Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/446

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
432
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Mr. Bosworth Smith, in a report on the Kolar gold-field, in southern India, records some finds of old mining implements, old timbering, fragments of bones, an old oil-lamp, and broken pieces of earthenware, including a crucible, the remains of ancient mining operations. He expresses astonishment at the fact that the old miners were able to reach depths of two hundred or three hundred feet through hard rock, with the simple appliances at their command.

Buffaloes are said to be becoming very abundant and increasing rapidly in northern Australia, where they were introduced about 1829. They are described as being massive and heavy, "with splendid horns," and affording fine sport for bold hunters.

In the discussion in the British Association of the report of the Committee on Science Teaching in the Elementary Schools (which exhibited a continued decline), Sir Benjamin Browne said that the school boards would be amazed at the high standard of the qualifications of the lads who came to his firm to be apprenticed engineers. Recently a boy thirteen years of age came to him, and he failed to puzzle him with problems from Euclid. His opinion was, that whatever could be done voluntarily was better than what could be done by the Government.

Dr. D. G. Brinton, of Philadelphia, announces as in press a collection of sacred songs of the ancient Mexicans, entitled "Rig Veda Americana," with a gloss in Nahuatl, paraphrase, notes, and vocabulary. The texts are derived from two Nahuatl manuscripts, one at Madrid and the other at Florence, both of which have been personally collated by the editor. This volume will form number eight of the "Library of Aboriginal American Literature."

An instrument called the telegraphone has been patented, which enables the sender to record his message on a cylinder attached to the receiving instrument, in the absence of any one to hear it, and even to repeat the message back to himself for correction.

Mr. De Cort Smith, at the American Association, exhibited specimens of the Shamanic masks and rattles of the Onondaga Indians, and exemplified their use. The masks are symbolical of supernatural evil beings, and their aid is invoked to drive away witches. The spirits are believed to cause or remove illness. They are propitiated with feasts and sacrifices of tobacco.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

Prof. Victor Eggertz, late head of the School of Mines of Sweden, died in Stockholm in the last days of August. He was the inventor of what is called the coloration test for analyzing carbon in iron and steel.

Mr. E. F. H. Francis, Professor of Chemistry in Queen's College, Georgetown, Demerara, and analytical chemist to the Government, has recently died, aged thirty-nine years. He went to the service in British Guiana from a similar position in Trinidad in 1875.

Señor Don Sebastian Vidal, who died at Manila July 28, 1889, had been for several years Inspector-General of Forests and Director of the Botanic Garden at Manila, and was the author of several works on Philippine botany. He was practically a pioneer in the investigation of the Philippine flora, and has determined several peculiarities distinguishing it from the allied Malayan flora.

Mr. John Ball, F.R.S., a distinguished traveler, Alpine explorer, and botanist, of England, died in London, October 10, 1889, soon after returning from an excursion to the Dolomite Alps. He was born in Dublin in 1818; won high mathematical honors at Cambridge; was called to the bar, and appointed an assistant Poor Law Commissioner, served in Parliament and as Under Secretary for the Colonies, and then withdrew from public life and devoted himself to Alpine exploration and botany. He accompanied Sir Joseph Hooker to Morocco, and wrote an account of the botany and natural history of the highlands of that country. He also visited Peru and Patagonia and the Island of Teneriffe, for scientific exploration. He published an "Alpine Guide," which is spoken of as a work of standard merit.

The distinguished French chemist, Dr. Augustin Quesneville, died on the 4th of November, 1889, aged eighty years. He was a pupil of Vauquelin's, and succeeded him in his factory. Having attended Chevreul's lectures, he was admitted as a doctor of medicine in 1834, from which time he devoted himself to the study of science and industrial chemistry. In 1840 he founded a monthly journal, called at first the "Revue Scientifique," but after 1857 the "Moniteur Scientifique," devoted to chemistry and its industrial applications. This journal was continued till October last, when the veteran editor gave it up, on account of the pressure of old age.

"Ciel et Terre" records the death, on the 10th of October, in his sixty-sixth year, of M. François Henri Carlier, proprietor and director of the Meteorological Observatory of Saint Martin-de-Hinx in the Landes. This establishment is described as having been a model one, and better furnished than many state-supported observatories. The observations taken there under M. Carlier during the past twenty-five years form one of the most important contributions to the study of the climate of the extreme south-east of France.