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D. S. (David Samuel) Margoliouth.

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Animals. — The species among the different
classes of animals which exceed their con-
geners in size are now more than ever threat-
ened with extermination. The progressive
diminution in their numbers has been more
rapid during the recent geological period
because they have had man as their com-
petitor ; and the present age may be des-
tined to witness their entire disappearance.
In consequence of the new competition op-
posed by man, more formidable than any
other that the large animals have had to
meet, many species have already become
extinct, and many of those which are still
represented among living beings are daily
diminishing in numbers. The animals com-
prising these species, being those which are
bunted with profit, or those the destruction
of which is important for human security,
are for these reasons inevitably the most
exposed to be driven from every region in
which the privileged being has established
his abode. In the struggle which they have
to sustain against the new rivalry they la-
bor under the two marked disadvantages, as
compared with smaller animals, that they
require a more abundant supply of food and



that their reproduction is less frequent and
more limited, so that the losses they endure
are hardly repaired. The smaller species
keep up their numbers, and even increase,
in consequence of their extreme fertility, in
spite of the most persistent efforts of man
to exterminate them. The larger animals
would be totally destroyed in a very short
time if they had to suffer the same propor-
tion of losses. It is hardly rash to asscn
that the whales, the cachalots, the Sireiiidw,
the morses, certain species of seals and
otaries, the great white bear of the Arctic
coasts, and the other bears, the large car-
nivorous cats (lions, tigers, etc.), the goril-
las, the great armadillo, the great ant-cater,
the giraffes, the elan, the aurochs, the bi-
son, the elephants, the hippopotamuses, the
rhinoceroses, the great kangaroo, the ele-
phantine turtles, the crocodiles, the birds of
the ostrich group, the great penguin of the
frozen sea, etc., are threatened with the fate
that has within a few centuries befallen
the enormous epiornis of Madagascar, the
gigantic moas of New Zealand, and within
less than two centuries the dodo and the
giant bird of the Island of Mauritius, the
two latter species representing the largest
columbid and the tallest waterfowl that have
ever existed. The great camivora are al-
ready fast disappearing before the bullets of
emulous lion and tiger hunters ; the whales
and other larger mammalia are becoming
scarce. The largest of the deer, the elan,
is less widely distributed than formerly ; the
largest of wild cattle, the aurochs, which
formerly ranged over all Europe, is now
found only in the forests of Lithuania and
Moldavia ; the bison no longer covers the
prairies with boundless herds ; the great ar-
madillo is disappearing from South Ameri-
ca, and the great kangaroo from Australia;
and the numbers of the other animals we
have named are gradually diminishing. It
is time for science to be busy in completing
the study of these animals before some of
their species go to Join the ranks of those
which are represented only in fossils. — La
Nature.

Merbantral Vibrations as a Remedy in
Neuralgia. — M. Boudet de Paris and Dr. J.

Mortimer-Granville have published observa-
tions upon the application of mechanical yl»



P OP ULAR MIS CELLANY.



281



brations as a remedy for neuralgia. The
publication of M. Boudet de Paris was ear-
liest in time; but Dr. Mortimer-Granville
has been prosecuting researches on the sub-
ject for several years, while he intended to
withhold the results from the public until
the efficacy of the new remedy could be fully
established. The publication of M. Boudet
dc Paris has, however, made it necessary for
him to describe his own views and experi-
ments, so far as he has gone, though he still
considers them unpcrfected. His attention
was drawn to the subject by the success of
applications of ice in alleviating neuralgic
pains in labor. Having persuaded himself
that if the nerve affected in such pains could
be strongly impressed, so as to change its
state of irritation, the pain would cease, he
tried the effect of tapping over the fifth
nerve in ordinary facial neuralgia. The re-
sults were "very remarkable." lie then
devised an instrument, a pcrcutmr, which
would give a known number of blows in a
second. The operations of this instrument
were remarkable, although they are not yet
considered decisive as to its efficacy. In
numerous instances, pain was arrested by
its application, and did not return. When
applied over a healthy nerve, which was so
situated as to be thrown readily into me-
chanical vibration, it produced a sensation
like that caused by the passage of a weak,
interrupted current of electricity, changing,
when the action was prolonged, into a sen-
sation of tingling, then of numbness, and
finally to some twitching of the superficial
muscles. A nervous headache, or miffraiyie,
could be produced by an application to the
frontal ridges or the margins of the orbit.
In some instances, when pain existed, the
sensation was aggravated by the augmented
state of vibration into which the nerve was
thrown through the shaking of the adjacent
tissues. It is noteworthy that a compara-
tively high number of vibrations per second
seems to relieve a dull, aching, or grinding
pain, while an acutely pitched and quick
I)ain is most frequently arrested by a slower
movement of the instrument. This is in
harmony with the theory that the pain is
the result of abnormal nervous vibration,
and that the operation of the percutmr is
to arrest those motions by opposing counter
and interfering vibrations to them. M. Bou-



