Science: Moonstruck

Old men of primal tribes, squatting by night around cave hearths, muttered imprecations against the moon and called it bad medicine. Peasants shun the night air and say that folk who sleep unroofed will be moonstruck. Civilization still calls its deranged members "lunatics."

Superstition often has scientific roots. Last week, two Indian scientists, Drs. Lai and Bhatnagar, reported having stimulated the growth of typhoid and cholera germs by playing upon them beams of polarized light.†

This work supplemented the known fact that plants are stimulated by polarized light. Since sunlight is somewhat polarized, it...

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