« PreviousContinue »
value can be attached to projects for aërial navigation suggested of enabling an aviator to observe the resist which are not supported by either theory or experi- ance, and consequently to ascertain the relative ment, yet such projects still succeed in appearing in velocity of his machine. Captain Renard concludes print, and naturally ninety-nine people out of every his “conferences" on aviation in the Bulletin de la hundred mistake the chaff for the grain. In the Société d'Encouragement for June. From Mr. Journal of the Franklin Institute for July, for in- Octave Chanute we have received by a recent mail stance, Mr. Russell Thayer propounds the idea that all papers on “The Evolution of the Two-surface you have to do is to attach a gyroscope to a dirigible Machine,” and “Soaring Flight” (American Aëroballoon and provide it with a sail in order to make nautics, September and October, 1908, April, 1909), it abandon its path of least resistance, drifting with which remind us of the useful pioneer work in which the wind, and plough through the air in a different Mr. Chanute was engaged, particularly before the direction. Even the heading of the paper contains Wright brothers took the subject so much in hand. the sentence “ The lever in space without a fulcrum In the Revue scientifique for August 14, Capt. Paul on the earth!”
Renard writes on " * The Antoinette Aëroplane and We leave readers of NATURE to form their own High Flights.” Prof. Houssay, as a zoologist, writes, opinions of this recent contribution to a journal pro- in the Revue générale des Sciences, xx., 14, on the fessing to be devoted to science and the mechanic stabilisation of fishes by fins and other appendages, arts. But if Mr. Russell Thayer will turn to lla, and points out a certain analogy with the stabilisaNo. 10, p. 174, he will see that his idea of an airship tion of dirigibles. Photography by carrier pigeons supported by balloons and driven by sails was antici- is discussed in Ila for July 1o, which also contains pated in the year 1670 by the Jesuit priest Francesco illustrations, which should interest philatelists, of Lana, of Brescia, whose design possesses the addi- letters sent by balloon post during the siege of Paris tional merit of dispensing with the gyroscope! in 1870, and now exhibited at Frankfurt.
Returning to the serious side of the problem, it In view of the immense amount of popular enthu
Fig. 1.-1. Wright glider (1900-3). 2. Ader (1890–7). 3. First Blériot monoplane (1906). 4. Santos Dumont's machine which made
the first officially recorded flight (1906). 5. Farman's biplane which made the first circuit of a kilometre (January 13, 1908). 6. Robert
is impossible to glance at the two illustrations accom- siasm aroused by aëroplanes, long before they have panying this article without forming the general reached the stage at which they are likely to be used impression that in many of the types figured the as a common means of transport, it is somewhat longitudinal stability is defective and the lateral interesting to think that an invention has appeared stability nil, or worse than nil. It is merely the almost unnoticed which is accessible to everyone, and danger of making statements which are unsupported is capable of affording quite as much genuine enjoyby the most circumstantial evidence that prevents us ment to those who use it as the aëroplane, at a from expressing a very strong and emphatic view fraction of the cost. The piano-player was heralded regarding pretty well every machine in the collection. by no flourish of trumpets, it received no attention The one fact which appears definitely established is in the Press, save in the makers' advertisements, and that aëroplanes which are unstable, both longitudin- there is no journal devoted to its interests. Yet from ally and laterally, can perform flights of indefinite a scientific point of view it possesses many remarklength in the hands of skilled aviators, and this result able—almost marvellous-properties, which afford will receive its full and proper explanation in the abundant material for research. But if such reprospective mathematical theory. Indeed, for those searches were undertaken, no one would publish or who can appreciate them, mathematical researches on read them. All the fashion is for aëroplanes. stability are much more fascinating than flights on
G. H. BRYAN. aëroplanes. A few further papers are deserving of mention. In Since the above article
