Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/153

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
143
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

two and a half times that of the Pacific slope of the Andes. The minimum water discharge into the Plata estuary would, every twenty-four hours, make a lake one mile square and 1,650 feet deep. About seventy-four per cent of it would represent the flow of the Paraná, and twenty six per cent that of the Uruguay River. These interlaced with the affluents of the Amazon along a line of fourteen degrees of longitude The author sought to show that the Plata drainage area was, in a recent geological period, much more extensive than it is today; that its extreme northern limit was in 10° 44' south latitude, and that nearly all the waters that now unite to form the Madeira River, the main affluent of the Amazon, once flowed southward into a Pampean sea that penetrated north over the plains of the present Argentine Republic to about 19° south latitude.

Dr. Le Neve Foster, who nearly met his death in 189*7 from carbonic-oxide poisoning while investigating a mine accident in the Isle of Man, discussing, in his report on the disaster, the origin of the gas, points out that although it occurs occluded in certain rocks and minerals, it has never been found as a natural constituent of the atmosphere of the mines. He had, therefore, to seek an artificial source, and found it in the burning of the timber in the mine. It appeared that the combustion of a cubic foot of larch, the wood used in the timber construction of the Snaefell mine, gives rise to enough carbonic oxide to occupy four hundred and seventeen feet of space at a temperature of 60° F. and a pressure of thirty inches. Twenty-five cubic feet of timber will yield sufficient to infect the atmosphere with one per cent of the gas all through the mine — enough to cause almost immediate loss of consciousness and speedy death. It is important, therefore, to avoid, as much as possible the use of combustible material in the shafts and roadways of mines, unless they are constantly wet or damp. It is also well to have compressed oxygen at hand for the restoration of asphyxiated persons, and also apparatus for penetrating noxious gases.

Rafting, similar to that which formerly distinguished the navigation of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and to that which is still employed by the wood dealers on the great rivers of northern Russia and Siberia, is in use among the farmers of the middle and upper courses of the Yang-tse-Kiang as a means of getting their produce to market. They join rafts till they have a surface of two or three acres, care being taken not to have them too large for the river at its narrowest passages, and on these they build veritable farmsteads, with dwelling houses, barns, stables, and pigpens, for horses, cattle, and swine; and provide supplies of hay, fodder, and provisions for beast and man, to last the human and animal population of the craft during their journey of six hundred or nine hundred miles. The men on board are not idle through this journey, but have their stock of osier twigs and spend their time making baskets and other articles. Arrived at one of the great river marts, the people dispose of their animals and products, sell the articles they have made, and find markets for the material of their rafts with the dealers in lumber and firewood — just as the Ohio and Mississippi boatmen used to do. Then they return home.


NOTES.

The New York School of Applied Design for Women, 200 West Twenty third Street, was organized for the purpose of affording to women instruction which will enable them to earn their livelihood by the employment of their taste and manual dexterity in the application of ornamental design to manufacture and the arts. Besides eight elementary courses, it has a course in historic ornament, advanced courses in the applications of design to the manufacture of wall paper and silk, and of the elementary instruction to the work of an architect's draughtsman, and to illustrating and lithography; and special courses in book-cover designing, advanced design, animal drawing for illustration, stained glass designing, watercolor painting, and interior decoration. The instructors are practical men from manufactories and architects' offices. Pupils are allowed to proceed as rapidly as they master the successive steps in the course of instruction, without having to conform to a fixed period.

Communicating to the American Association the results of experiments in fig-raising in California, Dr. L. O. Howard said that the trees produced from imported Smyrna cuttings dropped most of their fruit, whence it seemed that something was wanting. This was found to be the fertilizing insect, Blas-