Popular Science Monthly/Volume 21/September 1882/Popular Miscellany
Experiments in Ensilage.—Professor W. A. Henry, of the Experimental Farm of the University of Wisconsin, has published a report of an experiment in ensilage that was made last year under his direction. A pit was made, thirty feet long by fifteen wide and fifteen deep, with thick stone walls, at a cost of $413.12, and was filled to near the top with a crop of fodder-corn that had been raised and cut up for the purpose, weighing 150,222 pounds, and at the top with second-crop clover just as it came from the field, all under the inspection of many visitors who had been invited to witness the process. "The comments," says Professor Henry, "were as varied as the visitors. As the weather was very warm the ensilage heated rapidly, and when the visitor would run his hand down into the mass of damp-cut fodder, and find it so hot as to be uncomfortable, there would sometimes come a shake of the head and prediction of failure of some sort: 'It will burn the barn up'; 'May keep below, but will not on top'; 'Think it will be all right above where it can get some air, but below it will make a nice manure-heap.'" The silo was loaded down with an unusual weight of stones, in order to bring the more pressure to bear upon the long and matted clover-stalks; for the efficacy of the operation depends upon the prevention of heating by cutting off the access of fresh air. After the pit was closed, but little evidence of the change within was seen, only occasionally a just discernible but not at all marked odor. When the silo was opened, November 29th, the clover was partly decayed for about a half-inch down, and moldy for two or three inches below and around the sides of the pit. This was thrown out to be put on the manure-heap. The cows were a little shy of eating the ensilage at first, but after four or five feeds all ate it as naturally as they would hay. Then the clover that had been thrown away attracted their attention, and they ate greedily even of that which was musty. A small extemporized silo was tentatively made, in the natural ground where it was well drained, without walling, and was filled with green clover. The ensilage came out in perfect condition and entirely palatable. The result of the last experiment shows how persons living where the subsoil is very compact might make a silo with either very light walls or with none at all.
How Oölite may be formed.—Mr. F. W. Putnam, in giving an account of a visit he made some months ago to the Mammoth Cave, remarks that in one of the newly discovered chambers he noticed that many fragments of stalactites and small pieces from the walls of the cave, which had fallen into a little pool, were worn round and smooth by constant attrition, occasioned by the dropping of water from the high ceiling of the chamber. Should the water cease to drip in this place, as it probably will, and that in the pool evaporate, leaving the lime to crystallize about these small pebbles, a conglomerate would be formed which would have some resemblance to oolitic limestone, pebbles of which occurred in the pool, probably derived from fragments detached from the walls of the chamber. Calling attention to the formation of "cave pearls," which he had found in Grand Avenue Cave some years ago, he remarked that should such a mass of small pearl-like lime-concretions as were found in the last named cave ever be cemented together, the resemblance to oölite would be very marked. While he did not wish to be understood as stating that the oölitic limestone was formed in this way, he could not help thinking that a rock of similar appearance might be locally so produced under the conditions he had observed.
Lead in Food and the Industrial Arts.—M. Armand Gautier has recently published a memorandum on the dangers arising from the use of lead in food-vessels and in various arts, and on the means of counteracting them. He shows that lead may be detected in preserved vegetables, fish, lobsters, meats, in drinking-water, and water artificially charged with carbonic acid, in acid foods and drinks preserved in glass vessels, in tin dishes, in the coverings of our walls and furniture, in the leather of our boots, in our dishes, and in our glazed table-cloths. He gives a simple and practical test for the presence of lead in solder or tinned or solid metal, and for estimating the proportion of the poison that may be there. It consists in turning on two drops of acetic acid upon the surface of the metallic object, allowing it to evaporate in the air, then touching with a solution of chromate of potash, letting dry, and washing with water. The yellow chromate of lead, thus obtained, adheres to the metal, and does not change color for several days, so that the spot can be kept in evidence. When a tin thus treated shows a yellow spot it should be rejected; if it is used in a food-can the contents should be regarded as suspicious, even if the soldering has all been done on the outside, as the latest regulations require. The general use of food preparations done up in metallic boxes that are soldered with an alloy of lead necessarily results in the introduction of a little lead into the economy, and, according to M. Gautier, the proportions of lead thus absorbed, generally very weak with vegetables, are much stronger in foods rich with fats, and especially in fish preserved in oil; the oils that surround the fish are still more strongly charged with it; and preserved meats contain it in widely varying proportions. The lead appears to exist in vegetables in the shape of an albuminate soluble in the acids of the stomach, in fat-substances as an oleate and a palminate dissolved in the fats, and absorbable with them when they undergo emulsion in the digestive tube. The use of lead in a multitude of arts and trades, too numerous to be named here, leads to more perceptible and extensive poisoning than the minute quantities of the metal that reach us through our foods and food-vessels, the importance of which is indicated by the admission of an average number of seven hundred workmen suffering from it to the hospitals of Paris every year. The compounds of lead with which these workmen come in contact are absorbed by the skin, the mouth, the nostrils, and in breathing. To workmen exposed to such danger M. Gautier advises avoidance of everything that can raise a dust of leaden compounds, of all unnecessary direct contact with lead and its preparations, scrupulous care for the cleanliness of person, clothing, tools, face, and mouth, and observance of general hygienic rules and temperance.
