Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/885

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generally a sheep or a pig, and the sound in the person's throat, as he begins to revive, is taken for the bleating of the one or the grunting of the other. Under these circumstances, they attempt to propitiate the animal by putting grass into the man's mouth, possibly under the impression that they can entice the animal's spirit in the man to remain till his own returns; and on no consideration will they remove him till the fit is over, for, if they did, they believe his own spirit would not be able to find him again, and he would die.



The American Association, recently in session at Ann Arbor, Michigan, elected the following officers for next year's meeting: President, E. S. Morse, Salem, Massachusetts; Vice-Presidents, J. W. Gibbs, New Haven, Connecticut; C. F. Brackett, Princeton, New Jersey; H. W. Wiley, Washington, D. C.; 0. Chanute, Kansas City, Missouri; T. C. Chamberlin, Washington, D. C; H. P. Bowditch, Boston, Massachusetts; Horatio Hale, Clinton, Ontario; Joseph Cummings, Evanston, Illinois; Permanent Secretary, F. W. Putnam, Cambridge, Massachusetts (holding over); General Secretary, S. G. Williams, Ithaca, New York; Assistant Secretary, W. II. Pettee, Ann Arbor, Michigan; Treasurer, William Lilly, Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania. Buffalo, New York, was selected as the place for holding the meeting in 1886.

M. Tacchini mentioned to the French Academy of Sciences, July 27th, that red sunsets, like those of 1883-'84, though less intense, had appeared again; and said that the present phenomena could not be connected with the eruption of Krakatoa. At the same session of the Academy, M. Janssen read a paper by M. Landerer on the reappearance of the glows. This author thought them of cosmical origin, and suggested that they might be caused by the passage of Biela's comet.

Professor Peter T. Austen has investigated the relation of aluminic and ferric salts to plant-life. He finds that these salts have the property of precipitating dissolved organic matters, and causing the coagulation of suspended inorganic matters. The substances thus deposited are of high value as plant-food, and are placed in the most available state and most assimilable condition. "Thus we see that when the soil is unable directly to bind the plant nutriment, the acid products of the death of the plant, and probably also of the bacterial fermentations, supply agents which precipitate these plant-foods in such a state that mere mechanical filtration will remove them, and leave them stored up for future use by the plants." These processes also serve animal life by purifying the water.

Dr. R. Harvey Reed, of Mansfield, Ohio, after a study of the subject as it affects his own State, concludes that among the results of the destruction of the forests and the drainage of the land are more wind, more humidity, more rainfall, more dust, more sudden dashes of rain; more sudden changes from one extreme to the other of temperature and moisture; more rapid transmission of water from the periphery to the great basins; robbery of the natural regulators of distribution; and diminution of the common supply of springs and wells. These changes have been followed by a decrease of all forms of malarial diseases, and an increase of typhoid fever, catarrh, deafness, and chronic pulmonary troubles, and the increase in wind and dust favors the spread of zymotic and contagious diseases.

A correspondent, noticing our reference in a recent sketch of M. Chevreul to the discrepancy in the age of the distinguished chemist's father at his death, as given in Larousse's "Cyclopædia" (ninety-one years), and by the "Lancet" (one hundred and ten years), calls attention to another equally curious mistake respecting M. Chevreul in Schaedler's "Technologie der Fette und Oele." In the historical introduction to this work occurs a passage which we translate thus: "Only thirty years after the discovery of glycerine, in the year 1813, began the researches of Chevreul (born 1786, at Anders, died 1840)." On page 1105, the author appends the correction: "The information was given me privately that Chevreul died in 1840; but I have received from M. J. Bang, of Marseilles, under date of May 11, 1883, the following literal statement: 'I can assure you that Chevreul is still very active, and continues his course at the Museum, and is present every Monday at the Academy of Sciences. He is now ninety-seven and a half years old, but is, they say, livelier than ever.'"

The authorities of Albany, Georgia, have efficiently drained a troublesome pond by boring a well-hole through the ground to a deep subterranean stream. An outlet for the sewerage of a large Western university has been found in one of the numerous "sink-holes" with which the cavernous limestone of the country is marked, where a similar underground stream carries the stuff to parts unknown. Such expedients are good, provided the subterranean stream selected for the sewer-outlet is not a source of supply for some well.