Popular Science Monthly/Volume 4/March 1874/Miscellany

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MISCELLANY.

England and America.—Prof. Tyndall writes as follows to the editor of the London Daily Telegraph: Sir—You have given me a challenge, to which I willingly respond. In a speech, to which I had the honor of listening just before my departure from America, Hon. William M. Evarts used these words: "There is a generous and perfect sympathy between the educated men of England and the educated men of the United States. The small matters of difference and political interests which divide these two great countries are nothing to the immense area of uniform and common objects and interests which unite their people."

On the same occasion, Dr. John W. Draper, celebrated alike as an historian and scientific discoverer, concluded a speech in these words: "Nowhere in the world are to be found more imposing political problems than those to be settled here—nowhere a greater need of scientific knowledge. I am not speaking of ourselves alone, but of our Canadian friends on the other side of the St. Lawrence. We must join together in generous emulation of the best that is done in Europe. In her Majesty's representative, Lord Dufferin, they will find an eager appreciation of all that they may do. Together we must try to refute what De Tocqueville has said about us, that communities such as ours can never have a love of pure science. But, whatever may be the glory of our future intellectual life, let us both never forget what we owe to England. Hers is the language which we speak, hers are all our ideas of liberty and law. To her literature, as to a fountain of light, we repair. The torch of science that is shining here was kindled at her midnight lamp."

The President of Cornell University, to which Mr. Goldwin Smith belongs, used, on the same evening, these remarkable words: "We are greatly stirred, at times, as this fraud or that scoundrel is dragged to light, and there rise cries and moans over the corruption of the times; but, my friends, these frauds and these scoundrels are not the corruption of the times. They are the mere pustules which the body politic throws to the surface. Thank God that there is vitality enough left to throw them to the surface. The disease is below all this, infinitely more wide-spread. What is that disease? I believe that it is, first of all, indifference; indifference to truth as truth; next, skepticism, by which I do not mean inability to believe this or that dogma, but the skepticism which refuses to believe that there is any power in the universe strong enough, large enough, good enough, to make the thorough search for the truth safe in every line of investigation; next, infidelity, by which I do not mean want of fidelity to this or that dominant creed, but want of fidelity to that which underlies all creeds, the idea that the true and the good are one; and, finally, materialism, by which I do not mean this or that scientific theory of the universe, but that devotion to the mere husks and rinds of-good, that struggle for place and pelf, that faith in mere material comfort and wealth, which eats out of human hearts all patriotism, and which is the very opposite to the spirit which gives energy to scientific achievement.... I believe that the little army of scientific men furnish a very precious germ, from which better ideas may spring;... and I trust that love, admiration, and gratitude, between men of science on both sides of the Atlantic, may add new cords and give strength to old cords which unite the hearts of the two great English speaking nations."

On the same occasion, in reference to the question of international amity, I ventured to say this much: "Among the motives which prompted me, at the time of accepting your invitation, was this: I thought, and friends of mine here thought, that a man withdrawn from the arena of politics, who had been fortunate enough to gain a measure of the good-will of the American people, might do something toward softening political asperities. I referred to this point in Boston, but my references to it have grown more and more scanty, until, in the three cities last visited, they disappeared altogether. And this not because I had the subject less at heart, but because, as your great countryman, Emerson, might express it, any reference of the kind would be like the sound of a scythe in December, entirely out of place. During my four months' residence in the United States I have not heard a single whisper hostile to England."

This, sir, will sufficiently indicate to you my experience of the feeling of the people of the United States toward this country. Either they do not hate us, as alleged; or, if they do, the manner in which they suppressed this feeling, out of consideration for a guest, proves them to be the most courteous of nations.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,
John Tyndall. 
 Athenæum Club, Saturday, Jan. 11th.
 

