Popular Science Monthly/Volume 12/December 1877/Popular Miscellany

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The United States Pharmacopœia, as is well known, has been issued in revised editions every ten years, since its first appearance in 1830. These revisions have been made under the authority and direction of "The National Convention for revising the Pharmacopœia," consisting of delegates from medical and pharmaceutical colleges; the real work, however, has mainly rested in the hands of a few persons, who have at the same time published the very remunerative "Dispensatory of the United States." The fifth edition of the United States Pharmacopœia, issued three years after the convention met in 1873, did not, however, meet with the former approval, and was left without its customary commentary, inasmuch as the authors of the Dispensatory failed to prepare in time a new edition supplementing the new Pharmacopœia. Suggestions for an earlier revision of the Pharmacopœia than in 1880 have since been advanced; and a new departure advocated in the method and scope of the revision. Dr. Edward R. Squibb, of Brooklyn, submitted to the American Medical Association an elaborate plan for a new and completer work, to be prepared by experts, under the control of that Association. This plan, however, was abruptly rejected by the American Medical Association at its recent meeting in Chicago, mainly on the ground that the work of pharmacopœial revision is not appropriate to that body. The American Pharmaceutical Association, too, of which Dr. Squibb is also a member, and to which his plan had been presented, objected to it on account of the unequal share accorded to pharmacy in the management of the work.

The plan to obtain a better Pharmacopœia at an earlier date, and under new management, would practically have failed for the present, if it were not for the judicious and prompt action and energy of Dr. Frederick Hoffmann, of New York, who carried the subject, when dropped by Dr. Squibb, into the American Pharmaceutical Association at its recent annual meeting at Toronto. He offered the resolution, that the American Pharmaceutical Association elect a Committee to prepare a complete Pharmacopœia which may be submitted to the criticism of the medical and pharmaceutical professions, and may be proposed to the above-mentioned National Convention for revising the Pharmacopœia. This resolution passed unanimously; and the result was, that a committee was appointed for this purpose, which has agreed upon a plan of its work and has selected the experts to accomplish it. Dr. Hoffmann, of New York, has taken charge of the chemical part of the new Pharmacopœia, Prof. Maisch, of Philadelphia, of the department of pharmacognosy; and Mr. Rice, of New York, represents pharmacy. This committee has promptly entered upon its labors, and expects to submit the results to the American Pharmaceutical Association in the fall of 1879. It remains to be seen whether the Association will then present the work of its expert-committee to the National Convention, supposed to meet in 1880; and whether the latter will accept this gratuitous offer: or else, whether the American Pharmaceutical Association, encouraged by the character and value of the work, and by the sentiments of its members and the profession at large, will choose independently to publish its Pharmacopœia. By such action it would realize a desideratum which Dr. Squibb vainly aimed to accomplish, and would relieve the profession from the old National Convention for revision of the Pharmacopoeia, and this itself from any further labors, by presenting in time a new and adequate standard which by its intrinsic merits might at once command the approval and acceptance of the professions.


Salicylic Acid as a Remedy for Rheumatism.—The value of salicylic acid as a medicine in the treatment of rheumatism has been under discussion for some time, the weight of authority plainly inclining toward an affirmative solution of the problem. As a specimen of the favorable results obtained by the use of the drug, we quote the observations of Dr. L. P. Yandell, Jr., as stated in his "Report on Materia Medica" to the Kentucky State Medical Society. Dr. Yandell’s report treats of a number of recently-introduced drugs; it is published in the Louisville Medical News. His experience with salicylic acid may be briefly stated as follows: First, in the City Hospital of Louisville, nine cases of acute articular rheumatism were treated with this drug, and a "perfect cure" effected; in every instance the disease was arrested within three days, and in several cases relief was obtained in from eight to twelve hours. The drug did not appear to have any antipyretic effect. The patients took the acid in ten and twenty grain doses, in capsules, at varying intervals. In the same hospital three cases of chronic rheumatism were treated with salicylic acid without any good results. In his private practice Dr. Yandell has used this drug in five pronounced cases of acute rheumatism with entire success; and in another case this drug, combined with quinine, broke up the disease. The author writes that salicylic acid is best given in milk; it gives the milk a sweetish-sourish taste; a little tickling and sense of slight constriction may be felt about the throat, and an insignificant cough is not uncommon. He adds: "Salicylic acid is the first and only remedy that has proved itself at all reliable in the control of acute rheumatism in my hands. Salicylate of soda has shown no superiority over salicylic acid."


