Page images
PDF
EPUB

admitted the possibility of Triassic rocks in the neighborhood of New London only because Bathygnathus was found there and was considered as a Triassic dinosaur. Hardly had the letter been posted when I received from Dr. von Huehne his paper on the ‘Pelycosaurier im Deutschen Muschelkalk' (N. Jahrb. f. M. G. u. P. Beilage, Band XX., p. 343), in which he arrives at exactly the same conclusion as to the nature of the fossil and the age of the beds. Aside from settling the age of the beds of Prince Edwards Island the discovery is of interest in extending the range of these forms 'which have previously been known from Texas, Vermillion County, Ill., and Bohemia. It is interesting also to note, as pointed out by von Huehne, that Owen in the Q. J. G. S., 1876, pointed out that Bathygnathus was probably related to the theriodonts. This suggestion has been disregarded in favor of the dinosaurian nature of the fossil and has so kept alive the error in the age of the beds.

E. C. CASE.

A SYSTEM FOR FILING PAMPHLETS. No system for filing pamphlets will meet the requirements of all workers, but a plan that I have used for some years has proved so satisfactory and met with the approval of so many of my friends that I venture to present a brief outline of it, in order that others may perhaps be benefited. I make no claim for originality except, perhaps, in the size of the boxes.

I use pasteboard boxes very much like those used by the Book Lovers' Library to protect its volumes, ten and one half inches high, seven and one fourth inches deep and one inch thick, the back or edge nearest the wall. as they stand on the shelf, being open.* Each box holds only a small number of pamphlets, and therein lies the chief advantage, as the small boxes facilitate a great subdivision of subjects.

In my series of 'Birds, geographic, for instance, I have a box for faunal papers for every state in the United States and for some states several boxes, the subdivision in these cases being by authors. Every faunal bird

* Made by Jesse Jones Paper Box Co., 715 Commerce St., Philadelphia, at $3.50 per hundred.

paper is marked in the corner ‘Bg,' followed by a number indicating a country, the United States being, for instance, 4, with each state designated by a decimal number, so that a Pennsylvania faunal bird list would be marked ‘Bg 4.9,' the Pennsylvania box bears this label on the back and also one inscribed 'Birds of Pennsylvania.

I have then a card catalogue of all my separata, etc., arranged by authors with a reference to the box number. It is thus possible to take from the shelf at once all the papers relative to a given subject or by the card list to locate any paper that may not be where I expected to find it or to see if I have a paper by a certain author.

In the case of a composite paper it may be arranged where most frequently sought and a cross reference be entered on a stiff sheet of octavo paper placed in the other box where it might be arranged. In fact, a sheet like this in every box with cross reference titles is of great convenience.

Bound volumes may be arranged in their proper place on the shelves and catalogued just like the pamphlets.

This system permits of endless variations in the method of classification. For my ornithological series I have the following divisions :

Ba, anatomy; Bb, bibliography; c, classification; d, destruction and extinction; e, economic ornithology; f, food; g, geographic lists; h, hybrid, albinos, etc.; 1, museum catalogues; m, molt and pterylography; n, migration; o, nests and eggs; s, systematic monographs, etc.; v, song. Bg and Bs are, of course, the large series, the others occupying only two or three boxes each.

The arrangement of pamphlets relating to so broad a subject as ornithology, by authors, is almost useless, as it is impossible to remember all who have written, for instance, on the birds of Pennsylvania. My plan gives you all these papers together on the shelf without consulting the card list, while if the arrangement by authors is needed the cards furnish it.

WITMER STONE. ACADEMY NATURAL SCIENCES,

PHILADELPHIA.

1904.

CURRENT VOTES ON METEOROLOGY.

vice work would be of any value if the present BAROMETER AND WEATHER.

forecasts for a single day following are adUNDER the title · Barometer und Wetter, hered to. These forecasts have not satisfied van Bebber discusses, in the Archiv der the agricultural interests and will not satisfy Deutschen Seewarte (Vol. XXVII., 1904, No. them in the future. Nor will the forecasts 2, pp. 1-15), the use of the barometer as a be satisfactory unless the general public un' weather glass,' for foretelling changes of derstands better than at present the basis on weather; refers to the studies already made to which weather predictions rest. determine the barometer readings which corre Dr. van Bebber's work along the line of spond to certain weather conditions, and then public education in weather types, and what investigates the relation between the readings these types means has been a most valuable at Hamburg and the rainfall, temperature one, and the present investigation, which and cloudiness, for the year, seasons and indi- might well be carried on for any number of vidual months during the period 1876–1900. American stations, is a useful extension of his It appears that rain falls very infrequently previous studies., when the barometer is very high; that it is then extremely light, and comes only in the

