Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/444

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432
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

finished gun flints. Most of the gun flints are sent to Zanzibar and African ports, and the tinder-box flints to Spain and Italy.

A theory has been put forth by M. Rateau in the French Academy of Sciences that the crust of the earth beneath the continents does not touch the fluid globe, but is separated from it by a space filled with gaseous matter under pressure. The continents would therefore constitute a sort of blister, much flattened, inflated and sustained by gases, while the bottom of the oceans is supposed to rest directly on the fiery mass. By this hypothesis the author believes that many phenomena of the terrestrial crust may be explained which are not clearly accounted for under the present theory.

A rapid deterioration is described by Mr. C. H. Morse as being produced in the water pipes of Cambridge, Mass., by the electrolytic action of the current from the electric cars. It is observed in pipes composed of lead, iron, galvanized iron, brass, and rustless iron. In one instance the current was so strong as to set on fire oakum which was applied in making a joint. A partial check to the deterioration has been found in connecting the water and gas pipes and the negative pole of the dynamo.

The Bank of France has put in circulation notes printed on ramie paper. The notes are of the same form as the old-fashioned ones, but the new paper is lighter and at the same time firmer than the old, and permits a clearer impression, rendering counterfeiting more difficult.

Under the Thibetan system of polyandry, as observed by Mrs. Bishop (Isabella Bird), the eldest son alone of the family marries, and the wife accepts the brothers of her husband as secondary spouses. The whole family is thus held to the home. The children belong to the elder brother, while the other brothers are "lesser fathers." The natives are strongly attached to this custom. The women, in particular, despise the monotony of European monogamy, and the word "widow" is a term of reproach among them. Children are very obedient to their fathers and their mother, and the family feeling is strongly developed.

Strong additional evidence of the presence of cretaceous strata beneath the most of Long Island is adduced by Mr. Arthur Hollick, in a paper on that subject. They have been found in the shape of fossil remains of plants at Williamsburgh, Lloyd's Neck, and Glencove. Clays containing the fossils have been found in place in the neighborhood of Glencove; while at other sites the rocks appear to have been glacially transported. "Only a beginning," says Mr. Hollick, "has yet been made in the search for plant remains; but now that attention has been called to the matter they are being reported from a number of localities, and specimens are constantly coming to the light, and there seems to be no doubt that the entire north shore of the island will present the same story to the searchers when it has been carefully explored."

Trees in London, as in other cities, have two adverse influences to resist coal smoke and the heat reflected from miles of brick and stone work. The past unusually hot summer has afforded a fine opportunity for observing what species can most successfully contend against these influences. Among them Mr. Herbert Maxwell names the Oriental plane tree, which has stood the trial fairly well, coming out with half its leaves gone and the other half fresh and green; aspens and poplars, which "have suffered not at all"; the ailantus, "which is (September 7th) in splendid foliage"; and our common locust {Robinia pseudacacia), which "for beauty of form or freshness of verdure can not be excelled for planting in towns."



OBITUARY NOTES.

Traugott Friedrich Kützing, a pioneer in the scientific study of the Algæ, died at Nordhausen, September 9, 1893, in the eighty-seventh year of his age. His latest work is more than twenty years old, and all his most important works appeared before 1851. Yet, although much that he did and taught has been superseded or supplemented by more recent investigations, his Phycologia generalis, published in 1843; his Tabulæ phycologiæ, published in twenty volumes, 1845 to 1870; and his Species Algarum, 1849, are still standard works. His extensive collection of dried Algæ has long been in the possession of the University of Leyden.

Dr. Alexander Strauch, Director of the Zoölogical Museum of St. Petersburg, who died in September, 1893, at the age of sixty-one years, was an authority on reptiles and the author of several zoological works.

Prof. Hermann August Hagen, of Harvard College, a distinguished entomologist, died in Boston, Mass., November 9, 1 893. He was born in Königsberg, Prussia, where his ancestors had been connected with the university for two hundred years, and, having pursued his studies there and at other places, settled there in the general practice of medicine. He was assistant in the surgical hospital there and incumbent of local civil offices when he was invited by Prof. Agassiz to come to Cambridge as assistant in entomology at the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy. In 1870 he was made Professor of Entomology at Harvard. His first scientific paper was published in 1834. His publications include more than four hundred articles, of which the most important is the Bibliotheca Entomologica.