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ICELAND MOSS

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Originally appearing in Volume V14, Page 242 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ICELAND MOSS, a lichen (Cetraria islandica) whose erect or ascending foliaceous habit gives it something of the appearance of a moss, whence probably the name. It is often of a pale chestnut colour, but varies considerably, being sometimes almost entirely greyish white; and grows to a height of from 3 to 4 in., the branches being channelled or rolled into tubes, which terminate in flattened lobes with fringed edges. It grows abundantly in the mountainous regions of northern countries, and it is specially characteristic of the lava slopes and plains of the west and north of Iceland. It is found on the mountains of north Wales, north England, Scotland and south-west Ireland. As met with in commerce it is a light-grey harsh cartilaginous body, almost destitute of colour, and having a slightly bitter taste. It contains about 70% of lichenin or lichen-starch, a body isomeric with common starch, but wanting any appearance of structure. It also yields a peculiar modification of chlorophyll, called thallochlor, fumaric acid, lichenostearic acid and cetraric acid, to which last it owes its bitter taste. It forms a nutritious and easily digested amylaceous food, being used in place of starch in some preparations of cocoa. It is not, however, in great request, and even in Iceland it is only habitually resorted to in seasons of scarcity. Cetraric acid or cetrarin, a white micro-crystalline powder with a bitter taste, is readily soluble in alcohol, and slightly soluble in water and ether. It has been recommended for medicinal use, in doses of 2 to 4 grains, as a hitter tonic and aperient. ICE-PLANT, the popular name for Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, a hardy annual most effective for rockwork. It is a low-growing spreading herbaceous plant with the fleshy stem and leaves covered with large glittering papillae which give it the appearance of being coated with ice. It is a dry-country plant,a native of Greece and other parts of the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands, South Africa and California. Mesembryanthemum is a large genus (containing about 300 species) of erect or prostrate fleshy herbs or low shrubs, mostly natives of South Africa, and rarely hardy in the British Isles where they are mostly grown as greenhouse plants. They bear conspicuous white, yellow or red flowers with many petals inserted in the calyx-tube. The thick fleshy leaves are very variable in shape, and often have spiny rigid hairs on the margin. They are essentially sun-loving plants. The best-known member of the genus is M. cordifolium, var. variegatum, with heart-shapedgreen and silvery leaves and bright rosy-purple flowers. It is extensively used for edging flower-beds and borders during the summer months. ICE-YACHTING, the sport of sailing and racing ice-boats. It is practised in Great Britain, Norway and Sweden, to some extent, and is very popular in Holland and on the Gulf of Finland, but its highest development is in the United States and Canada. The Dutch ice-yacht is a flat-bottomed boat resting crossways upon a planking about three feet wide and sixteen long, to which are affixed four steel runners, one each at bow, stern and each end of the planking. The rudder is a fifth runner fixed to a tiller. Heavy mainsails and jibs are generally used and the boat is built more for safety than for speed. The ice-boat of the Gulf of Finland is a V-shaped frame with a heavy plank running from bow to stern, in which the mast is stepped. The stern or steering runner is worked by a tiller or wheel. The sail is a large lug and the boom and gaff are attached to the mast by travellers. The passengers sit upon planks or rope netting. The Russian boats are faster than the Dutch. In 1790 ice-yachting was in vogue on the Hudson river, its headquarters being at Poughkeepsie, New York. The type was a square box on three runners, the two forward ones being nailed to the box and the third acting as a rudder operated by a tiller. The sail was a flatheaded sprit. This primitive style generally obtained until 18J3, when triangular frames with " boxes " for the crew aft and jib and mainsail rig were introduced. A heavy, hard-riding type soon developed, with short gaffs, low sails, large jibs and booms extending far over the stern. It was over-canvassed and the mast was stepped directly over the runner-plank, bringing the centre of sail-balance so far aft that the boats were apt to run away, and the over-canvassing frequently caused the windward runner to swing up into the air to a dangerous height. The largest and fastest example of this type, which prevailed until 1879, was Commodore J. A. Roosevelt's first " Icicle," which measured 69 ft. over all and carried 1070 sq. ft. of canvas. In 1879 Mr H. Relyea built the " Robert Scott, " which had a single backbone and wire guy-ropes, and it became the model for all Hudson river ice-yachts. Masts were now stepped farther forward, jibs were shortened, booms cut down, and the centre of sail-balance was brought more inboard and higher up, causing the centres of effort and resistance to come more in harmony. The shallow steering-box became elliptical. In 1881 occurred the first race for the American Challenge Pennant,which represents the championship of the Hudson river, the clubs competing including the Hudson river, North Shrews-bury, Orange lake, Newburgh and Carthage Ice-Yacht Clubs. The races are usually sailed five times round a triangle of which each leg measures one mile, at least two of the legs being to windward. Ice-yachts are divided into four classes, carrying respectively 600 sq. ft. of canvas or more, between 450 and 600, between 309 and 450, and less than 300 sq. ft. Ice-yachting is very popular on the Great Lakes, both in the United States and Canada, the Kingston (Ontario) Club having a fleet of over 25 sail. Other important centres of the sport are Lakes Minnetonka and White Bear in Minnesota, Lakes Winnebago and