Popular Science Monthly/Volume 28/April 1886/Popular Miscellany

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

The Study of American Languages.—Dr. D. G. Brinton has published an address, which he recently delivered before the Pennsylvania Historical Society, on the importance of studying American languages. Referring to the prominent place which is given to language in the study of ethnology, he shows that its study is particularly essential in the ethnology of America, for "language is almost our only clew to discover the kinship of those countless scattered hordes who roamed the forests of this broad continent." Through the aid of this study alone, Dr. Brinton says, we have already reached the positive knowledge that most of the area of South America, including the whole of the West Indies, was occupied by three great families of nations, not one of which had formed any important settlement on the northern continent. By similar evidence we know that the tribe which greeted Penn when he landed on the site of Philadelphia was a member of one vast family—the Algonquin stock—whose various clans extended from Carolina to Labrador, and from the easternmost cape of Newfoundland to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, over 20° of latitude and 50° of longitude. We also know that the general trend of migration in the northern continent has been from north to south, and that this is true of the more nearly civilized as well as of the more savage tribes. But such external information is only a part of what these languages are capable of disclosing, for when rightly used they may reveal the inner life of the aborigine and the origin of his customs, laws, superstitions, and religions. Yet the number of those who are giving attention to the study of them is small. In Germany there are Von Tschudi, who has published a volume on the "Qquichua of Peru"; Dr. Stoll, who makes a specialty of the languages of Guatemala; Mr. Julius Platzmann; and Professor Friedrich Müller; in France, the Count de Charency, M. Lucien Adam, and a few other students; while Maisonneuve has published a commendable series of American grammars. In the United States we have the investigations of the Bureau of Ethnology; Dr. John Gilmary Shea, who began a "Library of American Linguistics"; Mr. Horatio Hale; Dr. J. Hammond Trumbull; Dr. Washington Matthews; the Abbé Cuoq, and others; all of whom have worked without reward or the hope of reward, without external stimulus, and almost without recognition. Dr. Brinton thinks that some of our colleges, learned societies, or patrons of science should offer inducements for this study, and asks the pertinent question, "Shall we have fellowships and professorships in abundance for the teaching of the dead languages and dead religions of another hemisphere, and not one for instruction in those tongues of our own land which live in a thousand proper names around us, whose words we repeat daily, and whose structure is as important to the philosophic study of speech as any of the dialects of Greece or India?"

 

The Southern Limits of Glacial Action.—Since Mr. H. Carvill Lewis described his tracing of the terminal glacial moraine across Pennsylvania, attention has been called by different observers to what appeared to them local evidences of glacial action in the region south of the line fixed by him. Eleven such spots have been particularly mentioned, one of which is as far south as West Philadelphia. Mr. Lewis has made personal examinations of all these places for the purpose of ascertaining whether the supposed evidences were real, and states, in the paper which he has published on the subject, as the result of his investigations, that he has found no reason to change his definition of the terminal line. In every instance he has found positive evidence of glacial action wanting, and that the marks relied upon by those who have supposed such action, in support of their views, can be amply accounted for as effects of water, or of atmospheric or other agencies than that of glacial ice. The gravel deposit at West Philadelphia, which Mr. C. E. Hall has regarded as a glacial moraine, "is identical with that which occurs all along the Delaware from Trenton to Wilmington." Even at the Wind Gap, only a short distance south of his moraine line, Mr. Lewis did not see a single scratched or transported bowlder, nor any striæ or other signs of glaciation, although these were abundant three miles away, where they suddenly stopped.

 

Bacteria and Surgical Lesions.—The positive demonstration of the important factorage of bacterial growths in surgical lesions, says Dr. H. O. Marcy, of Boston, in an address before a section of the American Medical Association, would seem no longer wanting. Its recognition in the evolution of the systems of modern wound-treatment is apparent, yet Dr. Marcy is ready to admit that "many questions of great magnitude remain unsettled, that many subjects connected therewith are shrouded in doubt and obscurity, and that many fields of great promise remain yet for exploration. Willie this may temper our zeal, and cause us to examine with double caution our premises and conclusions, it can not the less stimulate every thoughtful student to better endeavor and renewed effort." The too commonly held ideas of antiseptic surgery, as consisting of carbolic acid applied as spray, or in dressing, are believed to be "not only superficial and misleading, but distinctly incorrect and injurious." Such imperfect knowledge of any scientific truths must have its fruitage only in evil, leading to a distrust in methods, at the best only half understood, and the results obtained, where protection in wounds has not been secured, are falsely reported in proof that antiseptic surgery is only the fashion of the hour."

