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ensues. . . . (8) The variations produced by food increase in intensity with each generation, and even arrive at such a point as to persist to a degree, by heredity, in the next generation brought up on normal food; when, in successive generations, the food plant is different, each kind of food plant impresses its characteristic effects on the imago. (9) After some generations on the abnormal food the insect becomes accustomed to it, and this brings about a return to the primitive type-sometimes, indeed, passes beyond it in the opposite direction.
The experiments which led to these conclusions extended over five years, from 1900 to 1904, and were tried on 21 different species and about 4695 individuals. The paper is illustrated by five plates containing eighty-one photographic figures, which are excellent, but uncoloured, so that they have not the advantage of showing the distinctive colour effects which enter into the verbal description of the results obtained. The course of experiment can only be briefly indicated here, having due regard to the exigencies of space, but I may select for reference some of M. Pictet's chief experiments on what was their principal subject, Ocneria dispar; on this species there were twenty-nine experiments upon 1568 individuals. In many of those tried on this and other species the differences from the normal, so far as they are shown by the plates, are not very distinguishable from those deficiencies in intensity and definiteness of marking and the dwarfing of size that one is accustomed to find when larvæ are bred on food that is insufficient or unsuitable, to put it in a popular form, are "half starved." It is right, however, to say that M. Pictet considers, as afterwards mentioned, that in those examples which he has selected for illustration as exhibiting the effects of abnormal food plants, walnut, onobrychis, &c., they are distinguishable from each other to such an extent that where larvæ have been fed for three successive generations on walnut, onobrychis, and oak respectively, the special influences of all three food plants can be seen.
In six experiments with O. dispar, walnut was given for one or more generations; in all these cases the wing expansion was considerably smaller than normal, in some cases not more than three-quarters or two-thirds of it. Where O. sativa, dandelion or P. sanguisorba was given the imagines were considerably larger than normal, but when in one or more of the succeeding generations walnut was substituted the size was immediately reduced, much as in the other six experiments. Mespilus germanicus, horse chestnut, white poplar, and sallow had effects very similar to those of walnut. In experiment (4), where oak in the second generation succeeded walnut in the first, there was a slight return towards the type, but when in the third generation walnut was again given, the failure in intensity of markings reached its minimum, there being scarcely a trace of colour; when, however, in the fourth generation oak was again given, there was a nearer return towards the type than the second generation showed. In other cases the "albinistic" influence of the walnut persisted in a very marked degree after two later generations fed on oak or on O. sativa. In such cases, also, where other food plants of the three different classes ("albinising." "normal," and "melanising ") had been given in succession, M. Pictet considers that the special pigmentation effects of each of the three kinds of food plant are shown by the imagines of the latest generation. These are for walnut, ♂, pale yellow colour, two central lines partly obliterated, other markings less intense; ?, wings slightly transparent, few markings on upper wings, more on lower; second
generation, ♂, wings whitish, marginal band on all partly obliterated, transverse lines little visible; , wings transparent, the V mark and the marginal dots alone appearing; for O. sativa, d, wings brown, zigzag, lines little noticeable, marginal band very dark, abdominal hairs greyish; ?, on upper wings white zigzag lines strongly marked; for dandelion, ♂, very similar, only the lower wings of uniform dark colour.
M. Pictet arrives at the general conclusion that the albinising" variations are caused by the larvæ having been fed on leaves presenting obstacles to nutrition, such as hard cuticle or felted underside, as in white poplar, and that, on the other hand, the melanising" variations are caused by food presenting no such obstacles; thus the young leaves of laurel are not "melanising as the old leaves are. So far as I am aware, M. Pictet's conclusion that a difference of food plant in one generation can cause a difference of facies in the imago, and one that persists for several generations, is not in accordance with views hitherto prevailing; its bearing on the question whether a quality thus acquired can originate a new permanent variety or species is, however, at least materially affected by M. Pictet's other position, that where several generations have been brought up on the abnormal food so as to become accustomed to it, they revert towards the original form, so that there would appear to be only a temporary disturbance in the colouring of the species.
