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AMONG the articles in the February number of the American Naturalist is one by Messrs. Castle and Fish on the black-and-tan rabbit and the significance of multiple allelomorphs, in which the origin of the breed is indicated.

IN vol. x., No. 7, of the University of California publications on archæology and ethnology, Mr. P. E. Goddard has collected a number of tales and legends of the Chilula tribe, a group of Indians now nearly extinct. The collection is a strange complex of primitive types of belief: animal tales, witchcraft, demonology, folk-medicine, and incidents of social life. It is well that the opportunity has been taken to place❘ on record the language and folk beliefs of a people which in a few years it will be impossible to recover.

A PHOTOGRAPH of the European bison cow and calf in the Zoological Gardens is one of the features in the February number of Wild Life. Although this calf is the first of its kind born in the London establishment, cow-bison have produced offspring on more than one occasion in the Duke of Bedford's park at Woburn. In connection with a photograph of Canadian wild geèse, Mr. S. J. Wigley states that the omission of these birds from the list of species protected in Alberta is a testimony to their alertness and cunning.

THE report of the Indian Museum for 1913-14 deals largely with last year's celebration of the centenary of that institution, of which a notice has already been published in our columns, and the inauguration of a series of public lectures. Much of the rest relates to administrative details and other matters of purely local interest; and attention has also been directed in NATURE to the biological survey of the Chilka Lake, which is discussed in the report under the heading of field-work. Among noteworthy additions to the zoological collections were specimens from the Chilka Lake, specimens received from the marine survey, mammal-skins sent by the Bombay Natural History Society, and a series of, chiefly fresh-water invertebrate, specimens from Kashmir.

NEW reptiles and amphibians from the Permo-Trias of South Africa are described by Mr. S. H. Haughton in vol. xii., part 2, of the Annals of the South African Museum. Very striking is a fine stegocephalian skull referred to the European genus Trematosaurus, under the name of T. sobeyi. A skull allied to Tapinocephalus is made the type of a new genus and species, with the designation Struthiocephalus whaitsi; and of two new therocephalians, one is regarded as entitled to represent a new generic type (Trochosaurus). Three dicynodonts are also described as new, in one of which it is shown that the bone in Lystrosaurus hitherto regarded as the exoccipital, really represents both that element and the paroccipital (opisthotic).

THE Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences for January 19 (No. 2, of vol. v.) contains an interesting paper by Mr. H. S. Graves on the place of forestry among natural sciences. The importance of the forest as a distinct plant society and its connection with botany, plant geography, meteorology, sociology, and

engineering is well put forward. In the same number Mr. P. C. Standley describes a new genus of Chenopodiaceæ from Arizona, under the name of Zuckia, which is most closely related to Atriplex.

PROF. H. H. W. PEARSON publishes an account of his observations on the internal temperatures of Euphorbia virosa and Aloe dichotoma in the Annals of the Bolus Herbarium, vol. i., part ii., 1914. The plants grow on the dry slopes of the Great Karasberg. The stem structure of the Euphorbia is remarkable from the large air cavities in the stem. The Euphorbia attains its maximum external temperature more rapidly than the Aloe, and temperatures as high as 51.5° C. were recorded when the black-bulb registered 65.8° C. On wounding, the temperature of the Euphorbia falls suddenly, and the fall is attributed to the expansion of the pith gases due to the withdrawal of latex. When a rubber pellicle has been formed over the wound by the exuded latex the fall in temperature ceases. In Aloe the lowering of temperature on wounding appears to be due to surface evaporation and the recovery in this case is slow, since there is no protective formation of rubber over the wound.

IN Knowledge for January Mr. L. Claremont describes the methods of ruby-mining in Burma, with the aid of a number of photographs, and of illustrations by Burmese artists. He deals also with the red spinels, or "balas rubies," of which a large example, presented to the Black Prince, occurs among the crown jewels of Great Britain. The possible sedimentary origin of the ruby-bearing limestone in Burma has been lately pointed out by Mr. T. H. D. La Touche (see NATURE, vol. xciv., p. 348).

THE Revue Scientifique, which continues its fiftythird volume in Paris, publishes (February 6) a lecture given in 1914 by Prof. Stanislas Meunier on "Le problème des montagnes." The author repeats his suggestion that earthquakes may be caused by the explosion of steam, when water-bearing blocks of the earth's crust slip down into regions of high temperature. He declines, however, to look forward, with Termier, to catastrophic displacements of the surface. We may note that the Revue invites records of Frenchmen destined for scientific careers, who have fallen, in heroic circumstances, in the present conflict. Two such obituaries are published in the number here referred to.

