Slike strani

earth and the mean density of the earth as a whole, viz. 2.67 and 5.576, in place of 2.8 and 56.6.

In August, 1913, two members of Dr. de Filippi's Karakoram Expedition swung their pendulums at Dehra Dun, and thus a new independent value for gravity at Dehra Dun will be obtained when the expedition has returned to Genoa.

No officer being available, the determination of astronomical latitudes was not undertaken during this


Work was carried on in the principal triangulation, and twenty-two triangles of the Sambalpur series were observed, the standard of precision being well maintained in spite of the difficult and inhospitable character of the country traversed. A network was also observed as the control for a large-scale survey of Bombay island, and as a further stage a traverse network of considerable precision was utilised. Permanent marks were placed on brass plugs which were built into masonry a foot below ground, and a special device was introduced for accurately centring the theodolite over the mark. Linear measurements were made with a 100-ft. steel tape, which was strained by means of weights suspended over pulleys. The precision of the lines of the traverse network when adjusted to triangulated points is given as 1 in 12,000. Some 180 miles of the Indo-Russian triangulation connection, which had been reconnoitred in the previous year, were observed, and the work satisfactorily concluded.

In levelling details are given of carrying lines, of levelling across rivers, both by the "target" and by the "vertical angles" methods, and their respective advantages are discussed.


In the winter of 1912-13 a delimitation of the boundary between Nepal State and Naini Tal district was carried out. The boundary consisting of three straight lines joining four predetermined points in forested country, it was found most convenient to run accurate traverse near and approximately parallel to the boundary line, so that from the traverse points could be located on the boundary line, and be determined. The result was quite satisfactory, and boundary pillars were erected along the line.

Dehra Dun having been dispensed with as a meteorological station, the forenoon and afternoon observations have been discontinued, and others at 2 p.m. (standard time) have been substituted. With similar simultaneous observations taken at Mussoorie, it is hoped to gain information bearing on terrestrial refraction which will be useful in the work of the survey.

Besides the points which have been mentioned there is much detailed information of value and importance to surveyors and geodesists in these volumes, which represent a large amount of work of a high standard carried out during the period under review.


H. G. L.

IN Na pamphlet published by the Zoological Society, entitled, "The Fly Campaign," and in a public lecture delivered at the Zoological Society's offices, Prof. Lefroy has dealt with the problem of the housefly and its allies, less from the purely scientific point of view than from the practical and economical aspect.

The pamphlet discusses flies generally, their importance and occurrence; the life-history of the house-fly is dealt with in detail; the eggs and where they are laid, the maggot, its habits, appearance, and its migration; the pupæ, the adult, its appearance, food, reproduction and the total period of its life.

A separate section describes the feeding habits of the fly, to show why and how it is such a carrier of disease, and what a repulsive intruder it is to houses; the hibernation and flight of flies is separately discussed, and a section deals with other flies than the house-fly which are found in houses.

Dr. C. J. Martin has written a section on flies as carriers of disease, which need not be summarised in view of the article on this subject in NATURE of May 13.

The pamphlet then deals with "Methods of Destruction," including the treatment of "tips" and manure, the protection of hospitals and houses, and the use of fly-traps. It concludes with a bibliography.

In his lecture at the Zoological Society's offices on June 2 Prof. Lefroy illustrated his remarks with lantern slides, largely made from the posters and illustrations used in the Fly Exhibition at the Zoological Society's gardens; these bring home vividly what flies do, how they actually feed, what the connection is between the fly feeding on human excreta and the spread of typhoid or summer diarrhoea.

In the lecture Prof. Lefroy expressed his personal opinion on many points, and especially on the question of the treatment of manure. Elaborate experiments are in progress, and already a method has been obtained which is one-third the cost of borax and water, and of far more general application. Naturally this has to be elaborately tested, but the lecturer was extremely hopeful of a solution of this problem, by far the most important in regard to the prevention of flies.

Equally elaborate experiments are in hand with regard to baits, with great promise of success; and success means a good bait that may be obtained and used in the campaign this summer.

Prof. Lefroy's lecture was illustrated by more than sixty lantern slides, many made from large wall pictures prepared for the Fly Exhibition by Miss Bertha Reid. Arrangements have been made to reproduce the lecture with the slides at any town in England that wishes it. The exhibition at the Zoological Society's gardens is popular, and will bring home to many the importance of flies and the simple ways of dealing with them.


