Popular Science Monthly/Volume 46/April 1895/Popular Miscellany
|←Publications Received|| Popular Science Monthly Volume 46 April 1895 (1895)
Meeting of the Geological Society in Baltimore. — The seventh annual meeting of the Geological Society of America was held a; the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., December 27th to the 29th. About sixty fellows of the society were present, and fifty papers were read. Prof. T. C. Chamberlin, in his address as the retiring president, spoke of his observations during the past summer on the glaciers and ice sheet of Greenland, especially of Inglefield Gulf and of Bowdoin Bay, a fiord extending from that gulf northward to Lieutenant Peary's winter station. A series of very instructive lantern views of these glaciers was exhibited after this address. The surface of Inglefield Gulf, at its far northern latitude of 78°, lying twelve hundred and fifty miles north of the southern end of Greenland and only about eight hundred and fifty miles from the pole, was mostly frozen during all last summer; and it was with much difficulty that the stanch steamer Falcon, bearing this Peary Relief Expedition, cut its way through the ice pack in August to reach Bowdoin Bay. Because the sun's rays there fall so slantingly, their effect to promote the flow of the glaciers is very slight, the maximum rate of the glacial currents being found to be only two and a half feet a day in midsummer; but the reflection of the solar heat from the ground at the ice margin causes the ends of the valley glaciers and the border of the great inland ice sheet to have a very steep slope, or even in many places a precipitous and sometimes overhanging front. In these ice cliffs, rising abruptly one hundred to two hundred feet or more, the lower half of the ice incloses ranch englacial drift and is very distinctly laminated, having obtained a nearly horizontal or often steeply inclined stratification through the shearing effect of its motion in the upper and central parts being faster than below. As the bowlders and smaller rock fragments are carried onward in the ice, they are thus subjected to much wearing upon each other. At some localities this englacial drift is being amassed beneath the ice border in low, rounded hillocks, nearly like the drumlins or oval hills of till so well developed about Boston, in central New York, and in some other districts of the northern United States and Canada, which have long puzzled glacialists to explain how they could be formed. Other glacial papers were presented at this meeting by Prof. G. Frederick Wright, on his observations last summer in a second expedition to Newfoundland, Labrador, and Greenland; by Prof. C. H. Hitchcock, on deposits regarded as deltas of a glacial or ice-dammed lake in the basin of Lake Memphremagog, the old water level having been about four hundred feet above that of to-day; by H. F. Reid, on the secular recessions and readvances of the present glaciers of the Alps and other regions; by Warren Upham, on the question whether the ice sheets of the Glacial period were formed chiefly by snowfall upon all their area or advanced far beyond their zone of predominant snow accumulation, and a second paper on the climatic conditions shown by North American interglacial deposits; and two papers by Prof. H. L. Fairchild, on the lakes held by the barrier of the waning ice sheet in the valleys of the Finger Lakes, the Genesee River, and other streams in central New York. Prof. Fairchild, from observations made principally during the past year, maps and names fifteen or more of these lakes. They range from ten to thirty miles in length and from two to five miles in width, with outlets across the southern watershed to the head-streams of the Susquehanna. In the long and deep valleys now occupied by Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes, the former glacial lakes stood four hundred to seven hundred feet above the present lake levels, as shown by the old deltas and shore lines. Papers on the crystalline rocks of Archæan or pre-Cambrian age were presented by C. W. Hall, F. . Adams, J. F. Kemp, C. H. Smyth, Jr., W. S. Bayley, and others. The folded structure of the Appalachian mountain belt was 856
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��discussed by Arthur Keith ; and the same type of mountain-folding was described by C. D. Walcott in the White Mountain range of Inyo County, Cal. Other papers on the Paleozoic rock series, and on their fossils, were by N. S. Shaler, H. P. Gushing, C. R. Keyes, H. S. Williams, David White, and Dr. Robert Bell. Mesozoic formations in Arkan- sas were described by G. K. Gilbert and F. P. Gulliver; in Montana, by W. H. Weed and L. V. Pirsson ; and in Maryland and New Jersey, by W. B. Clark and N. H. Dar- ton. Coming down to the present time in the geologic record, the Tertiary and Quater- nary formations of New Jersey were reviewed by R. D. Salisbury ; and the history of the island of Cuba during these eras was traced by J. W. Spencer. About a dozen other papers were on observations in petrography and mineralogy. The officers elect for the year 1895 are Prof. N. S. Shaler, Cambridge, Mass., president; Prof. Joseph Le Conte, Berkeley, Cal, first vice-president; Prof. C. H. Hitchcock, Hanover, N. H., second vice- president ; Prof. H. L. Fairchild, Rochester, N. Y., secretary ; Prof. I. C. White, Morgan- town, W. Va., treasurer; Mr. J. Stanley- Brown, Washington, D. C, editor; and Mr. R. W. Ells, Ottawa, Canada, and Prof. C. R. Van Hise, Madison, Wis., new members of the council.