THE Meteorological Office with its recent Weekly Weather Report has issued a summary of temperature, rainfall, and duration of bright sunshine for the past winter, as comprised in the period for the thirteen weeks from November 29, 1914, to February 27, 1915. The temperature for the winter was in excess of the average over the whole of England, the greatest difference occurring in the east and south-east and in the midland counties, where the mean was approximately 2° warmer than the normal. In Scotland there was a deficiency of nearly 1°, and in Ireland the defect for the winter was about 1.5°. The duration of bright sunshine was not very different from the normal, the amount being slightly deficient in the eastern districts,

whilst there was a slight excess of sunshine in the western districts. Excessive rains were recorded over the whole of the United Kingdom, the fall being heaviest over England, where the rains for the whole country were 196 per cent. of the average. In Ireland the rainfall was 152 per cent. of the average, and in Scotland 131 per cent. The greatest excess of rain occurred in the south-east of England, where the measurement, 17.19 in., was 248 per cent. of the normal, whilst in the east of England the record was 228 per cent. of the normal, and in the midland counties 196 per cent. The rainy days were in excess of the average over the entire kingdom, the excess being generally greatest in the English districts.

Symons's Meteorological Magazine for February gives the rainfall for January last at representative stations over the United Kingdom. The total at Camden Square was 412 in., which is 2.29 in. more than the average, and is 225 per cent. of the normal. This is the highest percentage of the average at any station given in the table, which, however, is only a tentative representation. Naturally there are many stations given with a larger rainfall, but the normals at these were larger. The map giving the Thames Valley rainfall for January, which in such times of flood as the present is of special interest, shows an area in the neighbourhood of Marlborough with a fall of more than 6 in., and fairly large areas are given with more than 5 in. The rainfall of 412 in. at Camden Square is said to be the greatest in January in the fifty-eight years' record, with the exception of January, 1877, when 4.74 in. was measured. Combining the records at Camden Square for the three months November, 1914, to January, 1915, the total measurement is 13.98 in., which is 56 per cent. of the annual average fall, and is 224 per cent. of the normal for the period. The rainfall for January is said to have been above the average over practically the whole of the British Isles, the excess being greatest in the south of England. On the Pennines 8 in. or more fell generally. A copy of a photograph is given showing the flooding of Salisbury Cathedral on January 5 and 6. In the neighbourhood the rainfall measured 16-86 in. from October 13 to December 31, and of this 2-93 in. fell in the last seven days of December, whilst an additional 2·06 in. fell in the first three days of January. The current number commences the fiftieth volume of the magazine.

THERE is a general belief that the paintings of old masters owe their success in some measure to secret processes or lost arts. A paper on the scientific aspects of this question is contributed by Dr. Maximilian Toch to the Journal of the Franklin Institute for January. Among other conclusions, the author points out that the painters only used a limited number of colours (madder being one) the permanency of which was well established, and that they avoided mixing those which were known to undergo chemical combination in each others' presence. As examples of scientific methods of detecting later day copies, some interesting examples are given. The use of zinc white instead of flake white, the presence of protoplasmic remains in the wood cells, and the trans

parency of the bitumen in the shadows are particular proofs that a picture is not a genuine antique. As regards deterioration, the author alludes to the serious effect of smoke and modern gas fumes, and further points out that while either light or darkness may bleach a picture, some that have been kept in the dark may be restored by placing them in bright sunlight. Finally, Dr. Toch condemns the style of modern painting, which substitutes the collapsible tube or palette knife for the brush, on the ground that the flakes of colour thus attached to the canvas will crack off and become detached. If, therefore, this method was ever used three hundred years ago, no traces of it would now be in existence.

DR. W. C. SABINE publishes an account of a recent lecture to the Franklin Institute on architectural acoustics in the Journal of the institute for January. The investigations referred largely to the lecture hall of Harvard University, in which an ordinary spoken word remained audible for about 5 seconds. At first they were applied to determine the absorption only of a note of the pitch of violin C, but they have now been extended for three octaves in either sense. By introducing more and more cushions into the room a curve was plotted connecting the quantity of absorbing material with the duration of the sound, and was proved to be very approximately a rectangular hyperbola. Another curve shows that the absorption increases with the pitch. An interesting feature is the diagram showing the distribution of sound intensity in a room with a barrel-shaped ceiling, and though the curves look remarkably complicated, the author finds that it is easy to observe the maxima and points of zero intensity. In conclusion the author says: "While these several faetors, reverberation, interference, and echo in an auditorium at all complicated are themselves complicated, nevertheless they are capable of an exact solution, or, at least of a solution as accurate as are the architect's plans in actual construction. It is entirely possible to calculate in advance of construction whether or not an auditorium will be good, and, if not, to determine the factors contributing to its poor acoustics and a method for their correction." It is a pity that these results are not generally applied, so as to prevent public halls being built in such a way that echoes make them almost useless.

