From the September 16, 1933, issue


Wild asses, which still roam the vast plains of Mongolia in great herds, are marvels of speed and endurance, according to Roy Chapman Andrews of the American Museum of Natural History, who has hunted and photographed them in the course of his many years of scientific exploration in interior Asia. One full-grown animal he pursued in a motor car reached a top speed of 40 miles an hour, and would not own itself beaten in the chase until it had been pursued for more than 20 miles, most of the distance at an average speed of 30 miles an hour.

The little colt shown on the cover of this issue of the Science News Letter was lassoed from the car after a short chase during which he put on a burst of speed at 20 miles an hour, although he was then only about 3 days old. Taken into camp, he proved to be intractably wild, and made friends only with “Buckshot, ” the Chinese assistant who fed him evaporated milk from a bottle. His Chinese friend he would follow like a dog, even into the cook-tent, but he never let any other person lay a hand on him. After 6 weeks, Mr. Andrews states, he was even wilder than he was when newly captured


Dutch elm disease, which federal and state scientists are fighting desperately in the area around New York harbor, came in as a stowaway in elm logs shipped from Europe for use in the production of veneered furniture. Conclusive evidence to this effect was presented before a Shade Tree Conference recently at the New York Botanical Garden by R. Kent Beattie of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mr. Beattie is in charge of the U.S. Governments share of the battle against the new invasion, which threatens complete destruction to the millions of beautiful elms that line the streets of practically all the cities of this country.

Dutch elm disease is caused by a fungus that saps the life of the tree. It is carried from one tree to another by a small beetle.

The logs in which the beetles have been detected, in at least three American ports of entry, are special “burl” logs, grown so as to provide a highly ornamental grain, similar to curly maple. Although most of them apparently come from France, the logs are for some reason known to the furniture trade as “Carpathian elm.” The import trade in these logs is not large, relatively speaking, and apparently only about a dozen veneer plants in the country handle them.


Physicists are engaged in a family row over what the babies should be named. The botanists no longer stand alone as a scientific tribe that fights over names and classification. But the physicists can blame no one but themselves for having brought confusion into their speech. It all arose from their tremendous activity within the last two years of prying out several new particles from the chemical entity of matter, the atom.

Now that they have isolated these particles and have proved their existence, they are in a quandary over what to christen them. The one that is stirring up the biggest argument is the new unit of positive electricity, found by Dr. Carl D. Anderson at the California Institute of Technology just a year ago. It appears to have the same electrical charge and mass as the electron, the unit of negative electricity, which has been known for many years.

Dr. Anderson has suggested that the new positive particle be called the “positron” and the old electron be rechristened to “negatron. ” This was to avoid confusion with the name “electron” which was originally devoid of significance regarding polarity.

Immediately, many scientists objected to the rechristening and also to the disregard of mythology inherent in the word “positron.” Prof. Herbert Dingle of Imperial College of Science and Technology in South Kensington, England, suggested the name “orestron” for the new positive particle. This is mythologically correct, for Orestes was the brother of Electra.

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