Prof. Snlly's Inqniries. Prof. James Sully, being about to issue a new and re- vised edition of his Teacher's Handbook of Psychology, and desiring to make it as use- ful as possible to teachers, invites sugges- tions as to the directions in which the book might be improved. He would also be glad to receive striking observations of children's mental characteristics as they reveal them- selves under the processes of education, and fresh illustrations of the effects on the young mind of methods of teaching which accord with the principles laid down, and still more of those which conflict with them. These observations may relate to the ignorances of children, their preconceptions and prejudices, the special directions of their observation and interest, their customary lines of mental association (sequence of ideas), their ways of interpreting language, their modes of judging and reasoning about things, their sensibility and insensibility, and their atti-
��tude toward moral discipline. Illustrations are also desired of the practical bearing of principles, and more especially of the evils resulting from the neglect of them. Mr. Sully's address is East Heath Road, Hamp- stead, London, N. W. Communications should be sent before the end of April, 1895.
Disinfection of Scarlet-Fever Patients.
Experiments by Dr. William Gibson, of Camp- beltown, Scotland, in disinfecting scarlet- fever patients so as to free them from contagion before the process of desquamation is com- pleted, have resulted successfully. His methoc was to give a succession of three or four comfortably warm baths, sometimes daily, at other times on alternate days, using freelr carbolic-acid soap, and washing the patient thoroughly from top to toe. After each bath, except the last, the patient was put back to the bed on which he had lain with the dis- ease. After the last bath he was taken into a clean room, dressed with clothes free from infection, and then allowed to mingle with the rest of the family. In most cases the body was anointed daily with olive oil mixed with some disinfectant. Patients with such complications as otitis or ulcerated or suppurating throat were not subjected to the process. No complications followed the cleansing process in any case ; but convales- cence seemed to be rather hastened than retarded.
Tlie Elements of Speecli in the Kinder- garten, Drill in the sounds that make up words is suggested by Mrs. E. B. Burnz as a proper and profitable exercise for the kinder- garten. Her idea is set forth in three arti- cles that appeared in the Kindergarten News in the course of 1894. Few pupils or teachers in the ordinary schools realize that every word is composed of sounds into which it may be divided. Practice in making the separate sounds, combining them to form words, and separating words into their pho- netic elements would greatly facilitate cor- rect and ready enunciation both in speaking and reading. Many parents are much dis- tressed because their children, when of kindergarten age and older, can not speak plainly. Such phonetic drill would be of great benefit to these children. The idea by no means involves the introduction of read-
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��ing into the kindergarten the instruction should be wholly oral. The children should be led to grasp the idea that each sound is produced by a special shape of the mouth. In learning to put the mouth into the various required shapes they get a control of the muscles of the tongue and other vocal or- gans. Mrs. Burnz gives some further details and suggestions, including the words of a " Vowel Song."
Au Aqnatie Biological Station in Illinois.
