Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/732

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

Sixth Annual Report of the Illinois State Board of Health. Springfield, Ill. 1884. Pp. 324.

Memoir upon the Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race. By Alexander Graham bell. Pp. 86.

Researches on Solar Heat and its Absorption by the Earth’s Atmosphere. A Report of the Mount Whitney Expedition. By S. P. Langley. Washington: Government Printing-Office. 1884. Pp. 242.

The Story-Hour. For Children and Youth. By Susan H. Wixon. New York: The Truth-Seeker Company, 1885. Pp. 222. Illustrated.


Electric Lighting in America.—At the meeting of the Society of Arts on December 3d, Mr. W. H. Preece read a paper in which he stated that electric lighting is flourishing in America much more than in England. There are probably ninety thousand arc-lamps alight every night in the United States. He had found it a dismal experience to be transferred from the brilliantly illuminated avenues of New York to the dark streets of London. On the evening of October 21st he drove from the Windsor Hotel, New York, to the Cunard wharf, a distance of about four miles, through streets entirely lighted by electricity. On arriving in London, he drove from Euston to Waterloo without seeing a single electric light. In Montreal, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Boston, he found the principal streets and warehouses, as well as stores and places of public resort, lighted by arc-lamps. Police supervision of the streets is rendered far simpler when they are brilliantly illuminated by the electric light. It is with arc-lighting that the greatest advances have been made in the States. In Chicago the number of arc-lamps installed has doubled during the past twelve months; it is now two thousand, and increases daily. More than one electric light company pays dividends to its shareholders, and all of the manufacturers of supplies are busy. The great ferry-boats of the Pennsylvania Rail-road are lighted by electricity; those magnificent hotel-steamers that ply between New York and Fall River, those on Lake Superior, on the Mississippi and other large rivers, are cither so lighted or are gradually being fitted for the lamps. Mr. Preece said that electric wires carried overhead, in the unsightly fashion which prevailed in the United States, were hideous in the extreme, and the only advantage he had found for them was that they afforded a welcome shade from the fierce glare of the sun. He had counted 144 wires on one post in New York, and six lines of posts might be found on Broadway, there being thirty-two companies in the city carrying wires on poles. There was no necessity for it at all, for it was found by the English Post-Office that, whenever the number of wires through a town exceeded fifteen, it was cheaper to put them underground than overhead.

The Oldest Land-Animal.—Mr. Lindstrom, of Stockholm, has described a fossil scorpion which has recently been found in the Upper Silurian strata of the Island of Gottland, Sweden. According to photographs forwarded to the French Academy of Sciences, the specimen is fairly well preserved, with the chitinous cuticle still visible. The cephalothorax can be distinguished, together with the abdomen with seven dorsal laminæ, and the tail of six segments, the last of which is contracted into a point and forms the poisonous sting. The superficial structure of the animal is quite similar, with its tubercles and longitudinal keels, to that of recent scorpions. One of the stigmata is visible on the right, to indicate that the animal was an air-breather, and the whole organization shows that it lived on the land. Mr. Lindstrom regards this as the oldest land-living animal yet discovered, the fossil dragon-flies of Canada having been found in the Devonian. It is remarked of this animal that the large and pointed character of the four thoracic paws is characteristic of the embryos of several other Tracheata, and had disappeared from fully-developed scorpions as early as the Carboniferous period. A similar fossil scorpion has just been found in the Upper Silurian of Scotland.

Parasites in Domestic Fowls.—On dissecting a fowl which had died from sickness, Thomas Taylor, M.D., of the Department of Agriculture, found reddish markings on the rib-muscles and the lungs, which under the microscope were seen to consist of numerous mites, closely resembling Cytoleichus sarcoptoids (Mégnin), a species not hitherto reported in America. When the skin was