in proof, the the number of La Nature referred to, an apparatus science of aviation has sustained a sad loss by the called “wrightmeter" is suggested, invented by death of Captain Ferber. Although Captain Ferber's M. Dalloz for the stated purpose of determining the name has not come prominently before the public as a coefficient of resistance of air. As this resistance is record-breaker, this perhaps is in some measure due measured on a sphere, this does not go very far in to the scientific spirit in which he studied aviation. determining the resistances commonly occurring in Captain Ferber commanded the Alpine Battery at aërodynamics, the more useful application being that Nice from 1900 to 1904, and during that time became
interested in aviation. His first models, like the old- THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY AND fashioned quadrilateral boy's kite, had aëroplanes of
ELECTRIC TRAMWAYS. considerable longitudinal dimensions, but on becoming FROM statements recently appearing in the public Herring, and the Wright Brothers, he was not long in Astronomer Royal as an uncompromising opponent adopting the two-surfaced rectangular type. Captain of tramway electrification; but as it is perfectly well Ferber materially developed our theories of longitu- known that Greenwich is very well supplied with dinal stability, and he also gave a mathematical in- electric trams, it must be quite evident that this imvestigation, probably the first, of lateral stability. In pression cannot be correct. view of the last statement, and the fact that Ferber's It is specifically alleged that :machines were furnished with special triangular sails (1) The extension of the overhead trolley system
Fig. 2.-8. Blériot monoplane after accident. 9. Luyties American helicopter. 10. Bonnet Labrauche biplane. 11. Vuia helicopter.
12. Goupy triplane. 13. Curtiss's American biplane. 14. Zeus aëroplane. 15. Ferber biplane. 16. Santos Dumont's Demoiselle.
in order to render them laterally stable, it seems some- from the Arsenal gates to the Woolwich Free Ferry what rash to suggest that his fatal accident was due is blocked by the refusal of official sanction. to the precautions being inadequate; yet it is just (2) The same official sanction is withheld from all possible we may find that such was the case; if so, it schemes for the authorised electric tramway from is remarkable that Ferber should fail when others Woolwich to Eltham. who have taken less adequate precautions have suc- The facts we have been able to ascertain are as ceeded. Before his death Captain Ferber attributed follows, premising that the Admiralty, and not the the accident to flying too low, so that the machine Astronomer Royal, is officially responsible for safe. struck the ground when it heeled over. Captain guarding the efficiency of the observatory records, and Ferber was the author of a number of papers and that the Board of Trade has to provide for adequate articles dealing with aviation, and also a keen bal- protection of the observatory for the magnetic portion loonist.
G. H. B. of the work.
(1) The proposal appears to have been brought up for narcissi, meeting with considerable success in suddenly, without previous warning, towards the latter his quiest. Two amateurs had already formed wonde. part of August, at a time when, as is well known, ful collections of these flowers which, unknown to the many Government officials are expected to be away general public, they had cultivated for nearly a quarter on leave, and, consequently, delay' is almost certain. of a century. These were Mr. W. Backhouse, of It appears also that as soon as the question was gone Darlington, and Mr. Edward Leeds, of Manchester. into by those concerned, it was decided to consent Barr made up his mind that if he could only obtain to the proposal on the strict understanding that any possession of these collections he would have all the further step in the conversion of the existing horse- best of existing daffodils in his own possession. By tramway between East Greenwich and Woolwich | dint of perseverance and enterprise he succeeded in should be by extension of the conduit system east- this, and the collections were removed to Tooting. wards, and not of the trolley system westwards. It where for years afterwards new seedling varieties is, of course, impossible to say how long it will be flowered every year. Every variety worth cultivating before this decision can have any practical effect, but was named and its name registered, for he recognised it is certain that no further delay can be attributed that no commercial success would follow unless the to the observatory.