Disadvantages and Advantages of Bacteria.—In a paper on "Bacteria in Healthy Individuals," Surgeon George M. Sternberg, of the United States Army, considers the question, which many have been ready to ask, If bacteria are such terrible things, how is it possible that we can exist upon the earth, surrounded and infested as we are by them? "Certainly," says Surgeon Sternberg, "there would be an end to all animal life, or rather there would never have been a beginning, if living animals had no greater resisting power to the attacks of these parasites, which by numbers and rapid development make up for their minute size, than has dead animal matter." The obvious answer to the question, that living animals have the required superior resisting power, is supported by Pasteur's researches, which show that it depends very much upon certain well-defined circumstances whether the same bacterium is a harmless parasite and commensal of man and animals, or an active agent promoting disease and decay. "Nature," says Dr. Sternberg, "has placed in the living tissues of animals a resisting power against the encroachments of bacterial organisms invading and surrounding them, which is sufficient for ordinary emergencies. But when the vital resistance of the tissues is reduced, on the one hand, by wasting sickness, profuse discharges, etc., or, on the other hand, the vital activity of the invading parasitic organism is increased, the balance of power rests with the infinitesimal but potent micrococcus. . . . Experiment has demonstrated that, by some unknown mechanism, the ordinary bacteria of putrefaction, and, under certain circumstances, even pathogenic organisms, may be introduced directly into the circulation without the production of evil consequences, and that after a short interval microscopical examination does not reveal their presence in the blood." There is compensation for the damage wrought by bacteria, which is described by Dr. Sternberg with some exaggeration, and hardly sufficient consideration of the power of the normal chemical forces of nature, in these words: "On the other hand, but for the power of these little giants to pull to pieces dead animal matter, we should have dead bodies piled up on all sides of us in as perfect a state of preservation as canned lobster or pickled tongue, and there being no return to the soil of the materials composing these bodies, our sequoias and oaks would dwindle to lichens and mosses, and finally all vegetation would disappear, and the surface of the earth would be a barren and desolate wilderness, covered only with the inanimate forms of successive generations of plants and animals."
Variable Stars.—Professor A. Ritter attempts, in his recent work on the "Application of the Mechanical Theory of Heat to Cosmological Problems," to explain the 1 origin and nature of variable stars by supposing that, stable as they appear to our i limited vision, the planetary systems are. subject to ceaseless recurring changes, in the course of which they go through all the phases of cosmical evolution. The speed I of the revolutions of the several members of the systems being constantly retarded by the resistance of the ether, they eventually yield to the attraction of the central body and fall into it. The concussion generates heat enough to resolve the whole mass into a vapor or gas which diffuses itself through space till its surplus heat is so dissipated that the attractive force is able to overcome its power of expansion, when the vapors begin to contract, and consequently to develop heat anew. The internal heat of the contracting body at last becomes strong enough to overcome the force of gravitation, and a new expansion begins. The gaseous sphere is thus subjected to a movement of rhythmical pulsation, the temperature increasing with the contractions and diminishing with the expansions, and will appear from a distance, if the variations in temperature reach a certain degree, alternately bright and dark, or as a variable star. The duration of the pulsations will vary according to the size of the body, and the period will bear a certain relation to its density; so that we may deduce one of the elements from the others. When our sun filled the orbit of Neptune, it probably appeared to the inhabitants of other worlds as a variable star, with a period of three hundred and forty years. The appearance of change is confined to the youth of a star; for when it has become so dense that the variations bear only a minute ratio to the absolute brightness of the body, they cease to be noticed. The gradual and seemingly permanent disappearance of stars that have suddenly shone out is accounted for by supposing their periods of change to be immensely long. As hundreds of years must have elapsed after our sun first shone out before the gaseous particles began to move back toward the center, so, if the concussion is vastly more violent than that which produced the sun, thousands of years must pass before a concentration can begin. The origin of the apparently constant nebulae may be thus accounted for, and their irregularities of shape may have arisen from different accidents of the concussion; but changes of magnitude have been observed even in these bodies. The origin of new stars that remain may be explained by supposing that the concussion was less violent—strong enough to produce a great brightness, but not strong enough to cause immense expansion. Professor Ritter claims that spectroscopical observations of the "newer stars" are in harmony with his theory.
A newly discovered Jewish Tribe.—Mr. Henry Samuel Morais has published a short account of the Daggatouns, a tribe of Jewish origin in the Desert of Sahara, recently brought into notice in the narrative of the Rabbi Mordecai Aby Serour, of Akka, Morocco. The rabbi's account is incomplete, but we may learn from it that the people mentioned, who are scattered among the orthodox Tuaricks in the desert, "have skins perfectly white, are very handsome, much handsomer than the finest-looking Jews of Africa," and that not one of them is black. They are distinguished by the Tuaricks as Jews that have changed their belief, and seem to occupy a low social position among the tribes. The change in belief seems rather to have been a loss of belief, for it is remarked respecting the exercise of their religion that they never utter a prayer, and have no regular form of public worship, but simply invoke, the name of Mohammed. To questions on the subject they emphatically answered that they did not know the Koran, and that, having-descended from the Jews, and not resembling in any manner the other tribes, they could not have exactly the same religion. "Notwithstanding this," they continued, "even if we accepted their practices, they would not cease calling us converted."
