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President Bearwarden's Speech






Part of: JUNITER
From: A Journey In Other Worlds

"To the Bondholders and Stockholders of the Terrestrial Axis
Straightening Company and Representatives of Earthly Governments.

"GENTLEMEN: You know that the objects of this company are, to
straighten the axis of the earth, to combine the extreme heat of
summer with the intense cold of winter and produce a uniform
temperature for each degree of latitude the year round. At
present the earth's axis--that is, the line passing through its
centre and the two poles--is inclined to the ecliptic about
twenty-three and a half degrees. Our summer is produced by the
northern hemisphere's leaning at that angle towards the sun, and
our winter by its turning that much from it. In one case the
sun's rays are caused to shine more perpendicularly, and in the
other more obliquely. This wabbling, like that of a top, is the
sole cause of the seasons; since, owing to the eccentricity of
our orbit, the earth is actually fifteen hundred thousand miles
nearer the sun during our winter, in the northern hemisphere,
than in summer. That there is no limit to a planet's
inclination, and that inclination is not essential, we have
astronomical proof. Venus's axis is inclined to the plane of her
orbit seventy-five degrees, so that the arctic circle comes
within fifteen degrees of the equator, and the tropics also
extend to latitude seventy-five degrees, or within fifteen
degrees of the poles, producing great extremes of heat and cold.

"Venus is made still more difficult of habitation by the fact
that she rotates on her axis in the same time that she revolves
about the sun, in the same way that the moon does about the
earth, so that one side must be perpetually frozen while the
other is parched.

"In Uranus we see the axis tilted still further, so that the
arctic circle descends to the equator. The most varied climate
must therefore prevail during its year, whose length exceeds
eighty-one of ours.

The axis of Mars is inclined about twenty-eight and two thirds
degrees to the plane of its orbit; consequently its seasons must
be very similar to ours, the extremes of heat and cold being
somewhat greater.

"In Jupiter we have an illustration of a planet whose axis is
almost at right angles to the plane of its orbit, being inclined
but about a degree and a half. The hypothetical inhabitants of
this majestic planet must therefore have perpetual summer at the
equator, eternal winter at the poles, and in the temperate
regions everlasting spring. On account of the straightness of
the axis, however, even the polar inhabitants--if there are
any--are not oppressed by a six months' night, for all except
those at the VERY pole have a sunrise and a sunset every ten
hours--the exact day being nine hours, fifty five minutes, and
twenty-eight seconds. The warmth of the tropics is also tempered
by the high winds that must result from the rapid whirl on its
axis, every object at the equator being carried around by this at
the rate of 27,600 miles an hour, or over three thousand miles
farther than the earth's equator moves in twenty-four hours.

"The inclination of the axis of our own planet has also
frequently considerably exceeded that of Mars, and again has been
but little greater than Jupiter's at least, this is by all odds
the most reasonable explanation of the numerous Glacial periods
through which our globe has passed, and of the recurring mild
spells, probably lasting thousands of years, in which elephants,
mastodons, and other semi-tropical vertebrates roamed in Siberia,
some of which died so recently that their flesh, preserved by the
cold, has been devoured by the dogs of modern explorers.

"It is not to be supposed that the inclining of the axes of
Jupiter, Venus, the Earth, and the other planets, is now fixed;
in some cases it is known to be changing. As long ago as 1890,
Major-Gen. A. W. Drayson, of the British Army, showed, in a work
entitled Untrodden Ground in Astronomy and Geology, that, as a
result of the second rotation of the earth, the inclination of
its axis was changing, it having been 23@ 28' 23" on January 1,
1750, 23@ 27' 55.3" on January 1, 1800, and 23@ 27' 30.9" on
January 1, 1850; and by calculation one hundred and ten years ago
showed that in 1900 (one hundred years ago) it would be 23@ 27'
08.8". This natural straightening is, of course, going on, and
we are merely about to anticipate it. When this improvement was
mooted, all agreed that the EXTREMES of heat and cold could well
be spared. 'Balance those of summer against those of winter by
partially straightening the axis; reduce the inclination from
twenty-three degrees, thirty minutes, to about fifteen degrees,
but let us stop there,' many said. Before we had gone far,
however, we found it would be best to make the work complete.
This will reclaim and make productive the vast areas of Siberia
and the northern part of this continent, and will do much for the
antarctic regions; but there will still be change in temperature;
a wind blowing towards the equator will always be colder than one
blowing from it, while the slight eccentricity of the orbit will
supply enough change to awaken recollections of seasons in our
eternal spring.

