Popular Science Monthly/Volume 49/September 1896/Notes


Some recent experiments, says Industries and Iron, seem to indicate that iron is much weakened after being pickled and galvanized. A dozen eyebolts, all precisely alike, so far as could be perceived by external inspection, were carefully selected; six of these were laid to one side and the others sent away to be galvanized. When the galvanized bolts were returned the whole twelve were put together and tested, when it was found that the galvanized bolts were the ones to break; not in any instance did the ungalvanized ones give way.

Although Spitzbergen has been frequently visited, its coasts have been well surveyed, and it has even been a place of industrial and commercial importance, no attempt has been made to explore the interior of the main island. Mr. W. M. Conway purposes to supply the omission, and to lead a scientific party during the summer, who will make a thorough study of the land. The west island is penetrated by many fiords, and no part of it is more than twenty-five miles from the sea. The party will cross from fiord to fiord, and will be supplied from a steamer which will meet them at appointed places.

As, in the rush of waves, the billows travel onward, the energy, Mr. Vaughan Cornish observes in Knowledge, is passed from point to point, silently and smoothly, till the leeward shore is reached. Here all is changed. On the one side is the swinging water, ever handing on the energy of its motion. On the other side is the dead resistance of the beach, to which each breaker as it falls yields up its store of energy. There is no finer display of natural forces than the rush of the waves on a rockbound coast, when each billow as it nears the shore raises a steeper crest, and, dashing down in thunder on the rocks, throws upward and abroad a cloud of glittering spray, which falls in salt showers.

After the bicycle comes the celerette, a modified revival of the old draisienne. It is a machine without pedals, and can be made very cheaply, with a wooden frame and even with wooden wheels, to which India-rubber tires may be added if desired. It is propelled by kicking with the feet upon the ground, and the activity and vigor required to keep it agoing depend on the character of the road. On a smooth, level road the work is light, and down hill the machine goes of itself. The advantage it offers is that of getting over the ground more rapidly and with less fatigue than by walking; but it is not likely to compete seriously with the bicycle.

The smoke of a common wood fire has been found by M. G. Palozzi to be a very efficacious disinfectant, capable of destroying pathogenic germs suspended in the air or attached to walls and furniture, or hidden in drapery or clothing. The author recommends it as a convenient and very economical means of disinfecting sickrooms or any other contaminated places.

The Portuguese Government has decided to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the discovery of the route to the East Indies by way of the Cape of Good Hope, which was made by Vasco da Gama, July 8, 1497. It is understood that exhibitions and scientific congresses at Lisbon will form part of the proceedings.

At last Darwin's suggestion that the boring of a coral reef is the wise way to settle its mode of formation is to be carried out. Prof. Sollas is in charge of an expedition which started last May from Sydney, fully equipped for boring one thousand feet if necessary, for the island of Funafuti, one of the Fiji group. This island is a typical atoll; it is about fifteen miles in circumference. The lagoon has a good entrance, and provides firm anchorage. The results of the expedition should be of great importance.

The committee on public baths appointed by Mayor Strong recently submitted plans which provide for a bath house in Tompkins Square, and two smaller and subterranean lavatories—one under Main Street, and the other under Greeley Square, at the junction of Broadway and Sixth Avenue. These baths will be important agents in promoting public health, and have been sorely needed in New York city for years.

The preparations for the British Association meeting in Liverpool next September are now going on rapidly. The meeting promises to be a very interesting one. A number of the owners of works of manufacturing and engineering interest have offered to open their buildings for inspection during the week, and numerous enjoyable social events are promised.

Cavaliere Cristoforo Negri, whose death was recently announced, was a distinguished Italian scientist, and for many years a most enthusiastic promoter of geographical research. Born at Padua in 1809, he first devoted himself to the study of law; he held the post of Professor of Constitutional Law at Padua, but was after 1848 compelled to leave the city for political reasons. He was the founder, in 1866, and the first President of the Italian Geographical Society. He was for many years an honorary corresponding member of the English Royal Geographical Society.