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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/301

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FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

pretty evenly distributed throughout the year, and is quite excessive (one hundred and seventy-seven inches). It is only in January and February that a comparatively dry period can be expected. The northeast trades blow from December to April, becoming rather easterly or southeasterly from March to November. Calms or violent southwesterly storms occur chiefly between August and November. There being no springs, a supply of water is collected in tanks or cisterns. The useful plants include the cocoanut palm, breadfruit tree, and Pandaus odoratissimus, the sap of which last is rich in sugar. The cultivation of plantains has much increased of late, besides which several kinds of arums, the South Sea arrowroot (Tacca pinnatifida) and a mangrove which supplies a black dye are grown. Guavas, figs, citrons, and anonas thrive well, but tea, coffee, cacao, etc., can not be grown at all. The Micronesian population amounts to from twelve thousand to thirteen thousand. The population belongs to four sharply defined classes. The great mass consists of the common people (Kayur); the next higher class is that of the Leatakketak, comparable to village magistrates, who see that the orders of the chiefs are carried out. Neither of these classes own land, but they are allowed to grow as much produce or catch as much fish as is necessary for their sustenance. The ordinary chiefs (Burak) rank above both these classes, and they often possess larger holdings than the head chiefs (Iroj). All the members of these four classes acquire their rank through the mother only. The race seems to be deteriorating physically, owing to the prevalence of specific disease, with which about fifty per cent of the inhabitants are afflicted,"


MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

Anianus Jedlik died on the 12th of last December, at the cloister of the Benedictine order, in Gyor. He belonged to the old order of natural philosophers (he was born in 1800) who lacked that important portion of the latter-day physicists equipment, a knowledge of higher mathematics. Some of his more important treatises were under the following titles: The Deflection of Beams (1845); The Application of the Electro-magnet in Electro-dynamic Rotations (1856); A Modification of Grove and Bunsen's Battery (1857); The Magneto-motor (1857); Concatenation of Leyden Jars (1863); Electromagnetic Undulation Machine (1868).

M. Abel Hovelacque, one of the most industrious and successful of the younger French students of anthropology, died in Paris, on the 22d of February, aged fifty-two years. His effective scientific career began in 1867, when, at the age of twenty-three years, he founded, with Chavée, the Revue linguistique, the first journal in France specially devoted to linguistics; joined the Anthropological Society, and began the publication of articles in various periodicals. These articles, largely relating to linguistic and cranial investigations, were followed by books on Our Ancestor; The Beginnings of Mankind; a Grammar of the Zend Language; an Elementary Linguistics; Languages, Races, and Nationalities; Observations on Herodotus and the Persians; The South Slavs; Linguistics; The Avesta, Zoroaster, and Mazdeism; and a lecture on the Evolution of Languages. On the foundation, by Broca, of the École d'Anthropologie, in 1876, Hovelacque was made Professor of Linguistic Ethnology. In 1890 he was made president of the school and chief director of the Revue mensuelle de l'École d'Anthropologie. He has also taken part with other anthropologists, whom M. Andrè Lefevre speaks of collectively as a group, in other important enterprises and publications in anthropology.

La Revue Scientifique of December 14th contains an interesting anthropological note. It had been noticed that the wounds made by the arrows of the natives of New Hebrides were quite regularly followed by tetanus, and that the surrounding inhabitants were more afraid of these arrows than of a rifle bullet. A commission at Melbourne experimented on some animals, with these arrow points, in order to discover their poison, but obtained no results. So far as the animals were concerned, the arrows were not poisoned. A somewhat similar commission in 1883, authorized by the Governor of New Caledonia, gave no better results. In