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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/147

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

the past two and a half centuries. In astronomical spectroscopy, by which great discoveries have been made respecting the constitution of the heavenly bodies, photography has had it all its own way. Meteorologists have made use of photography in various ways, as in application to self-recording instruments of various kinds, and in observations of cloud-forms and distances, and of lightning. In chemistry and physics, the best photographic work has been done by the camera when allied with the spectroscope. In the biological sciences and in medicine the applications of photography have been many and various. Anthropology finds a valuable aid in photography, which reproduces and perpetuates the types and peculiarities of races and of individuals. In the study of natural history, probably the most important work done by photography lies in the direction of photo-micrography; and in such researches as those of Mr. Muybridge and M. Marey on animal locomotion. The value of photography in geographical science is now so well admitted that an explorer would almost as soon think of starting without a rifle as without a camera.

 

Time-Reckoning of Puget-Sound Indians.—According to Mr. M. Eells's account of "The Indians of Puget Sound," in the "American Antiquarian," the Nisquallies divide the year into thirteen moons, for each of which they have separate names; also for the waxing and waning of the moon. The daytime is divided into dawn, sunrise, forenoon, noon, afternoon, sunset, and dusk, while the night has the single division of midnight. These Indians obtained the idea of Sunday from another tribe, before the English came, and after that met on Sunday, sang, danced, prayed, and tried to purify themselves, and throw away their bad and make their hearts good. They also married wives on that day. Among the Twanas Sunday means holy day, and the other days are day past, two days past, etc., except Saturday, which means "alongside," that is, of Sunday. March is "getting warm"; August, "the deer sheds its horns"; October, "the grass dies"; and November, "the grass goes into the ground." The people are generally in debt to one another, with obligations of many years' standing. The debts are seldom heard of except when trouble arises about something else, and then there is a general turning up of old scores for ten or fifteen years back, and of the debts of relatives and wife's relatives. At one time, says Mr. Eells, an old Indian living at Seabeck was invited to a potlatch at Skokomish; he accepted the invitation, but while attending the feast his house was broken into and robbed of property of considerable value. As he could not find the trespasser, he claimed that the man who invited him to the potlatch ought to pay him; because, if the giver of the potlatch had not induced him to leave home, he would not have lost the articles."

 

An Evil of Civilization.—A curious account of the Yakutal Indians was given by Prof. William Libbey, Jr., in the American Association. The author mentioned the strength of the men as contrasted with the bent, labor-wasted bodies of the women, their aptness in mechanical arts, their strict idea of property, their superstitions, which are valuable as influencing fortune. A whole tribe got baptized to change their luck, and, when their luck did not change, the missionary had to. Their rapid decrease in numbers was due to changes in diet and clothing. In their climate the canned beef and cotton overalls of the white man proved poor substitutes for seal-fat on the inside and sealskin without.

 

Lucigen.—By the "lucigen" apparatus, according to Mr. J. B. Hannay, a light is obtained from the burning of crude oil which exceeds in effective illuminating power any artificial light yet invented. The working of it depends upon the action on a powerful jet of mixed spray, hot air, and hydrocarbon vapor, driven by compressed air, of an aspirated sheet of hot air derived from the atmosphere. The flame takes the shape of a cylinder, tapering at both ends, about three feet long by nine inches in diameter, is intensely white, and is without smoke or smell. In this form it is available for open spaces and workshops, where a lateral diffusion of light is wanted. Modifications are imposed upon the apparatus to adapt it to almost every kind of building and work where it is desired to cast a large illumination over an