Popular Science Monthly/Volume 40/January 1892/Notes
We mention, on behalf of Mr. Frederick Starr, that the originals of most of the objects illustrated in his articles on Dress and Adornment are in the American Museum of Natural History. The omission of this acknowledgment from the articles was not noticed till it was too late to correct it.
The Programme of Lectures of the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, provides for thirty lectures, beginning November 2d with a lecture on Japan by Mr. Henry Pettit. Several of the lectures will be upon subjects of travel. For the others, subjects are announced relating to the electrical transmission of power, physical exercise, compressed air power, transmission of explosive phenomena, building-stones, refrigerating machines, and other topics relating to hygiene, metallurgy, applied chemistry, etc. The lecturers are men specially acquainted with the subjects which they will treat.
We have received from F. Gutekunst, 712 Arch Street, Philadelphia, a remarkably fine half-size photograph of the late Joseph Leidy. In distinctness of outline, clearness of expression, delicacy of shading, and general tone, it leaves nothing to be desired.
Certain prehistoric remains near Bellary, in southern India, described by Mr. F. Fawcett in the International Congress of Orientalists, are particularly remarkable by reason of the pictures which are engraved on the rocks in their neighborhood, and which the author adduces many reasons for believing to be prehistoric. A commission was appointed by the Congress to make further investigation of the matter.
A Tree-climbing kangaroo from Northern Queensland (Dendrolagus Muelleri), new to science, is described by Messrs. Luehman and French. It has a body about two feet long, with a tail exceeding two feet. The disproportion between the fore legs and the hind legs is not nearly so great as in the ordinary kangaroo and the wallaby. The toes are strong and curved, so that it is able to climb tall and straight trees, where it lives on their leaves. The specimen from which the species is described was got from a straight tree, about ninety feet from the ground.
A marsupial mole — Notoryctes typhlops — a species absolutely new to science, has been discovered living in the sands and among the porcupine grass of South Australia. It is very rare and has been seen by only a few persons, either white men or natives. Perpetual burrowing seems to be the characteristic feature of its life. It burrows very rapidly, but is not known to occupy permanent burrows. The first specimen was captured by Mr. William Conethard, of the Willowie Pastoral Company, and the description is by Prof. Stirling, of the University of Adelaide.
The Bowlder Committee of the British Association reports that in some districts bowlders are being destroyed so rapidly that many described in former reports have disappeared.
Among the features of the Columbian Exhibition to be opened at Madrid in September, 1892, will be an American historical exposition, which is intended to reproduce the condition of the different countries of the new continent before the arrival of Europeans, at the time of the conquest, and down to the first half of the seventeenth century. It will include all kinds of objects, models, reproductions, plans, etc., relating to the peoples who inhabited America then and to all those who had to do with the navigators.
Mr. Ivan Petroff, special census agent in Alaska, has found six hundred natives on Nunivak Island, where there were supposed to be three hundred. They live, in the absence of white men, in the most primitive style, eating walrus flesh and possessing walrus ivory as their only wealth. Besides a few land otter they do not catch any fur-bearing animals. In the Congress of German Naturalists and Physicians, Prof. Lehman showed to how great an extent the coarse rye-bread eaten on the lower Rhine is polluted by adulteration. He had procured eighty samples of flour and bread such as are used and sold by the small millers and bakers. All of them were polluted, some to an incredible extent, with earth, excrement of mice, other disgusting but not exactly noxious things, and also with blighted corn, darnel, cockle, and other poisonous seeds. None of the samples were free from cockle, and in some there was more than one per cent of it.
Is the matter of Technical Education in Connection with Agriculture in England, Mr. S. Rowlandson has shown that under the stimulation of a parliamentary grant the Royal Agricultural Society has instituted examinations in the science and theory of agriculture, a provision for the teaching of elementary agricultural subjects has been incorporated in the education code, and attention has been given to the matter by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The lack of teachers is the chief obstacle to making the benefits of instruction in the subject real and general.
On the occasion of the transit of Mercury, May 10, 1891, Dr. K. Winder, of Detroit, analyzing the solar spectrum at the point where the planet was projected on the sun's disk, observed that the telluric rays in the light from the edge of the planet were strongly marked and extraordinarily dark, indicating the existence of a dense atmosphere in Mercury and the presence of vapor in it.
Finnic and Russian Lapland constitute one of the coldest regions of Europe. The whole country is within the isotherm of 0° C, while in its interior the isotherms of — 1° and — 2° describe concentric curves. At Kola the thermometer stands above 0° C. (the freezing-point) only during three months. The winter usually begins on the 15th of September. The long winter, ending in June, is followed by a spring of fifteen days; then summer begins in the first week in July and lasts some six or seven weeks, when the thermometer often shows a considerably warm temperature. In the neighborhood of Enasa the ranunculus blossoms on the 28th of June, chickweed July 3d, meadow geranium July 12th, blackberry July 26th, azalea June 26th, Linnea borealis July 20th, and butterwort July 2d.
As a test for the detection of fish oil in linseed oil, Dr. Thomas Taylor recommends silver nitrate solution. On its application the fish oil, if any is present, coagulates and falls to the bottom of the test-tube, displacing the nitrate-of-silver solution. The author declares the test infallible, as the effect is not produced with other oils.
Dr. L. Webster Fox believes from his experiments that savage races have better color-perceptions than civilized races. In a group of one hundred Indian boys he found none color-blind. In another group of two hundred and fifty Indian boys two were color-blind. No color-blind Indian girls were found.
A curious instance of "frugality" in bees has been observed by Mr. M. H. Harris, of Ealing, England. During rainy weather, which promised to interfere with further honey-making, they proceeded to guard against it by ejecting the larvæ of both drones and workers and sucking out the soft contents of the corpses, leaving only the white chitinous covering.