Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/148

This page has been validated.

fenses; the material, architecture, furnishing, and adornment of their dwellings, whether they be huts, pile-dwellings, caves, or tents; their public buildings, temples, sacred places, and altars; their domestic, hunting, and farming utensils, pottery, glassware, metallic and wooden vessels; how they make and apply their paints; their mining arts; their usages in trade; their money and their manner of counting; how they make their fires; their intoxicants and narcotics; what they know and have of music and musical instruments; what with them takes the place of writing; their superstitions and folklore, and particularly the objects to which they give special honors; their social customs and usages in intercourse with friends and enemies; observances in the matters of birth, marriage, and death; their diseases and methods of cure; their ideas as to a future state; their traditions as to their origin; their knowledge of the stars, and their manner of computing time. The questions covering these points in detail are to be sent out, in English and German, to ship-captains, merchants, consuls, and missionaries, who, it is expected, will enter upon the schedule notes embodying such information as they can furnish. As it is impossible to make the questions exhaustive, further communications than those asked for, such as the judgment of the respondent may dictate, will be thankfully received.


An Artificial Volcano.—The newspapers of Cologne tell of a kind of artificial volcano which was produced recently at Apenrade, in the Rhine provinces, in the course of the digging of an artesian well. At the depth of not quite five hundred feet, a strong ebullition was noticed, accompanied by a dull rumbling. Then, all at once, the earth and stones in the tube were violently blown out to a considerable height, with a heavy detonation, and a column of gas came up hissing. When lighted with a match, the gas burned with a clear flame, rising high in the air, till it was extinguished by a new eruption of pebbles and dirt. Eruptions of stones and gas continued till the time the story was told, when the flame of the gas continued to be of undiminished intensity. The phenomenon was occasioned, of course, by one of those accumulations of gas which I take place now and then in the bowels of the earth, giving rise to fire-damp explosions in coal-mines, causing earthquake-shocks in countries which are not volcanic, and giving rise to the so-called "mud-volcanoes," when the gas forces its passage through beds of moist clay.


Origin of Native Gold.—Professor J. S. Newberry has presented some strong points of fact and argument against the theory that the grains and nuggets of gold found in placers are formed by precipitation from chemical solutions. He holds, in a paper he has published on the subject, that geology teaches, in regard to the genesis and distribution of gold, that it exists in the oldest known rocks, and has been thence distributed through all strata derived from them; that, in the metamorphosis of these derived rocks, it has been concentrated into segregated quartz-veins by some process not yet understood; that it is a constituent of fissure-veins of all geological ages, where it has been deposited from hot chemical solutions, which have reached deeply buried rocks of various kinds, gathering from them gold with other metallic minerals; and that gold has been accumulated through mechanical agents in placer deposits by the erosion of strata containing auriferous veins.


What has been gained by Vivisection.—Dr. Ferrier was recently arrested in England for practicing vivisection without a license, and the members of the British Medical Association were indignant at the act, regarding it as an insult and a measure of annoyance. Dr. Ferrier's offense seems to have been observing with Dr. Yeo, who had a license, experiments that were intended to throw light upon certain features of the treatment of lesions of the brain. Dr. Ferrier's investigations in this department, which would have been impossible without vivisection, have been of immediate and of the greatest value to mankind. Among the results of them has been the discovery of the means of localizing in its definite region the point where an injury, resulting in epileptic fits, has been inflicted, and of applying remedial treatment to the precise spot where it will be effective. Dr. Echeverria