Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/330

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316
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

his family ease and comfort, and hoarded; he knows neither art, nor literature, nor science, but he has hoarded; he lives a life scarcely better than that of the beast of the field, but he has hoarded; his savings have nourished no industries, nor rewarded any art, nor promoted any intellectual end, and he himself has done his best by mere restriction to limit the productive resources of his land—but having saved and hoarded with the instinct with which a dog hides a bone he is held up for admiration! This sort of thing fully explains the shudder with which people generally hear the name of political economy. It is true, there must be economy; there must be saving; but there is economy and economy. The real cause of the more prosperous condition of France is not starved existence but sustained and unspeculative production. There is less concentration there, less wild overtrading; there are more diffusion and old-fashioned relation of production to consumption.

This equable and uniform production is like a stream that is fed by ten thousand springs and many affluents; it flows steadily on, calm, perennial, beneficent: but our speculative and spasmodic production is too much like a mountain-river, that at one season comes down in a flood and deluges the land, at another subsides into a rivulet, and all the land is parched.

 
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ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE AND LIFE.[1]
By Dr. PAUL BERT,
PROFESSOR IN THE PARIS FACULTY OF SCIENCES.

THE great influence that may be exerted upon living beings by atmospheric pressure is now questioned by none, and there is even a disposition to exaggerate its importance. If the barometric column rises or falls a few millimetres, nervous people affected with the asthma perceive phenomena, whether of a beneficial or of a noxious kind, which they do not hesitate to attribute to the weight or to the lightness of the atmosphere. But if this were the only cause of their sensations, then they should experience the same symptoms whenever they subject themselves to equal variations of pressure, as in passing from the level of the sea to a point only a few feet above it, or vice versa.

Rarefied Air.—As every one knows, in proportion as we ascend from the sea-level, the barometric pressure diminishes at the rate of about one centimetre per 100 metres of vertical ascent. And this diminution is progressive: suppose that at the sea-level the pressure is 76 centimetres, then it will be 66 centimetres at the height of 1,123 metres

  1. Translated from the French by J. Fitzgerald, A.M.