The Charlotte News

Sunday, March 12, 1939



Site Ed. Note: The article on sun spots is interesting for the fact that some historians on Pearl Harbor, including at least one very recent and highly readable if controversial work, Day of Deceit, by Robert Stinnett, suggest that radio transmission intercepts of military code from the Japanese (as distinguished from their diplomatic codes)--and particularly messages from the supposedly silent Task Force moving toward Pearl, especially one such intercept received at the Office of Naval Intelligence station on Market Street in San Francisco in early December, 1941, claimed to have been triangulated to a Task Force moving first west and then lost as it apparently turned south off a latitude roughly equivalent to Seattle--that these intercepts during the Pearl Harbor operations to and from Tokyo and other mainland Japan bases, as well as between ships of the Task Force, were attributable directly to extraordinary sun spot activity, "one of the largest solar storms of the century". (Stinnett, p. 205) Otherwise, they would have been too far distant for normal reception by monitors.

But a little investigation of this phenomenon at NASA's website coupled with running down daily and yearly chronologies of sun spot activity dating as far back as the eye can see shows that during the latter days of November through December 7, 1941, as extrapolation from information in the article below also indicates, sun spot activity was on the ebb of its cycle, in at least the second full year of the 5.5 year declining half of the eleven-year cycle. (See RWC Belgium World Data Center) Thus, the decline was at least 40% through its cycle when Pearl Harbor occurred, resulting in only a medium amount of sun spot activity at the time. And the daily chart shows that there were only small spikes in activity during the two weeks preceding December 7, that limited to the week November 24 through December 1, when the Pearl Harbor-bound Task Force was put to sea. There was a large solar storm on March 24-25, 1940 which disrupted trans-oceanic radio transmissions; and there was another large one on September 17-19, 1941, though with no known effects on communications. But nothing of the kind in November or December.

Furthermore, issuing the caveat of our lack of any expertise on the phenomenon, while sun spots have been demonstrated to interfere with radio transmission--as the article also indicates and as presently accepted theory on the topic still indicates--we have found nothing which suggests that sun spots can enhance radio transmissions. There is historical data to suggest electromagnetic currents being set up by sun spots along telegraph lines to enable use of the lines without a power source--but no such effect has so far as we can tell been recorded as to radio waves. And it is the enhancement of the radio transmissions by sun spots which has been posited by the theorists propounding an explanation for what would otherwise have to be greater-than-possible reception distances for the monitors claiming receipt of the transmissions from the Japanese Task Force in early December, 1941. And that also assumes in any event as a sine qua non some large solar storm which in fact did not occur in this period.

But, of course, the reverse might be posited with greater force from the scientific data, that because sun spot activity was in its phase of low ebb in this period, lower generally at least than it had been in the previous six years, radio transmission distance was improved because of the relative absence of interference from high sun spot activity. Perhaps, this is an improved explanation for the claimed receipt of the radio transmissions which normally would have been out of range. But of course whether this alternate view improves the explanation or merely begs the unbeggable is dependent on whether the premise for radio range calculations is--as we would presume it to be--range under optimal, or at least average, conditions, that is, clear weather with low to medium sun spot interference. And if that, then one must also factor in the presence of fog and stormy weather during the Task Force's journey, especially November 28-30, as a further encumbrance to optimal radio transmission.

It should be pointed out also that whether such transmissions were in fact received remains controversial and in dispute among historians on Pearl Harbor. The prevailing view, whether accurate or not, is that, as the Japanese navy themselves claimed and were ordered to do by the high command, the Task Force strictly maintained radio silence during its voyage, both with the mainland and as to short-range transmissions between member ships of the Task Force, and thus remained quite hidden from United States, British, and Dutch radio monitors stationed in Seattle, San Francisco, Corregidor, Hawaii, and the East Indies. The only exception to this claimed radio silence was the deliberate communication of false radio signals to and from stations in Japan in an attempt to confuse the monitors of radio traffic.

But, of course, we of the herein posit and present old facts in a new and bit different light on all of this anyway--that the discoverable secret was hidden not in radio communications, deliberately meant to confuse as they were, received or not by U.S. monitors, or lack thereof. That, indeed, the Japanese, to assuage their sense of violation of honor, not to mention international law, for attacking without any warning at all to the enemy, did in fact attempt, in cloaked and symbolic form, to signal their intention. Ah, but a Tiger warns only in its stealth and then acts of its instinct. And warning in this manner, if that it was, was the same as acting without warning at all for all practical purposes. For the dead warning of their deeds of imminent death in such manner is as the murdering thief posting first a cryptic note among several cryptic notes on the pole of the next block a few hours ahead of the meeting by surprise, quaffing the Nirvanic sake, then fixing the wax-wings into the demon's bleating sunrise--to the Appointment in Sammara. And for that is always down the line exacted the great penalty. But you may read about all of that elsewhere at this site.

