Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/296

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faculties, has derived numerous varieties, by prolongation, duplication, and intonation. The cry of appeal, the germ of the demonstrative roots, prelude to nouns of number, sex, and distance; the emotional cry, of which our simple interjections are survivals, combining with the demonstratives, prepares the outlines of the proposition, and prefixes the verb and the noun of condition and action. Imitation, either direct or symbolical, but necessarily only approximative, of the sounds of Nature, or, in short, onomatopœia, furnishes the elements of attributive sorts: from which proceed the names of objects and special verbs and their derivatives. Analogy and metaphor complete the vocabulary by applying to objects of touch, sight, smell, and taste the qualifications derived from onomatopœia. Then comes reason, which, discarding the greater part of this unwieldy wealth, adopts a larger or smaller number of sounds reduced to a vague or generic sense; and by derivation, suffixing, and composition cause to proceed from these subroots indefinite lineages of words, having every manner of relationship among themselves, from the closest to the most dubious, and which grammar proceeds to distribute among the recognized categories of parts of speech.


The Audubou Monument.—The Monument in memory of J. J. Audubon, erected by the Audubon Monument Committee of the New York Academy of Sciences, consists of a granite base, a bluestone die, and a cross, and is in all twenty-five feet ten inches high. It is adorned with figures of the birds and animals which Audubon described. In raising the money for it. Prof. Thomas Egleston says, at first school children took a great interest in it individually, and many subscriptions were received from schools as the contributions of the children. Some subscriptions were sent in postage stamps, others as low as ten cents were received from every part of the United States. After a number of months it was found that by this method a sufficient sum for the erection of the monument could not be raised. It was then proposed to ask a hundred gentlemen in the cities near New York in which Audubon had been especially interested to give a hundred dollars each, and this plan succeeded so well that the amount was raised in the fall of 1891. The contributions for the monument were received from almost every part of the United States. Boston was very liberal; Philadelphia and Baltimore made some subscriptions; but much the largest part was contributed by citizens of New York city. The small balance which remains is to be invested as "the Audubon Publication Fund," the interest of which is to be devoted to the publication of a memoir on some zoölogical or botanical topic, annually, or whenever a paper suitable for such memoir shall be presented.


Experiments with Liquid Oxygen.—By means of the intense cold produced in his experiments in liquefying gases, combined with an exhaustion not before attained. Prof. Dewar has proved that mercury distills, as do phosphorus and sulphur, at the ordinary temperature when the vapor pressure is under the millionth of an atmosphere. The increasing indisposition showm by the chemical elements to combine with one another as the absolute zero is approached was well illustrated in an experiment in which liquid oxygen was cooled to — 200º C. On inserting a glowing piece of wood into the vessel above the liquid it refused to burst into flame. Another interesting experiment was that of immersing an electric pile composed of carbon and sodium into liquid oxygen; almost immediately the electric current ceased, in consequence of the suspension of chemical action. Absolute alcohol, run upon the surface of liquid air, after rolling about in the spheroidal state, suddenly solidifies into a hard, transparent ice, which rattles on the sides of the vacuum test-tube like marble. On lifting the solid alcohol out by means of a looped wire the application of the flame of a Bunsen burner will not ignite it. After a time the solid melts and falls from the looped wire like thick sirup.


Mountains and Lakes.—The first of Sir Douglas Freshfield's Christmas lectures before the Royal Geographical Society was on mountains in their relation to the earth as a whole, and more particularly the peculiar features of snow mountains. Mountains, however great in human eyes, the lecturer said, were mere wrinkles on the face of the earth. How were they made? was a natural