Popular Science Monthly/Volume 28/January 1886/Popular Miscellany

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Popular Science Monthly Volume 28 January 1886  (1886) 
Popular Miscellany
 

POPULAR MISCELLANY.

Prehistoric Human Remains in Mexico.—Mariano de la Barcena describes in the "American Naturalist" some human remains that have been found in the hill Peñon de los Baños, near the city of Mexico, imbedded in a hard rock of silicified calcareous tufa. The cranium, with the upper and lower maxillæ and fragments of the collar-bone, vertebræ, ribs, and bones from the upper and lower limbs, are exposed, and present a yellowish appearance and the characteristic aspects of fossilization. No other fossils occur in the hill, and the age of the formation can only be estimated. The bed has evidently suffered upheaval since the bones were deposited in it, and their disordered condition is accounted for by this fact. Two facts seem at once to show that, even supposing it to be of the present age, it must be of remote antiquity. They are, the elevation of the ground above the actual level of Lake Tezcuco, and the remarkable hardness of the rock, which is different from that of the other calcareous rocks that contain remains of ceramics or roots of plants clearly modern. The stratigraphical and lithological characteristics of the ground indicate that the formation belongs to the Upper Quaternary, or at least to the base of the present geological age. Forests of the Paeiflr RfKlon.— Accord- ing to our census report, the forests of the racitic region owe their den>ity and position to the character of the raiiifiiU, which is Ijcavier on the uortliern part of that coai^t tiian anywhere else in the United States; afid their general distribution and density follow the distribution and amount of the rainfall, diminishing as we go southward into drier climates. The forests of this re- gion arc: the Northern forest, from the seventieth to the fifty-eighth degree of lati- tude, composed principally of white spruce and species allied to but not identical with the canoe-birch and balsam-fir of the At- lantic coast; the Coast forest, extending in a narrow strip from the sixtieth to the fifti- eth parallel, and thence along the summit of the Sierra Nevada, almost to the Mexican lino, composed of a few coniferous species, among which are the Alaska cedar, the tidc- land-spruce, the hemlock, and the red fir. Its important feature \s the red-wood belt, whose heaviest growth is found north of the Bay of San Francisco, and which contains more wood than any other forest of similar extent. The forest of the western slope of the .'^icrra Nevada, extending from the base of Mount Shasta to the thirty-fifth parallel, is next in density, is from four thousand to eight thousand feet above the sea, and is characterized by the great sugar-pine. The forest of the Valleys is composed of scat- tered oaks; and the Interior forest, from the Sierra to the Rocky Mountains, is of in- ferior importance.

Dow Milk is taintrd.—According to the "Live-Stock Journal," milk is most liable to be hurt by the ab.'iorption of odors when it is colder than the surrounding air. For when it is wanner, the air, warmed by the contact with it, expands, with an increased capacity for absorbing gases and moisture, and rises, carrying such odors as it may have collected along with it. Thus, cold air, though it be not wholly pure, docs not contaminate milk, but tends to purify it Milk will not become contaminated, even in the stable, so long as it is warmer than the surrounding air. The question how stable- odors get into milk is answered by the statement that they are acquired from the breath of the cow. The animal can not

avoid taking in these odors, and upon en- tering the lungs they are forced at once into the circulation. The blood becomes charged with them, and the nnlk, which nerves aa a means of unloading the blood of its impuri- ties as well as of its nutriment, also becomes loaded with them intensified.

Individnal Enterprise in Srientiflr Re- search.—While ditfcrent governments have equipped large expeditions and spent con- siderable sums of money to assist deep-sea dredging expeditions, a similar work has been going on in Switzerland, which has no marine and not a very plethoric treasury, by individual effort, in the study of life ia the depths of the lakes. The brunt of the labor has been performed by Dr. F. A. Forel, of Morgues, Professor of Comparative Anat- omy in the Academy of Lausanne, who is at home in nearly all the sciences, a man in the vigor of his age, very active and very enter- prising, and acfpiaiuted with Lake Leman to its very bottom and in all its moods. Ho has published a considerable number of memoirs respecting his explorations, and the lessons in biology and the theory of de- velopment which they suggest, of which he takes the broadest views, and to which he has given thorough examination. His prin- cipal collaborator in the zoological field ia Dr. Du Ples5is, Professor of Zoology in the Academy, who has been for twelve years engaged in the determination of genera and species, and has prepared a critical table of the species constituting the deep- zone fauna. Dr. Forel has personally made soundings and examinations, besides Lake Leman, in the Lakes of Annecy, Morat, Neufchitel, Zurich, and Constance. Profess- or Pavesi, of the University of Pa via, has explored the lakes of the canton of Tcssin and Northern Italy. Dr. Asper, of the Uni- versity of Ziirich, has dredged in the lakea of Zurich, Wallcnstadt, Egeri, Zug, the Lake of the Four Cantons, Lugano, Como, KliJnthal, Silsc, and Silvaplana. Some of these lakes are situated high upon the Alps, and are consequently of interest in the study of the vertical distribution of species. Dr. Imhof, of Ziirich, has also examined several lakes, and conteni|)latcs extending his studies over a considerable geographical area. August Weisaman, of Fribourg-in- Brisgau, has also published some works on the inhabitants of the Lake of Constance.

