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the council this resolution is apparently not has never been erected, nor the Technical put forward by the council officially. The Committee announced in July, 1915, called notice convening the meeting states that on into existence. July 4 the council had under consideration the
The provisions of a law enacted by the Conquestion of expelling the enemy foreign mem
gress of Uraguay require the use of the metric bers. They considered that, if possible, unity
system in all trade transactions. Merchants of action between the Allied nations should be
are forbidden to sell by the piece, package, or secured, and in view of the fact that a con
for a fixed sum of money, even at the request ference between representatives of Allied acad
of the customer, articles susceptible of sale by emies will take place in October next they
weight or measure without the use of the resolved to refer the question to that confer
metric system. The law provides that when ence. In the meantime they desire to obtain
merchandise is sold in sealed packages, tin the opinion of the Fellows of the society on
cans, boxes, bundles, bottles, etc., the net conthe subject for the guidance of their repre
tents or weight must be clearly indicated on sentatives at the conference which has been called for the purpose of discussing the future
the wrappers. In pass books used for sales on
credit the weight or quantity of the merof scientific work hitherto carried out by in
chandise sold must be stated, and this must ternational organizations.
also be done in the case of invoices. Staple From a White Paper published on July 10
articles, such as sugar, maté, kerosene, rice, Nature reports that among the supplementary flour noodles, beans and other dry legumes estimates for the year ending March 31, 1919,
either ground or in the grain, coffee, tea, salt, is the sum of £1,000,000 which is to be devoted
liquors, coal and wood in general, meats (inthrough the Board of Trade to the purpose cluding canned meats), lard, fresh vegetables, of assisting the dye-making industry. This is
bread, crackers, milk, fish, cheese, sweet and the first instalment of a total sum of £2,000,
white potatoes, etc., are required when offered 000 to be provided in the shape of loans and
for sale to show prices and weights. grants to be spread over three years, and divided as follows: £1,250,000 in loans at not less
The autumn lectures of the New York Bothan 1 per cent. above the Bank rate, with a tanical Garden will be delivered in the Lecminimum of 5 per cent., repayable in twenty ture Hall of the Museum Building of the Garyears or earlier if the profits of the manufac- den, Bronx Park, on Saturday afternoons, at turer are more than 9 per cent.; £600,000 in four o'clock, as follows: aid of extensions of plant and buildings; and
August 31. “Autumn flowers,” by Dr. N. L. £150,000 in grants in aid of research. It will
Britton. be remembered that early in 1915 a grant of
September 7. “Gladioli," by Professor A. C. £1,000,000 was made to one firm at Hudders- Beal. field, out of which was created the company September 14. “Evergreens,” by Mr. G. V. known as British Dyes Ltd. This, not un- Nash. naturally, created a feeling of dissatisfaction September 21. “Dahlias,” by Dr. M. A. Howe. on the part of those dye-making firms which (Exhibition of Dahlias, September 21 and 22.) received nothing. The sum mentioned is to be
September 28. “Flora of the vicinity of New distributed among these firms, besides the sub
York,” by Mr. Norman Taylor. stantial amount allocated to the purposes of
October 5. “Autumn coloration,” by Dr. A.
B. Stout. research. Presumably the £100,000 given for
October 12. "Cut flowers and how to use this purpose in 1915 has been spent, but it
them,” by Mr. E. I. Farrington. would be interesting to know how and by October 19. "The value of birds in a garden," whom the money has been used and with what
by Dr. G. Clyde Fisher. results, in view of the fact that the central October 26. “Some plant diseases of New research laboratory originally contemplated York and Virginia,” by Dr. E. W. Olive.
November 2. "Plants as insect traps,” by Dr. J. H. Barnhart.
UNIVERSITY AND EDUCATIONAL
NEWS A BEQUEST of $5,000 was made to Cornell University by Dr. William M. Polk, dean of the Medical College, who died on June 23. His purpose in making it was to continue the John Metcalf Polk scholarship in medicine.
A FELLOWSHIP in applied chemistry, of the annual value of £200, has been established at Glasgow University by the trustees of the Ferguson Bequest Fund.
PROFESSOR RAYMOND BINFORD, head of the department of zoology at Earlham College, Indiana, has been elected president of Guilford College, North Carolina.