 

Depth of Frozen Arctic Soil.—General Sir J. H. Lefroy communicated to the British Association at its last meeting the results, so far, of researches to ascertain the depth of the permanently frozen soil in the Arctic regions of Siberia and British North America. The depth of the "perpetual ground-ice," as it is called, has been found to be, near Yakutsk, Siberia, three hundred and eighty-two feet. But few actual measurements have been recorded in North America, for the people who possess a perpetually frozen soil do not like to speak of it, for fear that it may be regarded as a stigma against their climate. The greatest thickness of "ground-ice" yet actually measured in America is forty-five feet, as measured by Sir John Richardson in latitude 64° 20' and longitude 124° 15' west. There is good reason to believe, however, that within the Arctic Circle in America a thickness of ground-ice is attained much exceeding that at Yakutsk. Lieutenant P. H. Ray, U. S. A., sank a pit near Point Barrow, in 1883, to a depth of thirty-eight feet. At twenty-eight feet from the surface the temperature of the soil was 12° Fahr.; and it was the same at thirty-eight feet. Taking the unit of increase of temperature per unit of depth under-ground as 1° Fahr. for sixty-four feet, Lieutenant Ray provisionally computed the total thickness of the ice at about thirteen hundred feet. The depth to which the summer thaw reaches and its rate of progress are more variable, for they are more dependent on the season and the exposure than the depth of the frozen soil. They must greatly influence the agricultural capabilities of the place. In some respects the existence of a frozen stratum underground may be regarded as rather an advantage than otherwise The cooling of the surface soil which it effects appears to be a provision to counteract the intense heating power of the sun in the summer months, and to secure a supply of moisture to the roots of cereals when they most require it; so much so that General Lefroy believes that agricultural experience in the Northwest would be in favor of retaining it, even if it were possible to get rid of it.

 

The Travels of a Storm.—At the meeting of the Royal Meteorological Society held November 18th, Mr. Henry Harries read a paper on "The Typhoon origin of the Weather over the British Isles during the Second Half of October, 1885," which embodied the first daily tracing which has been made of a storm from the Pacific Ocean to Europe. The author showed by means of daily charts that a typhoon which originated near the Philippine Islands on September 27th passed over Japan and the Aleutian Archipelago, and entered the United States October 10th. Crossing the Rocky Mountain range, it proceeded through the Northern States and Canada to Labrador and Davis Strait. In the Atlantic it was joined on the 18th by another disturbance which had come up from the Atlantic tropics, the junction of the two being followed by a cessation of progressive movement from the 19th to the 25th. During this period a severe gale which passed along the southern counties of England on the morning of the 24th—a storm the forecasting of which was shown to be impossible—was formed. Following in the wake of this storm the parent cyclone reached the French coast on the 27th, its advent being marked by violent gales and extensive floods over the whole of Western and Central Europe and Algeria. Passing through France and the Netherlands, the disturbance showed signs of exhaustion, and on November 1st, in the Baltic, it quietly dispersed, after accomplishing a journey of more than sixteen thousand miles in thirty-six days.

 

Principles of Holiday Rest.—Writing about "The Misuse of Holidays," Dr. Andrew Wilson remarks that there is a wise method of spending our leisure time, as there is a foolish and body-wearing fashion of dealing with it. Rest, in the holiday sense, does not mean absolute inertness, but repose of the faculties, powers, and energies which are ordinarily exerted in our daily associations. It includes and makes allowance for the bringing into play of fresh muscles, new thoughts, and novel experiences of men, cities, sports, and surroundings at large. To the bringing into play of these new faculties, little used in our usual employments, is added the stimulus of the pure air and fresh scenery among which they are exerted. Hence we understand that holiday rest implies healthy activity of powers which, but for the opportunity it affords, would be apt to lie dormant and unused. In this view of the object of rest it would be a thorough mistake for a busy man not an invalid to bury himself in some dull resort where he will simply languish, without the slightest spark of interest being evoked by his surroundings. Equally erroneous is the ordinary hurried "tour," in which we go with a rush from place to place, gulping down novelties as we would bolt a ten-minute railroad-station dinner, without giving ourselves time adequately to digest anything and really enjoy it. Young people are apt to abuse their holidays by over-exerting themselves at some particular sport or exercise. "It is difficult to overdo exercise in the case of young and healthy people, but the walking tour may nevertheless be overdone, the cycling excursion may be of too extended a nature, and the yachting or boating may be fraught with just a little too much exposure to wind and weather." It is important that the place chosen for spending the holiday be suitable to personal wants and constitution. On these subjects every one has his own taste and his physical and psychical idiosyncrasies, and they should be regarded.

