Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/737

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
719
NOTES.

an extreme antiquity. This is one of the most important works of this kind that have attracted the attention of European archæologists.

 


NOTES.

Professor O. N. Rood, of Columbia College, describes, in a late number of the "American Journal of Science," a modification of the Sprengel pump, by which he has been able to obtain a vacuum of 1390000000 "without finding that the limit of its action had been reached."

Alden B. Hurt, not Huet, as it was wrongly printed, is the name of the author of the article "Union of the Telegraph and Postal Service" published in the July "Monthly."

The center of population of the United States appears now to have reached a point in latitude 39° 03', about five miles west of Covington, Kentucky, ten miles east of the boundary-line between Indiana and Ohio, and fifty-one miles west and a few miles south of the point it reached in 1870. It has moved westward about four hundred and fifty miles since 1790.

Mr. John Fergus McLennan, an industrious student in anthropology, died in June of lung disease, from which he had suffered for many years, aggravated by a fever caught in Algeria. His investigations were directed chiefly to the history of institutions. Their results were given principally in his essays on "Plant and Animal Worship," in the "Fortnightly Review," which first drew attention to the distribution and historical importance of totemism, and in his essays on "Primitive Marriage."

A French scientific journal relates an incident illustrating the susceptibility of spiders to music. A party at a country-house had formed a quartet and were performing a number of pieces, when two spiders were observed to descend upon their threads and hang near the top of the window of the room. They continued there for an hour, and did not go back to their nests till the music had stepped.

Dr. Beddoe and Mr. Tuckett have stated that "British heads are smaller than British heads used to be," and Mr. Horsfall, in the "Manchester Guardian," infers from this and other facts that the English people are physically deteriorating. The conditions under which youth are brought up in these days, without access to play-grounds and public gymnasia, with smoking and drinking as their principal recreations, are such as to favor the stunting of the race. The "Lancet" takes up the thought, and points to the mode of life of a large number of urban people as the great evil of civilization. It urges the multiplication of places for open-air recreation and gymnasia, with increased freedom of admission to them.

The ninth award of the Rumford medal has been made by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to Professor J. Willard Gibbs, for his researches on thermo-dynamics, and the medal was formally conferred upon that gentleman in January last. Professor Gibbs, in entering upon his investigation on the "Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances," the work for which the medal was conferred, took his departure from the two propositions enunciated by Clausius, that "the energy of the world is constant," and "the entropy of the world" (that is, the energy not available for work) "tends constantly toward a maximum," and held as his leading object to develop the parts of energy and entropy in the theory of thermo-dynamic equilibrium. His researches were declared by the President of the Academy to be "the consummate flower and fruit of seeds planted by Rumford himself, though in an unpromising soil, almost a century ago," when he showed how water could be boiled by the heat developed in boring a cannon.

Sir Josiah Mason, founder of the Mason Science College, died at Birmingham, England, in June, at the age of eighty-six years. He rose from the humblest ranks, having begun life as a street hawker and Jack-at-all-trades. He became employed in the gilt toy trade in 1814, and engaged in the manufacture of split rings in 1822. He afterward added the manufacture of steel pens, and became the greatest producer of them. He established an orphanage at Edlington in 1860, expending £300,000 upon it, and received the honor of knighthood in acknowledgment of his work. He afterward built up and endowed the Mason Science College, the inaugural address of which was delivered by Professor Huxley, giving it a total sum of about a quarter of a million pounds sterling.

M. de Bisschop has won a prize of one thousand francs, or two hundred dollars, for a small motor suited to use in families. His engine is worked by gas, and the operation costs, at the prices current in Paris, two cents an hour for machines doing a work of 36·17 foot-pounds per second, five cents an hour for machines performing at the rate of 180·8 foot-pounds per second. The smaller machines are sold for one hundred dollars; the larger ones for one hundred and eighty dollars.