Popular Science Monthly/Volume 41/July 1892/Notes


The arrangements for the meeting of the American Association, to be held in Rochester, N. Y., in August, are nearly completed. The meeting will be opened on Tuesday evening, the 17th, with an address by Secretary F. W. Putnam. President Joseph Le Conte will deliver an address on Wednesday evening, the 18th; a reception will be given the Association by the ladies of the city at the Powers Art Gallery on Thursday, the 19th; and a public lecture will be given on Friday evening. The business meetings will be held in the university. The Saturday excursions will include visits to Niagara Falls, Portage, Mount Morris, Canandaigua Lake, and Watkins Glen, and the long excursion will be to the Adirondack region.

The second annual session of the School of Applied Ethics will be held at Plymouth, Mass., July 6th to August 17th. The programme of instruction includes six courses of five lectures each in the History of Religions; seven courses in Economics; and a series of fifteen lectures by Prof. William Wallace, of Oxford, on Variations of the Moral Standard, illustrated by the History of Ethical Theories; with four other courses in Ethics. Applications may be made to the secretary, S. Burns Weston, 118 South 12th Street, Philadelphia,

In Uruguay, according to Admiral Kennedy, of H. M. S. Ruby, barbed wire has played a part in suppressing revolutions, as it is not easy to march troops over a country intersected by it.

A Postschule is to be established at Leipsic for the special training of post-office assistants, and eventually also of postmasters. The course of instruction will embrace, besides the usual branches, the subjects belonging to the postal service.

According to Dr. R. W. Shufeldt's observations of the Navajo belt-weavers, curves are never found in the figure-patterns on the belts or blankets, but horizontal stripes, diagonals, and the lozenge are interwoven with a variety that appears to be almost endless in the matter of design. The leading colors used are red, brilliant orange-yellow, a blue, and by combination a green, and black, white and gray.

The results of the observations of Mr. H. C. Russell, of Sydney, on the Grouping of Stars in the Southern Part of the Milky Way were described by him at the Australasian Association as tending to diminish the value of the rifts in the discussion of stellar distribution.

The detailed meteorological observations, made under the direction of H. B. de Saussure simultaneously on the Col du Geant, at Geneva, and at Chamounix, in July, 1788, have been published in the memoirs of the Physical Society of Geneva. Only the means of a part of the observations were published by De Saussure in his Voyages dans les Alpes.

The nest and egg of a bird-of-paradise have been found by two Australian gentlemen on an island off the coast of Queensland, and have been described by Mr. A. J. Campbell in the Victoria Field Naturalists' Club. The hen was watched till she flew into the crown of a pandanus tree, where her head could be seen as she sat on her nest. The nest was about ten feet from the ground, and was somewhat loosely constructed of broad, dead leaves and green branchlets of climbing plants and fibrous material. Inside were two large concave dead leaves underneath pieces of dry tendrils, which formed a springy lining for the egg or young to rest upon. The nest contained a single egg; was nineteen centimetres broad and nine deep; and the egg cavity was nine centimetres by four.

A proposition to establish a marine biological station in Jamaica as a memorial of Columbus is approved by Prof. Huxley and Prof. Ray Lankester, who regard the situation as a most excellent one for the study of intertropical life.

A small axe of nephrite found at Ohlau, in Silesia, has been identified as to the specific gravity, microscopic structure, and chemical composition of the stone, as the same with a mineral occurring near Jordansmühl, in Silesia. This is the only prehistoric object found in Europe of which the source has been satisfactorily determined.

Among the items of progress in chemistry in Australia, Mr. W. M. Hamlet mentions the discovery of the alkaloids brucine and strychnine in the fruits of Strychnos pilosperma, by Prof. Rennie and Mr. Goyder; and the work done by Mr. J. H. Maiden in the examination of Australian kinos, gums, and barks. Chief among this chemist's researches was his work on wattle bark, which he found contains from fifteen to forty-six per cent of tannic acid. As the wattle tree is easy of cultivation, it thus promises to be valuable. Mr. Kirkland has discovered gallium and indium in some specimens of blende. Some work has been done toward determining the actual state of combination in which elements occur in different ores.

The first part of an account of the origin and development of the Royal Gardens at Kew has been published by Mr. Thiselton Dyer, in the Kew Bulletin. The present installment of the story relates the earlier period of the history, when the gardens were a purely private possession of the crown, and closes with the time when, in 1841, they became a national institution, with Sir William Hooker as director. For this early period there are hardly any authentic records, and the author has had "to fall back on local traditions, on local histories, the statements of which are often confusing and inaccurate, and on such scattered notices as could be gathered from contemporary literature." The history of the last half-century of the gardens will be given in another number of the Bulletin.

In a lawsuit recently decided in London, a householder had two poplar trees near a railway, which the railway company wished removed. He was willing to shorten the branches, but not to cut the trees down. The company sent in its men, who felled the trees, and then offered to settle with the owner, first by giving him two hundred and fifty, and later by offering him five hundred dollars. He carried the case to the court, which gave him fifteen hundred dollars for the trees and additional damages of a thousand dollars for the injury caused by their removal.

Violets of highly intensified colors have appeared on the streets of Paris, where curiously colored lilacs and narcissuses are likewise offered for sale. According to M. Gaston Tissandier, in La Nature, the flowers sold in Paris are artificially colored by placing the stems in water containing an aniline dye of the tint desired.

Mr. Smee, of the Gresham Insurance Company, is credited with having declared that the company has paid out during the past two years, on account of deaths caused directly by influenza, two and a half times as much as it paid in forty-three years for deaths by cholera.

An exhibition of weeds at the World's Columbian Exhibition is projected by Prof. Byron D. Halsted, who suggests that each person assisting secure at least three specimens each of the worst weeds in his State or section. Regard should be had, in collecting them to the seeds, which are especially desired; seedlings in various states of development; the root system; the flower and flower cluster; and the seed-vessel. To avoid unnecessary duplication, persons designing to collect for this enterprise are invited to communicate with Prof. Halsted at the State Experiment Station, New Brunswick, N. J., when their work will be arranged for them.

A curious custom is described by Dr. J. C. Evans as having prevailed at Oakham, Rutlandshire, England, by which a horseshoe, or payment in lieu thereof, was exacted from every peer passing through the town. The author exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries an iron horseshoe of super-equine dimensions, which had been deposited in the hall at Oakham in 1693, by Richard Cumberland, Bishop of Peterborough.