Popular Science Monthly/Volume 4/January 1874/Notes

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Prop. Eaton, of Yale College, kindly calls attention to an inaccuracy in the sketch of Dr. J. D. Hooker published in The Popular Science Monthly for December, 1873. It is there stated that Dr. Hooker was an only son. Prof. Eaton writes: "In 'Filices Exoticæ,' p. 36, Sir W. J. Hooker refers to the kindness formerly shown by Dr. McFadyen, of Kingston, Jamaica, 'to a beloved son who fell a sacrifice to yellow fever while under his hospitable roof.' The widow of this son, Mrs. William Hooker, is still living at Glasgow, and I saw her several times at Dr. Hooker's house in Kew, in 1866." Prof. Eaton adds the interesting fact that the grandfather of Dr. Hooker on his mother's side, Dawson Turner, Esq., was an excellent botanist, and the author of "Spicilegium Musculogiæ Hibernicæ," a treatise on Irish mosses, published at Yarmouth in 1804. The earliest botanical writings of the elder Hooker were, to a great extent, also upon mosses.

In the year ending April 1, 1873, there were bred in the Central Park Menagerie, 2 lions, 2 pumas, 1 leopard, 1 spotted hyena (the first born in America), 1 camel, and 1 Cape buffalo. The total number of animals in the menagerie is now: quadrupeds, 199; birds, 347; reptiles, 35. The additions during the year numbered 48, viz., 25 mammals, 21 birds, and 2 reptiles.

The Minnesota State Geologist is authority for the statement that there is enough iron-ore in the neighborhood of the Black River Falls, in that State, to supply the whole demand of the Union for the next ten centuries.

The following extract from a letter recently received in London, and sent by Dr. Beke to the Times, gives the latest information regarding the whereabouts and condition of Dr. Livingstone:

"Borna, August 12, 1873.

"I am proceeding, to-day or to-morrow, to Munuco, Upper Congo. In a few days we expect there the Livingstone Expedition, which cannot proceed from St. Salvador. Livingstone himself is a prisoner in a town, twenty days from here, but is entirely without means to pay his ransom. Assistance has, however, been sent to him, and he may be here in a month or so."

In the department of the Vienna Exposition devoted to medical and surgical instruments and preparations, certain anatomical specimens exhibited by Dr. Marini, of Naples, have attracted special attention. He has invented processes for the preservation of bodies, both in the leathery or tanned state, and in the natural condition of the tissues. In the latter case, the tissues preserve their natural softness and even their transparency. Among the specimens exhibited, was a foot which had been prepared in 1864. On making an incision into this, the underlying tissues appeared to be as fresh as in a cadaver one day old. The tendons, ligaments, and fatty tissue, preserved all their usual characters, the muscles alone being in a slightly inferior state of preservation. The same solutions which are used for embalming bodies may be employed in the treatment of malignant ulcers. For this purpose they are largely diluted. Dr. Marini has made experiments in the Naples Hospital, with a view to determine the value of his solutions in such cases, and the report of the surgeons as to the efficacy of the treatment is very favorable.

Dr. F. Grace-Calvert, the eminent chemist, died, Friday, October 24th, aged fifty-nine. He received his early education in France, and received the appointment as assistant chemist at the Gobelin tapestry-works, under his master, Chevreul. In 1846 he was appointed Professor of Chemistry to the Manchester Royal Institution, a post which he held down to his death. As an analytical chemist his renown was worldwide.

During the past summer, two ship-loads of oysters were imported into England from Virginia for transplantation. If this venture proves a success, eight or ten steamers will be sent from England to Hampton Roads for oysters next season.

According to statistics collected by Dr. T. Harrington Tuke, the number of lunatics in England increased during the ten years ending June, 1873, from 1.86 per thousand of the population to 2.58. Dr. Tuke is inclined to attribute this increase to the advance in wages, which allows the laboring class enlarged means of undue indulgence

The trials at Williamshaven with the new Hertz torpedo gave the most surprising results, the torpedoes disposing of the objects attached with the utmost punctuality and in a strikingly summary manner. Their construction is as yet a secret; but there is no doubt that the German navy is now in possession of a most powerful and destructive weapon which will not only effectually protect the coasts of the empire, but will also enable the government to employ all its resources in building ships for aggressive purposes.

The Peruvian Amazons Exploring Commission lately issued a report, from which it appears that malarious fever prevails on both banks of the mighty river, causing a large mortality among the native population. Adults and children are given to the filthy habit of geophagy or clay-eating, a practice productive of innumerable physical evils. It is common to find on the Amazons children of three years of age smoking, and not averse to rum.

Prof. Palmieri, director of the Observatory of Mount Vesuvius, has constructed for the Empress of Russia a metallic thermometer, which gives a signal at every appreciable change of temperature. The apparatus is so sensitive that the indicator is almost always moving. When the variations of temperature reach a certain degree, little bells begin to ring, and notice is thus given of the rising or falling of the mercury. The instrument also marks the highest and lowest degrees of temperature which have taken place during a certain period.