Charles Darwin - Origin of Species


Charles Robert Darwin was born at Shrewsbury, England, Feb. 12, 1809, of a family distinguished on both sides. Abandoning medicine for natural history, he joined H.M.S. Beagle in 1831 on the five years' voyage, which he described in "The Voyage of the Beagle," and to which he refers in the introduction to his masterpiece. The "Origin of Species" containing, in the idea of natural selection, the distinctive contribution of Darwin to the theory of organic evolution, was published in November, 1859. In only one brief sentence did he there allude to man, but twelve years later he published the "Descent of Man," in which the principles of the earlier volume found their logical outcome.
In other works Darwin added vastly to our knowledge of coral reefs, organic variation, earthworms, and the comparative expression of the emotions in man and animals. Darwin died in ignorance of the work upon variation done by his great contemporary, Gregor Mendel, whose work was rediscovered in 1900. "Mendelism" necessitates much modification of Darwin's work, which, however, remains the maker of the greatest epoch in the study of life and the most important contribution to that study ever made. Its immortal author died on April 19, 1882, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

I.—Creation or Evolution?

When on board H.M.S. Beagle as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the organic beings inhabiting South America, and in the geographical relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts, as will be seen in the latter chapters of this volume, seemed to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, in 1837, it occurred to me that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it. After five years' work, I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions which then seemed to me probable. From that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object. I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been hasty in coming to a decision.

In considering the origin of species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified so as to acquire that perfection of structure and co-adaptation which justly excites our admiration.

Mystery of Machu Picchu


It was in July, 1911, that we first entered that marvelous canyon of the Urubamba, where the river escapes from the cold regions near Cuzco by tearing its way through gigantic mountains of granite. From Torontoy to Colpani the road runs through a land of matchless charm. It has the majestic grandeur of the Canadian Rockies, as well as the startling beauty of the Nuuanu Pali near Honolulu, and the enchanting vistas of the Koolau Ditch Trail on Maul. In the variety of its charms and the power of its spell, I know of no place in the world which can compare with it.
Not only has it great snow peaks looming above the clouds more than two miles overhead; gigantic precipices of many-colored granite rising sheer for thousands of feet above the foaming, glistening, roaring rapids; it has also, in striking contrast, orchids and tree ferns, the delectable beauty of luxurious vegetation, and the mysterious witchery of the jungle. One is drawn irresistibly onward by ever-recurring surprises through a deep, winding gorge, turning and twisting past overhanging cliffs of incredible height. Above all, there is the fascination of finding here and there under the swaying vines, or perched on top of a beetling crag, the rugged masonry of a bygone race; and of trying to understand the bewildering romance of the ancient builders who ages ago sought refuge in a region which appears to have been expressly designed by Nature as a sanctuary for the oppressed, a place where they might fearlessly and patiently give expression to their passion for walls of enduring beauty. Space forbids any attempt to describe in detail the constantly changing panorama, the rank tropical foliage, the countless terraces, the towering cliffs, the glaciers peeping out between the clouds.

We had camped at a place near the river, called Mandor Pampa. Melchor Arteaga, proprietor of the neighboring farm, had told us of ruins at Machu Picchu.

The morning of July 24th dawned in a cold drizzle. Arteaga shivered and seemed inclined to stay in his hut. I offered to pay him well if he would show me the ruins. He demurred and said it was too hard a climb for such a wet day. When he found that we were willing to pay him a sol, three or four times the ordinary daily wage in this vicinity, he finally agreed to guide us to the ruins. No one supposed that they would be particularly interesting. Accompanied by Sergeant Carrasco I left camp at ten o'clock and went some distance upstream. On the road we passed a venomous snake which recently had been killed. This region has an unpleasant notoriety for being the favorite haunt of “vipers.” The lance-headed or yellow viper, commonly known as the fer-de-lance, a very venomous serpent capable of making considerable springs when in pursuit of its prey, is common hereabouts. Later two of our mules died from snake-bite.
After a walk of three quarters of an hour the guide left the main road and plunged down through the jungle to the bank of the river. Here there was a primitive “bridge” which crossed the roaring rapids at its narrowest part, where the stream was forced to flow between two great boulders. The bridge was made of half a dozen very slender logs, some of which were not long enough to span the distance between the boulders. They had been spliced and lashed together with vines. Arteaga and Carrasco took off their shoes and crept gingerly across, using their somewhat prehensile toes to keep from slipping. It was obvious that no one could have lived for an instant in the rapids, but would immediately have been dashed to pieces against granite boulders. I am frank to confess that I got down on hands and knees and crawled across, six inches at a time. Even after we reached the other side I could not help wondering what would happen to the “bridge” if a particularly heavy shower should fall in the valley above. A light rain had fallen during the night. The river had risen so that the bridge was already threatened by the foaming rapids. It would not take much more rain to wash away the bridge entirely. If this should happen during the day it might be very awkward. As a matter of fact, it did happen a few days later and the next explorers to attempt to cross the river at this point found only one slender log remaining.

The Monguls


Three thousand years is a period of time long enough to produce great changes, and in the course of that time a great many different nations and congeries of nations were formed in the regions of Central Asia. The term Tartars has been employed generically to denote almost the whole race. The Monguls are a portion of this people, who are said to derive their name from Mongol Khan, one of their earliest and most powerful chieftains. The descendants of this khan called themselves by his name, just as the descendants of the twelve sons of Jacob called themselves Israelites, or children of Israel, from the name Israel, which was one of the designations of the great patriarch from whose twelve sons the twelve tribes of the Jews descended. The country inhabited by the Monguls was called Mongolia.

To obtain a clear conception of a single Mongul family, you must imagine, first, a rather small, short, thick-set man, with long black hair, a flat face, and a dark olive complexion. His wife, if her face were not so flat and her nose so broad, would be quite a brilliant little beauty, her eyes are so black and sparkling. The children have much the appearance of young Indians as they run shouting among the cattle on the hill-sides, or, if young, playing half-naked about the door of the hut, their long black hair streaming in the wind.Like all the rest of the inhabitants of Central Asia, these people depended almost entirely for their subsistence on the products of their flocks and herds. Of course, their great occupation consisted in watching their animals while feeding by day, and in putting them in places of security by night, in taking care of and rearing the young, in making butter and cheese from the milk, and clothing from the skins, in driving the cattle to and fro in search of pasturage, and, finally, in making war on the people of other tribes to settle disputes arising out of conflicting claims to territory, or to replenish their stock of sheep and oxen by seizing and driving off the flocks of their neighbors.The animals which the Monguls most prized were camels, oxen and cows, sheep, goats, and horses.
They were very proud of their horses, and they rode them with great courage and spirit. They always went mounted in going to war. Their arms were bows and arrows, pikes or spears, and a sort of sword or sabre, which was manufactured in some of the towns toward the west, and supplied to them in the course of trade by great traveling caravans.Although the mass of the people lived in the open country with their flocks and herds, there were, notwithstanding, a great many towns and villages, though such centres of population were much fewer and less important among them than they are in countries the inhabitants of which live by tilling the ground. Some of these towns were the residences of the khans and of the heads of tribes. Others were places of manufacture or centres of commerce, and many of them were fortified with embankments of earth or walls of stone.The habitations of the common people, even those built in the towns, were rude huts made so as to be easily taken down and removed.

About the nuclear explosion and radiation

In nuclear explosions, about 90 percent of the energy is released in less than one millionth of a second. Most of this is in the form of the heat and shock waves which produce the damage. It is this immediate and direct explosive power which could devastate the urban centers in a major nuclear war.

Compared with the immediate colossal destruction suffered in target areas, the more subtle, longer term effects of the remaining 10 percent of the energy released by nuclear weapons might seem a matter of secondary concern. But the dimensions of the initial catastrophe should not overshadow the after-effects of a nuclear war. They would be global, affecting nations remote from the fighting for many years after the holocaust, because of the way nuclear explosions behave in the atmosphere and the radioactive products released by nuclear bursts.

When a weapon is detonated at the surface of the earth or at low altitudes, the heat pulse vaporizes the bomb material, target, nearby structures, and underlying soil and rock, all of which become entrained in an expanding, fast-rising fireball. As the fireball rises, it expands and cools, producing the distinctive mushroom cloud, signature of nuclear explosions.