Population of New Guinea.—Captain C. J. Moresby, of the British Navy, who visited New Guinea during the past year, to complete the unfinished survey of the late Captain Owen Stanley, reports that the whole coast country of the eastern half of that island is well peopled with a copper-colored race, quite distinct from the black Papuans of the western portion. This lighter-colored race are a friendly and intelligent people. They gladly received their strange visitors at their villages, and the crew of Captain Moresby's vessel mixed freely with them. They practise several useful arts, such as pottery, and possess extensive well-fenced plantations.

Several attempts were made to reach the mountainous interior, by ascending the rivers emptying into Redscar Bay, but the boats were in every case brought to a stand by the increasing velocity of the current, after the first thirteen or fourteen miles. Farther east a fine port and inner harbor were discovered, and named Port Moresby and Fairfax Harbor. The southeastern extremity of New Guinea was found to have the form of a fork, off the lower tine of which lies a group of islands, but leaving a deep navigable channel between them and the main-land. Captain Moresby doubled the northern extremity of the fork, and found the northern coast of New Guinea washed by a grand, clear, reefless sea. The natives here were of the same Malayan or Polynesian race as those of Redscar Bay, and the hill-slopes near their villages were terraced and cultivated to a great height, in a manner that even a Chinaman might envy. With these people the intercourse of Captain Moresby's men was of a most satisfactory, pleasant nature. Pieces of hoop-iron were the medium of exchange, with which the crew purchased food and curiosities, including specimens of their handsome stone hatchets.

 

Prof. E. L. Youmans—

My dear Sir: Be so kind as to allow me room for a word in relation to the article "The Great Cemetery in Colorado," in the last number of this magazine. It was already in print when my attention was called to Prof. O. C. Marsh's article in the American Journal of Science and the Arts, "On the Structure and Affinities of the Brontotheridæ," in which the professor says of Symborodon and Miobasileus: "Both names should be regarded as synonyms of Brontotherium." While I would avoid as sheer officiousness the intrusion of one word as arbiter, yet I cannot permit the apparent discourtesy to rest upon me of even so much as seeming to ignore the professor's statement. I suppose that Prof. Marsh is entitled to be regarded as the discoverer, in 1870—and pioneer explorer then and in 1872—of that wonderful burial-place, whose dry bones you did me the honor to assign the task of imbuing with enough of life to make them presentable to your many readers. Hence any thing from Prof. Marsh on that theme is worthy of far more than ordinary consideration.

Let me here correct a typographical error. In my article, on page 475, the first word in line twelve from the bottom of the page, "Eobasileus" should read "Miobasileus.

Very respectfully yours,
Samuel Lockwood. 
 January 24, 1874.
 

Autopsy of Agassiz..—Autopsy by Drs. R. H. Fitz and J. J. Putnam; present, Drs. J. B. S. Jackson, J. Wyman, C. Ellis, M. Wyman, S. G. Webber.

Frame large. Fatty tissue abundant. Cranium, brachycephalic, falling off abruptly from the middle of the sagittal suture. Greatest antero-posterior diameter, 197 millimetres; greatest lateral diameter, 163 millimetres—these measurements made before the removal of the skin. Depth of frontal bone, measured externally at the median line, 512 inches = 135 millimetres; length of sagittal suture, 5 inches = 128 millimetres. The walls of the skull were thick and heavy; the dura mater exceedingly adherent to the bone and remarkably thick. The pia mater moderately transparent. Along the arachnoid veins were white lines indicating chronic thickening; the veins themselves rather more injected than usual. The cerebral sulci were deep and wide. On each side of the median line, near the anterior ascending convolution on the left, and the posterior ascending convolution on the right, was a depression which might have held a prune-stone or a little more. The brain-tissue around was diminished without evidence of disease. The arteries at the base of the brain showed evidence of extensive chronic disease of their lining membrane, with narrowing of the calibre of the carotids. The basilar artery was apparently a continuation of the left vertebral alone, the right vertebral being represented by an exceedingly small vessel which united the basilar with the inferior cerebellar, the latter being merely the prolongation of the exceedingly small right vertebral. The left vertebral was larger than usual—larger even than the basilar. In these unusually-arranged arteries were very important changes. Commencing at an inch below the anterior edge of the pons Varolii and extending downward, the walls of the left vertebral artery were stiff, in part calcified, and its linings loose. At half an inch from the point just mentioned, immediately over the left olivary body, was a reddish-yellow, opaque, friable plug (thrombus), completely obstructing the vessel; still lower was another more recent, but probably ante-mortem plug. The first was one quarter of an inch long, the second four inches long. A third plug, an inch long, was above the first, and touching it. Opposite the middle of the pons there was atheromatous degeneration of the basilar artery. The walls of the internal carotids were also in part calcified. The posterior part of the right cerebellar lobe (the side on which the vertebral artery was exceedingly small) was softer than usual, the corresponding foliations swollen and indistinctly defined, indicating disease of this part, probably consequences of the changes in the arteries.

