Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/883

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The American Association, at its recent Buffalo meeting, chose Professor S. P. Langley as its president for the year. The vice-presidents or presidents of sections elected are: Mathematics and Astronomy, William Ferrell; Physics, William A. Anthony; Chemistry, Albert B. Prescott; Mechanical Science and Engineering, Eckley B. Coxe; Geology and Geography, G. K. Gilbert; Biology, W. G. Farlow; Anthropology, D. G. Brinton; Economic Science and Statistics, Henry E. Alford. Permanent secretary, F. W. Putnam; general secretary, W. H. Pettee; assistant general secretary. J. C. Arthur; treasurer, William Lilly. The place for the next meeting was not decided upon.

The "Botanical Gazette" says: "'The Popular Science Monthly' for June contains a portrait and biographical sketch of the late Dr. George Engelmann. The author is anonymous, but can hardly have been a botanist, or he would not be so ignorant of the true authorship of the classic 'Plantæ Fendlerianæ' as to say, 'In 1849 Dr. Engelmann published in the "Memoranda [sic] of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences" the "Plantae Fendleriame."' He infelicitously adds, regarding Fendler: 'Fendler and he [Engelmann] had become acquainted on a governmental expedition to the Rocky Mountains, to which the former was attached as engineer. . . . He traveled in the Rocky Mountains, California, Mexico, Central America, and Brazil.' Fendler did not become acquainted with Engelmann in this way; he was never attached officially to any governmental expedition; he was not an engineer; and he traveled neither in the Rocky Mountains, nor California, nor Mexico, nor Central America, nor Brazil!"

Our sketch of Dr. Engelmann was prepared from documents furnished us by his friends in St. Louis. The statements to which the "Gazette" objects are given precisely as they appeared in one of the papers. As the "Gazette" has recently published Fendler's autobiography, it is probably in a position to be better informed, respecting the events of his life, than is the biographer of another man who only had occasion to refer to them incidentally. We are glad to be set right on the facts.

Professor L. E. Hicks, in one of the papers which he read at the American Association on the geology of Nebraska, spoke of the strong artesian flow of water contained in all the borings of the eastern part of the State. This is because the region is a vast synclinal trough or basin, of which the western rim is three thousand feet higher than the eastern.

Professor Asa Gray sent two communications of a technical character to the American Association, and with them a letter to the Botanical Club, respecting his nomenclature of violets. He makes out thirty-three wild North American species of these plants, of which only eight are represented in the Old World. He acknowledges himself to be in doubt whether our pansy violet is indigenous to this country.

Mr. Joseph Jastrow read a paper before the American Association on centenarianism, in which he made an elaborate calculation of the proportion of cases in which claims to this distinction should be eliminated for want of trustworthy evidence, or as based on exaggeration. Removing these, he concluded that there were about fifty centenarians in the United States. Some of his conclusions were disputed; but he is said to have, in the discussions that followed, shown himself to be well fortified.

The statistical reports of the American Association show that it has doubled its membership within the last twenty years. Two hundred and fifty-two papers were read at the recent Buffalo meeting, against one hundred and seventy in 1876, and sixty-seven in 1866.

"Theism" is the somewhat awkward and confusing name given to a class of diseases that arise from the wrong use of tea. The predominance of nervous symptoms is a characteristic of the condition; and it may be observed in a general excitation of the nervous function, or in special weakness of the brain. Perversion of the sense of hearing is a not uncommon form of the symptoms. The weakness that often overtakes women may sometimes be traced to excessive indulgence in their favorite drink. Taken in strict moderation, and prepared with proper care, tea is a valuable stimulant; but there is hardly a morbid symptom that it is not capable, when used in excess, of producing.

The American Association designated Dr. Pohlman, of Buffalo, who had served as its local secretary, as its representative at the meeting of German Naturalists and Physicians. This will be its first formal representation before that body.

According to M. Mantegazza, 64 per cent of the Italians have chestnut, 22 per cent black, 11 per cent blue, and 3 per cent gray, eyes; 71 per cent of them have chestnut, 26 per cent black, and 3 per cent blonde hair. More than three fourths of the people have abundant hair. Southern Italy excels Northern Italy in this respect. In Tuscany the poor heads of hair preponderate (58 against 42 per cent), and baldness is most common there. The color of the beards