Popular Science Monthly/Volume 11/July 1877/Notes


The Christian Union has begun the publication of a series of articles, by distinguished writers, on "How to spend the Summer." Each writer will speak from personal experience, and, if the articles we have seen are a fair sample of those to come, everybody seeking health or pleasure, either at home or abroad, will be profited by reading them.

Admission to hospital for purposes of clinical instruction has at last been granted to female medical students in London. This removes the only remaining obstacle to a complete medical course for women in England; and the concession came just in time to prevent the break-up of their leading medical school.

During the coming summer a limited number of teachers of mathematics or astronomy will be permitted to spend a portion of their vacation at the Cincinnati Observatory, in the pursuit of studies connected with their special departments of instruction. Particular attention will be paid to the art of computing, in order to give an insight into the practical application of mathematics to astronomy. Opportunity will also be afforded to learn the use of instruments.

Siegfried Stein advocates the employment of rock-crystal for making normal standards of weight and measure, and other instruments of precision. The advantages of rock-crystal for these purposes consist in its indifference, at common temperature, to the action of acids and bases, or of atmospheric gases or moisture.

A new method of cleaning the skeletons of small animals, by utilizing the enormous appetites of tadpoles, is described in the English Mechanic. M. Lareste, the discoverer, has found that the tadpoles may be quickly habituated to a meat-diet, and that they rapidly denude the bones, when the carcass, previously skinned, is presented to them in water, kept in a warm and somewhat darkened place.

The syllabus of a course of lectures on American prehistoric archeology, to be delivered before the College of Fine Arts of Syracuse University, during the spring term of 1877, by Dr. Wills De Hass, comprises such topics as "Discovery and Settlement of the Atlantic Coast," "Lost Semi-Civilization of the Mississippi Valley," "Tumular Monuments," "Mural Works," "Art-Remains in Stone," "Rock Sculpture," "Art-Remains in Pottery, also in Bone, Shell, and Metal," "Monumental and Art Remains found in the Lake-Regions," "Origin and Antiquity of the Mound-Builders," etc.

A preparation of tungstate of soda and starch has been highly recommended for rendering muslin dresses uninflammable. At a recent trial of it in London, the dress fortunately being placed on a dummy, the saturated fabric readily took fire, blazed up, and was quickly consumed.

The Sanitary Record laments that they have no cremation-furnace in London, considering it a breach of hospitality that they cannot offer the facilities for fire-burial to their Indian guests who are so unfortunate as to die in England.

A course of lectures on the elementary principles of stock-breeding was delivered during the spring by Prof William H. Brewer, at the Scientific School of Yale College, which it is to be hoped will before long appear in book-form. The topics discussed in these lectures are: "Heredity," "Atavism," "Close-Breeding," "Crossing," "Relations of Animals to their Surroundings," "Variation," "Relations between Heredity and Variation," "Breeding to Points," "Limitations of Breeding to Points," "Prenatal Influences," "Relative Influence of Sire and Dam," "Crossing for Immediate Special Uses," and "Profitable Adaptation of Breeds to Special Localities and Conditions."

Dr. Philip P. Carpenter, brother of the celebrated physiologist, William B. Carpenter, died ill Montreal, May 24th. He was born in Bristol, England, in 1819, was educated at the University of Edinburgh, studied theology first, and preached awhile, and then gave himself up to natural history. He devoted himself to the mollusca, and gave a magnificent collection of shells to the British Museum. In 1859 he came to this country, and, selecting Montreal as his place of residence, went on with his scientific work till the failure of an English bank swept away his property, and he then took to teaching and sanitary reform. He gave a large collection of shells to McGill College, and was known as one of the best authorities on the classification of mollusca. He was a clever writer, a forcible speaker, and a man of refined Christian character.

Prof. E. S. Morse, of Salem, sailed from San Francisco, June 1st, for Japan, whither he goes on a scientific mission of his own. He will spend the summer months in pursuing his favorite studies of natural history amid Japanese resources, and will devote especial attention to the animals of the coast, dredging a good deal, and carrying on the investigation of the Brachiopoda, which has long been his favorite line of inquiry. He will also make the trip subservient to gathering fresh materials for illustrating the "Second Book of Zoölogy," a text-book which he has begun to prepare. Prof. Morse will also, no doubt, gain much curious and interesting information to enrich the lectures which he will return in time to deliver before the lyceums next season.

Broca assigns to the terms anthropology, ethnology, and ethnography, the following distinctive significations: anthropology is the general study of man or of the entire human species; ethnology is the study of the natural divisions of this group, which are generally known as the races of man; ethnography is the artificial subdivision of races into peoples.

Twenty years ago, according to Dr. Siemens, it required over five tons of coal to make a ton of iron rails. Now, a ton of steel rails may be produced from the ore with half that quantity of coal.

The Pharmacist quotes the statement from a foreign journal that chemically pure glycerine, when taken in large quantities, exerts a poisonous effect on the system, comparable, within certain limits, to that produced by alcohol.