The Aquatic Biological Station of the Uni- versity of Illinois and the Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History, at Havana, on the Illinois River, is especially devoted to the study of the efPect on the aquatic plant and animal life of a region produced by the periodical overflow and gradual reces- sion of the waters of great rivers, and is be- lieved to be, in some respects, the only sta- tion of its kind in the world. The station, with the river varying in width from live hundred feet to four or five miles, according to the stage of the water and the outlying lakes, is excellently adapted to this purpose. The results of the first season's work are only a beginning, but they dimly reveal a large number of problems for which solu- tions may be sought. Notable contrasts in kind and number appear between animals of the springy shore and lake and those of the muddy intervale, only a few rods away on the other side, between river and lake, and be- tween different lakes contrasts easily com- prehensible, as in the first instance given, where the cool spring water flowing in abundantly is evidently favorable to the gam- merids and aselli swarming there, and some- times peculiarly puzzling, like that between Quiver Lake, on the one hand, whose waters were densely choked in midsummer with a thick growth of aquatic vegetation, but con- tained fewer of the smaller animal forms than the open current of the river, and Thompson's Lake, on the other hand, where the water was relatively clear of aquatic plants, but abounded in rotifers and ento- mostraca. Still more curious was the con- trast between the similarly situated and very similar lakes. Quiver and Matanzas, the waters of one loaded and clogged with plants and swarming with small mollusks and insect larvae, and those of the other with
��hardly a trace of even microscopic vegeta- tion, and with a correspondingly insignificant quantity of animal life. The course of events in a body like one of the station's lakes, with its extreme seasonal vicissitudes, ranging from complete overflow and loss of identity to absolute drying away in now and then an exceptional year, is extremely inter- esting to the cecologist. "The extraordi- nary instability of the system, one predomi- nant and excessively abundant from quickly following another almost to the suppression of its predecessor, and all finally over- whelmed in a common doom, gives to the student an impression of an unhealthy or- ganism, caught in the trap of an unfavorable environment, and hurrying through the stages of a fatal disease. One of the sur- prises of the season was the abundance of life in the main stream, which, as already intimated, sometimes contained a greater abundance of animal forms than most of the lakes connected with it; and another was the relatively small difference between the animals frequenting widely unlike situations in the same body of water." The freshness and fruitfulness of the field were well illus- trated by the large number of new forms found, especially among rotifers, worms, and insect larvae.
The Valley of Hadraniaat. Mr. Theodore Bent lately gave the Royal Geographical Socie- ty an account of an expedition which he and his wife had made to Hadramaut, a broad valley running for a hundred miles or more parallel to the coast of Arabia, by which the valleys of the plateau discharge their water into the sea at Saihut. Because of the fanaticism of the inhabitants, this main valley had been reached by only one European before Mr. and Mrs. Bent Herr Leo Hirsch, in 1893. Mr. and Mrs. Bent traveled without disguise, and with a large retinue of followers. The coun- try is inhabited by several classes of people : wild tribes of Bedouins, who do all the carry- ing trade, possess large tracts of country, and are a terror ; the Arabs proper, who live in the tonms and cultivate the lands around them ; the Seyyids and Sherifs, the Arabian aristocracy, being descendants of the Prophet and possessing enormous influence ; and the slave population and freed slaves. There is no source of wealth in the country, but great
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��luxury prevails among the aristocracy. It comes from India, where it was acquired. The architecture of the towns is decidedly monotonous. Most of the houses are ex- ceedingly high, many of them reaching eleven stories. They are built of sun-dried bricks, and are externally decorated with chevrons and zigzag patterns. There is always a ter- race on the roof, where the people sleep in the hot weather, and they are usually deco- rated with turrets, domes, machicolations, buttresses, etc., which give them quite a medicEval appearance. Outside in the court- yard the flocks and herds are kept, and the horses are stabled at night. The lower story is devoted to the storage of goods, the second story is inhabited by servants, the third by the guests, and above that come the harem and the family dwelling rooms. Excellent carvings are executed on the parts of the buildings convenient for them, and on the household utensils. Sultan Sallah was much taken with Mrs. Bent's accomplishments, be- cause she could do other things besides paint herself with turmeric and antimony, and lead a listless life of seclusion and squabbles in the harem. The medical condition of the country is terribly deficient. Burning the part affected with a hot iron is a favorite remedy, called kaiji/s, and was seen frequently applied. The doctors consider certain smells dangerous for certain wounds, and those af- flicted are obliged to wear stoppers in their noses for fear of inhaling the odor. On to a wound they will tie iron or tin ; and, as wom- en are not allowed to see medical men, their husbands take a hair from their head, by which the doctors undertake to decide from what the lady is suffering. Sultan Sallah told a curious case which had come under his notice : A man, for a wager, ate all the fat of a goat, and when he was subsequently taken ill, the doctor ordered a fire of wood to be lighted all round him to melt the fat, which had congealed in his inside.
