Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/527
abundant. "The whole coast round, to a distance of several miles inland, is covered with recent shells; the drainage of the country is apparently altering. Lakes known to have been formerly filled with salt water are now filling up with fresh or becoming dry. The lagoons near the coast are filled with salt and brackish water, and their banks are filled with marine shells with their colors in many cases preserved. Reefs of rocks are constantly appearing in places where there were none formerly. At Rivoli Bay the soundings have altered so much as to make a new survey requisite. A reef has lately almost closed this harbor. Other reefs have appeared at Cape Jaffa, etc. It would appear that a vast movement is taking place in the whole of the south of Australia. In Melbourne the observations of surveyors and engineers have all tended to confirm this remarkable fact."
From these and multitudes of other similar facts, Mr. Howorth concludes that the circumpolar land is rising about both poles, and that there is a general thrusting out of the earth's periphery, in the direction of its shorter axis. He also believes that an equally general subsidence is at the same time going on in the intervening region, extending both north and south of the equator, until it reaches the line of upheaval.
Prof. Tyndall remarks that the ordinary definition of the solid, liquid, and gaseous states, given in many text-books, is hardly correct. Cohesion is thought to be predominant in the first state of matter, absent in the second, and negative—that is to say, absolute repulsion exists among the molecules—in the third. But liquids may be strongly cohesive, and indeed the researches of many physicists have shown that there is not an absence of cohesion among, but sliding powers possessed by, the molecules of matter in the liquid state. If air is expelled from water, it is still liquid, but the cohesion of its molecules becomes very great.
A writer in the Chemical News states that iodine is set free in sea-water wherever rivers charged with offal and sewage meet the sea. Thus liberated, it passes into the atmosphere, and may sometimes be detected long distances away during the prevalence of favoring winds.
A clergyman, acting in the capacity of chaplain to a lunatic asylum in England, has for the last four years been engaged in the attempt to trace the relations that may exist between meteorological states and the mental and physical conditions of the insane. He states, as the results of his observations, that the accessions of epileptic fits have, as a very general rule, been preceded or accompanied by considerable alteration in atmospheric pressure, or solar radiation, or both; and he is led to the inference that it is not the moon, but the change in the weather, which directly affects epileptic patients. So far as his observation goes, he concludes that any marked change of atmospheric pressure, solar radiation, or both, either in the same or contrary directions, is almost certain to be followed by an increased number of fits among the epileptics, or by a development of mania or melancholia. Sometimes all three forms of disease are augmented at once, sometimes only one; and it is deserving of notice that very often the maniacal and melancholic patients seem to be affected in opposite ways, the latter being well when the former are excited, and the reverse.
The following are the regulations adopted by the Prussian Chamber of Deputies to guard against the occurrence of steam boiler explosions: 1. The owners or representatives are responsible for the observance of the laws and decrees laid down by the government. They are, moreover, not exonerated from culpability in case of accidents on account of ignorance of such technical laws and rules as are acknowledged by the profession. 2. The fine is fixed at a maximum of 200 thalers (£30), or, in case of default, three months' imprisonment. 3. The owners of steam-boilers must allow official tests to be made by competent engineers. They must bear the expense of the investigation, and furnish the examiners with all requisites.
Drs. Eulenberg and Wohl have been trying the effects of animal charcoal as an antidote for phosphorus poisoning, and find it superior to any thing else heretofore employed. It is given in the form of pills made with gum-tragacanth; and is regarded as preferable to the oil of turpentine, which, though an effectual antidote against phosphorus, causes in many instances very severe headaches when taken internally.
The temperance question, now much agitated in France, brings to the surface one ingenious reformer, Dr. Prosper Despine, whose zeal for the cause is at least equal to his discretion. He proposes to outlaw the growth of the grape, and to make the French abstemious by encouraging the