Popular Science Monthly/Volume 48/February 1896/Notes


Meerschaum is extracted in much the same way as coal. Near Eski-Shehir, an important station on the Anatolian Railway, where rich deposits of meerschaum are found, pits from twenty-five to one hundred and twenty feet deep are dug, and as soon as the vein is struck horizontal galleries, sometimes of considerable length, are made. The stone as extracted is called ham-tash (rough block), and is soft enough to be easily cut with a knife. It is white, with a yellowish tint, and is covered with a red, clayey soil. The manipulation required before it is ready for export is long and costly.

The average annual production of wine in Spain, including the Balearic Isles and the Canaries, is estimated at 770,000,000 gallons. The principal wine-growing districts are in Valencia, Catalonia, Old Castile, Aragon, Riojana, Navarre, Leon, Andalusia, Estramadura, and the largest production is furnished by the provinces of Alicante and Valencia-Catalonia. Andalusia produces the famous sherry and Malaga wines which compete very favorably in the foreign markets with the Italian products of Marsala and Syracuse. The amount of sherry alone which is shipped from Spain each year represents a value of over $12,000,000.

Animals in Mediæval Architecture, profusely illustrated, and The Criminal Prosecution of Animals in the Middle Ages, also illustrated, are the titles of two interesting volumes by Prof. E. P. Evans soon to be published by Henry Holt & Co., New York, and William Heinemann, London.

The following sentence from one of Pasteur's speeches seems worthy of widespread circulation: "I hold the invincible belief that science and peace will be victorious over ignorance and war; that the nations will agree not to destroy, but to build up; and that the future will belong to those who shall have done most for suffering humanity."

The part which ants play in the ménage of an orchid seems to be essential to its healthy growth. Mr. J. H. Hart, dealing with this question in a recent bulletin of the Royal Botanic Gardens, says that while there are several theories as to the part which the ants play, probably the correct one is that they supply the roots of the orchid with the mycelium of a fungus, which fungus enables them to take up food which would be otherwise unattainable.

The third International Congress of Psychology will meet in Munich next August. The opening will take place in the great hall of the university on the morning of the 4th Prof. Stumpf is the president of the congress Information may be obtained from the general secretary, Freiherr von Schrenck-Notzing, or from Prof. Sully, East Heath Road, Hampstead, London, England.

It is stated that a biography of Prof. Huxley is being prepared by his son, Mr. Leonard Huxley, who will be greatly obliged if those who possess letters or other documents of interest will forward them to him at Charterhouse, Godalming. They will be carefully returned after being copied.

Dr. Robert Brown, who died in Streatham, England, October 26, 1895, in his fifty-fourth year, was a man of much versatility in science. He studied at the Universities of Edinburgh, Leyden, Copenhagen, and Rostock. Visiting Spitzbergen, Greenland, and Baffin Bay in 1861, he made some notable discoveries. During the next five years he traveled through some of the unexplored districts of America, visiting the West Indies, Venezuela, Alaska, Bering Sea, and places between, and the Pacific islands. He was botanist to the British Columbia expedition and commander of the Vancouver Island expedition. In these enterprises he introduced several new plants into Europe. He charted the interior of Vancouver Island, then unknown. With Mr. Whymper he made the first attempt of Englishmen in 1867 to penetrate the inland ice of Greenland. He afterward traveled extensively through the Barbary states; then settled down in Scotland, where he lectured to various institutions on geology, botany, and zoology; and later engaged in newspaper work in England. His name has been given to several new species of plants and animals, and to at least five geographical points in Vancouver Island, Spitzbergen, and Nova Zembla. He was the author of several scientific and other books, and an honorary or ordinary member of many learned societies.