Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/298

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288
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

are remarkably free from all kinds of ailments. This has been the case during eleven years. The subsequent residence at a lower level renders them liable to a kind of influenzal catarrh.

The great exposition to be held in Paris in 1900 is to be much like the two which have preceded it; but a new and special feature will be added. It is intended to make it a sort of a mirror of the century of which it will mark the close.

The industrial exhibitions now so common are wittily characterized by the Count Alphonse de Calonna, in the Revue des Deux Mondes, as festivals of which industry is only a pretext and amusement has become the real object. "The great capitals and even the secondary cities take turns in dancing a grand six months' saraband around a shrine in which the product of the mental and material efforts of a decade has been piled up."

The Austro-German Alpine Club includes two hundred and fourteen local sections and more than thirty-one thousand registered members. Its purpose is to improve the roads of the Alps and increase knowledge of the mountains. An exhibition of remarkable maps was given at the general meeting in August, 1894, among them a relief map of the Jungfrau group, on a scale of 1 to 100,000.

Concerning the possibilities of the molecular constitution of argon and its chemical position, Prof. Mendeléef finds that if it be monatomic, with an atomic weight of 40, as found by Lord Rayleigh and Prof. Ramsay, it has no place in the periodic system. If it be diatomic, with a molecular formula A 2 , its atomic weight would be about 20, and its place would be in the eighth group of the second series, or after fluorine. If the molecule contains three atoms, the atomic weight of argon would be about 14, and it might be regarded as condensed nitrogen; and much may be said in favor of the hypothesis. If its molecule contains four or five atoms, its atomic weight would be 10 or 8, and there would be no room for it in the periodic system. If its molecule be found to contain six atoms, and its atomic weight to be 6·5, it would be placed in the first series, and probably in the fifth group. This, or the supposition that argon is condensed nitrogen, seems to Prof. Mendeléef most probable.

While the employment of anæsthetics has made only slow progress in veterinary practice, a considerable number of the English veterinary surgeons resort to them on all possible occasions, and find them of great advantage. Some operations on horses could not be attempted with any successful result without their aid. Of all animals, the horse is the one to which chloroform can be most safely administered; it is even very hard to injure him with it. Some surgeons, however, use it diluted with air. Attention is now increasingly directed to this matter. An improved apparatus to be used in connection with the administration of it has been devised by Mr. Wallis Hoare, of Cork, by the aid of which the treatment is made more convenient and even safer than before.

M. Berthelot has found that argon, under the influence of the silent electric discharge, combines with several organic compounds, and notably with benzene.

A curious report has been made to the Medico-chirurgical Society of Bristol, England, of operations performed in the Zoölogical Garden. Among them were the removal of an ingrowing nail on a lion, a Cæsarean operation on a gazelle, and gastrotomy on an ostrich which had feasted too heartily on indigestible food, having swallowed a handkerchief, pebbles, a pencil, a portfolio, and a prayer book. The unfortunate fowl died.

A society has been formed in Berlin for the purpose of preventing the extermination of the elephant in the German African possessions and of promoting the increase and usefulness of the animals.

 


OBITUARY NOTES.

General John Newton, a distinguished officer, Chief of Engineers of the United States Army, and an eminent engineer, best known, perhaps, from his services in clearing the channel of Hell Gate from its dangerous rocks, died at his home in this city, May 1st, after an illness of a few weeks, from chronic rheumatism. A portrait of him and a sketch of his life up to his appointment as Commissioner of Public Works of the City of New York were given in The Popular Science Monthly for October, 1886. A detailed account, with maps and illustrations, of the improvement of the East River and Hell Gate, furnished by him, was published in the Monthly for February, 1886. His appointment as Superintendent of Public Works of this city was an ideal one, of the fittest man for that highly responsible position to be found. In it he executed some of the most important works the city has undertaken, and his administration is described as having been notably able and having resulted in great public good. Since April, 1888, he had been President of the Panama Railway Company, the Panama Steamship Company, and the Columbian Steamship Line.

Dr. George A. Rex, of Philadelphia, whose sudden death was recently announced, was an earnest student of the lower orders of fungi, an authority of the highest repute on myxomycetes, an ardent microscopist, and a discoverer of many new species in his special province.