Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/290

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destruction of the tile-fish in the North Atlantic. For the future it hopes to extend its general inquiries; to promote improvement in methods and apparatus of fishing, and in fishing-vessels; to determine the extent and general character of the old fishing localities and discover new ones; to improve methods of curing and packing fish for the market; and to continue the work of increasing the supply of valuable fishes in the waters of the United States.

Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the Year ending June 30, 1883. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 519.

One hundred and ninety-four stations were maintained at the close of the year covered by the report—one hundred and forty-nine on the Atlantic, thirty-seven on the lakes, seven on the Pacific, and one at the Falls of the Ohio. The number of disasters to documented vessels and small boats was 416, in which $7,242,729 of property and 4,040 persons were involved, while $5,671,700 of the property and 4,021 persons were saved, and 651 shipwrecked persons were succored at the stations. Twenty-two other persons were rescued who had fallen from wharves, piers, etc. Ten disasters, involving the loss of lives, took place within the scope of the service. All of the nineteen persons lost were entirely beyond human aid.

Researches on Solar Heat and its Absorption by the Earth's Atmosphere. By S. P. Langley. Washington: Government Printing-Office. Pp. 242, with Plates.

Professor Langley's observations are already quite well known to the scientific world, and their value is universally acknowledged. They were made on the slopes of Mount Whitney, at a height of twelve thousand feet above the sea, and about three thousand feet below the summit of the mountain, with special instruments of the observer's own devising. Notices of some of the results have been given in the "Monthly." The author expresses the opinion that Mount Whitney is an excellent station for such observations, fully equal to any that is possessed by any other nation; and, upon his recommendation, it has been declared a Government reservation, available for purposes of scientific research. Professor Langley records some very interesting facts respecting a dust-cloud which appears to hang in the Sierras at a certain height above the sea, the effects of which he was able to observe from his camp, and which appears to be permanent. Professor Clarence King ascribes its origin to the loess of China. The author also speaks of large logs, which were found to be quite numerous on the mountain-side at a considerable height above the timber-line, as indicating that the region formerly enjoyed a warmer climate than it now has. The relation of the observations which formed the object of the expedition is very important and interesting to men of science, but too technical for the edification of general readers.

The Stars and Constellations. By Royal Hill. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. Pp. 32.

This work is intended to enable students and others, who are interested in the appearance of the heavens, to identify the principal objects of interest without reference to star-maps, which as a general thing are very perplexing to unprofessional readers. The plan adopted by the author is new, and constitutes the main feature of the work. It consists in the employment of two accurately drawn time-charts, giving the exact time of rising and southing for every day in the year, of twenty-five of the brightest stars, which are more distinctly identified in the text. From the positions of these "landmarks of the sky," any other object at all likely to attract the attention of naked-eye observers is so described that it is very difficult for any person of ordinary intelligence to miss the information desired. As each object is identified, the student can learn whatever is of interest concerning it by consulting the separate account that is given of every conspicuous star and constellation visible in this country. The subject is suitably introduced by some interesting information concerning the constellations, the names and numbers of the stars, and the methods adopted by astronomers to designate them. It is illustrated by several very clear maps of the zodiacal constellations, upon which the place of the