The vacancy in the deanship of the medical college of Cornell University has been filled temporarily by the appointment of Walter Lindsay Niles, M.D., 1902, who will act as dean through the summer. Further action will be taken by the trustees in the autumn.
DR. A. J. BIGNEY, on leave from Moores Hill College, has been appointed associate professor of zoology in Syracuse University for the ensuing year. Irving H. Blake, A.M., instructor in Syracuse University has been appointed assistant professor of zoology in the University of Maine.
DISCUSSION AND CORRESPONDENCE
THE PREVENTION OF ROPE IN BREAD DURING the course of an investigation of the physical and chemical properties of bread, which is being carried on by officers of the Sanitary Corps under my direction, our attention has been drawn to ropy bread. The development of rope at present causes a serious loss of wheat and leads to much annoyance and uncertainty in the manufacture of bread.
Quite recently Lieutenant E. J. Cohn has made certain observations which, if they could be made widely known, might greatly aid in controlling the present epidemic. Accordingly I venture to report upon them here.
The familiar practise of adding acid to the dough as a means of checking the development of rope turns out to depend upon the fact that what seems to be the common cause of the condition, the growth of B. mesentericus, can not take place in bread at a greater hydrogen ion concentration than 10-5N. At the present time the addition of wheat substitutes in bread-making complicates the situation in two ways; first, because such substances commonly produce a less acid bread, and, secondly, because it is more difficult to find out what quantity of acid is desirable on account of the constantly changing conditions.
It is possible, however, to measure the hydrogen ion concentration of bread by the addition of the ordinary solution of methyl red (0.02 per cent. in 60 per cent. alcohol) to the freshly cut surface of the loaf. Three or four drops of the indicator should be placed upon a single spot and five minutes should be allowed to pass. Then, if the color is a full red without an orange nuance, the hydrogen ion concentratibn is approximately 10-5N, or more. If an orange tint develops, greater amounts of acid should be added to successive batches of dough until the test with bread just gives the desired color. Our experience seems to show that the growth of rope is inhibited as the hydrogen ion concentration approaches 10-5N, and that bitter flavor in bread appears only at greater acidities.
Professor Wolbach, of the Harvard Medical
Dr. Ivan E. Wallin, who was recently advanced to an associate professorship in the school of medicine of Marquette University, has been appointed acting professor and head of the department of anatomy in the University of Colorado school of medicine.
At Glasgow University Dr. Thomas Walmsley has been appointed lecturer in anatomy, with special reference to embryology. Mr. A. McL. Watson has been appointed lecturer in physiology, with special reference to histology. Dr. John McL. Thompson has been appointed lecturer in botany, with special reference to plant morphology.
School, has very kindly carried out the bac- 25 seconds, it seemed to be dead. Then it teriological experiments upon which these re- suddenly resumed its swimming and whirlsults largely depend.
ing motions, which were continued, with ocLAWRENCE J. HENDERSON casional resting periods, till observations WOLCOTT GIBBS MEMORIAL LABORATORY,
ceased at the end of the day, 21 hours from HARVARD UNIVERSITY
the first observation.
The slide had been sealed with oil to preA MICROSCOPIC TRAP
vent evaporation of the water, so that the next WHILE examining a very rich culture of morning the culture was in good condition, Protozoa, recently, I saw a living animal but the prisoner had escaped, during the night, caught in the smallest trap that I have ever from its trap. heard of, about 1/13 mm. in length. The The figure is a camera drawing, showing animal was a small Infusorian, apparently the animal in the trap, bent to the right, and Colpoda cucullus Mül., as well as could be indented on that side. determined in its cramped position in the trap.