The Eucalyptus in California.—Mr. Robert E. C. Stearns, Ph. D., communicated to the American Forestry Association, at its recent meeting, a number of facts respecting the cultivation of the eucalyptus in California, and the probable value of the tree. About six million eucalyptus-trees have been planted in the State during the last ten years, and several million trees of other kinds. A large proportion of the number have been planted in the streets and yards of cities, and for ornament in country estates, till, in the absence of deciduous trees, "the vistas afforded by the streets are somber and monotonous through general sameness of form and tone of color. The eucalyptus is a greedy monopolist, and, when planted in a small yard, takes all there is of it, killing out the shrubs. These objectionable facts, however, are not faults of the tree per se, but are only effects of injudicious planting, remediable by remanding the eucalyptus to its proper place, and by interspersing it with native and deciduous trees, for the sake of variety in the appearance. The globulus species of eucalyptus is the one most planted, but it is probably of less value for most purposes, aside from the fact of its rapid growth, than its harder-wooded congeners. This species, also, "which seems generally to thrive within the influence of the coast climate, where the saline quality of the coast atmosphere neutralizes the occasionally too low temperature of the winter months, often fails in the interior. 28º Fahr. is about the temperature limit as to cold." Touching the value of the eucalyptus for lumber, based upon the product of California-grown trees, "but little can be said. The time has not arrived to determine that question. The lumber sawed in Australian mills is not made from trees of only ten to fifteen years of age, and it is probable that very few of the eucalypts planted in California are as old as fifteen years from the seed. Our native trees of so recent growth are not used for or made into lumber, and nothing but soft and sappy wood can be expected from trees so young." Facts bearing upon the profit of eucalyptus-growing for fuel purposes are furnished by the yield of twenty acres of a plantation belonging to General Stratton, of which, after charging every item of cost, and a yearly rental of five dollars per acre, the net profits were $3,866.04 in eleven years. Notwithstanding that too much may have been claimed by enthusiastic friends in relation to the sanitary and medical value of certain species of the eucalyptus, "there is enough, minus exaggeration, to justify their being regarded as of unquestionable merit."
How Flies climb.—Herr H. Dewitz has communicated to the Berlin Society of Natural History some facts that bear very strongly against the generally received theory that flies adhere to perpendicular walls and ceilings by virtue of some sucking power in their feet. He asserts that the feet of flies can not possess the sucking property ascribed to them, for they are hard and destitute of muscles. The theory has long been contradicted by the experiments of Blackwall, who found that flies could climb the sides of a jar under the receiver of an air pump, where there was no atmospheric pressure; and who asserted that the power of adherence was due to a sticky matter secreted from the foot-hairs of flies. This assertion was generally regarded as not proved, and the case has rested there. Dewitz reports that his investigations have shown that Blackwall was right. He has watched the exudation of the sticky matter from the feet of the flies by fastening one of the insects to the under side of a plate of glass and viewing it under the microscope. A perfectly clear liquid was seen to flow from the ends of the foot-hairs and attach the foot to the glass. When the foot was lifted up, to be put down in another place, the drops of the sticky matter were perceived to be left on the glass, in the exact places where the foot-hairs had rested. The adhesive fluid appears to pass down through the hollow of the hair, and to be derived from glands which Leydig discovered in the folds of the foot in 1859. A similar adhesive matter appears to be possessed by bugs, by many larvæ, and probably by all insects that climb the stems and the under sides of the leaves of plants.
Flesh-eating no Sin.—Mr. W. Mattieu Williams gives a pointed answer, in the "Journal of Science," to the protests of a vegetarian writer against eating animal food, on the ground that it involves cruelty to living beings. No animals, he says, enjoy a more comfortable life, or are better cared for, than those we keep for food. If we did not eat them, they would be exterminated, for they would not be able to take care of themselves. Yet, in the very sight of the wonderful animal happiness that they enjoy, "the sentimental vegetarians advocate the extinction of all the pastoral bliss that has been a leading theme to poets of all ages." The final killing of them is in accordance with the order of nature, and, if we are to be denounced for it, the Creator must also be denounced for giving life, and at the same time making death one of its necessary conditions. Then, if the killing is wrong, the vegetarian kills on a far more extensive scale, "for the boiling of a cabbage involves the immolation of innocent slugs and caterpillars, and tens of hundreds of thousands of aphides are sacrificed in topping a row of broad beans, to say nothing of the millions of Colorado beetles that have been mercilessly murdered in order that ruthless, selfish man may satisfy his greed for potatoes."
Sun-Worship and the Cross in Ancient America.—Mr. F. L. Hilder, of the Missouri Historical Society, has made a study of a pottery-vessel taken from one of the mounds in the State, and finds that the ornaments upon it represent the sun, figured under four distinct designs. He draws the conclusion, from his examinations, that "the symbolic character of all these devices is so evident that it is impossible to mistake their meaning. They are all well-known emblems of that solar worship which was so prominent in all the primitive religions of the world that it has completed the circuit of the habitable globe. As such they form an important item in the evidence to establish the fact that the symbolism employed by the ancient inhabitants of this region was far too refined and abstract to have been the outgrowth of the religious ideas of savage hunters and warriors; and that it bore a close analogy to, if not absolutely identical with, that in use among the nations of the central part of the continent when invaded by the Spaniards." In one of the forms of the figure, the sun is marked with a cross, thus giving new evidence of the universality of that symbol among mankind.
