Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/737

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POPULAR MISCELLANY,

of the advantages that are commonly attributed to iron and stone. In cutting up timber for use, the question of its grain as developed by the annual rings is of very great importance. The shrinkage being greater in the newer layers of wood, it must be cut so that this irregular shrinkage may be of no disadvantage." In oak, in order to show the beauty of the grain, as well as to provide wainscot-boards that will be true in shape, it is necessary to get the boards as far as possible to radiate from the center to the outside of the log. If this is done, the medullary rays are cut through in many places, so as to show the silver grain. Ash-timber does not appear to have any sap-wood, all the wood being of the game color; and there are foreign woods with the same peculiarity. But the worm finds out the part that is sap-wood. In elm-timber the sap is reckoned as good as the heart. The timber does not improve by seasoning, but should be used green, and even kept wet until wanted for use. When used in flooring, the oldest elm boards have been known to shrink considerably, if they were merely taken up and planed.

 

Stanley Jerons on Mathematics and Meteorology.—Professor Jevons wrote to his sister, June 17, 1857: "I have never had the courage to open the many mathematical books I brought with me; but what do you think I would do if I had opportunity ever again? Attend college and De Morgan's mathematical lectures! The utility of mathematics is one of the most incomprehensible things about it; but though I was never bright or successful in his class, in spite of working hard, I feel the greatest benefit from it. Mathematics are like the calisthenic exercises of the mind, and make it vigorous and correct in form and action; but it depends, of course, on other circumstances how you apply and use your mind as well as your body. To go figuring about with your arms or legs is not the object of calisthenics. I think, therefore, you can not waste time or trouble spent over mathematics—the more the better, for the present at all events. ... I do not mean you to enter on the study of meteorology, for it is a most troublesome, extensive, and to most an uninteresting subject. I have, however, involved myself in it to an awful extent, and must go on with it, I suppose, while I am here [in Australia, engaged in the Mint at Sydney, and furnishing weekly reports to the 'Empire']. It is a most complicated subject, requiring a knowledge more or less of heat, light, chemistry, electricity, etc.; and is, therefore, a sort of difficult scientific exercise rather than a science itself."

 

A Legend of Monkeys and Stones.—Prince Carl, of Sweden and Norway, when starting out from Hyderabad, India, on a tiger-hunt in 1883, was struck by the scenery around the city, where the undulating ground is strewed with huge blocks of stone, "as if they had been tossed hither and thither by Nature in some capricious mood. Some of the blocks are piled upon each other in such a manner as to cause a lively imagination to fancy them giants and trolls barring the way. According to Indian folk-lore, these blocks were brought hither, some four thousand years ago, in this maimer: The monkeys, which in the earliest of times in great numbers inhabited the lands beyond the Himalayas, seized on the remarkable idea of building a bridge between the mainland and Ceylon, and, headed by their leaders, they left their settlements in great numbers for the south, carrying with them from their mountains materials for their gigantic bridge. But the road became too long for them, and they were obliged, on reaching the spot where Hyderabad now stands, to throw their loads away, and here they lie to-day."

 

Jade Ornaments in America.—At a recent meeting of the American Antiquarian Society, Mr. Frederick W. Putnam exhibited a collection of celts, axes, and ornaments made of various stones known under the general term of jade. They were from various places; and among them were one with a cutting edge at each end, and twelve specimens from Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Of the twelve, ten were ornaments which had been made by cutting celts into halves, quarters, or thirds, and on each of which a part of the cutting edge of the celt remained. One of the ornaments had been compared by Professor Cooke with a cup of jadeite from China, and found to be like it in color, hardness, and specific gravity. The mineral