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tober 19, at 8.30 P.M., by Dr. E. K. Dunham, on "Certain aspects of the application of antiseptics in military practise."
PROFESSOR EDWARD F. NORTHRUP, of Princeton University, addressed the meeting of the Institute of Radio Engineers on October 9, on the subject "Special heating effects of radio frequency currents."
DR. CHARLES R. EASTMAN, of the American Museum of Natural History, the author of important contributions to paleichthyology, was drowned at Long Beach on September 27.
By the will of Alfred Louis Moreau Gottschalk, American Consul General at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who was one of the passengers on the United States collier Cyclops, which mysteriously disappeared from the seas last March, the U. S. National Museum receives a valuable collection of Inca pottery, Aztec idols, Trojan lamps, eastern brasses and arms, pottery and porcelains from Spanish America.
BRAZIL is sending a medical mission to France. The party is to consist of fifty doctors besides number of students. They are to be attached to the Brazilian Hospital already installed near the front.
TWELVE professors chosen from the faculties of various Spanish universities spent August in Paris, visiting the principal medical and surgical centers. The mission was charged to prepare a report on the progress made by French war surgery.
THE much-dreaded European potato wart disease for which the Federal Horticultural Board quarantined against further importation of potatoes in September, 1912, has been discovered in ten mining villages near Hazleton, Pa., by Professor J. G. Sanders, economic zoologist of that state. Every effort of the state authorities, with the federal department assisting, is being directed to prevent the further spread of this insidious and most dangerous disease known to affect the potato. It appears that the disease has been established in some of these villages for at least seven or eight years, where it has been impossible to secure even the amount of seed planted in some gardens for the past few years. Only
by accident was this disease discovered in these villages, which are largely made up of foreigners, who supposed that there was something affecting the soil and ruining the crop. It seems advisable that all state authorities should inspect large centers of consumption where imported potatoes may have been purchased during the past eight or ten years.
THE British Ministry of Munitions has made an order prohibiting the sale, except under licence, of radio-active substances, luminous bodies and ores. The order applies to all radio-active substances (including actinium, radium, uranium, thorium and their disintegration products and compounds), luminous bodies in the preparation of which any radio-active substance is used, and ores from which any radio-active substance is obtainable, except uranium nitrate and except radio-active substances at the date of the order forming an integral part of an instrument, including instruments of precision or for timekeeping.
MR. J. E. BARNARD, speaking at the British Scientific Products Exhibition at King's College on August 20, said that the microscope was the almost universal tool of scientists, and was used in every industry which had a technical side. There was little doubt that after the war the microscope industry would undergo a transformation that would lead to a state of affairs in which the British microscope would be preeminent, as indeed, it was somewhere about 1880 to 1890.
SOME of the results of research on the nitrogen problem were shown at the British Scientific Products Exhibition at King's College, London. The Munitions Inventions Department of the Ministry of Munitions exhibited a unit plant for the oxidation of ammonia to oxides of nitrogen. The process (which was not extensively used outside Germany before the war) has been largely used by the enemy to obtain nitric acid for explosives, and also in the manufacture of sulphuric acid by the chamber process as a substitute for Chile nitrate, which he has been unable to obtain owing to the blockade. The method is now widely used in England, and large firms,
such as Messrs. Brunner, Mond, and Co. (Limited), and the United Alkali Company (Limited), are using apparatus similar to that exhibited. The program of lectures at the exhibition was as follows: Professor A. Keith, F.R.S., "Scientific progress as applied to medicine." Dr. F. M. Perkin, "Oils from mineral sources." Mr. R. E. Dennett, "Palm tree to margarine factory." Mr. A. Newlands, "Water power in industry." Dr. C. H. Browning, "Advances in bacteriology in peace and war" (lantern lecture).
The Electrical Review, London, states that the results of the first two thrashings of electrified corn are announced by Mr. H. H. Dunn, seed specialist, of Salisbury. In the Daily Mail last July it was stated that over 2,000 acres were then under electrified seed. The electrification consists of soaking the seed in a weak solution of common salt or calcium chloride, passing a comparatively small electric current through the grain in soak for a few hours, and then slowly drying it in a kiln. Wheat grown at Fort St. Cleer, Liskeard, Cornwall, showed 28 per cent. increase on grain and 40 per cent. on straw. Oats grown at Moreton, near Dorchester, showed a gain of 61 per cent. on grain.
UNIVERSITY AND EDUCATIONAL
By the will of the late Elmer P. Howe, '76, whose death occurred on June 13, 1918, Yale University would receive one half of the residuary estate, its share being estimated at about $200,000. An equal amount will go to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
MAJOR GEORGE W. LITTLEFIELD, of Austin, has loaned the University of Texas, of which he is a regent, $800,000. In addition to this sum he purchased the famous Wrenn private library of its Chicago owners last spring for $225,000 and has donated the collection to the university. He also gave as a gift $5,000 for fitting up a room at the university in which to place the library. The $800,000 which he has loaned to the institution is being expended in building additions to the war schools which
the university is conducting for the government. These schools include automobile mechanics, radio, aviation and military aeronautics.
