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ied. During the period named, comprising, inward toward the storm-centre, gather. twenty-six months, there were sixty-three ing vapor in its progress, to be condensed instances of low barometer, corresponding into rain. It is seen from this that a conto eighteen different storms.
stant vertical circulation occurs. The tables Each of these instances of low pressure and charts presented by Prof. Loomis, showappears to have moved eastward, and can ing these facts, are elaborate and conclu. be traced to the Atlantic coast.
sive. The direction of the movement of curred in the six colder months of the year, the upper air is determined by that of the and were most numerous in January. Their clouds which float in it. origin appears to bave been northwestward “The clouds," says Prof. Loomis, “were of Portland, and probably over the Pacific in all cases seen to be moving away from Ocean.
the low centre outward, toward an area of Simultaneously with low barometer at high pressure, where the air descends to Portland, there occurred high barometer the earth; here it again moves inward, and eastward from that city, at an average dis- finally upward, in the gyrations of the storm." tance of about fifteen hundred miles. The areas of low barometer advancing eastward Death to the English Sparrow. — The crossed the continent in an average pe- right of the European house-sparrow to setriod of five days. The path traversed, tle in the United States is hotly contested however, was not a direct one. The low- in the American Naturalist, by Dr. Elliott pressure areas were developed as far north Coues, who regards that bird as an unmitias latitude 50°; but in the middle of the gated nuisance. The author makes no secontinent the centres of low pressure were cret of his aversion for the sparrow and his in latitude 40°, whence the direction was contempt for the sparrow's friends. The north of east, reaching the coast in lati- former is a wretched interloper” that tude 45.
“does not do any appreciable good ; does a From observations, which include those very obvious amount of damage; and has made in a previous paper, it appears that no place in the natural economy of this areas of low pressure are not only preced-country.” The sparrow's friends are di. ed, but are followed, by areas of high ba- vided into five categories, viz.: 1. The silly
These conditions, each succeed- ones (though Dr. Coues by a circumlocution ing the other, traverse the continent with avoids the use of this plain language, it is wonderful uniformity. Mountain - ranges clear to see that he means it). This class from 6,000 to 10,000 feet high do not ar- is composed chiefly of “children, women, rest, and but slightly modify, the east- and old fogies.” 2. Those who were inward movement of these great atmospheric strumental in getting the birds here. 3.
Quasi-ornithologists. 4. The clacqueurs of The high barometer following the areas the quasis. 6. A very few intelligent and of low pressure in their progress is usually scientific persons. Having thus cleared the attended by winds of great violence, from ground, Dr. Coues presents the specific arthe north and northwest, attaining in some ticles of his indictment of the sparrow. In cases a velocity of from thirty to fifty-seven substance they are: 1. That the sparrows miles an hour. Extreme cold occurred too neglect entirely or perform very insufficientin many instances, the mercury falling in ly the business they were imported to do, one case to - 36° Fahr.
videlicet destroying worms and insects. 2. A fact of great interest presented by That they do “attack, harass, fight against, Prof. Loomis in a former paper is more dispossess, drive away, and sometimes actufully illustrated in the present one; it is ally kill, various of our native birds which this, that while the air continually flows in- are much more insectivorous by nature ward and spirally upward in a storm-area, than themselves." 3. That they commit or area of low barometer, it as continually great depredations in the kitchen-garden, flows outward at great elevations to areas urchard, and grain-field. 4. In this speciof high barometer, where it descends to the fication the author delicately alludes to cerearth's surface. Here it resumes its motion tain evidences of a lack of moral restraint
in the sparrow, offensive to many persons. , land with results fully confirmatory of the Item, nervous invalids are fretted and an- views set forth by Schloesing and Müntz. noyed into positive illness by the unceasing Hence the evidence is very strong that the noisiness of these birds. 5. “They (the vitrates in soil owe their origin to oxida. sparrows) have at present practically no tion brought about by living organisms. natural enemies, nor any check whatever upon limitless increase,” though, even with
How Ants distinguish Each Other.the most unobjectionable species of birds, Ants are eminently pugnacious, and opposa check would be desirable. And now what ing hosts belonging to the same species may course must we adopt in order to abate this any day in summer be seen waging intersparrow nuisance ?-for abate it we must, or necine wars on one another. But how are else the sparrows will eat us all out of house they able to distinguish friend from foe in and home. Dr. Coues's recommendations their tumultuous strife ? Mr. McCook, memon this head are: 1. Let the birds shift for ber of the Academy of Natural Science of themselves. Take down the boxes and all Philadelphia, has made sundry experiments special contrivances for sheltering and pet- which appear to show that difference of odor ting the sparrows; stop feeding thenı; stop constitutes the means of discrimination. supplying them with building material. 2. Of course, it is not possible to demonstrate Abolish the legal penalties for killing them. this hypothesis directly by showing the ex“ Let boys kill them if they wish. Let them istence, either of distinct odors, or of difbe trapped and used as pigeons or glass ferent intensity of odor, in opposing hosts. balls in shooting-matches among sports- But, if we introduce into the scene of conflict This last recommendation shows
some strong foreign odor which shall oblitvery plainly that Dr. Coues has lost all pa- erate the odors peculiar to the two groups of tience with the sparrow. For ourselves, we combatants, we may deprive them of the powhope the evil will be checked by some dif- er of telling friend from foe, and make them ferent means.
live together in harmony as one community.
Such was the idea which occurred to Mr. Agencies of Nitrification.—The research McCook. He collected a number of combaes of Schloesing and Müntz in nitrification tants, and placed them, friend and foeman, have resulted in the very important discovery together in a glass jar upon some soil. The of a nitrifying organism analogous to the battle was continued, and when it was again ferment organism of yeast. The evidence at its height a pellet of paper saturated of the existence of a nitrifying organism is with cologne-water was introduced into the found in the fact that the process of nitrifi- jar. The effect was instantaneous. The cation, however actively it may be going on, ants showed no signs of pain, displeasure, is immediately stopped when chloroform-va- or intoxication ; indeed, some ran freely por is introduced, the effect being precisely over the paper. But in a very few seconds the same as that seen when chloroform-va- the combatants had unclasped mandibles, repor comes in contact with yeast. Again, leased their hold of enemies' legs, aptennæ, these authors find that when nitrification and bodies, and after a momentary confuhas thus been stopped for several weeks, sion began to burrow galleries in the earth the addition of a small quantity of a nitrify-with the utmost harmony. The quondam ing body will start the process again. They foes dwelt together for several days in unity also find that the temperature of boiling and fraternity, amicably feeding, burrowing, water is sufficient to destroy all power of and building. Another experiment was as nitrification, and that soil which has once follows: A large number of warring ants been heated to that point produces, in air were placed in a box partly filled with soil, free from germs, carbonic acid and ammo- and communicating by a glass tube with a nia, but no nitrates. If, however, this soil smaller box. The larger box was about ten is moistened with water containing a little inches long and eight inches in depth and untreated soil, the production of nitric acid width ; both boxes had sliding glass cov. again commences. This new theory, as we ers. Cologne was introduced as before into learn from Nature, has been tested in Eng- | that end of the box in which the comba
tants were principally engaged. In less, cultivated flax of excellent quality; and than two minutes every sign of hostility their textile and other manufactures show bad ceased except in the case of one small considerable proficiency and skill. Tools group and two single combatants in the op- and utensils of flint, of bronze, and of iron, posite end; but a small pellet of perfumed have been found in the sites of these lakepaper, dropped in their neighborhood, put dwellings, and the question arises whether an end to the battle here. Previous to the inhabitants were one people through the this, occasional stragglers had passed along three successive ages of Stone, Bronze, and the connecting glass tube into the smaller Iron, or whether each age was heralded by box. Most of them seemed to be of one a new invasion.
The evidence goes to faction, only one of the opposition having prove the former hypothesis, of one race entered, upon whom six or eight ants were successively advancing from one stage of expending their wrath. This was the only civilization to another. remaining centre of strife, when Mr. McCook replaced ants and earth upon their native
Rapid Decay of Timber.— Till recently territory. The battle was continuing there, chestnut-timber has been always employed between greatly-diminished numbers of for beams in constructing houses in Rome, course, after the removal of the large bat- but, in most of the houses built since the talions into the box, but the application of occupation of the city by the Italian Gova feather dipped in cologne to the neighbor-ernment, pine joists have been used. After hood of the warriors caused the instant
a few years the roofs and floors in which cessation of controversy. The next day the pine had been employed were found to there were no ants found upon the surface, be falling, the joists having rotted at the but digging two inches under ground, close point of junction with the walls, while the by the fence, he observed a few. The bat- intermediate portions remained sound. The tle was evidently over. There had been in
cause of this decay was discovered by acci. the mean time a great change of tempera- dent on taking down the scaffold which ture, from 96° to 47° Fahr., and this may had been erected for the use of the workhave had some effect in sending the ants
men engaged in building the hall of the underground.
Ministry of Finance. A correspondent of
Prof. Tyndall's, writing from Rome, states How the Lake-Dwellers lived. A re- that around one of the scaffold-poles, which cently-published work on “The Lake-Dwell- was imbedded some four feet in the ground, ings of Switzerland” throws much needed had accumulated a heap about six feet high light on the mode of life followed by the of pozzuolana mortar-that is, mortar made inhabitants of those curious constructions. of lime and the peculiar argillaceous sand, That they must have been expert fishermen of volcanic origin, known as pozzuolana. is shown by the large number of fish-skel. The underground portion and that above etons, especially the skulls of very large | the mortar-heap were perfectly sound; that pike, found buried among the piles. So, covered by the mortar was utterly rotten. too, the bones, which lie about in the lake. Hence it was clear that the mortar was to dwellings in astonishing numbers, of stags, blame. In wbat respect, then, does Roman roes, wild-boars, beavers, squirrels, etc., are mortar differ from that used in Venice, for an evidence of the abundance of game, and instance, where pine-timber has stood in of the ability of the settlers to capture even mortar for centuries without impairment ? the higher description of wild animals. But The sole difference was in the use of pozthe lake-dwellers did not depend on the zuolana, which therefore seems to have some chance products of hunting and fishing. special chemical affinity for pine, while, as They had already domesticated many of the regards chestnut, it is neutral. It is stated animals, which to-day are the companions that, in consequence of this peculiar action of man—as cows, sheep, goats, pigs. A of the Roman mortar on the pine-timbers great variety of seeds and plants were also of the numerous buildings erected on the cultivated by them for their own use and Esquiline Hill since 1870, many of the roofs that of their domesticated animals. They and floors have had to be renewed.
Anatomy," was translated into English, NOTES.
and published in London by the Sydenham
Society. In consequence of the growing interest in
The death of Admiral Sir George Back Industrial drawing and of the few facilities is announced, aged eighty-one years. Back in the State for instruction in this subject, entered the 'naval service of Great Britthe Faculty of Cornell University have con
ain in 1808, and the following year was sented to receive teachers as special stu
taken prisoner by the French, and held in dents, and to afford them all the advantage captivity till 1814. In 1819 he did noble which the university offers in the various service with Franklin in exploring the exdepartments of drawing. The departments treme northernmost coast of America. His now established are free-hand drawing, perseverance and his fertility of resource on mechanical engineering, civil engineering, that expedition were above all praise. In and architecture. Special students will
1825 he again visited the arctic regions unenter the same classes as the general stu- der the same commander. On both of these dents, and on the same terms. No one but expeditions the explorers were rescued from teachers will be received-no entrance ex
death in the inhospitable north by the heroic amination will be required, and no diplomas exertions of Back. He commanded polar will be given.
expeditions in 1833–'35 and 1836–37. The remains of a mastodon were lately The Commissioner of Agriculture has found near Elkhart, Indiana, which evident. recently appointed Prof. J. H. Comstock, of ly belonged to a monster specimen, one of Cornell University, and Prof. A. R. Grote, the largest yet discovered. The section of of Buffalo, New York, director of the Buffalo a tusk which was unearthed gave evidence Society of Natural Sciences, as special ex. of having been about ten feet long. A mon aminers, under the direction of Prof. C. V. ster tooth, six inches over the top, exceed. Riley, entomologist of the department, in ingly well preserved, was dug up, and a an investigation now being initiated of the shoulder-bone, which shows the animal to insects injurious to the cotton-plant. Sevhave been at least twelve feet high. The eral local observers in various parts of the bones are to be presented to the city Mu- South have also been appointed, and it is seum Association lately formed at Elkhart. the intention of Prof. Riley to make a comSeveral large specimens of the remains of plete report on all insects affecting the Southmastodons have been found in Elkhart and
ern staple and the best means of counteractadjoining counties within the past four or ing their injuries, that shall be to the people
of the South what the report of the entomoThe German Association of Naturalists logical commission on the Rocky Mountain and Physicians will assemble this year at locust is to the people of the West. The Cassel on September 18th, the sessions con
department is especially fortunate in setinuing for one week. Among the addresses curing the services of Prof. Grote for this promised are the following: “Relations of undertaking, as he has already given the Darwinism to Social Democracy,” by Oscar subject much attention, and has carefully Schmidt; “Symbiosis, Parasitism,” etc., by worked out the life-history of the cottonProf. De Bary; "The Education of the Phy- worm, one of the worst enemies of the cotsician,” by Prof. Fick; “The Color-Sense ton-plant. The results of these investigaand Color-Blindness," by Dr. J. Stilling.
tions are contained in a paper read at the
Hartford meeting of the American AssociaWE regret to announce the death, at tion for the Advancement of Science, and Philadelphia, of William M. Gabb, paleontol- published in the “Proceedings” of that year. ogist, at the early age of thirty-nine years. His life-work commenced in 1862, when he
To ascertain the influence of light upon was appointed as paleontologist on the staff cement, Heinzel divided into three portions of Prof. Whitney in the Geological Survey
a lot of cement, and exposed one of these of California. În 1868 he visited Santo (A) to the air and full light, another (B) to Domingo and made a survey of that island. the air and diffused light, and secluding the He went on a similar mission to Costa Rica third (C) in darkness from the air. After in 1873. “His various contributions to sci- six months it was found that A made a weak ence,” says the American Journal of Science, mortar by absorbing 38 per cent. of its
are a great honor to the country, and emi. weight in water, and it had become friable; nently so to the State of California, for B with 33} per cent of water made a mortar which a large share of his work was done.” too adhesive to the trowel, and it yielded
up some of its water; C with 33} per cent. DR. CARL ROKITANSKY, for thirty years of water made an excellent mortar, easily Professor of Pathological Anatomy in the stirred and flowing, and it parted with some University of Vienna, died in that city on of its water. After setting for twenty-eight July 23d, aged seventy-four years. His days, the relative strengths were À 3, B greatest work, a “Manual of Pathological | 37.9, C 44.6.
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