Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/445

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429
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

per, though rarely preventing a partial crop, is so uniformly present and widely distributed as to probably levy a heavier tribute on the grape in this country than any other insect. These insects are, however, all amenable to treatment, and the loss may be very considerably limited if the proper methods of control are followed out. Mr. Marlatt gives a description of the above insects, with illustrations of the various stages of each, and finally the remedies, and methods of employing them which have been found most efficient in combating each pest.

 
 

MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

The winter courses of Saturday evening lectures (1896–’97) at Columbia University, in co-operation with the American Museum of Natural History, began in December with a course on the Mountain Ranges of Western North America. The course for January will be upon Anthropology and Ethnology, and will include lectures on The Oldest Signs of Man in America, by Dr. D. G. Brinton; The Native Industrial Arts of the Indians of the United States, by Prof. Otis T. Mason; Art of the North American Indians, by Dr. Franz Boas; The Organization of the Family, by Livingston Ferrand; and Some Peculiar Peoples of Southern France, by Dr. William Z. Ripley. In February four lectures on Alcohol and Alcoholic Beverages will be given by Mr. C. E. Pellew. The lectures in March will consist of botanical studies — Among the Lower Fungi and The Haunts and Habits of Ferns, by Prof. Lucien M. Underwood; and Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms and Medicinal Plants, by Prof. Smith Ely Jelliffe. The lectures will be illustrated. Tickets of admission may be obtained without charge by application to the secretary of Columbia University.

M. Berthelot observed, in his address at the opening of the International Congress of Chemists, that the progress of mankind has heretofore been accounted for by historians as the combined effects of inner evolution of ideas and the external and empirical intervention of fortuitous events reacting upon the collective passions, feelings, and interests of men. However such views may have been justified to a certain extent by the study of the past, they fail to account for what results now from the ever-increasing influence of science, or deliberate reflection and reason as determined by the observation of facts and experimentation. In evidence of this view, M. Berthelot cites the changes that have taken place in Europe in the last half century in consequence of the increased facilities of communication, as by railroads, the telegraph, and the telephone. These changes are the rational result of facts and laws discovered in scientific laboratories.

The liability to error in even the best-made thermometers, is well known, and the numerous cheaply made affairs with which the market is flooded are almost worthless on this account. Dr. T. L. Phipson calls attention in the Chemical News to the dangers which may result from the use of inaccurate thermometers in the sick-room, and gives the following instance as an illustration: "A patient, eighty years of age, suffering from bronchitis, did not cough or suffer from prostration when the thermometer registered from 68° to 70° F., but fell into an alarming state of prostration when it rose to 72° or 73°. Now, many thermometers, both mercurial and spirit, which I have examined of recent years have shown errors of 4° or 5° F., and sometimes even more, and it is hence very essential that all such instruments used for taking the temperature of sick-rooms should be carefully compared from time to time with a standard instrument of known accuracy."

It is reported in Nature that letters have been received from Prof. Sollas which show that, so far as the main object of the coral-reef boring expedition is concerned, the effort has been an almost complete failure. They reached Funafuti safely, set up the apparatus, and a bore hole was carried down to a depth of about sixty-five feet, when further progress was stopped by the drills running into a material like quicksand, which choked the bore hole. Very little solid coral rock was pierced. Another boring was attempted, with the same result, at seventy-two feet. The material struck was a kind of quicksand