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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/299

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287
NOTES.

A race between bees and pigeons took place at Hamme, Westphalia, in July, 1888. Twelve bees, having been rolled in flour to mark them, and twelve pigeons belonging to a fancier in the village, were let loose at Ehynern, about a league away. The first bee reached home a quarter of a minute before the first pigeon, and the rest of both squads arrived at the same instant a few moments afterward.

One of the most obvious benefits of the present popularity of out -door games, like lawn-tennis, among women, is that it will compel attention to the provision of more free-fitting and hygienic dress. These games can not be played with tight-fitting and pegheeled shoes. Hence, looser shoes with reasonable heels are worn for this game, and are coming into more general use for ordinary wear. Loose-fitting robes are also necessary in lawn-tennis, and their advantages for other occupations are likewise becoming apparent.

According to Prof. Oliver J. Lodge, the two main destructive aspects of a lightningflash are its disruptive or expanding or exploding violence, and its heat. The heating effect is more to be dreaded when the flash is slow and much resisted; the bursting effect when conducted well, except at a few places. A noteworthy though obvious thing is, that the energy of the discharge must be got rid of somehow. The question is, how best to distribute it. The disruptive result is well shown by the effect of lightning on trees. It is as if every cell were burst by the expansion in the path of the discharge. The effect on conductors is, however, just as marked.

Arsenic is still too freely used in goods designed for the decoration of rooms. What might have proved a serious epidemic if the goods had not been removed was started recently in a civil-engineering college in England from the brilliantly colored cretonne and muslin hangings of some of the students' rooms. Even such colors as black and dark blue, in which the presence of arsenic is not likely to be suspected, have sometimes been found unsafe.

The order of the Rising Sun has been conferred by the Mikado on Prof. John Milne, of the Imperial University of Tokio, Japan.

A case is reported by IT. Mallins, in which a skin-disease was transmitted from a cow to a family of children who used the milk. In the cow the disease took the form of a rash, mostly dry, all over the body. In the children it showed itself first in small, blister-like vesicles on the tongue and mucous membrane of the mouth, followed in three weeks by a limited number of vesicular eruptions on various parts of the body, which formed sores and left dark-red scars.

A survey of the Nicobar Islands has been made by Colonel Strahan, of the India Survey. The total area of the group is 618 square miles, and its culminating point is 2,105 feet above the sea. The scenery is of "indescribable beauty." Several rivers are navigable by boats for some miles, of which the Galatea, fringed with a luxuriant tropical vegetation and presenting occasional glimpses of distant mountains, runs through a region only sparsely inhabited, by a tribe so utterly barbarous as to be despised by their fellow-barbarian Nicobarese of the coasts. The inhabitants as a rule are allied to the Malays, of good physical development and a reddish-brown color, are unconquerably lazy, and show great talent for learning languages.

It has been observed that pure sesquioxide of iron, added in small quantities to carbonate of lime, communicates to it the property of fluorescence after calcination in the air.

The British Kegistarar-General has published statistics bearing upon the increase in the death-rate from cancer during thirtyfive years, and upon the geographical distribution of the disease. The increase in England and Wales in the ten years 1871–'80, as compared with the decade 1851–'60, was equal to sixty-two per cent among male and forty-three per cent among female patients. Cancer appears to prevail most extensively in London and its environs—possibly by reason of the attractions offered to patients by its hospitals—and in Devonshire—possibly on account of the health-resorts.

The English "Sporting and Dramatic News," while it admits the desirability of revising the rules of foot-ball so as to make it less rough and dangerous, pleads for the retention of the sport, because it is essentially a poor man's game. It needs no costly outfit, and does not call for very serious traveling expenses. But for the very reason that the bulk of foot-ballers are, comparatively speaking, poor men, they should be as exempt as possible from injury, for they can not afford to be laid up.

The process of unliming hides and skins in tanning has been a slow and disgusting one, consisting in soaking the skins in a bath of manure in water, called bate. A new method comes from Australia, and consists simply in utilizing the power of dissolving lime possessed by water charged with carbonic-acid gas. The process has been patented and applied in England. A half-hour's soaking in the carbonic-acid bath is said to cleanse the skins so thoroughly that after scraping they absorb the tan with extreme readiness, and yield a very flexible and finegrained leather. The inventor computes that at least one third of the time of leather-making is saved by his process.