Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/138

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points of suspension can freely move, thus permitting the pendulum to swing in one plane or nearly so. The spectator will notice that the pendulum changes its line of oscillation as regards the floor beneath, but if he understands the questions to be answered, he will know that it is the floor, and himself with it, that is carried round, while the pendulum continues to oscillate in one plane, or nearly so.

It has been observed by a French physician, De Renzi, that the paroxysms of those suffering from lockjaw are always more frequent and more violent by day than by night, and he has noticed the same fact in frogs poisoned with strychnine. He has further observed that the paroxysms are more intense when the animals are freely exposed to light than when they are kept in darkness, and that frogs poisoned by weak doses of strychnine die on being roughly shaken, but live when left in a state of complete repose. On these results M. de Renzi bases a new system of treatment for cases of lockjaw; it is as follows: The patient is shut in a perfectly dark room, and the door is opened very gently every four hours to give food and drink. The external auditory meatus are sealed with wax. Every hour (?) soup or an egg, with two spoonfuls of sherry, is given from a cup with a spout to it. A little powder of belladonna and ergot is given to appease the paroxysm. The floor should be covered with a carpet.

Books taken from circulating libraries for the use of convalescents may easily become the vehicles of contagious diseases, and it is much to be desired that some effectual method could be devised of disinfecting volumes which have been so used. Until this is done, circulating libraries would do well to caution their patrons against the danger, and to request that the books be not used where such diseases exist. In these days of cheap publications it is easy to obviate this peril by procuring for the use of the sick low-priced volumes, to be destroyed after they have been perused.

M. Schiaparelli, during the last opposition of Mars, made observations of the position of the south-polar spot, as was also done by Prof. Hall. The method adopted by the latter was to measure the angle of position of the spot from the centre of the disk. M. Schiaparelli made his measures by placing the wire of his micrometer tangent to the limb of the planet at the middle of the spot. The latitude and longitude (areographic) of the spot are:

θ 29.47° (S.) θ 20.66° (E.)
λ 6.15° λ 5.18°

For 1877, Sep. 27.0 G. M. T.

The planting of trees in the streets of towns is condemned as unsanitary by a writer in the Lancet, on the ground that fresh air, Nature's great deodorizer, is checked in its movements by the foliage. In the narrow, tortuous lanes and pent-up courts, where the poorer part of the population live, anything that interferes with the freest possible circulation of the air must be injurious to health.

Dr. J. A. Campbell, writing in the British Medical Journal, favors recourse to summary proceedings in the treatment of "fasting girls," i. e., young females who, under the influence of hysteria, believe themselves to possess the miraculous power of living without food or drink. The hysterical manifestations, he says, can be overcome by the stomach-pump, and with our present knowledge no more fasting girls should be permitted to occur.

In Texas camels are raised as easily as horses and cattle. The colts of the first three or four days are rather tender, and require close attention, but afterward they are hardy enough. They feed on cactus and brush, refusing all grasses. The females, with proper care, give a colt every year.

It is commonly supposed that the softer a bar of steel is, the better is it able to endure strains and shocks causing vibration. But experiments made by Mr. W. Metcalf, of Pittsburg, show in fact that hard steel suffers less from vibration than soft. Mr. Metcalf's attention was first drawn to this subject by the constant breaking of steam hammer piston-rods. Those made of ordinary steel lasted only six months. Then lower and lower steels were tried, and broke in about five months. Once it happened that a rod of comparatively high steel was employed, which held out for over two years. This totally unexpected result led to systematic experiment which confirmed the conclusion stated above.

Of "trials of endurance" now so much in vogue, the latest is that undertaken by a Mr. Murphy, of Kern, California, who talked incessantly for twenty-four hours, with a rest of five seconds in each hour for the purpose of taking a drink of whiskey. At the conclusion of his task, Murphy fell from his chair, but whether this was the result of exhaustion or of intoxication could not be determined.

Experiments have lately been made in Germany to determine the value of the common nettle as a textile fibre. The weed having been treated in the same way as hemp, yielded a fibre as fine as silk and as strong as hemp-fibre. A considerable area of ground is now planted with the nettle in the Prussian province of Nassau.