March 1965

Magnet Earth “Since 1958 direct measurements of the outer reaches of the earth's field by means of artificial satellites and rocket probes have convinced many geophysicists that the simple picture of that magnetic field must be drastically revised. Far from being free of external influences, the geomagnetic field is continuously buffeted by a ‘wind’ of electrically charged particles emanating from the sun, distorted by electric currents circulating in the radiation belts that girdle the earth. The net result of all these influences is a geomagnetic field shaped somewhat like a teardrop with a tremendously elongated tail. Analysis of the data provided by the satellite measurements has progressed to the stage at which the broad outlines of the magnetosphere can now be mapped with reasonable accuracy.”

March 1915

Hookworm in School “Only recently have educators turned their attention to the physical condition of the average school child, and in the south they have done so largely because of the discovery of the enormously important part played by hookworm. Pupils at school become infected, with the school as a site of exchange. In a comparatively short time the premises around the homes of all the schoolchildren are polluted, and we have the change (which anemia produces) coming over the community. Progress of the children in school is retarded; the daily attendance is poor; the health of the community is below normal; the crops are not so well cultivated; the houses are not so well provided for or kept; the whole community is sick and doesn't know it. The economic loss is tremendous.”

March 1865

Rubidium “According to the latest experiments of Prof. Bunsen in connection with the preparation and properties of this metal, it appears that it may be reduced from carbonated aciferous tartrite of oxide of rubidium (in a manner similar to the reduction of kalium [potassium]). It is very light, like silver, its color is white, with a yellowish nuance, hardly perceptible. In contact with air it covers itself immediately with a bluish gray coating of suboxyd, and is inflamed (even when in large lumps) after a few seconds, much quicker than kalium.”

Scientific (but Fearful) “There is a proposition afloat to build a railway from Siam to China; and the King of Siam, if an engineer is sent to examine the route, ‘will furnish elephants and give protection from Bangkok, through his dominions to Luang Prabang; but he cannot furnish the means to pay passage and salary, and fears it will be wasting all his money. He is also fearful that the engineer will get intoxicated and fall into the river and be drowned, or on account of change of climate die of dysentery, or from traveling in the jungle may die of jungle fever, the same as many others have done, and thus the business prove a failure, and the money wasted.’”