The altitude reached by the cloud depends on the force of the explosion. When yields are in the low-kiloton range, the cloud will remain in the lower atmosphere and its effects will be entirely local. But as yields exceed 30 kilotons, part of the cloud will punch into the stratosphere, which begins about 7 miles up. With yields of 2-5 megatons or more, virtually all of the cloud of radioactive debris and fine dust will climb into the stratosphere. The heavier materials reaching the lower edge of the stratosphere will soon settle out, as did the Castle/Bravo fallout at Rongelap. But the lighter particles will penetrate high into the stratosphere, to altitudes of 12 miles and more, and remain there for months and even years. Stratospheric circulation and diffusion will spread this material around the world.
Both the local and worldwide fallout hazards of nuclear explosions depend on a variety of interacting factors: weapon design, explosive force, altitude and latitude of detonation, time of year, and local weather conditions.

Taj Mahal - Indian beauty



Agra, once the capital of the Mughal Empire during the 16th and early 18th centuries, is one and a half hours by express train from New Delhi. Tourists from all over the world visit Agra not to see the ruins of the red sandstone fortress built by the Mughal emperors but to make a pilgrimage to Taj Mahal, India’s most famous architectural wonder, in a land where magnificent temples and edificies abound to remind visitors about the rich civilization of a country that is slowly but surely lifting itself into an industrialized society.

The postcard picture of Taj Mahal does not adequately convey the legend, the poetry and the romance that shroud what Rabindranath Tagore calls "a teardrop on the cheek of time". Taj Mahal means "Crown Palace" and is in fact the most well preserved and architecturally beautiful tomb in the world. It is best described by the English poet, Sir Edwin Arnold, as "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones." It is a celebration of woman built in marble and that’s the way to appreciate it.

Mumtaz MahalShah JahanTaj Mahal stands on the bank of River Yamuna, which otherwise serves as a wide moat defending the Great Red Fort of Agra, the center of the Mughal emperors until they moved their capital to Delhi in 1637. It was built by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a Muslim Persian princess. She died while accompanying her husband in Burhanpur in a campaign to crush a rebellion after giving birth to their 14th child. The death so crushed the emperor that all his hair and beard were said to have grown snow white in a few months.

Crystal skulls mystery

Large quartz crystal skulls have generated great interest and fascination since they began to surface in public and private collections, during the second half of the nineteenth century. Some of them have been attributed to the work of ancient Mexica*, Mixtec or even Maya stone workers in Mexico. Others are said to be examples of colonial Mexican art, for use in churches, perhaps as bases for crucifixes.

Scientists at the British Museum studied traces of tool marks preserved in the highly polished surfaces of this crystal skull. These show that it was extensively worked using rotary cutting wheels, unknown in Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. Furthermore, analysis of inclusions in the quartz crystal indicates that the large block of material was obtained in the nineteenth century from a source far beyond ancient Mexican trade links, probably Brazil or Madagascar.
First, art critic Frank Dordland started investigating the strange skull. After a closer investigation, he discovered that the skull had a complicated system of lenses, prisms, and channels, creating unusual optical effects. The investigator was surprised to discover no signs of processing on the skull's perfectly polished surface. They couldn't be seen even with a microscope. Frank Dordland even addressed Hewlett-Packard, the famous company that specialized in crystal oscillators at that time, for a competent examination of the crystal.

Solomon's Temple

The Temple of Solomon being destroyed by the Babylonians, it may not be amiss here to give a description of that edifice.
This  Temple looked eastward, and stood in a square area, called the Separate Place: and  before it stood the Altar, in the center of another square area, called the Inner Court, or Court of the Priests: and these two square areas, being parted only by a marble rail, made an area 200 cubits long from west to east, and 100 cubits broad: this area was compassed on the west with a wall, and  on the other three sides with a pavement fifty cubits broad, upon which stood the buildings for the Priests, with cloysters under them: and the pavement was faced on the inside with a marble rail before the cloysters: the whole made an area 250 cubits long from west to east, and 200 broad, and was compassed with an outward Court, called also the Great Court, or Court of the People,  which was an hundred cubits on every side; for there were but two Courts built by Solomon: and the outward Court was about four cubits lower than the inward, and was compassed on the west with a wall, and on the other three sides  with a pavement fifty cubits broad, upon which stood the buildings for the People. All this was the  Sanctuary, and made a square area 500 cubits long, and 500 broad, and was compassed with a walk, called the Mountain of the House: and this walk being 50 cubits broad, was compassed with a wall six cubits broad, and six high, and six hundred long on every side: and the cubit was about 21½, or almost 22 inches of the English foot, being the sacred cubit of the Jews, which was an hand-breadth, or the sixth part of its length bigger than the common cubit.

Hector and Achilles

In all their battles, the booty won by the Greeks from the enemy had been divided among the chiefs and soldiers, and on one occasion female slaves were given to Agamemnon and Achilles. These girls were not born slaves, but were captives of war reduced to slavery, as was then the custom; for, while the men and boys were always killed, the women and girls were forced to be the servants of the victors.
Now, it happened that the slave given to Agamemnon was the daughter of a priest of A-pol´lo. He was very sorry when he heard she had fallen into the hands of the Greeks, and sent a message to Agamemnon, offering to give him a large sum of money if he would only set her free.
Agamemnon would not accept the money, and sent a rude message to the priest, who, in anger, asked Apollo to avenge this insult by sending a plague upon the Greeks. The god heard and granted this prayer, and soon all the soldiers in the Greek camp were suffering from a terrible disease, of which many of them died.
As no remedy could relieve the sufferers, the Greek leaders consulted an oracle, to find out how the plague might be stopped. Then they learned that Apollo was angry with Agamemnon because he had refused to give up his slave, and that the Greeks would continue to suffer until he made up his mind to give her back to her father.
Thus forced to give her up to save his men from further suffering and even from death, Agamemnon angrily said he would take Achilles' slave instead, and he had her brought to wait upon him in his tent.
Achilles, who wanted to save the Greeks from the plague, allowed the maiden to depart, warning Agamemnon, however, that he would no longer fight for a chief who could be so selfish and unjust. As soon as the girl had gone, therefore, he laid aside his fine armor; and although he heard the call for battle, and the din of fighting, he staid quietly within his tent.

