Popular Science Monthly/Volume 28/April 1886/Notes


A mine of mercury—consisting of the sulphuret and chloride, with drops of metallic mercury, in a gangue of quartz—which appears to have been worked in ancient times, has been rediscovered at Schuppiustuna, near Belgrade, in Servia.

Additional interest will be given to the coming meeting of the British Association at Birmingham, to be opened September 1st, by the exhibition of local manufactures which is to be held in connection with it. Similar exhibitions have been held on each of the three previous occasions when the Association met in Birmingham, in 1838, 1849, and 1865; and it is said that all of the international and other exhibitions which have since been held had their origin and prime model in the first of these; and that the Great International Exhibition of 1861 was suggested to Prince Albert by his visit to Birmingham in 1849. The coming exhibition will be more extensive and varied than any of the previous ones.

M. E. Rivière has discovered a new station or workshop of the neolithic age in the wood of Clamart, near the gates of Paris. He has recovered from it nearly nine hundred flints (from nodules in chalk), cut or broken by the hand, all of which lay on or near the surface of the ground. Among them are pieces of polished hatchets, scrapers (some very handsome ones), blades, points, and two or three little polishers.

Artificial lithographic stones are manufactured in Frankfort by M. Rosenthal from cement, which is put for the purpose through a course of very careful manipulations.

The Art Schools of the Metropolitan Museum are now established under the immediate supervision of Mr. John Ward Stimson, of the Paris School of Fine Arts, at 214 East Thirty-fourth Street. Eight courses in the fine arts, decorative work, and mechanical drawing are taught by as many instructors, at prices for tuition ranging from $10 to $15 per term (October 5, 1885, to May 1, 1886).

The Director of the Observatory of Harvard College, besides recording in his annual report the progress of the regular work of the observatory, describes the observations of Professor W. M. Davis and Mr. A. McAdie on the height and velocity of clouds. The observers, stationing themselves at different spots, and communicating by telephone, undertook to make simultaneous azimuth observations upon identical points in the clouds. About three hundred pairs of measures were made in the spring of 1885, with generally satisfactory results. The altitudes determined varied from 2,000 to 25,000 feet; for altitudes less than 8,000 feet the variation between the measures was generally within five per cent of the height. In one instance, cumulative observations of a single cumulus-cloud showed its base to be 4,500 feet high; its summit rose from the height of 6,750 to that of 7,300 feet at the rate of 200 feet a minute, while the cloud drifted to south 43° east at the rate of twenty-seven and a half miles an hour.

"Bowlder Mosaics" is what Professor J. E. Todd calls certain figures formed by piling bowlders which he has observed on some ridges in Dakota. One is a gigantic figure of a turtle about fifteen feet long. Another specimen is a figure of a snake, one hundred and twenty paces long, composed like the former of bowlders from four to six inches in diameter. "The eyes are much more expressive than it would at first seem possible to make them with such material. They have literally a 'stony' stare." Few similar figures have been seen elsewhere than at these two spots, but two cases are cited of structures showing geometrical designs. Rude sketches of animals on a smaller scale are also found near Pipestone, Minnesota, chipped or pecked on the smooth surface of the red quartzite. In these the turtle is a favorite figure. Similarly made figures, but quite imperfect, were noticed on Wolf Creek, southwest of Bridgewater, Dakota.

A special committee of the Prison Association of New York, appointed to examine the question of the best mode of employing convict-labor, has formulated its conclusions in resolutions which set forth that the highest test of excellence in any system of convict-labor is to be found in the adaptability of that system to promote the end of the convicts' reformation; that the contract system, in principle and in practical methods, is inconsistent with those forms of discipline and treatment that are most conducive to that object, and should therefore be condemned; that the best and most natural method is in the manufacture of supplies for use in institutions supported by the State, and in such other public work for use of the State as can be carried on in confinement; and that State prisoners should be employed on work of that kind, or, if it could not be provided for all, upon the piece-price plan.

In regard to the length of the range of vision, Mr. A. Shaw Page relates two instances in which he saw the Mourne Mountains of Ireland—which are 2,798 feet high—from Blackpool, England, one hundred and twenty-five miles away.


Mr. James Fergusson, an eminent English writer on historical and prehistorical architecture, died, January 9th, in his seventy-eighth year. He was a native of Ayr, in Scotland. He was best known by his "History of Architecture," which has gone through many editions, and is accepted as standard. He is remembered in archaeology for the help he offered, in suggestions, etc., in the study of the rock-cut temples of India, and in explaining the meaning of Mr. Layard's discoveries at Nineveh, Schliemann's at Troy, Mycenæ, and Tiryns, and in the ideal restorations of the temples at Jerusalem and Ephesus, as well as by his books on "Rude Stone Monuments" and "Tree and Serpent Worship." He served his Government in 1857 as a member of the Royal Commission to inquire into the defenses of the United Kingdom; and in science he contributed a paper on "The Delta of the Ganges and the Natural Laws regulating the Course of Great Rivers."

M. de Saint-Venant, the "Dean" of the Mechanical Section of the French Academy of Sciences, died at Vendôme, on the 6th of January, in the ninetieth year of his age. lie preserved his bodily vigor and working capacity till very near the time of his death.

The death is reported of Dr. Oscar Schmidt, Professor of Zoölogy in the University of Strasburg, and formerly occupant of the same chair at Cracow and Gratz, at the age of sixty-two. He was the author of the treatise on "The Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism," and of the recently published "The Mammalia in their Relation to Primeval Times," in the "International Scientific Series."