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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 2

Notes to This Volume

page 3 of 3 | page 1 | The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Volume 2

Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

During the latter part of the last century, the question arose among mathematicians--"to determine the best form that can be given to the sails of a windmill, according to their varying distances from the revolving vanes, and likewise from the centres of the revoloution." This is an excessively complex problem, for it is, in other words, to find the best possible position at an infinity of varied distances and at an infinity of points on the arm. There were a thousand futile attempts to answer the query on the part of the most illustrious mathematicians, and when at length, an undeniable solution was discovered, men found that the wings of a bird had given it with absolute precision ever since the first bird had traversed the air.

{*17} He observed a flock of pigeons passing betwixt Frankfort and the Indian territory, one mile at least in breadth; it took up four hours in passing, which, at the rate of one mile per minute, gives a length of 240 miles; and, supposing three pigeons to each square yard, gives 2,230,272,000 Pigeons. -- "_Travels in Canada and the United States," by Lieut. F. Hall._

{*18} The earth is upheld by a cow of a blue color, having horns four hundred in number." -- _Sale's Koran_.

{*19} "The _Entozoa_, or intestinal worms, have repeatedly been observed in the muscles, and in the cerebral substance of men." -- See Wyatt's Physiology, p. 143.

{*20} On the Great Western Railway, between London and Exeter, a speed of 71 miles per hour has been attained. A train weighing 90 tons was whirled from Paddington to Didcot (53 miles) in 51 minutes.

{*21} The _Eccalobeion_

{*22} Maelzel's Automaton Chess-player.

{*23} Babbage's Calculating Machine.

{*24} _Chabert_, and since him, a hundred others.

{*25} The Electrotype.

{*26} _Wollaston_ made of platinum for the field of views in a telescope a wire one eighteen-thousandth part of an inch in thickness. It could be seen only by means of the microscope.

{*27} Newton demonstrated that the retina beneath the influence of the violet ray of the spectrum, vibrated 900,000,000 of times in a second.

{*28} Voltaic pile.

{*29} The Electro Telegraph Printing Apparatus.

{*30} The Electro telegraph transmits intelligence instantaneously- at least at so far as regards any distance upon the earth.

{*31} Common experiments in Natural Philosophy. If two red rays from two luminous points be admitted into a dark chamber so as to fall on a white surface, and differ in their length by 0.0000258 of an inch, their intensity is doubled. So also if the difference in length be any whole-number multiple of that fraction. A multiple by 2 1/4, 3 1/4, &c., gives an intensity equal to one ray only; but a multiple by 2 1/2, 3 1/2, &c., gives the result of total darkness. In violet rays similar effects arise when the difference in length is 0.000157 of an inch; and with all other rays the results are the same -- the difference varying with a uniform increase from the violet to the red.

{*32} Place a platina crucible over a spirit lamp, and keep it a red heat; pour in some sulphuric acid, which, though the most volatile of bodies at a common temperature, will be found to become completely fixed in a hot crucible, and not a drop evaporates -- being surrounded by an atmosphere of its own, it does not, in fact, touch the sides. A few drops of water are now introduced, when the acid, immediately coming in contact with the heated sides of the crucible, flies off in sulphurous acid vapor, and so rapid is its progress, that the caloric of the water passes off with it, which falls a lump of ice to the bottom; by taking advantage of the moment before it is allowed to remelt, it may be turned out a lump of ice from a red-hot vessel.

{*33} The Daguerreotype.

{*34) Although light travels 167,000 miles in a second, the distance of 61 Cygni (the only star whose distance is ascertained) is so inconceivably great, that its rays would require more than ten years to reach the earth. For stars beyond this, 20 -- or even 1000 years -- would be a moderate estimate. Thus, if they had been annihilated 20, or 1000 years ago, we might still see them to-day by the light which started from their surfaces 20 or 1000 years in the past time. That many which we see daily are really extinct, is not impossible -- not even improbable.


{*1} See Archimedes, "_De Incidentibus in Fluido_." - lib. 2.

Notes--Island of the Fay

{*1} Moraux is here derived from moeurs, and its meaning is "fashionable" or more strictly "of manners."

{*2} Speaking of the tides, Pomponius Mela, in his treatise "De Situ Orbis," says "either the world is a great animal, or" etc

{*3} Balzac--in substance--I do not remember the words

{*4} Florem putares nare per liquidum aethera. -- P. Commire.

Notes-- Domain of Arnheim

{*1} An incident, similar in outline to the one here imagined, occurred, not very long ago, in England. The name of the fortunate heir was Thelluson. I first saw an account of this matter in the "Tour" of Prince Puckler Muskau, who makes the sum inherited _ninety millions of pounds_, and justly observes that "in the contemplation of so vast a sum, and of the services to which it might be applied, there is something even of the sublime." To suit the views of this article I have followed the Prince's statement, although a grossly exaggerated one. The germ, and in fact, the commencement of the present paper was published many years ago -- previous to the issue of the first number of Sue's admirable _Juif Errant_, which may possibly have been suggested to him by Muskau's account.


{*1} For as Jove, during the winter season, gives twice seven days of warmth, men have called this element and temperate time the nurse of the beautiful Halcyon -- _Simonides_

The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Volume 2