Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/651

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Pennsylvania. By Joseph G. Richardson, M. D. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1871.

Juries and Physicians on Questions of Insanity. By R. S. Guernsey, Esq., of the New York Bar

Organization and Constitution of the American Health Association. New York, 1872.

Report on the Water-Supply of the City of Rochester, New York.

Twenty-fourth Annual Report of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane.

Biennial Catalogue of the University of South Carolina, 1871-'72.


Antiquity of Civilization.—M. Oppert read an essay at the Brussels Congress, to show, from the astronomical observations of the Egyptians and Assyrians, that 11,542 years before our era man existed on the earth at such a stage of civilization as to be able to take note of astronomical phenomena, and to calculate with considerable accuracy the length of the year. The Egyptians, says he, calculated by cycles of 1,460 years—zodiacal cycles, as they were called. Their year consisted of 365 days, which caused them to lose one day in every four solar years, and, consequently, they would attain their original starting-point again only after 1,460 years (365 x 4). Therefore the zodiacal cycle ending in the year 139 of our era commenced in the year 1322 b. c. On the other hand, the Assyrian cycle was 1,805 years, or 22,325 lunations. An Assyrian cycle began 712 b. c. The Chaldeans state that between the deluge and their first historic dynasty there was a period of 39,180 years. Now, what means this number? It stands for 12 Egyptian zodiacal cycles plus 12 Assyrian lunar cycles.

PSM V02 D651 Ancient zodiac calculation.jpg

These two modes of calculating time are in agreement with each other, and were known simultaneously to one people, the Chaldeans. Let us now build up the series of both cycles, starting from our era, and the result will be as follows:

Zodiacal Cycle. Lunar Cycle.
1,460 1,805
1,322 712
———— ————
2,782 2,517
4,242 4,322
5,702 6,127
7,162 7,932
8,622 9,737
10,032 11,542

At the year 11542 b. c. the two cycles came together, and consequently they had on that year their common origin in one and the same astronomical observation.

A Plant-Battery.—Under the heading "Arceuthobium shedding its Seed," L. A. M., in the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, gives the following account of what deserves to be called a vegetable mitrailleuse: "I visited the swamp in Warrensburg, the first week in October. I found its female plants of Arceuthobium nearly all gone. Every effort that I made to cut twigs from the matted clumps, where the colonies of these strange parasites grow, brought them down in showers. Fearing that I should fail to get plants with full seed-vessels, I picked a single plant with vessels much swollen. While holding it gently between my thumb and finger, to observe it more closely, I felt the tiniest recoil of the capsule, and the seed struck me a smart blow in the face. I gathered another, and another, and each pretty little bomb went off with a force that must have carried it several feet away. The seed flies out of the base of the capsule, instead of the top; but its position on the plant makes that the top, as, when ripe, the vessels hang with the true summit turned downward. I found the seeds and empty seed-vessels lodged all about on the branches. The plants which have ripened seed fall off nearly all together: those which have not blossomed, or have failed to be fertilized, probably remain for another year. When the seeds are being sown, there must be quite a brisk bombardment going on for several days. Isolated colonies of Arceuthobium in forests may have been planted by seed adhering to the feet of birds."

Government Telegraphy.—The first number of the London Telegraphic Journal, in a leading article on Government telegraphy,