Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/734

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and Ireland, firmly established and very lucrative, and, a safe investment, which would, according to the report of an expert sent out with the prospectus, return, taking the previous year's business as a criterion, a profit of fifteen per cent. The worst of the matter is that the report confesses that the statements, false as they were, were not of such specific character that they could be made the subject of criminal indictment.

 


NOTES.

A practical piece of work is reported in the bulletin of the University of Wyoming. This is a series of determinations of the heating power of fifty-four samples of Wyoming coal, six of petroleum, and two of asphalt, by Prof. Edwin E. Slosson and Prof. L. C. Colburn. Proximate analyses of the coals and a description of the bomb calorimeter used for the heat tests are also given.

It appeared in observations made in Russia during two years that at the depth of about a foot and a half the soil in the open steppe holds only about two thirds as much moisture as the soil of the woods and their immediate borders. The snow covering on the steppe on the 20th of February corresponded with only one third as much water as that in the forest. Frost reached four times the depth in the open land that it did in the woods. In summer, the upper layers of the ground were most dried in the open land, the deeper layers in the forest. It was therefore inferred that the action of trees is one of drainage. Woods planted in the steppes protect the ground against the direct effects of the sun and the wind, but utilize most of the water that falls. The existence and growth of groves depend on water coming from without. The subsoil moisture is too deep down to be available for the young plantations.

Two customs, supposed to be of Thibetan origin, were noticed by the American traveler W. W. Rockhill, as observed by Mongols in connection with the fireplace. When the party had finished drinking a big kettle of tea, the men put the leaves on the hearthstones on which the kettle rested. This practice was held to be equivalent to burning incense or making an oblation to the gods, and is usually observed by the Chinese frontiersmen, even though they profess Islamism. In case a hearthstone cracks, they are always careful to smear it with a little butter—"for good luck," they say.

Of the results of recent antarctic exploration, Prof. Angelo Heilprin, in an address on the Progress of Discovery, mentions the penetration by two Norwegian vessels on the opposite sides of Graham Land to the sixty-eighth and sixty-ninth parallels of latitude, thus far the "farthest south" positions. They discovered new lands-and islands, which they called King Oscar II Land, Weather, Robertson, Christensen, and Lindenberg Islands; and found that the supposed continental mass of Graham Land is possibly an archipelago. Two of the islands have active volcanoes. In the arctic regions Captain Johannessen has discovered a new land which he calls Hansenland, fifteen miles northwest of the New Siberian Islands. The new land is described as ruggedly barren, nearly destitute of vegetation, having high mountains, and supporting gigantic glaciers.

Prof. J. Kollmann communicated to the British Association in 1894 the discovery at Schaffhausen, Switzerland, in neolithic interments, side by side with the remains of full-grown European types, those of small-sized people, presumably pygmies of that age. The situation of the remains indicated that the two races lived peacefully together. In connection with this find it is observed that Sergi and Mantie have discovered some living pygmies in Sicily and Sardinia, looking like miniature Europeans. The Schaffhausen bones are declared by Virchow not to be of a pathologically degenerated people, but of those of normal structure. In the author's opinion these small types must not be regarded as diminutive examples of normal races, but as a distinct species of mankind, which may have been the precursor of the larger types of man.

An interesting and instructive enterprise, an International Exhibition of Hygiene, organized under the direction of M. Brouardel, was recently opened in Paris. The exhibits were grouped as follows: (1) Hygiene of Private Houses. (2) City Hygiene. (3) The Prophylactics of Zymotic Diseases, Demography, Sanitary Statistics, etc. (4) Hygiene of Childhood, including Alimentary Hygiene, Questions of Clothing, and Physical Exercises. (5) Industrial and Professional Hygiene.

The International Geographical Congress, which met in London from July 26th to August 3d, had a very successful and interesting week. The exhibits included a series of maps showing the development of English cartography; portraits of explorers and geographers from the thirteenth or fourteenth century down to the present day; a series of globes constructed by von Ravenstein to show how knowledge of the earth's surface has grown from century to century; many rare and curious old maps; a very large collection of photographs representing types of scenery in all parts of the world; and an extensive collection of geographical instruments, both ancient and modern. The