Slike strani

which is good enough to hold it in the open to follow it into an open drain large enough for the dog to reach it." Other people who have hunted badgers have found that an extremely small terrier is quite able to turn a badger from its earth; and that although the dog may be hurt, even seriously, by its formidable antagonist, the contest does not by any means mean "certain death" to it.

The chapter on birds bears evidence of having been put together in the most casual manner. Various contributors have sent in notes as to whether, in their experience, birds were rare or not, and these appear to have been printed without any attempt at summarizing. The result is that the whinchat is described in one line as "common," and in the next as "occasionally seen." The marsh-tit is "rare," and also "generally distributed." The cirl bunting is in one line called "rare" and "by no means rare." The coot is "rare" (!) and "frequently met with." The woodcock, according to one observer, "has been seen." If it were clear that such remarks applied to different parts of the county, there might be some sense in printing them. As they stand, they are useless and bewildering. One contributor is surprised at the occurrence of the gannet just outside the limits of the county, because "they generally inhabit the Bass Rock"! They certainly do, and "there's milestones on the Dover road." But perhaps there is nothing in the whole chapter which quite comes up to what we read about two starlings that one of the contributors watched "fighting furiously . . . each bird . . . trying to


force its bill into that of the other. He was informed

that the purpose of each bird was by this means to render the opponent insensible; so as to be more easily destroyed." In the article on reptiles occur these remarkable words :-"The slowworm is habitually slow,' but we know of no reptile or quadruped which, in proportion to its size, can move more rapidly."


There are several errors in spelling in the list of land and fresh-water shells, and it is rather misleading to give "Downs, under stones," for the habitat of the species here called Bacutus, without adding "near the sea."

Helianthemum polifolium is given as a Gloucestershire plant. It would be interesting to know if this is correct. The localities usually given are in Somerset

and Devon.

Among the illustrations are some interesting figures of famous trees; but it seems hardly worth while to have inserted such a very ordinary-looking plate as that of the common crayfish.

Allusion has already been made to two chapters the excellence of which is all the more marked by contrast with the grandiloquent flights and the trivial details of much of this unfortunate volume. Rev. W. F. White's paper on ants contains, as might be expected, accounts of many interesting and original observations. Mr. Vincent Perkins's excellent chapter on wasps and bees, again, is extremely good, though the writer deals only with the neighbourhood of Wotton-under-Edge. That so imperfect, and, as far as much of its contents goes, we are afraid we must say untrustworthy, a book should ever have been published is matter for regret. The real "Fauna and Flora of the County of Gloucester " yet remains to be




Chemistry of Life and Health. "Univer Extension Manuals." By C. W. Kimmins, M.A., D Staff Lecturer in Chemistry, Cambridge Univer Extension Scheme. (London: Methuen and Co., THIS little book is well adapted to secure the a the author, which is "to give sufficient information the particular portions of the sciences involved to eta i readers principles of hygiene." There can be no doubt a ... to appreciate fully the fundame importance, one might truly say, the national importan of the spread of sound knowledge regarding the las health. Such sound knowledge cannot be a except it be built upon a well-laid foundation of che and physiology. To lay the foundation, and rea structure, in a little book of 160 pages is almst possible. Dr. Kimmins has, wisely, omitted much what he retains is of fundamental importance; his are clearly enunciated and systematically arranged careful study of this book, especially when it is mented, as it is meant to be, by a course of le cannot fail to be most useful. The book is writte ordinary people, not for professional students; the 2. ing is sound and clear. The first chapter, on the prim of chemistry, is the least satisfactory in the book; this chapter the author has attempted, what is sure attainable, to give an elementary knowledge o features of chemical action, the use of chemical sy and the molecular and atomic theory, in sixteer s pages. As an introduction to the study of the app of chemical facts and principles to the conditio healthy life, the book is to be thoroughly recomme

Naked-Eye Botany, with Illustrations and [ Problems. By F. E. Kitchener, M.A. Pp. 182 and two woodcuts in the text. (London: Percival an 1892.)


