Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/301

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287
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

also made careful observations, believes in the possibility of pigeons flying 72 miles an hour. Observation shows that they fly perceptibly faster than the best express trains. Their speed, in M. Rodenbach's view, is even much greater than it appears; for they can not fly in a straight line as the express train runs, but are obliged to make zigzags and detours, as they meet or are turned by varying currents in the air.

The Gas Exposition to be held in Madison Square Garden during the two weeks beginning January 25, 1897, will be the first affair of the kind attempted in this country, although such displays are a regular feature of the year's entertainments in some European countries. The exhibition will be managed by a board of directors composed of men well known in the commercial and financial world—many of them connected with gas enterprises, and some distinguished in science and public life—assisted by an executive committee. It is represented that a large and increasing interest is being taken in the project by men and firms whose cooperation is desired, and who might be counted upon to become exhibitors. It would be impossible to name all or even a considerable fraction of the features which could find an appropriate place in such an exhibition. Great improvements are being made in the use of gas for light and fuel and the appliances, and these will, of course, be shown.

Mr. Amos W. Butler, the well-known ornithologist, gives, in his address as retiring President of the Indiana Academy of Sciences, an interesting and valuable contribution to our knowledge of contemporary evolution. The address, published by the Academy, treats of "a century of changes in the aspects of Nature" in Indiana. The disappearance of the great forests, the extinction of the Indian and the large mammals, have been accompanied by corresponding changes among the smaller animals. Especially notable has been the loss of the hosts of passenger pigeons. In the days of Wilson and Audubon the sky was literally dark with these. Now the species is but a memory, so far as Indiana is concerned. The future will record changes as the past has done. "But at no time in the future will the changes in the aspects of Nature be so noticeable, so incomprehensible, because of their vastness, as have those of the century just closing."

Following the protest which some time ago appeared against the illustrations of impossible icebergs comes one against impossible volcanoes. Mr. Oliver C. Farrington writes to Science, sending a reproduction of a school geography's picture of Popocatepetl, and by the side of it an outline of the actual mountain. The difference is quite startling. The slope of Popocatepetl was found by Mr. Farrington to be never more than 30°, while the picture represents a snow-capped peak with a slope of from 40° to 50° "A tall cross, such as no traveler in Mexico ever saw, and luxuriant palms, such as never grow at the altitude from which Popocatepetl can be seen," furnish a fitting foreground.


NOTES.

The experiment of planting and raising Eastern oysters in the waters of Los Angeles County, California, was tried in 1892, when three hundred pounds of spat or seed oysters were planted at Alamitos Bay, near Long Beach Park, and at the mouth of New River. At the end of 1894 the oysters of this plantation were as large as those of the same age raised in the East. The oyster ground embraced the whole of Alamitos and Anaheim Bays. The outlook for the industry was hopeful, and no starfish or carnivorous shellfish had been detected among the beds. Mrs. M. Burton Williamson, who has published an account of this plantation in the Annual of the Historical Society, suggests that the shipment of Eastern oysters may also result in planting the fry of other shellfish from the East in the bay. Mya arenaria and Urosalpinx cinerea are now propagated in San Francisco Bay from seed brought with Eastern oysters.

Topazes are found in the tin-bearing alluvions of the river Tjenderiang in the kingdom of Perak, Malacca, absolutely colorless and perfectly transparent, measuring from one centimetre to three centimetres and a half. Sometimes they are rolled, when their faces are dull, but the number of intact crystals is large enough to justify the supposition that their original site is not far away.

The recent conference held in London, for considering the question of forming an international catalogue of scientific literature, should have very important results. Men of science recognize, as Prof. Mach, of Germany, said, no distinction of race or nationality, and they were glad, he added, to