public could be assured that every plant catalogued (2) As regards the authorised tramway from Wool- accurately and intelligently named. But the wich to Eltham, we find that many Eltham residents varieties continued to multiply so greatly that he found are strongly opposed to the overhead system, while it necessary to elaborate a classification, grouping the the official position is not one of hostility to the over- sorts into sections according to the length of the head system per se, but of insisting on insulated trumpet or perianth tube and other characteristics. returns, any system which ensures this for the pro- Mainly owing to Barr's representations, the Royal tection of Greenwich magnetic records being free Horticultural Society promoted a Daffodil Conference from this official objection. As a case in point, the in 1884, and his system of classification was then, in G.B. surface-contact system was proposed by the the main, adopted. Not long after this the attention County Council several years ago and sanctioned of market growers was directed to these bulbs, and officially, but was then dropped after some inconclusive in the Scilly Isles, in Cornwall, in Lincolnshire, and experiments. Recently a new surface-contact system, other places acres of land were planted for the the S.P. system, was made the subject of an article purpose of supplying the markets with cut blooms. in Engineering, May 28, and claims avoid with the result we see to-day in the inillions of flowers the risk of danger alleged against the G.B. system. that are offered everywhere for sale. It has been tried and favourably reported on, but has Peter Barr retired from business in 1896, not apparently been suggested for the Woolwich and after botanising in various places in Europe Eltham tramway.
for the purpose of collecting daffodils in The official attitude thus seems perfectly consistent their native habitats, In 1898 he began and reasonable, and not unsympathetic. The sugges- tour round the world, which lasted seven years.
He tion of overhead wires without insulated returns visited America, Canada, Japan, China, Australia. within a radius of three miles from the observatory New Zealand, and, on his way home, spent twenty-one ought once for all to be dropped. If the County months in South Africa. During this world tour he Council objects to the expense of the conduit system lectured on daffodils, and interviewed and and to the inconvenience of equipping the overhead acclaimed almost everywhere as the “ Daffodil King,” system with insulated returns, it is for them to find a title which had been given him in this country by
satisfactory alternative. Unless the protective his fellow-floriculturists. clauses insisted on by the Government are to become One of the finest white trumpet daffodils ever raised a dead letter, it is futile to try to blame the observatory was distributed a few years ago by his firm, and for delay or obstruction, and it is in the last degree it was named after Peter Barr. unlikely that the Admiralty will be persuaded to stultify its own action and contention by allowing these clauses to be overridden.
on Sunday last, of Prof. Anton Dohrn, the founder and PETER BARR.
director of the Zoological Station at Naples. THE HE name of this eminent horticulturist, whose
Sir THOMAS Elliott, Secretary to the Board of Agri. death we announced last week, will ever be culture and Fisheries, has been nominated by the French associated with the development of narcissi. Born in 1826, in the former village of Govan, which has long Agricole.”
Government to be a Companion of the Order “ du Mérite since been absorbed in the city of Glasgow, he was the son of a mill-owner who found recreation from In view of the retirement, to which reference has been weaving in the cultivation of tulips and other florists' made in these columns already, of Prof. J. Cleland, F.R.S., flowers. The son appears to have inherited a strong from the chair of anatomy, and of Prof. Jack from the love for floriculture, for he soon tired of the looms, and
chair of mathematics, at the end of the present month, obtained employment in various seed businesses, until in 1861 he commenced business, with a partner, on
there has been set on foot, on the initiative of the business
committee of the general council of the University of the site of the present premises of Messrs. Barr and Sons. King Street, Covent Garden, under the title
Glasgow, a movement for making appropriate recognition of Barr and Sugden. Barr then directed his atten
of their long and distinguished services. Circulars have tion to practical floriculture, experimenting with
been issued to the whole body of university graduates and hellebores (Christmas roses), tulips, lilies, and
to members of other learned bodies with which Profs. pæonies. For these purposes he found it necessary
Cleland and Jack have been connected. In the circulars it to take up a piece of ground at Tooting, where he is stated that the form of recognition will, to a large conducted trials which interested the leading florists extent, depend on the amounts subscribed, but it is thought of the day. He next scoured the country that it might fitly include the provision of some fund for
the advancement of anatomical and anthropological science not, as was supposed, lose itself in marshes in the Ballis in the case of Prof. Cleland, and of mathematical science country, but is an affluent of the Juba, into which it runs in the case of Prof. Jack, and the presentation to the
some 120 miles from the latter's mouths. University of portraits or busts by an eminent artist. The Electrician states that a gift has been made to the Representative committees have been formed to administer American Institute of Electrical Engineers by the Western each fund, and the preliminary lists of subscriptions show Electric Company of a valuable collection of patent that the movement has already met with a hearty response. specifications. The specifications range from May 30, 1871, Men of science and others desiring to take part in the to December, 1908, and number approximately 100,000. recognition and to contribute to either fund are invited
Among the popular lectures shortly to be delivered at to communicate with the honorary secretary and treasurer,
the Royal Victoria Hall, Waterloo Bridge Road, are the Mr. Archibald Craig, clerk, of the University general following :-on October 5, “ Marconi's Transatlantic Wirecouncil, 149 West George Street, Glasgow.
