Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/133

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123
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

black eyes were the rule, the face had gained in length, and the bodily habit, while nothing was lost in point of stature, was more slender and graceful. As the chastity of the women is not to be disputed, and as the colonists intermarry only among themselves—Khanikoff found only one case of a Würtemberger marrying a Georgian woman—the change in the race-characters can be attributed only to the influence of environment.

 

Extirpation of Injurious Insects.—A special meeting of the London Society of Arts was held a few weeks ago, to discuss measures for the extirpation of injurious insects. The paper for the occasion was by Andrew Murray, F. L. S., who advocated government interference as being indispensably necessary in the war against insect pests. He spoke of three principal modes of counteracting the ravages of insects, the first being county or district rotation of cropping. Most vegetable-feeding insects subsist on one kind of plant, as wheat, rye, potatoes, etc., and, if we take away their special pabulum, the race dies out. This we do by rotation of crops. The next means of extirpation recommended by Mr. Murray was burning the nidus in which the insect, in whatever stage, passes the winter; or using some substance, as Paris green, hellebore, etc. There remains the last refuge of all invaded countries, namely, destroying the resources of the country before the invaders, so that they may perish for the want of food. This, Mr. Murray said, can rarely be necessary, but it would be, he thought, the proper course to follow, should the Colorado beetle gain a footing in England. The larvæ of the beetle would probably first appear in some potato-field near Cork, or Londonderry, Liverpool, or Glasgow; the instant this is perceived, the vines of the potatoes should be cut to the ground, and Paris-green scattered over the field.

 

Recent Observations of Stomach-Digestion.—A man in Paris, having an impermeable stricture of the gullet, was saved, by the operation of gastrotomy, from death by starvation. The patient's gullet is so completely blocked that when a small quantity of potassium ferrocyanide in solution is swallowed, no trace of the salt can be detected in the stomach; hence the gastric juice is absolutely free from any admixture of saliva. The food is reduced to a pulp and injected by a syringe into the artificial opening in the abdominal wall; it remains in the stomach for three or four hours; when milk is introduced, it disappears in from one and a half to two hours. The chyme does not pass gradually, as is commonly supposed, into the small intestine: during the first three hours after its introduction into the stomach its volume does not appear to diminish; then within about fifteen minutes, the entire mass is driven through the pyloric orifice. At the end of four hours the stomach is nearly always empty, but hunger does not begin to be felt till two hours later. The mean acidity of the gastric juice, whether pure or mixed with food, is equivalent to about 1.7 grain of hydrochloric acid per 1,000, never falling below 0.5, or rising above 3.2 grammes. The quantity of liquid present does not seem to exert any influence on the degree of its acidity, which is augmented by wine and alcohol, and lessened by cane-sugar. The gastric juice is more acid while digestion is going on than during the intervals of the process; its acidity seems always to be increased as digestion is drawing to a close.

 

Contents of a Utah Mound.—In the vicinity of Payson, Utah Territory, are six mounds, covering a total area of about twenty acres of ground. One of these mounds was opened last year, and the discoveries then made are recorded in a letter published in the Eureka (Nevada) Sentinel. First a skeleton of a man was found, which measured six feet six inches in length. In the right hand was a huge iron weapon, but this crumbled to pieces in handling. There was also found a stone pipe, the stem of which was inserted between the teeth of the skeleton. Near by was found another skeleton, not quite so large, supposed to be that of a woman. "Close by," writes the correspondent of the Sentinel, "the floor was covered with a hard cement, to all appearances a part of the solid rock, which, after patient labor and exhaustive work, we succeeded in penetrating, and found it was