ON turning over the pages of this book one wonders "Naked-Eye Botany was chosen for the title, be although a small book, it has some reference at least great many things that cannot be seen with the Lessons in Elementary Botany," but one misses eye. It is something in the way of Prof. D. 0. Professor in it. On p. 7 we are introduced to st and physiological processes are described in some Nevertheless it contains much useful matter, and little revision and better selections would make a

good first book. For example, the chickweed is small and the number of parts in the various floral for the first lesson. But the flowers of this plant is so variable that it is not a good subject to beg The "problems," or questions, also at the end chapter are too wide-reaching. Referring to A Filix-mas, we are told that the "production of these seed, more correctly called oosphere, from the proth can scarcely be made out with the naked eye." nothing about the name given to the fertilized be must protest that "scarcely" is not the word to 3the observation.

Perhaps it is too much to ask that the headmaste "high school" should be acquainted with even ret recent discoveries in physiological botany; but not be unreasonable to ask him to use the text-ba specialists. It is now some years since the reprod of Lycopodium was fully described, yet Mr. K still teaches that the spores are of two sorts. The Great World's Farm: some account of Naturi and how they are Grown. By Selina Gaye. Seeley, 1893.)

THIS is a delightful book, pleasantly written. information, and on the whole remarkably free from errors, generally the results of misunderstanding.

the sins that do so easily beset writers on popular ence. The volume, which contains some excellent strations, deals with "pioneer labourers," "soilkers," "soil-carriers," "soil-binders," "fieldourers," "guests welcome and unwelcome," ature's militia," and so forth. We do not propose tell who or what the labourers, the guests, or the itia are. We advise those of our readers who are erested in the transactions of the Great World's Farm jet the volume and ascertain for themselves.


Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions expressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertake to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejected manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE. No notice is taken of anonymous communications.]

Measurement of Distances of Binary Stars. OME years ago I communicated to a few astronomers a plan measuring the distance which separates us from some of the ary stars, believing, as I did, that by using the diameters of ir paths as a basis, determinations of distance could be made ch are impossible with the means at present in use.

his basis could, I hoped, be calculated by first ascertaining velocities with which the stars are moving in their paths, in ɔmewhat similar manner to that employed for measuring the ions of stars with the spectroscope, except that instead of ting a comparison with a hydrogen flame, the spectra of the stars should be compared by photographing them together. width of any double lines, which may show themselves one line belonging to the spectrum of the receding star, and other to the advancing one) would be a measure of their cities expressed in miles. Applying this information to the wn period of revolution of the system, its diameter can also :xpressed in miles, and this would enable one to estimate distance from the earth if the angle between the two stars e known. This suggestion has already borne fruit, the tive velocity of some rapid, but as yet inseparable, binaries ing recently been determined.

The answers received to my suggestions were discouraging, since then instruments have been improved, and I trust that will think the matter of sufficient importance to be brought ore the notice of your numerous astronomical readers. Should of them be able to make the necessary determination, a adation-stone will have been laid, not only for obtaining a : idea of perhaps undreamt of stellar distances, but also of masses of binary stars, and possibly a connection may mately be traced between them and the adjoining ones. he two most brilliant binary stars are a Centauri and eminorum, and as in both these cases the paths are elond ellipses, and the stars near their extremities, efforts should irected towards determining their distances as suggested C. E. STROMEYER. rawberry Hill, November 16.



Remarkable Weapons of Defence.

HE following extract from a letter from such a careful as Mr. E. E. Green is of such general and special est as to require publication.

r. R. J. Pocock informs me that the Acaroid is almost inly Holothyrus coccinella, Gerv., a species that appears to ommon in Mauritius, and that in the lateral membranous between the carapace and the cephalothoracic limbs is a nct orifice which was regarded by Dr. Thorell as of respiraimport, but in connection with Mr. Green's interesting very of the existence of offensive glands in this animal it cessary to bear in mind the possibility of its being the t of the e organs.

e mite has such a hard integument, that being taken into mouths of the lizards and birds that would probably prey it in the situations it frequents, would probably do it little or amage if it were speedily rejected. G. F. HAMPSON.

E accompanying insects-apparently Orobatid mitesfound by me in the district of Tallawakelle, Ceylon (alt.

4600 ft.), under stones and rocks in damp, shady situations. It was only by accident that I became aware of their remarkable weapons of defence-an exceedingly pungent secretion.