Fanllf - Schools of noa$ekeepin<!:.—A

writer in the "Pall Mall Gazette" who has herself been trained in that waj* proposes, as a means of putting an end to the troubles about poor servants and bad housekeeping, that the German plan be adopted of send- ing eveiT young girl after she has finished her school education, and before she is "out," to learn housekeeping. This every girl in Germany docs, be she the daughter of no- bleman, ofiicer, or small official. She goes direct from school into a family correspond- ing with her station in life. Those who are rich go where they are paid highly, and are in " good family," so that they arc enabled to live well and have good cooking and great variety. No one is taken into one of these establishments for less than a year, so that every month a new branch is learned—one month the preserving of fruit in season, the next laying-in of apples and vegetables for winter use, preserving of eggs and butter, etc. These girls are taught everything, from washing up dishes, sweeping and polishing the floors, clear-starching and ironing, dust- ing and cleaning ornaments, cooking, lay- ing the table, waiting, polishing the silver and glass np, to decorating the table with flowers and fruit. Great is the ambition of the pupil to hear that her taste and man- agement arc the best. Combined with these duties are those of keeping the household linen in repair and learning plain sewing. Thus the young girl gets experience in house- hold affairs. Though the pupils have to learn everything, servants are kept in these establishments, and in their turn are taught by the advanced pupils, who have learned from the mother of the family. This ac- ' counts for the excellent housekeeping in Germany, where comfort is combined with economy and the pleasure of having eveiy- i thing precise and clean. The labors of the day are over at midday, that being the din-; ner-time, when everybody is at liberty for! study, needlework, or amusement till time for preparing for supper. There are many I families in England who can not afford to keep servants enough to do well all that has to be done. In these families they have to \ train servants, not being able to afford to |

keep trained ones. Why not, in these cases, train young ladies (who would also be com- panions to the daughters)? They might pay something for the instruction, and so put something into the teachers' pocket, while they would also work for her, and at the same time reap informction, which they could again impart, and so train good serv- ants, who are at present so hard to get. Mis- tresses are unable to teach, never having been taught themselves. Thus they are de- pendent on servants; for when they find fault they are unable, either in cooking or other matters, to point out the mistake or show the correct way. Servants, knowing this fact, arc independent and rule the house, and the "mistresses" must submit. The Ger- man system of living with a family and learn- ing by experience how to manage a house is far better than either cooking-schools or lectures on the subject, as a greater variety of things are learned, and they are done in a more refined and economical way.

