Popular Science Monthly/Volume 26/April 1885/Notes


The true source of the Mississippi River has been determined, as he claims, by Captain Willard Glazier, who led an expedition in search of it in 1881, to be a lake a few miles south of Itasca Lake, and not less than three feet above it, in latitude 47° 13' 25". Captain Glazier's party proceeded in canoes via Leech Lake to Lake Itasca, and, accompanied by an old Indian guide, pushed down to the new lake, which is of considerable size, and is named after the discoverer, Lake Glazier. It is 1,578 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. The length of the Mississippi, calculated to it, is 3,184 miles. The lake has remained in obscurity so long on account of the wild condition of the country, and because it is out of the usual route of the fur-trade.

Some very satisfactory experiments in the purification by artificial aëration of the water supplied the city have been reported to the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. On comparison with the ordinary supply, the percentage of oxygen in the aërated water was seventeen greater than before; the amount of carbonic acid was fifty-three per cent; and of total dissolved gases, sixteen per cent more. "The percentage of free oxygen," says the report, "represents the excess over and above what was required to effect the oxidation of the dissolved impurities."

Dr. John Anthony, who has had much experience in Egypt and Asia Minor, regards the difference between a dromedary and a camel as largely a matter of speed. The former bears about the same relation to the latter as the trotting-horse to the cart-horse. The dromedary is credited with trotting about twenty miles an hour, while a regular camel or burden-bearer can not be forced more than some four or five miles an hour. The Egyptian camel and the dromedary have one hump. Dr. Anthony never saw a "Bactrian" or two-humped camel till he was east of the Crimea.

Professor E. Cohn, of Breslau, has published some interesting observations made by the naturalist Leeuwenhoek on microscopic organisms in the cleanings of his teeth in 1683, or more than two hundred years ago. The observer distinguished several kinds of organisms, and described them so precisely that they would be easily recognizable. One resembled a rod—the bacillus; others, bending in curves, the bacteria; a third kind, creeping in snake-fashion, a vibrio; another kind, extremely minute, and resembling a swarm of flies rolled up in a ball, was evidently the micrococcus. Leeuwenhoek marveled that these things could live in his mouth. Two remarkable circumstances about this story are, that Leeuwenhoek used the imperfect instruments of his time with wonderful skill, and that so long a time elapsed before any progress was made in the study of bacteriology.

Dr. a. L. Frothingham, 29 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, has issued a prospectus for the "American Journal of Archæology," to be published quarterly and devoted to the study of the whole field of archæology, Oriental, classical, early Christian, mediæval, and American, and to serve as the official organ of the Archæological Institute of America. It will be illustrated. Professor Frothingham will be assisted by Professor C. L. Norton, of Harvard College, as advisory editor, and by Dr. A. Emerson, Mr. T. W. Ludlam, Professor Allen Marquand, Mr. A. R. Marsh, and Mr. C. C. Perkins, as special editors. The subscription price will be three dollars and fifty cents a year. In addition, subscriptions are invited from the friends of archæological studies for the formation of a reserve fund to meet the deficit which must occur during the first few years of the "Journal's" existence.

According to the statements of Professor Poleck, of Breslau, the "house-fungus" (Merulius lacrymans), which has recently become so extensively spread in Europe, is most destructive to wood that contains most mineral matter. The richer the wood in phosphates and potash compounds the more does the fungus flourish. Now, pine-wood felled in the sap contains five times as much potash and eight times as much phosphoric acid as wood felled in the winter. Hence, it is better, for the preservation of the wood, to cut the trees late in the winter season.

M. Olzewski reports that having obtained more considerable quantities of different liquefied gases, he caused liquid nitrogen to boil under a pressure of sixty millimetres at -214° C. (-353° Fahr.), when it became partly solidified. At the pressure of four millimetres, the ebullition, which took place at 225° C. (-363° Fahr.), determined the complete solidification of the liquid. Carbonic oxide behaved in an analogous manner. Oxygen gave no sign of congelation when boiled at -211° C. (about-348° Fahr.).