The Bacilli of Tubercle.—The "Medical Press" gives one of the clearest accounts of the experiments by which Dr. Koch has established the bacterial origin of tubercle. In pursuing his investigations, Dr. Koch used material derived both from human and animal sources. Examination of the tuberculous material deposited in various organs led to the discovery of minute organisms possessing all the bacterial characteristics of bacilli, whence the conclusion was formed that those forms of life are invariably present in such deposits. In a multitude of cases of miliary tuberculosis, bacilli in incalculable numbers were encountered in every affected situation, and the conclusion was warranted that they inevitably accompany the development at least of the disease. To demonstrate, however, that they are the cause of the affections, required the accumulation of sufficient actual proof, and Koch's claim to the gratitude of the world rests on the fact that he appears to have made this. Numbers of Guinea-pigs, rabbits, and cats were operated upon, with the result, in every case, of verifying the conclusions which the experimenter had reached. By directly transferring the tuberculous matter from diseased animals to healthy ones, through inoculation, Dr. Koch succeeded in all cases in reproducing the disease. As, however, it was still possible that the contamination might be due to a virus contained in the transferred material, rather than to the presence of microscopic organisms in it, "cultivation" experiments were introduced and conducted on a very exhaustive scale. A pabulum was found in which the bacilli grew and reproduced freely. By repeated sowings in new quantities of the nutritive matter, extending in some cases to six months, a generation of "purified" bacilli was obtained which could not by any possibility be accused of communicating virus. When these organisms were introduced into healthy animals, they never failed to reproduce themselves in incalculable numbers, and to set up all the symptoms of tuberculous infection. Thus, four Guinea pigs were inoculated with bacilli of the fifth generation produced in fifty-four days from tuberculous matter originally derived from a human being. In each case the infected animal sickened and lost flesh, and was found when killed to have strongly pronounced tuberculosis. This took place whatever was the point in the body chosen for the injection of the infective material. When some animals were injected with healthy blood-serum at the same time that others were inoculated with bacilli, the latter sickened and became tuberculous, while the former were not affected. In another series of experiments the sputum of phthisical patients, even after having been thoroughly dried, was found to produce similar effects with the bacilli. Certain conditions seem essential to the development of the bacilli under the ordinary circumstances of communication, and further experiments will bear reference to ascertaining precisely what they are.
Neglect of the Study of Insanity.—In a paper read before the National Association for the Protection of the Insane and the Prevention of Insanity, Dr. Nathan Allen, of Lowell, Massachusetts, calls attention to the neglect in which the study of insanity is left by the medical profession generally. Acknowledging that the study of the functions and disorders of the brain presents more difficulties than any other branch of medical science, but seemingly considering this as only a stronger reason why more attention should be given to it, he finds that in very few instances is insanity mentioned as one of the subjects in the annual circulars of medical schools advertising their lectures. In only three or four schools is there a professorship or course of lectures voted exclusively to mental disorders. The subject is sometimes introduced under the head of theory and practice of medicine, but is more often remanded to the lectures on medical jurisprudence; and hardly ever is a book on this subject included among the standard works of study and reference proposed for students.
The Albert Medal.—The Albert Medal of the British Society of Arts has been awarded, beginning in 1864, to Sir Rowland Hill, for postal reforms; to Napoleon III, for his promotion of art; to Professor Faraday, for discoveries in electricity, magnetism, and chemistry; to Mr. W. Fothergill Cook and Professor Wheatstone, for establishing the first electric telegraph; to Mr. Joseph Whitworth, for his instruments of measurement and uniform standards; to Baron von Liebig, for chemical and other researches; to Ferdinand de Lesseps, on account of the Suez Canal; to Mr. Henry Cole, C. B., for activity in international exhibitions and the South Kensington Museum; to Mr. Bessemer, for developing the manufacture of steel; to M. Chevreul, for chemical researches; to C. W. Siemens, for a variety of researches; to Michael Chevalier, for general economical activity; to Sir George B. Airy, for researches in nautical astronomy and magnetism, etc.; to M. Dumas, for chemical researches; to Sir William Armstrong, for distinguished engineering work and development of mechanical power; to Sir William Thomson, for electrical researches and the development of ocean cables; to J. P. Joule, for establishing the relations between heat, light, and electricity; and to A. W. Hoffmann, of Berlin, for investigations in organic chemistry and his promotion of chemical education and research in England. The award of the medal for 1881 was to be made in May.
