Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 33.djvu/883

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

of disintegrated pumice-stone, to which the peak owes its conspicuously white aspect when seen from afar. It can be reached only during the summer months, for snow prevents access to it at other times. The lake, whose name signifies the Dragon Prince's Pool, is six or seven miles in circumference, and is believed by the hunters to be under the special protection of the god of the sea. The inner sides of the crater looking down upon it are very precipitous. From its northern end a small stream issues, which becomes the eastern or smaller branch of the Sungari, while the main or western branch owes its origin to several streams rising on the southeast face of the mountain, two of which flow out in handsome cataracts. From the number and character of the rivers that rise in the vicinity, the Pei-shan Mountain is shown to be the very core and center of the river system of Manchuria.


Wood-creosote Oil is recommended by Captain W. H. Bixby, in the Forestry Department's "Report on the Relation of Rail-roads to Forests and Forestry," as possessing valuable antiseptic properties. It is an efficient poison to animal and vegetable life; it thoroughly repels moisture, and its tar acids possess the power of coagulating albuminous and other fermentable matter. It forms an excellent insecticide, and is one of the best possible oils for preserving lumber and piling. Painted upon wooden or metallic surfaces, it preserves them from wet and dry rot, rust, and the attacks of insects. Forced into wood by hydraulic pressure, it will fill all the pores, extending its coagulating and antiseptic effects to the very center of the block. It is distilled on a considerable scale, in North Carolina, from the wood of the Southern Pinus palustris.

From a comparison of specimens of chipped implements from different sources—of flint nodules from Abbeville and St. Acheul, France, and Milford Hill, England; of argillite from Trenton, New Jersey; of quartz from Little Falls, Minnesota; and of black chert from the Little Miami, Ohio—Prof. F. W. Putnam has expressed the conclusion that man, in this early period of his existence, had learned to fashion the best available material, be it flint, argillite, quartz, chert, or other rocks, into implements and weapons suitable to his requirements; and that his requirements were about the same on both sides of the Atlantic, with conditions of climate and environment nearly the same on both continents. This brings up for future investigations the question whether he was the same on both continents, and whether he has left descendants or has passed out of existence.

A philosophical definition of luck is given by an English writer as a capability of being incapable. "The first Rothschild was probably right, from his point of view, when he said that he never would employ an unlucky man. On the other hand, the lucky man is usually the man who fits his fortunes; who, whether apparently able or stupid, can do just what his especial circumstances require him to do. Very stupid men are often ready men, armed with a readiness as of dogs when they twist from under a cart-wheel unhurt. The 'fool who makes a fortune' is usually a man with just the foresight, or just the judgment or the intuitive perception of the way things are going—a faculty like long sight or keen hearing, and independent of intellectual power—requisite to make large profits quickly. In fact, the fortunate man is usually the man who, in consequence of some hidden quality in his nature, deserves fortune.

As to the profitableness of hard-wood timber-growing, Martin Conrad, a wagon-manufacturer, of Chicago, says that of the five principal kinds of timber used in his business, white oak takes eighty years to mature; shell-bark hickory, from thirty to fifty years; white ash, thirty years; tulip-tree, sixty or more years; and red or Norway pine, at least sixty years. An acre of timber artificially grown is worth five times as much as an acre of natural timber. One tree will grow to the rod, or 160 to the acre—say 110 after eighty years. At that time each tree will give 500 feet of lumber, or 55,000 feet to the acre, and that in Chicago would be worth now $14.50 per thousand.

The question whether the rainfall is increasing on the plains has been investigated by Mr. M. W. Harrington, who, for the purpose, has examined two series of observations representing the average conditions at the epochs of 1850 and 1880. They show an apparent increase of rainfall toward the plains.

It is a common mistake, according to an eminent authority on bees, Mr. Frank R. Cheshire, to suppose that an angry bee is certain to sting on alighting upon a human hand. On the contrary, she will always examine the skin very carefully first with her palpi. It may seem that she stings at once, and without care or reflection; but a bee can do a great deal in a very short space of time, in proof of which it may be mentioned that "she can flap her wings more than four hundred times per second, and that each flap involves the extension and contraction, through a nerve impulse, of the muscles employed in the wing-movements."