Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/298

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286
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

them before they were taught mere intricacies of language^ so that the child should be thoroughly educated in mind, body, and soul. He rejoiced to find that there was a great advance in the direction of spelling reform, because it was now being found out that our present system was productive of enormous expense, difficulties, and wasted energy.


An Eyeless Child. — A girl thirteen years of age has been exhibited by Dr. Menacho, at the Cataluña Academy of Medical Sciences, in whom, while the eyelids, lachrymal apparatus, and orbits appeared to be well formed, there was no eye on either side, but in its place a simple cavity could be seen on separating the eyelids. This cavity was invested by the conjunctiva, which apparently rested on some firm fibrous basis, in which movements could be detected, as if there were rudiments of the ocular muscles. In the thickness of both inferior eyelids a kind of bursa or cyst could be felt, that on the left side being the larger and having a whitish coat like the sclerotic, which could be seen through the conjunctiva posteriorly, where it was thin and transparent. This became tense during crying, and the child was observed to press it frequently with her hands, and then to smile. It is supposed that a subjective sensation of light was thus produced.




NOTES.

The first part of Prof. Topinard's paper on "The Last Stages in the Genealogy of Man," the conclusion of which is given in this number of the "Monthly," was published in the October number. The remainder of the paper was omitted from the November number, in which it should regularly have appeared, on account of the pressure of matter claiming insertion.

Prof. W. H. Flower has been chosen President of the British Association for next year. The meeting will be held at Newcastle-on-Tyne, and the meeting for 1890 will be held at Leeds.

Locusts, which are a great nuisance there, are trapped in Cyprus by means of a screen of canvas having at the top a strip of smooth oil-cloth up which the insects can not crawl. They are thus compelled to creep along the screen and fall into holes, from which their exit is prevented by a somewhat similar contrivance. They are then buried. The system has been very successful, and gives hope that the locusts may ultimately be exterminated. Birds are also effective in destroying the pests. Canon Tristram tells of an instance in which a mass of locust-grubs so thick as to cover the ground was entirely devoured in a very short time by a certain species which followed them in large flocks.

Mr. E. B. Poulton reports to the British Association every two years his observations upon a family of many-toed cats, of which he has individuals down to the tenth generation. They originated from a cat named Punch, which had six toes on each foot. The peculiarity appeared with more or less modification in a large number of his descendants, some of which had seven toes on each foot.

According to Sir John Lubbock, about 4,500 species of wild bees are known, and 1,100 of wasps, of which 170 and 16 respectively live in Britain. Their habits differ in almost every genus, and some offer points of great interest. The amophilla, having built her nest, places in it as food for the young a full-grown moth. This must be prevented from escaping, yet must not be killed; the wasp paralyzes it by a series of carefully adjusted stings, and crushes its head, leaving it alive, but without the power of motion. There appears to be some evidence that the mother-wasp can control the sex of the egg. Sir John mentions the death of a queen-ant which had lived in one of his nests since 1874, and must therefore have been fourteen years old, much the oldest insect on record.

A new view of the value of the study of anthropology, as popularized in such a museum as he would design, is given by Lieutenant-General Pitt-Rivers, in his address at the British Association. He says: "It would adapt itself more especially to the limited time for study at the disposal of the working classes, for whose education . . , we are all most deeply concerned. Anything which tends to impress the mind with the slow growth and stability of human institutions and industries, and their dependence upon antiquity, must contribute to check revolutionary ideas."

Copenhagen was visited by a blizzard at about the same time that our Atlantic coast was suffering from the affliction. It began on the 10th of March and continued to the 13th, piling up the snow to fabulous heights, and accompanied with intense cold. The city was wholly cut off from surrounding districts. The straits between Sweden and the Danish islands were at the same time covered with a tolerably thick ice. It is a curious coincidence that in 1788 the snow fell so deep in Scandinavia that it had not wholly disappeared in the following June.