Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/388

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374

THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ed with pepsin. "In order to remove this bitter taste, I have made," says the patentee, "very many experimental researches, and at length have discovered that the purpose is completely and, satisfactorily effected by the addition, in a certain part of the process, of a small portion of fresh pancreas."

The fluid meat so prepared is entirely free from any bitter flavor. One ounce is the equivalent of 20 ounces of meat.

Do Planets vary in Color?—In a note to the Royal Astronomical Society, Lieutenant-Colonel Strange, F. R. S., suggests that the changes of color which have been observed at distant intervals in some of the planets, may after all be an affair of the optical instruments through which the light is made to pass, rather than any real alteration in the aspect of the planet itself. That optical instruments do sometimes give the impression of a color different from that belonging to the object from which the light proceeds, appears from the following, which we quote from Colonel Strange's communication:

"I was, within the last few days, at a theatre with two young ladies. They drew my attention to 'the lady opposite in pink.' Turning my glass to her, I replied, 'You mean the lady in yellow.' 'No,' replied both, 'her dress is pink.' Having ascertained that we all spoke of the same person, I begged my companions to use their glasses. On doing so they both at once admitted the color to be yellow, as I had said. But they assured me that to their naked eye it was pink as before. One of the young ladies, my own daughter, is considered to have a remarkably fine eye for color, with the faculty of matching and remembering tints very strongly developed. The other, also a near relative, is likewise an excellent judge of color, and a born artist. The dress about which the above doubt arose was not all colored. It was white, with a great deal of the doubtfully-colored trimming, and the tint (whatever it really may have been) was very pale. There was strong light upon it, and the distance was that of the whole greatest diameter of a small theatre. Such are the facts, on which I do not propose to theorize. But they certainly point at least to one practical consideration namely, the influence of optical power on color impressions, and the necessity of great caution in pressing observations on the color of heavenly bodies into the service of speculations regarding cosmical changes."

Of the three elements—form, size, color—Colonel Strange believes that color is the least permanently fixed in the "sensorial memory;" so that, even if the light reached the eye of the observer unchanged, the comparison of a recent color-impression with one that was received a long time before must at best give but a doubtful result.

A New Writing-Machine.The Mechanics Magazine figures and describes a new form of writing-machine, the invention of the Rev. Mailing Hansen, superintendent of the Royal Deaf and Dumb Institution of Copenhagen. The machine is designed for rapid writing, and is also capable of being used by the blind. The work is done by means of a series of keys, moved by the fingers something in the same way as the keys of a concertina, each key leaving the impress of its proper letter or character on the paper below when it is struck by the finger. The keys are so disposed that the imprint of each type, when struck, is directed to, and received upon, a central spot, over which the blank paper is made to travel by means of suitable machinery.

Besides offering great facilities for copying purposes, the machine is said to rival stenography as a means for reporting speeches or taking down dictated composition. Rapid writing rarely exceeds four letters per second, while in ordinary speaking from nine to ten, and in rapid speech from fifteen to twenty, letters are uttered per second. This machine, with a little practice, enables the operator to take down an average of twelve letters per second, and an expert manipulator can considerably exceed this. The instrument is in use in London, and its performances are said to be very satisfactory.

Weather-Waste of Coal.The Engineer states that Dr. Varrentrapp has made the weather-waste of coal the subject of an investigation, and as a result asserts that the amount of loss suffered by coal from