Imagens das páginas

streams, such as those which culminated approximately in 1820, and in 1850, lasting, perhaps with occasional slight recession, until well past 1860, must be due to a more general cause. For determining this the records, accumulated by the Commission Internationale des Glaciers, will be ultimately very valuable.

rainfall was less than 25 per cent. of the average. For the British Isles as a whole the rainfall was 58 per cent. of the average, whilst for the several parts of the United Kingdom the percentages are: England and Wales, 54; Scotland, 79; and Ireland, 40.

CIRCULAR NO. 24, issued by the Bureau of Standards, contains a list of the papers which have appeared in each of the ten published volumes of the Bulletin and a classified list of the papers, with a short account of the contents of each. The Bureau also announces that in future the Bulletin will be supplied to subscribers at one dollar a volume unbound, plus 50 cents for postage to this country. Subscriptions should be sent in advance to the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C. We have no doubt there are many in this country who will take this opportunity of getting a valuable series of papers which up to the present could only be found in the libraries of scientific societies.

BULLETINS 41 and 42 of the Agricultural Research Institute, Pusa, deal with investigations on sugaryielding plants in India. In No. 41 Mr. H. E. Annett deals with sweet sorghum and the variation in composition of this crop during growth, giving extensive and valuable data resulting from experiments and analyses. He concludes that owing to the high glucose ratio and other difficulties, sweet sorghum is not worth growing in India as a source of sugar, but that it seems likely to prove a valuable source of fodder, being a fairly quick-growing crop; also that soon after flowering the plant shows no increase in total weight or in sugar, hence it should not be allowed to grow beyond this stage, after which its value as fodder decreases. Bulletin 42, by Mr. G. Clarke and others, deals with cane-crushing. It is pointed out that in order to ascertain the value of a variety of sugar-cane and the possibility of its succeeding as a field crop in any given district, it is necessary to investigate in the field the general crop characters; in the laboratory the sugar content and quality of the juice; and in the mill what proportion of juice and total sugar can be extracted, and the cost of doing so. Tabulated details are given, representing the results of a long-continued series of experiments on sugarcrushing and the sucrose yields of different varieties of cane; and the authors conclude that future increase in area under cane in the United Provinces and in number of mills will depend upon the introduction of cheaper and quicker methods of dealing with the produce, the present crop being as much as the bullock-power of the provinces can deal with, and the ndustry unlikely to increase unless some cheaper question is settled, there appears no justification for form of crushing is introduced.

THE general deficiency of rainfall in March as shown by Symons's Meteorological Magazine for April in the tentative table for the British Isles is of more than ordinary interest. The wet spell which was so characteristic of the recent winter has fortunately come to an end. Statistics previously given by the British Rainfall Organisation show that the aggregate rainfall for the four months-November, 1914, to February, 1915-was 168 per cent. of the average over England and Wales, and more than 200 per cent. of the average over the Thames Valley. The rainfall table for March shows a totally different result. Rain measurements are given for fifty-five stations scattered over the entire kingdom, and of these only five have the total rainfall for the month in excess of the average; they occur along the east coast of England and in the north of Scotland. The greatest excess from the normal occurs at Gordon Castle, where the rainfall was 147 per cent. of the average, and at no other station was the percentage of the average more than 110. At twenty-one stations out of fifty-five the rainfall was less than 50 per cent. of the average, and at two stations, Launceston and Killarney, the

IN a paper read before the Royal Society of Arts on April 14, and published in the Journal of the Society for April 18, Mr. T. Thorne Baker gave a short account of the industrial uses to which radium is at present put. Radium residues left over after treatment of the ores may or may not improve the growth of plants, according to the materials other than radium contained in them, but if the metals have been removed during the process of extraction of the radium the residue in suitable quantities appears to facilitate growth. These residues may also be utilised in the treatment of disease and as bactericides. In the discussion which followed the reading of the paper, it was pointed out that in much of the plant growth work which had been done with radium, sufficient care had not been exercised to enable it to be affirmed with certainty that the increased growth found in some cases was not due to the nitrates and phosphates in the residues, rather than to the radium. Until this

the use of radium in horticulture.


