Kindly keep your queries on separate sheets of paper when corresponding about such matteFs as patents, su!scriptions, books, etc. This wlII greatly faclhtate answering your questions, as in many cases they have to be referred to experts. The full name and address SllOUld be given on every sheet. No attention will be paid to unsigned queries. Full hints to correspondents are printed from time to time and will be mailed on request. (12529) F. L. R. asks: What makes a horse hair when placed in stiII water wiggle like a snake? When one holds a hair of a horse in tbe hand it doesn't move a particle, but placing it in water starts the movement. What I would like to know is : what furnishes the power for the movement? A. Any motion a horse hair may have when put into water is caused by its power to absorb water and to bend or twist as the water causes the hair to swell on one side mOTe than on another. This will take place in the air. If you hang a long hair by one end and , tie to the lower end a light rod of wood or a piece of straw perhaps six inches long, you will find that it will twist back and fprth from day to day. (12530) C. T. C. asks. In an air pump that drawn out 2 Inches makes a practical vacuum, the outside air pressure is said to be 15 pounds to the square inch. Now suppose the piston to be drawn out to 4 inche” and 6 I!ches and 8 inches, is the air pressure on the piston any more at 8 inches than it is at 2 inches? A. If there is no space whatever between the piston and cylinder head—no “clearance"-there will be a perfect vacuum (theoreticaIIy) behind the piston the instant after It comimences to move, and an unbalanced pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch on the opposite face of the piston, and. this pressure wiII not increase as the piston is drawn out. In fact, the atmospheric pressure may be considered constant, while the pressure behind the piston, equal to atmospheric at first, drops instantly as the piston begins to move. (12531) H. L. W. says: Can you lower the temperature of ice below 32 deg. F. ; if so, what ratio does the lowering the temperature of the surroundings berur with the temperature of the ice? A. Ice, like any other solid, takes the temperature of the place in which it is, when thRt temperature is below its melting point. In a cold region when the temperature is at zero, a block of ice will cool to zero, just a:s the stones do and as m pidfy according to some experiments, while others seem to show that it will cool less rapidly than tne stones. Waterr, as a solid, has the properties of other solids. Its melting point is low as compared with most soLids, and for that reRson, we suppose, people do not usually associate it with solids. (12532) H. C. says: 1. I read somewhere, some years ago, that the moon possessed a small satellUe, some few miles in diameter, occasionally visible. I have seen no other reference to it and cannot now place the reminiscence. Is this a fact? A. 1. No satellite of the moon Is known to exist. There ;s no mention of such a body in the astronomies. 2. Why do the ether,lc waves used In wireless telegraphy bend round the earth? Why do they not take theirr way through the ether altogether irrespective of material bodies ? A. 2. The antenna of a wireless telegraph apparatus is equivalent to one-half of a Hertztan oscillator, the other half of which is the earth. A complete Hertzian osclIIa:tor does give 00 waves which go through space like light waves iudependent of the earth. A gl'ounded oscillator gives jff half waves, the lower part of which are not closed lines, but terminate in the earth, and cannot sepaTate from it. They therefore follow the contour <lf the earth's surface. They are also thought to produce or to be accompanied by alternating currents of electricity in the earth's surface. These electric currents must overcome the resistance of the material through which they are moving. This resistance will be less in water or moist earth than in dry materials, so that !ignals can be transmitted to a greater distance <ver water than oyer land. In the day time the sun ionizes the ail, rendering it, us it were, more opaque to ether waves, thus rendering communication more difficult than in the night time. Both these weII-known difficulties in wireless telegrapby are due to the fact that the etheric waves do not move as free waves in space, but employ the earth for one side of the wave as a material point of attachment. See Poincare und Vreeland's Maxwell's Theory and WIreless Telegraph, which we will send for $2.00 postpaid. 