Popular Science Monthly/Volume 53/August 1898/Fragments of Science
Distant scintillating star,
Shall I tell you what you are?
Nay, for I can merely know
What you were some years ago.
For, the rays that reach me here
May have left your photosphere
Ere the fight of Waterloo—
Ere the pterodactyl flew!
Many stars have passed away
Since your ether-shaking ray
On its lengthy Journey sped—
So that you, perhaps, are dead!
Smashed in some tremendous war
With another mighty star—
You and all your planets just
Scattered into cosmic dust!
Strange, if you have vanished quite.
That we still behold your light,
Playing for so long a time
Some celestial pantomime!
But, supposing all is well.
What you're made of, can I tell?
Yes, 'twill be an easy task
If my spectroscope I ask.
There—your spectrum now is spread
Down from ultra-blue to red,
Crossed by dark metallic lines,
Of your cooler layer the signs.
Hence among the starry spheres
You've arrived at middle years—
You are fairly old and ripe.
Of our solid solar type.
Ah, your sodium line is seen
Strongly shifted toward the green.
Hence you are approaching me
With a huge velocity!
But, if some celestial woe
Overtook you long ago,
And to swift destruction hurled
Life on every living world,
Did there in the fiery tide
Perish much of pomp and pride—
Many emperors and kings.
Going to do awful things?
Mighty schemes of mighty czars—
Mighty armies, glorious wars!
From the Nebula they may
Rise to curse a world some day!
|G. M. Minchin.|
|From Nature of April 11, 1898.|
The Total Eclipse at Viziadrug.—The following vivid description of the recent total eclipse of the sun appeared in the Times of India: "But high overhead was a sight it was worth a journey of thousands of miles to see. In the midst of the dull blue sky stood out the inky blackness of the moon with its slightly ragged edge, a silhouette more sharply defined than the mind can conceive. Encircling the moon was the corona, a mass of the purest and most brilliant incandescence, thin in the upper portions, and much broader below. On the lower left corner a blazing blood-red prominence cast a ray of beautiful color into the dazzling whiteness; a smaller and less conspicuous spot appeared upon the opposite quadrant. At the second of totality four extensions leaped from the corona into the surrounding darkness, feathery, ethereal streams of the most exquisite pearly luminosity. To the southward Venus shone with the brilliance of a tropical night; below her, Mars less clearly, and three stars of lesser magnitude were barely visible. The darkness, owing to the great clearness of the atmosphere, was not intense. Newspaper print could be easily read, or the position of the second hands of a watch noted without the assistance of a lantern. Still the landscape presented an unnatural appearance, and irresistibly suggested a world seen through a colored glass. Away to the westward the horizon was a dull gray purple, shading into a delicate violet, and then to a lovely subtle yellow like the tinge of an English winter sunset; to the east the shadow of the moon seemed to envelop the earth like an angry rain cloud. There were few opportunities of observing the effects of the eclipse upon the animal world. A number of crows circled restlessly over the trees which fringe the little sandy bay; a big yellow snake half crawled out of his hole near the wall, looked round, and withdrew. Other sign of animal life there was none."
The Field Columbian Museum.—The work of the Field Columbian Museum, Chicago, during the year covered by its last annual report, included two courses of eight lectures each, in one of which distinguished specialists were represented, while the other was given entirely by the curators of the museum; and the publication of seven works of research (in addition to the annual report) of great value. The library contains 8,062 books and 7,680 pamphlets. A large space in the report is occupied with the description of the accessions to the various departments of the museum, which are catalogued in another part of the book. All the agencies employed have given excellent returns, and all the departments seem to have shared in the results. The collection obtained by the African expedition of Mr. Elliott (to the Masai country) is very valuable, "probably the most important, certainly so as regards quadrupeds, ever brought out of any country by one expedition"; and consists of about two hundred animal skins, three hundred skins of birds, numerous reptiles, and about half a barrel of fishes, obtained on the coast and at Aden. Skeletons of every species, in certain cases two or three of the same species, were preserved, and casts of heads and parts of bodies showing the muscles of the large animals were made. Specimens forming a fair representation of the materials in use among the tribes were obtained, with photographic negatives of the people, scenery, and animals. Other expeditions were made by Messrs. G. A. Dorsey and E. Allen among the Indians of the far West; Mr. O. C. Farrington to the caves of Kentucky; Mr. C. F. Millspaugh for forestry specimens; and the assistant curator of ornithology for southern birds.
