Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/444

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tra rib was in the lower part of the chest. The gorilla had one more rib than man, but he had never met with the cervical rib in the gorilla in the upper part of the chest. The tendency in the human chest was to move upward; the tendency in the gorilla's chest was to move downward. President Archibald Geikie said that in man the last rib was a diminishing element, that nothing was more striking than the excessive variations in the length of it. Every organ in the body had a marvelous power of persistency, but it seemed as if the last rib was passing out of existence.

 

Ancient Peruvian Vegetables.—According to Prof. Wittmack, the ancient Peruvians did not suffer from lack of variety of vegetable foods in their bill of fare. The examination of the ancient cemetery at Aricon has brought to light a large number of plant products which were useful to them for various purposes. Among cereals they had several kinds of Indian corn from which they prepared a kind of beer and a brandy. The quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) was also much valued as a breadstuff, and is still cultivated. They had two kinds of phaseolus beans (Phaseolus pallar and P. vulgaris), and the beans of the mezquite (Prosopis glandulosa), which were eaten as a St. John's bread, or ground were much enjoyed with water. Only a few seeds of lupins have been recovered, but the peanut (Arachis hypogœa) has been found abundantly. The bulbous foods included manioc, potatoes, which were cultivated on the mountains, and the sweet potato. Of fruits they had bananas and the lucuma (Lucuma obovata) of the present Peruvians; the guava, the sapota, peaches, the passion-flower, the anone, and the anana. The large seeds of the Inga feuilli, called pacay, were much liked. For greens they had the tender leaves of the quinoa, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Their narcotics included the coca, which was chewed with pulverized bones or lime, but which in the time of the Incas common men were not permitted to enjoy without permission of the king. Tobacco was used only in snuff or as a medicine, but was not smoked. One of the most important drinks was chica, a kind of corn beer. Spanish pepper was in general use. Of plants useful in the arts, they had white and brown cotton, hemp from the agave, and fourcroya and ananas leaves, for fibers. The pith of the agave furnished tinder. For dyestuffs, they had indigo for blue, Bixa orellania, the fruit of Coulteria tinctoria, the bark of Rhopala ferruginea, for black and brown, Bignonia chica and Rubia nitida. The seeds of the soap tree (Nectandra or Mucuna inflexa) were worn as beads. Weaving implements and canes were made from the soft wood of the Porliera hygrometrica; and idols, spoons, and other carved articles from the likewise soft wood of Pavonia paniculata, while hard woods were fashioned into lance-shafts, etc.

 

Ethics in Engineer's Work.—Some Moral Factors in the Engineer's Career, as outlined by Mr. Alfred R. Wolff, of the Stevens Institute of Technology, include in the beginning the subordination of the money consideration to the improvement of opportunities for acquiring further knowledge and the right kind of experience in judgment; an impartial estimate of one's own capabilities and the following as a specialty of that in which he can best excel; self-respect; strenuous effort to gain wide culture and foster broad interests outside of his special profession; and good citizenship, with active interests in movements which tend to humanitarian, social, and political advance. Under the maxim "Be honest," the author describes a kind of bribery which is insinuating but powerful. It is when a special machine or device has been recommended or some contract awarded with sole reference to its merits, and the proprietor then offers a commission or gift. All appears harmless; but an inducement has been offered silently for taking, if not on this occasion, then on the next, a more favorable or a biased view to the donor's interest.

 

Origin of Color Blindness.—After describing the phenomena of color blindness in his address at the British Association, Prof. William Rutherford said: "It must be admitted that the production of nerve-impulses within the terminals of the retina is almost as obscure as ever. It is still the old question, Does light stimulate the optic terminals by inducing vibration or by setting up chemical change? Whichever view we adopt, it seems to me necessary to suppose that all the processes for the production of nerve-impulses can take place in one and the same