Tree Meteorology.—Mr. Robert E. C. Stearns, Ph. D., at the close of a paper on the estimation of the annual growths of certain trees in California, suggests the possibility of making valuable investigations into the periodicity of climates and the direction and effects of prevailing winds by the systematic study of the year-rings of trees. "We might," he says, "find so close a parallelism between rings of maximum thickness and seasons of maximum rain-fall, that we should be justified in regarding this parallelism as something more than a series of coincidences merely, by finding these coincidences so persistent as to prove a correlation; and we could, perhaps, base our weather prognostications on something more than a guess, and learn whether or not there is a periodicity or cyclical term of wet and dry years, having the data before us according to the trees selected and examined—reaching back with the pines from seventy-five to one hundred and fifty years, with the redwoods from five hundred to seven hundred years, and with the sequoias of the Sierra from twelve to fourteen centuries, to say nothing of the testimony of other trees, the madronas and oaks especially. Differences in the diameters of trees," Dr. Stearns adds, "may be traced, perhaps, to a difference in the amount of heat and light which one side of a tree receives as compared with the other; to the influence of prevailing winds according to the station, position, or exposure, or to local or general magnetic influences—local as peculiar to small areas, or general as pertaining to larger or extensive regions. An accumulation of data might show a marked and constant character in the relation of diameters to such factors of the environment; and also a marked character in the diameters of one region, as a whole, when compared with another region, where modified or different climatic conditions exist."
Habits of Wood-Ducks.—The experiments of Mr. George Irvin, of Mayville, New York, upon the capacity for domestication of different species of wild ducks, gave him the means of gaining much knowledge of the habits of the wood-ducks, which, although they would not be domesticated, bred freely within the inclosure in which he confined them. They generally begin to nest about the middle of April, and always choose trees with suitable holes and hollows in which to build, preferring for this purpose rather high elevations, and lay from nine to fourteen eggs, of a yellowish-white color, the period of incubation of which is four weeks. When the young birds, twenty-four hours after being hatched, are ready to descend from their nests, whether low or high, the old bird comes to the mouth of the hole and takes for about a half-hour a careful survey of the surroundings, to ascertain, as it were, that no intruder is near, and then utters a low call. The ducklings seem to understand the significance of the call and quickly make their appearance in front of the hole, which often extends to a depth of from six to ten feet. By means of their toe-nails, which are hooked nearly as much as those of birds of prey, and sharp as the point of a needle, they easily manage to climb up on the inside of the deep holes, at the entrance of which they remain a few minutes huddled together about the old bird. After this, the mother again descends to the ground near the tree, and calls upon her young brood, which now drop, one by one, from their airy perch, without any apparent hesitation; for their bodies are already so thickly covered with down that they seem to fall like leaves to the ground. When the last duckling has accomplished its fall, the brood gather again about the old bird and are led by her to the nearest water, which is seldom far away, and is generally convenient to shelters and hiding-places.
The Foot, and how it should be treated.—The human foot is an instrument admirably adapted to all the various uses it has to serve, which fashion has done its best to spoil by improper treatment. The bones of the instep are so adjusted as to form an arrangement which combines in exquisite perfection the resistance of the arch with as much elasticity as enables it to bear safely the prodigious strain to which it is subjected. The whole frame of the foot is kept in position and made capable of its proper range of movement by means of muscles and tendons, constituting a living and sensitive bandage, increasing or relaxing its pull or pressure in the most exact obedience to our will. In a sound, free foot, each part of the machinery is in constant readiness to bring it into the required position, whether to lift the body, to bound, or to sustain the shock of the whole weight in coming down again, or to perform any other of a number of complications of movement. How perfectly the foot is adapted for these purposes, and is protected against too great pressure and sudden shock, is shown by the fact that such violent actions as leaping, or the being burdened with a weight twice or thrice, that of the whole body, cause no uneasiness to a sound foot; the injury, if any, resulting from such exertions being usually felt elsewhere. The skin, very thin and delicate on the upper part of the foot, is thick and tough, though soft and pliable, on the sole. Beneath it is a layer of fat, strengthened by strong fibers crossing it and binding it to the muscles and ligaments. The sole can endure great pressure and even violent shocks, but is at the same time curiously sensitive, especially to the touch. It is very easily tickled. This property serves a very important purpose in walking, for the pressure upon the ground stimulates the muscles of the foot to their required activity, without any effort of the will, and indeed without our being conscious of the operation. This spontaneous alertness of the muscles, on which the energy and grace of movement depend, can be secured only by their being kept uncramped, free, and well exercised. How much the shoemaker's shoes, cramping the foot, jamming the toes upon each other, distorting the shape of the organ, and lifting the heel up so that the weight of the body is thrown upon the toes, prevent this, needs no elaboration. The lesson of these observations is that the shoe should give plenty of room all around to the foot, that the sole should be thinnest and narrowest at the "waist," where elasticity is wanted, broad and thick at the tread, where protection is most required, and that no one should be ashamed of the size of his foot. "A well-formed large one is a far pleasanter sight than the smallest one distorted."