236 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN Septemher 9, 19] 1 An interesting experience with Polarine Saurer color Companj 30 Church Sireel, iew Yorl August 11, 1911 Standard Oil Company, 555 West 25th Street, New York, N. Y. Dear Sirs: It will probably be interesting for YOl to know that the “ PIONEER FREIGHTER", the 4Y ton Saurer motor truck which has just finished the run between San Francisco and New York with a load averaging 3 Y tons, used Polarine Oil, Transmission Lubricants and Grease. This was the most gruelling trip through which any motor vehicle ever passed. For twenty-seven consecTitive days the truck was never off the low gear, 2.4 miles per hour, the engine running 1000 r. p. m. Over the White Mountains of Arizona deep snow and mud were encountered in temperatures of down to zero, while through the desert sixteen days were consumed, most of which was on the low gear in temperatures of 140 during the day and never less than 100 at midnight. This, you will agree, waS a most trying test for the cooling system and . the lubricating oils, but never once during this most trying trip was the engine overheated or the lubricating anything out perfect. Inspection of the cylinders and valves in Chicago and again in New Yark on completion of the trip totaling over 5200 miles, showed them to be in perfect condition, and entirely free from carbon. The gear case in which we used Polarine Transmission Lubricant was opened only once during the trip for inspection and found to be in perfect condition. If there is any further information which would be interesting concerning this trip, we would be pleased to supply it. Yours very truly, H. D. WATSON, Eastern Sales Manager The Polarine Brand covers : POLARINE OIL (in gallon and half gallon sealed cans, in barrels and half barrels), POL A R I N E TRANSMISSION LUBRICANTS, POLARINE CUP GREASE and POLARINE FIBRE GREASE. These lubricants cover the needs of every part of the car. Send to our nearest agency for “Polarine Pointers” which includes hints on the care of motor cars. Standard Oil Company (Incorporated) ' The New British Dreadnoughts (folchlc<l fr()rn TJn(fC p:o.) accommodation is 3.500 tons of coal with considerably over 1,000 tons of oil fuel in addition; the subsidiary engines are driven by steam and not by Diesel engines as in previous battleship-crnisers. In spite of the high horse-power and heavy battery, sufficient proportion of weight has been found to adequately protect the ship against shell fire and submarine explosion. The belt is of 9%-inch Simpson steel, thinning to about 4-inch at the bow and stern, leaving a space of 20 feet unprotected at the ends, the hull being minutely subdivided in lieu of the armor. The barbettes are of 1l-Inch plate, the hoods being 12-inch; a protected deek of 2% inches and subdivision by bulkheads is utilized on similar lines to the “Orion.” The conning-tower is of a new and splinter-proof pattern, there being no apertures in the tower itself but i large dome-shaped projection rises from the rear of the roof provided with slots giving an almost all-round view. ' A second tower is situated aft of the after wireless telegraphy pole-mast. Taking into account the speed, gun power, and protection of this ship, it is debatahle whether the fighting power is not equivalent or superior to that of the “Orion.” It must be admitted that the British Admiralty and their board of construction have evolved in these ships war-machines with an unprecedented ;0tential power of destruction in view of the limitations imposed upon them by cost and displacement. The ships now building, or authorized ("King George V.” and “Queen Mary” classes) are of the same general type as the . Orion” and “Lion,” but improvements have added somewha-t to the displacements. What further perfection and also whether the limit of size has yet been attained in these huge ships can only be shown by the passage of time. Artificial Life (ClllIcluded Jmr p(ge 21.) of foam. The microscope does not tell us all that we should like to know-and it tells us one thing at one time, and other things at other times. It is quite possible that the “structure” of protoplasm is different in different organisms; or that it is different in different parts of the same organisms; or that it is different within the same cell under different conditions. At any rate, Prof. Biitschli, to demonstrate his idea of the “alveolar” or foam-like structure of protoplasm, mixed some finely powdered potassium carbonate with olive oil that had been heated from 125 to 140 deg, F, The oil becomes partly saponified, producing an acid. This acid reacts on some of the carbonate, producing minute bubbles of carbon dioxide. Under the microscope a drop of this frothing mixture looks like a speck of protoplasm, and the movements in it even resemble the streaming in a living cell. Some fifteen years ago these experiments were hailed by certain journalists as successful attempts to produce artifcial