Notes on Fish-culture.—The one great difficulty met with in hatching the striped bass is, according to an intelligent correspondent of Forest and Stream, the fact that spawners of this species are very rarely found. About four years ago, we are informed, a few ripe "rock-fish" (striped bass) were found in the Roanoke River, North Carolina, and about 100,000 young fish were hatched from their spawn. One reason assigned for the diminution of this fish is the fact that they are marketed before they reach maturity. Prof. Baird favors the enactment of a law prohibiting the marketing of these fish when less than twelve inches long. Striped bass frequently attain a weight of sixty and eighty pounds; and it has been held that they do not spawn until they attain a weight of about twenty pounds. The same correspondent cites, as an evidence of the success of salmon-propagation, the recent capture of a nine-pound salmon in the Delaware. The fish was a California salmon—a variety with which the Delaware, Potomac, Susquehanna, and other rivers, were supplied a few years ago. It is supposed they return in five or six years, though difference in the temperature of the water, currents, and other conditions, may accelerate or retard the return. Over 400,000 eggs of California salmon were shipped last fall to New Zealand, where they nearly all arrived in excellent condition.


Florida Lizards.—During a sojourn in Waldo, Florida, Mr. Henry Gillman has studied the characters and habits of a great variety of lizards, and, in a brief communication to the American Naturalist, states some of the results of his observations. One point which he has been enabled to determine is the possession by the lizards of Florida of the power of "chameleonization," or of changing color. The author states positively that the lizards of Florida possess this power in a remarkable degree. Thus, he has seen a small, yellowish-brown lizard, on quitting the ground, instantly assume the dull gray-hue of a weather-beaten fence-rail, along which it glided. Passing under some olive-tinted foliage, it next adopted that color, which was succeeded by a bright green, as the animal reached and rested under the grass and leaves of like shade. The original yellowish-brown color was again assumed on the lizard returning to the ground. Each of these changes was almost instantaneous, and the entire series could not have occupied much more than one-quarter of a minute of time.


International Scientific Service.—Of Prof. Grote's paper, mentioned in our October number, on an International Scientific Congress, and read at the meeting of the American Association, we find a very good abstract in the Polytechnic Review, from which journal we quote the essential points of the paper. The author referred to the excellent work done by national scientific associations, such as the British Association and the American Association, but said that there is urgent need of a still broader organization—of an international congress of scientific men. Foremost among the problems which Science is striving to solve is that of the origin of our species. The elucidation of this question concerns the whole race, and no merely national organization possesses the means of exploring the whole field. Then, the various scientific explorations in Africa, Australia, and the polar regions, need coöperative assistance to realize the best results from the outlays, while the new knowledge they bring is the common inheritance of all enlightened nations. Now, where all participate all should contribute. Prof. Grote's plan of an international scientific service contemplates the appointment of commissioners by the civil governments of the world. The deliberations of this body "would be the wisdom of the age; its recommendations would be respected by the legislative powers of the consenting and represented nations. Under its auspices all extra-limital astronomical, geological, and biological expenditures would be fitted out, and directed to those places which would be most fruitful for any particular purpose. The difference in the mental faculties between different nations would prevent the loss in such a body of any possible suggestion which the human mind could offer."

