Popular Science Monthly/Volume 16/April 1880/Notes


Mr. James W. Milner, Deputy United States Fish Commissioner, died at Waukegan, Illinois, January 6th, aged forty years. He was born at Kingston, Ontario, grew from the age of five to manhood in Chicago, was, even as a child, exceedingly studious, and is said to have injured his health in this way in early life. He had a special fondness for natural history, and first won attention as a student of science in early manhood by publishing accounts of researches made in Minnesota and adjoining States. In 1871 he received the appointment of Deputy Fish Commissioner, and was afterward, until his death, mainly occupied in the study of fish-culture, on which subject he was considered the best-informed man in the country. Most of his work was done in the West, on the fish of the Great Lakes, his researches on the breeding, mode of life, and food of the white-fish being especially valuable.

Dr. Pasqual Beauville, of Havana, in a report presented to the Havana Committee of the National Board of Health, describes a disease of dogs and horses occurring there which he names acclimation or yellow fever. An ailment with similar symptoms, and called bilious or yellow fever, was described some years ago as attacking the horses in Leith, Scotland. Dr. George W. Sternberg, of the United States Army, gives an abstract of Dr. Beauville's report in the "Bulletin of the National Board of Health," and also the symptoms of the disease observed in Leith, from which he concludes that both refer to one and the same affection, but this was not yellow fever as it occurs in man. He says, "While there are doubtless some striking points of resemblance, the pneumonia and enteritis described by the doctor are so prominent in the record of symptoms and pathological lesions as to give a special character to the disease quite different from that of yellow fever in man."

The committee appointed by the French Minister of Public Instruction has awarded the Volta Prize of 50,000 francs, or $9,500, to Mr. Graham Bell.

An extraordinary prize of 3,000 francs (about $600) has been awarded, by the French Academy of Sciences, to Professor Crookes, F.R.S., in recognition of his recent discoveries in molecular physics and radiant matter.

The Council of the London Entomological Society has offered a prize of £50 (or $250) for the best and most complete life-history of Sclerostoma syngamus, supposed to produce the so-called "gapes" in poultry, game, and other birds; and another prize of £50 for the best and most complete life-history of Strongilus pergracilis, supposed to cause the grouse-disease. No life-history will be considered satisfactory unless the different stages of development are considered and recorded. The competition is open to naturalists of all nationalities. Essays in English, French, or German may be sent in on or before October 15, 1882.

In a paper read before the French Academy of Sciences on the variations in the force of the action of the heart, M. Marey has observed that the force increases as the heart is full. On this principle he accounts for what takes place when an obstacle to the current of the blood raises the arterial pressure and creates a greater resistance to the action of the heart. The heart slackens its movements; in consequence of this relaxation the ventricle has more time to fill up, and really fills up more; it is then, at the beginning of its new beat, endowed with greater force, and is capable of surmounting a resistance which it could not have overcome if it had been less full.

A singular occurrence is reported to have taken place lately at Leek, in the grand duchy of Nassau. During a severe storm in the night the electric discharge fell into a fish-pond stocked with several species. On the next morning the fish were all found at the top of the water, dead. Their appearance was like that of boiled fish, and their meat fell to pieces when it was handled just like the meat of cooked fish. No hurt, either internal or external, could be perceived; the scales were not bruised, and the swimming-bladder was preserved still full of air. The water was disturbed and muddy at the time, as if it had just been stirred up.

Mr. M. Reynolds, in a paper read before the London Association of Foreman Engineers on practical engine-driving, referred to a source of danger on the locomotive which is, perhaps, more important even than that arising from color-blindness. This is the blinding effect of the glowing white light of the engine-fire, a brief glance into which, he said, renders the person who has looked for a time unable to recognize the colors of the signal-lamps.

The death is announced of Professor David Thomson, for thirty-five years Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Aberdeen. He was the author of papers on "The Velocity of the Waves of the Sea" and "On Double-Cylinder Pumping-Engines."

M. Walferdan, the inventor of the minimum thermometer, died in Paris near the end of January, at the age of eighty-five.