THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
has been and is now continually adding to the vitality of the vegetable and animal kingdom, as far as they are brought under their control. Man has increased his own life also, in so far as he has conformed his self-management to the requirements of the vital law.
Fossil Edentates.—Prof. O. C. Marsh, in the current number of the American Journal of Science, describes some new fossil mammals, being edentates of a stupendous size. They go back very much farther, geologically, than any American species previously described. Some of them are from the Upper Eocene of Wyoming Territory.
A considerable trade is now carried on between Australia and San Francisco in kangaroo-skins. At the latter place they are much in vogue, and when tanned are said to produce a thin, supple leather, softer than calf-skin and more impervious to water.
Dr. T. C. Renner writes to the Department of Agriculture, that several years ago he collected some poke-root (Phytolacca decandra) for medicinal purposes, and spread it at several places about the house to dry. Soon afterward he observed that there were many cockroaches lying dead, and upon examination found that they had been partaking freely of the poke-root. Some of the root was placed near their haunts, and the result was that it rid the premises of those insects. Since then he has communicated the remedy to others, who have tested it with satisfactory results.
The Italian Government having invited Father Secchi, S. J., to remain at his post, he declined to do so unless the pope's rights over the observatory were recognized. The Government has acceded to his request, and is walling off from the rest of the expropriated Collegio Romano the portion comprising the observatory, in which Father Secchi and his assistants are to remain undisturbed.
The first oil-field around Titusville, Pa., appears to be again becoming productive. Territory long since abandoned and deemed worthless promises to give as abundant a yield of oil as any in the whole oil-region. Several wells recently sunk in the territory yield from 100 to 500 barrels per day.
Benjamin Thompson, afterward Count Rumford, was born in Woburn, Mass., and not, as might be inferred from a paragraph in the April Monthly, in Concord, N.H.
About the year 1300 coal was first discovered in England on the banks of the Tyne, and was introduced as fuel into London about the year 1350. Its use, however, was in 1373 forbidden by proclamation, in consequence of its effluvia being considered injurious to health, by corrupting the atmosphere, and for many years it remained unused. At the close of the century, however, the value of coal became recognized, and its application and consumption extended.
Poggendorff's Annals of Physics and Chemistry, a monthly periodical, has now been in existence fifty years, and has been under the sole editorial direction of Prof. Poggendorff for that long period. Some of the friends of the venerable editor have agreed to assume editorial charge of the work for one volume, thus allowing the veteran a four months' vacation. The entire number of papers published in the Annalen, during the fifty years of its existence, is 8,850, and among the 2,167 authors who have contributed to its pages are Liebig, Berzelius, Faraday, Brewster, Becquerel, and many others.
The French Assembly have voted a pension of 12,000 francs to M. Pasteur for his eminent services to science, more particularly for his researches into the causes of the diseases of the vine and the silk-worm.
The American Naturalist calls for a careful geological and zoological survey of Massachusetts. While surveys are going on or have recently been completed in so many other States, it is not particularly to the credit of Massachusetts that a thorough survey of its geological and biological riches has been neglected It is now over thirty years since the original incomplete survey of the State was made. Since then physical science has changed so much that the work done then needs to be reviewed and greatly extended.
Died, in Charleston, S. C, February 28th, Rev. John Bachman, aged eighty-four years. He was associated with Audubon in the preparation of his great work on ornithology, and was the principal author of the work on the quadrupeds of North America, illustrated by Audubon and his sons. He was also the author of numerous other works and papers on zoological subjects, all evincing superior powers of observation, and marked by excellence of statement.
Peter Andreas Hansen, Director of the Observatory of Seeberg, near Gotha, died on the 28th of March last, aged seventy-nine years. He is chiefly famous for his elaborate investigation of the moon's motion, and the tables constructed on the basis of his theoretical labors. These tables were published in London, in 1857, at the expense of the British Government.