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Tue AssuMED PLANET, O, BEYOND NEPTUNE.--Replying machines are being used more com
ommonly; wheat is being
years show a steadily increasing deviation DR. JOHN KNOTT has published in the New York from those of the previous sixty years,
Medical Journal (April 17 and 24) an article on
deviation which he considers is, of itself, a strong argument in
spontaneous combustion, with the object of showing that favour of the existence of a hitherto unrecognised disturb
the cases of death reported as occurring from that cause ing force.
are mere fancy legends which were partly the result of With regard to the suggestion, made in Nature for
ignorance and mainly of imagination. Many years ago June 17, that the time is ripe for the discussion of the
Liebig, and later Casper, wrote treatises with the same
object; but Dr. Knott's contribution is not devoid of observations of Neptune, for the determination of any perturbing influence, Prof. Pickering suggests that such a
interest, if only for the exhibition of gentle sarcasm with
which he attacks the writings and statements of past discussion would probably be more hopeful in twenty years' Fellows of the Royal Society and others of equal standtime, when the deviations of Neptune should amount to two or three seconds. Another maximum of Uranus will
ing who lent the sanction of their names to these idle occur about then, and a graphical solution would be likely which is probably best known to English readers, namely,
fables. He does not include among his cases the one to furnish trustworthy data concerning the perturbing the celebrated case of Mr. Krook recorded by Dickens in force, or forces, very quickly.
“ Bleak House." The evidence in favour of spontaneous
combustion as the cause of Mr. Krook's death is just AGRICULTURE IN THE TRANSVAAL.
about as convincing (or the reverse) as in the majority
of the others. THE issue of the annual report of the Transvaal De- We fancy, however, that Dr. Knott is preaching to the
partment of Agriculture is an important event in converted, for we can hardly believe him when he states the agricultural world, and each year's report furnishes that. "spontaneous combustion is still accepted as an fresh proof of what science can do for agriculture. The article of pathological faith by our recognised leaders in work has outgrown the accommodation, and Mr. Smith the domain of medico-legal opinion and teaching." puts in a strong plea for buildings which, in the Trans- The belief in spontaneous combustion in the human body vaal, is not likely to be disregarded.
doubtless originated in the observation of electrical phenoAn account is given by the heads of the separate depart- mena long before electricity was understood or even disments of the work that has been going on. Dr. Theiler covered. The “will-of-the-wisp " was endowed, as its reports further experiments with Piroplasma mutans and name suggests, with a personality. The saintly halo and P. bigeminum, two organisms causing serious animal the fiery tongues of painters and poets familiarised the diseases, and is making considerable progress with in- onlooker with imaginary exhalations; the easy combustioculation methods of coping with them. The botanical bility of certain organic substances, the occurrence of division, under Mr. Burtt-Davy, has occupied itself with phosphorescence in the sea and in decaying organisms, the improvement of the seed maize. Already the Transvaal
were then mysteries which combined to lend credence in farmer exports maize, and could export more: he would an unusual combustibility of the human frame in those secure higher prices and greater profits if supplies of trust- inclined to believe in the miraculous on the slenderest of worthy seed were available. New and promising plants evidence. have also been investigated, and one or two appear as if This point of view was accentuated and stimulated by they will be useful, especially the Florida beggar weed, a the discovery of a new element, phosphorus, especially as leguminous plant suitable for the bushveld, and much liked it was first isolated from human urine and bones. The by stock.
discovery of phosphorus in its day excited just the same The plant pathologist, Mr. Pole Evans, finds that the
kind of interest and imaginative thought as the discovery potato-rot fungus, Nectria solani, Pers., hitherto regarded of radium is doing at the present time. as a saprophyte, is, in the Transvaal at any rate, an active parasite, attacking the tubers at all stages of growth, and causing a putrid rot in them while still in the soil. Infected potatoes are not admitted into the Transvaal, and steps
ETHNOLOGY IN AMERICA. are being taken to eradicate the disease, but the other THE American Ethnological Society has reprinted in South African colonies are doing nothing to prevent the
facsimile the first part of their Proceedings, originally disease from establishing itself within their borders. A published in 1853. The most interesting article is that uniform system of dealing with plant diseases will be not contributed by W. Bartram, which was written in 1789, the least among the advantages of unification.