"Rages " in Surgery.—A part of the Presidential address of M. Yerneuil at the recent meeting of the French Association consisted in a spirited and somewhat sar- castic protest against the prevalence of fash- ions, or " rages," as they are colloquially termed, in surgery. When he began his career, tenotomy was the rage, and tendons, ligaments, and muscles were divided subcu- taneously in all parts of the bod\'. A little later "resecomania" flourished, especially in Germany and England, so that some sur- geons reckoned their resections by the hun- dred. Nowadays, when a specialist intro- duces an operation all specialists follow suit, but with a variation in the shape of the new instrument, so that, " if a museum of operat- ive medicine were founded, immense cases would be necessary to exhibit all the litho- tomes, urethrotomes, hysterotomcs, and other ' tomes,' comprising small unnamed instru- ments, intended, I believe, to divide stric- tures of the nasal duct—strictures which, be it said without bitterness, hardly ever exist, or are in places where they have no need of being divided when they do exist." Gyna?cology and ophthalmology compete for honors in this department, and the palm must be given to the former, for, apart from cauterizations, etc., of the cenix, it has given rise to an Emmet's operation, Battcy's or Ilegar's operation, aa Alexauder's opera- tion, etc. The reviews and journals speak of them and juaisc them, so that a gyna;- cologist who Las no "cases" to produce is little thought of. In the same strain M. Vemcuil criliei.-<ed other measures recently in vogue, and hinted tliat most of them would in process of time become as disre- garded as the once prevailing fashion of an iridectomy prtliiiiinary to cataract extrac- tion. Much had been made of late years, he said, of extirpations of the lar)nx, of the pharynx, of the stomach, of the uterus, of the kidneys, etc., and he asked, " How many patients have been cured thereby? How many have derived any bouelit whatever from those terrible undertakings? Barely tea per cent For these I admit that the opei-ation has been of service, but for the ninety othci-s can its abuse be denied? Giv- en a hundred cases of disease," he added, " at a certain period one half are operated upon; twenty years later not more than one fourth are submitted to operation. If the results of tlie two series are e([ually successful, I conclude that, of fifty of the operations in the first scries, twenty-live at least were su- perfluous,"

Mediaeval EniifllsU Law.—A collection of records of English criminal cases of a. d. 1221 has recently been published, in which may be found numerous illustrations of the condition and peculiarities of the law of the period. In a case where the persons charged with a triple murder had fled and could not be held, it was recorded that "Englishry was not proved, therefore there are three fines." This refers to a rule made by the Con(jucror, fur the protection of his follow, ers, that the hundred or township in which a foreigner was slain should be fined if the slayer was not produced. On the strength of this, the lawyers invented a tradition that every one should be con.-idcred a foreigner till it could be proved that he was an English- man; and they took care that this should not be an easy thing to prove. In Glouces- tershire, where these trials took place, three witnesses had to be produced, two on the father's and one on the mother's side. No woman's testimony was admitted. Conse- quently, in a great many cases, where prob-

ably there was no reason to believe the victim to have been a foreigner, " Englishry was not proved," and the death-fine was exacted. Prisoners not caught in the com- mission of the offense seem to have had the privilege of declining to be tried, when they enjoyed the possibility of escaping punishment. One John do la Mare, who had killed a miller with a stone, refused to be tried by a jury, saying he had been in the war with King John, and had done harm to many people. He w as not produced when he was wanted, and his securities were fined half a mark apiece. A father and son, suspected of murdering a person who had been their guest, denied the charge, and refused to put themselves on their country. The jury, corresponding to our grand jury, however, declared that the son and his mother had committed the murder, and decided that the father should be re- leased on bail, while the others should be kept in prison. The records of the trials offer several instances of the old custom of levying dcodands. Robert Sprenghose fell from his horse and was drowned. The val- ue of the horse, two marks, was assessed as dcodand. One Osbert fell from his horse and was drowned in the Severn; the horse had no value, and no dcodand could be as- sessed. " William 5Iiel fell down dead aa he drove the plough of Richard Sarg, his master, and Richard Witcpirie, who was with him and held the plough, fled in a fright; but he is not suspected by twelve jurors, who declare on their oath that this happened by maladventure, and that the man had the faliing-siekncss." The justices decreed: "If Richard returns, he is to be left in peace. The coroner has forty pence of the said Richard's chattels. These arc a deod-mcl, and are to go to the house of Llantony." The power of levj-ing deodands gave opportunities for abuse, which, with other o]>portunitie3 of a similar tendency, the sheriffs were not slow of improving to their own profit.

Salt Lakes of the Mnrghab Yalloy.— In the Murghab Valley, Afghanistan, are two lakes of solid salt, which Captain Yatc has ridden over and described. One, from which the Tekkc-Turkomans of Merv get their supplies of salt, is in a valley about six miles square, which is surrounded by a steep, almost precipitous descent, inipatisablc for baggage-animals except by a single road. The bed of the lake, which is about four- teen hundred and thirty feet above the sea, is one solid mass of hard salt, perfectly level, and covered by only an inch or two of water. To ride over it was like riding over ice or cement. The bottom was covered with a slight sediment, but, when that was scraped away, the pure white salt shone out below. No one has ever got to the bottom of the deposit. The second lake is the one from which the Saryks of Penjdeh take their salt, and is about eight hundred feet above the sea. The salt in this lake is not so smooth as in the other one, and does not look so pure. It is dug out in flakes or strata, generally of some four inches in thickness, and is loaded into bags and carried off for Side without further preparation.

