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“ The

Chemical Warfare Service, “ The manufacture A PERMANENT reserve force upon which the and use of toxic gases; » Colonel Bradley Public Health Service can draw in time of Dewey, Chemical Warfare Service,

emergency such as that presented by the inmanufacture of gas defense apparatus.” fluenza epidemic has been authorized by the

Congress. This consists of officers, none holdDR. ETIENNE BURNET, of the Pasteur Insti

ing rank above that of assistant surgeon gentute, Paris, surgeon in the French army and

eral, commissioned by the president for a member of the Mission of French Scholars to

period of five years, subject to call to active the United States, delivered a lecture at the

duty by the Surgeon General U. S. P. H. S. New York Academy of Medicine in coopera

When in such active duty they receive the tion with Columbia University, November 15,

same pay and allowances as are now provided on “Pasteur as a representative of the French

by law for the regular commissioned medical scientific spirit.”

officers in the service. By far the larger part A RECENT meeting of the Biological Club of of the reserve to be organized under this act the University of Chicago in memory of Sam- will be on active duty only during times of uel Wendell Williston, former professor of national emergency, though it will probably paleontology in the university, Dr. Stuart be necessary to establish periodic terms of Weller, of the same department, gave an ap- training, so as to better fit the officers for preciation of Dr. Williston's work. A Willis- such service. With the passing of the emerton memorial meeting will be held in Leon gency these men will automatically go on the Mandel Assembly Hall on December 8, the

inactive list; always however, subject to call speakers being Professor E. C. Case, of the to active duty by the surgeon-general. Detailed University of Michigan, and Professors Stuart

plans for the organization, training and asWeller and Frank R. Lillie, of the University

signment of the reserve officers are now under of Chicago.


MEDICAL journals report that the permanent PROFESSOR GEORGE F. ATKINSON, head of

committee which has been appointed to centralthe department of botany at Cornell Univer

ize matters connected with the rehabilitation sity since 1896, died suddenly on November

of disabled soldiers, comprises representatives 14, at the City Hospital in Tacoma, Wash.

of all the allied governments. They include Professor Atkinson was engaged in a field Dr. Bourrillon (France), who serves as presistudy of the mushroom flora of the Pacific dent of the committee; Dr. Mélis (Belgium), coast at the time of his death.

Sir Charles Nicholson (Great Britain), GenDR. PIERRE DE PEYSTER RICKETTS, for thirty

eral Bradley (United States), L. March

(France), Dr. Da Costa Ferreira (Portugal), two years connected with the teaching staff

and Agathonovitch (Serbia) as vice-presiof Columbia University, died on November 20

dents. All these hold high military rank. at his home in New York City. He was born

An institute for research has been founded at in Brooklyn seventy years ago, was graduated

the headquarters of the committee which is from the School of Mines, Columbia, in 1871,

already installed at 102 rue de Bac, Paris. and received his degree of Ph.D. five years

A review is to be issued by the committee. later. He was assistant in the School of Mines

The editor in chief is Dr. Jean Camus, of the for a number of years prior to 1885, when he

Paris Medical School, with Dr. Bourrillon, was appointed professor of assaying, and in

the president of the committee, and Mr. C. 1893 was made professor of analytical chem- Krug, the secretary general, as the board of istry and assaying, retiring in 1900 to become directors for the publication. The work of the the head of the firm of Ricketts, Inc., min- committee is to include the promulgation of eralogical and mining consulting engineers. the general principles for rehabilitation of the

sian and Spanish, is expected to be published before the end of the year.

disabled, which each country can adapt to its own laws and customs; to group and centralize the data and the lessons learned from experience, and to apply them and aid in every way the mutilated and to extend this aid into the future after the war. By this coordination of efforts each one of the allied peoples will be able to profit by the improvements and achievements realized in any one of them.

