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I left physiologists free to pursue their researches

; —a bill very different from the act which has

j since been passed. It is right to add that the
investigation of the matter by a Royal Commis-

; Bion proved that the accusations made against
our English physiologists were false. From all
that I have heard, however, I fear that in some

j parts of Europe little regard is paid to the suf-
ferings of animals, and if this be the case I

I should be glad to hear of legislation against in-
humanity in any such country. On the other
hand, I know that physiology can not possibly
progress except by means of experiments on
living animals, and I feel the deepest conviction
that he who retards the progress of physiology
commits a crime against mankind. Any one



POPULAR MISCELLAXY.



425



who remembers, as I can, the state of this sci-
ence half a century at;o, must admit that it has
inafle immense progress, and it is now progress-
ing at an ever-increasing rate.

What improvomeuts in medical practice
may be directly attributed to physiological re-
search is a question which can be properly dis-
cussed only by those physiologists and medical
practitioners who have 'ludied the history of
their subjects ; but, as far as I can learn, the
benefits arc already great. However this may
be, no one, unless he is grossly ignorant of what
science has done for mankind, can entertain any
doubt of the incalculable benefits which will
hereafter be derived from physiology, not only
by man, but by the lower animals. Look, for
instance, at Pasteur's results in modifying the
germs of the most malignant diseases, from
which, as it so happens, animals will in the first
place receive more relief than man. Let it be
remembered how many lives and what a fearful
amount of snflfering have been saved by the
knowledge gained of parasitic worms through
the experiments of Vircliow and others on liv-
ing animals. In the future every one will be
astonished at the ingratitude shown, at least in
England, to these benefactors of mankind. As
for myself, permit me to assure you that I honor,
and shall always honor, every one who advances
the noble science of physiology.

Dear sir, yours faithfully,

Cdakles Darwin.
To Professor IIolmoren.

Tin la Anstralia and other Countries.—

A German" pamphlet by Dr. Eduard Rcycr,
on " Tin in Australia and Tasmania " (Vi-
enna, 1880), gives some interesting facts rel-
ative to the production of tin in different
countries outside of Europe. The mining
of this metal has become an industry of
considerable importance in the Australian
colonies. The amount exported from Vic-
toria to England rose from an average of
about 130 tons a year between 18G0 and
1869, to 2,500 tons in 1877 ; the produc-
tion in New South Wales increased from
50 tons in 1872 to 7,0(X) tons in 1877. Four
thousand tons were produced in Queensland
in 1874; and the whole amount exported
from Australia to England in the first five
months of 1877, 1878, and 1879, was re-
spectively 4,300, 4,100, and 2,900 tons.
About 4,500 tons were produced in Tasma-
nia in 1877; 4,100 were exported in the
first five months of 1878, and 3,300 tons in
the corresponding period of 1879. The ore
occurs in Australia on the flanks of the
mountains which run parallel to the eastern
coast, in granite of the Devonian age, and
has so far been got by washing from the



sediment in the valleys. In Tasmania it is
found in the quartz-porphyry of Mount
BischofF, and is likewise obtained by wash-
ing. Tin is found in several of the south-
western provinces of China, but it is not so
largely produced in that country that con-
siderable quantities arc not imported from
abroad ; it was formerly sent from Java to
England; it was extensively mined in the
province of Khorassan in Persia ; is men-
tioned as having been formerly produced
in Algeria; and is now produced in the
Cape Colony at a rate represented by an ex-
portation of about one hundred tons a year.
It is found iu small quantities or traces in
several places in the United States, as in
Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Penn-
sylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri,
and California, and in parts of Mexico, but
the whole production of North America is
hardly worth speaking of. It is, however,
a definite article of production and export
in some South American' states, as Peru,
Chili, and Bolivia ; it exists in the province
of Minas Geraes in Brazil ; and several
abandoned tin-mines are mentioned in the
Spanish West Indies.