At the same meeting a paper was read by Profs. Grote and Pitt on new fossils in the collection of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences, from the water-line group. The free ramus of the chelate appendage of Pterygotus Cummingsi (G. and P.) was described by the aid of drawings. The crablike animal was over five feet in length, and lived in the shallow waters of the Silurian sea where Buffalo now stands. Its remains were deposited in the sedimentary lime-beds which are now being worked for manufacturing purposes.


Prof. Loomis on Rain-Areas.—The American Journal of Science for July contains the seventh paper of a series by Prof. Loomis, in which he investigates the phenomena of storms, their origin, development, and movements. It was shown in a previous paper that the form of a rain-area, that is, of a storm moving over the country, is usually elliptical: this elongated form is more obvious in storms which move along the coast than in those which move farther inland. The area of low barometer in a storm is not at the centre of greatest rainfall. Sometimes the rain centre is northward, or southward, or eastward, or westward, of the area of low barometer. North of latitude 36 the distance of the area of greatest rainfall from the centre of low pressure is in a majority of cases less than 250 miles, but in some instances three times that distance, the average being 300 miles. When extensive rainfalls occur there is a marked tendency to the formation of several centres of precipitation, and heavy rains may occur at various localities in a storm-area. This fact suggests that during the progress of a storm there occur local causes of great precipitation.

The tables show that heavy rainfalls are not of long duration over extended areas, and the conclusion from this fact is, that the causes which produce rain do not increase in force from the rainfall, but diminish and become exhausted. This result cannot be attributed to a want of supply of vapor, as the inflowing winds continually carry vapor into the storm-area, and this is especially true in the case of storms moving along the Atlantic border. What seems to be implied is, that an exhaustion occurs of the forces which impart that movement to the air requisite to precipitation.

The centre of great rain-areas occurs along the Atlantic border four times more frequently than inland, nor is this general fact changed in the region of the Great Lakes. Very extensive rainfalls are most frequent in autumn and winter, and occur most frequently in mornings and afternoons, and are least frequent during evenings, the difference in this respect being very marked. It is observed, too, that the "heaviest rainfalls are seldom accompanied by very high winds."

"There seems," says Prof. Loomis, "no room to doubt that areas of low barometer occur during periods of twenty-four hours with little or no rain, and travel nearly eastward with an average velocity of about twenty miles an hour." From this fact it is concluded that rainfall is not essential to the formation of areas of low barometer, and is not the principal cause of their formation nor of their progressive motion. The barometer is frequently low during the hazy weather of October, when the Indian summer prevails, a period usually of little rainfall.


Taste-Perceptions.—An interesting inquiry has been made by Vintschgau and Höingschmied to determine how much time is requisite to perceive different taste-sensations. We have already, in No. 39 of the Monthly, given the results obtained by these investigators in their earlier researches; but since then they have studied the subject more thoroughly, attacking more complex problems, as will be seen from the following account of their labors, which we take from the English Mechanic. In these experiments by pressure of a brush saturated with a concentrated solution of a savory substance on the tongue, an electric circuit was closed, which was only opened by the person when he made a signal "on first perceiving the taste. The time during which the current flowed was marked by a rotating cylinder, and represented the "reaction-time" of a given taste. First, the "reaction-time" of four different substances was ascertained. This experiment was then so modified that not merely the sensation of taste had to be answered to, but the tongue of the person was touched now with water, now with a savory solution, without his knowing beforehand which was to be applied; he had to decide which had touched his tongue, and gave the signal only when it was the savory matter. In a final series of experiments there were always two savory substances used: when the person perceived the one, he gave the signal with one hand; when he perceived the other, with the other hand. Here the person had not only to perceive the sensation, but to distinguish the one taste from the other, and then to make the right choice of the hand to give the signal. The results are stated in the table below, where the first vertical series gives the names of the savory substances; the second, the time in seconds between the application of the substance and giving of the signal; the third, the reaction-time when the savory substance was applied interchangeably with water, and must be distinguished from this; the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh, the reaction-time in comparison with common salt, acid, sugar, and quinine, respectively:

Water. Salt. Acid. Sugar. Quinine.
0.1598 0.2766 . . . . . . 0.3338 0.3378 0.4804
Acid. 0.1676 0.3315 0.3749 . . . . . . 0.0481 0.4096
Sugar. 0.1639 0.3840 0.3688 0.4373 . . . . . . 0.4224
Quinine. 0.2196 0.4129 0.4388 0.5095 0.4210 . . . . . .