det dc Paris relates in his paper that, by the
aid of a large tuning-fork and sounding-
board, he caused hcmianu^sthesia to disap-
pear; provoked contractions in hysterical
patients at the S&lpetriere as rapidly as
with the magnet or electricity; and sub-
dued the pains of an ataxic. With a modi-
fied apparatus he was able to produce local
analgesia, often anaesthesia, in a healthy
man, or a sensation of approaching vertigo,
with a desire for sleep. An attack of mi-
graine could be cut short by the application.
Neuralgia, especially of the fifth nerve, dis-
appeared after a few minutes' application of
the instrument; but it was more difficult
to get good results with the deeper-seated
nerves. Both gentlemen suggest that the
action of metallo-therapy, or of metallic ap-
plications, is best explained on the theory
of vibrations.

Some Facts abonf Explosions. — Mr. Cor-
nelius Walford has lately attempted to col-
late the statistics of explosions, as a help
to ascertaining their causes and the means
of avoiding them. A largo increase in such
disasters, which has been remarked in mod-
ern times, is easily accounted for when we
remember that we deal with explosive ma-
terials and machinery vastly more than our
ancestors did. The returns of the deaths
from explosions in England and Wales, dur-
ing twenty-two of the years between 1852
and 1879, give a total of 6,814, or 309 a
year, of which 187 a year were ascribed to
explosions of fire-damp, 37 to those of boil-
ers, and 70 to those of chemicals, including
gunpowder. Assuming, as the insurance
companies do, that one bundled persona
are hurt by such accidents where one is
killed, a proportion which is not confirmed
by the figures that follow, we have an
annual average of 80,900 persons injured
by explosions in England and Wales. No
means exist of ascertaining the amount of
property destroyed. Explosions of chem-
icals are increasing in frequency and va-
riety of character as new processes are intro-
duced in the arts. Remarkable instances
of these occurred at Gateshead in 1854,
when, during a fire, nitrate of soda and
sulphur, neither of which would explode
alone or in simple combinations, exploded
terribly when water was brought to bear



282



THE POPULAR SCIEXCE MONTHLY.



upon them ; in the explosion of bisulphide of ]
carbon in a shoddy-oil factory in 1867 ; and
in a celluloid-factory at Newark, New Jersey,
in 1879. An explosion, believed to be of
carbonic acid, which occurred in a French
coal-mine, is supposed to have been caused
by the formation, from the decomposition
of pyrites, of sulphuric acid, which, finding
its way to the limestone, suddenly generated
large quantities of gas. M. Kuhlmann has
shown that sulphuric acid mixing with ten
equivalents of water may cause a very vio-
lent explosion. Of 156 colliery explosions,
recorded in the United Kingdom during the
present reign, the largest numbers occurred
in February, March, and December, and the
smallest number in May. Help in the study
of disasters of this class is expected from
meteorological investigations. Dust has re-
cently been found to be a formidable explo-
sive, and is now believed to have nearly as
much to do with coal-mine accidents as fire-
damp. The charred appearance of the
wood-work in coal-mines after explosions is
ascribed to the deposition of a crust of
scorched or melted coal-dust upon it. The
fine dust generated in some of the processes
employed in flouring-mills has been recog-
nized lately as a very dangerous source of
explosions, and attention has been directed
to the contrivance of improvements in ma-
chinery to mitigate the perils to which the
workers in tens of thousands of mills are
exposed from it. The dangers arising from
the liability of illuminating-gas to explode
are great enough, but they would be much
increased if a process should be adopted for
depriving the gas of its odor. The explosive
properties of gunpowder and petroleum in
all the ways in which they are used are fa-
miliar enough and dreaded. The frequent
damage to powder-mills by lightning may
be ascribed not so much to the attractive
power of the substances stored in them as
to their isolated situation on marsh-lands
near rivers. Insurance-tables show that
1,5.36 explosions of steam-boilers have taken
place in the United Kingdom during the
present century, killing 2,293 persons and
injuring 3,259. In the United States, 1,299
explosions, killing 2,506 persons and injur-
ing 2,612, are recorded as having taken
place between October 1, 1867, and Janu-
ary 1, 1880. The largest number of these j