The announcement was recently made in the British Parliament by the president of the Board of Agriculture that active steps have been taken with a view to the establishment at Cambridge of an Institute of Agricultural Botany, the primary function of which will be the breeding and distributing of improved varieties of agricultural crops. The plan in question was very fully described by Mr. Lawrence Weaver, of the Board of Agriculture, at a meeting of the Agricultural Seed Association held on July 15. It appears that the new institute will be modelled on the famous Swedish plant-breeding station at Svälof, and that its activities will be to follow two distinct lines, one of which will be purely scientific, while the other will have a commercial outlook. More precisely, the scientific wing will be concerned with the producing of pure cultures of new varieties on the field-plot scale; the economic wing will deal with the growing and distribution on a large scale of these varieties. Presumably, on the Svälof model, the scientific side will oversee the operations of the commercial to the extent of guaranteeing the purity of the stocks distributed by the latter. It is announced that subscriptions towards the establishment of the new institute amounting in the aggregate to upwards of £30,000 have already been received including a sum of £10,000 down and £2,000 a year for five years from a commercial firm and that the Board of Agriculture will provide the necessary buildings and equipment.

The Association of British Chemical Manufacturers has in preparation a directory of British chemical products, and the manufacturers from whom they can be procured. The directory, which will be printed in English, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Rus


NEWS By the will of the late Andrew Dixon White, Cornell University will receive $160,000 on the death of Mrs. White. It receives many paintings and other objects. Dr. White had already given the university his general and architectural libraries, scientific apparatus, funds for extinguishment of debt, illustrative material and other items, and also his house which cost about $75,000. Yale University, Dr. White's alma mater, receives $5,000 for the endowment of the Andrew Dickson White prizes in history and composition, which were established and have since been maintained by Professor Guy Stanton Ford.

Dr. A. Hoyt TAYLOR, for nine years professor of physics and head of the department, University of North Dakota, having resigned after a year's leave of absence, to continue his war service as lieutenant commander of Naval Radio Communication, in charge of Atlantic Coast Service, Dr. B. J. Spence, associate professor of physics, has been promoted to a full professorship to be head of the department. Dr. Spence has been at North Dakota for the past eight years. Dr. John W. Cox, professor of pathology and director of the State Public Health Laboratory, University of North Dakota, having resigned to enter the United States Public Health Service, he is succeeded by Dr. Alfred G. Long, of Mankato, Minn., as acting director.

PROFESSOR C. L. DAKE, of the Missouri School of Mines, has returned to his regular duties, after spending his year's leave of absence as a petroleum geologist.

ALFRED E. Day, formerly of the Syrian Protestant College, has been appointed professor of biology in the University of Buffalo.

DR. CHARLES PACKARD, recently instructor in zoology in Columbia University, has arrived in Peking, China, where he will have charge of the work in biology in the Union Medical Col

lege, the maintenance of which is one of the lamps seemed to leave the bank in absolute lines of activity of the Rockefeller Founda darkness. The same phenomenon was also obtion.

served on the following evening.

After reading Dr. Edward S. Morse's "FireDISCUSSION AND CORRESPONDENCE

flies Flashing in Unison "i the writer deterCONCERTED FLASHING OF FIREFLIES mined to make another visit to this locality On a hot and dark evening in the summer of and observe the phenomena more critically. 1915, a camping party sought the rocks near On the evenings of July 11 and 12, 1916. the the waters edge on the north shore of Sloop display was repeated and observed by several Bay, Valcour Island, Lake Champlain. An visitors. It was impossible to count the numintermittent flashing of diffused light was ber of lamps which were aglow at one time, soon noticed in the northwestern corner of the but the space involved was about 700 square bay between 300 and 350 meters distant. This meters in cross section and in some bushflashing was somewhat similar to that ordin covered places there must have been at least arily called "heat-lightning," but as it ap 50 fireflies to the square meter. We should peared against the base of a cliff something judge that about 10,000 of these insects were over ten meters high an investigation of the present. During these visits we noted that phenomenon was decided upon.

the illumination was never due to a truly synOn approaching in canoes, a scene of won

chronous lighting of the lamps of those firedrous beauty presented itself. The light was

flies engaged in the display but was always due to the minature lamps of several thou of the nature of wave motion spreading out sands of fireflies which were holding festival

from one

or more centers. This spreading over what appeared to be a breeding ground.