The Climate of Alaska.—An article by General A. W. Greely on climatic conditions in Alaska, in The National Geographic Magazine, is authority for the following statements: Almost everywhere in Alaska the climate changes decidedly within a hundred miles of the mainland coast and becomes continental in its characteristics. Rain and snow are less frequent, the summers are longer and warmer as we go inland, the skies less cloudy, and the winters marked with excessive cold. Freezing weather, usually below zero, continues for months, and even in July, with midday temperatures of 70° to 80°, it is an almost daily occurrence for the temperature to fall during the night to the neighborhood of the freezing point. Sitka is a typical coast station for southern Alaska. In forty-five years its temperature has varied between 88° and —4°. The coldest month is January, 31.4°, and the warmest August, 54.9°. Every year it is either rainy or snowy two hundred days on an average. The annual rainfall is very great, being eighty-one inches. Point Barrow, the extreme northern point of Alaska, is in 71° 23' north, 156° 40' west, and its climate is that of the coast line of the whole timber or moorland region situated along the Arctic Ocean. The winter is long, freezing weather lasting from early September to early June. The mean winter temperatures are December, -15.4°, January, -17.5°, and February, -18.6°, with occasional periods when the cold is from 40° to 52° below zero. The average heat of July is 38.1°, but the temperature often rises above 50°, and has touched 65.5°. The snowfall is light. The severity of the cold is indicated by the fact that the ground was found frozen as far as excavations were made (thirty-eight feet). Temperature observations at Dawson, in the Klondike region, during the fifteen months from August, 1895, to November, 1896, show the following records: In July only the temperature did not sink below freezing. During June, July, and August, 1896, the temperature rose on twenty-nine days above 70° and thrice above 80°. The extreme severity of the winter is indicated by the fact that from December 1, 1895, to February 1, 1896, the temperature fell below zero every day. On twenty-eight days it fell lower than -40°, on fourteen days lower than -50°, and on nine days lower than -60°. The average temperature for January, 1896, was -40.7°, and for February -35.4°. Bright weather is the rule. The Yukon River broke up on May 17th. It was frozen solid November 25th.
The Holophane Globe.—The results of an inquiry by a committee of the Franklin Institute into the efficiency of Blondel and Psaroudaki's holophane globes are printed in that body's journal for April. The object of the holophane globe is "to secure diffusion of the light, as well as such a form of distribution that the light usually lost by being Bent off into space above the source of light shall be distributed below that plane and thus made useful." In the globes under consideration the interior surface is made of a continuous series of vertical flutings. The function of these flutings is to secure a distribution normal to the direction of the incident light. The external surface of the globe consists of a series of circular grooves in a horizontal plane extending over the entire surface of the globe. These grooves are constructed with reference to the relative positions of the groove and the source of light. The committee reported that when the light from an arc lamp passed through the globe, the effect upon a vertical screen showed a distinct cutting down of the amount of light passing in a straight line through the upper part of the globe, and a definite increase of the light on a horizontal plane and at all angles below that plane, the space vertically beneath the globe being well illuminated. The fact that the diffusion is secured is shown by the character of the shadows cast. When an opaque body is held near the globe there is practically no shadow on a screen a few feet away. This property of the globe has the effect of entirely doing away with distinct shadows of bodies near it that is so objectionable in the ordinary arc light. In appearance the holophane globe is covered with bright points over its entire surface. Recent tests by Professor Lewes, of London, with a Welsbach mantle and one of these globes showed that in the angle between the horizontal plane and forty-five degrees below it the holophane globe increased the light from twelve to thirteen per cent, while the best of a number of others examined, a clear glass globe, gave a loss of 7.5 per cent. The general conclusions by the committee regarding the globe were that "Messrs. Blondel and Psaroudaki have invented a globe that secures much better diffusion and more satisfactory distribution than any other globe known to its members; that the conditions of its manufacture are such that it can be supplied to the trade in commercial quantities; and that the invention has secured a distinct improvement in the diffusion and distribution of artificial light." The committee recommended that the John Scott Legacy medal and premium be awarded to the inventors.
