Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/422

This page has been validated.

skin sufficiently long to render the cuticle easily detachable from its subjacent connections: if the body is dead, the parts beneath will present a crisp, yellowish-white, horny appearance, unaffected by pressure; if alive, there will be readily perceptible a vital redness, distinguishable from all post-mortem discolorations by its repeated displacement and reappearance under alternating pressure by tip of the finger or otherwise. Exposing the part to a bright light, and examining it through a magnifying-glass, will render the different phenomena more evident.

Kindle a piece of paper soaked in any alcoholic liquor, put it in an ordinary drinking-glass or goblet, and invert this over a part of the cutaneous surface where all its edge will come into accurate contact with the skin: if there remains a minimum degree of vitality, a state of superficial capillary congestion will be induced, with its unmistakably recurrent characters; whereas the absolute inability to excite such vital reaction in any part of the trunk's surface, and the production of solely physical effects by such potent agencies, are infallible evidence that all vital correlations are irreparably destroyed.



GENERAL ALBERT J. MYER, extensively known as a meteorologist and the organizer of the United States and International Storm-Signal Service, was born at Newburgh-upon-Hudson, on the 20th of September, 1828. While still very young, his father removed to Buffalo. A maiden aunt took charge of the boy's education, and he early became a telegraph operator. Later, he went to school, and when sufficiently advanced entered Hobart College, Geneva. He graduated in 1847, and, having decided to study medicine, he went through the Buffalo Medical College, and obtained his degree of M. D. in 1851.

A predilection for military life impelled him to seek a field of usefulness for his surgical talents in the army, where he obtained a commission. He was ordered out upon the Plains, and it is said that one day, seeing some Comanche Indians waving their lances, the idea struck him that such motions might be utilized for army-signals, similar to those in use in the navy. The subject soon occupied a great deal of his attention, and, the more he thought about it, the more interesting it became to him, until finally he had invented an ingenious code of signals. The doctor's transformation into an inventor was noised abroad upon his return to the East, and the authorities, becoming interested in his idea, appointed a Signal Corps and placed him in command of it, and from 1858 to 1860 he was engaged in special duty, perfecting his system and educating his eighty-odd men in its use. In July, 1860, he was commissioned major, and made chief signal-officer