Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/297

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

from flowers and berries of elder; from sycamore, walnut, blackberry, and balm. To make shrub, to one gallon of milk flavored with lemons and Seville oranges were added two quarts of red wine, two gallons of rum, and one gallon of brandy. The books give directions how to spin gold and silver webs for dessert, to spin birds' nests, to make a Chinese temple or obelisk, a fish-pond with silver and gold fishes, a hen's nest with strips of lemon for straw, and eggs filled with flummery, and a hen and chickens in jelly. To make a "desert island," "take a lump of paste and form it into a rock three inches broad at the top, set in the middle of a deep china dish, and set a cast figure on it with a crown on its head and a knot of sugar-candy at its feet, etc. . . . If this dish is for a wedding supper, put two figures instead of one." There are also recipes for a "rocky island," a "floating island," with sheep and swans, "or you may put in snakes or any wild animals of the same sort," "Solomon's temple in flummery," "moonshine," and "moon and stars in jelly"—a half-moon with seven stars shining out of flummery colored with cochineal and chocolate to imitate the color of the sky. Among solid dishes the books tell how to make porcupine of a breast of veal, to surprise a shoulder of mutton or any other joint, to dress a joint to look like a hen and chickens, to bombard veal, to transmogrify pigeons, to Florentine a hare, make a Solomon Gundy, make an artificial turtle, and barbecue a pig.

 

Trees and Malaria.—According to Prof. Corrado Tommassi Crudelli, some of the prevalent notions respecting relations of forests and malaria are mistaken ones. The relations are not direct. Forests do not contribute to the propagation of malaria unless they are growing upon a malarious soil; and they can not make a soil malarious which would not be malarious without them. But they favor the development of malaria, when it is already there, by intercepting the solar rays, and thus checking evaporation and retaining moisture in summer. When the obstacle to the direct action of the solar rays is removed from infected land, the summer drying lessens the malarious generation, and in some favorable circumstances may even arrest it. The idea prevails in Rome that forests act as a screen to prevent malaria from crossing them by causing it to be filtered out in their foliage, and the establishment of forests at certain places is advised for that purpose. But it has been proved that the destruction of woods and forests in such situations has not led to an increase of malaria, but frequently to its mitigation by promoting better drainage and improved cultivation. The production of fevers in the Agro Romano and in Rome is the result of a complexity of meteorological and physiological conditions. An abundant development of malaria is verified only when the malarious soil is damp and warm. The malarious charge of the atmosphere may vary greatly according to the different proportion of the two indispensable factors of malaria—heat and moisture. If both are at their maximum, so is the malaria, especially when the sky is clear. When the malarious charge of the atmosphere has been great for many days in succession, and the bodies of the inhabitants have become more or less impregnated with the malarious germs, a fall of temperature may be very injurious, by causing an arrest of the germs within the organism and preventing their rapid elimination by the secretions. Hence it is that northern winds exercise an unfavorable influence during the fever seasons.

 

Soda Salts in Arizona.—The deposits of sulphate of soda of the valley of the Verde River, Arizona, have long been known and extensively quarried by the rancheros of the region to obtain a substitute for salt for cattle and horses. They have recently been visited by William P. Blake, who found the deposits of thenardite and allied minerals associated with it to cover several acres in extent, and reach a thickness of fifty or sixty feet or more. They appear as a series of rounded hills, with sides covered with a snow-white efflorescence and a greenish-colored and yellow clay at the bottom and top, partially covering the saline beds. The bulk of the deposits consists of thenardite, in a coarsely crystalline mass, so compact and firm that it has to be got out by drilling and blasting. The white efflorescence on the hills is composed of the hydrous sulphate of soda (mirabilite), which occurs in close association with the thenardite. Other asso-