M. HENRY LE CHATELIER has contributed an article on explosives to La Nature of February 20. In the article the general phenomena of explosion and the methods of measuring the relative value of explosives are discussed, much space being devoted to the phenomena of gaseous explosions. The general questions of the heat developed on explosion, the influence of mechanical forces, of chemical stability, and other minor points are touched upon. In conclusion, it is pointed out that the manufacture and employment of explosives are very complex questions, and demand long study; that in time of war it is not wise to introduce new explosives or great variation in methods of manufacture. Inventors and the public are apt to look more particularly for the production of explosives of enormous power without giving consideration to

other all-important factors governing their production published in journals devoted to special branches of and application.

Engineering for March 5 contains an illustrated description of Lord Chetwynd's electrical steel-purification process, which has been in use for the past eighteen months at the Grimesthorpe Works, Sheffield, belonging to Messrs. Cammell, Laird and Co., Ltd. The steel is manufactured in the ordinary way in the Siemens-Martin furnace, and is then teemed into a special ladle. When teeming steel into a ladle in the ordinary way, a portion of the slag is drawn out with it, and becomes so intermingled with the steel in the ladle that it has no time to separate completely and to rise to the surface before the pouring into the ingot moulds takes place. Lord Chetwynd's process is applied to the steel in the ladle. Two graphite electrodes are made to rest in the layer of slag covering the molten steel in the ladle, and iron electrodes are fitted in the bottom of the ladle. As soon as the graphite electrodes are lowered into the layer of slag an electric current is made to flow through the steel, the effect of which is to raise the temperature of the metal, causing a rotating action throughout the molten mass, with the result that it is freed from the gases and slag particles which it contained in teeming from the furnace. The process lasts about thirty minutes, and the current expenditure is small. Test results show that the process has a marked refining action upon the metal in the ladle.

OUR ASTRONOMICAL COLUMN. MELLISH'S COMET.-A note in the Times of March 10 states that the orbit of this comet obtained by Andersen and Fischer, of Copenhagen, places perihelion passage at about 1 p.m. on July 25 next, the distance being 110 million miles. The comet will remain visible to English observers up to the middle of May, by which time it is likely to be faintly discernible with the naked eye. It now rises about half an hour after midnight, the best time for observation being 5 a.m., when it is a little east of south. Its positions at 5 a.m. on the dates named are follows:

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THE BRITISH ECLIPSE EXPEDITIONS OF 1914.-The January number (vol. lxxv., No. 3) of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society contains the preliminary reports of the various British expeditions which were dispatched last year to observe the total eclipse of the sun on August 21. These reports have now been issued also in a separate pamphlet, and distributed by the secretary of the Joint Permanent Eclipse Committee. Brief accounts of the work of each of these expeditions have already been given in this journal, so attention need only be directed to the handy collective publication mentioned above.

ASTRONOMY IN AMERICA.-With a strong editorial board the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America has begun a publication of monthly proceedings. These proceedings will be official, and are intended to serve as a medium for prompt publication of brief original papers. It is intended that the papers will be shorter and less detailed than those

science, and that they shall, if possible, include an introductory statement of the general aspects of the research, and of its relation to previous knowledge in the same field, so that its significance may be appreciated by those engaged in other branches of science. In the first number (January 15, vol. i., No. 1) astronomy is well represented by the following communications: The radial velocities of nebulæ, by W. W. Campbell; Preliminary note on nebular proper motions, by H. D. Curtis; Discovery of the ninth satellite of Jupiter, by S. B. Nicholson; Spherical aberration in astronomical objectives due to changes of temperature, by F. Schlesinger; The relations between the proper motions and the radial velocities of the stars of the spectral types F, G, K, and M, by J. C. Kapteyn and W. S. Adams; and, finally, a critique of the hypothesis of anomalous dispersion in certain solar phenomena, by C. E. St. John.

