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mology of the Union, who, convalescent from an illness which narrowly escaped being fatal, had left South Africa on a six months' tour in Australia and the United States. His address was a discussion of some phases of the locust problem. The author expressed the opinion that the Union is entering upon a cycle of years when locusts will be widespread and destructive. The species of locusts that periodically ravage South Africa were described, the principal being the red and the brown locust, the former being congeneric with the large North African locust and that of the Argentine, while the brown locust is congeneric with the migratory locusts of Europe and Asia. The effects of climatic conditions on locust migration were discussed, as well as the causes of the excessive multiplication. The concluding paragraphs of the address dealt with the enemies of the locust.
In Section D the presidential address was delivered by Mr. J. E. Adamson, Director of Education of the Transvaal; its subject was "The Control of Education," and it laid down the principle that the control of school education should henceforth be vested in the Central Government of the Union and not in the executives of the provinces. It was, he said, a dictate of the national conscience; moreover, national education is a vital factor of national progress, and, in addition, national schools should reflect national aims and aspirations. That there was divergence in South Africa regarding these aims and aspirations was only a further reason for discussing them in a national assembly. Wise and impartial administration would only be secured if it were in the hands of a body representing wide and varied interests.
With regard to the papers read at the various sectional meetings only brief summaries can be given. In Section A Mr. A. H. Reid contributed a useful review of the leading classes of fire-resisting materials used in building construction, while from the naval engineer's point of view Mr. H. C. Kenway discussed certain aspects of modern naval development. The president of the association, in a paper on the masses of visual double stars, gave a table containing all double stars for which fairly trustworthy orbits had been computed. Dr. A. W. Roberts had a paper on secular change in the period of u Carinæ, the variation of which star was discovered at Lovedale in 1891. The discrimination of the conic by Prof. Dalton, and the gamma, or factorial function, by Prof. Roseveare, were types of the heavier mathematical papers read in the section. Mr. E. Jacot, discussing the measurement of the natural ionisation of the air, contrasted the results obtained by the Gerdien and by the Ebert forms of apparatus, and showed that these results are not comparable.
In Section B Prof. J. A. Wilkinson, in a paper on "The Profession of Pharmacy," urged the need of reform, and pointed to the fact that South Africa as yet offers no pharmaceutical training in any of her colleges, and that materia medica and toxicology are nowhere taught. A paper on the Rand gold, by Prof. E. H. L. Schwarz, discussed the three classical theories as to the origin of the gold, and expressed his preference for the placer theory. Another contribution by the same author had for its subject "The Fault Systems of the South of Africa." Dr. W. A. Caldecott read an important paper entitled "Some Features of the Rand Gold Mining Industry," in which he set forth the main results of the operation of the Witwatersrand gold mines during the past twelve years. Dr. C. F. Juritz, in a paper on the chemical composition of Karroo ash, directed attention to the fact that large quantities of burnt sheep manure had accumulated throughout the Union during many years, and contained up to 19 per cent. of potash, 36 per cent. of lime, and 6 per cent. of phosphorus
pentoxide. An interesting paper on the! Naras plant (Acanthosicyos horrida) was contributed by Dr. W. Versfeld and Mr. G. F. Britten, describing the nature of the plant and its edible fruit, which is either consumed as gathered, prepared as soup, or made into cakes. Analyses were given of the fruit and of soils where the plant grows, and where it refuses to grow. Mr. A. Stead contributed a paper on the ash of the "alkali bush," in which he found 32 per cent. of potassium carbonate and 19 per cent. of sodium carbonate.
In Section C Prof. Schönland criticised Lotsy's theory of evolution, which, he declared, has not brought us a step nearer the vera causa of evolution. Mr. R. W. Thornton, principal of the Middelburg School of Agriculture, treated of the ostrich feather industry in South Africa, covering briefly, in addition to an historical introduction, the subjects of incubation, rearing, parasitic diseases, and feather marketing. An exhaustive analysis of South African agriculture was submitted in a paper by Mr. P. J. du Toit, ActingSecretary for Agriculture of the Union, and it showed the marvellous agricultural progress of the country during late years, particularly since 1905. Mr. J. Burtt-Davy contributed a paper on his experiments in cross-breeding Persian and Merino sheep. Of the thirty-six papers submitted to Section C, only two can be adequately summarised here. These are Dr. A. L. Orenstein's paper on prevention of malaria, and Dr. Watkins-Pitchford's on miners' phthisis.