The Composition of llic Primitive Atmos- pbere. Contrary to the usual doctrine that the proportion of oxygen in the atmosphere is decreasing and that of carbonic acid is in- creasing, a theory was put forth by the late Prof, C. J. Koene, of the University of Brus- sels, that the proportion of carbonic acid was formerly vastly greater than it now is, while
��oxygen was absent from the primary atmos- phere. Force was added to these conclu- sions by the luxuriance of the coal plants and by the frequent presence of combustible sub- stances, such as pyrites, molybdenite, and copper pyrites, in the primitive rocks. Under this hypothesis the origin of the oxygen in the atmosphere should be sought in the ac- tivity of plant life, decomposing carbonic acid and evolving the life-giving element. In the examination of this theory. Dr. T. L. Phipson has made experiments to ascertain to what extent our modern plants can vegetate in at- mospheres of carbonic acid, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Taking such plants as pea, myo- sotis, antirrhinum, and convolvulus, he found that they could exist for many days, and even weeks, in an atmosphere of pure carbonic acid, but did not thrive ; that they appeared healthy in an atmosphere containing so much carbonic acid that an animal exposed to it would perish in a few minutes ; and that they flourished remarkably well in an atmosphere containing one hundred times as much car- bonic acid as in its normal condition. Con- volvulus and antirrhinum in an atmosphere of pure hydrogen were healthy, while the hy- drogen gradually disappeared, probably by uniting with the nascent oxygen, and the plants got covered with water. In an atmos- phere of pure nitrogen vegetation was re- markably healthy for a lengthened period, and in one of carbonic acid and nitrogen mixed it was truly luxuriant. Dr. Phipson found, moreover, that the lowest orders of microscopic plants separate oxygen from its compounds carbonic acid and water. He concludes that, primarily, when the heat was so intense that no compounds could exist, the earth was in the state of free elements, or of atoms all identical, which became differenti- ated as the cooling went on ; that the primitive atmosphere consisted of nitrogen, into which volcanic action poured large quantities of car- bonic acid and water ; that free oxygen, not at first present, was supplied by the evolution from the first organic beings plants that appeared, they deriving it from the carbonic acid they found in the soil and the atmos- phere. This oxygen, poured into the air for an incalculable series of ages, has gone on increasing in quantity from the earth's earli- est history to the present time ; and when it had attained to a certain amount, animal life
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��became possible, and duly appeared (in its lowest forras). As the oxygen became more abundant, animal life of a higher order be- came possible. The development of the nervous system has coincided with the in- crease of oxygen in the air.
Place of the Free Academy. Describing the place of academies in the State school system of New York, Principal William E. Bunten said at the University Convocation that the free academy is a democratic insti- tution in the best sense of the word demo- cratic. It is there that the great bulk of successful business men receive all the train- ing and discipline they ever get in school above the elementary branches ; and an in- creasingly large number pass directly from the academy to the study of law and medi- cine. The great majority of teachers get their only preparation in the academy, either with or without training classes. Again, " many a boy or girl receives in the academy an inspiration, a sort of mental momentum " that sends him to college a thing he never would have thought of had not the free academy existed ; and many a parent is able to give a son or a daughter a collegiate edu- cation because the same academy saves the expense of three or four years at the pre- paratory school, and at the same time keeps the child under the wholesorhe influences of home during these early formative years. The place of the academies is, then, " to pre- pare what may be called the great middle class to enter on their several vocations in life, and to place golden opportunities before the youth of all classes, rich and poor alike."
