Popular Science Monthly/Volume 39/July 1891/Popular Miscellany

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Popular Science Monthly Volume 39 July 1891  (1891) 
Popular Miscellany
 

POPULAR MISCELLANY.

The First Piece of American Hollow Ware. — In the first of Mr. Durfee's series of articles on Early Steps in Iron-making, in The Popular Science Monthly for December, 1890, "a small iron pot capable of containing

PSM V39 D437 American hollow ware.jpg

about one quart," which was cast at Lynn, Mass., in 1645, was mentioned as having been the first piece of hollow ware made in America. Mr. Durfee added that "this pioneer of all American-made castings was in existence in 1844, but recent efforts [by C. H. J. Woodbury] to ascertain its whereabouts have been unsuccessful." We are informed by the Lynn Daily Item that Mr. Durfee's article attracted the attention of F. W. Pope, of Lynn, who happened to have recently seen the pot, and made a photographic picture of it. We give an engraving of it. The pot is in the possession of the sons of Alonzo Lewis, the historian and poet, whose description of the Saugus Iron Works is quoted by Mr. Durfee. It is an heirloom, having descended to the present owners through their father from "Thomas Hudson, of Linne," the original possessor. It holds less than a quart, and weighs two pounds thirteen ounces. When photographed by Mr. Pope, it was standing on a common tea-plate; and there was room enough on the flat bottom of the plate to accommodate its spreading legs and leave an ample border of flat around them.


Metal Railway Ties. — A large share, probably twenty per cent, of the timber cut in this country is used by the railroads, and an important item in this portion is the quantity used for ties. With the purpose of lessening the drain upon our forest resources, the Forestry Division of the Department of Agriculture is endeavoring to lead the railroads to substitute iron ties for wood. A Report on the Substitution of Metal for Wood in Railroad Ties, made by E. E. Russell Tratman, has been published by the department, in order to furnish the companies with information in regard to the use of iron ties, and thereby facilitate their general adoption. The report is introduced by A Discussion on Practicable Economies in the Use of Wood for Railway Purposes, by B. E. Fernow, Chief of the Forestry Division, in which suggestions are given as to seasoning and preserving wooden ties, the use of improved tie plates, and also in regard to the use of stone and metal for buildings, bridges, etc., of hedges for fencing, and of metal for rolling stock. The report of Mr. Tratman gives detailed information respecting the use of different systems of iron ties in all quarters of the world. Outside of the United States and Canada there are reported 25,000 miles of railroad laid with metal ties. The most in any one country is in British India, where there are over 9,000 miles; Germany has nearly as much; and the Argentine Republic is third, with 3,500. In the United States, with a total mileage of 161,000, or four ninths of the whole mileage of the world, there are only two miles of metal track. Egypt has nearly 900 miles, and the rest of Africa makes up 400 miles more. In little Holland there are 329 miles, 4H

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��and Switzerland has 397. Allowing for in- complete returns, Mr. Tratman estimates that (exclusive of the United States and Canada) nearly sixteen per cent of the mile- age of the world is laid with metal ties, and the use of metal is being extended. Hence, abroad the subject has long ago passed the experimental stage in which it rests in this country. The report contains descriptions of all the most practicable forms of metal ties that have been invented, and a list of all the United States patents relating to metal railway track, numbering 491. The first of these dates from 1839, and the sec- ond from 1850. Patents have also been granted for cross-ties or track of clay, con- crete, etc., and one for glass ties.

The Tin Soldiers of Nuremberg. The

artists of Nuremberg and Fiirth have long been famous for their manufactures of toy- soldiers of lead. The art dates from the Seven Years' War, and was developed under the influence of the enthusiasm aroused by the career of Frederick the Great. Much pains are taken with the sketches of the intended figures, and eminent artists are willing to supply the models. Certain fixed rules have to be adhered to in designing the figures. In colors, deep tints must be avoid- ed, and gaudy hues preferred. The artists must be acquainted with the military cos- tumes of the period to which the soldier they represent belonged. Anachronisms in this matter are fatal. Molds of slate are used for the plain figures, and of brass for those in relief. The figures, having been cast, are taken out and trimmed ; then handed over to the women, to be painted ; and then to other women, to be packed in wooden boxes.

