Popular Science Monthly/Volume 55/September 1899/Notes


The burden of the president's address of J. B. Johnson before the Society for the Promotion of Engineering Education is the necessity for our future material prosperity for a specific scientific training for the directors of each and every kind of manufacturing and commercial activity. Germany "has worked out this problem to a most fruitful issue," but its imperial and paternal method can not be imitated here, or probably anywhere else. The problem is a very difficult one with us, and it will be of no use to look to municipalities or Legislatures for its solution. There exist a few special high-grade industrial, commercial, mechanical, electrical, and mining schools, but they are entirely inadequate to answer the demands of the occasion. The author looks to organized commercial bodies like the one he is addressing as furnishing the best means for establishing the schools desired.

Prof. F. L. Washburn, of the University of Oregon, describes in the American Naturalist a curious specimen of the toad (Bufo columbiensis), which has an extra arm projecting from the left side just in front of the normal left arm. The extra arm has seven digits, and is without an elbow joint, but is slightly movable at the proximal joint next to the body. Its radius and ulna are separate bones, not fused as they are normally. The dissection shows other peculiarities of structure, such as might be expected from a consideration of the exterior. The species, normal, is common in parts of Oregon.

It is related of Charcot, the distinguished alienist, late of the Salpêtrière, Paris, that he had marked artistic ability, and when he was seventeen years old his family had some hesitation whether to make him a doctor or a painter, he chose the medical profession. He was fond of drawing sketches of his patients, and of landscapes he saw in his travels, and was not above making an occasional caricature. Several albums are filled with designs of this kind. A study of his work as an artist was prepared by Dr. Henri Meige in connection with the erection of his monument, and is deposited in the Salpêtrière.

The Russian decree nullifying the constitutional privileges of Finland, notwithstanding treaty guarantees, is producing an effect that was probably not intended or anticipated. Realizing the futility of resistance and holding the people true to their reputation of being the most peaceable, enlightened, and orderly of the Czar's subjects, the representatives of the Finns are said to be quietly making inquiries about the prospects of settlement in the Canadian Northwest and other free regions.

Despite the growing use of motor traction, the raising of horses gives no sign of diminishing. Against 212,827 horses in 1888, the Argentine Republic has, by the census of 1895, 4,234,032. That country now ranks third in horse-rearing nations, being excelled only by Russia and the United States.

M. André Broca has found, concerning the use of India-rubber supports for isolating physical apparatus from earth tremors, that when apparatus having movable parts are supported in this way the vibrations, instead of being reduced, may in some cases be increased tenfold. But when the apparatus consists entirely of rigid material there is no better way of insuring steadiness than by resting it on India rubber.

The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis works for the single end of educating the community in a knowledge of the true nature of consumption and of the means of controlling or conquering it. For this it diffuses literature, seeks the aid of persons in influential positions, and strives to obtain the requisite conditions for restoring those early afflicted and for preventing the communication of infection to others from those far advanced. Its main effort is directed toward the establishment of a municipal hospital for tuberculous patients, and for a sanatorium in the high regions of the State. For the last purpose it is offered a most desirable location in Luzerne County.

The list of recent deaths among men known in science includes the names of W. W. Norman, Professor of Biology in the University of Texas; John Whitehead, who died while on a scientific mission to the island of Hainan, for which he left England in the autumn of 1898; Naval Lieutenant Charles William Baillie, Marine Superintendent of the English Meteorological Office, inventor of the hydra sounding machine, late Director of Nautical Studies at the Imperial Naval College, Tokio, and author of important meteorological investigations, at Broadstairs, June 2th, aged fifty-five years; Henry Wollaston Blake, an original member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and of the British Association, and a Fellow of the Royal Society, eighty-four years of age; Edward Jannetaz, a French mineralogist, an assistant in the Museum of Paris, and Lecturer on Mineralogy for forty years. Master of Conferences in the Faculty of Sciences, author of Les Roches and other books, aged sixty-seven years; Dr. Eugen Ritter von Lommell, of the University of Munich, distinguished in mathematics, physics, and optics, and author of several books on those subjects, including The Nature of Light in the International Scientific Series, June 19th, in his sixty-third year; Sir Alexander Armstrong, arctic navigator and discoverer of the North-west Passage, late Director-General of the Medical Department of the British Muscum, and author of a narrative of his great discovery and of a work on Naval Hygiene: Dr. Hugo Weidel, Professor of Chemistry in the University of Vienna; Sir William Henry Flower, late Director of the British Museum of Natural History, Past President of the British Association, at the time of his death President of the Zoölogical Society of London, and author of several excellent books on zoölogy, natural history, museums, and kindred subjects, aged sixty-eight years; and Dr. Daniel G. Brinton, the distinguished American ethnologist and lingust, of whom we give a fuller notice elsewhere.