The Gladal lee-Shcet in the Interior
States. — Professor N. H. Winchell sug-
gests, in the " American Journal of Sci-
ence," that the peculiar formation of ice,
which Mr. Dall has described as occurring
near Behring Strait (see " Popular Science
Monthly" for May, page 130), presents
features which may formerly have pre-
vailed in our Western and Northwestern
States. Both regions are alike free from
high land and rocky hills suited for the
production of a glacier. The proof that
vast fields of glacier-ice formerly existed
over our Northern interior States is now
rarely questioned ; " and it is highly prob-
able," says Professor Winchell, "that the
field explored by Mr. Dall is an epitome,
! under peculiar and somewhat inexplicable
! circumstances, of the va.ster fields which cx-
] tended from the Piocky Jlountains on the
[ West to the Alleghanies on the East, dur-
I ing the latest epoch of continental ice, the
only important exception being that over
the continent the southern termination of
the ice-sheet was everywhere invisible, and
abutted nowhere (in the interior) on the



426



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



ocean-shore, so as to reveal its existence.
The surface covering of the ice was the sur-
face of the country, and, over many miles
north from its actual termination, it sup-
ported a varied and even rank vegetation."
Professor Winchell observes that the facts
reported by Mr. Dall throw light on the
manner of formation and deposit of the till,
and on the origin of kamcs. The kames
are gravel-ridges lying in till-covcred coun-
tries, occupying the lower situations and
generally bordered on either side byaparal-
lel strip of swamp or low land. Now, if we
suppose that the till before its deposit lay on
the surface of the ice, it is phdn that the
surface drainage, gathering into streams,
would produce deep channels in the ice-
sheet, in the bottom of which would be
gathered such stones and gravels as the
stream could not carry away, and these
would gradually sink deeper into the ice,
perhaps to the rocky floor itself. When
the ice had entirely disappeared, the bed of
coarser matters thus formed "would lie
undisturbed in its beautiful stratification,
where the river produced it " ; while on ei-
ther side would be first the swampy or low
land produced by the wash of the stream,
and outside of this the unmodified till.

Undergrowth and Forest - Trees. — M.

Gourmand has recently described some ob-
servations which he has made on the influ-
ence of thickets upon the decomposition of
vegetable matter and the growth of large
trees. A thicket may be formed in the
course of eight or ten years after the under-
growth has started ; as it rises in height we
can at last distinguish between the atmos-
phere beneath it and the superior atmos-
phere to which the tops of the larger trees
are exposed. Seventeen years of watching
and periodical measuring of the growth of
the trees of a tract bearing a deciduous un-
dergrowth and a larger coniferous growth
have shown that the rate of growth of the
larger trees diminishes as the undergrowth
becomes more dense ; the only exceptions are
in glades where the undergrowth sends up
vertical limbs instead of spreading out side-
wise. The rate of growth thus appears to
be modified according as the light is or is
not able to penetrate the depth of the wood,
and, as carbonic acid is in a corresponding



degree more or less rapidly formed from
the decomposition of the substances com-
posing the humus. M. Gourmand concludes
from these observations that light, when it
reaches the ground after passing through
foliage, stimulates the production of carbonic
acid in deicompositions that engender hu-
mus in proportion as that gas is decom-
posed by the green parts ; that the growth
of the larger trees is retarded, although
their green parts stand out in full air and
light, where the lower thicket cuts the light
off too much from the soil and diminishes
its reflex action on their tops ; that this ef-
fect is governed largely by the arrangement
of the limbs of the undergrowth, as it is
less marked in glades, where they take a
vertical direction ; and that the humus un-
der too dense an undergrowth loses a part
of its efficiency, and presents an analogy
with barn-yard manure, which will remain
inert for several years if it is buried too
deeply.

The Weather, and Sammer Diarrhcpas.

— Mr. G. B. Longstaff has recently pointed
out, in an address before the Society of Medi-
cal Officers of Health, some facts concerning
the prevalence of summer diarrhoea in Eng-
land, which are not fully accounted for by
the prevailing theories of its origin. lie
distinguishes between two kinds of diar-
rhoea: one general, prevailing throughout
the year, affecting persons at all ages, and
nearly evenly distributed in town and coun-
try; and a specific form, which prevails in
the summer months and affects most per-
sons at the extremes of life, particularly in-
fants of less than two years old, and which
is not definitely modified by changes of
season. The second form is, as a rule, a
disease of towns, but different towns are
differently affected by it. The summer of
1880 was a warm one in England, with the
mean temperature in August and September
above the average, and a high rainfall in
July and September, while little rain fell in
August; the death-rate from diarrhcpa in
England and Wales exceeded the average of
the previous ten years by nearly fifty per
cent. The comparison of the mortality
from this cause in different towns, as be-
tween the towns and with the general mor-
talitv of the kingdom, failed to establish



P OP ULAR MIS CELL ANY.



