Popular Science Monthly/Volume 31/August 1887/Notes

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The retiring President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who will give the presidential address at the New York meeting, is Professor Edward S. Morse, of Salem, Massachusetts. He will review what American zoölogists have done to advance the doctrine of evolution. Professor S. P. Langley, of Washington, will enter upon the office of president at this meeting. The vice-presidents, who are to preside over the several sections, are: A. Mathematics and Astronomy, William Ferrel, of Washington; B. Physics, W. A. Anthony, of Ithaca, New York; C. Chemistry, Albert B. Prescott, of Ann Arbor, Michigan; D. Mechanical Science, Eckley B. Coxe, of Drifton, Pennsylvania; E. Geology and Geography, G K. Gilbert, of Washington; F. Biology, W. G. Farlow, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; H. Anthropology, D. G. Brinton, of Media, Pennsylvania; J. Economic Science and Statistics, Henry E. Alvord, of Amherst, Massachusetts.

The American Public Health Association will hold its fifteenth annual meeting this year at Memphis, Tennessee, November 8th to 11th. The topics to be considered are: "The Pollution of Water-Supplies"; "The Disposal of Refuse Matter of Cities"; "The Disposal of Refuse Matter of Villages, Summer Resorts, and Isolated Tenements"; and "Animal Diseases dangerous to Man."

The Indian Government has arranged a scheme for the complete and systematic botanical survey of India, for which purpose the country has been divided into four great districts, with a superintendent of survey in each. The flora of the Philippine Islands has been under study by Dr. Sebastian Vidal, Director of the Botanical Garden at Manila and the commission for studying the forest flora; and the work is provided for, for still another year at least, in the public budget.

Sir Lyon Playfair, in opening a new Industrial Institute at Bromley, England, recently, said that hitherto the country had prided itself upon the practical knowledge of its artisans, but it had relied too entirely upon that knowledge. The consequence had been that the countries which nurtured the intellects of the people had stepped in, and with their superior mental education had showed the world that the competition of the day was not one of local advantages, but a competition of intellect. England was realizing her position now, and training her sons by technical schools to compete intellectually with the countries round her, from whom she had learned her lesson.

Mr. George H. Blagrove, in a paper on "House Construction in Relation to Health," suggests that great sanitary advantages might be gained if towns were laid out with the streets in the diagonal directions—northeast and southwest, northwest and southeast. Some of the suburban towns near New York are laid out in this way, and—the sun shining into all the rooms some time during every day in the year, and nearly every day into all the windows—the effect is very cheering and salutary.

The fact is suggestive of the intensity of the strain of city life, that, while from 1852 to 1868 the population of Chicago increased 5·1 times and the death-rate 3·7 times, the deaths from nervous disorders increased 20·4 times.

Rats are accustomed to inhabit the buildings at South Kensington while the exhibitions are in progress. When the exhibitions close, they become starved, and leave the buildings in obviously great numbers. The rat population appears to have been greater than ever during the recent Colonial and Indian Exhibition, and they appeared everywhere, even eagerly going into the traps, which they avoided at other times. At length they entered upon a struggle for existence among themselves, and kept it up till all the young and weaker rats were devoured.

Among the relics found in the high mound, on the Ohio River, opposite Portsmouth, Ohio, were two crosses and thirty buckles of silver. The crosses were decorated with leaves, but furnished no clew as to their date; but one of the buckles, which was heart-shaped, bore the French crown of 1730 or 1740. The whole outfit probably belonged to a convent of one of the Jesuit missionaries. The discovery indicates that the mound was used for burials down to quite recent times.

Emin Bey, as he is known, Emin Pasha, as he has been promoted to be, Dr. Schnitzler, as he is in his patronymic, has been for ten years in the Egyptian service, for most of the time successful governor of the Equatorial Province. He has done much for science through his contributions to Petermann's "Mitteilungen" and the "Proceedings" of the Zoölogical Society; and he is described in "Nature" as "a good type of the kind of explorer that is wanted, now that mere pioneering work has been pretty well exhausted; a man well qualified by his scientific training to remain in a particular region for years if necessary, and study it in all its aspects."

Dr. Frantzel, of Berlin, reporting on the effects of immoderate smoking upon the heart, says that smoking, as a rule, agrees with persons for many years, although by degrees cigars of a finer flavor are chosen. But all at once, without any assignable cause, troubles are experienced with the heart, which compel the calling in of the doctor. Common cigars are not so liable to produce these effects as the finer flavored ones. Nor can the charge be laid upon cigarettes, although they produce evils of their own. The troubles seldom begin till after the smoker is over thirty years of age, and most usually attack him at between fifty and sixty. While it has not been determined what it is that makes smoking injurious, it appears certain that the effect does not depend upon the amount of nicotine.

Mr. W. Doberck, Director of the Hong Kong Observatory, has prepared a table of the relative frequency per year of dangerous storms in different seas and gulfs, which shows the following results: Arabian Sea, 70; Bay of Bengal, 115; Southern Indian Ocean, 53; Java Sea, 12; China Sea, 214; Gulf of Mexico, 355. The hurricanes of the Antilles and the typhoons of the China Sea show a kind of monthly variation. The former have their maximum in August and their minimum in January; with the latter, the maximum is in December and the minimum in February. In the Java Sea and the Southern Indian Ocean, the maximum occurs in February; in the Bay of Bengal, in October; and in the Arabian Sea, in June.

Two of the recent grants made by the trustees of the Elizabeth Thompson Science Fund are in aid of American work: one of two hundred dollars for the investigation of underground temperatures by a committee of the Natural History Society; and one of five hundred dollars to Professor E. D. Cope, to secure the services of a skilled preparateur in working out the material accumulated for the continuance of his researches on American fossil vertebrates.


Thomas Stevenson, the eminent constructor of the Bell Rock and numerous other lighthouses, died May 8th, in the sixty-ninth year of his age. He bore a part in the designing and construction of thirty lighthouses, and in numerous river, harbor, and dock works. The results of his experiments on the force, height, and action of sea-waves, are published in his book "On the Design and Construction of Harbors." He was the author of great improvements in lighthouse-lighting, and the optical apparatus in each of his lighthouses was especially adapted to the situation. The results of his researches on this point are given in the book "Lighthouse Construction and Illumination," which has been translated into German. He was also interested in theological questions, and wrote tracts upon them.

Professor Johan Edvard Areschoug, the Swedish botanist, died in Stockholm, May 7th, in the seventy-seventh year of his age. He was made Reader in Botany in the University of Lund in 1839, and was appointed Professor of Botany in the University of Upsala in 1858. He held the last position till 1876. He was the author of numerous papers and monographs on botanical subjects.

Dr. Albert Kellogg, botanist, died in Alameda, California, March 31st, at seventy-four years of age. He was born in Connecticut, and went to California in the early days of its American settlement. He investigated the botany of California during more than thirty years; was one of the founders of the California Academy of Sciences, to whose "Proceedings" he was a frequent contributor; and was attached to the special expedition to Alaska in 1807 as surgeon and botanist.

The death is reported of Dr. Alexander Ecker, professor at the University of Freiburg, in the seventy-first year of his age. He was a distinguished anatomist and pathologist, and was founder of the Ethnographical Museum at Freiburg.

Dr. Karl Friedlander, professor at the University of Berlin, an eminent pathologist and anatomist, has recently died.