Popular Science Monthly/Volume 47/July 1895/Notes


A timely protest is made in the Pharmaceutische Rundschau against the proposition of some pharmaceutical schools to confer the degree of Doctor of Pharmacy. A forcible objection to the use of the term doctor in this connection was uttered in 18*74 by the Board of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, which deprecated the use of that title because the practices of pharmacy and medicine were so closely connected with each other that it would tend to confusion. A dispensing druggist possessing it would be supposed to have the right to prescribe, and danger of conflict would arise. President Gilman, of Johns Hopkins University, writes to the editor of the Rundschau that by expediency, usage, and justice, "the ancient and honorable title of a doctor should not be bestowed or accepted in any unjustified way," and that the proposed application of it is likely to mislead the public. Other confusion may arise, too, from the use of the initials Ph. D., which are those of Doctor of Philosophy, a degree that implies the successful pursuit of some special study. The title of Master of Pharmacy, already in use, is appropriate and significant, and should be held sufficient.

A curious theory of the channels on Mars is propounded by Mr. Törnebohm, of Stockholm, which is worth citing for its ingenuity. With a drier atmosphere and less mountainous relief than the earth, Mars must have large desert tracts. Across these its enterprising inhabitants have constructed trade roads, which they have furnished with artesian wells and possibly with canals, for the convenience and facilitation of traffic. This irrigation has promoted the growth of vegetation for a considerable distance back of the roads on either side, and the dark marks it makes are what we call the channels.

Objections to the use of wood in warships arise out of its combustibility and its liability to splinter. A board of experts commissioned by the United States Navy Department to consider the subject of dispensing with it and of finding a substitute for it, has decided that the substitute sought. should be light, or not heavier than wood, nonconducting, noncombustible, and, when struck by shot, should not fly into splinters. It suggests, as a direction in which the search for a substitute should be made, to select something in the nature of cheap wood or vegetable fiber and fine sawdust; treat them chemically with some insoluble fireproof substance, not too heavy; then press and roll into boards, more or less dense, according to the use for which the material is desired.

An international and representative committee of one hundred and eighty men of science has been formed for the erection of a monument to the late Prof, von Helmholtz. The Emperor of Germany has promised ten thousand marks and a free site for the purpose.

Thoreau records in his journal how he witnessed the formation of a ravine in the course of a February thaw. "Much melted snow and rain being collected on the top of the hill, some apparently found its way through the ground frozen a foot thick, a few feet from the edge of the bank, and began, with a small rill, washing down the slope the unfrozen sand beneath. As the water continued to flow, the sand on each side continued to fall into it and be carried off, leaving the frozen crust above quite firm, making a bridge five or six feet wide over this caveru. Now, since the thaw, this bridge, I see, has melted and fallen in, leaving a ravine some ten feet wide and much longer, which now may go on increasing from year to year without limit. I was there just after it began."

A number of explosions of gas have recently occurred in London, which are supposed to have been connected with the electric-lighting conduits, though the connection was not in every case traced, so that Major Cardew, who has investigated them, has sought for other possible causes. As shown by his report, the most striking features about the accident of four explosions on Southwark Bridge were the distance to which a series of explosions may travel along the electric mains; the proof the event affords of the insufficiency of any ordinary ventilation of the pipes and street boxes, if gas can find an easy access to them; and the necessity for exercising great care to make and keep the street boxes impervious to gas.

A section of Anthropology was organized in connection with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia on the 3d of April last, under the chairmanship of Harrison Allen, M. D. The purpose of the section is the presentation of original papers, the statement of interesting facts, the exhibition of illustrative objects, and the discussion of the methods included under the term anthropology. The meetings of the section will be held at the academy on the evenings of the second Friday in each month, from September to May. Communications should be addressed to Charles Morris, Academy of Natural Sciences, or 2223 Spring Garden Street.

The fourth summer session of the School of Applied Ethics, at Plymouth, Mass., will continue from July 7th to August 9th. The school will embrace four departments: Economics, Prof. H. C. Adams, director; Ethics, Dr. Felix Adler, director; Education, S. T. Dutton, of Brooklyn, R. G Huling, Cambridge, Mass., and Paul H. Hanus, of Harvard University, committee in charge; and History of Religions, Prof. C. H. Toy, director. A large variety of subjects will be discussed in these departments, with teachers and specialists of high repute leading; and in most of their relations to social questions those relating to labor will be held prominent.

Prizes have been awarded by the adjudicators on behalf of the Leprosy Fund in England for five papers on leprosy—relating to the decline and extinction of the disease as endemic in the British Islands; its prevalence and decline in Iceland; its increase at the Cape and prevalence in South Africa; its extent and probable causes in Australia; and the conditions under which it prevails in China, Cochin China, Batavia, and the Malay Peninsula. On some of the subjects for which prizes were offered no essays were sent in, and some of the essays sent in were held not to meet the terms of the competition.

A committee of the British House of Commons appointed to consider the advisability of adopting the metrical system of weights and measures has found many considerations in favor of the movement. An engineering firm has used the system for several years, having adopted it on account of the advantage of working interchangeably with engineers on the Continent. Their workmen were agreed that the entire system was easier to deal with than the English measures, and was much less liable to error. Dr. Gladstone insisted upon the superior facility of teaching the metric system. As the children have to learn decimals, very little more time would be needed by them for learning the metric system.