The " Hot Winds " of the Plains. An
instructive study of the summer " hot winds," with which the great plains are occasionally visited, has been published by I. M. Kline, based on a comparison of the recorded obser- vations of about twenty years. These winds are likely to occur between May 15 th and Sep- tember 15 th, but are most frequent during July and August ; they are extremely dry ; their direction corresponds with that of the general movement of the atmosphere at the surface of the earth at the time ; the region of the atmosphere in which they occur has a pro- gressive movement from west to east ; and they occur mostly with low-pressure areas,
��which have moved slowly from the north of Montana southeasterly along the eastern slope for three or four days before they take up a decided movement eastward al- though this condition is subject to variation. A striking characteristic of them is their effect on vegetation, which they always cause to wilt and droop, while the more intensely hot winds burn vegetation to a crisp in a few minutes, without relation to the amount of moisture present in the soil or general at- mosphere. The opinion that there is a special class of these winds, that the heat and dryness are of dynamic origin like that of the foehn and chinook, has been advanced by some, and the present study of all the obser- vations and correlated facts relating to the subject seems to confirm this view. Although the development of these hot winds is wholly independent of drought conditions, they will, of course, become much more intense, extend over more territory, and be more injurious to crops when they occur during the prevalence of a drought than when they occur with sea- sonable weather. The areas affected by them, while they make considerable show, are but a small amount when compared with the whole crop of a State. Occasionally one sixth or even one fourth of two or three counties are completely burned up, but such cases are rare. After a careful consideration of the subject, the author has come to the conclusion that while these winds are often very intense and striking in their nature and damage crops to a considerable extent, yet there are often parts of the United States where the farmer has as great drawbacks to contend with such as overflows, excessive rains, etc. These winds are a feature of the climate of the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, and can not be expected to disap- pear or even become less frequent ; neither are they likely to become more so. The best suggestion the author can make for lessening their injurious effects is to fence against them by hedges and plantations of timber.
Mechanical Work and Chemical Action.
Some very interesting experiments in the transforming of mechanical w'ork into chem- ical action have been described by M. Carey Lea. Employing a shearing stress, he placed, in one series of experiments, a small quantity of a metallic salt in a mortar, spread it into
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��a thin uniform sheet over the bottom, and rotated the pestle with the utmost force he could command. Two or three decigrammes of chloroaurate of sodium left TS milligramme of metallic gold. Under the action of the pestle the yellow color of the salt gradually deepened to an olive shade. When water was poured on, the undecomposed salt dis- solved, leaving the gold as a delicate purple powder. Half an hour's trituration of half a gramme of the salt resulted in the reduction of 9"2 milligrammes of gold. By a similar op- eration corrosive sublimate was reduced to metallic calomel. Salts of mercury, platinum, and silver gave results analogous to those obtained with gold.
