Popular Science Monthly/Volume 17/October 1880/Notes


Mr. R. E. Earle, of the United States Fish Commission, observed this year that the Spanish mackerel (Cybium maculatum) was spawning freely in Chesapeake Bay. He reported his discovery to Professor Baird, and then proceeded to hatch out the spawn with most satisfactory results, getting about half a million of fish in three or four different lots. The fry, which were hatched in water of 84° in eighteen hours after impregnation, seem to be unusually hardy. Preparations will be made to hatch out immense quantities of fish during the next spawning season. The fact is established by these experiments that this fish is quite able to live in brackish water.

Professor E. B. Andrews died at Lancaster, Ohio, on the 21st of August, in his sixtieth year. He was a graduate of Marietta College, in which institution he was Professor of Geology from 1861 until 1869, when he joined the Geological Survey of the State. He is the author of some of the most valuable reports of the survey, and to him is due a careful study of the coal deposits of the southeastern section of the State, and of other of its mineralogical and geological resources.

It was noticed several years ago that, when white light was mixed by the method of rotating disks with ultramarine, the color instead of assuming a paler tint of violet-blue became more violet, and passed, when much white was added, into a pale violet. Professor Rood, of Columbia College, has been trying the results of mixing white with other colors, and has found that, instead of giving lighter shades of the original color, the effects are such as would be produced by adding a quantity of violet light. Thus, vermilion becomes somewhat purplish, orange more red, yellow more orange, yellowish-green more green, green more blue-green, cyan-green less greenish, more bluish, cobalt-blue more of a violet-blue, ultramarine (artificial) more violet, purple less red, more violet. Only greenish-yellow is not changed.

The Society of American Taxidermists, recently organized at Rochester, New York, is believed to be the first of its kind ever established. Its avowed object is to combine the skill and knowledge of taxidermists in the development of their art, and to raise it to a level with the kindred fine arts of painting and sculpture. The first general meeting and exhibition of the Society will be held in Rochester about December 20th, when displays are invited of stuffed animals in groups, single specimens, etc.

Brigadier-General Albert J. Meyer died at Buffalo, the 24th of August, in the fifty-third year of his age. He early turned his attention to the devising of practicable methods of signaling, and rendered efficient service by this means during the war. He was chiefly known to the public by his work in connection with the establishment and development of the present extensive and complete Weather Service, of which he was the chief officer.

A French chemist, M. Alland, has found a way to give a solid and soluble form to sulphuret of carbon, by which it is made much less volatile, more convenient to handle, and more efficacious as an insecticide. He dissolves the sulphuret in a heavy oil which is formed in the manufacture of anthracene and saponifies with lime, and adds quicklime to the solution. The paste thus obtained is soaked in water and dried into a cement which forms an isolating crust. A very effective insecticide, which, however, acts slowly, is thus obtained.

Professor C. W. Borchardt, of the University of Berlin, died at Rüdersdorf, near Berlin, June 27th. He was formerly Professor of Mathematics in the Prussian Military Academy, and had been since 1856 editor of the "Journal for Pure and Applied Mathematics," the oldest of the existing mathematical periodicals.

The President of the Anthropological Institute of London has attempted an explanation of the long-standing and puzzling question of the manner in which the huge and heavy stones which stand as monoliths or in groups as tombs or temples were lifted into their places. Some of the hill tribes of India still erect big stones as memorials, and it is reported of one of them that they recently carried a stone weighing twenty tons up a high hill in the course of a few hours. The ponderous block was inclosed in a wooden framework so arranged that a large number of men could lift all at once, and in this simple way it was borne to the hill-top, a height of four thousand feet.

The London "Times" has tried with success the experiment of having reports of the debates of the House of Commons transmitted by telephone directly to its compositors while they are at work. The notes made by the reporter are read directly into the telephone-receiver in the room adjoining the gallery of the House, and are received by the compositor who sits with his ears near the office terminus of the instrument. The compositor is provided with a system of signals by means of which he can control the rate at which the reports are transmitted to him, and have all the corrections and explanations he may need made on the spot.

M. Charpentier has measured the variation in the intensity of light to which the eye is sensitive, and has found it to be equivalent to about seven or eight hundredths; that is, a given light, whether strong or weak, must be diminished or increased in that degree to give a new sensation distinct from the former one. The difference is essentially the same in direct and indirect vision and with light of every color.

The death is announced of M. Lissajous, Professor of Physics at Toulouse, and author of several valuable scientific memoirs.

According to a recent report of the Boston Board of Health, appreciation of the necessity of good sanitary conditions is steadily increasing in that city. Requests for the inspection of premises are now frequent, while a few years ago obstacles were thrown in the way of inspectors by the landlords. This regard for proper sanitary construction is not confined to any class, but is exhibited alike by the owners of elegant mansions and of the most ordinary dwellings.

Mr. A. A. Breneman has obtained some very satisfactory results in the color decoration of common gray stone-ware. The process was described in a communication to, and samples of the ware exhibited before, the Chemical Section of the American Association at the recent Boston meeting. This sort of ware has hitherto been decorated only in blue, but these samples showed that a wide range of coloring was possible. The process is simple and comparatively inexpensive.

Louis Francois de Pourtales died at Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, on the 17th of July, in his fifty-seventh year. Since the death of Professor Louis Agassiz, he has been the keeper of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy at Harvard, and was well known among scientific men for his work in connection with deep-sea dredging.

A statement by Professor Mivart in a recent paper on tails, respecting the nonexistence of monkeys in the West Indies, has been shown by correspondents of "Nature" to be an error. Monkeys are found in the islands of St. Christopher and Nevis, and in Grenada, where they exist in large numbers in the wild state, and are very destructive to the growing crops. Apes are also said to be found wild in Montserrat.