Popular Science Monthly/Volume 20/November 1881/Popular Miscellany

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Popular Science Monthly Volume 20 November 1881  (1881) 
Popular Miscellany
 

POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Gesture-Speech.—Colonel Garrick Mallory, of the United States Army, delivered a lecture on "The Gesture-Speech of Man," at the last meeting of the American Association, in which he remarked that North America had showed more favorable conditions for the development of gesture-signs than any other thoroughly explored part of the civilized world. Its aboriginal population was scanty, and so dialectically subdivided, with sixty-five families of languages, some comprising twenty languages each, that few bands could readily converse with each other. The Alaskan tribes generally used signs not more than a generation ago. The use of gestures could not be accounted for by any theory of the poverty of Indian languages, for no such theories were true, neither was it correct to suppose that a gesture-language was originated by a certain tribe, or in a particular region, and thence spread. The sign-language among the Indians is not uniform, and it is no argument in favor of uniformity that the signs used by any of the tribes are generally understood by others, for signs might be understood without being identical with any before seen. Regarding the question, whether the signs were conventional or instructive, Colonel Mallory was of the opinion that sign-language, as a product of evolution, had been developed rather than invented, and yet it seemed probable that each of the separate signs had a definite origin arising out of some appropriate occasion, and the same sign might in this manner have had many independent origins, due to identity in the circumstances, or, if lost, might have been reproduced. The studies so far pursued led to the conclusion that at the time of the discovery of North America all its inhabitants practiced sign-language, though with different degrees of expertness. The language has been disused with some, but with others, particularly with those which have become nomadic, it has been cultivated to a high degree of development. The signs have their birth, growth, development, changes, and death, and those which are in general use must be of great antiquity. Colonel Mallory's researches during several years showed a surprising number of signs for the same ideas which were substantially identical, not only among savage tribes, but among all peoples that used gesture-signs with any freedom. Indians who have been brought to the Eastern States have often had happy intercourse by signs with white deaf-mutes; many of their signs were identical, and all sooner or later were mutually understood. The so-called sign-language of the Indians is not, properly speaking, one language, but it and the gesture systems of deaf-mutes and all people together constitute one language—the gesture-speech of mankind—of which each system is a dialect. Colonel Mallory next showed how this language of gestures aided archaeological research. The Indian signs, as well as their myths and customs, form a part of the paleontology of humanity, to be studied in the history of the latter, as the geologist, with similar object, studies all the strata of the physical world.

 

The Origin of Lake Erie.—In a paper, read at the recent Cincinnati meeting, on the evidence from the drift of Ohio in regard to the origin of Lake Erie, Professor E. W. Claypole endeavored to show that the theory that the lake-bed was excavated by local glaciers at the oncoming and passing away of the ice age was not competent to account for the depth of the basin. A careful examination of the drift of Ohio in various parts of the State had convinced the author that the average depth of the erosion performed by the great continental glacier did not exceed fifty-six feet. If this was the limit of the effect produced by this immense mass of ice during its whole duration, it was idle to ascribe to a small local glacier the removal of many hundred feet deep of rock which was involved in the excavation of the bed of Lake Eric. Moreover, if the lake-basin had been so formed, the material taken out would have been found piled up like a mountain around the southwest end of the lake, but it is not so found, and the drift in that region is not perceptibly deeper than in other places. Furthermore, no local glaciers could have been formed unless the lake-beds had previously existed in their present form and size, and to ascribe the beds to the action of such a glacier is to mistake cause for effect. Observations of the drift in Indiana and Illinois go to confirm this view. The glacial theory being held to be untenable, the only alternative is to ascribe the formation of the lake-bed to the action of an ancient pre-glacial river, to which Lakes Erie and Ontario would be a broad, open valley, worn out where the rocks were soft, and connected by deep channels where they were hard, and this river he proposed to call the Ontario River. Mr. Holley replied to Professor Claypole's arguments, by exhibiting sections of the lakes and' their rivers, and pointing to the fact in respect to the Niagara River, unique among American rivers, that while the descent of the river is in one direction the rise of its banks is in an opposite direction; the elevation anciently formed a dam which set the waters back to Lake Michigan, causing the constitution of an immense inland lake, which emptied its waters through the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. In this theory, Professor Claypole might find a way to get rid of his drift.