AN account of "Röntgen Motion Pictures" is given in the Scientific American for April 3. An illustration of the apparatus designed for the purpose of producing them, by F. Dessaur, is also given, together with a number of somewhat indefinite results. During the meeting in London of the International Congress of Medicine, we had the advantage of seeing this markable arrangement in action, and we brought away the impression that it added at least a new terror for the patient who has to come in contact with the already rather alarming armament of a modern radiologist. While it is certainly a model of ingenuity, the plate-changing operation is accompanied by a good deal of noise and clatter, and there is no doubt that beyond fixation of the image little or no more is to be learned from the results than can be ascertained by an ordinary screen examination with a far simpler outfit. The apparatus, however, is not without special significance to us in these days. To have brought it to perfection must have involved great expenditure of time and money, nor is it likely, on account of its price and size, to find a very ready sale. Yet this sort of thing is done

in Germany, and done well, to attract and to create the impression of progress and thereby to catch the market in X-ray apparatus generally. In the end it pays and incidentally leads to much interesting work, as well as fostering a spirit of enterprise.

WE have received from Kodak, Limited (Wratten Division), a copy of the third edition of their booklet on photomicrography. As compared with the second edition, it is somewhat enlarged, and it comprises within its thirty-six pages simple and straightforward instructions as to the arrangement of the apparatus, undisfigured by diagrams and directions with regard to the illuminating system that are too often found in the text-books, although they can never be realised. We refer to "parallel light," and so on. The price of the pamphlet is 3d., and, of course, its strong point is the photographic side rather than the microscopical side of the art, and especially the use of colour filters. The spectrum transmissions of nine filters are given, and also the dominant wave-lengths of ten, most of the latter being a combination of two. Another table gives the absorption bands of the eighteen principal stains used in microscopy, with the suitable filters for securing maximum contrast in the photograph. Other tables give the relative sensitiveness of various Wratten plates to different light sources, and exposure factors for different focal lengths and apertures of objectives, for various magnifications, for different light sources, and for fifteen different light filters, in connection with the "M" plates. The illustrations include two excellent reproductions of stained preparations, and two little colour filters in a pocket of the cover, for viewing them through, serve to demonstrate the potency and usefulness of colour filters.

THE March number of the Journal of Chemical Technology contains a report of a special meeting of the London Section of the Institution of Chemical Technologists which was held on March 11 to discuss "The Future of British Chemical Industry." In opening the discussion, Colonel C. E. Cassal emphasised the fact that the chemical profession in this country stands alone among the professions in that it is utterly without organisation, and is split up into a number of different camps. At the present time there is little sympathy between the college laboratory and the technical laboratory; it is on the closer union of these that future progress of chemical industry will depend. Colonel Cassal, in referring to the ignorance of the general public and of State departments as to the value of science, illustrated his remarks by a reference to the now notorious advertisement of the Royal Arsenal, referred to in NATURE of April 1 (p. 119), and to the organisation of "British Dyes, Ltd." Mr. W. J. Dibdin remarked that the chemical department of the London County Council, of which he was formerly the chief, effected a saving of 10,000,000l. capital expenditure in the plant necessary for dealing with the sewage of London. The general trend of the debate was that only by the education of the chemist supplemented by the education of the employer will it be possible successfully to fight Germany in the field of industrial chemistry.

ALTHOUGH it is perhaps one of the minor chemical products, allyl alcohol has been used extensively in research, and is by far the most readily accessible of the series of unsaturated alcohols. Originally prepared through the iodide from glycerol, it was a very costly product, but came into common use when Tollens showed that it could be prepared directly from glycerol by heating it with oxalic acid. A greatly improved preparation has recently been described by Dr. Chattaway in the Journal of the Chemical Society (vol. cvii., p. 407). Five hundred grams each of glycerol and of anhydrous oxalic acid are heated at 100° in a vacuum during four or five hours, whilst a certain amount of formic acid is distilled out; the product, which contains much dioxalin, is then decomposed by heating under ordinary pressure to 220°-240°, when carbon dioxide is set free and allyl alcohol and allyl formate are produced. The oxalic acid is decomposed almost completely, leaving a residue of glycerol, which can be made up again to 500 grams, mixed with 500 grams more of oxalic acid, and used over again; this can be repeated four or five times. The waste of material is therefore very small, and the glycerol used up is converted almost quantitatively into allyl alcohol, whilst the oxalic acid is converted on one hand into carbon dioxide, and on the other into formic acid.