life. But no one who knows anything about the problem, least of all Prof. Biitschli, thought that these experiments had anything to do with the creation of life. The experiments were successful in the sense that they gave us a working model made of familiar materials, to help us understand toe minute structures and movements within the cell. How hard error does die is suggested by the fact that these experiments have been described over and over again in all grades of publications as a method for making “artificial protoplasm” until this very year. After the fact of cell-structure in organisms had hecome well establiShed, one of the prohlems that interested the experimentalists was that of the growth of the cell wall, which to all appearances is not itself alive. To test the theory that growth is produced by a stretching of the membrane with subsequent deposition of new material in the interspaces of the old wall, Moritz Traube carried on some very suggestive experiments. He allowed a solution of sugar and gelatine to come in contact with a solution of tannin through the narrow opeling of a small tube. Now as soon as- the tannin touches the gelatine it forms a m em br:ln () th 10 II g h W II i C II the wa t<)r may easily pass, but through which the sugar cannot pass at all. The globule within the membrane continues to ab sorb water from the tannin solution by osmosis, stretching the membrane. The membrane grows, and under certain cir cumstances puts forth branches in various directions, the whole taking in the appearance of some weird plants or “sea·weeds." Traube's further experiments, from 1865 on, and those of others, extended our knowledge of osmosis, threw some side lights on the mechanism of the cell-growth, and furnished amusement to many persons, for these osmotic gardens are curious and somewhat mystifying. But no biologist has in all these years suspected that Traube's phenomena were in any way related to “artificial life” until a few years ago Dr. Stephane Leduc, professor of phYSics in the medical faculty of the University of Nantes, announced that he had discovered the physico·chemical foundations of life. He presented before the French Academy of Sciences a large number of demonstrations, in which he made “plants grow from artificial seeds.” These seeds consisted of sugar plus some salt that would form a precipitation membrane with the substances of his growing medium. For example, copper sulphate in a “seed” would cause growths in a solution of potassium ferrocyanide. These growths were in no way different from those obtained by Traube and others, except that Leduc used a larger variety of substances in his experiments than had been used by other experimenters. Anyone can make for himself a garden of such “artificial plants” with very little trouble. Perhaps the easiest way is to place at the bottom of a jar a number of crystals of salts of heavy metals (e. g., sulphates of copper, iron, zinc, cobalt) and carefully pouring over them a 10 per cent solution of sodium silicate or “water glass.” The insoluble silicates of the metals will form the membranes, osmosis will cause them to stretch, variations in the density of the medium will cause irregular branching, and the colors of the salts within the membranes will give a further resemblance to “plants.” (Fig. 1 and Fig. 1a,) Leduc went farther, however, and produced imitations of living structures down to the smallest details. By placing a drop of colored salt solution into another solution of lower concentration, he produced “artifikial cells.” More definite cell membranes are produced by placing drops of 10 per cent solution of potassium ferrocyanide in. a 10 per cent gelatine solution. (Figs. 2, 3.) The appearance of nuclear division within a cell he produced by placing two drops of some solution near each other within another solution. (Fig. 4.) That all these phenomena are due to osmosis or diffusion is well known to all physicists; that they are not in any true sense identical with Hgro'vth” and “nuclear divisian” may be known only to the student of biology. Among other demonstrations made by Leduc in this connection was the formation of a “field of force” by the diffusion of liquids of different densities. (Figs. 5, 6, 7.) That the “artificial life'! of Leduc had no real bearing on the fundamental phYSiological prohlems has been shown repeatedly, and Prof. Leduc has in later statements denied that he confused his phenomena with life processes, although his original confusion is on record in the proceedings of the Academy. Perhaps the best analysis of Leduc's results is that of Prof. Maurice D'Halluin, director of the physiological laboratory at the University of Lille. This experimenter not only repeated all of Leduc's “demonstrations” but