Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/145

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135
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

Mivart, St. George. The Groundwork of Science. A Study of Epistemology. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 328. $1.75.

Musick, John R. Lights and Shadows of our War with Spain. New York: J. S. Ogilvie Publishing Company. Pp. 224.

Muter, John. A Short Manual of Analytical Chemistry, Qualitative and Quantitative—Inorganic and Organic. Second American edition. Philadelphia: Blakiston's Son & Co. Pp. 228. $1.25.

New Jersey, Geological Survey of. Annual Report of the State Geologist for 1897. Pp. 368.

New World, The. A Quarterly Review of Religion, Ethics, and Theology. September, 1898. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Pp. 200. 75 cents. $3 a year.

New York State College of Forestry at Cornell University. Announcement. Pp. 40.

Shufeldt, Dr. R. W. On the Alternation of Sex in a Brood of Young Sparrowhawks. Pp. 4.

Smith. William B. Infinitesimal Analysis. Vol. I. Elementary; Real Variables. N>-w York. The Macmillan Company. Pp. 352. $3.25.

Thomson, J. J. The Discharge of Electricity through Gases. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 203. $1.

University of Tennessee Record. Knoxville. Pp. 80.

Venable, P. P., and Howe, J. L. Inorganic Chemistry according to the Periodic Law. Easton, Pa.: The Chemical Publishing Company. Pp. 266. $1.50.

Wilson, L. L. W. History Reader for Elementary Schools. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 403. 60 cents.

Wright, Mabel Osgood, and Chapman, Frank M. Four-footed Americans and their Kin. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 432. $1.50.

 


Fragments of Science.



Carbonic Acid and Glaciation.—In a paper on Hypotheses bearing on Climatic Changes, Prof. T. C. Chamberlin takes up a suggestion of Tyndall's that the periods of terrestrial glaciation might be dependent upon the carbon dioxide of the atmosphere, the peculiar competence of which to retain solar heat he had demonstrated. Following out the doctrine of atmospheric loss on its own lines, although only in a tentative way as yet, he seems to find a rhythmical action that may in part explain the glacial oscillations. The idea, he says, hinges on the action of the ocean as a reservoir of carbon dioxide, and on the losses of the organic cycle under the influence of cold. Cold water absorbs more carbon dioxide than warm water. As the atmosphere becomes impoverished and the temperature declines, the capacity of the ocean to take up carbonic acid in solution increases. Instead, therefore, of re-supplying the atmosphere in the stress of its impoverishment, the ocean withholds its carbon dioxide to a certain extent, and possibly even turns robber itself by greater absorption. So also, with increased cold the progress of organic decay becomes less active, a greater part of the vegetal and animal matter remains undecomposed, and its carbon is thereby locked up; and hence the loss of carbon dioxide through the organic cycle is increased. The impoverishment of the atmosphere is thus hastened and the epoch of cold is precipitated. With the spread of glaciation the main crystalline areas whose alteration is the chief source of depletion become covered and frozen, and the abstraction of carbon dioxide by rock alteration is checked. The supply continuing the same, by hypothesis, re-enrichment begins, and when it has sufficiently advanced warmth returns. With returning warmth the ocean gives up its carbon dioxide more freely, the accumulated organic products decay and add their contribution of carbonic acid, and the re-enrichment is accelerated and interglacial mildness is hastened.

 

Additions to the Missouri Botanical Garden.—We learn from the ninth annual report of the Missouri Botanical Garden that while the decorative features were maintained in 1897 in about the same manner as heretofore, considerable additions have been made in certain classes, especially orchids, and the collections of cultivated species, with their named varieties, are now estimated to number about five thousand. Circumstances made possible material additions to the contents of the herbarium; and, besides the purchased current collections, rather larger and more numerous than usual, the garden has secured the herbarium of the late J. H. Redfield, very rich in earlier collections representing the flora of the United States; the herbarium of the late Dr. J. F. Joor, contain-