THE importance, both to the manufacturer and the consumer, of having at disposal adequate facilities for the scientific investigation and testing of the quality of textiles is very great. At the present time when immense quantities of such materials are being manufactured for military and naval purposes such facilities are exceptionally valuable. The Public Textile Testing and Conditioning House carried on under the auspices of the Corporation of Belfast, and located in the Municipal Technical Institute of that city, has just issued the fifth edition of its regulations and schedule of charges, and this publication indicates very strikingly the extent to which textile testing has now been elaborated and perfected. The Belfast testing house is one of the more recently opened, having been established in the year 1910 by the corporation at the direct request of the textile trades of Belfast and district. The house is carried on under Parliamentary authority, has power to grant certificates respecting the articles submitted for examination, and certificates so issued are receivable as evidence in a court of law. The schedule of charges shows that a very wide range of tests are undertaken in the testing house. The tests include physical, chemical, and microscopical investigations of fibres, yarns, cloths, and bleaching and dyeing materials. A noteworthy section of the testing scheme is that concerned with the determination of the cause of defects in cloth, more especially such causes as are classed under the technical heading of "tendering."

PART 4 of the Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for 1914 has just been issued, and contains the recommendations of the refrigeration research committee. There are also given charts of entropy and total heat for each of the three substances in common use for refrigerating purposes,

viz., carbon dioxide, ammonia, and sulphur dioxide. The use of these charts is explained in a note by the chairman of the committee, Sir J. A. Ewing. The chart for carbonic acid uses Dr. Mollier's figures, but with British units of pressure and with some additions based on the recent researches of Prof. Jenkin and Mr. Page. For the other two substances the experimental data available are much less complete. For ammonia, the chart must be regarded as no more than provisional; values given by Prof. Goodenough and Mr. W. E. Mosher have been adopted. The chart for sulphurous acid is also provisional; values given by Dr. J. Hýbl have been employed. Tables giving the properties of these substances are also included.

ERRATUM.-In NATURE of April 29, p. 238, col. I, line 10 from bottom, for "solstice" read "equinox."

[blocks in formation]






Dec. (true)

14 46.2 16.25.9 18 17.3

20 22.2 -22 42.1




19 0 55 5 2 19 9 32 The comet is rapidly moving southwards, and is situated a little to the north of Sagittarii.

A third series of elements and an ephemeris of this comet are published by Mr. R. T. Crawford, of the Berkeley Astronomical Department, in the Lick Observatory Bulletin, No. 270. It is pointed out that there seems to be a similarity between these elements and those of comet 1748 II., and computations are being undertaken to test the possibility of the identity.

ORBIT OF JUPITER'S NINTH SATELLITE.-A more rigorous reduction of the elements of the orbit of the ninth satellite of Jupiter is given by Seth B. Nicholson in the Lick Observatory Bulletin, No. 271, this being a continuation of the investigation previously published in the Bulletin, No. 265 (see this column for April 1). The following are the new elements derived :

Epoch and Osculation=1914 August 210 G.M.T.
M=135° 57'2'

@ = 359° 53'5'
=310° 30'6'19140

i = 156° 57'9')

e =0'1105

μ =0°4518 P=2182 years log a=9'2192

As a result of the alteration in the elements it is stated that the errors in the final elements do not exceed 2 per cent. of their values. An ephemeris for the coming opposition is promised at an early date.

THE SATELLITES OF URANUS.-Two communications regarding measures of the satellites of Uranus are published in the Lick Observatory Bulletin, No. 269. The first, by Prof. R. G. Aitken, were made in 1914 with the 36-in. refractor using a 350 power eyepiece. An interesting opportunity presented itself on July 21 to estimate their relative brightness. The four satellites were all south of the planet, Ariel and Umbriel almost in line with it, and only a few seconds of arc apart. Ariel was seen at the first glance, and was

conspicuously visible while measuring the other satellites; Umbriel was seen with much more difficulty, and made no impression on the eye except when special efforts were made to see it. By direct comparison it was estimated to be from to magnitude fainter than Ariel. The latter appeared to be a magnitude fainter than Titania; Oberon, from to magnitude fainter than Titania. While these observations were being made the sky was very clear, the seeing good, and the planet screened by an occulting bar. Measures of the satellites were made by Mr. S. B. Nicholson from photographs taken with the Crossley reflector at the Lick Observatory during 1914. The positions of Uranus and of the satellites were measured in rectangular co-ordinates, so that the distances of the satellites from either Uranus or one of the outer satellites could be obtained.

