Popular Science Monthly/Volume 52/January 1898/Notes

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Till about two years ago all the fuller's earth used in this country was imported. About that time deposits were discovered in Florida. After these, a paper by Mr. Heinrich Ries says the most extensive beds so far found have been in South Dakota. At Fairburn the earth passes upward into the sandy clay, but in its purer portions is a yellowish, gritty clay, with a somewhat nodular structure. The individual nodules are dense, and break with a conchoidal fracture. The earth at Argyle is exactly similar to this, but that at the Minnekahte beds is entirely different. The Fairburn and Argyle earths have been tested in the clarification of cotton seed oil, with excellent results.

Mr. O. H. Howarth, speaking in the British Association of various strains to which the earth is subjected in its motions around the sun and upon its own axis, ascribed to them the chief responsibility for cracks in the rocky coating of the earth. He supposed that while gravitation tends to draw all the heavier minerals to the center of the earth, this process of shaking or breaking and constant readjustment suffices to spread them out again in the form of fissure veins. The theory was experimentally illustrated by kneading pieces of colored matter in plastic clay, when in a short time little veinlike markings were produced. Possibly such ever-present and ever-shifting strain might account for the disturbances to be seen in the sun.

It has long been recognized that arsenical wall papers do serious mischief, but it has been much disputed as to just how the arsenic is liberated. This point has recently been cleared up by the researches of Gosio and Emmerling. Certain molds, including the very common Mucor mucedo, have been found to have the remarkable property of decomposing arsenical compounds, with the evolution of volatile products containing arsenic of a highly poisonous character.

Some analyses of coal from the pre-carboniferous rocks of Canada communicated to the British Association by Professor Ellis, of Toronto, showed in a very striking way the gradual transition from petroleum and its immediate product of decomposition, asphalt, to anthracite and pure carbon.

A committee for the promotion of agriculture, with Sir John Evans as chairman, was appointed by the British Association to look into the methods and results of the agricultural experiment stations in Canada and other countries, with a view to establishing a similar institution in Great Britain.

The death has been recently reported of Dr. Holmegren, professor of physiology in the University of Upsala, Sweden. He was born in 1831, and was appointed to his professorship in 1867. He established the first physiological institute in Sweden; but was best known abroad for his researches on color blindness, and his plan of testing the color sense by means of wools of various shades.

Dr. Edmund Drechsel, professor of physiological and pathological chemistry and of pharmacology in the University of Bonn, died of heart disease, September 22d, at the Naples Zoölogical Station, where he was investigating the chemistry of the invertebrates. Previous to going to Bonn, he was assistant professor at Leipsic. He published many contributions to physiological chemistry.

Dr. George H. Horn, who died in Philadelphia, November 25th, was one of the most eminent entomologists in America, and was president of the Entomological Society. He was also for many years secretary of the American Philosophical Society, and discharged the duties of that office and of librarian till about a year ago, when he was attacked with paralysis. He served, moreover, for some time as corresponding secretary of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

The obituary list for the month includes the names of the following men known in science: The Rev. P. B. Brodie, of Rowington, England, geologist and student of fossil insects, November 11th, aged eighty-two; Prof. Ernst Schering, director of the magnetic department of the observatory at Göttingen, November 2d, aged sixty-four; Sir Rutherford Alcock, formerly president of the Royal Geographical Society, November 2d, aged eighty-eight; C. E. Colby, professor of organic chemistry in Columbia University; Dr. Harrison Allen, emeritus professor of comparative anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania, November 14th; Sir Henry Doulton, founder of the Lambeth Potteries, November 17th, aged seventy-seven; Dr. G. H. Otto Vogler, author in geology and natural history, October 18th, aged seventy-five; Prof. Henry Calderwood, Edinburgh, writer on philosophy and evolution; Dr. J. Frenzel, director of the Biological Station on the Muggelsee, near Berlin; Dr. L. A Buchner; Prof. Karl Muller, of Hildesheim; Dr. M. Foster Heddle, mineralogist and twenty-two years professor in the University of St. Andrews; Dr. F. Stohmann, honorary professor of agriculture in the University of Leipsic; Dr. Leonhard Sohncke, professor of experimental physics in the Technical High School, Munich, aged fifty-five; and the Rev. Samuel Haughton, M. D., former professor of geology in Trinity College, Dublin, and writer on various subjects in science.