From the April 23, 1932, issue


By no means a trivial by-product of electric welding is the field of beauty the new art is opening up for photographers.

While electricity eliminates the irritating staccato of noisy riveting, the photographer focuses his camera on a glowing scene of shadow and light, man and steel. Such a picture is that reproduced on the front cover of this weeks Science News Letter from the shops of the Westinghouse Company. The ends of a ring of steel, to be used as a “skirt” for an oil circuit breaker, are being welded.

The use of welding in erecting buildings and in making ships, bridges, and machinery has been extended by the discovery of a method of increasing the strength of a welded joint. The order or sequence in which metal is applied to a joint greatly affects its security, C.H. Jennings, research engineer of the Westinghouse Company, has found. Of a number of sequences, Mr. Jennings was able to specify one 28 percent superior to a sequence commonly used. He also found that this advantage could be increased still more through suitable treatment with a hand tool.


Rotenone, the most effective insect killer yet discovered, has yielded the secret of its chemical makeup to three chemists of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dr. F.B. LaForge, Dr. H.L. Haller, and L.E. Smith.

Rotenone is a white crystalline substance, obtained from the roots of tropical plants belonging to the pea family. Its principal commercial source at present is the East Indian vine derris; but a South American shrub, cubé, has also been shown to contain it in paying quantities.

Rotenone contains only three chemical elements, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, in the ratios of 23, 22, and 6. This is expressed by the “linear” formula C23H22O6. The “structural” formula, which shows organic chemists just where each atom of the molecule is located, is reported to be quite complex.


Dried specimens of an Indian plant, from which a drug can be made that produces magnificent and terrifying visions in motion picture form, have recently been received at the U.S. National Museum. The plant, known as yage, comes from southeastern Colombia.

Indians in the region where the plant grows make a beverage by boiling it for a day in earthenware vessels. Leaves and young shoots of certain other plants are added, and a sort of liquid, like the syrup of sugar cane, is obtained, according to Guillermo Klug of Iquitos, Peru, who sent the plants to the museum.

After about 2 pints of the liquid have been consumed over a period of 2 hours, the continuous, movielike illusions are experienced by the drinker. Under the influence of the drug, all objects appear to have a strangely blue halo about them.

The Indian addict soon falls into a profound sleep during which he is in a state of complete insensibility and anesthesia. At this point, his subconscious mind conjures up swiftly moving dreams of extraordinary precision and clearness. The intoxicated person, so Mr. Klug says, is given the power of double vision and of seeing things at a distance, like mediums in a trance. Upon awakening, the Indian retains a clear impression of his fantastic experiences. It may be, Mr. Klug states, that the drug has the power of developing psychic faculties.