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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/752

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

teresting periodicity, as it brings into the arena a new race of fighting young men. So it seems that for each fresh generation of our youth the temple gates of Janus have to be opened, that the furies there confined may rush forth and devastate the earth. It looks almost like the operation of a natural law." General Barnes's theory of the origin of the war that the United States is still engaged in is the simple one that we were "spoiling for a fight."

 

Expert Opinions respecting Food Preservatives.—At a recent hearing before an English Official Committee on Preservatives and Coloring Matters in Food, the representative of an eminent firm of preservers said that preservatives were not very generally used with fruits and jams. His firm regarded them as quite unnecessary, but he would not say they ought to be prohibited if used in moderate quantity. Besides coloring matter in vegetables, the only article used by his firm for coloring was an extract of cochineal. Mr. John Tubb Thomas, a medical officer, told of children who were injured by milk containing boracic acid, and said that in his experiments upon himself about fifteen grains of that substance a day had upset his digestive organs and produced sickness, with diarrhœa and headache. The use of the acid, he said, should certainly be prohibited in new milk, which was so largely the food of invalids and infants. Dr. W. H. Corfield said he had found salicylic acid in the lighter wines and beers. It was a slightly acrid, irritating substance, which was used externally for the removal of corns and warts, and was a most undesirable article to put in food. Mr. Walter Collingwood Williams, a public analyst, had found salicylic acid in a number of temperance, non-alcoholic drinks. Dr. Kaye, a medical officer of health, showed that the number of infant deaths was increasing, while the general death rate was decreasing, and attributed the fact, partly at least, to the growing and excessive use of preservatives.

 

Pawnshops in Germany.—Between half a dozen and a dozen of the state pawnshops which were common in Germany in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries still exist. The United States vice-consul at Cologne has given a considerable list of municipal pawnshops in the more important cities of all parts of Germany. On the whole, the number of these institutions is larger in Germany than in France, but smaller than in Belgium, Holland, and Italy. The business of pawnshops appears, at least more recently, to depend less upon general economic than on special, local causes. The German law has usually required private persons doing a pawnbroking business to take out special licenses, and has exercised a more or less strict supervision over them. The supervision practically lacked efficiency, and more stringent regulations were imposed by a statute enacted in 1879, which is now the basis of the existing law of the German Empire. Under this law license is refused to persons who are unfitted for the business, and is not issued at any rate unless a necessity is shown for the institution. The imperial law is supplemented by special laws of the various German states.

 

Animals of the Ocean Depths.—While plant life in the ocean is limited to shallow waters. Sir John Murray says fishes and members of all the invertebrate groups are distributed over the floor of the ocean at all depths. The majority of these deep-sea animals live by eating the mud, clay, or ooze, or by catching the minute particles of organic matter which fall from the surface. It is probably not far from the truth to say that three fourths of the deposits now covering the floor of the ocean have passed through the alimentary canals of marine animals. These mud-eating species, many of which are of gigantic size when compared with their allies living in the shallow coastal waters, become in turn the prey of numerous rapacious animals armed with peculiar prehensile and tactile organs. Many deep-sea animals present archaic characters; still, the deep sea can not be said to contain more remnants of fauna which flourished in remote geological periods than the shallow and fresh waters of the continents.

 

The Site of Ophir.—Dr. Carl Peters, an African explorer recently returned to London, believes that he has