From the October 29, 1932, issue


One of the favorite riddles of childhood was, “Spell ‘mousetrap’ in three letters”; and the answer was “C-A-T.” With even more appropriateness, the answer might have been “O-W-L,” for the Owl is an even better mousetrap than the Pussycat, besides being somewhat more restrained in the matter of midnight serenades and not addicted to messing up the place with frequent litters of kittens. Mankind might well look upon owls as special gifts of Providence for the abatement of mice. Owls, on the other hand, might consider men as special gifts of Providence for the building of barns to live in and the cultivation of grain crops to ensure an abundant supply of mice. It all depends on the point of view.

The solemn gentleman portrayed on the cover of this issue of the Science News Letter posed for Cornelia Clarke.


The “Golden Rule” as an essential aid to happiness was advocated in a talk by Dr. A.W. Adson, associate professor in surgery at the Mayo Foundation. Dr. Adson spoke on nervousness, at the community health meeting sponsored by the American College of Surgeons gathered in St. Louis. He said that treating one’s neighbor as one’s self increases one’s circle of friends, which is essential to happiness and contentment.

“Selfishness and jealousy need be controlled in order to radiate friendliness,” he declared. “The stress of modern life, with the anxiety and fear of being unable to compete with friends and neighbors in financial and social circles, results in unhappiness, which often leads to broken homes. Phobia, that is, the fear of having a disease, gives rise to nervous symptoms, which often are more difficult to treat than the disease itself.

“Ugly disposition, insomnia, and various forms of dyspepsia are symptoms of nervousness that are brought on by fatigue, worry, unbalanced diet, and the lack of proper recreation.”


Irate citizens of a beehive at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum recently made short work of an insect thug that had killed two of their fellows and was threatening the lives of others.

The aggressor was a praying mantis, one of the big species that has become established in the New York region as an immigrant from the Orient. Mantises are carnivorous insects, preying on other insects by catching them in their powerful folding forelegs and chewing them up with their powerful jaws.

This one particular murderer caught two bees, one in each foreleg, and devoured them at his leisure. Then he made for a third bee nearer the entrance of a hive. Instantly, the bees fell upon him by dozens and hundreds, until the angrily buzzing mass was as big as a baseball. Unable to pierce his tough wings, they turned him over on his back. Then they inflicted swift and final punishment with their stings.

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