About meteor

Can there be any one upon the Earth who has not been struck by the phosphorescent lights that glide through the somber night, leaving a brilliant silver or golden track—the luminous, ephemeral trail of a meteor?
Sometimes, when Night has silently spread the immensity of her wings above the weary Earth, a shining speck is seen to detach itself in the shades of evening from the starry vault, shooting lightly through the constellations to lose itself in the infinitude of space.
These bewitching sparks attract our eyes and chain our senses. Fascinating celestial fireflies, their dainty flames dart in every direction through space, sowing the fine dust of their gilded wings upon the fields of Heaven. They are born to die; their life is only a breath; yet the impression which they make upon the imagination of mortals is of the profoundest.
The young girl dreaming in the delicious tranquility of the transparent night smiles at this charming sister in the Heavens . What can not this adorable star announce to the tender and loving heart? Is it the shy messenger of the happiness so long desired? Its unpremeditated appearance fills the soul with a ray of hope and makes it tremble. It is a golden beam that glides into the heart, expanding it in the thrills of a sudden and ephemeral pleasure.... The radiant meteor seems to quit the velvet of the deep blue sky to respond to the appeal of the imploring voice that seeks its succor.
What secrets has it not surprised! And who bears malice against it? It is the friend of the betrothed who invoke its passage to confide their wishes, and associate it with their dreams. Tradition holds that if a wish be formulated during the visible passage of a meteor it will certainly be fulfilled before the year is out. Between ourselves, however, this is but a surviving figment of the ancestral imagination, for this celestial jewel takes no such active part in the doings of Humanity.... Besides, try to express a wish distinctly in a second.
It is a curious fact that while comets have so often spread terror on the Earth, shooting stars should on the contrary have been regarded with benevolent feelings at all times. And what is a shooting star? These dainty excursionists from the celestial shores are not, as is supposed, true stars. They are atoms, nothings, minute fragments deriving in general from the disintegration of comets. They come to us from a vast distance, from millions on millions of miles, and circle in swarms around the Sun, following a very elongated ellipse which closely resembles that of the cometary orbit. Their flight is extremely rapid, reaching sometimes more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) per second, a cometary speed that is, as we have seen, greatly above that of our terrestrial vehicle, which amounts to 29 to 30 kilometers (about 19 miles).
These little corpuscles are not intrinsically luminous; but when the orbit of a swarm of meteors crosses our planet, a violent shock arises, the speed of which may be as great as 72 kilometers (45 miles) in the first second if we meet the star shower directly; the average rate, however, does not exceed 30 to 40 kilometers (19 to 25 miles), for these meteors nearly always cross our path obliquely. The height at which they arrive is usually 110 kilometers (68 miles), and 80 kilometers (50 miles) at the moment of disappearance of the meteor; but shooting stars have been observed at 300 kilometers (186 miles).
The friction caused by this collision high up in the atmosphere transforms the motion into heat. The molecules incandescence, and burn like true stars with a brilliancy that is often magnificent.
But their glory is of short duration. The excessive heat resulting from the shock consumes the poor firefly; its remains evaporate, and drop slowly to the Earth, where they are deposited on the surface of the soil in a sort of ferruginous dust mixed with carbon and nickel. Some one hundred and forty-six milliards of them reach us annually, as seen by the unaided eye, and many more in the telescope; the effect of these showers of meteoric matter is an insensible increase in the mass of our globe, a slight lessening of its rotary motion, and the acceleration of the lunar movements of revolution.
Although the appearance of shooting stars is a common enough phenomenon, visible every night of the year, there are certain times when they arrive in swarms, from different quarters of the sky. The most remarkable dates in this connection are the night of August 10th and the morning of November 14th. Every one knows the shooting stars of August 10th, because they arrive in the fine warm summer evenings so favorable to general contemplation of the Heavens. The phenomenon lasts till the 12th, and even beyond, but the maximum is on the 10th. When the sky is very clear, and there is no moon, hundreds of shooting stars can be counted on those three nights, sometimes thousands. They all seem to come from the same quarter of the Heavens, which is called the radiant, and is situated for the August swarm in the constellation of Perseus, whence they have received the name of Perseids. Our forefathers also called them the tears of St. Lawrence, because the feast of that saint is on the same date. These shooting stars describe a very elongated ellipse, and their orbit has been identified with that of the Great Comet of 1862.
The shower of incandescent asteroids on November 14th is often much more abundant than the preceding. In 1799, 1833, and 1866, the meteors were so numerous that they were described as showers of rain, especially on the first two dates. For several hours the sky was furrowed with falling stars. An English mariner, Andrew Ellicot, who made the drawing we reproduce , described the phenomenon as stupendous and alarming (November 12, 1799, 3 A.M.). The same occurred on November 13, 1833. The meteors that scarred the Heavens on that night were reckoned at 240,000. These shooting stars received the name of Leonids, because their radiant is situated in the constellation of the Lion.
This swarm follows the same orbit as the comet of 1866, which travels as far as Uranus, and comes back to the vicinity of the Sun every thirty-three years. Hence we were entitled to expect another splendid apparition in 1899, but the expectations of the astronomers were disappointed. All the preparations for the appropriate reception of these celestial visitors failed to bring about the desired result. The notes made in observatories, or in balloons, admitted of the registration of only a very small number of meteors. The maximum was thirteen. During that night, some 200 shooting stars were counted. There were more in 1900, 1901, and, above all, in 1902. This swarm has become displaced.
The night of November 27th again is visited by a number of shooting stars that are the disaggregated remains of the Comet of Biela. This comet, discovered by Biela in 1827, accomplished its revolution in six and a half years, and down to 1846 it responded punctually to the astronomers who expected its return as fixed by calculation. But on January 13, 1846, the celestial wanderer broke in half: each fragment went its own way, side by side, to return within sight from the Earth in 1852. It was their last appearance. That year the twin comets could still be seen, though pale and insignificant. Soon they vanished into the depths of night, and never appeared again. They were looked for in vain, and were despaired of, when on November 27, 1872, instead of the shattered comet, came a magnificent rain of shooting stars. They fell through the Heavens, numerous as the flakes of a shower of snow.
The same phenomenon recurred on November 27, 1885, and confirmed the hypothesis of the demolition and disaggregation of Biela's Comet into shooting stars.

Hanibal and the battle of the Cannae

The battle of Cannæ was the last great battle fought by Hannibal in Italy. This conflict has been greatly celebrated in history, not only for its magnitude, and the terrible desperation with which it was fought, but also on account of the strong dramatic interest which the circumstances attending it are fitted to excite. This interest is perhaps, however, quite as much due to the peculiar skill of the ancient historian who narrates the story, as to the events themselves which he records.
 It was about a year after the close of the dictatorship of Fabius that this battle was fought.
That interval had been spent by the Roman consuls who were in office during that time in various military operations, which did not, however, lead to any decisive results. In the mean time, there were great uneasiness, discontent, and dissatisfaction at Rome. To have such a dangerous and terrible foe, at the head of forty thousand men, infesting the vicinage of their city, ravaging the territories of their friends and allies, and threatening continually to attack the city itself, was a continual source of anxiety and vexation. It mortified the Roman pride, too, to find that the greatest armies they could raise, and the ablest generals they could choose and commission, proved wholly unable to cope with the foe. The most sagacious of them, in fact, had felt it necessary to decline the contest with him altogether.
This state of things produced a great deal of ill humor in the city. Party spirit ran very high; tumultuous assemblies were held; disputes and contentions prevailed, and mutual criminations and recriminations without end. There were two great parties formed: that of the middling classes on one side, and the aristocracy on the other. The former were called the Plebeians, the latter the Patricians. The division between these two classes was very great and very strongly marked. There was, in consequence of it, infinite difficulty in the election of consuls.

The resurrection and immortality in ancient Egypt

In perusing the literature of the ancient Egyptians one of the first things which forces itself upon the mind of the reader is the frequency of allusions to the future life or to things which appertain thereto. The writers of the various religious and other works, belonging to all periods of Egyptian history, which have come down to us, tacitly assume throughout that those who once have lived in this world have "renewed" their life in that which is beyond the grave, and that they still live and will live until time shall be no more.
The Egyptian belief in the existence of Almighty God is old, so old that we must seek for its beginnings in pre-dynastic times; but the belief in a future life is very much older, and its beginnings must be as old, at least, as the oldest human remains which have been found in Egypt. To attempt to measure by years the remoteness of the period when these were committed to the earth, is futile, for no date that could be given them is likely to be even approximately correct, and they may as well date from B.C. 12,000 as from B.C. 8000. Of one fact, however, we may be quite certain; that is to say, that the oldest human remains that have been found in Egypt bear upon them traces of the use of bitumen, which proves that the Egyptians at the very beginning of their stay in the valley of the Nile made some attempt to preserve their dead by means of mummification. If they were, as many think, invaders who had made their way across Arabia and the Red Sea and the eastern desert of the Nile, they may have brought the idea and habit of preserving their dead with them, or they may have adopted, in a modified form, some practice in use among the aboriginal inhabitants whom they found on their arrival in Egypt; in either case the fact that they attempted to preserve their dead by the use of substances which would arrest decay is certain, and in a degree their attempt has succeeded.