Whatever you decide about this particular, don't be tempted to direct research in the high sun spot cycle of the present period of 2000-2001, (do they also affect elections?), as the editorial importunes to accomplish with smoked glass. It still burns the retinas. Instead, test the theory with a shortwave radio...

And if you are unfamiliar with the Mt. Wilson Observatory, it is the one in the mountains above Pasadena and used as a set for "Rebel Without A Cause".

The Sun's Spots

The sun these days is down with the worst case of spotted fever it has had since 1870, according to the astronomers at the great Mt. Wilson Observatory in California. But even yet the maximum has probably not been reached. That will probably come in 1940.

What a sun spot is remains pretty much of a mystery. The older astronomers assumed blithely that they were depressions on the surface of the photosphere, and proved it to their satisfaction by the laws of perspective. But that has been blown up. And anyhow it never fitted very well with the accepted fact that the sun is composed entirely of uncombined gases, heated even at the surface to 2,000 degrees Centigrade.

As seen through a telescope they consist of an outer penumbra, that is a light shadow, and inner umbra--dark shadow. They range anywhere from a thousand to a hundred thousand miles across, and change their form and dimensions rapidly. Sometimes they last only a little while, and again for as long as eighteen months. They follow a cycle under which the period of their greatest activity falls every 11.13 years with almost perfect regularity. And at such periods of activity as we are now going through, it is possible to see them without a telescope, by looking at the sun through a piece of smoked glass.

It used to be fashionable for people who set up as prophets and seers to ascribe all sorts of great events to sun spots, and for other people to laugh at them for it. There are people now who devoutly believe that the great depression of 1929 stemmed directly from the fact that that was a year of maximum sun spot activity. That is all nonsense, no doubt, but as a matter of fact the notion that they may have some decided effect on us is no longer so funny as it used to be. The advent of the radio has changed all that. For it is plain that the increased activity of sun spots is associated with an increase in static. And it is now universally agreed that the appearance of the spots is accompanied by great magnetic storms in space. Sometimes, indeed, as recently, the thing goes so far that it actually interferes with transmission of messages over telegraph and telephone lines.

Paul Makes a Loan

Four years ago Congress passed and the President signed the Johnson Act, making it unlawful for any person or organization in the United States, except governmental agencies, to buy or to peddle the bonds of any foreign nation which was in default, even in partial default, to the American Government. As an expression of resentment against welshing in debtors, the Johnson Act was a masterly stroke. But otherwise it was nicely calculated to make it impossible for foreign nations ever to resume payments on account and to leave the Treasury holding the bag.

The Johnson Act is still on the books, and the bag is still in the same hands. But the new credit pact with Brazil entirely negates the policy it expresses and goes a step further in that it authorizes the Export-Import Bank and the Treasury to lend Brazil some $70,000,000 with which to stabilize her currency and resume payments on her defaulted bonds in this country. In fine, we are going to play the trade game with Brazil even if we have to pay for the chips which admit her.

Well, it is probably a wise move, and a little thing like $70,000,000 is negligible compared to the stake in Pan-American relations. But if it is good for Paul, which is to say the Government, it is good for Silas too, which is to say private U.S. bankers. Simple consistency demands the repeal of the Johnson Act.

Subdivision of Czechs

Hitler, not content with having reduced Czechoslovakia to the status of a puppet state, seems bent now on breaking it out into two completely separate states. For the independence movement now in progress is probably of his making, as the ousted premiere, Tiso, admits when he sends notes to Adolf reporting on the business and protesting, and as the world is warranted in suspecting from Nazi Germany's past performances.

The Slovaks, like all the other small peoples of Europe, are afflicted with excessive nationalism. And they seem to have had cause in the past for protest against the Czechs, who used their old mastery of the government to favor their own group at the expense of the others. But all that has been done away with since Slovakia was granted autonomy and co-equal status in the general government. And there are many reasons why the union should be continued. Slovakia is almost wholly agricultural, and its products are sold mainly to the Czech cities. Borders and customs barriers are not going to help its trade in that direction. And obviously, these little peoples can defend themselves better by hanging together.

Aside from the Slovaks' national egotism, the sole interest which will be served will be that of Hitler. It will be easier for him to coerce two small states that one larger one. And in particular, this division will prepare the way for presently detaching Ruthenia from Slovakia, to use as a nucleus for his projected Ukrainian state. That, indeed, is probably the main objective at which he is aiming in the present enterprise.


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