Popular Science Monthly/Volume 48/February 1896/Minor Paragraphs

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Through the co-operation of some private persons interested in the preservation of species and the Linnæan and other societies of New York, protection has been afforded to the terns on Great Gull Island, Long Island Sound. A sum of money was contributed to employ a gamekeeper, and the lighthouse keeper on Little Gull Island was authorized to act in that capacity. From three to four thousand birds were found on the island in 1886. They had been since diminishing year by year in numbers under the attacks of sportsmen and egg-hunters, till attention was called to the fact and a watch was placed over them. Under the care of the gamekeeper the numbers of the colony increased at least one half during 1894, and terns are now seen where they had not been observed for many years before.

Were Indians of the Sioux stock ever settled in the East? is asked by James Mooney, who finds evidences in languages that such tribes once lived in a particular territory in Virginia and the Carolinas. Traditions are cited in his paper on the subject, which are said to exist among some of the Sioux tribes, of a former residence on the Ohio, and of a migration prompted by the density of the population, which had become too numerous for the hunting grounds. The emigration was probably prehistoric, as the Sioux tribes were established in the West as early as three hundred and fifty years ago, and was caused, Mr. Mooney thinks, not by the disappearance of game—for the buffalo did not become extinct in the Ohio Valley till late in the last century—but by the pressure of hostile tribes from the north and south—Algonkins and Muskogees.

The encouraging fact is brought out in the reports of examinations published by the Regents of the University of the State of New York that a rapid and healthy increase is going on in the standard of proficiency of the candidates in all the grades. Even more significant than this is the evidence that desultory courses of study are giving way to longer and reasonably balanced courses. A very beneficent influence is exerted it is alleged by the new laws and regulations requiring candidates for admission to practice in law, medicine, and dentistry to submit evidence of a general preliminary education equivalent to a full high-school course.

From certain manuscripts left by Dalton, to which attention is called by Sir Henry Roscoe and Dr. A. Harden, it is made clear that his application of the atomic theory to chemistry was not the result of his own analysis of certain compounds of carbon, as has hitherto been supposed, but that his mind was saturated with Newton's notions on atoms, and he worked out the theory from physical conditions as to the constitution of gases. Somewhat later he quoted numerical results, not of his own, but of other chemists' analyses, in support of the theory, and seems to have worked out the law of chemical combination in multiple proportions as the only conceivable mode of combination between atoms.

The results of the experiments of 1894 at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station on spraying indicate that the dilute Bordeaux mixture when thoroughly applied is a practical preventive of pear scab. The treatment has been equally effectual in preventing apple scab and codlin moth. Some roughness, regarded as injury, appeared on the sprayed fruit, but it has not been determined whether this was caused by the Bordeaux mixture, by substances mixed with it, by the weather, or by some other cause. Some of the trees sprayed in 1893 overbore, and consequently did not produce as full crops in 1894; the only inference deducible from which is that spraying will not prevent the reaction that follows an excessive crop.