LAST week the followers of aviation in this country w ere given an opportunity to contrast the aeroplane as a practical means of transport across country with the aeroplane as a provider of sensational amusement. No more striking demonstration of the utilitv of the aeroplane for pleasant and rapid touring could have been given than Atwood's fight, at an average speed of between forty and fifty miles an hour for the first half of his journey from St. Louis to Chicago and New York, a distance of about 1,265 miles. or double that covered by him in his memorable fight from Boston to New York, Atlantic City, and Washington some weeks ago. On the other hand, the dangers of exhibition flying on the edge of, and over, a large b3dy of water were distressingly brought out by the deaths from bad falls of two promising young men, both of whom, had they lived, would in all probability have contributed to the progress of aviation in America. These two fatal accidents seem to have been caused in much the same way, i. e., as the result of a sudden descent at a sharp angle with power on, ending in a quick leveling of the machine before it struck the ground or water. The terrific strain imposed upon the planes and guys, amounting to many times that caused by normal fight (as explained by Dr, Zahm in an article on another page), caused the guys to give way, and the wings or planes to collapse, after which the aeroplane fell precipitately to the ground or the water of the lake. The first machine that collapsed in this way was a Baldwin biplane driven by William Badger, a wealthy young amateur aviator of Pittsburg, The planes crumpled up and the aeroplane fell into a pit. As is usual in an accident of this sort with a biplane, the motor, which is mounted directly behind the man, fell upon the aviator, fracturing his skull and badly mutilating his body. He died within three-quarters of an hour. The second fatality, which occurred only a short time after the first one, happened to St, Croix Johnstone, the leading pilot of the Moisant monoplane and the holder of the American endurance record of 9ver four hours in the air. Johnstone had been flying for two and a half hours, most of the time over the lake, when he made a sharp descent from a height of some 1,500 feet. Suddenly, when less than 500 feet above the surface of Lake Michigan, the aviator lost control and the machine plunged into the water. Johnstone was unable to save himself in the wav that Arthur Stone did under similar circumstances two days later, namely, by diving from the machine just before it struck, and he was carried below the surface and drowned. Robinson in a Curtiss hydro-biplane was flying nearby at the time. He alighted upon the water and tried to render assistance, but was unable alone to extricate his fellow fiver. While the two fatal accidents were not due to the wind, this had much to do with several of the other disasters. The Windy City made good its name by producing exceedingly strong breezes for the flyers to battle with. One of the most peculiar accidents happened on the second day, when McCurdy's biplane is said to have caught fire from contact with some high-tension electric light wires. The machine was entirely ?onsumed. The third day of the meet Simon, in a Bleriot monoplane, and Hammond, in a Baldwin biplane, each fell into Lake }Iichigan. The latter dived from his machine before it struck the water, while the French aviator remained in his monoplane until he was rescued. In making his long-distance tour Harry Atwood has shown the aeroplane, when favored with good weather, to be fully as dependable as the automobile. Besides this it is a speedier, cleanlier, and more pleasurable means of transport. T he $10,000 prize Atwood expects to win, in addition to the various sums paid him for fying over towns and alighting, has made his remuneration from his ten days' outing several times greater than that of the best aviator at the Chicago meet. In addition to this, his fight has given many more people, gratis, thelr frst view of an aeroplane. We are glad to note that at the Boston meet, which opens to-day, there will be two cross-country circuit races for monoplanes and biplanes respectively, f(' prize money aggregating $17,500. Generosity of this sort by the newspapers of the country will do more to introduce the aeroplane as a practical machine than hundreds of aviation meets, ending in death and fnancial failure. 4rtifcial Frogs ACABLE dispatch from Paris last week brought the startling news that Prof. Batail-lon, the well-known biologist, has succeeded in producing “artifcial frogs.” Announcements such as this have become so frequent of late that they have almost ceased to startle the blase newspaper-reader; but whether one is startled or not, the announcements are essentially false and misleading. 