ALBERT M. REESE The trap was an empty shell of a small species WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY of Arcella. The Infusorian had apparently entered the
A NIGHT RAINBOW opening of the empty test and then, after the A most wonderful display of aurora borealis manner of a fish in a trap, kept swimming was visible on Mount Desert Island last night around and around the periphery of its prison, and had the moon not been at first quarter the thus never coming to the centrally placed brilliancy of the display would undoubtedly opening. I watched it pretty constantly for an have been still greater. It had its base on a hour and a half and it apparently never long, dark, unbroken band abutting on the ceased, for more than a second at a time, its northern horizon and shot upwards toward the
zenith in innumerable streamers of vast reach, lengthening and shortening and shifting like the beams of a gigantic searchlight. Suddenly at about 10:40 P.M. a band like a gray-colored rainbow darted across the heavens near the zenith, passing from northwest to southeast and ending at a point near but not at the horizon. Though it may be common I have never seen the aurora span the heavens in that fashion. It looked like a vast single-span bridge. Beginning west of Arcturus it passed midway between Lyra and Aquila and ended far down in the southeast. At its midpoint
overhead it was about as wide as the line joinFIG. 1. A small Infusorian trapped in the empty ing the three conspicuous stars of Aquila. It shell of a fresh-water Rhizopod, Arcella. Camera lucida; X 630.
seemed to be lower than the firmament, creat
ing the impression of pulling the sky downforward or backward motion, except that, oc
ward and giving a limit to space. Unlike the casionally, it halted its progressive movement streamers first seen it did not suggest a searchand whirled around rapidly, at a rate of 100 light but rather a band of delicate gray veilper minute, upon its median transverse axis. ing, shining, yet not luminous-a night rain
After being under observation for an hour bow. It was densest near the zenith but even and a half it suddenly became quiet, and, but there the stars were visible through it. for the contraction of its vacuole about every For about thirty minutes little change could
be noticed in it, then it broke up lengthwise with tons of beef” (p. 162), and maté “beand crosswise, moving at the same time still comes as solid as a rock” (p. 197). nearer the zenith. A few moments later short Allowances may be made for such evident parallel streamers began to shoot out from it exaggerations, but unfortunately there are inat right angles and in a northerly direction terspersed among them a long list of misgiving the appearance of the prongs of a leading half-truths, of which the following are crown. Thereafter the long gray bow gradu- examples: Bahia “ is guarded by strong forts" ally vanished and in its place appeared irregu (p. 86); “both men and women in Brazil lar small grayish cloud-like masses moving smoke” (p. 86); maté" enables people to do swiftly to and fro across the zenith while short their work and endure hardships without streamers continued to dart upward from the fatigue” (p. 195); “bread (is) made from northern horizon.
manioc flour” (p. 201); “Brazil is larger than
DAVID RIESMAN the United States” (p. 78), and the carriage NORTHEAST HARBOR, MAINE,
drive over the crest of the Andes is a “ danAugust 16, 1918
gerous trip” (p. 225).
Certain other statements are even less than SCIENTIFIC BOOKS
half-truths: speaking of the Amazon region, South America. By NELLIE B. ALLEN. New
she says the “forest is always . . . brilliant York, Ginn and Company, no date (1918?).
with flowers” (p. 106); as a matter of fact it Illustrated. 12mo. Pp. xv + 413.
is rarely brilliant with flowers. The sandstone This book seems to be one of a series of “geo
reefs of Pernambuco and the coast are called graphical and industrial studies." The author “the great coral reef,” and the "coral seais connected with the state normal school at wall” (pp. 82–83). It is said that petroleum Fitchburg, Mass., and the book is intended for has been discovered in Brazil (p. 89) (it has use of “ the children in our schools."
not); that "rich beds of ... platinum are It is a book of good intentions written down
known to exist” in Brazil (p. 89) (they are to young people; and as young people are in not); and, among other things, "pearls the habit of accepting as the truth all the state are mined in various parts of the country ments they find in print we feel at liberty to
(p. 89) ! ask whether the children are being properly
A writer who makes such haphazard stateserved. It contains a great deal of the stock
ments can hardly be expected to discriminate information to be found in books of travel,
in regard to information of any kind. Thus circulars, reports and papers about South we are told that Paraná means in the Indian America, and mixed in with it are many
language, 'mother of the sea "" (p. 145); Dr. things that might better have been omitted.