 

Symbolism of Architectural Ornament and Dancing-Girls.—M. Edmond Fuchs has remarked a connection between the peculiarities in the ornamentation of the ancient Cambodian architecture and the mythology of the builders. While the Egyptians and Greeks looked for their types of beauty in geometrical relations and numerical harmonies, the Indians sought them in the reproduction of living forms. In a balustrade they would represent a serpent stretching itself along perhaps hundreds of yards, with a row of broad-shouldered giants standing at intervals to support it. The form of the same serpent may be found carved on the pediment, its head jutting out at repeated intervals to mark the cornice. The walls of the monuments are covered with bas-reliefs representing theocratic symbols and incidents in the national history; and they are often pregnant with religious admonitions in the shape of representations of the punishments of hell. In the sacred inclosure of the Angkhor Wat, the Kmer sculptor has employed all his skill in depicting the refinements of the tortures to which guilty souls are condemned. A symbol occurring profusely, and which was imposed on the artists by the essential conditions of Oriental life, is that of the dancing-girl, a kind of hieratic character in Indo-China, whose function it was to perpetuate and interpret by her pones and mimicry the symbols and sacred legends of the ancient literature, the original myths which, having undergone a series of transformations, have gained a foothold in the popular conception and become fairy stories. The myths, the primitive forms of which are fixed by the dancing girls in the Angkhor bas-reliefs, are the same as arc represented in legendary form in the royal festivals, and as may be witnessed by any visitor at the palace of King Norodom I of Cambodia. While a choir of women chant the legends from the ancient sacred poems, other actors silently feign, in postures religiously prescribed by tradition, the emotions they are supposed to feel and the different phases of the drama represented. Thus, they interpret, by the same attitudes as were engraved upon the stone two thousand years ago, the myths and primitive beliefs that were vital in the imagination of the Aryans when they first entered the peninsula.

 

Effects of Cold on Microbes.—Mr. J. J. Coleman and Professor J. G. McKendrick have been making experiments on the effects of cold upon microphytes. With a mechanical freezer they produced a cold of 80° below zero, and lower, to which they exposed putrescible substances for various lengths of time; then the same substances were exposed to the conditions of temperature, etc., under which putrefaction is developed, and the results were observed. The experiments were made with meats, fresh and canned, wine, milk, beer, ale, meat-juice, neutralized vegetable infusions, putrefying fluids, gelatinous infusions of meat with grape-sugar, etc., in exposure to cold of from 80° to 120° below zero, for from a few hours to a hundred hours or more. The results were in every case substantially the same. The putrefactive process was checked and made slower for a time, but in no case were the micro-organisms so thoroughly destroyed but that putrefaction set in again after a greater or less length of exposure to a temperature favorable to it. The conclusion of the experimenters was that the degree of cold they employed may perhaps be competent to destroy living, developed organisms, but not to kill the germs. A cold-blooded animal—a frog—was frozen solid by a half-hour's exposure to a temperature of from-20° to-30°, but recovered on being thawed out, while after twenty minutes' exposure to-100° it failed to recover. A warm-blooded animal—a rabbit—was not frozen by an hour's exposure to-100°, but its bodily temperature became reduced from 99° to 43°.

 

Democracy In the High-School.—In a report on city schools, the late Mr. John D. Philbrick accounts for the rapid growth of public sentiment in favor of the high-school, which has not been confined to any one section of the country, by observing that these schools naturally find favor in a democratic community, because they are the most truly democratic of all our institutions. Nothing is more common than to see pupils, representing the extremes in the social scale, sitting side by side in the high-school classes. I have seen the son of the cultured and wealthy merchant and the son of a very poor immigrant going together from the same class in the grammar-school to the same class in the high-school, the former spending his pocket-money to buy the requisite outfit of clothes and books for the latter. I have seen young ladies coming from families of the first rank, not only in respect to culture and wealth, but also in respect to ancestral pretensions, passing the three-years course in the girls' high-school side by side with the daughter of the laborer and the washer-woman. In a suburban town I have seen the daughter of a wealthy manufacturer procuring by subscription the funds to enable a classmate, the worthy son of a poor Irish farmer, to obtain the clothing needful to make it practicable for him to perform the part assigned him on graduating-day. At this same school on graduating day I have heard the salutatory address by the daughter of an English immigrant laborer, who can neither read nor write, and the valedictory by the daughter of the wealthiest capitalist in town, while the most meritorious performance on the occasion was by a sister of the young man referred to. This young man, it may be added, who has been during the five or six years since his graduation most industriously at work on his father's little farm, is an ardent friend of the high-school, and he regards the 'idea that education unfits a man for manual labor as simply nonsensical.' The next neighbor to this young man's father is a man of the same nationality and in similar circumstances, who showed me with no little pride two silver medals which a son and a daughter, now working together in the same shoe-factory, obtained at the high school. 'But,' said I, 'I have just been reading the writing of a man of learning and influence condemning the free high school, and arguing that it should be abolished.' 'That man,' he replied, 'I consider an enemy to his country.'"

