Popular Science Monthly/Volume 9/October 1876/Notes


During the present year the United States Fish Commission have placed in the Hudson River 4,580,000 young shad. The commissioners observe a steady increase in the supply of this fish. They ask, however, for legislation compelling a cessation of fishing on Sunday.

At the distance of 20 miles from Carter Station, on the Union Pacific Railway, is situated a remarkable coal-mine. It is about 4 miles in length, and consists of 16 veins, lying one above another, with a thin layer of sandstone intervening. The bottom vein is the thinnest (5 feet), while the one next above is over 75 feet in thickness. A few feet above this is a vein of 60 feet, another of 40 succeeding, and so on, making in all about 400 feet of coal. The veins slope at an angle of about 22°, and are very easy of access.

Prof. Riley, at a meeting of the St. Louis Academy of Science, exhibited a Colorado potato-beetle, which was so completely covered with a mite parasite that the point of a needle could not be placed on any part of the beetle's body without touching one of the parasites. He estimated the number of mites at 800, and they had killed the beetle. Aside from the toad and other reptiles, the crow, the rose-breasted grossbeak, and domestic fowls, among birds which prey on the Doryplura decenlineata, Prof. Riley had in his report figured or described no less than 23 insect-enemies that attack and kill it. Only one of these is a true parasite, and this mite makes the second. It belongs to the family Gamasidæ.

At a meeting held in London, in aid of the fund for a memorial to the late Dr. Parkes, a resolution was adopted which declared it desirable that the memorial should take the form of a museum of hygiene. A list of subscriptions was read amounting to £675.

Everywhere in Germany carrier-pigeons are being trained for service in time of war, to keep up communication between the garrisons of besieged fortresses and the military authorities. Another use of these pigeons is suggested, viz., as a means of conveying intelligence from light-ships to the nearest port, in case the former are in need of succor.

The London publisher, Murray, announces a new work by Mr. Darwin, entitled "The Results of Cross and Self Fertilization in the Vegetable Kingdom."

By subcutaneously injecting into animals concentrated solutions of sodic lactate, Preyer produces in them a state apparently identical with normal sleep. This confirms the theory which attributes the drowsiness caused by fatigue to the presence in the blood of certain compounds (as lactic acid) produced by the disintegration of nervous and muscular tissue.

Some curious statistics illustrating the liability of the eye to injury have been compiled by Drs. Zander and Geissler. They assume that the mean superficies of the human body is about fifteen square feet, and that the mean superficies of the orbital opening is about 180 square lines, from which it should follow, if all parts were equally exposed to injury, that lesions of the eye would bear to lesions of other parts of the body the proportion of about one in 600. As a matter of fact, the actual proportion is more than twenty times as great, or about 36 in 1,000.

It has been shown by experiment that Prussian blue in oil is the most stable of pigment colors. Aniline colors, on the contrary, are the most fleeting; indeed, they are unsuitable for use by the painter. Photographs tinted with aniline colors soon lose their tints, and the colors are often seen fading while the pictures are yet exposed for sale.

M. Lecoq de Boisbaudran, the discoverer of gallium, has succeeded in reducing to the metallic state about ten centigrammes of the new metal. When pure, gallium melts at the very low temperature of 85° Fahr. It adheres readily to glass, forming a whiter mirror than mercury, but its low fusion temperature makes it practically useless for this purpose. It oxidizes very slightly when heated to redness, but does not volatilize.

A patient in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, who suffered from cancer of the tongue, bad the organ amputated, except about half an inch. The operation was successful and the patient now speaks quite distinctly; in doing so he seems to tilt upward and forward both the hyoid bone and the larynx.

At the National Glass Company's works, Bellaire, Ohio, lamp-chimneys air made by a process resembling that of De la Bastie. A local newspaper writer mentions having seen an eightpenny-nail driven through a board an inch and a half thick with one of these chimneys of hardened glass.

The nickel-mine near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, yields about 6,000 tons of ore per year. Eleven shafts have now been sunk, ranging from 110 to 140 feet in depth, and connected by tunnels underneath. The number of men employed at the mine is 200.

Carbon occurs in the heavenly bodies in three forms, according to Prof. J. Lawrence Smith, viz.: the gaseous form, as detected by the spectroscope in the attenuated matter of comets; the solid form, impalpable in its nature and diffused in small quantities through pulverulent masses of mineral matter that come to the earth from celestial regions; and the solid form, compact and hard, resembling graphite, and this is imbedded in metallic matter that comes from regions in space. It is not necessary to assume that this cosmical carbon has an organic origin.

A prize of five hundred francs has been offered by M. Paul Bert for the best means of protecting the lives of aëronauts and mountain-climbers in circumstances where cold and rarefied air become dangerous. His prize is open to competition till the last day of the present year.

A fireman's suit, invented by a Swede named Oestberg, is made in two layers, the inner one of India-rubber, the outer one of leather, the head being protected by a helmet resembling that worn by divers. At the girdle is fixed a piece of hose, which serves both for air and water. The air-pipe, fed from two blowers, is placed inside the water-pipe, and brings the air, after being cooled by the surrounding water, into the inner part of the dress. The air inflates the costume, passing away through the two small openings made for eye-pieces. The current of air not only keeps the inclosed body cool, but drives smoke and flame away from the eyes. At the back the water-pipe divides, one branch serving as an extinguisher, the other passing into the outer coating of the dress, the stream being distributed over the whole outer surface. With the apparatus on, the inventor stood in the middle of a pile of burning shavings and logs without taking the least harm.

An epidemic resembling cholera appeared among the cats in Delhi last year. The disease was not known to extend beyond the walls of the city, nor was it confined to any quarter. It gradually declined, and fully disappeared about September 20th, although the cholera did not cease till near the end of November. The number of cats carried off by the disease was estimated at 500. The symptoms were in almost every respect identical with those of cholera. Experiments were made with cholera-virus, which was found to communicate an analogous disease to the cats.