A Lion-Tamer's Method.—A curious history, and one that sheds many gleams of light upon the character of beasts in the menagerie, is that of Henri Martin, the lion tamer, who died, ninety years old, quietly at his home, "among his collections of butterflies and his books of botany." Martin, according to his own letters, began to cultivate his gift of control over animals in the days when he was connected with a circus, by acquiring an extraordinary power over horses, which he taught every trick known to the profession, and some which have hardly been exactly paralleled. From this he went on to taming wild beasts; and, soon after he had started business as part proprietor of a menagerie, he had labored eight months in training a royal tiger, and had taught a spotted hyena to pick up his gloves. He was never seen with a whip in his hand; but he crossed his arms, and gave his animals the word of command to leap on and off his shoulders; and he considered his method infinitely superior to that of the tamers who go through their business chiefly by the terrorism of a heavy whip and a revolver. Their beasts obey them, but, he said, "they are not tamed as mine were, and, when one of them rebels, you can judge the tragic result from the tragical end of Lucas." One day, Martin told his wife that he anticipated trouble with his lion Cobourg, who was then in a dangerous state of excitement. She begged him to put off the performance, but he said: "No; for, if I should do it once, I should have to do it every time the animals have caprices." The next night his forebodings were fulfilled. Instead of performing his part properly, Cobourg crouched low and dug his talons into the stage, and his eyes flared. Martin had no weapon at command except a dagger in his belt—"I have said, never a whip." Instead of obeying orders, the lion leaped at Martin, and a combat occurred, in the course of which the lion took Martin up in his mouth and shook him in the air. Martin struck the animal over the nose for a second time, and then, feeling his strength exhausted, gave himself up for lost, and turned his back to the beast, so that at the next spring it might attack the back of his neck, and so "make an end of the business. . . . But two seconds passed, two seconds that seemed to me an eternity. I turned around; the lion's mood had changed. He looked at the audience, he looked at me. I gave him the sign to go. He went away as if nothing had happened." It was fourteen weeks before Martin could perform again, but then the lion worked well as usual, and continued to do so for four years without any more caprices. In taming one of his tigers, Martin began by taking the brute's attention off the door of the cage, and then, armed with a dagger, went rapidly into the cage and stood looking at the tiger, which for some minutes lay motionless, staring at him. Then, feeling a shiver, and knowing that if the tiger saw it all would be over with him, he went swiftly out. At the end of a fortnight he went again into the cage, and this time staid there half an hour. A third time he paid the tiger a visit of three quarters of an hour. "The fourth time the tiger, trembling at first, lay down before the pygmy who braved it." To tame a hyena, Martin wrapped his legs and arms with cords, and protected his head with handkerchiefs, and then, walking into the cage, went straight to the animal and offered it his fore-arm. The hyena bit it, and the tamer, looking steadily in its eyes, stood motionless. The next day he repeated the experiment, substituting a leg for an arm; "and all the time Martin's black pupils were flashing into the gray eye of the hyena. The beast gave up, cringed, and smelled the feet of the master." Martin tamed his subjects by his personal influence alone; and Charles Nodier once said of him: "At the head of an army Martin might have been a Bonaparte. Chance has made a man of genius a director of a menagerie."
A Merovingian (Frank) Grave-Yard.—M. Georges Lecocq has described some articles which he has recovered from a cemetery of the Merovingian period at Caulaincourt, France. He opened 186 graves, and found in them 156 coffins of wood, 30 cf stone, and 464 articles of glass, iron, bronze, ivory, coins, beads, flints, etc. The graves were generally well aligned and directed from east to west. The stone coffins were made, some from a single block, more from two or three blocks, and were wider at the head than at the foot. The covers were flat or tectiform, and always composed of two or three slabs. These sarcophagi all contained wooden coffins. In most of the burials a stone was placed over the breast. The race of men whose burial place this was, do not appear to have been essentially different from the present race. One skull, which particularly attracted attention, had a hole in it exactly like what a gunshot would produce. The numerous articles of earthenware presented a great variety of forms, and were both plain and decorated. The iron articles were all very much oxidized, so that traces could hardly be detected of the silver with which some of them had been damascened. Lances were put at the head of the dead and arrows and battle-axes along by the legs. The bronzes were made of different alloys of copper and tin and other metals, and included fibules in the shape of a bird (single and double-headed paroquet), round belt-plates, and handsome little shoe-ornaments.
Egyptological Discovery.—Great progress has been made within twelve months in Egyptological discovery. M. Marriette, the official curator of the antiquities of the country, who died in January, 1881, had, just before his death, opened three pyramids, two of them those of monarchs of the sixth dynasty who were among the most distinguished kings of the old empire—Pepi Rameri, who, according to Manetho, reigned a hundred years, and his son and successor Rameri. The pyramids were richly adorned with inscriptions, and the discovery pleasantly supplements the valuable biography we already had of a chief officer of that period, relating the wars with the negroes and other events, which form one of the most satisfactory historical documents which the ancient empire has yet furnished us. Professor Maspero, who was appointed to succeed M. Marriette, shortly after he took his office explored the pyramids of a still earlier monarch, Unas, the last king of the fifth dynasty, which was also richly decorated and contained inscriptions, mostly parts of the ritual, a sarcophagus of black basalt, and remains of the mummy, bearing marks of the work of the ancient tomb-breakers. The excavations of the pyramids are to be continued in the expectation of finding them to confirm M. Maspero's theory that the pyramids from Gizeh to the Fayoom are a series containing in succession the bodies of the kings from the fourth to the thirteenth dynasty. A second great discovery of no less importance was made in July at the caverns behind the Deir-el-Bahari, or temple of Hatasu, near Thebes. Attention had long been drawn to the antiquities which had been offered to travelers for many years past, and which it was believed must come from some hiding-place known only to the Arabs. M. Emil Burgsch secured the arrest of the Arab who seemed most concerned in these dealings, and succeeded in tracing the articles to their source, the cave among the hills where the royal mummies had been carried and deposited for security against invasion during the twenty-first dynasty. The mummies are twenty-seven in number, several of them being of kings, queens, and princesses, and persons of distinction of the eighteenth and intervening dynasties to the twenty-first, and with them were thousands of objects—amulets, statuettes, papyruses which are expected when read to prove of great value, and a leather tent of a king of the twenty-first dynasty. Among the mummies are those of Raskenen, a king preceding the eighteenth dynasty; of Queen Ansera, Amenophis I, and his wife Ahmes Nofertari, Thothmes II, and Thothmes III, of the eighteenth dynasty; Rameses II, the supposed Pharaoh of Moses, of the twentieth dynasty; Queen Notemit (to whom the "Prince of Wales's papyrus" in the British Museum was originally attached); and King Pinotem II, of the twenty-first dynasty. Cases and other articles were also found belonging to other distinguished monarchs of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, The cave in which the remains were found is supposed to have been originally the tomb of Queen Ansera.