less Telegraphy," by Prof. W. Lynd; on October 19, “ The The Antarctic vessel Nimrod, now moored in the Great Earthquake in Jamaica,” by Dr. Vaughan Cornish; Thames off the Temple Pier, was opened yesterday for the on October 26, “New Guinea," by Mr. J. E. Liddiard. inspection of the public by the Lord Mayor of London. The annual exhibition of the Royal Photographic Shocks of earthquake on the morning of September 22
Society, at the New Gallery, Regent Street, will remain
open until the end of October. It is divided into four are reported from the Bouches-du-Rhône, Rognes, Reggio di Calabria, Messina, and Athens, but in no case does principal sections-pictorial, scientific and technical, pro
.fessional work, and trade exhibits of apparatus and much damage appear to have been done.
materials. The scientific student will find matters of It is stated by the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910, interest in every section, including even the pictorial, for, that arrangements have been made for the purchase of the as the society has reverted to its old custom of stating Terra Nova for the projected expedition of next year. The the method of production, the pictorial photographs may vessel, which is a whaler, was built in 1884. In 1903 be looked upon, if so desired, as specimens of the various she was purchased by the Admiralty as relief ship for the processes. The section specially devoted to scientific and Discovery expedition. The year 1905 saw her in the technical subjects is this year of a wider interest than service of the North Polar expedition, on a visit to Franz usual. The greater number of exhibits represent the Josef Land. The size and strength of the ship make her character and habits of various living creatures, from the a fitting receptacle for the extensive equipment which it largest to the smallest, and in this department is included is necessary she should carry for the full success of the special collections of work by the Zoological Photographic plans of the expedition. After being duly inspected on Club and by a number of German naturalists, the latter behalf of the expedition in Newfoundland she will sail for having been collected by R. Voightländer, of Leipzig. The England and, it is hoped, reach the Thames about the astronomical photographs include recent plates from end of October or early in November. The officers and Greenwich, Stonyhurst College, and the Heidelberg crew for the expedition have now been selected.
Observatory. Among those who show spectrum photoThe presidential address of Mr. W. Noble Twelvetrees graphs we notice the names of Prof. Zeeman, Prof. H. will be delivered to the Civil and Mechanical Engineers' Kayser, A. Fowler, and c. H. Fabry and H. Buisson.
Dr. C. L. Leonard contributes Röntgen-ray photographs Society at Caxton Hall, Westininster, Thursday,
that show peristaltic waves in the stomach and intestines. October 7.
