Popular Science Monthly/Volume 24/April 1884/Notes


Mr. James Stevenson, of the United States Geological Survey, has discovered some new cave and cliff cities in which a few peculiar features have been observed. One of them is a village of sixty-five underground dwellings situated near the top of one of the volcanic foot-hills of the San Francisco Mountains in Arizona. A common roof was furnished for the whole community by the hardened surface stratum of the hill.

Mr. Herbert McLeod has determined, by experiments instituted for the purpose, that India-rubber is altered under the combined influence of light and oxygen—absorbing oxygen and becoming cracked—but not by either agent alone.

Last year included the fiftieth anniversary of the lucifer-match, which was first made, in England, by John Walker, of Stockton-on-Tees, and also at Vienna, in 1833. In 1847 the red amorphous phosphorus was substituted for the more dangerous, corroding, ordinary phosphorus.

Professor Cohn has called attention to the fact that bacteria were first seen two hundred years ago, by the Dutch microscopist, Leeuwenhoek, who, in 1683, gave to the Royal Society a description of "very little animals moving in a very lively fashion," which he had detected, with his instrument, in the white substance adhering to his teeth. His drawings are very correct, and have never been surpassed till within the last ten years.

Captain T. G. Een, a well-known Swedish explorer, died from heart-disease on the Congo, while on his way to join Mr. Stanley.

M. Fayal, directing engineer of the coal-mines of Commentry, France, has published an account of his discovery of coal at that place, which has preserved to the very center of the beds the histological structure of the plants from which it is formed. The preservation is said to have been so distinct that M. Renault has been able to make specific determinations of several species of the carbonized plants.

A great impulse has been given to fruit-growing within the last ten years. The area of land devoted to this purpose in England increased, between 1872 and 1882, 26,696 acres; while the importations of fruit from different countries increased from 1,218,668 bushels in 1871 to 4,045,690 bushels in 1882. Much of this fruit is used for making jam. The acreage of fruit-land in Canada has been largely extended within the last fifteen years, and great interest in the promotion of the industry is taken by the Government and the land-owners. In the United States, two million acres were under cultivation as apple-orchards in 1878, and the value of the products had increased in twenty years from $6,600,000 to over $50,000,000. The drying and the canning of fruits have become very prominent branches of industry.

The author of the work on "World-Life," recently reviewed in our pages, regrets that the book contains a number of errata, and desires us to announce that slips of corrections will be mailed to any who will kindly signify their desire to receive them. Address Alexander Winchell, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

M. Arthur Roche, Professor in the Lycée of Montpellier, France, who died a few months ago, was well known for his researches on the figures of planets and comets and the cosmogonic theory of Laplace. He was the author of various memoirs on the equilibrium of a homogeneous fluid mass in rotation; on the effect, upon the figure of equilibrium, of attraction exerted by a center situated at a great distance; on the physical constitution and internal condition of the globe, in which he held that the density of the earth at the center is nearly double the mean density, and pronounced against the theory of the complete fluidity of the interior; on the figures of comets; and on the constitution of the solar system.

Archæological investigations in the Afrosnab suburb of Samarcand have brought many interesting relics to light. Among them are marble ornaments, mosaics, and articles of bronze, clay, and glass, belonging to the Arabian, Græco-Bactrian, or old Iranian schools, all of which have in their time flourished at that place. Chinese coins have been found at a depth of three or four metres.

At the December meeting of the Natural Science Association of Staten Island, New York, Mr. Hollick gave a description of the leaf-fossils which have been found at Tottenville. The fossils occur in three kinds of rock, all supposed to be cretaceous—a hard red or gray ferruginous sandstone, a soft gray sandstone, and a conglomerate composed chiefly of vegetable remains cemented with an oxide of iron. They are carbonaceous in the soft gray sandstone, only impressions in the other rocks. The rocks are found scattered, in blocks not more than a foot square, along the beach. The leaves are of willow, arbor-vitæ, viburnum, sourgum, grass, a small fruit or nut, an equisetum, and indistinguishable fragments. Similar sandstones with similar fossils occur near Glen Cove, Long Island. At the January meeting of the Association, Mr. C. W. Leng read a paper on the "Cicindelidæ" (beetles) of Staten Island, of which he distinguished eight species

New pests are appearing, to consume our apples. The apple-maggot (Trypeta Pomonella), leaving the outside of the apple fair to look upon, honey-combs its interior till nothing is left of it. The marauder is of a greenish-white color about one fifth of an inch long, and comes from a fly not unlike our house-fly, having whitish glassy wings, with dusky bands shaped somewhat like the letters IF. It comes from Illinois, where it feeds upon the hawberries, but has learned the merits of Eastern summer apples, and is said to be trying the virtues of later varieties. Information is wanted by Professor J. A. Lintner, State Entomologist, of New York, concerning its life-history, and all assistance that observers can give him in studying its habits and learning the best method of contending against it.

The International Electrical Exhibition, to be held in Philadelphia under the auspices of the Franklin Institute, will open on the 2d of September and close on the 11th of October. The exhibits will be classified under seven heads or sections, viz.: I. Production of Electricity; II. Electric Conductors; III. Measurements; IV. Applications of Electricity (A, apparatus requiring currents of comparatively low power; and B, apparatus requiring currents of comparatively high power); V. Terrestrial Physics; VI. Historical Apparatus; and, VII. Educational and Bibliographical. The building will be opened for the reception of articles for exhibition on the 11th of August. Applications for space must be made before the 30th of August. Exhibitors are required to pay five dollars as entrance-fee, and space-charges for their exhibits in addition. Address Committee on Exhibitions, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, Pa.

The life-saving stations of the United States Signal Service are now designated by name, the former designation by numbers having been abandoned on the first day of June last. As the new names are for the most part descriptive, or refer to some locality in the immediate neighborhood, the identification of them is greatly facilitated to persons who are not connected with the service, while it is not made any harder to those who are connected with it. The circular of the Bureau gives, together with the names, exact descriptions of all the stations.

A remarkable story of canine partiality is told in the English papers. Two men were out from Milford Haven in a boat, which was swamped. A dog, who was with them, caught one of them to help him out of his trouble, but, finding he was not his master, dropped him to drown, sought his master, and rescued him.

Successful experiments have been made at Coblenz, in Germany, into the practicability of substituting ravens for carrier-pigeons. Ravens, being stronger and bolder birds than pigeons, are less liable to be attacked and destroyed by birds of prey.

The people of Doll, M. Pasteur's native village, have set up a memorial tablet in the house where the great microbe-hunter was born. M. Pasteur was present on the occasion of the inauguration of the monument, and made a short address.

M. E. Peyrusson has called attention to the danger following the use of delf-ware in cases of infectious disease. It is liable to be marred by cracks and flaws in which germs may lurk. Only glass or porcelain should be trusted.