Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/740

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with a still lower red-ash group in the conglomerate.

M. Alfred Gauthier, for many years Professor of Astronomy at Geneva, died December 2d, in the ninetieth year of his age.

An English engineer, who bought a boiler sixteen years old, and used it as if its capacity to resist pressure was equal to that of a new and perfectly sound one, till it blew up and caused the death of several workmen, has been sentenced by the court at Leeds to a year's imprisonment for criminal negligence. The "Pall Mall Gazette" declares that the sentence is "severe, as it is probably novel," but can not consider it in excess of the merits.

So far as the Department of Agriculture has been able to obtain information on the subject, 181,583 acres of land in the United States arc devoted to the culture of the grape, giving a production of 23,453,827 gallons of wine, of an estimated value of $13,426,174. California leads in respect to both the area planted and the quantity of production, while the industry is not so concentrated anywhere east of the Rocky Mountains as in that State. Yet, while California produces three or four million gallons more than all the other States, the value of the crops of the latter is, in consequence of their greater accessibility to the market, more than twice as great as that of the crop of California.

Recognizing that the zero of thermometers is moved after undergoing sudden changes of temperature, and that it gradually rises during the first few months after the instruments are made, M. Pernet has inquired whether the distance between the "boiling-point" and the "freezing-point" is likewise subject to variations or is constant at all different stages of secular alteration in volume of bulbs. He has found that the distance is constant if the freezing point is determined immediately after the boiling-point; but that if the boiling-point be determined and a long interval elapse before the freezing-point is determined, there is a considerable error. For a thermometer to read rightly at any particular temperature, it should be exposed for a considerable time to the temperature for which exact measure is desired, or else for a few minutes to a slightly higher temperature.

Mr. Lawrence Bruner, of West Point, Nebraska, who has been traveling in the locust-centers of the West and Northwest, with especial reference to investigating the probabilities for another visitation of the pests, reports that there are probably no locust-eggs east of the Rocky Mountains this-season, and that, therefore, a general visitation in 1882 is highly improbable.

Dr. Ami Boué, who recently died at Vienna, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years, is stated to have been the author of more than two hundred works on subjects related to geology and natural history, he had been for more than fifty years an honorary member of the Geological Society of London, and received the Wollaston Medal in 1847.

The Nickajack Cave, near the corner of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama, which is comparable in dimensions with the Mammoth and Wyandotte Caves, contains like them a fauna with peculiar characteristics. Professor Cope, who recently made two collecting expeditions into it, found abundant traces of human habitation near its mouth: first of the outer world so far within as light from without could be observed; and, farther in, blind crawfish, whose snowy-white forms could be readily distinguished by candle-light in the clear water. Of the five kinds of animals living in the waters of the cave, all but one differ decidedly from those of the caves of Kentucky, Indiana, and Virginia. This indicates, Professor Cope suggests, that these cave-forms are the descendants of different out-of-door species from those of the more northern caves.

Professor W. K. Brooks, Ph. D., of Johns Hopkins University, has been awarded a medal of the first class by the Société d'Acclimation of Paris, for his work on the "Development of the Oyster." Professor H. A. Rowland, of the same institution, has been awarded the prize of 1,500 lire which was offered by the Reale Institute Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, for the best essay on the "Mechanical Equivalent of Heat." The essay has been translated into Italian, and will be published by the institute.

Professor E. D. Cope has described a new saurian (Champsosauris Australia), belonging to a genus of uncertain affinity, that has hitherto been regarded as peculiar to the Laramie strata, which is found in New Mexico, in a formation lying below the typical Wahsatch Eocene. Specimens of the genus appear also to have been found by Dr. Lemoine near Reims, in France, in the Sucssonian Eocene, associated with mammalia.

M. René Thury, of Geneva, has communicated some observations on the production of inductive currents by distant lightning. He stretched between the roofs of two houses a wire, one end of which communicated with the ground, while the other end was connected with a telephone. Whenever lightning was perceived at a distance that might reach as far as twenty-five miles, the telephone simultaneously uttered a characteristic sound.