O botanist should be content until he has visited some tropical area, and studied its flora on the spot. The tropical region most readily accessible from Great Britain lies in the West Indies; and as Jamaica now offers special facilities at the Cinchona station, recently leased by the Jamaican Government to a committee of the British Association, the time is opportune for explaining the advantages it can provide.

The public gardens controlled by the Jamaican Department of Agriculture are seven in number. Of these only three are botanic gardens in the strict sense, viz., the Hope Gardens near Kingston, the Castleton Garden, and the Cinchona Plantation, or Hill Gardens, in the Blue Mountains.

The first of these lies on the Liguana Plain, just beneath the foothills of the Port Royal range, at an elevation of 650 ft., and about six miles from Kingston. It comprises an area of 200 acres, with a mean annual temperature of 76° F., and average rainfall of 54.5 in. The gardens contain a large and varied collection of typical plants of the tropics, together. with economic and ornamental plants, and many species of academic interest. The office, which constitutes the headquarters of the Agricultural Department, contains a good working library, and an in

valuable herbarium representative of the Jamaican flora. These, together with the willing help of the superintendent, Mr. W. Harris, greatly facilitate determinations of species. The laboratories of the island chemist and of the Government micro-biologist, where, by the courtesy of the Government, reagents may be purchased at cost price, are located within easy reach of the gardens.

Castleton Garden occupies a tract of undulating ground on the left bank of the Wag-Water River, nineteen miles north-west of Kingston, on the road leading to Annotto Bay on the north coast. The average elevation of the garden is 500 ft., the annual mean temperature is 76° F., and the average rainfall 117 in. Though much smaller, and from an economic point of view less important than the principal garden at Hope, Castleton is, if anything, of greater interest to the botanical visitor. The climatic conditions are highly conducive to the growth of luxuriant vegetation; for not only is the rainfall more than twice as high as at Hope, but the atmospheric humidity is also far greater, particularly at night time, the dews being extraordinarily heavy. One of the most striking features of the garden is the collection of palms grouped artistically around a centre water-lily pond. Other families of Angiosperms that are particularly well represented are the Moraceæ, the Caesalpinioid, and other Leguminosæ, and the Lecythidaceæ. Groups of Cycads and of Marattiaceous and Cyatheaceous ferns, bamboo-groves, clumps of tall Scitamineæ, Aroid root-climbers, and the ubiquitous epiphytic Bromeliads and epiphyllous Lichens and Hepatics are other prominent elements in a thoroughly tropical


The Hill Gardens-formerly the Cinchona Plantation, and still generally known as Cinchona-are placed on one of the southern spurs of the Blue Mountains, at an altitude of 4900 ft. As the crow flies, they are about fifteen miles from Kingston, in a northerly direction; but by road the distance is somewhat greater. The scenery, especially on the latter part of the route, is beautiful in the extreme, and the vegetation varied and interesting, although up to about 4000 ft. it has been considerably modified by cultivation.

The Hill Gardens were at one time the headquarters of the botanical department, and the centre of extensive Cinchona plantations, but are now the least important, economically, of the agricultural and botanical stations maintained by the Jamaican Government. The garden proper lies on the steep terminal slope of a spur, which projects in a southerly direction from the central chain of the Blue Mountains, at a point situated nearly midway between the two high passes known respectively as Morce's Gap and Newhaven Gap. Except to the northward, where the ground rises steeply for some distance, magnificent views are obtained in every direction. Due south, one looks across the deep Yallahs valley, over the Port Royal Hills, towards Kingston Harbour, the great Palisadoes reef, which forms its natural breakwater, and the open sea. On the west and southwest, John-Crow Peak and Catherine Peak stand out prominently above many lesser hills. Eastwards, beyond the Green River valley, rise Sir John Peak (6100 ft.) and the twin summits of the Blue Mountain Peak (both more than 7000 ft.), the latter almost always wrapped in mist except at dawn.

