Popular Science Monthly/Volume 50/March 1897/Minor Paragraphs

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MINOR PARAGRAPHS.

General Francis A. Walker, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died very suddenly of apoplexy, January 5th. He was a man of great versatility, filled many important public positions, and contributed much to knowledge through the results of his economical studies. He was born in 1840; was graduated from Amherst College in 1860; adopted the profession of law; went into the war and rose to be a brigadier-general; after the war began to teach; did editorial work on the Springfield Republican; was appointed chief of the National Bureau of Statistics in 1869. As superintendent of the ninth and tenth censuses he made great improvements in methods. From 1873 to 1881 he was Professor of Political Economy and History in the Sheffield Scientific School, while he also lectured at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities. In 1881 he became President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was also chief of the Bureau of Awards at the Centennial Exhibition; a United States Commissioner to the International Monetary Conference at Paris in 1878; President of the American Statistical Association in 1882; and President of the American Economic Association in 1886. He was author of a large number of books and papers, chiefly on economical subjects, which are much consulted.

The Tsimpshian Indians, living around Port Simpson, British Columbia, were described by Prof. B. Adler in the British Association as being the most intelligent, progressive, and best-built natives he had seen in any country. Of the various customs of these and the other tribes of the region, the author described the potlatch as a solemn ceremony whereby on a chieftain's death his successor, who curiously is the late chief's eldest sister's eldest son, is invested with the chieftaincy in the presence of the whole tribe, taking the late chief's flute as a sacred symbol of office. The Indians were represented as having a marvelous adaptability to song, eloquent speaking, and building. The Tsimpshians were the most wonderful linguists the author had ever met, and their facility for acquiring other languages than their own was almost an instinct. Their own language is very complete, well inflected, and aided by auxiliaries.

The Royal Society medals for 1896 were distributed as follows: The Copley medal to Carl Gegenbauer, Professor of Anatomy in Heidelberg, in recognition of his pre-eminence in the science of comparative anatomy or animal morphology; the Royal medals, one to Sir Archibald Geikie as the most distinguished British geologist, the other to Prof. C. V. Boys, who has given to physical research a method of measuring minute forces far exceeding in exactness any hitherto used; the Rumford medal to Prof. Philipp Leonard and Prof. W. C. Röntgen; the Davy medal to Prof. Henri Moissan; and the Darwin medal to Prof. Giovanni Battista Grassi.

The first indications of gold in Nova Scotia were observed, according to Sir James Grant's paper in the British Association, in 1860, and new discoveries were made in 1862, giving additional stimulus to the industry. In 1865, by the utilization of appliances for removing gold from low grades of ore, the mines became extremely lucrative. The average yield per ton for thirty-three years was thirteen dollars, and it was estimated in 1895 that Nova Scotia had produced gold to the value of $11,500,000. In the province of Quebec, gold was first discovered in 1847. Prof. Hardman made an examination in that province in 1895, when, after running a tunnel six hundred feet long, he struck the bed of an old river, and in three weeks removed enough gold to pay the entire expense of his operations. There was, consequently, feverish excitement in the province.