Rotten Logs as Breeders of Borers. A

newly noticed evil resulting from misman- agement in forest affairs has been pointed out in Garden and Forest by Prof. Fernow. It comes from leaving large parts of felled trees on the ground and allowing fires to run through the woods, by which the multi- plication of borers and other mischievous insects is promoted. A large proportion of the beetle larvae which infest living trees can not exist in a thoroughly healthy and vigorously growing tree; those larvae in

��particular which are found in the cambium layer between the wood and the bark would be drowned in the sap of healthy trees. They are, therefore, mostly found in those trees which, for some reason or other, are less vigorous or on the road to decay. When a fire has run through the pine for- est, or when the leaf-destroying caterpillar has ravaged the foliage and thus reduced the vigor of the trees, these beetles find a most favorable breeding-place in the weak- ened trees, and their larvae multiply rapidly and finish the work of destruction in a short time. For this reason it is often necessary to cut millions of feet of timber or cord-wood at once, or it will be entirely ruined. The frequent forest fires and the failure of the farmer and lumberman in dis- posing of large parts of the felled trees must be considered as among the principal causes of the prevalence in North America of these insect borers. The flat-head borer of the orchards, the oak primer, grape borers, a blackberry borer, the apple-twig borer, and several bark borers are men- tioned as among the insects the growth of which is encouraged by the prevalence of dead timber.

A Torres Strait Deealogne. Among the western islanders of Torres Straite, boys, as soon as the approach of maturity is indi- cated by the appearance of hair on their faces, are taken by their fathers to a sacred spot and there instructed in the duties and dignity of manhood. A number of precepts which are taught during this probation have been collected and are published by Prof. Alfred C. Haddon. Among them are these :

" You no steal."

" If you see food belong another man, you no take it, or you dead."

" You no take thing belong another man without leave ; if you see a fish-spear and take it, s'pose you break it and you no got spear, how you pay man ? "

" S'pose you see a dugong-harpoon in a canoe and take it, he no savvy, then you lose it or break it, how you pay him? You no got dugong-harpoon."

" You no play with boy and girl now ; you a man now, and no boy."

"You no play with small play-canoe, or with toy-spear ; that all finish now."

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��" You no like girl first ; if you do, the girl laugh at you and call you a woman." (That is, the young man must not propose marriage to a girl, but must wait for her to ask first.)

" You no marry the sister of your mate, or by and by you will be ashamed ; mates all same as brothers." (But " mates " may marry two sisters.)

"You no marry your cousin; she all same as sister."

" If any one asks for food, or water, or anything, you give something ; if you have a little, give a little ; if you have plenty, give half."

" Look after your mother and father ; never mind if you and your wife go with- out."

" Don't speak bad word to mother."

" Give half of all your fish to your par- ents ; don't be mean."

" Father and mother all along same as food in belly ; when they die you feel hun- gry and empty."

" Mind your uncles, too, and cousins."

" If woman walk along, you no follow ; by and by man look, he call you bad name."

" If a canoe is going to another place, you go in canoe ; no stop behind to steal woman."

" If your brother is going out to fight, you help him ; don't let him go first, but go together."

A Glacial Epoch in the Carboniferous Period. Data are collated by Dr. C. D. White, in a paper published in the Ameri- can Geologist, on Carboniferous Glaciation in the Southern and Eastern Hemispheres based on observations in India, Australia, and South Africa which show that evi- dences of glacial action are abundant and marked within an area extending from 40 south latitude to 35 north, and from 20 east longitude to 155 east, and including more than one fourth of the earth's surface. The idea that there was a glacial epoch in later Palaeozoic or earliest Mesozoic time has, in the light of these evidences, gained credence steadily since 1872, "until at last it is supported, not only officially, but indi- vidually," by nearly every geologist who has specially examined them or studied them in the field. This is also the conclusion gen-

��erally accepted by European geologists, in- cluding Prestwich and Neumayr, who is quoted as saying, in his Erdgeschichte, that there can no longer be any doubt that during the latter half of the Carboniferous period strata were deposited in southern Australia, Farther India, and the Cape re- gion of South Africa, whose material shows all the characteristic features of transporta- tion by means of glaciers.

