Popular Science Monthly/Volume 46/February 1895/Notes


A South Jersey Woodmen's Association has been formed, with headquarters at May's Landing, N. J., the objects of which are stated to be to improve and protect the forests of the southern counties of New Jersey; to prevent all wanton and needless destruction of forests; to adopt such methods of cutting as will increase and prolong the yield of timber and cordwood; to insist upon the enforcement of the laws in relation to forests and the punishment of malicious and careless fire-setters; to encourage the planting and seeding of valuable trees on Jersey waste land and elsewhere wherever practicable; and to encourage such methods of forest management as will tend to conserve and increase our water supply and protect the wild animals of the woods. A monthly pamphlet—The South Jersey Forester—is to be published as the official organ of the association.

A new species of giraffe has been discovered in Somaliland by Major Wood, of the British army, who has killed one specimen and seen seven others. It is distinguished by a complete and whole body covering of rich bright chestnut, hardly separable by very fine, almost invisible, lines of creamy white.

Of garden vegetables described by Prof. Bailey in a Bulletin of the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station, the cabbage, Pe Tsai, is described as a plant with a loose, lettucelike head of crisp leaves, which may be used in the same way as cabbage. A mustard producing au enormous quantity of herbage is excellent for greens. California pepper grass is apparently a finely cut leaved form of mustard, and is an excellent plant for spring greens. Other mustardlike plants are the Pak-Chol, used as greens and for the thick white leaf stalk, and the tuberous-rooted mustard grown for its small turnip-like root. The fruit of the wax gourd, Zit-Kwa, is excellent for conserves. The La-Kwa, or momordica, has merit as a curiosity and an ornamental vine. The Luffas, or dishcloth gourds, are of two species, and yield a spongelike fiber useful for household purposes.

That was a curious objection to the use of anæsthetics in surgery, and especially in midwifery practice, that is recorded as having been urged by some clergyman in the early days of chloroform. The reverend gentleman denounced the drug as "a decoy of Satan, apparently offering itself to bless woman, but in the end it will harden society and rob God of the deepest cries which arise in time of trouble for help." The religious objection was based on Genesis, iii, 16. To us such a plea for perpetuating pain sounds too quaint for serious argument; but Sir James Simpson set himself to prove that the word translated "sorrow" is really "labor," "toil."

An appropriation has been made by the American Association for the maintenance of an investigator's table at the Biological Laboratory of Cold Spring Harbor. The table will be held under the same conditions as that at Woods Hole—namely, the persons applying must either be, or must subsequently become, members of the American Association, and must be accepted by a committee of the association which has been designated for the purpose. Applications for the table for the ensuing year should be made to Prof. H. W. Conn or to Prof. Hooper.

The Copley medal of the Royal Society has been awarded for 1894 to Dr. Edward Franklaud for his eminent services to theoretical and applied chemistry; the Rumford medal to Prof. James Dewar for his researches on the properties of matter at extremely low temperatures; the Royal medals to Prof. Joseph John Thomson in recognition of his contributions to mathematical and experimental physics, especially to electrical theory, and to Prof. Victor Alexander Haden Horsley for his important investigations relating to the physiology of the nervous system and of the thyroid gland, and to their applications to the treatment of disease; the Davy medal to Prof. Cleve, of Upsala University, for his researches on the chemistry of the rare earths; and the Darwin medal to Prof. Huxley for his researches in comparative anatomy, and especially for his intimate association with Mr. Darwin in relation to the origin of species.

From Predmost, near Prerau, in the Austrian Empire, where large numbers of bones of the mammoth have been found in the past, comes a report of the discovery by Conservator Maschka, of Teltsch, of the well-preserved fragments of "the skeletons of a whole diluvial family of six persons." The skeleton of the man is wonderfully complete, and is of gigantic proportions. If this find is adequately verified, it will afford a contradiction to the assertion of the Danish expert, Steenstrup, that no man lived upon the earth at the same period as the mammoth.

The experiments of Drs. Petri, Kolb, and Friedrich, who inoculated one hundred and seventeen guinea pigs with dust collected in railway carriages, and who also examined the dust bacteriologically, have proved that it contains pathogenic germs. How admirable are the arrangements of railway passenger cars for collecting this dust and setting it flying into the lungs of travelers! The case calls for reform and for the provision of seats and car trimmings that will not so readily collect the dust and may be more easily cleansed than the usual plush cushionings.

The first steps have been taken for the organization of a society for the purpose of scientific research in the State of Michigan, to be known as the Michigan Academy of Sciences. At a meeting held in Ann Arbor, June 2'7th, a list of officers was chosen, with W. J. Beal as president, to serve and act as an advisory board till a permanent organization can be effected; and a meeting for the latter purpose is to be called some time during the winter. The suggested plan of work for the society is comprehensive, and is capable of enlargement as occasion may require.

A Society of Friends of French Explorers has been established in Paris in affiliation with the French Geographical Society. It contemplates the foundation of a fund in aid of explorers and assistance in the publication of the scientific results of their researches.

In Brittany, when foreign substances get into the eye, the sufferer calls one of his friends to his relief, who gently licks out the grain with his tongue. A similar practice is in use among the doctors of Annam, who employ the tongue for conveyance into the eye afflicted with purulent conjunctivitis the healing powder which is their specific for the disease.

M. Desprez, of Saint-Quentin, France, suggests as an improvement in shoeing horses the interposition of a cushion of gutta percha between the shoe and the hoof, to give elasticity and nullify the shock of the incessant blows on the stone of the pavement.

A new disease has appeared among horses in Australia grazing in the pastures along the Darling River. It is manifested by a gradual weakening of vision, ending in its extinction. Its origin is traced to eating the leaves of a native tobacco plant (Nicotiana suaveoleus). The plant has only recently appeared in the region, where it has originated from seeds brought down by freshets from near the sources of the river. Its growing abundance and the prevalence of the eye disease seem to be coincident.