 

Ancient and Modern Shells.—Professor E. S. Morse presented at the last meeting of the American Association some observations on changes of form which shells of the genera Mya and Lunatia seem to have undergone since the New England shell-heaps were deposited. This had been ascertained by comparing the shells of the ancient deposits and living shells of the same species, in New England and Japan, where similar changes were found to have taken place. It appeared, from measurements that he had made of the common clam (Mya), at Goose Island, Maine, and at Ipswich and Marblehead, Massachusetts, that the ancient specimens were higher in proportion to their length than the recent specimens. A comparison of the common beach-cockle (Lunatia) from the shell-heaps of Marblehead, Massachusetts, showed that the present form living on the shore to-day had a more depressed spine than the ancient form. In another paper, Professor Morse, after referring to the fact that, although worked shells were not uncommon in the shell-heaps of Florida and California, none had been found in the New England and Japanese shell heaps, exhibited specimens of the large beach-cockle (Lunatia) from Marblehead, Massachusetts, which had unmistakably been worked by cutting out a part of the outer whorl near the suture. To show that this could not have been artificially broken, he exhibited naturally broken shells of the same species, both ancient and recent, in which the fractures were essentially unlike those of the worked shells.

 

Who were the Mound-Builders?—Dr. W. De Haas, after a careful examination of the supposed connection between the "mound-builders" and the ancient races of Mexico, has come to the conclusion that it does not exist. He considers that the former people were but little advanced beyond the modern Indians, but that they were different. In the discussion that followed the reading of Dr. De Haas's paper in the American Association, Judge Henderson objected to the use of the term "mound-builder," as one that conveyed a false idea. There is no evidence, he said, which will justify us in separating the ancient and more modern races, not a single feature peculiar to the so-called mound-builders. The speaker had started out in the study of American archæology with the impression that these people were distinct and separate from the Indians, but he had been compelled by the force of facts to relinquish the theory. It was improper to talk about these people as mysterious, for they were no more mysterious than the Shawnees, the Natchez, the Tensas, and other tribes. The cloth found in their works was like that made by every tribe from the Lakes to the Gulf, even less fine than some, and their pottery was no better. In short, the speaker said, in his judgment, the mound-builders were the ancestors of the Indians.

 

M. Trouvé's Electric Canoe.—"La Nature" gives the details of a series of experiments made upon the Seine, at Paris, in the latter days of May, with the electric canoe and motor invented by M. G. Trouvé. The motor is composed of an improved Siemens coil, which acts through a Vaucasson chain and a Galle chain upon a three-bladed screw fitted into an opening cut out of the rudder to receive it. It is fixed to the upper part of the rudder, so that it, as well as the screw, follows all its movements. The motor employed in the experiments was composed of two coils, and, with its accessories, did not weigh more than five kilogrammes (twelve and a half pounds). It was placed in the stern of a canoe, the Telephone, which measured seventeen feet ten inches by three feet ten inches, and weighed one hundred and eighty pounds. Two cup batteries of bichromate of potassa, composed of six elements each, and weighing together sixty pounds, were placed in the middle of the canoe. They were connected with the motors by two cords, which served at the same time as envelopes for the conducting wires and as tiller-ropes, and which were furnished with appurtenances for applying or shutting off the current at will. The motor is independent, and can be applied to any boat. The first experiments were made on the 26th of May, when the boat was worked for about forty-five minutes by M. Trouvé and M. Tissandier, in the afternoon, and by M. Trouvé and others for about the same time in the evening. A third experiment was made on the 31st of May, in the presence of M. G. Berger, commissioner-general of the Universal Electrical Exposition, M. A. Breguet, of the "Revue Scientifique," M. Hospitalier, M. Fricéro, of the Russian navy, and others. The Telephone, with three persons in it, easily went up the Seine six times for a distance of two hundred metres, or six hundred and fifty feet, at the rate of one metre in a second, and descended at the rate of two and a half metres in a second. Other experiments were made on the 2d of June, in presence of the Russian Admiral Likhatchof and a number of spectators interested in science or navigation. These experiments recall a similar attempt made on the Neva in 1839, by Jacobi. He used on the occasion two Grove batteries, each composed of sixty-four couples of zinc and platinum, and presenting a surface of sixteen square feet. The boat, propelled by paddle-wheels, and earning twelve persons, sailed upon the river for several hours against the current, and in spite of a violent wind; but the operators were greatly inconvenienced by the nitrous gas, which escaped in great quantities, and the spectators on the banks were obliged, by the suffocating fumes, to leave the place. Electric navigation may be considered to have originated with this experiment.