 

Two New Zealand Mountains.—Mr. J. H. Kerry Nicholls, while exploring the "King Country" of New Zealand, succeeded in ascending the tabooed volcano of Tongariso, which the Maoris consider it sacrilege to approach. The cluster of cones that marks it forms collectively an almost complete circle, rising from a level plateau about 3,000 feet above the sea; while the burning mountain itself, of wonderfully symmetrical proportions, rises from the bottom of an extensive basin-like depression in the very center of this great circle of cones and extinct craters. At 7,000 feet above the sea the traveler was able to look over the hot, quaking edge of the crater, which is circular, nearly a mile in circumference, and 400 feet deep. Within it was a smaller or inner crater, funnel-shaped, and separated from the larger one only by a narrow slip or ridge. At the bottom of the crater were scattered about huge rocky ridges, from the large fissures of which jets of steam burst forth with a roaring, screeching noise that echoed from the depths below with a wailing sound. "Hot springs sent up streams of boiling water, which, running over the rocks and losing themselves in the hot soil, were sent high into the air again in the form of coiling jets of vapor. Miniature cones of dark, smoking mud rose up in every direction, while around all was a seething fused mass of almost molten soil. In every direction were large deposits of pure yellow sulphur, some of which assumed a rock-like formation. At other places it formed a crust over the steaming earth, and when the thermal action was less intense the glittering yellow crystals covered the ground like a thick frost." From the top of the neighboring great mountain of Ruapehu, 9,250 feet above the sea, "a glorious sight burst upon the view. Peak rose above peak from the dazzling expanse of snow, each towering mass of rock, tinted of a reddish hue, standing out clearly defined against the light-blue sky. Immediately beneath where we stood was a steep precipice which fell perpendicularly for hundreds of feet below, and beneath this again was an enormous circle of jagged rocks marking the outline of a gigantic crater, filled to its brim with snow, which was furrowed into chasms of great depth." Adjoining this great mountain is the Onetapu Desert, or "desert of sacred sand," forming one of the most curious features of the region, which covers a large area of country. "In summer it is parched and dried, and gives life only to a few stunted Alpine plants; and, in the winter months, when the snows cover it, it is both difficult and dangerous to traverse. The desert at the surface is composed entirely of a deposit of scoria, with rounded stones and trachytic bowlders above, while in some places rise enormous lava-ridges. By its formations it would appear as if Ruapehu, when in a state of activity, had distributed its shower of ashes and lava over this wide region; and it would also appear that, at the period at which this extensive deposition of scoria occurred, there must have been growing upon this very spot an extensive forest; for as we rode over the dreary expanse we found the remains of enormous trees, which had been converted into charcoal, as it were, at the time when the fiery ashes swept over them."

 

Protection against Malaria.—We have already noticed the discovery, by Professors Klebs and Tommasi-Crudelli, of the bacterial germ of malaria in the soil of the Roman Campagna. This discovery disposes of the chemical theories of the origin of malaria, and redeems marshes from the stigma of being its direct producers. There are, in fact, marshes where there is no malarial disease, and, on the other hand, disease rages where there are no marshes. The malarial germ, however, requires a certain degree of moisture for its development, and, as the marshes afford it, when marsh and bacteria are brought together, there is likely to be ague. The ancient inhabitants of the Campagna cleared it of disease by draining it so dry that the bacteria could not thrive in it. This ids considered impracticable at present, and our Roman investigators have turned their attention to the best prophylactics against malarial poison. The universal quinine is good, but there are objections to its constant use, and arsenic, cautiously administered, is suggested as preferable. Professor Tommasi-Crudelli recommends, as an alternative prophylactic, decoction of lemon. The plantation of the eucalyptus appears to have failed. Near Rome, at the "Tre Fontane," where eucalyptus-trees have been grown with a special view to settling the question of their virtue, both the monks who inhabit the monastery and the workmen whom they employ have suffered as much as others. In one summer, when the Campagna was comparatively free from malaria, the inhabitants and servants of the "Tre Fontane" suffered more than the rest. Year before last, Professor Tommasi-Crudelli advised the Italian Government to drain and cover with turf the grounds of the Palazzo Salviati on the Lungara, where the new military college has been built. This was done. The result was that no cases of malarial fever occurred, while on the other side of the road there were several that ended fatally.