entitled “ Observations the Creek and Cherokee Locust destruction has received much attention from the Indians," being replies to a series of ethnological quesEntomological Division. There was a serious invasion of tions prepared by Dr. B. S. Barton, vice-president of the brown locusts, doing damage estimated at about 1,000,000l., Philosophical Society of Philadelphia. The connection of but the swarms were marked down, and the voetgangers this tribe with the Iroquois, of whom they formed the destroyed by spraying with sodium arsenite solution. Un- southern branch, has now been established by Horatio fortunately, some of the farmers and many of the natives Hale and Gatschet. This paper gives a singularly interestare still indifferent about the work, and look upon locusts ing account of the ethnography of a tribe now practically as a scourge against which it would be impious to con- extinct, describing their probable origin, relations with tend: thus places where eggs are laid are not always other tribes, their picture records, religious beliefs, forms notified.
of tribal government, physical characteristics, social relaThere is also a general rise in the standard of agriculture tions, their “Chunkey-yards” or earthworks, tenures of in the colonies, in which the experimental farms of the land and conditions of property, diseases and their department have played a conspicuous part. An increased remedies, food and means of subsistence. In connection area of land has come under the plough. Thrashing with the divine kings of Prof. J. G. Frazer, it is interest
ing to find that the King of the Seminoles threatened a certain Mr. McLatche that “ if he did not comply with
UNIVERSITY AND EDUCATIONAL his requisitions, he would command the thunder and
INTELLIGENCE. lightning to descend upon his head, and reduce his stores Dr. R. K. McCLUNG has been appointed lecturer in to ashes." They had also a remarkable cult of the sacred physics in the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. fire. “The Spiral Fire, on the hearth and floor of the Rotunda, is very curious; it seems to light up in a flame
Dr. Fritz Coun, extraordinary professor of mathematics of itself at the appointed time, but how this is done I
and astronomy at the University of Königsberg, has been know not."
appointed professor of theoretical and mathematical astroAnother important article in the same reprint is that nomy, and director of the Königliche Astronomischen by E. G. Squier on “ The Archæology and Ethnology of
Recheninstitut, at Berlin; he enters upon his new duties Nicaragua." He describes a curious kind of spindle, re
on October 1. sembling a gigantic top, which revolved in a calabash, The Central News Agency reports from New York that, and an equally primitive hand-loom. Mr. Squier was the by the will of the late Mr. Cornelius C. Cuyler, the sum first traveller who collected a vocabulary and prepared a of 100,000 dollars is bequeathed for the immediate benefit grammar of the speech of these tribes. They used, he
of the Princeton University, and on the death of Mr. says, the vigentesimal system of counting by twenties Cuyler's widow several million dollars will pass into the instead of the decimal, while the Eskimos, Algonkins, hands of the University authorities. and Choctaws counted by fives. They were emigrants from Mexico, “and presented the extraordinary pheno
We have received a copy of the Directory for higher menon of a fragment of a great aboriginal nation, widely education, 1909-10, issued by the Education Committee of separated from the parent stock, and intruded among
the Staffordshire County Council. The directory contains other and hostile nations; yet from the comparative late the regulations of the committee and the details of schemes ness of the separation, or some other cause, still retain- in operation throughout Staffordshire. We notice that a ing its original, distinguishing features, so as to be easily very complete scheme of technological instruction is prorecognised. Their arms were identical with those of the vided throughout the county by the committee. In the case Mexicans-lances and arrows pointed with flint, copper,
of mining, instruction is given by two lecturers, whose and fish-bones, with blades of obsidian set on the edges.
whole time is devoted to the work, and their assistants. These papers are specially interesting, because they were
For this purpose the county is divided into two portions, written before the age of scientific ethnography, and were
comprising the North Staffordshire Coalfields and the South prepared without reliance on any particular theory of the Staffordshire Coalfields respectively. Theoretical and pracorigins, social organisation, or beliefs of the tribes which
tical classes in metallurgy and iron and steel manufacture were studied by their authors. The re-publication of this
are conducted in accordance with the regulations of the valuable material is a laudable enterprise on the part of
Board of Education and the City and Guilds of London the Ethnological Society.
