Popular Science Monthly/Volume 48/December 1895/Minor Paragraphs


The work of the President White School of History and Political Science, which was instituted at Cornell University in 1887 on the gift of his historical library by ex-President A. D. White, naturally falls into the two great divisions suggested by its name. The instruction in history further divides itself into the subdepartments of ancient and mediæval, modern European, and American history; and that in political science into politics, social science and statistics, and political economy and finance. The teaching corps consists of four professors, an associate professor, an assistant professor, an instructor, and an examiner. Five fellowships have been instituted, and degrees are conferred of Master of Arts, of Philosophy, of Letters, or of Science.

The system of tests for the detection of color-blindness described by Dr. William Thomson in The Popular Science Monthly for February, 1885, is used on railroads controlling 38,786 miles of track, and other systems are used on roads controlling 15,579 miles—making 51,793 miles protected. After considerable experience Dr. Thomson proposes some improvements to be used in connection with his color-stick or as a substitute for it. The new test consists of a large green and a large rose test skein, and forty small skeins, each marked with a concealed number. The stick is dispensed with, because it gives a too fixed arrangement and not enough confusion. One of the test skeins being laid out, the candidate is directed to select, from the twenty skeins of similar color exposed with it, those having the shades nearest to it; and the accuracy of his vision is determined by the exactness of his selection and his avoidance of the confusion skeins. The red test skein and its confusion colors are omitted.

The Russian thistle, the latest imported agricultural pest, is described in a bulletin of the University of Illinois Agricultural Experiment Station as not a thistle nor looking like one, but as a tumbleweed. When mature, its stems are more woody than those of ordinary tumbleweeds, and the spines or little thorns are hard. Sometimes the plants are compact, nearly round; sometimes, when growing close together, they fail to have the rounded form. They may be one, two, or three feet high, and from eighteen inches to six feet across. The leaves, flowers, and seeds are very small. In the later summer the stems have a purple or rose color. The seeds mature after the first of September. The plants and seeds should be destroyed by burning. A bulletin of the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station on this subject contains some useful remarks on weeds in general.

The Massachusetts Agricultural College at Amherst had in 1894 the largest number of students and the largest graduating class in its history. Gratifying results followed the introduction of the elective system in the studies of the senior year, which were shown in increased interest in study that was communicated also to the other classes. Courses of lectures were delivered by Sir Henry Gilbert, Dr. B. E. Fernow, and Major Henry E. Alvord. The museum has been arranged so as to present a systematic view of the entire animal kingdom, with especial regard to the fauna of Massachusetts. Models of the horse, cow, sheep, pig, and dog, and their organs, have been supplied in the veterinary department, and pathological specimens. It is proposed to devote a part of the grounds of the college to the growth of the trees and plants of Massachusetts.

A summary of the lectures announced for the last summer semester at the German universities is interpreted by Charles N. Judd, in Science, as indicating that logic and the theory of knowledge are absorbing much more attention than any form of speculative metaphysics. Sixteen courses in the nineteen universities are devoted to these subjects. Work is also being done in many places in laboratories and seminaries. Five courses, besides the seminary work, are given on Kant's system. The historical work covers all periods, beginning with Prof. Deussen's investigations in old Sanskrit and Greek philosophy, and extending to the philosophy of to-day.