THE STORY OF RUBBER

One day in 1852, at Trenton, New Jersey, there appeared in the Circuit Court of the United States two men, the legal giants of their day, to argue the case of Goodyear vs. Day for infringement of patent. Rufus Choate represented the defendant and Daniel Webster the plaintiff. Webster, in the course of his plea, one of the most brilliant and moving ever uttered by him, paused for a moment, drew from himself the attention of those who were hanging upon his words, and pointed to his client. He would have them look at the man whose cause he pleaded: a man of fifty-two, who looked fifteen years older, sallow, emaciated from disease, due to long privations, bitter disappointments, and wrongs. This was Charles Goodyear, inventor of the process which put rubber into the service of the world. Said Webster: 

"And now is Charles Goodyear the discoverer of this invention of vulcanized rubber? Is he the first man upon whose mind the idea ever flashed, or to whose intelligence the fact ever was disclosed, that by carrying heat to a certain height it would cease to render plastic the India Rubber and begin to harden and metallize it? Is there a man in the world who found out that fact before Charles Goodyear? Who is he? Where is he? On what continent does he live? Who has heard of him? What books treat of him? What man among all the men on earth has seen him, known him, or named him? Yet it is certain that this discovery has been made. It is certain that it exists. It is certain that it is now a matter of common knowledge all over the civilized world. It is certain that ten or twelve years ago it was not knowledge. It is certain that this curious result has grown into knowledge by somebody's discovery and invention. And who is that somebody? The question was put to my learned opponent by my learned associate. If Charles Goodyear did not make this discovery, who did make it? Who did make it? Why, if our learned opponent had said he should endeavor to prove that some one other than Mr. Goodyear had made this discovery, that would have been very fair. I think the learned gentleman was very wise in not doing so. For I have thought often, in the course of my practice in law, that it was not very advisable to raise a spirit that one could not conveniently lay again. Now who made this discovery? And would it not be proper? I am sure it would. And would it not be manly? I am sure it would. Would not my learned friend and his coadjutor have acted a more noble part, if they had stood up and said that this invention was not Goodyear's, but it was an invention of such and such a man, in this or that country? On the contrary they do not meet Goodyear's claim by setting up a distinct claim of anybody else. They attempt to prove that he was not the inventor by little shreds and patches of testimony. Here a little bit of sulphur, and there a little parcel of lead; here a little degree of heat, a little hotter than would warm a man's hands, and in which a man could live for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour; and yet they never seem to come to the point. I think it is because their materials did not allow them to come to the manly assertion that somebody else did make this invention, giving to that somebody a local habitation and a name. We want to know the name, and the habitation, and the location of the man upon the face of this globe, who invented vulcanized rubber, if it be not he, who now sits before us.

The Gorgons

The Gorgons, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, were the three daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, and were the personification of those benumbing, and, as it were, petrifying sensations, which result from sudden and extreme fear.
They were frightful winged monsters, whose bodies were covered with scales; hissing, wriggling snakes clustered round their heads instead of hair; their hands were of brass; their teeth resembled the tusks of a wild boar; and their whole aspect was so appalling, that they are said to have turned into stone all who beheld them.
These terrible sisters were supposed to dwell in that remote and mysterious region in the far West, beyond the sacred stream of Oceanus.
The Gorgons were the servants of Aïdes, who made use of them to terrify and overawe those shades, doomed to be kept in a constant state of unrest as a punishment for their misdeeds, whilst the Furies, on their part, scourged them with their whips and tortured them incessantly.
The most celebrated of the three sisters was Medusa, who alone was mortal. She was originally a golden-haired and very beautiful maiden, who, as a priestess of Athene, was devoted to a life of celibacy; but, being wooed by Poseidon, whom she loved in return, she forgot her vows, and became united to him in marriage. For this offence she was punished by the goddess in a most terrible manner. Each wavy lock of the beautiful hair which had so charmed her husband, was changed into a venomous snake; her once gentle, love-inspiring eyes now became blood-shot, furious orbs, which excited fear and disgust in the mind of the beholder; whilst her former roseate hue and milk-white skin assumed a loathsome greenish tinge. Seeing herself thus transformed into so repulsive an object, Medusa fled from her home, never to return. Wandering about, abhorred, dreaded, and shunned by all the world, she now developed into a character, worthy of her outward appearance. In her despair she fled to Africa, where, as she passed restlessly from place to place, infant snakes dropped from her hair, and thus, according to the belief of the ancients, that country became the hotbed of these venomous reptiles. With the curse of Athene upon her, she turned into stone whomsoever she gazed upon, till at last, after a life of nameless misery, deliverance came to her in the shape of death, at the hands of Perseus.
It is well to observe that when the Gorgons are spoken of in the singular, it is Medusa who is alluded to.
Medusa was the mother of Pegasus and Chrysaor, father of the three-headed, winged giant Geryones, who was slain by Heracles.

Life of Hippocrates

Owing to the lapse of centuries, very little is known with certainty of the life of Hippocrates, who was called with affectionate veneration by his successors "the divine old man," and who has been justly known to posterity as "the Father of Medicine."
He was probably born about 470 B.C., and, according to all accounts, appears to have reached the advanced age of ninety years or more. He must, therefore, have lived during a period of Greek history which was characterized by great intellectual activity; for he had, as his contemporaries, Pericles the famous statesman; the poets Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Pindar; the philosopher Socrates, with his disciples Xenophon and Plato; the historians Herodotus and Thucydides; and Phidias the unrivalled sculptor.
In the island of Cos, where he was born, stood one of the most celebrated of the temples of Æsculapius, and in this temple—because he was descended from the Asclepiadæ—Hippocrates inherited from his forefathers an important position. Among the Asclepiads the habit of physical observation, and even manual training in dissection, were imparted traditionally from father to son from the earliest years, thus serving as a preparation for medical practice when there were no written treatises to study.
Although Hippocrates at first studied medicine under his father, he had afterwards for his teachers Gorgias and Democritus, both of classic fame, and Herodicus, who is known as the first person who applied gymnastic exercises to the cure of diseases.
The Asclepions, or temples of health, were erected in various parts of Greece as receptacles for invalids, who were in the habit of resorting to them to seek the assistance of the god. These temples were mostly situated in the neighbourhood of medicinal springs, and each devotee at his entrance was made to undergo a regular course of bathing and purification. Probably his diet was also carefully attended to, and at the same time his imagination was worked upon by music and religious ceremonies. On his departure, the restored patient usually showed his gratitude by presenting to the temple votive tablets setting forth the circumstances of his peculiar case. The value of these to men about to enter on medical studies can be readily understood; and it was to such treasures of recorded observations—collected during several generations—that Hippocrates had access from the commencement of his career.

THE SPHINX AND THE SECOND PYRAMID

In early days the land of Egypt used to end at what was called the First Cataract of the Nile, a place where the river came down in a series of rapids among a lot of rocky islets. The First Cataract has disappeared now, for British engineers have made a great dam across the Nile just at this point, and turned the whole country, for miles above the dam, into a lake. But in those days the Egyptians used to believe that the Nile, to which they owed so much, began at the First Cataract. Yet they knew of the wild country of Nubia beyond and, in very early times indeed, about 5,000 years ago, they used to send exploring expeditions into that half-desert land which we have come to know as the Soudan.

Near the First Cataract there lies the island of Elephantine, and when the Egyptian kingdom was young the great barons who owned this island were the Lords of the Egyptian Marches, just as the Percies and the Douglases were the Lords of the Marches in England and Scotland. It was their duty to keep in order the wild Nubian tribes south of the Cataract, to see that they allowed the trading caravans to pass safely, and sometimes to lead these caravans through the desert themselves. A caravan was a very different thing then from the long train of camels that we think of now when we hear the name. For, though there are some very old pictures which show that, before Egyptian history begins at all, the camel was known in Egypt, somehow that useful animal seems to have disappeared from the land for many hundreds of years.

The barons of Elephantine bore the proud title of "Keepers of the Door of the South," and, in addition, they display, seemingly just as proudly, the title "Caravan Conductors." In those days it was no easy task to lead a caravan through the Soudan, and bring it back safe with its precious load through all the wild and savage tribes who inhabited the land of Nubia. More than one of the barons of Elephantine set out with a caravan never to return, but to leave his bones, and those of his companions, to whiten among the desert sands; and one of them has told us how, hearing that his father had been killed on one of these adventurous journeys, he mustered his retainers, marched south with a train of a hundred asses, punished the tribe which had been guilty of the deed, and brought his father's body home, to be buried with all due honours.



Some of the records of these early journeys, the first attempts to explore the interior of Africa, may still be read, carved on the walls of the tombs where the brave explorers sleep. One baron, called Herkhuf, has told us of no fewer than four separate expeditions which he made into the Soudan. On his first journey, as he was still young, he went in company with his father, and was away for seven months. The next time he was allowed to go alone, and brought back his caravan safely after an absence of eight months.

On his third journey he went farther than before, and gathered so large a quantity of ivory and gold-dust that three hundred asses were required to bring his treasure home. So rich a caravan was a tempting prize for the wild tribes on the way; but Herkhuf persuaded one of the Soudanese chiefs to furnish him with a large escort, and the caravan was so strongly guarded that the other tribes did not venture to attack it, but were glad to help its leader with guides and gifts of cattle. Herkhuf brought his treasures safely back to Egypt, and the King was so pleased with his success that he sent a special messenger with a boat full of delicacies to refresh the weary traveller.



