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Observations of the Leonid Meteors, 1904. (using potassium bichromate to sensitise the gelatin), OBSERVATIONS by the writer this year go to show that
and after each relief is stained with its appropriate the intensity was 'much below that of last. Briefly, the colour the three films are superposed. The method nights of November 12 and 13 were heavily overcast, but recently described by Dr. Koenig is of the multiple the night of November 14 and early morning of November 15 film kind, but the colours are produced by direct exwere fortunately clear. The display lasted about an hour, posure to light. say from 12.30 until 1.30 a.m., maximum 1 o'clock a.m. Many organic colouring matters yield by reduction (local times), hourly rate, low, 20 to 25. Bright meteors, colourless bodies that are more or less easily re-oxidised however, continued to appear at intervals up to 3 a.m., with the production of the original colours. The when clouds coming on stopped further observation. A
oxidation of these leuco colouring matters is generally couple of hours' watch before and after midnight of November 15 gave only two Leonids, while another two
if not always quickened by light. If, therefore, the hours' watch on the night of November 16 showed the
leuco-compound produced from a dye of a suitable radiant, which was sharply defined the previous nights, at
red colour is caused to impregnate a film, and this is 150° + 23°, near Zeta, to be quite quiescent. Other radiants exposed beneath the negative made to give the red active were :
image in three-colour work, the red image may be
produced by direct exposure to light. A similar pro(1) Leonids (No. 2)
cedure will of course give the yellow and blue images, 165+ 25 Strong, bright. (2) Ursids...
and so the complete colour print may be obtained. 155+47 (3) Præsepids
125 + 20
Such are the general principles upon which Dr. (4) Cancrids 130+5 Short, bright.
Koenig's process depends, but to elaborate the details 5) Geminids 108 + 28 (One) short, bright.
of a successful process on these lines it was necessary
to overcome many practical difficulties. It would be interesting to hear of observations made It was necessary, in the first case, to select only those during the hour or so before daybreak on the morning of dyes (of suitable colours, of course) that yield leucoNovember 15, as it is just possible the increased intensity derivatives of sufficient stability to stand the necessary noticed in previous years may not be real, but due rather manipulations. Then it was found that the leucoto the fact of the radiant being near the meridian, and the bases selected as otherwise suitable gave but a feeble smaller meteors coming down more direct at that time are the better able to penetrate to the lower layers of the atmo
image even after long exposure; but it was observed sphere.
W. H. MILLIGAN.
that when collodion was used as the medium the Holywood, co. Down, November 18.
sensitiveness was greatly enhanced, and the vigour of the image very much improved. This improvement
was traced to the action of the nitrocellulose, and other The Discovery of Argon.
nitric acid 'esters were found to have a still greater Ix your translation of Prof. Mendeléeff's interesting paper
effect. Nitromannite especially is useful for sensitising on the chemical elements (November 17, p. 94) I see that
purposes. Dr. Koenig emphasises the fact that the he attributes the discovery of argon and its congeners to
leuco-bases in an inert film are useless, as the action Ramsay. Am I not right in believing that it was Lord
of aërial oxygen, when it has reached its maximum, Rayleigh who discovered argon, and that it was he who gives only a flat and feeble image. gave that impulse to chemistry which Sir William Ramsay The fixing of the image was the next difficulty, for has carried forward to such remarkable results ?
obviously it is necessary to remove the excess of the Vovember 20.
G. H. DARWIN. leuco-body without interfering with its coloured
oxidation product. It is well known that many dyes Blue-stained Flints.
show a great tendency to remain attached to a fabric SOME years ago there were many blue-stained flints on a leuco-bases employed also have a similar tendency.
or film in spite of the application of solvents, but the road near Cambridge. Lime from gas-works was about to be mixed with the flints used as road-metal, and the two number of the leuco-bases, would not remove them
Dilute mineral acids, though they dissolve the greater different materials had lain for some time in heaps by the fro, collodion films. A 10 per cent. solution of mono roadside. The blue colour, in some instances very intense, was developed wherever a heap of Aints and one of lime
chloracetic acid was found to be the best fixing agent. touched each other ; from which I surmised that the calcium
The various solutions required are supplied ready for sulphide of the gas-lime had reacted with an aluminium use, and the following summary of the instructions rompound present in the flints, producing a substance akin issued with them will give a general idea of the to ultramarine.