Packing Fruit for Transportation. The

instructions of the British Pomological So- ciety respecting the packing of fruit for transportation advise that, for protection against injury from pressure, it be put up in boxes or stout baskets ; against shaking, by using cases of moderate dimensions in every direction, or cases cut up by partitions, and by laying the separate articles so closely and compactly that they shall just keep each other steady without crushing. Packing ma- terial which might communicate an unpleas- ant flavor should not be used. The bloom of fruits is best preserved when they are packed in young nettle-tops, partly dried, or in cartridge-paper. Grapes carry best if tied down to the bottom of a shallow box, or when each bunch is inclosed separately in a piece of stout cartridge-paper. Melons should be inclosed in cap paper, placed in a box, and surrounded by chaff, bran, or dry sawdust. Peaches, nectarines, and apri- cots should be carefully inclosed in a piece of tissue-paper, and kept separate from one another by cotton-wool. Plums, when the bloom is important, should be rolled up, six or eight together, in a piece of cartridge- paper, and tied round with matting. When the bloom is not important, they may be packed in strawberry or similar leaves. Cherries, gooseberries, and currants travel very well, under general circumstances, if laid together in small, shallow baskets or punnets. In packing strawberries, raspber- ries, and mulberries, each fruit should be separately surrounded by one or two straw- berry leaves.

The Care of Milk and Cream. In milk and cream exposed to the air, bacteria readi- ly collect and multiply rapidly. They cause the souring and curdling of milk and induce other changes in it, while their effect on

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��cream is to aid its " ripening." Dairymen let their cream ripen before churning, be- cause their experience shows that from such cream butter " comes " more readily, keeps better, and is of better flavor than from sweet cream. In a recent paper on this subject, Dr. H. W. Conn states that milk will become contaminated with bacteria if put into vessels in which particles of curd and grease are left sticking in joints and on the sides. Boiling in water will kill the bacteria, but their spores or seeds can not be killed without a higher heat. Hence, to prevent the souring of milk, cans and pans should be set on a stove or in the oven a few minutes after washing. As cold checks the development of bacteria, the milk should be cooled immediately after it is drawn from the cow, and kept as cool as possible. Cream for butter, on the contrary, should be kept in a warm place, so as to favor the growth of bacteria. Dairymen sometimes add a little old cream to a fresh lot as a leaven. Acid is also added for the same purpose, but this is of doubtful use.

A Fire-ball in Art. In the Madonna painted by Raphael for Sigismondo dei Con- ti dal Foligno, the Virgin is represented as in the clouds, the clouds rest upon a rainbow, and under the bow is a red fire-ball. As- suming that the introduction of so unique a feature as a fire-ball in a painting of the Madonna is symbolic, Prof. H. A. Newton has inquired into the history of the subject. He finds that on the 4th of September, 1511, there fell near Crema, some leagues south- east of Milan, a number of stones, the re- sults of the explosion of a meteorite, which are described by several authors ; and he believes that Raphael intended to represent this aerolite in his painting. He seeks to interpret its meaning by finding what men thought of such phenomena. When the En- sisheim stone fell, nineteen years earlier than this one, near the lines separating the contending French and German forces, the Emperor Maximilian had the stone brought up to the castle, and held a council of state to consider what the fall meant. Sebastian Brant, in a poem describing the fall, speaks of the terror it caused to the Burgundians and French. Eleven years later, in 1503, Maximilian, in a proclamation appealing for

��aid, included the Ensisheim stone-fall among indications of divine favor. After the fall of 1511, although the papal forces were de- feated in battle, the French were forced to withdraw in June, 1512, from Milan and northern Italy. It is natural, then, to sup- pose that Raphael in the picture united in his painting the fire-ball with the rainbow in order to symbolize divine reconciliation and assistance.

The Highest Mexican Volcano. One of

the results of the recent scientific expedi- tion of Prof. Angelo Heilprin and his com- panions to Mexico was the establishment of Orizaba as the highest of the giant volca- noes of that country. The barometrical measurements of the four highest volcanoes gave for Orizaba, 18,205 feet; Popocate- petl, 17,523 feet; Iztaccihuatl, 16,960 feet; and Nevado de Toluca, 14,954 feet. In fa- vor of the accuracy of the measurements, Prof. Heilprin refers to the quality of his registered . aneroid barometer, which was tested and corrected at Philadelphia before and after starting, at Vera Cruz, and in the city of Mexico ; and the fact that all the sum- mits were ascended within three weeks, and were measured with the same instrument, during a period of atmospheric equability and stability which is offered to an unusual degree by a tropical dry season. The meas- urements bring up the question of what is the culminating point of the North Ameri- can continent. The only other mountain than Orizaba that need be considered in this connection is Mount St. Elias, in Alaska. The measurements of this mountain, how- ever, depart so widely from one another that we are not yet in a position to affirm, even within limits of a thousand feet or more, how nearly it approaches in height the Mexican volcanoes. The most usual figure in standard publications is 14,970 feet ; Malespina found, by taking the angles from Port Mulgrave, 17,851 feet ; Teben- koff reduced this figure by somewhat more than 900 feet. Mr. Dall, in 1874, made angular measurements from four points, 69, 127, 132, and 167 miles away, that gave results varying from 18,033 to 19,596 feet. He does not place great confidence in any of them. In view of the broad divergence existing in the later measurements, and the

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��fact that all earlier determinations give less than 18,000 feet for the height of Mount St. Elias, Prof. Heilprin intimates that "geog- raphers will probably consider the question of absolute height as still an open one. That the mountain closely approximates the giants of the Mexican plateau is almost cer- tain, but it seems equally probable that its true position is after, aud not before, the Peak of Orizaba."

