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See Inside Scientific American Volume 309, Issue 4

Stress and the Zulu in 1963; Motor Vehicles from 1913

Innovation and discovery as chronicled in past issues of Scientific American
Deperdussin airplane



SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT, VOL. LXXVI, NO. 1973; OCTOBER 25, 1913

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October 1963

Stress and the Zulu
“A study of high blood pressure among Zulus in the Union of South Africa by Norman A. Scotch of the Harvard University School of Public Health reports that hypertension, or high blood pressure, was significantly more prevalent among the urban Zulus than those on a rural ‘reserve.’ Scotch first attributed this to the greater severity and variety of stress in the location, where the predictable strains of city life and detribalization are complicated by the stressful effects of apartheid, the South African policy of strict separation of the races. In general, however, Scotch believes that urbanization may not be stressful in itself. ‘It is not simply a case of change but rather of success or failure in change.’ The individuals most likely to be hypertensive were ‘those who maintained traditional cultural practices and who were thus unable to adapt successfully to the demands of urban living.’”


October 1913

Gas for Motorists
“With the advantages of automatic vending devices apparent, a Michigan company has placed on the market a gasoline vending slot machine for motorists. It is merely necessary for the person requiring gasoline to drop a fifty-cent piece in the slot, place the end of the flexible hose in his gasoline tank and turn the crank. Left to itself, it dispenses 200 gallons of fuel a week. Not only does the machine run without attention other than that required in filling the ‘gas’ tank, but it is capable of ‘delivering the goods’ any minute in the twenty-four hours and any driver who knows of its location has no need to awaken sleepy garage attendants in the middle of the night.”

For a photograph album about motor vehicles in 1913, see www.ScientificAmerican.com/oct2013/motor-vehicles

Advancing Aviation
“The aviation meeting at Rheims, organized by the Aero Club de France, was held over the Aerodrome de la Champagne. The following seven makes actually took part in the competitions: Bréguet, Caudron and Goupey (biplanes); and Deperdussin, Morane-Saulnier, Nieuport, Ponnier (monoplanes). They are sufficiently representative to give an idea of the actual state of perfection the French aviation history has attained. The winner of the Coupe Internationale d'Aviation, otherwise known as the Gordon Bennett Cup, was Maurice Prévost, who completed 200 kilometers at a speed of 200.803 kilometers per hour (124.5 miles per hour). The airplane is a Deperdussin monocoque, equipped with a 160-horsepower Gnôme motor.”


October 1863

New Metal: Indium
“A recent meeting of the Chemical Society of Union College reported the following notice of a new metal: ‘Since the invention of the spectroscope in 1860, by a German chemist, Bunsen, several new chemical elements have, with its assistance, been discovered. In the summer of 1863, thallium having been detected in minute quantities in many of the products of the smelting works at Freiberg, Saxony, F. Reich and Th. Richter examined some of the ores, at the laboratories of the works, hoping to ascertain its source. These ores were prepared and examined before the spectroscope for thallium. No thallium line was found; but, instead, an indigo blue line, entirely new, and different from that produced by any known substance. Messrs. Reich and Richter pronounced it a new element, to which they gave the name of indium.’”

Hunting for Cedar
“In New Jersey there are men who make it a business to dig up the cedar trees buried for centuries in the swamps, and cut them into shingles of, it is said, extraordinary excellence. The New York Post says, ‘These swamps are very valuable, an acre of such land commanding from five hundred to a thousand dollars. A peculiar feature of the swamps is that the soil is of purely vegetable growth, often twenty feet or more in depth. This peaty earth is constantly accumulating. Trees are found buried in it at all depths, quite down to solid ground. The deposit of timber is believed to be two thousand years old, and is all entirely sound.’”

This article was originally published with the title "50, 100 & 150 Years Ago."

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