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ONE of the greatest sources of misfortune to the race is the fact that so many million square miles of the earth's surface must remain desolate arctic wastes, while the habitable portions of the globe are overcrowded. Many scientists have spent a good deal of time and energy in the attempt to find a means to transform what is now barren into a place fit for human use. One such scheme for example would dwelt the Gulf Stream from its course across the Atlantic in order that it shall warm our north Atlantic seaboard. There is no doubt that any scheme that could make Alaska, the arctics, northern Canada, Greenland. etc., places of moderate climate, would be of the greatest benefit to the human race. But such n gigantic plan could not succeed before many disheartening and often tragic experiments were made. We can thus sympathize with our poor professor in this original and exciting story, for we know that his motives were of the beat.


CHAPTER I.

I HEARD about it from one and another of a mystified populace; the radio bulletins had called it the "Uncontrollable Destroyer", newspapers had referred to it as a natural phenomenon and had created an alarm, it seemed, over nothing. It turned out to be one of the most astounding things that even this modern world of 1975 had been privileged to see.

The people were filled with both awe and terror long before I knew of the existence of the so-called "Hot Spot", the chemical phenomenon that appeared over the North Pacific and startled airmen and operators of aircraft throughout the world.

Having gleaned from news bulletins nothing more than the fact of its existence—ofter discrediting the usual traditional newspaper tales—I was determined, as an aeronautical engineer, to learn more about it.

I was seated in the lounging room of the Cosmopolitan Club at the Grand Central Air Terminal in Los Angeles when Joe Blaine set down from a freight hop to Vladivostok. The minute I saw his great sesqui-amphibian trundle up to the loading dock I knew she had weathered an unusual storm. Her great wings were all but limp, and one of the tips of the upper surface had been torn away as neatly as if it had been cut with a huge pair of scissors. Her motors died quickly, as if the mechanics were in great haste to stop their vacuum-cleaner-like whirr. She sat there in silence for hut a moment, and then the door of the control mom opened and Joe Blaine's rirst mechanic came down, followed by his assistant.

They were greeted by an anxious dispatcher who waited there at the ladder until Captain Blaine emerged from the control room, and I joined them there, wondering what could have taken place. Blaine, stolid, immaculate and young, came down to gaze steadily at that torn wing for a moment before turning to us and heaving a long drawn out sigh.

"Such heat I have never seen," he said to the dispatcher, after having nodded to us a hurried greeting. "The telephones went out the minute I got your orders to swing north, and that was all that saved me. That was six hours ago. Had I waited to change my course I would have flown directly into the path of the thing. It was a phenomenon beyond my comprehension—a ray of light that boiled the ocean below us; and when I turned and flew away from it the plane was lifted several thousand feet in the heavy updraft that came fro...

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