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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 22/April 1883/Notes

< Popular Science Monthly‎ | Volume 22‎ | April 1883

NOTES.

In the twenty-third "Forestry Bulletin" of the Census-Office, the total consumption of wood for fuel in the United States during the year of the census is estimated at 145,778,137 cords, the value of which was $321,962,373. Of this quantity, 140,537,490 cords were used for domestic purposes; 1,971,813 cords by railroads; 787,862 cords by steamboats; 358,074 cords in mining and amalgamating the precious metals; 266,771 cords in other mining operations; 1,157,522 cords in the manufacture of brick and tile; 540,448 cords in the manufacture of salt; and 158,208 cords in the manufacture of wool. During the same year 74,008,972 bushels of charcoal were burned, the value of which was $5,276,736.

That plants have the faculty of adapting themselves to suit a new environment has been curiously illustrated in the case of some Australian acacias that were introduced to the Neilgherrics of India in 1845. At home, these trees flower in October, which is there a spring month. The transplanted acacias continued in India to flower in October till about 1860, when they were observed to flower in September; in 1870 they flowered in August; in 1878 they flowered in July; and lastly, in 1882, they began to flower in June, the spring month which corresponds most nearly with the Australian October. The trees imported since 1845 have not yet gone so far back in the time of their flowering.

A female hippopotamus, which was presented to the London Zoölogical Society in 1853, by the Viceroy of Egypt, has just died, with the exhibition of all the signs of old age. Her mate died in 1877, after having lived twenty-seven years in the garden. As the condition of the teeth and bones indicate that the animals could hardly have been able to live as long in their native wilds as they did under attention at the park, the conclusion is drawn that the limit of life of the hippopotamus is about thirty years.

Dr. Joseph Kidd relates, in "The Practitioner," a history of the course of disease in a family, the effect of which is to illustrate strikingly, if it does not demonstrate, the transmissibility of Bright's disease. A woman, two of whose brothers had died of this disease in early manhood, who herself died of it when sixty years of age, was the mother of twelve children, seven of whom also died from it, and grandchildren, of whom two at least are afflicted with kidney-disease.

A story is told of a woman in Boston who discovered and located a leak in the waste-pipe of a wash-bowl, by taking advantage of the fondness of cats for the oil of valerian. Having put two cats in the parlor, where an offensive odor was perceived, the woman poured the oil into the basin of an upper room and watched for the result. The cats shortly began to sniff the air and move toward a closet through which the waste-pipe ran, then jumped upon a shelf and purred as if enjoying a great luxury. The wall was cut away to expose the pipe, and a considerable leak was found at the very spot pointed out by the cats.

The Russian admiral. Count Frederic B. Lütke, known as the "Patriarch of the Fleet," a distinguished navigator of more than half a century apo, has recently died. He circumnavigated the globe in 1817-'18; was employed during the four successive summers, 1821-'24, in scientific surveys of Nova Zembla, from which rich additions to the knowledge of the Arctic regions were derived; and from 1826 to 1829 he commanded an expedition of the corvettes Seniavine and Moller to Kamchatka and other parts of Northeastern Asia, Behring's Sea and its archipelagoes, and Alaska, in the course of which extensive collections were made and much knowledge was acquired.

Professor John Nichol, speaking in his "Historical Sketch" of American literature of the non-existence of international copyright, says that "this gross injustice to the authors on both sides of the Atlantic, for the benefit of the publishers on one, leads to the intellectual market being glutted with stolen goods. Considerations of interest in business are of course everything; those of principle or art or patriotism nothing."

England has lost an active and highly appreciated scientific student by the death of Edward B. Tawney, Assistant Curator of the Woodwardian Museum, Cambridge. He was the son of a clergyman, and was born in 1841. For six years before going to the Cambridge Museum, he had been Assistant Curator of the Bristol Museum. He was author of numerous papers on topics in geology, was versed in several Continental languages, and relished the masterpieces of literature; thus showing in his life that science is not narrow or its pursuit humdrum.

The United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries is about to build, in connection with its new station there, an aquarium, to be devoted to biological researches of every description, at Wood's Hole, Massachusetts. Preparations are being made at the adjoining station for the artificial propagation of cod, mackerel, halibut, and other fishes useful for food.

The death is announced of Johann Benedict Listing, a German philosopher who was distinguished for his studies in recondite questions in physics—in such matters as the world ordinarily does not, or does not try to, understand. His most important discovery was a law, called after him, Listing's law, in physiological optics, which relates to the position of the eyeball when it turns from looking at one object to another, without movement of the head. Other studies related to the geometrical qualities of knots, the inversion and perversion of geometrical figures, helices, the complexes of space, and similar puzzling conceptions.

Dr. Carl Hornstein, Professor and Director of the observatory at the Carl Ferdinand University, Prague, died December 22d, aged fifty-eight years.