Popular Science Monthly/Volume 6/December 1874/Notes

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The American Society of Civil Engineers have appointed a committee to report on plans for—1. The best means of rapid passenger transit; and, 2. The best and cheapest method of delivering, storing, and distributing goods and freight in and about the city of New York. The society ask for suggestions from all civil engineers, and others who may be possessed of any information touching the subject of their investigations. The secretary of the society is G. Leverich, and his address is 63 William Street.

Last December a telegram was sent from New York to London, and an answer received in 30 minutes actual time. The distances traversed were as follows: from New York to Heart's Content, N. F., 1,300 miles; cable, 2,000; Valentia to London, 300 miles. Each of the telegrams, therefore, traveled 3,600 miles, and passed through the hands of 18 persons.

As international exhibition has positively been decided upon in China, and a committee formed at Shanghai for the purpose of organizing it, the English consul being its president. All charges of transport will be defrayed by the committee. The Academy, our authority for the above statement, does not say what part the Chinese Government are to take in this important enterprise.

In his address at the Breslau Congress of German Naturalists and Physicians, Virchow spoke of the miracles, said to have been performed at the scenes of many of the recent Catholic pilgrimages. He had not, he said, visited Louise Lateau, the Belgian stigmatisée. An examination, he observed, would have led to no useful result, except under certain conditions laid down by himself, and rejected by the other side.

Dr. Adolf Meter has collected in New Guinea 63 different specimens of animals belonging to the orders reptilia and batrachia, of which 34 are new to science. The predominant types are Australian.

In Prince William County, Virginia, according to the Monthly Report of the Department of Agriculture, wasps were last summer observed destroying the Colorado beetle very rapidly. From the same authority we learn that in Whiteside County, Illinois, a new beetle, undescribed, attacked the larvæ of the Colorado beetle, "thrusting it through the body with its beak and killing it instantly."

The operations of the Irish Peat Fuel Company, though prosecuted under the most unfavorable circumstances during the winter months, have given very satisfactory results. By a mixture of the lighter and heavier portions of the peat, a fuel has been obtained having a density about 15 per cent, that of coal. This peat-fuel is also full of gas, burns with a bright, hot flame, and produces a hard cinder, which remains red throughout until it is entirely consumed. The density of the fuel, it is thought, will render it suitable for smelting-purposes; and, if so, it would be possible to produce a superior quality of iron from the Irish ores, which are at present comparatively valueless, owing to the want of a suitable fuel to smelt them.

The construction of the Panama Railroad cost 81,000 human lives, destroyed by malaria; this death-rate is equal to one man per yard of the track.

During six hours of July 29th last, rain fell in Chowan County, North Carolina, to the depth of twelve inches.

At the request of Mr. A. W. Sheldon, general agent of the Prison Association of New York, the Commissioners of Charities and Correction have had a room set apart for a library in Blackwell's Island Penitentiary. The library-room is suitably fitted up for its destined use, and the Association has already made a liberal donation of books. We are requested to state that contributions of books, magazines, etc., for the above library will be received at the office of the Association, No. 19 Centre Street.

A Microscopical Society has recently been founded in Memphis, Tennessee. Its membership is already numerous, and its regular semi-monthly meetings are characterized by a large attendance of members, as also by an evident determination to forward the cause of microscopic research by hard, honest work. At the second October meeting of the society, A. F. Dodd read a paper on infusorial life, illustrated by drawings from life of a large number of specimens

La Nature vouches for the absolute correctness of the following figures, showing the consumption of tobacco in France in 1873: Smoking-tobacco, 40,000,000 lbs.; cigars, 7,716,976 lbs. (925,000,000 cigars); snuff, 16,536,375 lbs.; chewing-tobacco, 1,433,152 lbs.; "carotte," a sort of tobacco used (mostly in Brittany) for smoking, chewing, and snuffing, 992,182 lbs. Total, over 66,500,000 lbs. The total revenue derived by the state from this manufacture was last year 294,000,000 francs. Paris has 1,200 tobacconists' shops.

After the death of Boerhaave, the most celebrated physician of the eighteenth century, there was found among his books a volume sumptuously bound, in which were written down, he used to say, all the secrets of physic. All the pages were blank, except the frontispiece, on which he had written in his best hand this sentence: "Keep the head cool, the feet warm, and the bowels open."

The annual report of the treasurer of the French Association for the Advancement of Science shows that this, the youngest of the national scientific institutions, stands upon a sound financial basis. At the close of 1873 it had a funded capital of about 166,000 francs, yielding an income of over 9,000 francs. This income, together with the subscriptions of members, brought the total receipts of 1873 to about 30,000 francs. This money is judiciously expended in giving encouragement to original research.

Another Jesse Pomeroy has appeared in Chico, California. A boy in that town has developed an uncontrollable propensity for injuring with stones, clubs, etc., all the little children that he meets. He has been lodged in jail, and now threatens to kill a number of his companions as soon as he is released.