Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/738

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

In some informal remarks at the meeting of the American Folk-lore Society, Dr. J. W. Fewkes gave the results of observations among the Zuñi Indians at Pueblo, which go to show how the traditions of the tribe survive in a kind of dramatic representation by dances. He thought that many historical events could be traced by making a careful study of the dances.

The trustees of the American Museum of Natural History have just opened a collection of the woods of the United States, gathered under the direction of Prof. Sargent, editor of Garden and Forest, and presented by Mr. Morris K. Jesup. It is nearly exhaustive, and represents four hundred and twelve species, including nearly all trees that are large enough to be considered of commercial importance. Attached to each species is a small colored map showing over what areas in the United States the wood is found, while near by are water-color drawings of flowers and fruit of the species, in nearly natural size and colors. In another hall arc cases of specimens in economic entomology, illustrating the work of insects injurious to forest trees.

The latest attempt to solve the "smoke problem" is the scheme of Mr. Elliott, of London, for condensing the smoke in water and recovering the by-products. The smoke is drawn from the chimney by means of a fan into a tank of water in which revolving stirrers arc moving; by these the products of combustion are churned up and arrested and condensed in the water. When the water is fully charged, it is drawn off, and the tank is filled with fresh water. The charged liquor is to be afterward treated, and the byproducts due to the combustion of the coal are to be recovered.

According to a paper of Prof. John Trowbridge, the discharge from a Leyden jar is not a single act, but is a series of oscillatory movements back and forth till an equilibrium is reached. The oscillations take place in 231000000 of a second.

A gigantic pendulum—a bronze wire, a hundred and fifteen metres long, with a steel globe weighing ninety kilogrammes at the end has been suspended in the Eiffel Tower, for the purpose of demonstrating visibly the motion of the earth.

A leprosy commission has been dispatched from England to India, which, after an investigation of one year, is expected to report concerning the desirability or otherwise of encouraging the voluntary partial withdrawal of lepers from among the non-leprous population; of enforcing the complete isolation of all lepers; and of enforcing the isolation of certain lepers. It will also report on the best methods of accomplishing whatever may be decided upon.

The California Museum Association of Sacramento offers a prize of two hundred and fifty dollars for an invention to utilize the rise and fall of the tides, giving not less than three horse-power for six hours; also two hundred and fifty dollars for an inexpensive device to improve the hygienic conditions of the air in rooms. Inventors to retain all rights. Plans should be sent in by April 1, 1891. Full details on the matter can be obtained by addressing J. A. Woodson, president, Sacramento, Cal.

Dr. Charles A. Oliver has described, in the Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society, a system of tests, and the apparatus required, which he has devised for detecting color-blindness in railway service. The first test consists in matching wools, being a modification of the Holmgren method; the second requires the recognition of squares of bunting in a series of black boxes at one thousand yards distance; and the third is like the second, except that illuminated colored glass is used instead of bunting, and the test is conducted at night. A spectacle-frame is also used in which different glasses can be inserted so as to produce the light effects of various sorts of weather. A number of advantages are claimed for the system.

In a paper in the Society for the Promotion of Agricultural Science, Prof. Manly Miles remarked that the interdependent biological relations of different farm crops and of the soil microbes that find favorable nutritive conditions in the vicinity of their roots appear to be as important factors in farm economy as the chemical constitution of soils and crops, and the conditions of soil that influence these relations are of great practical interest. The applications of science to agriculture will be best promoted by investigations concerning the life histories and relations of these microbes.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

The French aëronaut, Eugène Goddard, died at Brussels, November 9th, in the sixty-third year of his age. He was famous for the numerous and daring ascensions which he executed in Europe and America.

Mr. James Croll, LL. D., F. R. S., author of Climate and Time, and other important works in cosmic science, died December 15th, in the seventieth year of his age. He was of humble birth and without scientific training, but "by sheer force of intellect" and by ability and industry he raised himself to a prominent position among scientific thinkers. His Climate and Time has received great attention, and his works on Oceanic Circulation and Stellar Evolution have been widely read. He had been suffering for several years from a painful disease.