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50 Years Ago

From the September 12, 1931 issue

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ELEPHANTS JAWBONE SHOWS LIKENESS TO SCOOP SHOVEL

Where the idea of the present-day scoop shovel came from is suggested in the illustration on the cover of this weeks Science News Letter. When President Henry Fairfield Osborn of the American Museum of Natural History received the weird lower jawbone of an ancient Asian elephant, he was struck by its shape and had it photographed with a scoop shovel of the same width.

DIABETIC PATIENTS CAN EAT SUGAR IF FATS ARE ELIMINATED

Diabetic patients can safely be given sugar and starchy foods to eat, if fats are carefully eliminated from their diet.

This method of handling diabetes cases, unorthodox according to prevailing medical views, has been successfully used by Dr. I.M. Rabinowitch, of Montreal General Hospital, who spoke before the meeting of the American Chemical Society at Buffalo, N.Y. His paper was part of a symposium on Some Clinical Aspects of Endocrine Therapy.

There is no cure for diabetes, in the real sense of the word, Dr. Rabinowitch emphasized. All that modern methods of treatment do is arrest the disease and prolong the patients life, sometimes for many years. Ever since the discovery of insulin, it has been found that a properly adjusted diet alone is sufficient in the majority of cases.

In the cases treated by Dr. Rabinowitch, the patients were allowed sugars and starches enough to satisfy energy requirements, but only enough, and insulin injections were given only when specially needed, and then often in reduced dosages.

Physiological evidence has been advanced by Dr. E.V. McCollum, one of the pioneers of insulin research, that the breakdown products of fats are more harmful to the body tissues than are those of sugar, and that they are responsible for some of the symptoms of diabetes. It would seem logical, therefore, to change the standard diet for diabetics by cutting out fats and allowing them carbohydrates. Subscribing to this view, Dr. Rabinowitch made his clinical tests, with the success which he described.

NEW SIMPLIFIED FORMULA DESCRIBES SHAPE OF EARTH

A simplified formula for the figure of the earth, using no mathematical theory more advanced than calculus, has been devised by Prof. E.V. Huntington of Harvard University, he announced to the American Mathematical Society meeting.

Since every landmark and property boundary depends upon the assumed curvature of the earth and this depends upon the form of the earth, the implications of Prof. Huntingtons formula are tremendous.

His formula is developed without any serious assumptions in regard to the distribution of matter inside the earth. By using the concept of the center of attraction (variable) of the earth corresponding to any point on the surface, Prof. Huntington obtained a relatively simple formula involving the equatorial radius, the polar radius, and quandrantal radius vector of the earth curve and the quandrantal radius vector of an ellipse having the same semi-axes. His paper gives the necessary formulas for determining these quantities in terms of measurements made on the surface of the earth and also a formula for determining the gravity constant as a function of the latitude.

Although Prof. Huntingtons formula gives only the theoretical form which the rotating earth would have if its surface were smooth, this particular form is the important one since the mountains and other surface irregularities are relatively no more significant than the scratches on a billiard ball.

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