"If we take as a basis," say the authors, "the reaction-times when the tongue was touched with a savory substance alone, and compare therewith the reaction-times which were obtained in the experiments whether with water, or with another savory substance, we find that the following law generally holds: If we experiment with distilled water and a savory substance, or interchangeably with two savory substances on the tongue-tip, then the time of recognition of the one (in experiments with water), or of the two (in experiments with savory substances), is longer, the longer the reaction time of one of the savory substances on simple application." The converse of this law, however (which is only in general valid), does not hold good.


An Underground Pneumatic Clock-Regulator.—The inhabitants of modern cities who are accustomed to receive their supply of water and illuminating gas through pipes laid under the streets, and who are prepared to welcome the introduction of a system of steam-heating on a large scale, will next "get the time of day" from underground pipes. A plan of regulating clocks by means of compressed air has been devised by an Austrian engineer named Mayrhofer. Its principle will be understood from the following description, which we take from the Boston Journal of Chemistry: In the first place, tubes are laid to convey compressed air from a central station, in which is the "master-clock." A simple contrivance, connected with the tubes and the clock, lets off a puff of air every minute or half-minute, and the fingers of all the clocks in the system are in that manner pushed forward with unerring accuracy, in accordance with the time indicated by the standard timepieces in the observatory, so that exact uniformity can be maintained without difficulty in the time shown on any number of dials. The weather has no effect on the air, so far as the working of the pneumatic clocks is concerned, and, be it hot or be it cold, the little valve lets off its puff of air, and the clocks go accurately, in defiance of atmospherical influences. A small yearly charge is made for the clocks, and there is no further expense or trouble. The system has been in operation in Vienna for nearly four months, and has worked without a solitary hitch, so that the people are beginning to realize the idea that time can be "laid on" in then houses as readily as either water or gas.


Local Temperatures of the Blood.—From researches made by Claude Bernard, it appears that while the temperature of the blood in the aorta and its more important branches is uniform, that of the venous blood varies considerably in different regions of the inferior vena cava and its principal tributaries. At the junction of the extremities and the neck with the trunk of the body, the venous blood is colder than that in the great arteries; in the right heart it is considerably hotter. If we determine its temperature at successive points in the inferior cava, we find that at the junction of the iliac veins this is lower than the arterial temperature: on a level with the entrance of the renal veins, the two are about equal; on a level with the hepatic veins, the temperature of the venous exceeds that of the arterial blood by nine-tenths of a degree. It retains this superiority even after it has become mixed in the right heart with the colder blood returned through the superior cava. Accordingly, though the venous blood of the peripheral parts is colder than in the arteries, it acquires sufficient heat during its passage through the abdominal cavity, not merely to equalize the difference, but actually to give it a permanent advantage. This is so, not because the viscera are the source of animal heat, but simply because they are by their situation protected from the effects of radiation and evaporation. Heat is generated in all the tissues, muscles, nerves, nerve-centres, and glands. The rise of temperature, which may always be detected in a muscle when thrown into a state of contraction, is invariably preceded by a slight depression; and precisely the same phenomenon is exhibited by a gland when its secretory nerve is stimulated.


