From the October 28, 1933, issue


Not ancient warlocks making weather but modern scientists just making a record of it, unintentionally posed a good Halloween picture on the top of Mount Washington, with the aid of a cat that doesn’t like the wind. The photograph has nothing of the mellowness of autumn about it–quite naturally, since it was taken during the winter, when Polar Year studies were being conducted on what is perhaps the windiest mountaintop in eastern North American. So violent are the gusts there at times that a witch could easily take a sky-ride on a broomstick without invoking any supernatural aid at all.

The cat, which injects such a decided Brocken-note into the scene, lacks one element necessary for the conventional witch-picture: a puffed-out tail. The Mt. Washington mascot is a Manx.

To our ancestors, even this would have strengthened the suggestion of the infernal, for in Shakespeare’s England it was commonly believed that a witch could change herself into any animal she liked, but that the beast’s tail would always be lacking. The first Witches’ Scene in Macbeth contains such an illusion:

“But thither in a sieve I’ll sail,

And like a rat without tail

I’ll do, and I’ll do, and I’ll do!”

The photograph was made by Winston H. Pote, who has obtained a number of excellent pictures of observatory activities.


The successful mining of sulfur under water has just been reported as one of the outstanding chemical achievements of the year. This comes as welcome news in the face of information that many ideal deposits of sulfur are on the way to exhaustion. Credit for the practical application of the so-called Frasch process, invented a number of years ago, to vast deposits of sulfur under lakes and swamps in Louisiana goes to Lawrence O’Donnell, chemical engineer, and his associates.

Bravely begun during the depression, the project had to overcome economic as well as chemical engineering problems. The yields of sulfur have far exceeded the expectations of the engineers in charge of development and operation. Whereas a plant was built with the expectation of turning out perhaps 300 long tons per day it has reached a production of 1,400 tons and regularly produces 1,200.

The mining is carried out by sinking a shaft 700 feet below the bottom of a lake where a stratum of sulfur 200 feet thick lies. Pipes leading to the plant on the shore are sunk and the sulfur, liquefied by superheated water, is forced out by means of compressed air. To date 200,000 tons of sulfur of 99.92 percent purity have been taken from the wells.


For revealing the details of small, colorless objects, the yellow single-color light from sodium vapor is definitely and significantly superior to the ordinary light from incandescent tungsten filament lamps such as are used in everyday lighting.

Drs. M. Luckiesh and Frank K. Moss of General Electric’s Lighting Research Laboratory, Cleveland, have reported to the Optical Society of America an appraisal of the visual effectiveness of the new sodium vapor light, about to come into specialized commercial use, as compared with the familiar tungsten filament light.

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