This little-known inventor has probably saved your life – By Rebecca Seales BBC News, in Melbourne 18 July 2019


A black and white picture showing the Reverend Hubert Warren with his wife and three of his childrenImage copyrightWARREN FAMILY COLLECTION
Image captionHubert Warren (left) died in one of Australia’s first major plane accidents
Presentational white space

On Friday 19 October, 1934, the passenger plane Miss Hobart fell from the sky to the sea.

Eight men, three women and a baby boy fell with her, swallowed – it’s believed – by the waters of the Bass Strait that lies between Tasmania and mainland Australia.

The plane’s wreckage was never found.

One of those on board was a 33-year-old Anglican missionary, Rev Hubert Warren, who had been travelling to his new parish in Enfield, Sydney. His wife Ellie and four children had stayed behind, intending to follow by boat.

The reverend’s last present to his eight-year-old son, David, had been a crystal radio set that the boy treasured deeply.

As a boarder at Launceston Boys’ Grammar School in Tasmania, David Warren tinkered with the machine after lessons, learning what made it work. He charged friends a penny to listen to cricket matches, and within a few years was selling home-made copies at five shillings each.

David pictured as a boy, wearing headphones and using his radio equipmentImage copyrightWARREN FAMILY COLLECTION
Image captionAs a schoolboy, David was fascinated by electronics and learned to build his own radio sets
Presentational white space

Young David was charismatic and a wonderful orator – a boy with star quality. His family, who were deeply religious, dreamed he would become an evangelical preacher.

But that was not to be. The gift from Rev Hubert, Man of God, had launched a love affair with Science.

It would prove to be of life-saving significance.

Short presentational grey line

By his mid-twenties, David Warren had studied his way to a science degree from the University of Sydney, a diploma in education from Melbourne University and a PhD in chemistry from Imperial College, London.

His specialty was rocket science, and he went to work as a researcher for the Aeronautical Research Laboratories (ARL), a part of Australia’s Defence Department that focused on planes.

In 1953, the department loaned him to an expert panel trying to solve a costly and distressing mystery: why did the British de Havilland Comet, the world’s first commercial jet airliner and the great hope of the new Jet Age, keep crashing?

He thought it might be the fuel tanks; but there were dozens of possible causes and nothing but death and debris as evidence. The panel sat down to discuss what they knew.

“People were rattling on about staff training and pilots’ errors, and did a fin break off the tail, and all sorts of things that I knew nothing about,” Dr Warren recalled more than 50 years later.

“I found myself dreaming of something I’d seen the week before at Sydney’s first post-war trade fair. And that is – what claimed to be the first pocket recorder, the Miniphon. A German device. There’d been nothing before like it…”

The Miniphon was marketed as a dictation machine for businessmen, who could sit at their desks (or on trains and planes) recording letters that would later be typed up by their secretaries. David, who loved swing music and played the clarinet, only wanted one so he could make bootleg recordings of the jazz musician Woody Herman.

However, when one of his fellow scientists suggested the latest doomed Comet might have been hijacked, something clicked for him.

The chances that a recorder had been on board – and survived the fiery wreck – were basically nil. But what if every plane in the sky had a mini recorder in the cockpit? If it was tough enough, accident investigators would never be this confused again, because they’d have audio right up to the moment of the crash. At the very least, they’d know what the pilots had said and heard.

The idea fascinated him. Back at ARL, he rushed to tell his boss about it.

Alas, his superior didn’t share his enthusiasm. Dr Warren said he was told: “It’s nothing to do with chemistry or fuels. You’re a chemist. Give that to the instruments group and get on with blowing up fuel tanks.”

Article continues:

Warren turns her fire on DeVos – Alexander Bolton 06/01/17 06:00 AM EDT


© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is setting her sights on Betsy DeVos, the wealthy Republican donor who has become a lightning rod for the liberal grassroots as President Trump’s secretary of Education.

Warren on Wednesday announced the launch of DeVos Watch, a coordinated effort to scrutinize the secretary’s handling of the $1 trillion federal student loan program and her oversight of student loan servicers, among other issues.

“We all have an interest in a well-run, fiscally responsible, corruption-free student aid program that puts students first. That is Secretary DeVos’ job — and it is Congress’ job to make sure she does it,” Warren wrote in an op-ed published by CNN.

Recently, Warren has raised concerns over potential ethics violations at the Department of Education, pushed DeVos to reinstate student loan protections and pressed the Trump administration to shield student loan borrowers from unnecessary fees.

The salvos at DeVos are just the latest attempt by Warren to branch out from her expertise on financial matters — a pattern that has fueled speculation she is eyeing a presidential bid in 2020.

Article continues:

President Elect’s Cabinet Picks ‘Take The Establishment And Shake It Upside Down’ – TAMARA KEITH December 13, 20165:54 PM ET


With the selection of Rex Tillerson for secretary of state and the expected nomination of Rick Perry for the Department of Energy, Donald Trump’s Cabinet has largely taken shape in Trump’s own image — a combination of millionaires, billionaires, outsiders and even a few politicians who oppose the work of the very agencies they’ve been tapped to lead.

“It’s a reflection of what Donald Trump has been wanting to do, which is to take the establishment and shake it upside down,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican consultant.

Bonjean pointed out that Trump is coming into office not like a traditional Republican president but with an approach all his own.

“It’s as if these Cabinet secretaries are each moving into a house and completely demolishing it and turning it upside down and remodeling it the way they want to see it,” he said.

And that’s exactly what Trump voters were asking for — to take a wrecking ball to Washington and start over.

Energy “oops”

Looking at domestic policy, you could describe many of Trump’s choices as an Anti-Cabinet. Take former Texas Gov. Rick Perry who, during a 2011 presidential debate, famously attempted to list three government agencies he’d do away with. He stuttered and paused and just couldn’t think of the third, finally saying, “Oops.”

That third agency Perry wanted to eliminate, the one he couldn’t remember? It was the Department of Energy, the very department he’ll head up, pending Senate confirmation.

A climate skeptic at EPA

Article continues: