Seventy Automobiles Crossing the English Channel THE recent Prince Henry Race placed navigation before an interesting task, viz., loading on a passenger steamer within a few hours no less than 70 automobiles, and taking these cars with their drivers, their owners and their families, across the Channel to Southampton, whence the race was to be continued through England and Scotland. Most elaborate plans were required to carry out this transport. The number and kinds of cars to 1 stowed in the various holds of the ship had to be accurately ascertained beforehand, so as to avoid any hitch. As the small hatches generally used on passenger steamers were likely to afford difficulty in transferring the automobiles, special loading means had to be devised for loading the cars. A platform was built with two iron brackets bent upward at one end. This was suspended from the crane so that it could be adjusted to any inclination, thereby reducing the horizontal component sufficiently to provide admission to the hatch. The front wheels of the cars rested against a beam on which sand bags had been arranged for protecting the tires. Adjustable guides at each side protected the cars against any lateral motion. The loading of the cars was effected without any hitch or damage in about six hours, which is the more remarkable as the irregular arrival of the cars resulted in .loss of time. The unloading at Southampton also took six hours. No further difficulty was experienced in sitowing the cars in the holds and decks; those located on wooden decks were propped by pieces of timber nailed to the deck, and those standing on iron decks, by sand bags slipped in front of the wheels. The unloading at Southampton was likewise performed without any bitch and with the exclusive use of the ships own hoisting devices within six hours. Immediately after the landing of the cars, their gasoline tanks were filled. The cars were then submitted to a thorough cleaning, and the race was continued on English soil. A Stranded School of Whales ON an island off the north west coast of Tasmania, near the entrance to Duck River, thirty-seven sperm whales were stranded early this year. How they came to be driven ashore is not known. We can imagine them panic-stricken and stampeding like a herd of bison, but more probably they were driven by hunger and followed a small shoal of fishes, pursuing them into dangerously shallow water at high tide, where they were stranded when the water receded. Whatever the cause, the whales were driven far up on the sands, and being unable to work their way back into water, soon perished. They were discovered by the captain of a ketch who knew that there were whales about by the oiIin2ss of th8 water and the stench. The stranding of so large a school of whales is decidedly unusual, and many excursions to the island have been made by sight-seers as well as hunters of whalebone, ambergris and spermaceti. Even the novice will recognize these whales with their enormous blunt heads and narrow toothed jaws as belonging to the sperm or cachalot species. Flower-picking Apparatus THE accompanying illustration shows an apparatus for plucking flowers and collecting seed, which is intended to save a good deal of labor in the garden. The apparatus consists of a tube connected with a pair of shears. At the fo1wlrd end of the tubp is a for]", which is slipped uIel the flowers. T]w blos- salis imprisoned betweell Il” pI'ong's an, severed by a blade traveling UpOli Llu , fork and are dropped through the tubo into a receptacle at the rear of the apparatus. The device not only collects fowers very quicldy, but also without :njury. When the flowers are plucked by hand it is almost impossible to break a twig without leaving behind a long sliYr of bark. Sometimes even a whole plant must be torn Ul by the roots. The apparatus can also b( employed for collecting seed capsules whidl are orten orushed when pieked by hand so th,lt the seed is lost. The entire. capsule drops uninjuffed into the receptacle at the rear, so that the seed is preserved. Fighting Moths in Egypt I N order to in (TeaSe their coIectio' l ,s of insects, two entomologists, MeSSfB. Andres and Maire, of Alexandria, EgY:Ji, tried to improve upon the fermentntl liquids eommonly used for th' purpose c attracting inseets. Their experinlPnt” proved exceedingly succeSSful, and in 1908 they used them to cateh the injurlous moths that infest the cotton fields. For their first trials, they 81ploy?cl bands of .ute cloth, four inehes wie'e and about sixteen feet long, soaked il til(' mixture, and hung on posts wlwre th"* wind would carry the scent over the COt, ton fields. Moths werl attracted by the hundreds, and, by means of chlorifortll. they were stupefied, so that they (IroP1Jcld into v8ss,:,ls of water. As this m8tho(' of lroeedure was not cOlll ltlcrcially practical, the inventors devised traps ill which the inseets could be caught. A set of these traps is shown in the accompanying engraving. They are made of bands of galvanized wire gauze placed in a slanting position, with a very narrow opening between the bands to admit the moths. Vithin these traps the cloth strips are hung. Th” motbs feed on the liquor soaked in the cloth strips, and drop into vessels of kerosene. at the bottom. A a many as five thousand mothg have been caught in one of these trans in a single night. The success of thes8 experiments has resulted in the llSe of 8 great man; moth traps ,nd the catches are countel1 bv U] ()usands, greatly red 1( 'ing the hand-picking labar. When the traps are llsed all over the eountry, it. is” eXjJected that th( pest will disapp"J l' from Egypt. Thn sanw type of trap :, now llcing tried in France by Uw Willl'growers, wlin are fighting the moth known as Cochylis. When the Smoke Nuisance is Punishable ” tTHE man who built ilis ril ·.Lo)'y 1 some years ago, when arehiteds were in the habit of forgetting to provide the necessary space, and engineenl were ihere.ore unable to install boilers adequate for the work to be done, ·is entitled to some sympathy when he falls into the clutches of the present-day smoke abatement laws-though even in these cases the nuisance can usually be abated at little cost. But the man who to-day. with all its improved lmowledge and appliances and practices in sight, erecls and operates a smoke-producing heating or power plant should, be PIOlllVtly stopped and punished as the creator “f a public nuisance as unnecessary as it is disagreeable and injurious."-Dr. Holmes. Aeroplanes in Wa r _—For the first illW in Germany aeroplanes will partiei,pate in the army maneuvers to be held near Altona, beginning the 25th inst. Heretofore only dirigible* have participated 1 the German maneuvers. but the results with thes« were so poor last year tlla ( the Em]1eror has dccided to 1 ry aero-j planes.
This article was originally published with the title "Curiosities of Science and Invention" in Scientific American 105, 12, 256 (September 1911)