Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/587

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pose of mutual understanding and mutual forbearance; yet some of them are in their essence beautiful, because they are founded on the principle of charity as well as truth. They control jealousy and rivalry; they repress vulgar competition; they express disinterested sympathy. In fact, they transform a selfish mob into an orderly society. Still, though without these etiquettes and courtesies of civilization social life could hardly exist, yet it would be impossible to speak of any of the conventions which render it possible as if they were laws of intrinsic and moral obligation to which there are no exceptions. They are but principles which govern the average or ordinary usages of men, but none the less principles which give way, and rightly give way, before any urgent individual need, or even any moderate pressure of clear utility.


Chinese Newspapers.—The Chinese Government instituted an official journal at a very early date, the Pekin Gazette having existed since b. c. 740. It was at first printed upon engraved wooden blocks, but now movable characters cut in wood are used. There are three editions of the paper, of which only the official edition is printed in this manner. The second edition is printed with waxen plates on which the characters are cut, and, the work being done in haste, is not very legible. The third edition is in manuscript. The official edition is printed on one side of ten or twelve very thin doubled leaves, is eighteen centimetres high and ten broad, and is divided by lines of violet ink into seven columns, each containing fourteen ordinary characters. It appears every morning. The manuscript edition is a little smaller than the official edition, and appears several days before it. Its price is many times higher, and it is largely used by foreigners. The journal furnishes a real panorama of the official and social life of the Chinese. The reading of it is very entertaining; for we may find in it, among other documents, the day which the emperor has decided upon for changing from the winter hut to the summer hut; that six of the candidates for the license were more_ than ninety, and thirteen more than eighty years old, illustrating the fact that one is never too old to be examined in China. This Pekin Gazette was the only journal published in China till about twenty years ago. Since then some five journals have arisen at Shanghai, Tien-Tsin, at Canton, at the instance of the English, with the co-operation of Chinese literati. The Chen Pai, of Shanghai, which was started in 1885, is an illustrated weekly journal, with eight doubled leaves and a red cover, the engravings in which are done in Chinese style in outline. In one of the numbers of this journal the last conflict between the French and the Chinese is represented, with the French commander Fournier in the costume of an English admiral. All the journals together publish not more than fifteen thousand copies. The attempts made in them to transcribe European words phonetically are sometimes amusing, thus ultimatum becomes "ou-ti-ma-toung"; statu quo, "sseu-ta-tou-ko"; telephone, "to-li-foung," etc.


The Fire of Incandescent Lamps.—An active incandescent lamp may be broken in the midst of cool combustibles, even of gun-cotton, without setting them on fire, so rapid is the destruction of the carbon filaments in the open air. But a long continuance of the lamp in immediate contact with a combustible envelope may determine ignition, the more readily the more slowly heat and air pass through the envelope. Thus gummed cotton or other goods will take fire more rapidly than similar goods ungummed or loose. Some interesting experiments in this property have been made by an Austrian engineer. Captain Exler. Having determined the temperature produced by certain measured lamps in paraffin in which they were plunged, he washed them with pulverin, ecrasite, and powdered gun-cotton; no change took place in their condition. In thicker coatings ecrasite fused, and the powder slowly lost its sulphur, but neither took fire. The effects were more marked when the substance was spread upon a surface capable of wholly arresting calorific radiation. It is therefore prudent to guard against bringing naked lamps too close to a combustible surface. When the lamp was surrounded with an envelope, the temperature between the two surfaces rose. In fifty minutes it became sufficient to decompose fulmicotton and carbonize wood. Black