Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/795

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showers that the air was darkened with them; and through the whizzing, whirling veil they flung about us we could look with the naked eye at the sun, which, although high in the heavens, had the blood-red, rayless appearance usually peculiar to the time of setting." He adds that the natives, with their horses and cattle, as well as elephants and other wild ruminants, feed on them greedily; the author found them perfectly tasteless.


Natural History in New Guinea.—The Italian naturalist, D'Albertis, continues his explorations and studies of natural history in the island of New Guinea. He recently made the ascent of a mountain 1,200 feet high, on Yule Island, obtaining a good view of the plains watered by the Amama River. This river D'Albertis has partly ascended on several occasions; he states that it traverses an extensive and fertile district well suited for grazing. The Nicura River, into which the Amama debouches, is bordered by mangroves, eucalyptus, grass-trees, etc. He remarks that the natives appear everywhere ignorant of the uses of metals; and he is of opinion that Wallace and others are right in recognizing the existence of two races in the island. The aborigines he considers are confined to the western and interior portions, while the inhabitants in the other parts represent a taller, lighter-colored, and more intelligent race, which displaced the older tenants.


Sulphide of Carbon as an Insecticide.—The use of carbon sulphide is recommended by J. B. Schnetzler, of the Lausanne Academy, as a means of destroying the insects which infest herbaria and entomological collections. The Academy collection of Swiss flowering-plants having been attacked by Anobium paniceum, M. Schnetzler had a wooden box made large enough to contain five fasciculi of the herbarium, each composed of about 200 plants. Four ounces of carbon sulphide were poured into the five fasciculi; the box was tightly closed, and the whole left for a month. All the insects were destroyed, and no injury was done to the specimens, or to the papers to which they were fastened. The expense of the operation is very small. M. Schnetzler recommends that the boxes should be placed under a shed, as in case of the escape of vapor there might be danger of explosion. The same process may be employed for collections of insects.



During the present year the United States Fish Commission have placed in the Hudson River 4,580,000 young shad. The commissioners observe a steady increase in the supply of this fish. They ask, however, for legislation compelling a cessation of fishing on Sunday.

At the distance of 20 miles from Carter Station, on the Union Pacific Railway, is situated a remarkable coal-mine. It is about 4 miles in length, and consists of 16 veins, lying one above another, with a thin layer of sandstone intervening. The bottom vein is the thinnest (5 feet), while the one next above is over 75 feet in thickness. A few feet above this is a vein of 60 feet, another of 40 succeeding, and so on, making in all about 400 feet of coal. The veins slope at an angle of about 22°, and are very easy of access.

Prof. Riley, at a meeting of the St. Louis Academy of Science, exhibited a Colorado potato-beetle, which was so completely covered with a mite parasite that the point of a needle could not be placed on any part of the beetle's body without touching one of the parasites. He estimated the number of mites at 800, and they had killed the beetle. Aside from the toad and other reptiles, the crow, the rose-breasted grossbeak, and domestic fowls, among birds which prey on the Doryplura decenlineata, Prof. Riley had in his report figured or described no less than 23 insect-enemies that attack and kill it. Only one of these is a true parasite, and this mite makes the second. It belongs to the family Gamasidæ.

At a meeting held in London, in aid of the fund for a memorial to the late Dr. Parkes, a resolution was adopted which declared it desirable that the memorial should take the form of a museum of hygiene. A list of subscriptions was read amounting to £675.

Everywhere in Germany carrier-pigeons are being trained for service in time of war, to keep up communication between the garrisons of besieged fortresses and the military authorities. Another use of these pigeons is suggested, viz., as a means of conveying intelligence from light-ships to the nearest port, in case the former are in need of succor.