The Cinchona dwelling-house is a substantial singlestorey building, of bungalow type, containing two sitting-rooms and four bedrooms, besides kitchen, scullery, and servants' quarters. It is this house that is now let to a committee of the British Association, and would be available for scientific visitors. It is

furnished and kept in excellent repair, and is cleansed and aired at regular intervals, so as to be ready for occupation at any moment. Close by are four or five wooden sheds, two of which stand on the same terrace as the house, the rest being situated at a somewhat higher level. These were formerly utilised as offices and store-rooms, and are well adapted to serve as laboratories for morphological or physiological work. The largest shed has bench and window space amply sufficient for the needs of half a dozen workers. At present there is no supply of running water in connection with any of these outhouses, as the highest of the existing storage tanks lies approximately at the same level as the floor of the large shed, and is only connected to the dwelling-house. But it would be a simple matter to lay down a tank further up the hills, from which pipes could be carried to any of the sheds. Cinchona is fortunate in possessing an almost ideal climate. The annual mean temperature is 62° F., the mean variation only 12° F. The rainfall is high, amounting to 104 in.; but, during the summer months, at any rate, this precipitation chiefly takes the form of heavy thunder-showers, which fall in the middle of the day, and are usually followed by delightfully fresh, sunny evenings. The nights are always cool, and often indeed decidedly cold.

Like the Port Royal Hills, the Blue Mountains are, on their southern side, cultivated up to about 4000 ft.; from that level upwards they are clad in a dense covering of virgin forest which extends up to the highest summits. As already stated, the cultivation of Cinchona trees was at one time carried on upon a large scale on the slopes around the Hill Gardens. At the present day scarcely any traces of these plantations remain, and the hillsides are rapidly returning to their natural condition. A large amount of botanical material of general interest can therefore be collected in the immediate vicinity of the gardens. A pleasant walk of three miles from Cinchona, along a level path-a rare luxury in these hills-brings one to Morce's Gap, the most frequented pass over the main ridge. Rather more than half-way from Cinchona to the gap, the somewhat scrubby growth covering the site of the old plantations gives place to evergreen dripping-forest of the most luxuriant description. The dominant trees are for the most part thin-stemmed, and of moderate stature. They are set closely together, and the leaf-canopy overhead is very dense. Hence from the greater part of the interior of this forest sunlight is altogether excluded, and even the diffuse illumination is greatly reduced. The undergrowth is on the whole markedly hygrophilous in character. It is everywhere largely composed of shade-loving ferns. In every respect, indeed, ferns constitute a very important and conspicuous element on the forest flora. Alsophilas, Cyatheas, and Hemitelias rear their splendid crowns of foliage on stems 30 or 40 ft. in height. Lomarias and Davallias climb high on the tree trunks, or straggle over the bushes. On the steep slopes are groves of the remarkable Lophosoria pruinata, or impenetrable thickets of Gleichenia. The numerous small stony gullies harbour many forms of special interest, such as Marattia alata, Danaea alata, and Pteris podophylla. Among the rich and varied epiphytic flora of these woods ferns likewise play no mean part, the Hymenophyllaceæ in particular being represented by many exquisite forms. The phanerogamic undergrowth, in so far as it consists of shrubs, is particularly rich in Rubiaceæ and Melastomaceæ; the commonest herbs are species of Peperomia and Pilea. Climbers are fairly plentiful, but few of them are woody, a notable exception being Marcgravia umbellata, old stems of which attain a very considerable

girth. Epiphytes are exceedingly abundant, especially Bromeliads and Orchids, the former excelling in numerical strength, the latter in number of species and variety of form.

There are many excellent collecting grounds in the neighbourhood of Cinchona, such as the valley of the Mabess River to the north, Sir John Peak (both above Newhaven Gap, and below that pass, along the Latimer River), and various localities near Catherine's Peak, as well as the slopes of that mountain itself.

The preceding remarks may have served to give some idea of the merits of Cinchona from a strictly botanical point of view. There are many other places in Jamaica, such as the John Crow Mountains, Holly Mount, Mount Diablo, and, above all, the almost unexplored "cock-pit country," which are undoubtedly rich in botanical interest.

