Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/151

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143
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

interest aroused in the explorations of Florida by the Wagner Institute and its friends and by the United States Geological Survey has resulted in bringing in a constantly increasing mass of material. The existence of Upper Oligocene beds in western Florida containing hundreds of species, many of which were new, added two populous faunas to the Tertiary series. It having been found that a number of the species belonging to these beds had been described from the Antillean tertiaries, it became necessary, in order to put the work on a sound foundation, besides the review of the species known to occur in the United States, to extend the revision to the tertiaries of the West Indies. It is believed that the results will be beneficial in clearing the way for subsequent students and putting the nomenclature on a more permanent and reliable basis.

The numerical system of the natives of Murray Island, Torres Strait, is described by the Rev. A. E. Hunt, in the Journal of the Anthropological Society, as based on two numbers—netat, one, and neis, two. The numbers above two are expressed by composition—neis-netat, three; neis i neis, or two and two, four. Numbers above four are associated with parts of the body, beginning with the little and other fingers of the left hand, and going on to the wrist, elbow, armpit, shoulder, etc., on the left side and going down on the right side, to 21; and the toes give ten numbers more, to 31. Larger numbers are simply "many."

President William Orton, of the American Association, in his address at the welcoming meeting, showed, in the light of the facts recorded in Alfred R. Wallace's book on The Wonderful Century, that the scientific achievements of the present century exceed all those of the past combined. He then turned to the purpose of the American Association to labor for the discovery of new truth, and said: "It is possible that we could make ourselves more interesting to the general public if we occasionally foreswore our loyalty to our name and spent a portion of our time in restating established truths. Our contributions to the advancement of science are often fragmentary and devoid of special interest to the outside world. But every one of them has a place in the great temple of knowledge, and the wise master builders, some of whom appear in every generation, will find them all and use them all at last, and then only will their true value come to light."


NOTES.

The number of broods of seventeen-year and thirteen-year locusts has become embarrassing to those who seek to distinguish them, and the trouble is complicated by the various designations different authors have given them. The usual method is to give the brood a number in a series, written with a Roman numeral. Mr. C. L. Marlatt proposes a regular and uniform nomenclature, giving the first seventeen numbers to the seventeen-year broods, beginning with that of 1893 as number I, and the next thirteen numbers (XVIII to XXX) to the thirteen-year broods, beginning with the brood of 1842 and 1855 as number XVIII.

Experimenting on the adaptability of carbonic acid to the inflation of pneumatic tires, M. d'Arsonval, of Paris, has found that the gas acts upon India rubber, and, swelling its volume out enormously, reduces it to a condition like that following maceration in petroleum. On exposure to the air the carbonic acid passes away and the India rubber returns to its normal condition. Carbonic acid, therefore, does not seem well adapted to use in inflation. Oxygen is likewise not adapted, because it permeates the India rubber and oxidizes it, but nitrogen is quite inert and answers the purpose admirably.

Mr. Gifford Pinchot, Forester of the Department of Agriculture, has announced that a few well-qualified persons will be received in the Division of Forestry as student-assistants. They will be assigned to practical field work, and will be allowed their expenses and three hundred dollars a year. They are expected to possess, when they come, a certain degree of knowledge, which is defined in Mr. Pinchot's announcement, of botany, geology, and other sciences, with good general attainments.

In a communication made to the general meeting of the French Automobile Club, in May, the Baron de Zeylen enumerates 600 manufacturers in France who have produced 5,250 motor-carriages and about 10,000 motor-cycles; 110 makers in England, 80 in Germany, 60 in the United States, 55 in Belgium, 25 in Switzerland, and about 30 in the other