Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/591

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though servile and subject to the Masai, are not slaves. They present almost the appearance of dwarfs. "I saw no man among them," she says, "who attained a height of over four feet and a few inches; most of them were very much smaller. The Masai know no law but that of capture, and attack the Taveta with much animosity. Their custom of forbidding passage through their territory is enforced by placing in the middle of the path, over which an individual or a caravan must pass, a bullet over which they cross two twigs stripped of foliage, with the exception of a tufted top; the first person crossing this barrier is usually speared or shot. Not knowing of this custom, I inadvertently came to such a barrier and kicked it aside, when I was seized by one of my headmen, who held me back, informing me that if I crossed that point I should most likely be assassinated; and in a moment about thirty young Masai warriors made their appearance in a great state of agitation, with frantic gesticulations, announcing that I must pay a certain amount of hongo for the depredation I had committed." The author had great difficulty in getting even instantaneous photographs of any of the tribes. They regarded the camera as a species of witchcraft, and were put to flight the moment they saw a square box held up before them. But they were greatly entertained by the music-box; and the principal men of the tribe would sit by the hour round the tent while it was playing, waving themselves backward and forward, and repeating "God! god! god! give us rain! god, give us clothes!" until Mrs. French-Sheldon began to feel that her resources in the way of exerting influence with the supreme power were very much overtaxed.


Platinum and its Sonrces.—Platinum is used in the manufacture of incandescent electric lamps, in the construction of stills for the concentration of sulphuric acid, as material for the wires by which artificial teeth are fastened to plates, and in smaller quantities for chemists' crucibles, jewelry, etc. For all these purposes about 215,000 ounces are consumed every year. The Ural region of Russia has for many years supplied all the platinum used in the world. Other mines of far less productiveness are in the United States of Colombia, British Columbia, and the United States. Colombia produces about a hundred and twenty-five kilogrammes of the metal, all from native washings. The platiniferous area, although of low grade, is very extensive, and in part suitable for hydraulic mining. A considerable quantity of American capital, it is said, has been invested there, and Colombia is expected to become an important producer of the metal The only platinum deposits of importance in British Columbia are on the Talameen River. The total production of this province is about sixty-five kilogrammes. Much prospecting for platinum has been done in the United States, but so far without success in finding paying quantities, and to the present time all the platinum produced has been incidental to the production of gold from various auriferous gravels in California and Oregon.



According to a paper by Miss Millicent W. Shinn, the great refractor of the Lick Observatory and the observatory itself may be traced to Mr. Lick's desire to be immortalized by leaving bequests for costly statues of himself and family. He was told by Mr. Staples that "more likely we shall get into a war with Russia or somebody, and they will come round here with war ships and smash the statues in pieces in bombarding the city." Mr. Lick was so struck by this that he asked, "What shall I do with the money, then?" when the suggestion of the telescope was made.

Many of the allusions and much of the science found in sixteenth century literature, including the works of Jonson, Spenser, Marlowe, Massinger, and Shakespeare, are derived from the De Proprietatibus Rerum of Bartholomew Anglicanus, a Franciscan monk, which was written in Latin about the middle of the thirteenth century, and was translated into English by John of Trevisa in 1397. The work affords a curious insight into the ideas of our ancestors about natural phenomena, and into their credulity in believing the stories of wonders from far countries. Much of it is derived from ancient authorities. A budget of selections from this book has recently been published in London.

The oscillation of projectiles is photographically recorded by Prof. Neesen, of Berlin. He employed hollow projectiles, in the interior of which was placed a sensitive plate, illuminated by sunlight through a small opening. During the rotatory flight of the projectile the ray of light described curves