F. J. ALLEN. manipulation required. A piece of baryta coated paper Cambridge, November 19.
rather larger than the negative has its edges turned
up, and is coated with a 13 per cent. collodion to which Inheritance of Acquired Characteristics.
has been added the leuco-derivative of the blue dye and
a solution containing the necessary additions. When 11 may be worth noting that since my letter to you of dry it is exposed under the appropriate negative (for, some months back, in which I gave an instance of fox- say, twenty to forty seconds in bright sunshine), soaked terrier pups being born with short tails, I have heard of
in the fixing bath for a few minutes, washed for a few two similar cases. In one of these cases the dog was owned by one of the managers of the Rhodes' Fruit Farms, near
minutes, dipped into a gelatin solution that contains Cape Town. The other case occurred in the Transvaal at
a little chrome alum, and hung up to dry. The print Sabi, one out of a litter of four being born with a short
is then turned so that its lower edge shall be upperD. E. HUTCHINS.
most, again dipped into the gelatin solution, and again Forest Office, Cape Town, October 18.
allowed to dry. The gelatin coating is applied to isolate the collodion film so that it may not be interfered
with by the application of the second collodion. The DR. KOENIG'S METHOD OF COLOUR
print is then coated with collodion to which the PHOTOGRAPHY.
materials for the blue image have been added, exposed
under the proper negative, fixed, and coated twice with N the methods of three-colour photography hitherto gelatin as before. À similar procedure follows for the
practised the colours are used as inks, stains, or yellow image, and after the final gelatin coating it is pigments already prepared, and their distribution is well to varnish the print. It is claimed for the dyes eflected indirectly by the action of light. In the imbi. employed that the blue, which is the one most liable bition process three thin gelatin reliefs are prepared to change, is more permanent than Prussian blue.
THE NEW WHALE FISHERIES.
hands, and a factory at Tonsberg enjoys a practical
monopoly of the machinery employed. I N the story of the rise and fall of the whale fisheries One consequence of the growth of this new industry
history has many times repeated herself. The has been to impress upon us, or to remind us of, the Basque fishery, the oldest of all, the fragmentary fact that at least certain species of whales exist in records of which go back beyond the middle ages, their native seas in prodigious numbers, seldom though which extended centuries ago to the other side of the the occasional traveller has the luck to see them. Atlantic, which long furnished harpooners to our own Once, in the North Pacific, on a calm summer's day, fleet, and which has left us the harpoon and its name, I saw for an hour the ship surrounded on every side finally passed away during last century with a by great whales to the number of many hundreds practical extinction of the object of its pursuit. Our and a somewhat similar display is said to have been own Greenland, or right whale, fishery, in which for witnessed to the north of Shetland during the past one hundred years some 250 vessels were employed, summer. Dr. Hjort calculates that from the behailing from almost every east coast port, has been ginning until 1901 the finner whale fishery resulted now for nearly another century on the decline, and in the capture of some 27,000 fish, a vast number in some half dozen whalers from Dundee are all that is itself, though not great in comparison to the yield of left of the once great argosy. A few fine old American the Arctic fishery in its palmy days, for the Dutch ships, with dark-skinned harpooneers from the Cape alone are reckoned to have taken no less than about Verdes, still chase the sperm whale throughout its 575,900 Greenland whales and “Nordkapers" or world-wide habitat, in place of the 700 sail that Biscayan whales, between 1669 and 1778. Probably followed the business sixty years ago. Zorgdräger, long lived, but certainly slow breeding, the whale Scoresby, Scammon, and a host of lesser men have left must in the end give way before a wholesale persecuus records of these old fisheries, of the methods employed, and of the marvellous success achieved ; but, nevertheless, the naturalist has much to regret in the passing away of these great industries, in the near approach to extermination of the most valuable and most interesting species, and in the scantiness of the material that has as yet been saved. Our chief museum
contains, I believe, neither skeleton nor even skull of the Greenland whale, and the difficulties in the way of procuring one now-a-days seem to be very great indeed.
We have to go to Stockholm or St. Petersburg to see the entire skeleton of such a whale, with the huge fringes of whale-bone still in place in the jaws. Nor, by the way, would our knowledge seem to be more adequate than
anatomical material, for a writer in a standard text-book told us only the other day that a single whale may yield us “ several tons” of whale-bone ! While the fisheries before
Fig. 1.–The Common Rorqual, Snook's Arm, Newsoundland. mentioned, and others like to them, are passing or have passed away, a new fishery tion; but meanwhile several species are still immensely has sprung up that has for the object of its pursuit numerous, and the naturalist has at least the cona class of whales that formerly had been left in solation that pursuit tends to cease as scarcity becomes peace. This is the fishery for the great rorquals, or manifest, and long before actual extermination is finner whales, first instituted by Captain Svend Foyn achieved. at Vadsö in 1864. The fishery is carried on by means The new industry has many attractions and opporof small steamers, carrying at their bows a harpoon tunities for the naturalist. The stations are in many gun which discharges a line and explosive bullet. The cases within reach of easy travel, and the manner in steamer tows the fish home, to be fensed and worked which the carcases are drawn up for Mensing on the up in the factory ashore. Twenty years after Svend shore affords a perfect spectacle of the entire creature. Foyn's small beginning there were more than thirty The volume which has suggested the present article, such factories on the coasts of Finmark, but all of these by Dr. F. W. True, of the U.S. National Museum, is have very recently been disestablished by the Nor- the outcome of a careful use of the opportunities wegian Government, which, in deference to temporary afforded by the Newfoundland whaling stations, supand local prejudice, is robbing its country of a profit. plemented by abundant use of literature and study in able and ill-spared industry. The great success and American museums. Dr. True, who is already well profit of this fishery has led to its extension to Iceland, known as a student of the Cetacea, seems to have Færøe, Newfoundland, and lastly, to Shetland and the made it his first object to investigate the specific Hebrides; but it is still almost wholly in Norwegian characters of the larger whales, with the exception
of the Greenland whale, and to determine, once for 1 "The Whalebone Whales of the Western North Atlantic." By Frederick W. True. '(Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge.) Pp.ivt
all, whether specimens of the various forms from the 372, and plates. (Washington : Smithsonian Institution, 1904.)