Dr. A. L. Orenstein read before Section C a paper on the problems and principles of malaria prevention, in which he outlined the following five lines of attack :(1) The elimination of human carriers only; (2) the reduction to a non-infective minimum of the number of anophelinæ of the species capable of transmitting malaria; (3) the protection of the individual against the bites of mosquitoes; (4) the protection of the individual by proper medication against the development of the parasites within the blood; and (5) a combination of several or all of these methods. Of these methods the first is fraught with almost unsurmountable difficulties, the second method being the plan most generally acknowledged to be the most promising of results. Dr. Orenstein described malaria prevention as a highly specialised field of sanitation, and any large-scale scheme as a costly undertaking which should only be entrusted to specialists in this branch.
Dr. Watkins-Pitchford's subject was "Miners' Phthisis on the Rand." He emphasised the not generally recognised distinction between pulmonary silicosis and miners' phthisis. Silicosis due to the inhalation of air containing fine particles of quartz, etc., was rarely fatal; it became the much more serious disease, miners' phthisis, when the damaged lung became infected by the tubercle bacillus. The suppression of the disease would be obtained by action in two directions preventing the inhalation of dust by workers in the mines, and excluding from the mines all those who were expectorating the tubercle bacillus. The proposition of abolishing miners' phthisis from the Witwatersrand he considered quite feasible, provided always that both the workers and the management co-operated in the common cause.
Dr. C. L. Leipoldt, medical inspector of schools for the Transvaal, in a paper read before Section D, stated that the percentages of men of the burgher commandos of the Transvaal province rejected for preventable and remedial defects were far higher than. they were in conscript armies in countries where medical inspection of schools had been in vogue for years. It was clear that a large percentage of the adult popu-. lation suffered from remedial and preventable diseases, which appreciably affected their wage-earning capacity and consequently the national efficiency.
gested that school medical inspection should be linked up with the enforced inspection of at least all males between the ages of sixteen and forty-five years by qualified defence force officers.
the heading does not occur. There surely must be cases in hospital of fever which are not comprised in the four fevers scheduled. If so, they should be returned. Again, under "Estates employing indentured labour" only deaths ascribed to malaria" are returned. Surely, again, there must be many cases of fever which are not malaria. Why not return these also unless here malaria is synonymous with fever? This ambiguity then continues. A great advance in the statistics of malaria would be made if the diagnosis "fever" were not accepted as the equivalent of malaria. Everyone knows, for example, in India that Bagana-"thousands" of cases are returned as malaria on no better evidence than the statement of the patient that he is suffering from "fever"; and so one may feel strong doubt as to the figures recorded in this report under the heading, "Attendances for malaria." (Why malaria and not "fever "?)
In Section D one of the most attractive papers was undoubtedly that by Mr. E. C. Reynolds on the economics of the war, for the purpose of hearing which all four sections of the association combined. As at last year's meeting, some of the most interesting papers in this section were those dealing with phases of the native question. Such were two papers by the Rev. Noel Roberts on the initiation rites of the Bapedi, and on the traditional,history of the noa. The Rev. W. A. Norton had a delightful little paper on African native melodies, all of which, he said, were in the pentatonic scale. The Rev. S. S. Dornan contributed a paper on Rhodesian ruins and native tradition. The author holds that the ruined towns were built by the men whose descendants still live in the country, and at no very distant date. The Rev. J. R. L. Kingon, of the United Free Church Mission at Tsolo, contributed a paper showing that native agriculture is on the threshold of a marvellous expansion, which only awaited the opening up of communications, towards which the Native Council had contributed 28,000l. during the last year. Another paper by the same author dealt with the economics of the east coast fever. Proportional representation was the subject of papers by Dr. J. Brown and Mr. R. Kilpin, and "Problems of Physical Continuity" were discussed by the Rev. Dr. S. R. Welch. The Rev. C. Pettman contributed to this section one of his instructive discussions of the origin of South African placenames, in the course of which he reviewed the commonly accepted derivations of such names as Bloemfontein, Algoa Bay, Walfisch Bay, and Slackhers Nek.
Dr. E. T. Mellor gave an evening lecture on the gold-bearing conglomerates of the Witwatersrand, in which he outlined briefly his own theory of the original deposition of the reef conglomerates. This was to the effect that what is now the Witwatersrand was once the deltaic mouth of a river, and that the gravels were deposited here in beds at different times and in slightly different localities. The extent of this delta would be fairly small compared with the extent of the present Ganges delta.