All M. Pictet's figures of O. dispar are reproduced as illustrative of this notice; those numbered 13 (walnut, oak, onobrychis), 14, and 16 (onobrychis, mespilus) are relied on by him as showing indications of each of the different food plants supplied to them and their ancestors, that numbered 10 (walnut, oak, walnut, walnut) as showing reversion towards the original normal form when the larvæ have for several generations been confined to abnormal food.
With respect to M. Pictet's position that an inverse rate of development in the pupa is caused by lengthening or shortening the duration of the larval "diapause or period of repose, his experiments favour that view; but it will hardly be accepted as of general application without further experiments.
There is a section on the influence of food on the colour of the larvæ in which M. Pictet states that such an influence is exerted, with observations tending to show that in some cases there is a relation between the colour thus induced in the larva and the colouring of the imago. There are also experiments from which he draws the conclusion that the kind of food influences the secondary sexual characters of the larvæ which are so marked in O. antiqua, &c.; this does not, of course, mean that it changes the sex as has been asserted; on that he makes the just observation that it is not sufficient to count the respective numbers of males and females among the perfect insects obtained, but account ought also to be taken of those that die, usually in large numbers, and the male sex may be much more capable than the female of supporting the "tribulations of life," among which, one may add, must certainly be included scientific experiments on their food.
The second part of M. Pictet's paper is devoted to the influence of humidity. Excessive moisture applied to young larvæ is largely fatal, but seems to have no effect on the perfect insects which survive, beyond slightly reducing their size. Older larvæ, i.e. (usually) for the period of eight or ten days before pupation, resist it perfectly, but give "aberrations," some of which are figured, such as are met with here and there in nature.
The paper is a valuable contribution of facts to the solution of questions of much interest, and M. Pictet's conclusions as to the causes of the results he describes are well worthy of the consideration that they will doubtless receive. It is to be presumed that he took all proper means to isolate the influences he applied from other influences, but his arguments would perhaps have gained in force if he had stated in detail what steps he had taken to ensure this isolation. For example, in his experiments on the colouring assumed by larvæ, though he is acquainted with the experiments of Prof. Poulton and others, showing the undoubted effect of a few coloured surroundings on the colouring of the larvæ of many species, it does not appear what precautions were taken to exclude the operation of such surroundings; nor in the experiments on the duration of the pupal stage when the larval diapause" was shortened, or in the humidity experiments, does it appear that the temperatures during all the time of the pupal stage were noted; it is known that a very moderate difference in temperature will make a difference of many days in the duration of this period. One may venture to suggest, also, that in the continuation which it is hoped M. Pictet will make of his valuable experiments he will give as far as possible the whole number of the insects in the broods at their commencements and the whole number of perfect insects reared in the great majority of cases only percentages are given; also that he will state whether the whole or nearly the whole of those reared were similar in appearance to those figured, and whether there was any considerable proportion substantially different.
There appears to be one error to which, as it has not the character of a mere slip, and therefore has a bearing on the arguments used, it is necessary to direct attention. The larvæ of the first generation of the year of V. urticae are at p. 94 mentioned as coming from butterflies which "have probably passed the winter in the chrysalis stage," and at p. 81 "certain Vanessas " are spoken of as being able to pass the winter in the egg, chrysalis, or winter stage. Surely V. urticae hibernates only as an imago, wherever there is a real winter, as is the habit of the Vanessas generally. Again, fifteen to twenty days is stated as the usual period of the larval life of Argynnis paphia; in England this hibernates as a very young larva, and feeds up, very quickly it is true, during April, May, and June, appearing as an imago in July or early August, and this is its usual habit on the continent of Europe.
CHEMISTRY IN THE SERVICE OF THE STATE.1
N the year 1840, the Legislature made an interest
enactments against the adulteration of tobacco, and permitted any ingredients, "except the leaves of trees, herbs, and plants," to be added to that article in the course of its preparation. The result was that tobacco speedily became grossly adulterated; in two years the consumption had decreased by more than a million pounds; and, since tobacco is a heavily taxed commodity, the Exchequer suffered severely. So serious a loss had to be promptly stopped; hence in 1842 the prohibition of adulteration was re-enacted. To help in making the prohibition effective, the Commissioners of Inland Revenue fitted up a small laboratory, the staff of which, consisting for some time 1 "Report of the Principal Chemist upon the Work of the Government Taboratory for the Year ending March 31, 1905 Official Publication, Cd. 2591. Price 3d.
of one person only, was occupied solely in detecting fraudulent additions to tobacco.
