Popular Science Monthly/Volume 5/August 1874/Notes

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The American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold its twenty-third annual meeting this year at Hartford, commencing at ten o'clock, on Wednesday, August 12th. Members must furnish the permanent secretary, F. W. Putnam, Salem, Mass., with complete titles of all the papers they propose to present during the meeting, together with an estimate of the time required for reading each paper. Each title must be given on a separate slip of paper, with the full name of the author. The titles must be furnished to the secretary before the day appointed for the Association to convene. The Association will at this meeting accept the act of incorporation, giving it a legal existence. Another matter to come before it for deliberation will be the new constitution. From the American Naturalist we learn that a monograph on "Fossil Butterflies," by Mr. Scudder, is soon to be published by the Association, the necessary funds having been voted by the committee on Mrs. Thompson's gift. The officers elected for the Hartford meeting are the following: President, Dr. J. L. Le Conte, Philadelphia; Vice President, Prof. C. S. Lyman, New Haven; Permanent Secretary, F. W. Putnam, Salem, Mass.; General Secretary, Dr. A. C. Hamlin, Bangor; Treasurer, William S. Vaux, Philadelphia.

A correspondent of Land and Water relates an instance of a brood of chickens being cared for by a cat. This brood, having been hatched very early in the season, was taken from the hen and placed in a basket near a kitchen fire. Soon the chicks were missing, and, on search being made, were found in an up-stairs room, kindly tended by the domestic cat, being huddled close to her warm fur. They were returned to the kitchen, and, the cat still claiming them, she was left in possession of her adopted brood, which she raised to chicken-hood. As they grew up the cat would accompany them in their out-of-door rambles, lying in the sun, and fondly watching them.

Good results have been obtained in the utilization of sewage at Dantzic The land on which it is applied is nearly pure sand, and the yield of the sugar-beet grown on it is described as enormous, while the percentage of sugar is equal to that obtained from roots grown on the best soil in Germany. The decrease of the death-rate of the town is considerable, and the "waste" lands have been made to yield remunerative crops.

The forty-fourth annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science will be held at Belfast, commencing Wednesday, August 19, 1874. Prof. Tyndall will preside. In 1875, the Association meets at Bristol.

The annual wine production of the United States is estimated, in round numbers, at 20,000,000 gallons, and the market value at 14,000,000 dollars. The wine production of various States is as follows: California, 5,000,000 gallons; Ohio, 3,500,000; New York, 3,000,000; Missouri, 2,500,000; Illinois, 2,500,000; Pennsylvania, 2,000,000; Iowa, 400,000, and so on downward.

The Lancet expresses the opinion that oftentimes, in fatal explosions of petroleum, death is produced instantaneously by shock, combustion, and anæsthesia. Petroleum is a mixture of homologues belonging to the marsh-gas family, which for many years have been recognized as powerful anæsthetic. Some fifteen years ago an attempt was made to introduce one of them, the hydrid of amyl, as a substitute for chloroform.

In Corsica the octopus is an esteemed article of food, in fact, a "great delicacy." It is first boiled, and then roasted.

We are pleased to learn that Mr. J. P. Lesley has been appointed geologist-in-chief to conduct a new survey of the State of Pennsylvania, The results of this survey, as has been pointed out by Mr. MacFarland in a memorial to the Pennsylvania Legislature, cannot fail to be exceedingly important. A more competent man than Mr. Lesley could not have been found for the office of chief geologist.

The Royal Agricultural Society of England has made a grant of £100 to Prof. De Bary, of Strasburg, to enable him to make a special investigation into the life history of the potato fungus, peronospora infestans.

The third meeting of the French Association for the Advancement of Science opens at Lille, on the 20th of August, continuing till the 27th. Prof. Ad. Wurtz, the distinguished chemist, is president of the Association for the current year. The local committee includes the chief notabilities of Lille and of the Department du Nord.

Another new artificial stone, according to the Mining and Scientific Press, has lately been brought out in California. The process of manufacture is not given, but it is said to be simple and cheap. The stone is impervious to moisture, fire-proof, and presents a fine appearance. It may be manufactured on the spot where it is wanted for use, and, requiring no subsequent handling, blocks of any size can be employed.

With the present year the series of annual international exhibitions at South Kensington, London, will cease. According to Iron, the undertaking appears to have been managed to death, the meddlesome tinkering of the commissioners having driven otherwise well-disposed manufacturers and tradesmen out of the exhibitions.

M. Planchon, with whose labors our readers are familiar, has succeeded in tracing directly to an importation of American vines into France, in 1862, the Phylloxera pest now ravaging the vineyards of that country. He has found at Roquemare a plantation of 154 American stocks, which dates from that year. All the other vines in the neighboring districts have been nearly destroyed, while these American stocks are intact. Though their roots are covered with the parasite, their foliage and fruit are very good. It was at Roquemare that the grapevine disease first made its appearance in 1863, and then extended in every direction. It begins to be admitted now in France that the only protection against the Phylloxera is to be found in the introduction of American vines.

Articles on which flour-paste has been used are often injured by rats, even after the paste has become dry and hard. This can be prevented by mixing a small quantity of corrosive sublimate with the paste. Those who have tried this pronounce it harmless to persons handling it, and a complete safeguard against the rats.

In his work on the "Influence of Forests," Ebermayer gives a table of observations showing the temperature of the earth covered by snow during the extremely cold weather of December, 1871. He states that on the 8th and 12th of December, 1871, the temperature of the air fell to 26.8° Fahr., while the temperature of the earth beneath the snow was no lower than 33.8°, and four feet below it was 42.8°.

The seventh meeting of the International Congress of Prehistoric Archæology and Anthropology, will open at Stockholm on Friday, August 7, 1874, and will continue till Sunday, August 16th. The government of Sweden gives 20,000 francs to defray the expenses of the Congress.