The most interesting function of the session was the award of 50l. and the South Africa medal, founded by the British Association in 1905, for scientific research in South Africa, to Mr. C. P. Lounsbury for his entomological investigations. In the absence of Mr. Lounsbury the president, at the conclusion of his inaugural address, enumerated the various pieces of scientific work engaged in by the recipient since he took up his residence in South Africa in 1895, and presented the medal to Dr. C. F. Juritz, to hold in trust until Mr. Lounsbury's return to the country.
TROPICAL DISEASES: STATISTICS AND
IN reviewing these reports for 1913 we directed attention to the ambiguity involved in the term Deaths ascribed to fever." Strictly speaking, the term fever should include all disease in which fever is a marked feature, e.g. not only malaria, but also enteric, pneumonia, etc., but whether it does so here appears to us to be uncertain. In the Hong-Kong report the heading is changed to "Deaths ascribed to malarial fever," and in the Straits Settlements it is subdivided into "unspecified fever," malaria," "typhoid," and 'dengue." In the returns for Government hospitals
Report of the Advisory Committee for the Tropical Diseases Research Fund for the Year 1914. (London: Wyman and Sons, Ltd.)
We repeat what we said last year, that parts of this statistical schedule require careful revision if it is to be of value. To note another statistical point. It cannot be too thoroughly appreciated that accurate population data must form the basis of practically all statistics of disease. Yet in the Mauritius report whereas the number of deaths for certain towns and districts is given, there is most unfortunately no corresponding population given. We might as well be given the number of deaths in India and Ireland and be left to draw our inferences without knowing the respective populations.
Before leaving these matters we would refer to the Southern Rhodesia Report, where a chart of the mortality and distribution of malaria, blackwater fever. and the rainfall for 1913 is given. By itself this is of no great value. Had the data for the ten years 1904-13, which appear to be available, been given, it is probable that definite conclusions could have been drawn.
We would repeat that if these statistics are to be of value in the future more care must be taken in their compilation. It is often said that "statistics lie." We do not believe they do, and that they cannot if only we know exactly what they represent.
Turning next to the appendices we find a variety of matter of much interest and importance. We may briefly mention some of the results.
Kala-Azar.-It has been shown that cultures can be got from the blood, and the use of the method for diagnostic purposes is suggested; it should have been stated whether the case from which cultures were got showed parasites in the blood or not. Coccal bodies have been found in the organs in this disease but their meaning is not clear. Observations in the Sudan do not support the insect transmission theory of the disease. We have ourselves elsewhere suggested the hypothesis that the disease is not transmissible from man, but is acquired by infection with "natural" flagellates of some insect.
Entomology.-Chrysops fixissima of Borneo appears to be a terrible fly. Its bite on the ear gives rise to a swelling like a cauliflower.
A sand-fly larva has been found in soil in the Sudan. Hitherto they were thought to breed almost exclusively in old walls and the like.
A long and interesting paper is devoted to the lifehistory of Dermatobia hominis, the larva of which burrows in the skin of man, producing "warbles." The evidence is detailed in support of the view that certain mosquitoes, Janthinosoma, sp., are used by the œstrid for effecting this. Estrid eggs have been found cemented to the abdomen of female mosquitoes. as the œstrid appears "to know" that the males do not bite man. When such a female with eggs in position bites, the cestrid larvæ hatch and find their way into the skin. We still require complete proof
of this "fairy tale." We require to see an astrid catch a mosquito and lay its eggs on the abdomen of the latter. We also require (with pocket lens) to see
mosquito with eggs attached biting, and then to see the larvæ emerge and enter the skin. The larvæ when grown and in situ are best chloroformed; they can then be fairly easily expressed.