Epicurean Cats and Dogs.—While most instances in which eccentricities of animal tastes have come under observation are those in which animals, like dogs and cats, are taught to relish other than their usual food, cases are cited by M. C. Cornevin in which animals usually carnivorous spontaneously seek vegetables and fruits. A group of well-fed dogs came under his observation which manifested an epicurean taste for plums. He often found them in his morning walks in the orchard, they having crept through the holes in the fence, snapping at the fruit that had fallen off during the night. One of them, when offered bread soaked in bouillon and plums, took the plums. Another dog did not lose his appetite for the fruit when stung by a wasp concealed in a plum, but afterward turned every plum carefully over and examined it before biting it. The dogs seemed to prefer sweet fruits; they liked pears as well as plums, and the choicest varieties best. The author was told that shepherds who trade in dogs' skins have found that they got the best prices for the skins of animals that are slain in October after having been fed on fruit during the summer, and that the meat of such dogs had been found to be palatable and destitute of the usual unpleasant flavor. Cats were observed to be fond of melons, and to manifest a decided taste for cooked vegetables, especially leeks and onions. They will abandon for a time the meats given them with their dinners and eat the vegetables only. They are not fond of raw vegetables except asparagus, of which they have been known to keep the young shoots well down by biting off the tips as they appear. A cat is mentioned, however, that lived one summer chiefly upon beans in the pod; and another that spent the whole season in the garden, beginning with the asparagus bed, then taking to green beans, which he pulled down from the trellises that supported them; and next on carrots, of which he ate the tops down to the ground, but did not scratch the soil from the root. This cat would have led the same kind of life a second season, but, being as destructive to the garden as a rabbit, was shot. The fierce and carnivorous marten and weasel enjoy cherries, and become fat and hearty upon them. These peculiarities, and the fruit hunting of foxes, skunks, and bears, have been accounted for by some naturalists as induced by hunger; but the explanation is not sufficient. The tastes are manifested when food of all kinds is most abundant and most easily obtained. A more probable explanation is that they are atavistic reversions, or are adaptations to peculiar conditions of the digestion and its ferments, demanding the introduction of new agents to re-enforce those already at work, but which may have become enfeebled. The subject is a good one to experiment upon.
Revaccination.—The following paragraph is taken from a "memorandum" recently prepared by Dr. Bond for the Jenner Society in England: "The experience of every epidemic, and last but not least of that of Middlesbrough, shows conclusively that if we wish to protect the community against these increasingly frequent scourges we must take as much trouble to promote revaccination as we have hitherto taken to promote infant vaccination. So long as the public are led to believe, as they have been hitherto, that vaccination in infancy is the only thing about which the state need take any care, so long will epidemics of so-called 'vaccinated' adolescents and adults and of unvaccinated or badly vaccinated children be the opprobrium of our country. There is only one way of effecting this, and that is by requiring, so far as is practicable, every child who enters a school to be efficiently vaccinated, and that before it leaves school it shall be equally efficiently revaccinated. It is to the revaccination of her adolescent population that Germany owes the remarkable immunity from epidemics of smallpox which she has for the last twenty years enjoyed rather than to her compulsory vaccination in early childhood, for it is the adolescents and adults whose early protection in infancy has become attenuated by age who are most exposed to the risks of smallpox. If we can secure their protection by revaccination at the end of the school age, as well as that of the children at the commencement of it, we need not trouble ourselves much about the infants. We have been misled in this respect by false inferences from the experience of Jenner and the early vaccinators. When infants were the chief sufferers, because the adult population was in a large degree protected by having had the disease, the discovery of a means by which these unfortunate little victims could be almost absolutely protected naturally led to an undue estimate of the value of infant vaccination, especially as its effects were assumed to be more lasting than they really are; but we have now to deal with altogether changed conditions. Where infant vaccination is fairly well maintained, as it has been in Middlesbrough, it is the adults who have not been revaccinated who are now the chief source of danger—a danger which can only be avoided by investing every young person with the same degree of protection which we have for the last half century conferred upon the greater portion of our infant population."