"The way to accomplish this is to increase the weight of the pole
leaving the sun, by increasing the amount of material there for
the sun to attract, and to lighten the pole approaching or
turning towards the sun, by removing some heavy substance from
it, and putting it preferably at the opposite pole. This
shifting of ballast is most easily accomplished, as you will
readily perceive, by confining and removing water, which is
easily moved and has a considerable weight. How we purpose to
apply these aqueous brakes to check the wabbling of the earth, by
means of the attraction of the sun, you will now see.

"From Commander Fillmore, of the Arctic Shade and the Committee
on Bulkheads and Dams, I have just received the following by
cable telephone: 'The Arctic Ocean is now in condition to be
pumped out in summer and to have its average depth increased one
hundred feet by the dams in winter. We have already fifty
million square yards of windmill turbine surface in position and
ready to move. The cables bringing us currents from the dynamos
at Niagara Falls are connected with our motors, and those from
the tidal dynamos at the Bay of Fundy will be in contact when
this reaches you, at which moment the pumps will begin. In
several of the landlocked gulfs and bays our system of confining
is so complete, that the surface of the water can be raised two
hundred feet above sea- level. The polar bears will soon have to
use artificial ice. Perhaps the cheers now ringing without may
reach you over the telephone.'"

The audience became greatly interested, and when the end of the
telephone was applied to a microphone the room fairly rang with
exultant cheers, and those looking through a kintograph (visual
telegraph) terminating in a camera obscura on the shores of
Baffin Bay were able to see engineers and workmen waving and
throwing up their caps and falling into one another's arms in
ecstasies of delight. When the excitement subsided, the
president continued:

"Chairman Wetmore, of the Committee on Excavations and
Embankments in Wilkesland and the Antarctic Continent, reports:
'Two hundred and fifty thousand square miles are now hollowed out
and enclosed sufficiently to hold water to an average depth of
four hundred feet. Every summer, when the basin is allowed to
drain, we can, if necessary, extend our reservoir, and shall have
the best season of the year for doing work until the earth has
permanent spring. Though we have comparatively little water or
tidal power, the earth's crust is so thin at this latitude, on
account of the flattening, that by sinking our tubular boilers
and pipes to a depth of a few thousand feet we have secured so
terrific a volume of superheated steam that, in connection with
our wind turbines, we shall have no difficulty in raising half a
cubic mile of water a minute to our enclosure, which is but
little above sea-level, and into which, till the pressure
increases, we can fan or blow the water, so that it can be full
three weeks after our longest day, or, since the present
unimproved arrangement gives the indigenes but one day and night
a year, I will add the 21st day of December.

"'We shall be able to find use for much of the potential energy
of the water in the reservoir when we allow it to escape in June,
in melting some of the accumulated polar ice-cap, thereby
decreasing still further the weight of this pole, in lighting and
warming ourselves until we get the sun's light and heat, in
extending the excavations, and in charging the storage batteries
of the ships at this end of the line. Everything will be ready
when you signal "Raise water."'"

"Let me add parenthetically," said Bearwarden, "that this means
of obtaining power by steam boilers sunk to a great depth is much
to be commended; for, though the amount of heat we can withdraw
is too small to have much effect, the farther towards the centre
our globe can be cooled the deeper will the water of the oceans
be able to penetrate--since it is its conversion into steam that
prevents the water from working its way in farther--and the more
dry land we shall have."

"You see," the president continued, "the storage capacity at the
south pole is not quite as great as at the north, because it is
more difficult to excavate a basin than to close the exits of one
that already exists, which is what we have done in the arctic.
The work is also not so nearly complete, since it will not be
necessary to use the southern reservoir for storing weight for
six months, or until the south pole, which is now at its maximum
declination from the sun, is turned towards it and begins to move
away; then, by increasing the amount of matter there, and at the
same time lightening the north pole, and reversing the process
every six months, we decrease the speed at which the departing
pole leaves the sun and at which the approaching pole advances.
The north pole, we see, will be a somewhat more powerful lever
than the south for working the globe to a straight position, but
we may be sure that the latter, in connection with the former,
will be able to hold up its end."