Beri-beri.-A practical demonstration of the view now generally accepted that beri-beri is due to the absence of the subpericarpal layer in polished rice, was afforded by the result of an expedition to the Snow Mountains, in Dutch New Guinea. Previous expeditions had failed except one, of only ten men, and in this unpolished rice was used. The expedition here recorded consisted of 204 natives and lasted seven months. There was not a single case of beri-beri. The daily ration in grams was:-Rice, unpolished, 700; fish or meat on alternate days, 150; kachangidju (a bean), 200; Javanese sugar, 50; coffee, 20; tea, 5; salt, occasionally, 20. What is required of rice millers is to produce a "nice-looking with the pericarp removed and the subpericarp retained. Rice millers must accept the facts and not deny that polished rice is a cause of beri-beri, as happened in the writer's experience recently. A rice containing not less than 0.4 per cent. of phosphorus pentoxide is a safe one, but inspection or other simple tests is quite enough to tell a safe from an unsafe rice. "Parboiled" rice is also safe, but many natives will not eat it, as it does not look nice and has an objectionable smell.
Leprosy. The successful cultivation of the bacillus has been claimed by various observers, but in the experiments detailed in this report all attempts were negative, although the "successful methods of other observers were followed." The subject is at present in a state of hopeless confusion.
Bilharzia. It has been shown by Japanese workers that the Japanese form of this disease was contracted (by dogs) by immersion in water. It was thought that this proved the direct penetration of the skin by the miracidia that hatched from the egg, but Leiper and Atkinson have shown that it is the Cercaria which have passed through a mollusc that are the infective stage.
The appendices give evidence of the enthusiasm with which research is followed, but we think there might be some co-ordinating system linking together researches in various colonies.
RECENT ENTOMOLOGICAL RESEARCH.
No English-speaking zoologist is likely to have
overlooked the exhaustive work on the life-cycle of Trypanosoma lewisi, recently published in the Quart. Journ. Microsc. Sci. (vol. lx., part 4), by Prof. A. E. Minchin and Mr. J. D. Thomson. This great research involved the dissection of 1700 rat-fleas (Ceratophyllus fasciatus), and Prof. Minchin gives, in the last number of the Journal of the Quekett Microscopical Club (2, vol. xii., No. 76), as a kind of by-product, some details of the anatomy of the insect. The nervous system, reproductive organs, and salivary glands receive special attention. In the nervous system there is a curious sexual dimorphism, the male having eight distinct abdominal ganglia, while the female possesses only seven. The salivary glands of the larva are much larger than those of the adult, and the larval duct is provided with a reservoir, wanting in the corresponding imaginal structure; these differences are correlated with the well-known difference in the nature of the food, the flea being a blood-sucker, while the larva devours solid particles-commonly the excreta of the Students of insect anatomy will be grateful to
Prof. Minchin for his detailed account of his simple and successful methods of manipulation.
The woolly aphid of the apple, commonly known as "American blight," has been the subject of many interesting observations recently; for example, we have had Mr. J. Davidson's careful anatomical research into the different forms of the species (Quart. Journ. Micr. Sci., vol. Iviii., 1913, part 4), and Miss E. M. Patch's demonstration that the elm is the normal host-plant for the wingless sexual stage of the species and for the early spring generations (Maine Agric. Exp. Sta. Bull., 203, 217, 220, 1912-13). Now Mr. A. C. Baker has published (U.S. Dept. Agric., Report 101, 1915) a comprehensive account of the structure, life-history, and economic importance of the insect in a pamphlet of fifty-six pages, illustrated by fifteen excellent plates. He believes that the generic name Eriosoma (Leach, 1820) must supersede Schizoneura (Hartig, 1841), which has been universally used in recent years. As regards the life-cycle, he confirms the latest conclusions of Miss Patch that E. ulmi is identical with the currantroot feeding fodiens, while E. lanigera (the "American blight") is an altogether different species, with the elm as its normal "principal" host, and the apple, hawthorn, and rowan as alternative summer hosts. As a matter of fact, the virgin females of lanigera are commonly found on the bark or roots of appletrees throughout the winter months, so that the sexual phase may be tending to disappear from the life-history altogether. It is interesting-after so many American writers have objected to the identification of their continent as the original home of this "blight," and have contended for its European origin-to find it here considered that the weight of evidence indicates the insect as a native of the "New World."
A similar doubt as to the country of its origin exists with regard to another orchard insect-pest, the pear thrips (Euthrips, or Taeniothrips pyri), which since 1900 has caused much damage both in the eastern and western United States, and in some English localities. A complete account of its life-history and habits in California, by Messrs. S. W. Foster and P. R. Jones, has just been published (U.S. Dept. Agric. Bull. 173). The adults feed in the blossom-buds, and the larvæ on the fruits, not of the pear only, but of other rosaceous trees; while pupation takes place in the soil, the transformation being completed about midwinter, though the winged thrips do not appear until some months later. In California all the adult individuals are believed to be parthenogenetic females, although males have been found in this country by Mr. R. S. Bagnall.