Such was the modest origin of the chief branch of the institution which now undertakes nearly all the analytical and consultative chemical work required by the various Government departments. Another branch, the Customs Laboratory, may be said to owe its inception chiefly to the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1875, which laid upon the Board of Customis the duty of supervising the quality of imported tea. The two branches were affiliated in 1894 under one
How considerable the business of the laboratory has now become may be gathered from the recently issued report of the principal chemist, describing the work of the department during the last financial year. From this it appears that the number of samples analysed in that period was no less than 138,508. Of these, 49,751 were examined in the Customs branch, and the remainder, 88,757, in the main laboratory at Clement's Inn Passage.
What, however, more particularly strikes one is the wide range of interests, both of the State and of the individual, which are touched at one point or another by the chemical activities of the department. We extract from the report a few notes which may serve to illustrate this, and to indicate the nature of the questions dealt with.
Dealing first with the Customs, the ultimate aim of the various analyses is, of course, to facilitate the just assessments of Customs dues. This, however, involves the testing of many articles which are not themselves dutiable. For instance, genuine cider is free of duty. A temptation is thus offered to an unscrupulous wine importer, since by labelling his wine as "cider" he may, if undetected, get it passed into the country without payment. As a matter of fact. out of 154 samples examined during the past year. 10 represented importations of so-called cider which was found to be chargeable as wine, and another had to pay duty as a spirit preparation. Again, crude methyl alcohol is admitted free, but if purified so as to be potable must pay the spirit duty In 31 cases out of 256 the substance was, in fact, so pure that the full alcohol rate was levied.
As compared with the previous year, there has been a notable decrease in the number of certain beer wine, and liqueur samples; this is attributed to diminished consumption of alcoholic beverages. the other hand, samples of tea show a considerable increase-from 2345 to 3260-in spite of an augmented tea-duty. For various reasons, 316 of these specimens of tea were objected to, and 7 were condemned as unfit for human food.
Among other items of interest, we note that facilities are given by the Customs authorities for the utilising of waste tobacco in the preparation of sheep dips and similar articles. It appears that nicotine is supplanting arsenic as the active principle in such products.
The very high duty on saccharin--20s. per poundinvolves, the principal chemist remarks, a careful outlook for this substance in the most unlikely places. 617 samples of articles which might have been vehicles for its fraudulent introduction were tested, and 55 of the number were charged the duty as being either saccharin or substances of like nature and use.
In the laboratory at Clement's Inn Passage, the business is classed as (1) Revenue work; (2) work for other Government departments; and (3) the analysi of samples referred by magistrates to the Government chemists in disputed cases under the Sale of Food and The examinations of excisable articles Drugs Acts. are devised to secure the revenue accruing from beer.
spirits, and tobacco. For instance, beer-duty is charged according to the specific gravity of the brewer's wort before fermentation, and this gravity is "declared" by the brewer himself. To test the accuracy of such declarations, 6370 samples of wort in various stages of fermentation were analysed, with the result that the amount of duty was increased in more than 10 per cent. of the cases. Again, on beer which is exported, “drawback" corresponding to the original duty can be claimed to check the claims, samples of the beer are analysed; and during the year 2789 barrels were found to be not entitled to the drawback claimed. 813 samples of beer out of 6589 taken from publicans were shown by analysis to have been illegally diluted with water. Of socalled "temperance drinks, about one-third of the whole number examined, 101, contained alcohol in excess of the legal limit, the highest quantity being about as much as in ordinary light beer. Forty-four specimens of beer and brewing materials were found to contain arsenic in objectionable amount.
As regards spirits, it is noted that the exportation of medicinal tinctures, flavouring essences, and perfumes is increasing. So, too, is the use of denatured alcohol for industrial purposes, and of pure duty-free spirit issued to medical and other science schools.
