Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/884

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
864
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

nephiline were prepared—a mineral which had never before appeared from manipulation with water. Better success was had when soda was substituted for potash; and in every case a product of simple and fixed composition was obtained. Adding a suitable proportion of chloride of sodium, sodalite was formed, and proved to be of definite composition, and not, as some mineralogists believed, a mixture of nephiline and an alkaline chloride. With mica and silicate of potash crystalline orthose feldspar was obtained, and, with a smaller proportion of silicate, amphigene. The intervention of chloride of calcium determined the crystallization of anorthite.

In view of the greatly augmented demand for camphor for the new uses that have been found for it in the arts, with consequent enhancement of price, it is proposed to use naphthalin as a substitute for it in anti-moth applications. It is quite as effective as camphor, and being also equally volatile, leaves no more permanent smell.

Mr. E. T. Chaplin tells, in the London Spectator, how, by hypnotizing her, he induced a laying hen, which had manifested no disposition in that direction, to sit on a sitting of eggs till seven of their number were hatched into "healthy, happy little chickens."

Bisulphide of carbon is recommended by Mr. A. J. Cook, of the Michigan State Agricultural Experiment Station, as one of the very best insecticides. It has been used with success to destroy the phylloxera on the grape-vines of France; is applied to the destruction of prairie-dogs in the West; and has been used by Mr. Cook with success to destroy ants. A single dose in the habitation of the animal, or in an apartment, is usually sufficient. It is exceedingly volatile, and its vapor reaches everywhere. But it must be used with great care, for the vapor is very inflammable and poisonous; so that a room in which it is used must be well aired before one enters or carries a light into it.

A considerable portion of the Second Annual Report of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station is devoted to the tomato. The record of the experiments with this fruit is preceded by a valuable paper on the history of the tomato, by Dr. E. Lewis Sturtevant.

A quick and easy method for determining whether or not a fabric is "all wool" is given in the Lancet. This is to separate the warp from the woof, and to hold each to a flame. Wool burns into a shapeless mass, and no threads can be traced in its ash. If removed from the fire before it is all burned, it ceases to blaze; cotton, on the contrary, continues to burn steadily, and its ash retains the shape of the thread.

A redwood-tree ninety feet in circumference and thirty-three feet in diameter, is being cut for the Chicago exhibition. The section to be sent to Chicago will be nine feet in height and sixty feet in circumference, and will weigh sixty-five thousand pounds. The tree is taken from the forests of Tulare County, California.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

Prof. C. H. F. Peters, Director of the Litchfield Observatory of Hamilton College, Clinton, N. Y., died July 19th, in his seventy-seventh year. He was a native of Sleswick, and had been in the observatory director-ship more than thirty years. He was the discoverer of forty-seven asteroids, his last discovery in that line being that of Nephthys, in August, 1889. He was chief of the party which observed the total eclipse of the sun at Des Moines, Iowa, August 7th, 1869; and also of the party that observed the transit of Venus in 1874 in New Zealand.

Charles Grad, an eminent Alsatian student of science, died at Logelbach, July 5th, in the forty-eighth year of his age. He was one of the earliest contributors to La Nature, and continued his active relations with that journal as long as his health permitted. His first scientific papers were in geology. Many of his contributions related to Alsatian matters of scientific interest.

William Kitchen Parker, an eminent English biologist, died suddenly in Cardiff, Wales, July 3d. He was drawn to the study of nature and to experimenting on plants and animals at a very early age; was the author of a number of valuable papers (1856-1873) on foraminifera, and made communications to the Zoölogical and Royal Societies on birds and animals, his last work, on The Duck and the Auk, having been published in the present year. He was a member of several scientific societies, British and foreign; was for many years a Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons; and was the author of books on the Morphology of the Skull and on Mammalian Descent. Two of his sons are Professors of Biology, at Cardiff and in Otago, New Zealand.

The death is announced of Alexander von Bunge, Professor of Botany in the University of Dorpat, at the age of eighty-seven years. He made a scientific voyage to China in 1830; and was principally interested in the flora of Russia and northern Asia.

M. Alphonse Favre, formerly Professor of Geology at Geneva, has recently died, seventy-seven years old.

M. Paul Loye, who recently died in France, was the author of a memoir on the physiology of death by decapitation, and had published short notes on physiological questions.