November 1967

Moon Texture

“When men first set foot on the moon, what will the ground be like? Will it perhaps be soft and powdery, as some have suggested, or hard and crusty, as has been proposed by others? The most specific evidence has come from Surveyor III, which was equipped with a device that could dig into the surface of the moon and place samples of lunar material in front of a television camera for close examination. The samples tested by Surveyor III showed a surface material that is granular and rather like loose soil. Surveyor III was one of the more recent space vehicles the U.S. has sent to or around the moon in preparation for the Apollo flights that will take men there.”

Education Expectations

“Can a teacher's expectations of his pupils' performance affect that performance? Apparently so. When teachers in an elementary school were told that certain children were likely to ‘bloom’ intellectually, those children (whose names had been picked at random) showed greater gains than others during the year. This ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ was reported at an American Psychological Association meeting in September by Robert Rosenthal of Harvard University and Lenore Jacobson of the South San Francisco Unified School District. Teachers also characterized the ‘bloomers’ as having a better chance of becoming successful and as being significantly more interesting, curious and happy. Rosenthal and Jacobson point out that their findings may bear on current efforts to improve the education of children in city slums.”

November 1917

Bolshevik Revolution

“What effect will the Russian Revolution have upon the war is the question which rises instinctively to every lip of whatever nationality. When we attempt to consider the revolution from this point of view, the first thing which we must realize is that we are at once separating ourselves from the revolutionists by a tremendous gap. The Russian as a class regards the war as an incident of the revolution, rather than the other way about; he is interested in making sure that the war shall not interfere with his revolution rather than that his revolution shall not compromise our war. Alike because of this and because of the physical condition of Russia, we must face the bald fact that this nation is out of the war so far as effective participation is concerned.”

The Value of Skunk

“When Dame Fashion calls for skunk fur this animal has been trapped in all parts of the country and its numbers greatly reduced. Curious results have come from this. The staple food of skunks in summer is insects, and the number of insects a single skunk devours is enormous. The great economic importance of the skunk has been illustrated during the past summer in the plague of yellow jackets. Skunks ordinarily dig up the nests that these sharp-stinging hymenoptera build in the ground and eat the insects and larvae. The increase in yellow jackets is no doubt due to the extensive trapping of skunks. So troublesome are they that fruit growers are considering asking for a law to protect the skunk.”

November 1867

Coal vs. Oil

“The petroleum excitement reached its climax immediately after the trials with the retort apparatus on the U.S.S. Palos, in Boston Harbor. The results after these experiments were proclaimed on all sides as eminently successful; ‘the days of coal were numbered,’ so said one of the experts at a Babylonian banquet given in Boston in honor of ‘the great event of the age.’ The Cunard line have not adopted it, neither is it used on railroads, and it would seem that if the petroleum companies themselves have any confidence in the wares they are trying to persuade the public to buy, they would be introduced practically so that there might be a fair comparison with coal.”

Russian Gamble Fails

“The complete success of the Atlantic telegraph cable has been the death blow of the Russian telegraph enterprise, which was started immediately after the loss of the earlier trans-Atlantic cable of 1865. The San Francisco Bulletin gives the particulars of the construction party which for two years and four months have been working on the northwestern coast. Their summers were passed in a country in which for weeks it never grew dark, and in which the thermometer in winter in Russian America [Alaska] went to minus 69 F. The work is now abandoned; all the valuable material, stores and constructors having been brought back.”