Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/737

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


NOTES.

��719

��June are remarkable for the prevalence of white ; July, August, and September of yel- low; and September and October of purple and blue.

The caves of Mount Elgonin, East Africa, extend right round the mountain and occur in the lava as well as in the agglomerate beds. Mr. J. Thomson believes that they are old excavations ; but a correspondent of the Lon- don Times, who visited them in February, 1893, has come to the conclusion that they are merely vast blow-holes in the mountain, "which is a grand specimen of an extinct volcano, the crater being some eight miles in diameter and from fifteen hundred to two thousand feet in depth." The mountain is fourteen thousand feet high, with a base of about one hundred and fifty miles in circum- ference.

The report of the Massachusetts State Board of Health on the Geographical Distri- bution of Certain Causes of Death in that State presents the results of an inquiry re- specting the relation of paper mills to small- pox mortality. In eleven cities and towns having extremely high ratios of smallpox mortality, six contained one or more paper mills in which rags were used ; and a list of twenty-eight cities and towns in which there are paper mills contains only four places in which there were no smallpox deaths during twenty years, and non-fatal cases are known to have occurred in two of these towns. Fre- quent investigations of the board have shown that smallpox in Massachusetts is very often due to infected rags. In many of these cases it appeared probable that domes- tic rags collected in the large cities of the United States were the source of infection.

A SETTLEMENT of the silver question is propounded by Mr. Roderick H. Smith, au- thor of several works on business, which he beUeves will be sovereign and permanent. It is the enactment of a law, of which he sub- mits a draft, the essential feature of which is a provision for the issue by the Govern- ment of certificates against deposits of silver, which shall be redeemable, on demand, in an equal value of silver to the amount of the deposit. Thus, whatever may be the fluctua- tions in the value of silver, the certificates can never command more than they are actually worth.

The Massachusetts State Board of Health, inquiring into the distribution of cholera in- fantum, finds the disease apparently promoted by the employment of mothers away from home. It also finds that a high mortality rate from cholera infantum occasionally ex- ists in a comparatively small town where there are one or more densely populated manufacturing villages in which the condi- tions of living may resemble those of a large city. Upon this point Dr. Haven says : " We may have all, or nearly all, of the most

��vicious conditions of city life in a single tenement house in some small town of per- haps only a thousand inhabitants ; we may have, that is, the heat, the dirt, the over- crowding, the bad drainage, and the artificial feediug which are the concomitants of city life."

Experiments by Grassi, Cattani, Tizzoni, Simmonds, and Saivchenk, made under vari- ous conditions and in great diversity of forms, are confirmatory of one another, and afford cumulative evidence of the compe- tency of flies to convey cholera germs. Sawchenk even suggests that the bacilli may be able, under suitable conditions, to multi- ply within the bodies of flies ; in which case, besides being dangerous carriers of infection, the flies would be a veritable hotbed for the preservation and further multiplication of cholera bacilli.

A REMARKABLE illustration of the perse- verance shown by roots in seeking food is related in Nature by the Rev. W. H. Oxley, vicar of Peterham. The roots of a wistaria entered the dining-room of Eden House, Ham, by a very small chink in the side of the window near the ceiling. On removing from the walls the paper, which had not been disturbed for many years, the whole of the plaster beneath was found covered with a fine network of roots spreading all round the room. There was no appearance on the pa- per to give rise to any suggestion of the pres- ence of roots being there. Prof. Dyer re- marks that the roots seemed to have behaved more like the mycelium of a fungus than an ordinary axial structure. The room was con- stantly inhabited, with fires.

The Italian Minister of Public Instruction, Signer Martini, has called the attention of the Chamber of Deputies to the evils of over- pressure in the public schools, under which the programmes have been enlarged without corresponding enlargement of the cerebral .N'" "j. convolutions, and the pupils are " swallowing, ^ *t ' Jc much and digesting little." "While the' able-bodied artisan," he says, " demands the- restriction of his labor to eight hours, we • exact from our boys of ten a labor at once more prolonged and more severe." The minister has been quick to learn from the lessons given him, and has already instituted reformatory measures. The tasks to be un- dertaken after school hours have been mini- mized, inducements to prolong mental labor beyond the just limits have been diminished, and the overstrain due to excessive competi- tion is discouraged ; the number of subjects to be taken up at once is curtailed, the schools have developed a "modern side," and happy results and improvement are al- ready visible.

In a recent " long-distance walk " between Berlin and Vienna — some three Imndred and sixty miles — the winner among fifteen com-

��swallowing, Z> ^

��V^

�� �