Value of Tradition. When Jacques Car- tier visited the St. Lawrence River in 1535 he found, where Montreal now is, a strong city exercising an extensive sway, named Hoche- laga. When Champlain sailed up the same river, seventy years later, Hochelaga had dis- appeared and left no trace. The story of the fall of its dominion has never been satis- factorily explained. Mr. Horatio Hale, visit- ing the Wyandotte Indians a few years ago, found among them coherent traditions of their former residence in the east, and their withdrawal thence to settle near Mackinaw. The interpretation of these traditions, of which the author gives two versions, divested of what is fanciful in them, combined with a few known incidents, points to the expulsion of the Huron tribes from their stronghold of Hochelaga as the result of a war with other tribes of the Iroquois stock. From this les- son Mr. Hale draws important conclusions regarding the value of traditional evidence. It is plain," he says, " that until recently this evidence has been seriously undervalued. Our students of history have been too gener- ally a book- worshiping race, unwilling to ac- cept any testimony with regard to events that is not found in some contemporary page, either written or priuted. It is not half a century since a distinguished English author pronounced the opinion that no tradition can be trusted which is more than a hundred years old. At the time when this opinion was put forth by Sir George C. Lewis, many voyagers and missionaries in the Pacific is- lands were accumulating traditional testimony of vast and varied origin, which is now ad-
��mitted on all hands to prove the occurrence of events that must have taken place at suc- cessive periods extending over the last two thousand years. The Brief History of the Hawaiian People, by Prof. W. B. Alexander, of Honolulu, published in 1891, 'by order of the Board of Education of the Hawaiian King- dom,' recounts as unquestionable facts many voyages, migrations, battles, royal and priest- ly accessions, marriages, and deaths which have occurred in the Sandwich Islands and other groups, from the eleventh century to our own time. At the other extremity of the great ocean the Polynesian Society, established at Wellington, New Zealand, has published in its excellent quarterly journal communica- tions from able contributors relating to vari- ous histories, and carrying them back, with the aid of numerous mutually confirmatory genealogies, for many centuries, with un- hesitating belief in their general truth. In this way the history of the peopling of the vast Polynesian region, extending over a space larger than North America, and cover- ing at least twenty centuries, is gradually be- coming known to us as surely, if not as minutely, as that of the countries of Europe during the same period. The question natu- rally arises whether we may not hope to re- cover the history of aboriginal America for at least the same length of time. . . . We have every reason to feel assured that in the three hundred Indian reservations and recog- nized bands of the United States and Canada, with populations varying from less than a hundred to more than twenty thousand, and comprising many men and women of good education and superior intelligence, there are mines of traditional lore ready to yield re- turns of inestimable value to well-qualified and sympathetic explorers."
Mat^hona Granaries. Grain is stored by the natives of Mashonaland in circular granaries, which are miniature copies of their own huts. Near the source of the Ingazuri River the railroad surveying party unexpect- edly came across a collection of fifty or sixty granaries, belonging to a neighboring village, and in charge of two watchmen. " The clean surface of the granite rock formed the floor of the granaries ; they were perched on bowlders, without regard to order, where a flat surface offered a favorable location.
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��Their circular walls consisted of wattle and daub ; three or four stout poles with forked ends protruded above the rest of the wall to receive the ribs of the umbrella-shaped roof, this roof being first covered with a plastering of mud, and then thatched with long grass. Some of the granaries measured six feet in height to the eaves and six feet in diameter, but they varied in size to suit the area of level rock available on the several bowlders. The interior is partitioned, by walls of wattle and daub, into three or sometimes four com- partments, to separate the bulk of the grain. The building is covered with an inner roof of sticks plastered into mud before the outer roof is put on. A small door or manhole made from an oval or round slab of rock, and with a handle fitted to it, is let into the wall of the hut about four feet above the ground. The outside ornamentation of nearly all the huts consists of moldings representing the female breast an emblem of plenty and a longitudinal bar in relief above them, the significance of which is open to conjecture. In the aggregate these granaries were capa- ble of storing upward of six thousand bush- els of grain."
Height of Ocean Wares. Dr. G. Schott, studying the form and height of the waves of the deep sea, found that under a moderate breeze their velocity was 24"6 feet per second, or 16"8 miles an hour, which is about the speed of a modern sailing vessel. As the wind rises, the size and speed of the waves increase. In a strong breeze their length rises to 260 feet, and their speed reaches 360 or 364 feet per second. Waves, the period of which is nine seconds, the length 400 or 425 feet, and the speed twenty-eight nautical miles per hour, are produced only in storms. During a southeast storm in the southern Atlantic Dr. Schott measured waves 690 feet long ; and this was not a maximum ; for in latitude 28 south and longitude 39 east he observed waves of fifteen seconds period which were 1,150 feet long, with a velocity of 78*7 feet per second, or 46^ nautical miles an hour. Dr. Schott does not think that the maximum height of the waves is very great. Some ob- servers have estimated it at 30 or 40 feet in a wind of the force represented by 1 1 on the Beaufort scale (the highest number on which is 12) ; and Dr. Schott's maximum is just 32
��feet. He believes that in great tempests waves of more than 60 feet are rare, and that even those of 50 feet are exceptional. In the ordinary trade winds the height is five or six feet. The ratio of height to length is about 1 : 33 in a moderate wind, 1 : 18 in a strong wind, and 1 : 17 in a storm ; from which it follows that the inclination of the waves is respectively about 6, 10, and 11. The ratio of the height of the waves to the force of the wind varies greatly.