Experiments on the resolving power and other properties of ACCORDING to a Times correspondent a group of French, photographic plates are shown by C. E. K. Mees and E. K. German, and Belgian patrons of aviation are offering a Hunter. Photomicrography, telephotography, and balloon prize of 10,000l. to be awarded to the aviator who rises, photography are well represented, and there are
a few with a fixed point as centre, to a height of 250 metres, interesting exhibits that refer to the methods of process Alies a thousand metres from this altitude in a horizontal work. Of colour photography, although there are many direction, and finally, returning, soars for a quarter of an specimens, the only progress indicated is in the direction hour at a height of 20 metres over the point of departure. of the perfecting of the newer plates, more particularly An alternative feat is to make a flight from Brussels to the Thames plate. The regular disposition of the three Paris or from Brussels to Cologne, without a stop, at a colours in this plate renders it specially adaptable to respeed of 60 kilometres an hour.
production by different methods. We would point out that
many photographs of great interest are mounted as lanternIt is stated in Tropical Life that an International Cotton
slides, and that these are shown on a stand by themselves, and Fibre Exhibition will be held in London in 1912, and
away from the general collection of scientific and technical that in conjunction with it there will be an important con
exhibits. ference for the purpose of considering the cotton and fibre
Rainy, cool, and unsettled weather has prevailed throughquestions in their various aspects. A section of the exhibition will be devoted to other fibres, animal, vegetable, and
out September, and although the rainfall in the aggregate mineral.
has not generally been excessive, there have been few days
without rain, except during the third week of the month. ACCORDING to a Reuter message from Rome, the Juba, in The total measurement of rain is in excess of the average Benadir, has formed a new mouth. Some months ago a in London by about 0.3 inch, and rain fell on nineteen violent typhoon broke through the spit of land separating days. The day temperatures have continued remarkably the sea from that part of the river which runs parallellow for the time of year, and at the London reporting with the coast, and the action of the sea and the current station of the Meteorological Office, in St. James's Park, combined have since made a new mouth 450 yards in the sheltered thermometer has not once touched 70°.
At breadth and formed a long lagoon which, with little ex- Greenwich there was only one day with 70° or above, the pense, be converted into
serviceable harbour. highest reading being 71°, on September 6. There has The same
message states that the Italian Resident, not been so cold a September since 1897, and as recently Captain Ferrari, has found that the Webbi Shebeli does as 1907 there were fifteen days during the month with a
temperature of 70° or above. Our weather over the British number Mr. Joseph Mangan describes the entry of Islands has been chiefly under the influence of cyclonic zooxanthellæ into the ovum of Millepora, and gives some disturbances, which have arrived with considerable fre- particulars concerning the medusæ. quency from off the Atlantic.
The report on forest administration in Southern Nigeria In the September number of the American Naturalist for 1907 contains an account of a tour through the west Dr. R. F. Scharff reviews the evidence in favour of an provinces, described by Mr. H. N. Thompson, the con. early Tertiary land-connection between North and South servator of forests. Two fine forest tracts were explored America. He believes in the existence during early Tertiary at Ijaye and Ilesha, both of which are situated in the times of a strip of land connecting western North America dry-zone vegetation. The first-named is called after an with Chile, when Central America and northern South ancient town which was destroyed about sixty years ago, America were submerged. Such a connection, it is urged, and since that time part of the forest has grown up. is supported by many lines of evidence, and would serve Here there were found to be mahogany trees with a girth to explain the occurrence of Eocene armadillos in North measurement exceeding '10 feet, which implies a much America and the affinity between the Canadian porcupine more rapid rate of growth than is betokened by ring counts. (Erethizon) and the Santa Crucian Stiromys.
