Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/438

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438
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

gans of some Edentata. Pp. 5. On the Gustatory Organs of the Mammalia. Pp. 12.

University Extension Movement in England. Report. Philadelphia: Society for the Extension of University Teaching. Pp. 32.

White, Charles A. Geography and Physiography of a Portion of Northwestern Colorado and Adjacent parts of Utah and Wyoming. Washington: United States Geological Survey. Pp. 38.




POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Intelligence in Plants. — Mr. T. D. Ingersoll, of Erie, Pa., describes, in Garden and Forest, a Madeira vine which seemed to exhibit intelligence in its growth. When it had become eighteen inches high it began, from top-heaviness, to fall away from the pot, which stood upon a table, toward the floor. "This was done gradually, and apparently with conscious care. It seemed to feel at times that it was letting itself down too fast, when it would stop with a jerk, like a nodding child half asleep." When near the floor it began describing ellipses about three inches in diameter with its upturned extremity. When twenty — seven inches long it would describe a crescent-shaped loop seventeen inches long by six inches broad in about two hours. As it grew longer, its revolutions were accomplished with less regularity, "and at times it drooped as if weary or discouraged in trying to find something upon which it might entwine itself." On one day the track of the tip of the vine was traced and measured, and found to be six feet nine inches in length. Finally, a support was provided for the plant, and it shortly afterward "began growing again as if it had recovered from what had been for six days a condition near the point of death." Another vine, during several days of cloudy weather, uncoiled itself from the stick and reached away toward the light at an angle with the horizon of some forty-five degrees. It was brought back to its support several times and coiled about the stick, but invariably left it during the continuance of the cloudy weather. Then bright weather came on, and it showed no disposition to escape from the stick or stop its twining growth. Attempts to make plants twine in a direction contrary to their natural one were firmly resisted. "All the experiments seemed to show how much like an animal was the plant in its sensitiveness, not only to changes of light and temperature, but to harsh treatment. Whenever restrained or forced, no matter how tenderly, out of its natural method of growth, all progress was retarded and the health of the vine disturbed to a marked degree. Plants seem to be creatures of feeling, and the similarity of movement and of apparent purpose between them and the lower animals are used to strengthen their theory by those who hold to the doctrine of the identity of life in the two kingdoms."


Modern Views of Consumption. — Two things are now believed to be necessary for the production of consumption: the tubercle bacillus and a disordered state of the body, such as to favor its growth — in other words, seed and a fertile soil; and if either is wanting, the disease is not produced. We never know when we may take in the germs on our food or in the air, hence we should see to it that we do not give them a fertile soil. "It is of primal consequence," says Dr. S. S. Burt, in a paper recently published in the New York Medical Record, "to elevate the tone of the tissues and the fluids that bathe them to a sanitary pitch, where they themselves are the best of germicides. Bacteria do not thrive upon such nourishment." While it is almost certain that the disease itself is not inherited, it is well established that a debased quality of blood and tissue, in which the germs of consumption find their proper food, is transmitted from parent to child. If both parents come from consumptive families their children have little chance of escaping the disease, but "a child with good blood for a legacy, even from one parent," says Dr. Burt, "has every reason to expect immunity from the disease, if he is reared intelligently. Such children must be properly clothed, very carefully fed, and encouraged to spend the greater part of their daily life in the open air."


Palm-wine. — Palm-wine is largely used as an alcoholic drink in India and other parts of Asia, the islands of the Pacific Ocean, Africa, and some parts of America. Most trees of the palm tribe contain a sap which is rich in sugar and is readily convertible into wine. This juice is collected by making cuts in the spathe or under the crown of leaves of the tree, and catching it