Popular Science Monthly/Volume 15/October 1879/Notes


Next year the American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold its meetings in Boston, commencing on the last Wednesday of August. The officers are: President, L. H. Morgan, of Rochester; Vice-President, Section A, Asaph Hall, of Washington; Vice-President, Section B, Alexander Agassiz, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Permanent Secretary, F. W. Putnam, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; General Secretary, John K. Rees, of St. Louis; Secretary of Section A, Henry B. Nason, of Troy, New York; Secretary of Section B, C. V. Riley, of St. Louis; Treasurer, William S. Vaux, of Philadelphia.

The French Association for the Advancement of Science has just commenced the ninth year of its existence. From the beginning it has enjoyed the largest measure of prosperity, and its meetings in dry provincial towns and cities have been numerously attended by the leaders of science and the educated public. Financially the Association stands upon a very satisfactory basis; its capital amounts to about sixty-five thousand dollars, and it is rapidly growing.

It is the opinion of Professor A. R. Grote, expressed at the recent meeting of the Entomological Club at Saratoga, that the damage done by the employment of Paris-green is greater than that done by the potato-bug. This conclusion Professor Grote has reached after a careful study of the effects of Paris-green agriculturally employed. He has found cases of the poisoning, by this agent, of horses, cattle, sheep, poultry, and even human beings.

Mr. S. H. Scudder's "Catalogue of Scientific Works" is now completed, and has been printed by the directors of the Harvard University Library. It is a book of three hundred pages, and fifty pages of index. The entries in this catalogue represent over seventy thousand volumes.

In the sub-Section of Anthropology, at the late meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Mr. Albert S. Bickmore, Director of the Central Park Museum of Natural History, exhibited a large and most interesting map, which showed the distribution of the races of man in the islands of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. By means of arrows were indicated the routes the different peoples appear to have taken in reaching their present abodes.

Is is stated in the "Nord Deutsche Zeitung" that a woman in the neighborhood of Düsseldorf, who had been bitten by a mad dog, was cured by hypodermic injections of twenty centigrammes of curari.

During an outbreak of scarlatina at Grantham, a town of Lincolnshire, England, nine tent-hospitals were set up in a field just outside the town. These tents were all lined, and had raised wooden floors, which were trenched round. A wooden building was erected to serve for washhouse, kitchen, dispensary, etc. A separate structure was put up for earth-closets. No provision was made for warming the tents, the season being mild. Patients were admitted on June 30th, and the tents were occupied during the eleven weeks following. Sixty-six patients, varying in age from eighteen months to thirty-eight years, were treated; six of the cases ended fatally.

The great question of the day for physicians to study, says Dr. S. D. Gross, of Baltimore, is preventive medicine, the hygiene of our persons, our dwellings, our streets; in a word, our surroundings, whether in city, town, hamlet, or country; and the establishment of efficient town and State boards of health, through whose agency we shall be better able to prevent the origin and fatal effects of what are known as the zymotic diseases.

Died at Cape Town, July 14th, Sir Thomas Maclear, Director of the Royal Observatory at that place for nearly forty years down to 1870, when he retired. Hi's principal work was the remeasurement of Lacaille's arc of the meridian, the results of which were published in 1866.

Mr. Keith Johnston, son of the eminent geographer, Alexander Keith Johnston, and himself distinguished as a geographer and explorer, died of dysentery on June 28th, at Berobero, a place about one hundred and fifty miles southwest of Dar-es-Salaam. At the time of his death he was engaged in making an exploration of Africa, under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society of Great Britain.

Among 3,050 colored children in the schools of the District of Columbia, of whom 1,359 were males, and 1,691 females, Dr. Swan M. Burnett found twenty-four individuals affected with color-blindness, viz., twenty-two boys (1·6 per cent.), and two girls (0·11 per cent.). This proportion of color blindness is very low; among whites it is three per cent, for males, and 0·26 for females.

A person in England having purchased a ring set with what purported to be a diamond, and having later discovered that the stone was a "Cape diamond," entered suit at law to recover the money paid for the ring. Judgment was given for the plaintiff on the evidence of several diamond dealers, who testified that "Cape diamonds" are not to be regarded as ordinary diamonds, and that they lack the essential qualities of the Brazilian stones, viz., luster, hardness, and color. A writer in "Nature" calls attention to this singular verdict, and expresses the hope that, when the case comes up for a retrial, the judge will require some scientific evidence (such as specific gravity or chemical composition) about Cape diamonds.

Sixteen thousand panes of glass were recently smashed in the plant-houses of the Royal Gardens at Kew, during a violent hailstorm, that lasted scarcely ten minutes. The hailstones averaged one and a half inch in diameter, and weighed about three-fourths of an ounce apiece. In most cases the panes of glass were completely shattered, but some were found pierced with perfectly circular holes, as if a bullet had been shot through them. The succulent leaves of a few of the plants were penetrated in a similar way.