Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/879

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

between solar disturbances and terrestrial meteorology. He has successfully photographed the sun and the moon with instruments of his own manufacture, and has gained fame as a microscopist by his arrangement of diatom test plates. Mr. Lewis Swift, another astronomer, "for years, while engaged in the occupation of hardware merchant, devoted every clear night to his favorite study, perched upon an apple-barrel on the near-by flat roof of a rickety cider-mill. Here, while inhaling the pure air of heaven from above, mingled with the fumes of acetic and from below, he scanned the skies night after night with an absurdly inferior instrument. But perseverance and love for the science, in the absence of a well-equipped tower, urged him to discovery after discovery, forcing the great astronomers of the world reluctantly to acknowledge the power and genius of the man on the cider-mill." He has been the first discoverer of ten comets, the last one a most remarkable one with twelve tails, and has observed nine hundred and seventy new nebulae. Rochester is the home of Prof. Ward, the learned biologist, whose labors and undertakings in behalf of science are well known in both hemispheres. It was there, too, that Lewis H. Morgan, anthropologist, lived, labored, and died. The University of Rochester some years ago began teaching anthropology to a small class; other institutions followed the example; but "to this university belongs the credit of having introduced or added in America this important branch to its curriculum." Side by side with scientific labor in the city has grown an optical manufactory which holds a position peculiarly its own. In short, scientific activity has taken deep root in Rochester, and "is there to stay."

 

The Temperature of the Brain.—From observations made upon animals under various narcotics or anæsthetics, and man, with an instrument capable of detecting changes of not more than 0·002° C, Prof. Moso has found that, as a rule, the temperature of the brain is lower than that of the rectum, but that intense psychical processes or the action of exciting chemical substances may cause it to remain 0·2° or 0·3° higher. An ordinary interrupted current causes a rise in the temperature, which is observed earlier in the brain than elsewhere. Observations made on an animal when awake seem to show that the development of heat due to cerebral metabolism is considerable, and that the mere maintenance of consciousness belonging to the wakeful state, apart from all intense psychical activity, involves considerable chemical action and consequent change in temperature. But the variations of temperature as a result of attention, or of pain or other sensations, are very small; and when an animal is conscious no change of consciousness, no psychical activity, however brought about experimentally, produces more than a slight effect on the temperature of the brain.

 

Roasted Potato-pulp.—A new method of preparing and preserving potatoes to be fed to cattle or to be made the basis of dishes for the table—has been devised by M. Aime Girard, of the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers, Paris. The potatoes having been ground, the pulp is exposed to pressure for the exclusion of all the water that can be removed by mechanical means. The pulp is then sliced and heated in a furnace till it is entirely dried, at a temperature high enough to give it a pleasant taste, without being so high as to convert the starch into dextrin. The substance thus prepared is called by the inventor torrefied pulp, and is suitable for feeding to cattle. With boiling water it forms a palatable soup; ground and mixed with wheaten or rye flour it forms a good breadstuff.

 

Saxon Musical Instruments.—According to the report of the Turkish consul at Leipsic, the making of musical instruments has been from time immemorial the occupation of the mountain villages of Klingenthal, Georgenthal, Upper and Lower Lachsenfeld, and Gera, in Saxony, and the instruments are exported to all countries. Musical machines—aristons and orchestrions—are made in Leipsic itself at six factories. Some of the manufacturers in the country at large are famous, like Herr J. Bluthner, who has bought large forests in Galicia and Poland, so that he can provide his own woods. The factories do much work for tropical countries, whither they send instruments the inner parts of which are chiefly of iron. The manufacture of German organs, harmoniums,