Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

"The Man Who Mastered Gravity" was published in March, 2023. Use this space to share your thoughts, comments, praise and/or cries of outrage.
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Jan Lundquist
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Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

Post by Jan Lundquist »

I remember when the Wiki entry for TTB was sparse and skeptical. Out of curiosity, I checked it again this morning and see that It has since been updated, using much of Draft 1 for a source, as well as the new book. Perhaps you are one of the page editors?

But, all in all, the entry feels incomplete. From the first paragraph:
Instead of being an antigravity force, what Brown observed has generally been attributed to electrohydrodynamics, the movement of charged particles that transfers their momentum to surrounding neutral particles in air, also called "ionic drift" or "ionic wind".
This is the only mention of EHD in the entire article, yet, by the time the family was living in Ashlawn, Brown was well aware that he was working with electrohydrodynamics, though he was calling it electromagnetohydrodynamics. Terminology evolve as knowledge evolves.

And then there is this, on the "back" (Talk) page where editors discuss their updates:

"Electrogravitics is less well understood" - According to this it was well understood, just not understood by Brown and company.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Thom ... send_Brown

"this" links to the new book.

Getting hungup on proving or disproving "electrogravitics" might lead one to assume that it was the end point of Townsend's research. I think it was more likely, the starting point. Though it and many other G words were introduced and kicked around in the gravity research of 55/56, Townsend had coined the term in his twenties, before joining the Navy.

It might be insightful to know when Townsend, himself, last used the term to explain his work Surely, he would have expanded his own understanding of the effect once he gained access to the work of the NRL.

Remember that our ability to "do" science was so primitive at the time he joined the lab, that its only research divisions were Radio and Sound. (https://www.nrl.navy.mil/About-Us/History/). As their knowledge base expanded, so did his. (And, presumably, vice versa)

It is also important to bear in mind that Townsend's association with the lab did not end once he joined the Naval Reserve.

I do not know how the NRL/ONR/USNR organizations function now, but during Townsend's service time, Reserve engineering officers served the as the lab's eyes and ears during the various pre-production stages of proof of concept, breadboarding, and final implementation testing prior to production. This lead Townsend to dabble in all sorts of "bleeding edge" science. Whether it was science he played a role in originating, we do not know.


But now that the existence of gravity waves has been verified, perhaps electrogravitics might come back into fashion again:
Observations are made in "runs". As of January 2022, LIGO has made three runs (with one of the runs divided into two "subruns"), and made 90 detections of gravitational waves.[14][15]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LIGO


SIDENOTE: After WWII USNR EOs were also often double hatted into intelligence roles, as it was understood that the eternal Great Battle will always be for the lead in "conquering" knowledge.
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Jan Lundquist
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Re: Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

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Curiously, the above linked Wiki "Talk" page has this annotation:
A Mildly Contrarian Point of View

I live in the Cleveland-Akron area and was a technical writer. As a kid I was aware of the fact that several local firms were involved in so-called anti-gravity research in the fifties and sixties, and that the federal government was aggressively seeking out people who might develop anti-gravity. I worked for two firms involved (before my time) in the field, and stumbled across an archives collection elsewhere that strongly hinted applied AG research was carried out in the Columbus area, as well. I and five others observed two unidentified aerial phenomena from an altitude of less than a hundred feet, as kids. I did work for two years in Los Angeles with 125 others on what can best be described as pseudo-scientific matters for a government agency, which treated what we did as routine. I had viewed these things as most likely elaborate disinformation projects, but in light of the December 2017 announcement about the Threat Assessment Project, and a NASA announcement a year earlier about an electron drive having proven itself to work, I point your attention to a short story, "Not In The Literature," by Christopher Anvil.66.213.14.115 (talk) 18:02, 6 May 2018 (UTC) Dictionary
I have not puzzled out what in 2016 and 2017 announcements caused the author of the above para to rethink his assessment of his "psuedo-scientific" work. However, If one looks at it as a parable, with Brown as the unknown scientist, thrown out of the Chemistry profession, it takes on interesting dimensions. Whether it is a true parable or not, readers must judge for themselves.

