Popular Science Monthly/Volume 30/April 1887/Notes


The "Lancet" sees in precocity simply the early or premature use of the higher cerebral centers, particularly those which stand in near relation to the senses. Even when the higher intellectual centers are affected, the excitation may usually be traced through channels which originate in the senses. The calculating boy is gifted with a specially acute perception of sight- or sound-phantoms, which are so clearly apparent to his consciousness that he works out sums mentally with the ease of an expert using slate and pencil. In like manner a person of keen sound-phantoms may compose music or make verses.

Caoutchouc has been extracted from the Sonchus oleraceus, a common weed of the road-sides and barren places in France.

Madame Zaluska, in the "Revue Scientifique," is authority for the statement that the lowest temperature that M. Wroblewski has produced, by allowing liquefied hydrogen to escape, is -211° C, or about -380° Fahr. At this temperature, she adds, neither gases nor liquids exist, but everything is solidified. The metals lose their electric resistance, and the current passes through matter without developing heat in it.

The tides of the Mediterranean Sea, though much reduced, are as real as those of the ocean. Along the littoral of the maritime Alps they average from fifteen to twenty centimetres, with ten and twenty-five centimetres as the extremes. At Gibraltar, they rise to from 1.60 to 2 metres; at Trieste, to 0.70 metre; at Venice, from 0.50 to 0.60 metre; and in the Gulf of Gabes from a metre aud a half to two metres.

Mr. J. Theodore Bent says that "binding is the spirit of the modern Greek charm. They bind diseases to trees; they bind fleas, bugs, and lice outside their houses, or rather they make ineffectual attempts to do so; and the shepherds of Donkey's Island (Gatharonisi) are careful to bind beneath the knee of a ram or he-goat the bone of a fish or hare, which they believe is effectual in preventing the offspring from being carried off by robbers."

The "Saturday Review," in noticing Professor Milne's book on "Earthquakes," accredits the author with having "probably done more than any man living to improve methods and apparatus for observation, and to find a scientific explanation of these crust-movements."

A company has been formed to apply the water-power of the falls of the Rhine at Schaffhausen to the electrical production of aluminium by the Cowles process.

The "Saturday Review" finds, in the character of the articles published in the "Sanitarian," evidence that Americans are not a whit behind the English in their appreciation of the inestimable value to a nation of due attention to the measures necessary for the preservation of health; but it also learns from one of the articles that both our national and State Legislatures "give but scant encouragement to those bodies which take care of the public health."

Professor Collett, of Norway, says that the beaver is now extinct in Northern Norway, but that about a hundred individuals are still living in some of the southern provinces.

A correspondent of the London "Spectator" objects to the wires now used instead of the old thread for stitching books, that in any but an extremely dry climate they are liable to rust and cat through the paper which they are supposed to fasten.


General William B. Hazen, Chief Signal-Officer of the War Department, died in Washington, January 16th, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. His death was unexpected, although he had been in bad health for a long time. He was born in West Hartford, Vermont, in 1830, and entered the Academy at West Point in 1851. After graduation, in 1855, he served for five years in the Indian campaigns of the West. At the beginning of the civil war he was assistant instructor of infantry tactics at West Point. Entering active service as a captain in the regular army, he recruited the Forty-first Regiment of Ohio Volunteers and commanded it. He served through the war in the West under Buell, Rosecrans, Thomas, Grant, and Sherman; participated in the principal battles of their campaigns, and was officially recognized, by promotion or brevet, several times, for conspicuous services. He was appointed Chief Signal-Officer in 188O, and distinguished himself in that capacity by his effort to enlarge and extend the weather-service.

M. Edouard Ernest Blavier, a distinguished French electrician, died on the 14th of January, in the sixty-second year of his age. He was inspector-general of the telegraphic lines, Director of the Superior School of Telegraphy, and Vice-President of the International Society of Electricians. He was the author of contributions to the learned societies, the "Telegraphic Annals," a "Course in Telegraphy," which is an authority on the subject, and a "Treatise on Electrical Magnitudes and their Measure in Absolute Unities."

Mr. John Arthur Phillips, who died suddenly on the 4th of January, was a chemist of considerable distinction for his researches in connection with mineralogy and metallurgy.

Mr. Thomas Moore, who was a prolific writer on botanical and horticultuaral subjects, and was for many years Curator of the Botanic Garden of the Society of Apothecaries at Chelsea, England, died on the 1st of January, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. He was best known for his numerous publications on ferns.