Popular Science Monthly/Volume 15/June 1879/Notes


In a cave near Decatur, Ohio, were recently found, imbedded in ashes, fragments of human bones, pieces of pottery, also bones of wild animals, shells, etc. According to a correspondent of the "Marietta Register," the human jawbones found in this cave are very large, and have the teeth well preserved. They have one tooth back of the "wisdom-tooth." All the long bones were broken or split—a probable indication of cannibal practices.

Acurious fact in the history of the yellow-fever epidemic last year, in New Orleans was, that in the Fourth District, the death-rate of males was seventy per cent, greater than that of females, though the sanitary census of 1877 showed that the female population of the district exceeded the male by 1,261. The comparative immunity of the negro race appears from the fact that while the white population of the district (29,482 souls) lost 569 persons by death, the black population (6,883 souls) lost only 29. If the negroes had died in the same ratio as the whites, they would have lost about 130.

As an illustration of the sudden extreme alternations of temperature in northern Dakota and Montana, Dr. P. F. Harvey, U. S. Army, states that in August, 1876, while on duty with an expedition against hostile Indians, he saw the thermometer record 116 Fahr. in the shade at the mouth of the Rosebud River; thirty-six hours afterward, the temperature had fallen to very nearly the freezing-point; and, on the morning of the second day following, he scraped hoar-frost from a log in front of his tent.

The "Examiner" notes an extraordinary decrease in the number of students of theology at the German universities. The decrease is so great that is several states there has been an insufficiency of candidates for the pulpit. Until now Schleswig-Holstein was an extensive nursery of theologians, but there also a falling off by nearly 40 per cent, has recently occurred. At Kiel there are at present 24, at other German universities 28 students of theology from Schleswig-Holstein—altogether 52. Six years ago there were still 90 of them, while fifty years ago there were no less than 168 students of theology at Kiel alone, almost all of them Schleswig-Holsteiners.

Underground telegraph cables are now completed between Berlin and Cologne. Cologne and Elberfeld, Frankfort and Strasburg, and Hamburg and Cuxhaven; the total length of these lines is 1,554 miles, and the cost about $3,000,000.

The suggestion is made in "Dingler's Polytechnisches Journal" that air for ventilation be drawn into buildings through tubes sunk about three metres in the ground (say ten feet). By this means it would in winter be warmed 15° or 16° Fahr., and in summer cooled 20° to 23° Fahr.

Peter Le Neve Foster, for twenty-five years Secretary of the London Society of Arts, died recently, at the age of seventy years. A lawyer by profession, Mr. Foster took a lively interest in various departments of science. He was one of the first to practice, as a scientific amateur, the art of photography, and was a frequent contributor of articles on that subject to periodicals and cyclopædias. He was President of the Queckett Microscopical Club for one year, and from 1863 to 1866 served on the Council of the British Association.

The London Geological Society has awarded the Bigsby Medal to Professor E. D. Cope, of Philadelphia, in recognition of his services to the science of paleontology.

In Brazil the coffee plantations, like the vineyards in France, are threatened with destruction by the ravages of a minute parasite. The roots of the plants are found covered with knots and swellings like those seen on the roots of the grapevine infested by the phylloxera. In these swellings are found minute nematode worms one fourth of a millimetre id length when fully developed. A single root often contains as many as fifty million of these parasites.

The larva of the tapeworm known as Tænia solium comes from "measly" pork, and the mature worm has a head bearing a crown of hooks. Tænia mediocanellata is derived from beef and mutton; it has a larger head, which is unarmed. It has commonly been supposed that the former species is more frequently found in human subjects than the latter, but Professor Leidy is of the contrary opinion. Thorough cooking of meats is a sure preventive of the development of these unwelcome entozoa.

An apparatus, the invention of an American, for carrying a line to a vessel in distress was lately tested in England. It consists of a projectile weighing 121/2 pounds, the necessary line included. This projectile is placed in a gun, the wrong or heavy end first, and on leaving the muzzle, at once turns over, the front end becoming the rear. In shape it is an elongated shell 12 inches long, 3 inches in diameter, carrying a line tightly coiled within, which it pays out as it flies through the air. At 22° elevation, the distances reached by the projectile were 389, 448, and 507 yards, the deviation of the shot and line from the target being 42/5, nine, and eight yards respectively.