427



such a connection between the changes of
temperature and hygrometric conditions and
the prevalence of the disease as would be
required under the theory that high tempera-
ture and drought are primary causes of its
production. Out of eleven towns in which
the meteorological conditions were recorded,
mean temperatures of 60° and upward oc-
curred in June in seven, but in no case
was the heat at that time accompanied or
immediately followed by numerous deaths
from diarrhoea. In nine out of the eleven
towns, the highest mean temperature was
registered in the first week in September.
The epidemic had reached its highest point
before that week in four of them. The hot
weather continued much longer in London
than in Nottingham, yet Nottingham suf-
fered sixty per cent, more severely from
diarrhoffa than London. The death-rate in
Brighton during the last week in July was
double that of any other great town for the
same week; and "it is a remarkable fact
that, although August was hotter and more
free from rain than July in London and
Brighton, in both towns deaths from diar-
rhoea diminished in frequency as the month
approached its end." Thus, neither the in-
cidence of the disease from week to week
nor its distribution in different parts of the
country can be explained by meteorological
conditions alone; and it is evident that
other factors must be taken into account.
The events of 1880 as reviewed by him are
regarded by Mr. Longstaflf as confirmatory,
80 far as they go, of the theory that the ex-
citing cause of diarrhoea is an organism or
.«;ome other concomitant of the decomposi-
tion of organic matter, which can only exist,
or become virulent in its properties, after
prolonged high temperature. The fact that
lassitude and exhaustion are produced as
predisposing conditions to the disease by
high temperatures in the early part of the
summer does not contradict this theory, but
agrees with it fully.

Papnan Women and Feasts.— The ta-
boo is in full force in New Guinea, particu-
larly in the restrictions which it imposes 1
on the action of women. They are forbid- '
den to enter the buambramra, are exclud-
ed from all the feasts, and every dainty
which they prepare for the feasts, especially



the keu, or principal drink, is forbidden to
them and to the children. They must not
go near the meeting-place of the men, and
must instantly flee whenever they hear the
sound of music. The only answer given for
this exclusion is that, if it were not enforced,
the women and children would fall ill and
die. The musical instruments of the Papu-
ans are pipes or horns of bamboo, cocoa-
nut-shell, or a peculiar root, which are used
to reenforce the voice, a kind of a rattle,
and a rude drum. Their feasts are pre-
pared with considerable ceremony, but with-
out noise or confusion, and in a way that
shows a remarkable appreciation of the di-
vision of labor. Important constituents of
the feast are the two favorite drinks, the
munil-la, which is prepared from the cocoa-
nut, and the kcu, an extract from the
chewed leaves of a plant of the genus Piper.
The musical instruments are played during
the whole feast, as an infallible means of
keeping the women and children from dis-
turbing the guests. After all is over, the
lower jaw of the pig or dog which has con-
stituted the principal dish is hung up in
the buambramra as a memento. The leu
has soporific qualities, and the friends of a
Papuan who has taken too much of it are
accustomed, in order to keep him awake, to
tickle with a stalk of grass the cornea and
conjunctiva of his eyes till they become
full of tears, and he declares that he no
longer feels sleepy. This operation is con-
sidered a very pleasant one.

Woman as a Sanitary Reformer. — Dr.
B. W. Kichardson declares that woman can
pursue no nobler occupation than that of
attending to the care of health and the
prevention of disease within the domestic
sphere. This is peculiarly a calling of wom-
an, not only because it agrees with her
character and tastes, but also because she
is at home and in a positi m to give it con-
stant attention, while the man is abroad and
engaged with other business. The training
required for the proper performance of this
function is really veiy simple. A woman
can master physiology so far as to under-
stand the general construction of the human
body ; she can make herself acquuinted with
its nine great systems, can be taught to
comprehend the leading facts bearing on



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MOXTHLY.



