Among the Forces eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 129 pages of information about Among the Forces.

Perhaps sometime we shall have the pure air of the mountains or the sea condensed to fluid and sold by the quart to the dwellers in the city, to be expanded into air once more.

The marvel is not greater that gas is able to sustain itself under the awful pressure with its particles in extreme dispersion, than that what we call solids should have their molecules in a mazy dance and yet keep their strength.

Since this world, in power, fineness, finish, beauty, and adaptations, not only surpasses our accomplishment, but also is past our finding out to its perfection, it must have been made by One stronger, finer, and wiser than we are.

MOBILITY OF SEEMING SOLIDS

When a human breath, or the white jet of a steam whistle, or the black cough of a locomotive smokestack is projected into the air it is easy to see that the air is mobile.  Its particles easily roll over one another in voluminously infolding wreaths.  The same is seen in water.  The crest of a wave falls over a portion of air, imprisoning it for a moment, and the mingled air and water of different densities prevent the light of the sun or sky from going straight down into the black depths and being lost, but by being reflected and turned back it shows like beautiful white lace, constantly created and dissolved with a thousandfold more beauty than any that ever came from human hands.  All the three shifting elements of the swift creations are mobile.  This seems to be the case because these elements are not solid.  The particles have plenty of room to play about each other, to execute mazy dances and minuets with vastly more space than substance.

Extend the thought a little.  Things that seem to us most solid are equally mobile.  An iron wire seems solid.  It is so; some parts much more so than others.  The surface that has been in closest contact with the die as the wire was drawn through, reducing its size by one half, perhaps, is vastly more dense than the inner parts that have not been so condensed.  File away one tenth of a wire, taking it all from the surface, and you weaken the tensile strength of the wire one half.

But, dense and solid as this iron is, its particles are as mobile within certain limits as the particles of air.  An electric message sent through a mile of wire is not anything transmitted; matter is not transferred, but the particles are set to dancing in wavy motion from end to end.  Particles are leaping within ordered limits and according to regular laws as really as the clouds swirl and the air trembles into song through the throat of a singer.  When a wire is made sensitive by electricity the breath of a child can make it vibrate from end to end, ensouled with the child’s laughter or fancies.  Nay, more, and far more wonderful, the wire will be sensitive to the number of vibrations of a certain note of music, and no receiver at the other end will gather up its

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Among the Forces from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.