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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 7.djvu/267

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sioners will reserve for the Botanic Garden all the space which may be required for present and prospective use. Prof. H. H. Babcock has been chosen as Botanical Director.

 


NOTES.

A. McDougall recently exhibited to the Manchester Philosophical Society a specimen of carbon which had formed upon the roof of a gas-retort, by the decomposition of the hydrocarbon gas by heat. This carbon resembles graphite, and its mode of formation might possibly explain that of graphite. The latter mineral always occurs in association with rocks which have been subjected to igneous action, and may have been formed by hydrocarbon gases traversing fissures, the sides of which were in a highly-heated state.

The adulteration of tobacco is extensively practised in England. A cigar-maker was recently found guilty of manufacturing cigars which contained 74 per cent, of lime-leaves, 1 per cent, of colored paper, and only 19 per cent, of tobacco.

Some one in Texas is examining the annual rings on trees with reference to the effect of very dry seasons upon tree-growth. He has a theory that a series of such seasons may return in regular periodicity, the discovery of which would be of great value to the farmer, since it would enable him to anticipate short crops, and, by previous surplus ones, prepare for them. He has selected for his purpose the burr-oak, on some of which he finds a record of the growth of three hundred years. So far as he has traced back human records, he finds each very dry season marked by rings of extraordinary thinness. He is still tracing back the records of man and Nature in the hope of discovering the law above referred to.—Department of Agriculture.

Antimony, equal to the best English, is produced in San Francisco from native ore, and might be sold there at a far lower price than the imported article. In practice, however, the California metal has to be shipped to New York, and then returned to San Francisco as imported antimony, consumers persisting in the belief that, unless it comes from England, it is of little value!

A Western farmer communicates to the American Chemist a method of preserving wooden posts, so that they will last longer than iron in the ground, while the cost does not exceed two cents per post. This is the recipe: Take boiled linseed-oil and stir into it pulverized charcoal to the consistency of paint, and put a coat of this over the timber.

The case of the ecstatica, Louise Lateau, who says that for years she has partaken of no food, has been considered in the Brussels Academy of Medicine. The opinion of the Academy is: "That Louise works and requires food. When she breathes, she exhales water-vapor and carbonic acid; her weight has not decreased since she has been observed; she therefore consumes carbon which is not furnished by her system. Whoever alleges that Louise Lateau is not subject to physiological laws, must prove it; until this is done physiology will pronounce the miracle a deception."

A new mammalian genus, Mixoœbus, is described by Peters in the Monatsherichte of the Berlin Academy of Science. It is most nearly allied to Lepidolemur, and is covered with a brown fur, except the head and neck, which are of lighter color. The tail is longer than the body. The feet are, in shape, not unlike human hands, and the thumbs of all four feet are opposable. Habitat, Madagascar,

Sir Charles Lyell bequeathed to the British Geological Society 2,000 as a fund for the promotion of geological research. The award is to be accompanied by a "Lyell Medal," and to be open to geologists without distinction of nationality or of sex.

An International Congress of "Americanists" is to assemble at Nancy, France, on the 22d of July. The object is to bring together those who are interested in the history of America prior to its discovery by Columbus, and in the interpretation of the monuments and the ethnology of the aboriginal races.

At the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, Mr. Willard gave two instances of the brittleness of iron under the low temperature of the past winter. In breaking up an old locomotive, the cutting off of the rivet-heads, which usually requires heavy sledging, was effected by a single blow. Again, in the forging of a long steamboat shaft of the best hammered iron, which hung balanced in a crane, the hammering of the heated end caused vibration in the other end, which caused the beam to break sharp near the point of support.

There are now manufactured in England candles containing in their substance some of those gum-resins and balsams, especially benzoin and storax, which have been found useful in chronic pulmonary and allied maladies. These "pulmonic candles" yield, on combustion, a pleasing fragrance, and at the same time give a good light.

All the steamers afloat on the Caspian Sea use petroleum exclusively for fuel, burning it with the aid of a blast of steam.