the anatomy and physiology of those sys-
tems, and to understand what part food
plays in the economy, the relationships and
effects of particular foods, and their relative
adaptation to different ages and conditions
of the body. Woman should also be ac-
quainted with the construction and opera-
tion of the heart and the lungs. Were
women trained in the knowledge of element-
ary truths about the visual function and
guided by them, they would see that their
children did not assume those positions in
study that conduce to short-sightedness and
curved spines ; if they carefully studied the
nature and functions of the skin, they would
learn to insist upon the necessity of daily
purification by the bath. Woman might also,
and ought to, learn all that health requires
in the construction and maintenance of the
house : to maintain economically within it
an equable temperature at all seasons ; to
keep the air free from dust ; to know all
about and watch all the drain-pipes, and see
that they are kept as systematically clean as
the china ; to distinguish whether the water
is wholesome and agreeable with as much
facility as she determines whether the look-
ing-glass is clear ; to superintend the puri-
fication of the water ; and to see that sun-
light finds its way into every apartment,
and that damp has no place in any one of
her rooms. She ought to study the nature
and uses of foods, so as to be able not only
to make the best selections and carry out
the best modes of preparation, but even to
introduce new and improved modes of cook-
ing. The knowledge of the diagnosis of
disease is not necessary for women except
in a limited degree, but they ought to know
the correct names and characters of common
diseases, to be acquainted with the facts re-
lating to the periods of incubation of those
diseases, and to have the best methods of
preventing disease at their fingers' ends.

Sonnd-Slgnals. — 5Ir. E. Price-Edwards
recently delivered before the Society of Arts
a valuable lecture on "Signaling by Means
of Sound," in which he considered the requi-
sites of a good signal, and discussed the
merits of the different signals in use. The
essential quality of a good sound signal is
that it shall give a strong sound which can
be uniformly heard at a definite distance.



The range of a sound is determined by the
force with which it is uttered, and is modi-
fied by certain conditions of the atmosphere.
It is also controlled in part by its musical
pitch. The most effective sounds are not
found among the very highest pitches, as
many imagine, any more than among the
very low ones, but appear to lie among the
intermediate pitches, to which the ear is
best adapted. Bells have been long in use
to give signals, but their sounds are curious-
ly fluctuating, and it is not probable that
the vibrations from the largest bell are of
sufficient intensity to yield a sound capable
of overcoming opposing influences, even of
a slight nature. Gongs give a distinctive
sound, serviceable at a short distance, but
it, too, is soon dissipated after leaving the
vicinity of the instrument. Gun-signals are
of great value, but, according to Profet^sor
Tyndall, they can not always be depended
upon to overcome local or temporary ob-
stacles to the propagation of sound. It is,
moreover, not always convenient to place
and manage guns where it is desirable to
use them, or to fire them as rapidly as repe-
tition of sound is wanted. Mr. J . R. Wig-
ham, of Dublin, has invented a gas-gun,
which can be loaded and fired at a consider-
able distance from the point of explosion.
It consists of a tube of the desired size
placed at the point where the signal is to
be made, and connected with a gas-main or
gas-holder by iron piping. The gun is load-
ed with an explosive mLxture of gas and at-
mospheric air, fire is applied at the short
end of the tube, and the explosion takes
place at the mouth of the gun almost imme-
diately. An exceedingly sudden and sharp
blow is given to the air, and a sound-wave
of great initial intensity is generated by the
explosion of gun-cotton. The apparatus em-
ployed to explode that substance in the or-
dinary way is, however, cumbrous, and can
not be used conveniently where speedy ma-
nipulation is wanted. A rocket has been
devised to carry a charge of gun-cotton, or
tonite, to a certain height, where it is caused
to explode, which has been tested with the
most satisfactory effects ; from the height of
six hundred feet, to which the rocket may
be adapted, a direct sound is sent down-
ward into places which would be com-
pletely hidden from the level at which a



P OP ULAR MIS CELLAXY.



