Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/152

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142
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

St. John is good dry land fit for settlement. The Nottaway at the crossing point is fourteen hundred and fifty feet wide, and admits bridge spans of five hundred feet. Thence, a direct line to Norway House, at the foot of Lake Winnipeg, would pass through the gypsum beds on Moose River, and give access to a vast area of rich agricultural land in the north part of the province of Quebec. The straight line continued would strike about the forks of the Peace and Smoky Rivers, near the center of the northwest wheat-growing region, and thence follow the valleys of the Peace and Skeene Rivers to the Pacific Ocean, crossing the Rocky Mountains at a point where the summit is two thousand feet lower than that of the Canadian Pacific Railway. As to the resources of this northwestern country, there are, according to a Dominion official report, an area of six hundred and fifty-six thousand square miles along the Mackenzie River suitable for the growth of potatoes, four hundred and seven thousand suitable for barley, and three hundred and sixteen thousand for wheat, with a pastoral area of eight hundred and sixty thousand square miles, two hundred and seventy-four thousand miles of which may be regarded as arable land. "The difference in latitude makes no corresponding difference in the climate. Flowers bloom as early in the spring and as late in autumn at Great Slave Lake as at Winnipeg or St. Paul and Minneapolis. The prevailing southwest or Chinook winds render the climate along the Peace and Liard Rivers as mild and salubrious as that of western Ontario. Wheat ripens along the Mackenzie River under the Arctic Circle, a thousand miles farther north than Rupert House."


MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

Mr. W. H. Huddleston, in his presidential address to the Geological Section of the British Association, spoke of the geology of the southwest of England, and began with supporting the claim of Bristol, where the association was meeting, to be regarded as the cradle of British geology, and even more; for, he said, Devonshire, Cornwall, and West Somerset first attracted the attention of the Ordnance Geological Survey. "Thus it comes to pass that the region which lies between the Bristol Channel and the English Channel claims the respect of geologists in all parts of the world, not only as the birthplace of stratigraphical paleontology, but also as the original home of systematic geological survey. The city of Bristol lies on the confines of this region, where it shades off northwestward into the Palæozoics of Wales and northeastward into the Mesozoics of the midland counties."

A committee of the English Society of Arts, appointed to inquire into the matter, attribute the doubtful quality of modern paper to "revolutionary" changes which the industry has undergone, including the introduction of new substances of varying qualities and chemical properties, in the working up of which there is still room for much improvement. The committee have examined many books, as evidence, on the question of the deterioration of paper. They distinguish two tendencies — to disintegration and to discoloration — which are independent but may be concurrent effects, and are notably concurrent in papers containing mechanical wood pulp. Disintegration, which has been brought to light in papers of all grades, is generally the result of chemical changes in the fibers, produced by acids in the rag papers, and by oxidation in the papers made of mechanical wood pulp. Discoloration of ordinary cellulose papers, as distinguished from papers containing mechanical wood pulp, is dependent upon the quality of the sizing, and particularly the proportion of rosin in it. The committee define as the normal standard of quality for book papers, required for publications of permanent value, fibers not less than seventy per cent of the cotton, flax, and hemp class, sizing not more than two per cent rosin, the paper to be finished with the normal acidity of pure alum, and the loading to be not more than ten per cent mineral matter.

Colonel G. E. Church, president of the Geographical Section of the British Association, pointed out in his opening address, which was on Argentine geography and the ancient Pampean Sea, that the drainage area of the Plata basin was, according to Dr. Bludan, 1,198,000 square miles, or more than