of these briquettes is quoted as being half that of anthracite coal.

1873

sewing machine monopoly

“The Sewing Machine Ring, consisting of the Singer, Howe, Grover & Baker and Wheeler & Wilson companies, failed to induce our last Congress to sanction their modest attempt to maintain their encroaching and unjust monopoly for another seven years. , their efforts must be redoubled, and whatever influence, political or pecuniary, which may be exerted, will be exercised without hesitation during the coming spring in a last great attempt to force the work through the Forty-Second Congress The patent, which has already expired and on which a third term is sought, is for the “feed” movement.If this measure is passed, the owners will once again rule over the entire business of sewing machines.Thousands inventors, who have worked out improvements of great practical value, are subject to the mercy of this Ring, which can drive them out of the market and deprive the public of such good machines at low prices. s cheaper.

foam alcohol

“In the northern governments of Russia, large quantities of alcohol are produced from the mosses and lichens that grow there in enormous quantities. This new industry originated in Sweden and was later introduced to Finland. Several major distilleries exhibited such alcohol at the recent industrial exhibition in Moscow, where German, French and English manufacturers praised its quality.

Old Scientific American covers from 1973, 1923 and 1873.

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