Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 28.djvu/297

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agency, in Oregon, the population of which is made up of a consolidation of more than twenty tribes. The Indians are all more or less civilized, some of them taking newspapers, are very polite to strangers, and in many respects resemble the Ainos. In their language, the verb varies with the position of the object. They can not say "that man," but must say "that man walking," or sitting, or standing, etc. There are three sets of cardinal number, human, inhuman, and inanimate. All their villages have local names, as "the people of the ash-trees," "the people by the hill," "the people of the canon," etc. A man must marry a woman from another village, and his children belong to the village of their father. They will not mention the names of the wild-cat, field-mouse, and some other animals, before their children, lest they bring sickness and death upon them. Five is the mystic number among them.

Miss A. C. Fletcher described the sacred war-tent of the Omahas, in which the sacred and ritual objects are stored. These objects are held in great reverence, and are under a special keeper. Among them is the sacred shell, a large Unio, which is contained in several leathern pouches, one within the other, and in which are placed strips of the inner bark of the cedar, and a scalp. In the tent are also the sacred wolf-skin, and two bundles covered with tanned skins. One of the bundles contains bird-skins; the other contains various deadly poisons. There are besides a staff of cedar and one of iron-wood, a small pipe-stem, two war-pipes, tobacco, and a scalp. The sacred shell must never touch the ground, for, if it should, a devouring fire would come from it. If any one but the keeper touches any of the objects, he will be afflicted with grievous sores but the evil may be averted by going through certain ritual ablutions. All of these objects have been given, with the consent of the chiefs, to the Peabody Museum of Archæology.

The "Flight" of Flying-Fish.—The debate goes on as to whether flying-fish actually fly or only appear to fly, under an impulse which they have received while still in the water. One of the most authoritative opinions that has been expressed on the subject is probably that of Professor Möbius, of Kiel, who declares that "flying-fish arc incapable of flying, for the simple reason that the muscles of their pectoral fins are not large enough to bear the weight of their body aloft in the air." The average weight of the muscles doing this work in birds is one sixth that of the whole body, and that of bats one thirteenth, while that of flying-fishes is only one thirty-second. The impulse to the propulsion of the flying-fish is delivered while they are still in the water, by the powerful masses of muscles on both sides of their body, which are of much greater breadth than in the case of the herring or any other fish of their own size. The visible flickering of the fins is only a vibration akin to the flapping of a sail.


An extensive copper region is known to exist in Texas, running westward of Ked River, from the line of the Indian Territory through several counties. The Grand Belt mines, fifty miles from Harrold, in Wilberger County, are operated by a company which owns claims for sixty-five miles along the ore-belt, and along which about sixty openings have been made, of an average depth of seven or eight feet. The ore is found principally in shallow pockets, and at the main point of taking out is said to average about fifty-four or fifty-five per cent of metallic copper.

In section A of the American Association, Professor Newton read a paper on "The Effect of Small Bodies passing near a Planet upon the Planet's Velocity"; Professor Harkness, of the U. S. Naval Observatory, on the flexure of transit instruments; Professor Hough, of the Dearborn Observatory, Chicago, presented a description of some improvements recently introduced in the printing chronograph devised by him. Professor J. Burkitt Webb described a new method of using polar coordinates; Mr. C. H. Rockwell, of Tarrytown, New York, presented some results of his observations for time and latitude, with a new instrument called the almucantar, which promises to be a very valuable addition to scientific apparatus.

M. Guillemin has formed a number of alloys of cobalt and copper. They are all red, have a fine fracture, and are much more tenacious than copper—even as high as from fifty to one hundred per cent more so, according to the proportion of cobalt. Five per cent of cobalt is enough to give an alloy of great resistance.