 

The Kafirs of Kafiristan.—The Kafirs, who inhabit the country called Kafiristan, which lies south and southeast of the Hindoo-Koosh Mountains, are so called by their Mohammedan neighbors after a term signifying unbeliever, because they are not of the Mohammedan faith. They are an Aryan people of unknown origin and history, divided into a number of tribes speaking as many tongues; they are ethnically distinct from any of their neighbors; their religion is pagan, but neither Hindoo nor Buddhist, and they are in constant hostility with the Mohammedans. Possibly they represent the Aryan race in the nearest to the primitive state in which it can now be found. They have never been visited by a European. Colonel H. C. Tanner, who has furnished an account of them to the Royal Geographical Society, has been nearer to them than any other Englishman, having been invited by influential Kafirs to visit the country as their guest, but he was prevented by sickness from getting any farther than the country of the Chugáni, a Kafir tribe who have embraced Mohammedanism, living on the borders of Kafiristan. The Chugáni live in the highest habitable parts of the Kund range. They are of the Suni faith, and are the only Mohammedans in the region who allow their women European freedom. One of the principal towns is Aret, a village of six hundred houses, which are built on the face of a very steep slope, and arranged in terraces one above the other. The view from below presents a vast amphitheatre of carvings, with which the wood-work of the houses is covered. Inside, the furniture consists of cots (kát), stools (stá), and earthen vessels with Grecian looking ears, cheese-making utensils, and agricultural implements—wooden shovels, rakes, etc.—stuck between the blackened rafters; and the impression on the whole is one of superiority to most Indian habitations. The burial-places are scattered among the rocks in any spots not too steep for them, and the graves are built with stones and covered with slabs, so that the bodies shall not come in contact with the earth. Highly ornamented and fantastically carved posts stand at the head and foot of the graves. The posts of a new grave were painted red and adorned with pegs, representing the number of enemies the deceased had killed during his lifetime. The Sanu Kafirs are a merry people, fond of dancing, music, and wine, who shake hands in the English fashion. Their religion is simple. Men call on the gods for aid in battle, and pay offerings to them if successful in the fight, storing the offerings in the temples, some of which contain the accumulations of hundreds of years. They do not bury their dead, but place them in wooden coffins and stow them away in caves in the mountains. The country probably contains interesting antiquities, for stones are told of with ancient writing engraved upon them; ruins exist at Islámabad and at Bimbakot, the reputed capital of the Hindoo Bim Raja; and the petrified remains of Noah's Ark are said to rest on the shores of a lake on the summit of Kund, while the legendary tomb of Lamech, Noah's father, is in the plain below, and the name of Noah seems to be very common. Colonel Tanner found an exact representation of a Kafir knife in one of the topes, and dug up a number of small, well executed pictures from the life of Buddha, in limestone, at the same place.

 

The Coal Production of the World.—Professor von Neumann, of Vienna, estimates, in his "Review of the Production, Traffic, and Commerce of the World's Economy," that the annual product of coal in the whole world increased from 136,000,000 tons in 1860 to 294,000,000 tons in 1877. Great Britain was the leading producer, during the whole period, and returned an output of 137,000,000 tons in 1878. The United States, which stands next, returned 55,200,000 tons in 1877. Germany, France, Belgium, and Austro-Hungary follow in their order. The drain upon the earth's stock of coal has hardly begun yet. The known fields of China, still almost unbroken, are supposed to have an area of 200,000 square miles; those of the United States of 193,870; the East Indian fields of 35,000; the British fields of 9,000; Germany, France, and Belgium have small fields; one field in Russia covers 13,600 square miles; Japan has coal-fields in fifteen of its thirty-eight provinces; Australia has excellent coal to supply the lands of the Pacific. Great Britain consumes coal at the rate of 3·6, the United States of 106, Germany of 1·1, France of-0·64, Belgium of 1·96, Austro-Hungary of 0·33 ton per inhabitant. In England about one third of the coal is used in the manufacture of iron and steel, more than one fifth in the large industries, more than one sixth for domestic purposes, and the rest is consumed by gas-works, water-works, mines, railways, and steamers. In France, the metallurgical, industrial, and gas works consume 72 per cent., the household 13 per cent., the transporting industries 10 per cent., and the mines 4 per cent, of the whole amount. The coal-mines of the world employ about 1,100,000 men, viz., 514,500 men in England, 210,000 in Germany, 97,000 in France, 101,000 in Belgium, more than 100,000 in the United States, and 63,000 in Austro-Hungary.

