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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/591

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carried by the wind, the grains are small, light, and more or less dry and spherical; in flowers in which it is carried by insects they are variously adapted to adhere to the under side of the carrier's body; in those whose pollen is distributed by birds it is carried in so various ways that this circumstance combined with other data indicate the possibility of the humming bird being the most wonderful distributor of pollen known to the animal world.

 

In an Engineering Laboratory.—The work of an engineering laboratory, observed Prof. A. B. W. Kennedy in his British Association address, is in intention and in essence different from that of the physical laboratory. The aim of the latter is to make its problems as simple as possible, to eliminate all disturbing elements or influences, and to obtain finally a result which possesses the highest degree of absolute accuracy. In most physical investigations the result aimed at is one in which practical absolute accuracy is obtainable, although attainable only if infinite pains be taken to get it. It is the business of the physicist to control and modify his conditions and to use only those which permit of the desired degree of accuracy being reached. In such investigations it sometimes becomes almost immoral to think of one condition as less important than another. Every disturbing condition must be either eliminated or completely allowed for. That method of making the experiment is the best which insures the greatest possible accuracy in every part of the result. The business of the engineer, on the other hand, is to deal with physical problems under conditions which he can only very partially control, and the conditions are a part of his problem. Perhaps the whole matter may best be summed up by saying that in a physical laboratory the conditions of each experiment are under the control of the experimenter and are subservient to the experiment. In an engineering laboratory the conditions form part of the experiment. Whenever the whole matter seems to be mastered from one point of view, it is only to find with a little more experience that from another point of view everything looks different and the whole criticism has to be started afresh. Machines can not be finally criticised—that is to say, they can not be pronounced good or bad simply from results measurable in a laboratory. One wishes to use steam plant, for instance, with which as little coal shall be burned as possible; but clearly it would be worth while to waste a certain amount of coal if a less economical machine would allow a larger saving in the cost of repairs, or it might be worth while to use a machine in which a certain amount of power is obviously lost if by means of such a machine the cost of attendance can be measurably reduced.

 


NOTES.

A South Jersey Woodmen's Association has been formed, with headquarters at May's Landing, N. J., the objects of which are stated to be to improve and protect the forests of the southern counties of New Jersey; to prevent all wanton and needless destruction of forests; to adopt such methods of cutting as will increase and prolong the yield of timber and cordwood; to insist upon the enforcement of the laws in relation to forests and the punishment of malicious and careless fire-setters; to encourage the planting and seeding of valuable trees on Jersey waste land and elsewhere wherever practicable; and to encourage such methods of forest management as will tend to conserve and increase our water supply and protect the wild animals of the woods. A monthly pamphlet—The South Jersey Forester—is to be published as the official organ of the association.

A new species of giraffe has been discovered in Somaliland by Major Wood, of the British army, who has killed one specimen and seen seven others. It is distinguished by a complete and whole body covering of rich bright chestnut, hardly separable by very fine, almost invisible, lines of creamy white.

Of garden vegetables described by Prof. Bailey in a Bulletin of the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station, the cabbage, Pe Tsai, is described as a plant with a loose, lettucelike head of crisp leaves, which may be used in the same way as cabbage. A mustard producing au enormous quantity of herbage is excellent for greens. California pepper grass is apparently a finely cut leaved form of mustard, and is an excellent plant for spring greens. Other mustardlike plants are the Pak-Chol, used as greens and for the thick white leaf stalk, and the tuberous-rooted mustard grown for its small turnip-like root. The fruit of the wax gourd, Zit-Kwa, is excellent for conserves. The La-Kwa, or momordica, has merit as a curiosity and an ornamental vine. The Luffas, or dish-