Prodnetlon of Beet-Sngar in Germany.

— The consular reports to our Department of State show that the beet-sugar industry in Germany has made great progress during the last twelve years. The exportation of this sugar only began in 1S60, but it has been fostered by the Government through the grant of drawbacks that really amount- ed to bounties till it has undergone a remarkable development. In Pomerania, while in 1871-'72, 38,000 tons of beets were manufactured into 3,000 tons of sugar, in 1832-'83, 7,700 tons of sugar were obtained from 84,000 tons of beets. It is estimated that there are now 523,000 acres of land nnder beet-cultivation in Germany; and it appears that there were, during the year 1882-'83, 358 factories in operation, as com- pared with 343 in the previous year, and that they produced 835,164 tons of raw sugar, against 599,722 tons in 1881'-82. The taxes paid by the industry amounted to $35,000,000 as compared with $25,085,000. It is expected that for 1883-84 there will be found an increase of at least fifteen new factories over those in operation in 1882-'83. As compared with the year 1871-'72, in that year 2,251,000 tons of beets were used to produce 186,412 tons of sugar, while in 1882-'83, 8,747,000 tons of beets were used, producing 835,164 tons of sugar. The quantity of beet-root used to produce a

pound of sugar has diminished, under in- creased skill in the manufacture, from about twelve pounds to a fraction over ten pounds.

The Uarmony of Colors.—M. Chevreul, the chemist, although in his hundredth year, is not too old to discuss the interesting ques- tion of bonnets and millinciy. A black bon- net, he says, with white, pink, cr red feath- ers or flowers, suits a fair complexion. A dead white hat is only suitable for florid complexions, whether blondes or brunettes. Gauze crape or tulle bonnets suit all com- plexions. A white bonnet for a blonde should have white or pink flowers; blue is still better. Brunettes should avoid blue, and rather choose red, pink, or orange. Light blue bonnets are especially suitable for fair persons. They may be trimmed with white flowers, or ev«n yellow or orange, but not pink or violet. For dark per.«on8 who venture to wear a blue bonnet, yellow or orange is indispensable. A green bon- net sets off" a pale or slightly colored com- plexion. A pink bonnet should not be too near the face, but should be separated by the hair, or by a white or green inside trim- ming, the latter color especially. "White flowers, with an abundance of leaves, pro- duce a good effect on pink. A dark-red bonnet is only suitable for persons with a highly colored complexion. Avoid yellow or orange bonnets. Violet is not to be rec- ommended unless separated from the face, not only by the hair but by yellow acces- sories also.

Estimating the Age of Trees.—Mr.

John T. Campbell, of Rockville, Indiana, records in the "American Naturalist" some of the results of his observations on the age of forest-trees as determined by their rings of growth. He regards the rings as capable, when correctly interpreted, of giv- ing the true history of the tree, and show- ing the dates of prosperity and adversity in its career. The amount of growth between the rings is not determined by the character of the particular season in which each year's growth is made, as is generally believed, but by other conditions, such as the provision of top and branches and the presence or absence of rival trees competing with it for air, light, and moisture. He found stumps of trees of the same species, the same size, and preaumahly the same age, standing within twenty feet of each other, on the same kind of sjoil, cut down the same year, and, so far as he could judge, subject to the same conditions throughout, " one showing a large ring where its neighbor would show only an average one, and in some lew cases they showed the opposite." While he can not account for the spasmodic production of single rings of large or small growth, interspersed here and there among those of average size, he haa been able to trace suc- cessions of large or small rings to some plausible cau.-e. In making some surveys, he had had occasion to refer to two trees which had been marked in the Government surveys of fifty years before, as "witness- trees," to aid in identifying comers. Both were described in the field-notes of those sur- veys as ash-trees three inches in diameter. One had grown to be eighteen inches in diameter; while the other had added only a half inch to that dimension, but the re- quired rings of growth could be plainly seen under the glass. The former tree had had a good soil on level ground, while all of its adult rivals had been blown down by a tornado which had passed over the spot. The latter tree " stood in dissolved sand- stone for soil, on the top of a narrow ridTc, between three large oaks, which robbed it of sunlight and rain, and nearly all the soil nourishment. It had but five or six small branches for a top, and but few leaves to a branch; under such conditions it did well even to exist." Mr. Campbell read the history of two oaks as it was revealed to him by the rings and the configuration of the ground. One sprouted from the seed in 1502; the other, twenty feet distant from it, in 1694, or ninety-two years afterward. "In 1731 a tornado from the northwest blew down a still older oak, which in its fall struck against and greatly damaged the top of the one bom in l.')02." The t'vo younger trees had been freshly cut down when the author examined them. ' Tiieir stumps were about four feet across, and there was not over an inch difference between their diameters, though ninety-two years difference in their ages. The younger had a large, healthy top, no broken or dead limbs, and it had put on rings of growth