The weight of the entire brain was 53.4 avoirdupois ounces = 1,495 grammes; allowing a diminution in the weight of the brain, from the age of thirty-five or forty years, at the rate of one ounce avoirdupois for each, ten years elapsed, the greatest weight of the brain may be estimated at 56.5 avoirdupois ounces.

Weight of right anterior lobe (separated with the fissure of Rolando for a guide), 234 grammes; weight of left anterior lobe, 233 grammes. Heart large, muscular fibre firm and of good color. The attached portion of the aortic valves rigid, the mitral opening large. In the left ventricle, at the lower third, a firm, organized clot of the size of a peach-stone, attached to the wall at the anterior portion near the septum; around this clot a more recent one had formed, its centre softened and granular. From this, probably, some small portions had been carried by the blood to the arteries in the base of the brain, doing their part in obstructing them and causing the fatal changes above described. The lining membrane of the heart, where the clot was attached, was much thickened, and the muscular layer at the same part very thin, near the apex not visible to the naked eye.

The lungs were adherent to the ribs on both sides of the chest—the evidence of old inflammations. The other organs were healthy.—New York Tribune, December 16, 1873.

 

A Good Hedge-Plant.—The Gardener's Monthly thinks that the white-thorn (Elæagnus parvifolius) complies with all the conditions of a good hedge-plant, much better than the Osage orange or any of the other plants employed for that purpose in this country. This plant does not grow more than a few inches high the first year from seed, and is then thornless; but there are large numbers of short branches from a quarter of an inch to two inches in length, and these become sharp spines the next year. The older the plants the spinier they become—an excellent feature in a hedge-plant. The second and third years branches are produced from three to five feet long, thus soon reaching a good height for a hedge. When the plants are massed together, they rarely show any disposition to exceed the height of six or eight feet. When they reach that height, they grow by sending strong shoots out from the stems near the ground; and thus the hedge is ever growing thicker—another excellent feature. If pruned, they make a first-class hedge; if totally neglected, they are still protective. Plants three or four years old seed, so that in a few years, with moderate encouragement, plants in abundance could be obtained.

Besides its protective value, the plant has a very beautiful appearance. The under side of the leaf, as well as the young growing branches, are silvery; and hence its common name. South of the Potomac it would probably be an evergreen. In Pennsylvania it holds its leaves to Christmas. The flowers are greenish white, not showy, but resemble in fragrance the English hawthorn. The berries which succeed are of a mottled red. The writer in the Gardener's Monthly is unable to determine what is the extreme degree of cold to which the plant may be exposed without injury. He states, however, that it has remained entirely uninjured in one. situation when the last year's shoots of the Osage orange and the honey locust were destroyed, the thermometer being 14° below zero. The Elæagnus is a native of the Himalaya Mountains.