Bulgarian House Communities. The

Bulgarian house communities, according to Mr. J. E. Gueshov, called there kupshtina, are very like the zadrugas of the Serbs and Croats. The head of the society is called domakin, the man of the house, and is usu- ally either married or a widower, but may be a single man. The domakina, or lady of the house, is generally the wife of the doma- kin, or the widow of a previous one, or, if there be no such person, the oldest woman of the community is elected to the place. She regulates the work to be done by the women of the household ; as, for instance, who is to bake or cook on particular days ; and she arranges the domestic labor so as to allow the women time for attention to their children and to other duties. The principle of the community is that each member must work according to his capacity, for the com- mon good. Any one who is dissatisfied with the work assigned to him can leave the com- munity, but the only goods which he is allowed to carry away as his own are his clothes. If one of the women contracts a second marriage with a man who is not a member of the community, her children by her first husband remain in the society, although she herself quits it. When the girls marry, they receive nothing from the community, except a zeslra of clothes and bed-furniture, for which the bridegroom makes a money payment. These house com- munities are spread over Bulgaria from Les- kovatz on the north to Macedonia. Details are given by Mr. Gueshov of the community of Gornya-Banga, not far from Sofia. Its head is a priest. Some four years ago it consisted of twenty-eight and thirty-five members. With the domaki?i, Todorin, work his six brothers, one of whom is a priest, the second a farmer, the third a shepherd, a fourth the keeper of an inn,

��and another a tailor. No property is private among them except their clothes. All w T ork for the house community ; even the priest, if he gets money from any quarter, from a wedding, christening, or funeral, is obliged to bring it into the common fund. The domakina, the wife of Todorin, arranges which of her sisters-in-law shall bake one day and which shall cook. One oven and one kettle suffice for all. Concord and love prevail in the community; and the priest assured Mr. Gueshov that, if they had pos- sessed in severalty, they could never have passed through the terrible period of the last Russo-Turkish War. No legal sanction has been given since the independence of Bul- garia to this customary right, but it remains deeply rooted as an institution in the public mind. A case is told of a member of a com- munity who bought two plots of land and secured a confirmation from a court of law of his property in them. The whole village rose against him, and he was obliged to hand the plots over to the society to be common property. There are also co-operative mar- ket gardeners in Bulgaria, who travel about and raise vegetables on plots which they hire. The unit of the gardeners' co-opera- tive society is the working gardener. If a man has gained experience in this calling, he can easily enter one of them, even if he has no money. The union, called a taifa, is great or little according to the size of the garden which it is proposed to cultivate, and that of the town which offers a market for their products. The largest shareholders are the master, who holds the purse and keeps the accounts, and the salesman ; but the funds of the society are distributed in proportion among the workers in the garden. Other co-operative societies exist among shepherds, reapers, masons, bakers, tinkers, and potters.

Good and Bad Novels. Whatever influ- ence novels have upon the mind of a reader is due to giving him a wider acquaintance than his own experience affords with life, or what passes for life. Novels deal only with the interesting parts of life, leaving out of sight the commonplace matters which make up more than three fourths of real life, otherwise they would not be read. Good nov- els represent these interesting features as

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��they are, and give the real feelings of hon- orable men and women toward the actions and occurrences which make up the story. Bad novels, on the contrary, make their readers believe themselves and others to be what they are not, disturb their judgments, and fill them with false hopes as to what they may expect at the hands of destiny. Novels impel their readers to pursue the thoughts and foster the emotions of the ac- complished or smart heroes and heroines whom they have been led to admire. When these thoughts and emotions are pure, gener- ous, and elevated, fiction becomes an agent for good ; but when its model characters are willful, pompous, immoral, and impossibly successful withal, its effect is deplorably de- grading.

