Popular Science Monthly/Volume 52/February 1898/Notes

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One will be impressed with the importance of good roads, Mr. John Gifford reports to the Geological Survey of New Jersey, by a visit to the forest region of Germany, where forest exploitation and road construction go hand in hand, so that inaccessible forest regions become profitable solely through the construction of excellent roads. In Germany such roads penetrate the forests in almost every direction. In certain parts of France, where a few grapevine twigs a day must serve a family for fuel, inconvenience and sometimes suffering are incurred for the lack of wood, while not far away, on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, immense quantities of excellent wood are allowed to rot, simply because a lack of roads makes the transportation of the wood unprofitable.

It is stated in a recent copy of the London Lancet that Professor Sanarelli has succeeded in obtaining an active immunizing serum against yellow fever. He has at present in his laboratory three dogs and two horses, well "vaccinated," which have yielded serums giving perfect immunization against experimental yellow fever in animals.

The results of the experiments of Mr. Bokorney upon the relative antiseptic action of various substances give silver nitrate and mercuric chloride as the most effective of the inorganic compounds examined, and as having about the same value. Copper sulphate is nearly as active, and is followed by zinc sulphate and cadmium sulphate. Lead acetate and nitrate, in a one-percent solution, only delay decay, while it is prevented by the same strength of iron sulphide. The fluorides are not strong antiseptics.

The working of a plan of ventilation of rooms devised by Dr. Castaing, principal physician of the French armies, was very highly spoken of by Dr. Vallin in the Academy of Sciences. It consists in having double windows, with an opening at the bottom of one of the screens and at the top of the opposite one. The air comes in freely without any one feeling it. Professor Potain spoke of the system as being excellent, on account of its simplicity, efficiency, and cheapness.

In a circular issued from the New York Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva, Mr. W. H. Jordan, the director, declares that the station has no connection with a scheme for establishing creameries, in the prospectuses of which its name is used, and that it does not countenance the scheme, but regards it as a fraud.

While formerly the quality of water as to purity was thought to be a matter of chemistry and determinable by chemical analysis, the whole tendency of modern research has been, as Dr. A. H. Veeder has shown in a paper read before the American Microscopical Society, to cause the question of the spread of disease through the agency of water to be regarded as rather a biological one. The danger is determined by the presence of certain living organisms and of the conditions on which their continued existence depends, and not upon the quantity of them. The smallest possible inoculation may be fatal through their power of self propagation, and there is no fixed dose. But if their growth is hindered by unfavorable conditions, they may become harmless, no matter how many of them there may be. The purification of water depends on the destruction of these organisms, or the production of conditions unfavorable to their growth.

An unusually unpromising lot of candidates seem to have presented themselves before the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy for certificates during the past year. There were five hundred and forty candidates, of whom only seventy-nine were passed. Of these seventy nine, fourteen passed on the first examination, nineteen on the second, seven on the third, seventeen on the fourth, seven on the fifth, five on the sixth, and so on up to the eighteenth examition, at which the last of the seventy-nine was admitted.

The United States Geological Survey announces in its List of Publications that, except in those cases where an extra number of any special memoir or report has been supplied by order of Congress or by the Secretary of the Interior, it has no copies of its publications for gratuitous distribution. Applicants for publications should give their reasons for desiring them, and the indorsement of a member of Congress is advised in all cases. Special attention is given to the requests of libraries, schools, colleges, scientific museums, associations, and societies, but they should supply full information respecting themselves. Special publications and memoirs may be secured by exchange for books that are likely to be a desirable addition to the Survey library. Publications purchased should be ordered by members, with prepayment by postal or express order—not by postage stamps, checks, or drafts.

M. Raoul, a pharmacist of the French Marine, has just returned from Malaysia, whither he was dispatched to secure useful plants for cultivation in the French colonies, with fine collections of new textile plants, India-rubber and gutta-percha trees, and trees bearing fats, resins, and gums. He found in the interior of Sumatra gold, petroleum, and rich forests of trees of economical value. Members of the party who were bitten by serpents were cured by injections of a serum prepared by Dr. Calmette, director of the bacteriological institute of the island.

M. A. Joly, professor of chemistry in Paris, died in December, 1897, in his fifty-second year. His principal chemical researches were made upon niobium and other rare metals, the acids of phosphorus, and hydrocyanic acid.

The Hon. Gardiner Greene Hubbard, president of the National Geographic Society and one of the founders of Science, died near Washington, December 11, 1897, in his seventy-sixth year.

We have to record the deaths, during the month, of Alonzo S. Kimball, since 1872 professor of physics at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts, December 2d, aged fifty-four years; Dr. Louis Calori, professor of anatomy in the University of Bologna, author of papers on Human and Comparative Anatomy; Dr. Wilhelm Blomstrand, professor of chemistry in the University of Lund; Dr. Nikolaus Kleinenberg, professor of comparative anatomy in the University of Palermo; Dr. Wilhelm Moericke, docent in geology at the University of Freiburg; James Bateman, botanist and horticulturist, promoter of botanical expeditions and author of Orchidaceæ of Mexico and Guatemala, and of a monograph of Odontoglossum, at Worthing, England, November 27th, aged eighty-six years; Dr. Campbell Morfitt, formerly professor of applied chemistry in the University of Maryland, in London, December 5th, aged seventy-five years; and of Dr. Ernest Hart, an active and eminent British sanitarian, editor of the Sanitary Record and the London Medical Record, formerly co-editor of the Lancet, and a contributor to the Popular Science Monthly, in his sixty-second year.