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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 7/September 1875/Notes

NOTES.

The Cincinnati Industrial Exposition of the present year includes a Department of Natural History and Antiquities, and prizes are offered for the best collections in geology, and mineralogy, conchology, zoology, botany, numismatology, and archaeology. The managers promise that the greatest care will be taken of all specimens sent in for exhibition. The prizes consist of silver and bronze medals.

A novel form of snow-spectacles has been devised for the use of the British arctic expedition. These spectacles have neither glass nor iron in their composition; they are made of ebonite, and tied on the head by a velvet cord. They somewhat resemble two half walnut-shells fastened over the eye, and the wearer sees through a simple slit in front of the pupil. To give the wearer a side view, the sides of the eye-box are perforated with minute holes. These spectacles are said to be of great service in reading by lamp or gas light.

The Royal Agricultural Society of England has the most numerous membership of any similar association in the world. It has on its roll 5,846 names. Its "Transactions" are published in half-yearly volumes.

The Phylloxera vastatrix has made its appearance in England. At a meeting of the London Entomological Society, Mr. McLachlan exhibited a portion of a vine-leaf on which were the galls of Phylloxera. The leaf had been plucked in a greenhouse near London.

Bean's pneumatic-electric apparatus for lighting and extinguishing street-lamps is now in practical operation in a large part of the business portion of Providence, Rhode Island. The principle of this apparatus consists in a combination of compressed and rarefied air to open and close gas-cocks, and an electro-galvanic current, affording a spark to light the gas. It enables a single operator at will to light or extinguish all the street-lamps of a city.

The "Khedival" Geographical Society of Cairo lately held its first meeting under the presidency of Dr. Schweinfurth. The Khedive gives to the society a local habitation, suitably furnished, and also subscribes 10,000 francs a year to its funds.

Three soldiers were simultaneously struck by lightning at the Satory Barracks, Paris, May 15th. In two of them the lightning produced complete relaxation of the muscles, and in the third muscular contraction. The latter, unlike the former, retained consciousness throughout. All recovered in a few days. The metallic buttons on their clothing were not affected by the electric current.

The silver-mining region of Massachusetts, we are informed by a writer in the Engineering and Mining Journal, appears to extend from Gloucester, Massachusetts, on the south, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire on the north, and from the Atlantic on the east to North Andover, Massachusetts, on the west. The first discovered and thus far most prominent lode is the "Chipman," at Newburyport, which has been traced some three miles. The ore of this lode is chiefly galena, carrying from 50 to 150 ounces of silver to the ton. The average thickness of vein-rock on the Chipman lode is about 60 feet.

A mill has been erected on the line of the Los Angeles & Independence Railroad, California, for the purpose of manufacturing the fibre of the cactus into paper-pulp. The experiment has been tried, says the Scientific Press, and an excellent quality of paper is the result.

The managers of the great aquarium at Brighton, England, were very heavily fined a month or two since for keeping open on Sunday. A religious fanatic brought to the notice of the courts the violation, by the directors of the Aquarium, of an obsolete statute "for preventing the abuse and profanation of the Lord's Day." In the mean time publicans are allowed to keep their places open on the "Lord's Day."

In the American Journal of Sciences for May, Prof James D. Dana examines the evidences of the contemporaneity of man and the mastodon in Missouri, as presented in various pamphlets issued by Albert Koch, of St. Louis. Prof. Dana shows conclusively that Koch's "evidences" are worthless.

In consequence of the excessive cold of the past winter, the deaths registered in the eight principal towns of Scotland in December amounted to 3,906, or, taking into account the increase of population, 1,000 in excess of the preceding month, and nearly 700 more than in any month since 1855, when registration of deaths commenced. The mortality in France from the same cause was equally great.

Fayette County, Tennessee, is said, in the Report of the Department of Agriculture, to have suffered a very great loss of mules and horses last spring by the buffalo-gnat. The best remedy against these pests is to put the stock at once in a dark stable, to be kept filled with smoke. "Death," says the report, "doubtless is partly caused by loss of blood, but mainly by poisoning the circulation."

In our sixth volume, p. 743, Dr. Abbott confirms Wilson's statement as to the outside lichen covering of the yellow-bird's nest. A correspondent, writing from Southern Minnesota, confirms Brewer's statement, viz., that this bird covers the outside of its nest with fine vegetable fibres. The fibre commonly used is hemp. The yellow-bird thus appears to construct its nest differently in the West from what it does in the East. As for the eggs, our correspondent says that all he has ever seen have been marked with brown splotches on the large end, and he has some specimens which are thickly spotted over the entire surface.

The annual death-rate of various cities in the United States, for four weeks in April, as stated by the Sanitarian, shows a minimum (Toledo) of 11.04, and a maximum (Paterson) of 30.63. The rate in New York was 28.70, Philadelphia 24.42, St. Louis 12.65, Chicago 19.11, Boston 20.31, Baltimore 17.53, Cincinnati 15.15, New Orleans 21.09, San Francisco 17.71, Pittsburg 19.22, Charleston 27.82.

The Peabody Museum of Archæology and Ethnology at Cambridge, Massachusetts, as we learn from the American Naturalist, lately received from Mr. A. Agassiz a fine collection of objects illustrating the archæology and ethnology of Peru. The collection includes a large number of vases, several mummies, and trinkets, utensils, etc., from burial-grounds; also a number of human crania from the burial-towers near Lake Titicaca.

Sir William E. Logan, the geologist, recently deceased, was a native of Montreal, born in 1798. He received his early education in Edinburgh. His first geological researches were made in the coal-fields of South Wales. In 1841 he returned to Canada, and two years later was appointed chief of the geological survey of the provinces. He held this position till 1869, when age and infirmity compelled him to resign. "He has done," says Prof Geikie, "a great work in his time, and has left a name and an example to be cherished among the honored possessions of geology."