Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/883

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systematizing their work, and each selecting a particular field, they can not only observe with more satisfaction to themselves, but may aid the progress of science. Some may make real discoveries, and they are promised all the credit they may deserve for them; if they give due early notice of the fact. Steady and repeated observations of the same object are wanted once or twice in every month, in order to secure determinations of their light-curves or variations. This point has been heretofore to a large extent omitted, and only the fact of variation, its period, and its extremes, have as a rule been ascertained. Amateurs may do service in this line, while professional observers are attending to more delicate points. Professor Pickering has published a pamphlet giving directions and the other information needed to secure intelligent observations, which may be had on application to him at Harvard College Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 

Roman Remains.—Mr. Alfred Tylor has recently described, before the Royal Institution of Great Britain, some Roman remains that were discovered last year in London about nineteen feet below the present surface of the ground. They include several cinerary urns, one of which, fifteen inches high, was of glass, containing the results of the cremation of human bodies, and a remarkable turned vase of stone. Four of the urns were inclosed in leaden ossuaria without solder, in the inside of one of which was found an emblem of Mithra, the Persian sun-god. Some of the other urns were protected by roofing-tiles. The coins found during the excavations bore dates from A.D. 60 to 300. The Mithraic emblem was probably of a date soon after A.D. 50.

 

Dizziness and Deafness.—Dr. William James, of Harvard University, has made some experiments to test the modern theory that the semicircular canals, instead of being connected with the sense of hearing, serve to convey the feeling of movement of the head through space, which, when intensified, becomes dizziness. It occurred to him that deaf-mutes, having their auricular organs injured, might afford some corroboration of the theory, if it were true, by showing a smaller susceptibility to dizziness than persons with normal hearing. Of 519 deaf-mutes examined by subjecting them to a rapid whirling, 186 were wholly insusceptible of being made dizzy, 134 were made dizzy in a very slight degree, and 199 were normally, and in a few cases abnormally, sensitive. Nearly 200 students and instructors in Harvard College, supposed to have normal hearing, were examined for purposes of comparison, and but a single one proved exempt from the vertigo. These results seemed to Dr. James to support the theory which was the object of his inquiry. It occurred to him that those persons not affected by dizziness ought also to lose their power of orientation when diving under water; but the experiments that were made to test the correctness of this view were so varied in their results that no conclusions could be drawn from them.

 

Errata.Messrs. Editors: Permit me to call attention to a few errors in the first column of page 714 that make nonsense of what I am quoted as saying of the supposed "lignified snake." According to my remarks, as published in the Washington "Star," in line two, "rudimentary" should read "rejectamentary." In line twenty-seven, "larva" should read "liber." In lines thirty-three, thirty-four, "without interference with the growth or soundness of the tree" should read "except where the bark is already loosened, a supposition which involves the idea of death or decay in the tree, and consequent incapacity to renew tissue.C. V. Riley."

 


NOTES.

In the twenty-third "Forestry Bulletin" of the Census-Office, the total consumption of wood for fuel in the United States during the year of the census is estimated at 145,778,137 cords, the value of which was $321,962,373. Of this quantity, 140,537,490 cords were used for domestic purposes; 1,971,813 cords by railroads; 787,862 cords by steamboats; 358,074 cords in mining and amalgamating the precious metals; 266,771 cords in other mining operations; 1,157,522 cords in the manufacture of brick and tile; 540,448 cords in the manufacture of salt; and 158,208 cords in the manufacture of wool. During the same year 74,008,972 bushels of charcoal were burned, the value of which was $5,276,736.