Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  9 (1884–85), 493–96.

Editor's Historical Record



Regular Feature, News-Digest

[1] Science and Progress


Geology, Instruments, Chemistry, Military Technology, History of Science, Telegraphy, Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition, Aeronautics, Navigation, War, Railways, Sound, Health, Accidents

People mentioned:

Michele S Rossi

    Reports that the 'violent shock[s] of earthquake[s]' across the Italian peninsula were registered in an 'unusual agitation' in the 'seismographic instruments at Rome [at the Osservatorio ed archivio centrale geodinamico] and elsewhere in Italy'. In Shanghai, Daniel J Macgowan has affirmed the 'claims of the Chinese to be the originators of gunpowder and firearms', although 'while the Chinese discovered the explosive nature of nitre, sulphur, and charcoal in combination, they were laggards in its application, from inability to perfect its manufacture, so, in the use of fire-arms, failing to prosecute experiment, they are found behind in the matter of scientific gunnery'. Records an 'instance of rapid telegraphy' when an exchange of messages between the Japanese city of Yokohama and London 'occupied as nearly as possible the time of the sun's passage between the two places'. (494) Discusses 'that problem of well-educated childhood, the edible bird's-nest', the chemical nature of which has been examined by Joseph R Green, who 'could not get any evidence of vegetable matter in the nest substance' and instead insists on the 'absence of anything but a glandular secretion' in the 'nests used for soup at the recent Health Exhibition' (494–95). Notes that in France the 'Government have bestowed fresh honours on the officers of the Meudon steering-balloon' [see HM1/9/2/8b], although in fact now the 'steering-balloon has been dismantled without undergoing any new experiments', and the 'Commission appointed by the Academy of Sciences to report on the balloon has [not] published any verdict respecting it'. Nevertheless, an 'army of French invading us from the sky [...] will be an unpleasant experience in our next war, unless our volunteers acquire the art of shooting the enemy on the wing'. Observes that a 'loud chorus of complaint is at present going up of the physical and mental injury and disquietude inflicted on dwellers near railway-stations by the incessant shrieking of the engine whistles', and points to the 'even more serious evil, that whistling by the drivers of locomotives has become so common as to have practically ceased to be regarded as any indication of danger'. (495)

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