 

Technical Education.—Dr. Lyon Playfair, in his "Lecture on Technical Education," dwells upon the success which has attended the technical institutions of Switzerland and Holland. He says: "What has enabled this little nation (Switzerland), so remote from the pathways of commerce, and so poor in the mineral resources of industry, to carry on manufacturing production by the aid of a prosperous and contented people, while England, washed by the ocean and abounding in mineral wealth, is burdened with an ever-increasing proportion of the unproductive poor? There is only one answer: that Switzerland has a highly-educated people." And of Holland he adds: "Despite her natural poverty in the raw materials of industry, Holland sends to this country alone exports of food to the annual value of £5,000,000, and manufactured products worth £6,000,000 more. The law compels every town of 10,000 inhabitants to erect technical schools." Among Dr. Playfair's conclusions, he states that "a higher education, in relation to the industries of the country, is an essential condition for the continued prosperity of the people; for intelligence and skill—as factors in productive industry—are constantly becoming of greater value than the possession of native raw material or local advantages."—Iron.

 

Science and the Press.—Remarks of George Ripley at the laying of the cornerstone of the new Tribune building:

"Friends and Fellow-Laborers: We have assembled to-day in commemoration of the past, and for consecration of the future. The original foundation of the Tribune was laid in sentiment and ideas. Horace Greeley was a man of no less profound convictions than of lofty aspirations. The tenderness of his emotional nature was matched by the strength of his intellect. He was a believer in the progress of thought and the development of science, in the progress of society and the development of humanity. Under the influence of this inspiration, the Tribune was established more than thirty years ago. At that time its basis was spiritual, and not material, strong in ideas, but not powerful in brick and mortar, in granite or marble, in machinery or in money. We have come to-day, not to remove this foundation, but to combine it with other elements, and thus to give it renewed strength and consistency. It is our purpose to clothe the spiritual germ with a material body, to incorporate the invisible forces which inspired the heart of our founder in a visible form, in the shape of a goodly temple, massive in its foundation, fair in its proportions, and sacred in its purposes. The new Tribune of to-day, like the old Tribune of the past, is to be consecrated to the development of ideas, the exposition of principles, and the promulgation of truth. The ceremony which is now about to be performed typifies the union of spiritual agencies with material conditions, and thus possesses a significance and beauty which anticipate the character of the coming age. The future which lies before us, it is perhaps not presumptuous to affirm, will be marked by a magnificent synthesis of the forces of material Nature and the power of spiritual ideas.

"Allow me one word in illustration of this prophecy, and I will yield the place to the fair hands and the fair spirit whose presence on this occasion crowns the scene with a tender grace.

"About ten years before the establishment of the Tribune, dating from the death of Hegel, in 1831, and of Goethe in the following year, the tendency of thought on the continent of Europe, which had been of an intensely ideal, or spiritual character, began to assume an opposite direction. Physical researches rapidly took precedence of metaphysical speculation. Positive science was inaugurated in the place of abstract philosophy. The spiritual order was wellnigh eclipsed by the wonderful achievements of the material order. A new dynasty, arose which knew not Joseph, and, the ancient names of Plato, and Descartes, and Leibnitz, were dethroned by the stalwart host that took possession of the domain of physical science. I need not rehearse the splendid discoveries which have signalized this period. Such acquisitions to the treasury of positive human knowledge have never been made in an equal time in the history of thought. More light has been thrown on the material conditions of our existence on earth than has been enjoyed before since the morning stars first sang together. But the signs of the times indicate the commencement of a reaction. The age accepts the results of physical research, but refuses to regard them as the limit of rational belief. In resolving matter into molecules, and molecules into atoms, the most illustrious cultivators of physical science cheerfully confess that they arrive at invisible forces which no crucible can analyze, no microscope detect, no arithmetic explain. The alleged materialism of Tyndall and Huxley thus affords an unexpected support to the idealism of Berkeley.

"The Tribune, it may be predicted, will continue to represent the intellectual spirit of the age. Faithful to its past history, it will welcome every new discovery of truth. Free from the limitations of party in philosophy or religion, in politics or science, it will embrace a wider range of thought, and pursue a higher aim in the interests of humanity. Watching with its hundred eyes the events of the passing time, it will wait for the blush of the morning twilight which harbingers the dawn of a brighter day. As we now place the votive tablet on its rocky bed, let it symbolize the radiant scroll of human knowledge reposing on the foundation of eternal truth."

