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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cooled before it enters the interior of the carriage. The windows of the car are so arranged that thorough ventilation is secured and the accumulation of moisture prevented. The appliance is now in use on several railways in India, and is found to be of great value. The average reduction of temperature secured by it is about 15° Fahr., with an evaporation of six gallons of water per hour. With a larger amount of water it is said that a reduction of 30° may be readily obtained.

 

CONSCIOUSNESS AFTER DECAPITATION.

M. Heindrich, who filled the office of headsman in Paris for fifty-four years, has lately died, after officially cutting off the heads of 139 criminals. He appears to have been a man of some cultivation; and had sufficient interest in his business, it is said, to attend the lectures of Velpeau, in order to obtain a knowledge of the exact position of the "vital joint." He also made various improvements in the construction of the guillotine. A visitor once asked him if he thought the separated head retained consciousness after it had fallen into the basket. Without giving a direct reply, he related several instances which went to support an affirmative answer. On one occasion he said a woman's head made a faint effort to spit at him; and he also spoke of violent contortions occurring in the muscles of Orsini's face—a phenomenon that has been observed in the faces of others immediately after decapitation. It is the opinion of the Lancet that these movements are reflex, and not at all of a conscious nature. They are probably due to the sudden loss of a large amount of blood, which here, as elsewhere, gives rise to convulsions. The mere blow must stun, and, before recovery takes place, the flow of blood from so many large vessels would be sufficient to produce perfect unconsciousness.

 

FOSSIL FLOWERS AND INSECTS.

A fauna and flora of the Eocene period have been dug out of the rocks by M. Munier-Chalmar, of the French Geological Society. He exhibited before it crustacea, insects, and flowers, in a wonderful state of preservation. The minutest details of the delicate organization of these vegetable and animal species are preserved with great nicety and fidelity. The flowers retain their calix and corolla, and some of the stamens still have their anthers. M. Munier exhibited some which are yet buds, others just blown, and still others with their petals all gone, and nothing left but the ovary. We may still observe the soft appearance of the insect larvæ, and can even discern the nerves of the budding wings of the nymphæ. Among the insects M. Munier recognizes a familiar domestic bug, in which may be seen the glands which secrete the mal-odorous liquid peculiar to those insects. Finally, among the Crustacea, he has found a new species, in which we may study the minutest details of the masticatory apparatus.

 

A PHOSPHORUS-LAMP.

The following is a description of a safety-lamp, employed by the watchmen of Paris, in all magazines where explosive material is stored: An oblong phial of the whitest and clearest glass, containing a piece of phosphorus about the size of a pea. Pour in some olive-oil, heated to the boiling-point, until the phial is two-thirds full, and then seal it up hermetically. To use it, remove the cork, allowing the air to enter the phial, and then recork it. The whole empty space in the bottle will then become luminous, and the light obtained will be equal to that of a feeble lamp. As soon as the light grows weak, its power can be increased by uncorking the phial, and allowing a fresh supply of air to enter. Thus prepared, the phial may be used for six months.

 

EFFECTS OF TRAINING.

The Lancet, in a short article on "training and its risks," à propos of the recent university boat-race, says: "We could mention numerous cases in which the reserve force of the system has been so forestalled by amateur oarsmen that not only specific vascular disease, but physical decrepitude, has declared itself long before the meridian of life. Within the last few days we have seen a list of cases in which, besides premature ill-health, even death itself was induced by the constant practice of rowing, followed by the tremendous final struggle. It is not only that the transition from customary to athletic regimen, and vice versa, has evils of