Institute. Lectures and laboratory work in pottery and porcelain manufacture will be given during the coming
session at Burslem, Longton, Stoke, and Tunstall. The PURIFICATION OF WATER BY STORAGE. services of an instructor in boot and shoe manufacture are THE third annual report, compiled by Dr. Houston, of engaged jointly by the committee and the Education Com
the Metropolitan Water Board, on the results of the mittee of the Borough of Stafford. Silk manufacture is chemical and bacteriological examination of the London taught at Leek, glass manufacture at Stourbridge, and art waters for the twelve months ended March 31 has just been
metal-work at Bilston. To enable teachers in elementary issued, and contains a mass of valuable information. The and secondary schools to impart instruction in various chief conclusions formulated by Dr. Houston may be sum
branches of technical and manual training, special classes marised as follows. The raw waters from which the supplies
are provided at convenient centres by the committee. are derived are usually unsatisfactory, particularly during Courses of lectures on health and the care of children are the winter months, and a judicious selection for waterworks delivered at suitable localities in both rural and urban purposes is important. The storage is unequal, and in some districts, and demonstrations and lectures are also provided cases inadequate in the different works ; filtration is also on gardening, bee-keeping, and poultry-keeping. An unequal, and in some instances too rapid. The quality of
elaborate system of scholarships is in vogue, including the filtered water is likewise variable, and in some cases training scholarships for teachers and midwives, extensive not altogether satisfactory, though a remarkable percentage aid is given to secondary schools, university extension improvement in the quality of the raw water is effected lectures are provided, useful work has been arranged in by storage and filtration; on the whole, however, the water rural districts, and numerous evening classes are available. supplied to the consumer is of satisfactory quality. Storage Altogether the Staffordshire committee is making adequate has been clearly proved to be advantageous in all respects. provision for the education of young men and women The recent investigations of the Board point to the fact that anxious to equip themselves properly for their work in the present sources of the water supply of the metropolis
life. may be regarded with less disfavour than previously.
Dr. Houston, in a fourth report on research work, also details the results of an investigation on the vitality of the
SOCIETIES AND ACADEMIES. cholera microbe in artificially infected samples of raw Thames, Lee, and New River water, which may be con
Paris. sidered to be supplementary to his previous report on the
Academy of Scienres, August 17.-M. Bouquet de la vitality of the typhoid bacillus in similar circumstances (see Grye in the chair.—The synthesis of unsaturated fatty NATURE, vols. Ixxviii., p. 377, lxxix., p. 259, and lxxx.,
ketones: F. Boudroux and F. Taboury. Calcium P. 286). A number of different strains of the cholera carbide attacks the ketones of the fatty series. Acetone vibrio was dealt with, and only those which, after gives mesityl oxide and other condensation products; investigation, might be regarded as undoubted cholera butanone is dehydrated in a simpler manner, the unvibrios were employed in the research, and their bacterio- saturated ketone C,H,.C(CH2=CH-CO.C,H, being logical characteristics are detailed. The conclusions are formed.-The influence of the reaction of the medium on that cholera vibrios rapidly die in the raw waters as a
the development and proteolytic activity of Davaine's result of storage in the laboratory. At least 99.9 per cent.
bacteridium: Mlle. Eleonore Lazarus. The limits of of the organisms perish within one week, and none could acidity or alkalinity between which it is possible for the he isolated even from 100 c.c. of the water three weeks after organism to develop, as well as the reaction corresponding infection. These results are of considerable interest now to the maximum proteolysis, depends, not only on the that cholera is prevalent in Russia and other parts of strain, but also on the nature of the food material. The Europe, and emphasise the importance of storage of the mitochondria of the muscular fibres of the heart : Ci. raw water as a safeguard against water-borne disease. Regaud.—The geological history of the Tellian Atlas of
R. T. HEWLETT. eastern Numidia (Algeria): J. Dareste de la Chavanne.
the Calcutta markets, and popularly connected with smallRoyal Society of Sciences.—The Nachrichten (physico- pos. This fish disease, on examination, was found to be mathematical section), part ii. for 1909, contains the follow- due to a flat worm of the parasitic genus Distoma. The ing memoirs communicated to the society :-
authors have found the ova in various parts of the body March 6.-Seismic records at Göttingen in 1907, with of the fish, but particularly near the dorsal fins in the an introduction on the working out of seismic diagrams : skeletal muscles towards the posterior third of the body. L. Geiger.-Contributions to the theory of tensions in
Two actual inoving worms were found in water whe plastic and sand-like media : A. Haar and T. diseased fish were which are described as presumably the Karmán.