The Eskimo Lamp.—Mr. Walter Hough, in The American Anthropologist for April, gives an interesting account of the Eskimo lamp, which is, it seems, the most important utensil of the latter's household. There are many drawbacks to the spread of a people into arctic regions—the cold, the long nights, the hardships of travel, scarcity of wood, and, paradoxical as it may seem, the difficulty of obtaining drinking water. This latter drawback is the most serious of all, and were it not for the Eskimo's lamp would have effectually prevented his settlement in arctic regions. The typical Eskimo lamp is a shallow dish of soapstone with the outline of the gibbous moon. It has hollowed out on the upper surface a reservoir to contain oil. The rear is curved and bounded by a low wall. The reservoir slopes gradually up to the edge upon which the wick is laid. This edge is straight. The wick is of moss, rubbed to powder between the hands, and carefully laid in a thin line along the wick edge of the lamp. The oil in the reservoir stands just at the lower margin of the wick. The flame is about two inches high, and is clear and smokeless if the wick is properly cared for. The oil is supplied by blubber melted by the heat of the lamp. With this contrivance the Eskimo lights and heats his house, cooks his food, and melts snow for his drinking water. The lamp is peculiarly the possession of the women. Each head of a family must have a lamp, though two or more families may live in the same hut. The Eskimos have no phrase expressing a greater degree of misery than "a woman without a lamp." After the death of a woman her lamp is placed upon her grave. The lamp is only useful with fats of high fuel value, such as are furnished by fish and seals. The wick line is found to increase in length toward the north, in southern Alaska this edge is about two inches long, while at Point Barrow, the most northerly point of Alaska, it is from seventeen to thirty-six inches in width. In fact, this variation is so uniform that by examining the wick edge a fairly close estimate of the latitude in which a lamp originated can be made.
Popocatepetl.—Popocatepetl, "the smoking mountain," and Ixtaccihuatl, "the white woman," are the highest peaks of a mountain range or sierra about sixty miles in length and eighteen in breadth, called the Sierra Nevada, or Snowy Sierra of Ahualco, which constitutes a barrier separating the valley of Puebla from the valley of Mexico. Communication is had between the valleys by a saddle-shaped pass, the lowest point of which is twelve thousand one hundred and eighteen feet high. Popocatepetl, the fourth highest mountain in North America, is a volcano with a snow-capped lava cone, which is now in the solfatara state, emitting only steam and sulphur. It is frequently ascended, although it is between seventeen thousand and eighteen thousand feet high, and rises about five thousand feet above the snow line. One of the grandest mountains of the continent and presenting a magnificent aspect from every point of view, its pride has been sadly mortified by its having been reduced to be a sulphur mine. The sulphur, which is obtained from the crater, is mined in June and July, those months being chosen with reference to the quantity of snow, which is then sufficient to allow of making a smooth trough on which the sulphur can be slid from the crater to the ranch of Tlamacas, five thousand feet below. The general features of the ascent, as Dr. O. C. Farrington describes his achievement of it in February, 1896, in the Bulletin of the Field Columbian Museum, are not strikingly different from those presented in the ascent of other not extremely difficult snow mountains. The lower slopes of the snow are broken up by long tongues of exposed sand on which the climbing was comparatively easy, but in the last stages every step had to be cut in the ice. The ice and ashes are very destructive to leather, so that a single ascent is enough to wear out a pair of shoes. The snow is rarely more than a few feet deep, but is cut up on the surface into numberless rough, wedge-shaped teeth, and is constantly dissolved at the bottom by the warm ashes beneath it. "Nothing like crevasses occur in the snow, and the yawning chasms reported by travelers or would-be travelers can be set down as purely imaginary." The approach to the crater was signalized by a strong odor of hydrogen sulphide that filled the air. The crater is about two thousand by thirteen hundred feet in diameter, and from eight hundred to fifteen hundred feet in depth, with nearly perpendicular walls from which jets of steam come hissing and sizzling, and rocks of various sizes are continually falling and plunging with a roar to the bottom. This bottom is heaped unevenly with débris of various sorts and colors; and, as Mr. Farrington had to look down into it with a wind so fierce that it caused the very walls to tremble, its aspect was dismal enough. There is none of the heat and movement usually associated with volcanic eruptions, for that phenomenon here is very mild indeed. Various parts of the crater rim have been named the Pico Mayor, or highest point; El Portezuelo, or Little Door; El Espinazo del Diablo, or Devil's Backbone; and El Malacate, the windlass, where the sulphur gatherers are let down. The layers of lava of which the walls of the crater are made are plainly visible at intervals, dipping at various angles.
