Popular Science Monthly/Volume 10/March 1877/Notes


Mr. Seth Green, of Rochester, Fisheries Commissioner, announces that he is ready to supply brook and salmon trout to persons who desire the same for the purpose of restocking the waters of the State of New York. Applicants must remit to Mr. Green money to pay the traveling expenses of a messenger, and full directions as to the route to be taken.

Benjamin R. Tucker, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, proposes to issue, early in the present year, the first number of a quarterly periodical, to be known as the Radical Review, and modeled after the Fortnightly and the Contemporary Review of London. The list of contributors includes the names of many of the foremost American radicals. The subscription price will be $5 per annum.

In an address before the Illinois Wool-Growers' Association, Mr. George Lawrence, Jr., of Wisconsin, asserted that merino sheep, taken from Vermont to Wisconsin, show a marked improvement in many respects when bred in the latter State. They have a larger carcass, are heavier boned, quality and quantity of fleece are equal if not superior, and they are more hardy, than their Vermont ancestors.

The Bulgarian Turk of the lower class believes that a railway-engine is driven, not by steam-power, but by a devil. A young devil is trapped in England, shut up in the "fire-box on wheels," and bribed to work the crank by the occasional gift of a little cold water to mitigate his torture.

M. Drouyn de Lhuys, President of the French Agricultural Society, has issued a circular to similar bodies in foreign countries, announcing that the society intends to organize an International Agricultural Congress to assemble at Paris during the Exposition of 1878.

The award of the London Royal Society's medals for 1876 was as follows: To Claude Bernard, the Copley Medal for physiological researches; a Royal Medal to William Froude, for researches on the behavior of ships; Royal Medal to Sir C. Wyville Thomson, for services on board the Challenger; Rumford Medal to P. J. C. Janssen, for researches in the radiation and absorption of light.

Prof. Osborne Reynolds, in reply to some newspapers which have pronounced the British Arctic Expedition a failure, calls attention to the fact that, since Hudson's time, arctic navigators had penetrated 60 or 70 miles of the 540 to be passed on the route to the pole. But Captain Nares has in one year carried the British flag 60 miles nearer, so that "nearly one-half, and this by far the most difficult half, of the entire results of all expeditions since Hudson's time, has been accomplished by the last." Further, Captain (now Sir George) Nares seems to have pursued his journey to its end at least by that route; and in coming back can say that he did not leave a single uncertainty behind him.

A very valuable mine of silver has recently been discovered at Harbor Island, Newfoundland, near the public wharf.

An act of the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada grants an additional quarter-section of land, on payment of a trifling fee, to every settler on Dominion lands who plants with trees thirty-two acres in successive annual installments.

Dr. A. E. Foote has established at 3725 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia, an agency for the sale and exchange of natural-history specimens, including minerals, botanical and zoological forms, fossils, pre-historic relics, etc. He issues a monthly bulletin containing the needed particulars, and which may be obtained on application.

An eminent scientific professor, interested in the state of science-education in our colleges, has been looking into the subjects of their use of text-books. He collected catalogues from 187 colleges, and gleaned from them the following statistics regarding the physical and chemical text-books employed. For physics, the text-books ran thus: Olmsted in 48 colleges, Ganot in 33, Silliman in 16, Steele in 15, Deschanel in 12, Rolfe and Gillette in 11, Wells in 8, Norton in 8; the others scattering. The preferences for chemistry ran as follows: Youmans in 37 colleges, Eliot and Storer in 28, Barker in 24, Roscoe in 18, Steele in 18, Fownes in 13, Wells in 10; others scattering.

A tame crow, in the possession of a writer in the Nuttall Ornithological Club Bulletin, rids himself of parasites in a very ingenious way. He takes his stand on an ant-hill, and permits the ants to crawl over him and carry away the troublesome vermin. The same habit was observed in another tame crow formerly in the author's possession.

Died in Indianapolis, December 12, 1876, Prof. Herbert E. Copeland, aged twenty-seven years. His scientific studies were commenced at Cornell University, where he devoted himself chiefly to natural history, graduating Ph. B. in 1872. He then became, successively, principal of an academy at Ravenswood, Illinois, and Professor of Natural Sciences in the normal school at Whitewater Wisconsin, and in the high-school at Indianapolis. His premature death was the result of exposure while studying the ichthyology of the State of Indiana in company with Prof. Jordan.

It is proposed in California to establish at numerous points in the State experiment stations for the purpose of accurately determining sundry agricultural problems, such as the nature of the soils of different localities, the best mode of maintaining and restoring productiveness, etc.

A fearful epizoötic prevailed last fall among the horses of Egypt. On the 18th of September 200 horses died in Cairo alone. The army-horses were specially afflicted, and 50 per cent, of them had died before the end of September. The carcasses were transported into the desert and thrown into those enormous bone-quarries of which we can have no idea here. But many were cast into the canals, and the consequences may be disastrous. It is supposed that this equine plague came from Abyssinia.

Prof. Leidy, in dredging the bottom of the Schuylkill near its mouth, was surprised to observe that no living thing whatever was brought up, the mud and sand being black and saturated with bituminous oil. The refuse of the city gas-works and probably of some coal-oil refineries run into the river. The oils appear to have an affinity for the suspended particles of clay, and the result is a bituminous sediment. In the same manner oils from decomposing animals, and also from certain plants, may have supplied the sedimentary muds of ancient shales.

A radiometer, in the shop of a Paris optician, during the first two weeks of December, twice stopped entirely in the daytime—viz., on the 8th, during a thunder-storm, and on the 13th, during a fog. The instrument varied considerably as to the moment of daily commencing to revolve—the extremes being 8.15 and 10.25 a. m. The time of stopping was far less irregular—the variation being only from 3.30 to 4 p. m.

Most of the monthly educational journals in the Western States have been consolidated to form one strong weekly—the National Journal of Education, published in Chicago. The editors are W. F. Phelps, editor-in-chief, Prof. E. Olney, and others. Special editors will be employed to conduct special departments. The subscription price of the Journal is $2.50 per year.

In the hope of eliciting further information concerning the breeding-habits of the American kinglets (Regulus), or at least of putting observers upon the alert for further information, Mr. Ernest Ingersoll publishes, in the November number of the Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, a paper in which is brought together whatever is at present known respecting the nidification of these birds.

In consequence of the extraordinary precautions taken last Fourth of July, the losses by fire from the use of fire-works were less than usual on that anniversary; but the losses so caused were nevertheless enormous. In the report of the National Board of Underwriters it is stated that the invoice value of all fire-crackers imported since January 1, 1875, is less than $1,500,000, and that the loss by two conflagrations traceable directly to them amounts to upward of $15,000,000! It is considered to be not an extravagant statement that every dollar's worth of fire-crackers imported into this country occasions a direct loss by fire of more than $100.

In order to reduce to the minimum the danger to health incurred by workmen employed in the manufacture cf white-lead, the British Inspector of Factories recommends that clothes, gloves, and caps, should be provided for the employés to be worn in the works; water-proof boots for those working with the moist white-lead, and respirators for those working with the dry white-lead. Besides, no workman should be allowed to leave the works unwashed, or in the factory-dress.

There appears to be at present a considerable degree of religious fermentation in Russia, and sects of all kinds are daily springing up. One of these new sects, the Philipovtzi preach suicide by fire and starvation as the greatest of Christian virtues. The "Child-Murderers" think it their duty to people paradise with the souls of innocent children. The "Stranglers" believe that people can only enter paradise by a violent death. Other sects are the "Flagellants" and the "Skoptzi," or mutilates. The Skoptzi number about 100,000 persons of both sexes.