'Ve are in fact no nearer the creation of “artifcial frogs” or “artifcial life” in any form, so far as actual control of the conditions that lead to the origin of living matter is concerned, than we were a dozen years ago, The problems involved in the work which leads to these sensational announcements are of two entirely diferent kinds. In the frst place we have the question of the physical and chemical processes that go on in the living protoplasm, with the attempt to reproduce as far as possible a combination of molecules that will behave in some respects as does the living matter of a cell. If we could succeed in bringing together from the bottles in the laboratory a combination of substances that would react upon one another and upon the environment as does the mass of substances we call an “Amoeba” we should have succeeded in creating “artifcial life.” Many attempts have no doubt been made to create life in this sense. And many attempts-from those of Butschli to those of Leduc-have succeeded so far that they have reproduced some of the peculiarities of living things in non-living matter. But Prof. Bataillon did not try to do anything like this. His problem was an entirely diferent kind. He was concerned chiefy with the question, “How does the sperm cause the egg to develop?” In attempting to reduce the infuence of the sperm upon the egg to physical and chemical terms, the biologist may be said to deal with the creation of life, but the use of these terms in that sense is purely metaphorical. At any rate, this is the nature of the general problem with which Prof. Bataillon is concerned, and his results are the logical successors of earlier experiments along the same line. Starting with Prof. Jacques Loeb's experiments, in which the unfertilized eggs of sea-urchins were induced to develop by the action of physical forces (osmotic pressure) and by various chemicals, passing to Loeb's later experiments in which the chemical action was analvzed further into its electrical factors, and from these to the experiments of Delage, who induced fertilization by means of electric charges, we have a continuous series of contributions to the solution of this problem. But from Delage's “artifcial parthenogenesis” by means of electrical charges through the surrounding medium, to Bataillon's artifcial parthenogenesis by means of electrical charges through the unfertilized egg itself, is onlv a step-but an important step. In all of these experiments the biologist has before him well-defned problems; in none of them does the experimenter for a moment think that he is making “artifcial life.” For if we could succeed in making all frog's eggs or sea-urchin eggs develop into adults without fertilization, we should not be creating life at all; we should simply cause eggs to de\'elop under artifcial conditions. To create life we should have to provide the egg artifcially, as well as the stimulus for its development. Nevertheless these experiments are of importance, as well as of interest, for they lead not only to a better understanding of the fundamental processes, but also, eventually, to a surer cont1ol of vital pro- cesses, in animals and in plants. Without any sions as to the likelihood of artifcial frogs beine sent here from France next year, or even the year after, we may still find it worth while to learn what has actually been accomplished in these two lines of research, We shall accordingly present to our readers shortly an account of the experiments made to reproduce the physical and chemical peculiarities. of living matter, and those made to replace the vital action of one factor in reproduction (the sperm) by chemical and physical processes . The Abandoned Mill and the Fa rmer S CAT TERED broadcast throughout our land are hu ndreds of w ater mills, long since abandoned. Relics of busy cen ters these, where the grind of the millstones, the clatter of machinery, and the creaking of the old water-wheel, once vied with the roar of the industrious stream. Now all is still, within the old mill walls, and the dust, the moss, the rot, and the rust, show that it has long since given up its struggle with the progress of modern industry. Wheat is now ground in steam-driven mills, a hundred fold greater, and little manufacturing plants have moved to the city, where they can avail themselves of steam and electric power close to the consumer of their products. But back in the country the idle mill stream still pours over the old dam, and dashes down the spillway in uttcr abandon-hundreds, may be thousands of horse-power literally going to waste-while in the adjacent felds the farmer, whom it once served, still toils at his plough and sends 11is grain a thousand miles away to tIle steam mill. Is this really progress? Can we feel justly proud of the industrial advancement of our great nation, while such prodigality exists? But what can be done with these water-powers? A few of them, the larger ones of course, which are advantageously situated, have been set to work generating electricity for light and power purposes. But the smaller ones-have they no further value? Of course they have; and we need not look far afeld to fnd a readv market for this power, small though it may be. Side by side with these idle streams, are the over-driven farmers, whose labor troubles have multiplied appallingly, and who are crying for help to do the necessary work on their farms, Why should such an anomalous condition continue any longer? Why not convert these old mills