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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/732

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

names, as official and non-official. Those of the latter class have only their name and surname, unless they have acquired a nickname, like Chang-dog's-eye, Wang the gimlet, etc. Persons of the official class have three names: the family name; the official name, used only officially; and the private name, used by friends. On the death of an official personage, the emperor will, if he thinks best, confer upon him a posthumous name.

 

Improved Gas Heating Appliances.—A new gas heating appliance has been devised by Mr. Thomas Fletcher, F. C. S., of Warrington, England, who, in exhibiting it at Liverpool, fused a large hole in a plate of quarter-inch-thick wrought-iron in a few seconds, without preparation, and with apparatus which could be carried by a man up a ladder and used in any position. There is, therefore, no longer such a thing as a burglar-proof safe, for with this invention it is simply a question of minutes to fuse a hole large enough for a man to enter in any wrought-iron or steel door in existence. The professional burglar is always ready to utilize the latest applications of science, and may be expected to take this apparatus in hand. In fact, Mr. Fletcher's furnaces, designed to assist in chemical research, are used by receivers of stolen goods to reduce plate and jewelry to ingots. The form of this blow-pipe which Mr. Fletcher exhibited was noisy in action, but he stated that burglars would probably succeed in making it silent. A serious obstacle to their doing this, however, is that the machinery necessary for producing the noiseless form is both costly and large. The matter is one to which bankers and safe-makers should give their attention.

 

Forestry In Switzerland.—The present forestry law of Switzerland was enacted in 1876, and is applied to the mountain districts and the hills on the plains, covering about 60 per cent of the country, of which 15·8 per cent is forest-land. The rights of private owners are not affected except where their woods are "protecting" woods, or might have an influence on the climate, avalanches, land-slips, etc. All woods under official supervision have to be demarkated, clearings planted afresh, and new forests created where necessary, the Government bearing a just share of the expense. All servitudes or easements in "protecting" woods were to be redeemed in ten years, and no new ones were allowed to be created. Anything that might endanger the utility of the forests was forbidden. Cattle were not allowed to graze, and leaves could not be collected, except in fixed spots. A two months' course of education is prescribed to be given to each student of forestry by the canton to entitle it to the federal subsidy. It includes forest surveying and measurement in detail; road-making, and safeguards against avalanches; study of the different kinds of timber and of noxious plants; elementary knowledge of soils and of their component parts; fundamental notions of the laws of climate and meteorology; cultivation and care of forests; and book-keeping and other general branches of instruction valuable for under-foresters. These provisions were put in operation very slowly, waiting the compliance of the cantons; and even yet each canton possesses in a measure its own scheme of forestry organization.

 

An Aged Spider.—In the summer of 1887 an American tarantula died, which had been in the possession of Mr. H. C. McCook over five years, and which he estimates was at least seven and perhaps eight years old. This spider, which Mr. McCook had named "Leidy," after Dr. Joseph Leidy, from whom he had received it, thus attained the distinction of having reached the greatest age of any spider known to science. The fragments of a cast skin were found near the carcass of the tarantula, indicating that it had died shortly after molting. "Leidy" had shed its skin several times during its confinement. Mr. McCook has had best success in keeping large spiders alive by feeding them a generous supply of living insects during the summer and early autumn, and withholding food almost entirely during the remainder of the year. Spiders require water quite as much as other animals. They do not become torpid in winter, if kept in a room heated to a moderate temperature. "Leidy" kept a rug-like web spread on the ground in the box which it inhabited, and when this became soiled, by earth or food débris, it was soon overspread with a clean layer. In this