Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/883

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nal poisoning, the observation of an eminent but unnamed chemist was quoted, that alkaloidal poisons are destroyed by burial as well as by cremation, so that the only poison that would not be discovered after cremation and which might be detected after ordinary burial is arsenic.

Endurance in Animals.—The tradition, says an English writer, which assigns to certain animals a daring and endurance difficult to match in man, is so old, and on the whole so consistent, that it would be impossible to disregard it, even were the facts on which it is based less clearly within the limits of ordinary observation and comprehension than they are. It may even be doubted whether our measurement of animal courage has yet been sufficiently extended, for there appear instances in which the acts of daring are prompted by a sense of obedience, of discipline, and even of duty—something similar in kind to that which marks and distinguishes the highest forms of courage in man.


An English edition of the Reminiscences of Werner von Siemens, to which we are indebted for the material of the sketch of him published in this number, is now in press and shortly to be published by D. Appleton & Co. It abounds in stirring incidents and bright anecdotes.

A World's Congress of Evolutionists has been called to meet in the Art Building, Chicago, September 27th, 28th, and 29th. Morning, afternoon, and evening sessions will be held each day. A carefully arranged programme of subjects has been provided for the discussions. The first subject, set down for the morning session of September 27th, is Constructive Evolution. Progress of the Doctrine in Forty Years. Its Present Scientific and Popular Status. Its Upbuilding and Beneficent Character. Other subjects, under each of which are several subheadings, furnishing a wide and varied scope for expression by different speakers from their respective points of view, are Biology as related to Evolution; The Heroes of Evolution (Darwin, Spencer, Wallace, Haeckel, Gray, Youmans, etc.); Psychology as related to Evolution; Sociology, with Evolution's Promise for the Settlement of Social Problems and the True Conservatism of involution; Economics as related to Evolution; Philosophy as affected by Evolution; Ethics, the Moral of Evolution; and the final series, Religion: how it is affected by the Doctrine of Evolution, Spiritual Implications in all Progress, Materialistic Speculations Untenable, The Immanent and Transcendent Power that makes for Beauty, Order, and Righteousness. The arrangements for the congress are under the guidance of Dr. Lewis G. Janes, James A. Skilton, and other persons of representative character. All friends of evolution are invited to attend.

A writer in the London Spectator suggests that, in studying the intelligence of animals instead of ourselves, we should compare them with men who are more or less in the same state of education with them. He lives in Bolivia, in a country close to three tribes of Indians who are more or less savages, although engaged in agriculture of a desultory kind; and he has had it forced upon him on various occasions that the nobler animals—such as the horse and the dog—are quite as capable of "reasoning" or "thinking" out the ordinary problems of maintaining their existence as those savages. "Of the wild animals, many put whatever brain power they possess to 'cunning.' Again, what is 'cunning'? Their cunning is very similar to that of the Indians of this country, who would rank high among savage races."

According to an observation by C. Margat, of the University of Geneva, when aluminum, previously well cleaned, is lightly rubbed with an amalgam, its surface becomes covered with an arborescence of alumina, which can literally be seen to grow, and in the course of half an hour the forest may reach the height of a centimetre. The growth ceases on the application of heat, to be resumed on a new rubbing with the amalgam. If the forest growth is brushed away, the surface of the metal where the oxidation was most rapid will be found to have been eaten, as if with an acid. The mercury acts in some way to make the aluminum more amenable to oxidation. The experiment is more conveniently performed with an amalgam than with pure mercury, because the amalgam can be powdered and brought into more immediate contact with the aluminum.

In the investigation of the purity of the ice supplied to Paris, Lac Daumesnil at Vincennes, whence a considerable proportion of the natural ice comes, has been found to be polluted by the entrance of a sewer and by an artificial stream from the plateau of Gravelle. It is proposed to limit the use of this ice to applications in which it is not brought into direct contact with the articles to be cooled, and to enforce the use of artificial ice got exclusively from spring water or from river water sterilized by heat, when such contact takes place.

Lake Memphremagog, on the line between Vermont and Canada, has been sub-