From the October 1, 1932, issue


Eye-spots, like those on the wings of the Cecropia moth on the front cover, are commonly interpreted either as warning markings, to scare off enemies, or as “targets” to draw the enemy’s attention to a non-vital spot. But moths get eaten anyway.–(Photo by Cornelia Clarke).


Cosmic radiation bombards the Earth with energies of some 40,000 million volts, which is about forty times the highest energies usually assigned to the ultra-penetrating radiation being so intensively studied by physicists throughout the world.

The new estimate is made by Dr. Thomas H. Johnson, assistant director of the Bartol Research Foundation of the Franklin Institute, Swarthmore, Pa., who in a communication to the American Physical Society, interprets evidence obtained by various investigators and his own experiments.


A new nebular hypothesis of planetary origins is being discussed in Amsterdam as a substitute for the theory that the planets are fragments torn from the sun by the enormous tidal forces generated when another huge star passed too close to the sun.

The new evidence against the “tidal forces” theory is based on observations and calculations made and reported by H.P. Berlage, Jr., of the Meteorological Observatory in Batavia, Java. His paper was communicated to the Royal Academy of Sciences by Prof. H.A. Kramers.

Berlage’s theory is that the planets had their origin in a nebula surrounding the sun and having the shape of a thin, flat disk. From what is known of the way in which the present planets differ in their respective densities it follows that if there actually was such a nebula it must have had this disk shape at least as far out from the sun as Neptune. Moreover, the densities for each planet, calculated on the assumption that the new theory is correct, agree remarkably well with the actual known densities. For example, according to the theory the greatest density should be along a circle which is nearly the same as the Earth’s orbit. The Earth is actually the most dense of the planets.

Additional supporting evidence is found in the distances of the planets from the sun. Careful examination of the known facts about these distances reveals that the figures agree much better than has ever been believed with the positions which the planets should occupy, according to this theory, with respect to the sun.

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