Popular Science Monthly/Volume 38/December 1890/Notes


Mr. John T. Campbell presented, in the American Association, the evidence in support of his belief that there was, in the Wabash River, one last great flood near the close of glacial time, and that then the water-supply was so cut off or diminished that there was never another freshet large enough to wipe out or modify the marks it left. This flood, in the opinion of the author, carried about one hundred times as much water as do the great floods of the present time.

The largest barometer yet made has been put in working order in the Saint Jacques Tower, in Paris. It is forty-one feet five inches high.

The International Medical Congress met in Berlin, August 4th. Members of the medical profession were present representing every state and city in Europe, and many from North and South America. An opening address of welcome was made by the president, Prof. Virchow. Welcoming addresses were also given for Prussia and Berlin. Dr. Lassar, Secretary-General of the Congress, sketched the general plan of the labors of the Congress, and gave some statistics concerning the representation of the countries taking part in it. Dr. Hamilton, Surgeon-General of the United States Army, was the first regular speaker, and was followed by Sir James Paget and Sir Joseph Lister.

The corrosion of steel by salt water is said to be much greater than that of iron. Mr. David Phillips stated, iii a recent address before the British Institute of Marine Engineers, that he had experimented from 1881 to 1888 with two plates of Bessemer boiler steel, two of Yorkshire, and two of B. B. Staffordshire boiler iron. The plates were as nearly as possible six by six by three eighths inches, and were kept immersed in salt water. The results show a great difference between the behavior of steel and iron. The steels lost 120 per cent more than the irons the first three years, when the plates were in contact; 124 per cent more the second three years, when they were insulated; and 126 per cent more for the whole period of seven years.

Unless some of our investigators of bacteria are mistaken, there seems to be hardly a situation where these minute organisms may not be found. Thus Dr. Charles M. Cresson claims to have discovered typhoid bacilli in the juice squeezed from some celery grown near Philadelphia; and the Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin for May, 1890, records some observations, by A. C. Abbott, upon bacteria found in the interior of large hailstones which fell during the storm of April 26, 1890.

The Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science will hold its third annual meeting at Christchurch, New Zealand, beginning January 15,1891. Sir James Hector, F. R. S., will succeed Baron F. von Müller, F. R. S., as president, and will deliver an address. Arrangements are making to secure reduced excursion fares from the other Australian colonies, and probably from Great Britain.

In his lecture on caves, at the meeting of the American Association, the Rev. Dr. Hovey exhibited a photograph made by L. Farini, of Bridgeport, Conn., from an ordinary negative, by means of the light of the fire-fly (Elator phocans).

The object of certain experiments described by Mr. W. Sharp, in the British Association, was to answer the question, What is the action of the substances called drugs upon the living body of man? The conclusions arrived at were the results of experiments made upon men in sound health, with different quantities of the same drugs. In the case of fourteen drugs that were used it was found that the smallest doses administered have power to act upon the living human body; that the commonly received opinion that the actions of drugs are simply increased in degree, and not altered in character, by increasing the dose, is an error; and that the actions of drugs are sufficiently distinct to admit of classification.

An interesting account was given by the Rev. E. Jones, in the British Association, of his exploration of the Elbolten Cave, in Craven. The first chamber, the one examined, is between thirty and forty feet long, and from seven to thirteen feet wide. Relics, including remains of about a dozen men, were found in two strata. Among the objects discovered most worthy of notice were remains of a hearth, neolithic pottery, variously ornamented and coated with charcoal on the inside; pot-boilers made of rounded grit with marks of fire; pieces of silurian slates that may have been used for the sharpening of bone implements; and pieces of bone, one of which was undoubtedly used to ornament pottery.

A committee has been formed to place a marble bust of Richard Jeffries in Salisbury Cathedral. It is to cost $750, toward which subscriptions are invited.

M. Marey has succeeded in photographing the movements of an animal under water, taking proofs at the rate of fifty in a second, with exposures of from 1/2000 to 1/3000 of a second. A set of twelve photographs gives all the phases of the undulations which the medusa impresses upon its umbrella of a locomotor apparatus. Another series exhibits a squid leaping out of the water. A ray has been taken in profile while waving the edges of its flat body; and the curious mode of progression of a comatula has been taken.

A law was announced several years ago by M. V. Neyreneuf relative to the flow of sound through thin cylindrical pipes, which proved identical with the law declared by Poiseuille for the flow of liquids through capilliary tubes. In a later memoir the former author has sought to determine the sounds to be used and the precautions to be taken for giving their flow a well-defined character. He also describes experiments with pipes of varying lengths and diameters, and experiments upon the effect of the kind and substance of the pipe.

Mr. St. George Mivart has been appointed Professor of the Philosophy of Natural History in the University of Louvain, Belgium.

Prof. Marsh gave an account to the British Association of the gigantic Ceratopsidæ, or horned dinosaurs, which he had identified in the Laramie beds, near the Rocky Mountains. The Association gave him a vote of thanks for his instructive communication.

Dr. Frithiof Nansen, the Norwegian explorer whose achievement in crossing Greenland from the eastern to the western shore resulted in considerable additions to knowledge, is preparing to start in the spring of 1892 on an expedition the main object of which will be to reach the north pole.

It is shown by Prof. A. Milnes Marshall that there is great variability in nearly allied animals, and even in individuals of the same species. In proof, he refers to the difference between the French edible frog and the British frog, and says that the question as to which of these was the primitive form is a subject for interesting study.