Popular Science Monthly/Volume 48/November 1895/Notes


At a ferry across the Yarkand River, which was crossed by Captain H. Bower during a trip to Turkestan, no rafts are kept ready, bat when wanted they are made by the villagers from inflated skins and poplar poles. This raft is tied by a rope to a horse's tail; the horse is then driven into the water and guided by a man strapped to an inflated skin who swims alongside. "How our things got safely over," says Captain Bower, "has been a puzzle to me ever since. The raft was of the craziest description, and swayed about in the current, threatening to capsize every minute. All our things got wet, but no disaster happened, and nothing was missing when an inspection of our baggage was made in the evening."

A satisfactory pavement has been made at Chino, Cal., with the refuse molasses of a sugar factory there. The molasses is mixed with sand to about the consistence of asphalt, and is laid on like an asphalt pavement. The composition dries quickly and becomes permanently hard, the heat of the sun only making it harder.

Having added to its collections during the past year specimens of the eyra, yaguarundi, the fishing cat of India, and the Bengalese cat, the Zoölogical Society of Philadelphia has now thirteen species of the cat family in its gardens,

Mr. James Constantine Pilling, bibliographer of the Bureau of American Ethnology, who died July 26th, made the study of the languages and literature of the North American Indians his life-work. Soon after becoming connected with the Geological and Geographical Surveys, under Major Powell, in 1875, he made himself very useful in collecting the vocabularies, myths, and legends of the tribes, and in the study and descriptions of their ceremonials. He retired from the survey in 1891, on account of failing health, and devoted himself to the study of the bibliography of American languages. He had published, at the time of his death, nine parts of his work on this subject, relating to as many languages or families of languages—a work which can not fail to be of great value to future students.

Prop. Charles V. Riley, late chief of the Bureau of Entomology, died in Washington, September 14th, from injuries received while riding a bicycle. He was born in London in 1843, studied in France and Germany, came to the United States in 1860, and settled on a farm. He was afterward engaged in editorial work; served in the army during the last year of the civil war; and was appointed State Entomologist of Missouri in 1868. In 1877 he was made chief of the United States Entomological Expedition sent to investigate the Rocky Mountain locust. Later he was placed in charge of the entomological division of the Bureau of Agriculture. He was a prolific writer, chiefly of entomological monographs. He received a gold medal from the French Government for his investigation of the phylloxera, and a medal from the International Forestry Exhibition at Edinburgh.

M. H. Baillon, the French botanist, who died July 19th, was the author of a Botanical Dictionary, and a History of Plants, which have become standard works in their own country. While he was not a member of the Academy of Sciences, he had been elected to the Royal Society.

One hundred and thirty-eight dollars have been contributed at Princeton University, through Prof. J. Mark Baldwin, toward the memorial to Prof. Helmholtz.

The death is announced of Dr. Hoppe Seyler, for many years a professor in the University of Tübingen, and, since 1852, Professor of Physiological and Pathological Chemistry in the University of Strasburg. He was born in 1825.

Prof. Louis Pasteur, the world-famous investigator of germ diseases and on those of the extended application of the system of inoculation as a remedy and preventive, died at his home near St. Cloud, France, September 25th. He had been in a low condition for some time as a result of the increasing paralysis with which he had been afflicted, but became suddenly worse on Friday evening, the 27th, and suffered much from frequent spasms until a few hours before his death, when he became unconscious. A biographical sketch of M. Pasteur was given, with a portrait, in The Popular Science Monthly for March, 1882 (vol. xx, p. 883).