Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/445

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and of the Amoor in Asia. Several parties will be placed in the field, each including a thoroughly qualified ethnologist, a physical anthropologist, and an archæologist, who will make comparative studies of the physical characteristics of the different peoples, their languages, their myths and traditions, their customs and arts, and will also study the archæology of the whole region. Dr. Boas has been in the field since June, 1897, in British Columbia, and has established four parties, who are working under his immediate direction. The first party will go to Asia in the spring, and other parties will be put into the field from time to time as the men are selected who are properly prepared for the work. In the discussion which followed the presentation of this account, Professor Putnam expressed his belief that there had been an American-Asiatic contact. Mr. Frank H. Cushing was of a different opinion, and thought that the resemblances between the arts and customs of aboriginal Americans and Asiatics were merely the results of similar psychic developments under corresponding environments. Professor Morse brought forward data that led him to the conclusion that not a dialect, art, tool, or weapon was found in America at the time of the discovery that had been in use in the Old World.

Object Lessons in Road Building.—The following, in a circular of information from the New York Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva, will be of value to all interested in the good-roads problem: The attempt to stimulate and inform the public mind in the direction of good roads is being undertaken in two ways: first, by the distribution of good roads literature; and, second, by the building of sample roads in connection with State colleges and experiment stations. The first sample road to be built is already completed at New Brunswick, N. J. (this was written about the first of August), and the second one, which is being constructed in connection with the Geneva station, is now in its first stages. This sample road, which has been made possible through the generosity of private citizens and through liberal aid from the town and city of Geneva, will be over seven thousand feet long, being located in an important street which connects the experiment station with the city. A section of this, perhaps eight hundred feet, will be macadamized in the center to the width of eight feet, with rolled dirt roads on either side, this being designed as an improved country road. The remainder, something over a mile, will be macadamized in the center fourteen feet, with dirt roads on either side. It is now also proposed to lay at least two hundred feet of the steel track which is now attracting so much attention as a possible efficient and economical road in sections where stone is scarce and costly.

A Troublesome "Water Weed."—About seven years ago a few plants of the water hyacinth were accidentally thrown into the St. John's River in Florida. Since then they have increased so enormously as to prove a serious obstruction to navigation, so much so indeed that about two years ago it was found necessary to call in the aid of the War Department. Still later, in the early part of 1897, the Department of Agriculture sent one of its agents, Mr. Herbert Webber, to the region in order to investigate more fully the physiology and habits of this dangerous vegetable. His report has been recently published and is authority for the following statements: The plant grows chiefly in sluggish fresh water, the character of the water seeming to have much to do with its growth. It can not live in brackish water, and is promptly killed when it is dislodged and floats down into salt water. It is normally propagated by seeds and stolons. When the plant first appeared in the river its beautiful masses of flowers were much admired, and it was introduced at various points for its beautifying effect. At this time no one expected the plant would become a nuisance. In a very short time, however, it began to seriously interfere with navigation, and its effect on the lumber and fishing industries has been most disastrous. It is feared that its eradication is impracticable.

Unexplained Tidal Variations.—It has been demonstrated by Lord Kelvin and Professor Darwin that the tidal movement is made up of many waves, depending upon different functions of the moon and sun. Some of these movements are half daily, some daily. The tidal movement is nowhere