But the most successful of all his expeditions was the fourth. The King who had sent him on the other journeys had died, and was succeeded by a little boy called Pepy, who was only about six years old when he came to the throne, and who reigned for more than ninety years—the longest reign in the world's history. In the second year of Pepy's reign, the bold Herkhuf set out again for the Soudan, and this time, along with other treasures, he brought back something that his boy-King valued far more than gold or ivory.

You know how, when Stanley went in search of Emin Pasha, he discovered in the Central African forests a strange race of dwarfs, living by themselves, and very shy of strangers. Well, for all these thousands of years, the forefathers of these little dwarfs must have been living in the heart of the Dark Continent. In early days they evidently lived not so far away from Egypt as when Stanley found them, for, on at least one occasion, one of Pharaoh's servants had been able to capture one of the little men, and bring him down as a present to his master, greatly to the delight of the King and Court. Herkhuf was equally fortunate. He managed to secure a dwarf from one of these pigmy tribes, and brought him back with his caravan, that he might please the young King with his quaint antics and his curious dances.

When the King heard of the present which his brave servant was bringing back for him, he was wild with delight. The thought of this new toy was far more to the little eight-year-old, King though he was, than all the rest of the treasure which Herkhuf had gathered; and he caused a letter to be written to the explorer, telling him of his delight, and giving him all kinds of advice as to how careful he should be that the dwarf should come to no harm on the way to Court.

The letter, through all its curious old phrases, is very much the kind of letter that any boy might send on hearing of some new toy that was coming to him. "My Majesty," says the little eight-year-old Pharaoh, "wisheth to see this pigmy more than all the tribute of Punt. And if thou comest to Court having this pigmy with thee sound and whole, My Majesty will do for thee more than King Assa did for the Chancellor Baurded." (This was the man who had brought back the other dwarf in earlier days.) Little King Pepy then gives careful directions that Herkhuf is to provide proper people to see that the precious dwarf does not fall into the Nile on his way down the river; and these guards are to watch behind the place where he sleeps, and look into his bed ten times each night, that they may be sure that nothing has gone wrong.

The poor little dwarf must have had rather an uncomfortable time of it, one fancies, if his sleep was to be broken so often. Perhaps there was more danger of killing him with kindness and care, than if they had left him more to himself; but Pepy's anxiety was very like a boy. However, Herkhuf evidently succeeded in bringing his dwarf safe and sound to the King's Court, and no doubt the quaint little savage proved a splendid toy for the young King. One wonders what he thought of the great cities and the magnificent Court of Egypt, and whether his heart did not weary sometimes for the wild freedom of his lost home.

Herkhuf was so proud of the King's letter that he caused it to be engraved, word for word, on the walls of the tomb which he hewed out for himself at Elephantine, and there to this day the words can be read which tell us how old is the story of African exploration, and how a boy was always just a boy, even though he lived five thousand years ago, and reigned over a great kingdom.

Edison and phonograph

AT the opening of the Electrical Show in New York City in October, 1908, to celebrate the jubilee of the Atlantic Cable and the first quarter century of lighting with the Edison service on Manhattan Island, the exercises were all conducted by means of the Edison phonograph. This included the dedicatory speech of Governor Hughes, of New York; the modest remarks of Mr. Edison, as president; the congratulations of the presidents of several national electric bodies, and a number of vocal and instrumental selections of operatic nature. 
All this was heard clearly by a very large audience, and was repeated on other evenings. The same speeches were used again phonographically at the Electrical Show in Chicago in 1909—and now the records are preserved for reproduction a hundred or a thousand years hence. This tour de force, never attempted before, was merely an exemplification of the value of the phonograph not only in establishing at first hand the facts of history, but in preserving the human voice. What would we not give to listen to the very accents and tones of the Sermon on the Mount, the orations of Demosthenes, the first Pitt's appeal for American liberty, the Farewell of Washington, or the Address at Gettysburg? Until Edison made his wonderful invention in 1877, the human race was entirely without means for preserving or passing on to posterity its own linguistic utterances or any other vocal sound. We have some idea how the ancients looked and felt and wrote; the abundant evidence takes us back to the cave-dwellers. But all the old languages are dead, and the literary form is their embalmment. We do not even know definitely how Shakespeare's and Goldsmith's plays were pronounced on the stage in the theatres of the time; while it is only a guess that perhaps Chaucer would sound much more modern than he scans. 
The analysis of sound, which owes so much to Helmholtz, was one step toward recording; and the various means of illustrating the phenomena of sound to the eye and ear, prior to the phonograph, were all ingenious. One can watch the dancing little flames of Koenig, and see a voice expressed in tongues of fire; but the record can only be photographic. In like manner, the simple phonautograph of Leon Scott, invented about 1858, records on a revolving cylinder of blackened paper the sound vibrations transmitted through a membrane to which a tiny stylus is attached; so that a human mouth uses a pen and inscribes its sign vocal. Yet after all we are just as far away as ever from enabling the young actors at Harvard to give Aristophanes with all the true, subtle intonation and inflection of the Athens of 400 B.C. The instrument is dumb. Ingenuity has been shown also in the invention of "talking-machines," like Faber's, based on the reed organ pipe. These automata can be made by dexterous manipulation to jabber a little, like a doll with its monotonous "ma-ma," or a cuckoo clock; but they lack even the sterile utility of the imitative art of ventriloquism. The real great invention lies in creating devices that shall be able to evoke from tinfoil, wax, or composition at any time to-day or in the future the sound that once was as evanescent as the vibrations it made on the air. 

Murder of Caesar

Upon his return from Spain, Caesar granted pardon to all who had fought against him, the most prominent of whom were GAIUS CASSIUS, MARCUS BRUTUS, and CICERO. He increased the number of the Senate to nine hundred. He cut off the corn grants, which nursed the city mob in idleness.
He sent out impoverished men to colonize old cities. He rebuilt Corinth, and settled eighty thousand Italians on the site of Carthage. As a censor of morals he was very rigid. His own habits were marked by frugality. The rich young patricians were forbidden to be carried about in litters, as had been the custom. Libraries were formed. Eminent physicians and scientists were encouraged to settle in Rome. The harbor of Ostia was improved, and a road constructed from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian Sea, over the Apennines. A temple to Mars was built, and an immense amphitheatre was erected at the foot of the Tarpeian Rock.In the midst of this useful activity he was basely murdered.CASSIUS LONGINUS and MARCUS JUNIUS BRUTUS were the leaders in the conspiracy to effect Caesar's death, Cassius, a former lieutenant of Crassus, had shown great bravery in the war with the Parthians.
At Pharsalia he fought on the side of Pompey, but was afterwards pardoned by Caesar. He was married to a sister of Brutus. The latter, a nephew and son-in-law of Cato, had also fought at Pharsalia against Caesar, and also been pardoned by him. Cassius, it was said, hated the tyrant, and Brutus tyranny.These conspirators were soon joined by persons of all parties; and men who had fought against each other in the civil war now joined hands. Cicero was not taken into the plot. He was of advanced years, and all who knew him must have felt that he would never consent to the taking the life of one who had been so lenient towards his conquered enemies.On the morning of the IDES (15th) OF MARCH, 44, as Caesar entered the Senate and took his seat, he was approached by the conspirators, headed by Tullius Cimber, who prayed for the pardon of his exiled brother; and while the rest joined him in the request, he, grasping Caesar's hand, kissed his head and breast. As Caesar attempted to rise, Cimber dragged his cloak from his shoulders, and Casca, who was standing behind his chair, stabbed him in the neck.
The first blow was struck, and the whole pack fell upon their noble victim. Cassius stabbed him in the face, and Marcus Brutus in the groin. He made no further resistance; but, wrapping his gown over his head and the lower part of his body, he fell at the base of POMPEY'S STATUE, which was drenched with the martyr's blood.Great tumult and commotion followed; and, in their alarm, most of the Senators fled. It was two days before the Senate met, the conspirators meanwhile having taken refuge in the Capitol. Public sentiment was against them. Many of Caesar's old soldiers were in the city, and many more were flocking there from all directions. The funeral oration of Mark Antony over the remains produced a deep impression upon the crowd. They became so excited when the speaker removed the dead man's toga, and disclosed his wounds, that, instead of allowing the body to be carried to the Campus Martius for burial, they raised a funeral pile in the Forum, and there burned it. The crowd then dispersed in troops, broke into and destroyed the houses of the conspirators. Brutus and Cassius fled from the city for their lives, followed by the
other murderers.
As a general Caesar was probably superior to all others, excepting possibly Hannibal. He was especially remarkable for the fertility of his resources. It has been said that Napoleon taught his enemies how to conquer him; but Caesar's enemies never learned how to conquer him, because he had not a mere system of tactics, but a new stratagem for every emergency. He was, however, not only a great general, but a pre- eminent statesman, and second only to Cicero in eloquence. As a historian, he wrote in a style that was clear, vigorous, and also simple. Most of his writings are lost; but of those that remain Cicero said that fools might try to improve on them, but no wise man would attempt it.
Source : THE STORY OF ROME FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE END OF THE REPUBLIC BY ARTHUR GILMAN, M.A.

