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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the tenth century. The sign for the earth, Earth symbol alternate.svg, a globe surmounted by a cross, indicating its Christian origin, may be traced to about the sixth century. Of the recently discovered planets, the sign for Uranus, Uranus's astrological symbol.svg, is a modification of the initial H of Herschel; and that for Neptune, Neptune symbol.svg, is derived from the trident of the sea-god. The attempt to give similar symbols to the smaller planets was abandoned after they began to be too numerous to be distinguished in this manner.

 

Obesity and its Treatment.—According to the observations published by M. de Saint-Germain, in the "Union Médicale," the great danger to be feared from obesity lies in the direction of lesions of the heart. Considerable differences exist relative to the influences of sex on the liability to the affliction, but M. de Saint-Germain believes that women are the more liable to it, and that in proportion as they are addicted to alcoholism, prostitution, or inactivity. It may be developed at any age, even as early as two years; M. Hillairet recently exhibited at the Academy of Medicine a little girl six years old who was wonderfully fat. Among the causes of obesity are mentioned excess of food and of alcoholic drinks, too much sleep, and occasionally marriage. Widowhood, which makes men fat, appears to have the contrary effect on women. M. de Saint-Germain illustrates his method of treatment by citing the example of one of his best friends who was most probably himself. Having grown to the weight of two hundred and thirty pounds, he tried to train himself down by the regulation method of treatment, and in six weeks lost twenty-nine pounds and all his strength. He then stopped, recovered his weight and his health, and suffered no particular change for eight years. Then he took to horseback riding, gymnastics, and fencing, varying his exercises occasionally, but always keeping them up actively, in the early morning hours. To these he added a severe regimen; no breakfast after his fatiguing exercises, but a cigar to sooth the stomach. Later a breakfast of two boiled eggs, a cutlet with salad and fruit, coffee without sugar or spirit, no bread or wine, but water or tea without sugar to drink; for dinner, no soup, a plate of meat, a dish of green vegetables, fruit, no bread or wine; no dining in the city; absolute self restraint. The result was a fall of his weight to two hundred and twelve pounds, and increased vigor.

 

An Ideal Jelly-Fish.

A jelly-fish swam in a tropical sea,

And he said: "This world it consists of ME;
There's nothing above and nothing below
That a jelly-fish ever can possibly know,
Since the highest reach we can boast of, sight,
Is only the vaguest sense of light;
And we've got, for the final test of things,
To trust to the news which one feeling brings.
Now all that I learn from the sense of touch,
Is the fact of my feelings viewed as such;
But to think these have an external cause
Is an inference clear against logical laws:
Again, to suppose, as I've hitherto done,
There are other jelly-fish under the sun,
Is a poor assumption that can't be backed
By a jot of proof or a single fact:
In short, like Fichte, I very much doubt
If there's anything else at all without;
And so I've come to the plain conclusion,
If the question be only set free from confusion,
That the universe centers solely in me,
And if I were not then nothing would be!—"
Just then a shark, who was passing by,
Gobbled him up in the twink of an eye,
And he died with a few convulsive twists,

But, somehow—the universe still exists!

Grant Allen.

 

Reciprocal Parasitism.—M. Maxime Cornu has taken notice of a prolongation of the vegetative activity of the chlorophyl-cells occurring under the influence of a parasite. M. Schwendener has affirmed that lichens are really fungoid parasites on algæ, which they envelop with their filaments and at the expense of which they live; and his view has been confirmed by the investigations of Rees, Bornet, and Stahl. The principal argument which has been opposed to this theory is based on the difficulty of explaining how the alga continues to live, grow, multiply, and even acquire new vigor, instead of perishing in the toils of the parasite. M. Van Tieghem supposes, to explain