Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/738

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

petitors accomplished the distance in one hundred and fifty-four hours and forty-five minutes, and the one next behind him in a little more than one hundred and fifty-six hours. The winner, however, came in exhausted, while his competitor seemed not to have suffered at all. Both lost five pounds in weight. The remarkable fact about the feat is that these two foremost men are called vegetarians, and were able to walk an average of eighteen hours a day for seven consecutive days on the kind of diet classed under that designation.

Four sulphurets are named by M. Jacksh, of Triesch, Moravia, as becoming phosphorescent after a brief exposure to daylight—viz., the sulphurets of calcium, strontium, barium, and zinc. The last compound has been obtained in a luminous condition only recently by distillation in a vacuum. Prepared in the usual way, by precipitating soluble salts of zinc with sulphurets, it shows no signs of phosphorescence. Sulphuret of barium gives a yellowish-orange glow, but only for a few minutes after each exposure to the light, and is of as little use as the sulphurets of strontium and of zinc, the greenish glow of which disappears after about two hours. For practical uses the sulphuret of calcium of commerce is the only phosphorescent of value. Pure, it gives a faint yellowish light; but treated at a red heat, with the addition of a small quantity of a salt of bismuth, it is transformed into a substance giving a violet light and retaining its luminous quality for nearly forty hours after an exposure of only a few seconds.

Records kept by Dr. Spengler at Davos Platz for two years and a half, resting largely on communications kept up with the patients after leaving, show that a permanent cure (of consumptive diseases) is apparently effected in 42·8 per cent of the cases. It is noted that most of the patients were subject to influenza in the epidemic of 1889-'90. In the treatment, till acclimatization is completed and the patient has slept well one or two weeks, he lies much in the open air, and takes little exercise. Patients who come with fever soon lose it.

Alcohol, although the most convenient heretofore found, has proved an unreliable fluid for low-temperature thermometers. It is subject to the three vices of sticking in the tube, irregular expansion, and defect from impurities and variations in water content, which affect its expansion materially, M. Chappuis has found toluol, the boiling point of which is 110° C, a liquid well adapted to the purpose and free from these disadvantages.

The Psychological Section of the Medico-legal Society is interested in all that pertains to psychology, and purposes, through committees appointed from among its members, to make special studies in the departments of animal magnetism, hypnotism, telepathy, clairvoyance, supposed apparitions, and other claims of "respectable" modern spiritualism. It is intended to conduct these inquiries and investigations with candor and fairness, upon strictly scientific lines, and to reach, in so far as possible, a valuable and enlightening collection of facts incident to these phenomena, from which important deductions may be made.

Experiments, pursued during two years by himself and his associates, are recorded by Prof. Chodat, of Geneva, concerning the influence of static electricity on vegetation. Beans, sorted into two equal lots, were similarly planted in a vessel filled with sawdust moistened with the same quantity of water, and exposed to identical conditions of warmth and light. One of the vessels was put under electrical influence during a part of the day, rising from forty minutes at the beginning to three and four hours. Leaves began to appear in the electrified lot on the fourth day, while the other lot as yet showed no signs of them. The difference was plainer on the fifth day, and still more so on the seventh, when the electrified plants had grown to a considerable size, while the non-electrified ones were only just starting. The difference was also apparent in the superior vigor of the stems and roots of the electrified plants. The experiment confirmed the opinion that electricity acts to promote germination and growth in length; but the leaves of the non-electrified plants obtained a better development than the others.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

The Rev. T. Wolle, pastor of the Moravian church, Bethlehem, Pa., whose death was recently announced, was an ardent student of fresh-water algæ, and author of three important publications on the Freshwater Algæ, the Desmids, and the Diatoms of the United States.

Cavaliere Giuseppe Antonio Pasquale, Professor of Botany at the University of Naples, and Director of the Botanic Garden, who has recently died, was the author of several books, chiefly those on the flora of Vesuvius and the flora of Capri.

The death is announced of Dr. Karl Semper, author of the book in the International Scientific Series on the Natural Conditions of Existence as they affect Animal Life. He was born at Altona, in 1832; studied at Würzburg, chiefly in zoölogy; made a scientific journey in 1859-'62 through the Philippine and Pelew Islands, the results of which were published in several valuable works; became Professor of Zoölogy at Würzburg in 1868, and a few years later Director of the Zoölogical Institute there.