Dr. A. D. Hopkins continues his excellent systematic studies of the bark-beetles, with a Classification of the Cryphalina" (U.S. Dept. Agric., Report 99), in which some new genera and a large number of new species are described, the latter not being all North American. This is the fourth " Contribution towards a Monograph of the Scolytoid Beetles," the second having appeared in the Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., vol. xlviii., and the first and third as No. 17 of the Technical Bulletins of the U.S.D.A. Bureau of Entomology. This disconnected mode of publicationsomewhat troublesome to the bibliographer-is due to the discontinuance of the special series of bulletins hitherto issued by the Bureau of Entomology, the results of the work of which will apparently henceforth be mingled with those emanating from other sections of the Department of Agriculture. From this centralisation there may perhaps be some benefit derivable that is not apparent to an ordinary entomologist, who cannot fail to appreciate its inconvenience. Report 107 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture consists of a short but valuable and beautifully illustrated paper on the larvæ of long-horn beetles of the division.
Prioninæ, by F. C. Craighead. In the Journ. Agric. Research (vol. iv., No. 3) W. S. Pierce describes weevils of the genus Diaprepes, which injure sugarcane in the West Indies, and gives details as their variation and life-history.
The gipsy moth (Porthetria dispar) imported from France into Massachusetts in 1869 continues to occupy the attention of American entomologists; Mr. A. F. Burgess describes the means adopted in the New England States for checking its ravages (Bull. U.S. Dept. Agric., 204). His account is illustrated by an interesting set of maps showing the present range of the species in New England, and also of some of its natural enemies which have been imported from Europe, of which the large ground-beetle, Calosoma sycophanta, is the most formidable. Reference is also which at times made to the strange "wilt-disease" fortunately becomes epidemic among the caterpillars. It has been made the subject of a special research by Mr. R. W. Glaser (Journ. Agric. Research, vol. iv., No. 2). He finds that the disease was not present in North America before 1900, and believes that its spread may be at least partly due to some of the introduced parasites. The causative micro-organism has not been demonstrated.
The cabbage-fly (Phorbia or Chortophila brassicae) is one of our commonest and most destructive garden pests. Mr. J. T. Wadsworth has published (Journ. Econ. Biol., vol. x., No. 1) a valuable and interesting account of a rove-beetle, Aleochara bilineata, the larva of which eats its way into the puparium of the cabbage-fly, and feeds on the pupa. 'Like some other beetle life-histories, this shows a tendency to hypermetamorphosis, the newly-hatched Aleochara being of the campodeiform type normal to the family, while the later instars, in accordance with their parasitic habit, have shortened legs and swollen bodies, approaching the cruciform type.
A contribution to our knowledge of the physiology of aquatic insects is due to Mr. S. K. Sen, who gives some observations on the respiration of Culicidæ (Indian Journ. Med. Research, vol. ii., No. 3). The larva of Culex microannulatus consumes 1.1 cubic mm. of oxygen per hour, the pupa 1.9 cubic mm., and the imago 2.5 c.c.; the increased oxygen-hunger of the pupa as compared with the larva is noteworthy, and it was found that the pupa is more quickly affected and killed by the want of oxygen. Systematic study of blood-sucking Diptera goes steadily on; the British species of Simulium are diagnosed by Mr. F. W. Edwards in the last number of the Bulletin of Entom. Research (vol. vi., part 1). This same number contains a report by Dr. W. A. Lamborn on the "control" of tsetse-flies (Glossina) in Nyasaland; a number of flies were caught by bird-lime spread on boards carried about by native boys, and digging-wasps are found to seize tsetses and carry them off. Hymenopterous parasites of the Chalcidoid group have been reared from Glossina puparia in northern Rhodesia, and these are described with excellent figures by Rev. Jas. Waterston, in the same number of the bulletin.
Of slight importance from the economic point of view, the Odonata (dragonflies) are yet of great general interest to the student of insects. Mr. E. B. Williamson has just published (Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., vol. xlviii., pp. 601-38) some exceptionally valuable notes on Neo-tropical species belonging to the "demoiselle (Agrionine) subfamily. The purely systematic entomological paper is usually a weariness to any not a specialist who may attempt to read it, but this author enlivens his accounts of structural details of diagnostic value with descriptions of the habits and adaptations of the beautiful insects which he loves to observe when alive in the swamps and forests of Central America and the Antilles. G. H. C.
