50, 100 & 150 Years Ago: March 2022


Surprise: Mars Volcano

“Mars continues to surprise the investigators associated with Mariner 9, which has been in orbit around the planet since November 13. Perhaps the most spectacular feature is a volcanic cone at least 300 miles in diameter at the base, making it larger than any comparable feature on the earth. Close-ups of the sides of the volcano show a lineated texture almost certainly produced by the flow of lava. The volcano coincides with a circular feature identified on maps since 1879 as Nix Olympica. In pictures returned by Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 it appeared to be a giant crater about 300 miles in diameter; now it is seen to be a cone at least four miles high.”

Computer Logic

“In a major effort to build a computer that is easier to work with, the Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation has designed a new computer system in which a large fraction of the programming tasks normally assigned to software are handled by hardware, that is, by logic incorporated directly into the computer. Fairchild calls the new system SYMBOL, which signifies direct hardware symbolic addressing. The system will handle many critical areas of memory management from 10 to 100 times more efficiently than it is now handled by software. The first prototype of the new Fairchild system, SYMBOL IIR, is undergoing tests at Iowa State University.”


Human Aura Is Ultraviolet

“Each person is enveloped by a haze invisible under ordinary circumstances. This halo, shown in old pictures, has for a long time been manifest to certain ‘clairvoyants’ possessing a specially gifted sight. The unquestionable evidence of Walter J. Kilner, electrical expert of St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, as given in his book, The Human Atmosphere, should at once set aside any belief that this is a byproduct of occultism or charlatanism. Professor Kilner says, “Although at present it is impossible to say exactly of what the aura consists, I feel positive that we are dealing with an ultra-violet phenomenon. The physical aura [also] can be influenced by external forces such as electricity and chemical action.”

Holly Tea

“A species of holly, growing riotously over 40,000 square miles in the South Atlantic and Gulf States, may in the not remote future be converted into a beverage in quantity production. George F. Mitchell, tea specialist of the Bureau of Chemistry, has correctly appraised the value of this native plant, sometimes called cassina, as a stimulating drink similar to imported teas and coffees. This shrubbery has wide appeal for decorative purposes and as Christmas trees during the festive season. Samples of the leaves analyzed by chemists evidenced as high as 1.65 percent of caffeine. Laboratory experiments and reinforced observations in the South during the past summer seem to indicate that a delicious drink can be produced. The tea as now being concocted in the bureau’s laboratory is of two colors, one being dark and the other of a greenish hue.”


Lead Head Is Dead

“With but few exceptions, all the concoctions sold for the purpose of ‘restoring’ the color of the hair, or for dyeing the hair, contain the salts of lead, a deadly poison, highly injurious to the health when applied to the scalp or other portions of the body, even in minute quantities. Professor Charles F. Chandler of Columbia College has examined a variety of these preparations and, in each fluid ounce of many popular articles, finds lead.”

Nature Enchants

“Everything in nature indulges in amusement of some kind. The lightnings play, the winds whistle, the thunders roll, the snow flies, the rills and cascades sing and dance, the waves leap, the fields smile, the vines creep and run, the buds shoot, and the hills have tops to play with. But some of them have their seasons of melancholy. The tempests moan, the zephyrs sigh, the brooks murmur, and the mountains look blue.”

Old Scientific American covers.