Popular Science Monthly/Volume 51/September 1897/Notes
Some funeral jars found in Arkansas exhibit representations of the human face which contrast greatly with the crude figures usually characteristic of Indian and even of American art, they being accurate in anatomy and physiognomy. From a study of them Mr. F. S. Dellenbaugh concludes that they can be accounted for without supposing some exotic or wonderful native artist, by regarding them as death-masks made by taking a mold of the face and transferring it to the jar.
The effect of fasting upon the power of the system to resist infection from microbian toxines has been investigated by MM. J. Teissier and L. Guinard, and they find it a strengthening one. Animals which had been kept fasting bore out against inoculation much better than the control animals, and the resisting power seemed to increase with the length of the fast.
The Russian thistle, concerning the introduction and spread of which in the United States much alarm was expressed a few years ago, is likely, if we can credit the reports from the Western States, to prove a comparatively harmless pest, after all. It does not thrive so vigorously as it promised to, but rather declines after a year or two. In some districts the dried weed was chopped up fine and fed to cattle; and it has proved to be good fuel, and is even said to be marketable for that purpose.
Analyses of the air taken in the ascension of the "Aérophile," February 18, 1897, at the height of fifteen thousand five hundred metres, made by MM. Schloesing and A. Muntz, show that the composition of the air at that elevation, as has always been supposed, does not differ materially from that of the air of lower regions.
A very interesting question was brought up in the British Association, in the discussion of a paper by Mr. W. Barlow on homogeneous structures and the symmetrical partitioning of them with application to crystals. Lord Kelvin remarked on the immense number of possible methods of partitioning space, and said that, although Schucke was generally credited with having been the first to investigate the subject, it had been thoroughly worked out by Bravais, whose mind gave way under its overwhelming complexity. Prof. Miers said there were two hundred and thirty types of symmetry and only thirty-two types of crystal, so that the same crystal might contain several types of symmetry.
A railway is to be built up the Hochstauffen Mountain at Bad Reichenhall, Austrian Alps, of which it is contemplated that a balloon shall be the propelling power. The balloon will run along a track, consisting of a peculiarly shaped rail. This is clasped by a trailer, furnished with many wheels, to which a passenger car is fastened. The operator has a seat in the car, and a cord swings between his place and the balloon, by which the gas supply is regulated; and provision is given under his control of brakes and devices for safety against accident. The gas generator at the foot of the railroad will supply the town with illuminating gas, as well as furnishing that with which the balloon is tilled.
Arterio-sclerosis is described by M. Huchard, in his treatise on Diseases of the Heart, as peculiarly the disease of physicians, politicians, and financiers, their liability to which is largely due to their practicing professions in which emotion is often intensified and which involve great liability to overwork. In addition, doctors have to experience unavoidable irregularities in hours, and sometimes continuous periods of work without rest. The single means of arresting and avoiding these consequences is by a diminution of anxiety and an avoidance of overwork, with measures taken as far as possible for repair of the wasted tissues.
Dr. Alfred Marshall Mayer died July 13th, after a protracted illness, in the sixty-second year of his age, at Maplewood, N. J. He had been Professor of Physics and Chemistry in the University of Maryland and in Westminster College, Missouri; Professor of Physics in Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg; Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Lehigh University; and, since 1871, Professor of Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoboken, N. J. In 1869 he had charge of one of the official parties sent out to observe the total eclipse. He was a member of seven scientific societies.
Fritz Müller, who died May 21st at Blumenau, Brazil, was best known by his book Für Darwin, enumerating facts in support of the Darwinian doctrine of the origin of species, which was translated into English. Darwin received also direct assistance from him in his investigations. He was the author of numerous memoirs on mimetism, coloration, etc.