 

Inertia of the Eye and the Brain.—In a paper on the "Inertia of the Eye and the Brain," Mr. James Mckeen Cattell, of the University of Leipsic, discusses, in view of the results of experiments which he has made, that part of the process of sensation which concerns the time a light must work on the retina in order that a sensation may be excited. The time is to a considerable extent dependent on the nature of the object and the intensity of the light. It varies with the several colors. Orange gives the quickest impression, and yellow is hardly behind it; next come blue, red. and preen; while the retina is least sensitive to violet light, the time for which is from two to three times as long as for orange. When lamp-light is substituted for daylight, the time required for perceiving the colors becomes longer, and the order is changed to orange, red, yellow, violet, and blue. When the intensity of colored light varies, the time increases in arithmetical progression us the intensity decreases in geometrical progression. Applied to the distinction of words and letters, the experiments showed that Roman letters are more quickly perceived than German letters, and that the time is slightly shorter for words than for letters, but longer for long or rare words, and for words in a foreign language. The simplest geometrical forms of the letters seem the easiest to see; all ornaments on the letters hinder; and it is doubtful whether it is advantageous to use the thin lines or two varieties of letters in priming. Our punctuation-marks are hard to see, and Mr. Cattell, believing them to be useless, suggests that they might be replaced by spaces between the words proportionate to the importance of the pause. Some of the letters, as S and C, are hard to recognize in themselves; others, as O, Q, G, and C, are liable to confusion by their similarity of form; while E is "needlessly illegible." The order of distinctness for the small letters is d, k, m, g, h, b, p, w, u, l, j, t, v, z, r, o, f, n, a, x, y, e, i, g, c, s. The letters are slightly more difficult to grasp than the numbers, for every combination of numbers makes a number that gives "sense." Not as many words as letters can be grasped at one time, but three times as many letters, when they make words, and twice as many words when they make a sentence, as when they have no connection. The sentence is taken up as a whole; if it is not grasped, hardly any of the words are read; if it is grasped, the words appear very distinct; and this is also the case when the observer constructs an imaginary sentence from the traces he has taken up. The personal equations were important factors in all the experiments, but they did not materially affect the results as wholes.

 

The Problem of London Sewage.—The disposition of the sewage of London has been made the subject of the report of a royal commission, but still remains nearly as dark as ever. The one point on which all are agreed is that the present method of turning the sewage and rainfall of the streets into the river near the city is reprehensible from every point of view, but it is almost impossible to determine upon a method to be substituted for it. The commission have decided that the sewage had best be got rid of at the smallest cost compatible with efficiency. The suspended solid matters are the chief causes of nuisance: they may be almost entirely removed, and the tendency to the accumulation of deposits largely lessened, by precipitation; but the result of discharging an effluent alkalized by lime into the river at the present outfalls is problematical. Precipitation alone would not finally purify the river, but nuisances would still occur in dry weather, and the danger to fish and injury to wells would remain. The precipitation works themselves might be carried on without sensible nuisance at a cost of $1,000,000, or a shilling a head of the population per year, but practically a large part of the value of the sewage for manure would be lost. From two to six thousand acres of land would be required for the further purification of the sewage by being passed through it, after having been clarified with lime. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that while profit must not be expected from the utilization of sewage, yet precipitation and utilization are eminently fitted, when properly applied, to produce a purified effluent; and therefore, that, were certain conditions of population and of sewage always observed, each district could be made self-contained in respect of its sewage, just as it can be in respect of its cemetery. The condition as to population is that the district be limited in numbers and in the area occupied. The conditions as to the sewage are, the extent to which it can be separated from the rainfall, and the degree of freshness in which it is received at the place where it is treated,

 

