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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/591

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Force of Mushroom Growth.—Dr. A. S. Hudson informs us that several mushrooms have been found growing in the concrete floor of a livery stable in Stockton, Cal. The floor had been laid a little over a year, and consisted of a layer of cement, three or four inches thick, with a top coating of asphalt and gravel. The mushrooms had started in the concrete; one specimen that was examined came from an inch and a quarter below the surface, and had broken through the cement above this point. It grew to about an inch and a half in height, and its stem was three fourths of an inch thick. The mushroom was white, and its texture was as firm as that of a turnip. Where another one had broken through, the fragment of cement forced up was found a foot away. The most probable way of accounting for the presence of the fungi in this very unfavorable situation is that the spawn became mixed with the cement when the floor was laid.



The Royal Society of Canada met in Montreal, May 27th to June 1st, Principal Grant, of Queen's College, Kingston, presiding. The society was founded by Lord Lome in 1881, on the lines of the Royal Society of England, combining, however, literary with its scientific sections. Sixty-three papers were read, several of them of high interest. Reports were presented by a score of societies scattered throughout the Dominion, each at work on some branch of natural science, historical research, or literary production. Several delegates from the United States were cordially welcomed; General F. A. Walker, Vice President of the National Academy of Sciences, representing that body, and Major J. W. Powell, Director of the United States Geological Survey, the learned societies at the national capital.

A new arctic expedition has been fitted out at this port, and sailed hence on the 6th of June. It is called the Peary Expedition, from Lieutenant Peary, its commander, and its object is the determination of the northern limit of Greenland, which its leader hopes to reach about the middle of July, 1892.

The third meeting of the Australasian Association was held in Christchurch, New Zealand, beginning January 15th. Sir James Hector presided. The American Association was represented by Prof. Goodale, of Harvard University, but no representative of the British Association was present. Recommendations were adopted that the sea between Australia and New Zealand be named the Tasman Sea; asking the appointment of a committee by the British and American Associations to define terms of general importance in biology; and that the Little Barrier Island, north of New Zealand, and Resolution Island, on Dusky Sound, be set apart as reserves, where the native fauna and flora of New Zealand may be preserved from destruction. The next meeting of the Association will be held at Hobart, Tasmania, with Sir Robert Hamilton as president.

Discrepancies in the names or in the spelling of them occurring in the surveys of the different departments of the national administration, and the absence of any authority on the subject, have prompted the organization of the United States Board of Geographic Names. Questions which are brought before this board are submitted to its executive committee, which examines the matter, consults authorities, and uses whatever assistance may be available. It then reports to the board, which decides the matter by vote. The first bulletin of the board relates to names in Alaska. The co-operation of all geographers, historians, and other scholars interested in geographical nomenclature is invited in its work.

While local farmers and butchers in the United States are pretending to adduce sanitary reasons for discouraging the use of meat that comes in refrigerating apparatus from a distance, the Lancet uses them in support of the transportation of all meat to the market in that way instead of bringing the cattle alive. It assumes that it would be much fairer to consumers to interdict the importation of living animals as food, and to insist upon receiving carcasses only. This would certainly lead to the abolition of the hardships and sufferings the poor brutes now undergo, would insure better meat, and would avert the introduction of contagious diseases which have already impoverished British agriculture, and which require the maintenance of an expensive system of inspection at ports all round the coast of the country. "The middle-man might perhaps complain; but as he is, so far as we can see, the only one who profits from this stupid and cruel business, we need not consider him in the matter."

Mr. Stanley, in his Darkest Africa, gives Emin Pasha as authority for the statement that the chimpanzees, which visit the plantations of Mswa station at night to steal the fruit, use torches to light the way. "Had I not witnessed this extraordinary spectacle personally," said Emin, "I should never have credited that any of the simians understood the art of making fire. One of these same chimpanzees stole a native drum from the station, and went away pounding merrily on it. They evidently delight in that drum, for I have frequently heard them rattling away at it in the silence of the night."