Popular Science Monthly/Volume 8/March 1876/Notes
The Smithsonian Institution is making a collection to illustrate, at the Centennial Exhibition, the resources of the United States as derived from the animal kingdom. This collection will embrace specimens of the animals of the United States which are hunted or collected for economical purposes; the products derived from the various species; also the apparatus or devices employed by hunters, trappers, sportsmen, and others.
The artesian well at the Collier White-Lead Works, St. Louis, Missouri, has attained a depth of over 700 feet, nearly all of which depth has been through limestone. The drift is but slightly above the encrinitic limestone, and has passed through but little of either sandstone or chert. The boring commenced in the lower Archimedean lime-stone.—Scientific American.
A profitable industry in the vicinity of Cape May, New Jersey, is the mining of ancient cedar-logs in the mire of the swamps. In these swamps, says the Monmouth Democrat, are buried enormous trees at a depth of from three to ten feet. The logs lie one across another, and there is abundant evidence that they are the growth of successive forests. The mode of searching for the logs is as follows: An iron rod is thrust into the soft mud, over which, often, the water lies. After several soundings the workman is able to tell how the tree lies, which is its root-end, and how thick it is. He then contrives to get a chip from the tree, and so determines at once whether it is worth the labor of mining. A pit is now dug, into which the water soon flows, filling it up. The tree is then cut across with a saw at regular intervals, each section floating to the surface. A layer of such trees is found covered by another layer and these again by another, and even a third, while living trees may still be growing over all.
A marble scroll has been set up in Westminster Abbey, bearing an inscription in honor of Jeremiah Horrocks. Among the labors of his short life the inscription signalizes the following: Discovery of the long inequality in the mean motion of Jupiter and Saturn; demonstration of the elliptical form of the moon's orbit; determination of the motion of the lunar apse; prediction, from his own observations, of the transit of Venus in 1639.
Fifty years ago the great auk was found in large numbers on the Funk Islands, off the coast of Newfoundland, but soon after became extinct. The story of its extermination is briefly told as follows in the American Naturalist: The birds were hunted for their feathers by the Newfoundland fishermen, who would row round them in small boats and drive them ashore (the auks being unable to fly) into pounds. The birds were immersed in scalding water to remove the feathers, and their bodies were used as fuel for boiling the water. It is doubtful if the species Alca impennis now exists anywhere about the islands of Newfoundland or Labrador.
In the year ending November 30, 1875, the Royal Society of London lost 29 Fellows by death. Of these, fourteen were between 70 and 80 years of age, six between 80 and 90, and three between 90 and 95. Of all the Fellows now living. Sir Edward Sabine has been for the longest time a member of the Society; he was elected in 1818.
In a paper by John Willis Clarke, published in the Contemporary Review, it is stated that the Confederate cruisers Alabama and Shenandoah, by interfering with the American seal-fishery, preserved the breed of the fur-seal in the Southern Ocean from complete extinction.
At a recent meeting of the Buffalo Society of Natural Science, Profs. Grote and Pitt announced the discovery of a marine fucoid in the water-line group. The specimen is one of the best preserved of the kind yet discovered. It shows no close affinity to any known fucoidal remains.
Lieutenant Cameron reached Loanda in November, having made the journey from Zanzibar, including a two months' survey of Lake Tanganyika, in two years and eight mouths.
The California Academy of Sciences is now absolute owner of the property given to it by Mr. Lick. Its present income, in the shape of rents, is about $4,000, and this sum is destined to increase rapidly. Its members number five hundred, including seventy-five life members. The donations to the museum during the year 1875 were numerous and valuable. At the last annual meeting the vice-president, Mr. Edwards, suggested the adoption of some plan of distributing the members in sections of Geology, Botany, Entomology, etc., each section to assemble weekly and pass upon papers which, if approved, would be presented at the fortnightly meetings of the Academy.
The remains of a mastodon have been discovered at Lisle, Broome County, New York. The portions so far found are a piece of tusk 7 feet 3 inches long, and another piece 2 feet long; a humerus 38 inches long; one rib 49 inches long, and 21 shorter ribs; the atlas, 10 by 17 inches, and several of the caudal vertebræ.