even showed that the various weird forms assumed by the “artificial plants” could be controlled by changing the concentration of the solutions, or by changing the proportions of the different materials used. Nevertheless we still find fairly frequent references . to Leduc's overstepping the threshold between the non-living and tbe living by means of “artificial seeds." In the spring of 1905 we had another “artificial life” sensation in the announcement that Mr. John Butler Burke, “of the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University,” had obtained some curious,+life-Iike structures from the action of radium upon sterilized bouillon. Mr. Burke waR following up a Rugges- LEGAL NOTICES 'ATENTS If you have an invention which you 'wish to patent you can 'write fully and freely to Munn&Co. for advice in regard to the best way of obtain ing protec tion. Plea se send sketches or a model of your inve ntion and a d escriptio n of the device, explaining its operation. All communications are strictly confidential. Our vast practice, extending over a period of more than sixty years, enables us in many cases to advise in regard to patentability without any expense to the client. Our .Hand Book on Patents is sent free on request. This explains our methods, terms, etc., in regard to PATENTS, TRADE MARKS, FOREIGN PATENTS, etc. All patents secured through us are described without cost to the patentee in the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, MUNN&COMPANY 361 BROADWAY, NEW YORK Branch Office, 625 F Street, Washington, D. C. ATCMTC SECURED Or FEE 1 E” I S RETURNED P AT E in 1 S U lTH RNED Free rep ort 8. to Patentability. Illustratpd Guide BHoonkE. and Wbat T o InvenL witb List of Inventions Wanted aan d Pl'izes offered for inv en tion! sent free. VICTOI J. NV ANS&CO.. Wasbington. D.C. Classified Advertisements Advertisiul in this column it 7) cents a line. 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"CAN 'l'HE SCIENTISTS BE MISTAKEN 1 “-Astounding iheor iesai< b8sis 1,'r K3 !;in's theor ! ,-vorrex motion. Matter does not “hold” to:eth:r, 'a -tract,” “ repel,” act at Rny distance, or act without con : tact. No *'potential” enerJ ; On. Y r'e uItimate : lement, aetb:. 'omentum (motion)I of aether g!sis of all energy, (and phenomenal; mv.true energy mP easure. “l n mazinfn! Calcuiation:” per;etual mgtion (theoret?: cal) X ased upon system of levels. Orbital vortex motion of a!>her carries ea;th: Gravity, a “push” down. Pamptf e '; ten cents, (coin). C R. Gates, Tuscola, 111. FR1E:I'-"INVE STTNG: FOR PROFIT” Magazine. Send me your name and I will mail J'u this maga:in: absolutely free. gefore y ou lnvest a dollar Cnywhere—get tillg magazine —it is wOrt\ J I r a copy r d e y cuan who int:nd” to ing est n5 or more per month. Tells a how $1,\ can grow to $22,000 —how to judge different classes of investmen.s; the Rea ' Warning :1'er o, Cf ur ,oney. 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T. H. !utton. 780 SherWOOd Ave., Louisville. Ky. INQUIRY COLUMN Inquiry 10. 9246*-\Vanted. addresses of parties having raw materials or minerals containing potash in any form. InquilY No . t24i.-Wanted. to buy a Parmelee aeratec wat(r. I nquiry No. 9 2;4.- Wanted. the name and ad dress ot manufac turer s of lead penCIls a nd pen h olde rs. such as are used Jor printing ae vertisements on. In <ju il N:n 923-J .- Wned, to buy a tateldt roller.la ball-bearing axi, which tc euou)d be purchased on a royalty basis; it must be cheap and fully proved. Inquiry Xo. 92£H. Wanted addresses of parties baving Pitchble nde deposits. If able to ship ore. Inqn iry No. 92 17. Wanted addresses of firms selling seco nd-ha nd wate r turbines. lnquiry 1 0. H2il t.-Want ed a dyd resses of p arties having gem ma terials to offer in any part of the worled. Inquiry N o. f)'5 !t.- WfH"anted to buy a machine for removing the co a1t'ing of a filbetrt. Inqu icry No. 92 60. - W . aHnt a ddresses of par tie:l able to lhip c-orundu !mt, garnet, flint, emery or Hny mate rial suitalJle a! an allnlsive. Septellllwt D, I!l] I SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN tion made many years before by Prof. E. Pfuger of the University of Bonn, that the essential difference between living protein and non-living protein lay in the fact that in the former oxidation or transformation of energy is internal, and that this internal oxidation could perhaps have been induced by cyanogen, a compound of carbon and nitroglen which was probably produced during the incandescent stage of the earth's history. Having faile m t? induce phosphmescence or other indlcatlOns of the internal transformation of energy in organic substances by means of cyanogen, Mr. Burke resorted to radium. The test-tubes containing gelatine and beef-e