two sides of the Atlantic be specifically identicali
This question is answered, in general, in the affirm- Norwegians, which seems to be rare on the other side ative, with some reservation as to the possible exist-of the Atlantic, but which in certain years has bulked ence of varietal or subspecific differences in the case very largely in the Finmark catch; lastly, the humpof the bumpback, Megaptera, and the lesser piked back, Megaptera. Besides these a sperm whale is whale, Balaenoptera rostrata, or acutorostrata, as our caught every now and then, and the Icelanders still author, following Lacépède, prefers to call it take an occasional Nordkaper, or Biscayan whale. Furthermore, additional evidence is adduced in sup- Thus the "finner" industry furnishes not only a large port of the identity of the North Pacific species with number of individuals, but a great variety of species those of the North Atlantic. This conclusion is entirely to the observation of the naturalist. Several curious confirmatory of the views of European naturalists, points crop up in regard to the relative commercial and Dr. True's remarks on the distribution of the value of the several forms. Thus, for instance, various forms deserve to be read in connection with Rudolphi's whale, a species very similar to the common Dr. Guldberg's recent very interesting papers on the rorqual, long overlooked and afterwards considered probable course of the annual migrations of several very rare by naturalists, is now a most valuable element species around the circuit of the North Atlantic. in the fishery, its whale-bone, though no bigger and
But Dr. True has given us other things besides a longer than that of the common species, being worth, careful account of specific characters. He has given from its intrinsic quality, just about ten times as much. us, in the first place, a singularly interesting epitome Dr. True's photographs show us, with a wealth of of the early history of whaling in America, downwards illustration, Sibbald's whale, the common rorqual, the from the mythical days of the Saga of Thorfinn. It humpback, and the Nordkaper as they lie upon the will be news to the citizens of New York that, in the beach. Many interesting points are excellently well seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, there was a not shown—the distribution of colour, the curious pleat
ings of the ventral skin, the contrast in form between the long, slender, lanky Sibbald's whale and the shorter, stouter body of the common species, the tubercles on the head of Megaptera, the huge flippers with their garniture of barnacles in the same species.
It is a common practice of American naturalists, and Dr. True is no exception, to deal somewhat harshly with received nomenclature in the quest after “ priority." Rightly or wrongly, the common rorqual is invariably known to us as B. musculus, but that name is here transferred to what we call B. sibbaldii ; the former is here designated B. physalus, L., and B. biscayensis figures as B. glacialis, Bonnaterre. The work as a whole does not lend itself to epitomisation, and the foregoing brief account does not do justice to its scientific interest.
D. W. T. Fig. 2.-The Humpback, Balena Station, Newsoundland.
animportant whale fishery on Long Island and in
NOTES. Delaware Bay, and that so late as 1823 (?) there was The directors of the Ben Nevis Observatories, which were a family on Long Beach, N.J., who every winter closed on October 1, have just issued a circular describing sought for and “ sometimes captured " whales, in
the circumstances in which these observatories have at last which business they had been engaged, father and sons, ever since the Revolution. In the next place,
been discontinued. The maintenance of the two stations and of still more popular interest, Dr. True has
at Fort William and on the summit of Ben Nevis has intnriched his book with fifty large plates, for the most
volved an average yearly expenditure of 1000l. Of this part taken directly from photographs, of whales as sum, 350l. has been supplied by the Meteorological Council, they lay on the beach at the Newfoundland factories. and the remainder has been obtained from various private A few similar photographs have recently appeared
It was hoped that the Treasury Committee which from Norwegian and Scottish sources, but no such was appointed to consider the question of the annual grant excellent and comprehensive series as Dr. True's has to the Meteorological Council would deal adequately with yet been made, though, by the way, one series of the position of the Ben Nevis Observatories in its report, B. musculus, published about twenty years ago by but in their circular the directors express disappointment M. Yves Delage, could scarcely be surpassed. Five or six species of whales are obtained, more or
that this was not done. The directors remark :—“ Some less abundantly, at the various whaling stations. These
of their number, including the two secretaries, were exare the great * sulphur-bottom,'' or Sibbald's rorqual,
amined, and fully stated their case, besides handing in dethe blue whale of the Norwegians, which, rare on our
tailed memoranda regarding the history, work, and cost own coasts, is the chief source of profit to the Icelandic
of maintenance of the observatories. Yet, with all this and Newfoundland whalers; secondly, the common information before them, the committee state in their rerorqual; thirdly, Rudolphi's rorqual, the Seihval of the port that 'it appears that only 350l. per annum is required