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News and Notes.

federation of potteries TOWNS., Mr John Burns, President of the Local Government Board, lately presided at a conference at Stoke-on-Trent on the proposed federation of the six towns in the Potteries. Representatives of local councils, including four mayors, were present. Mr Burns strongly urged the wisdom of federation, remarking that they were near enough to he neighbours, sensible enough to bo friends, and business-like enough to co-oper-ate as partners in one great civic concern. Federation would result in cheaper electricity, anu, as an old electrical engineer, Mr Burns said : “X am green with envy of the opportunity of exploiting the district. It would secure better and more profitable tramways, and there would be a great economy in local administration. The name of the new city was a dificulty, but he hoped that it would not be called Burnsville. On Mr Burns’s suggestion it was resolved to appoint. a committee to further the scheme. BLACK SWANS FOR WHITE. The Town Council of Adelaide, South Australia, some months since communicated with Weymouth Corporation suggesting an exchange of white for black swans, and a mutual arrangement was agreed upon. Recently ten of the dozen sent from Australia arrived at Weymouth, the other two having died on the way. The birds, which showed traces of their enforced confinement during their long travels, will not be released for some days, during which it is hoped that they will become acclimatised and accustomed to the swankeeper. In the same cages which brought the birds to England a dozen Weymouth swans will be packed for the Adelaide ornamental waters. SIGEAL’BOE TRAGEDY. “I am ill ; you must relieve mo at once,” were the last words of Robert Glgin, a signal-man at Sheffield Midland main line signal-box shortly before one o’clock one morning to a comrade who had responded to a violent ring on the. alarm signal bell. These words, with the hurried instructiobs as to the state of the lino and the work required done immediately at the levers, had hardly been uttered when the brave man, who had stuck tenaciously to his post while terribly ill, fell at the foot of the signal level’s. He had carefullypulled up a goods train at a siding to keep free the main line for the northern express, which was due at that moment, and when help arrived he was' seen with his left hand on the lever and his right hand placed to his forehead. He died shortly afterwards. Elgin had been employed by the Midland , Railway over since a boy. He went on night duty only a short time before his death, and a few- minutes before his sudden illness he had joked through the open window .of the signal box to a passing friend. The tragic affair recalls' the recent discussion regarding the duty ox a doctor attending a signalman whom he knows to be liable to sudden illness or death. Should he reveal such weakness for the public good, or is the secret of his patient inviolable ? It -was generally argued that professional etiquette restrained the doctor from disclosing the secret without the patient’s concent.. Figures as to the excessive hours of work of railway employes are given in a Board of Trade return concerning the periods of duty in excess of twelve hours worked during April, 1907, on the railways of the United Kingdom. The return, deals with 109,257 employes, who worked during the month a total of 2,639,831 days, the proportion of this number of days on which the xnen were on duty for more than twelve hours at a time being 3.31 per cent. Sixtyfour signalmen, 162 passenger engine drivers and firemen, and 481 goods drivers and firemen worked eighteen lx ours and upwards at a stretch ; the numbers for seventeen hours and upwards of duty were respectively 93, 197, and 648. OUR EX-SOLDIERS.-Many ex-soldiers become policemen. In the Metropolitan Police there are nearly 2000 soldiers and 600 reservists. As regards the latter, says a writer in “Cassell’s Saturday Journaf,” it will be understood that it would not do to have in the force too many men who are liable to, at any time, be called upon to return to active service. “Tommy,” too, often becomes a postman, for the

General Post Office apportions onehalf of its vacancies to postmen and porters to soldiers. On leaving the army men often apply to the railway companies for work, and get it as porters, foremen, timekeepers, carmen, stablemen, and so forth. The London and North Western Railway, in particular, is the ‘ 'ex-soldier s friend,” taking on hundreds of such men every year. STUDIED BY SHIPBUILDERS. The fact that the lobster is the swiftest of all the sea’s inhabitants has led marine architects and engineers to study its shape and methods very closely with a view to borrowing hints for the construction of future vessels designed for speed. One scientist (says “Cassell’s Saturday Journal”) who has devoted five years to a study of lobsters, has discovered that they can shoot through the sea a distance of twenty-five feet in a second. If an ocean steamer could travel in proportion to its length and size as fast as a lobster it could cross the Atlantic in a very short time. The amazing speed of the lobster is due mainly to its tail, in which are found delicate attachments —each consisting of a short stalk and two flexible blades—which greatly aid its progress. It is the mechanism and operation of the tail which the experts are especially studying.

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News and Notes., Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 21, 7 September 1907

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News and Notes. Southern Cross, Volume 15, Issue 21, 7 September 1907

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