The Experimental Station Record states that the agricultural school and experiment station near Panama City, Panama, started in 1915, has been closed for lack of funds. Dr. B. H. A. Groth, formerly of the New Jersey Station, who has been in charge of the school and station since its establishment, has returned to this country.
THE Corporation of McGill University has formally approved a recommendation made by the faculty of medicine, that women should be admitted to the study of medicine provided they have completed the first and second years in arts at McGill University, have taken an arts degree from a recognized university, or are prepared to take the double course of B.A. and M.D. or B.Sc. and M.D. at McGill. Women students are now admitted also to the medical faculties of Toronto, Queen's, and the Western Universities.
DR. WILLIAM E. KELLICOTT, professor of biology in Goucher College and recently head of the report division of the United States Food Administration, has been appointed professor of biology and chairman of the department in the College of the City of New York.
R. V. MITCHELL, professor of poultry at Delaware Colege, has been elected head of the poultry department, and director of the all northwest egg laying contest at the State College of Washington, Pullman, Washing
DR. V. H. YOUNG, formerly assistant professor of botany at the State University of Iowa, who was appointed assistant pathologist in the Office of Cotton, Truck and Forage Crop Disease Investigations of the U. S. Bureau of Plant Industry at the close of the last school year, has now resigned from this position to become professor of botany and head of the department of botany at the University of Idaho.
DISCUSSION AND CORRESPONDENCE ERRONEOUS GENERIC DETERMINATIONS OF
THE history of almost any considerable group will show that a subgenus is only a suppressed genus. In an introduction to Wilson's "American Ornithology," 1852, T. M. Brewer makes the following statement which gives an anachronistic setting to recent protests:
I have also judged it inexpedient to imitate the needless subdivisions into genera, which is the prevailing fault in modern ornithology. Without entering into a discussion of this controverted question, I have only to urge, in defense of my adhesion except in such instances as it appeared to be wrong to do so, to old genera-my conviction that the present mode of subdivision, instead of tending to simplify science, as its advocates assert, but adds to the difficulties of the beginner, and serves to discourage his efforts to master the subject.
In a synopsis at the end of this work, for example, all of the hawks and eagles are referred to Falco and the owls to Strix. The subgenera mentioned there are now recognized as genera and some of them have been subdivided into genera.
Primitive people, ignorant and stupid people, old fogies and beginners prefer large genera. But of all the people who use language the taxonomists known as "lumpers" are the only ones ever known to object to the formation of categories. A new genus is like vice, "a monster of so frightful mein." It is first an "alleged genus," then a subgenus, then a In a large genus, if you can distinguish a group of species by any distinct characters, name the group. If you only point out the characters, some one else will name your group for you. In 1802 Kirby subdivided the bees into Apis and Melitta, but he separated them into many groups, not named but designated by signs. In the same year, and later, Latreille named many genera which were practically identical with the groups distinguished by Kirby. Since that time students of bees have been slow to take Kirby as a warning and Latreille as an example.
Confusion regarding genera results from the
efforts of conservatives to force the conceptions associated with the theory of special creation upon those who accept the scientific theory of evolution. Under the former view genera were originally distinct. Under the latter view they were originally connected by transitional forms. The most distinct genera occur in old groups which have been broken into widely separated fragments by a process of extinction which has destroyed most of the original forms. The transitional form may be one of several things, but suppression of a genus on account of it usually involves an argument based on exceptions. If two genera containing many species could be separated all over the world, the lumpers would suppress one of them on account of a transitional form in Ogygia. The absurdity of suppressing groups on account of transitional forms is shown in the case of large and plastic assemblages where the more categories are needed the more they are suppressed.
Generic determinations should be made by comparing each species with the type of the genus. If a species differs in structure from this type, the determination is probably erroneous. A species may be referred to a given genus on account of its resemblance to the type or in spite of its differences. Often the type of the genus has never been ascertained and determinations are made by comparing with species which have been referred to it without any careful examination.
As a criterion for erroneous generic determinations, about all that can be done is to base inferences upon what the history of nomenclature shows. Accordingly we may take it for granted that genera will be subdivided in the future as in the past. Large genera in orders which have been neglected will be subdivided so that they will contain as many species as in orders which have been more thoroughly studied.