The Manageable Zone of Anæsthetics.—M. Paul Bert has announced some discoveries of great value respecting the mode of action of mixtures of anæsthetic vapors and atmospheric air upon the animal organism. He applies the term manageable zone to the different degrees of admixture, rising from the proportion of anæsthetic which is insufficient to put to sleep, to the proportion which will cause immediate death. In the case of chloroform and ether the mortal dose appears to be exactly double the minimum anæsthetic dose. Anæsthesia takes place in the middle of the manageable zone very rapidly and without danger, so that the animal may be left for two hours in the anæsthetic atmosphere without any one being concerned about him. It is not necessary to insist upon the contrast thus afforded between this method of administration and the one that has hitherto been used, in which the operator, making his patient breathe dense chloroform directly into his nostrils, has to exercise the greatest caution lest he kill him. The manageable zone of ether is a little more than three times as wide as that of chloroform, while that of the protoxide of nitrogen is considerably wider than that of ether. Here we see why ether is less, and the protoxide of nitrogen still less, dangerous than chloroform. M. Bert's researches further show that it is not so much the absolute quantity of the anæsthetic that should be regarded as the proportion in which it is mixed with air. A dog can safely be made to absorb many times as much chloroform as would kill him, if it were pure, provided it is so diluted as to bring its strength within the manageable zone.
Poisonous Food-Colors.—The prefect of police of Paris has expressly forbidden the use of any of the following substances in coloring sweetmeats, liquors, and foods: Mineral Colors.—The compounds of copper—blue verdigris, mountain blue. Compounds of lead—oxides of lead—massicot and minium. Oxychloride of lead—Cassel yellow, Turkey yellow, Paris yellow. Carbonate of lead—white-lead, flake-white. Antimoniate of lead—Naples yellow. Sulphate of lead. Chromates of lead—chrome yellow, Cologne yellow. Chromate of baryta—yellow ultramarine. Compounds of arsenic—arsenite of copper, Scheele's green, Schweinfurth green. Sulphide of mercury—vermilion. Organic Colors.—Gamboge and Naples aconite. Fuchsine and its sub-products, such as Lyons blue. Eosine. Nitro-derivatives, such as naphtol yellow and Victoria yellow. The use of these substances in coloring wrapping-papers for any kind of food is prohibited, and manufacturers and dealers will be held responsible for any accidents that may occur through disobedience of the prefect's order.
The Meteorograph.—Messrs. Van Rysselberghe and Schubert exhibited at the Paris Exposition of Electricity an instrument they called a meteorograph, for representing by means of continuous curves drawn automatically upon a sheet of zinc all the principal atmospheric variations, the knowledge of which is indispensable in meteorological investigations and in making forecasts of the weather. M. Theorell, of Stockholm, exhibited another machine, of a more complicated character, which indicates, by printed figures in six columns on an endless roll of paper, the hour when the observation is taken, the velocity of the wind, its direction, the indications of the wet and of the dry thermometer, and the indications of the barometer. Notwithstanding the complicated character of the machinery that must do so much, the instrument has borne admirably the test of use at the University of Upsala, where it has been employed for two years in registering the condition of the atmosphere every quarter of an hour. For immediate use in the observatory it is not as convenient as the Rysselberghe instrument, the graphic curves of which can be read off and appreciated at sight; but it is much its superior for use in cases where the facts have to be transmitted by telegraph.
Sea Telegraphy for Ships.—M. Menusier has proposed a plan of telegraphy for the use of ships at sea. Upon his cable, which he would lay from the French coast to New York, with a branch to Panama, he proposes to ingraft at distances of about one hundred and eighty miles, representing a ship's daily sailing distance, vertical cables rising to the surface where the ends may be held up by buoys. To the main cable he would also add secondary cables thirty or sixty miles long, forming cross-cables, like great arms stretching out on either side, to which other vertical cables would be attached, each to be held in place by its surface buoy. Thus it could rarely happen that a ship keeping on the regular course would not be able to meet one of the buoys every day. Each buoy should have its number and its place marked on a special chart. If a ship wishes to send a dispatch, it attaches the wires of its, own telegraphic apparatus, one to the cable that is held up by the buoy, the other to the buoy itself, which is of course in communication with the earth-currents. M. Menusier professes to solve the principal difficulty in the way of the successful operation of his invention, which is that of fixing the buoys so that they shall not be removed by storms, but declines to make his plans public on account of the defective condition of the patent laws. He has, however, explained it to competent navigators, and they are said to regard it as practicable.
