Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/298

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Dr. Carl Vogt has declared, peremptorily, that "the organisms in meteorites announced by M. Hahn have no existence; what have been described as such result from crystalline conformations which are absolutely inorganic. None of the imagined organisms have the microscopic structure belonging to the organisms with which they have been associated. In particular, the asserted sponges do not show the structure of either existing or fossil sponges; the so-called corals do not show that of polops or anthozoa; and the imagined crinoids do not show the structure of known crinoids. The observed structures are due to an opaque crust, or result from optical illusions, caused by an incomplete method of conducting microscopic researches."

Signor Roncelli, of the Italian Parliament, has devised a simple and practical method of voting by electricity. Each member of the House has in front of him a metal plate bearing his name or number, on which are three buttons, marked respectively, "Ay," "No," and "Abstain." The buttons are connected with a central printing apparatus which prints in three separate columns the ayes, noes, and abstentions, according to the buttons touched by the members; while, with every addition to each column, the sum of the votes in the column is automatically recorded.

M. Delahaye has published in the "Revue Industrielle" some facts concerning extraordinary pressures of wind that have been observed in railway management in India. On the 5th of October, 1864, two trains on the Eastern Bengal Railway, one of eight cars, the other of twelve, were blown over during a violent storm. Four other cars were blown down a side-track, and overturned near the station by colliding with other cars which had also been blown there. On the 21st of September, 1878, a long freight-train on the same railway, while going about eight miles an hour, was blown back nearly a mile, although the engine had a full head of steam and the breaks were put on. Half the train was taken off, when the rest could barely make headway. The Indian railway service affords several other cases of trains that were stopped or greatly hindered by strong winds.

M. Pitre de Lisle has described a singular class of stone celts or hatchets which have been found so far only in Brittany and Northwestern France. They differ from other stone hatchets in having a knob or button-like termination on the butt or hammer end, while other hatchets taper away to a more or less conical point in this part. The blades vary in length from about three inches to about fifteen inches, and are all made of rocks belonging to the family of diorites. M. de Lisle calls these instruments haches à tête, or haches à bouton—hatchets with heads, or hatchets with buttons. He believes that the object of the expansion was to give greater security to the fastening of the blade or to the holding of it in the hand.

Sir Robert Christison, Professor of Materia Medica in the University of Edinburgh, died January 27th, in the eighty-fifth year of his age. He was the son of a professor in the university, was graduated as Doctor of Medicine in 183 9, and became Professor of Medical Jurisprudence in the university in 1822, and of Materia Medica in 1832. His specialty was poisons, on which he published a "Treatise" in 1829 that is still recognized as a work of great value. He received numerous honors on account of his eminence in his department, and held many public positions for which his gifts of knowledge and experience furnished important qualifications. He was elected to the presidency of the British Association in 1876, but declined it on account of his advanced age. He was noted in his youth as the most accomplished athlete in the university.

Besides the contributions in physical science which have, within a year or two, appeared in European journals, from Japanese students, we find that they are doing their share of the work in biological science as well. Within a few months there have appeared in the "Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science," London, an article on the structure of the gills of Lamellibranchiates, by Mr. Mitsukuri; and another paper, by the same author, on the development of the suprarenal bodies in mammalia. In the "Zoologischer Anzeiger," Leipsic, Mr. Ijima gives a condensed summary of a memoir on the structure of the ovary, and the origin of the egg and the egg-string in Nephelis; and Mr. Iwakawa gives the results of his observations on the genesis of the egg in Triton. The two latter-named gentlemen have never been abroad.

A wealthy land-owner in the Tyrol has made an application of the microphone to the detection of subterranean springs. He fixed the microphones at the spots where he supposed water might exist, each being connected with its telephone and battery. Then, at night, he put his ear to each of the instruments and listened for the murmuring of the waters—and in several cases heard it.

An exposition of electricity is to be held in the Palais Royal at Munich, under the auspices of a committee, of which Dr. G. de Beetz, of the Royal Scientific School, is president.