Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/658

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A tame crow, in the possession of a writer in the Nuttall Ornithological Club Bulletin, rids himself of parasites in a very ingenious way. He takes his stand on an ant-hill, and permits the ants to crawl over him and carry away the troublesome vermin. The same habit was observed in another tame crow formerly in the author's possession.

Died in Indianapolis, December 12, 1876, Prof. Herbert E. Copeland, aged twenty-seven years. His scientific studies were commenced at Cornell University, where he devoted himself chiefly to natural history, graduating Ph. B. in 1872. He then became, successively, principal of an academy at Ravenswood, Illinois, and Professor of Natural Sciences in the normal school at Whitewater Wisconsin, and in the high-school at Indianapolis. His premature death was the result of exposure while studying the ichthyology of the State of Indiana in company with Prof. Jordan.

It is proposed in California to establish at numerous points in the State experiment stations for the purpose of accurately determining sundry agricultural problems, such as the nature of the soils of different localities, the best mode of maintaining and restoring productiveness, etc.

A fearful epizoötic prevailed last fall among the horses of Egypt. On the 18th of September 200 horses died in Cairo alone. The army-horses were specially afflicted, and 50 per cent, of them had died before the end of September. The carcasses were transported into the desert and thrown into those enormous bone-quarries of which we can have no idea here. But many were cast into the canals, and the consequences may be disastrous. It is supposed that this equine plague came from Abyssinia.

Prof. Leidy, in dredging the bottom of the Schuylkill near its mouth, was surprised to observe that no living thing whatever was brought up, the mud and sand being black and saturated with bituminous oil. The refuse of the city gas-works and probably of some coal-oil refineries run into the river. The oils appear to have an affinity for the suspended particles of clay, and the result is a bituminous sediment. In the same manner oils from decomposing animals, and also from certain plants, may have supplied the sedimentary muds of ancient shales.

A radiometer, in the shop of a Paris optician, during the first two weeks of December, twice stopped entirely in the daytime—viz., on the 8th, during a thunder-storm, and on the 13th, during a fog. The instrument varied considerably as to the moment of daily commencing to revolve—the extremes being 8.15 and 10.25 a. m. The time of stopping was far less irregular—the variation being only from 3.30 to 4 p. m.

Most of the monthly educational journals in the Western States have been consolidated to form one strong weekly—the National Journal of Education, published in Chicago. The editors are W. F. Phelps, editor-in-chief, Prof. E. Olney, and others. Special editors will be employed to conduct special departments. The subscription price of the Journal is $2.50 per year.

In the hope of eliciting further information concerning the breeding-habits of the American kinglets (Regulus), or at least of putting observers upon the alert for further information, Mr. Ernest Ingersoll publishes, in the November number of the Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, a paper in which is brought together whatever is at present known respecting the nidification of these birds.

In consequence of the extraordinary precautions taken last Fourth of July, the losses by fire from the use of fire-works were less than usual on that anniversary; but the losses so caused were nevertheless enormous. In the report of the National Board of Underwriters it is stated that the invoice value of all fire-crackers imported since January 1, 1875, is less than $1,500,000, and that the loss by two conflagrations traceable directly to them amounts to upward of $15,000,000! It is considered to be not an extravagant statement that every dollar's worth of fire-crackers imported into this country occasions a direct loss by fire of more than $100.

In order to reduce to the minimum the danger to health incurred by workmen employed in the manufacture cf white-lead, the British Inspector of Factories recommends that clothes, gloves, and caps, should be provided for the employés to be worn in the works; water-proof boots for those working with the moist white-lead, and respirators for those working with the dry white-lead. Besides, no workman should be allowed to leave the works unwashed, or in the factory-dress.

There appears to be at present a considerable degree of religious fermentation in Russia, and sects of all kinds are daily springing up. One of these new sects, the Philipovtzi preach suicide by fire and starvation as the greatest of Christian virtues. The "Child-Murderers" think it their duty to people paradise with the souls of innocent children. The "Stranglers" believe that people can only enter paradise by a violent death. Other sects are the "Flagellants" and the "Skoptzi," or mutilates. The Skoptzi number about 100,000 persons of both sexes.