Popular Science Monthly/Volume 36/March 1890/Notes

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Prof. H. A. Rowland, of Johns Hopkins University, has been elected one of the foreign members of the Royal Society, in recognition of his determination in absolute measure of the magnetic susceptibilities of iron, nickel, and cobalt; his accurate measurements of fundamental physical constants; his experimental proof of the electro-magnetic effect of convection; his theory and construction of curved diffraction-gratings of very great dispersive power; and the effectual aid which he has given to the progress of physics in America and other countries. Prof. Cannazaro, of Rome, and Prof. Chauveau, of Paris, were elected foreign members on the same day.

An experiment has been made at the agricultural station of Champ de l'Air, Vaudois, in hatching trout ova in complete darkness, the water being at a temperature of 5·8º C, or 42·4º F. The hatching was delayed fifteen days by the darkness. The advantages are claimed, in prolonging the incubation, that the young fry put into the streams in April or May more readily find food than in February or March; that they are more vigorous; and that fewer monstrosities are produced.

Experiments in feeding milch-cows, described in the November "Bulletin" of the Massachusetts State Agricultural Experiment Station, attest the great economical value of corn-fodder, stover, and ensilage for the production and quality of milk and cream.

The study of the effect of fertilizers on the quality of fruit is recommended by Prof. P. T. Austen as a line of inquiry distinct from their effect on its quantity. This involves a wide range of investigation, embracing, in fact, all the properties of the plant and the manner in which they are affected by manures, particularly the part played by each chemical substance in the plant and the specific action of fertilizing materials on the formation of those substances; together with the relation of the different species of plants to their chemical composition, and the extent to which plants of the same family produce substances of the same type. The influence of treatment with drugs opens a parallel line of investigation.

The Rev. J. Owen Dorsay is preparing a monograph on Indian names, to contain lists, with English meanings, in six different languages the whole number of names being thirty-one hundred and forty-six. The connection between the myths and some of the personal names will be considered; and certain classes of names such as color names, iron names, and the names of composite beings will be treated in detail.

The latest published volume of Herr Richard Andree's "Ethnographical Parallels and Comparisons" deals with such topics as red hair, albinos, games, masks, marks of property, superstitions connected with the chase, "tree and man," circumcision, drawing among primitive people, thunderbolts, money for the dead, emotional expressions and gestures, demoniacs and mental disorders, etc.

The report of Manchester (England) Technical School for the year ending July 31, 1889, shows an increase of students from 2,871 to 3,328. The most important extension during the year was the opening of a spinning and weaving department. The day classes in this department have but a small attendance as yet, but a considerable number of students are attending the evening sessions.

The suggestion has been made in London that, as the French have erected the highest tower, the English shall dig the deepest hole say on the exhibition grounds of 1851 in Hyde Park. The pit could be furnished with an elevator shaft, and lit up by electricity; and in each stratum there could be an excavated museum with specimens of the minerals, fossils, etc., afforded by it.

According to a study by Dr. George N. Kreider, of Springfield, 111., micro-organisms enter the body first by the skin through lesions, openings of the sweat-pores, or sebaceous ducts, or by the sides of the hairs; and, secondly, by the mucous membrane through lesions of the membrane, openings of the ducts or follicles, or pockets, sulci, or folds. There are also localized infections, originating in a manner as yet unknown, and giving rise to certain violent diseases; and universal infections, giving rise to hereditary transmissible disease. The severity of the infection varies with the condition of the body as regards idiosyncrasy, or strength, or weakness; the amount of infecting material that gains entrance; the character of the infecting material; and the tissue which it penetrates, and its location.

The underlying motions of the Nile Delta are described by Mr. W. J. Flinders Petrie as those of depression on the coast and upheaval at Ismailia. Above these movements great changes have been made by wind-action. In some sites at least eight feet of ground have been removed and deposited in the water. This has partly caused the great retreat of the Red Sea head, and tends to form the characteristic swamps of that district. Formerly the Delta was a desert tract, with valleys inundulated by the Nile. Before historic times the Nile Valley was deep in water, partly estuarine, partly fluvial, and great rainfall then took place. That this was in the human age is shown by the position of worked flints.

A memorial to Prejevalski is to be erected on the shore of Lake Issyk-kul. It represents a rock, upon which an eagle is descending, having a map of Asia in its talons and an olive-branch in its beak. The monument will have the inscription, "To the first explorer of nature in Central Asia."

A correspondent of "Nature" urges that boys should be tested for color-blindness in school before they go out into life so that they need not lose the time required for working up to positions on railroads or elsewhere in which ability to distinguish colors is essential.

A curious story is told, by a correspondent of "Nature," of a dog which was struck by lightning and considered dead, but which afterward partly recovered. It continued deaf and blind, and had to depend on its smell for recognition of persons and things.