Items of Interest

The House committee on interstate and foreign commerce is taking the initiative on a plan for a general revision of the laws affecting water-power development. It is planned in the proposed bill to secure a middle ground between the ultraconservationists on the proposition of the development of water power. The decision of the Supreme Court last May in the Chandler-Dunbar water-power case, it is said, has opened the way for many desired amendments to the general dam act. The proposed act will regulate the term of the franchise and the disposition of the power and equipment after the franchise has expired. At present a fifty-year franchise is regarded as a proper one, and it is probable that the committee bill will specify a fifty-year franchise period. The bill will contain a provision that the dam and equipment must be sufficient to utilize all power possible, that none may be wasted. The government is to be given the power to regulate charges for service developed by the power, unless by suitable legislation the state regulates the charges, either through public utilities commissions or other appropriate bodies.

The boundaries of the universe have been discovered, according to a report received at the National Observatory at Washington from Prof. R. A. T. Innes, director of the Union observatory at Johannesburg, South Africa. The universe, Professor Innes asserts, is contained within the space girdled by the Milky Way, and he figures that the most distant star in that wonderful girdle is five hundred and forty light-years distant from the earth. As light travels one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles a second, or over five and three quarters quadrillion miles a year, the diameter of the universe, by Professor Innes' calculation, is 6,334,951,680,000,000 miles. He says that the most powerful telescopes penetrate far into space, beyond the boundaries of the universe, revealing nothing. In particular, he says, there is absolutely no sign of other universes of similarly constituted stellar systems. He looked out beyond the universe, but his telescope discovered nothing in those far-away depths of space.

True to Type
November 29, 1913

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