Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/787

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body was soon reversed, that is, with the head turned in the direction toward which the wind was blowing. Thus the long thread which streamed out above the aëronaut inclined forward, and at the top was in advance of its head. It was also observed that the legs were spread out, and that they had been united at the feet by delicate filaments of silk; this gave to the body increased buoyancy, owing to the increased surface thus offered to the resistance of the air. Before, or rather during its descent to the earth, a small white ball of silk was seen accumulated at the mouth of the spider, which, with the peculiar movements of the forefeet, palps, and mandibles, suggested the drawing in of a thread. The spider was, so to speak, taking in sail. Exactly the same effect was thus produced by the spider aëronaut, and by a strikingly analogous mode, as the human aëronaut accomplishes when he contracts the surface of his balloon by causing the inflating gas to escape.



Many of the ills and diseases prevalent among women in our day are, no doubt, traceable to the sedentary mode of life so common among them. The progress of modern industrial art has done away with much of the household drudgery to which women were formerly subjected, and the result is in too many cases want of sufficient occupation for needed bodily exercise; The fruits of this state of things are strikingly exhibited in certain observations made by the late Mr. Robertson, a Manchester surgeon, who in his practice as a specialist for women's diseases found that in women who themselves performed all their household work there was no trace of certain complaints; that these complaints begin to make their appearance in women with one servant, become more pronounced in women who have two servants, or worse still with those who have three servants, and so on. He showed statistically that the deaths from childbirth were four times greater in the case of women with four servants than those with none.

No doubt the most voluminous compilation in any language is the "Illustrated Imperial Collection of Ancient and Modern Literature," published by the Chinese Government early in the eighteenth century. It comprises about 6,000 volumes. A copy of the work is on sale in Peking, and the British Museum has entered into negotiations for its purchase.

During the year 1876, in India, 48,000 cattle were destroyed by wild animals and venomous snakes; 22,357 wild animals and 270,185 poisonous snakes were killed at a cost of 120,015 rupees for bounties. In 1877, 19,273 persons were killed, and 54,830 cattle were destroyed.

Regular professorships of hygiene are to be established in the universities of Holland. The Faculty of the University of Utrecht has unanimously chosen Dr. Ludwig Hirt, of Breslau, to fill the new chair in that university.

The Parkes Museum of Hygiene at University College, London, is approaching completion. The council of the college have devoted an area of 3,500 feet for the use of the museum, which is divided into a library and eight classes.

The thickness of the coal-measures of Missouri is, according to Prof. Broadhead, in the Western Review of Science, for the upper measures, 1,300 feet; for the middle measures, 323 feet; and for the lower measures, 290 feet.

While collecting corals on the reefs of Florida Mr. Pourtalès often felt the urticating effects of contact of the hands with millepora. It occurred to him to try the effect of applying a fresh piece of millepora to the tongue, when "instantly," he writes, "a most severe pain shot not only through that organ, but also through the jaws and teeth. The whole course of the dental nerves and their ramifications into every single tooth could be distinctly and painfully felt." The pain remained severe for about half an hour, but the sensation was perceptible for five or six hours.

The President of the American Association for the Cure of Inebriates in his anniversary address quotes Dr. Magnus Huss as authority for the statement that in Sweden 1,500,000 persons—about one-half the population—annually consume 140 to 170 pints of spirits each. By their indulgence in strong drink the Swedes have deteriorated in stature and physical strength; new diseases have appeared, and old ones have increased fearfully.

A summer school of zoölogy will next summer be stationed either on one of the Bahama Islands or at some point on our Southern coast, for the benefit of students of Union College, Schenectady.