adult form of the worm.-Chemical examination of May 8.—Procedure for the determination of magnetic aurvedic metallic preparations, part i., Shata-puta lauha inclination by means of the induction-inclinometer : 0. and Shahasra-puta lauha " (iron roasted hundred times Venske.-New developments in linear differential equa
and thousand times): Panchanan Neogi and Birendra tions : E. Hilb.—New members of the systems B, 7, 8,
Bhusan Adhicary. The method of preparing “ Shata€, § Ursæ Majoris : E. Hertzsprung.-The notion of the puta
and Shahasra-puta ” lauha, given in work of deformation in the theory of the elasticity of
Rasendra-Shara-Shangraha, as well as that followed by solid bodies : J. J. Weyrauch.
modern aurvedic physicians, are given in this paper, The “ Business Communications,” part i., 1909, include Samples of iron heated once, ten times, seventy-eight the report of the Samoa Observatory for 1908, a
times, 100 times, and 1000 times have been collected and munication on certain notes of Riemann's lectures, and a analysed. Samples which have undergone a fewer number memorial address on Hermann Minkowski, by D. Hilbert.
of putas are magnetic, and contain ferroso-ferric oxide.
As the number of roastings (puta) increases the amount CAPE TOWN.
of ferrous oxide diminishes, and Shata-puta and Royal Society of South Africa, July 21.-Prof. L.
“Shahasra-puta lauhas contain ferric oxide only, and Crawford in the chair.—Notes on the absorption of water are not magnetic. “ Shata-puta ” and “ Shahasra-puta by aërial organs of plants : Dr. Marloth. Numerous lauhas are almost identical in composition, the amount of experiments were made with various Karroo plants in ferric oxide varying from 78.1 per cent. to 84.6 per cent. order to ascertain whether they are able to absorb water Siliceous matter is present in considerable quantities, vary. by means of their leaves, and thus to utilise the dew, ing from 10.1 per cent. to 34.1 per cent. These lauhas" which is of common occurrence in the Karroo every night are very light and porous, and “swim on water like a during the winter. The results showed that some plants duck,” but precipitated ferric oxide does not “ swim." possess specially constructed hairs, like Mesembrianthemum It is on account of their fineness and lightness that these barbatum and Crassula tomentosa ; others, peculiar stipules
" lauhas" are efficacious. Ordinary ferric oxide is not like Anacampseros Telephiastrum and Afilamentosa ; incorporated in the British Pharmacopoeia. Incidentally, a others, an unusually modified epidermis like Crassula method of estimating metallic iron in presence of ferrous decipiens; and others, again, aërial rootlets like Cotyledon iron is given. cristata. These organs absorb sufficient moisture to supply the requirements of the plants during a part of the year, thus enabling them to exist in arid regions like some parts
CONTENTS. of the Karroo or the desert coast-belt of Namaqualand.Evaporation in a current of air (part i.). : J. R. Sutton.
Tree-Flora of Java. By L. A. B.
241 The results of previous observations upon the rate of
Two American Mathematical Books. By A, L.
241 evaporation made under natural conditions at Kenilworth Elementary Petrology and Ore Formation
242 (Kimberley) with gauges of various patterns suggest that
243 the relative humidity of the air is of more importance
Some New Electrical Books. By M. S.
244 than the absolute humidity in determining the loss of water
Our Book Shelf:-from a given surface, and that there is no simple corre
Mehrtens : " Gas-engine Theory and Design
245 spondence between the wind and the evaporation. In this
Righi: "La materia radiante e i raggi magnetici." paper the author describes some experiments made to
R. S. W.
245 determine the rate of evaporation under different conditions
Stichel : “ Brassolidæ."-W. F. K.
246 of moisture and temperature in the forced draught
Fraser : “ The Volcanic Origin of Coal and Modern generated by an electrically driven fan.—The genesis of the
246 chemical elements : James Moir. The author has found a
“Cassell's 'Nature' Copies (Wild Flowers)”
246 relationship between the atomic weights, whereby the
Lotters to the Editor :accepted values can be calculated with remarkable accuracy.
August Meteoric Shower.-W. F. Denning
246 The scheme brings out closer relationship between such
The Ringing of House-bells without Apparent groups as the alkali metals and the halogens, and although
Cause. - Dr. John Aitken, F.R.S. . it follows the periodic law, it would require the latter to
Flying Animals and Flying Machines. A. Mallock, be modified in important particulars.--Some flowering
247 plants from the neighbourhood of Port Elizabeth : S.
