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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/591

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with water; 3. The solution becomes turbid in boiling, without coagulating; when it is curdy it sometimes leaves an insoluble residue in water; left to stand, the solution becomes turbid after some days, and a microscopic examination shows it to be filled with vibriones; 4. In the presence of a saccharine liquid, papaine acts as an alcoholic ferment, with an extraordinary energy and promptitude, but the digestive property may be arrested by the application of benzoic or salicylic acid. The most important property of papaine, and one which puts it in the rank of the most powerful digestive ferments, is its action on meats. One part of papaine will digest and transform into soluble peptone from two hundred and fifty to three hundred parts of meat. Its solubility in different fluids allows it to be used in a great many pharmaceutical forms; and, being a vegetable juice, it can be preserved with more stability than animal ferments, and can be kept indefinitely when dry.

 


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Mr. E. F. Horton gives an account, in the "Kansas City Review," of the opening of a mound thirty or forty feet in diameter, near Trenton, Missouri, June 9th, in which at least twenty-five human skeletons, but no relics or implements, were found. He estimates that the mound has contained from one hundred and fifty to two hundred skeletons, and says: "There appears to have been a stone floor on which the bodies have been placed; over them a stone covering, supported, probably, by stones set edgewise, upon which were other bodies; this continuing until there were four layers of corpses and five layers of stone."

Mr. Gerard Krefft, a naturalist distinguished for his work in the natural history of Australia, died in February last. He was born in Brunswick, Germany, in 1830, early conceived a taste for natural history, and went to Melbourne in 1852, after having spent some time in the United States. He went out in the collecting expedition which was dispatched by the Victorian Government in 1858, became its leader, and supplemented the collection of specimens which he brought back with a full report concerning the animals he obtained, and the manners and habits of the aborigines. Having spent a short time in Europe, he returned to Sydney, and became connected with the Australian Museum, and eventually its curator, till 1874.

The International Geological Congress, which held its first session in Paris, in 1878, will meet at Bologna, Italy, September 26th, under the honorary presidency of Signor Sella. The King of Italy has taken a warm interest in the meeting, and has made considerable efforts to assure its success. A geological exposition will be held during the sessions, and excursions will be made to various points of interest. The reports of the International Committee appointed in 1878, on the unification of geological nomenclature and the conventional signs (figures and colors) used for charts, will soon be mailed to subscribers to the Congress. This question has been made a subject for competitive essays, for which prizes given by King Humbert are to be distributed by a jury.

M. Fievez, of the Brussels Observatory, has produced a new argument against Mr. Lockyer's theory that the spectrum furnishes evidence that some of the terrestrial elements are resolved into simpler constituents by the solar heat. Mr. Lockyer's view is based on the fact that some of the spectral lines of elements are shortened, disappear, or are unequally reversed in solar observation. M. Fievez has found that he can cause two of the lines of hydrogen to disappear, without any change in temperature taking place, by simply reducing the intensity of the light, as when he diminishes the aperture of his instrument during the observation. The lines shorten and go out as the aperture is drawn up; appear and lengthen when it is opened again. Similar results were obtained with the spectra of nitrogen and magnesium; and the phenomena of reversal noticed by Mr. Lockyer were also produced by changing the intensity of the light.

Mr. C. Shaler Smith has applied the results of the observations of several years to the estimation of the amount of pressure that has been exercised by the wind in gusts of extraordinary violence. The most violent storm of which he has a record occurred at East St. Louis, Ill., in 1871, when a locomotive was blown over by a wind-pressure of 93 pounds per square foot. The jail at St. Charles, Mo., was destroyed in 1877, by a pressure of 84·3; a brick dwelling at Marshfield, Mo., in 1880, by a force of 58 pounds per square foot. Railway-trains may be blown from the track, and bridges prostrated by pressures of from 24 to 31 pounds per square foot. These estimates are based upon the calculation of the smallest amount of pressure that would do the damage.

The magnetic survey of Missouri is to be continued during the summer at the expense of a gentleman in St. Louis. The State Legislature has rejected a bill author-