Sanitary Entombment. Entombment, or deposition in a mausoleum, is represented, by the Rev. Charles R. Treat, as the mode of disposing of the dead to which the hu- man race, as a whole, has shown the most evident preference. Sanitary entombment is described by him as comprising this feat- ure combined with desiccation, a process which is performed naturally in some atmos- pheres, and which the author believes can be made artificially practicable, with en- tombment, everywhere. He proposes, there- fore, the arrangement, in buildings like the " Campo Santo " of Pisa, of sepulchres " so constructed that anhydrous air could enter or be made to enter, and withdraw, laden with moisture and morbific matter, which it would convey to a separate structure, where a fur- nace would complete the sanitary work that the anhydrous air had begun, and return to the external atmosphere nothing that would be noxious." This would retain the form and much of the substance of the body, and subject the noxious, volatile particles to cre- mation.

Conditions of Vigorous Old Age. The

present greater proportion than formerly existed of men who pass the age of seventy years, reach fourscore, or are active at nine- ty years, points to one of the brighter phases of our civilization. The association of this vigor with different physical types is sug- gestive of a certain generality of origin, and encourages the hope that it may be partly

��dependent on personal conduct. As a first condition toward obtaining effective longev- ity, Dr. B. W. Richardson advises parents to begin for their children by saving them the infliction of mental shocks and unneces- sary grief, and making everything as happy for them as they can. The persons them- selves, when older, should avoid grief and eschew hate, jealousy, unchastity, and in- temperance, all of which hasten the coming of old age. When old age has really begun, its march may be delayed by rules securing the least friction and the least waste : sub- sistence on light but nutritious food, vary- ing according to the season, and moderate in quantity; dressing warmly, but lightly, so as to enable the body to maintain its even temperature ; keeping the body in fair exercise and the mind active and cheerful ; maintaining an interest in what is going on in the world, and participating in reasonable labors and pleasures ; securing plenty of sleep during sleeping hours, in a room kept at a moderate temperature ; and avoiding passion, excitement, and luxury. The weak- er man may thus sometimes show himself the more tenacious of life.

The Chartreuse Liqnor. The Chartreuse liquor is made under the direction of the monks of the abbey of the Grand Chartreuse, in the high Alps of Dauphiny. This abbey is the headquarters of the Carthusian order, which has some fifteen houses in France, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria. The manu- facture is carried on by paid operatives, under the supervision of the abbey steward, while the rest of the monks have no concern with it. The population of the village are employed in collecting the herbs, which, mixed with eau-de-vie, are distilled along with the spirit. This brandy is purchased, not made at the abbey. Only one of the operations the mixture of the herbs is a secret. The manufacture of Chartreuse as a market product has grown up since 1835. Previous to that time it was made only on a small scale as a remedy. There were for- merly three kinds of Chartreuse made, the white, yellow, and green ; but the white has been abandoned. The green is the strongest and most expensive ; and the monks rec- ommend a mixture of one third green and two thirds yellow as the best. A Chartreuse is

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��made at the Certosa, near Florence, by a few lingering Carthusians of the old society, whose secret is likely to perish with them. The Dominicans of Santa Maria Novella for- merly manufactured elixirs and scents, but, according to Chambers's Journal, have been broken up by the Government. The Bene- dictines make a rival to Chartreuse ; and the monks of Tre Fontane, near Rome, make a " Eucalyptica," with Eucalyptus ; but Chart- reuse continues to enjoy the higher esteem.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technol- ogy. The twenty-fifth anniversary of this highly respected school occurred in 1890, and was commemorated by an address re- viewing the career of the institution, which was delivered by Augustus Lowell. The In- stitute was founded by the eminent geolo- gist, Prof. William B. Rogers. The work of organization was retarded by the civil war, but in February, 1865, the school opened with twenty-seven students. In 1872 the number had increased to three hundred and forty-eight, and then came the financial crisis, which very nearly wrecked the undertaking. It survived, however, and the revival of business brought it a new era of prosperity, so that its students now number nine hundred, with ninety instructors and eleven courses of study. The purpose of the Institute of Technology is to prepare men to direct those great industrial enter- prises and public works which require a thorough training, based upon an adequate acquaintance with science, for their success- ful prosecution. Additions to the facilities of the school have been made in rapid suc- cession, often looking to the future to sup- ply the requisite means. This institution was one of the first in the world to instruct chemistry classes by the laboratory method. Its first chemical instructors were Charles W. Eliot, now President of Harvard, and Prof. Frank H. Storer. A physical labora- tory was established at about the same time. In 1871 a laboratory for the course in min- ing engineering was begun, by the purchase of apparatus in which economic quantities of ores could be treated. Two years later a sixteen-horse-power engine, with apparatus for engine and boiler tests, was provided. In 1881 a laboratory of applied mechanics, devoted especially to tests of building mate-

