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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/734

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ation of his invention, which is that of fixing the buoys so that they shall not be removed by storms, but declines to make his plans public on account of the defective condition of the patent laws. He has, however, explained it to competent navigators, and they are said to regard it as practicable.

 

American and European Palæolithic Implements.—Mr. Henry W. Haynes has compared the argillite implements found in the gravels of the Delaware River at Trenton, New Jersey, with the palæolithic implements of Europe, by a personal inspection of both, to ascertain to what extent they correspond in character as objects of human workmanship. He traces many striking resemblances between the two groups. The argillite implements are, indeed, of ruder workmanship than the European flints, but that is because the material from which they are made is less susceptible of being finely worked. The types of the two classes of implements are, however, remarkably similar, and the Delaware objects are equally well adapted to any purposes to which the European implements are capable of being applied. Regarding the character of the formations in which the implements are found, the general appearance of the country and the gravels present a striking resemblance to what he has seen in the places where the palæolithic implements in Europe were found. He, therefore, considers the argillite objects of the Trenton gravels to be true palæolithic implements.

 

Disease from Coal-Dust.—M. Paul Fabre has published some observations on the part which coal-dust plays in the pathology of coal-miners. The effects which result from the accumulation of dust in the respiratory passages are obvious and need no particular description. Coal-dust does not exert any special action on the skin. The parasitical pests, the origin of which some authors have attributed to coal-dust, never appear except when the chambers of the mines contain water holding some irritant in solution or suspension. Coal-sorters, who work on the surface, live in an atmosphere containing coal, and handle as much coal as the workmen in the mines, but do not suffer from eruptions. Nearly all miners are marked with characteristic scars of a clear blue color, which, indelible as real tattooing, follow every wound produced by splinters of coal. Coal-dust in the air in a state of suspension may produce a slight degree of simple conjunctivitis; affections of the cornea and iris are also sometimes observed, resulting from blows inflicted by fine fragments of coal. They are generally cured after the irritating splinter has been removed. Miners are frequently affected with defective hearing and other troubles of the ears, which most frequently arise from a stoppage of the extreme auditory conduit with masses of dust that have been cemented into a wad by the ear-wax. This may be easily removed, and the irritation of the ear-passages may be cured afterward by washing.

 

What Perils might come out of a Tunnel.—The scheme to tunnel the Channel has excited great alarm, and called out formidable remonstrances in England. The objection most prominently urged against the proposed work is that it would expose the country to a constant menace of invasion or treachery. The French might fill the tunnel at any time with soldiers in the guise of innocent passengers, and seize the English approaches so firmly that it would be impossible to shake them off, before the people had begun to imagine that danger was near; and the Irish republicans might form a league with the French, and, seeing that the telegraph wires were cut, destroy communication within the kingdom, thus increasing the danger, which, as it was previously presented, seemed as great as it possibly could be. The single defense of the English would be the power of blowing up the tunnel suddenly and unexpectedly, "and what would that power be worth? The premier might think himself justified in destroying twenty millions of property and impairing twenty-two millions more; . . . but also he might not. He might be an undecided man, or a man expecting defeat by the opposition, or a man paralyzed by the knowledge that the tunnel was full of innocent people whom his order would condemn to instant death in a form which is at once most painful and most appalling to the imagination. . . . The