Tobacco is examined chiefly to prevent an excessive admixture of water or oil; penalties were imposed in 87 cases of this kind during the past year, and also in other instances where glycerin and liquorice were unlawfully present.
Legal proceedings are necessarily a feature of the chemical control over dutiable articles. Penalties aggregating 5072l. were imposed during the year in respect of offences proof of which depended upon the analytical evidence.
Much work, of very varied scope, is carried out for the Admiralty, the Boards of Trade and Agriculture, India Office, Post Office, War Office, and other State departments. Imported dairy produce, for instance, is analysed for the Board of Agriculture in order to check the importation of adulterated foodstuffs; 2468 such articles were examined in the year, of which 2110 were butter and 305 milk and cream. Boron preservatives and artificial colouring-matter are found to be common additions to the butter. The use of the preservative is increasing; but, as the principal chemist points out, there is a difficulty in restricting the admixture so long as a legal limit has not been fixed. In two other respects it would seem that the law might well be amended. Butter, about the purity of which there were grave doubts, and cheese containing merely nominal amounts of fat, had, in the absence of legal limits," to be admitted into the country without objection; this seems hardly fair,
either to the home farmer or to the consumer.
In connection with the testing of filters, a useful note of warning is given to the makers of these articles. The actual filtering material may be quite satisfactory, but as regards giving a sterile filtrate the whole apparatus is sometimes rendered useless by leakage of unfiltered water through faulty fittings. For the Home Office an interesting series of leadglaze samples was examined during the year. may be remembered that cases of lead poisoning in the pottery industry had a few years ago become so numerous as almost to constitute a public scandal. Profs. Thorpe and Oliver, who were commissioned by the Home Secretary to investigate the matter, recommended, among other remedial measures, the substitution of lead silicates for the white lead then in general use as a glazing substance, on the ground that the silicate, properly compounded, would be almost insoluble in the acids of the gastric juice, and therefore far less poisonous than the easily soluble
white lead. Based on this recommendation, a regulation was framed by the Home Office; it was, however, thought by the potters to be too stringent, and eventually the point was submitted to arbitration, Lord James of Hereford being umpire. His award was in the nature of a compromise giving the manufacturers greater freedom than under the original proposal. The conditions are set forth in the report, together with the results of the analyses of samples of glaze showing how nearly the manufacturers, in the first year's working of the new rules, have been able to keep their glazes within the specified limits. On the whole, the results are fairly satisfactory. Thus thirty samples were represented as "leadless,' and all but four did, in fact, conform to the regulation.
The India Office requires the analysis of a great variety of articles, which are examined in order to ensure that goods supplied by contractors are actually what they purport to be. Metals and alloys, cements, chemicals, disinfectants, drugs, food preparations, oils, paints, and surgical dressings were among the supplies sent for analysis during the year; but how far they proved to be satisfactory is not stated. In cases which arise under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts there may be a conflict of testimony, and the magistrate may wish to have before him independent evidence upon the chemical aspects of the question. In such matters the Government Laboratory acts as amicus curiae, and examines a sample of the article in dispute which has been specially reserved for that purpose. Further, whether the magistrate wants it or not, either of the litigants can claim to have this reserved sample forwarded for analysis. This is an excellent provision, securing as it does a careful examination of the disputed points by chemists unconnected with either prosecution or defence, and detached from any local influences which might, however wrongly, have been alleged or suspected by an accused person to have been used against him. During the past year this provision has been taken advantage of in 109 instances. The net result of the references was to support the allegation brought against the article in the great majority of cases, viz. in 95 out of 105.
The report bristles with matters of interest similar to the foregoing. It is the record of a useful year's work.
ON THE ORIGIN OF EOLITHS.
