Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/737

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
719
NOTES.

and was suffering much pain. A piece, six centimetres long, was taken from the great nerve of a rabbit's thigh so as to include the natural bifurcation of the main trunk. It was secured to the stump of the nerve in the man's arm, and the ends of the branches to the nerve terminations that remained in the fingers, so as to restore the interrupted communication. All had gone well at the end of two months.

An "authorized" biography of the late Sir William Siemens has been prepared by Dr. William Pole, of the Society of Civil Engineers, and will soon be published in London.

Mr. Proctor's "Knowledge" will be carried on in future by W. H. Allen & Co., London, as an illustrated magazine, with more space devoted to physics, biology, etc., and with controversial articles on theological and allied questions excluded.

A new mole-like mammal, found in South Australia, is described by E. C. Stirling, of the university at Adelaide. It is a ground-burrowing animal, outwardly somewhat like the Cape mole, but differing from it in many respects. It is about five inches long, has no visible eyes, but a small pigment spot to be seen on reflecting the skin, where the eye should be; no external ears, but the ear-openings distinct and covered with fur; the fore-limbs short, resembling those of the mole, with the hands folded so that only two of the nails are visible in the natural position; and the hinder limbs also short, with the soles turned outward. The animal had never been seen by any of the aborigines, except by one old woman once.

A statue of Ampère was unveiled at Lyons, his native place, October 9th. The President of the French Republic attended the ceremony, and M. Cornu, of the Academy of Sciences, delivered the address.

The Copley medal of the Royal Society for 1888 was presented to Prof. Huxley, for his investigations into the morphology and histology of vertebrate and invertebrate animals, and his services to biological science generally; the Rumford medal to Prof. Tacchini, for his researches in solar physics; and the Davy medal to Mr. Crookes, for his researches on the electric discharge in high vacua. Royal medals were awarded to Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, the Australian botanist, and to Prof. Osborne Reynolds, of Owens College, for researches in mathematical and experimental physics.

M. Marambet reports that of 3,000 convicts in France, examined with respect to their habits of drunkenness or temperance, 79 per cent of vagabonds, from 50 to 57 per cent of assassins and incendiaries, 53 per cent of offenders against morals, 71 per cent of thieves, sharpers, etc., 88 per cent of offenders against the person, and 77 per cent of offenders against property, were drunkards. Drunkards are nearly as numerous among youths under twenty as among adults. The largest numbers of drunkards came from regions where spirits are most largely consumed.

An elaborate work on "The Viking Age," by M. de Chaillu, is soon to be published. It will present the early history, manners, and customs of the ancestors of the English-speaking nations, illustrated from the antiquities discovered in mounds, cairns, and bogs, as well as from the ancient Sagas and Eddas, with more than one thousand pictures.

Mexico affords a curious example of the demoralization which irrational tariffs work. To prevent bribery, the law imposes a system of fines and forfeitures of which the officers detecting irregularities are entitled to half. Foreign shippers rarely escape fines on their first consignments to Mexican ports, because, unless they are experts, or consult experts, they are very sure to have some flaw in their papers which the sharpened eye of the customs detective can fix upon as a pretext for levying a fine. The absence of a consular invoice is equivalent to the infliction of double duties, and this is often equivalent to confiscation. "Insufficient declaration" is punished by fines rising from ten to one hundred per cent on the duties, according to the nature of the offense.

The Indian system of weights and measures is described as being exceedingly confusing, because of the numerous different designations of the standards, and because the same designation may be applied to different standards, according as the articles differ, or as the transactions are held at different places. A maund of barley is not the same as a maund of indigo or of cotton, and a Bombay maund is different from a Calcutta maund. A seer is 5,040 grains, while five seers are not five times 5,040 grains, but five times 4,900 grains, to make them commensurate with the Bombay maund.

At the anniversary meeting of the Sanitary Institution of Great Britain, Mr. Edwin Chadwick, chairman, claimed credit to that and similar institutions for a large proportion of the reduction of the death-rate of the metropolis, which had fallen to 14 in 1,000. The rate in Paris is 27, in Vienna, 30, and in St. Petersburg 40 per 1,000. Dr. B. W. Richardson delivered an address on "The Storage of Life as a Sanitary Study," by which he meant, substantially, the art of living long.

While the summer of 1888 was unusually cool and moist in the United States and the most of Europe, the people of Norway endured a heat which is said to have surpassed the highest before observed during this century.