Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/44

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42
MELBOURNE AND MARS.

He forms some valuable friendships, and at the end of the term goes into a great manufactory of electric motors. These are in great demand. They are let by the government to those who need them in the preparation of produce, in manufacture, or for pleasure. They are made by the government, and do not belong to private individuals. Those who use them, it appears, have the rent charge debited in their private account.

About the end of his five hundred-day term at the technical school our diarist writes:—"I have passed the final examinations with flying colors. As a student of the theoretical branches I was very eager. I desired to master the mathematical sides of the electrical problem as well as the mechanical ones. I plainly saw that very low rates of vibration would produce sound, that higher rates would give power in higher and still higher grades of intensity; that higher rates would give chemical action and still more rapid would give beat in a diffused gentle form; increase the rate of vibration still more and we reach the point where red heat gives off the first rays of red light. From this point to the extreme violet light is again only a series of changes in rate of vibration.

In these light vibrations I was not particularly interested, but I saw that even yet there was much to be discovered regarding the effects producible by electricity in the various states and rates of motion between the highest sound vibration and the lowest of the heat and light series. It appeared to me that if these rates could be utilised they might, by acting on the soil, the water and the air, increase productiveness, there being no need to hesitate in drawing upon an illimitable supply of force.

I had read a deal about the time following upon the 'Black Century,' and of the marvels wrought by the new source of power, and I had seen that the introduction of abundant heat, light and power had so stimulated industry and production that life had become easy and the means of sustaining it had become abundant, with the result that the population doubled in a little more than a century. In the 'Black Century' we lost five hundred millions, and before the conclusion of the second century from then our population had almost reached its present enormous number, for the size of our planet, of over five thousand millions.

My idea was, and is still, that further knowledge in chemical vibrations will double or treble the productiveness of the soil, and both reduce the labor of the agriculturist and increase indefinitely the amount of his productions. Why may we not have two harvests in place of one? Why may we not get chemically from air, water, and earth the foods that plants combine in their organised structures?

I left Bertrand's school full of new ideas and quite ready to commence learning my trade, but my father was fully determined that I should spend half a year at home and visit the Central Museum in his company for a