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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 90.djvu/80

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��Popular Science MontJily

��Combination Christmas Tree-Holder, Telephone Stand, and Tabouret

A CHRISTMAS tree holder has been jr\. invented which will prevent the usual litter, because it keeps the base of the tree in water. This keeps the branches fresh and alive so that the "needles" are not so prone to drop off. The device may also be used as a telephone stand, a jar- diniere stand, a vase support, or a hang- ing flower-pot holder.

When the device is used as a Christmas tree holder, the tree stands in a cone with the pointed end down. This may be filled with water to keep the branches supplied with moisture, so as to preserve the green- ness for the longest possible time. Thus the danger of fire is diminished, although it is ever present where the old- fashioned candles are employed. The total elimination of the fire danger is accomplished by the use of electric-light sets, which are supplied with varicolored bulbs and batteries complete at hardware and depart- ment stores.

The holder is adjust- able for various sizes of trees. The legs may be detached and the cone suspended as a hanging flower-pot. The Christ- mas tree may be trim- med, sawed off at the proper height, and a board attached to make a telephone stand or tabouret.

The receptacle for the water does not touch the floor. Hence, there is no damage to polished sur- faces from sweating.

���The tree is held rigidly upright with its stem in a vessel of fresh water

��How Do Birds Always Know Where They Are?

PROFESSOR K. S. LASHLEY has com- pleted an investigation of the sense of direction in birds. This is called the problem of "orientation." To "orient" means in straight English to know where you are.

Dr. Lashley used the wild birds of the Florida Keys, known as noddy and sooty terns, in experiments. In their recognition of their nests, it was found that their eyes as well as their muscles are concerned. The birds showed no evidence of any special sense of locality such as a "magnetic sense" or a "second sight." Birds are no more "mind readers" than men are.

Nor do they have any ability to re- trace their paths of flight by mem- ory. They recognize their nests and their own young by muscle habits and eyesight.

Dr. F. A. McDermoth , another investigator, has observed the oddities in the behavior of houseflies. They have a strong tendency to go with air currents between 80 and 100 degrees. This explains why flies are so bad in hot weather, when it is about to rain. The heat usually ranges up- wards towards one hun- dred, and the air travels along too slowly to cause the vapor in it to evapo- rate. The heat, humidity, and slow movement of the air gives the housefly its "fly time." As pests, they are then in their glory.

���The Christmas-tree support has all-the-year- 'round uses. It makes an attractive telephone stand, tabouret or flower-stand, and may even be used for hanging plants

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