from the beginning of more than average size. The older one had been injured io its branches by the fall of the still older tree before mentioned (in 1731), and for fifty-seven years had put on very small rings of growth, . . . when a new set of branches developed to take the place of the damaged ones, and the rings began to in- crease in size and gradually attained to the average. 1 examined their top.s, which co- incided with what has gone before. There were the peculiar knots in the top of the older one where dead limbs had rotted ofif and were healed over. During this delay ' the younger oak caught up with the older j one in size. The size of a tree is a very uncertain indication of its age." Mr. Camp- bell examined one tree that was six hundred years old, and learned from it that " at the age of about two hundred years it had some ill fortune which caused it to form about one hundred small rings. It then re- gained its health and formed normal rings for about one hundred and forty years, whea another mishap caused small rings till with- in the last fifty years, when it was putting on fair growths again."

rses and IVatarc of Physiological Ex- periment.— Dr. H. Newell-Martin has replied to an accusation made against him in the London " Zoophilist," of practicing cmelty in his physiological experiments on living animals. First, he responds to the charge that the experiments are useless, saying: "Every one is aware that in very many cases severe fevers result in death. It is well known to most medical men that most such deaths arc due to failure of the heart. This failure is caused by too rapid beat, the organ not getting rest enough between its strokes for nourishment and repair. This quicker beat might be due to any of four or five possible causes. ... To ascertain which of them was mainly responsible for it, and thus throw light upon the proper means to be adopted to save life, was the object of my research; an object which, I am proud to say, I in large measure attained." In re- gard to the amount of pain inflicted in the experiments, his first endeavor was " to put out of action, (o kill, all parts of the body but the heart and lungs. These do not pos- sess consciousness, and are incapable of suf- fcrin^ pain when the brain is dead." In doing this " no pain whatever was inflicted, except, in some, tlie slight smarting due to hypodermic injection of morphine. Two ex- periments were performed under curare, a drug the power of which to destroy conscious- ness is still in doubt. . . . The reason for making these was that chloroform, ether, and morphine, act themselves on the heart; and, finally, to clinch the question as to the influence of hot blood on that organ, it was necessary to experiment on a heart which had not been exposed to possible alteration by the action of any one of them. In these cases pain was stopped as soon as possible by tying the carotid.-?, and this took three or four minutes. . . . If," Professor Martin adds, " the precise truth concerning every physiological experiment made in this coun- try be brought before the public imme- diately after its misrepresentation in any anti-vivisection journal, our science is safe. Truth can not hurt it. Publicity will swell the ranks of its students. Legislation im- peding our work need not be feared. Hu- man and animal disease and suffering will be diminished, life prolonged, and the world made better as well as happier, through our researches. If we fail to use every effort to protect and promote those researches, arc we not guilty toward our fellow-men and the lower animals dependent on us?"

Who shall try the Dynamiters?— In an article on " Dynamiting and Extra-Tcrrito- rial Crime," Mr. Francis Wharton, LL. D., has aimed to show that the prosecution of persons sending dynamite abroad for crimi- nal purposes belongs to the states from whose soil the dynamite is sent. Authorities on the law of nations agree in maintaining that when, in one sovereignty, overt acts are taken toward the commission of a crime in a foreign land, jurisdiction exists both in the place of preparation and in the place of exe- cution. A similar doctrine has been repeat- edly held in England, as growing out of the common law; and British courts have en- forced the obligation to punish persons, whether British subjects or foreigners so- journing in the country, who prepare in the United Kingdom attacks to be made in other countries. The same principle has been observed in the United States. The