THE HE more detailed paper by M. Marcellin Boule on the subject of the origin of eoliths (see NATURE, August 31, p. 438) has now appeared in l'Anthropologie (Tome xvi., p. 257), and was briefly noticed in NATURE of September 28 (p. 538). paper is too long for us, with the existing pressure upon our space, to give a full translation of it, but the following are the principal new features in the extended essay. The velocity of the circumference of the wheels in the délayeurs, or vats, is stated to be about 13 feet per second, the same as the speed of the Rhone in times of flood. It will therefore be seen that these mixing vats are of an entirely different character from ordinary pug-mills, and that the motion of the water in them may be properly described as torrential. The author attaches no importance to the fact that some of the blows to the flints are given by the iron teeth of the suspended harrows, and states that most of the flints are reduced to the condition of rolled pebbles, identical with those to be found in all flint gravels, but that there are numerous examples of retouches, or secondary working. In illustration of this he gives photographic figures of eleven different specimens by which he contends that
the analogy of these flints from the cement manufactory near Mantes with the so-called eoliths from Tertiary beds is substantiated, and he regards it as undeniable that these Mantes eoliths have been produced, and are being continually produced, apart from the intention of any human being.
In conclusion, he directs attention to the importance of migration both in history and in the development of all fossil groups. Nothing, he says, proves that the evolution of the human species or genus took place in one particular spot. It is very possible that man appeared suddenly in this part of the world at the beginning of the Quaternary period, at the same time as the mammalian fauna of which he forms part, and which is very different from the last fauna of Pliocene times. As a palæontologist, he believes firmly in the existence of Tertiary man, traces of whom, he doubts not, will eventually be found in some part of the world; but for these to be indisputable, they must possess a very different value from that of the eoliths.
In addition to M. Boule's memoir, an important article has appeared in the Archiv für Anthropologie (Neue Folge, vol. iv., p. 75), "Zur Eolithenfrage. It is from the pen of Dr. Hugo Obermaier, of Paris, who has also visited the cement works near Mantes, and entertains views upon the subject almost identical with those of M. Boule. He begins with a historical sketch of the discoveries of eoliths in beds from the Oligocene downwards to the Quaternary, and then proceeds to describe and discuss the modern products of the délayeurs, of one of which he gives a section. The paper is illustrated by eight plates, six of which are photographic. The first gives eight specimens of reputed eoliths from Miocene beds at Duan, near Brou (Eure et Loire). The other five are devoted to examples from Mantes, not a few of which present the hollow-scraper 66 notches so often seen eoliths. The remaining two plates contain reproductions of wood-cut figures of eoliths from various localities, so as to afford means of comparison between the old and the new.
He directs attention to an admission of M. Rutot that the eolithic industry is confined to localities where two conditions exist, the one that there was an abundance of the raw material flint, and the other that there was a stream of water in the neighbourhood, conditions which, in a modified form, exist at Mantes.
Want of space precludes a longer notice of this interesting article. We may, however, quote Dr. Obermaier's words in a letter to the editor of the Archiv für Anthropologie (Neue Folge Corr. Blatt., July, 1905, p. 50):- "We have now an experimental proof that eoliths can be formed in a mechanical manner.”
As already announced, the inaugural meeting of the British Science Guild will be held on Monday next, October 30, at the Mansion House, at 4.15 p.m. The Lord Mayor will preside, and will be supported, among others, by the Lord Bishop of Ripon, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, the Right Hon. R. B. Haldane, K.C., M.P., Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, G.C.B., General Sir Frederick Maurice, K.C.B., Sir John Wolfe-Barry, K.C.B., F.R.S., Sir William Ramsay, K.C.B., F.R.S., Mr. C. W. Macara, and Sir Norman Lockyer, K.C.B., F.R.S.
A MEETING of the general committee of the British Association will be held in the rooms of the Linnean Society, Burlington House, on Tuesday next, October 31,
at 3 p.m., for the purpose of appointing officers for the meeting of the association to be held at York next year, and of deciding upon the place of meeting in 1907.
THE Paris correspondent of the Times states that M. Gérault-Richard proposes to ask the French Parliament to vote a credit of 100,000 francs (4000l.) for the investigation of the best means of combating tuberculosis. The Minister of Education, M. Bienvenu-Martin, has promised the support of the Government.
THE death is announced of Prof. DeWitt Bristol Brace, head of the department of physics in the University of Nebraska, and one of the leading physicists of the United States. He was in his forty-seventh year, and had just entered upon his nineteenth year of teaching in the University of Nebraska.