��rials, was added. A distinct course in elec- trical engineering was organized in 1882, and this study had its special laboratory fit- ted up in the new building which the growth of the school required to be erected in the following year. Six years later another new building was put up, and during all these years delicate instruments and powerful ma- chines of great variety have been continually added to the equipment of all departments. In carrying on its work the Institute has several times incurred heavy debts, most of which have been canceled by the efforts of its friends. It still owes, however, the cost of its latest building ($1 20,000). The gradu- ates that it has been sending out for over twenty years are doing valuable work in the several engineering professions, and as in- structors in various departments of science and technology, while the example of the Institute has done much to extend the labo- ratory method of science-teaching.

The Nature of a Flash of Lightning.

Describing the electric discharge of a flash of lightning, Prof. Oliver J. Lodge compares the cloud and the earth as forming the two coats of a Leyden jar, in the dielectrics of which houses and people exist. The occur- rence of the discharge is determined at the moment when the maximum electric tension which the air can stand is reached. " At whatever point the electric tension rises to this value, smash goes the air. The break- age need not amount to a flash ; it must give way along a great length to cause a flash ; if the break is only local, nothing more than a brush or fizz may be seen. But when a flash does occur, it must be the weakest spot that gives way first the place of maximum tension and this is commonly on the smallest knob or surface which rears itself into the space between the dielectrics. If there be a number of small knobs or points, the glows and brushes be- come so numerous that the tension is great- ly relieved, and the whole of a moderate thunder-cloud might be discharged in this way without the least violence. This is by far the best way of protecting anything from lightning : do not let the lightning- flash occur if you can possibly avoid it. But one can not always prevent it, even by a myriad points. A good deal more might be

�� � done in this direction than is done; but still, sometimes a cloud will descend so quickly, or it will have such a tremendous store of energy to get rid of, that no points are sufficiently rapid for the work, and crash it all comes at once." Where a flash occurs, a considerable area is relieved of strain, and the rush of electricity along the cloud and along the ground toward the line of flash sets up a state of things very encouraging to another or secondary flash or flashes, practically simultaneous with the first.


Weather Plants. — Garden and Forest quotes from a writer in the Illustrirte Gartenzeitung of Vienna, who, while he disputes the excessive claims that have been made for certain "weather plants," points out that a modest degree of power in forecasting atmospheric changes is possessed by a multitude of common plants. The pleasant fair-weather odor of Galium vernum (Our Lady's bed-straw) becomes strong and pungent at the approach of rain. The leaves of Carlina vulgaris close before rain. Calendula pluvialis (marigold) predicts rain when its flowers remain closed after seven in the morning. Oxalis acetosella (wood-sorrel) closes its leaves at the approach of rain or cold. Lapsana communis keeps its flowers open at evening if it is to rain the following day, but closes them if fair weather is coming. The leaves of Draha verna (whitlow-grass) droop before rain. Alsine media predicts a clear day if its flowers open about nine o'clock, and a second one to follow if they remain open as late as four in the afternoon.


A Novel Mound-builders' Structure. — Prof. F. W. Putnam described, at the meeting of the American Association, a curious earthwork at Foster's Station, in the Little Miami Valley. The mound is in the angle of a creek and the river. It is a flat-topped circular hill, about half a mile round at the rim, and has been formed by the river and creek washing away drift material on either side. Around the brow of this hill is, at some parts, a ridge, at others no elevation above the surface. The ridge is made up of well-burned clay, and includes masses of burned limestone, clinkers, charred logs, and heaps of ashes, from a bushel to forty bushels in bulk. It is more than half a mile long, from twenty to fifty feet wide, and from eight to ten feet deep. To have burned all this clay must have required a heat like that of a Bessemer furnace. The rim of burned stuff is backed by an escarpment of well-laid stone wall to keep the burned material in place, which probably once extended clear down to the water; but the creek has worn its way down and to a considerable distance from the wall. No bones and only a few pieces of pottery were found. The fires could not have been those of charcoal-pits, and the place was not a limekiln. An immense mass of fuel must have been collected to burn this quantity of clay and stone. When asked what he thought was the character of the work, Prof. Putnam said that he had not carried the excavations far enough to formulate a statement.