Giant Jupiter

And now let us bow respectfully before Jupiter, the giant of the worlds. This glorious planet is indeed King of the Solar System.

While Mercury measures only 4,750 kilometers (2,946 miles) in diameter, and Mars 6,728 kilometers (4,172), Jupiter is no less than 140,920 kilometers (87,400 miles) in breadth; that is to say, eleven times larger than the Earth. He is 442,500 kilometers (274,357 miles) in circumference.

In volume he is equivalent to 1,279 terrestrial globes; hence he is only a million times smaller than the Sun. The previously described planets of our system, Mercury, Venus, the Earth, and Mars combined, would form only an insignificant mass in comparison with this colossus. A hundred and twenty-six Earths joined into one group would present a surface whose extent would still not be quite as vast as the superficies of this titanic world. This immense globe weighs 310 times more than that which we inhabit. Its density is only the quarter of our own; but weight is twice and a half times as great there as here. The constituents of things and beings are thus composed of materials lighter than those upon the Earth; but, as the planet exerts a force of attraction twice and a half times as powerful, they are in reality heavier and weigh more. A graceful maiden weighing fifty kilograms would if transported to Jupiter immediately be included in the imposing society of the "Hundred Kilos."

Jupiter rotates upon himself with prodigious rapidity. He accomplishes his diurnal revolution in less than ten hours! There the day lasts half as long as here, and while we reckoned fifteen days upon our calendar, the Jovian would count thirty-six. As Jupiter's year equals nearly twelve of ours, the almanac of that planet would contain 10,455 days! Obviously, our pretty little pocket calendars would never serve to enumerate all the dates in this vast world.

THE MYSTERY OF THE PYRAMIDS

Few subjects of inquiry have proved more perplexing than the question of the purpose for which the pyramids of Egypt were built. Even in the remotest ages of which we have historical record, nothing seems to have been known certainly on this point. For some reason or other, the builders of the pyramids concealed the object of these structures, and this so successfully that not even a tradition has reached us which purports to have been handed down from the epoch of the pyramids' construction.
We find, indeed, some explanations given by the earliest historians; but they were professedly only hypothetical, like those advanced in more recent times. Including ancient and modern theories, we find a wide range of choice. Some have thought that these buildings were associated with the religion of the early Egyptians; others have suggested that they were tombs; others, that they combined the purposes of tombs and temples, that they were astronomical observatories, defences against the sands of the Great Desert, granaries like those made under Joseph's direction, places of resort during excessive overflows of the Nile; and many other uses have been suggested for them. But none of these ideas are found on close examination to be tenable as representing the sole purpose of the pyramids, and few of them have strong claims to be regarded as presenting even a chief object of these remarkable structures. The significant and perplexing history of the three oldest pyramids—the Great Pyramid of Cheops, Shofo, or Suphis, the pyramid of Chephren, and the pyramid of Mycerinus; and the most remarkable of all the facts known respecting the pyramids generally, viz., the circumstance that one pyramid after another was built as though each had become useless soon after it was finished, are left entirely unexplained by all the theories above mentioned, save one only, the tomb theory, and that does not afford by any means a satisfactory explanation of the circumstances.

All about Giardiasis


A disease caused by the protozoan parasite Giardia lamblia, characterized by chronic diarrhea that usually lasts 1 or more weeks. The diarrhea may be accompanied by one or more of the following: abdominal cramps, bloating, flatulence, fatigue, or weight loss. The stools are malodorous and have a pale greasy appearance. Infection without symptoms is also common. As with most other protozoa inhabiting the intestinal tract, the life cycle of Giardia involves two stages: trophozoite and cyst.

Trophozoites stay in the upper small-intestinal tract, where they actively feed and reproduce. When the trophozoites pass down the bowel, they change into the inactive cyst stage by rounding up and developing a thick exterior wall, which protects the parasite after it is passed in the feces.
People become infected either directly by hand-to-mouth transfer of cysts fromfeces of an infected individual or indirectly by drinking feces-contaminated water. After the cyst is swallowed, the trophozoite is liberated through the action of digestive enzymes and stomach acids, and becomes established in the small intestine.


Epidemiology.

Giardiasis occurs worldwide. Surveysconducted in the United States have demonstrated Giardia infection rates ranging from1 to 20%, depending on the geographic location and age of persons studied. In community epidemics caused by contaminated drinking water, as many as 50 to 70% of the residents have become infected. Outbreaks also occur among backpackers and campers who drink untreated stream water. Both human and animal (beaver) fecal contamination of stream water has been implicated as the source of Giardia cysts in waterborne outbreaks. Giardia species in dogs and possibly other animals are also considered infectious for humans.Epidemics resulting from person-to-person transmission occur in day-care centers for preschool-age children and institutions for the mentally retarded. Infants and toddlers in day-care centers are more commonly infected than older children who have been toilet-trained. Why some people become ill when infected with G. lamblia and others do not has not been fully explained. Host immunity undoubtedly plays a role, but the exact immune mechanisms involved have not been identified. A number of other factors, such as the number of Giardia cysts swallowed (dose), varying virulence between Giardia strains, and origin of the parasite (human or animal), have been postulated, but not proved, as having an influence on the clinical course of infection.

Diagnosis.

The diagnosis of Giardia infection is most commonly made by identifying the causative agent, G. lamblia, in the feces. It is also possible to identify the parasite in digestive juices or biopsy material taken from the small intestine. In individuals with watery diarrhea, trophozoites are most commonly found in stools, but a few cysts may also be present. After the acute stage has passed, stools are more often semiformed or formed, and contain the more hardy cyst form of the parasite. Because Giardia cysts are passed in the feces on an intermittent basis, a minimum of three stool specimens (one every other day) should be obtained and examined to minimize the chance of missing an infection. The parasites may be stained in iodine or by more permanent staining methods for purposes of differentiating them from other bowel-inhabiting protozoa.

Treatment.

Three drugs are available in the United States for the treatment of giardiasis: quinacrine, metronidazole, and furazolidone. Quinacrine is considered the drug of choice for adults and older children. Although quinacrine is effective in young children, the drug frequently causes vomiting in this age group. Metronidazole gives cure rates similar to quinacrine, and is generally well tolerated by both adults and children. Furazolidone is also an effective drug; it is the only anti-Giardia preparation that is supplied in pediatric suspension.

The Talking Colossus


In ancient times, people traveled to Egypt from vast distances to gaze upon the pyramids and Sphinx and other architectural marvels. But the most famous tourist attraction was a pair of gargantuan statues that stood guard over the capital city of Thebes for more than 3,000 years.
What made the statues so popular was the fact that one of them the so called "Vocal Memnon" could talk.

The phenomenon was reported by thousands of visitors, including the great Greek geographer Strabo. Many came to worship and pray at the base of the statue. Some described the sound as "like the blow of mighty winds." One worshiper said it was more like the "voice of a sweet goddess crying out for a lost child."


