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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/482

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

The practical bearings of atmospheric electricity and ozone are manifold:

1. Many nervous and other diseases and very many nervous sensations are perceptibly affected by changes in the quantity of electricity and ozone. Making the necessary concession that the subject of the relation of atmosphere to health is one of many complications, still we are now in a position to claim with considerable positiveness that a part of the benefit or injury that is derived from change of climate, or from the various atmospheric changes, is the result of variations in the amount of ozone and electricity. After eliminating the factors of heat and cold, which are the most obvious and best understood of all atmospheric qualities; of moisture and dryness, the potency of which is everywhere recognized; of carbonic and nitric acid; of oxygen pure and simple, there remains much that only ozone and electricity can well account for.

2. Not a few sensitive and impressible organizations experience variations of strength and debility, of vigor and malaise, that very well correspond to the variations in atmospheric electricity, or ozone, or both. There are thousands of people who are at their maximum of strength in the cold months of winter, who begin to decline in the spring, who, in the summer, are at their minimum, and who regularly rally during the autumn. There are those who, almost every day, pass through tides of feeling, which, if they do not mathematically correspond to the daily tides of ozone and electricity in the air, do certainly follow so closely as to make us suspect, to say the least, a certain relation between the variable states of the system and the variable states of the air. From 8 to 12 a. m. is the golden time for brain-work, as all students know; from 1 to 4 p. m. there are frequently a dullness and lassitude that make hard toil a task. Many—even those who take but a lunch in the middle of the day—are sleepy at this time, and, unless they are kept awake by business, are disposed to take a nap. The latter part of the afternoon the spirits revive, and between four and eight or nine o'clock is what might be called the silver period of the day for all mental labor. The night is given to sleep, but those who rise very early do not usually labor to so great advantage as those who defer their severest exertions until the forenoon. In these statements we but give the experience of the majority of brain-workers whose temperament is of the susceptible order, and who therefore appreciate the varying moods of the system.

The chief complication that enters into these calculations is the fact that there is least ozone and least electricity in the air when there is most heat, and that heat is of itself debilitating.

3. Irregular disturbances in the electrical condition of the atmosphere, in storms, and especially in thunder-storms, and, in our climate, northeast storms, unquestionably affect the nervous system of impressible temperaments unpleasantly, and bring on or aggravate neuralgic,