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PERIODICITY OF THE FRESH-WATER LAKES OF AUSTRALIA.

tion, is unknown, and it would be impossible to differentiate their effects.

It will be a subject of considerable interest to watch the conduct of these lakes during the next twenty years.




At the meeting of the Edinburgh Botanical Society on Thursday a paper was read by Sir Robert Christison on the restorative and curative effects of the cuca leaf of Peru (Erythroxylon coca), which has for many years been valued by the Indians as a preventive of bodily fatigue, and which has lately attracted much attention owing to a belief that it was of some service to the American pedestrian, Mr. Weston, on the occasion of some of his walking-feats at the Agricultural Hall. A diversity of opinion exists as to the effect of the cuca leaf on those who chew it. By some travellers it is maintained to be a pernicious stimulant, while others hold the opinion that moderately used it is beneficial to health. Of its effects Sir Robert Christison gave an account ascertained by experiments he had made himself with a cuca leaf, by which he had found that it was both a preventive of fatigue and a restorative of strength after severe bodily exertion, and that it had no reactionary effect on the system. His first experiments made with the leaf were in 1870. Two of his students had come home thoroughly tired out with a sixteen-miles walk; instead of having dinner they each took an infusion of two drachms of cuca; presently all signs of fatigue vanished, and they "promenaded" Princes Street for a whole hour with ease and enjoyment. On returning home they eat an excellent dinner, felt light throughout the evening, slept well, and got up refreshed and active next morning. Similar results were obtained in the case of other ten students, some of whom had done a thirty-miles walk; and Sir Robert has also made experiments upon himself with a cuca leaf of an equally successful and comfortable nature. He is, it seems, overwhelmed by letters from all quarters asking for information respecting it. Women especially, having tried every other form of narcotic and stimulant, are very anxious to begin with the cuca leaf. One lady who has written to Sir Robert Christison on the subject, "put her question in such a shape that he saw plainly that she meant to ask whether it would renew her youth." In regard to its use as medicine, Sir Robert Christison recommends no one to try it till something more is known about it, or at least not to make use of it without consulting a physician.




The Climate of the Poles, Past and Present, may not seem a very geological subject, yet it is one of the most interesting in the whole range of geological studies. A very valuable paper on this question has been contributed to the Geological Magazine (Nov. 1875), by Prof. Nordenskiold, in which he says that we now possess fossil remains from the polar regions belonging to almost all the periods into which the geologist has divided the history of the earth. The Silurian fossils which McClintock brought home from the American Polar Archipelago, and the German naturalists from Novaja Semlja, as also some probably Devonian remains of fish found by the Swedish expeditions on the coasts of Spitsbergen, are, however, too few in number, and belong to forms too far removed from those now living, to furnish any sure information relative to the climate in which they have lived. Immediately after the termination of the Devonian age, an extensive continent seems to have been formed in the polar basin north of Europe, and we still find in Beeren Island and Spitzbergen vast strata of slate, sandstone, and coal, belonging to that period, in which are imbedded abundant remains of a luxuriant vegetation, which, as well as several of the fossil plant-remains brought from the polar regions by the Swedish Expeditions, have been examined and described by Prof. Heer of Zurich. We here certainly meet with forms, vast Sigillaria, Calamites, and species of Lepidodendra, etc., which have no exactly corresponding representatives in the now existing plants. Colossal and luxuriant forms of vegetation, however, indicate a climate highly favorable to vegetable development. A careful examination of the petrifactions taken from these strata shows also so accurate an agreement with the fossil plants of the same period found in many parts of the continent of central Europe, that we are obliged to conclude that at that time no appreciable difference of climate existed on the face of the earth, but that a uniform climate extremely favorable for vegetation — but not on that account necessarily tropical — prevailed from the equator to the poles.

Popular Science Review.




Baboo Loke Nath Ghose, a member of the Bengal Music-School, has compiled a Sanskrit Hymn-Book (with an English version), consisting of fourteen odes set to Hindoo rags and raginis, with European notation. The queen has been pleased to accept a copy, and to express her appreciation of the author's loyalty and good feeling.