Popular Science Monthly/Volume 35/October 1889/Notes


Several "effigy mounds" in the Rock River Valley, 111., have been described by T. n. Lewis. The "Rockford Turtle" is 18412 feet long and from three to five and a half feet high, and stands in the midst of the best part of Rockford. It is associated with a bird-mound, seven round mounds, and two embankments. An animal mound in Jo Daviess County is 216 feet long, with an average height of five and a half feet, has its fore-feet resting on an embankment, and is associated with twenty-three other mounds and two embankments. A bird effigy on the east side of Rock River some five miles below Rockford, and an animal 11612 feet long at Freeport, are described. Few of the Illinois effigy mounds are in good preservation.

A marked difference is observed by Dr. George M. Dawson, of the Geological Survey of Canada, as between the maritime Indians of the coast and the Indian tribes of southern British Columbia. While it is largely one of habit and mode of life, it is also almost everywhere coincident with radical differences in language. The natural tendency to diversity as between coast-inhabiting fishermen and roaming hunters is intensified and perpetuated by the barrier of the Coast Range. The diversity breaks down to some extent only on certain routes of trade between the coast and the interior.

The distinction of the Legion of Honor has been conferred upon Prof. C. V. Riley by the French Government. The Minister of Agriculture, writing to Prof. Riley on the subject, said that in awarding the honor the Government had sought to reward the important services which he had rendered to agriculture generally of all countries, and particularly to France, by his labors and discoveries.

A case of poisoning by mackerel was recently established at a coroner's inquest in London. The deceased, who had eaten a part of the fish adjacent to the head, was attacked with gastritis and pneumonia, became delirious, and died; while his wife, who ate another part of the fish, suffered no inconvenience. The gills of the mackerel appearing to have undergone fermentation, the victim's illness was ascribed to his having eaten decomposed fish. Cases of this kind, which used to be regarded as unaccountable, are now considered due to the presence of ptomaines developed by decomposition.

A peculiar tendency in idiots to imperfections and disease in the teeth has been noticed by several physicians; and it has been studied by Madame Sollier in a hundred cases of idiots taken at random. The multiplicity and variety of the dental lesions were remarkable; and the conclusion has been drawn that idiocy, with or without epilepsy, predisposes to arrests of development and to anomalies of dentition. The effect rarely appears in the first teeth, however, but almost wholly in the second.

Mr. Carruthers President of the Linnæan Society, has found that seven original and authentic portraits of Linnæus are in existence. The most widely known engravings are from the originals by Inlander and Roslin; and these give the most faithful representations of the features of the great naturalist.

An instantaneous photographic apparatus is proposed to take the place of the judge at the winning-post in race-courses. Its value is seen in very close races, when the judges can not decide accurately, and in what are called "dead heats," when two or three horses appear to reach the winning-post at exactly the same time. The photograph will show one of the horses to be an inch or so ahead, and decide in his favor.

Works have been erected in London by Mr. William Webster for experiment upon an electrical treatment of sewage that has been devised by him. Electricity is to be applied directly, to resolve the matter into its chemical elements and secure a precipitation in the form of sludge.

A large exhibition of prehistoric objects, representing public and private collections in Austria, is to be given in connection with the next Congress of German Anthropological Societies, which is to meet this year in Vienna.

The oldest man in Great Britain is Hugh McLeod, crofter, of Ross-shire, Scotland, who was born in 1783, and is consequently in his one hundred and seventh year. He is still straight and good for a full day of wakefulness, and cuts his own peat and carries home his daily load of eighty-four pounds. He eats porridge and milk, potatoes, fish, and mutton when he can get it, has cultivated a fondness for tea, and is "very heavy" in chewing "thin twist." His father was a weaver, and he has been a carpenter and joiner. There are three other centenarians in the same parish.

Mr. Goschen has traced a connection between the use of the cigarette after dinner and a decline in the consumption of wine at table. The friends of the cigarette claim that it is convenient, is adapted to various kinds of employments, is cheap as compared with good cigars, and makes less demand than a pipe upon the manly powers. Its opponents hold that it is adulterated with deleterious ingredients which provoke the head and throat, and stimulate the desire to drink; that it blunts the delicacy of the taste and encourages promiscuous drinking; and that it leads to the spending of much money—all in addition to the harm there may be in smoking at all.

The Kina Balu, or "Chinese Widow," the great mountain of Borneo, rises thirteen thousand seven hundred feet from a low undulating country, at about twenty-five miles from the west coast of the island, and is regarded with a kind of religious awe by the natives. Its slopes abound with pitcher-plants and Nepenthes generally. It has been partially ascended by the travelers Lobb, Low, and St. John; and its real summit was reached, according to Mr. R. T. Pritchett, last year by Mr. Whitehead. This traveler has spent several years of hard work in exploring, and has brought back many before unknown varieties of birds.

Five cases of ruptured tympanum, described by Dr. W. R. H. Stewart, admonish us to be careful how we treat the ear. One was of a boy whose ear had been boxed by his teacher; another, of a woman who had received a blow in a scuffle with her husband; a third, of a man sixty years old, who had suffered from deafness and an offensive dig. charge ever since having been struck when a boy. In the fourth case, a laborer had been made deaf and partly lost the sense of taste in consequence of a blow on the side of the head. The last case was that of a woman who had accidentally perforated her tympanum while picking her ear with a hairpin. Pains and deafness were common to all these cases. All were improved, and most of them were cured, by treatment.

Symptoms of poisoning were recently developed in the case of some persons in Berne, Switzerland, who had eaten of the mushroom Morchell esculenta. On investigation a highly poisonous substance was found in the sample—identical with that which had been eaten—resembling the ptomaines, and like them, probably, a result of partial decomposition. The warning is against stale fungi.

Arsenic has been detected in a sample of matches obtained in Jena, Germany, which are characterized by the heads having a black covering with a metallic luster, and containing much lead, partly present as red lead. The quantity of arsenic was so small as to be detected only by the most delicate tests.