MONTHLY WEATHER REVIEW : ANNUAL SUMMARY, colder months. Rain probability shows a steady increase with decreasing pressure; at The value of back numbers of the Monthly extremely high pressures (over 30.50 ins.) Weather Review has in the past been very there is no precipitation, and at pressures be- much decreased by the fact that an adequate low about 28.90 ins. there is always precipita- index has not been prepared for each volume. tion. As to temperatures, the departures are The index hitherto published has been an aunegative at the higher pressures and positive thor index, arranged alphabetically so far as at the lower, when averaged for the year. At the authors' names were concerned, but not low pressures the departures are positive in arranged alphabetically so far as the titles of winter and negative in summer. Cloudiness the papers were concerned. The result has is at a minimum during highest barometric been a large and wholly unnecessary expendipressure, and at a maximum during low pres ture of time in looking up some special article sure. In winter, however, high pressures are or note. For the year 1904, we are glad to usually accompanied by fog. In Central see, there is a fairly adequate author and Europe most of the precipitation of the colder subject index, arranged alphabetically as a months comes with falling, and of the warmer whole, although the separate articles under months with rising pressure, while in the different subject-headings are not in all cases British Isles and over the North Sea area it alphabetically arranged. Thus, for example, comes with falling pressure in all seasons to take only one case, under Observatories' The critical study of these relations of pres- we find the following: sure and weather conditions, which are set

At Mount Tsukuba ...................... 463 forth numerically in his paper, leads van At Nice ............................. 182 Bebber to the conclusion that a reasonably The results of the work done at Tegel... 555 accurate judgment of existing and coming Helwan and Abbassia observatories..... 374 weather can be based on the readings of the New astrophysical and meteorological... 130 barometer, especially when the location of

New mountain .......

..... 131 the cyclonic and anti-cyclonic centers can be

Mount Weather Meteorological Research learned from the newspaper reports. The last

Observatory .........

... 601 paragraph in the article is a quotation from a The 1904 index is so great an improvement on publication by the same author, dated 1899, the old one that we can not help hoping that to this effect: An experience of twenty-five the 1905 index will be still better. All those years has brought Dr. van Bebber to the con- who use the Review will be grateful for the clusion that no reorganization of weather ser- work of Mr. George A. Loveland, who pre

pared the index for 1904, and will hope that he may have time next year to make a more complete index for the 1905 volume.

value to any such data as those included in the volumes here considered.

R. DEC. WARD.

CLIMATE OF JERUSALEM... PROFESSOR G. ARVANITAKIS, in the Bulletin de l'Institut Égyptien (4th ser., No. 49), has published a series of meteorological observations taken at Jerusalem, as well as some notes on the climate of that region. The winds from the east are extremely dry, coming as they do from the Arabian deserts. Rain comes from the western quadrants. Hail is noted as being fairly common in Palestine, and a source of injury to the fruits. The observer says that he seldom saw a heavy rainfall unaccompanied by hail. Cisterns and reservoirs supply water during the dry season of summer, and the heavy dews are very bene ficial to vegetation. These dews are character istic of Palestine, and must be seen to be fully appreciated. The climate is not described as very healthful. Dysentery, fever and rheumatism are not uncommon at Jerusalem, especially during the summer months.

NOTES ON FORESTRY.

WHY PRAIRIES ARE TREELESS. In a paper by Alfred Gaskill read before The Society of American Foresters, February 23, the theory that forest fires are responsible for the treeless condition of the prairies was advocated. In support of this by no means new theory, Mr. Gaskill cited some geological, physiographical, climatological and silvical facts which, in his opinion, `point most emphatically to the fire origin of all true prairies. He divides the treeless area in the United States into plains and prairie. The former are treeless, primarily because of deficient moisture, and were so from time immemorial. It is different, however, with the prairies; they offer conditions favorable to tree growth and therefore their treeless condition presents a riddle clamoring for solution. The great prairie of the United States occupies an irregular area bounded on the east by a line that follows in a general way the ninety-fifth meridian and on the west by a line roughly extending along the ninety-seventh meridian. The eastern boundary is most irregular, its shape corroborating the fire origin of the prairie. In the north it makes a great bend eastward, enclosing half of Iowa, more than half of Illinois, and portions of Wisconsin and Indiana. Along its whole extension the prairie forms lobes and long tongues thrusting eastward into the forest. Since it is proved by the records of the Weather Bureau that the western boundary is within the limit of sufficient rainfall, capable of supporting tree growth, the whole area now occupied by the prairie is situated where forest ought to be, for there is neither lack of rain nor any condition in the soil or the vegetation that will account for the absence of trees. Mr. Gaskill assumes, therefore, that something not entirely normal caused the forest to retreat from its proper position. After a careful and detailed study of the records of forest and prairie fires in the states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, South

MARINE METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE OF CHILE.

