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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/589

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589
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ally be secured in a year. A little indigo is grown for domestic use, and almost takes care of itself. In many respects the bamboo takes the place of metals, although iron, copper, and brass are well known, and have been from very early times. The young shoots make an excellent vegetable, and paper and twine of great strength are produced from the fiber. The fields are cultivated like gardens, well hoed and clear of weeds. All the tools with cutting edges are of native manufacture, and steeled and tempered on the edge.

 


NOTES.

In the excavation of the ancient Roman city at Silchester, England, twelve rectangular inclosures or buildings have been found, all of the same type, and containing furnaces, obviously of an industrial character, and of various sizes. The circular furnaces correspond exactly with the dyeing furnace at Pompeii, and are supposed to have been used for a like purpose. The supposition is corroborated by the large number of wells discovered. A number of other furnaces with a straight flue are supposed to have been intended for drying. Several rooms are traceable which, it is presumed, were intended for the storage of goods and materials, and open spaces with no remains of flues which may have been used for bleaching grounds. A number of querns for hand-grinding the madder-roots used for dyeing purposes have been discovered.

A man shot through the brain, says Mr. Victor Horsley, dies, not through failure of the heart's action, but through the want of breath occasioned by the explosive effect of the bullet passing through the wet brain substance, and consequent injury to the base of the brain. The heart goes on beating, but respiration stops; indeed, the heart is stimulated, not depressed, when a bullet enters the brain; and the proper treatment of a man thus shot is the same as that resorted to in the case of drowned people—one should try to set up artificial respiration.

The investigation of the effect of metals on the growth of bacteria has been continued by Dr. Meade Bolton. His process was to inoculate a tube of melted jelly with particular microbes, and pour the contents out on a sterilized glass plate, after which bits of the metal under examination were laid on the jelly while it was still soft. If the metal has an inhibitory action on the microbes, then a clear zone is left around it after the colonies have developed in the other parts of the jelly. The width of this zone, Dr. Bolton found, varied very considerably with different organisms, as well as with different metals. Throughout the investigation it was found that those metals that are resistant toward chemical reagents in general failed to produce an effect on the microbes; while those metals which are readily attacked by chemical reagents all exhibited a marked inhibitory action upon the growth of bacteria. This result is probably due to a solution of the metal taking place in the medium.

Provision is made in the Missouri Botanic Garden for the furtherance of advanced research in botany and cognate sciences, and facilities are freely given to professors of botany and other persons wishing and competent to perform such work. The garden is rich in native and exotic species of plants, and horticulturists' varieties under cultivation; the herbarium includes nearly two hundred and fifty thousand species, fairly representative of the vegetable life of Europe and the United States, with specimens from other regions, and is supplemented by a large collection of woods; and the library is representative of the present condition of the science in its various departments, and contains besides nearly five hundred botanical volumes prepared before the period of Linnæus. Botanists wishing to pursue their studies here are invited to communicate on the subject with Prof. William Trelease, director, St. Louis.

The rapid decrease in the population of Ireland from 8,300,000 to 4,600,000 in fifty years is ascribed by Dr. Grimshaw, registrar general, to three causes: the frequent failure of the potato crop; the emigration stimulated by the high wages in America and the low wages at home; and the lack of manufacturing industries, the result of which is that when the crops fail the people become destitute and have to leave the country. Notwithstanding the decrease in the population, the registrar general believes that the country has gained in wealth.

Prof. Simon Newcomb has been elected by the French Academy of Sciences an associate academician as successor to the late Prof. Helmholtz.

In addition to the general courses of instruction of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Holl, Mass., special lectures will be given on Embryology, by C. O. Whitman; Botanical Museum Development, by J. M. McFarlane; Matter and Energy, by A. E. Dolbear; and evening lectures will be delivered by specialists on biological subjects of general interest. Forty private laboratories are provided for investigators. The course of invertebrate anatomy will embrace simply a study of typical marine invertebrates, through lectures, laboratory work, and excursions; that in vertebrate anatomy has been arranged for those who desire a thorough