50, 100 & 150 Years Ago: August 2021

Sun, 01 Aug 2021 06:00:00 GMT
Scientific American - Science

Tasty radio; early fake leather

"Like an airplane, an insect can roll around its longitudinal axis, pitch around a horizontal axis or yaw around a vertical axis. It appears that locusts have two different yaw-correcting strategies: a rapid change in wing twist, abdomen position and leg position controlled by wind-sensitive hairs on the head, and a slower, subtler movement of the same general character evoked by cervical receptors. It seems that the change in wind angle, indicating a yaw, is integrated somewhere in the locust's central nervous system, and is followed by independent motor commands to the wings, legs, abdomen and head.".

"An ever-bearing orange tree which citrus fruit growers believe is destined to revolutionize the orange industry has been discovered by horticulturists in a small grove at Avon Park, Florida. To protect the specimen, its purchasers have placed around it a heavy wire fence 20 feet in height and stationed guards day and night. The tree has been in bearing continuously eight years, but until recently its existence was known only to the owner and several neighbors, who, according to citrus experts, did not realize its value but regarded it merely as a freak of nature. A syndicate has been formed to propagate the tree so that a large number of trees may be set out in groves in 1923.".

"Chloroform is the best known solvent for camphor, resins and sealing wax; it also dissolves the vegetable alkaloids. As a solvent it will remove greasy spots from fabrics of all kinds, but its chief use is as an anesthetic. There are several other volatile organic bodies which possess similar properties, but none produce the total unconsciousness and muscular relaxation that follow the inhalation of chloroform."

This article was originally published with the title "50, 100 & 150 Years Ago" in Scientific American 325, 2, 83.