Formosan Sketch.—Mr. E. Colborne Baker, in the Royal Geographical Society, compared the shape of the Island of Formosa to that of a fish. If he likened it to a whale, he said, although he must confess it was not very like a whale, he might be asked to account for the blow-holes of the creature. Those blow-holes actually exist in the north part of the island, in the shape of sulphur pits and caverns, from which a great stream of sulphurous vapor is continually spouting in many parts. Her Britannic Majesty's consul at Tamsui resided within an easy morning's walk of an inactive volcano. The summit was a cradle four hundred yards in diameter, and ten miles off was a spot which was very much favored by the European inhabitants. There was a river of hot water, and not many yards off a cold waterfall. The river was fifteen yards broad and five or six feet deep, while the cold waterfall was fifty or sixty feet in height. The surrounding tract was of course burned ground, where no vegetation could exist; but a quarter of a mile away the flora was luxuriant, and the best pineapples in Formosa, which are the best in the world, were cultivated on the very margin of Avernus.

 

Mountain-Farming in Norway.—Farming in the mountain-regions of Norway is carried on under difficulties that would discourage an agriculturist bred on our prairies. The steep hills and rocks leave no broad spaces for fields, and the mountaineer, to winter his stock, has to make hay out of the grass that grows on the narrow ledges and in the crevices. If he manages to get a considerable crop off a hill, he will store it in sheds till winter, when he will send it down into the valley in bundles along a strong wire which he has stretched from the foot of the mountain to the top. To dry the hay, poles are planted near the patches, between which ropes or long sticks are laid till a sort of six-barred railing is formed. On these bars the hay is laid, and dried in a most effective manner. Corn is tied in small bundles and impaled on poles placed at intervals in the field. The potato-crop is farmed on a like small scale. The seeds are dropped here and there wherever there is a possibility of their taking root. At one place potatoes were noticed growing on a bowlder, where a soil about eighteen inches deep had gathered or been placed, the whole field being a triangle the sides of which were each about twelve feet in length. Small patches from twenty feet to as many yards square are common; while not unfrequently the corn-fields are but a name, for they meander like a stream in all directions among the huge bowlders and bare rocky hillocks which compose so great a part of the surface of a farm-land. The lands are usually very light. Manuring is not resorted to as regular part of the routine. The fields are left from time to time for three or four years, by rotation, in grass. In the summer months, female servants, or the daughters of the farmer, tend the cattle high up in the field, living in sæters or cabins, where they prepare cheese and butter. But this isolation of the young women is sometimes attended with serious moral disadvantages.

 

The Coral-Harvest.—The most productive coral-beds, which also yield the best and handsomest corals, are on the Algerian coast, and have been fished upon since the middle of the sixteenth century. Other beds are on the coasts of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Spain, the Balearic Islands, and Provence. More than five hundred Italian vessels, with 4,200 men, are engaged in the coral-fishery, and collect annually 56,000 kilogrammes of coral, the value of which is calculated at 4,200,000 lire ($840,000). Besides these, 22,000 kilogrammes, worth 150,000 lire ($30,000), are collected in French, Spanish, and other boats, making the whole annual product 78,000 kilogrammes, and its value 5,700,000 lire ($1,150,000). The taxes which the Government exacts for the privilege of fishing on the African coast amount to 1,160 lire a boat in the summer and half as much in the winter, and this, taking into consideration the toil and danger of the fishery, reduces the profits to a quite modest rate. Estimating the gross returns per boat at 8,000 lire, and the cost at 6,033 lire, we have a net profit of 1,967 lire ($393.40). There are some sixty establishments in Italy where coral is worked up, forty of which are in Torre del Greco, and at which 9,200 hands, chiefly women and children, are employed. The principal markets for the coral are Germany, England, Russia, Austria, Hungary, and Poland; and considerable quantities are sent to Madras and Calcutta.

 

Advantages of Low Ceilings.—Rooms with low ceilings, or with ceilings even with the window-tops, are more readily and completely ventilated than those with high ceilings. The leakage of air which is always going on keeps all parts of the air in motion in such rooms, whereas if the ceiling is higher, only the lower part of the air is moved, and an inverted lake of foul and hot air is left floating in the space above the window-tops. To have the currents of fresh air circulating only in the lower parts of the room, while the upper portion of the air is left unaffected, is really the worst way of ventilating; for the stagnant atmospheric lake under the ceiling, although motionless, keeps actively at work under the law of the diffusion of gases, fouling the fresh currents circulating beneath it. With low ceilings and high windows no such accumulation of air is possible; for the whole height of the room is swept by the currents as the dust of the floor is swept with a broom. Low ceilings have also the advantage of enabling the room to be warmed with less expenditure of heat and less cost for fuel.