It may be worth while to point out that in regard to such considerations as personal safety and comfort, cost of living, and facilities for transport, Jamaica generally, and Cinchona in particular, compare very favourably indeed with other botanical stations in the tropics. Even in Kingston, the refreshing sea and mountain breezes, and the cool nights, render the heat quite supportable in the height of summer. In fact, Jamaica must be considered distinctly healthy, the death-rate for the whole island having been only 22 per 1000 in 1912. In the mountains there is no risk of contracting any tropical disease. Anywhere in hot countries the nature of the water supply is a matter requiring the most careful consideration. Cinchona is, however, singularly fortunate in possessing a source of drinking water which is above suspicion. The island is quite free from large carnivora and venomous snakes; indeed, the only noxious animals of any importance, apart from mosquitoes, are scorpions; although ticks are, in some seasons and localities, a source of discomfort.

The double journey, from England to Kingston and back, occupies from four to six weeks, and costs 351. to 551. according to the route selected. Any botanist who is prepared to set aside a summer vacation for the purpose can enjoy from seven to nine weeks in this delightful island at a total cost of well under 100l. The agreement recently signed for the annual tenancy of the Cinchona Bungalow between the Jamaican Government and a committee of the British Association has had the effect of making the house available for botanists and others. Application for its use may be made (with suitable credentials) to the chairman of the committee (Prof. F. O. Bower, University, Glasgow). Unfortunately, the outbreak of war during the first year of the tenure may prevent the opportunity being used. But the object of this article is to make the fact more fully known, and to show that while the scientific attractions of Cinchona are great, the risks are negligible. Cinchona is probably the safest, as it is also the nearest, point to Great Britain where a tropical flora can be studied in something approaching the virgin state; and a visit of quite useful length can easily be fitted into an ordinary summer vacation.

M. D.



THE HE annual general meeting of the American Philosophical Society was held in Philadelphia on April 22-24. The meeting was opened by President W. W. Keen, who, with Vice-Presidents A. A. Michelson, W. B. Scott, and Prof. C. L. Doolittle, presided over the various sessions.

On the evening of April 23 a reception was held in the hall of the Historical Society of Philadelphia, at which Dr. W. M. Davis, emeritus professor of

geology, Harvard University, gave an illustrated lecture on new evidence for Darwin's theory of coral reefs. The lecture described the chief results of a Shaler Memorial voyage across the Pacific in 1914. with studies of the Fiji group, New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, the New Hebrides, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and the Society Islands (see NATURE, April 15, p. 189).

On the afternoon of April 24 a symposium was held on the figure, dimensions, and constitution of the interior of the earth. The subject was discussed from the astronomical point of view by Dr. Frank Schlesinger, director of Allegheny Observatory, Pittsburgh; from the geological point of view by Dr. T. C. Chamberlin, head of department of geology, University of Chicago; from the seismological point of view by Dr. H. F. Reid, professor of dynamical geology and geography, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; from the geophysical point of view by Mr. J. F. Hayford, director of the College of Engineering, North-western University, Evanstown, Ill.

Abstracts of a number of the papers read during the meetings have reached us from Philadelphia, and the following brief résumé has been compiled from them. In the case of most of the papers, the titles alone were given in the report sent to us, but we have omitted these as not providing information of interest. Prof. E. P. Adams, Princeton University: "The Hall and Corbino Effects."

The Hall effect is the production of a transverse difference of potential in a conducting sheet when an electric current flows through it and it is placed in a magnetic field perpendicular to its plane. The Corbino effect is the production of a circular current in a conducting disc when a radial current flows through it and it is placed in a magnetic field perpendicular to its plane. Experiments made to study the latter effect and to show its essential relation to the Hall effect are described. The symmetry of the experi mental arrangement for measuring the Corbino effect, as well as the fact that the measurement of the Hall effect requires very thin sheets, gives to the Corbino effect an important position among galvano-magnetic effects.

[ocr errors]

Dr. C. F. Brush: Spontaneous Generation of Heat in Recently Hardened Steel."