THE GREENWICH SECTION OF THE ASTROGRAPHIC CATALOGUE.-The third volume of the Astrographic Catalogue 1900 0 deals with the Greenwich Section, declination +64° to +90°, and is deduced from photographs taken and measured at the Royal Observatory. The first portion contains a catalogue of 2212 stars within 3° of the north pole in standard rectangular co-ordinates. In the original scheme of publication this, the third volume, should have included a general discussion of results, but the Astronomer Royal has deferred this discussion for a fourth volume. The present catalogue includes: (1) stars used as reference stars for the astrographic plates; (2) other stars contained in the catalogues of the Astronomische Gessellschaft; (3) stars contained in Carrington's Catalogue (18550); and (4) stars in the Bonn Durchmusterung Zone, 80°. The right ascensions and declinations depend throughout on the places of stars observed with the transit circle at Greenwich in the years 1897 to 1905. The proper motions given in the Greenwich Catalogue have been used in forming the constants of the plates. In the main catalogue the epoch is 1900.0. The stars are arranged in zones of declination 1° wide, and the photographic magnitudes are on the scale of Prof. E. C. Pickering's north polar


RECENT PAPERS IN THE "ASTRONOMISCHE NACHRICHTEN." The following is a continuation of the chief contents of some of the earlier numbers of the Astronomische Nachrichten referred to in this column last week-No. 4785: Trial of the photographic magnitude-scale of the bright Pleiades stars, by E. Hertzsprung. No. 4784: Observations of Halley's comet 1910 II., made at the Chamberlin Observatory of the University of Denver, by Herbert A. Howe. No. 4783: Photographic observations of some bright double stars, by E. Hertzsprung; observations on the brightness and form of comets, by M. Ebell. No. 4782: The special motions of stars with known parallaxes, by R. Klumak. No. 4781 Observations of planets and comets made with the 360-mm. refractor of the Copenhagen Observatory, by C. F. Pechüle and E. Strömgren and R. Andersen. No. 4780: Observations of the planet Venus, by W. Rabe; definite orbit of comet 1906 VII. (Thiele), by E. Waage. No. 4779: Observations of the planet Mars, by H. E. Lau; observations of the variables U Sagittæ and R. S. Vulpeculæ, by M. Maggini. No. 4778: Test for variability of 113 Herculis and a Sagittæ, by E. Hertzsprung; photographic measures of the magnitude difference between the two components of v Draconis, by E. Hertzsprung; observations of the variables o Herculis, g Herculis, and RZ Cassiopeia, by M. Maggini. No. 4777: Mean elements of sixty minor planets, by M. Brendel; ephemeris for Polarissima (BD +80° 37′) for 1915, by L. Courvoisier.



THE HE report of Explorations and Field-work of the Smithsonian Institution for 1913 (Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, vol. Ixiii., No. 8, 1914), including the. National Museum, Bureau of American Ethnology, and Astrophysical Observatory, represents much activity in various directions, even if, owing scarcity of funds, some promising enterprises were abandoned.


In geology the most important work was a survey by Dr. C. D. Walcott of the Robson Peak district in British Columbia and Alberta, and the Field region in British Columbia, which he regards as one of the finest geological sections in the world (see NATURE, December 24, 1914, p. 468). A series of admirable photographs, one of which (Fig. 1) is here reproduced by the courtesy of the secretary of the Institution, illustrates the splendid mountain and glacier scenery of this region. At Field a large collection of specimens was made from the great Cambrian fossil quarry. Mr. F. Springer's exploration in Illinois produced numerous examples of fossil crinoidea, and in Montana Mr. E. Stebinger discovered a new ceratopsian or horned dinosaur, the first example possessing a complete articulated tail and hind foot, which contributes greatly to our knowledge of the skeletal anatomy of this group of extinct reptiles. Dr. W. L. Abbott continued his work in Kashmir, his acquisitions including a curious silvery-grey shrew about 74 millimetres long, quite different from anything he had before seen, and a fine snow leopard with complete skeleton.

