Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/136

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126
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

keep large bodies of men entirely free from this disease.

The value of the country may be summed up thus: Its fur-bearing animals are numerous and valuable. There are large and valuable banks of codfish among the islands, and St. Paul and St. George Islands contain fur-seals enough to give to the monopoly having possession the control of the market for that article throughout the world. Beyond this, nothing valuable has been found as yet.

 

HINTS ON HOUSE-BUILDING.

The great object of sanitary legislation is to secure for each individual the greatest amount of fresh air, pure water, sunshine, and dryness of soil Public sanitation in towns should provide for width of streets, paving, the removal of fluid and solid nuisances, open places for the circulation of air, and recreative resorts for the inhabitants. The width of streets is important in relation to the height of the houses. The width should never be less than the height. The healthiest sites for dwelling-houses are known to be those on trap, granite, and metamorphic rocks, where water readily escapes, and the soil, and consequently the air, is dry. Cholera is rare in houses on such sites. Permeable sandstone, gravel, and chalk, if unmixed with clay, are also healthy. Sands which contain organic matter, clay, and alluvial soils, are always to be suspected. Thorough draining, both subsoil and surface, is a necessary preliminary to building. Dampness of ground necessitates dampness of air and of the walls. This causes chemical alteration in the organic materials in the houses, with absorption of oxygen and discharge of other gases; it favors, too, the growth of low animal and vegetable organisms, which poison the air of the dwellings, and produce disease. The decomposition of the organic contents of the soil is hastened by its dampness, and especially by rapid alterations of its hygrometric state. Calcareous stone is best; some sandstone is so porous that, though dry to-day, it may be soaked with damp to-morrow. Houses should never be built on ground filled up with ashes and other débris. The large amount of organic matter contained in it, which is freely exposed to the action of the air and moisture, becoming decomposed, must cause poisonous emanations, destructive to those who, living above, must breathe it. The drainage and other pipes laid in this soil are extremely liable to be entered by these poisons, and thus they are conducted into houses directly. Frequent sweeping and washing are necessary in every house. Dust is not alone unpleasant, but it is a fruitful source of disease—perhaps the most so. The dust of curtains, carpets, papers, and other colored substances, consisting of organic and coloring matter, being swallowed with the food and inhaled, causes many a doctor's visit. Every house should have a kitchen and wash-room distinct from the dwelling-rooms. The latter should be large enough to allow of each inhabitant obtaining 10 ½ cubic feet of fresh air per hour, when doors and windows are shut. Each house should have abundance of good water for drinking, cooking, and washing, including bathing: five to six pints per day should be allowed for drinking, at least 18 gallons for washing, and eight to 10 should be used daily to flush the sewers. Sick people require more: from 40 to 50 gallons daily. Water-closets consume various quantities, according to their construction. The nature of the closet and the method of removing the contents have become one of the most important questions which advancing civilization has created. The dry-earth system is quite inapplicable to large towns; it suits private houses of the rich or jails well. The Goux system is equally unsuitable. The water system, where there is a plentiful supply of water, is infinitely the best and the cheapest. A sufficient fall of ground can nearly always be obtained. The improvement of the dwelling-house and the establishment of comfortable homes, worthy of human beings, is a necessary duty of the state, and a noble work for the philanthropist. These necessary conditions may be advantageously supplemented by a little comfort and elegance. A little garden is a civilizer of great power.—The Builder

 

CONCERNING CROOKES.

As relates to the claims of this man as a scientific discoverer, a writer in the Engineering and Mining Journal says:

"Mr. Crookes, whose accounts of experiments with the 'Psychic Force' have