 

A Swarm of Locusts.—Dr. B. A. Gould, in a letter published in the December number of the American Journal of Science, describes a swarm of locusts at Cordova (in the north of the Argentine Republic), which, for extent, rivals those which have been sometimes witnessed in Eastern countries. He says: "I saw to the eastward what was apparently a long trail of dense black smoke extending over 160° of the horizon, from which it extended to an altitude of about 5°. The appearance differed in no respect from that of a black smoke drifting from a large conflagration. The insects were evidently transported by the wind, and passed within about three or four miles of us. Certainly twenty miles of its length were visible over the far-stretching pampas. They were seen before ten o'clock in the morning, and continued to pass with apparently undiminished numbers until daylight failed."

In about eighteen days the phenomenon was repeated. They again appeared to move before the wind, and passed through the space between the traveler and the mountains, which were twelve miles distant, during many hours. The height of the dense nucleus seemed to be not less than 2,000 feet, its width about six or seven miles. "Since I began this page," says Dr. Gould, "they have come upon us in full force, literally darkening the sun, and there is probably not a square inch of our grounds unoccupied by them."

 

Asphaltum Deposit in West Virginia.—Prof. W. M. Fontaine published, in the December number of the American Journal of Science, an interesting account of a deposit of asphalt in Ritchie County, W. Va., which is extensively mined, and is valuable as an addition to the coal used in producing gas.

It occurs in an enormous fissure in the rocks, apparently filling it, and has been worked vertically through a depth of 300 feet, and horizontally through a distance of 3,315 feet. The fissure is seldom more than four feet wide, in many places much less, and narrows, in one direction, so much as to be unworkable. In another direction it ends abruptly at the valley of McFarland's Run,

The geological position of this fissure and deposit is in the "Upper Barren Measures," above the Pittsburg Bed, which contains no coal. These barren measures are of sandstones and shales, and are horizontal. They show no break except at the mines.

About seven miles in the direction of the crevice is the line of upheaval in which occur the oil-wells of West Virginia. And, as Prof. Fontaine observes, the bituminous deposits, which lie far beneath the surface, are doubtless the source of both the oil and the asphaltum.

In the cleft the mineral closely resembles ordinary bituminous coal, but at the sides adjoining the walls it is jet black, and has a brilliant lustre. The walls of the crevice are seldom discolored more than an inch in depth, and the mineral adheres but slightly.

The dry dust of the mine is very inflammable, and two accidents from explosion have occurred. The asphalt contains about 76 per cent, of carbon, and yields about 100 gallons of oil per ton.

 

Agasslz's Successor.—It is rare that the mantle of the father sits worthily on the son. Especially is this true when the father has been signally eminent in pure science. Happily, indeed, is it for America, and for biological science, that the vast plans of the late Agassiz are to be continued, as far as possible, on the grand scale upon which his great mind projected them. The worthy successor of Prof. Agassiz is his son Alexander, whose name, in zoological investigation, is already acknowledged as a bright light in the Old World and the New. One of the most thoroughly worked-out monographs, so far as it is carried, and the most sumptuously gotten up, is the one recently published by Mr. Alexander Agassiz, containing his researches and memoirs on the Echinoderms, and which won for him the first award of the Walker prize of $1,000, by the Boston Society of Natural History. Mr. Alexander Agassiz is to succeed his father in the conduct of the Penikese Normal School of Natural History. That great institution, the pride of Massachusetts, and the envy of the savants of the Old World, "The Museum of Comparative Zoology," at Cambridge, Mass., has been placed under the direction of Alexander Agassiz and Mr. Cary, "both of whom are thoroughly conversant with Prof. Agassiz's plans with regard to the museum, and familiar with the collections." Thus, while all must lament, as a great loss, the demise of that wonderful man, yet a deep solicitude has been removed from many minds as to the fate of the professor's plans.