Not in the Literature is Chapter 22 in the volume of collected short stories entitled Prescription for Chaos by Chris Anvil. It can be found here. http://baencd.freedoors.org/Books/Pres ... 35__22.htm.

SIDENOTE: Another curious feature of the Wiki Talk page, as it appears, today, is that it says it was last updated on May 6, 2018, which means whomever linked to your new book must have been very psychic. Or posting from the FTM. Or, more boringly there was a software glitch.
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Re: Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

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Jan Lundquist wrote: Mon Mar 27, 2023 7:46 pm SIDENOTE: Another curious feature of the Wiki Talk page, as it appears, today, is that it says it was last updated on May 6, 2018, which means whomever linked to your new book must have been very psychic. Or posting from the FTM. Or, more boringly there was a software glitch.
Boy. You guys are getting way ahead of me here.

All I can tell you for now is that the links to the new book in Brown's Wikipedia entry are my doing. I went in there a couple of months ago and changed the name to the new book and changed the links to a page on the website.

That was before the book came out, so now it dawns on me that I probably need to update the linked pages with another link to the Amazon pages.

Tomorrow.

--PS
Paul Schatzkin, author of 'The Man Who Mastered Gravity' https://amz.run/6afz
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It's "a multigenerational project." What's your hurry?
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Re: Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

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and stumbled across an archives collection elsewhere that strongly hinted applied AG research was carried out in the Columbus area,
Oh, that's interesting! "The Townsend Brown Foundation of Columbus" was the organization planning to build that Temple Hill laboratory in (I assume) the 1950s. I've forgotten if we know who the corporate sponsor there was.
the December 2017 announcement about the Threat Assessment Project
I have not puzzled out what in 2016 and 2017 announcements caused the author of the above para to rethink his assessment of his "psuedo-scientific" work.
The Threat Assessment Project would be Luiz Elizondo's AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program), funded by Bigelow Aerospace. Elizondo began to talk widely about his involvement in AATIP in December 2017, kicking off the current wave of UFO/UAP interest which lead to the establishment of AARO (All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office) and, now, the David Grusch whistleblower complaint coming out of AARO.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_ ... on_Program
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Re: Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

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Thanks, Nate.

The announcement that the Townsend Brown Foundation would be building the Temple Hill Lab was published in the Zanesville paper in 1944.

We know that the Brown family wealth was lost in the depression, but the Foundation, founded in 1938, just as the radar funding began to flow, always had money. Linda recalls that Townsend used the finest leather chairs in his offices and desk sets, and corresponded on the best linen stationary. In later years, she would recall writing a check to Stanford University for $100,000.

I believe that the Foundation was the pass-through organization for whatever "deeper draft" vehicle funded the lab, where RADAR and the MEP, the two top secret developments of WWII, were intended to cross-pollinate.
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Re: Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

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Uh, somebody please tell me again, what does the acronym 'MEP' stand for?

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It's "a multigenerational project." What's your hurry?
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"We will just sail away from the Earth, as easily as this boat pushed away from the dock" - TTB
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Re: Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

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Uh, somebody please tell me again, what does the acronym 'MEP' stand for?
I assume Rose means the Manhattan Project, the initials for which I think are actually MED (Manhattan Engineer District).

It certainly is very odd that the Townsend Brown Foundation should have been building a Los Angeles lab in 1944! In my layman's opinion that certainly wouldn't have happened without a very direct and essential military purpose being involved. Who had money to spend (or the wish to take the social risk of being seen spending it) on anything else but assuring Allied victory, in those years?

But radar and atomic fission coming together in one private lab? Yikes! That sounds like a security nightmare and a foreign mole's dream, and also, I'm not sure how mixing two unrelated technologies like that would actually help either science or the war effort? It's not like you need to bounce microwaves directly off a uranium nucleus to initiate fission.

