ITEMS OF INTREST.
At the meeting of the committee of the Tallangatta (Victoria) Agricultural Society a letter was received from Mr Parker Moloney, M.H.R., in answer to a request for a donation, stating that he had found it absolutely necessary to refuse these appeals, as the charity calls upon his purse were so heavy, and the constituency of Indi was so extensive. The committee unanimously agreed that Mr Molpney's refusal was perfectly justifiable, and instructed the secretary to reply to him to that effect. Since Job mentioned Arcturus the star has moved about four diameters of the moon on the sky. It was believed to be so distant that this displacement would require a motion of from 200 to 300 miles per second. Professor Elkin had given the star a distance 50 times greater than Alpha Centauri, or 200 years of light journey. One man is, however, in a few observations liable to be in error. Elkin and two other Yale observers have recently made about 500 observations among them, and they find a parallax of over six-hundredths of a second of arc. This may be accepted as final. It means that the star is only 11 times as far as Alpha, and that the rate of motion must be divided by four. Even so, Arcturus may be six or seven millions of 'miles in diameter and 300 times as large as the sun. This fine star is seen in the North in the autumn. It may be explained that a second of arc is an angle such as would subtended by a half-penny at the distance of two miles. The parallax of Arcturus is a sixteenth part of that angle. For how little a matter a certain^ class of Sicilian is prepared to take life has been illustrated in an extraordinary occurrence in a theatre in Palermo. During the performance of a melo1 drama it was noticed that two of the musicians in the orchestra were quarrelling. During an interval they came to blows, arid during The next act one of them suddenly rushed towardsthe other with a revolver, which he fired at him five times. The wounded man was takpn to the hospital, and is not expected to recover. The incident is almost certain, in accordance with Sicilian custom, to start a vendetta between the two families, leading to murder after murder; and yet the origin of the quarrel was nothing more serious than the price of a telegram which the two men were despatching jointly. A touch of the ludicrous was added to this pitiable tragedy by the fact that the theatre firemen, hearing the shots, took them to be a signal of an outbreak of fire, and turned on the hose, wherewith they drenched the actors, orchestra, and audience alike.
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