American and European Palæolithic Implements.—Mr. Henry W. Haynes has compared the argillite implements found in the gravels of the Delaware River at Trenton, New Jersey, with the palæolithic implements of Europe, by a personal inspection of both, to ascertain to what extent they correspond in character as objects of human workmanship. He traces many striking resemblances between the two groups. The argillite implements are, indeed, of ruder workmanship than the European flints, but that is because the material from which they are made is less susceptible of being finely worked. The types of the two classes of implements are, however, remarkably similar, and the Delaware objects are equally well adapted to any purposes to which the European implements are capable of being applied. Regarding the character of the formations in which the implements are found, the general appearance of the country and the gravels present a striking resemblance to what he has seen in the places where the palæolithic implements in Europe were found. He, therefore, considers the argillite objects of the Trenton gravels to be true palæolithic implements.
Disease from Coal-Dust.—M. Paul Fabre has published some observations on the part which coal-dust plays in the pathology of coal-miners. The effects which result from the accumulation of dust in the respiratory passages are obvious and need no particular description. Coal-dust does not exert any special action on the skin. The parasitical pests, the origin of which some authors have attributed to coal-dust, never appear except when the chambers of the mines contain water holding some irritant in solution or suspension. Coal-sorters, who work on the surface, live in an atmosphere containing coal, and handle as much coal as the workmen in the mines, but do not suffer from eruptions. Nearly all miners are marked with characteristic scars of a clear blue color, which, indelible as real tattooing, follow every wound produced by splinters of coal. Coal-dust in the air in a state of suspension may produce a slight degree of simple conjunctivitis; affections of the cornea and iris are also sometimes observed, resulting from blows inflicted by fine fragments of coal. They arc generally cured after the irritating splinter has been removed. Miners are frequently affected with defective hearing and other troubles of the ears, which most frequently arise from a stoppage of the extreme auditory conduit with masses of dust that have been cemented into a wad by the ear-wax. This may be easily removed, and the irritation of the car-passages may be cured afterward by washing.
What Perils might come out of a Tunnel.—The scheme to tunnel the Channel has excited great alarm, and called out formidable remonstrances in England. The objection most prominently urged against the proposed work is that it would expose the country to a constant menace of invasion or treachery. The French might fill the tunnel at any time with soldiers in the guise of innocent passengers, and seize the English approaches so firmly that it would be impossible to shake them off, before the people had begun to imagine that danger was near; and the Irish republicans might form a league with the French, and, seeing that the telegraph wires were cut, destroy communication within the kingdom, thus increasing the danger, which, as it was previously presented, seemed as great as it possibly could be. The single defense of the English would be the power of blowing up the tunnel suddenly and unexpectedly, "and what would that power be worth? The premier might think himself justified in destroying twenty millions of property and impairing twenty-two millions more;. . . but also he might not. He might be an undecided man, or a man expecting defeat by the opposition, or a man paralyzed by the knowledge that the tunnel was full of innocent people whom his order would condemn to instant death in a form which is at once most painful and most appalling to the imagination. . . . The responsibility would be overwhelming for an individual, and a cabinet, if dispersed, takes hours to bring together."The danger of panic, to which the people and the markets would be constantly exposed, in the view of such apprehensions as these, is one the effects of which would be real. Such objections to the tunnel have found formal expression in a remonstrance which has been signed by men whose names carry weight everywhere, and have at last brought about a suspension of the project. A very curious objection, which Americans can hardly appreciate, is suggested in "The Spectator." It is that the tunnel would turn England into an outlying peninsula of the European Continent, and "would be almost purely mischievous, as slowly destroying the insularity and separateness of the national character."
CoIor-Names and Color-Sense.—Dr. B. Joy Jeffries, in an article in "Education," calls attention to the fact that the power to give right color-names does not indicate the possession of a right perception of colors. "A blind child will give the name of the color of grass, trees, apples, bananas, bricks, its companion's clothes, and perhaps even of hundreds of objects, the color-name of which it has learned. So, also, the color-blind boy will do the same. It is one thing to learn the color-name connected with a remembered object, and a very different thing to connect the right name with the sensation a green color arouses. Here has been the mistake which object-teaching has rather fostered than corrected." It is evident, he adds, that teaching color in the schools must embrace the detection of color-blindness in the boys, the learning the names of the commonest colors at least, the sharpening of the appreciation and discrimination of colors, and thus the gradual education of the color-sense. Instruction should begin in primary or Kindergarten work, and be steadily pursued through school-life. Congenital color-blindness is incurable, but it may be somewhat palliated. It is not exhibited as strongly in artificial as in natural light. Looking through a piece of lemon-colored glass will help the color-blind in daylight or electric light; and the same is true of looking through a solution of gelatine stained with fuchsine. No temporary or permanent change takes place in the color-sense under these circumstances, but alterations of light and shade are made which the color-blind have learned, unconsciously, to avail themselves of.