About five hours after handling one of these insects I accidentally touched my tongue with my finger. Immediately an extraordinarily pungent, galvanic sensation or taste commenced rapidly to spread over my mouth, quickly reaching my throat. Rinsing my mouth and gargling with hot water failed to arrest the progress of the sensation, which was accompanied with excessive salivation. The unpleasantness lasted for several hours, and then died away without any further consequences. I also unconsciously rubbed my face, at the angle of the eye, with the same finger; after which a rather pleasant warmth spread over that part of my face, and was distinctly perceptible the following morning. I could not for some time trace the cause of this effect. I at first put it down to the agency of a fungus that I had been carrying, but a further experiment negatived this idea. I afterwards tested the insect, and found it to be the real agent. The experiment was repeated at my suggestion, by a medical friend-Dr. R. J. Drummond-who can testify to the result. He described the sensation as somewhat like that produced by the strongest menthol. We both noticed that it had a numbing effect upon the mucous membrane of the mouth.

It is evident that this property must be a very efficient protection to the insect. The rapidity with which the secretion acts would cause it to be very quickly ejected if picked up by either a bird or a lizard-the only enemies that would be likely to attack it. E. ERNEST GREEN.

Eton, Pundulorja, November.

A Suggestion.

As very shortly now NATURE will reach its jubilee volume, I hope you will permit me, as an uninterrupted subscriber for nearly twenty years, to offer a suggestion with regard to that occasion.

As the volumes of NATURE contain original contributions, observations, and notes in all branches of science, more varied and valuable than are to be found in any other scientific periodical publication in existence, there is not a worker, in whatever branch he may be engaged, that does not find it necessary to be continually referring to its pages; but, unfortunately, through lack of a general handy index, he discovers what he wants only after the expenditure of a very great deal of time and worry.

I write, therefore, not only in my own name, but (by request in a private way) in that of a large number of fellow-workers in the subjects in which I am myself specially interested-biology, palæontology, anthropology, geography-to suggest that you should celebrate the jubilee of NATURE by conterring on your readers the immense boon of a classified index to its contents.

During some investigations I was making in 1876-7 I so felt the need of a collected index that I went to the trouble of compiling for myself one, up to that date, classified according to sciences, subdivided again according to the sections of each, which in subsequent work saved me weeks of time and trouble. To my regret, this MS. got lost or destroyed, and there is nothing in connection with NATURE that I, and I am certain every other worker, would now hail with greater satisfaction than the announcement that the means of reaching with expe dition and precision the treasures at present so deeply buried in your (nearly) fifty priceless volumes, will be ced within our reach with its jubilee volume. OLD SUBSCRIBER.

Superstitions of the Shuswaps of British Columbia,

REFERRING to the above, as recorded by Dr. George Dawson, F. R.S., in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, and included in your Notes of last issue, in which attention is called to the belief among the Shuswaps and some other North American races, that small lizards enter the bodies of men, pursuing them, and devouring their hearts, I was at once struck with the almost exact resemblance of this belief to one very generally prevailing in Ireland, as regards common water Newts, which go by the name of Man-eaters (pronounced Manaters). This I can testify to from personal knowledge; but it has been accidentally confirmed by an experiment which I hope

may be pardoned for referring to. Where I reside are three Irish servants, to whom I caused to be shown a drawing of the Water Newt, and with the request that I might be told its

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THERE is in the Astronomical theory of the Ice Age a point of some importance, not mentioned by Sir Robert Ball in his interesting work on this subject, to which I invite the reader's attention. I mean the slowness with which the difference between the length of summer and that of winter is varying in the neighbourhood of its maximum.

To compute this difference and its mean value, we put
a = the mean distance of the earth from the sun,
e = the eccentricity of the earth's orbit,

= 3

the longitude of the perihelion of the earth's orbit, T = the length of the year in mean solar days,

▲ = the difference between the lengtos of the two seasons in mean solar days,

n = the mean value of this difference during the interval between the two dates, corresponding to w = w1 and w = w2 > w1.