The author shows that the specimens of carbon tool steel and tungsten "high-speed" steel examined spontaneously generated a considerable amount of heat at the temperature of the room after being waterhardened at cherry-red or white heat. The development of heat at steadily diminishing rate was observable for more than a month, and was accompanied by a shrinkage in the volume of the steel. Progress of heat generation and of shrinking are shown in curves. But that shrinking is only incident to, and is not the prime cause of, the generation of heat, is evidenced by the fact that the internal work represented by the heat generated is hundreds of times greater than necessary to produce the observed change in volume. In the process of hardening, the steels increased at least per cent. in volume, as shown by specific gravity tests of 4-in. bars and linear measurements of long thin rods. When afterwards tempered to light-blue colour, much shrinkage took place at once, and another large shrinkage when annealed. The author regards the hardened steel as being in a condition of great molecular strain, somewhat unstable at first. Spontaneous relief of a small portion of the strain causes the generation of heat observed until stability at room temperature is reached. Any considerable rise of temperature, as in tempering, permits a further spontaneous relief of strain, or molecular rearrangement, doubtless accompanied by more generation of heat, and so on until annealing temperature

is reached. The process of tempering and annealing steel is exothermic, and conversely hardening is an endothermic process.

Dr. M. H. Jacobs: "Heredity in Protozoa."

In the higher animals, characters are not for the most part directly transmitted from one generation to the next, but develop anew in each generation from the germ-plasm. In the protozoa, on the other hand, there is a mixture of direct transmission and new development that has interesting consequences in the case of the inheritance of newly-acquired characters. In this connection a race of Paramecium with three contractile vacuoles instead of the usual number of two is discussed, and the means described by which the unusual number is kept from disappearing. The factors concerned seem to be: (a) direct transmission of the extra vacuole; (b) a tendency to adhere to ancestral racial traits; and (c) a new tendency of the protoplasm to produce extra vacuoles.

Prof. G. H. Parker, Harvard University: "The Problem of Adaptation as Illustrated by the Fur Seals of the Pribilof Islands."

The Alaskan fur-seal is a pelagic animal that breeds in summer on the Pribilof Islands, Behring Sea. About equal numbers of males and females are born. At the breeding age one male, the bull, becomes associated with a number of females, the cows, thus constituting a harem. A harem may contain as many as 120 cows and probably averages about thirty. As a result of this disproportionate relationship as compared with the proportion of the sexes at birth, there are to be found at most breeding grounds many so-called idle bulls. These are a measure of the inefficiency of organic adaptation. Contrary to the opinion held by many biologists, adaptation is not always a relation of great exactitude, but is often, to use the words of Bateson, a poor fit.

Dr. George H. Shull: "Heterosis and the Effects of In-breeding."

Physiological processes are stimulated and rate of growth and total amount of growth increased through the union of gametes having unlike constitution. This physiological effect of the differences in uniting gametes is heterosis. In-breeding lessens heterosis by gradually lessening the differences between the uniting gametes. The application of this principle to some of the problems of practical breeding is discussed. Prof. Bradley M. Davis, University of Pennsylvania : "The Significance of Sterility in Enothera.'

Studies on the seed, ovule and pollen sterility in Enothera show that there are species with a high degree of fertility and species in which fertility is low, also that hybrids may exhibit a wide range in comparative fertility. These conditions suggest the possibility that hybrids may at times continue indefinitely as impure, or heterozygous, species through a failure to produce homozygous zygotes, or through the mortality of zygotes having homozygous constitutions. Enothera lamarckiana is a form with low seed fertility and a high degree of pollen and ovule sterility and may be representative of an impure species, hybrid in character, which for the most part breeds true, but occasionally and repeatedly produces other types, the so-called mutants. In genetical work with Enotheras a method of germinating seeds must be employed which will give trustworthy proof that a culture has produced all the seedlings possible from a sowing of seed-like structures.

Dr. George F. Atkinson: "Morphology Development of Agaricus rodmani.


Agaricus rodmani, which is closely related to the cultivated mushroom, Agaricus campestris, has a thick, double annulus, divided into an upper and

