Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/358

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346
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of the accidents of infection and of diseases of nutrition. Moral shock is in reality equivalent to a cerebral commotion; and, without forcing analogies too far, we are able to understand that it all the more readily can provoke cerebral lesions. — Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.


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UNCLE SAM'S LIFE SAVERS.

By FRANK G. CARPENTER.

THE United States Life-saving Service is now one of the great institutions of our Government. Its system embraces the dangerous parts of our Great Lakes and oceans, and its hundreds of stations cover a coast line of more than ten thousand miles in length. It began to be as far back as 1848, but in its present organization its life commenced in 1871, when Congress made an appropriation of $200,000 and established some experimental stations along the New Jersey coast. These at once showed the value of the system, and to-day on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico there are one hundred and eighty-two different stations, while there are about fifty on the chain of the Great Lakes, and a steadily increasing number on the Pacific.

The buildings are located sufficiently far from the water line to be safe from high tides. They are plain structures, designed to serve as barracks for the crews and to afford convenient storage for boats and apparatus. Each station is generally equipped with two surfboats and their accessories, two sets of "breeches-buoy" apparatus, life lines, life car, a vehicle for the transportation of boats to points where needed, a Lyle gun, cork jackets, signal lights, rockets and flags, well-equipped medicine chest, instruments of various kinds, together with everything necessary for the comfort and well-being of the crews. Where practicable along the Atlantic coast, the stations are connected by telephone. At a few points there are long stretches of uninhabitable coast, and houses of refuge have been established at intervals of about twenty miles for the shelter of shipwrecked persons. They are supplied with cots and provisions for twenty-five persons for ten days. On the Ohio River, at Louisville, there is a floating station. The great rise and fall of the river renders impracticable the use of a stationary building. In recent floods the crew of this station were of incalculable service to the people of Louisville. Hundreds of imperiled persons were rescued, and thousands who for days could not leave their houses were supplied with food and other necessaries.

Each station and its crew are in charge of a "keeper," who