My bet would be that the Foundation's lab would have had more to do with radar than anything atomic, in 1944. I would be happy to be proven wrong.

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Re: Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

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Nate, in place of the private lab that was never built, was a lab so secret that its origins are still obscure. The one constant in the story is that the gigantimous Wonderland facility was used for movie making after the war.

But in 1944, by the date of the Temple Hill announcement, the MEP project was fully revved up and the planned demonstration was driving the schedule. Though they probably had significant ability to study test results through an analysis of atmospheric radiation, what they didn't have was the ability to study optical radiation as captured in film.

Special cameras, films, and lenses would have been needed in time for the test and a raft of requisite expertise could be found in Hollywood, just down the hill from Wonderland. Who better to helm this effort than the author of the seminal book on photographic filters, MEP scientist, Bradford Shank? We know that he was in LA, in '46/'47working on movies related to the atomic bomb, but I think he was there, earlier and that is when he and Townsend first became acquainted.
Last edited by Jan Lundquist on Wed Jun 28, 2023 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wikipedians are gradually getting with the program

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Nate, in place of the private lab that was never built, was a lab so secret that its origins are still obscure. The one constant in the story is that the gigantimous Wonderland facility was used for movie making after the war.
Ah! So you're thinking that 8935 Wonderland Avenue (that according to Wikipedia, became the temporary Los Angeles Flight Control Center by 1943 and then Lookout Mountain Air Force Station by 1947: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lookout_M ... ce_Station) literally is the 1944 Townsend Brown Foundation Temple Hill lab? So the "Townsend Brown" name was perhaps being used as a cutout just for funding purposes? And that it might have been used for a whole bunch of other unrelated projects?

For some reason that possibility had never crossed my mind.

Okay, so here's what the LA Department of City Planning said in 2015:

https://planning.lacity.org/StaffRpt/CH ... 0Final.pdf
Los Angeles Department of City Planning
RECOMMENDATION REPORT
PROJECT: Historic-Cultural Monument Application for the
LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION
REQUEST: Declare the property a Historic-Cultural Monument
...
CULTURAL HERITAGE COMMISSION
HEARING DATE: September 17, 2015
TIME: 10:00 AM
...
CASE NO.: CHC-2015-2485-HCM
ENV-2015-2486-CE
Location: 8935 Wonderland Ave
...

The property at 8935 Wonderland Avenue was originally designed, built, owned, and occupied by the U.S. Air Force Facilities Command as the Lookout Mountain Air Force Station. The base was strategically placed in the predominantly residential neighborhood of Laurel Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains near the southwest intersection of Wonderland Avenue and Holly Place. In 1941 the Air Force developed the property as a defense center to coordinate Los Angeles area radar installations. Over time, additional facilities were added and the building was remodeled as the military’s needs evolved. In 1944, the station expanded to accommodate work on the Manhattan Project, the United States’ covert mission to develop nuclear weapons. A fully operational movie studio was built to edit and study film from atomic bomb tests. The classified films and still photographs never left the facility and were kept in climate controlled vaults on the premises. Those involved in the atomic bomb’s development came to the Lookout Mountain Air Force Station in order to view and study the footage, including Albert Einstein, General Curtis Lemay, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and President Harry S. Truman.