Electro-Plating.—We take from Van Nostrand's Engineering Magazine the following statement of the results obtained by Bertram! in experiments in electro-plating with aluminium, magnesium, cadmium, bismuth, antimony, and palladium. Aluminium was deposited on decomposing, with a strong battery a solution of the double chloride of aluminium and ammonium; a plate of copper forming the negative pole whitens gradually, and becomes covered with a layer of aluminium, which takes a good polish. The double chloride of magnesium and ammonium in an aqueous solution is readily decomposed by the battery, giving in a few minutes strongly-adherent and homogeneous deposits of magnesium on a sheet of copper. It polishes readily. The battery must be powerful. Cadmium is best deposited from the bromide to which a little sulphuric acid has been added; it is then very coherent and very white, and takes a fine polish. The sulphate, if acidulated, also gives an immediate deposit of metallic cadmium, very adhesive and capable of a good polish. Bismuth is deposited from a solution of the double chloride of bismuth and ammonium on copper or brass. by the current from a Bunsen element; it is very adhesive, and might be used in decorating works of art. Antimony can be deposited from a solution of the double chloride of antimony and ammonium at common temperatures. Deposits of palladium are obtained with ease by means of the double chloride of palladium and ammonium, either with or without the battery. The solution must be perfectly neutral.


New Method of Artificial Respiration.—Dr. Benjamin Howard, late of the Long Island Medical College, recently gave at King's College Hospital, London, a demonstration of his "direct method" of producing artificial respiration. For the purpose of making his description of the method perfectly plain, Dr. Howard had a man to act the part of a person rescued from the water, and apparently dead from drowning. The first thing done was to rip away the wet clothing to the waist, making of it a large, firm bolster. "Quickly turning the face downward," said he, as he proceeded to explain the process, "the bolster beneath the epigastrium, making that the highest point, the mouth the lowest; placing both hands on his back immediately above the bolster, my whole weight is thrown forcibly forward, compressing the stomach and lower part of the chest between my hands and the bolster for a few seconds, two or three times, with very short intervals." Thus the lungs are relieved of water and the stomach emptied. Then "quickly turn the patient on his back, the bolster again making the epigastrium and anterior margins of the costal cartilages the highest point of the body, the shoulders and occiput barely resting on the ground. Seize the patient's wrists, and, having secured the utmost possible extension of them behind his head, hold them fast to the ground with your left hand. With a dry pocket-handkerchief between the right thumb and forefinger withdraw the tongue, holding it at the extreme right corner of the mouth. If a boy be at hand, both wrists and tongue may be confided to his care. In this position two-thirds of the entrance to the mouth is free and the tongue is immovably fixed forward; the epiglottis is precluded from pressure and partial closure; the head is dependent; the free margins of the costal cartilages are prominent, and there is a high degree of fixed thoracic expansion. The epigastrium being highest, the movements of the diaphragm are not embarrassed by the abdominal viscera.

"To produce respiration, you kneel astride the patient's hips, rest the ball of each thumb on the corresponding costoxyphoid ligaments, the fingers falling into the lower intercostal spaces; now, resting your elbows against your sides, and using your knees as a pivot, throw the whole weight of your body slowly and steadily forward until your mouth nearly touches that of the patient, and while you slowly count three; then suddenly spring back to your first position on your knees, remain there while you might slowly count two; then repeat, and so on about eight or ten times a minute." The acting patient at the very first steps of the process gasped involuntarily, and as it was continued he came more and more under the control of the operator. After the operation had ceased, there were visible successive waves of involuntary respiration which the "patient" could not control.


