Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/889

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another occasion some beast gnawed a hole through the tent while we were asleep, and ate the bread which I was using for a pillow. A skin I hung up to dry on the tent-rope vanished, and the scampering of little feet up and down the outside of the tent commenced every night the moment we retired to rest."

A Country of Salt.—Everything in the country of the river Chaï, in Central Asia, is described by Gabriel Bouvalot as covered with salt. It is seen in the walls of the houses and on the banks of the rivers, and the water one drinks is very salt. Traveling saltpeter-makers go in summer from place to place wherever they can find materials to work upon. Their mode of operation is a rough-and-ready one. Holes in the earth serve as vats and boilers, and below these are placed ovens. Abundance of brushwood supplies material for the fires. The workers collect from the surface of the earth heaps of a compost of salt and animal manure. This is soaked for twenty-four hours in water, then filtered, and then boiled for twenty-four hours, cleansed, and placed in the sun, so that the water may evaporate. An ordinary workman can make about fifty pounds in a day, and this he sells at the rate of a penny a pound. The workers appear quite contented with their lot, and the industry is preserved in their families for generations.


Several "effigy mounds" in the Rock River Valley, 111., have been described by T. n. Lewis. The "Rockford Turtle" is 18412 feet long and from three to five and a half feet high, and stands in the midst of the best part of Rockford. It is associated with a bird-mound, seven round mounds, and two embankments. An animal mound in Jo Daviess County is 216 feet long, with an average height of five and a half feet, has its fore-feet resting on an embankment, and is associated with twenty-three other mounds and two embankments. A bird effigy on the east side of Rock River some five miles below Rockford, and an animal 11612 feet long at Freeport, are described. Few of the Illinois effigy mounds are in good preservation.

A marked difference is observed by Dr. George M. Dawson, of the Geological Survey of Canada, as between the maritime Indians of the coast and the Indian tribes of southern British Columbia. While it is largely one of habit and mode of life, it is also almost everywhere coincident with radical differences in language. The natural tendency to diversity as between coast-inhabiting fishermen and roaming hunters is intensified and perpetuated by the barrier of the Coast Range. The diversity breaks down to some extent only on certain routes of trade between the coast and the interior.

The distinction of the Legion of Honor has been conferred upon Prof. C. V. Riley by the French Government. The Minister of Agriculture, writing to Prof. Riley on the subject, said that in awarding the honor the Government had sought to reward the important services which he had rendered to agriculture generally of all countries, and particularly to France, by his labors and discoveries.

A case of poisoning by mackerel was recently established at a coroner's inquest in London. The deceased, who had eaten a part of the fish adjacent to the head, was attacked with gastritis and pneumonia, became delirious, and died; while his wife, who ate another part of the fish, suffered no inconvenience. The gills of the mackerel appearing to have undergone fermentation, the victim's illness was ascribed to his having eaten decomposed fish. Cases of this kind, which used to be regarded as unaccountable, are now considered due to the presence of ptomaines developed by decomposition.

A peculiar tendency in idiots to imperfections and disease in the teeth has been noticed by several physicians; and it has been studied by Madame Sollier in a hundred cases of idiots taken at random. The multiplicity and variety of the dental lesions were remarkable; and the conclusion has been drawn that idiocy, with or without epilepsy, predisposes to arrests of development and to anomalies of dentition. The effect rarely appears in the first teeth, however, but almost wholly in the second.

Mr. Carruthers President of the Linnæan Society, has found that seven original and authentic portraits of Linnæus are in existence. The most widely known engravings are from the originals by Inlander and Roslin; and these give the most faithful representations of the features of the great naturalist.

An instantaneous photographic apparatus is proposed to take the place of the judge at the winning-post in race-courses. Its value is seen in very close races, when the judges can not decide accurately, and in what are called "dead heats," when two or three horses appear to reach the winning-post at exactly the same time. The photograph will show one of the horses to be an inch or so ahead, and decide in his favor.