into electric power stations, and let electricity lighten the farmer's tasks? The frst objection that comes to one's mind is that the cost would be prohibitive. That this is not so is clearly proven by the article on another page. Mr. T. Commerford Martin and Mr. Putnam A. Bates, both engineers of highest standing, outline a policy by which these fast-decaying relics may be put to some use. The capital required is not large, and a dozen farmers could band together and install a co-operative electric-generating plant in the old mill, which would furnish all the electricity they would need. The average farmer would not require more than ffty horse-power, and with a co-operative plant he could obtain his power so cheaply as to make it well worth his while. We know of no better way of utilizing the smaller streams of our country, and it does not require a propl1et to see in such a plan a material advancement of tIle farmer's condition. The frst co-operative farmers' power generating station will mark a notable step in our industrial progress, and in the conservation of our natural resources. Another M isplaced Moon T HE long list of blunders committed by distinguished literary m en in writing about the moon has received a recent addition, atten tion to which is called in L'Asf1nomie. A work by M. Maurice Donnay, of the French Academy, contains the following passage: "We watched the setting of the sun. It seemed as i, in the west, metals were entering into fusion, then cooling rapidly until they assumed a uniform orange tint, while on the opposite side, in a sky of pale and, as it were, , ashed-out blue, a slender crescent moon appeared. Apparently there is need of more intimate intercourse between two branches of the Institut de France; viz., the Academie Francais and the Academie des Sciences. One wonders what must be Y Donnay's outlook, in general, upon the physical universe, if he has never grasped the simple relation between the moon's phases and her position with respect to the sun. 'Ve hope that no reader of this journal necds to be told that the only kind of moon ever seen m the eastern skv near the time of sunset is one that is at or near the full.Electricity Fiftieth Anniversary of the Dynamo.- Fifty' years ago Sr. Antonio Pacinotti invented the first commercial type dynamo. This event is soon to be celebrated in Pisa. At the time he invented the dynamo, Pacinotti was a student at the University of Pisa. He used a ring armature of the type now known as a “Gramme ring,” having been reinvented by Gramme in 1870. It was not until 1881 that Paci· notti's dynamo attracted much attention, when, at the Paris Exposition, a diploma was awarded to the Italian inventor. Railroad Car for Transformers.-A striking illustration of the enormous size of some of the transformers made in these days is shown by a new type of car built for transporting these transformers by rail. The car referred to is provided with a cut-out at the center, so that the floor is brought to within two feet, two inches of the tops of the rails, this being necessary to give sufficient clearance under bridges. The car is 35 feet 5 inches long, and in the cut-out portion will carry a load of 150,000 pounds. Street Lamps of All Kinds in Chicago. -Figures given in the recent annual report of the Department of Electricity of Chicago, and quoted by the Electrical World, show that the total number of public street lamps in service on December 3 1st, 1910, was 37,994. Of these, 12,366 were municipal electric-arc lamps, 893 rented arc lamps, l1,990 gas-mantle lamps, 5,426 gas flat·fame lamps and 7,319 gasoline lamps. The cost of rented arc lamps is $75 a year, municipal arc lamps $61.95 a year, mantle gas lamps $18.91, open·fame gas lamps $15.41, and gasoline lamps $26.40. An International Electric Railroad.- An electric railroad is to be built which will run in three countries, Italy, Switzerland and Austria, and it will greatly shorten up the distance by rail from Milan to Munich. On We Italian side it starts from Tirano, which is th e terminus of the Valtellina electric road, and crosses the Swiss frontier by a fve·mile tunnel through the mountains, reaching the Munster Valley. It then crosses into Austria to Mals, and this point will be connected to Landeck by a line wbich the Austrian Government is to bUild. This latter point lies on the railroad leading to Munich. It is probable that an electric section will be also run from Landeck to Munich. Energy Generated .n Lomdon and .n New York.-The returns Issued by the London Count y Counc il, and quoted by the Electrical World, r elating to the amount of elec tricity generated in and around London, show that in London the borough councils generated or purchased 91,851,181 kilowatt-hours, of which 75,-115,968 kilowatt hours, or 82 per cent' was sold. Information regarding the kilowatt·hours generrted by the London companies is not available, but they disposed of 137,211,288 kilowatt·hours. Whether this included that used by the railways is not stated. In New York city the amount of energy generated by the public-utility companies last year is estimated to hav e been 1,750,000,000 kil owatt· hours. Mec h anical Amm eter.