Frank Buckland on the Berlin Gorilla.—Mr. Frank Buckland has made a visit to "Pongo," the young gorilla at the Westminster Aquarium, and observed with much pleasure the many great differences between monkey and man. First he notes the hands of the gorilla: the thumb, he observes, is exceedingly short, and "cannot be used with anything like the facility as in the human subject." Then, in the gorilla, the spaces from the knuckles to the first joint of the finger are united by a membrane, and become practically a continuation of the palm. The gorilla, too, uses its hand much more as a foot than as a hand. "The thumb of the foot," he adds, "has great powers of prehension; indeed, it may be said that the thumb proper is carried on the foot. The gorilla has no calf to the leg, and no biceps in the forearm: he cannot stand upright without supporting himself by means of some object. The back of the gorilla is almost square, something after the form of the flat saddle used in equestrian feats in circuses. The cause of this is, that the ribs come close down on the top of the hip-bone." So far as Mr. Buckland has been able to learn, the gorilla does not use a stick for the purpose of striking, neither does he ever strike with his hands. Two children, a boy and a girl, were permitted to play with Pongo, and as Mr. Buckland looked on he "could not help seeing what a vast line the Creator had drawn between them." Our author concludes by saying that Pongo's structure and manners confirm the idea that Darwin is wrong, and that human beings are not monkeys. This doctrine of the identity of man and monkey gives Mr. Buckland a great deal of trouble, and from the vehemence with which he combats it one is led to suppose that it must be prevalent in England. It is a little strange, however, that the adepts of this vile heresy have contrived to mask their teachings, for we have not seen this doctrine upheld in any of the publications of the day. Mr. Buckland asks: "Why not rest satisfied with the origin of our race thus revealed to us by the great Creator himself?—'So God created man in his own image, and in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.'"


Topographical Surveys and Health.—Mr. James T. Gardner delivered, at the Boston meeting of the Public Health Association, an address on the "Relation between Topographical Surveys and the Study of Public Health," which abounds in suggestions of the highest practical importance. As an illustration of the author's mode of enforcing his arguments, we may take his remarks on "natural drainage." "This," we are informed, "results from combined action of configuration, character of soil, constitution of underlying rock, and the form of its surface. These four elements regulate natural drainage. Each must present favorable conditions, or deadly waters will accumulate on the surface or in hidden strata. No plan of artificial drainage can be completely successful unless based on a thorough comprehension of the natural drainage system of the area under treatment. The region above the Palisades on the Hudson furnishes excellent illustration of these statements. The plateau fronts the river eastward with a bluff 300 feet high, and westward slopes gently to the Hackensack Valley. . . . All topographical conditions of unusual health seem here present, and yet malarial diseases abound. The reason of this will probably be found in the configuration of the rock. The dense basalt underlying the thin soil absorbs almost no water. Its surface, originally nearly level, was worn by glacial action into low, swelling ridges and shallow rock-basins, many of which, having no outlet, hold stagnant water as great saucers would. If the rock were either fissured or porous the height of the plateau would insure perfect under-drainage."

With the Palisades plateau the author now contrasts the Helderberg plateau, also situated near the Hudson River. Here, "an escarpment 1,000 feet high bounds, on the eastern side, the table-land, composed of horizontal limestone resting on shales. From the more level parts water does not pass off by surface-streams. Low undulations divide these areas into many separate basins, each draining toward its own centre, where a funnel-shaped opening in the limestone receives the disappearing flow, whose future course is subterranean. These basins are from a few acres to 300 or 400 in extent. When one covers about five square miles a pond is formed at the point of central drainage, Ending outlet through fissures of the limestone below. The plateau's elevation insures that these waters sink at once many hundred feet, or escape in springs along the cliffs." Mr. Gardner then proceeds to show how—as at Sandusky, Ohio—this same Helderberg limestone may, under different topographical conditions, become one of the most powerful producers of disease.


