Popular Science Monthly/Volume 45/September 1894/Notes

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The plague reported as prevailing m China is described by a correspondent of the British Medical Journal as presenting all the symptoms of the true bubonic pest which devastated Europe in the middle ages. Although extinct in Europe, this pest has never ceased to prevail in China from time to time, and has also spread from there to Persia and Asiatic Russia. The present outbreak is characterized by intense symptoms corresponding to those of typhus, and by the bubonic boils characteristic of the disease. Europeans are not affected by it, except the soldiers who come directly in contact with it in disinfecting work. It is extremely contagious from person to person, but the danger from aerial infection is slight.

In the "Crump Burial Cave," Blount County, Ala., which was discovered in 1840, were several coffins of black and white walnut, "dug out" of logs, twelve or fifteen human skulls, and other human bones scattered about, masses of galena, grooved like the aboriginal stone axes or mauls, as if for use as war clubs, and other more usual implements. Near this cave Mr. Frank Burns has since found an Indian ladder that had been used to climb up to a "rock house," a large, roomy, dry place under overhanging cliffs of stone, which was also probably employed for burial purposes. The ladder was a trunk of a cedar tree, having seven or eight steps, eighteen or nineteen inches apart, made by cutting a scarf into the tree. There are many such houses, Mr. Burns says, in the coal measures, and they were used by the aborigines as dwelling or burial places.

A blue mineral discovered near Silver City, New Mexico, and supposed to be ultramarine, occurs in irregular veins and streaks in the lime carrying the silver ore which is mined at Chloride Flat. The specimens procured by Mr. G. P. Merrill for the United States Museum exhibit the earthy blue substance which on casual inspection resembles ultramarine, associated with calcite and other substances; the analyses show, according to Mr. K. L. Packard, a chemical resemblance to talc, although the physical properties of the two minerals are different.

A company engaged in the construction of an electric railway on the Jungfrau proposes to devote twenty thousand dollars to the erection of a geophysical observatory at an altitude of about fifteen thousand feet, and to apply one thousand dollars a year for its maintenance.

The Jakuns, or aboriginals, of Johore (Malacca) live in small communities on the banks of jungle streams, subsisting miserably on fruits, tapioca, roots, and small fish and reptiles. They seldom remain long in the same spot, but wander from place to place, living under scanty leaf shelters built on rickety poles at a considerable height from the ground. It is not uncommon to find a dozen men, women, and children, in company with a tame monkey or two, a few dogs and cats, innumerable fowls, and perhaps a tame hornbill, living in perfect harmony under the same miserable shelter. These aborigines are all very expert fishermen, using chiefly the three-pronged spear.

The National Home Reading Union of England has for four years followed the practice of taking its students every summer into the fields, to the places which best illustrate the subjects on which they are at work. Thus, this year, while the general meetings were held at Buxton, special meetings were held at Salisbury, for the study of the monuments, abundant in the district, illustrating the archæology, art, and history of early England—"from Stonehenge to Salisbury Cathedral." Special excursions were given for botany, geology, etc., and conferences on social and educational subjects.

Dr. D. L. W. Robinson, President of the South Dakota State Board of Health, is convinced from experience in practice in that region of great climatic variation and pressure that a close relationship exists between weather changes and health and disease. Yet he fails to identify this relationship specifically with either barometric changes or low temperature, and suggests that it may be connected with electrical conditions as the principal factor.

According to the Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, the recent study of the observations on mountain summits in the neighborhood of Mount St. Elias shows that Mount Logan is the loftiest peak in North America, its height being 19,500 feet—1,200 feet greater than that of Orizaba, and 1,500 feet more than that of Mount St. Elias.