Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/137

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ing. The toad then sought for a stone or clod; but, as none was to be found, he lowered his head and crept along, pushing the locust against the ground. But the ground was too smooth (a rolled path) and the angle at which the locust lay to the ground too small, and thus no progress was made. "To increase the angle, he straightened up his hind-legs, but in vain. At length he threw up his hind-quarters, and actually stood on his head, or rather on the locust sticking out of his mouth, and, after repeating this once or twice, succeeded in getting himself outside his dinner."

On another occasion the author saw an American toad disposing of an earthworm in the following way. The worm was so long that it had to be swallowed by sections. But, while one end was in the toad's stomach, the other end was coiled about his head. "He waited until the worm's writhings gave him a chance, and swallowed half an inch; then, taking a nip with his jaws, waited for a chance to draw in another half-inch. But there were so many half-inches to dispose of that at length his jaws grew tired, lost their firmness of grip, and the worm crawled out five-eighths of an inch between each half-inch swallowing. The toad, perceiving this, brought his right hand to his jaws, grasping his abdomen with his foot, and, by a little effort getting hold of the worm in his stomach from the outside, he thus, by his foot, held fast to what he had gained by each swallow, and presently succeeded in getting the worm entirely down."

The Sun's Envelope.—Prof. Charles A. Young's paper, read at the American Association, on a liquid solar crust, led to a very animated discussion. The author is inclined to hold, with Faye, Secchi, and others, that the sun is mainly gaseous. At the same time, the eruptions which are continually occurring on its surface almost compel the supposition that there is a crust of some kind which retains the imprisoned gases, and through which they force their way in jets with great violence. According to the author, this crust may consist of a more or less continuous sheet of descending rain—that is, a downfall of the condensed vapors of those materials which we know from the spectroscope exist in the sun. The continuous efflux of the solar heat is equivalent to the supply that would be developed by the condensation from steam to water of a layer of about five feet thick over the whole surface of the sun every minute of time. As this tremendous rain descends, the velocity of the falling drops would be retarded by the resistance of the denser gases underneath; the drops would coalesce until a continuous sheet would be formed; and these sheets would unite and form a sort of bottomless ocean resting on the compressed vapors beneath, and pierced by innumerable ascending jets and bubbles. It would have an approximately constant depth, because it would turn to vapor at the bottom as rapidly as it grew at the surface, though probably the thickness of this crust would continually increase at a slow rate, and its whole diameter grow less.

In other words, Dr. Young would regard the sun as an enormous bubble whose walls are steadily thickening, and its diameter ever lessening, in proportion to the loss of heat. The hypothesis offers no peculiar explanation of the sun-spots, but will agree with any of the current explanations of that phenomenon.


Prof. Strong, of the Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, N. J., is organizing an expedition to Egypt and the Holy Land. It will start about Christmas, and will embrace in its personnel, engineers, artists, scientists, and a select party of tourists, all under charge of Prof. Strong, assisted by Prof. T. Norman and Mr. George May Powell.

the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal reports a case of semi-asphyxiation from the inhalation of coal-gas, which was very successfully treated by the administration of oxygen. Four men sleeping in one room had inhaled coal-gas. Of these one died before medical aid arrived; the other three were taken to the hospital. Here fresh air and stimulants were resorted to, but the most marked effects followed the administration of oxygen gas. The inhalation of this agent was followed by an almost instantaneous improvement in the condition of the patients. It was found that the supply of oxygen had to be kept up for some time after the appearance of improved respiration, for, when the administration