Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/737

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reason that the goat-skins of Turkey, in the tanning of which there is nothing modern or "improved," are still recognized as furnishing the best leather for bindings. The sulphide of sodium that is sometimes used in tanning may supply a part of the sulphur that is complained of in modern libraries. A second cause is the practice of using split skins, which gives a binding only half as strong and lasting as the old whole skins; and a third cause may be found in the gases escaping from the hot-air furnaces with which libraries are warmed, which are hardly less destructive than the products of illumination, and are more constantly in action.

Mixed Education.—Professor Alexander Hogg, in a note reprinted from the "Proceedings of the National Educational Association," refers to the perplexities arising from mixing military with industrial education in the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. A cadet failed to receive promotion at the hands of the faculty, and the board of directors confirmed their decision, and then turned out the whole faculty. Professor Hogg says that serious troubles have befallen these institutions in several States, and remarks: "With regard to the cause, I venture to suggest that it will be found that it has all grown out of the complications of attempting to run in the same institution these three leading features, viz., agricultural, mechanical, and military education. The military, so far as I have been able to learn (and this is corroborated by my personal experience), is the source of all the troubles. And this, I think, grows out of the further fact that the military, to be of any use whatever, must be thoroughly equipped in all its departments and requirements, while the act of Congress, granting lands for the support of these colleges, intended it should be secondary, and cultivated entirely as a means of discipline and good order—not at all intended to make proficients in arms, but simply as a gymnastic exercise."

Rate of Growth of Coral.—Light is thrown on the question of the rapidity with which corals grow, by the case of specimens of living coral which were recently found on the hull of the French man-of-war Dayot, after a cruise of a few months in the South Pacific Ocean. When the vessel reached Tahiti, several corals were discovered growing on the copper sheathing, the longest of which was fungia of discoidal shape nine inches in diameter, and weighing when half dry two pounds and four ounces. The Dayot had entered tropical waters several months before, but had not made a long stay in any harbor until she reached the Gambier Islands, where she remained for two months in the still waters of a coral basin. Thence she sailed direct for Tahiti. A young fungia probably became attached to the sheathing of the ship in passing the reef, where the vessel rubbed, and grew to the size and weight it had attained when observed, in nine weeks.


Fleuss's diving apparatus, which we described several months ago, has been used with success at the Severn Tunnel by a professional diver, who with it reached the bottom of the shaft under thirty-five feet of water, and walked more than a thousand feet up a heading to close some sluices and shut an iron door. He was cut off from all communication for an hour and a half. The ordinary diving gear had been tried for this work without success, for the great length of tubing required in connection with it rendered its use impracticable.

The suffocation of infants by overlying in the night has recently been investigated by a London coroner, who found that the abuse of alcohol was the principal cause of this form of mortality. Most of the cases occur on Saturday nights following the weekly debauch of the poorer classes among which they happen. The mother goes to bed in a state of semi-intoxication, nurses the baby with alcohol-poisoned milk, and both sink into a sort of drunken stupor, of which the infant becomes the victim.

The death is announced of Francis Trevelyan Buckland, best known as Frank Buckland, a popular writer on subjects of natural history, and a constant contributor to "Land and Water." He was a son of Dean Buckland, author of the work on geology in the "Bridgewater Treatises," which he edited in 1858, was himself a writer "who could seize with alacrity the popular side of a scientific question, but seldom went deeper," and was an authority on subjects relating to fish and fish-culture.