After the war, the facility continued to be used for military film production. The 100,000 square-foot building housed sound-stages, screening rooms, film-processing labs and even an animation department. It also featured a bomb shelter, a helicopter landing pad, 17 climate-controlled vaults, and two underground parking garages. The facility operated as a military film facility with the United States Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission, responsible for documenting atomic weapons testing, from 1947 until the facility’s decommissioning in 1968.
p20
the 100,000 square foot facility was built in two phases; The first phase was built in 1942 as an alternative War Time Air Traffic Control Center for Los Angeles. It was located on a 2.5 ac site in the Laurel Canyon Hills to hide it from potential Japanese air attack. In 1944 a fully-operational movie studio was added in secret for the Manhattan Project to build the Atomic Bomb.
p33
As part of America’s reaction to the surprise attack on Perl Harbor the Base is unique in that it placed a key defense facility into a unique residential neighborhood: Laurel Canyon. Hidden in the hills with a view to the east where inbound plane were approaching, the facility was perfectly suited for its job: direct Air Traffic and be in a difficult place for attacking Japanese bombers to find. As the war dragged on, the facility was recruited for the role of supporting the Manhattan Project – America’s effort to develop an Atomic bomb with which it could end the War quickly and save millions of lives. In developing the bomb, the only way to observe the test was to make a film. The Air Force had long range lenses for Ariel reconnaissance and Hollywood had camera and film technology as well as film makers who could film the test. The facility was enlarged and staff recruited from Hollywood’s creative elite. In fact the facility also served as a Prisoner of War Camp for the capture Atomic Scientists who were housed
there to collaborate on the development and refinement of the Atomic Bomb (Their German reading books are still at the base today). Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, Curtis Lemay, Harry Truman were all at the base as the trinity films never left the facilities vaults
Very bad spelling there suggests not so great fact-checking for that section.
The 100,000 sq. ft. (9,300m) facility was built on 2.5 acres in 1941 as a World War II air defense center to coordinate Los Angeles area radar installations.[2] When the studio was established in 1944, its purpose was kept secret. The studio consisted of one large sound stage, a film laboratory, two screening rooms, four editing rooms, an animation and still photo department, sound mixing studio, and numerous climate controlled film vaults. Using the latest equipment, the studio could process both 35mm and 16mm color motion picture film as well as black and white and color still photographs
After an extensive survey of the Los Angeles area, the General choose the Air Force facility at 8935 Wonderland Avenue. The facility had been constructed on two acres of land in 1943 at a cost of $132,000 to house the Los Angeles Flight Control Center. After WW II, the Los Angeles Flight Control Center was closed and the grounds and building declared surplus to the needs of the Air Force. In the fall of 1947 the 1352d Motion Picture Squadron was activated at Wonderland.[4]

In January, 1948, the building was acquired from the War Assets Administration by the Air Force and the Atomic Energy Commission for the Wonderland Laboratory for use in support of JTF-7. Extensive remodeling commenced by the Los Angeles Office of the Army Core of Engineers and was paid for by the AEC.

..
In the fall of 1949, Lt. General Curtis LeMay decided that the production of motion pictures was not a proper function of the Strategic Air Command. Wonderland AFB Laboratory and all its staff were transferred to the Air Proving Ground under the command of Lt. General William E. Kepner.
Yep, conflicting histories (probably all sourced from Wikipedia).

But there seems agreement that it was already doing Manhattan Project film work in 1944. Not 1947. Yep, that does align with the Townsend Brown foundation date of 1944, doesn't it?

Security in 1944 must still have been a nightmare, if they were doing radar there as well... or is it easier to hide a secret project by attaching it to an existing not-quite-as-secret base, so it shares perimeter security and there's a covenient cover story for everyone, and you just have the secret staff do their stuff in a sectioned off area? So although the security seems worse, it's actually better? I don't have a slanted enough mind to think opsec, I guess.
Period details that do remain include corrugated glass, colored concrete steps, and steel windows. Original Air Force features remain such as the air traffic control tower, the tie-down points for the World War II camouflage netting that covered the building, and the security vaults built by Diebold to hold the secret atom bomb films.
An air traffic control tower suggests that it really was functioning as legitimate air traffic control as well as the completely unrelated to air traffic control stuff.

Have we read Lookout America? A 2018 book dedicated to the site. I wonder if it covers the years before 1947 at all.

http://act.mit.edu/2019/10/kevin-hamilt ... -cold-war/

Nate
Going on a journey, somewhere far out east
We'll find the time to show you, wonders never cease
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