Popular Science Monthly/Volume 15/July 1879/Notes


The forty-ninth meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science will be held at Sheffield on Wednesday, August 20, 1879, under the presidency of Professor G. J. Allman, M.D., LL.D., F.R.S., L. & E.M.R.G.A., Pres. L. S. General Secretaries, Douglas Galton, P. S. Salator; Assistant Secretary, J. E. H. Gordon.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science will assemble this year at Saratoga Springs, New York, on August 27th. Excursions to various points are contemplated, and the meeting promises to be a successful one. Officers of the Saratoga meeting: President, George F. Barker; Vice-President, Section A, S. P. Langley; Vice-President, Section B, J. W. Powell; chairman of Chemistry Sub-Section, Ira Remsen; chairman of Microscopy Sub-Section, Edward W. Morley.

The French Association for the Advancement of Science will meet this year at Montpellier, on August 28th. The officers of the Association are: President, M. Bardoux; Vice-President, M. Krantz; General Secretary, Count de Saporta.

We have received, but too late for mention in our June number, a circular announcing the second session of the Chesapeake Zoölogical Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. The Laboratory is announced to be opened about June 20th, at Crisfield, on the Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay. One of the barges of the Maryland Fish Commission will be fitted up as a laboratory, and another barge will be used as a dormitory. As there will be room for only ten persons, none but those who are already acquainted with the methods of zoölogical work will be accepted as members of the party. A fee of ten dollars will be charged for the use of the laboratory outfit, Board will cost about five dollars per week.

Mr. J. D. Putnam, Secretary of the Davenport Academy of Sciences, has presented to the editor of the "American Naturalist" photographs of two pipes found in a mound situated in Muscatine County, Iowa, one of them representing an animal like a bear, the other an elephant. Were the mound builders, then, contemporary with the mammoth on this continent? In Grant County, Wisconsin, there was lately discovered an elephant-mound—that is, a mound fashioned to represent an elephant.

Heinrich Wilhelm Dove, Professor of Physics in the University of Berlin, and distinguished for his researches in meteorology, died at Berlin, April 5th. He was born in 1803 at Liegnitz, Silesia; studied at the Universities of Breslau and Berlin, and in 1826 took the degree of Doctor at the latter university. In the same year he became Assistant Professor of Physics at Königsberg, and a few years later at Berlin, becoming full professor in 1845. He was the author of several important works on meteorology, climatology, electricity, and polarized light. A few years ago he was appointed director-general of all the observatories of Prussia. His work on "The Law of Storms" was translated into French and English.

Professor J. Lawrence Smith, of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected by the Paris Academy of Sciences, on March 31st, a Corresponding Member in the room of the late Sir Charles Lyell.

The National Academy, at its meeting in April, adopted a resolution declaring that "provision should be made by State legislation for giving instruction in the principles of the metric system in all the elementary schools of the country, and for making a knowledge of the system a requisite for admission into educational institutions of higher grade; also that laws should be enacted by Congress, enforcing the use in the domestic mail service of a metric unit of postal weight identical with that already employed in the foreign, requiring the assessment of duties upon merchandise imported under metric invoices to be made in accordance with a tariff adapted to metric denominations of weight and measure, and expressing the weights of all coins issued from the mints of the United States in grammes and milligrammes, and no longer in grains and fractions of grains, as at present."

A French traveler, Charnay, who has explored the east and west portions of the island of Java, claims to have discovered a close affinity between the remains of the civilization introduced by Hindoo Buddhists and that of ancient Mexico.

In the best schools in Holland there is always, besides the teacher, an attendant who sees to the personal condition of each child upon daily entering the school. The object of this supervision is to promote among the children a due regard to cleanliness and tidiness, and also, as far as possible, to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases.

Mr. Francis Galton advocates the use of experiments in teaching physical geography. Erosion of the earth's surface by streams, the formation of sand, gravel, and clay deposits, the formation of deltas at the mouths of rivers, and other phenomena of physical geography, or physiography, he would illustrate with the aid of a can of water and a quantity of sand, gravel, and clay. Most of the great features of physical geography, as glacial action, mountain formation, etc., might be effectually taught by like simple experiments.

It has been found, by Messrs. Exner and Goldschmidt, that the electrical resistance of pure water uniformly decreases as the temperature rises; at 99° centigrade it is about one-third of what it is at 20°. A similar result is observed with water acidulated with sulphuric acid.

Professor Asaph Hall, discoverer of the satellites of Mars, was, on May 18th, chosen a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of Paris, receiving thirty-three votes in a total of forty-seven. Among his competitors were Schiapparelli, Respighi, and Warren de La Rue.

Four volumes of the literary and scientific remains of the late Professor W. K. Clifford are announced for early publication, viz., a volume of mathematical papers; two volumes of essays and lectures; and a small volume containing three popular lectures on "Seeing and Thinking."

In a report made by the Department of Agriculture of the Italian Government, it is stated that borax used instead of salt in preserving butter imparts to the butter no flavor whatever, while it is entirely innocuous. Samples of fresh butter, in which much of the buttermilk was purposely left, have retained their natural fine flavor without change for three months after having been salted with borax.

M. Paul de Soleillet recently set out from St. Louis, on the Senegal, with the intention of reaching Algeria through the Sahara.