Popular Science Monthly/Volume 48/March 1896/Notes


In the article on The Collecting of Naval Stores, in the February Monthly, we inadvertently omitted to give credit for the cut on page 479, illustrating the French method of tapping or "bleeding" pine trees for their turpentine. The block was kindly placed at our disposal by the Forestry Department at Washington, to which we owe our acknowledgment.

From a note in the Revue Scientifique we gather that M. L. Roncorini, of Turin, a pupil of M. Lombroso, has recently made some interesting microscopical researches on the brains of epileptics, criminals, and idiots. He found alterations in structure which were fairly constant, and which in most cases were marked enough to differentiate them from the normal brain. If his work is confirmed by future observations it will justify M. Lombroso's theory that criminals and epileptics are closely related.

A new application of the phonograph is described in a recent issue of Industries and Iron. The Knowles Steam Pump Company has a large pumping station on the Elk River in California. Something went wrong with the big pump, and the manager of the station, in order to save the expense of having an expert come on from New York, conceived the ingenious notion of using a phonograph. He first spoke into the receiver, giving a general account of the matter, and then placed the receiver so that the working of the pump was recorded on the wax roll. When the cylinder was put into the machine in New York, the voice of the manager of the pumping station was heard giving the symptoms, and then asking the listeners to pay attention to the pump's action. By this means the difficulty was made out and the proper remedy forwarded.

In a letter on the poison ivy, in Garden and Forest, W. H. Harrison says: "The poison of the ivy, though always present, probably, like all sap, varies slightly in activity with the season, though perhaps not more than does man's power of resisting it, for the warm, perspiring skin of summer with its open pores takes in and throws out juices much more readily and is more easily irritated than the dry, firm skin and contracted pores of the exposed parts in winter. Aside from the sand form, all parts of the poison ivy are poisonous at all seasons, the root being by far the most virulent of all. I have seen a robust physician in the prime of health poisoned almost fatally and rendered nearly helpless for many days simply by pulling the roots. The poisoning, which is of an erysipelatous nature, usually appears in light cases at the point where the ivy juice comes in contact with the skin, but severe cases are apt to centralize at some point where the skin is tender. The remedies for this poison are unsatisfactory. The best way to effect a cure is to let the irritated area severely alone, notwithstanding the itching."

At the August meeting of the German Society of Anthropology, Dr. Waldeyer delivered an address on the somatic differences of the two sexes. He argued that since a wide collation of measurements and statistics proves that woman has a smaller brain, has less physical strength, preserves more traits of infancy and childhood in adult life, and has practically in all times and places held a position inferior to man, in our schemes of social improvement these undeniable facts should be respected, and he quoted with approval the opinion of Bartels, that the education, physical and mental, of woman, however high it may be, should be always aimed to fit her for the duties of the family circle only.

The Argentine Medical Club of Buenos Ayres offers three prizes, the first of three hundred dollars, for researches in bacteriology, to be presented before May 31, 1897. The prizes are offered to honor the memory of Pasteur.

Messrs. Macmillan & Co. announce in preparation An Atlas of Nerve Cells, by M. Allen Starr, M. D. Its object is to present to students and teachers of histology a series of photographs showing the appearance of the cells which form the central nervous system, as seen under the microscope.

As the result of a trial carried on for a year the New York Agricultural Experiment Station has found that a lot of Leghorn hens, having ground and moistened grain as thirty-seven per cent of their food for the year, cost less to feed, both as regards live weight and the eggs produced, than a similar lot having their grain food dry and whole. With two pens of Cochins the same result was obtained as regards live weight, but the opposite in regard to the production of eggs. As to the comparative profits from large and small breeds, this experiment turned out rather favorably to the large ones.