were in saw, planing, and wood-working
mills, the next largest in steam-vessels, and
the next largest of railroad locomotives.
The greatest number killed and injured were
on steam-vessels. The causes of explosions,
according to English tables, appear to be
about evenly divided between bad design,
workmanship, and material, and ignorance
or carelessness of attendants. A smaller
number were attributed to defects arising
in course of use. The most frequent and
most destructive explosions in England ap-
pear to have been in iron-works and mines.

Earthquakes in England.— The earliest
earthquake in England of which a record
has been made took place in 1101, when,
according to William of Malmesbury, the
whole country was terrified " with a horrid
spectacle, for all the buildings were lifted up,
and then again set down as before." The
next was in 1133, when houses were over-
thrown and flames were said to have issued
from rifts in the earth. A third shock oc-
curred in 1185, when, according to Holins-
hed, " stones that lay couched fast in the
earth were removed out of their places,
houses were overthrown, and the great
church of Lincoln rent from the top down-
ward." An earthquake in 1247, by which
much property in London was damaged,
was preceded for three months by a sus-
pension of tidal movements on the English
coast. On April 6, 1580, two shocks oc-
curred, the second of which caused the
church-bells to ring, threw some stones
from St. Paul's Cathedral, leveled a part
of the Temple Church, caused the death
of two worshipers in Christ Church, by the
falling of a stone from the roof, and threw
a part of the cliff of Dover into the sea.
Excitement prevailed for weeks afterward,
business was seriously affected, riots were
frequent, and prayers were prepared to be
offered night and morning for protection
against further convulsions. Two undula-
tory movements of the earth, lasting to-
gether about four seconds, took place at
noon on September 8, 1692, causing a great
panic, but not inflicting very serious dam-
age on property. A slight but evident
shock, accompanied with a " great roaring,"
took plack on February 8, 1750, when bells
were rung, * dogs howled, and fish jumped



P OP ULAR MIS CELL ANY.



283



high out of the water." A month later, the
people were awakened between one and two
o'clock in the morning by a series of shocks.
A frantic terror, causing neglect of domestic
concerns, riot, and a suspension of business
enterprise, possessed all classes for several
weeks afterward. It was heightened by a
prediction that a third earthquake would
occur in April, and all who could left the
city ; others spent their nights out of doors.
A quack made his fortune during the panic
by selling pills which he warranted to be a
sure preservative against injury by earth-
quakes. Only slight shocks have since been
felt in the metropolis.

Impnre Air and Disease.— Dr. J. Ward,
health-officer of an English sanitary district
of considerable extent and population, has
given in the "Sanitary Record" an account
of a large namber of instances which have
come under his immediate observation, in
which impure air, arising either from de-
fective ventilation or noxious surroundings,
has appeared to be directly associated with
the production of diseases of the lungs and
other organs. Of eight fatal cases of pneu-
monia occurring within a year among chil-
dren and persons in middle life, in all but
one the air was defiled from some neigh,
boring source of filth. In about ninety
fatal cases of diseases of the respiratory
organs, other than pulmonary consumption,
most of which were acute or subacute, un-
doubted defects of ventilation existed. In
sovSi cases there was no fireplace or air
exit in the room ; in some, such opening,
where it had existed, had been closed tight ;
in some the bed, with many in it, was in a
close comer ; in others the air was defiled
by some neighboring household or farm
nuisance. Similar defects were observed
in nearly all of thirty cases of disorders of
the lungs following measles ; in forty cases
following whooping-cough — in sixteen of
which last, " filth influence from immediate-
ly contiguous byre, pig-styes, stable, water-
closet, or sewer, was noticed." The sani-
tary investigation of the interior and sur-
roundings of houses where inflammatory
affections of the brain have occurred has
forced upon Dr. Ward the conclusion that
diseases of this class are also frjwiuently, and,
it may be inferred, causativcly, associated