Smith's catalogue of the insects of New Jersey, the catalogue of the hymenoptera of Connecticut, local insects taken on flowers and the entomophilous flowers on which they were taken show the following averages of the spe
From the table we may presume also that when the number of species to the genus averages more than 1.7 for a locality like Carlinville, or more than 2.6 for a region like New Jersey, the generic determinations are erroneous. The table also establishes the presumption that the genera of bees suppressed in the New Jersey and Connecticut lists were suppressed erroneously. If the genera mentioned and suppressed in the two lists were used the average would be 4.8 for New Jersey and 3.5 for Connecticut.
To avoid the conclusion that these generic determinations are erroneous it is necessary to show that the genera in the other groups are not correctly determined, or that the bees differ from all of the other groups in a lack of characters on which generic distinctions can be based. CHARLES ROBERTSON
THE NECESSITY FOR BETTER BOOK AND NEWSPAPER MANUFACTURE WITH RESPECT TO MATERIALS USED
OWING to the effects of the present war many of our productions have suffered greatly in quality. Manufactures of all kinds that, five years ago, were as fine in all particulars as the world has ever seen turned out anywhere, have now depreciated to such an extent, in proportions and quality, that one would hardly believe, without due due comparison, what an enormous falling off there has been in many instances. It has affected the output of nearly every one of our best industries, with possibly the exception of the manufacture of war munitions, war materials, and some others too well known to mention. There are thousands of newspapers published in this country. Some of the wealthier ones do not seem to have suffered much, while in the case of the majority of the smaller sheets, they have not only shrunk in the matter of their size and number of pages, but the materials used in their manufacture, notably the paper and ink, are so poor in quality that the paper, in an incredibly short space of time, becomes more or less brittle, yellow, and blotchy, all of which are but premonitory symptoms of a crumbling away-a condition that proceeds
pari passu with a fading of the ink used in printing which was, initially, of a very indifferent quality in all respects.
Now, if we take the best newspapers of the country as a whole, it goes without saying that they do and will carry the great bulk of reliable contemporary history of this war. They obtain their war news direct from a dozen or more of the very best and most reliable sources; and while they may make errors on any particular day with respect to such news, those errors are invariably corrected, in the same media, usually within short periods afterwards.
A surprisingly large number of our newspapers are now printed on the very worst paper imaginable and with inks that fade and blunt the type. All this makes for the prompt and permanent destruction of current history, and especially of the military history of the war.
So much for the newspapers; but that is not the worst of it, for what applies to newspapers is equally pertinent with respect to book and current literature generally. Books of the greatest possible value representing the literature of every department of science and research, of history and current fiction, and many other lines, are now being printed with blunt type on the most perishable kinds of wood paper, and bound in such ways that they go to pieces in an incredibly short space of time. This stricture not only applies to what is being done along such lines in this country, but likewise by most of the nations that are doing any publishing in Europe.
In other words, we are not making books on standard or any other kind of literature nearly as good, in so far as their lasting qualities are concerned, as they did in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This fact I recently touched upon in an article I published in the Medical Review of Reviews of New York City, on the " Incunabula in the Library of the Army Medical Museum of the Surgeon General's Office." Few studies in books are more interesting than to make such comparisons as these; take some of the best volumes for instance published in 1450 and compare them with any of the best works in contemporary science and mark the difference.
It is truly marvelous to note the general quality of the work they put out in those early days-now nearly five hundred years ago. To be sure the illustrations are generally crude, while the binding, paper and printing are far and away ahead of fully fifty per cent. of the same kind of output of the present time.
No one of my present acquaintance is more familiar with all these matters than Mr. Felix Neumann, of the Library of the Surgeon General's Office, and he has, a few days ago, been so good as to submit me the following notes on the subject which have never been used in any other connection heretofore. Mr. Neumann points out that:
Periodicals and newspapers, the latter very important sources of contemporary history, are printed on such poor paper that it is very doubtful how long they will last and how long they can be preserved in libraries. In some libraries they are kept, as a matter of protection, in an entirely dry room and not loaned for use in private residences. As these periodicals and newspapers are of the greatest importance, it is desirable that those copies to be deposited in libraries should be printed on special and more durable paper. In England, for instance, there exists a law issued in the seventeenth century that the copies designated for the library of the king and for the libraries of Cambridge and Oxford, should be printed on the best and largest paper."
An indifferent paper had already been in use at different periods. For instance, in the first half of the seventeenth century, during the Thirty Years War, the durability was not to be blamed so much as the poor quality of the paper. Many of the books printed during this period were printed on a brown paper. Such matters became still worse in the seventies of the last century, at which time many publications were printed on paper made from wood-pulp which at that time came into Vogue. In consequence of this indifferent manufacture many books and bound volumes of scientific periodicals had to be reprinted by an anastatic process, as the originals had fallen to pieces.
The deterioration of printed paper of poor qual ity depends greatly on the influence exerted by light and heat, although paper of better quality suffers sometimes from the same reasons. Taking all this into consideration, it is advisable that the government should supervise the examination of all