Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 91.djvu/753

This page needs to be proofread.

Popular Science Monthly


���At the left of the picture the five-passenger arrangement is shown. At right two transverse hinged covers completely conceal the rear seat

��Closed or road ster position

��Changing a Roadster Into a Five- Passenger Car

THE automobile body shown in the ac- companying illustrations is a real novelty. You can convert it from a five- passenger touring model into a speedy- looking two-seated roadster or vice versa in a few minutes' time. It differs from the ordinary type of con- vertible bodies, in that it looks equally well in either form in- stead of pleasing in one position and poor in the other. When in the roadster form the full-width rear seat of the touring car is completely hidden by two transverse hinged covers which provide an unbroken rear deck line.

The two hinged covers are attached to patented sliding hinges as shown. The forward cover is upholstered on the bottom and is swung backward and turned completely over to form the cushion of the rear seat. Sim- ilarly the rear cover, also upholstered on the bottom, is swung around as shown to form the back of the rear seat.

��How Plants Accommodate Them- selves to the Climate

THAT plants breathe and absorb mois- ture is a well known fact. But that some of them breathe faster at intervals in order to generate heat is not so generally known. The soldanellas, which may be found in the lower Alps, are a good example. These delicate bell-

��Upholstered panel floor which close: between seats.

���The forward cover when swung back forms the cushion of the rear seat. Similarly the rear cover forms the back

��Playing Patriotic Tunes on the Air-Brake

A CHICAGO motorman has discovered that an air-brake is a musical instru- ment. He makes his air-brake give forth "sweet sounds" (he is responsible for the "sweet," not we) by placing his finger over the exhaust. The notes become more shrill when he presses hard. He can play simple melodies. In the interests of pa- triotism he is now learning how to play the Star-Spangled Banner in this way.

��shaped flowers grow up through solid crusts of ice, looking as if they had been stuck there by hand. When the snow covering is very deep and the stalks are not able to reach the surface, the plant immediately sets to work generating enough heat to melt the snow immediately surrounding it, mak- ing a little crater-like bowl in which the purple flowers look like bouquets held in crystal vases.

Going to the other extreme, we find the Mexican cactus reducing its temperature and that of the sand touching it, and keep- ing comfortably cool even when the heat in the rocks and sand is great enough to blister the hands and feet of the natives. If the cactus is cut and a thermometer is inserted the temperature of the plant will be found to be at least thirty degrees lower than the surrounding atmosphere. Just how this is accomplished is one of the secrets which Nature still keeps. It is perhaps partly because the thick leathery skin of the cactus, which is usually covered with hairs and spines, retains the moisture gathered from the infrequent rains and heavy night- dews, drawing it into the interior of the skin and keeping it cool by protecting it from the sun, thus furnishing its own refrigerat- ing system.

�� �