The same conclusion is derived from the dimensions of
trees planted in the botanical gardens, wherefore Mr. In addition to their great abundance, the star-fishes of Alaska and British Columbia are remarkable, according Thompson advances the opinion that probably the to a paper by Prof. A. E. Verrill in the September issue mahogany trees show three or four well-marked zones of of the American Naturalist, for the redundancy in the growth each year, corresponding to the four definite number of their rays, this being specially noticeable in the family Asteriidæ, the members of which, despite many The reasons for deterioration that follow upon self. exceptions, are generally five-rayed in other parts of the fertilisation or inbreeding of the maize plant have been world.“ Besides the species that normally have an in- investigated by Dr. G. H. Shull, who puts forward in the creased number of rays, or vary indefinitely, there are publication of the American Breeders' Association (vols. others which have, more or less rarely, a smaller or larger iv. and v.) certain conclusions based on the results of exnumber as monstrosities. . . . Various other monstrous perimental cultivation. Plants selected according to the variations occur somewhat frequently, such as forked rays,
number of rows of grain in the ear were allowed to selfsupernumerary rays arising from the dorsal surface, &c.” fertilise, when two strains became evident. For reasons
which are given, it is considered that the individuals in The second part of the first volume of the Records of
a maize field are generally very complex hybrids, and the Canterbury Museum (New Zealand) contains
that these strains are elementary species or biotypes, so account of the scientific results of a trawling expedition that, according to the author's premises, self-fertilisation undertaken by the New Zealand Government in 1907.
tends to isolate elementary forms, producing a homozygous The expedition seems to have been organised entirely from
condition, i.e. pure forms. Crosses between the two the commercial point of view, and the facilities afforded
strains led to a distinct increase in the yield, whence the for scientific investigation were by no means so great as
following method of propagation is suggested. Pure races they might have been. It is therefore not surprising that
of maize are to be obtained by self-fertilisation, and the the scientific results are somewhat meagre. This is the
crosses made between these pure races provide seed corn more unfortunate, as we still know comparatively little
for the field crop. about the marine biology of the waters around the New Zealand
The investigations, chiefly of local BOTANICAL teachers making use of lantern-slides may be naturalists, have made us very fully acquainted with the glad to know of a new series of slides produced by Messrs. terrestrial fauna of the Dominion, and much has been F. E. Becker and Co., Hatton Wall, London, from original done in the way of shore-collecting; but systematic marine photomicrographic negatives prepared by Mr. C. W. biological research is, as a rule, beyond the reach of Greaves. A first series of fifty slides is announced, of private individuals, and it is here that an enlightened which several relate to sections of anomalous dicotyGovernment might be fairly expected to take an oppor.
ledonous stems, others to the anatomy of stem, leaf, and cunity for encouraging the advancement of science. root of angiosperms and the pine ; a few represent crypto
PROTOZOOLOGY is very much in evidence in vol. liii., gamic and fossil sections. The phanerogamic specimens part iv., of the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical good microscopic sections, and the section of a Fucus con
examined are clear and well defined, being taken from Science, which contains fewer
than five papers on this subject. Miss Muriel Robertson describes the life
ceptacle is excellent in general contour and detail. cycle of a new trypanosome from Ceylon, of which the An abstract of the report of the director of the Bombay principal host is the soft tortoise, Emyda vittata, and the Bacteriological Laboratory for 1908 appears in the British intermediate host a leech of the genus Glossiphonia. Mr. Medical Journal, from which we learn that the issue of C. Clifford Dobell describes the processes of physiological anti-plague vaccine was little short of that of the predegeneration and death in Entamoeba ranarum. Dr. ceding year, when the disease was severely and widely McCarrison places on record his observations the prevalent, the number of doses dispatched being 533,315 Ameba in the intestines of persons suffering from goitre in against 620,923. Experiments were carried out regarding Gilgit ; Dr. Row describes the development of the parasite the efficiency of rat and rat-flea destroyers, but they were of oriental sore in cultures; and Prof. Minchin discusses not satisfactory or conclusive. The general bacteriological the structure of Trypanosoma lewisi in relation to micro- work was of a varied description. Special inquiry was scopical technique. Several of these papers are remark- made regarding an outbreak of malaria in the fort and able for the beauty of the coloured plates which accompany dock area of Bombay; the investigation is still in progress. them, and the same is true of a short paper by Messrs. An outbreak of relapsing fever in the Kolaka district was Muir and Kershaw describing, under the name Peripatus also made the subject of special study. The laboratory ceramensis, a new species of Peripatus from Ceram, the rendered assistance and advice regarding questions relating first to be recorded from the Moluccas. In the same to plague and other infective diseases, and courses of in