THE NATURAL HISTORY OF
N the Summary report of the Geological Survey of Canada for 1896 Mr. W. F. Ferrier directed attertion to the occurrence of corundum crystals in the township of Carlow, Hastings County, Ontario, and to the probable economic importance of the discovery. This announcement led to the opening up of what has become the largest corundum mining industry in the world. In 1910 an important memoir by Adams and Barlow on the general geology of the district in which the corundum-deposits occur was published by the Geological Survey (Geology of the Haliburton and Bancroft Areas, Memoir No. 6), but the details as to these deposits were reserved for fuller treatment than was possible at that time. They are now given in the present volume, together with a general account of the occurrences of the mineral in other parts of the world.
Apart altogether from their economic importance, the Canadian deposits are of considerable scientific interest as throwing light on one of the methods by which corundum has been naturally produced. They are usually associated with nepheline and other alka line syenites which occur at the junction of the great Laurentian granitic batholiths with the limestones of the Grenville series. Red alkaline syenites, rich in soda, together with their coarse-grained pegmatitic equivalents, are pre-eminently the corundum-bearing rocks throughout the district, although in one of the smaller areas the mineral occurs in anorthosites. richest rock is known as corundum-pegmatite, dykes of which may attain a width of 18 ft. and contain as much as 75 per cent. of corundum. Individual crystals weighing 30 lbs. have been obtained from this rock. In other rocks they are smaller in size, and often sink to microscopic dimensions. The colour usually varies from blue to white. No transparent varieties suitable for use as gems have as yet been found.
In his classic researches carried out in Warsaw during the years 1891-96 and published in Tschermak's Mineralogische und petrographische Mitthei lungen for 1898, Morozewicz proved that felspathic magmas, especially those rich in soda, possessed the power of dissolving alumina, and that on cooling the excess of alumina over that required to form felspar crystallised out as corundum. The facts described in this memoir clearly prove that the Canadian corundum has crystallised out of a highly felspathic magma in accordance with the principles experimentally established by Morozewicz. The mineral is extracted from the rocks by blasting, hand-picking, crushing, and dressing by methods akin to those frequently used by miners. From material fed to the mills containing 10 per cent. of corundum a high-grade product consisting of from 90 to 95 per cent. is obtained. It is at present employed solely as an abrasive agent, although researches have been, and are still being, carried out to discover other uses. The value of the total amount placed on the market to the end of 1913 is about 2,000,000 dollars, and there has been no appreciable falling off in the amount produced during Its principal rivals are carborundum and artificial corundum, known as alundum, both of which are produced at Niagara Falls.
and expressed in popular phrases is doubtful, but in every part of the world may be found a stock of proverbs that express the general experience. Egypt, of course, is no exception to the rule, and, owing to its old civilisation, it is probable that in these wise saws we have the fruits of the earliest meteorological observations. We cordially welcome, therefore, the paper by Mohammad Bey Kasim, who by industriously collecting a long list of these predictions, and translating them into English, has benefited both meteorology and folklore.
In a climate where the changes are frequent and apparently lawless, these are apt to be assigned to frivolous and irrational causes, but in more settled climates, as that of the Nile Valley, the prognostications may be regarded as founded on a more scientific basis. Weather changes are seasonal, rather than daily, and as the Coptic year is based on solar reckoning, the repetition of the same phenomena at nearly the same dates in successive years would tend to confirm the accuracy of the proverb, and give rise to a running commentary on the calendar, useful in the guidance of husbandry and agricultural operations.
Thus in the month Abib (July 8-August 6) we have in its translated form the saying:
In Abib, it will be found
We hear the running water's sound.
The forms of clouds, too, have long been described with sufficient accuracy, and Luke Howard, who has supplied our nomenclature, has but followed an unknown, but ancient, classification. We are glad to know that Mohammad Bey proposes to continue his investigations into a subject that cannot but grow more interesting the further it is pursued.
COMPETITIONS IN CONNECTION WITH
THE UTILISATION AND DENATURING OF SPIRIT OR ALCOHOL FOR INDUSTRIAL PURPOSES. THE following particulars have been received by the Board of Trade, through the Foreign Office, from the Russian Ambassador in London, respecting the international competitions organised by the Russian Ministry of Finance in respect (1) of methods of utilising spirit or alcohol or their products, and (2) of new substances for denaturing spirit or alcohol for industrial purposes.
