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“Our investigations of the emotional development of our subjects grew out of the effort to produce and maintain a colony of sturdy, disease-free young animals for use in various research programs. By separating them from their mothers a few hours after birth and placing them in a more fully controlled regimen of nurture and physical care, we were able both to achieve a higher rate of survival and to remove the animals for testing without maternal protest. Only later did we realize that our monkeys were emotionally disturbed as well as sturdy and disease-free. —Harry F. Harlow and Margaret Kuenne Harlow”
“The well-developed science of acoustics is applicable to the understanding and making of violins. Without ignoring the precious heritage of centuries, the violin maker should become more conscious of the science of his instrument, and the acoustical physicist should see that here is a real challenge to his discipline. We really ought to learn how to make consistently better instruments than the old masters did. If that challenge cannot be fulfilled, we should at the very least find out the reasons for our limitations.”
“Shall we be stretching the point too far when we say that the conquest of the Isthmus of Panama is a feat of the arms of peace, as brilliant and as difficult as any ever accomplished by the arms of war? The fact that the canal will be ready for traffic over a year ahead of the time appointed, tells the story of the army's successful handling of this, the world's greatest engineering work.”
The Panama Canal officially opened almost two years later, on August 15, 1914. For a slide show of the ongoing work on the canal, see www.ScientificAmerican.com/nov2012/panama-canal.
Curtiss on His Flying Boat
“It is not difficult to understand why a sheet of water affords an ideal aerodrome. The aviator does not have to run along a given course to start, and he can always head into the wind. Altogether, it is much easier and safer to start and alight on the water. The new ‘flying boat’ gives us the advantages to be found in a boat with its large surplus of buoyancy, seaworthiness and protection for the aviators. The Curtiss ‘flying boat’ will ride as rough a sea, either under power or adrift, as any motor boat of its size, and flies as well as any aeroplane of equal proportions; so that the combination gives us the advantages of the motor boat and the aeroplane. There are no limitations to the development of this type of machine. —Glenn Curtiss”
Plastics for Toys
“Among the varied products of that wonderful substance—vulcanized india-rubber—a new American art has been developed in its application to the manufacture of elastic toys. Tons of them are made annually in the Wiccopee factory, situated on the Fishkill, near Matteawan, N.Y. They are as superior to the old German toys in every respect as can well be imagined. Many of the dolls appear to be clothed in velvet and fine woolen cloth. The drapery, however, is formed of india-rubber; the velvet and cloth imitations being produced by dusting silk and woolen flocks upon the parts, which are prepared with a peculiar varnish to make the flocks adhere.”
“In sight of our office window, in the City Hall Park, is the recruiting tent of Captain Hogan, a brave fighting Irishman who commanded a battery in the seven days' battle in front of Richmond. We met the captain the other morning on his round of duty, and enquired how he got on with recruiting. ‘Badly,’ he replied, and assigned as a chief reason that the politicians of both parties were hindering enlistments for fear some of their followers might get off to the war before election. The captain says those miserable fellows would sell out St. Paul and all the apostles if they could only get into office.”
This article was originally published with the title 50, 100 & 150 Years Ago.