AN international exhibition in connection with ceramic
industries, and with the manufacture of glass and crystal, will be held in 1906 from June to October at the Champs
Elysées and the Cours-la-Reine. Full information can be obtained from the director-general of the exhibition, 19
rue Saint-Roch, Paris.
WE learn from the Pharmaceutical Journal that the Heriot trust governors have decided to establish a laboratory at the Heriot Watt College, Edinburgh, for the study of bacteriology in its relation to various industries. The laboratory has been fitted with the best ppliances, and the services of Dr. Westergaard have been retained to supervise it. The laboratory was formally opened by a lecture by Prof. Hansen on October 18.
A STRONG earthquake shock was felt in Constantinople on October 22 at 5.55 a.m. The disturbances, which lasted several seconds, appeared to travel from the north-east towards the south-west, and were accompanied by a rumbling noise. Earthquake shocks were felt at 2 p.m. on the same day at Batum, and between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. at Kutais. An undulating tremor lasting forty seconds was also experienced at Sukhum-Kaleh.
A CONFERENCE of delegates from the corresponding societies affiliated to the British Association will be held in the rooms of the Linnean Society on Monday and Tuesday, October 30 and 31, under the presidency of Dr. A. Smith Woodward, F.R.S. Among the subjects to be discussed are "The Preservation of Native Plants,' to be introduced by Prof. G. S. Boulger, and "The Law of Treasure Trove," which will be introduced by Dr. W. Martin. The delegates will visit the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, and will dine on Monday evening as guests of the Royal Societies Club.
A REUTER message states that the Berlin Meteorological Observatory, which the Emperor recently opened in the presence of the Prince of Monaco, is fitted with all the latest appliances for meteorological research. The Emperor attaches great importance to the use of balloons in meteorology, so that an extensive balloon hall has been included in the building plan of the new observatory at Lindenberg. near Berlin. On the highest point of the plateau on which the observatory stands is a shed which can be turned to any point of the compass, and contains a cable drum driven by a small electric motor for hauling in kites, which are to be extensively used for meteorological purposes. Electric search-lights have also been installed for night observation. Another interesting feature of the new institute is the kite factory, where large kites, fitted with self-registering instruments, are made. The institute has its own establishment
where balloons can be filled, and it is the present intention of the directors to make observations with balloons every first Thursday in the month.
DR. BÁTHORI ENDRE, writing from Királyfalva, Hungary, informs us that the Bólyai international prize will be presented next December, for the first time, by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The prize is ten thousand crowns, and will be awarded every five years, in memory of John Bólyai, the celebrated Hungarian mathematician, to the writer of the best mathematical work in the same period of years. The committee concerned with the award of the prize met on October 11 in Budapest. The members of the committee are:-Prof. G. Darboux, Paris; Prof. F. Klein, Göttingen; Prof. G. König, Budapest; and Prof. G. Rados, Budapest. The names of two mathematicians were considered, viz. Prof. H. Poincaré and Prof. D. Hilbert. The committee awarded the prize to Poincaré, and at the same time expressed its acknowledgment and admiration of Prof. Hilbert's works. Profs. Darboux and Klein gave lectures in Budapest on the teaching of mathe
THE inaugural address of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society was delivered, on October 17, by Sir William H. Bailey, the president of the society. The address took the form of an interesting historical account of the society since its foundation in 1781, and included appreciative references to the work of many distinguished members whose names are to be found in early volumes of memoirs. The founders were the chief scientific men of Manchester. Among the honorary members were Erasmus Darwin, Dr. Franklin, Lavoisier, Dr. Priestley, William Roscoe, of Liverpool, the poet and grandfather of Sir Henry Roscoe, Dorning Ramsbottom, Josiah Wedgwood, and others. The chief tools of the workshops of the world, not only those where steam engines, locomotives, and steamships are built, but also of the textile factories of the world, were invented in Manchester or within thirty miles of it. The records of the society contain the names of many of these inventors who were members, for the men of Lancashire were the first to use steam power for spinning and weaving, and for punching, cutting, and shaping metal. Prominent among the inventors was that genius Richard Roberts, who was always in the front rank in advocating technical education. His chief inventions were the slide lathe, planing machine, and selfacting mule for spinning cotton. Then there was Nasmyth, the inventor of the steam-hammer, Sir William Fairbairn and Sir Joseph Whitworth. Finally, Sir William Bailey referred to the great work of the illustrious members Dr. Dalton and Dr. Joule, whose effigies in marble are in the entrance to the Manchester Town Hall.