[The building here fairly shook with applause, so that, had the
arctic workers used the microphone, they might have heard in the
enthusiastic uproar a good counterpart of their own period.]

"I only regret," the president continued, "that when we began
this work the most marvellous force yet discovered--apergy--was
not sufficiently understood to be utilized, for it would have
eased our labours to the point of almost eliminating them. But
we have this consolation: it was in connection with our work that
its applicability was discovered, so that had we and all others
postponed our great undertaking on the pretext of waiting for a
new force, apergy might have continued to lie dormant for
centuries. With this force, obtained by simply blending negative
and positive electricity with electricity of the third element or
state, and charging a body sufficiently with this fluid,
gravitation is nullified or partly reversed, and the earth repels
the body with the same or greater power than that with which it
still attracts or attracted it, so that it may be suspended or
caused to move away into space. Sic itur ad astra, we may say.
With this force and everlasting spring before us, what may we not
achieve? We may some day be able to visit the planets, though
many may say that, since the axes of most of those we have
considered are more inclined than ours, they would rather stay
here. 'Blessed are they that shall inherit the earth,'" he went
on, turning a four-foot globe with its axis set vertically and at
right angles to a yellow globe labelled "Sun"; and again waxing
eloquent, he added: "We are the instruments destined to bring
about the accomplishment of that prophecy, for never in the
history of the world has man reared so splendid a monument to his
own genius as he will in straightening the axis of the planet.

"No one need henceforth be troubled by sudden change, and every
man can have perpetually the climate he desires. Northern Europe
will again luxuriate in a climate that favoured the elephants
that roamed in northern Asia and Switzerland. To produce these
animals and the food they need, it is not necessary to have great
heat, but merely to prevent great cold, half the summer's sun
being absorbed in melting the winter's accumulation of ice.

"When the axis has reached a point at which it inclines but about
twelve degrees, it will become necessary to fill the antarctic
reservoir in June and the Arctic Ocean in December, in order to
check the straightening, since otherwise it might get beyond the
perpendicular and swing the other way. When this motion is
completely arrested, I suggest that we blow up the Aleutian Isles
and enlarge Bering Strait, so as to allow what corresponds to the
Atlantic Gulf Stream in the Pacific to enter the Arctic
Archipelago, which I have calculated will raise the average
temperature of that entire region about thirty degrees, thereby
still further increasing the amount of available land.

"Ocean currents, being the result of the prevailing winds, which
will be more regular than at present, can be counted upon to
continue practically as they are. It may not be plain to you why
the trade winds do not blow towards the equator due south and
north, since the equator has much the same effect on air that a
stove has in the centre of a room, causing an ascending current
towards the ceiling, which moves off in straight lines in all
directions on reaching it, its place being taken by cold currents
moving in opposite directions along the floor. Picture to
yourselves the ascending currents at the equator moving off to
the poles from which they came. As they move north they are
continually coming to parts of the globe having smaller circles
of latitude than those they have left, and therefore not moved
forward as rapidly by the earth's daily rotation as the latitudes
nearer the equator. The winds consequently run ahead of the
surface, and so move east of north--the earth turning towards the
east--while the heavier colder surface currents, rushing towards
the equator to take the place of the ascending column, coming
from regions where the surface whirls comparatively slowly to
those where it is rotating faster, are continually left behind,
and so move southwest; while south of the equator a corresponding
motion results. Though this is not the most exact explanation,
it may serve to make the action clear. I will add, that if any
one prefers a colder or a warmer climate than that of the place
in which he lives, he need only go north or south for an hour;
or, if he prefers his own latitude, he can rise a few thousand
feet in the air, or descend to one of the worked-out coal-mines
which are now used as sanitariums, and secure his object by a
slight change of altitude. Let us speed the departure of racking
changes and extremes of climate, and prepare to welcome what we
believe prevails in paradise--namely, everlasting spring."

Appended to the address was the report of the Government
Examining Committee, which ran: "We have critically examined the
Terrestrial Axis Straightening Company's figures and
calculations, also its statements involving natural philosophy,
physics, and astronomy, all of which we find correct, and hereby
approve.

[Signed] "For the Committee:

"HENRY CHELMSFORD CORTLANDT,

"Chairman."


The Board of Directors having ratified the acts of its officers,
and passed congratulatory resolutions, the meeting adjourned sine
die.





Next: Prof Cortlandt's Historical Sketch Of The World In A D 2000

Previous: Antecedental



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