Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/529

This page has been validated.

long as a dog three or four times its size. Cold-blooded animals, fish, non-venomous snakes, and invertebrate animals, all die when bitten. There seems to be a certain difference in the action of the colubrine and viperine snakes. In poisoning by the colubrine snakes, the blood coagulates firmly, but in death by the viperine it remains permanently fluid—at least this was the case in many of Dr. Fayrer's experiments.


A New Fire-Escape.—At the International (London) Exhibition of 1872, Major E. R. Wethered exhibited a fire-escape, consisting of a canvas cradle, with a guard-band to be passed beneath the arms, a strong rope, and a pulley furnished with a clamp, which can be worked by the hand, as the fugitive descends. At an alarm of fire, the sashes of the window are to be thrown into close correspondence at the top. The rope is then thrown around them at one side and hitched with a hook. The lateral pull of the weight will jam the sashes in the frame. The pulley, having five friction rollers, between which the rope runs sinuously, and a clamp worked by lever and handle, is fixed a little above the cradle. The free end of the rope is coiled on a reel, and is thrown out of the window, unwinding as it falls. In addition to the clamp, the descent of the cradle may be governed by the left hand of the fugitive, running along the rope.


Necessity of Carefulness in Old Age.—An old man is like an old wagon; with light loading and careful usage it will last for years; but one heavy load or sudden strain will break it, and ruin it forever. Many people reach the age of fifty, sixty, or even seventy, measurably free from most of the pains and infirmities of age, cheery in heart, and sound in health, ripe in wisdom and experience, with sympathies mellowed by age, and with reasonable prospects and opportunities for continued usefulness in the world for a considerable time. Let such persons be thankful, but let them also be careful. An old constitution is like an old bone—broken with ease, mended with difficulty. A young tree bends to the gale, an old one snaps and falls before the blast. A single hard lift; an hour of heating work an evening of exposure to rain or damp; a severe chill; an excess of food; the unusual indulgence of any appetite or passion; a sudden fit of anger; an improper dose of medicine—any of these, or other similar things, may cut off a valuable life in an hour, and leave the fair hopes of usefulness and enjoyment but a shapeless wreck.



The friends of Prof. Huxley will be glad to learn that the latest reports of his health are most encouraging. He broke down last year, and went to Egypt to recuperate, but returned but little better than he left. He seemed to have been very hard hit, and his friends feared that it might be long before he would recover himself. He has lately been elected Lord Rector of Aberdeen University, for three years, which is significant, as showing the way the currents of thought and sympathy are setting.

It is reported that a cargo of Australian beef, in the fresh state, has been brought to New Orleans without damage, notwithstanding the fact that the temperature of the atmosphere, for a large part of the distance, ranged as high as 90 degrees. The carcasses were packed in ice, also produced in Australia, by a process so economical that it is thought this method of transportation may be made a pecuniary success.

A very good liquid glue is got by dissolving glue in nitric ether. It is more tenacious than that made with hot water, and may be rendered almost damp-proof, by introducing a few pieces of caoutchouc, and letting the solution stand a few days, with frequent stirring. As the ether will dissolve only a fixed amount of glue, the mixture cannot be made too thick.

The Mechanics' Magazine notes the casting, at Woolwich, of an enormous steam-hammer, consuming 100 tons of metal. The anvil-block, to serve as a pièce de résistance for this enormous engine, after cooling off for three months, was not yet cold enough to be removed.

An apparatus has been recently devised in Germany for obtaining specimens of water at any desired depth of the ocean. A strong, heavy vessel, entirely closed and empty, has a valve through which water may be admitted, but which is only put in motion by means of powerful electro-magnets connected therewith. These magnets are also connected with a wire which accompanies the rope, by means of which the apparatus is lowered from the ship. When the empty vessel, which is in fact a