 

Intellectual Condition of the Savage Negro.—M. de Rouvre gives, in the "Bulletin de la Société de Géographie," a darkly-colored view of the mental and moral capacity of the negroes of southern Guinea. The black, he says, has no initiative, and is completely destitute of metaphysical conception and abstract ideas. The seat of the intellectual functions appears to be paralyzed or atrophied; the comprehension is inert. He receives no impression of the beautiful, of the grand; feels no love, no other passion than the bestial instinct; knows no distinction between good and evil, except that which is imposed by the fear of punishment. Therefore, he experiences no satisfaction over a good deed, no remorse over a wicked one. His enjoyments lie in eating, drinking, and sleeping. He has no conception of property beyond that of an infant that prizes what it has without thinking of its real value, and has no scruples against taking what is another's if the notion strikes it. The black, from sheer unintelligence, is unmoved by the sight of our machines. The crew of M. de Rouvre's pirogue, when he visited the frigate Bellona, were taken through the ship and shown it by a quartermaster, but paid more attention to the biscuit and rum that were offered them than to any feature of the vessel or its equipment. M. de Rouvre showed some of them a photograph of a friend who had a long beard and with whom they were well acquainted; they remarked, after looking at it in every aspect, "You have a very pretty wife in Europe." As a rule, when anything is shown them, they look at the person who points it out rather than at the object, try to divine what he thinks about it, and repeat that. It is impossible to convince them that anything can be different from what it is; but they regard everything with a mixture of superstition, incapacity, and perversity. They have never thought of digging wells in their towns in time of drought, though they suffer greatly from the want of water, and have often seen how the Europeans provide it in their factories. Some of them have visited Europe, without having received any permanent improvement. One young man went to Paris and learned to speak French and dress in the European style, but resumed his natural life as soon as he returned home, reserving only a kind of varnish to cover the duplicity with which an incomplete education had endowed him. All the traces that were left of his education were an increased power of discovering what was really wicked, and of putting what he had learned to the service of his unrestrained instincts.

 

Action of the Different Rays of the Spectrum.—Assuming that the rays of the spectrum vary simply by their wavelength, or quantitatively, M. Lermantoff, of St. Petersburg, believes it probable that their mode of action on bodies is really the same. The dark heat-rays produce a sensible heating of the entire body; but each superficial molecule that receives directly the energy of the ray is heated much more than the rest of the body, and communicates its excess of heat by conductivity. The luminous and ultra-violet rays produce a similar effect; but the motion which they communicate to the molecules is distinguished by greater velocity, corresponding to a higher temperature. Such an hypothesis of molecular heating is sufficient to explain most of the effects produced by light on bodies. The incandescence of the superficial molecules, under the influence of the most refrangible rays emanating from a source at high temperature, must persist for a finite time after the cessation of the action of light. In this, perhaps, lies the direct explanation of the phosphorescence of short duration which M. Ed. Becquerel has observed in nearly all solid bodies. Fluorescence is also explained by the same hypothesis, if we regard it as a phosphorescence of short duration sufficiently intense to be seen during the action of the light. In general, moderate elevation of temperature favors the reactions of combination, while in the highest temperatures all known combinations undergo dissociation or decomposition. Thus, according to M. Lermantoff s hypothesis, the less refrangible parts of the spectrum should produce principally reactions of combination, and the more refrangible parts decompositions. This is precisely what M. Chastaing has proved for the particular case of oxidations.

 

Metallic Anti-Resonators.—It is known that resonances in public halls can be modified or prevented by stretching wires across the ceilings; and the principle has been rudely applied in a number of instances with fairly satisfactory results. Mr. A. C. Engler, of London, has invented a plan for a systematic arrangement of steel plates, or wires, which promises to accomplish the object more completely. The effect of the plates is to take up the most gentle vibrations and greatly to increase the speed of transmission. Wires have a similar property, and are more convenient. In the most advantageous application of Mr. Engler's invention, one or more layers of steel wires are stretched along the length of the room, a few feet below the ceiling, connected by cross-wires and spiral springs, and properly tuned, so that the vibration may be absorbed and conveyed from one wire to another, and instantaneously spread over the whole building; and the words of the speaker or the notes of the singer are so accelerated that they reach the audience about fifteen times more quickly than under ordinary arrangements. The effect is improved and the tone enriched by using steel plates. The system has been applied—imperfectly, for the wires had to stop short of the wall at one end in a lecture-room at the South Kensington Museum of notoriously bad acoustic properties. Twenty-eight lengths of steel wire were stretched across a distance of sixty feet, and connected at the end by steel-wire springs. Above them were three other steel wires, connected with the lower group, so as to form a perfect network of wires. The effect was a complete distribution of the sound, so that a speaker at the lecturer's table could be heard distinctly in any part of the theatre, and all the acoustic defects of the hall were considerably mitigated.

