From the August 18, 1934, issue


Gray-yellow dust, borne on a dry, scornful wind, fogged out the sun over Eastern seaboard cities for a day last spring. People looked and wondered. Housewives were annoyed: more cleaning to do. Airplanes had to stay grounded. Port navigation was doubtful.

Then, the sky cleared, and business went briskly forward again. But people remembered. For a long time they will remember. They will tell their children, their grandchildren, of the Great Dust storm of ’34.

What is now the rich plowed corn land of Iowa and Illinois and eastern Nebraska was once long-grass prairie. Farther east, in the Ohio valley and the Great Lakes country and the Deep South, there were forests. We cut and burned down the forests, plowed out the deep-rooted prairie sod. In doing so, we destroyed the innumerable tough cords of roots that held the soil together. The living, green lawgivers once held the loose, anarchic, unalive soil particles together. We destroyed them. If we would end the insubordination of the soil, we must restore them.


Whether you are right-handed or left-handed does not determine the side on which you prefer to go to sleep, Drs. Richard Stradling and Donald A. Laird of the Psychological Laboratory, Hamilton, N.Y., report in an article soon to appear in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology.

A questionnaire filled out by persons listed in Who’s Who revealed that the majority of both right- and left-handed persons prefer the right side for sleep, but the proportion preferring the left side is somewhat larger among the left-handed. Another investigation by the same authors indicated that sleep comes more quickly, and is more restful, when attempted on the preferred side.


Of what use is relativity? This is a question frequently asked by the impatient layman. Theoretical enlightenment, the unification of diverse phenomena, etc., have been the kind of answer he has so far received. But now, a more practical answer is given by Dr. Gabriel Kron of the Engineering Department of the General Electric Company at Schenectady. He finds that the mathematical methods of relativity, the famous “tensor theory,” can be applied to dynamo electric machinery, in fact to all kinds of rotating electrical machinery.

And there is great advantage in so doing. Up to now, Dr. Kron points out, every different type of machine has a different mathematical theory, and the method that applies to one does not apply to another. Worse still, the same machine has many different theories according to the different engineers that have handled it, so that, as Dr. Kron says, we have as many separate theories as there are different types of machines and different types of engineers.

More Stories from Science News on Humans