Popular Science Monthly/Volume 56/April 1900/Notes


The committee of the St. Petersburg Astronomical Society for the revision of the Russian calendar, to make it agree with the Gregorian, has found it necessary to move slowly. The festivals prove a formidable obstacle to the desired reform, and the people will have to be prepared for the change before it can be instituted. The plan now is to use both dates, Russian and Gregorian, together till the new style can be made familiar, and it is proposed to make the double use compulsory on private as well as on public documents and papers.

A steamboat company is placing its little vessels on the canals of Venice, and the gondolas, which were one of the charms of the city to travelers, are destined to disappear—unless a few may be reserved to gratify the curiosity of tourists.

The Commissioner of Education of Rhode Island has issued a circular to teachers, calling attention to the work of the Audubon Society for the Preservation of Birds, and to the incalculable value, from various points of view, of bird life, and advises them to foster Nature study as furnishing a natural channel by means of which instruction and information on the subject may readily be brought before the children, and through them to the people generally.

In a paper on The Ultimate Basis of Time Divisions in Geology, T. C. Chamberlin accepts it as proved that there were no universal breaks in sedimentation or in the fundamental continuity of life, no physical cataclysms attended by universal destruction of life, and that sedimentation has been in constant progress somewhere and life continuous and self-derivative since the beginning, lie then raises the question whether this continuity of physical and vital action proceeded by heterogeneous impulses or by correlated pulsations. The author's conclusion is in favor of the hypothesis of correlated pulsations involving a rhythmical periodicity.

Nettle fiber is said to be coming into great favor for the manufacture of line yarns and tissues. Several factories in Germany are using it, and the introduction of the extensive cultivation of nettles into the African colony of the Cameroons is contemplated.

There are now, according to the last annual Report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, thirty-six forest reservations (exclusive of the Afognak Forest and Fish-Culture Reserve in Alaska) in the United States, embracing an estimated area of 46,021,899 acres. This estimate is for the aggregate areas within the boundaries of the reservations, but the lands reserved are only the vacant public lands therein. The actual reserved area is therefore somewhat less than the estimate.

Experiments made by Professor Dewar and Sir W. Thisleton Dyer, and reported to the British Association, upon the effect of the temperature of liquid hydrogen upon the germinative power of seeds, go to show that life goes on at a temperature so low that ordinary chemical action is practically stopped. Seeds of barley, vegetable marrow, mustard, and the pea were immersed in liquid hydrogen for six hours, cooled to a temperature of 453° F. below the temperature of melting ice, and came out unchanged to the eye, and, when planted, all germinated.

Sir John Lubbock, having been raised to the peerage, has adopted Lord Avebury as his title, and will be henceforth so known.

In our obituary list of men known to science are the names of N. E. Green, F. R. A. S., who was distinguished for the excellence of his planetary observations, particularly of Mars, made at Madeira in 1877, and was the second President of the British Astronomical Association, died November 10th, in his seventy-sixth year; Prof. E. E. Hughes, inventor of the Hughes printing telegraph machine, the microphone, and the induction balance, Fellow of the Royal Society, gold medalist, and Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, who was born in London in 1831 and was brought to the United States at an early age; Mr. J. R. Gregory, mineralogist; M. Marion, professor in the Scientific Faculty in the University of Marseilles and Keeper of the Natural History Museum there, who took part in the dredging trips of the Travailleur and the Talisman, and contributed to the Annales of the museum at Marseilles; Dr. Hans Bruno Geinitz, geologist and paleontologist, at Dresden, Saxony, in his eighty-sixth year; Walter Gotze, botanist, while on an expedition to German East Africa, December 9th; and Mr. W. T. Suffolk, treasurer of the Royal Microscopical Society of Great Britain.