A New Theory of Geyser Formation.—At a recent meeting of the Physical Society at Eton College, Prof. T. C. Porter discussed a new theory of geyser formation, which is reported as follows in the Chemical News: "The theories of Bunsen and others fail to explain why the geyser throat appears almost completely full at the end of an eruption. This immediate refilling is the more remarkable when it is remembered that some of the geysers of the Yellowstone region discharge a million and a half gallons at each eruption, and that the eruptions may occur at five minute intervals. Moreover, the theories generally accepted assume steeper temperature gradients than those in a region like Yellowstoue. Professor Porter suggests that the phenomena are better explained on the assumption of an arrangement of strata such as exists in artesian-well districts; the throat or shaft of the geyser being in the position of a well communicating with a subterranean stream—the 'tube' of the geyser. From the disturbed nature of the region, the tube of the geyser follows a waved course. The 'shaft' rises from the crest of the terminal wave; the other crests may be steam traps. Since a basinlike formation is characteristic of all geyser regions, it is fair to assume that the end of the tube remote from the shaft has an outcrop in the hills that form the sides of the basin. By means of this outcrop, water continually flows into the tube. Where the tube does not sink deeply enough to attain the temperature necessary for the generation of steam, a quietly flowing hot spring is the result. But if at any point the tube descends to underground temperatures sufficiently great, steam is formed, and is trapped at the highest point of a bend. Ultimately this steam checks the flow of water, until the accumulated head of cool water from the hills overcomes the resistance, condenses the steam, and re-establishes liquid continuity. Urged by the pressure behind it, the steam is impelled toward the geyser throat; it forces the hot water before it until equilibrium is once again restored in the tube."
Materials for Paper Making.—One of the most important considerations in the selection of materials for paper making is that of the structure of the fiber. The most perfect spinning fibers, and the best for paper making, are cotton and flax. They differ in that cotton—unique in that respect—occurs in the form of ultimate fibers and is a spinning unit, while flax is composite, or a bundle of ultimate fibers or spinning units. Next to flax are rhea, inferior on account of the irregularity of its fibers; hemp and jute, which have distinct qualities. After these are the fibers used in twine and rope making, but not adapted for spinning. All may be used in paper making, with various results in the quality of the product. Another important item bearing upon paper material is the chemical composition of the fiber, or its capacity of resistance to the natural agencies of destruction. This is the living question in modern paper making. In this point cotton and linen rags stand at one extreme and wood pulp at the other. The destructive agents are oxygen, the action of which is stimulated by resins used in sizing the paper; water, which provokes chemical changes that are facilitated by acid substances present in the sizings; and living organisms—molds and bacteria—which become more dangerous than ever when gelatin is introduced into the sizing. Paper must further possess mechanical qualities to enable it to endure—strength, a certain degree of elasticity, and resistance to rubbing and friction—all of which are involved in the questions of material and sizing. Then all papers are "filled" or "loaded," generally with clay, to give them "body" and opacity and to cheapen the manufacture. This does not actually injure the paper, but may be carried to such an extreme as to be a cheat. The best papers, and the only ones suitable for use in permanent records, are those made of what Messrs. Cross and Bevan, in their book fully treating of the subject, call normal cellulose—cotton and linen—with china clay only sparingly used. Such papers are now, unfortunately, rare. China clay is prodigally used, and wood and straw largely take the place of rags. Papers made of these substances are very inferior and perishable. They are easily liable to discoloration, oxidize readily and gradually crumble, rot, and perish—a fact of which any one may satisfy himself by looking at some newspaper cuttings only a few years old. The conclusion is drawn by Mr. C. F. Cross, from the examination of specimens of serial publications in various European languages, that "a large proportion of the literary and scientific work of the age is printed on an extremely perishable foundation." Happily, publishers have become aware of this deficiency of modern papers and are exercising more care in the selection of those to be used in their better works; and manufacturers claim that with improved processes and better methods they are able to make even wood paper that will last.
