Popular Science Monthly/Volume 23/September 1883/Notes


Mr. Herbert Spencer is taking a long vacation in Scotland, occupied with his favorite recreation of salmon-fishing. A paragraph in "Mind" announces that he has declined the honor of election to the French Academy, on grounds of principle.

Herren Fischer and Rudolph have produced by the action of chloride of lime on acetaniline at a temperature of 270° C. a new coloring-matter of a brilliant yellow, which they call flavaniline. It has an especially brilliant appearance, with a remarkable green fluorescence on silk fibers.

Professor Stephen Alexander, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at Princeton, New Jersey, died June 26th. He had been connected with the college at Princeton since 1840, first as Professor of Astronomy, and afterward of Astronomy and Mathematics.

A discovery is announced by the "Union Médicale" which promises to throw considerable light on the subject of prehistoric man. While running a gallery in a coal-mine at Bully-Grenay, a subterranean cave was broken into, in one chamber of which were found six fossil human bodies—a man, two women, and three children—together with implements, and fragments of lower animals. Another chamber contained eleven human bodies, precious stones, and numerous other articles, while on the walls were drawings of combats between men and huge beasts.

According to legends of colonial times, seals were formerly common in Long Island Sound, Red Rock in the estuary of the Quinepiac River being their favorite resort. A few are still seen or caught every year. Mr. II. C. Hovey states, in the "Scientific American," that more than the usual number have been seen during the recent cold season. Two fine specimens were caught on the 11th of April, near Guilford, Connecticut.

Professor O. C. Marsh, of Yale College, has been chosen a member of the Munich Academy of Sciences, Bavaria.

Dr. Bowditch, of the National Board of Health, objects to dependence on sewerage for the sanitation of sea-side resorts, that the sewers will leave the refuse matter where it is liable to be brought back to the shore by returning tides. He commends the method adopted at an hotel at Cape May Point, of systematic deportation of sewage material. The cess-pools are emptied every morning by means of odorless excavators, and their contents are conveyed to the hotel company's farm, where they are deposited in trenches with sea-weed and covered with earth, to be converted by the next spring into excellent manures.

Mr. Russell, a skillful observer at Carson City, Nevada, is convinced that the impressions in the sandstone there which have been talked of as human footprints, are really the tracks of an edentate, the morotherium. The mud where the tracks occur was so soft that the animal's foot sunk into it, pushed a ridge upward two or three inches higher than the outside level, and came out with a mass adhering to it. Consequently no marks of claws or skin-creases are to be looked for.

M. Gay-Lussac, son of the celebrated chemist, and himself an able chemist and metallurgist, has recently died, at the age of sixty-three.

In testimony to the value of M. Pasteur's researches, the French Government has increased his pension from twelve thousand francs to twenty-five thousand francs yearly, and has made it payable to his wife if she should outlive him.

Baron Nordenskiöld was to start from Sweden, May 20th, on an expedition at the expense of his old friend Oscar Dickson, for the exploration of Greenland. He believed that the interior of that country, which is generally thought to be a vast plain of ice, is partially free from ice during the summer, basing his opinion on the warmth of the winds from the interior, and will endeavor to reach it. He will also seek for traces of the old Norse colonies, which have been lost since the fourteenth century.

Dr. Michael Foster has received the appointment to the new chair of Physiology at Cambridge, and Dr. A. Macalister to that of Anatomy.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia has recently come into possession of the William S. Vaux mineralogical and archæological collection. The mineralogical department includes more than six thousand trays of specimens, many of them of rare beauty and perfection, and is valued at $40,000; while the archæological collection is estimated to be worth at least $10,000.