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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/886

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Experiments have been made by Mr. Saunders, of the Experimental Farms, Ottawa, in the cultivation of grains from the extreme north of Europe, for the purpose of securing varieties that will ripen in the shortest Canadian summers. Wheat from Lake Ladoga, latitude 69°, ripened from ten to fifteen days earlier than other varieties in cultivation; a difference sufficient to insure its maturing soon enough to escape the earliest autumn frosts. This wheat yielded nineteen-fold, and was of satisfactory quality. Onega wheat, from latitude 62°; barley, from latitude 66°; and barley and rye from latitude 67°—or from the extreme northern limits at which cereals are grown in Europe in a continental climate—are on trial.

How dependent schools were, and to some extent still are, on books as contrasted with individual power, is illustrated in the life of the late Prof. Thomas Hill Green. The first time he competed for the Queen's medal at Rugby he complained that, though the judges liked his essay the best, they gave the prize to another boy, "because his essay showed more labor, i. e., came out of thirteen books instead of his own head." In the next competition he was successful, contrary to his own expectation, for the subject was one for which, he says, he had "to consult a variety of forty authorities, which I never can succeed in doing well; I always find that, if I cram myself with the ideas of others, my own all vanish."

A new life-saving jacket—Mr. J. Johnson 's "Eclipse Life-Belt"—consists of twenty corrugated metal tubes joined with durable webbing, so adjusted as to give the tubes a vertical position on the chest and back. It has a supporting power of thirty-two pounds in fresh water. The belt can be readily adapted to the side of a ship's boat to render it unsinkable.

A sufferer from sleeplessness avers that he has found a remedy for his trouble by holding his breath till discomfort is felt, and repeating the process a second and a third time. The "Lancet," while it admits that this method may produce the desired effect, mentions some dangers connected with it which would make its general adoption unadvisable. Another victim of insomnia, regarding the affliction as a consequence of mental worry and deficiency of exercise and fresh air, advises hygienic living, moderation in eating and drinking, and abstinence from stimulants. In dealing with severe nervous irritation from mental or physical work, he has found a daily rest an almost essential prelude to sleep at night. This advice is pronounced sensible.

M. Des Cloizeaux has become President of the French Academy of Sciences; and M. Hermite has been chosen Vice-President, to become President in turn in 1890.

The Medico-Chirurgical Society of the Canton of Berne, Switzerland, has offered prizes for the best and next best essays on the question, "Up to what point is there ground for entertaining the criticisms which have been made from a medical point of view on the intellectual overpressure of children in the schools of a Swiss territory?" Essays of a purely theoretical character, and compilations from books embodying facts which the competitor has had no means of personally examining, will not be considered. The essays may be in French or German.

Mr. Im Thurm noticed, in the course of his explorations in British Guiana, that tamed animals of many species—parrots, macaws, trumpeters, monkeys, toucans, etc.—were kept in some of the Indian villages. They take the place of currency. These Indians, not having yet risen to the civilization of a protective system, carry on special occupations in their different villages: thus in one they spin, in another make mats, in a third pottery, in a fourth cassava-mills, etc. Some of the trading is done by barter between the villages, and the balances are adjusted with this living "currency."

The seventieth birthday of Prof. Von Pettenkofer—the father of hygienic science, as the Germans call him—was celebrated in Munich on the 3d of December, with enthusiastic demonstrations by the students, and visits and testimonials from scientific and medical men of all parts of Germany. Among those who thus honored him were the civic dignitaries of Munich; the National Liberal party; representatives of the royal family; numerous scientific and medical societies and universities at home and abroad; the Prussian Minister of Education; and old pupils. The students had a grand torchlight procession on the evening of the 5th, which was addressed by Pettenkofer, and ended with a shout and a song.

A compendium of transoceanic weather observations—from Walfisch Bay, South Africa; Hatzfeldhafen, New Guinea; and the coast of Labrador—has been published by the "Deutsche Seewarte." The last observations were made by missionaries on the initiative of the "Seewarte." Such observations will hereafter be regularly published in yearly volumes.

Among the more important papers in the "Year-Book" of the Italian Meteorological Society for 1887 are those of Ferrari on the relations of sun-spots to earth-magnetism, of Pagliani on the relations of cholera and weather, and of Roster on those of the air and health. The "Year-Book" also contains a bibliography of all Italian works on meteorology that appeared in 1886.

An Anthropological Congress is to be held in Vienna in August.