According to another Greek geographer, Pausanias, the statue spoke every day at sunrise, usually after a large crowd had gathered at its feet to pay homage.
"Every day at sunrise, it cries out," he wrote in Guidebook of Greece, the only guidebook to have survived from the ancient world. "One would compare the sound most nearly to the breaking of a harp or string."
Many witnesses believed that they had heard the voice of Memnon, the legendary king of Ethiopia, who was said to have been slain by the Greek hero Achilles in the Trojan War.
On the legs and base of the "talking" statue were many inscriptions of the names of distinguished visitors, often with lengthy messages. The inscriptions, written mostly in Greek and Latin, reveal the firm belief of the visitors in the miraculous sound.
Archaeologists believe the pair of statues known as the Colossi of Memnon are really twin statues of the Pharaoh


Amenophis m, who reigned from about 1417 to 1379 B.C. Carved from red sandstone, they tower 64 feet above the ground, with shoulders 20 feet broad and fingers more than 4 feet long.
In 27 B.C., an earthquake struck Thebes with great force, damaging one of the statues. The giant split across its body, and the upper part of the magnificent structure was hurled to the ground.
Soon after the earthquake, reports began to circulate that the damaged statue had begun to "talk" usually around sunrise every day.
For 200 years, visitors marveled at the talking statue. Then, early in the third century, a Roman emperor Septimius Severus who ruled from A.D. 193 to 211, went to Thebes and ordered the damaged statue repaired.After the statue was repaired, however, a strange thing happened it never spoke again.
How, then , did the statue "speak?"
One theory holds that the sudden, fierce heat of the sun expanded the cold, damp stone unevenly along the cracked surface. This might in turn have set up vibrations that were interpreted as a melodious voice.

Another theory is that the sound might have been caused by a current of expanding air making its way through a damaged section of the stone.Skeptics attribute the phenomenon to human intervention an ingenious subterfuge to guarantee that gifts and offerings would continue to pour into the shrine.Perhaps the Theban priests were expert ventriloquists. Or perhaps they concealed someone at the base of the statue before dawn. If so, they must have been incredibly skilled or lucky to have kept up the deception for so long.
Source : 100 of the world's greatest mysteries by E. Randall Floyd

Archaeopteryx = Dinosaur-bird


A genus of fossil birds in the extinct order Archaeopterygiformes, characterized by flight feathers like those of modern birds. Archaeopteryx is generally accepted as the oldest known fossil bird. It represents a unique snapshot of evolution; most of its skeletal characters are shared with small carnivorous dinosaurs, yet it has fully feathered modern wings. Archaeopteryx is effectively a flying dinosaur—an ancient bird about the size of a modern magpie.

Archaeopteryx is known from one feather impression and seven skeletons, discovered over the course of 150 years from the Altmuhl Valley in Bavaria, Germany. All have been found in lithographic limestone of uppermost Jurassic (Tithonian) age, approximately 147 million years old, and were excavated from several locations that lie within a 15-mile radius of the town of Solnhofen. The Solnhofen Lithographic Limestone preserves exceptionally fine detail, including the impressions of feathers; the animal carcases sank into fine plastic sediment on a shallow lagoon bed and were buried in anaerobic conditions.

The original specimen, the impression of a single feather preserved as part and counterpart, was discovered in 1861 and named Archaeopteryx lithographica by H. von Meyer. A few months later, a nearly complete skeleton was discovered and subsequently sold to the Natural History Museum in London. A second, complete specimen was discovered in 1877 and eventually acquired by the Berlin Natural History Museum. It was named as a different species, Archaeopteryx siemensii, by W. Dames in 1897 and as a separate genus Archaeornis by B. Petronievics in 1925, although it is widely regarded as a smaller individual of A. lithographica. Five additional well-documented skeletons of Archaeopteryx have been discovered since the 1950s. Not all are complete, but all show some evidence of feather impressions. The identity of three skeletons were not recognized at first.

A fragment collected in 1855 showing feather impressions, claws, and a knee joint was named as a pterosaur (a flying reptile) by von Meyer in 1859; its correct identity was not realized until 1970. Two specimens had been known for many years and misidentified as examples of the small theropod dinosaur, Compsognathus. The largest (sixth) specimen has been described as a separate genus and species,Wellnhoferia grandis, on the basis of size and distinctive manual (hand) and pedal (foot) morphology. The most recent discovery in 1993 was named A. bavarica by P. Wellnhofer based principally on its longer limb proportions. Eighth and ninth specimens are also known to exist, but they have not been described.

Europeans with dark skin ?


European human skin began to open to light only 5,500 years ago, after some adjustments in their food behavior, according to a study by researchers at the University of Oslo. Scientists believe that the mutation occurred after the Europeans since the status of the hunters-gatherers to farmers.

The new organization has changed its diet, bringing a significant decrease of vitamin D present in the food item less population of farmers. To compensate for this deficiency, Europeans have adapted, their skin is the color opening and allowing better synthesis of vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.
Dark skin much easier in a little vitamin D synthesis by UV. "Cold climate and high altitudes quickly prompted the need to open the skin color. Food obtained from agriculture were a poor source of vitamin D, and solar radiation levels were too low to determine the production of sufficient quantities of vitamin D in dark skin, "explains the study's authors. Adaptation is most easily found if the Scandinavian populations, which have evolved so as to maximize the vitamin D synthesized by the body.

If the new theory is correct, means that six thousand years ago people in areas present Scandinavians and Britain had dark skin. "In England region, 5.500-5.200 years ago, eating habits have changed rapidly and people have not been fed almost exclusively of fish, and this detail has led to the emergence of lighter shades of skin, explains Johan Moan, the Institute of Physics in Oslo. An additional theory put bleaching Europeans on account of migration of populations from the equator to the north, the region with less sunlight.
Source : Cotidianul

Is cloning useful ?


The asexual creation of a genetic copy, a capability possessed by plants but not by most animals. Thus, plants generate genetic copies spontaneously, and rooting “cuttings” is widely used by horticulturists to propagate millions of clones annually. In animals, only some lower invertebrates can be cloned by “cutting”; for example, earthworms when bisected will regenerate the missing half, resulting in two whole, genetically identical individuals.

However, asexual reproduction and cloning do not normally occur in vertebrates except for the special case of identical twinning. This is despite the fact that individual cells, called blastomeres, within the very early embryo are totipotent; that is, each is capable, if evaluated on its own, of developing into a viable termpregnancy and infant. A major scientific interest in cloning revolves around the question of whether the hereditary material in the nucleus of each cell remains intact throughout development, regardless of the cell’s fate.

On a more practical level, the production of genetic copies of mammals could support the rapid improvement of livestock herds by propagation of valuable founder animals, the creation and production of disease models or transgenic animals for biomedical research, and the preservation of the genetic contribution of a particularly valuable animal, even after death. Therapeutic cloning, a variation that involves the isolation of embryonic stem cells, may provide new cell-based medical approaches to the treatment of human diseases or degenerative conditions. Reproductive cloning. Scientific inquiry into reproductive cloning in animals began with a “fantastical experiment” suggested by Hans Spemann in 1938 that involved the insertion of a nucleus into an ovum bereft of its own genetic material.

This experiment was eventually conducted in 1952 by Robert Briggs and Thomas King in an amphibian, the northern leopard frog, and the technology was quickly extended to a number of other lower vertebrates and invertebrates, and eventually to mammals. The first step in mammalian reproductive cloning is removal of the genetic material from an egg by micromanipulation to create an enucleated egg called a cytoplast. Then genetic material from a donor cell is added, in the form of an intact cell or an isolated nucleus, to produce a diploid, reconstructed embryo.

The cell cycle of the nuclear donor cell may be temporarily slowed or stopped in advance of nuclear transfer. Development of the nuclear transfer embryo is triggered chemically, and the cloned embryo is subsequently transferred into a host mother in order to establish a pregnancy .

About magnetism


The branch of science that describes the effects of the interactions between charges due to their motion and spin. These may appear in various forms, including electric currents and permanent magnets. The interactions are described in terms of the magnetic field, although the field hypothesis cannot be tested independently of the electrokinetic effects by which it is defined.

The magnetic field complements the concept of the electrostatic field used to describe the potential energy between charges due to their relative positions. Special relativity theory relates the two, showing that magnetism is a relativistic modification of the electrostatic forces. The two together form the electromagnetic interactions which are propagated as electromagnetic waves, including light. They control the structure of materials at distances between the long-range gravitational actions and the short-range “strong” and “weak” forces most evident within the atomic nucleus.

