Page 229. " From overhead, from a German camera-angle "

This angle is the tilted camera angle, a staple of German expressionist cinema. It is also known as the Dutch Tilt, the Oblique Angle and the Batman Angle. It has since become a hackneyed manoeuvre  reviled by critics. More thorough analysis of the rise and fall of the technique can be found here.

Here, the viewpoint implies the perspective of a German pilot or rocket.

Page 239. " demons - yes, including Maxwell's "
Maxwell's Demon
Public DomainMaxwell's Demon - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This is a reference to Maxwell's Demon, a thought experiment related to the philosophy of thermal and statistical physics. Created by James Clerk Maxwell, the experiment aims to demonstrate that the Second Law of Thermodynamics has only a statistical certainty.

In the imagined experiment, a container is split by an inner partition with a door in it. Within the container resides a demon, who can open the door selectively whenever a fast-moving (hot) molecule approaches, so causing one side to get warmer than the other.

This activity would appear to contradict the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that under such circumstances, the two sides would eventually reach an equilibrium temperature.

Maxwell's demon also makes an appearance in Pynchon's previous novel, The Crying of Lot 49.

Page 246. " Blodgett Waxwing "

A waxwing
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA waxwing - Credit: Wikimedia Commons
This bomber's name is a reference to the waxwing bird that eats the bright red berry of the yew tree. The berry's seed is extremely poisonous, and can kill horses, pigs and other livestock if consumed. The waxwing however, digests the berry but passes the seed undamaged.

Like his namesake, Blodgett Waxwing is able to carry and deposit his deadly cargo without damage to himself.

Page 247. " like Tenniel's Alice "
Public DomainAlice - Credit: John Tenniel
Self-portrait of John Tenniel
Public DomainSelf-portrait of John Tenniel - Credit: John Tenniel

Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914) was a British illustrator and cartoonist, most widely known for his work on Lewis Carroll's works Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, as well as his work with Punch magazine.

Page 250. " the legendary Dr. Hoffman made his important discovery "
Dr. Albert Hoffman, 2006
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDr. Albert Hoffman, 2006 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Stepan

Dr. Albert Hoffman (1906-2008), a Swiss scientist, was the first person to experiment personally and learn of the psychedelic effects of LSD. He was employed at Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland, conducting his research in the pharmaceutical-chemical department.

He campaigned throughout his life for LSD's use in psychiatry. He felt that the drug had been misused by the countercultural generation of the 1960s. Eventually, the Swiss government allowed for trial use of the drug with patients suffering from terminal cancer and similar conditions.

Dr. Hoffman died in 2008, aged 102.