Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/297

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which obtain all their food in either the liquid or gaseous form by osmosis (diffusion)." Immediately he finds that there are certain facts which appear to invalidate these conclusions. The myxomycetes at one stage of their lives take solid particles of food very much like the amœbæ, but no other plants are known to do so, and may not there be a connecting link? The tapeworm in the intestine does not apparently take up any solid food, but is nourished by absorption; but this is an exception induced by a parasitical life, as near relatives of the tapeworm take up solid food. The definitions are not, however, proposed as a fixed theory, but as a speculation suggesting lines of research that appear promising.


The economic value of fossils, says State Geologist Charles R. Keyes in his report on the Palæontology of Missouri, is commonly entirely overlooked. To the laity usually these remains of life are merely curious; to the specialist the interest in the ancient organisms is largely scientific. But with him who wills it even a slight acquaintance with the true character of fossils enables the rocks to be read as a printed page. It is one of the best established facts in modern geological science that an intimate relation exists between mineral deposits and the surrounding rocks; hence the geological age of the particular beds becomes an important factor in the early attempts to develop new mineral districts. This suggestion, again, rests on one of the cardinal principles of geology: that the geological succession of strata is determinable readily by the remains of life contained. Thus, in reality, fossils are labels on the rocks, telling man at a glance the age of the bed he is working, and providing him with the most reliable guides he could possibly secure to direct him to the layers most likely to contain the mineral sought.

Colgate University, with three departments leading to degrees in arts, philosophy, and science, and offering a total of one hundred and twenty-five courses of instruction, has adopted the policy of requiring the master's degree to be earned by graduate work. The old plan will cease after 1896.

The summer course in botany of the Torrey Botanical Club and the College of Pharmacy of New York was opened in the College of Pharmacy, March 27th. It is to include fourteen lectures by Dr. Smith Eli Jelliffe, given on Wednesdays, with excursions for study in the field and the collection of specimens. The lectures during May and June will be on the stem, leaves, inflorescence, and parts of the flower, general conclusions, history, and herborization. Besides the lectures, Dr. Jelliffe is giving a course of lessons on Thursday evenings in Vegetable Histology, or the microscopic anatomy of plants.

A curious instance of the formation of snow was witnessed at Agen, France, on the night of the 30th of January. A fire broke out in a sawmill when the temperature was ten degrees centigrade below the freezing point. The water thrown upon it was instantly vaporized, and, rising into the cold, dry air, was immediately condensed and fell as snow. What with bright starlight and a strong northwest wind blowing, the whirling snow above and the raging fire below, a brilliant spectacle was presented.

A severe storm in England in December last was marked by the deposition of notable quantities of salt on the trees, the ground, and various objects at considerable distances from the coast. Similar phenomena have been observed rarely before. Mr. G. Symons has shown in the Monthly Meteorological Magazine that the spray of the ocean was carried to distances of between seventy-five and one hundred miles from the sea.

At the Los Angeles Public Library, California, the copies of magazines not needed for binding are filed away, some to replace worn-out circulating copies, while others are taken apart, the illustrations are cut out, sorted, and mounted on gray Bristol board, forming collections of pictures for teaching geography, history, literature, and mythology, besides being samples of the modern school of illustrators and artists. The articles are sorted into classified groups, which are sewed together, some for school, some for library use, some for the hospitals, etc. The comic pictures and advertising pages are sent to the social settlements and to kindergartens for scrapbooks. "For all-around usefulness, attractiveness, and satisfaction," the librarian says in her report, "the magazines which are duplicated for home use are unsurpassed. There is no trouble in securing volunteers for the cutting of pictures, for collectors of material will gladly exchange work for pictures. The report of the teachers on the use of this material in the school-room is a general cry for more."

An experience of the observers at the meteorological station on the summit of Ben Nevis, Scotland, is cited as bearing upon the question of the value of high-level residence in the treatment of tuberculous conditions. These observers are changed every three months. While on duty at the observatory, with all the exposure to extremes of weather to which they are subjected, they