Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/737

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stances, be taken advantage of to check the tendency to form fat, but these specialties of the chemico-nutritive function are by no means common; and, speaking generally, it must be said that, except by starving the body as a whole, fatness can not be prevented." The exceptions to this rule are chiefly such as may be explained on the principle of a special tissue appetite. Thus some persons have a tendency to form muscle in excess, others to build up the nerves; and the last will grow thin while feeding well; and there are, in this way, persons whose specialty it is to make adipose tissue, and they will wax fat even when other parts of the organization are relatively in a condition approaching starvation. These and many other matters have to be taken into account when calculating the probabilities or improbabilities of success in the endeavor to diminish the fatness of any person by a system of dieting. Drugs, except when intelligently directed to some special morbid condition, have just as little influence in the matter.

Influenza and Children's Growth.—A systematic course of observations of the growth in weight of the children in the Deaf-mute Institution at Copenhagen has been kept up for seven years. Among the most striking results is the fact that the principal increase takes place in the fall months. Last fall (1889) the influenza appeared in Copenhagen toward the end of November. Six of the professors of the institution were attacked, while no pronounced cases were developed among the pupils. At the same time, for four weeks after the 23d of November, the weight of the boys increased only two fifths as rapidly as it had done in the corresponding weeks of the previous years, while the girls gained nothing. It is supposed that the vital force that usually went to increase of weight was for this occasion used up in resisting the germs of the disease.


The conclusions expressed by Prof. Key, in the November number of the Monthly, respecting periods of growth in school children, seem to be confirmed by the measurements of Dr. Henry P. Bowditch in the schools of Boston. From these measurements, Dr. Bowditch observed in the National Academy of Sciences, it was shown that the big boys and girls get their growth earlier in life than the small boys and girls. The latter make up their relative proportion, but not till about a year later in life. The same fact was proved regarding height and weight. There was also shown to be a period of what the author called "female superiority," when the girls are the superiors in height and weight of the boys of the same age. This age is from about fourteen to sixteen years.

Experiments are being tried in Germany in making horseshoes of a material the chief constituent of which is paper. It is said to fit to the hoof better than the iron shoe, to be impervious to water, and to grow rough under use, so as to become a safeguard against slipping.

M. Armand Viré has discovered some dozen rocks in the valley of the Lunain, France, covered with smooth furrows running in various directions, which the people there believe to be scratchings of the devil's claws. They were used, it is supposed, during the Quaternary epoch, for finishing off the stone hatchets.

A portable boat has been devised by Colonel Apostoloff, of the Russian army, which may be constructed instantly by making a framework with the lances of the Cossacks and covering with a tarred cloth. Two boats are capable of carrying thirty-six men, with their baggage and arms.

MM. Fremy and Verneuil have continued their experiments in the manufacture of artificial rubies, which attracted attention several years ago, and, improving their processes, have made it successful on a considerable scale. They now obtain crystals weighing a third of a carat. In their later processes they add carbonate of potash to crude alumina, with bichromate of potash for color. The process, with the agitation of fluoride of barium, is continued for a week without interruption, at a temperature of 1350° C. Several times in the course of their experiments they have observed the red crystals of the ruby formed along with the violet and blue crystals of the sapphire. Mineralogy as well as jewelry is likely to profit by these operations, which are destined to cast light upon the coloring of gems.

Painted human bones have been found by Prof. Vasselovski in two prehistoric graves in the Crimea. Such bones had previously been found in three other graves. They are supposed to belong to the original inhabitants of the Crimea, the Cimmerians of Herodotus, who laid their dead on elevated spots till the birds consumed the flesh, and painted the skeletons, when they were bleached, with some mineral pigment. Painted skeletons have also been found in central Asia.