Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/297

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

285

parts cobalt and twenty to twenty-five aluminum is straw-yellow, inclining to brown; when just formed it is externally hard and scratches glass, but is easily broken with a hammer, and falls to a powder in a few days. An alloy of eighty-two parts nickel and eighteen aluminum has a pronounced straw-yellow color, is as hard as tempered steel, and resists the blow of a hammer. The fracture, close-grained, is that of steel or bell metal. It is susceptible of a fine polish, is stable, and keeps its color. Though interesting on account of their colors, these alloys, except that of nickel, are not suitable for any use.

The Chemistry of Sausages.—The Lancet is authority for the following: "The composition of the sausage is not only complex, but it is often obscure. It is supposed to be a compound of minced beef and pork. Abroad, however, the sausage is compounded of a much wider range of substances. These include brains, liver, and horseflesh. Occasionally they do not contain meat at all, but only bread tinged with red oxide of iron and mixed with a varying proportion of fat. Horseflesh is rich in glycogen, and this fact enables its presence in sausage meat to be detected with some amount of certainty. The test, which depends on a color reaction, with iodine has recently been more carefully studied and with more satisfactory results, so that the presence of five per cent of horseflesh can be detected. At present there is no legal provision for a standard in regard to the composition of sausages, but clearly there ought to be. Limitations should be laid down as to the amount of bread used, as to the actual proportion of meat substances present, and as to the coloring matters added to give an attractive appearance of fresh meat. Sausages are extremely liable to undergo decomposition and become poisonous, owing to the elaboration of toxic substances during the putrefactive process. Bad or rancid fat is very liable to alter the character of a sausage for the worse. Thus in some instances the use of rancid lard has rendered the sausage after a time quite phosphorescent, an appearance which indicates, of course, an undesirable change. The smoked sausage is a much safer article of diet than the unsmoked, since the curing process preserves the meat substance against decomposition by reason of the empyreumatic bodies present in the wood smoke which is used for this purpose."

Photographing Papuan Children.—Many savages dislike to have their pictures taken, some being restrained by motives of superstition; but in New Guinea Professor Semon found being photographed a great joke for all the boys and girls. He had much trouble in isolating a single individual, so as not to get thirty or forty persons into his picture instead of the one he wished to immortalize. "Wishing," he says, "to portray one young girl of uncommonly good looks, I separated her from the rest, gave her a favorable position, and adjusted the lens, surrounded all the while by a crowd of people behind and beside me, the children cheering, the women most ardently attentive, the men benevolently smiling. Evidently my subject was proud of the distinction she enjoyed and the attention vouchsafed her. Quite suddenly, however, this simple savage, untaught as she was and innocent of the laws of reticence and prudishness, became convulsed with shame, covered her eyes with her hands, and valiantly resisted every attempt to make her stand forward as before. At the same time I noticed that the hue of her features changed, the brown of her face becoming darker and deeper than before, a phenomenon easily explained by the fact of the blood rising into her head. Had she been a brown girl we would have said that she blushed. At all events, the physiological process was the same as that which forces us to blush." At another time, when the author had got two little girls into position to be photographed, their mothers came up and forbade his taking them that day, but promised to present them on the morrow. On the next day "both the little angels were solemnly brought to meet us nearly smothered in ornaments, their hair decorated with feathers and combs, their ears with tortoise-shell pieces, their little throats surrounded by plates of mother-of-pearl and chains of dingo teeth, legs and arms hung with rings and shells, teeth, and all sorts of network.… Here, again, one may