Pepin in Wisconsin, Bar Harbor lake in Maine, the St Lawrence river, Quinte Bay and Lake Champlain. A modern ice-yacht is made of a single-piece backbone the entire length of the boat, and a runner-plank upon which it rests at right angles, the two forming a kite-shaped frame. The best woods for these pieces are basswood, butternut and pine. They are cut from the log in such a way that the heart of the timber expands, giving the planks a permanent curve, which, in the finished boat, is turned upward. The two forward runners, usually made of soft cast iron and about 2 ft. 7 in. long and 22 in. high, are set into oak frames a little over 5 ft. long and 5 in. high. The runners have a cutting edge of 90%, though a V-shaped edge is often preferred for racing. The rudder is a runner about 3 ft. 7 in. long, worked by a tiller, sometimes made very long, 72 ft. not being uncommon. This enables the helms-man to lie in the box at full length and steer with his feet, leaving his hands free to tend the_sheet. Masts and spars are generally made hollow for racing-yachts and the rigging is pliable steel wire. The sails are of io-oz. duck for a boat carrying 400 sq. ft. of canvas. They have very high peaks, short hoists and long booms. The mainsail and jib rig is general, but a double-masted lateen rig has been found advantageous. The foremost ice-yacht builder of America is G. E. Buckhout of Poughkeepsie. An ice-yacht about 40 ft. in length will carry 6 or 7 passengers or crew, who are distributed in such a manner as to preserve the balance of the boat. In a good breeze the crew lie out on the windward side of the runner-plank to balance the boat .and reduce the pressure on the, leeward runner. A course of 20 M. with many turns has been sailed on the Hudson in less than 48 minutes, the record for a measured mile with flying start being at the rate of about 72 M. an hour. In a high wind, however, ice-yachts often move at the rate of 85 and even 90 m. an hour. Several of the laws of ice navigation seem. marvellous to the uninitiated. Commodore Irving Grinnell, who has made a scientific study of the sport, says: " The two marked peculiarities of ice-yachting which cause it to differ materially from yachting on the sea are: (I) Sailing faster than the wind. (2) Sheets flat aft under all circumstances." Mr H. A. Buck, in the " Badminton Library," Skating, Curling, Tobogganing, &c., thus explains these paradoxes. An ice-boat sails faster than the wind because she invariably sails at some angle to it. The momentum is increased by every puff of wind striking the sails obliquely, until it is finally equalled by the increase of friction engendered. Thus the continued bursts of wind against the sails cause a greater accumulation of speed in the ice-yacht than is possessed by the wind itself. When the boat sails directly before the wind she is, like a balloon, at its mercy, and thus does not sail faster than the wind. The ice-yacht always sails with its sheets flat aft, because the greater speed of the boat changes the angle at which the wind strikes the sail from that at which it would strike if the yacht were stationary to such a degree that, in whatever direction the yacht is sailing, the result is always the same as if the yacht were close-hauled to the wind. It follows that the yacht is actually overhauling the wind, and her canvas shivers as if in the wind's eye. When eased off her momentum becomes less and less until it drops to the velocity of the wind, when she can readily be stopped by being spun round and brought head to the wind. The latter method is one way of " coming to," instead of lulling up in the usual way from a beam wind. In beating to windward an ice-boat is handled like a water yacht, though she points more closely. On the bays near New York a peculiar kind of ice-boat has developed, called scooter, which may be described as a toboggan with a sail. A typical scooter is about 15 ft. long with an extreme beam of 5 ft., perfectly oval in form and flat. It has mainsail and jib carried on a mast 9 or 10 ft. long and set well aft, and is provided with two long parallel metal runners. There is no rudder, the scooter being steered entirely by trimming the sails, particularly the jib. As the craft is flat and buoyant it sails well in water, and can thus be used on very thin ice without danger. A speed of 5o m. an hour has been attained by a scooter (see Outing for March 1905). See Ice Sports, in the " Isthmian Library "; Skating, Curling, Tobogganing, &c. in the " Badminton Library." I-CH'ANG (Y1-cn'ANG, anciently known as Yi-ling), a town of China in the province of Hu-peh, one of the four ports opened to foreign trade by treaty in 1877. It is situated in 300 42' N. and (approximately) 20' E., on the Yangtsze-Kiang, woo m. from Shanghai. Built on the left bank of the river where it escapes from the ravines and gorges which for 350 M. have imprisoned its channel, I-ch'ang is exposed to considerable risk of floods; in 187o the waters rose 20 ft. in one day, and the town had many of its houses and about half of its wall swept away. The first English vessels to ascend the river as far as I-ch'ang were those of Admiral Sir James Hope's expedition in 1861. All cargo to or from Szech'uen is here transhippedfrom steamer to junk, or vice versa. About ro m. above I-ch'ang the famed scenery of the Yangtsze gorges begins. Through these the great river runs in a series of rapids, which make navigation by vessels of any size extremely difficult. A very large trade, nevertheless, is carried on by this route between Chungk'ing and I-ch'ang. As a local centre of distribution this port is of no great consequence, the transhipment trade with Szech'uen being almost its sole business. The population is estimated at 35,000. The number of foreign residents is very small, trade being carried on by Chinese agents. Before the anti-opium campaign of 1906 (see CHINA) opium was much grown. The trade of the port amounted in 1899 to j 531,229, and in 1904 to £424,442, the principal import being cotton yarn and the principal export opium.
End of Article: ICELAND MOSS
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