particular question Mr. Wharton discusses is, whether, in such crimes as dynamiting, the jurisdiction should lie in the Federal courts or in those of individual States, The foreign country sees only the nation; but, within the nation, what entity should an- swer the responsibility? The General Gov- ernment has already taken cognizance of offenses of this class where sovereigns are concerned, as it might well do, by virtue of its functions in maintaining diplomatic in- tercourse with their courts. But to hold the same attitude with respect to common crimes against common persons, or the gen- eral public, would be to trespass upon the duties and prerogatives of the States. It would, moreover, tend to give those offenses and the measures taken against them a po- litical aspect, and to call in all the compli- cations of political feelings and prejudices. The question should be made to appear as a matter of social order, affecting the homes and lives of the whole community from which the jury to decide upon it is drawn. To make it a matter of national concern would at once divide the jury according to their national sympathies. " It would be otherwise, how- ever, when the question is, whether the law permits dynamiting, or whether it will stop dynamiting at the place where it is start- ed, which is the only place where it can be stopped."

Hindoo Cosmogony and Physics.—The

Rev. Sumangala, chief-priest at Adam's Peak, in Ceylon, has recently published an account of the opinions of Hindoo astrono- mers on the form and attraction of the earth. Bhaskara, who flourished in the twelfth century, thought that the terrestrial globe, composed of land, air, water, space, and fire, had a spherical form, and, sur- rounded by the planets and the orbits of the stars, maintained itself in space by its own power. This, he says, is in fact dem- onstrated. Lands, mountains, gardens, and houses cover the earth as pollen covers the flower of Kadamba, and serve as the homes of men, Kaksasas, Devas, and Asuras. He rejected the idea that the earth rested on anything else, for the obvious reason that, if another support were needed, there would be no end to the supplementary supports. Therefore we shall have to admit a final (Hiuilibrium Bomcwhcre; why not accc[)t it ftt once?" Is not the earth one of the forms of Siva? As heat occurs naturally in the sun and fire, cold in the moon, fluidity in water, and hardness in the stone, f>o mo- bility exists in the air. Every object has its own properties, and the properties implant- ed in some objects are wonderful." Bhas- kara believed that the earth, possessinp an attractive force, drew to itself everything heavy in the atmosphere surrounding it, whence those bodies fall to it. " But," he said, " how could the earth fall into the ethereal space, since that space is equal on all sides?"

Opposins; Views of Arctic Exploration.

— Admiral Bedford Piin, in a recent lecture on *' Arctic Exploration," related a conver- sation he had had with Secretary of War Lincoln, on the utility of the perilous ad- ventures undertaken for that purpose. The Secretary asked him, " What is the good of the journeys to those regions, and how can you defend the fearful loss of life, un- necessarily, as I think, thrown away?" The admiral, in reply, recalled the biblical command to replenish the earth and sub- due it, and a.-^ked: " IIow can we possi- bly do that if we are not even acquainted with its land and water? And then, with respect to the loss of life, more men have been slaughtered in one skirmish than have been lost in the polar expeditions for four hundred years; in point of fact, the per- centage of loss of life in the polar regions is less than in any other sea employment. Then, some of the best examples of seamen, both morally and physically, have been men trained in all the hardships and dangers and didiculties of the polar regions. I can conceive of no better school. . . . The spirit of enterprise is strongly encouraged by these expeditions. An<l, depend upon it, if we men are such arrant cowards, and so forget- ful of our duty, as to abandon research un- til somcljody's flag is planted on the north pole, the ladies will do it." Lieutenant Danenhower opposes further attempts to penetrate the polar area for the present. While nothing useful is to be attained there in the way of geographical discovery, it is well to weigh the comparative importance of invcsti^tion in that branch in other

parts of the world. British America has not been fully explored, though it possesses an area more than eight times that of the central polar region. Much work needs to be done in Central Africa, the Himalayas, New Guinea, and other partd of the world. For hydrographic research, it is not neces- sary to go to these regions, but the best field for operations lies below the eightieth parallel. As for the interests of meteor- ology, "there is no special reason for be- lieving that the meteorological phenomena of the central polar regions differ essen- tially from those observed near the borders, and the possible advantages to be gained would not alone justify further exploration." Neither is any gi-eat advantage to be gained for magnetic and auroral observations. The magnetic poles are known, and arc in or near already explored regions, and the most brilliant auroral phenomena are observed near them. In short, we know nearly as much on all these subjects, or can study them as well in the regions we have already opened, as we could learn by going to the pole. But "the time may come in the progress of civilization and advanced knowl- edge when the exploration of all the pres- ent unknown parts of the torrid and tem- perate zones shall have been completed, and it will then be the occasion to explore the ice-locked regions of the north pole "; and, " after having served with one Arctic expedition, and having devoted seven years to the study of the subject, ... I unhesi- tatingly record myself as opposed to further exploration of the central polar basin, with our present resources. The gradual exten- sion of obsenatory stations in the interest of meteorology', magnetism, and other scien- tific branches, should be made, but national support should not be given to another polar expedition."