M. Sacc announces that he has discovered a new alimentary substance in the seed of the cotton-tree, which is richer than any other known grain in nitrogenous matters. He believes that the flour of this seed is destined to take an important part in alimentation, and in the preparation of all kinds of paste, in which it acts as a substitute for milk.

M. Duclaux declares, in the French Academy of Sciences, that the vegetation of seeds is impossible in a soil wholly deprived of microbes.

An International Ornithological Congress was recently held at Vienna, at which a permanent committee was appointed to organize a system of regular observations of the movements, migrations, and habits of birds. It is intended to form a network of stations all over Europe, in which persons having a taste for such work and qualified to perform it are expected to lend their aid in forwarding the objects of the observations.


Mr. E. C. Rye, for fifteen years Librarian of the Royal Geographical Society, died February 7th, at about fifty-three years of age. He was distinguished in science as a student of Coleoptera and author of a book on "British Beetles"; he was also for eleven years editor of the "Zoölogical Record."

Professor Henry Lawrence Eustis, Dean of the Harvard Scientific School, died in Cambridge, Mass., January 11th, aged sixty-six years. He became Professor of Engineering in the Scientific School in 1849. He was the author of technical books on engineering science.

Dr. Gwyn Jeffries, one of the most eminent of European conchologists, died, January 24th, of apoplexy. He was born in Swansea in 1809, began his conchological studies by collecting shells on the beach when he was ten years old, and produced his first scientific paper in 1828. He was a pioneer in deep-sea research, having begun dredgings on his own account; he afterward participated in expeditions with Dr. Carpenter and Professor Wyville Thomson; subsequently pursuing similar researches in Davis Strait; and was a promoter of the Challenger Expedition. At the Montreal meeting of the British Association, he read a paper on the relations of species inhabiting the opposite coasts of the Atlantic. He was an active member of the British Association, and a member of numerous other learned societies.

Mr. Richard Atkinson Peacock, an English engineer and geologist, whose special study was the investigation of the causes of volcanoes and of subsidences of the earth, died in London, February 2d, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. He was the author of books on "What is and What is not the Cause of Activity in Earthquakes and Volcanoes," "On Steam as the Motive Power in Earthquakes and Volcanoes," and on "Physical and Historical Evidences of Vast Sinkings of Land on the North and West Coasts of France and Southwestern Coasts of England."

The death is announced of Professor Lucä, the Frankfort anatomist and anthropologist.

Mr. J. Turnbull, Thomson, Surveyor-General of New Zealand, died on the 14th of October, aged sixty-three years. He was born in Northumberland, and went to New Zealand in 1856, after having spent seventeen years in the East India Company's service. He organized the New Zealand system of land-survey, which is very exact, and under which land-holders are secure as to their boundaries. He had been a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society since 1848, to whose "Proceedings" he contributed a paper on the "Survey of the Province of Otago." He was author of several books on social and economical subjects, and papers on scientific and practical topics, many of which were published in the "Transactions" of the New Zealand Institute.

Dr. E. H. Von Baumhauer, Perpetual Secretary of the Scientific Society of Holland, and formerly Professor of Chemistry in Amsterdam, died in Haarlem, January 18th, at the age of sixty-four years. He was most interested on the practical side of science, in which he introduced many useful applications, and was also known for his researches on meteorites, and for his universal meteorograph. He was active in measures for facilitating international exchanges of books, on a plan like that which is pursued at the Smithsonian Institution. He was a member of the Netherlands Commission at our Centennial Exhibition in 1876.

M. C. H. L. Dupuy de Lôme, an eminent French naval engineer, died in Paris, February 1st, aged sixty-eight years. Bis name has been identified with works of naval construction in his native country since 1850. During the siege of Paris by the Germans, he directed the experiments by which it was sought to make balloons useful in the defense of the city, and since that time he has been interested and engaged in seeking solutions of the question of the propulsion of balloons.