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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/883

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contained in the atmosphere, and, a fortiori, much greater than the variations in that quantity. Although the figures can not be absolutely correct, we may certainly conclude that the sea is much richer in disposable carbonic acid than the atmosphere, and is in good condition to play the part of a regulator of the supply.

 

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A two months' course of instruction in plumbing and sanitary engineering was opened on the 16th of February, in connection with the Technical Schools of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in this city. The lectures on the chemical side of the course are delivered by Professor C. F. Chandler, those on plumbing by Mr. C. F. Wingate. The enrollment at the earlier meetings of the class was unexpectedly large, and indicated the existence of a lively and wholesome interest in the subject.

Several papers of much interest were read at the second annual meeting of the Natural History Society of Illinois, held February 8th. Professor S. A. Forbes discussed the "Illustrations and Applications of Evolution," with especial reference to the re-stocking of our waters with their native species of fish. He showed that the idea that fishes could be artificially multiplied in such numbers that it would make no difference how, or where, or in what numbers they were caught, involved a contradiction of the doctrine of natural selection. The food-supply of fishes was diminished by the drainage of swamps, the restriction of over-flows by levees, and by other operations attendant upon the settlement of a country; and it was not to be expected that the fishes in a body of water could be permanently kept up to as high a number as flourished before the natural conditions were changed.

Steps have been taken in this city to provide the necessary organizations to furnish facilities for cremation. A draft of a charter has been approved by the persons concerned in the movement, for the formation of "the United States Cremation Company (limited)," with a capital of fifty thousand dollars, whose peculiar object shall be "to cremate the human dead in the quickest, best, and most economical manner." A plan has also been adopted for the formation of the "New York Cremation Society," as an association distinct from the purely business enterprise, having for its object "to disseminate sound and enlightened views respecting incineration as preferable to burial, and to advance the public good by offering facilities for cremation."

Professor Dr. Emanuel Boricky, a Bohemian mineralogist, who died January 27th, aged forty years, was best known by his microscopical researches in petrography. He had been connected with the Bohemian Museum and the University and colleges of Prague since 1865, and since 1871 had lectured in the Bohemian language on petrography at the University of Prague. He has left a monograph on the porphyries ready for the press.

Mr. William P. Blake describes, in the March number of the "American Journal of Science," the beds of realgar and orpiment in the sedimentary formations underlying the lava in Iron County, Utah. These arsenical sulphides are found in lenticular and nodular masses, in a layer about two inches thick, in a compact, sandy clay. Above and below the layer and close to it are thin parallel seams of fibrous gypsum, while the strata above, for thirty feet or more, are arenaceous clays charged with soluble salts which exude and effloresce, forming hard crusts. The whole appearance and association of the minerals indicate that they have been formed by aqueous infiltration since the deposition of the beds. Beds of stibnite, or antimony sulphide, in the same formation, had probably a similar origin.

Charles F. Kuhlmann, a distinguished Alsatian chemist and economist, whose death has recently been announced, had been for the last forty years a prominent figure in the industrial and scientific circles of France, and was known as the founder at Lille of one of the most important chemical manufactories of the world. His name is also associated with investigations which have had valuable results on the baryta compounds, the crystallization of insoluble bodies, on the manufacture of sugar, on the chemistry of mortars and manures, bleaching, dyeing, and printing, and on many subjects of a more purely scientific character. His collected researches were published in 1879 in a single large volume.

Mercadier has described a new and economical method of producing intermittent luminous signals by burning petroleum with oxygen. He has a lamp with a round wick, within which is a tube rising not quite up to the level of the top of the wick. This tube reaches a reservoir of oxygen: when the lamp is lighted and a properly adjusted jet of oxygen is permitted to reach it, it gives out a white flame, the intensity of which approaches that of the oxyhydrogen light. When the lamp is burned without oxygen, it gives a smoky flame of little brilliancy, which will, however, rapidly increase in intensity, and soon reach a maximum when the oxygen is turned on.