POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
thrown off. They were formerly of great repute as alexipharmics (medicines supposed to neutralize infectious or other poisons). Two curious specimens of this formation—which is, when of vegetable origin, known as a phyto-bezoar—are described in a recent number of the Pharmaceutical Review. They were taken, along with fourteen others, from the stomach of a bull at the Hacienda de Cruzes in Mexico, were of a brown color, somewhat resembled felt or rubbed sole leather in appearance, and consisted of the barbed hairs of the pulvini of the platopuntias. To the barbs with which the hairs are covered is due their power of felting together. Concretions akin to bezoars are sometimes found in the human stomach.
The exploring yacht of Prince Albert I of Monaco, the Princess Alice, made its fourth cruise of scientific research in the summer of 1897 in the waters west of Morocco, around Madeira, and the regions of the Azores and the sea off Portugal. Weirs sent down to depths of nearly sixteen thousand feet brought up animals wholly unknown. Another net kept for twenty-four hours at a depth of about thirty-seven hundred feet, near the Azores, brought up twelve hundred animals, of which eleven hundred and ninety-eight were fish. Large cetaceans were often chased by the whale boats; and in some instances unknown animals, from forty-five to sixty-six feet long, yielded remnants of food which they had swallowed—fragments of gigantic devil fishes, which were carefully preserved.
The spore dust that is often seen on cereals promises to be available as a pigment. David Pearson reports, in Nature, that a rich amber color, sometimes approaching sepia in tone, is obtained from smutty oats, and that when applied as a water color it remains fast and unaltered in ordinary diffused daylight, and changes but little in direct sunlight after months of exposure.
Experiments have been made by M. Perchor, of the French Academy of Sciences, from which he is satisfied that the zenith point can be determined directly with astronomical instruments as accurately as the nadir is found by means of the mercurial bath.
The investigations respecting the culture of the sugar beet made, by the Ohio experiment station, indicate that some parts of the State offer considerable encouragement to the industry. In three respects of temperature, soil, and rainfall they seem to offer all that is necessary for the best production. There still remains, however, much to be done before it can be positively asserted that beet sugar may be profitably produced in Ohio.
Toward the end of the year 1896 Mr. Spencer consented, at the request of a large number of distinguished men, to have his portrait painted by Mr. Herkomer. The portrait is now finished, and will be sent to the next exhibition of the Royal Academy. It is said to be the intention to finally offer the picture to the trustees of the National Portrait Gallery.
At a meeting of the New York Academy of Medicine, on February 17th, the following resolution was unanimously adopted: "Resolved, That the fellows of the New York Academy of Medicine do earnestly recommend the establishment of a bureau of health, with the power to administer, within constitutional limits, the sanitary needs of the United States."
The net earnings of the railways of the United States for the year ending June 30, 1897 (that is, the amount of gross earnings remaining after the deduction of the operating expenses of the railways), representing an operated mileage of 180,027.66 miles, were $369,050,856.
In the later death lists we find the names, among men associated with science and the arts, of Dr. Hermann Kämmerer, professor of chemistry at Nuremberg, April 12th, aged fifty-eight years; Dr. Samuel Gordon, president of the Royal Zoölogical Society of Dublin; M. Demontzey, correspondent of the French Academy of Sciences in the Section of Rural Economy; Dr. Hermann Schapira, professor of mathematics at the University of Heidelberg, May 9th, aged fifty-seven years; Maurice Hovelacque, secretary of the Geological Society of Paris; W. C. Lucy, an English naturalist of great activity and local fame, contributor of numerous papers to the proceedings of the Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club, an observer whose name' is familiar to readers of Nature; Dr, C. Herbert Hurst, formerly of the zoölogical department of Owens College, and later of the Royal College of Science, Dublin, author of many papers criticising modern biological theory; M. C. J. Souillart, professor of astronomy in the University of Lille, and author of several important papers on mathematical astronomy; D. S. Kellicott, professor of zoölogy at Ohio State University; Paul Henri Schneider, chief proprietor and director of the great iron works at Creusot, France, aged fifty-eight years; and Lord Lyon Playfair, at one time professor of chemistry in the University of Edinburgh, but who spent most of his active life in public or official positions in which the scientific function was highest in importance.