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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/594

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

being at the same time admitted. The metal begins to elongate gradually by gravity, and its fall is regulated. When it has attained the required length, the bloom is inclosed within the two halves of the mold, and the bottom of the mold is also placed in position. At the same moment the air is fully turned on, and the bottle is blown out to the full shape of the mold. The result is a complete bottle of the same thickness of glass throughout, and of perfect form and accuracy in every part. A pair of these machines, with one youth and three boys to serve them, are competent to turn out an average of one hundred and twenty bottles per minute per machine. The capacity of the system is greatly increased in the repeating-machine, which is quadrupled, and operates in a continuous cycle, as follows: while the first bottle is being automatically discharged, the second bottle is being finished, the third one is being punched, and the fourth is being cast—that is, the metal is being filled into the mold by the "gatherer," or server of molten metal.

 

Do Squirrels play 'Possum?—In a paper on the intelligence of squirrels, with special reference to feigning, communicated to the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. T. Wesley Mills gives two cases of the behavior called feigning, by chickarees or red squirrels, and then proceeds to discuss several views advanced in explanation of this habit. Feigning death has been observed in many different genera of insects, in snakes, fishes, numerous birds, crustaceans, and several mammals. In the case of insects, Preyer would ascribe the so-called shamming death wholly to cataplexy (hypnotism), which Dr. Mills deems highly probable. Couch would explain certain behavior of wolves, foxes, and some other animals, usually set down to deliberate feigning, also by an effect analogous to cataplexy. He thinks their senses are stupefied by surprise, terror, etc., so that they are unable to escape. Dr. Clarke adds to this explanation the idea that the quiet of animals when restrained, in many cases is due to an intelligent perception that struggle is useless. Dr. Mills is convinced that Romanes in discussing this subject has imported difficulties into it which are not in the nature of the case present. First, is it at all essential to "feigning" either death or injury that an animal should have, as Romanes supposes, the abstract idea of death at all? It is to be remembered that in these cases the animal simply remains as quiet and as passive as possible, which is in accord with all an animal's experiences as to escape from danger by any form of concealment. A great part of the whole difficulty has probably arisen from the use of the expression "feigning death." What is assumed is inactivity and passivity, more or less complete. This, of course, bears a certain degree of resemblance to death itself. In regard to the behavior of his red squirrels, Dr. Mills is inclined to think that "by inherited instinct, as well as by all those life experiences which had taught them that quiet and concealment of their usual activities were associated with escape from threatened evils, these little animals were naturally led, under the unwonted circumstances of their confinement, to disguise in an extraordinary degree their real condition, and even to imitate an unusual and unreal one." He has reason to believe also that the hypnotic element may play a part in the apparent feigning of death by squirrels. "It thus becomes manifest," he continues, "how varied and also how complex these cases of so-called feigning may be. The subject is all the more interesting, because it shows that there is much that is common in the psychic life of human beings and that of the lower animals. It places the study of their habits and intelligence on a higher plane, and furnishes new motives for extending our inquiries and attempting to give unity to our conception of nature in this as in other domains."

 

The Bronze Buddha of Nara.—The old bronze images in Japan are remarkable alike for their enormous proportions, the method of their construction, and the excellent character of the alloy composing them. The largest and most remarkable of them is at Nara, some miles eastward of Kioto, which was erected about a. d. 1100. It is fifty-three feet six inches high and more than twenty-eight feet broad across the shoulders. On its head are 966 curls; and the image is surrounded by a glory or halo seventy-eight feet in diameter, on which sixteen images, each eight feet long, are cast. Two