Then, the eccentricity remaining always extremely small, the difference between the areas of the two segments in which the line of the equinoxes divides the earth's orbit, may be put-and with sufficient accuracy,

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Observing that the eccentricity remains sensibly constant for a period of time, which is doubtless to be reckoned by many

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IN his last letter Mr. Poulton observes that I am use "four recent writers who have made use of the collections the Natural History Museum and the Museum of the R. College of Surgeons, for the purpose of illustrating the pr mena of mimicry between Volucella and Bombez. This is case, but I should like to add that the species which I depicted are not V. bombylans and B. muscorum (the questi able resemblance of which in nature, and the erroneous iztei of which in the "show cases," constitute the grounds of Bateson's somewhat "aggresive criticism on other "rem writers"), but V. bomhylans and B. lapidarius, where the of resemblance can admit of no doubt ("Darwin and A. Darwin," p. 329). Indeed, Mr. Bateson fully recognizes close similarity in appearance between these two species; " as I refrained from giving the hypothetical explanation of j which he objects, I avoided all the issues which have since traised in the NATURE correspondence. Madeira, December 15.


Artificially Incubated Eggs.

I HAVE been repeatedly informed by poultry-growers 1 market-men that hens raised from artificially incubated were much less fertile than those produced in the natural My information has been derived from persons who did even know each other. It occurs to me that if true curious matter and worthy of some attention.

W. WHITMAN BAILET Brown University Herbarium, Providence, R.I. December 10.


tens of thousands of years, we obtain, by means of the formula A GENERAL meeting of the Association for F

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moting a Professorial University for London w held on Wednesday, December 21, when a repor which we print below, was presented by the Executive Committee. We would call the attention of our readers to the penultimate paragraph of this report, which inccates the existence of an agreement, on matters of prin ciple between the Senate of the University of Londoz and the Association.

The last general meeting of members of the Associa tion was held on June 14, 1892, when the Executive Committee presented for approval a series of proposals for the organization of a University in London. These proposals were adopted as the formal expression of the objects of the Association.

Since that meeting the efforts of the Committee hare been directed to the furtherance of the principles erbodied in the above-mentioned proposals-by endeavo ing to obtain the adhesion of literary and scientific me. and of other persons interested in the matter; bi organizing a body of evidence to be presented to the Gresham University Commission, and by such other means as have suggested themselves from time to time

Immediately after the last general meeting, Pro Huxley became a member of the Association, and carsented to accept the office of president. Sir Hent Roscoe and the Master of University College, Oxford. consented to become vice presidents; and the first o these gentlemen has since been an active member of the Executive Committee.

The number of members of the Association is now ore hundred and fifty.

Evidence in support of the principles of the Assoc 2tion has been given before the Gresham University Con mission by the following gentlemen :-Prof. Ayrton, Mr. F. V. Dickins, Prof. G. C. Foster, Principal Heath, Pro

nrici, Prof. Huxley, Prof. Ray Lankester, Prof. Henry ttleship, Prof. Pearson, Sir H. Roscoe, Prof. Rücker, . Russell, Prof. T. E. Thorpe, Prof. Unwin, Dr. Waller, Windle, Prof. Weldon.

During the month of November the Committee were ormed that a Committee of the Senate of London iversity had drawn up a series of resolutions, to be mitted to the Royal Commission. Your Committee refore requested the Vice-Chancellor to allow its mbers to address the Committee of the University ate in support of the proposals of the Association. e Vice-Chancellor replied by inviting the Executive nmittee of the Association to attend a meeting of the iversity Committee on Wednesday, December 7. At › meeting the objects of the Association were explained the President, Sir Henry Roscoe, and Prof. Weldon, I the Vice-Chancellor in reply made an important lement, to the effect that the resolutions which were forward by the Committee of the Senate were inded to be understood in such a manner as to render m perfectly consistent with the programme of the Asiation. The resolutions proposed by the University mmittee, and since adopted by the whole Senate, are follows:The Senate having reason to believe that a distinct ression of opinion may be useful to the Commisners at the present stage of the inquiry, desire to recall heir attention the fact that during last year the Senate roved a Scheme for a Reconstitution of the University ch provided for the constitution of Faculties consistof teachers and of Boards of Studies in each Faculty, for the election of members of the Senate by the ulties; and that the Scheme further proposed to conon the University power to hold real property to accept grants, gifts, devises, and legacies for the poses of the University, including the establishment Professorships and Scholarships, whether attached or to any particular College, and the furtherance of alar liberal education and of original research. 'he Senate now desire to state that, if in accordance the decision of the Commissioners, the Senate is pared, in order to promote the efficiency of the Unisity, and with a view to its reorganization as a TeachUniversity in and for London, without curtailment of functions which it now discharges

2) To establish and incorporate with the University ulties in Arts, Science, Laws, and Medicine, and irds of Studies acting thereunder.

