Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/881

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861
POPULAR MISCELLANY.

other States combined. They seem to be most numerous in the effigy-mound region, and have been found in the effigies themselves. Outside of Wisconsin copper implements have been discovered in nearly all the other States east of the Rocky Mountains, but they have been most frequently found in Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Illinois. There are also effigy mounds in all these States, except possibly Michigan.

 

The Phonograph in Indian Folk Lore.—Dr. J. Walter Fewkes recently related to the American Folk-lore Society experiments which he had made with the phonograph in recording the songs, legends, and folk lore of the Passamaquoddy Indians. He claimed extraordinary accuracy for this method, in that it is rid of the liability of the translator to incorporate his own interpretations with those embodied in the stories recorded by him. Besides fragments of legends, stories, ancient songs, counting-out rhymes, and conversations got from the older men of the tribe at Calais, Maine, he obtained from the lips of Noel Josephs, who sang it when the ceremony was last performed, an old song—with archaic words and very ancient music—used in the "snake-dance." lie also took records of war-songs, a curious "tradesong," and the song sung by the chief on the evening of the first day of the celebration of his election. These songs have been set to music from the records taken on the wax cylinders of the phonograph, and the words have been written out by the same means. Forty cylinders were filled with these records, some of which are stories yet unpublished. The results of the experiment are represented as showing that the phonograph is an important help to the study of Indian folk lore, both in preserving the tales and in the study of the composition of the music and the language.

 

Fresh-water Sponges in Florida.—Freshwater sponges of the genus Mezenia, described by Edward Potts, were found in Florida on the stems of grass and roots of mangrove trees on the meadows near the head of a creek. The meadow is about twelve inches higher than the creek, and is subject to floods of fresh water during the rainy season, and occasional submergence in salt water. Notwithstanding the exposure to salt water and subsequent desiccation of weeks or possibly of months, the gemmules of these sponges preserved their vitality and germinated freely when placed in water. Differences were observed between the roughened gemmules of the sponges growing on the mangrove roots and the smooth ones of those growing on the grass stems. The specimens, in another package, of the same genus and of Spongilla were found adhering to the barnacles on the rocky bottom of a rapidly flowing creek; the barnacles having been brought up by the backing up of the salt water, and then become accustomed to live in fresh water. The Spongillas in certain features of detail resemble some lacustrine forms found on the Catskill Mountains and at sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

 

Philosophy of Spectacle-frames.—The importance of a proper construction and adaptation of spectacle-frames is enforced by Dr. Charles Hermon Thomas in a paper on that subject. The results of the most accurate refractive measurements may be vitiated by a faulty position of the correcting glasses; and new sources of eye-strain may be created by the very means adopted to remove an existing fault. The optical center of a lens is generally that part of the glass which we wish to bring before the pupil, as that part of the lens and the area immediately surrounding it are freest from aberrations of all sorts—distort the least. Occasionally, however, it may be desirable to displace that point by a definite amount; in any case, we should insist on having the optician carry out our directions as regards the manner of mounting and the position of the glass with the same exactness that he employs in making it of the proper strength. The purpose of the spectacle-frame is to hold a pair of glasses before the eyes in a definite position and with the least possible annoyance to the wearer. The plans for the construction of spectacle-bridges devised by the author in 1878 provided for a wide range of adaptability to individual faces. The material of the frames should usually be gold of good quality, and of a weight as light as is consistent with strength and steadiness. Steel rusts too readily and is not well adapted to the adjustments fre-