From the December 10, 1932, issue


Cows are prosaic. Like all the rest of us who have grown into maturity and (alas!) responsibility, they have their workaday jobs in a workaday world, seeing to it that we get butter and, eventually, beefsteaks. But calves still have something reminiscent of the long-lost wild freedom of the ancestors of even the mildest-eyed of their mothers; they are still something akin to fawns. Even the thoroughly stabled calf that Cornelia Clarke photographed for the cover of this issue of the Science News Letter still gives one the “feel” of a soft, brown head suddenly poked at you out of a thicket a thousand miles from the nearest barn.


A new machine for measuring ultraviolet light accurately has just been developed by Ernest Victoreen, working under the direction of Dr. Hugo Fricke, who is head of the department of biophysics of the Biological Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. The machine makes use of the principle of the photoelectric cell, Mr. Victoreen explained in describing it to his associates at the laboratory. It is expected to be useful in measuring ultraviolet light from artificial sources when used in the treatment of rickets and tuberculosis, and also for determining exactly the amount of ultraviolet light from sunlight available in various localities for treatment and for building up general bodily resistance.


Dried-up heeltaps of beer and mead in two ancient drinking horns have yielded secrets of ancient German beverage, under the microscope of Prof. Johannes Grüss, of Friedrichshagen. Prof. Grüss summarizes his study in the German scientific journal Forschungen und Fortschritte.

The two horns were found buried 8 feet deep in a peat bog in northern Germany. They have zoological as well as archaeological interest, for they were made from the horns of the once abundant but now almost extinct European bison.

Lurking in their cracks and under the scaled flakes of horn, Prof. Grüss found dried remains of the dregs of liquors quaffed in the far-gone days when German warriors drank as mightily by night as they fought by day. He scraped out the dried remains, soaked them up, and patiently examined them under his microscope.

One horn had been used for beer, the other for mead, the evidence showed. The beer horn contained starch and protein cells from emmer, a species of wheat, together with yeast cells and fungus spores. The discovery of emmer fragments is of importance for although it has long been conjectured that the ancient Germans used this grain in their beer, positive proof has not hitherto been brought to light. Emmer was used with barley in making the beerlike beverages of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt.

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