Popular Science Monthly/Volume 45/June 1894/Notes


The rare instance of the coming of age of a whole trio of triplets was celebrated recently at Whitenast, near Leamington, England. Generally, in case of triplets, the children die soon after birth, but occasionally they survive and reach maturity. One case is on record of quadruplets, all of whom were reared.

Attention has been called to the cheapness of life in Italy by the light sentence of a few years' imprisonment recently imposed upon a native who, in a fit of jealousy, murdered a physician innocent of all offense. Jealousy is practically accepted by Italian juries as a part expiation of crime, and their misled verdicts are styled verdicts of the heart. Consequently, Italy heads the list of European countries for homicides, and the vendetta flourishes there unchecked. A story is told of a Neapolitan who, wishing to kill his wife, would not venture upon the act at home, where he might be guillotined, but removed to Florence, where the penalty was imprisonment for life. Since then imprisonment has been made the penalty throughout the country.

Novel uses said to have been found for aluminum are for a folding pocket scale, one metre long; a necktie made of metal, frosted or otherwise ornamented, in various shapes imitating the ordinary silk or satin article, which is recommended for summer wear; and military helmets.

A large trade, according to Mr. John Wallace, is done in the shipment from Washington ports of salmon frozen solid and packed tightly in refrigerator cars in sawdust, without ice. The cars are first reduced in temperature as low as possible, and the floors are covered with chilled sawdust. The boxes of fish are next placed therein, any spaces between them being filled with the cold saw-dust. The car is then closed and sealed, and in reasonably warm weather its contents may be relied upon to arrive at their destination in the most perfect condition after a passage of eighteen days or thereabouts.

The mean cloud velocities at Blue Hill, Mass., indicate that the entire atmosphere, from the lowest to the highest cloud level, moves almost twice as fast in winter as in summer. The mean velocity of the highest clouds in winter is more than fifty metres per second, or a hundred miles an hour; and the highest velocity, a hundred and three metres per second, or two hundred and thirty miles per hour, show that the upper currents sometimes move with enormous rapidity.

There was a discussion once in The Popular Science Monthly regarding the position assumed by flamingoes in incubating—some authors affirming that they straddled their raised nests, their legs dangling down on either side, and others that they disposed of their legs in some other way. The question seems now to be settled by Abel Chapman, in his book, Wild Spain, who observed them in their nesting grounds on a low mud island of the Andalusian marisma, "most distinctly" from a distance of about seventy yards—"the long red legs doubled under their bodies, the knees projecting as far as or beyond the tail, and their graceful necks neatly curled away among their back feathers, with their heads resting on their breasts—all these points were unmistakable."

The Dutch, desiring to utilize their wind-mills and at the same time place them in line with the latest improvements in the applications of power, have offered, through the Haarlem Society for the Encouragement of Industry, a prize of $150 to the author of the best essay on the production of electricity through their agency.

A substitution of camels as working animals for horses and oxen has been going on for a few years past in several provinces of Russia, and they are now common on many large estates and on smaller properties. They perform all the work in farming for which horses and oxen are used, as well as being efficient in transportation. A camel market has grown up at Orenburg, and the animals bring sixty or seventy rubles, or about thirty-five dollars, delivered at Kiev.

The Baluban tribe of Central Africa are famous for their skill in casting and forging iron. They construct tall cylindro-conical furnaces of clay with tuyères of clay and an ingeniously devised wooden bellows. They make arms for hunting and for war, and collars and bracelets of iron. The neighboring natives resort to them in great numbers to exchange their own products for the manufactures of the Balubans.

More than three hundred species of fish hitherto unknown to naturalists are described by M. Léon Vaillant as inhabiting the lakes of Borneo. Many other fish are identical with species living in the waters of the Sunda Islands and of Indo-China. As these species never reach the sea, they furnish another argument in favor of the theory of a former connection of these countries.

Prof. Eugene Smith, State Geologist, shows in a paper on the Clays of Alabama, read before the Industrial and Scientific Society of that State, that besides its riches of coal and iron, the State has clays of quality suitable for the manufacture of every kind of brick and stoneware. They are not yet developed, for want of skilled and experienced workmen, and because the world is not acquainted with their qualities. The different clays and their location are fully described in the paper.

The Arago prize of the French Academy of Sciences has been awarded to Prof. Barnard and Prof. Asaph Hall.

The Geological and Natural History Survey of Minnesota has begun the publication of bulletins embodying from time to time such discoveries as may be made or scientific contributions presented as they occur, without waiting for the slower publication of the formal reports. The first of the series of botanical studies, Bulletin No. 9, contains five papers of interest in that branch of the survey. The Bulletin will be continued in occasional parts till a volume is completed,