 

Lime-Soils and the Potato-Rot.—A writer in the Chemical News is led, by analysis of diseased and sound potato-tubers, to ascribe the potato-rot to a deficiency of lime and magnesia in the soil. Different observers state the percentage of magnesia in the ash of sound tubers at from five to ten per cent.; in the diseased tubers analyzed by the author it was only 3.94 per cent. Analysis of sound tubers shows over five per cent, of lime, but in the ash of diseased tubers the author found only 1.77 per cent. A similar observation was made some years ago by Prof. Thorpe with regard to diseased and healthy orange-trees; in the former there was a deficiency of lime and magnesia.

It was shown, by the late Dr. Crace Calvert, that lime is one of the few known substances that are capable of altogether preventing the development of fungi in organic solutions. He does not give any experiments relating to the action of caustic magnesia on fungi; but doubtless that action will be found to be similar.

"Here, then," observes the author, "is a curious and significant fact. Diseased potatoes are deficient in lime-salts, and lime prevents the development of fungi. May not the development of fungi in the vessels of plants be furthered by this deficiency? The circumstances are such as scarcely to leave room for doubt. So far, then, theory and practice agree: lime has been found by experience to be useful in preventing the disease, and it is likely that magnesia will be found to have a similar effect"

 

Clay Wasp-Nests.—All the American species belonging to the genus Polistes (wasps) have been considered paper-nest builders; but P. K. Uhler, at the Portland meeting of the American Association, described a species which build nests of clay. This wasp is of dark-brown color, with yellow bands across the abdomen, and with yellow feet. The insect builds a nest of cylindrical shape; and a number of these cylinders were found in the stump of a decayed tree, in Charles County, Md. The central cavity of the stump—which was about five inches in diameter—contained thirty-three of these peculiar structures. They were of yellow clay, generally about half an inch in diameter, and varying from two to five inches in length.

The nest, or more properly the receptacle for the egg and young, is constructed in the following manner: The adult wasp works some wet clay into an oval pellet, and carries it to the place where the nest is to be made. The pellet is then laid obliquely and pressed down by the fore-feet and head of the insect, so as to cause it to adhere firmly to the surface on which it is building. As it proceeds, it smoothes the inside of the cylinder by working with its jaws and pushing the front of its flat head against the plastic clay. The first section being thus finished to its satisfaction, it flies off to secure small spiders. It seizes a spider with its fore-feet, stings it in just such a way as to paralyze, without destroying its life, and then deposits it in the bottom of the cylinder.

An egg is then laid beside the spider, and the wasp flies off to secure other spiders. This is continued until the cavity, which holds from twelve to fifteen of the smaller kinds, is' full. The wasp then covers the open end with a cap of the same material as before, after which it adds other sections to the number of three or four, filling each with spiders and depositing one egg in each. The young larva feeds on these paralyzed spiders, and, as it seems, requires from twelve to fifteen of them to nourish it until it is ready to become a pupa. Unlike some other clay-nest builders, this wasp does not nurse its young, but they are securely sealed up in the sections, and feed themselves. When ready to come forth, the wasp gnaws a round hole in the wall of its cell, and issues forth as a perfect insect.

 

The Uses of Baryta.—Baryta is an alkaline earth of a gray color, not easily fusible, and poisonous. Its various salts are extensively used in the arts, as will be seen from a paper read by Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger, before the Polytechnic Club, of which we present a synopsis. The sulphate of baryta, 66 per cent, of baryta and 34 of sulphuric acid, is the only baryta-salt that is not poisonous. It is abundant in England, France, Germany, and the United States, where it usually occurs in connection with beds or veins of metallic ores, as gangue, or veinstone. Sometimes, however, it forms distinct veins, in company with the secondary limestone, and very often in fine crystals, along with calcite and celestine. Connecticut and Missouri have long furnished abundant material for the arts. Next come Virginia, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The variety known as "Bologna spar" is an ornamental stone, of a brown color, and concentric rings, originally found in a bed of clay near Bologna. The sulphate of baryta also often occurs associated with lime, and some silica and alum, and is then called calcareobaryte; when associated with strontia it is called baryto-celestine.

