Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/156

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



and seasons of low barometer. In some the escaping gas makes noises that can be heard from sixty feet away. The ground presents no peculiar appearance, except that nothing will grow immediately around the outlets. Some of these places are under houses, or near them, and cause considerable inconvenience. Dr. Parkin believes that the phenomena are connected with the volcanic region of the Eifel. Prof. Lancaster, of Brussels, thinks that the source of the gas is deeply seated in the earth.

An experiment has been tried at Guildford, England, to test Mr. Conder's system for treating and purifying sewage with a list of ingredients, a principal one of which is sulphate of iron. An open wire-work cage containing the purifying material was let down into the sewer and immersed for about an inch and a half in depth into the flowing sediment. The result is reported to have been a vast improvement in the character of the liquid flowing from the drains into the river, and an abatement of nuisance at points where heretofore nuisances and offensive smells had been complained of.

"Omitting articles in which its occurrence has been purely accidental," says Mr. A. W. Stokes, in "The Chemical News," "arsenic has been found of late years to be present in some samples of muslins, cretonnes, wall-papers, playing-cards, the glaze of some enameled stew-pans, the paper of fancy boxes, and in some furs. These last are usually the furs prepared by amateurs. . . . One has no wish to be an alarmist, or in any way to harass trade, and it must freely be acknowledged that cases of any ill results whatever being traced to the use of these articles are very rare. None the less, seeing how unnecessary they are, and how each year arsenic seems to be finding its way into new quarters, it seems advisable to stop its further progress."

To furnish the French railroads with cross-ties—10,000 a day and 3,650,000 a year—more than a thousand fine trees have to be cut down every day. In the United States more than 16,000,000 cross-ties are used yearly, to furnish which requires the destruction of 197,600 acres of forests. The "Bulletin du Musée Commercial" estimates the number of logs required for the railways of the world at more than 40,000,000.


The Rev. John George Wood, one of the most popular and instructive of natural history writers, died March 3d, while on a visit to Coventry, England. He was born in London, the son of a surgeon, in 1827, and was graduated from Merton College, Oxford, in 1848. lie served for two years in the Anatomical Museum at Christ Church, Oxford; held two chaplaincies, and was Precentor of the Canterbury Diocesan Choral Union. His best efforts were given to his books, most of which were on natural history. The chief of them was his large "Natural History," in three volumes; the best known, the "Common Objects of the Seashore." Among the others, besides those of the "Common Objects" series, were his "Popular Natural History," "Sketches and Anecdotes of Animal Life," "The Boys' Own Natural History Book," "My Feathered Friends," "Homes without Hands," "Insects at Home," "Our Garden Friends and Foes," several educational works, and a series of "Natural History Readers" for schools. He edited for some time "The Boys' Own Magazine," and was a popular lecturer.

Sir William O'Shaughnessy Brooke, F.R.S., who was distinguished by his connection with electric telegraphs, died in England in January. He was Director-General of Telegraphs in India for ten years, and received a knighthood for his services in establishing telegraphs in that empire.

Alexander Pagenstecher, Director of the Museum of Natural History at Hamburg, died January 5th, of heart-disease, in his sixty-fourth year. lie was for many years Professor of Zoölogy at Heidelberg, and was the author of a well-known work on "Universal Zoölogy" ("Allgemeine Zoologie") in four volumes (1875-1881).

Dr. Johannes Brock, appointed Professor of Natural Science at Göttingen, has recently died there. He was formerly Professor of Zoölogy at Dorpat, and was well known by reason of a scientific journey to the Indian Archipelago which he undertook under the auspices of the Berlin Academy.

Dr. J. Soyka, Professor of the German University of Prague, and formerly of the University of Munich, and author of books on bacteria, died by suicide, February 23d.

Captain John Ericsson, the inventor of the caloric engine, the Monitor, and other useful or warlike agents, died in this city, March 8th, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. He was a native of Sweden and came of a family of engineers. He showed his inventive capacity at an early age. He came to this country in 1839, and two years afterward began the Princeton, the first naval vessel to carry her machinery under the water-line and out of the reach of the enemy's shot. His name is also identified with the invention of the submarine boat Destroyer, sun motor, and submarine motor; and some of his unpatented inventions are in the hands of the Delamater Iron Company.

The Rev. Dr. Churchill Babington, an English botanist, died January 12th, at Cockfield Rectory. He was a contributor to Sir J. Hooker's "Journal of Botany and Kew Miscellany."