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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/890

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Works have been erected in London by Mr. William Webster for experiment upon an electrical treatment of sewage that has been devised by him. Electricity is to be applied directly, to resolve the matter into its chemical elements and secure a precipitation in the form of sludge.

A large exhibition of prehistoric objects, representing public and private collections in Austria, is to be given in connection with the next Congress of German Anthropological Societies, which is to meet this year in Vienna.

The oldest man in Great Britain is Hugh McLeod, crofter, of Ross-shire, Scotland, who was born in 1783, and is consequently in his one hundred and seventh year. He is still straight and good for a full day of wakefulness, and cuts his own peat and carries home his daily load of eighty-four pounds. He eats porridge and milk, potatoes, fish, and mutton when he can get it, has cultivated a fondness for tea, and is "very heavy" in chewing "thin twist." His father was a weaver, and he has been a carpenter and joiner. There are three other centenarians in the same parish.

Mr. Goschen has traced a connection between the use of the cigarette after dinner and a decline in the consumption of wine at table. The friends of the cigarette claim that it is convenient, is adapted to various kinds of employments, is cheap as compared with good cigars, and makes less demand than a pipe upon the manly powers. Its opponents hold that it is adulterated with deleterious ingredients which provoke the head and throat, and stimulate the desire to drink; that it blunts the delicacy of the taste and encourages promiscuous drinking; and that it leads to the spending of much money—all in addition to the harm there may be in smoking at all.

The Kina Balu, or "Chinese Widow," the great mountain of Borneo, rises thirteen thousand seven hundred feet from a low undulating country, at about twenty-five miles from the west coast of the island, and is regarded with a kind of religious awe by the natives. Its slopes abound with pitcher-plants and Nepenthes generally. It has been partially ascended by the travelers Lobb, Low, and St. John; and its real summit was reached, according to Mr. R. T. Pritchett, last year by Mr. Whitehead. This traveler has spent several years of hard work in exploring, and has brought back many before unknown varieties of birds.

Five cases of ruptured tympanum, described by Dr. W. R. H. Stewart, admonish us to be careful how we treat the ear. One was of a boy whose ear had been boxed by his teacher; another, of a woman who had received a blow in a scuffle with her husband; a third, of a man sixty years old, who had suffered from deafness and an offensive dig. charge ever since having been struck when a boy. In the fourth case, a laborer had been made deaf and partly lost the sense of taste in consequence of a blow on the side of the head. The last case was that of a woman who had accidentally perforated her tympanum while picking her ear with a hairpin. Pains and deafness were common to all these cases. All were improved, and most of them were cured, by treatment.

Symptoms of poisoning were recently developed in the case of some persons in Berne, Switzerland, who had eaten of the mushroom Morchell esculenta. On investigation a highly poisonous substance was found in the sample—identical with that which had been eaten—resembling the ptomaines, and like them, probably, a result of partial decomposition. The warning is against stale fungi.

Arsenic has been detected in a sample of matches obtained in Jena, Germany, which are characterized by the heads having a black covering with a metallic luster, and containing much lead, partly present as red lead. The quantity of arsenic was so small as to be detected only by the most delicate tests.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

Dr. C. Jessen, naturalist, formerly professor at Greifswald, and more recently at Berlin, has lately died, in his sixty-ninth year.

Prof. Elias Loomis, LL.D., of the Munson chair of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy in Yale University, died August 15th, in his seventy-ninth year. He was graduated from Yale College in 1830, and three years later became a tutor there. He and Prof. A. C. Twining, of West Point, together began the first observations made in this country to determine the altitude of shooting-stars. In 1835 he discovered Halley's comet on its return by means of his own computations of the elements of its orbit. He was the author of text-books covering the whole range of mathematical subjects; of popular treatises on natural philosophy, astronomy, and meteorology; and of many contributions to scientific journals.

Dr. John Percy, a distinguished English metallurgist, died June 20th, aged about seventy-two years. He was appointed Professor of Metallurgy in the School of Mines in 1851, and held the office till 1879. He began his great work on metallurgy in 1861, and continued it in 1864, 1870, and 1880. He received the Bessemer medal of the Iron and Steel Institute for his researches in metallurgy, particularly in iron and steel, in 1877. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1847, and President of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1886. He was also distinguished for labors in practical ventilation.