More New Elements in the Atmosphere.—In communications to the French Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, Prof. William Ramsay has reported the discovery by himself and Mr. M. W. Travers of still other hitherto undetected elements in the atmosphere. The author, "having obtained a quantity of liquefied air from Dr. Hamps on, allowed it to cool and evaporate slowly till only about ten cubic centimetres remained out of the original quantity of seven hundred and fifty cubic centimetres. The gas obtained from this residue was then carefully purified from oxygen and nitrogen, and when examined spectroscopically showed the argon spectrum freely and also another spectrum which was believed never to have been seen before, especially characterized by the presence of two very brilliant lines, one in the yellow, close to but not identical with the helium line, and another in the green. Other lines were also seen, but they were much less intense. The new spectrum is under special study by Mr. Baly. The newly discovered gas is less volatile than nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, and heavier than argon, having a density measured at 22.5 as compared with hydrogen, but likely to prove greater when it is obtained free from argon. The ratio of its specific heats indicates that it is monatomic, and therefore an element. Professor Ramsay proposes for it the name krypton (concealed) and the symbol Kr. In a subsequent communication to the Royal Society, Professor Ramsay and Mr. Travers reported that on submitting argon to liquefaction, a colorless liquid was obtained with a white solid substance condensing partly around the sides of the tubes and partly below the surface of the liquid. A gas was obtained from the liquid by distillation and collected in two fractions. The spectrum of the gas was characterized by a number of bright red lines, one of which was particularly brilliant, and a brilliant yellow line, while the green and blue lines were numerous but not conspicuous. The measured wave length of the yellow line showed that it is not identical with those of sodium or helium, which equal it in intensity. Density measurements gave 17.2 for the first fractionation and 14.7 for the second—a result that encourages hopes that when obtained in greater purity it may have the density of about 11 requisite to give it a place in the periodic table. The name neon is proposed for this new gas. The white solid substance which was obtained with the liquid argon volatilized slowly, but on wiping off the coating of snow from the bulb with the finger was seen to melt and volatilize into the gas holder. The resultant gas when introduced into the vacuum tube showed a very complex spectrum, totally different from that of argon, while resembling it in general character. Its density was found to be 19.87. Inasmuch as it differs in a very marked degree from argon in its spectrum and in its behavior at low temperatures, it must be regarded as a distinct elementary substance. It would appear to hold the position toward argon that nickel does to cobalt, having approximately the same atomic weight, yet different properties. It is monatomic. In a sealed package deposited with the French Academy of Sciences, May 11, 1898, and opened when Professor Ramsay's communication on krypton was read, MM. Moissan and Deslandres announced the discovery of a new gas in the atmosphere resembling nitrogen but different from krypton.
The best existing illustration in this nineteenth century of the stone age and what it was like, Mr. W. S. Lach-Szyrina said, in a paper read in the British Archæological Association, is to be found in Australia. The Tasmanians, now extinct, were considered the best representatives of the men of the early stone age, and the still existing Australian races—making allowance for different climatic forces—furnish some of the best representatives of mankind of the later stone age. Some information respecting the difficult subject of the habits of thought of the people of the stone epoch may be gleaned from a comparison of the folk and legendary lore of Australia and that of the countries of southern Europe. In Australian folklore a great confusion is apparent between human beings and animals; and in the folklore of Cornwall the remains of a very primitive folk belief in the transmigration of men and women into animals, and vice versa, have lingered almost to our own day. Similarities may be traced between the folklore of Australia as it appears in Mrs. Langloh Parker's Australian Legendary Tales and that of Britain as regards the belief in spirits and the influence of the stars; and curious resemblances occur between our nursery tales and the legends of Australia.
The great number of Norse words in the dialect of the Shetland Islands—ten thousand—is accounted for by Dr. Jakob Jacobsen by the fact that the islands were colonized in the ninth century from different districts of Norway, where numerous dialects prevailed. Consequently, every district, parish, and island has a number of Norse words peculiar to itself. Synonyms, moreover, are very abundant in popular speech. A few nursery rhymes, riddles, and proverbs in Norse are still preserved, though in very corrupt shape. A curious system of taboo, reminding us of similar customs in some of the South Sea islands, and coming down from pagan times, prevails in these islands and farther south, by which, at the deep-sea fishing, everything has to be called by some mystic name. The minister and church are on no account to be mentioned by their right names at sea. They represented in the pagan days the new conquering faith which aimed at doing away with the old gods, and consequently at diminishing the sea god's dominion of the sea. Being thus offensive to the sea god and the sea spirits, the church had to be called de Benihoose, or the prayer house, and the minister de upstander or de beniman, or prayer man. Other names were also given him, as de predikanter, or preacher, and de loader (from an old word meaning to utter sounds or speak in a peculiar tone), and in one island de hoideen. The little island of Fetlar, not seventeen square miles in area, has about two thousand place names.
A derivation is found by Mr. Guy Le Strange for the word tabby as applied to the cat, which is indeed strange enough. The name comes originally, it appears, from Attāb, a great-grandson of Ommayyeh, of the family of caliphs, whom Mohammed appointed, A. D. 630, governor of Mecca. When afterward Bagdad was built and made the capital, certain lands in the city were assigned to the descendants of Attāb and became the Attābiyeh quarter. This quarter became famous for its silk looms, and the goods called Attābī, woven in variegated colors of mixed silk and cotton, were exported to all parts of the Moslem world, and were imitated in other places, as in Almeria, Spain, where eight hundred looms were kept
- Balnibarbi is one of the countries visited by Gulliver; the "Glumtrap" is the Balnibarbian equivalent of the English nursery; and the babies of Balnibarbi are brought up on strictly scientific principles—as is evidenced by their knowledge In these verses.