A Formidable Arachnidan.—Dr. B. F. Pope, U. S. A., contributes to Forest and Stream some valuable "Notes on the Natural History of Southwestern Texas," from which we take the following account of the "vinagrone" (big vinegar, so called on account of the pungent secretion it ejects), an arachnidan found in the vicinity of Fort Stockton. In general appearance it resembles a large scorpion, though belonging to a different family. From the head to the commencement of the tail the adult vinagrone is full two inches long; in breadth it measures about three-quarters of an inch. The thorax and head are amalgamated, while the thorax and abdomen are separated by flexible tissue. The legs are six in number, all attached to the thorax. The trunk and head are protected by a single dorsal plate; the abdomen has sixteen distinct dorsal and ventral laminæ, which overlap; they would form continuous rings, were it not that they are curiously separated laterally by elastic tissue. This division of the abdominal rings affords considerable flexibility, and gives the insect the appearance of bearing about him an old-fashioned bellows. From the terminal, dorsal, and ventral plates is given off a series of rings, which, after the third one, are fused into a stiff spike or tail, that is usually three-fifths of the length of the entire body, and covered with short bristles like the legs. This is not a sting, nor does it seem to be the duct through which the secretion is ejected. It appears to be used principally as a posterior feeler, and sometimes as an aid to locomotion.

From the head are given off two powerful brachials, each having four articulations. They resemble the arms of a scorpion, and terminate in sharply-curved pincers. The threatening manner in which they are opened and stretched out, when the insect is enraged or is seeking for its prey, almost makes one shudder. But the brachia are not its only means of offense. Beneath the frontal plate are two long, incurvated fangs. Connected with these are two sacs, that, by pressure, exude drops of greenish liquid over the fangs, and in them undoubtedly resides the true venom of the insect.

Of the bite of this animal the author writes: "We have no good proof that the bite of the vinagrone would be fatal to man, except perhaps as it might be supplemented by the shock of an excessive terror; but that it would be dangerous I think highly probable. As an experiment, I confined two of them in a small box with a large bat. The next morning the bat was dead, having been killed by them during the night, when it is supposed to be most agile and wary. I placed another unsavory specimen in a large bottle, in company with a large wasp and a tarantula. The vinagrone killed and devoured them both in short order."

In a later number of the same journal Dr. H. C. Yarrow writes that the vinagrone is quite well known to entomologists under the name of Thelyphonus giganteus, and that it is common in New Mexico and Arizona.


The Scandal of the Seal-Fishery.—Unless the governments of the countries which send out ships to the seal-fishery grounds speedily put some restrictions on the method now pursued, there will before long be no seals. In 1868 Dr. Robert Brown expressed his belief that, "supposing the sealing prosecuted with the same vigor as at present, before thirty years shall have passed away the seal-fishery, as a source of commercial revenue, will have come to a close." The Greenland seal-fishery is already "practically used up" and the sealers are now turning their attention to the coast of Newfoundland. A writer in Nature cites the London Daily News, to show what slaughter is made of the Newfoundland seals, and we learn that in one season four vessels secured 89,000 seals. To this add a like number of young ones left to die of starvation, and twenty per cent, as many mortally wounded and lost, and the aggregate amounts to over 200,000 seals! The writer in Nature suggests this subject of the destruction of the seal as a fitting one to occupy the minds of the advocates of the anti-vivisection laws, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.


The Building-Stones of St. Lawrence County, New York.—From a statement by Mr. D. Minthorn, published in the Engineering and Mining Journal, it appears that in the northern portion of the State of New York may be found in abundance all the choicest varieties of marbles, granites, and other building-stones. Besides the common gray gneiss, he enumerates among the building-stones of St. Lawrence County several varieties, such as syenitic granite, many New England granites, a deep-green granite "mottled like the pedestals of Cheops." Then there are various pink, green, and dark-red porphyritic granites; and finally there are large masses of very compact gray and green granite, studded with garnets about half an inch apart. The varieties of marbles are very numerous, ranging from white limestone and dolomite and statuary marble to straw-colored, blue, drab, brown, black, yellow, and red variegated marbles; verd-antique also is represented; indeed, Mr. Minthorn is prepared to match any of the antique marbles with the products of the St. Lawrence County quarries. Adjoining the statuary-marble quarry is a deposit consisting partly of pagodite or Chinese figure-stone, and possessing sufficient hardness to take a polish, while at the same time it does not "chip out" when chiseled in sharp lines.