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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

sweet orange of the hardy type, produced by crossing, is thought to give promise; and breeding and selection work is being carried on with tobacco to improve the leaf. Much needed studies have been made upon the cold storage of fruit, to determine the conditions of growing, picking and handling for that purpose and for export. During the year over fourteen hundred kinds of seeds and plants were introduced, through agricultural explorers and correspondence, from various parts of the world. In this line special attention is being paid to the development of dry-land farming in the west. Evidence is presented of the value of copper sulphate for ridding water supply of obnoxious algæ, and progress is reported in the direction of making practically useful the important discoveries of Hellriegel, Wilfarth and others as to the assimilation of nitrogen from the air by plants with the aid of certain bacteria. An important new line of work is that relating to the breeding of animals, which has been undertaken on a systematic basis in co-operation with the experiment stations and with a special appropriation from congress.

In the investigations on human nutrition, the respiration calorimeter has been developed to a point of high scientific accuracy, and is being employed in studies on the comparative value of fat and carbohydrates as sources of energy to the body. Investigations have been completed on the much-agitated question of the value of the whole-wheat and graham flours as compared with ordinary flours, and dietary studies made at public institutions. Laboratories have been established for the inspection of imported food products, the character of which has greatly improved under this inspection; and investigations nave been made of the effect upon health of food preservatives, such as borax. The irrigation investigations have had to do especially with the water requirements of crops, the economy of water, method of applying it, and pumping trials. Drainage investigations have been added, to include the large drainage problems growing out of the formation of marshes from irrigation, reclamation of the everglades of Florida, tidal marshes, etc.; and it is urged that this work in agricultural engineering be extended to include farm buildings and farm machinery, upon which there is much call for expert information.

The publications of the department, which reflect its activity and growth last year, reached the large number of 972 separate documents, the editions of which aggregated nearly twelve and a half million copies. Nearly half of these were 'farmers' bulletins' of popular character. A constantly increasing demand is noted for the department's publications by educational institutions, to be used for class work; and two thirds of the publications sold by the superintendent of documents were those of the Department of Agriculture. This attests the increasing appreciation of its work.

The generally optimistic character of the report indicates a commendable faith and enthusiasm in the work which the department is doing, and in the ability of science to solve many of the problems which now confront the agriculture of this country.

 

THOMAS MESSINGER DROWN.

By the untimely death of Thomas Messinger Drown, LL.D., on November 16, Lehigh University has lost a wise, and beloved president, and American science a versatile and accomplished chemist, while a large circle of friends mourns the loss of a singularly winning personality, always cheerful, gentle, kindly and helpful. Dr. Drown was born on March 19, 1842, at Philadelphia. After graduating in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, he pursued graduate studies in chemistry under