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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 15/August 1879/Notes

< Popular Science Monthly‎ | Volume 15‎ | August 1879

NOTES.

Large numbers of Trichina spiralis have been detected in cured meats imported into Alsace from America. In Switzerland, too, the discovery has been made that American hams are full of the trichina, and a government commission has been appointed to decide upon the precautionary measures to be taken. The cantonal authorities arc recommended to warn the people against the use of American hams, especially in the half-raw state, and to arm the police with discretionary powers over the sale of the article.

On the 2d of June the Paris Academy of Sciences elected Professor Huxley to be a corresponding member of the Academy for the section of anatomy and zoölogy. Professor Huxley received 41 votes out of a total of 49; Agassiz received 5 votes, Bischoff 1, and there were two blank ballots.

A new method of excavating for the erection of telegraph-poles has been devised and put to the test at Titusville, Pennsylvania. A man drives a crowbar into the ground to the depth of four or five feet, and into the hole so made drops a four-ounce cartridge of so-called "electric powder." The fuse having been lighted, the man proceeds to the site of the next pole. In the mean time a dull sound is heard, and a hole about the diameter of a flour-barrel, and four or five feet deep, has been made by the exploding cartridge.

To meet the convenience of students, and thus remove the sole objection in the minds of professors to the extended use of an admirable series of text-books, Macmillan & Co., the publishers of the well-known "Clarendon Press Series of Educational Works," issued under the direction of the delegates of Oxford University, have in preparation a new nett catalogue of those works, as well as of their own educational works, which will be ready early in the fall.

The utilization of bamboo for paper-making is advocated by a writer in the "Journal of the Society of Arts," who pronounces it far superior for that purpose to esparto-grass. Then, too, it can be produced at less cost than esparto. By utilizing the bamboo spontaneously produced in India, or, better still, by cultivating the plant there, an unfailing supply of the fiber might be produced.

Mr. W. Mattieu Williams, who for more than thirty years has closely studied the subject of the electric light and noted every new development, does not hesitate to affirm that "although as a scientific achievement the electric light is a splendid success, its practical application to all purposes where cost is a matter of serious consideration is a complete and hopeless failure, and must of necessity continue to be so!"

The amount of labor performed by bees in collecting honey may be seen from certain calculations made by Mr. Andrew Wilson. He finds that 125 heads of clover yield approximately one gramme of sugar (about 151/2 grains), and that 125,000 heads yield one kilogramme (2·2 pounds). Now, as each head of clover contains about 60 florets, it follows that the bees must suck 7,500,000 distinct florets in order to obtain 21/2 pounds of sugar. And as honey roughly may be said to contain 75 per cent, of sugar, we have one kilogramme, equivalent to 5,600,000 flowers in round numbers, or say 2,500,000 visits for one pound of honey.

The custom of persons bearing two "Christian names" is of comparatively recent origin in England. An author, who has had occasion to search many volumes of old country records, and who has seen "many thousands and tens of thousands of proper names belonging to men of all ranks and degrees," says that in no instance, down to the end of the reign of Anne, has he noticed any person having more than one Christian name. The first instance which occurs in the county records was in 1717, when Sir Coplestone Warwick Bainfield appears as a justice. The first instances which the same author has met in any other place arc those of Henry Frederick, Earl of Arundel, born 1608, and Sir Henry Frederick Thynne, created a baronet in 1641. Both of these appear to have been named after the eldest son of James I., who was born in Scotland. William III., who was a Dutchman, was the first King of England who bore two Christian names.

Professor Stokes, of the University of Cambridge, England, has been elected a corresponding member of the Paris Academy of Sciences. The German Emperor has also conferred upon him the decoration of the order "Pour le Mérite."

Dr. Winnecke, of Strasburg, has discovered a record of observations made in 1580, or at least thirty years before the invention of the telescope, in which the places of eleven stars of the Pleiades are given. On comparing these with modern observations, it appears that the places were determined with a probable error of only 2; hence there can be little doubt that all these stars were seen by the naked eye.