Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/786

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into "mature-plant land" and "immature-plant land." The average yield of the mature-plant land is about 237 pounds per acre; that of the immature, about 80 pounds; of the whole, 208 pounds per acre. The total production is about 15,000,000 pounds.



Prof. Ch. Fred Hartt, of Cornell University, sailed on the 5th inst. on his fifth expedition to Brazil, accompanied by one of his students, W. J. C. Brauner. He proposes to make a reconnaissance of the gold and diamond region north of Rio de Janeiro, and explore carefully several rich paleontological and archaeological localities discovered on previous expeditions. It is his intention at the same time to review his studies on the Southern Glacial Drift.

The entomologists of the American Association for the Advancement of Science have formed a special organization, to be known as the "Entomological Club of the American Association for the Advancement of Science," with Dr. John L. Le Conte as President, and C. F. Riley as Secretary. The Club will annually assemble one day in advance of the Association meeting, and hold other meetings during the session of that body. The objects, as stated by the Tribune, are the exchange and exhibition of specimens, and especially of types of such species as may have been described during the preceding year.

The largest tree in Ohio stands in the Methodist parsonage-lot, Chillicothe. It is an elm, nearly eight feet in diameter, and 110 feet across the branches. Its height is not above 50 feet. The trunk is hollow, and has been so for many years. It is supposed to be four or five hundred years old.

Borelly, of Marseilles, on the 26th of July, discovered a new comet. Prof. Swift, of Rochester, who was the first in this country to observe this comet, describes it (July 30th) as being quite large and bright for a telescopic comet. It has a strong central condensation, but no apparent nucleus or tail. It is in the fourth coil of Draco, and moves at the rate of about a degree per day.

Gold and platinum have been drawn to a "spider-line" for the field of a telescope, by coating the metal with silver, drawing it down to the finest number, and then removing the coating by acid, leaving the almost imperceptible interior wire, which, in an experiment made in London, was so attenuated that a mile's length weighed only a grain.

A correspondent of Land and Water gives the following instance of canine sagacity: A canary-bird having escaped from its cage, a cat in the room was seen gazing intently at some object under a chair. There lay a favorite terrier, with the canary firmly yet tenderly grasped in its mouth, all the while watching the cat, evidently with the object of keeping the latter at a safe distance from the bird. On being asked for the bird, the terrier instantly gave it up. It had received no injury whatever. How long the dog may have protected the poor little bird is not known, but the circumstance is at all events a notable instance of what is usually described as sagacity, but which may be more justly termed reason in the dog.

The extraordinary drought of the past summer in Europe had a disastrous effect on the fishes. Near Asnières on the Seine, shoals of fish of all sizes lay on the surface of the water as if half dead or stupefied. A somewhat similar state of things appeared in the vicinity of Oxford, where fish of all sorts and sizes were picked up dead in the shallows. In many parts of Ireland the trout in the smaller streams have been nearly destroyed. The trouble at Asnières and at Oxford was no doubt the result of the poisoning of the Seine and the Isis by sewage.

A pipe is now being laid for the conveyance of petroleum from the oil-wells of Millerstown, Pa., to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, a distance of 40 miles. The pipe is three inches in diameter, and its capacity 4,000 barrels per day.

The Railroad Commissioners of Massachusetts have held a hearing on the subject of steam-whistles on railroads, and have recommended that they should be restricted in use to "cases of danger and the necessary management of freight-trains."

At the end of July the amount of money contributed so far to the Agassiz Memorial Fund was $7,800.

The sum of $1,000 has been deposited with the Franklin Institute by Uriah A. Boyden, of Boston, to be awarded as a premium to "any resident of North America who shall determine by experiment whether all rays of light, and other physical rays, are or are not transmitted with the same velocity." The memoirs, which are to describe in detail the apparatus, mode of experimenting, and results, are to be sent in to the secretary of the Institute by January 1, 1875.

At the Priestley Centennial Meeting, Prof. Fraser urged the formation of a Chemical Society, to be independent of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, but the project was rejected. Dr.