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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

plained the action of the southeastern and northeastern trade-winds, and argued that, if large junks started from the coast of Peru and kept before the wind, they would in all probability strike the southern coast of China. America is geologically the oldest continent; if so, why not the first peopled? When in the development of America her progress was sufficient to facilitate emigration, why may she not have given a population to Asia? If the primitive races of this continent have died out and their memorials crumbled away, this is a strong argument in favor of the antiquity of the human race here: in more recent Asia traces still remain of original races.

 

Respiration and Versification.—The natural rate of respiration is from sixteen to twenty-four breaths per minute, the average being twenty. To this fact Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes attributes the favor in which the octosyllabic verse is held: that Terse, more exactly than any other, follows the natural rhythm of respiration. Experiments with the poetry of Scott, Longfellow, and Tennyson, show that an average of twenty lines will be read in a minute, so that one respiration will suffice for each line. It is, in fact, so easy of articulation, that it is apt to run into a sing-song. The twelve-syllable line of Drayton's "Polyolbion" is pronounced almost intolerable, on account of its "intensely unphysiological construction," Dr. Holmes's conclusion is, that nothing in poetry or in vocal music is popular that is not calculated with strict reference to the respiratory functions.

 

Diseases of Artisans.—The diseases incident to the following of various trades are considered in detail by a German physician. Dr. Hirt, in his work "Diseases of Artisans." The effects produced by the inhalation of certain gases are discussed by the author in the second division of his work. With regard to carbonic acid he confirms previous observations of the acute affections produced by it, but he does not find the slightest evidence in favor of chronic intoxication by the constant inhalation of small quantities of the gas. In the processes of beer-brewing, wine-making, distilling and yeast-making, considerable quantities of carbonic acid are given off, but, wherever the ventilation is good, no injurious effects are produced. He appears to have no doubt of the occurrence of chronic poisoning by the action of sulphuretted hydrogen. The symptoms are general weakness, depression and usually total loss of appetite, combined with a feeling of weight on the stomach: the tongue is furred. Bisulphide of carbon, obtained by passing sulphur-fumes over burning coal, and subsequent distillation, is now much used as a solvent of India-rubber. It produces chronic poisoning. The symptoms are, at first, evening headache, and pains in the limbs; sometimes intellectual excitement; often cramps, difficulty of breathing, and increased frequency of the heart's action. After some weeks or months follows a period of depression, heaviness, insensibility of some parts of the skin, diminution of sight, and in some cases of hearing. The bad-smelling gases and effluvia given off from putrefying animal substances are said to be innocuous. The trades exposed to such emanations are tanners, soap-boilers, candle-makers, etc. Workmen get accustomed to the fumes of turpentine, and then such fumes appear to have no injurious effects.

 


NOTES.

Errata.—In the article entitled "Absorption of Water by growing Grain," on page 380 of present volume, for "1,796 grammes," read "1.796 gramme," and for "two-fifths of an acre," read "2.5 acres."

We note the formation of three new associations for the study of natural science, viz.: the Lyceum of Natural Sciences, at San Diego, California; the Natural History Club, of Vineland, New Jersey; and the Nebraska Association for the Advancement of Science, at North Platte, Nebraska.

Admiral Sherard Osborn, of the British Navy, who died on May 6th, in the fifty-fourth year of his age, first gained disinclination in the expedition which sailed to the polar regions in search of Franklin in 1849. Again, in 1852, he commanded a vessel which took part in a second expedition on the same errand.

A virulent disease of the lungs, bearing some resemblance to the epizootic which appeared in the United States about two years ago, broke out among the horses at Hull, England, last March. The malady is described as very infectious, and as having carried off a large number of animals.