The term “magnetism” originates in the material magnetite, an iron ore, which producesweak natural magnets in the formof lodestones, exerting forces on each other and on pieces of iron. Peregrinus showed in 1269 that the behavior can be described in terms of magnetic poles on opposite end surfaces. The analogy between magnetic poles and electric charge greatly influenced the later development of the subject. The Earth provides an example of the subsequent explanation of magnetic behavior in terms of the flow of current and movement of charge, including the quantum state described as spin.

This leaves open the question of whether or not isolated magnetic poles, or monopoles, exist as separate physical entities. The magnetic field can be visualized as a set of lines illustrated by iron filings scattered on a suitable surface. The intensity of the field is indicated by the line spacing, and the direction by arrows pointing along the lines. The sign convention is chosen so that the Earth’smagnetic field is directed from the north magnetic pole toward the south magnetic pole.

How stars are formed ?


Stars are born from compact knots within dark molecular clouds that are refrigerated by dust that blocks heating starlight. If the random knots, compressed by supernovae or other means, are dense enough, they can contract under their own gravity.

Conservation of angular momentum demands that as they collapse they must spin faster. Star formation requires that angular momentum be removed such that the new “young stellar objects” do not completely tear themselves apart before they can become fully developing protostars. High-speed particles (cosmic rays) from exploding stars partially ionize the dusty knots.

The ions grab onto the weak magnetic field of the Galaxy and, as a result of their physical interaction with neutral atoms and molecules, provide the initial means to slow the rotation. If the rotation is still too fast, the contracting body may split into a double (or more complex) star, though the origins of doubles are not clearly solved. A contracting protostar still indeed rotates progressively faster until the part of its mass not accreted by the star itself is spun out into a dusty disk, from which planets might later accumulate. From the disk shoot powerful molecular flows that slow the star still more .

When the protostar’s interior reaches about 106 K (1.8 × 106 ◦F), it can fuse its internal deuterium. That and convection, which brings in fresh deuterium from outside the nuclear-burning zone, bring some stability, and a star can now be said to be born. Stars like the Sun shrink at constant temperature until deuterium fusion dies down. Then they heat at roughly constant luminosity until the full proton-proton chain begins, which provides the stars’ luminosity and stops the contraction. The stars settle onto the zero-age main sequence (from which they will later evolve). At the same time, the surrounding dusty cloud is clearing, allowing new, accreting, and highly active T Tauri stars to be seen flocking around their birthclouds . The whole process takes only 10 or so million years, the mature stars then leaving their birthplaces, destined both to age and to orbit the Galaxy. High-mass stars proceed similarly, but at such a great pace that the death process begins even as the birth process is ending.

What is Black Holes ?

Hypothetical black holes are regions of space that can not be directly observed, characterized by high density and an intense gravitational field that catches the light and matter in surrounding space.A black hole is a dead star shape.

Black hole concept was developed by German astronomer Karl Schwarzschild (1873-1916) in 1916 based on Einstein's relativity theory.Proof of existence of black holes in the Universe was only made in 1994 by browsing or using the Hubble Space Telescope, mounted on hostage space orbit around the Earth. By measuring the gas around the center of M87 Galatia was inferred the existence of a mass of about 3 billion solar masses. In 1995 were also found two other black holes in the universe.A star who dies condense to reach a so-called "White dwarf star, with a diameter of several thousand kilometers, close to the diameter of Earth. If the star is compressing more it becomes a "neutron star". Neutron star has a density of about one million tonnes per a cubic centimeter. If the star is compressed as it reaches the size and density close off huge and they entitle properties called black hole.

If a star has a mass of less than three solar masses when the exclusion principle will prevent the collapse of quantum gravity. Black holes and cosmic guts absorb any radiation over a large distance around them.
It implies that our sun will cease to exist over a few billion ani. Astronomers believe today that a black hole continues to evolve, and its end will be a huge explosion equivalent to the detonation of several million thermonuclear bombs.

About Oceanography


The science of the sea; including physical oceanography (the study of the physical properties of sea water and its motion in waves, tides, and currents), marine chemistry, marine geology, and marine biology. The need to know more about the impact of marine pollution and possible effects of the exploitation of marine resources, together with the role of the ocean in possible global warming and climate change, means that oceanography is an important scientific discipline.

Improved understanding of the sea has been essential in such diverse fields as fisheries conservation, the exploitation of underwater oil and gas reserves, and coastal protection policy, as well as in national defense strategies. The scientific benefits include not only improved understanding of the oceans and their inhabitants, but important information about the evolution of the Earth and its tectonic processes, and about the global environment and climate, past and present, as well as possible future changes.
The modern discipline. The traditional basis of modern oceanography is the hydrographic station. Hydrographic studies are still carried out at regular intervals, with the research vessel in a specific position. Seawater temperature, depth, and salinity can be measured continuously by a probe towed behind the ship.

The revolution in electronics has provided not only a new generation of instruments for studying the sea but also new ways of collecting and analyzing the data they produce. Computers are employed in gathering and processing data in all fields, and are also used in the creation of mathematical models to aid in understanding. Much information can also be gained by remote sensing using satellites, which are also a valuable navigational aid. These provide data on sea surface temperature and currents, and on marine productivity. Satellite altimetry gives information on wave height and winds and even bottom topography (because this affects sea level). Scientists look forward to a day when observations can be made in the deep sea by autonomous vehicles. However, the ship remains a fundamental tool for many observations.

Physical oceanography. Physical oceanography, and in particular ocean circulation studies, forms the core of oceanographic research. The movements of seawater—ocean currents—are powerful agents in the distribution of heat throughout the world, influencing both weather and climate. The continual renewal of water bearing dissolved nutrients is essential to most marine organisms, which will be abundant only where such supplies are available.
Twentieth-century dynamical oceanographers have shown how the deflecting effect of the Earth's rotation influences water movements. Geostrophic forces are responsible for the intensification of surface currents, such as the Gulf Stream, on the western sides of oceans (western boundary currents).

In the 1950s the existence of a southward-flowing counter current under the Gulf Stream was predicted. Neutrally buoyant floats, to be tracked by radio signals picked up by hydrophones on board ship, were deployed to confirm this prediction. However, further out in the Atlantic the floats moved unexpectedly fast, with frequent changes in direction. This was the first indication of vigorous eddies in the ocean that have since been shown to be comparable to atmospheric weather systems. Further investigations of these phenomena, studies of equatorial currents and undercurrents, and transport between oceans are the principal topics occupying physical oceanographers in the latter part of the twentieth century. The World Ocean Circulation Experiment, a large-scale international program of cooperation on research projects and data-collecting expeditions, was designed to throw further light on the ocean's influence on world climate. Among the techniques being employed are the use of Swallow floats, arrays of current meters, that can be moored to the sea bed for a period of time to measure deep-water movements and then released for retrieval by acoustic signals, and the use of geochemical tracers, including chlorofluorocarbons, to obtain data on the distribution and age of water masses.

Marine biology. Biologists seek to classify the great diversity of life, from microscopic bacteria and phytoplankton to the great whales. To learn how the food web operates, they must examine the constraints on marine productivity and the distribution of species in the surface and mid water layers, and the vertical migrations between them, and in the bottom-living (benthic) fauna. Deep-sea cameras and submersibles now permit visual evidence of creatures in these remote depths to be obtained. Marine geology. Since the early 1900s, all recorded ocean depths have been incorporated in the General Bathymetric Chart of the Ocean. The amount of data available increased greatly with the introduction of continuous echo sounders; subsequently, side-scan sonar permitted very detailed topographical surveys to be made of the ocean floor. The features thus revealed, in particular the mid ocean ridges (spreading centers) and deep trenches (subduction zones), are integral to the theory of plate tectonics. An important discovery made toward the end of the twentieth century was the existence of hydrothermal vents, where hot mineral-rich water gushes from the Earth's interior. The deposition of minerals at these sites and the discovery of associated ecosystems make them of potential economic as well as great scientific interest. Possibly life on Earth began in similar situations in the remote past. Investigation of such areas can be made directly by scientists using submersibles and by underwater cameras, as well as by instrumentation. Even the sediments and other rocks of the sea floor are being sampled by the international deep-sea drilling program to provide information on how the present oceans evolved and on past climate change.
Reference : McGraw - Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology