Page images
PDF
EPUB

It is interesting to note that the flame, considering calcium nitrite obtained from the fifth tower and to its high electrical power, is not particularly luminous, convert unchanged lime into nitrate. The oxides of as it is quite possible to look directly at it with the nitrogen produced by the decomposition of the nitrite naked eye at a distance of about i yard, and it is not are carried back to the system of towers. The solueasy to snapshot it.

tion resulting is run, together with the rest of the The alternating-current disc flame is enclosed in stored-up acid, into another series of granite tanks, special furnaces which are lined with firebrick and where it reacts with limestone, thus producing neutral enclosed with metal casing. The fire-chamber of the calcium nitrate. This solution is evaporated down furnace is narrow in the direction of the lines of until the temperature rises to 145°, answering to a force—from 5 cm. to 15 cm. wide—and made partly of concentration of 75 to 80 per cent. of calcium nitrate. perforated firebrick, the air being conveyed to the The solution is then run into 200-litre drums, where it Aame in an evenly distributed supply through the solidifies, and it appears on the market in this form. walls. The magnetic system is composed of two It is, however, found that for fertilising purposes it powerful electromagnets, the extremities of which are is better to use the basic nitrate owing to the turned in towards the fire-chamber. The air is driven extremely hygroscopic properties of the neutral salt. into the central region on both sides of the flame by The ground-up basic nitrate can, as it is not hygrogentle pressure from a Roots blower; it must not be scopic, be readily scattered with a sowing machine. blown too rapidly, otherwise the flame is extinguished. Numerous manuring experiments have been made Fig. 4 shows three of the furnaces, each furnace with calcium nitrate at different agricultural institutes. taking 500 kilowatts. The volume of air at present The results show that lime saltpetre is quite as good treated is 75,000 litres per minute, which after passing as Chili saltpetre, and on a sandy soil is even superior. through the furnace contains about i per cent. of The yield of anhydrous nitric acid by the Birkenitric oxide. The gases leave the furnace at a tem- land-Eyde process is between 500 and 600 kilograms perature of 600° to 700° C., and are first passed per kilowatt year. The cost of calcium nitrate conthrough a steam boiler, the steam from which is em- taining 13'2 per cent. of nitrogen is about 4l. per ton,

[graphic][graphic][merged small][merged small]

ployed in the further manufacture of calcium nitrate.

and the selling price about 8l. per ton. New works After passing from the boiler the temperature is about of 30,000 h.p. are now nearly completed, and it 200°, and by passage through a cooling arrangement is hoped that the new factory will be very shortly in the temperature is reduced to 50°.

active operation. To an Englishman it is of interest The gases now pass into two large oxidising to notice that all the pioneer work was carried out chambers with acid-proof lining, where the oxidation in this country. In this connection it should be of the nitric oxide formed in the furnaces takes place remarked that even if the final stage—the application with production of nitrogen peroxide. It is then con- of the flame electric arc-had been tried in this ducted into an absorption system consisting of five country, it could not have been commercial towers, two being of granite and two of sandstone, success. To be a commercial success it is absolutely filled with broken quartz over which water trickles, essential that very cheap power should be at the disnitric acid thus being produced. The fifth tower is posal of the manufacturers. At present we have not filled with broken bricks over which milk of lime this cheap power, and it is very improbable that we trickles and which absorbs the now rarefied nitrous shall have it in the near future; unless, indeed, some gases with formation of calcium nitrate and nitrite. engineer can show us how to harness the tides. But In the plant at Notodden there are two such series of if we cannot manufacture nitric acid from the atmotowers. The liquids from the fourth tower, which sphere there is a problem, probably a very difficult proconsist of 5 per cent nitric acid, are raised to the top blem, the elucidation of which would be of almost of the third tower by compressed air, those from the untold value, and that is the fixation or utilisation of third to the second, and from the second to the first. the nitrogen in sewage, which at present is almost The acid, on leaving the third tower, is of 15 per entirely thrown with happy abandonment into the sea. cent. strength, on leaving the second 25 per cent., and As a consequence, the mouths of rivers are polluted. it leaves the fourth tower with a strength of 50 per fish are destroyed, and, what is perhaps more serious cent.

disease is often disseminated. Some of the acid produced is used to decompose the

F. MOLLWO PERKIN.

[ocr errors]

1

Iris leaf.

re

THE ELECTRICAL SIGNS OF LIFE AND

was deduced that isolated nerve, by reason of its showTHEIR ABOLITION BY CHLOROFORM."

ing no fatigue, but giving perfectly regular responses,

is a favourable symbol of living matter on which to As it was not possible to show the actual experi- study the effect of drugs and reagents. From these

experiments was proved the fact that chloroform is diagrams, and introduced his method of presenting eight times more powerful than ether, and that 2 per

cent, vapour of chloroform is *

the safe dose. Dr. Waller attributed deaths from overdose of chloroform to inattention to the great scientific principle of measurement.

Records were shown of the +

electrical effects produced by a series of illuminations of the eyeball, and of similar effects produced by pressure on the eyeball and by electrical excitation; Dr. Waller at first thought these latter effects were the same as those produced by light on the retina, and called them “blaze currents,” but afterwards found they were characteristic of all living tissues. The petal of a flower and living seeds give blaze currents.

Dr. Waller described his Nerve.

records of the electrical effects of light on a green leaf; sunlight and the arc light were used; it seemed natural that

the vegetable retina should be Fig. 1.- Negative variation of nerve compared with electrical effect of light on Iris leaf.

sensitive to light; the

sponse is a double one, first them on the screen by placing in the lantern smoked | negative then positive, dissimilation then assimilation; plates on which he sketched in view of the audience the carbonic acid function of the green leaf is probdiagrams of the apparatus (battery, induction coil, ) ably attended by electrical effects; positive or assimilelectrodes, galvanometer) employed in the experiments,

voll and showed the methods by which the photographic re

0:03 cords were obtained.

The physiologist is engaged in the task of learning how plants and animals absorb, transform, distribute, and dispense the energy stored in food and manifested in each

0.024 act of life in a word, of studying the signs of life; and in the electrical change which accompanies all chemical change we have the most delicate means of addressing

questions living matter : Are you alive? How much are you alive?

Tissues survive the death of the animal or plant.

Expired
Six

ti.
objects were chosen
presentative examples of

0004 living matter-muscle, nerve,

L

63

65 de retina of the eyeball, a green leaf, a flower petal, and a seed. The characteristic of perpetual change,

8901 metabolism-building up and Fig. 2.-Increase of the electrical effects of light on leaf of Nicotiana caused by 4 per cent. CO2. breaking down — anabolism, and katabolism. From the records shown of the elec- | ative effect is far more pronounced in vegetable than trical responses to excitation of muscle and nerve, it in animal protoplasm (see Fig. 1). A leaf of NicoAbstract of lecture delivered by Dr. Augustus D. Waller, F.R.S., to the

tiana was illuminated for five minutes at intervals of members of the British Association at York.

ten minutes, and gave a deviation of the magnet of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

two

to

as

re

ܕܬ

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

life is

change. 897

Date of
ascent

Absolute.
Rel. Grams per

cub. m.

| 70
100

1000

no

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the galvanometer amounting to - 2/100 volt, followed by a deviation of +2/100 volt; it was then subjected

Humidity: to an excess of CO., which caused temporary intoxi

Elevation, Temperature,

Wind direction cation, from which it afterwards recovered. Small

metres

C:
quantities of CO,, such as 4 per cent., exhibited to
the leaf cause increased electrical effects, which are
a galvanometric expression of increased chlorophyll

Aug. 28
Surface 28.6

19'S S. 70 N. action (see Fig. 2); that is, the more assimilation,

795
2II

182 the more the electrical sign of assimilation. The

i West with

25 9 24 photographic records indicate dissimilative effects in

5.8

(slight northing the minus direction and assimilative action in the plus

1285 287

14 direction.

1380 27.3

16 Sept. 12 Surface 28:1 85

230 S. 60 IT. METEOROLOGICAL KITES IN INDIA.

635 219 100 19:1

West with THE India Meteorological Department has recently

900

25-6 42 9'9 given in

I slight forthing Memoirs (vol. xx., part i.) " an account of the pre

1015 25'4 19 44 parations made for determining the conditions of the upper air in India by means of kites." The Govern- this dry current from Baluchistan descends to the ment of India, acting on a strong recommendation level of the plains in Sind and extends southwards by the Royal Society, about three years ago sanctioned and eastwards to very considerable distances, and is the inclusion of the exploration of the middle and an important factor in determining the intensity of higher atmosphere by means of kites and balloons | the drought in North-Western India, and perhaps of as a part of the scheme of operations of the Meteor-conditioning it. Another point of interest is the colli. ological Department. Two officers were deputed to paratively rapid variation, even in short periods of Germany to study the methods employed by the the lower level of this dry current. Mr. Field. who Aeronautische Observatorium des Königlich Preuss-carried out the observations, says that “a nearly ischen Meteorologischen Instituts. The first part of saturated stratum of air from the sea extended from the memoir gives a description instruments the ground surface (10 metres above the sea) upwards employed, and the results obtained from the first pre- to a level which rose from 500 metres on August 27, liminary ascents. The place selected for these was in through 800 metres on August 28, to 1139 metres on Lower Sind, about six miles W.N.W. of Karachi, August 31. From that day onwards until September a mile from the sea and ten miles from the Hala its limiting height was not reached by the kite, but Range on the west, forming the boundary between probably exceeded 1000 metres. Its upper limit fell Lower Sind and Baluchistan.

again to 600 metres on September 12.' The ascents were made in the last week of August The observations give valuable and interesting inand first fortnight of September, 1905, shortly before formation of what may perhaps be termed an outlving the withdrawal of the south-west monsoon current portion of the south-west monsoon current. They from Upper India.

suggest that the extension of the work will give most In order to appreciate the results, it is necessary important information respecting the south-west monto bear in mind that during the wet monsoon in soon circulation, and perhaps on the causes of the India an area of minimum pressure stretches from variation of the intensity and extension of the southUpper India to the Soudan, in which pressure is west monsoon rainfall, one of the great problems absolutely lowest in Sind. The intensity and position which for some time past has engaged the eamest of this varies considerably during the season. The attention of the Meteorological Department at the observations were hence made in the south-west instance of the Government of India. quadrant of this area of minimum pressure, where the lower cyclonic air movement is probably light and irregular, due to the obstructive action of hill ranges

NOTES of moderate elevation.

We deeply regret to announce the death, at the age of The observations showed that a humid current seventy-four years, of Mr. C. Baron Clarke, F.R.S., stick (approaching saturation) obtained on the average up took place at Kew on Saturday last, and, at the compara

an elevation of about 2500 feet (from about tively early age of filty-two years, of Prof. H. Marshall W.S.W.), and that above this was a very dry current

Ward, F.R.S., which occurred at Babbacombe, Torquar a from west with slight northing, the intermediate region of transition from the humid to the dry being months, had filled the chair of botany at the Universiti

Sunday last. Prof. Ward, who had been ill fat probably less than 1000 feet in thickness. The accompanying table gives selected data from the two most

Cambridge since 1895. satisfactory ascents.

On August 20 there passed away at his beautiful canini The very dry current represents indraught from the seat, Coles Park, near Buntingford, Herts, in his eightira Baluchistan plateau to the Sind low-pressure area, year, one who is well known to mineralogists which, however, as a result of the presence of hills, entered it at a considerable elevation, exceeding on

author with the late Mr. W. G. Lettsom of the " Manua? the average 2300 feet. The most remarkable feature whose name will ever be linked with perhaps the first

of the Mine, alogy of Great Britain and Ireland," sal is the large increase of temperature in passing from the lower humid current into the upper dry current, of private collection of minerals which was ever bright * C. to.7C. in amount, and of the comparatively together in this country. Mr. Robert Philips Greg 2 slow rate of decrease for some distance above that

young man took great interest in the fine collection ya plane of transition. Almost equally remarkable is

his father, a noted economist and antiquary, had purchased the sudden and comparatively abrupt change of the

from the executors of its previous owner, Mr. Thuras" relative humidity from saturation to values of 5 Allan, F.R.S., and spent considerable sums of money in and 6 only. Mr. Blanford many years ago estab acquiring new specimens and bringing the collection up lished that in drought years in North-Western India date. After the publication of his " Manual" in 1875 lt

to

was

was

For many

appeared to take little active interest in minerals, and two Derbyshire. The shock, which

very slight, years later, in 1860, the Allan-Greg collection was pur- accompanied by a sound like distant thunder, and lasted chased by the trustees of the British Museum.

three or four seconds. years afterwards he still devoted himself to the study of meteorites, from both the astronomical and mineralogical

The Wellman Polar Expedition has been abandoned for points of view, until paralysis of the legs rendered it diffi

the present, its leader having decided not to attempt the cult for him to move about. The “ Manual” referred to

voyage northward this year on account of defects in the was published nearly half a century ago, and probably few

mechanical equipment of his airship. Mr. Wellman is to mineralogists will realise that one of the authors has died

return to Europe in the middle of next month, and will so recently.

leave a small party of men behind to guard the head

quarters of the expedition. The death of M. Alexandre Herzen, professor of physio

A Royal Commission has been appointed to inquire into logy in the University of Lausanne, and author of many

the lighthouse administration of the United Kingdom. The books dealing with physiology and allied subjects, is announced in the Temps.

terms of reference are :-“ To inquire into the existing

system of management of the lights, buoys, and beacons Science announces the death of Prof. S. L. Penfield, on the coast of the United Kingdom by the three general head of the department of mineralogy in the Sheffield lighthouse authorities, and as to the constitution and workSchool of Yale University ; also of Mr. G. W. Lehmann, ing of these authorities, and to report what changes, if chemist of the United States Government since 1878, and any, are desirable in the present arrangements." chief chemist of the Baltimore Board of Health since 1896.

A HEALTH, Electrical, and Gas Exhibition is to be held The death is announced from Tangier of M. Georges at Portsmouth from November 5-27 next. Salmon, leader of the French scientific mission to Morocco.

The Latin-American Medical Congress will be held at A MOVEMENT has been set on foot in Germany to raise Monte Video in January next. a memorial fund for the benefit of the widow and children

The fourth Portuguese Congress for the Prevention of of the late Dr. Schaudinn, and an English committee con

Tuberculosis will be held at Oporto from April 4-9 of sisting of Prof. Clifford Allbutt, F.R.S., Sir Michael

next year. Foster, F.R.S., Mr. Jo athan Hutc F.R.S., Prof. Ray Lankester, F.R.S., Sir Patrick Manson, F.R.S., Prof. ACCORDING to the Electrical Review, an international Osler, F.R.S., Mr. John Tweedy, and Prof. Sims Wood- competition has been organised by the Association des head has been formed to cooperate with the German pro- Industriels de France for the invention of a primary cell moters of the scheme. Subscriptions may be paid to Mr. and a storage cell satisfying certain conditions. Both cells Adam Sedgwick, F.R.S., treasurer of the fund, New are to develop the maximum power or contain the maxiMuseums, Cambridge, or direct to the Schaudinn Memorial mum energy possible per unit of weight and bulk, and Fund at Messrs. Barclay and Co.'s Bank, Cambridge. they must be free from risk of every description to the A CONFERENCE of the International Geodetic Association

users, easy of transport, installation, and maintenance. will be held in Budapest on September 20 next, when,

The samples submitted must not weigh more than 20 kg.

Complete descriptions of the cells must be forwarded by according to the Temps, the principal topics to be con

the competitors before the end of the present year to the sidered will be the accurate surveving of mountain chains

president of the association, 3 rue de Lutèce, Paris, with subject to earthquake, with a view to ascertaining whether

drawings, and the actual cells must reach the examiners these chains are stable or whether they rise and sink, and

by April 1, 1907. The prize money, amounting to 8000 the taking of measures of gravity so as to throw light

francs, may be awarded as a lump sum or divided at the upon the distribution of masses in the interior of the earth

discretion of the association. and upon the rigidity of the earth's crust. The drawing up of preliminary reports on these two questions has, says The Legislature of the Berne Canton has sanctioned the our contemporary, been entrusted to M. Lallemand, director project for the construction of a new trunk line-the of the general survey in France, and Sir George Darwin, Lötschberg-with electricity as the motive power, which K.C.B., F.R.S.

will pass through the Bernese Alps and connect at Brig

with the Simplon. The new line will be 56 kilometres in The King of the Belgians has shown his practical interest

length, of which 13 kilometres will be tunnel. It will in the study of sleeping sickness by offering a prize of

serve as the most direct means of communication between 8oool. for the discovery of a remedy for the malady, and

northern Italy and the district lying to the north and northby placing a credit of 12,000l. in the Congo Estimates for

west of Switzerland, shorten the approach to the Simplon, the purpose of prophylactic research; he also recently re

and compete with the Gothard tunnel railroad. The work, ceived representatives of the Liverpool School of Tropical

which is to be begun at once, is estimated to require five Medicine, and having heard their views as to the necessity

and a half years to complete. of preventing the further spread of the disease, asked the school to submit to him a scheme of preventive measures.

Tue Australian correspondent of the Lancet states that The King bestowed the Order of Leopold upon Prof.

the Federal Government has issued a proclamation prohibitRonald Ross, C.B., F.R.S., Prof. Boyce, E.R.S., and ing the importation of the microbe of hæmorrhagic Dr. J. L. Todd.

septicæmia, by which it was proposed to destroy the rabbit FURTHER slight shocks of earthquake are reported from

pest, except upon the condition that the packages contain

ing the microbes be handed unopened to the State bacterioValparaiso and Santiago; slight shocks have also been felt

logist of New South Wales, and retained by him unused at Carcoar, twenty-five miles from Bathurst, New South Wales.

until the Minister gives permission to use them. I'nder the

Noxious Microbes Act of 1900 of New South Wales it will 1x earthquake shock is stated to have been felt at also be necessary for the State Government to pass a 5.55 a.m. on Monday last at Matlock and other parts of regulation sanctioning experiments before anything can be

as

done in the way of rabbit extermination. In the meantime known New Zealand fax, grows in the swamps. only laboratory experiments will be carried on.

Finally, there are numerous plants eminently suitable for We have received a copy of the meteorological observa cultivation, to mention only the Veronicas, Senecios, and

Olearias. ations made at forty-four secondary stations in the Philippine Islands during 1903. The observations are published In choosing bamboos for the garden it is necessary to for four-hourly intervals from 2h. a.m., and occupy 1128 take into consideration the power of resistance offered by large octavo pages; the records have been carefully ex- different varieties to frosts. In Le Bambou (July) the amined under the superintendence of Father Algué. He editor, M. Lehaie, contributes some notes on the subject, points out that the Philippines are preeminently agri- quoting from his experience in Belgium. Among the cultural, and that most of the inhabitants are engaged hardiest varieties he places Henonis, Quilioi, viridiin tilling the soil; consequently temperature, sunshine, and glaucescens, pubescens, and aurea, all species of Phyllorain are the chief factors to be considered. Rain is the stachys, Sasa paniculata, and Arundinaria Japonica. He most important element, as sunshine and temperature are also provides a list of bamboos cultivated in Europe during generally quite uniform and favourable. 1903 was a bad | 1906, with their synonyms. An interesting communication year for agriculture; drought was prevalent during the first by Prof. F. A. Forel points to the identity of Phyllostachys half, while there was considerable rainfall during what is Henonis with Phyllostachys puberula. Among the economic usually considered the dry season. Owing to the drought, uses of bamboos, M. J. Noguès makes special reference the havoc wrought by locusts was terrible; time after time to the pulp for the manufacture of paper. swarms swept over the land devouring the standing.crops, and leaving the country-side bare and dreary.

ANOTHER pamphlet on the rubber-tree Ficus elastica,

compiled by Mr. E. M. Coventry, of the Indian Forest We have received a copy of the meteorological chart of Department, was recently published as Forest Bulletin .the Indian Ocean and Red Sea, issued by the Meteor- No. 4 of the Government of India. The chief factor deterological Office, for September. This valuable publication mining the distribution of the tree is said to be excessive gives important information for seamen, including the humidity of the atmosphere. For propagation, cuttings routes recommended, under steam and sail respectively, and gooties have been given up in the plantations to which between several of the principal ports. The wind roses, reference is made. New plants are obtained from seedlings which are drawn generally for areas of 5° of latitude by raised in seed-beds and transferred to a forest nursery 5° of longitude, show the average conditions for the month that requires to be surrounded with a stockade to keep from records extending over a period of fifty years, and out deer. Tapping is effected by making horizontal cuts the direction and rate of the ocean currents are indicated about half round the tree with a V-shaped gouge. The in the usual way, from the results of observations obtained excess of rubber is allowed to fall on mats placed on the during a period of sixty-five years. In addition, any facts ground; this and the rubber collected from the cuts and of recent date likely to be of interest are made known, bark form three grades. Results tend to show that trees among which we may mention a telegram from the Indian should only be tapped every second or third year. Meteorological Office, dated August 10, with reference to the south-west monsoon between Aden and Bombay, and By an Act passed in 1903, the New Zealand Institute to the unusually quiet weather conditions in the Bay of

and the Colonial Museum were placed on a new footing. Bengal.

In the Colonial Museum Bulletin, of which the first number

has just appeared, a sketch of the history and present We learn from an article in the August number of the Popular Science Monthly that the Government of the United

position of the museum is found which contains much States intends to repeat so much of the triangulation of

information as to the progress made in forming a collec

tion of Maori antiquities; it is worthy of note that the the coast and geodetic survey as lies within the area

natives themselves are deeply interested in the scheme, and affected by the earthquake of April 18 last, and to carry

have made valuable donations. The number also contains the work far enough eastward to connect the re-determined points with stations that may safely be regarded as quite Zealand, and an excellent series of photographs of carvings

an important article on the marine mollusca of New beyond the effect of the recent disturbance.

and weapons recently acquired by the museum. It is un THE Alora of New Zealand presents many exceptional fortunate that in the mother country we are too par features, and it has been Dr. Cockayne's service to describe simonious to spread abroad in this way the knowledge of various strange vegetable productions of these and adjacent our national treasures. islands in his charming and graphic writings. In a series of ten articles that were printed in the Lyttelton Times

The Ceylon National Review, No. 2, contains an illus during May he has provided a general account forming embroidery, illustrated by a collotype plate and sketches of

trated article by Ethel M. Coomaraswamy on old Sinhalese an epitomised survey of the ecology of New Zealand.

the different kinds of stitches employed. Nowadays speciDiscussing the history of the plants, he adduces evidence obtained from the distribution of such plants as Veronica especially betel bags, which have been preserved in fait

mens are rare; formerly many objects were thus decorated, elliptica in favour of a former land connection with South

numbers. The colours employed were three, red, blue, and America. Referring to the forests, he enumerates several types, of which the filmy ferns and epiphytic lilies are

the undyed thread; the designs were geometrical, or taken extraordinary. On the shore is found the tiny buttercup the chain stitch, and the knowledge of it is now confined

from plants or animals. Most of the work was done with Ranunculus acaulis, bearing only three small, succulent

to the old men in out-of-the-way villages. leaves and its small yellow flower above the sand. The arborescent speedwells and species of Sophora showing In Biologisches Centralblatt for August 15 Dr. J. Grosi peculiar juvenile forms are noteworthy among the shrubs. concludes his paper on the relationships between heredity In the mountain meadows a striking feature is the pre- and variation. According to the author, there may be two valence of white and yellow rather than blue flowers. lines of development, fluctuation and mutation, the three Phormium tenax, the plant furnishing the valuable fibre 1 stages of the former resulting respectively in the production

« PreviousContinue »