Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/155

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143
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

ern hemisphere, but it is not easy to land upon when the sea is at all rough. It is but little visited. It bears a few plants which have not been collected and studied, and is the resort of numerous sea birds. The curious peak is situated at a greater distance from any mainland than any other isolated rock of like dimensions in any part of the world.

 

Old shoes are not lost by any means. In this country they are dissected and subjected to a course of manipulations by which they are converted into a kind of artificial leather, which is made to look very fine, and may be elegantly ornamented. In France they go through a less elaborate transformation. At the military prison in Montpellier the shoes, the majority of which come from Spain, are ripped apart; the nails are drawn out. The parts are softened in water, and are then cut up by a machine into vamps for children's or little girls' shoes. The soles are likewise utilized. The smallest pieces are used to make the Louis XIV toes which were in fashion a few years ago. Pieces a little larger and thinner are made into the soles of babies' shoes. The nails of iron are separated by means of a magnet from copper nails, and the latter are sold for a higher price than the others. The manager of the prison represents that the returns from this manufacture nearly equal the cost of the old shoes.

 
NOTES.

Hon. David A. Wells's chapters on The Principles of Taxation, the publication of which has been unavoidably suspended in the October and November numbers of the Monthly, will be renewed in the December number, and regularly continued thereafter.

The British Association has resolved to invite the president, vice-presidents, and officers of the American Association to attend its meeting next year at Toronto as honorary members; also to admit all fellows and members of the American Association as members of the British Association on the same terms as old annual members—namely, on payment of £1 (or $5), without requiring an admission fee.

In regard to the proper designation of its vice-presidents, the American Association directed that that term be used in official publications in expressing the relation of the presiding officer of any section to the association, and the term chairman in expressing his relation to the section; and that the term vice president precede the name of the officer and chairman follow it when both relations are to be expressed. When referred to, these officers are to be termed vice-presidents for, not of, the sections.

Prof. Wolcott Gibbs, the new President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Rumford Professor and Lecturer on the Application of Science to the Useful Arts, is the oldest living professor in Harvard University, though not now in active service.

A very satisfactory dressing for wounds, consisting of bags of straw charcoal, is used by the Japanese. It fits perfectly to the wounds, and has considerable absorbing power and antiseptic properties. The charcoal is prepared by burning straw in a covered vessel.

A shrub in Madagascar, called the vonimperono, bears a seed, the feathery tuft of which possesses some of the qualities of silk, and may be found useful in the arts. The flower and the pod, as pictured in La Nature, suggest affiliation with the Asclepiads; and the tuft does not contradict the suggestion. It is a little more than an inch and a half long; its fibers have considerable strength; and, according to M. Georges Chapin, they form a veritable vegetable silk. The people of the western coast of Madagascar collect it, and, often without taking the trouble to remove the seed, make soft cushions and pillows of it; and the Hova ladies use it for stuffing the seats of their filanzanes or sedan chairs.

The term roches moutonnés, used by geologists to describe a peculiar topographic appearance resulting from glacial action, is usually interpreted as meaning resembling a flock of sheep asleep, and that is the explanation given by M de Lapperent in his geological treatise. The dictionaries, however, define moutonné as meaning frizzled like sheep's wool. The term was first used by De Saussure in his Voyages dans les Alpes; but the passage had escaped recent observation till Mr. Whymper found it. It reads, translated, "These contiguous and repeated roundnesses produce as a whole the effect of a well-grown fleece, of the wigs which are called moutonnées." Mr. Grenville A. J. Cole in Nature cites this passage to justify his comparison of these shapes to the mammillations upon an antique wig.

A paper read some time ago in the Linnæan Society by Mr. R. Morton Middleton, recording the observation of Mr. Miltiades Isigonis of the use of ants by the Greek barber surgeons of Asia Minor for holding together the edges of a cut, brought out the fact that the same custom exists in Brazil as among