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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 54/December 1898/Notes


The cigarette has found friends. The Truth about Cigarettes embodies the substance of papers read and discussed at the Medico-legal Society of New York. The gist of the papers is to the effect that the stories of harm done by cigarettes are fictions or gross exaggerations; that they contain no opium, arsenic, or other poisons, but are the best pure tobacco (1.0926 grammes each) wrapped in pure paper (0.038 gramme); that they never caused a case of insanity; and that they are simply injurious in the same way and to a corresponding extent as other forms of tobacco. These statements are supported by certificates of physicians and by reviews of special cases of insanity charged to cigarettes, showing that the insanity had matured independently of them.

The average annual temperature at Manila is given by Mr. W. F. R. Phillips, in a paper on the subject, as 80° F. April, May, and June are the hottest months, May being the hottest of the three, and December and January are the coolest. The highest thermometer reading recorded is 100° F. in May, and the lowest 74° in January. The average annual rainfall is 75.43 inches, more than 80 per cent of which descends in the months from June to October, inclusive. Departures from the average rainfall are sometimes excessive. For example, as much as 120.98 inches have fallen in one year, and as little as 35.65 inches in another. Still more remarkable were the fall of 61.43 inches in one September, and that of only two inches in another September.

At the observatory of Yale University, as we learn from the annual report, a planned series of twelve measures each has been completed for eighty-four stars of large, proper motion, with a view to determinations of parallax, and it is expected shortly to bring the number up to one hundred. A series of measures on highly colored red stars has been begun, and is in progress for the purpose of testing the possibility of a systematic error due to the lesser refrangibility of their light. The photographic instrument has been put into use at every suitable period of meteorological displays of consequence. Preparations are already making for a more complete observation of the Leonid meteoric shower expected in 1899.

The New York State College of Forestry, in connection with Cornell University, was presented by Professor Fernow, at the Boston meeting of the American Association, as a logical sequence to the policy to which the State of New York was committed in 1885 by the purchase of more than a million acres of forest land in the Adirondack Mountains, to be gradually increased to three million acres. A demonstration area of thirty thousand acres in the Adirondacks has since been provided for it. The courses leading to the degree of Bachelor in Forestry occupy four years, of which the first two are devoted to the studies in which mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, botany, entomology, political economy, etc., figure as fundamental and supplementary sciences, in addition to the professional courses; besides which two courses of a more or less popular character are contemplated.

The discovery is announced in a preliminary communication by Dr. Issutschenko, of Russia, of a microbe pathogenic to rats. An epidemic having broken out among the rats kept for experimental purposes in the Government Agricultural Laboratory, a bacillus was isolated from the liver and spleen of affected animals that proved excessively fatal to rats and mice. Experiments in making the organism useful as a living rat poison have not yet, however, had an encouraging success.

New Zealand has just definitely adopted a scheme of old-age pensions. In future the New Zealand workingman of sixty-five years of age, who has lived a life of honest toil, will be assured an income of one pound a week.

The Wilde prize of the French Academy of Sciences has been awarded by that body to Charles A. Schott, chief of the Computation Division of the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey, for his work on Terrestrial Magnetism.