with similar insanitary conditions. In twenty-
eight fatal cases of this nature, seventeen
cases of tubercular meningitis, and twenfy-
two cases of convulsions in children, the
air was either confined or polluted. Dr.
Ward draws from these observations the
obvious lesson that it should be the aim of
sanitary administration to secure for each
habitable room, especially in the crowded
cottages of the poorer classes, some suitable
provision for a constant change of air.
Particularly should care be taken in fixing
the position of the bed so that it shall not
be in a close corner remote from the in-
fluence of the door, window, and fireplace,
but should be near some opening through
which a constant circulation may be relied
I upon. In transforming old houses, the pro-
' vision of fresh air, now neglected and too
often prevented in the arrangement of the
partitions, should be carefully looked after
— else the sanitary condition of the house
may be made worse than it was before.

An Improved Filtering Apparatns. —

1 Some experiments that have lately been
' made in France on the working of the
' Farquhar apparatus for filtering sewage
have been attended with quite satisfactory
I results. One of the chief obstacles to the
I purification of foul watei-s by filtration has
arisen from the accumulation of an imper-
vious, slimy deposit on the matter which
; prevents the liquid from reaching the filter-
ing surface. The Farquhar apparatus is
I designed to obviate this difficulty by means
of a provision for the continuous removal
I of the slime. The filter-bed, which may be
. composed of any suitable material, is con-
tained in a closed cylinder in which is
I worked a cutter-plate continually scraping
off the top of the deposit. The liquid to
be filtered is forced in through a hollow
' in the screw-spindle by which the cutter-
plate is worked, direct to the underside of
that instrument, where it is uniformly dis-
tributed over the surface of the filter-bed.
The cutter-plate is caused, by suitable ma-
chinery, to revolve during the process of
filtration, and may also bo made to descend
if that is desired. The accumulating de-
posit is scraped off, and forced up the
inclined plane of the knife, as shavings are
forced up through a carpenter's plane, to



284



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



tbe upper surface of the cutter-plate. By
this operation a new clean surface is con-
stantly produced on the filter-bed, practi-
cally starting a new filter, at each revolu-
tion of the cutter-plate. A model machine,
when tried with common sewer-waters at
Asnieres, near Paris, having a filter-bed of
9t inches in diameter, filtered eight litres,
or 1*761 gallons, in a minute under a press-
ure of one atmosphere and a half. In the
same proportion the rate of filtration with
a bed one foot in diameter would be 3 'SI
gallons a minute, and with a bed ten feet in
diameter 260 gallons a minute, or 374,400
gallons a day of twenty-four hours. Ap-
plied to the water-supply of towns, a ma-
chine having a filter-bed ten feet in diame-
ter should filter, under a pressure of one
atmosphere, 466,560 gallons in twenty-four
hours.

Origin of DIplitherla.— The observa-
tions of Mr. G. II. Fosbrooke, medical
health-officer of Birmingham, England,
have led bim to form conclusions respect-
ing the etiology of diphtheria which differ
in some points from those which have been
urged by other authorities. He regards it
as a well-established fact, confirmed by his
experience, that the disease is more com-
mon in rural than in urban districts, and
has observed that even when it has pre-
vailed extensively in a rural district, and
has thence been conveyed into a neighbor-
ing town, it has not spread in the town.
In one town of five thousand inhabitants,
diphtheria, when it occurred, prevailed con-
currently with typhoid fever or scarlatina,
giving rise to the suggestion that all those
diseases might originate in a common poi-
son. Mr. Fosbrooke does not agree with
other authorities as to the conditions of
soil most favorable to the propagation of
diphtheria. Generally the disease has been j
thought to flourish most in damp situations
and in connection with damp subsoils. All
of his attempts to associate its origin and
distribution with any peculiar soil or situa-
tion have failed, for he has met it both in
villages occupying elevated and airy situa-
tions and in low places. The most serious
epidemics and the larger number of cases
of which he has had personal knowledge
have appeared on soils that were " rather



gravelly and well drained." "With one ex-
ception, his experience opposes the idea
that houses shut in by trees are more liable
to harbor the disease than those which are
not surrounded by an abundant vegetation.
The fluctuations of diphtheria, when it pre-
vails for any considerable length of time, do
not appear to be influenced by changes of
season or by variations of weather. Mete-
orological observations, made with reference
to this point, differ widely, and furnish no
guide to an opinion. The disease is gener-
ally found first to break out in October, and
to prevail as an epidemic, when it does so
prevail, in the winter months, increasing, as
is natural with epidemics, during the earlier
months of its course, but without regard to
the regularity or irregularity of the season.