The British Association at Winnipeg
248 Schönland.-Statement of Silayi, a Tembu of the Zemba
Inaugural Address by Prof. Sir J. J. Thomson, tribe, with reference to his life among the Bushmen :
M.A., LL D., D.Sc., F.R.S., President of W. E. Stanford. This communication contains interest
the Association. ing information about a clan of Bushmen whose haunts
Section A.-Mathematics and Physics.- Opening were in the Drakensberg Mountains, and could muster
Address by Prof. E. Rutherford, M.A., D.Sc., forty-three men. It is a narrative of cattle lifting in
F.R.S., President of the Section
257 various ways and devices, as well as of their domestic habits
263 and mode of life, and also of the ultimate destruction of
Our Astronomical Column :the clan by the Tembu chief.
Comet 19096 (Perrine's 1896 vii.)
267 The Recent Perseid Shower
267 CALCUTTA. The Spectroscopic Binary B Orionis
267 Asiatic Society of Bengal, August 4.—The constitution Ephemeris for Comet 1909a (Borrelly-Daniel)
267 of the roots of Arisaema concinnum, Schott, and A.
Maximum of Mira, 1908 .
267 speciosum, Mart. : B. B. Dutta. These roots contain an
The Assumed Planet, O, beyond Neptune abundance of carbohydrates, and are used as food by the
Agriculture in the Transvaal
268 Lepchas of Sikkim in case of need, after taking precau
Spontaneous Combustion .
268 tions in the cooking to get rid of the irritant needle Ethnology in America
268 crystals.—The ova of a Distoma found in the skeletal Purification of Water by Storage. By Prof. R. T. muscles of Saccobranchus fossilis : G. C. Chatterjee and
Hewlett . .
269 T. C. Ghosh. Last year, during the small-pox epidemic, University and Educational Intelligence.
269 a peculiar eruption was noticed on fish offered for sale in Societies and Academies
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THE CAMBRIDGE NATURAL HISTORY
Edited by S. F. HARMER, Sc.D., F.R.S., and A. E. SHIPLEY, M.A., F.R.S.
Fully Illustrated. In Ten Volumes. 8vo.
INSECTS & CENTIPEDES. PROTOZOA. By Professor MARCUS HARTOG, M.A.
VOLUME V. (D.Sc. Lond.).
Peripatus. By ADAM PORIFERA (SPONGES). By IGERNA B. J. SOLLAS
SEDGWICK, M.A., F.R.S. (B.Sc. Lond.).
Myriapods. By F. G. SINCLAIR, M.A. 'Insects. COELENTERATA AND CTENOPHORA. By
Part 1. By DAVID SHARP, M.A., F.R.S.
INSECTS. PART II.
Hymenoptera continued (Tubulifera and Aculeata), VOLUME II.
Coleoptera, Strepsiptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera,
Aphaniptera, Thysanoptera, Hemiptera, AnoFlatworms. By F. W. GAMBLE, M.Sc. Nemertines.
plura. By DAVID SHARP, M.A., F.R.S. By Miss L. SHELDON. Threadworms, &c. By A. E. Shipley, M.A., F.R.S. Rotifers.
FISHES, MARCUS HARTOG, M.A. Polychaet Worms. By
VOLUME VII. W. BLAXLAND BENHAM, D.Sc. Earthworms and Leeches. By F. E. BEDDARD, M.A., F.R.S. Fishes (exclusive of the Systematic Account of Teleostei). Gephyrea, &c. By A. E. SHIPLEY, M.A., F.R.S. By the late T.W.BRIDGE, Sc.D., F.R.S. Fishes (SystePolyzoa, By S. F. HARMER, Sc.D., F.R.S.
matic Account of Teleostei). By G. A. BOULENGER,
F.R.S, Hemichordata. By S. F. HARMER, Sc.D., SHELLS.
F.R.S. Ascidians and Amphioxus. By W. A. VOLUME III.
HERDMAN, D.Sc., F.R.S. Molluscs and Brachiopods. By the Rev. A. H.
AMPHIBIA & REPTILES.
By Hans GADOW, M.A., F.R.S.
VOLUME IX. W. F. R. WELDON, M.A. Trilobites. By HENRY
By A. H. EVANS, M.A. With numerous Illustrations by Woods, M.A. Introduction to Arachnida and
G. E. LODGE.
VOLUME X. M.A. Tardigrada (Water-Bears). By A. E. SHIPLEY, M.A., F.R.S. Pentastomida. By A. E. By FRANK EVERS BEDDARD, M.A. Oxon., F.R.S., ViceSHIPLEY, M.A., F.R.S. Pycnogonida. By D'ARCY Secretary and Prosector of the Zoological Society of W. THOMPSON, C.B., M.A.
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