Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/565

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549
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

rine engineer, and is now able to resume his ordinary pursuits. Dr. Patterson had hoped that the strange bone might find a new home for itself in the human arm. This failing, he was confident that it would secure perfect alignment and steadiness in the ulnar fragments. In the latter respect the event fully justified his anticipation. He still believes in the possibility of incorporating a foreign bone.

 

Ancient Hygiene.—It would be matter for a very interesting inquiry to ascertain how it happens that, with regard to many abstruse questions of practical science, hygiene for instance, the ancient Hebrews, Romans, Greeks, etc., reached results which for correctness put to shame the ignorance of later times. An illustration of this truth is given in a memoir by Dr. John Spear, lately published in the "Lancet." He first speaks of the precautions to be taken in selecting sites for human habitations. From the "Mishna" we learn how carefully all unclean things were removed from the vicinity of Jerusalem and the temple; and the investigations of Signer Perotti in the site of the ancient Jewish capital have shown how complete were the systems of sewers and the means of sewage precipitation and disposal. We find again that the Latin author Vitruvius, in his work "De Architectura," supposed to have been written in the reign of Augustus, in giving directions for securing healthy sites for towns, lays special stress on the necessity of a porous soil, and, in order to secure the ventilation of that soil, on perfect subsoil drainage. The views of Hippocrates on this subject, as also of Pliny and of other classic writers, might be studied at the present day with profit. Thus it would appear that the memorable researches of Pettenkofer, in a great measure, serve only to make us acquainted with the laws which were perfectly well known to the men of olden time. Then, as to practice: in the ancient cities of the world—Rome, Carthage, Herculaneum, Nineveh, and Alexandria, we know how well pollution of the soil was guarded against. What most judiciously executed works for this and other sanitary objects existed, recent discoveries have revealed. Probably in all these places too, and certainly in Rome, interment within the city walls was forbidden. "It is worthy of note," observes Dr. Spear, "that at this period of history pestilences and epidemics were not of common occurrence, and when they appeared they were usually clearly traceable to famine or to war. But to this enlightened and golden age succeeded one of darkness and intellectual torpor. Sanitary measures were forgotten or ignored; filth accumulated in crowded towns; the practice of intramural sepulture became general. The soil, the air, the water, we read, were impregnated with decomposing matters. As a result we have recorded those most destructive pestilences of the middle ages. The plague, the black-death, fever, and small-pox, swept over the land. . . . Pestilences were ascribed to the pleasure of Almighty God."

 

How to keep cool.—The experiences of an English visitor to the Paris World's Fair, as recorded in the "English Mechanic," convey a useful lesson on the means of enduring without serious discomfort the extreme of summer heat. This gentleman, Mr. D. Winstanley, writes that he went to Paris in March, the weather then being decidedly cold. As the temperature gradually increased he noticed that his ordinary clothing became uncomfortable whenever at 8 a. m. the thermometer indicated 70° Fahr. Accordingly, when that temperature was indicated, he made it a rule to adopt linen clothing, and he then enjoyed a comfortable temperature throughout the day. As summer advanced and the heat increased he never felt hot when clad in linen. Even when the thermometer had risen to 97° Fahr. in the shade, he felt no uncomfortable sensation of being hot, and, furnished with a "havelock," strolled leisurely in the blazing sun for hours, the thermometer indicating 125° Fahr., without discomfort, and without consciousness of perspiration. Mr. Winstanley adds, however, that during the hot weather he lived almost wholly on vegetables and fruits—peas, beans, melons, etc.—using no meat, and above all no fat. He takes occasion to commend the French style of windows in dwelling-houses. "Instead of our miserable idea of an horizontal section," he writes, "which permits at most only one-half of the window aperture to be