 

Decline of Country Population in England.—The returns of the new English census show that the growth of the towns at the expense of the rural villages and the agricultural districts, which has been remarked in previous censuses, still continues; and it is not certain that the process of depletion of the country is not progressive. The younger people are leaving their rural homes so rapidly that in some parts of the kingdom the difference is sufficient to strike even casual travelers. The causes of the decline of the agricultural population are supposed to be attributable partly to the increasing use of machinery, which reduces the demand for hands; partly to reduction of wages; but chiefly to an increase in the dislike for agricultural labor under existing conditions. The towns offer better pay, more steady employment, better protection from the weather, and more hope of reaching an improved condition, than the farms; and work in towns, if it is hard, is more lively and gregarious than agricultural labor. The remedy suggested for the evil, if one is to be applied, is peasant proprietorship, under which the man who works may, as on the Continent and in the United States, feel that he is laboring for himself.

 

The English Mile.—M. Faye has explained why it takes sixty-nine and a half English miles to make a degree instead of sixty, as was probably intended when the mile was established. The English geographers deduced their mile from Ptolemy, and Ptolemy refers to Eratosthenes. Eratosthenes measured the arc of the meridian on the basis of the distance between Syene and Alexandria, in Egypt, which gave seven hundred stadia to the degree. Ptolemy says that he verified the measurements of Eratosthenes, and found the same result, which he gives, however, as five hundred stadia to the degree. The discrepancy arises from a change which took place in the standard of the foot—of which six hundred went to the stadium—during the four hundred years between Eratosthenes and Ptolemy. Eratosthenes used the ancient Egyptian foot, which is shorter than ours, while Ptolemy used the Phileterian foot, which is longer than ours. Making allowance for this difference, the two measurements agree. The English geographers, in making their calculation, believed that Ptolemy had used still another foot, the Greek foot, which is one and a half hundredths longer than ours, but shorter than the one he did actually use. If the English geographers of the sixteenth century had strained this valuation ever so little, and had carried it to five one-hundredths, they would have found 630 English feet for the stadium, which they believed to be 600 Greek feet, and these 630 feet, or 210 yards, multiplied by 500, would give them 105,000 yards for the degree, and exactly 1,760 yards for the mile.

 

The International Electrical Exhibition.—The International Exhibition of Electricity at Paris was satisfactorily opened August 11th, though the preparations still lacked something of being completed. The exhibition represents, in two distinct divisions—first, appliances of electric lighting; and, second, the other applications of electricity. In the second division, England and Germany have the first places on the left of the entrance, with one thousand square metres of space each; after them follow, in order of the size of their exhibits, Belgium, America, Austro-Hungary, Russia, Sweden and Norway, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, and Denmark. Japan exhibits a table of porcelain vases and jars of lacquered stuff for insulators. The French exhibits are on the right, and in the center of the palace is an electric lighthouse, surrounded by a basin, in which a boat propelled by electricity moves around. The twenty-eight rooms of the first floor are each lighted by a different system of electric lighting. One room, lighted by the sunlamp, contains pictures and works of art to show the application of electricity to the lighting of museums. Another room is a completely furnished theatre, lighted by the Werdemann system. Two other rooms, furnished as a suite, contain the applications of electricity to domestic and social life. In the next rooms electrical playthings are collected, and in the rooms adjoining are telephones, by means of which visitors are brought within hearing of the Opera and the Théâtre Français. Other rooms are devoted to electropathy, electric photography, testing instruments, a retrospective exhibition of historical apparatus, and, lastly, Mr. Edison's inventions. Visitors are brought from the Place de la Concorde to the door of the exhibition on an electric tramway, and a little electric railway for the transmission of letters and telegrams traverses the south gallery.

