Science & Nature

50, 100 & 150 Years Ago: October 2021

Jupiter Pioneers prepare; wi-fi moths

1971: Moon rock from Apollo 12 mission. “This [magnified] pyroxene crystal measures about two thirds of a millimeter from prime to backside. The yellow core is calcium-poor pigeonite. The pink and purple areas are calcium-rich augite. The inexperienced areas are hedenbergite, wealthy in iron.” Credit: Scientific American, Vol. 225, No. 4; October 1971


Jupiter Pioneers

“Two 560-pound spacecraft are being ready for the longest flight but tried: a mission to Jupiter. Pioneer F and Pioneer G will every be outfitted with 11 devices. The voyages will take between 19 and 32 months and can cowl 600 million to 900 million kilometers. Each spacecraft will spend about 4 days within the neighborhood of the photo voltaic system’s largest planet. Digital information might be transmitted to the Earth on the price of 1,024 bits per second and obtained by three dish antennas with a diameter of 210 ft: one in California, one in Australia and one in Spain. Power might be equipped by plutonium thermoelectric mills producing 40 watts initially of the mission.”

The craft, extra generally referred to as Pioneer 10 and 11, operated for much longer than anticipated. Pioneer 10 despatched alerts till 2003. Today each craft are billions of kilometers from Earth, past our photo voltaic system.

Cable TV: 12 Channels

“At the start of 1971 there have been 2,500 cable tv methods serving 5.5 million subscribers within the U.S. At first it was a easy association for bringing a superb tv sign into a house that obtained a poor one or none, usually known as ‘group antenna tv,’ or CATV. Now cable can present a subscriber with many extra channels than there are applications to fill them. All methods constructed throughout the previous three years have had at the very least 12 channels. The know-how for carrying as much as 80 black-and-white channels has been developed, however an rising quantity of reception is in coloration. Here the limitation resides within the receiver. Standard dwelling tv units can not obtain greater than 12 coloration channels with out added digital gear.”


Do Moths Use Wireless?

“How does the feminine moth entice males? It is just not by scent, for the males journey down the wind to the place the feminine is. Another suggestion is that the males are attracted by sound, however the feminine Vapourer has been enclosed in a soundproof field and nonetheless the males come to her. It has recently been urged that moths talk by way of ‘wi-fi’—electromagnetic waves of exceedingly brief wavelength. Probably essentially the most delicate organs that moths possess are their antennae. The antennae of the feminine, who’s the transmitter, differ from these of the male, who’s the receiver. This truth agrees with the design of wi-fi devices. Another curious level is the conduct of the male as he nears the place the place the feminine is stationed. Often he’ll alight in a really unsure method, shifting his antennae about a lot the best way a wi-fi operator will swing his direction-finding body to find the quarter from which the alerts are coming.

Research now signifies that male moths scent pheromones secreted by females.


Tobacco Ills

“There is far to be mentioned for and towards tobacco. A ordinary ‘chewer’ will devour 4 ounces per week. This is seventeen and one half kilos per 12 months of ‘arduous stuff,’ mingled with sand, stems, impure molasses, olive oil, chips and concentrated dust and refuse of all types. A speaker on the State Dental Society mentioned the harmful results of tobacco upon the tooth have been each mechanical and chemical. Returns from Guy’s and St. Bartholomew’s hospitals inform us that, in all instances of most cancers of the mouth, the affected person had been utilizing a pipe. Nervousness, lack of urge for food, unhealthy desires, vertigo, indigestion, consumption, sterility and different ills which have an effect on the nervous system could also be traced to tobacco.”

Have Corpse, Will Paint

“The stays of the Italian patriot, poet and scholar, Ugo Foscolo, have been exhumed at Chiswick churchyard, England, after forty-four years of interment. The physique was intact, and the options have been nonetheless excellent. The whiskers have been nonetheless there. His pores and skin, now of a pale grey coloration, remained unshrunken, the pores and textures additionally unhurt. With the view of constructing a historic portray, Signor Caldesi took {a photograph} of the physique because it lay in its coffin, which was closed once more and formally sealed.

Old Scientific American covers.

This article was initially printed with the title “50, 100 & 150 Years Ago” in Scientific American 325, 4, 90 (October 2021)




    Mark Fischetti is a senior editor at Scientific American. He covers all facets of sustainability.

     Follow Mark Fischetti on Twitter

    Credit: Nick Higgins

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