Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/744

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724
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Mr. Edison has just sent me the following notes of the results of recent experiments:

"That the size of the hole through which you speak has a great deal to do with the articulation. When words are spoken against the whole diaphragm, the hissing sounds, as in shall, fleece, last, are lost; whereas, by the use of a small hole provided with sharp edges, these words are reënforced and recorded. Also, teeth around the edge of a slot, instead of a round hole, give the hissing consonants clearer.

"That the best reading is obtained when the mouth-piece, B F B (Fig. 2), is covered with several thicknesses of cloth, so that the snapping noise on the foil is rendered less audible.

"I send you a sheet of copper-foil upon which I made records in Ansonia, Connecticut, that could be read 275 feet in the open air, and perhaps farther, if it had been tried."

Mr. Edison also states that impressions of sonorous vibrations have been made on a cylinder of soft Norway iron, and from these impressions have been reproduced the sonorous vibrations which made them.

 

THE MARPINGEN MIRACLES.

THE recent debate in the Lower House of the Prussian Parliament on the Marpingen miracles is in many ways remarkable. That the Ultramontane party should have had the courage themselves to force on the discussion is rather surprising, though it is true that all the speakers on that side were careful to deprecate the notion of attaching any religious importance to the question, and to treat it purely as one of law and equity, while they studiously avoided committing themselves to any belief in the alleged supernatural occurrences. Before, however, speaking of the debate, we may recall to the memory of our readers the circumstances which gave rise to it, and which occurred a year and a half ago in the month of July, 1876. And in doing so it may be well to repeat what we have before now had occasion to observe in dealing with narratives of this kind, that there is no need to enter on any general discussion of the existence or credibility of miraculous agency. There is certainly, to use Mr. Lecky's words, "no contradiction involved in the belief that spiritual beings of power and wisdom immeasurably transcending our own exist, or that, existing, they might, by the normal exercise of their powers, perform feats as far surpassing the understanding of the most gifted of mankind as the electric telegraph and the prediction of an eclipse surpass the faculties of a savage." Thus much would indeed be contended for by every Christian apologist, nor is it consistent to maintain the truth of the New Testament miracles and deny on a priori