Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/593

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575
FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

the Antichrist. He even condescended to sign a minute, which was drawn upon the spot, attaching to it the title Sanctus Demon Primarus Prœses—which may mean "Holy Devil, First President"—with his signature, consisting of various symbolical signs, among which were a cock, a fork, etc. The Volkszeitung declares that it is superstition to believe in the authenticity of the signature, although it credits the possibility of compacts between the devil and the wicked. Père Künzle believes that it is consistent with sound doctrine to hold that the signature is that of the Prince of Evil. This is the point of controversy; and the scientific may look on, though not troubled about the matter.

 

NOTES.

M. Émile Rivière has discovered and explored for a length of one hundred and twenty-seven metres a prehistoric grotto in the department of Dordogne, France, the walls of which are covered with designs cut in the rock. As some of the figures pass under stalagmites, a great age is predicated for them.

M. Olszewski, having failed to liquefy helium, calculates that its boiling point is below -264° C, or at least 20° below that of hydrogen. Were the temperature of ebullition calculated as a function of the density, it would be much higher, the density of helium being double that of hydrogen. Both helium and argon have boiling points much lower than was supposed—a fact which may be accounted for by the monatomic structure of the two substances.

A number of neolithic axes were described in the American Association by Prof. E. W. Claypole, which were found at New London, Huron County, Ohio, by an intelligent workman while digging a well in the blue clay at twenty feet below the surface. The features of the formation were those characteristic of the glacial deposits of northern Ohio. Heretofore, numerous flying reports of the discovery of implements in the glacial till have been made, but this. Prof. Wright says, is the first instance where the evidence has seemed in itself altogether convincing and satisfactory.

Bearing in mind that an estimated average length of pupilage is frequently made an important consideration in arranging some of the points of school management. Prof. C. M. Woodward undertook to deduce, from the comparison of the school statistics of several cities, the average age at which pupils withdraw from the public schools to engage in the active duties of life, or to enter private schools. He could get full statistics only from St. Louis, Chicago, and Boston. In these cities the average age of withdrawal is, severally, 13·3, 14·5, and 15·9 years.

M. Loewy, a fully trained astronomer who has made his reputation along many lines of research, and who has for many years belonged to the staff of that institution, has been selected by the French Government to succeed M. Tisserand as Director of the French Observatory.

Recent researches by Prof. J. A. Hennig indicate that pure metals have their electrical conductivity immensely increased by intense cold, while alloys experience in the same circumstances a comparatively small increase, not more than ten per cent. Prof. Hennig lays great stress on the value of these facts, as a means of testing the purity of a metal, almost rivaling the spectroscope in delicacy.

It is said that the German Government has recently sent Prof. Koch and Dr. Kohlenstock, both bacteriological experts, to the Cape to inquire into the plague of rinderpest, and to report what measures are best to prevent its spreading to the German Southwest African colonies.

At a meeting held at St George's Hospital (London) early in December, it was resolved "That the present year, being the centenary of the first successful vaccination, is an appropriate time to inaugurate a work of national utility in honor of Edward Jenner." A second resolution to the following effect was passed: "That a subscription be set on foot with the view of founding some institution of a nature to be hereafter determined in connection with the British Institute of Preventive Medicine, to be distinguished by Jenner's name."

The forest department in India is now paying its way handsomely and more, the profits having been going up steadily since 1875. While for the five years ending with that they stood at eleven lakhs, the profits for the five years ending in 1895 were fifty-three lakhs, or just short of five times as much.

Miss M. Peacock has published a paper in the magazine Folk Lore on executed criminals and folk medicine, in which are collected instances of belief in the medical effects of the touch of the body of an executed criminal.

An account of a number of remarkable cases of psychical or hypnotic phenomena which have fallen under his own observation, or have been investigated by the Society for Psychical Research, has been prepared by Dr. R. Osgood Mason, of this city, and is to be published by Henry Holt & Co., under the title of Telepathy and Subliminal Research. It will illustrate a theory held by the author and some other investigators of a principle