-A no vel “current gage” has just been invented, which is designed to give a fair approximation of the current flowing through a conductor without cutting the conductor or interfering with its operation in any way. The device consists of a U·shaped magnet of laminated soft iron, secured to a handle, an arm is fulcrumed to the handle with one end serving as an arma·· ture di rectly ov er th e poles of the magnet, and the other is fitted with a leaf spring engaged by a set screw on the handle, whereby the armature may be moved into or out of engagement with the poles of the magnet. If it be desired to measure the current in a conductor, the U-shaped part is placed over the conductor, and is electro-magnetically energized thereby. The set screw is then turned to force the armature away from the pole and when it has been moved far enough to spring away, the number of amperes passing through the conductor will be indicated b y a hand on the ,set screw , which sweeps over a graduated Science International Aeronautical Congress. -The fifth international aeronautical congress will meet at Turin October 25th to 31st, 1911, under the presidency of Commandant Renard. The last congress met at Nancy in September, 1909. A Language of 300 Words.-In the more inaccessible parts of the Sierra Madre Mountains, in northern Mexico, live a curious people called the Tarahua-maris. Many of them dwell in caves, but they have also small yillages, all of them about 8,000 feet above sea-level. The Tarahuamaris are small in body, but possessed of much endurance. Their only food is maize, and they manufacture a drink called teshuin, from the same cereal. Their language is limited to about 300 words, and they cannot count beyond ten. Color-changing Paints .- Members of the Physical Society in London were greatly interested at a recent meeting by an exhibition of specimens of paints which change their color with variations of the temperature. One of these paints is red at ordinary temperatures, but turns black in a few seconds when warmed in front of a stove or otherwise heated to 206 deg. F. Another paint is yellow until heated to a temperature of 113 deg. F., when it becomes dark red. They are called “heat-indicating paints,” but are little more than scientific curiosities. Contaminating Gases Turned to Use.- An instance of the transformation by scientific means of a deleterious into a useful substance is furnished by a process employed in Germany in connection with the manufacture of superphosphate fertilizer where apatite is used. The large volumes of hydrofluoric acid that are given off seriously contaminate the atmosphere, but by the German process these gases are recovered L the form of fuosilicic acid, which is used in the manufacture of artificial stone for hardening soft limestone and sandstone, and for other purposes. Filtered Water in Bamboo Stems.- Yapp, the English naturalist who has explored the mountain ranges of the Malay Peninsula, reports the fact, not generally known, that in several species of bamboo the hollow internodes-the parts of the stems between the jOints-are stored with large quantities of naturally filtered water. The knowledge of this fact might be of great service in an emergency. Mr. Yapp al£o discovered, on his last vi'it, two species of ferns, growing on trees, whose thick, fleshy stems are filled with galleries tunneled by ants, the ferns thus forming living nests for the ants. The John Sco tt Medal for McF arlan Moore .-Mr . D. McFarlan M oore has been awarded the John Scott Legacy Medal and Premium by the city of Phila-j delphia upon the recommendation of the Franklin Institute. The award is made in recognition of Mr. Moore's scientific investigations in the development of the art of vacuum tube lighting, covering a period of many years. Mr. Moore's syster, as our readers know, consists briefly in converting electrical energy into light by passing an alternating current of electricity through rarefied gases in glass tubes. By a variation in composition of the gases in the tubes, and the degree of their rarefaction, the color and intensity of the light produced are controlled. Fever in Plants.-Not only animals but plants may suffer and die of fevers, is the conclusion reached by the French savant Du Sablon. When a human being has a fever he loses flesh on account of the increased combustion, the quantity of carbonic acid respired from the lungs being augmented from 70 to 100 per cent. A plant attacked by a fever, which may be caused by a wound, rapidly consumes its reserves of organic matter and becomes enfeebled, sometimes sufficiently to cause its death. Du Sablon has experimented with potatoes rendered feverish by cutting them. The temperature soon rises about one degree, and the quantity of carbonic acid given off increases several hundred per cent. If the potato survives, its “respiration” after a few days becomes normal, but it falls into an enfeebled state, resembling that of a person I convalescent from a long fever. JUST PUBLISHED
This article was originally published with the title "Aeroplane Touring vs. Exhibition Flying, Artificial Frogs, and more"