Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/589

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FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

ing or crag which they choose for a resting place. The Rev. A. Morres writes to The Field giving some observations on the falcons that for many years have made Salisbury spire their haunt. The first year that he saw them one of four peregrines settled on the weathercock, four hundred feet high. On crags and cliffs along the coast seafowl always occupy the highest points. One evening in the autumn of 1893 a cormorant, probably driven inland by a storm, alighted on the arrow of the weathercock on the summit of the parish church spire in Newark-on-Trent, where it remained until morning. For nearly eight weeks it returned each night to its perch upon the arrow, finally disappearing in a November gale. In India the adjutant storks always prefer to stand on the topmost pinnacles of high buildings. Once, when a brick had been left on the highest part of the roof of a house during some repairs, an adjutant was seen to take his stand upon the brick, thus gaining an extra two inches of altitude.


NOTES.

The second session of the Monsalvat School of Comparative Religion (Lewis G. Janes, Director) is to be held at Greenacre, Eliot, Maine, August 3d to September 2d. The purpose of this school is entirely unsectarian, and is described to be to afford opportunity for the scientific study of various forms of philosophical and religious thought under competent teachers. The lectures include courses on the History and Philosophy of Religion and on Christian Origins, by the director; the Vedantic Philosophy and the Religions of India, by the Swâmi Saradánanda, of India; Buddhism, by the Anágariká H. Dharmapala, of Ceylon; The Philosophy and Religion of the Jains, by Mr. Virchaud R. Gandhi, of Bombay; Zoroaster and the Religion of the Parsis, by Mr. Jehanghier D. Cola, of Bombay; and The Religions of China, by the Rev. F. H. James, missionary. A conference for the comparative study of religions will be held during the last week of the school, at which Rabbi Hirsch, of Chicago, Mr. Gandhi, Edward B. Rawson, of New York, and Mrs. Annie Besant will speak on special subjects.

The Newcastle Daily Chronicle of December 17, 1896, speaking of the trial trip of the torpedo boat Turbinia, built by the Marine Steam Turbine Company, Limited, for the purpose of testing the steam turbine engine of Hon. Charles Parsons, says: "Several most successful runs were made, and the very high speed of 29.6 knots was attained over the measured mile. It is believed that this is a speed greatly in excess of anything that has ever been previously accomplished by a vessel of the small dimensions of the Turbinia, which is only one hundred feet in length, nine feet in beam, and has but forty-two tons displacement when fully loaded." As this was only a trial trip, a still higher speed is anticipated after repeated experiments.

It is stated in Nature that M. Camille Flammarion has recently compiled some meteorological statistics regarding the amount of rainfall in Paris, which disclose the remarkable fact that there has been a gradual increase in the fall for the last two hundred years. The following brief table speaks for itself:

Mm.
1689 to 1719 485·7
1720 to 1754 409·4
1778 to 1797 492·5
1804 to 1824 503·7
1825 to 1844 507·5
1845 to 1872 522·4
1873 to 1896 557·4

Whether this increase is actually due to more rain or to some such causes as better positions for rain gauges, or more improved gauges themselves, one can not with certainty say, but the amount of increase seems rather to negative this. It would be interesting to have similar data from other Continental cities.

The account of the Proceedings of the National Science Club, at its second annual meeting in January, 1896, is late in reaching us, but it loses none of its interest for all that. The purpose of the club is to promote the cooperation of the scientifically inclined women of the country in research and investigation. Twenty papers were read at the annual meeting by members of the club; meetings were held at the reading rooms, 1425 New York Avenue, Washington, several days each week till May; and an experimental course of lectures was given with much success. All parts of the country are represented in the list of nearly a hundred and fifty members, and Norway and Spain furnish corresponding members. The club has twenty-two sections, five of which are in botany.

In a paper read in the British Association, Mr. W. H. Preece mentioned electrical disturbances in submarine cables which produce mutilation of signals and loss of speed in telegraph working, indistinctness of speech and the presence of extraneous and disturbing sounds in telephones, with reduction of the distance through which speech is practicable, which, he said, were due to electrostatic and electro-magnetic induction and to leakage. The paper explained how these disturbances were detected, measured, and mitigated, defined the conditions that determine the distance through which telephony