Witherite is a carbonate of baryta, consisting of 78 per cent, baryta and 22 carbonic acid. It is found, in considerable quantities, in England, Silesia, Hungary, Sicily, and Chili, but not much in the United States. It is largely used in plate-glass manufacture in France, as also in the manufacture of beet-root sugar, and permanent white. Latterly, it has come into use for paint, in combination with soluble glass and white oxide of zinc. The metallic base of these salts is barium. It is a white, malleable, and fusible metal, readily oxidizing in air, and decomposing water at common temperature. The pure baryta, oxide of barium, is used for the production of peroxide of hydrogen, which is much recommended as a medicinal reagent, and employed in the arts for bleaching animal tissue, and converting brown into blond hair. The oxide, or caustic baryta, rivals, in caustic properties, potash, soda, and ammonia.

The chloride of barium is got by fusing the sulphate of baryta with chloride of calcium, in a reverberatory furnace, and then extracting with hot water, leaving the sulphate of lime undissolved. Chlorate of baryta, used in pyrotechny, and which burns with a green flame, is prepared by dissolving artificial carbonate of baryta in chloric acid solution. Nitrate of baryta, likewise used in pyrotechny, may be got by dissolving the native carbonate in nitric acid and evaporating the solution, octahedral crystals being deposited. The native sulphate of baryta is used to adulterate white lead, often to the extent of 25 to 50 per cent.

The artificial sulphate, permanent white, is much used in the manufacture of a paper of the purest white, for collars, cards, etc. In copper metallurgical operations, the sulphide of barium has latterly been employed for the purpose of precipitating from an ammoniacal copper solution the copper as a sulphide. The artificial carbonate of baryta, produced by passing carbonic acid through a sulphide of barium, is much used in Europe in the manufacture of achromatic glass.

 

Subterranean Fish.—For the purpose of supplying water to a new wharf at Point Hueneme, southeast of San Buenaventura, Cal., an artesian well was sunk not five feet from high-water mark. At the depth of 143 feet a strong flow of water was obtained, which spouted 30 feet high. A goose-neck was fitted on the bore so as to reverse the flow. One day while the agent was absent, the men noticed fish in the waste-water. On his return attention was given to the fact, and the well was found to be filled with young trout, thousands of them being thrown out at every jet. These trout were all the same size (about two inches long), and perfectly developed. They had perfect eyes. There is no stream nearer than the Santa Clara River, several miles distant. There are no trout in the lower portions of the river. The temperature of the water is the same as that of the wells of this country (64° Fahr.), too warm, of course, for trout to live long in.—American Journal of Science.

 

New Refrigerating Machine.—A refrigerating apparatus, invented by Captain Frederick Warren, British Navy, is described as follows: It consists of a small steam-engine, to which is attached a second cylinder for condensing ether- vapor. The cold produced by the expansion of this condensed ether is utilized by being communicated to brine contained in pipes, around which the ether circulates. The brine thus cooled is used in its turn either to freeze water or to cool air, the water being contained in reservoirs immersed in a vessel of cold brine, and the air being conveyed in pipes which wind backward and forward in the brine. The ether employed, being contained entirely in closed apparatus, is scarcely at all wasted, and little more than its first cost need be taken into account.

In the experiments made with the machine, the moisture on the outside of the pipes leading to the refrigerator was rapidly frozen, and the air of the room, after being withdrawn at a temperature of 62° Fahr., was almost immediately returned to it at 45°. As this process continued, the temperature of the room was rapidly reduced, and might easily have been brought to the freezing-point and so maintained. Captain Warren claims that the temperature of any limited space can be thus kept down to almost any required degree, and he proposes to apply the method to the construction of cold chambers on board ships, to be used for storing fresh provisions, or, in the case of merchant-ships, for the conveyance of perishable freight. He does not, however, think it possible to freeze a whole cargo of meat, so as to resist putrefaction in a long voyage, as from Australia to England. He proposes to cool railway-carriages, to provide cool vases for the conveyance of meat and other provisions in India, to cool the air admitted into hospital wards, and to provide an unlimited supply of pure ice at almost nominal cost.