Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/155

This page has been validated.
143
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

time the water of this glacial lake was nearly two hundred feet deep over the present site of Detroit. The lake covered all the area of Lake Erie and the low border lands, part of the west end of Lake Ontario, and the southern half of Lake Huron. Its outlet was westward from Saginaw Bay across Michigan through the valley of the Grand River to Lake Chicago (filling the southern part of Lake Michigan), and thence by the Chicago outlet to the Mississippi River. The subsequent history of the lake, as disclosed by the geology, is sketched in the paper.

In a paper read to the American Association upon the scale insects which secrete wax, Dr. L. O. Howard showed that although industries of considerable importance have been derived from the secretions of such insects in Oriental regions, nothing of the kind has so far been done in America. Yet several species exist in the Southwestern States which might possibly be of commercial value. Thus a bark louse is found upon three species of oak in southern California, in practically unlimited supply. A partial chemical investigation has shown that while a very excellent wax may be dissolved by means of chloroform from the insect mass, an insoluble residue remains which has a general resemblance in physical properties to India rubber.

Of the difficulties attending the use of expert testimony in court, Chairman Galbraith, of the Section of Chemistry in the American Association, said that "we are now possessed of so very little of that which may one day be known, that no true scientist hesitates to plead legitimate ignorance, but what really troubles us upon cross-examination is that the court does not speak our language, a language often difficult of direct translation; and the fact that it is but rarely schooled in the principles of our science, and, in consequence, frequently insists upon categorical answers to the most impossible kind of questions." When the expert's testimony has been muddled in this way in the cross examination, the confusion can not be remedied on the redirect examination, because of the lack of familiarity of the friendly attorney with the subject. This leaves the witness in the position of seemingly disagreeing with his own testimony. As a remedy for this the author favored an appeal to the court, urging that the oath requires the whole truth and not a misleading portion of it. In order to secure clearness the expert should avoid technicalities as much as possible.


NOTES.

Of the twelve hundred and six species of the animal kingdom which have been represented in the Zoölogical Gardens of Philadelphia up to the present time, one hundred and four have bred. The propagation of some of our native animals, which are becoming scarce in a wild state, has been conducted with a fair measure of success. This is notably the case with the American bison. Sixteen individuals are now in the gardens, nine of which are females; and all have been bred there except two, which were obtained in exchange for those of the garden's breeding, in order to infuse a new strain into the herd.

The chapter of Dr. White's Warfare of Science with Theology, From Demoniacal Possession to Insanity, is the subject of a friendly and appreciative review by Dr. Warren L. Babcock in the American Journal of Insanity.

A Canadian dog story in the London Spectator tells of a little cocker spaniel dog which was accidentally left by its mistress at a house she visited about a mile from her home. He could not be made to go away till he was taken to the telephone and the trumpet was applied to his ear. Then his mistress called from her house, "Come home at once, Paddy." "Immediately he wriggled out of the boy's arms, rushed at the door, barking to get out, and shortly afterward arrived panting at the rectory."

It is announced by V. H. Veley and L. J. Veley, in Nature of July 1st, that they have found in shipments of rum from Demerara a micro-organism belonging to the group Coccaceæ, which they regard as a new species. The organism was found as chains of small cocci in the sediment from specimens of barreled rum which had been returned as 42 per cent over proof, equivalent to 74·6 per cent alcohol by weight.

It is generally said that the American Indians at the time of discovery did not use anywhere on the continent a stringed instrument. Dr. D. G. Brinton has, however, found four examples which seem to controvert this, and has described them in a brief paper in The American Antiquarian. One is the quijongo of Central America, a monochord with a gourd or jar as resonator. The "Apache fiddle," specimens of which are in the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, is an instrument of one cord, with a hollow reed as resonator. A third instrument is mentioned by James Adair, in his