Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/299

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
287
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

course of emigration seems to have been from the Atlantic coast toward the interior might be regarded as evidence that the ancestors of our Indian tribes were emigrants from Europe. Reference was made, in support of this view, to the close resemblance in structure between the Basque and the Indian languages. It was suggested, also, that if the Aryan intruders, entering Europe from the East, encountered and absorbed a population resembling the American aborigines, the fact would account for the great change which the Aryan speech underwent in Central and Western Europe. It would also account for the remarkable change which took place in the character of the intruding race. The Aryans, who in the East have always been a submissive and contemplative race, devoid of the idea of popular government, became, in Europe, a high-spirited, practical, and liberty-loving people. Mr. Hale concluded that the natives of modern Europe were a people of mixed race, forming a transition, in physical and mental traits, between the Eastern Aryans and the aboriginal Americans.

 

Wine from Beets.—Induced by the havoc wrought among the French vines by the phylloxera, the Messrs. Brin, of Paris, have patented processes for making red and white wines from red and white beets. The roots may be used raw, but it has been found preferable to cook them. Perfectly sweet and clean roots are chosen, and after being cooked are reduced to a pulp. The juice is then pressed out and strained, and put into vessels of wood or cement, but not of metal, with a certain quantity of water, if desired, to ferment. This process is aided by admitting steam or hot water through serpentine coils placed in the receivers, and adding some of the ordinary ferments, and alcohol, according to the degree of strength that is wanted. After fermentation the whole is strained with tannin. The wine obtained by this process is said to possess all the properties of wine from grapes, and is treated henceforth like grape-wine. It is well adapted, by virtue of its sacchariferous qualities, to improve wines poor in sugar and rich in tannin. The red wine, moreover, is good for adding color to other wines that need it. The white wine is supposed to be improved by the addition of a little nitric acid at the moment of fermentation, after which the whole is "well shaken."

 

Analogies of Ancient Old World and American Customs.—Dr. Phené called attention in the American Association to some hitherto unnoticed affinities between ancient customs in America and other continents. He mentioned customs which have been shown to have existed in the great river valleys of our countries or have been revealed in the mounds, that had parallels in various European and Asiatic countries. Among them were those indicated by the occurrence of figures of serpents, alligators, or mythical dragons, and the human form, the characteristic features of which were curiously persistent in each case. Some of the shapes of the semi-barbaric age of Mexico corresponded with forms in Devonshire and South Wales. In the vicinity of some such figures of this character in the west and east of the south of England were enormous intaglio representations of the human form corresponding to the intaglio forms at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Drawing attention to several other apparent correspondences, the speaker said that they were the result of a practice and culture transmitted with concurrent customs by way of the Pacific from one continent to another.

 

Russian Geological Research.—The mining department of the Russian Government has founded a geological institute for the purpose of centralizing all geological research in Russia, and preparing a detailed geological map of the empire. The empire has been explored geologically in a general fashion by several men of science, who have given accounts of observations, the most complete of which is that of the English geologist Murchison. This is still a classic work, and all recent geological maps of Russia are only improved editions of the one prepared by him. A continuous series of geological expeditions, which have considerably advanced the knowledge of Russian geology, have been conducted by the mining department and private scientific societies in connection with the universities; but all these researches have wanted the system and connection which can be given