Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/405

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into fragments does not appear. It must have had a large collection of waters, a sea, which has likewise been dispersed, and which now is to be found in meteoric swarms, and in comets. The peculiarity of meteorites, as compared with our globe, consists, he says, in the circumstance that we find in the former more products of reduction, and, except the earths, no perfect oxides. Thus, in meteorites we find no ferric oxide, but metallic iron, sulphide of iron, and phosphide of nickel-iron. Upon our globe phosphorus occurs only as phosphoric acid. Hence the hypothetical planet where the meteorites originated must have been smaller than our globe, and have had a less dense atmosphere containing less free oxygen. The specific gravity of most meteorites agrees with the calculated density of the planetoids between Mars and Jupiter.


A Sound-producing Spider.—In the "Proceedings" of the Bengal Asiatic Society is given an account of a gigantic stridulating spider, from Assam. The sound-producing apparatus of this spider (a species of Mygale) consists of a comb, composed of a number of highly-elastic chitinous rods, situated on the inner face of the so-called maxillæ, and of a scraper, formed of an irregular row of sharp spines on the outer surface of the antennal claws. This apparatus is equally well developed in both sexes, as in most coleopterous insects, and is not confined to the males, as in the Orthoptera, Homoptera, and the stridulating spiders (Theridion), observed by Westring, in all of which the exclusive purpose of the sounds seems to be to charm or call the opposite sex.



The Royal Society of London has received from Mr. Phillips Jodrell £6,000 to be applied, principal as well as interest, to the encouragement of original research in the physical sciences. Mr. Jodrell's object in making this gift is to ascertain, by practical experiment, to what extent the progress of original research is retarded in England by the want of public support, and in what form an increased measure of support would be most likely to promote its development.

Chlorine was first employed industrially by Robert Hall, at White's bleach-works, near Nottingham. He procured from Germany a vial of chlorine-water, but the first experiment was not successful. The solution, being too strong, destroyed the fabric, but by degrees the new agent became manageable. The use of lime by Tennant, of Glasgow, in 1798, as an absorbent of chlorine, seems to have over-shadowed these early results.

In the Tribune mention is made of a paper recently read before the French Academy of Inscriptions, upon the determination of the age of the third pyramid at Ghizeh. It appears that M. Chabas, an Egyptologist, has succeeded in deciphering in the Ebers papyrus a certain hieroglyph, which he finds to represent the name of Menkeres, the builder of that pyramid. An astronomical note in the manuscript states that the heliacal rising of Sothis (the star Sirius) occurred in the ninth year of the reign of Menkeres. The astronomer Biot now made calculations to fix the time of this heliacal rising of Sirius, and found that it must have taken place between the years 3010 and 3007 b. c.

Dr. W. B. Richardson attributes the high vitality of Jews, as shown in statistics, to their strict observance of certain sanitary laws respecting diet, cleanliness, and abstinence from strong drink.

A Tasmanian correspondent of Nature relates an instance of extraordinary tenacity of life exhibited by an eel. Seven years ago an eel, which had been slightly injured, was placed along with other eels in a tank from which they were taken as required. This tank was fitted with finely-perforated zinc at each end, through which nothing but the most minute organisms could pass; otherwise it was perfectly tight. The injured eel was left after the others had been taken out, and so on again and again, when other lots were put in and removed. "It is still in the tank, perfectly transparent, and quite white, and is to all appearance healthy and lively enough."

Died, March 2, 1876, in Washington, at the early age of twenty-eight years, Archibald R. Marvine. In an obituary notice, published in the American Journal of Science and Arts, it is stated that Mr. Marvine graduated in 1870 from the Hooper Mining School, Harvard University; the same year he accompanied the Santo Domingo Expedition as assistant geologist; in 1871 he served as astronomer to the Wheeler Expedition, at the same time doing work as a geologist; in 1873 he was appointed geologist of the Hayden Survey Expedition. The hardships and privations he endured in the wilderness of Colorado undermined his health, and since the early winter of 1874−'75 he had been incapacitated for field-work.

The decrease in the number of small-pox cases in the Punjab, since the introduction of vaccination, is very striking. In 1869