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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/153

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sheep which had been previously vaccinated. Three days afterward fifteen of the sixteen unvaccinated sheep were dead, while the nineteen vaccinated ones were perfectly healthy. M. Toussaint has discovered that a female animal which has been inoculated for this disease transmits her immunity to her offspring, and that equally well whether the inoculation was made before conception or afterward.

 


NOTES.

Professor T. J. Burrill, in the "American Naturalist," refers certain blights and diseases of plants to the agency of bacteria. Those organisms appear to be an active cause of the blight in pear and apple trees. The cells of blighted pear-trees are destitute of the starch-grains with which the healthy cells are filled, but traces of fermentation have been discovered in them, and bacteria have been uniformly observed in the juices of diseased pear and apple trees. The death of patches of bark on the trunk and larger limbs of apple-trees is ascribed by Professor Burrill to the same cause. The yellows of the peach-tree have been shown by the discovery of bacteria under the microscope to be caused by a similar organism, as are also the blights of the Lombardy poplar and the aspen.

Mr. E. E. Fish, in the "Bulletin" of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences collates several instances to show that the power of repeating from imitation other sounds than their own notes, which has been noticed in only a few species, is common to many birds. He has observed the sparrow singing clearly the song of the chewink or towhee bunting and of the pewit; the robin interspersing the notes of a phebe-bird with each song, "with such exactness as to deceive any one who might not see the bird while singing"; another robin utter the notes of the oriole; the red-eyed vireo whistle the "Bob White" of the quail, deceiving those who heard it and did not see it.

How fallible is a name as a guide to any fact in respect to the article to which it is applied is curiously shown in the case of the "Jordan almonds," which even Philip Miller, in Bailey's Dictionary, said were so called because the best of them grew near the river Jordan. In fact, no almonds come, or ever did come, from the Jordan. An old work, however, mentions "Jardyne almaunde, Amigdalum jardinum" and solves the doubt. Jordan is a corruption of jarden; the Jordan almond is simply a garden or cultivated almond.

Mr. James B. Francis, President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, endeavoring to account for the origin of anchor or ground-ice, shows that it is formed in streams where the water is much disturbed, rising and falling in upward and downward currents. The ice-needles in course of formation, having nearly the same specific gravity, are carried down with the descending currents, and many of them become attached to the bottom by regelation. Of the immense number of needles that are formed, enough thus adhere together at the bottom to form a mass of ice there. The essential conditions to the formation of ground-ice are, that the temperature of the water must be at the freezing-point, and that of the air below it; that the surface of the water must be exposed to the air, and there must be a current in the water—all of which are in harmony with this theory. The adherence of the ice to the bottom is always downstream from where the needles are found, and in large streams it is many miles below.

Professor Alexander Hogg, in an address, at Marshall University, Texas, illustrated the extent to which the English language has spread, by referring to the time when Mary Beatrice, of Modena, about to marry the Duke of York, afterward King James II, did not know where England was; then to one hundred years ago, when French was spoken by twice as many native French-men as there were English-speaking people, while German was the language of at least an equal number, and Spanish had a wider geographical range than either German, French, or English; and, comparing these periods with the present, when English is the language of one hundred million people, and bids fair, before another hundred years, to be that of ten times as many.

Mr. Rhees's biography of Smithson, published by the Smithsonian Institution, states that the precise date and place of his nativity are unknown. Mr. Joseph L. Chester states, in the "Academy," that the matriculation register of the University of Oxford shows that Smithson matriculated as James Lewis Macie, from Pembroke College, on May 7, 1782, at the age of seventeen, and that he was a native of London. As the age at the last birthday was always required, it follows that he was born between May 7, 1764 and May 7, 1705. The date, about 1754, given by Mr. Rhees as that of Smithson's birth, is, then, ten years too early.

M. Schlumberger, describing the powerful antiseptic qualities of salicylic acid, says that, employed in infinitely small doses, it hinders the action of nitrogenous ferments, and forms stable combinations with them. In hygiene, it is a valuable disinfecting and