Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/447

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of Chemistry in the medical department; Prof. Charles E. Munroe, formerly of the Annapolis Naval Academy and lately of the United States Torpedo Station, Newport, R. I., was elected to the chair of Chemistry in the university; Prof. H. Carrington Bolton, of New York city, was elected "Non-resident Lecturer on the History of Chemistry," a position created expressly for him, and the first of this title in the United States.

Prof. G. C. Caldwell, of Cornell University, regards the healthfulness of oleomargarine as dependent largely on the quality of the material from which it is made; and finds that there is no positive proof that it has ever been made from unwholesome materials, or that any disease has ever been communicated to man by its use. He is of the opinion that when it is properly made from fresh and clean materials it differs but slightly in healthfulness from butter. Yet it is not so good as butter; for when oleomargarine was substituted for butter in a blind asylum at Louisville, Ky., the children, although they had no knowledge of the change, gradually ate less and less of the new butter, and finally declined it altogether—without making any complaint, or exhibiting any evidence of bad effects on their health.

According to a description by Prof. Pickering, of the Boyden station observatory near Arequipa, Peru, the air is so clear there that stars of the 6·5 magnitude are picked out by the naked eye with great ease, and when the moon is not too bright the eleven Pleiades can always be counted. The nebula in Andromeda forms also a very conspicuous object, "appearing larger than the moon," while in the thirteen-inch Clark refractor "the whole photographic region of the great Orion nebula, first shown in the Harvard photographs of 1887, is clearly visible to the eye," rendering it "the most splendid object in the stellar universe."

Sir William MacGregor, British High Commissioner of New Guinea, reports having passed in a recent coasting trip several islands which appeared uninhabited; but on landing he discovered that this appearance was due to their singular configuration. A narrow belt of gently sloping land led from the sea to a steep wall of coral rock, from three hundred to four hundred feet high, from the summit of which an undulating plateau was seen dipping inland. Here the villages were built, from fifty to a hundred feet below the level of the encircling rim, and sheltered from the trade winds. Sir William considers these islands to be upraised atolls, modified in most cases by subsequent wave action on the shore strips.

A mountaineering party in the Himalayas, under the direction of Mr. Conway, report having climbed a peak of 20,000 feet and a pass of 18,000 feet in the neighborhood of the mountain K2; they attempted the ascent of a new peak, which Mr. Conway named the Golden Throne. At 23,000 feet they found that they were on a peak distinct from the Golden Throne, which was still 2,000 feet above them. The peak they ascended was named the Pioneer Peak. It commanded a magnificent view, extending at least 200 miles in one direction. The party suffered from the great altitude, but not severely, and could have climbed a thousand feet higher, if not more.

In an electric heating apparatus devised by M. M. Olivet, of Geneva, a current is sent from the dynamo into receivers of special metallic composition, which become rapidly heated, but without exceeding a certain temperature, and a heated air current is set up as with steam heating.

An English paper has an account of a fog in the valley of Wensleydale, near Leyburn, which resembled a great lake with rising hills on either side, that more than half filled the valley; while the hillsides above the level of the apparent flood were reflected with extraordinary distinctness in it. The sun was shining brightly at the time, and the mist began to disperse and the mirage to fade away almost immediately.

Ants, according to the experiments of Mr. H. Devaux, perceive the difference between sugar and saccharine. They swarmed around sugar that was laid out for them, but deserted saccharine as soon as they tasted it. Even sugar became unpleasant to them when it was mixed with saccharine.

Prof. Otis T. Mason has been surprised, in examining a large collection of American aboriginal musical instruments, to find that not one was peculiar to women, and that those of the men were never played upon by the women. He is seeking fuller information on the subject.

Cancer has been detected by Prof. Scott, of New Zealand, in specimens of American brook-trout confined in one of the ponds of the Dunedin Acclimatization Society. The author was able to examine several individuals, showing the disease in various stages of advancement; and he gives in his paper a short account of the naked-eye and microscopic appearances of the growth. The occurrence of cancer in animals has been frequently observed of late years.

In the Shattuck Lecture, on the Prevention of Disease in Massachusetts, accepting the germ theory of the origin of consumption, and in view of the swarms of bacilli in phthisical sputa, Dr. J. F. A. Adams lays down the following rules for precaution against transmitting the disease: (1) Let all sputa be carefully collected and destroyed by fire. (2) Let sputa never be deposited on handkerchiefs, carpets, floors, or any other