n tract in the proportions used for bacteriologlCal cultures were properly sterilized, and a minute quantity of radium chloride or bromide was added. | The appearance of the gelatine changed, suggesting bacterial growths. Under the microsc?pe there were seen tiny :oundIsh bodIes that . creased . SIze, ? lvIded and moved about slIghtly,. ThIS was certainly life-like. In orde: to make sure that they were not bacteria due to contamm. atiOn, the tubes were examm.ed by Dr. Sims 'oodhead, professor of pathology at Cambridge. This authority declared they were not ?acten.a at all. They ,ere not :ven II. ving thm.gs, tor they dIssolved in water; they dlsappear:d entirely after standing in diffuse daylIght for a lIttle whI.le, to reappear after a few days of darkness. More ? ver, on bel,g tra.sferred to fresh bOUIllon, they dId not increase m. numbers. But the world was clamoring for artifcial life; Burke could not lose so good a I ead . I nst ea d 0 f ca IIm' g h'IS new dI' Scovery bacteria, which they were not, he called them “radiobes,” implying that they were life-like thines produced by radium. They were unlike any other living thing, so Burke set to work and elaborated a new defiIlItI.On of lIfe, so that the radiobes could fit in. Otherwise he should not have created “artificial life." That the radiobes were not living things, in the accepted sense of the word living, must be obvious to nearly everyone. But ' what are they then? Prof. Sir William Ramsay explains these structures are due to bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen gas (arising from the decomposition of water by the radium salt) and “radium emanation.” The “growth” is due to the continuous production of more gas by further decom-p9sition of water by the emanation within the bubble; the expansion of the gas might also lead to the breaking up of the bubbles into two or more. (Fig. 8.) At any rate, the water-soluble radI. Obes are not alive, and it was later found that they could be produced . n the bouillon by other substances beSIdes radIUm, such as salts of barIUm, strontium, and lead. “Radiobes” produced by the m e substances also have “nuclei” conslsting of Insoluble sulphates of the metaI s Used . The fal lure 0 f SCI. ent I' St s so f ar t0 produce “artificial life” is not to be charged against the science of biology. Very few of the attempt to produce “artificial life” have been made by biologists, who realize too well the complexity of the problems involved. The biologists w!!1 be satisfied for a number of years to come if they succeed merely in analyzing what goes on in a living cell, in terms of physical and chemical processes. From time to timp they will attempt to imitate a strueture or a proeess by means of a working model; but they will not speak of artificial life until they are quite sure of all the conditions that play a part in this most intricate of phenomena. The Solar Constant. -In the Proceedings ot the A mlriran Philosophical Society, May·June, 1911, Mr. C. G. Abbot i detnes tht Rolar constant as “the number I of degrees by which one gramme of water at 15 deg. C. would be raised, if there should be used to heat it all the solar , radiation which would pass at right angles in one minute through an opening one centimeter square, located in free space, at the earth' mean solar distance.” Experiments were begun about 1835 by Pouillet and Sir John Hersche,1 for the measurement of this great constant of nature, and the investigation has been continned by Forbes, Crova, Violle, Radau, Langley, K. Angstrom, Chwolson, W. A. Michelson, Rizzo, Hansky, Scheiner, Abbot, Fowle, and others. The diff-culty of the problem is shown by the fact that until a few years ago entire uncertainty prevailed as to the value of the solar constant, between the limits of Pouillet's value, 1.76 calories, and Angstrom's value, 4.0 calories per square centimeter per minute. The author and his cQleagues have made over 400 O'bservations with special apparatus, including the silver-disk pyrheliometer, an absolute water-flow pyrheliometer, and the recording spectro-bolometer, at Washington, Mount 'Vilson and Mount Whitney, to determine the value of the solar constant and its possible fluctuations' and they now announce a mean value of 1.922 calories, which may prove to be 1 or 2 per cent too low, as the observat'ons have been made mainly near the time of sun-spot maximull, and hence of diminishpd radiation. This value is, moreover, subject to fluctuations amounting to abont 8 per cent, at irregular intervals of a few days; an? these fluctUtay. o h are thought to I. ndICate a true vanability of the s\,n Itself. In other words, the solar “ const an t” IS prob a bly van. able.
This article was originally published with the title "Notes and Queries"