 

Propagating Sponges by Cuttings.—The Austrian Government has made some successful experiments in the propagation of sponges from cuttings in the Adriatic Sea, accounts of which have been published by Dr. Emil von Marenzeller, in the "Transactions of the Zoölogical-Botanical Society of Vienna." The most suitable season for undertaking the propagation is the winter; for, although the growth of the sponges and the healing of the cut surfaces takes place more slowly then than in the summer, the sponges are much less liable to be spoiled by putrefaction. The suitableness of a spot for the cultivation is surely indicated by the freshness and liveliness of the marine algae growing in it. It demands a bay sheltered from strong waves and currents, but not quite still, a rocky bottom, clothed with living alga?, and a moderate ebb and flow of the tide. In all cases the neighborhood of the mouths of brooks, rivers, and subterranean springs, must be avoided. The worst enemy of sponge-culture is mud. The sponges chosen for cutting must be gathered by experienced hands, with all possible gentleness, so as to avoid tearing them. They should be cut up rapidly, with a common knife, or, better, a saw-like blade, being laid for the purpose on a smooth wooden board, moistened with sea-water, into pieces of about one cubic inch each; and it is well that each cutting should have the greatest possible area of uninjured outer skin. A healthy piece of sponge firmly attaches itself to any surface with which it comes into intimate contact, in a short time. Preference is given to stone as a foundation, because it is the natural ground and is not attacked by the teredo, which seems to be a dangerous enemy to the culture. The Austrian culturists generally attached their cuttings by pegs to a kind of wooden apparatus, taking care to avoid lacerating the sponge, and forcing and squeezing, which cause a loss of sarcode, and metals, which cause rot, and sink it into the water. Too much light and too little light must be avoided; the sponges must be kept constantly moist with seawater during the preparation, especially in warm weather; and all wood-work must be tarred, to delay {for it does not prevent) the ravages of the pile-worm. If the cuttings hold fast after three or four weeks, the propagation is regarded as secure. A characteristic feature is the tendency of the cuttings to assume a round form, and the apparatus for planting them is shaped to promote this. The period of growth varies considerably, but generally a term of seven years is required to produce a marketable and profitable article. The question whether this mode of cultivation is profitable appears to have two sides. Dr. Marenzeller considers it doubtful whether it is advantageous to cut in pieces a sponge which, uncut, would have more quickly reached the same size and height as the collective cuttings, and thinks that attention may be better directed to the development of ill-shaped ones into good-shaped ones.

 

Experiments in Vision.—MM.Macé and Nicati have found that persons with normal vision, when looking at the solar spectrum, form considerably different estimates of the distribution of light in it. They have since experimented with four Daltonians, or color-blind persons, and observed that in three of them the vision of red was very feeble, that of yellow was normal, and that of green appeared to be even sharper than in normal-eyed persons, while in the fourth the conditions were reversed. Between Daltonians who could not perceive red, differences were noticed in the powers of vision of blue and violet, similar to those met in normal eyes. M. Charpentier has experimented by looking in darkness at an opaque screen perforated by a number of minute holes, which were distinguishable in a moderate light, and learned that a very faint light merely produces a diffuse luminous sensation; a greater quantity of light gives the notion of color, if color is present; and a still greater quantity is required to produce the perception of form.

 

The Interstellar Ether.—Professor T. Sterry Hunt, at the recent meeting of the American Association, explained his peculiar views of the nature of the interstellar ether. Having referred to the theories of different philosophers respecting the extent of the earth's atmosphere and the nature of the ethereal fluid, he said that processes have been going on from the earliest ages which have absorbed and evolved enormous quantities of gases. For instance, in the manufacture of the limestone rocks of the earth alone over two hundred times the amount of the carbonic dioxide now in our atmosphere have been consumed. This must have been borrowed from space. Professor Hunt then discussed the probability of a chemically compound ether, exceedingly attenuated, existing in the interstellar space, and pervading the universe just as the atmosphere surrounds the earth.

 

Vaccination for the Anthrax.—After a long series of experiments M. Pasteur has found a method of attenuating the virus of the carbuncle, or anthrax, of cattle and sheep, and of vaccinating animals with it so as to give them an effective protection against the disease. The sufficiency of the remedy was attested by inoculating with the active virus sixteen sheep, taken as they came from the flock, and nineteen sheep which had been previously vaccinated. Three days afterward fifteen of the sixteen unvaccinated sheep were dead, while the nineteen vaccinated ones were perfectly healthy. M. Toussaint has discovered that a female animal which has been inoculated for this disease transmits her immunity to her offspring, and that equally well whether the inoculation was made before conception or afterward.