In the field of anthropology Dr. A. Hrdlicka continued his exploration in Peru with the object of determining the relations of the ancient Peruvians of the mountains with those of the coast, with the result that he finds no evidence of any great antiquity of man in Peru. Except the cemeteries or burial caves of the coast or mountain people, there was no sign of human occupation and no trace of anything older than the well-represented pre-Columbian Indians, neither the remains of the coast nor of the inland people disclosing an antiquity greater than some twenty centuries. In the Antilles Dr. Fewkes finds a race of sedentary people possessing a form of culture extending from Trinidad to Porto Rico, preceded in Cuba and Hayti by a cave-dwelling race, and followed by the comparatively late Carib immigration.


As regards the Indian tribes of the States, the most interesting information is that collected by Mrs. M. C. Stevenson among the Tewa tribe, where the rain

priests retire into an underground ceremonial chamber, symbolising the lower world, and, after undergoing a strict fast, pray for rain. It is startling to learn that this tribe still propitiate the rattlesnake in order to prevent it from injuring them, by a quadrennial human sacrifice, either of the youngest female infant


FIG. 1.-Summit of Mount Resplendent, British Columbia.

[P. L Tait.

or of an adult unmarried childless woman. The victims are drugged until they seem to be dead and are then exposed to the sacred snakes, who are allowed to devour the corpse. The skeleton is then buried with offerings under the floor of an adjoining room.

[ocr errors]

The account of the tattooing ceremony among the Osage tribe (Fig. 2), by Mr. F. La Flesche, is noteworthy. Formerly the honour was restricted to warriors distinguished in a campaign. Now, as they have gained wealth, it has become a means by which any person can publicly display his affection towards a relative.

Mr. V. Stefánsson contributes to Museum Bulletin No. 6 of the Department of Mines, Canada, a paper on prehistoric and present commerce among the Arctic coast Eskimo. This was, as might have been anticipated, usually conducted by sea. The main route ran along the coast from Mackenzie Bay on the east to King William Island on the west, diverg


UNDER the direction of Prof. H. F. Osborn a number of expeditions have been dispatched from the American Museum of Natural History to collect the mammalian faunas of the Lower Eocene Wasatch and Wind River beds of Wyoming, and the collection of such remains in that institution is consequently very large, especially as it includes the extensive series brought together by Prof. Cope, which was purchased in 1895. The stratigraphical observations made during these expeditions and the careful record of the exact horizon of each fossil have rendered it practicable to correlate the various faunas, and to trace out the evolution of the different species and groups in a manner which was previously impossible. With the object of putting these new facts before the scientific public, Messrs. Matthew and Grainger have undertaken a revision of our knowledge of these faunas, the first portion of which appears as vol. xxxiv., art. (pp. 1-103), of the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. This, which is by Dr. Matthew alone, treats of the creodont carnivora, seven families of which are represented in these formations, and of which three genera and a large number of species are described as new.



Quarto Bulletin No. 89 of the U.S. National Museum is devoted to the first portion of a descriptive account of the osteology of the armoured dinosaurs, with special reference to the genus Stegosaurus, by Mr. C. W. Gilmore. The memoir, which includes 136 quarto pages and thirty-six plates, is dated December 31, 1914, but copies did not reach this country until the latter part of the following March; it is based almost exclusively on specimens in the collection of the National Museum, and gives the first detailed description of the entire osteology of Stegosaurus. The material includes considerable portions of the skeletons of several individuals, among which the one most nearly approaching completeness, and which alone exhibits the true arrangement of the dermal armour, is the type of S. stereops. With few exceptions, the entire series of stegosaurian remains were obtained from two quarries, situated respectively in Albany County, Wyoming, and Fremont County, Colorado.

Bureau of American Ethnology.


FIG. 2.-An Osage Indian with tattooing. ing to the north through Victoria Island, and reaching south as far as Great Bear Lake on the west and to Thelon River and Chesterfield Inlet on the west. finds a certain tribal specialisation of industries and some division of labour resulting from the varied natural resources of this wide area. But each tribe believes the articles made by its members to be superior to those of neighbouring tribes. Though the people are very conservative, there is a constant interchange of manufactures between distant districts, and with this arises a commerce of ideas which are readily assimilated with the indigenous beliefs and practices.

Nine species of the genus-all American-are at present provisionally recognised, the European forms described by Owen as Omosaurus being regarded as generically distinct, under the name of Dacentrurus, the original designation being pre-occupied. In some of the later restorations of Stegosaurus the double series of upstanding dorsal plates were ranged alternately, and the number of pairs of spines on the tail reduced from four to two; in the latest restoration, however, there is a return to the paired arrangement

« AnteriorContinuar »