>) To provide for the incorporation with the Univerof Teaching Institutions of the higher rank. To utilize, with their consent, existing organizations higher culture, and subject to such utilization to instiand maintain Professorships and Lectureships, ther for academical or other purposes, and generally ssume such functions as may be required for the erance and superintendence of a regular liberal edun, and for the promotion of original research. ) To accept and administer fees and such other s, public or private, as may be necessary, and may ranted or given for the purposes of the reorganized versity.

To provide for the adequate representation of the essoriate on the Senate.

e Committee regret that Prof. Pearson, whose energy enthusiasm have been of such essential service to Association, has felt obliged to retire from the office cretary. His place has been taken by Prof. Weldon.



his interesting address on technical education, when listributing the prizes of the Manchester Municipal nical School, on the 19th inst., Mr. Balfour pointed

out that the occasion was an important one, not only in the history of technical instruction in Manchester, in the history of the Corporation of that city, but also in the commercial and manufacturing history of Manchester itself, since this was the first public occasion of the distribution of prizes to the scholars of the Technical School and the School of Art since these schools were taken over by the municipality, and supported ou. of the public funds of the city. The fact that the Corporation of the northern metropolis has taken possession of the School of Art and of the flourishing Technical School, founded a few years ago on the site of the old Mechanics' Institution, is one which may well claim the attention of the leading statesmen of our time, and Mr. Balfour has done good service to this great educational movement by thus placing prominently before the country the part which our municipal authorities are now playing in the matter. Fully alive to the revolution which these changes are bringing about in our educational system, Mr. Balfour, speaking to the teachers and students, insisted that there is now thrown upon them something more than personal responsibility, something more than the desire for self-advancement. They are concerned, he said, in a national work, and ought to look at it from a national point of view, and it is this public aspect of the question which justifies and more than justifies the Corporation for having taken up this great work and for having created the greatest technical school at present existing in England, but which, great as it is, is still in its infancy, and will yet show developments which will astonish those who are now devoting their time to it in so public-spirited a fashion.

Then spoke Mr. Councillor Hoy, the chairman of the Technical Education Committee of the Corporation, and in thanking Mr. Balfour for his "thoughtful and charming address" added that it was only nine months since these schools were handed over to the Corporation, that they had to master the whole machinery of the education, to arrange all the details of the transfer, but that in addition they had plunged right away into the necessary steps for erecting a new and enlarged school.

So it is evident that the men of Manchester do not allow the grass to grow under their feet. They know that the business they have undertaken is a big one, and they, like good business men, are prepared boldly to meet the necessities of their position. How boldly and how completely they propose to do so will be seen when we learn what are the proposals which they have made for carrying on their work, for making the necessary preparations, for giving the highest and most complete technical training which can be given in all those matters upon the satisfactory accomplishment of which, the industry and commerce of the vast district of which Manchester is the centre depends. At present the work of the Technical School is carried on in three different buildings, one the old Mechanics Institution where the great bulk of the teaching is done, another in an old warehouse fitted to suit the wants, as far as may be, of the electrical engineering department, and a third in the buildings of a school where a very completelyequipped department for the scientific study of the cotton manufacture is arranged. Needless to say that none of these three buildings provide sufficient or adequate accommodation for the proper practical teaching and illustration of their subjects, and no sooner had the Corporation Committee become acquainted with what they had to do, and the means placed at their disposal for doing it, than they made up their minds that a new building must be erected fully representative of the present needs, and with room, if possible, for future developments.

But before committing themselves to plans or estimates,. this committee wisely determined to see with their own

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