Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/417

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Popular Science Monthly


���The observatory on Monte Rosa, the second highest summit of the Alps, is the loftiest scientific establishment in the world, being nearly 15,000 feet above sea level

��A Scientific Laboratory Two Miles in the Air

SINCE the closing of the little meteoro- logical * station which Harvard Uni- versity once maintained at the top of El Misti, Peru, and the destruction by Alpine storms (perhaps aided by an earthquake) of Janssen's famous solar observatory at the summit of Mont Blanc, the loftiest scientific establishment in the world is probably the observatory on Monte Rosa, the second highest summit of the Alps, 14,960 feet above sea-level.

The Monte Rosa observatory is also known as the Regina Margherita Cabin. It is really an outpost of a much larger establishment, situated at a lower altitude on the same mountain (at the Col d'Olen), and both institutions are called officially the Angelo Mosso Scientific Laboratories. They are maintained by international co- operation, each cooperating country being entitled to keep one investigator at the laboratories for every 5,000 francs con- tributed to the joint fund.

To reach the Col d'Olen entails a ride of several hours on horseback or muleback; while the ascent to the observatory is a mountaineering feat. The higher station is habitable for only about two months in the year — from July to September.

Every summer a temporary telephone line — the highest in the world — is laid to the summit. Its construction and main- tenance require great skill and courage. Many of the poles are set up in the shifting ice and snow of the glaciers.

��Khaki Has Been Used for Uniforms Since 1848

WHAT is the origin of khaki? To whom are we indebted for it ?

It was first adopted in British India, in 1848, by Sir Harry Burnett Lumsden, who had been asked to equip a corps of guides to collect intelligence and to conduct an English force on the northwestern frontier of India. The cloth used was a light cotton drill, as suited the climate of Hin- dustan, and took its name from a native term, "khaki," which means in the Urdu language, "dusty," being derived from "khak" or dust. Thus the term applied to the color of the cloth rather than to the material. Though the dictionary tells us it is pronounced kaykee by the natives, the English have given it to us as kharkee, and this is the correct pronunciation.

Having been approved, the use of the cloth spread from the guides to others in the Indian army, and it was worn in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 by the English troops. In the Boer War, 1899 — 1902, khaki was adopted in the British service for an active service uniform, and so worn by all English and colonial troops in Africa. But as cotton was not warm enough for the African highlanders, uniforms of the same kind were made of serge, and the term khaki thus included woolen as well as cotton fabrics. Because it was well fitted for the climate of Cuba and the Philippines, the United States chose khaki for the soldiers' uniforms during the Spanish- American War.

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