Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/445

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small Europeans. Precociousness becomes less and less in proportion to the advance made by any race in civilization—a fact which is illustrated by the lowering of the standard for recruits, which has been made necessary in France twice during the present century, by the decreasing rapidity of growth of the youth of the country. Women are more precocious than men, and in all domestic animals the female is formed sooner than the male. From eight to twelve years of age, a girl gains one pound a year on a boy, and in mixed schools girls obtain the first places up to the age of twelve. The inferior tissues and organs develop before the higher ones, and the brain is the slowest of all organs to develop. M. Delaunay concludes his paper by stating that the precocity of organs and organisms is in an inverse ratio to the extent of their evolution.



According to Dr. Abercrombie, a gentleman who had been a soldier dreamed that he heard a signal-gun, saw the proceedings for displaying the signals, heard the bustle of the streets, the assembling of troops, etc. Just then he was roused by his wife, who had dreamed precisely the same dream with this addition, that she saw the enemy land and a friend of her husband's killed; and she awoke in a fright. This occurred at Edinburgh, at the time when a French invasion was feared, and it had been decided to fire a signal-gun at the first approach of the foe. The dream was caused, it appears, by the fall of a pair of tongs in the room above; and the excited state of the public mind was quite sufficient to account for both dreams turning on the same subject.

The French forestry department, according to the "Polybiblion," have arrived at the conclusion that forests directly increase the supply of water in their neighborhood. From observations at Senlis and Nancy, they have decided that it rains more abundantly in wooded tracts, and that, while the leaves and branches give back the water quickly to the air, they prevent rapid evaporation from the ground, and are thus favorable to the formation of springs.

Dr. Ludwig Moser, Professor of Physics in the University of Königsberg, died in the latter part of February, aged seventy-five years. "Long," says "Nature," "before photography had become a practical art, Dr. Moser had acquired considerable reputation by his systematic and successful experiments in this department."

Specimens of the volcanic ashes which rained down upon Dominica have been analyzed by M. L. Best. The lye was found to be rich in chloride of potassium. The predominant constituents of the solid part were silicates (feldspar and pyroxene), and pyrites in perfectly defined cubic crystals.

Another severe outbreak of scarlet fever, which occurred near Manchester, England, last summer, and in which thirty-five persons belonging to eighteen different families were attacked, twenty-five within thirty-six hours, has been traced by the health authorities to the distribution of the infection through the milk-supply.

Herr Baumgaertner, a German, has invented a balloon for navigation, having three cars attached, each with ten or twelve rings, to be set in motion by a crank. He recently attempted an ascension with his machine i at Leipsic. When the balloon was rising very slowly and skimming the house-tops his two assistants, in their alarm, jumped out. Upon this the balloon shot up to a great height, then burst and fell. The inventor was not seriously hurt, and is resolved to make a second experiment.

Rev. James Clifton Ward, F.G.S., from 1865 to 1878 an active working member of the English Geological Survey, and a popular writer on geological subjects, died April 13th, at the early age of thirty-seven.

"Nature" quotes from the "Bombay Gazette" an account of a remarkable thunderstorm that occurred at Dharwar, in March last, during which "hailstones fell measuring no less than nine or ten inches in circumference." The thunder and lightning were terrific, and, after the fall of hail, there was a heavy downpour of rain. We thought the hailstones mentioned above were the largest ever heard of, but it turns out, as usual, that the West is ahead in hail-stones as well as meteors and other celestial commodities. The "Bulletin" of the Iowa Weather Service, for April, 1880, received since the above was written, tells of thunderstorms during the month, in that State, where hailstones fell measuring twelve inches in circumference.

The death is announced of Karl von Seebach, the distinguished Professor of Geology at Göttingen. Although still a young man at the time of his death, he had done a large amount of valuable work, especially in the investigation of volcanic phenomena.

A scientific association has been formed in Algeria on the plan of the British and