Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/590

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574
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

density of atmosphere that prevail in mountain regions, and in acquiring the ability to do full labor or take continuous exercise without detriment to the system. The diminished heat at the high altitude, together with the increased tissue-changes consequent on the accelerated circulation and respiration, create an increased demand for food; hence the Coloradan mountaineer is blessed with a keen appetite and vigorous digestion, and, while his store of adipose is usually small, his muscular powers are, as a rule, high. The cool nights promote refreshing sleep, and the dry atmosphere enables one to withstand without inconvenience changes of temperature that in more humid regions would be detrimental or dangerous. The aggregate of persons who become acclimated in Colorado and thereby cured may be divided into three classes, viz.: first, a few who are absolutely cured and who may go to any part of the world or engage in any business, and enjoy an immunity from consumption; those who may go to lower and less favorable climates during certain selected seasons; and those who can not with safety make any change of climate. According to Dr. Dodge's observation and recollection, the first class includes about nine per cent of the patients; the second class, including the first, about fifty per cent; and the third class about fifty per cent. Concerning the safety of a return from the high altitudes after having enjoyed an arrest of the disease, Dr. Frederick I. Knight, of Boston, thought that those who show a strong hereditary tendency to the disease had better be encouraged to remain in the climate where the arrest has taken place. But a patient who has no inherent tendency to this form of disease in himself, but has been the victim, as it were, of external circumstances, may be allowed to try a return under different conditions.

 

Science at McGill University.—During the past year McGill University, Montreal, has received gifts from citizens of that city aggregating one million dollars, one half of which sum has been given by Mr. William C. McDonald. The larger part of the donations is being expended by the Faculty of Applied Science, of which Prof. H. C. Bovey is dean. A group of new buildings, to accommodate classes in civil, mining, mechanical, and electrical engineering and practical chemistry) will be completed for the reception of students in September. A large additional building for instruction in physics will be in readiness early next year. The laboratories in the engineering departments are provided with the latest and best appliances, including a hundred-ton Wicksteed and a seventy-five ton Emery machine for strength-testing, a one-ton Faïja spring-tester for cements, a high-speed steam-engine coupled direct to a dynamo for incandescent lighting, and two Thomson electric balances. The museum will contain the Reuleaux collection of kinematic models, the most complete in America. The workshops are fully equipped with machinery of the best and most modern type. Students will be trained in carpentry, turning, pattern-making, smith-work, molding and casting, and in machine tool-work. In the details of buildings, appointments, and curriculum the faculty has endeavored to profit by the examples of the best technical colleges of the United States; in some respects it has succeeded in taking a stride ahead.

 

The Central Group of the Caucasus.—The central group of the Caucasus Mountains is thus described by Mr. Douglas W. Freshfield: "Elbruz and Kasbek stand some one hundred and twenty miles apart, the former due north of the easternmost bay of the Black Sea, on the edge of the Scythian steppe, the latter in the center of the isthmus overhanging the Dariel road. About midway between these ancient volcanoes the Caucasus culminates in grandeur, in extent of glaciers, and (setting aside Elbruz) in height, in a cluster of magnificent granite peaks and ridges, inclosing great firths of ice which roll gently into the northern valleys, or pour down southward in frozen cataracts till they touch the forests of Suanetia, where they end at an average elevation of seven thousand feet. The snow-level varies between nine thousand five hundred and eleven thousand feet, according to the nature of the soil, the level, and the exposure. Of the peaks, two exceed seventeen thousand feet, and five sixteen thousand feet, while another is higher than Mont Blanc. The longest glacier, the Bezingi Glacier, is ten miles in length—longer than any glacier in the Alps except the Aletsch."