GRUNDSPECTRA OF ALKALI AND ALKALINE EARTH METALS.-A research interesting to spectroscopists is that communicated to the Astrophysical Journal for January (vol. xli., No. 1, p. 16), by Mr. Edgar H. Nelthorpe. The work was carried out in the astrophysical laboratory of the Imperial College of Science and Technology, and deals with the observations of the grundspectra of alkali and alkaline earth metals. The term grundspectra refers to spectra obtained by Goldstein, who used a method by which line spectra of some elements were obtained which were totally different from their arc spectra and could not be arranged in series of the ordinary type. As Goldstein's method appeared in some cases completely to isolate enhanced lines (spark) from the arc lines occurring under the ordinary arc or spark conditions, the author of the present paper has repeated and extended this research, embodying some of the spectra of elements which are represented in stellar spectra. The elements here dealt with are sodium, potassium, rubidium, calcium, strontium, and barium. Mr. Nelthorpe describes the apparatus he employed, and gives the results of each element separately, accompanying them with a series of excellent photographic comparison spectra. The chief conclusion drawn is that the grundspectra obtained by Goldstein's method consist essentially of lines which are specially developed in the ordinary spark spectrum. In the case of potassium and rubidium the spectra consist entirely of enhanced lines, but with the calcium group the arc spectrum is not entirely absent.

ELECTRONS IN THE SUN'S ATMOSPHERE.-In a the Tokio Mathematicopaper communicated to physical Society in October, 1914, Prof. H. Nagaoka directs attention to the important part which may be played by calcium in the production of electrons in the sun's atmosphere. In the flocculi so abundant in the photosphere it exists probably as calcium oxide, and the electronic emission of lime when incandescent is frequently utilised in laboratory work. At the pressure of one-tenth of an atmosphere which prevails in the calcium layer about a sun-spot, the electrical conductivity will not be too great to allow of considerable potential gradients which, according to their direction, will establish outward or inward electronic currents of considerable magnitudes. If, as seems most likely, the electric field is directed inwards, the electronic emission will be outwards and the regions of emission will be surrounded by electronic vortices with counter-clockwise rotation. Within the vortices magnetic fields will be produced, and the whole region will possess the properties found to exist in sun-spots. Comparisons of some of the consequences of this theory with observations are, it is hoped, to be carried out by the author and his pupils.





HE interest and importance of the subject at the present time are sufficiently obvious. In outlining some of the origins of chemical industry in Germany, the lecturer pointed out how the royal house of Prussia had been frequently associated with chemical enterprise. The Markgrave John actually surnamed "the Alchemist," the Great Elector was a patron of chemistry and provided a laboratory at Potsdam for the celebrated Kunkel, one of the first to discover phosphorus, and who also effected great advances in the manufacture of glass. Frederick the Great established the Royal Berlin porcelain factory, which still occupies some of the original premises. In the same reign also the chemist Marggraf made those classical investigations on the occurrence of sugar in the vegetable kingdom which later led to the foundation of the beet-sugar industry, which was initially subsidised by Frederick William III., the founder of the University of Berlin in 1809. (In 1914, the Berlin University had 12,585 students, and received an annual grant from the State of more than 200,000l.)

Great industries have developed out of these early steps. From the discovery of phosphorus came the match industry. German annual production of matches is 4,600,000l.; the British_production in 1907 amounted to 775,000l., whilst the British consumption in 1910 was estimated at 1,300,000l. Again, the porcelain and pottery manufacture had attained great dimensions in Germany, the exports in 1912 amounting to 3,556,000l., whilst the glass industry was even on a larger scale, the recent annual exports being more than 7,000,000l. Great inconvenience in connection with all scientific work is at present being experienced through the absence of German glass. The important cyanide industry may be said to have taken its origin from the accidental discovery by Diesbach, of Berlin, of Prussian blue in the first decade of the eighteenth century. Germany's annual production of cyanides is now estimated at 10,000 tons (650,000l), or about onehalf of the world's production.

The present position of Germany in the sugar industry of the world can be appreciated from the following figures :

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U. States World

Germany England France Sulphuric acid 1,250,000 1,000,000 500,000 1,200,000 5,000,000 Soda 400,000 700,000 200,000 250,000 2,000,000 The substitution of the ammonia-soda for the earlier Le Blanc soda process, and of the contact for the time-honoured leaden chamber process of sulphuric acid manufacture, had no doubt greatly assisted both Germany and America in becoming independent of the British manufacture of these chemicals.