As regards the first-mentioned competition, prizes of 60,000, 30,000, and 10,000 roubles, respectively, will be awarded for the invention of a novel means of adapting alcohol for the preparation of such a product as shall by its nature absolutely differ from the
referring to the expected rise of the Nile, and, in the spirit from which it is made, e.g. vinegar, ether, following month, Misra:
Misra makes all the watercourses flow,
Though difficulties it must undergo.
That the proverb-mongers were quite aware of the necessity of making provision for the variability of seasons, and not limiting the changes too rigidly to the arbitrary divisions of months, is shown by an ingenious interlocking of Amshir and Baramhat, which together include the spring from February 8April 8, when periods of warm and cool weather will interchange:
The month of Amshir to Baramhat says:
Exchange ten of mine for ten of your days. The author does, however, give a complete calendar, in which apparently an attempt is made to foretell the weather from day to day, but it is not clear whether this is a perpetual calendar, or liable to revision from year to year according to the fancy of the local expert. For comparison additional information founded on average meteorological data is supplied. The main climatological factors are sufficiently well indicated. Thus for 22 Tut (October 2) the comment is, "No hope of more rises of the Nile." The Cairo observations show that that date is the mean, and not the extreme of maximum flood, for which the variation is 16 days. The fixing of the low stage of the Nile to 27-28 Bashans (May 4-5) is not so happy. The mean date from 1873 has been about a month later, but since the Aswan Reservoir has been utilised a comparison of dates may be misleading. The fact that is emphasised by this calendar is the advantage due to employing the apparent motions of the sun, as shown by the assistance given to the old meteorologists in the maintenance of a continuous record.
Another feature of this admirable compilation is the successful attempt to classify the terms used in Egypt to describe the degrees of variation in the climatological elements. The Egyptian vocabulary seems to be wide and rich; seven terms are given expressing gradations of "cold," and a round dozen for different degrees of heat. Naturally there must be a good deal of overlapping, and the phrase, "the hot weather (el harr) lasts seven days or three," may be capable of very wide interpretation. Apparently the author has been very successful in accommodating the terms expressing varying strength of winds to our Beaufort scale, and the accuracy in the two cases is no doubt comparable, since each depends on eye observation and memory.
chloroform, etc. Three prizes, of 50,000, 20,000, and 5000 roubles, respectively, will be awarded for the invention of a novel method of utilising spirit for the preparation of a product (e.g. a pharmaceutical or perfumery preparation) of which spirit or its products (sulphuric ether, etc.) will appear as one of its component parts or dissolvent, providing that spirit cannot be extracted profitably from the product. Three prizes of 30,000, 15,000, and 5000 roubles, respectively, will be awarded for the invention of a novel method of utilising spirit in productions, where spirit or its products would serve as temporary intermediary dissolvents of either of the extracted or precipitated materials, e.g. in the manufacture of smokeless powder, artificial silk, etc. Further prizes ranging from 75,000 to 5000 roubles will be awarded for the invention or perfection of apparatus for the utilisation of spirit as motive power, fuel, or illuminant.
The competition of new substances for denaturing spirit or alcohol is being organised with the object of extending the use of spirit for technical purposes, and accordingly three prizes of 30,000, 15,000, and 5000 roubles, respectively, are offered for finding novel denaturing materials for improving the existing methods of denaturing, which, whilst guaranteeing the free use of denatured spirit, would obviate any possibility of using it as a beverage.
Applications in respect of both these competitions should be addressed to "L'Administration générale des Impôts indirects et du Monopole de l'Alcool," Tutchkoff Naberezhnaia, Petrograd, not later than January 11-14, 1916, and must be accompanied by samples. Such applications should be made in the Russian or French languages, and be enclosed in a special envelope bearing an inscription or device of some sort, the name and address of the applicant being submitted under separate cover bearing the same inscription or mark.
Inventors may reserve the right of benefiting by their inventions and of protecting themselves with letters patent.
Copies of the full text of the conditions for participating in the two competitions above referred to may be obtained by United Kingdom firms interested, on application to the Commercial Intelligence Branch of the Board of Trade, 73 Basinghall Street, London, E.C.