Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/437

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
425
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

measured three feet, less half an inch, in length, and two feet, less half an inch, in circumference. In June, 1847, the president of the club killed a red-fleshed lake-trout that weighed twenty-four pounds, the largest that was ever taken there by trolling. Within eight miles of Lake Piseco is T Lake, whose waters flow down the mountains toward West Canada Creek over a fall of nearly seven hundred feet, into the pool called "Snowstorm's Delight." In midsummer but little water comes down from the lake, but in spring and fall immense volumes thunder over the height with a roar that is heard at Piseco. Many extravagant statements are current respecting the height of the falls, but the matter has been partly settled by the measurements of Colonel J. T. Watson, of Clinton, New York, made in 1876. The swift rapids at the top of the falls are one hundred feet in length; the sharp pitch three hundred and ninety feet, and the almost perpendicular fall below two hundred feet, giving a total of six hundred and ninety feet. The falls are thirty feet wide at the top and three hundred feet at the bottom.

 

The Teleradiophone.—M. Mercadier, the French electrician, has ingeniously adapted the photophone to telegraphy. When, in working with the photophone, the ray of light striking upon the selenium receiver is eclipsed many times in a second, a continuous hum is produced, and this may be broken up into signals by varying the intervals between the intermissions, so that a kind of Morse alphabet can be played upon the instrument. An arrangement for producing signals of this kind is attached to the transmitting instrument, when the signals are sent along the line to a telephone at the other end. No gain over the ordinary telegraph is realized by such an arrangement, but, by multiplying the number of transmitters at one end and the number of telephones at the other end, it can be made to admit of several different messages being sent along the same wire at a time, and of sending messages at once from opposite ends of the wire without confusion. In order to give the multiple messages effect, it is only necessary to rotate the eclipsing wheels, which act upon the several selenium receivers at different speeds, so as to produce notes of different pitch in the receiving telephones, and to fit each resonator so as to enhance a particular note. Then, although the complex current flows through all the telephones in turn, each telephone will only render to the ear of the clerk the particular note for which he listens, and the makes and breaks of that note will be the message.

 

Origin of the Astronomical Symbols.—Every one who consults an almanac is acquainted with the curious figures that appear in its pages as symbols for the planets and for celestial phenomena—the only real hieroglyphics which survive in current use to our day—but few, probably, have examined into their origin. Modern text-books on astronomy do not condescend to discuss such matters, but the books of the two former centuries gave full explanations on these as well as on some other points, which the school-room science of to-day is too dignified to consider. Such books were Lalande's "Astronomy," in French; Long's, in English; and Riccioli's "Almagestum Novum," in Latin. Lalande shows that Mercury symbol.svg, the symbol of Mercury, is derived from the caduceus, the serpent-wreathed mace of the Greek and Roman divinity; Venus symbol.svg is a hand mirror, the most appropriate symbol of Venus, the goddess of beauty; Mars symbol.svg, a lance, nearly covered by a buckler, which it most became the god of war, whose planet, Mars, it represented, to carry; Jupiter symbol.svg, a capital Greek zeta, the first letter of the name of Zeus, or Jupiter, re-enforced by an intersecting stroke; Saturn symbol.svg, the sickle of old Father Time, Chronos, or Saturn; and Sun symbol.svg and Moon symbol crescent.svg, figures of the disk of the sun and of the new moon. Huet gives the same explanation in his notes on Manilius, and Long gives a series of artistically designed pictures of the objects themselves, from which the figures are derived. The symbols for the sun and moon are very ancient. They occur on the Egyptian monuments, and are mentioned by Clement of Alexandria in the second century. The others are of comparatively modern date, and are not so old even as the Arabian manuscripts. They were invented by the astrologers of the middle ages, and arc said by Humboldt to be not older than of