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100 Years Ago: Egyptian Fossil Discovery

Stories from past issues of Scientific American


 

OCTOBER 1958
FUSION WORK— “Last month, at the second Geneva conference on atomic power, the fusion reactions were at the center of the stage. The knotty and often profound questions encountered in the research engaged a substantial portion of the formal and informal discussions. The elaborate experimental gear exhibited by the United Kingdom, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. testified to the huge scale of the programs the major nuclear powers have been conducting, until recently in secret. Among the several approaches of the U.S. program publicly disclosed in detail for the first time at Geneva is the ‘stellarator.’ It is the work of Project Matterhorn at Princeton University and embodies some of the things we have learned from theoretical and experimental investigations conducted since 1951. —Lyman Spitzer, Jr.”

OCTOBER 1908
HORSELESS CARRIAGE Thievery— “A motor-car lock which will be simple and thief-proof would be an invention which would appeal to motorists just now, and the wonder is that some such device has not already been included in the regular equipment of some make of car. It may be true that in some cities the removal of the starting crank or a spark plug is a guard against theft, but thieves are too often graduates of factories and several instances have occurred of late in which the thief has supplied the spark plug himself.”

BOTANICAL READERS— “A Javanese subscriber of this journal, Mr. Bruysman of Nongho Djadjar, near Lawang, Java, sends us an interesting communication on an experimental botanical garden which he established at an altitude of 4,000 feet. The climate, he writes, is ideal. Even the wet season lasting from November to April is not too unpleasant despite the daily rains. Mr. Bruysman is growing hundreds of tropical, European, Asiatic, American, and Australian plants, his purpose being to collect medicinal, ornamental, and useful plants from all quarters of the globe. He has been assisted by many botanists, and asks that the readers of this journal help him in his work by sending seeds and specimens.”

EGYPTIAN FOSSILS— “Prof. Henry F. Osborn, who directed the expedition of the American Museum of Natural History to the Fayum Desert of Egypt, is just now placing on exhibition one of the most important and significant finds there, the skull of the giant Arsinoitherium, one of the most extraordinary land mammals of ancient Africa. The dominating and all-powerful feature of the Arsinoitherium was the long pair of sharp-pointed horns protruding upward and outward for nearly two feet, an appendage both dangerous and fantastic. The spirited and realistic restoration of this giant is seen in the accompanying drawing by Mr. Charles R. Knight.”

OCTOBER 1858
ACID AIR— “Housekeepers will, without doubt, thank us for informing them that the black sulphide of silver, which forms on plated and silver wares, door plates and knobs, may at once be removed by wiping the surface with a rag wet with aqua ammonia (the ammonia should be very weak). This black film is no evidence that the silver is impure, for it forms as quickly on fine silver as on that which is alloyed with copper. After rain, much sulphide of hydrogen is disengaged from the soil of our streets.”

CHEAP FUEL FARMING— “The ‘iron horse’ seems to be gradually claiming the attention of farmers, for the purpose of tilling the soil. The Royal Agricultural Society of England has recently awarded a prize of $2,500 to Mr. H. Fowler, for the most efficient steam plow. It has a stationary engine, using warping ropes to drag the shares through the furrows. Mr. John Joseph Mechi, the celebrated English farmer, uses one of these plows; and its cultivation of the soil is very superior—the yield of wheat having been increased eight bushels per acre by its use. The saving is about one-fourth of the cost, in comparison with horses. Where fuel is abundant and cheap, we have no doubt that in twenty years hence, steam plows will be in common use in our great Western prairies.”

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