lower limb by a broad, marginal groove nearly reaching the stem. This annulus, especially the lower limb, has suggested a resemblance to the volva of the Amanitas. While it arises from the surface of the pileus margin, and is composed to some extent of a portion of the blematogen, it is not strictly comparable to the volva, since the blematogen in the species of Amanita thus far studied is separated from the pileus by a distant cleavage layer, while in Agaricus it remains "concrete" with the pileus. The pileus and stem fundaments are differentiated by the appearance of an internal, narrow zone of young, slender hyphæ, rich in protoplasm, the primordium of the hymenophore and pileus margin. These hyphæ are directed obliquely downward. The rapid increase in the elements of this primordium produces a tension on the ground tissue below it, which now lags behind in growth, so that it is torn apart, forming an annular cavity in the angle between the stem and pileus. The pileus margin and the hymenophore primordium increase in a centrifugal direction. The palisade stage of the hymenophore begins next the stem. In certain individuals it also extends partly down on the stem. The hymenophore primordium consists of a zone of parallel, slender hyphæ, the ends of which are not crowded. The transition to the palisade stage occurs by the increase in number of these hyphæ and the broadening of their free ends. The lamellæ originate as radial, downward-growing salients of the palisade zone, beginning next the stem, in some individuals also arising on the upper part of the stem. Since the growth and increase of these parts of the hymenophore, as well as that of the pileus margin, is centrifugal, all stages of the young hymenophore are therefore found in a single individual during an intermediate stage of its development, the zone of gill salients next the stem, followed by the palisade zone, and outside of this the primordial zone.

E. Plaut and M. T. Bogert: "Syringic Acid and its Derivatives."

[ocr errors]

In the bark and leaves of the lilac (Syringa vulgaris), and in the bark of the privet (Ligustrum vulgare), there occurs a substance which has been called syringin," "lilacin," or "ligustrin." When this substance is oxidised with potassium permanganate, it yields glucosyringic acid, and this latter is easily saponified to dextrose and syringic acid. The authors obtained their syringic acid by treating trimethyl gallic acid with fuming sulphuric acid, and have prepared therefrom and studied a number of new derivatives, among them being bromo-, nitro-, amino-, and hydroxy-syringic acids, esters, acetyl derivatives, and ortho-condensation products.

Prof. C. Baskerville. "The Rate of Evaporation of Ether from Oils and its Application in Oil-Ether Colonic Anæsthesia."

The rate of evaporation of oil-ether mixtures containing 25, 50, and 75 per cent. of the latter was determined at the temperature of the body. The oils used were olive, peanut, corn, cottonseed, soya bean, cod liver, and lanolin. The speed at which the ether evaporated from the 75 per cent. mixture was found clinically to be the best for introducing and maintaining anææsthesia in the human body by insertion in the colon. The technique is indicated for operations about the head, mouth, and the buccal cavity. cords are given of more than a thousand cases with different operators without a single case of postanæsthesia pneumonia and with nausea reduced to the minimum.

[ocr errors]


Prof. Douglas W. Johnson, Columbia University : Physiographic Features as a Factor in the European


The salient features of geological structure west of the Rhine and the influence of this structure upon surface topography are described. Special attention is given to the Rhine graben and the strong contrast between the steep eastern and gentle western slope of the Vosges; the maturely dissected peneplane of western Germany and the Ardennes, trenched by the incised meandering valleys of the Rhine, Moselle, and Meuse; the concentric cuestas north-east and east of Paris with their steep escarpments facing towards the Germans; and the comparatively level plains of central and north-western Belgium. In the eastern field the East Prussian lake district, the plain of Poland, the Podolian cuesta, and the Carpathian mountains are described. It is shown that in both theatres of war land-forms have exercised an important influence both upon the general plans of campaign and the detailed movements of armies. Topography limited the German, invasion of France to four principal routes. The violation of Belgian neutrality had a very distinct topographic basis. Russia's plan of campaign has been dictated in part by topographic considerations, and the principal battles in the east have been fought with reference to natural lines of defence. Suggestions are made as to the effect of land-forms upon probable future movements of the armies.

Prof. Paul Haupt, Johns Hopkins University : "Opium in the Bible."

In ten passages of the Old Testament the Hebrew rôsh, head, denotes a bitter and poisonous plant. It is used also of the poison of serpents. According to Pliny the venom of snakes was nothing but bile. The ancients used the same word for gall, bitterness, poison, medicine. We use "to drug" for "to narcotise," although “drug" originally means simply a dry (German trocken, Dutch droog) herb. Rôsh is mentioned in the Bible in connection with la'anah, wormwood, or absinthe. It was a plant which grew in the furrows of the fields (Hosea x. 4). The Authorised Version renders "hemlock," but rôsh, head, denotes poppy-head, and mê-rôsh is opium. Also the gall (i.e. bitter fluid) with wine (not vinegar) in the account of Christ's crucifixion (Matthew xxvii. 34), and the myrrh in Mark xv. 23 denote opium. The Talmud states that a cup of wine with lebonâh was given to criminals before their execution. Lebonâh means "incense," as a rule, but in this case it is used for opium. In the fifth chapter of the Third Book of the Maccabees, we read that wine with incense was given to the elephants before they were let loose upon the Jews. This "incense" may have been a preparation of Indian hemp. Assassin means intoxicated with hashish (Cannabis indica).