PLANS have been formulated by Mr. Einar Mikkelsen, a young Dane, for an expedition to the Arctic regions, the objective being that part of the Polar Ocean which lies immediately to the west of the Parry Archipelago, north of Canada. Interviewed by a representative of the Morning Post, Mr. Mikkelsen gave an outline of his programme. He will be joined by Mr. Leffingwell, a young American geologist, and Mr. Ditlevsen, a naturalist, who, like Mr. Mikkelsen, accompanied Lieut. Amdrup to the east Greenland coast in 1900. It is proposed to start from Canada in the spring of 1906. Early in May the party hopes to reach the upper waters of the Athabasca River, by way of Edmonton, and to follow that stream, and the Slave and Mackenzie Rivers, down to the northern coast of the Dominion. It will be some time in July before the mouth
of the Mackenzie River is reached. At the end of August a whaler, which will have been brought north especially for the use of the expedition, will be joined by the party. Geological and zoological investigations and study of the native Eskimo will occupy the time of waiting. At Cape Kellet it is hoped that winter quarters will be established. The winter is to be occupied with scientific investigations. The plan is that about the end of February the party, three white men, two Eskimo, and the dogs, shall start out from Prince Albert Cape in a N.N.W. direction, that is, more or less parallel to the mainland. Ten days, it is calculated, should see an end of the bad ice, and then Mr. Ditlevsen is to return, leaving Messrs. Mikkelsen and Leffingwell to continue the journey alone. They hope to keep on in the same direction as far as latitude 76° N., in about 147° west longitude, before turn ing south to reach the coast.
THE Tottenham Urban District Council has issued a public appeal for subscriptions for the purpose of furnishing a museum and for the donation of objects of interest. An opportunity occurred during the present year for securing a collection of minerals and other geological specimens for a nominal sum, and at the same time an offer was received from Mr. H. E. H. Smedley to lend his museum collection to Tottenham and to give his services as honorary curator. The council has accepted the offers. The cost of furnishing the museum is estimated at 250l. Any contributions in money, or suitable objects for exhibition, may be sent to the librarian at the Central Public Library, High Road, Tottenham.
THE increased sale of synthetic indigo promises, a writer in the Journal of the Society of Arts states, to destroy the old and important Anglo-Indian industry of indigo planting. Since 1895-6 the value of the exports has fallen from 3,569,700l. to 556,400l., and this is largely due to synthetic indigo. Of the indigo imports of Japan last year fully three-fourths was the artificial product, vegetable indigo being increasingly unsalable. In the United States the synthetic dye came on the market in 1898, and was held at 44 cents per pound, about the value of vegetable indigo on the indigotin basis. Now the price is down to 18 cents, and at this figure it is claimed to be much cheaper than the lowest obtainable values in any vegetable indigo. The artificial dye has already secured nearly 85 per cent. of the world's consumption, and the price of indigo has dropped about one-half. To-day Germany imports only small quantities of natural indigo, while her exports of synthetic indigo have increased enormously, and represented last year a value of 25,000,000 marks.
THE study of the zoology of the Philippines is being energetically carried on by the Americans, one of the latest contributions being the description of new Hymenoptera, by Mr. W. H. Ashmead, published in the Proceedings of the U.S. Nat. Museum (No. 1416).
THE Agricultural Society of Sapporo, Japan, is devoting its energies to the study of the insects of the country and the mischief they inflict on agriculture, forestry, &c. In the first and second parts of the second volume (the first volume being at present apparently unpublished) of the society's journal, of which we have been favoured with copies, all the papers except one are, for instance, devoted to insects and their life-history. The groups discussed include the Cercopidæ, or lantern-flies, the freshwater Hemiptera, and the bark-boring beetles of the family Scolytidæ. In the article referred to above, Mr. S. Hashimoto takes into consideration the composition of certain abnormal samples of milk.