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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/742

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of the malformation is provided by itself: "structurally it is handed down to posterity, and mechanically it is increased by the practice which it compels of turning the eyes inward to combine upon a very near point." Among the consequences of short-sightedness are failure to develop the power of observation; blindness to the expression of the human face; an acuteness expending itself upon details with but a restricted power of grasping principles. The remedies proposed for the defect include testing of visual power and limitations of tasks to capabilities, and, in reading matter, large type with the upper part of the letters cut with particular clearness.

 

A Tame Gorilla.—An English trader at Ngove, on the southwest coast of Africa, Mr, J. J. Jones, has had for some time a young female gorilla whose docility is most remarkable. Jeannie, as the baby gorilla has been named, sleeps with her master, and follows him wherever he goes, weeping like a child if left behind. She recently accompanied him on a journey of twenty miles or more, walking all the way. She has acquired many civilized tastes and habits, and will drink tea, ale, brandy, etc., out of a cup or glass, displaying the utmost carefulness not to break the vessel. She will, in fact, do almost anything her master wishes, and is surprisingly intelligent and affectionate. This is by no means a solitary instance of the facility with which young gorillas can be tamed. The experience of others who have lived in the Fernand Vaz corroborates this statement as to their tractable disposition when treated with kindness, as well as the distress they exhibit if scolded for misconduct.

 

Proposed Storage of Nile Floods.—Mr. Cope Whitehouse presented before the British Association at Bath a plan, which he has been advocating for several years, for storing the surplus waters of the floods of the Nile in the depression called the Raian basin—which he believes to be the site of ancient Lake Moeris—to be drawn off again to irrigate the land of Egypt in the dry season. He computes that a reservoir capable of supplying low Nile with 50,000,000 cubic metres of water a day for 100 days can be made for £500,000. The canal of escape for the excess of the Nile flood, to be used as the canal of supply and discharge, can be opened in 300 days, by the excavation and handling of 3,000,000 cubic metres of sand, clay, and soft rock. The area and productive wealth of Egypt would be increased by more than one third. No burden would be imposed upon the present tax-payers. The works would be mainly the utilization and restoration of dikes, canals, and physical characteristics in actual use for the same purpose during 2,000 years, and, in part, in continuous operation from b. c. 1800 to the present time.

 


NOTES.

The National Geographic Society has been organized at Washington "to increase and diffuse geographical knowledge," and will hold fortnightly meetings. It projects a physical atlas of the United States, and has begun the publication of the "National Geographical Magazine." It will give prominence to the educational aspect of geographical matters, and will endeavor to stimulate interest in original sources of information. It was organized in January, 1888, has about two hundred active members, and has formed itself into five sections: those of the geography of the land; of the sea; of the air; of the geographic distribution of life; and of abstract geographic art (map-making, etc.). Mr. Gardner G. Hubbard is president, and Mr. George Kennan Washington, corresponding secretary of the society.

The British Government has yielded to popular clamor so far as to assent to a new and thorough investigation of the merits of vaccination. While assenting to this, it allows it to be given out that it sees no necessity, in any new facts that have been discovered, for such an investigation. It is suggested, in connection with a report that has been made to the effect that small-pox hospitals for isolation are a positive and deadly nuisance to those around them, that the question be also asked whether persons or communities have a right to concentrate a disease which they may easily avoid by congregating patients in such hospitals, to the serious risk of those who live outside.

Prof. Edward S. Morse has been elected a corresponding member of the Society of Ethnology, Anthropology, and Archæology, of which Prof. Rudolf Virchow is president.

The biography, papers, and letters of the late John Ericsson are to be edited by Colonel Church, of the "Army and Navy Journal." The Swedes have decided to erect a statue in Stockholm in honor of their distinguished countryman.