Dr. C. A. Davis: "The Occurrence of Algæ in Carbonaceous Deposits."

On account of their small size and fragile structure, Algæ have not usually been recognised as important contributors to Carbonaceous rocks, and some recent students of the microscopic structure of coals have denied the probability of their existence as fossils in Carbonaceous rocks. Under certain conditions of deposition and preservation, as yet unknown, Algæ may constitute a large percentage of the recognisable plant remains which have accumulated to form beds of Carbonaceous shales of great extent and thickness. Microphotographs of Algae from the oil-yielding shales of Green River age were described.

Dr. W. J. Sinclair, Princeton University: "Additions to the Fauna of the Lower Pliocene Snake Creek Beds, Nebraska."

The Snake Creek beds explored by the Princeton Expedition of 1914 are found in the north-west corner of Nebraska, and consist of unconsolidated gravels

and sands in which water-worn bones of a large number of fossil animals of Lower Pliocene age are found. Most of these remains are fragmentary, and there is almost no association of parts. Better material than has hitherto been collected from this formation has been secured, and new forms are now described for the first time. Most of the remains are of horses, of which there were at least a dozen different species on the Lower Pliocene plains of Nebraska, most of them three-toed. There were also several different kinds of camels, some of them quite large, at least three rhinoceroses, many carnivorous animals, some of large size, at least two mastodons, a peccary, the last of the oreodons or "ruminating hogs," an antelope of entirely new type, quite different from anything hitherto reported from North America, with scimitar-shaped horns sloping backward and curving inward, circular at the base but flattening out toward the tips. There is still another antelope, Dromomeryx, but no trace of the pronghorn. In collections made by the American Museum from the Snake Creek beds the first of the bisons appears, so the Snake Creek fauna gives us some idea of the kinds of animals on the buffalo range when the buffalo first came, and shows what great faunal changes have taken place even during the lifetime of this genus.

Prof. William H. Hobbs, University of Michigan: "The Rôle of the Glacial Anticyclone in the Air Circulation of the Globe."

A theory of nourishment of the great continental glaciers of the polar regions is given, and the author shows in what ways this theory has been confirmed and extended by the work of numerous exploring expeditions. It is because the expeditions across Greenland of 1912 (de Quervain) and of 1913 (Koch and Wegener), and those of Scott and Amundsen into the heart of the Antarctic continent, have for the first time penetrated the central areas of continental glaciers that these studies are illuminating. The penetration of higher levels of the atmosphere upon the borders of the inland-ice through the aid of pilot-balloons has supplied further evidence of great value along a wholly new direction. Most recent of all, the studies of Sir Douglas Mawson within a new section of the Antarctic continental glacier have brought valuable confirmatory observations.

Prof. H. N. Russell, Princeton University: "Note on the Sun's Temperature."

The effective temperature of the sun may be computed from Abbot's data for the radiation of each separate wave-length, using Planck's formula. The resulting temperature at the centre of the disc is about 6600° when determined from the visible radiation, but 600° lower according to the radiation in the infrared. The effective temperature at the edge of the sun is more than 1000° lower, which accords with the theory that at the centre of the disc we can see down deeper, into hotter layers.

Prof. R. S. Dugan, Princeton University: "Some Results from the Observation of Eclipsing Variables." Slides were exhibited showing observed light-curves of three giant eclipsing variables: RT Persei, Z Draconis, and RV Ophiuchi; and diagrams of the binary systems the revolution of which is supposed to give rise to the observed light variations. The importance was explained of repeatedly observing the entire period shown in the discovery of shallow secondary minima, the oblateness of the stars, interradiation and periastron effects, and darkening towards the limb. Evidence was given of the greater brilliance of the advancing side of the bright star. The variation of the periods of these three stars was described. Early Harvard photographs and recent

« PrejšnjaNaprej »