Popular Science Monthly/Volume 22/February 1883/Notes

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A powerful magnetic storm prevailed, both in the United States and England, shortly after the middle of November, reaching its intensity in both countries on the 17th. It was described by American electricians as unlike any disturbance heretofore known, and as acting upon the wires in strong waves, which produced constant changes in the polarity of the current. In England, Mr. Preece pronounced it the most terrific storm he had ever witnessed, after thirty years of observation, and described it as characterized, like the American storm, by alternate waves of great strength. The storm was accompanied, in both countries, by brilliant auroras on the night of the 17th. French accounts represent the storm as equally remarkable on the Continent.

The death is announced of Dr. Franz Ritter von Kobell, Professor of Mineralogy, and keeper of the mineralogical state collections at Munich, Bavaria. He was seventy-nine years old, and was well known through his numerous mineralogical publications.

M. Melsens, a Belgian physicist, has suggested that objects which it is most important to protect from lightning, like powder magazines, should, besides being furnished with lightning-rods, be wholly surrounded with a metallic net-work. He rests upon the fact that animals in such inclosures never experience any mischievous effects from discharges which must, under ordinary conditions, have stunned them. A correspondent of the French Academy of Sciences asserts that trees that have been struck by lightning have, for many years afterward, the same effect upon the compass that magnetized bodies have. The statement needs verification.

M. G. Le Bon has called attention to two new and very effective antiseptics, the glyceroborate of calcium and the glyceroborate of sodium. They are both very soluble, odorless, and unpoisonous, and deliquesce rapidly when exposed to the air. They are powerful antiseptic agents, even in very dilute solutions. The calcic salt appears to be the more effective of the two, in a therapeutic point of view, and may be applied, even in strong solution, and to so delicate an organ as the eye, without bad results. These halts have been proved to be excellent preservers of meat during a South American voyage.

It is not Professor Louis Palmieri, as slated in our last number, who is dead, but his nephew, Marino Palmieri, Professor of Physics in the University of Naples, and also well known for his seismological researches. We referred the death to the older Palmieri through an error in the balancing cf probabilities. The English journal, "Nature," contained a notice of the death of the younger Palmieri, at the early age of thirty-two years; the French journal, "La Nature," of about the same date, gave the obituary as of Luigi, the septenarian. Considering both publications entitled to an equal degree of respect, we regarded the probabilities as in favor of the death of the elder one, who had passed the ago of threescore and ten.

The new volume in the French edition of the "International Scientific Series" is on the "Origin of Cultivated Plants," by M. de Candolle. It appears from this author's researches that, out of about 40,000 known species of plants, mankind make use cf only about three hundred.

The Marquis of Nadaillac, author of a famous work on "The First Men," has just completed a work on "Prehistoric America," published by G. Masson, Paris, which, according to "La Nature," is the first complete work on America prior to the Spanish Conquest that has been placed within the reach of the French reading public.

In "The Popular Science Monthly," vol. v, page 198, mention is made of an immense Japanese spider-crab in the cabinet of Rutgers College, New Jersey, which measures eleven feet six inches when ex tended. It is the Macrocheira Camperi. It was for many years the largest specimen known in any collection. Since then one ten feet long was taken to Edinburgh. A specimen is now advertised for sale in London, which measures over fifteen feet in length! The strange thing is, its owner appears to be ignorant of its name.

The international series of stations, for the examination of the polar regions and phenomena, have been completed, and the designated posts have all been occupied by the parties representing the several states to which they were assigned. The United States is represented at Point Barrow and Lady Franklin Bay, by parties under Lieutenant Bay and Lieutenant Greeley; Great Britain and Canada, at Fort Rae; Germany, at Cumberland Gulf and the South Georgian Islands; Russia, in Nova Zembla and at the mouth of the Lena; Austria, at Jan Mayen; France, at Cape Horn; and Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the Netherlands, at other points in the Arctic regions.

On the 25th of July, 1881, the British Indian Survey observed an extraordinary outburst of solar spots, covering 630,000,000 square miles. The phenomena were all observed within a period of thirty-seven minutes. Says "Nature," "It is rare that so grand an outburst is so closely located in time."

The citizens of Montreal have began their preparations to receive the British Association in 1884, by sending out circulars to inform their invited visitors that the city can take care of them, and that they will find their visit a pleasant one. Among the inducements held forth are easy excursions to Quebec and Ottawa, and longer and pleasant ones to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Boston, New York, and New Haven, or whatever Eastern city the American Association may meet in. The Government of the Dominion is expected to make liberal grants of money to defray the expenses of British members, the railroads and steamboats will provide excursions to the Great Lakes and Chicago, and to the provinces of the Northwest as far as the Rocky Mountains; and the Association is promised its usual revenue from the meeting.

The extreme western boundary of the United States is in the Island of Attoo, as far beyond San Francisco as that city is from Maine. San Francisco is thus only the half-way station in the journey across our country.