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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/885

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FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

them water-tight. This bee, when it begins its burrow, makes an oblique gallery from four to six inches long before it starts in the vertical direction, and all the dirt is carried through this oblique gallery. Then the insect continues the tube vertically upward to just below the surface, and makes a small concealed opening to it here, taking care to pile no sand near it. This is the regular entrance to the burrow.


MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

In a report of an inspection of three French match factories, published as a British Parliamentary paper, Dr. T. Oliver records as his impressions and deductions that while until recently the match makers suffered severely from phosphorus poisoning, there is now apparently a reduction in the severe forms of the illness; that this reduction is attributable to greater care in the selection of the work people, to raising the age of admission into the factory, to medical examination on entrance, subsequent close supervision, and repeated dental examination; to personal cleanliness on the part of the workers; to early suspension on the appearance of symptoms of ill health; and to improved methods of manufacture. The French Government is furthering by all possible means new methods of manufacture in the hope of finding a safer one; and a match free from white phosphorus and still capable of striking anywhere is already manufactured.

A mechanical and engineering section is to be organized in the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, to be devoted to the consideration of subjects bearing upon the mechanic arts and the engineering problems connected therewith. The growth of the various departments of this institution—which has been fitly termed a "democratic learned society," from the close affiliation in it of the men of the professions and the men of the workshops—by natural accretion, and the steadily growing demands for the extension of its educational work during the past decade, have increased the costs for maintenance and administration and have been the cause of a deficit in nearly every year. A movement is now on foot, approved by the board of managers, and directed by a special committee, to secure for it an endowment, toward which a number of subscriptions ranging from two hundred and fifty to twenty-five hundred dollars have already been received.

The earthquake which took place in Assam, June 12, 1897, was described by Mr. R. D. Oldham in the British Association as having been the most violent of which there is any record. The shock was sensible over an area of 1,750,000 square miles, and if it had occurred in England, not a house would have been left standing between Manchester and London. Landslips on an unprecedented scale were produced, a number of lakes were formed, and mountain peaks were moved vertically and horizontally. Monuments of solid stone and forest trees were broken across. Bridges were overthrown, displaced, and in some places thrust bodily up to a height of about twenty feet, and the rails on the railroads were twisted and bent. Earth fissures were formed over an area larger than the United Kingdom, and sand rents, from which sand and water were forced in solid streams to a height of three or four feet above the ground, were opened "in incalculable numbers." The loss of life was comparatively small, as the earthquake occurred about five o'clock in the afternoon, and the damage done was reduced by the fact that there were no large cities within the area of greatest violence; but in extent and capacity of destruction, as distinguished from destruction actually accomplished, this earthquake surpassed any of which there was historical mention, not even excepting the great earthquake of Lisbon in 1755.

The first section of the electric railway up the Jungfrau, which is intended to reach the top of the mountain, was opened about the first of October, 1898. The line starts from the Little Scheidegg station of the existing Wengern Alp Railway, 6,770 feet above the sea, and ascends the mountain masses from the north side, passing the Eiger Glacier, Eiger Wand, Eismeer, and Jungfraujoch stations, to Lift, 13,430 feet, whence the ascent is completed by elevator to the summit, 13,670 feet. The road starts on a gradient of ten per cent, which is increased to twenty per