429



gun could be fired, and which would seldom
be reached by the sound of its discharge.
A kind of cartridge of tonite has been made,
to be sent high up into the air, explode
there, and scatter a shower of brilliant
stars, and has been adopted for the pur-
pose of making signals on many vessels.
Mr. Price-Edwards does not express a high
opinion of whistles ; but one of Mr. Courte-
nay's automatic buoy-whistles has been used
off the Goodwin Sands with success, and
two others are to be placed off the English
coast. The palm of superiority in all re-
spects, as a signal, is accorded to the Ameri-
can siren. Among the improvements that
have been made in it are one for increasing
the suddenness and intensity of the sound,
adaptations for use on ships and steamers,
and the double siren, in which two notes are
produced simultaneously, the power of the
instrument is more than doubled, and a
characteristic feature is given to the sound.

The Mekarski Air-Engine — The M6-

karski air-engine, which has been employed
satisfactorily for several months on the
tramways of Nantes, France, is being intro-
duced into England by the Compressed Air-
Engines Company. Both engines combined
with the car and simple traction-engines
are used at Nantes. In the combined cars
and engines, ten cylindrical steel reservoirs
for the compressed air are placed beneath
the floor, seven of which are united into
one system, called the " battery," and the re-
maining three are united into a second sys-
tem called the " reserve." Both the bat-
tery and the reserve are charged at the prin-
cipal station with air compressed to thirty
atmospheres. The cylinders are placed hori-
zontally in front of the driving-wheels, and
are five and three eighths inches in diam-
eter, by ten and a quarter inches stroke. In
front of the car, and on the driver's plat-
form, is a small reservoir, which is charged
with water, for about two thirds of its ca-
pacity, at a temperature of 320°. The air,
in passing from the battery or from the
reserve to the engines, traverses the water
in this reservoir, and thus becomes heated
before reaching the cylinders. After doing
its work in the cylinders, it passes into a
box, from which it escapes into the air.
Under this arrangement, which is peculiar



to the Mekarski engine, a smaller quantity
of air is needed, and the danger of ice
forming in the exhaust passages of the cyl-
inder is obviated. A regulating valve on
the top of the hot-water reservoir serves to
keep the air from the reservoirs at a uni-
form pressure, whatever may be the varia-
tions in the demand by the engines. The
combined car, when ready for work, weighs
six tons. The traction-engines draw two
cars each. The charge of air carried is
enough for the whole " round trip."

Stone-Age Ciyilization In IVew Guinea.

— The Papuans of the Maclay coast. New
Guinea, afford a fine and instructive speci-
men of a living race still in the stone age.
The implements on which they have ex-
j pended their artistic skill come under the
two categories of fragments of flint, shells,
and bones, and chipped stones in the form
of axes. The ornaments upon them are
classified by Mr. J. C. Galton, in a notice of
M. Maclay's observations, into ornaments
made solely for a decorative purpose, orna-
ments and drawings demonstrating the first
beginning of the figurative or ideal style of
writing, and ornaments, sketches, and carv-
ings, which stand in close relation to the su-
perstitions and dark religious ideas of the
Papuans. The salient character of the orna-
ments is that they are generally rectilin-
ear, and this is because the bamboo and
reed, on which ornamentation was first at-
tempted, do not conveniently admit of any
other style of drawing. The style thus fixed
on wood was readily transferred to other
substances on which decoration was at-
tempted. That the want of variety in sub-
jects of decoration does not proceed from
lack of inventive power and skill is shown
by the fact that as soon as some of the
men got improved tools, such as bits of
glass bottles, they introduced refinements
and variations into their wood ornamenta-
tion. The Papuans have been supposed to
be destitute of any art of writing, but M.
Maclay believes that he has found evidence
of the use by them of an ideo.graph in a
very rude form. lie observed rude figures
painted in different places in various com-
binations, the purjwse of which puzzled him
for a long time, till it was revealed at a
feast which was held on the occasion of the



430



THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.



launching of some canoes, on which the na-
tives had been working for a long time.
One of the party, during the feast, drew a
number of figures resembling those II. Ma-
clay had seen, and evidently referring to
the work in hand. The two boats were
represented as they were, half on land and
half in water ; then followed representations
of men carrying pigs, the " covers " of the
feast, M. JIaclay's canoe with its flag, and
the canoes of the visiting guests. Further
evidence has made it tolerab^ clear that
such representations are real ideographs.
The carvings on wood, to which a religious



Online LibraryD. S. (David Samuel) MargoliouthThe Popular science monthly (Volume 19) → online text (page 53 of 110)