moved swiftly from one end of the bank to The area involved was about 100 meters in the other and was particularly beautiful when length and extended from near the water's the light from several centers became consurface to a height of about seven meters.

fluent, for at that instant the whole bank was At this locality the bare rock faultscarp which very brilliantly illuminated. Strictly speaking formed a portion of the north wall of the bay

there was no measured regularity in this conwas covered with a steep sloping bank of

certed response and therefore no true rhythm, glacial and postglacial deposits and these were -such as one may note in the concerted music well supplied with water through seepage.

of certain orthoptera. The repititions were Moving southwesterly one left the bare por hardly more regular than the cloud illuminations of the cliff and rapidly passed through

tions of a distant thunderstorm. There was various plant communities from lichens and present the influence of suggestion on what mosses to a small grove of white pines. Above may be called a "mob-psychology" but there this locality there was also a forest clearing was no special leader. Any small group could used as a meadow.

excite a discharge from thousands who were At no time over the limited area at the base ready to respond. As recovery was rapid, the of the bank could one notice an utter absence repititions of the wave-like responses were also of illumination but the lighting of a small rapid. cluster of lamps seemed to awaken immediate It is probable that the phenomenon is by no response from a thousand others, and the illu means a rare one and that, in this locality, it minated area thus spread from one or more is repeated yearly—though the display of 1916 centers until the bank was brilliantly ablaze was not quite so brilliant as that of 1915. A and suggestive of the myriad lights of some display in any place would be compellingly city of fairyland. It was these periods of in attractive to a passing person only if the tense illumination that had attracted the at festival period occurred during very dark, tention of the camping party at a distance so cloudy or moonless nights. The observer great that the lights from a few scattered 1 SCIENCE, February 4, 1916.

therefore must happen to be in some lone the beginning of one flash and the next which some spot without other light, at the proper could vary from six to nine seconds would in time of year, under the conditions noted above, no sense be rhythmic and even if the repetiand at least after 10 P.M. Even then his ob tions occurred with regularity, once every six servations unless published would not be likely seconds (the shortest time Mr. Purssell's “recto reach students.

ollection” allows), the rhythm would be in In SCIENCE for July 26, Dr. E. S. Morse very slow, "largo” tempo. Note however in gives a brief review of the subject,—with refer Mr. Morse's quotation that the “ several thouence to its meager literature. There we find sand insects in each” of two trees "perhaps a mention of such conditions as very warm hundred feet apart,” “Aashed in synchronism. and humid ” a “profound calm ” following first one tree lighting up and then the other." a thunderstorm, “a small clearing” and Here we have the element of response which “ stumps or “trees.”

was so marked in the Valcour Island display. The excessive abundance of fireflies at any In the latter locality there were several trees one date is no doubt due to climatic condi and bushes on which rested groups which tions that have at first retarded and then responded to each other and, at close range, hastened emergence from the pupa state. The the intervals between group flashings were fact that so many of these insects should usually but fractions of a second. The briloccasionally be crowded into limited areas liant blazing of the whole bank occurred at may be due to favorable ground conditions intervals varying from a few to many seconds involving moisture; open spaces (where the in length—hence the similarity, when seen light signal may be seen at a distance); favor from a distance, to heat lighting. able places (trees, bushes, or stumps) for rests If it is desired to get a body of men to sing from flight;-shelter from winds; and per or play together in perfect rhythm they not haps the antecedent direction and strength of only must have a leader but must be trained such winds. The Valcour Island locality to follow such a leader. Imagine the diffiseems to fulfill these conditions and in ad culty of keeping together on " Old Hundred” dition has a large sheltered area, the waters of if the notes were started with an interval so the bay, across which the light may be seen long as six or nine seconds between each. Do but on which there is no resting place.

