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John Lienhard

A Remarkable Government Investment

The PWA — the Public Works Administration — was, according to my father, a terrible exercise in government waste. Given the choice between creating soup kitchens and jobs during the Great Depression, the “New Deal” opted for a huge public works program, paid for by new taxes. So, while my father cursed, Washington created low-paying jobs for everyone from laborers to poets … [Read more...] about A Remarkable Government Investment

The GI Bill

I started college in 1947. Most of the other students in my classes were returning veterans, ten or so years older than I was. That was just three years after President Roosevelt had signed Public Law 346, The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act. But everyone simply called it the GI Bill. It gave tuition, books, and college living expenses to returning veterans. A predictable … [Read more...] about The GI Bill

How Many Wings

Things that are obvious so easily mislead us. That came home to me when I picked up a used book: Jim Winchester’s The World’s Worst Aircraft. I’ve seen at least two other books with similar titles. Anyone who’s studied the history of flight will think of bad airplanes beyond the 150 in this book. Then I noticed that almost ten percent of his bad airplanes had three or … [Read more...] about How Many Wings

When I Was A Child

We are told, “When I was a child … I thought like a child … When I was a man I put away childish things.” Well, I once helped survey the layout of rough dirt roads for logging trucks in the virgin Douglas fir forests near Roseburg, Oregon. That was in 1947. Nearby loggers felled those great trees, half a millennium old – 300 feet high. A falling tree sent a peal of thunder … [Read more...] about When I Was A Child