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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tic asylums with most excellent effects in soothing and curing mania and the attendant diseases. Dr. Lockhart Robertson, of the Sussex County Lunatic Asylum, not only recommends it in those cases, but says that he has had several examples of its curative power in the early stages of consumption, and believes that, if used at a sufficiently high temperature, the results would astonish us all. Mr. Urquhart observes that a high temperature is more endurable when the heat is radiant than when it is brought in hot air-currents.

 

Association of German Naturalists and Physicians.—The fifty-fourth meeting of the Association of German Naturalists and Physicians was held at Salzburg, September 18th to 24th. The first secretary of the association, Dr. Günther, of Salzburg, in his address of welcome, mentioned the fact that Salzburg was the last place of retirement of Paracelsus; and that great physician and naturalist was the subject of a special address by Dr. Kirschensteiner, of Munich, at the closing session. The meeting was divided into twenty-three sections, eleven of which were medical, and seven pertained to natural science. Besides Professor Pettenkofer's paper on the sanitary relations of the soil, which we publish, Professor Weisman read a paper maintaining that in general the duration of life of an individual represents the minimum of time necessary to insure the existence of the species, and is governed by adaptation and heredity. Professor Meyners, of Vienna, in an address on the laws which govern human thoughts and actions, expressed the opinion that the phenomena of bodies do not disclose to us their essence, and that there is only a phenomenon of freedom of will. At the third general meeting, Professor Oppolzer, of Vienna, disputed the sufficiency of the theories of the moon, Mercury, and Encke's comet, based upon Newton's law of gravitation in its present form, and postulated the hypothesis of a cosmic matter surrounding the sun as necessary to complement them and make them sufficient.

 

Animals and the Telegraph.—M. Nielsen, director of the Norwegian telegraph lines, has just published a curious note upon the impressions that are produced upon animals by the vibrations of telegraphic wires. The posts in the neighborhood of the Norwegian pine-woods, even those which have been freshly impregnated with sulphate of copper, are frequently found to have been perforated by woodpeckers, which, it seems, mistake the humming of the wires for the buzzing of insects. The holes arc generally made near the insulators, and a post shown at the Paris Electrical Exhibition had a hole clear through it large enough to insert the whole arm. Bears imagine the humming to be that of bees, and, not finding any sign of a colony above, paw at the heaps of stones at the base of the poles; and, when they can find nothing, vent their spite in a vigorous blow on the ground, to kill the bees that persist in staying hid. The scattering of the heaps of stones around the posts, which is not rare, could not be explained, till some one perceived the marks of the bears' claws where these desperate blows had been given. Wolves are believed to have been frightened away by the lines. While a vote was pending on a grant to a telegraphic line, a member of the Storthing remarked that, while his constituents had no direct interest in the line, they would support the grant, because the wires would drive away the wolves. It is said that, however hungry a wolf may be, he will never go into a spot that is inclosed by ropes stretched on posts. It is a remarkable fact that since the first telegraphic line was established, twenty years ago, wolves have never appeared in its neighborhood.

 


NOTES.

Professor W. J. Beal, of the Michigan Agricultural College, in a lecture on "The New Botany," gives a description of the old method of teaching that science that reads much like a burlesque—but which we know is too sadly accurate, for persons living have not forgotten how they "studied botany" when they were young—and then sketches the new way in a most attractive style. In the latter, we study objects before books; a few short talks are given; the pupil is directed and set to thinking, investigating, and experimenting for himself . . . . Before the first lesson each pupil is furnished or told where to procure some specimen for study. . . . For the first recitation each is to tell what he has discovered. The specimens