Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/881

This page has been validated.
863
NOTES.

convex turnip, mat-grass, glutinous and red rice, and bitter orange. The trees used for the preparation of varnish form another group. Ningpo varnish is a compound article, the product of two trees; one a kind of rhus, or sumach, which has a wide range of growth, and the nut-oil tree, whence the nut-oil or "wood-oil" of commerce is derived, of which there are two varieties, the hill and the green variety. The varnish is made by combining the juice of the rhus and the nut-oil extract. An important varnish is also made from a wild persimmon, and a similar one is obtained from what appears to be an alga. The yang-mei or tree-strawberry, produces a famous fruit resembling the mulberry, which, it is said, is given a terebinthine flavor by a curious process of grafting on the fir. Lichi (Nephalin lichi, Nsungau) is a delicious tropical fruit, of which there are between thirty and forty kinds, and is found as high up as the latitude of 30° in Szechuen. Dr. MacGowan also suggests the expediency of experimenting with Chinese water-plants. Among them are the water-caltrap, which bears a valuable fruit; the tuberous water-chestnut (Ellocharis tuherosus); the chico pai, with celery-like shoots; the chin tsai, or water-celery, which is cultivated in floating gardens built on bamboo rafts; the t'ish-shu, or iron-tree, "the most beautiful of the Cicadaceæ," which is revived, when it grows old, by driving iron nails into its trunk; and the tiao-lau, a hanging epidendron, which flowers only when taken from the ground and suspended from a ceiling.

 

NOTES.

According to the estimates of Mr. J. C. Smock, of New Brunswick, New Jersey, made after a comparison of all the observations, the great glacier of our continent "appears to have covered the whole of New England and Northern New York, and to have filled the Hudson Valley to a depth of at least three thousand feet, as far south as the Catskills, burying the Berkshire Hills, the Shawangunk Mountain range, and the Highlands of Southern New York in its icy folds. Above it stood the higher peaks of the Catskills and the summits of the Moosic Highlands as isolated landmarks, or islands, in the great mer de glace."

Professor C. E. Bessey suggests that as the Government has efficiently encouraged the study of the insects injurious to vegetation, and given us an increased acquaintance with the habits of these pests, and hints as to the way they are to be dealt with, it might do another service quite as valuable to agriculture by promoting the investigation of the parasitic fungi which injure and often destroy farm and garden crops. The destruction they effect is almost as great as that occasioned by insects.

The International Forestry Exhibition was opened at Edinburgh on the 1st of July, by the Marquis of Lothian, who spoke of the importance of education in forestry to the British nation. The United Kingdom, he said, had more property in the world than any other nation, but in this respect it was behind the others.

Professor Gabriel de Mortillet is about to begin the publication of a new fortnightly journal of the anthropological sciences, to be called "L'Homme." He will be assisted by a body of specialists as department-editors, and will contend actively for the recognition of anthropology as a science, the peer of the other sciences.

Captain James B. Eads, the American engineer, has received the Albert medal of the British Society of Arts. He is the first American on whom this distinction has been conferred.

It is generally understood that the hair and nails grow faster in hot weather than in cold, but few probably are aware that any temperature of the weather can impart so great a stimulus to the growth as Colonel Prjevalsky, the Russian traveler, says the Central Asian heat did during his journey in those regions. In June the ground and the air became excessively hot, so that it was impossible to travel in the day-time. The hair and beards of all the party grew with astonishing rapidity, and, strangest of all, some youthful Cossacks, whose faces were perfectly smooth, all at once developed quite respectable beards.

M. Olzensky has liquefied hydrogen at a temperature of -371° Fahr. In this condition the element appears to lose the metallic affinities which it manifests in the ordinary state, and assumes qualities of mobility and transparency more like those of the hydrocarbons.

Experiments made by Dr. William McMurtrie, which are described in "Bulletin No. 3" of the Entomological Division of the Department of Agriculture, go to show that the silk fiber from worms fed exclusively upon the Osage orange is somewhat finer, and, on the average, equal in strength to that obtained from mulberry-fed individuals.