Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 40.djvu/448

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432
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

In the Congress of German Naturalists and Physicians, Prof. Lehman showed to how great an extent the coarse rye-bread eaten on the lower Rhine is polluted by adulteration. He had procured eighty samples of flour and bread such as are used and sold by the small millers and bakers. All of them were polluted, some to an incredible extent, with earth, excrement of mice, other disgusting but not exactly noxious things, and also with blighted corn, darnel, cockle, and other poisonous seeds. None of the samples were free from cockle, and in some there was more than one per cent of it.

Is the matter of Technical Education in Connection with Agriculture in England, Mr. S. Rowlandson has shown that under the stimulation of a parliamentary grant the Royal Agricultural Society has instituted examinations in the science and theory of agriculture, a provision for the teaching of elementary agricultural subjects has been incorporated in the education code, and attention has been given to the matter by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The lack of teachers is the chief obstacle to making the benefits of instruction in the subject real and general.

On the occasion of the transit of Mercury, May 10, 1891, Dr. K. Winder, of Detroit, analyzing the solar spectrum at the point where the planet was projected on the sun's disk, observed that the telluric rays in the light from the edge of the planet were strongly marked and extraordinarily dark, indicating the existence of a dense atmosphere in Mercury and the presence of vapor in it.

Finnic and Russian Lapland constitute one of the coldest regions of Europe. The whole country is within the isotherm of 0° C, while in its interior the isotherms of -1° and -2° describe concentric curves. At Kola the thermometer stands above 0° C. (the freezing-point) only during three months. The winter usually begins on the 15th of September. The long winter, ending in June, is followed by a spring of fifteen days; then summer begins in the first week in July and lasts some six or seven weeks, when the thermometer often shows a considerably warm temperature. In the neighborhood of Enasa the ranunculus blossoms on the 28th of June, chickweed July 3d, meadow geranium July 12th, blackberry July 26th, azalea June 26th, Linnea borealis July 20th, and butterwort July 2d.

As a test for the detection of fish oil in linseed oil, Dr. Thomas Taylor recommends silver nitrate solution. On its application the fish oil, if any is present, coagulates and falls to the bottom of the test-tube, displacing the nitrate-of-silver solution. The author declares the test infallible, as the effect is not produced with other oils.

Dr. L. Webster Fox believes from his experiments that savage races have better color-perceptions than civilized races. In a group of one hundred Indian boys he found none color-blind. In another group of two hundred and fifty Indian boys two were color-blind. No color-blind Indian girls were found.

A curious instance of "frugality" in bees has been observed by Mr. M. H. Harris, of Ealing, England. During rainy weather, which promised to interfere with further honey-making, they proceeded to guard against it by ejecting the larvæ of both drones and workers and sucking out the soft contents of the corpses, leaving only the white chitinous covering.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

Cardinal Haynald, Archbishop of Kalocsa, who died on the 4th of July last, was the son of a botanist and made himself eminent in that science by his investigations of the flora of Transylvania. Even among his sacerdotal duties and his political ones as member of the Hungarian House of Magnates, and the social obligations they imposed, he found time to continue his botanical studies and publish a few special papers and biographical studies of botanists of his acquaintance. His herbarium was the richest in Hungary and one of the largest private collections on the continent, and was free to students.

The death of two well-known contributors to French scientific journals was announced in the same week in October. M. Edouard Lucas, Professor of Special Mathematics at the Lycée Charlemagne, died of erysipelas following a wound in the cheek made by a piece of a broken dining-plate. He had just been presiding over the Section of Mathematics and Astronomy of the French Association for the Advancement of Science. He was the author of a series of curious mathematical recreations and recondite calculations—as amusing as they were instructive—of which the most famous was that of the Tower of Hanoi. He frequently contributed articles of this character to the Revue Scientifique and La Nature. M. Félix Hément had been Professor of Physics and Natural Science at Tournon, Strasbourg, the Lycée Bonaparte, the Collége Chaptal, the École Turgot, the École Polonaise, and the Israelitish Seminary. He was also a frequent contributor to La Nature and the Revue Scientifique.

Mr. Charles Smith Wilkinson, Government Geologist of New South Wales, died August 26th, forty-seven years old. He was an original member of the Linnæan Society of New South Wales, and its president in 1883 and 1884.