Climate of Galveston. The advantages of the climate of Galveston, Tex., are well set forth in a paper by Dr. I. M. Cline. The city is situated on an island four miles from the mainland, in latitude 29 17' north, and has, therefore, a real insular climate. During twenty years the lowest temperature was be- low 20 only in two, while the highest re- corded temperature is 98. July is the only month in which the maximum temperature reaches 90 in every year. During August it has reached that point in eighteen years ; during September, in eight years ; during June, in four years ; and during May, in three years. The highest monthly range is 58, and the average diurnal range is 10 5'. The amount of moisture in the atmosphere ranges between seventy and eighty per cent. There are on the average 133 clear, 140 partly cloudy, and 92 cloudy days in a year; and it is estimated approximately that the sun shines to some extent on 318 days in a year. The average annual death rate is about 15 per 1,000 in- habitants, consumption leading the list with one in fourteen deaths. No epidemic dis- eases, except a few cases of smallpox, have visited the region since 1870, and none of the more destructive epidemics have ever originated in Galveston.
Flanieless Explosives. A committee ap- pointed in 1888 by the North of England In- stitute of Mechanical Engineers to investi- gate upon the subject of flameless explosives in relation to their degree of safety in mines, has only recently published the first part of its report upon experiments that were begun in 1892. They find that all the high explo- sives are less liable than blasting powder to ignite inflammable mixtures of air and fire damp. They can not, however, be relied upon as insuring absolute safety when used
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��at places where inflammable mixtures of air and fire damp may be present. The variable results following upon the detonation of high explosives appear to be due in some measure to defective admixture of the in gredients or variation in the properties of them. It is also certain that these explosives alter in character with age. The same pre- cautions should be observed when they are used as with blasting powder ; and it should always be recollected that the risk of explo- sion is only lessened and not abolished by their use. All the high explosives upon de- tonation produce evident flame.
Scicuee Endowments in the United States,
Of the endowments for post-graduate sci- entific study in our colleges, Mr. Addison Brown, in his address before the Scientific Alliance of New York, shows that Columbia College has two fellowships the Tyndall, of $648 a year, and the Barnard, of about $300 a year expressly restricted to science. Besides these, twenty-four general university fellowships of $500 for post-graduate study have been established, of which eighteen are in present operation ; and, in addition, the Schermerhorn fellowship in architecture of $1,300, and the two McKim fellowships, to support study in foreign travel, and five prizes for proficiency in the medical depart- ment. The University of Pennsylvania has the Tyndall fellowship and the Lea Hygienic Laboratory with a fellowship of $10,000 en- dowed by Thomas A. Scott, and at present applied to original research in bacteriology. At Harvard, besides the three Bullard fel- lowships of $5,000 each, established in 1891 to promote original research in the medical school, there are two post- graduate fellow- ships devoted to science exclusively, the Tyndall fellowship of about $500, and the income of the recently established Joseph Lovering fund, the principal of which is now about $8,000. There are also eleven other general fellowships the Parker, the Kirkland, and the Morgan available for promising graduate students in any branch, of which about five have usually been as- signed to science. These fellowships give an income of from $450 to $700 a year. Harvard has also forty-six scholarships avail- able for graduate students, varying in in- come from $150 to $300 each, of which about
��seventeen are assigned to science. Prince- ton has a hundred undergraduate scholar- ships, and only one post-graduate fellowship for science. Yale has the Silliman and the Sloane fellowships in science. In all these colleges there are only about twenty-six ade- quately endowed post-graduate fellowships in science. As these should be continued for at least three years, there is provision altogether for only about nine per year not one fourth the number required to supply the annual loss of trained teachers in the colleges of the country, to say nothing of the increasing demand through the growth and improvements in the colleges themselves. As it is from such specially trained students that the great professors of the future must be drawn, the need of much greater endow- ments for new i-ecruits is apparent.
