Ancient Maps of the Egyptian Desert. — Mr. Cope Whitehouse called attention, in the British Association, to some points in connection with ancient maps of Egypt, Lake Mœris, and the Mountains of the Moon. The revised map of Egypt prepared by the Intelligence Department of the War Office shows a part of the changes effected by the observations of the author. A critical study of the manuscript and printed maps attached to the text of Claudius Ptolemy had enabled him to aver, as a crucial test of their authenticity, that a depression would be found to exist in the desert to the west of the Nile and to the south of the Fayoum. The physical conditions of this region have now been determined with extreme accuracy. The most important maps of the printed editions of Claudius Ptolemy, of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, have been reproduced in the fac-simile atlas of 1890. Mr. H. M. Stanley's identifications of Ruwenzori with the Mountains of the Moon reversed this method. He found the mountains and then examined the maps and the historical evidence. The existence of ancient originals from which the mediæval copies were made is no longer open to dispute. They have never been submitted to critical analysis. It is reasonable to anticipate other important additions to geographical knowledge as the result of the renewed credit which will henceforth attach to the only atlas which has reached us from ancient days.
In reference to a note in the Monthly for December, 1890, ascribing to Dr. Charles M. Cresson the discovery of typhoid bacillus in juices squeezed from celery, Dr. Cresson desires to observe that the only publication he has made in reference to the bacillus of typhoid in connection with celery, bore upon the practice of certain truck-farmers of ladling upon the plants, for manure, untreated night-soil directly from the carts. Some of the stuff is certain to lodge in the interstices of the plant and not be washed off, and that may contain typhoid bacilli. No claim has been made or facts given that would warrant the assertion that the bacillus was naturally carried in the juice of the plant.
Prof. Pickering describes, in the Sidereal Messenger, fourteen photographs of the planet Mars, which were taken on two successive days, the 9th and 10th of April, seven on each day, in the second of which the southern polar white spot was much larger than in the former series. In the first day's photographs the spot was dimly marked, as if veiled by fog or by particles too small to be represented separately; but on the second day the region was brilliantly white. The date of the event corresponded with the end of the southern winter of Mars, or with the middle of our February; the event itself was a snow-storm.
The fibrous plants of the island and their capabilities will furnish an important department of the exhibition to be held in Jamaica in January, 1891. Among the native plants of this class are those of the aloe, banana, pineapple, plantain, and nettle families. The managers particularly desire to have a full showing of machines for extracting fibers; and liberal prizes have been offered for the best, provided that no less than three manufacturers compete. Small and inexpensive machines are preferred.
Two theories in regard to the treatment of milk have been tested at the Agricultural Experiment Station, at Cornell University, and both proved mistaken. The way generally practiced for getting the most cream from milk is to set the milk in deep cans in ice water. It has been asserted that the addition of an equal quantity of water, either hot or cold, to fresh milk in deep cans would secure rapid and complete creaming. The experiments show that the proposed treatment is not nearly as effective as the accepted one; moreover, when hot water was added, the milk was sour at the end of twenty-four hours, and in some cases the cream was injured for butter-making. Setting in shallow pans in the air was found to give better results than any other practice, except deep setting in ice-water.
In a paper read at the meeting of the American Association, Prof. J. E. Siebel sought to show that certain fixed relations exist between the quality of a water and the geologic horizon from which it is derived in a given locality, and that by measuring and analyzing supplies of different depths, with proper precautions, considerable information can be obtained. In applying his method to the underground water-supply of Chicago, the author found that at least six waters could be differentiated in that neighborhood, each having a well-defined and pronounced character.
Some new Indiana crustacean fossils, described by Charles E. Newlin, are found about half a mile south of Kokomo, in a single ledge of the water limestone of the lower Helderberg formation. They are footprints, and appear to be new to the paleontology of Indiana,