Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/153

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143
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ed by the use of a rotating frame, which causes the cells of the comb placed in it to be emptied by centrifugal force. The empty, uninjured comb is afterward replaced in the hive, and again used by the bees. As about three fourths of the time of the bees, it has been computed, is taken up in the construction of the comb, it will be seen that by these contrivances a great saving of bee-labor is effected.

 

Brain-Texture and Mental Make-up.—The members of the Paris Anthropological Society were not a little surprised by the tenor of a report made by M. Thulié upon the appearance of the brain and cranium of M. Asseline, one of their fellows, lately deceased, at the age of forty-nine. M. Asseline belonged to a "society for mutual autopsy," and the examination of his brain was made by his bereaved cosocietaires, who were prepared to find in it all the commonly received external indications of a highly refined and intellectual nature. He had been a republican and a materialist; possessed enormous capacity for work, great faculty of mental assimilation, and an extraordinarily retentive memory; had a gentle, kindly disposition, keen susceptibilities, refined taste, and subtile wit. As a writer he had always displayed great learning, unusual force of style, and elegance of diction; and in his intercourse with others' he had been unassuming, sensitive, and even timid. But "the autopsy showed," says "Nature," "such coarseness and thickness of the convolutions that M. Broca presumed them to be characteristic of an inferior brain. The fossæ or depressions regarded by Gratiolet as of a simian character, and as a sign of cerebral inferiority, which are often found in women, and in some men of undoubted intellectual inferiority, were very much marked, especially on the left parieto-occipital. But the cranial bones were at some points so thin as to be translucent; the cerebral depressions were deeply marked, the frontal suture was not wholly ossified, a decided degree of asymmetry was manifested in the greater prominence of the right frontal, while, moreover, the brain weighed 1,468 grammes—i.e., about sixty grains above the average given by M. Broca for M. Asseline's age."

 


NOTES.

The important statement is made by Professor C. V. Riley that for the feeding of silkworms there is no appreciable difference between the leaves of the osage orange and the mulberry, provided care is taken to reject the more tender and milky leaves of the former, as they are apt to produce flaccidity and disease.

A writer in "Nature" suggests the employment of carrier-pigeons in the British meteorological service as a means of bringing accounts of the weather at different points in the Atlantic Ocean 300, 400, or even 500 miles out, the pigeons being dispatched on outward voyages of ships leaving such ports as Queenstown, Southampton, etc. The present great difficulty of the meteorological service of Europe is that storms reach the coast unannounced over the Atlantic.

Upon the publication of Siemens's remarks on conveying to a distance, by means of electricity, the power developed by the Falls of Niagara, several electricians declared the idea to be preposterous. Thus one writer calculated that the thickness of the cable required to convey to the distance of several hundred miles the current which could be produced by the power of Niagara, would require more copper than exists in the whole of the Lake Superior region. Another statement estimates the cost of the cable at about sixty dollars per lineal foot. But calculations made by Professor Elihu Thomson and Edwin J. Houston, of Philadelphia, show that these estimates are erroneous, and that it is possible to convey the total power of Niagara a distance of five hundred milts or more by a copper wire not exceeding one half inch in thickness. Even though in practice this result be unattainable, the important fact still remains that, with a cable of very limited size, an enormous quantity of power may be transferred to considerable distances.

Bernhard von Cotta, the eminent Saxon geologist and Professor of Geology in the University of Freiberg, died at that place September 14th, at the age of seventy one years. He was an indefatigable student and writer, and his published works are very numerous. His first book, on "The Dendroliths," was written while he was yet a student at Freiberg. Later he was associated with Naumann in preparing the geological map of Saxony. The first volume of his "Geognostic Travels" appeared in 1836, and the second in 1838. One of his principal works, namely the "Introduction to the Study of Geognosy and Geology," first published in 1839, passed through sev-