Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/591

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boniferous and flourished most in the Tertiary. Dicotyledons began in the Lower Jurassic, and are enjoying their maximum in the present age. The earliest appearance of them is in the Urogonian of Kome, Greenland.



The Italian Alpine Club is laboring to reafforest the mountains of the peninsula, and is having a measurable degree of success. In 1882 it had made plantations of greater or less extent, which were thriving, on the Piano del Re, near the sources of the Po; on Lake Como and Lago Maggiore. Plantations had been made in twenty-eight communes by twenty-one private persons, one of whom alone had set out 15,000 trees. Large plantations were laid out near Sondrio to resist the ravages of the wild mountain brooks. In the Apennines, Professor Magni, rector of the University at Bologna, had planted out 50,000 fir-trees near Spedaletto. These are only beginnings. The club is supported in its work by the people of the north, but the people in the southern part of the peninsula oppose it.

M. De Lacerda has presented to the French Academy through M. de Quatrefages a paper relative to an organism—a fungoid—which he has found abundantly in the organs of persons who have died from yellow fever, and which his experiments have 1 led him to regard as the active agent in the production of that disease. He fortifies his 'opinion by showing that several peculiarities of coloration displayed by this plant during its growth agree exactly in appearance with the vomited matters and with the color of the liver and the skin. He proposes to make experiments in cultivating the organism and in inoculations with it.

MM. Henry, of the Paris Observatory, have discovered two narrow and parallel bands on Uranus located in a symmetrical relation to the center of the planet's disk. Between them is a bright zone probably corresponding with the equatorial region. The poles are comparatively dark, but the southern pole is lighter than the northern arc. M. Perrotin, of Nice, has been able with his equatorial to follow at intervals the movement of a spot on the planet, and has deduced from it a period of rotation of about ten hours. This agrees well with M. Flammarion's theoretical computation of the period of rotation of Uranus.

Professor Leidy recently called the attention of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia to the evidence of the presence of living organisms in ice. What appeared to be living worms had been observed in the sediment taken from a water-cooler. Upon melting some of the ice, Professor Leidy was surprised to find a number of worms among some flocculent sediment, consisting mainly of vegetal hairs and other débris, that settled from it. Besides the worms, there were also immature Anguillulas and a number of Rotifer vulgaris, all living. It appeared that these animals had all been contained in the ice, and had been liberated on its melting. The worms belonged to the family of Lumbricidæ. Dead worms and infusorians were also found.

M. Balbiani has reported, agreeably to a commission given him, to the French Minister of Agriculture, on the best means of destroying the winter eggs of the phylloxera. The three methods in use were all found objectionable; that of rubbing the bark of the vines with steel-chain gloves, because it can only be applied to the old wood; the application of boiling water, because it is likely to be used carelessly; and that of washing the vines with a mixture of oil and coal-tar, because the mixture was too thick in cold weather to be used. M. Balbiani has tried with much success a wash of oil, naphtha, quicklime, and water; and it has the advantage of being cheap.

The story is published, respecting the origin of balloons, that Madame Montgolfier had washed her petticoat to wear to a great festival on the next day, and hung it over a chafing-dish to dry. The hot air, swelling out the folds of the garment lifted it up, and floated it. The lady was astonished and called her husband's attention to the sight. It did not take Montgolfier long to grasp the idea of the hot-air balloon.

Dr. Unna, of Hamburg, has introduced a new medicament which he calls ichthyol. It is distilled from a bituminous rock of the Tyrol, the bitumen of which, it is evident from the fossils, is derived from the remains of marine fauna. Ichthyol differs from the coal-tars in its peculiar color and physical properties. It forms an emulsion in water, is partially soluble in ether and in alcohol, and wholly soluble in a mixture of the two liquids. It is very rich in sulphur, containing about ten per cent of that substance, and this makes it very useful in skin-diseases; for, while just as effective, it does not irritate the skin as do other preparations of sulphur. It also contains oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and traces of phosphorus.

M. Perrotin, director of the observatory at Nice, France, has been enabled by a happy accident, to make an astronomical observation of an earthquake. Being engaged at the moment of the shock in an observation of Hyperion, he observed the Saturnian satellite to make an oscillation of