Popular Science Monthly/Volume 55/July 1899/Notes


The Swiss Association for the Protection of Plants, which was formed in Geneva in 1883, has more than 900 members, and publishes 1,500 copies of its bulletin, which is sent, besides the members of the association, to the libraries of foreign Alpine clubs, the press, botanists, curés, and municipalities in countries harboring plants that require protection. Under its care, or the influence of its work, gardens have been created in various places and devoted especially to the cultivation of such plants as are most threatened with extinction. Of these are the Linnea Garden in the Valais, 5,500 feet above the sea; the Chanousia, founded five years ago by E. P. Chanoux, rector of the Hospice of St. Bernard, 6,800 feet; and the Rambertia, at the foot of the Rochers de Naye, 6,500 feet above the Lake of Geneva. Lectures are given under the auspices of the association, and no occasion for informing the public is lost. A neat chromo-poster calling attention to the association and its purpose has been prepared to be put up in railroad stations and hotels, to which is appended a motto emphasizing the importance of caring for rare plants.

The report of Heinrich Ries on the Kaolins and Fire Clays of Europe, published in the reports of the Geological Survey, is based largely on notes collected by the author during visits in 1897 to most of the important kaolin and clay deposits. To these such facts of importance concerning the clays as have already been published have been added. Some manufacturers have claimed that the foreign kaolins are superior to the American, but the evidence, Mr. Ries says, does not seem to bear out the statements. Notes are added respecting the clays and working industries in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, New York, and North Carolina.

According to the report of the Commission Internationale des Glaciers for 1897, thirty-nine out of fifty-six glaciers observed in Switzerland are retreating, five are at a standstill, and twelve are growing. Of the Italian glaciers, those of the Disgrazia and Bernina groups and the glaciers of Mont Canin in the Julian Alps show a marked retreat. Retreat seems to be almost universal in the Scandinavian glaciers. The report includes also information from the Caucasus, Altai, and Turkestan, and notes on a few glaciers in the United States and Mexico, concerning which we have not the particulars.

In a book on social types among the French people, M. Edmond Demolins tries to show that varieties of types are the products of constant causes which it is possible to analyze exactly, and the most fundamental principle of which is the nature of the place and of the occupation. Thus there is a social type derived from the pastoral occupation; another from the cultivation of fruit trees, among which the several classes determine as many modalities of the type; one is derived from petty gardening, and another from large farming; another from manufacturing, and another from transportation and commerce. Close analysis permits the detection of still more delicate shades of types of varieties in each of the categories named, whereby notable modifications are produced in the same region and the same work.

The brewing industry in Germany is credited with the following output of beer for the year 1897-'98: Germany proper, 8,055 breweries, exclusive of Bavaria, Würtemberg, Baden, and Alsace-Lorraine, 910,000,000 gallons; Bavaria, 6.304 breweries, 351,000,000 gallons; Würtemberg, 6,285 breweries, 90,000,000 gallons; Baden, 946 breweries, 60,000,000 gallons; Alsace-Lorraine, 127 breweries, 21,230,000 gallons—a grand total of 1,438,230,000 gallons, from the taxation of which the Government received a revenue of $22,305,150.

Speaking in his society of the Relation of Britain to Folklore, retiring President Alfred Nutt urged that it was the privilege of that country to enshrine in its literature the ancient customary wisdom of many races, as the English system of law was itself largely derived from custom. The accidents of the geographical position and historical circumstances of Britain had made it the preserver of a great body of archaic tradition, which it was the function of the Folklore Society to study and interpret.

We have to record the deaths of Dr. William Hankel, Professor of Physics in the University of Leipsic; Prof. F. K. C. L. Büchner, author of the famous book, Force and Matter, at Darmstadt, Germany, May 1st; Dr. Francis W. MacNamara, State Examiner of Medical Stores at the India Office, London, formerly Professor of Chemistry in Calcutta Medical College, and later Chemical Examiner to the Government of India, March 5th, aged sixty-seven years; he was author of a number of books and papers on hygiene and medical chemistry; Jeremiah Head, engineer. President of the Mechanical Science Section of the British Association in 1893, and President of the British Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 1880-'86, March 10th, aged sixty-four years; who was instrumental in introducing into England important American improvements in the manufacture of iron and steel; Franz Ritter von Hanse, Austrian geologist, Intendant of the National Museum in Vienna, Director of the Imperial Geological Survey in 1860, and author of the Geological Map of Austria, Bosnia, and Montenegro, and of geological books, March 20th, aged seventy-seven years; Surveyor Major G. C. Wallich, March 31st, in his eighty-fourth year, and Count Abbé F. Castracan, of Rome, the two oldest Fellows of the Royal Microscopical Society; Dr. P. L. Ryke, of the University of Leyden, aged eighty-six years; Joseph Stevens, honorary curator of the museum at Reading, England, author of archæological and geological papers; Dr. C. Brogniart, entomologist, and author of a memoir On Fossil Insects of the Primary Period, at Paris; Charles L. Prince, author of papers on meteorology and astronomy, at Tunbridge Wells, England, April 22d; Dr. Wilhelm Jordan, Professor of Geometry and Geodesy at the Technical Institution, Hanover, April 17th, aged fifty-seven years; Sir William Roberts, of the Royal College of Physicians, author of lectures and papers on digestion, diet, uric acid, the opium habit in India, etc.; Prof. Karl Scheibler, chemist, at Berlin, aged seventy-two years; Dr. Josef Wastler, docent in geodesy at the Technical Institute in Graz; Dr. H. A. Wahlforso, Professor of Chemistry at Helsingfors, aged sixty years; and Philip Thomas Main, Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, England, author of a treatise on astronomy.