Theodoro Sampaio, an authority on the Tupi, One of the most striking things about it is
says it means “like the sea ”
as big as the the air of artificiality and false enthusiasm sea.” At page 103 it is said that the wet that the author seems to think it necessary
season in the Amazon valley is from November to maintain. It is difficult to keep up such
to February; Carvalho's “Météorologie du high pressure activities, and, at the same time, Brésil,” pp. 205 and 216, says it is January to to verify statements and to discriminate be May at Pará, December to June at Obidos, tween trustworthy and untrustworthy author and January to May on the Negro. ities. The result is a demoralizing tendency The palm nuts used to smoke rubber in the towards exaggeration and sensation. For ex Amazon region are spoken of as “the fuel he ample, a pile of wheat twenty-five or thirty (the rubber cutter) likes best” (p. 119). It is feet high is called a “ mountain of wheat" not a matter of what he likes, but a demand (pp. 172-3); wheat fields are a sea of wheat"
of trade. From the beginning of the rubber (p. 171); trains “shoot in and out of tunnels industry to the present the rubber gatherers of (p. 127); "cold storage plants are bursting the Amazon region have considered it nec
essary to use for rubber smoking the nuts of rising in the field over to the right” (p. 267). the Urucury palm, botanically known at At It turns out to be nothing more serious than talea excelsa.1
the workmen blasting out the rocks in the Of Rio de Janeiro it is said that a person nitrate fields. And though the nitrate regions who visited that city twenty-five years ago of Chile are in low hills along the western would hardly recognize the city to-day, and margin of a flat ancient lake bed she says the that “the traveler who was so unfortunate as surface of the country is all upheaved” to be obliged to stop there held to his nose a (p. 266), and gives a picture of waste rock handkerchief saturated with disinfectant as he from the quarries as evidence of the upheaval. made his way through narrow, dirty, un Fictitious resemblances between the United drained streets (p. 93). Such statements States and Brazil are discovered (p. 78); while may make an effective background for refer “Lying in its wide mouth, as the prey might ences to the present healthfulness of that city, lie in the open jaws of a great serpent, is the nevertheless, they are gross exaggerations. island of Marajo” (p. 104). The statement (p. 93) that the people of Rio Some of this writing down to students is “ learned from the United States how to make harmless enough, but one wonders why it is the city a pleasant healthful place to live in "
necessary to use a platitude instead of plain is misleading to say the least. The fact that English; for example, coffee is called “our malaria was transmitted by mosquitoes was morning cup," and she “explores ” the streets discovered by a surgeon in the British army. of Buenos Aires (p. 164). All of which is in And as for Rio's beautiful Beiramar, we re keeping with certain other hackneyed expresgret to say that there is no such a water sions, such as: Bahia bay is a large enough front drive in the whole United States from to hold all the navies of the world” (p. 86); which it could have been copied.
every part of the animal, except the bleat Both maps and text keep up the ancient and the bellow, is made use of” by the meat myth about the forests of the Amazon valley packers (p. 181). The pity of it all is that being called selvas (pp. 105, 125). As a matter when the author forgets these antics and sticks of fact they are called mattas by the people, to facts and to plain English she is an interand the forest map of Brazil by Dr. Gonzaga esting writer, a fact which leads one to conde Campos calls them mattas. But why must clude that it is the system that is at fault a foreign word be used at all? They are rather than the author of the book, simply tropical forests.
There are legitimate ways to hold the atBut errors of statement that may be matters tention of students, and there is a reasonable of oversight are of less importance than the mean between buffoonery and the dry-as-dust attitude of teachers who think it necessary to way of presenting instruction. The idea that use extravagant language in order to awaken studies must be made entertaining has so the interest and to hold the attention of penetrated our schools, our teachers, and our pupils. At page 123 we are informed that
text-books, that the seriousness of education is Indians have gathered the rubber, the sailors well nigh lost sight of in the sensationalism, have manned the ships, and the workmen in
extravagance, and unwholesome lack of sin. the factories “have spent their time in order cerity that naturally springs from such false that you may be protected from the wet."
conceptions. There is not a workman in that list who
John C. BRANNER doesn't know better. And when attention STANFORD UNIVERSITY, flags, something more startling than usual CALIFORNIA must be injected into it. “Did you hear that loud report? Look at the column of smoke
PATENT REFORM PROSPECTS 1 Wallace's “Palm Trees of the Amazon,' p. The following letter is published for the in118.
formation and suggestions it contains: