From the March 12, 1938, issue


Rising high above the New Mexico plains, a cinder cone, with its surrounding lava flows, attests to the recency of volcanic activity in the area where plateau and mountains are not far apart. Caught from the air during a Department of Agriculture survey, this photograph, taken with the camera pointing straight down into the crater, shows details never visible to an observer at ground level. The white spiral line leading from the lower center to the crater rim is a road.


A fresh clue to the mystery of the thymus gland, with an important practical relationship to male virility, appears in research reported by Drs. J. Gershon-Cohen, Harry Shay and Samuel S. Fels of the Fels Foundation and Drs. Theodore and David Meranze of Mt. Sinai Hospital, Philadelphia. (Science, Jan. 7)

The thymus is the large gland situated in the chest. So far, no one has discovered what its function is. Thymus glands of animals are sometimes called sweetbreads. In humans the glands tend to grow smaller with age and large glands have been held responsible for sudden and otherwise inexplicable deaths in infants. X-ray treatments of large glands in babies have been given in the hope of preventing the so-called thymus deaths. Here seems to lie the important practical aspect of the Philadelphia doctors’ research, although they do not call attention to it in their scientific report.

When they X-rayed the thymus glands of infant rats, they found a striking decrease in the weight of the sex glands with almost complete disappearance of the germ cells and loss of reproductive ability. When these thymus X-rayed males were mated to either X-rayed or normal females, no offspring were produced. The pituitary glands of the X-rayed males showed the typical picture of pituitary glands in castrated animals.

No such changes were found in the sex glands of the females after X-ray treatment of the thymus. Both sexes, however, showed a general slowing up of bodily development as measured by weekly weighings. The thymus-destroying X-ray treatments were given within 48 hours after birth of the rats.

The Philadelphia doctors conclude that their findings “indicate a close relationship between the function of the thymus and the proper development of the testes.”


Green fodder for winter feeding to livestock is made from seeds in only six days in a device of British invention now being demonstrated at the New York Museum of Science and Industry at Rockefeller Center.

The “fodder factory” consists of an insulated cabinet containing a series of perforated trays. In these are placed quantities of grain, legumes, or other seed, after soaking for 24 hours. The trays are kept at constant temperature, and watered from the top.

At the end of six days, when the sprouts have reached a height of six inches, the entire contents of the trays—sprouts, soft seeds, and roots—are fed to the livestock, which relish the succulent fodder.

A larger cabinet than the one on display in New York is being tried out on a working scale at a large dairy farm in Connecticut. The “fodder factory” is an invention of Capt. H.H.B. Lund, of England.

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