Animals in Sleep. Delicate distinctions are made by a writer in the London Specta- tor on the Sleep of Animals between those animals which sleep soundly, those which sleep fitfully and always on the alert, as if " with one eye open," and real nocturnal ani- mals which sleep in the daytime a dead sleep. Rabbits, deer, and other timid ani- mals, sleeping largely in the daytime, when wakened, instantaneously ]>ass into the action that is required usually flight and escape with full possession of their faculties. " A sleeping fox will rise, gallop off, and dodge the hounds with as much coolness and knowledge of the ground as if it had been surprised on the prowl with all its wits awake. . . . Hares seem never to sleep ; however closely they may lie in their forms, the eye is ever alert and vigilant. . . . Deer stalkers have discovered by experiment that the sleeping senses of the stag (hearing and scent) are sensitive up to a distance of at least two hundred yards on the wind- ward side." There are reasons for be- lieving that the broken and timid form of animal sleep in the greater number of species is not such as they would naturally choose, but is the result of habits acquired and transmitted in centuries of danger and avoid- ance of their enemies; and that the same causes that have modified the hours of sleep changing them from the night time to the daytime have also modified its character. They are not daytime and alert sleepers by
�� � choice. Of such animals only a small fraction are night feeders by nature or choice. The real night feeders — bats, lemurs, lorises, etc. — are mostly insect-eaters, and their day sleep is sound, almost to lethargy — so that it is difficult to disturb their slumber. Between these two kinds of sleep is the form enjoyed by the large carnivora and the domestic animals. Tigers and lions have no reason to be afraid of anything but man, and sleep soundly and carelessly. Yet they possess the power of vigilance in sleep, which they can use, if required. Domestic animals, under man's protection, sleep well, and usually wake deliberately. Dogs are drowsy or wakeful, and, according to their state of mind and circumstances, seem to sleep lightly or heavily at will. "Nothing can be more slow, reluctant, and leisurely than the enforced waking of a petted housedog when it does not wish to be disturbed. It will remain deaf to a call, twitch its feet if tickled, but not unclose its eyes, and stretch and yawn like a sleepy child. But mention something interesting to the same dog when sleeping, such as the word 'walk,' or click the lock of a gun, and it is on its feet in an instant, and ready for enterprise." Even human sleep, this writer adds, "can be made vigilant by solicitude or previous resolve. It is a common experience that persons who are heavy sleepers can awaken at a certain hour by resolving to do so, or if roused by a sound previously agreed on recognize it as a call to awaken and do awaken instantly."
The Tanning School of Freiburg. — What is probably the only tanning school in the world — as distinguished from schools in which the chemistry of tanning is taught — was opened in 1889 at Freiburg, Saxony. Instruction is given in it in the theory and practice of the preparation of leather, in tanning, and in finishing. It is supported conjointly by the state, the city of Freiburg, and friends. It is attended by pupils from all parts of the world. It is completely fitted up with all the machinery and apparatus for tanning, and has rooms and machines for the unworked skins, lime baths, vats, cutting, rolling, and pressing. The machinery is all from the United States, and the director of the institution is an American tanner. Besides him, the teaching force includes a body of chemists, teachers, and a corps of practical tanners. The students give two hours a day — ten hours a week — in assisting at the operations of the tanners. Hides from all parts of the world are experimented upon every year, with all kinds of tanning processes, barks, and materials. The processes of the old and new schools are shown and compared; and it is said that the former give good and expensive, and the latter quick and cheap results. Lectures are given in the winter on subjects related to tanning; and excursions to tanneries, to the woods where the bark is collected, and to the yards where the bark is stored, are a part of the instruction.