Meteorology of the Congo.—^fr. A. von Danckelmann, a Gcrmnn meteorologist, has been making observations at Vivi, in the countr}- of the Congo, and reports some curi- ous results. During about a year that ho stayed there the barometrical column did not vary more than ten millimetres; even the passage of tornadoes seemed to produce no greater effect upon it. The year is di- vided into rainy and dry seasons. During the latter, from Mny to October, no rain falls, but the earth is occasioually moistened by the depositions from fogs. From Novem- ber to April heavy showers of short duration prevail, and the water falls, in portions, sometimes as high as one hundred and two millimetres—about four inches—in two hours. Long, fine rains arc unknown. The country is visited by cyclones, but, while storms passing to the north of the station turned the vane in a contrary direction to that of the hands of a watch, those passing it to the south turned it in a direction cor- responding with theirs. The natives burn the tall prairie-grass in the dry seasons, causing fires that last for a long time, and produce considerable meteorological effects. The air is constantly loaded with smoke, while cumulus clouds arc formed over the fires and emit lightning with thunder. One of the most remarkable meteorological phe- nomena of the region is the existence of a southwest wind, which, beginning at sunset, blows all night till sunrise with such force as to raise large and dangerous waves on the river.

An AlTeelionate Motlicr-Spider.—The

Clubiorics are minute, grayish-yellow spiders with a dark brown stripe along their back, which build their nests among growing oats, generally using two or three stalks. M. Ern- est ilenault, a French naturalist, looked into one of their nests and found there a great number of little eggs in various stages of development. The mother-spider was fright- ened and much excited on observing his proceedings, and endeavored vainly to col- lect her treasures again. From another nest M. Mcnault tore away the protecting web, but the diligent mother soon set herself to work spinning a patch to cover exactly the breach he had made. lie repeated the ex- periment several times, and the spider as often came to repair the mischief. Another spider, the Ij/rosn, gathers her eggs, as soon as they are laid, into a little ball, which she then wraps with a thin but compact and solid covering of silky tissue. This ball, stuck to her web, she drags after her wher- ever she goes. When pursued, she runs as quickly as the weight of the egg-ball will let her, but, if any attempt be made to seize the cocoon, she stops at once and tries to

get it back, when she shows considerable courage and fighting capacity. If the co- coon is destroyed, the b/cvsa will retire into a corner, and in a short time die. When the eggs are hatched the mother-spider takes her young upon her back, and has them always with her. " It is impossible," says M. Menault, " to behold without emotion this little creature, naturally so quick and jerky in all her movements, acquire a motion so much gentler when carrying her treas- ures. She carefully avoids all dangers, only attacks easily won prey, and abandons all chance of obtaining anything the capture of w-hich would necessitate a combat that might cause her to drop the young ones, which press and move by hundreds round her body." Bonnet tells of a li/cosa whose egg- bag was captured by an ant-lion, which nevertheless refused to leave it, preferring to be swallowed up and share the fate of her eggs. When taken away by force, she persisted in returning to the scene of danger.

Race Characteristics of the Jews.— Dr. A. Neubauer read a paper recently, before the British Anthropological Institute, on " Race T)'pcs of the Jews," the purport of which was to show that there had been considera- ble intermixtures in the Ilebrew race from the time of Abraham down. Joseph mar- ried an Egyptian and Moses a Midianite; David was descended from a Moabitcss, and Solomon was the son of a Ilittite woman. So we read of the non-Jewish women in contact with the Israelites, and undoubtedly the proselytes increased the mixture of races by marrying Jewish women. Moreover, some quite marked differences prevailed in the middle ages, and still exist, between the Jews residing in different nations. Mr. J. Jacobs, in a paper " On the Racial Char- acteristics of Modern Jews," took a differ- ent view. Regarding only the Askenasian Jews, who form more than nine tenths of the whole number, he pointed out as among their characteristics fertility, short stature as compared with Europeans, and narrow chests, brachyccphalic skulls, darker hair and eyes than those of any nation in North- em Europe (though nearly one fifth of the Jews have blue eyes, and they have nearly twice as many red-haired individuals as the inhabitants of the Continent), and a peculiar cast of countenance. lie pointed out tliat the purity of the race depended on the number of proselirtea made l>y the Jews in ancient and niedixral tiuiefl. The earlier proselytes, before the foundation of Chri:»- tianity, were mostly follow - Semites, and would not afTcct the type, while the num- bers made afterward were too small to modify the race. A considerable number of Jews, the Cohens, were not allowed to marry proselytes, and must consequently be tolerably pure. Mr. Jacobs's general conclusion was tlierofore in favor of the purity of the Jewish race.

