Open main menu

Popular Science Monthly/Volume 29/July 1886/Notes

< Popular Science Monthly‎ | Volume 29‎ | July 1886


In Professor Jordan's sketch of Rafinesque, in the June number of the Monthly, page 216, "Hendersonville," Kentucky, should have been "Henderson." The correction was duly marked by the author, but failed to reach our press-room.

The thirty-fifth annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science will be held at Buffalo, New York, August 18th to 24th. Professor E. S. Morse, of Salem, Massachusetts, will be the president of the meeting. The Secretary of the Association is Professor F. W. Putnam, of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The meeting of the British Association is to be held this year at Birmingham, under the presidency of Sir William Dawson. The sectional presidents will be: Section A (Mathematical and Physical Science), Professor G. H. Darwin; Section B (Chemistry), Mr. W. Crookes; Section C (Geology), Professor T. G. Bonney; Section D (Biology), Mr. W. Carruthers; Section E (Geography), Major-General Sir F. J. Goldsmid; Section F (Economic Science and Statistics), Mr. J. Biddulph Martin; Section G (Mechanical Science), Sir James N. Douglas; Section H (Anthropology), Sir George Campbell, M. P.

George Roberts, of Lofthouse, England, relates in "Science Gossip" that, having found two white slugs under some stones, he placed them on a green leaf, when they became in a few minutes of a greenish color.

In our notice of Mr. Seely's "Genesis of Inventions," in the May number of the Monthly, an error of the press made us give to the new branch of study which the author proposes the name of Eunematics, which has no significance, for Eunematics, the real name, which is a legitimate derivation from the Greek, and is appropriate.

The Committee of the American Ornithologists' Union, on the "Protection of North American Birds," seeks to gather and diffuse all possible information on the subjects of the destruction and the protection of North American birds, and the utility of birds; to encourage the formation of bird protective associations, and anti-bird-wearing leagues; to secure the perfection of suitable, practicable statutes in all the States and Territories for the protection of birds; to prevent the. collecting of birds and eggs for pseudo-scientific purposes; and to consider the best means for securing the enforcement of bird-protective statutes. The headquarters of the committee are at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park, New York city. Mr. George P. Sennett is its chairman, and Mr. Eugene P. Bicknell its secretary.

The Rev. Canon Charles Lett used to relate, in illustration of the reasoning power of the bird, that a gentleman in Waterford, Ireland, had, in 1828, a tame golden eagle, which was allowed the freedom of the yard and garden. The owner once, for amusement, placed the house-cat near the bird, which attempted to seize it and met the usual fate of too close assailants of cats. A chicken was next brought, and instantly pounced upon. The owner, however, released it, whereupon the eagle hopped clumsily after it, but could not overtake it. The bird then turned against its owner and attacked him with vigor, as if in revenge for being deprived of its prey.

Up to the middle of April, M. Pasteur had treated about seven hundred and fifty patients with his remedy for hydrophobia, with what is considered a very gratifying success. In some of the cases the patients may not really have received the virus, or the dog may not have been really mad; and six out of thirty-eight Russians who had been bitten by a rabid wolf died. But, when allowance is made for these, enough is left to give the seal of validity to the claims which the eminent practitioner sets forth for his remedy.

"Land and Water" publishes, and credits to a "local paper," a story told by a Scotch railway-laborer, who saw a hawk swoop upon a blackbird which was singing on a bush by the side of the river Ettrick. The blackbird, he says, was at once un-perched and carried to the ground, struggling and screaming in the talons of its adversary. The hawk, evidently finding considerable difficulty in dispatching the bird, dragged it along the ground to a shallow pool, where he put its head under the water and stood on it till his victim was drowned. Dr. Riley, in his last entomological report, does not take a very hopeful view of the immediate prospects of silk-culture in the United States. In his opinion it requires a temporary stimulus, and he would suggest a duty on reeled silk imported from foreign countries. It is possible, however, that there are ways enough for Americans to make money without adding to the list of "protected" articles.

Professor W. Mattieu Williams disputes the validity of the recently published conclusion of a German philosopher, that accidents from lightning are increasing, and that the increase is owing to the multiplication of factories with their towering chimneys, and the consequent loading of the air with smoke, steam, and particles of dust. It does not agree with the accepted theory of lightning-conductors, that the multiplication of such agencies tends to the dissipation of atmospheric electricity and the rendering of it harmless. The real increase is not in the number of accidents, but in the regularity with which they are reported.

The King of the Belgians' prize of five thousand dollars, which was offered this year to the competition of the world for the best essay on "The Best Means of improving Sandy Coasts," has been awarded to M. de Hey, engineer, of Bruges, against fifty-nine competitors. The prize is alternately international and confined to Belgians. The subject for the next international competition is "The Progress of Electricity applied to Motive Power and Illumination: its Applications and Economical Advantages." The essays must be presented in French.

A correspondent of "Science Gossip" tells of a pair of swans which, having completed their nest on the bank of a dike, shortly proceeded, as if they were anticipating danger, to raise the structure two feet higher. On the next day a great storm occurred, with floods, that would surely have swept the nest away but for the precaution the birds had taken to secure it.

A French doctor, Sandras, claims to have discovered a way of producing extensive modifications of the voice—in vibration, force, and range—by the inhalation of different substances. Among the typical experiments which he exhibited recently before the Medical Society of the Pantheon, were extension of the register by the inhalation of Botot water; producing hoarseness and extinction of the voice with coal-tar; giving a drunken man's voice with alcohol; and by using other inhalants correcting the effects of cold in the head and of coal-tar inhalations.



Dr. Edward Tuckerman, Professor of Botany in Amherst College, died March 15th, at the age of sixty-nine years. He was recognized as one of the leading lichenologists of the day, and as first in that branch on this continent.

Thomas Edwards, the self-taught naturalist of Banff, Scotland, died April 27th, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. His father was a hand-loom weaver, and he learned the shoemaker's trade. The passion for collecting dominated in him; and his devotion to science brought him considerable fame. He was elected a member of several learned societies in 1865, and afterward acted as Curator of the Banff Museum. He wrote many papers concerning his own discoveries for the scientific magazines. Mr. Smiles published a biography of him which made him generally known. This was followed by a subscription of £333 for relief in his old age, and the award by the Queen of a pension of §50 a year.

M. A. Lallemand, a distinguished French physicist, has just died at Poitiers, in the seventieth year of his age. He had served as Professor of Physics in several French colleges, and was for a number of years dean of the faculty at Poitiers. He was the author of important investigations on electro-dynamic action in the illumination of transparent bodies, and of researches in organic chemistry, among the results of which was the discovery of thymol.

M. Melsens, chemist, of Brussels, has recently died, in the seventy-second year of his age. He was the author of the discovery of iodide of potassium as an antidote for mercurial and lead poisoning.

Johann Georg Varrentrapp, one of the most distinguished and venerable hygienists of Germany, died at Frankfort, March 10th, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. He was for thirty years physician in the Heiligen Geist Hospital at Frankfort; he was one of the founders of the poor-clinic and of the medical society of Frankfort; he paid special and practical attention to questions of prison discipline and of school organization; he founded the special Section for Public Health in the Association of German Naturalists, and the German Association for Public Health. The "Berliner klinische Wochenschrift" mentions him as the earliest German sanitarian who considered the question of the cleansing of towns, and calls him the father of the practice of public health. In politics he was an active liberal.