Popular Science Monthly/Volume 3/September 1873/Notes


One of the chief attractions of this year's International Exhibition in London is Mr. Buckmaster's School of Cookery, where lectures are given twice a day on culinary processes, fully illustrated by practical experiments. It is found impossible, with the present arrangements, to accommodate all who apply for admission to the lectures. Special attention is given to the best modes of preparing canned meat, a valuable foodstuff, against which Britons have very strong prejudices. There is certainly room for improvement in the popular culinary processes in vogue the world over, but nowhere perhaps is this improvement more needed than in English-speaking countries. We waste an enormous amount of good provisions.

The sound of the salutes fired by the British iron-clad fleet at Spithead on Monday, June 23d, in honor of the Shah's visit, was heard at Toadstone, Worcestershire, distant from Spithead 100 miles. A correspondent of the Times, writing from Tedstone on the 23d, says: "We have all heard a long continuous series of sounds, shaking the windows on the south side of the house, and resembling exactly the effect of a distant salute. My gardener states that he heard similar sounds between 11 and 12. My house is on a hill, from 400 to 500 feet above sea-level. On referring to the Times of Saturday, with to-day's programme, I find that the time (2.15) may coincide with one of the general salutes at Spithead, though at this distance it seems almost impossible that the vibration should be felt. We are familiar with the sound of salutes, from frequent summer visits to Stoke's Bay. I send the facts for what they may turn out to be worth."

In connection with the shortest railway route to India, via the Persian Gulf, an Englishman, resident in Damascus, suggests as worthy of consideration the ancient Roman causeway, which, it is said, exists, in an almost perfect state, from Bozrah in the Hauran, to Bassorah on the Persian Gulf. The roadstead of Acre might easily be formed into a good port, to serve as the Mediterranean terminus of the road.

Prof. Ferrier has obtained a grant from the Royal Society of London, which will enable him to pursue his studies on monkeys. He has already made some progress in these researches, as may be seen from the following passage taken from a letter written by Dr. Lauder-Brunton to the editor of the Philadelphia Medical Times. "Already his experiments on his Simian cousins have commenced," writes Dr. Brunton, "and the results are most satisfactory. He can make an animal follow his command by simply touching different parts of the brain, by the electrode, and 'eyes right,' 'eyes left,' 'eyes open,' 'eyes shut,' 'mouth open,' 'mouth shut,' 'tongue out,' 'tongue in,' etc., follow as certainly as the machinery of a London penny steamer follows the commands, 'ease her,' 'stop her,' 'back her.'" Whereupon the Medical Times observes that "it certainly looks squally for Prof. Brown-Séquard's theory of the origin of brain-symptoms."

According to the Scientific American, a Canadian inventor has originated a method of producing from the milk-weed, or other plants of the genus Asclepias, as also from flax and other seeds, a gum designed to serve as a substitute for India-rubber. The substances are macerated and fermented, and the liquid is then reduced, by evaporation, to a thick, gummy mass, possessed of many of the valuable qualities of rubber.

An "Acclimatization Society," for the introduction of singing-birds, as also of birds serviceable to the gardener and farmer, has been founded in Cincinnati. During the past spring the expenditure of the society amounted to $5,000, and fifteen European species of birds were introduced. The skylark is already acclimated at Cincinnati, and in the country around the summer air is vocal with his cheerful song.

From a microscopical examination of the blood of 143 lunatics, by Dr. H. Sutherland, of London, it appears that the blood in the insane generally contains an excess of the white corpuscles, and that its red corpuscles frequently show no tendency to arrange themselves in rouleaux. The coexistence of these two abnormal characters in the blood indicates, according to Dr. Sutherland, a very low degree of vitality. In ten men, suffering from general paralysis, whose blood was found to exhibit one or other or both of these conditions, five died within three months after their blood was examined.

Notwithstanding that during the past few years great efforts have been made both here and in England to put a stop to commercial frauds and adulterations, the evil still continues almost undiminished. For instance, it is estimated that the milk vended in English towns is impoverished to the extent of at least 25 per cent, on the average; in some cases the impoverishment amounts to as much as 50 per cent. But the most glaring fraud of this kind on record was recently perpetrated in Ireland. Two milk-dealers were arrested in Dublin and convicted of selling milk containing, in the one case, 60, and in the other 75 per cent, of water.

Herr Eimer has recently found on a precipitous rock near the island of Capri a new species of lizard. It is blue all over, with dark spots on the back, while all the lizards in Capri are of a bright green, with only a little blue at the extremities. The rock is destitute of vegetation, and of a blue color. When at rest the lizard is hardly visible, its color being so like that of the rock. The rock, which is frequented by birds of prey, was at one time connected with Capri, and the blue lizards are supposed by Herr Eimer to be descended from the green, but transformed by natural selection to blue.

"A Constant Reader" wishes to know how to pronounce the name of the author of "Physics and Politics," Mr. Walter Bagehot. We gave the pronunciation of the name in a notice of the book in the February number. It is not Bag-hot, or Bag-shot, but Baj-ote, the a being sounded as in badge.

M. Merget, of the Paris Academy of Sciences, has solved the problem of producing indelible photographic proofs. He employs for this purpose salts of platinum, palladium, and iridium, reducing them with vapors of mercury, iodine, and hydrogen. The proof so obtained is absolutely unalterable, no matter how long it may be kept, as it contains no substance which can be affected by light.