During the past twenty-five years the manufacture of chlorine and caustic soda by the electrolysis of common salt (sodium chloride) has been realised and rapidly extended. This process is carried out on a very large scale in Germany, where extensive use is made of liquefied chlorine. The production of electrolytic chlorine is attended with the simultaneous evolution of large quantities of hydrogen gas for which uses have been found; thus, for filling the dirigible balloons upon which such hopes of conquest have been based by Germany, whilst in the oxyhydrogen flame it has been employed for welding, for the cutting even of thick iron structures, and for the manufacture of artificial gems. The artificial production of gemscorundum, ruby, sapphire, etc. was discovered in France by Michaud, Verneuil, and Paquier, and has been greatly taken up by the Elektrochemische Werke at Bitterfeld, in Germany. More than a ton of these gems, which are identical in chemical composition with the natural gems, are said to be annually produced. Other more important uses for hydrogen have been found for the hardening of fats, and still more recently for the synthetic production of ammonia to be presently referred to, and which is an industrial achievement of the first magnitude. Cheaper sources of hydrogen than the electrolytic method have been

introduced, and notably that depending on the production of water-gas (consisting of equal volumes of hydrogen and carbon monoxide) from steam and coke at a red-heat, the carbon monoxide being subsequently separated from the hydrogen by liquefying it by means of the low temperature apparatus of Carl von Linde, of Munich.

The discovery of incandescent gas lighting by the Austrian, Count Auer v. Welsbach, and of the metallic filament incandescent electric lamp by the same inventor in 1903, as well as the improvements in the latter effected by Siemens and Halske in 1905 and 1906, have led to the production of these commodities on a very large and increasing scale in Germany, thus:

Incandescent gas mantles
Metallic filament electric lamps
Carbon filament lamps (production


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135,000,000 76,000,000 21,000,000

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It has already been pointed out that Germany imports 650,000 tons of Chile saltpetre for manure, hence by increasing their output of sulphate of ammonia they have been rendering themselves less dependent on foreign products (nitrate from Chile and sulphate of ammonia from England).

As is well known, one of the most important problems at the present time is to provide the world with nitrate when the deposits in Chile shall have been exhausted. The problem is bound up with the still wider one of the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. This again, as is well known, is now accomplished on a large scale by the production of nitric acid from atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen by means of the electric furnace of Birkeland and Eyde, or by the production of calcium cyanamide by passing atmospheric nitrogen over heated calcium carbide. Both these processes involve the use of the electric furnace, in the former for effecting the union of the nitrogen and oxygen, and in the latter for the preliminary production of the calcium carbide. Abundant water-power being necessary for the economic operation of the above processes, Norway has become their chief centre, whilst Germany has sought other means of nitrogen-fixation which could be carried on within

her own territories. The synthesis of ammonia from hydrogen and atmospheric nitrogen under a pressure of 200 atmospheres and at 500° C. in the presence of a catalyst, has been successfully worked out by Haber in conjunction with the Badische Anilin und Sodafabrik, and a plant capable of yielding 130,000 tons of sulphate of ammonia per annum was to have been ready in 1915. The second step in the German programme was to convert the ammonia into nitric acid by burning it in air in the presence of a catalyst. In this way it is hoped to make Germany independent of foreign countries for the nitrate required in the manufacture of explosives. It is asserted that this independence Germany has actually secured at the [ present moment.

Potash Salts.

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Of the modern high explosives, gun-cotton was discovered by Schoenbein and by Boettger in 1846. The manufacture of nitroglycerine (discovered by Sobrero in Paris in 1847) was first realised by the Swede, Alfred Nobel, in 1862, and it was Nobel who first adapted these powerful explosives for ballistic purposes. Trinitrotoluene, of which so much has been heard recently, was first proposed for filling shells by Haessermann in 1891. It is said to be surpassed, both as regards safety and disruptive effect, by tetranitro-aniline discovered in England by Dr. Fluerscheim. The great magnitude of the German explosives industry is seen from the following figures:

Total German production of explosives



or about 1/10th of the estimated world production. Germany exported in 1908 to the value of

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£ 1,000,000 3,000,000

This remarkable industry, originated by Count Chardonnet in France in 1891, has also been largely developed on German soil. The German production amounts to about 2000 tons annually (1,200,000l.) out of a total world production of about 7000 tons. French, German, and British patents have largely contributed to the success of this industry.

Industries Dependent on Synthetic Organic

It is in respect of these industries that the world is learning that Germany holds the undisputed supremacy. It is in Germany alone that manufacturers have been found prepared to embark their capital and undertake industrial enterprises of the first magnitude on the advice of the organic chemist. The success which has been achieved by the German manufacturers of artificial dyestuffs, drugs, and perfumes, and the hegemony which they have secured in this branch of industry, has been the frequent subject of warning by professors of chemistry in this country for upwards of a generation. The seriousness of the situation which has arisen through the neglect of those warnings is seen from the following figures :

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