Anthropology in Rnssia. — Anthropology
has made much progress in Russia. The
Imperial Society of the Friends of Natural
Science, Anthropology, and Ethnography,
founded in 1863, of which Bogdanof is the
master-spirit, has done good service in
assuming the patronage of investigations
among the numerous diverse stocks of whom
the Russian nationality is composed, and in
encouraging measures to bring the interests
of anthropology before the public. The
Anthropological Exhibition, which was held
at Moscow last summer, had this object
prominently in view, and was further in-
tended to promote the establishment of a
professorship of anthropology, and of an
anthropological museum. The collections
exhibited and reported upon embraced
skulls, skeletons, relics, prehistoric and
modem, and articles of various kinds, illus-
trating the character, condition, and cus-
toms of the ancient and modern inhabitants
of the empire. Among the neolithic stone
implements from Kazan were hatchets,
crossed by a groove in which to fasten the
handle, precisely as in the North American
hatchets, and arrow-heads, both with and
without shafts. Fragments of urns bearing
the well-known pack-thread ornament and
bronzes of the so-called Tschudic type were
shown from the Volga. Filimonof brought
from the Caucasus, where he has been dig-
ging under the auspices of the society, great
bronze whorls, of similar form to those
which are met in the Baltic provinces, but



P OP ULAR MIS CELL A NY



28;



larger, fibula?, precisely like those of the
terra mare of Italy, but to which nothing
similar has been found between the two
places, and Etruscan potteries. These arti-
cles are probably of the sixth centurj' b. c,
and relics of Italian colonists. A splendidly
ornamented bronze hatchet, from the same
region, also deserves mention. Filimonof
has concluded, from the researches he has
made, that the transition from bronze to
iron took place in the Caucasus about five
hundred years before Christ. Bronze buckles
from near Kertch, like those of the Mero-
vingian period in France, were probably
Roman. Craniology was fully represented
by more than five hundred Kurgan skulls,
and by a host of skulls representing about
twenty races of Europe and Asia, Among
the numerous skeletons were two of Ainos.
A skull of the stone age from the govern-
ment of Vladimir and pieces of other skulls
and skeletons found with it are the old-
est remains of man yet found in Russia,
and the first of the stone age. Professor
Inostranzof, of St. Petersburg, has recently
found other human remains of that age.
The ethnographic department was not so
fully represented as the others, but included
collections illustrating the various modes of
caring for infants, embroideries, articles of
household manufacture, models of houses
and farm-buildings, nmsical instruments,
hunting, fishing, and farming implements,
and rare articles representing the diversified
populations of Siberia, the last being con-
tributed by the Imperial Russian Geographi-
cal Society of St. Petersburg. This depnrt-
ment is richly illustrated in the collection of
the Rumyanzof Museum, of Moscow.

The Phaeodarla.— Professor Ernst Haeck-
cl, at a recent meeting of the Natural His-
tory Society of Jena, road a note on the
phaeodaria, a new group of marine siliceous
rhizopods, rich in specific forms and remark-
able in many respects, which have hitherto
been included in the typical radiolaria, from
which, however, they present considerable
points of difference. A new light has been
thrown upon these beings by the Challenger
Expedition, which, besides discovering forms
of typical radiolaria corresponding to two
thousand species, brought to light a num-
ber of deep-sea phtcodaria, hitherto entirely



unknown. John Murray, in 1876, described
some of the forms of these new species,
drawing attention to the extremely delicate
and finely fenestrated structure of the largo
siliceous shells, and to the constant appear-
ance of masses of black-brown pigment
which are scattered through the sarcoda,
outside the central capsule. These ani-
mals are usually considerably larger than
the other radiolaria, and many of them are
visible to the naked eye. They bear a pe-



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 36 of 110)