Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/592
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
certain manufactures in which the alloy was employed. A Latin manuscript of the age of Charlemagne, found in the library of the chapter of the Canons of Luynes, gives a receipt for the "composition of Brindisi" — copper, two parts; lead, one part; tin, one part.
Among the interesting objects exhibited at a recent soirée of the Royal Society was a proof-sheet of the Archæological Survey of Egypt, by Mr. Percy E. Newberry, showing all the successive stages of a wrestling-match between a black and a white man, with more than a hundred different positions recorded. The white man seems in many of the pictures to be getting the worst of it.
A foolish report that the Department of Agriculture contemplated introducing the mongoose to contend with the rodents of the Western plains, so troublesome to farmers — with the ultimate result, of course, of taking their place as a nuisance — has been denied by the department.
A new preparation of the potato has been introduced by M. Moulin, the inventor of the potato bread, and is intended chiefly for feeding to cattle. The cleaned potatoes are scraped or crushed; the pulp is pressed for the extraction of free water; is finely divided; and is dried with a moderate heat sufficient to give it a pleasant taste without converting the starch into dextrin. The product is called torrefied pulp. It may also be used for human food by making a purée of it, or by making bread of a mixture of it with flour or meal.
At the last meeting of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia resolutions were adopted for the celebration in a worthy and becoming manner of the sesquicentennial anniversary of the society; and a committee of five members was appointed to make all necessary arrangements for the same. The society celebrated the centennial anniversary of its foundation in 1843, with a series of addresses, meetings, etc., continuing from the 25th to the 30th of May.
The last giraffe in the London Zoölogical Gardens has recently died, and the institution is, for the first time since 1836, without a living specimen of this animal. It has had in all thirty specimens, of which seventeen were born on the place. The giraffe market is very poorly supplied, and there is but one specimen now for sale in Europe. The giraffe is practically extinct in South Africa, and can not be found within a thousand miles of Cape Town. There are still giraffes in East Africa, but there are no means of catching them.
The aborigines of the Andaman Islands, a curious and even unique people, are said to be fast disappearing. All of them on two of the islands are dead, and only a few are left on a third. Only a small number of children are born, and they die in infancy.
The Yahgan, one of the three tribes inhabiting Tierra del Fuego, according to Dr. Hyades, live chiefly on fish and mollusks. They also eat any kind of bird they can catch, and are fond of the flesh of the whale, the seal, and the otter. When pressed with hunger they will eat the fox, but never dogs or rats. Fishing is left to the women, while the men hunt. The people have splendid powers of digestion, and assimilate their food so rapidly that they sometimes become fat in the course of a single day. Their huts are made of branches or of the trunks of trees, the interstices being imperfectly filled up with moss or bark, with fragments of canoes, or with seal-skins. In the center is a fire, around which the inmates sleep at night, and at other times, when they have nothing else to do, sit talking and laughing. The Yahgan lose early the attributes of youth, but often retain their vigor to a great age. They are very courageous, and enjoy games that test their physical strength.
With the exception of certain Eskimo throw-sticks, Mr. Otis T. Mason remarks in Science that all the weapons of the Northwestern American Indians examined by him are ambidextrous; and he questions whether outside of the Eskimo area any American aborigines had apparatus that would not fit either hand.
Among the particular schemes connected with the celebration of the Columbian quadricentennial is that for a great food exhibition to be held in New York in October, 1892, under the auspices of the Food Manufacturers' Association. It will include displays of manufactured foods and of products direct from the dairy, orchard, and sea, and a special department of dairy products, with daily afternoon and evening concerts.
The death is reported of August Wilhelm Hoffmann, the eminent German chemist, Professor in the University of Berlin, and author of many discoveries that have contributed to the advancement of the science. A sketch and portrait of him were published in The Popular Science Monthly for April, 1884.
Henri Duveyrier, a famous explorer and formerly President of the French Geographical Society, died about the beginning of May. He was born in 1840, and began, when twenty years old, a series of journeys in Algeria which made him famous. They included a reconnaissance to El Golea, where no European had ever set foot; southern Constantine and the Tunisian Soudan; the country of the Tuaregs; and the Chots of southern Tunis.