Popular Science Monthly/Volume 2/April 1873/Notes


The Mont Cenis Tunnel labors under a very serious defect—that of insufficient ventilation. Under ordinary circumstances the difference of temperature at the opposite sides of the Alps is such as to keep up a steady current of air through the tunnel. But it may happen that the temperature at both ends shall be the same, and then the air within will be stationary. A freight-train recently came to a stand-still, all hands on board having become half asphyxiated by foul air. Another train came to the rescue in time to save their lives. The tunnel, therefore, cannot be relied upon at all times to ventilate itself, and some artificial mode of ventilation must be applied without delay.

A comparison made between smokers and non-smokers belonging to the Polytechnic School of Paris shows that the non-smokers take the highest rank in every grade. Further, it is found that the smokers lost grade constantly. In 1861 the Minister of Public Instruction accordingly issued a circular forbidding the use of tobacco by pupils in public schools.

The Food-Journal quotes from the Swiss Times the statement that the sale of horse-meat has been authorized by the authorities in Geneva, the price per pound for the choice morsel being regulated by law.

A searcher of ancient records has exhumed the following weather statistics for Germany: In 1241 the trees bloomed in March, and in May cherries were ripe. In 1289 there was no winter, and young girls wore wreaths of violets at Christmas. In December, 1538, the gardens were green, and in full bloom the following month. The years 1572, 1588, 1607, 1609, and 1617, were similarly abnormal. There was neither snow nor frost in 1659. The trees bloomed in February, 1722. The year 1807 was extremely mild, as also 1834 and 1846.

One of the newest uses of paper is to employ it as skins for sausages. This is of course a German notion, and Würtemberg is its birthplace. Unlike the skins commonly used, the paper envelop is not subject to fermentation, and is cleanliness itself.

In spite of the heavy fines imposed upon milk adulterations in the cities of Ireland and England, the fraudulent practice still goes on; the fines being paid by societies organized in the interest of the fraud. To meet this difficulty, milk-consumers are urging the authorities to add, to the imposition of fines, the punishment of imprisonment, as the only effective deterrent that can be brought against this class of swindlers.

A report on the average life of academicians, addressed to the French Academy of Science, by M. Potiquet, shows that the mean age of members of the French Institute, from its foundation in 1795 down to November, 1869, is 51 years and 10 months at the time of their election, and 71 years and 5 months at the time of their decease. The latter figure shows an uncommonly high average of life, and will doubtless cause some surprise; and yet, as the author has bestowed great pains on his tables, and taken every precaution to avoid error, his results may be confidently accepted as entirely trustworthy.

A writer in the Medical Record commends the use of borax, as a remedy for the hoarseness or loss of voice common among public speakers and singers. A few minutes before any continuous exercise of the vocal organs, a small lump, three or four grains, of borax is to be slowly dissolved in the mouth and gradually swallowed. The solution acts upon the orifice of the glottis and the vocal cords precisely as "wetting" acts upon the notes of the flute. It is also stated that five grains of nitre taken in a glass of water, the body being wrapped in extra clothing, will excite a gentle perspiration for an entire night; and this treatment will break up a cold if employed at its first onset.—Detroit Review of Medicine.

A careful estimate gives the population of the globe as follows: Europe, 301,600,000; Asia, 794,000,000; Australia and Polynesia, 4,365,000; Africa, 192,520,000; America, 84,524,000; total, 1,377,000,000. London has 3,251,000, ranking first among cities in point of population. Next comes Suchoo, China, with 2,000,000. Five cities in China have an aggregate population of 6,884,000 inhabitants.

A man in Brussels, while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, fell into the Canal Charleroi. After some trouble and considerable loss of time his body was recovered and taken in charge by Dr. Joux, police-surgeon. After trying all the usual remedies for three hours, Dr. Joux applied iron, at a white heat, to the upper part of the body, near the vital organs. In half an hour the man awoke to life.

To obviate the slipperiness of asphalt pavements, it is proposed to mould the asphalt into blocks about the size of the ordinary granite blocks, and in the centre of each to fix a piece of stone or of wood.

Owing to the prevailing floods, salmon were to be found throughout the whole winter in all the rivers of Ireland. In the streets of Bandon, seven salmon were killed in one day, some of them in the very houses.