The Elffl-Lraf Beetle.— The entomolop- cal division of the Department of Agiicult- ure has published an account, prepared by Dr. Riley, of the elm-leaf beetle {^GalevHca xanthoinelana), which ha? committed serious damage upon the elms in many States dur- ing the past few years. It i.^ an importation from abroad, and fortunately gives it3 at- tention mostly to foreign species of elm, the common native species, L'lnuta AmericanOy being generally exempt from its ravages. The injuries it commits are severe about one year in three, while they are relatively light in the intervening years. It works its destruction from May to August, and pre- fers the warm side of the tree. The most effective remedies against it are the ordinary arsenic washes and powders, and these ap- pear to injure the tree as well as kill the in- sect. Their effect is also worst on those species and varieties which suffer most from the ravages of the beetle. In administer- ing the poison, it is well to anticipate the appearance of the insect, so as to prevent its getting a start.

Conditions of Snrress In Life. — The

physiological conditions of success in life, according to Dr. James T. Searcy, of Tus- caloosa, Alabama, m his address before the State Medical Association, consist chiefly in the vigorous and healthy action of the brain and nervous system. Therefore the structural integrity ond functional capaci- ty of the brain arc most important mat- , tcrs, and how to preserve and improve them arc vital r.uestions. Hence the author be- licves, " if we can discover the ways in which brain capacity is improved, we will ,

��have done a groat deal, and, if we can slate the ways in which it is lowered, wo will have done a great deal." The excel- lent man will not only show his ability to take in, to understand, but he will al.<o show it in knowing what to take in, in his ability to select for a purpose. " The successful man possesses ability not only to learn, but to verify his learning and to deduce his conclu- sions correctly, and execute them tenacious- ly. The simply erudite man is not the suc- cessful one. He muit be capable not only in his rcctptive ability, but also in his ad- justing and emissive abilities. This often puts the man who is simply the scholar at such disadvantage in the presence even of the unlettered njan of 'common sense.' ' Com- mon sense' may be defined to be the in- herent excellence of capacity in all three of the departments of brain-action. He need not be an ' educated ' man to show this trait, but if he is educated his inherent ' common sense ' tells all the better. He learns well and properly, he reasons well and properly, and he executes well and properly."

now Woods preserve Moisture. — M.

Wocikoff, an eminent Russian observer, as- serts, in a recent article in Petermann's " Mittheilungen," that the office of forests in diminishing evaporation can not be ex- plained by the lower temperature or the greater humidity which are known to exist under their shadow. The most important factor contributing to the result is the re- sistance opposed by woods to the winds, the force of which being greatly reduced under the trees, the air is changed more slowly, and consequently the moisture is less readily carried away. Documents which have been collected at Nancy, in France, show that the vicinity of a forest increases the quantity of rain. It would seem that in Central Eu- rope, where the dilTercnce between the tem- perature of the ground and air within the forest and that of the open is but little in the winter, the forests would have slight influence on precipitation at that season. Nevertheless, the forests receive more water than the open spaces in winter, because of the lowness of the clouds combined with the resistance that the woods offer to the moist west winds. Rain-water is stored in the moss and herbage of the woods, to be consumed by the vegetation during the dry season. A striking illustration of this fact is given in a forest on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, where the vegetation is very luxuriant, although it never rains except in the fall and winter. M. Woeikoff has also observed that forests depress the temperature of the neighboring regions. Thus the normal temperature ordinarily increases as we go from the sea toward the interior in Western Europe and Asia; but the presence of a forest compensates for the rise in temperature, so that there are places far from the sea that arc cooler than the shore itself. This is the case in Bosnia, where the summer is five or six degrees cooler than in Herzegovina, on account of the woods.