these insects inherit a sense of rhythm more Whether or not the flashes occur in strict perfect than our own? unison and whether or not the sequence of re Would not a more critical observation of curring responses is a measured one, and so one of Mr. Purssell's trees have shown him strictly rhythmic, are questions which must be that one or more leaders started the flash and answered through more careful observation of that the others “fell in " as in applause;the phenomena. Mr. Nylander, quoted by Dr. that the lighting of a tree gained at first in Morse, says “ The flashes were not so regular brilliancy and that the light also faded away as an army officer would like to see in regi- gradually and not at once. At least this is mental drills but were so rhythmic that any what was noticed in the four different disone would take note of their action.” In other plays on Valcour Island. words, the concerted flashes did not recur with We would ask observers to note the condimeasured regularity but the repetitions were tions resulting in such local congregations of frequent enough to attract attention. How these insects; to note critically whether the loose a meaning in this discussion do we wish flashings are of the nature of exact unisons, or to give the word “rhythm” ? Dr. Morse whether they spread out from small centers, quotes Mr. Purssell as stating “ To the best of first lighted, and so partake of a rapid but my recollection the illuminated period lasted wave-like response to an initial stimulus; and about two or three seconds and the dark period to note also if the sequence of the flashings perhaps twice that long."

A space between

from the same group is one involving equal

time intervals and so strictly rhythmical in



Ir a color wheel with a reddish and a bluish

color be spun in the light of a strong lantern, ALLEGED REDISCOVERY OF THE PASSENGER PIGEON

and then slowly have its plane turned until IN SCIENCE for November 1 is a communi

the incidence of the light is just grazing, the cation under the caption “ Alleged rediscovery Purkinje effect is at once demonstrated to a of the passenger pigeon,” in which the state

class. As the angle of incidence changes ment is maintained that a flock of this sup

from normal to grazing, the intensity of illuposedly extinct bird was recently seen in New

mination is reduced to zero, and the red beYork state. Among other observations offered

comes invisible. The effect of this is in genin support of the identification, mention is eral to change the apparent color of the disc made of “the whistling sound of their wings.” through a series of very pretty shades. During the seventies and early eighties it was my privilege to form an intimate acquaintance

PERSISTENCE OF VISION with the passenger pigeon, seeing many thou This is easily shown to a class by means sands of them, shooting hundreds of them and of a lantern, with a slide bearing some letters. finding numerous scattered nests in the vicinity Instead of imaging the slide on a white surof Minneapolis, Minn. The wings of this bird face, the image should be absorbed by black never “whistled,” the sound made in taking velvet or the image may be formed in an flight being a flapping or fluttering noise sim open doorway. Now move a fairly white stick ilar to that made by the tame pigeon. A vertically down in the plane of the image. flock in rapid flight made a rustling or swish Different portions of the image can then be ing sound as it passed through the air. On seen on the stick, and if the stick be moved the other hand it is a well-known fact that the fast enough, the eye sees the entire image wings of the mourning dove produce a loud easily. characteristic“ whistling sound” as it launches

Paul F. GAEHR itself into the air and until it gets well under

WELLS COLLEGE way. Among pigeon hunters in the old days,

USONO this was a commonly recognized distinguishing feature between the two species when other

TO THE EDITOR OF SCIENCE: In connection means were obscured.

with the discussion in your columns as to a In and about a “buckwheat field” is an

more specific name for our country than ideal place for an assemblage of mourning

America,” it may be interesting to note that

the advocates of the international language, doves. Passenger pigeons also fed on grains of various kinds, chiefly wheat and oats, but

Esperanto, solved this problem so far as they their favorite food was thin-shelled nuts,

were concerned quite a while ago, by the adop

tion of the name “Usono." This is the sublargely acorns here in the north.

stantive form of the expression US o NA., comIn view of the fact that no reports of the passenger pigeon from experienced ornitholo- posed of the initial letters of this nation's full

designation. Usona is, in Esperanto, the adgists have been received for a considerable number of years, in spite of persistent search,

jectival form. it would seem as though this bird must be re

In a rather hasty and superficial glance

through the back files of Esperanto publigarded as an extinct species.


cations, I find the word used, either in the ZOOLOGICAL MUSEUM,

text or in date lines, titles, etc., in various UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA,

magazines, books and pamphlets issued in EngNovember 20, 1918

land, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland,

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