Popular Science Monthly/Volume 41/October 1892/Notes


A committee of five members, chosen from different sections, was appointed by the American Association to act with the corresponding committee of the World's Congress of the Columbian Exposition respecting such matters as may appropriately come under its cognizance.

The report of the American Association's committee on indexing chemical literature recommends that communications be entered into with the Royal Society, so that a perfect index can be prepared. It was decided to appoint a committee to secure a certain number of experts to work on the index which is to be published by the Smithsonian Institution.

The credit for the introduction of manual training into the public schools is claimed by Director J. L. Tadd, of the Public Industrial Art School of Philadelphia, for Mr. Charles G. Leland, who was chiefly instrumental in influencing the board to make the first attempt, Mr. Leland was a skilled hand-worker as well as literary man, and had a complete idea of the practical side of the question as well as of the theoretical. The teachers in the Philadelphia school think the results in their general studies are improved by the relaxation and change given by manual-training work in and between their own studies.

Prof. W J McGee adduced a considerable number of reasons at the Niagara Falls Excursion of the American Association for supposing that the recession of the Falls from Lewiston to their present position has occupied about seven thousand years—he regarding Prof. N. H. Winchell's estimate of seventy-eight hundred years as probably the best. "On comparing this estimate with the march of the secular seasons," he says, "a remarkable coincidence is observed; for, since the longitude of perihelion is now 99° 30', the middle of the last Platonic winter, which is now just past in the southern hemisphere, occurred seventy-one hundred years ago. This coincidence strengthens the suggestion of interdependence between cosmic and terrestrial conditions, and affords a basis for comparing the natural time-unity of the astronomer with the semi-arbitrary periods of the geologist; and so the date of the last ice invasion recorded in the moraine-fringed glacial deposit may be provisionally fixed at seventy-one hundred years ago."

In his address before the Anthropological Section of the American Association on The Evolution of the Æsthetic, Mr. W. H. Holmes maintained that creations of art are growths the same as are the products of Nature, and are subject to the same inexorable laws of genesis and evolution. The several branches of æsthetic art—painting, architecture, sculpture, music, and the drama—were reviewed, and their growth and evolution illustrated in support of this thesis.

The American Association decided to ask Congress for a reduction of the tariff on scientific instruments and periodicals; also to ask it to take steps for the preservation of the ancient ruins which are situated on Government lands.

Dr. H. Molisch, after investigation of the subject, denies that iron is present in chlorophyl, having never found a trace of it in that substance. He says that iron occurs in plants in two forms—in that of ordinary iron-salts, and in the "masked" condition, in which it is so closely combined with organic substances that the ordinary reagents fail to detect it. In this form iron occurs both in the cell-wall and in the cell-contents, but does not enter into the living protoplasm.

The experiments of Mr. A. J. Cook, of the Agricultural College of Michigan, appear to show that bees require eleven pounds of honey to enable them to secrete one pound of wax.

The statement of Mr. George F. Kunz, that the hardness of diamonds is not perceptibly reduced by cutting and polishing, is confirmed in Science by Mr. W. A. Rogers, of Colby University, who has had much experience in ruling with diamonds.

According to a paper by T. Forster, of Amsterdam, the bacteria which produce the light of phosphorescence are able to multiply and develop at the freezing-point of water. They not only live in the sea, but are met with in brackish and fresh water, upon victuals, manures, etc. This agrees with the fact that victuals kept for some days in an ice-chamber gradually assume a disagreeable smell and taste; and that meat can be preserved from putrefaction for days, but not for weeks. If foods are to be preserved at a low temperature for a long time, besides cold, a second element is necessary—dryness.

Dr. H. J. Tylden, of England, has recently died of typhoid fever, after having been engaged in investigations of the etiology of the disease—in which, it is supposed, he contracted it. He had recently published an article in Nature on The Bearing of Pathology upon the Doctrine of the Transmission of Acquired Characters.

A wild-flower exhibition—the fourth of the kind—was recently held in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is described by Mr. W. R. Lazenby in Garden and Forest. It comprised seventeen hundred entries, including hand-bouquets, baskets, bouquets of heather and thistles, of heather and bluebells, of wild grasses, of white heather, of wild ferns in rustic baskets, wreaths of wild roses and honeysuckles, collections of dried wild flowers and of dried leaves of native trees tastefully mounted, crosses of wild flowers, and window flower-boxes. All, with the exception of the last class, was the work of children. The exhibition is given under the auspices of a juvenile paper of the city.

A correspondent of the London Spectator tells of a horse in India which lately defended its master and saved his life against a murderous attack made upon him. Lieutenant Robertson, of the Engineers, when out riding, was joined by a Ghazi—which is Oriental for champion—entered into a friendly conversation with him, then into a race—and beat him. The Ghazi then attacked the English officer with his tubear and inflicted a severe gash upon his neck. "When Lieutenant Robertson fell off his horse, and was lying on the ground bleeding profusely, the faithful animal protected his master from further injury by kicking at the Ghazi and attempting to bite him. But for this remarkable behavior on the part of Lieutenant Robertson's horse, it is supposed that the Ghazi would have probably hacked Lieutenant Robertson to death." The Ghazi was seen by two Indian boys, was caught and identified, and sentenced to be hanged.