Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/589

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begins in February and is completed in March. In Mexico, Persia, and Syria, it takes place in April; in Asia Minor, Algeria, Morocco, and parts of China and Japan, in May, and after this in California, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Sicily, and some of the southern departments of France. In July it begins in France, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Russia, and the Middle United States. The turn of Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and Holland comes in August, and of Scotland, Northern America, Sweden, and Northern Russia in September.

Obituary.—Mr. Thomas Potts James, who died in February last, was one of our oldest botanists, and was one of four—Sullivant, Austin, James, and Lesquereux—who have distinguished themselves as specialists in the mosses. He was born at Radnor, Pennsylvania, in 1803. Having been prevented by circumstances from acquiring a collegiate education, as he had intended, he settled down in Philadelphia as a druggist, pursuing science as a by-occupation. He was an active member of the leading scientific societies of the city, and an officer of many of them. He made himself familiar with the phænogamous vegetation of the neighborhood of Philadelphia, and then devoted himself to the special study of the mosses, on which he contributed several papers, including the bryological department of the report of Clarence King's exploration of the fortieth parallel. He was associated with Mr. Lesquereux in the preparation of the "Manual of North American Mosses" which Sullivant was about to prepare in connection with Lesquereux when he died. Mr. James's death leaves Mr. Lesquereux the only survivor of the four American bryologists, and imposes upon him the task of completing the "Manual."

Mr. John Scott Russell, the constructor of the steamship Great Eastern, died at Ventnor, Isle of Wight, June 8th, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. He was the son of a Scotch clergyman, and was destined for the Church, but his taste for mechanics and science led him in another direction. He was graduated from Glasgow University when sixteen years old; was appointed temporary Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh in 1832; communicated to the British Association his first paper on the nature of waves and the best form of vessels in 1835; and received the gold medal of the Royal Society of Edinburgh for another paper bearing on that subject two years later. As manager of a ship-building establishment at Greenock, he built several vessels after the ideas he had worked out, and constructed the Great Eastern in 184.6. He became a Secretary of the Society of Arts in 1845. In 1850 he was appointed a joint Secretary of the Commission for the promotion of the Great Exhibition of 1851, and was one of the three chiefs in the furtherance of that enterprise. His greatest engineering work was the construction of the dome of the Exhibition Building at Vienna in 1873, the largest dome in the world. His last work was the design for a high level bridge with a span of one thousand feet, to cross the Thames below London Bridge. He also built the steamer that carries railway-trains across the Lake of Constance; and he contributed many valuable papers to the literature of his profession.


Dr. Byron D. Halstead, of the "American Agriculturist," has published, in the report of the Secretary of the Connecticut Board of Agriculture, an important memoir on "Fungi injurious to Vegetation, with Remedies." In it he describes ergot, the potato-rot, the rust of wheat, corn-smut, the onion-smut, the apple-leaf fungus, the peach-curl fungus, the American grape-mildew, the lettuce-mildew, and the raspberry fungus.

M. Barral, Secretary of the National Agricultural Society of France, has shown recently that the beet-sugar industry is advancing steadily in Germany, but is stationary in France. A great change has taken place in the character of the apparatus used for extracting the sugar in Germany, where hydraulic and continuous presses have given way to a process of extraction by diffusion, the apparatus for which is much more simple. A similar change is going on in France, but it has made less advance there than in Germany and Austria. The relative depression of the industry in France is owing to two causes: the quality of the beet-roots, which