The meteorological work carried on at the coast stations of Chile, from Arica in the north to the Strait of Magellan in the south, is under the direction of the so-called 'Direccion del Territorio Maritimo' of Chile. Up to the year 1899 this work was in charge of the central observatory at Santiago. An annual volume (Anuario) is issued, giving complete tabulations of the data for each of the eighteen stations, and including monthly and annual summaries. Thus far (1903, Vol. V., issued 1904) no discussion of these observations has been included. These littoral stations of Chile have the great advantage of varying but little in their longitude, and of being very near sea level, so that there is much uniformity in these respects. The great climatic interest of Chile, which results from its peculiar position with reference to the Cordillera of South America, and from its extraordinary contrasts in rainfall between the arid north and the rainy south, lends exceptional

Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, etc., he found that into types of growth, and what must we call most of the fires occur there in the fall when a natural forest type? * * * When we atthe prevailing winds are from the west, and tempt to trace to some definite causes the the vegetation of the plains lying to the wind- differences between stands composing a large ward of the area now prairie is exceedingly forest, we finally come to two main ones: first, dry and combustible. The habit of the In- external physical conditions, such as climate, dians of setting fire to the grass of the plains soil, moisture in the ground, topography, exat that time of the year and its annual occur posure, etc.; and second, interference by man, rence are matters of history. These annual and natural accidents, such as fire, wind and fires, driven by strong westerly winds and find so on. * * * It does not take very long to ing no obstacle to their progress in the flat or realize that segregating stands into types gently rolling land, spread eastward until they based on density, age or mode of origin can reached the green timber. Year after year not be justified, since such features are not these fires ate their way a little farther into permanent and can not be characteristic of any the forest, making the dense forest first more definite forest type. * * * A forester who open and eventually entirely consuming it. mistakes any such temporary forest growth The irregular projections of the prairie east for the original natural types of growth, thus ward into the forest are considered by Mr. failing to understand the natural evolution of Gaskill as the result of the work of the fires. the forest, will always have nature against Another evidence of its influence in causing him in all his operations, instead of being the prairie he finds in the fact that with the aided by her. * * * The physical conditions settlement of the country and gradual elimina of the situation then are the main factors tion of fires the forest commenced to gain which determine the whole character of a again on the prairie.

forest type. Of these physical factors, climate The prairies in other countries were also undoubtedly has a marked influence upon considered from the same point of view, and plant life, if we compare vegetation of differthe speaker suggested that local students would ent latitudes. * * * Soil, moisture in the probably confirm his opinion that fire has ground, and topography, to which in mountain been an active agent in all such regions. countries must be added altitude and exposure,

are the main factors which determine the charPRINCIPLES INVOLVED IN DETERMINING FOREST

acter of forest growth in a forest region, and, TYPES.

therefore, must be accepted as the basis for On February 23 Mr. Raphael Zon read before The Society of American Foresters a

the division of the forest into natural types of paper on forest types. These he identified as

growth. A natural forest type then is an tree associations in the ecological sense, and

aggregation of stands which may differ from not mere aggregations of trees as they often

each other in age, density and other secondary are conceived to be. Few will dispute the

features, but have the same physical condistatement that the forest type is the corner

tions of situation, like soil, topography, exstone of silvics, and that the proper recogni- posure, etc.

posure, etc. * * * The relationship between tion of types in any forest is the first and most the physical conditions of the situation and important question that a practical forester the character of growth upon it is so constant has to answer. “* * * The division of a and characteristic that by the given physical forest into natural types of growth, however, conditions of a situation, like soil, topography, is not such a simple thing as it may appear at and so on, one can describe the general charthe first glance. Stands differ from each other acter of its forest, the predominant species, in many respects; they may be pure or mixed, habit of trees, reproduction, undergrowth and, even-aged or irregular, dense or open, of seed- vice versa, by a given type of the forest growth ling or sprout origin, etc. Which of these one can describe the physical conditions of features justifies the subdivision of the forest growth, soil, situation, etc. ** * A forest

type is the result of a long struggle for existence between different species, in which only those possessing the greatest vitality and best fitted to the physical conditions of situation succeed in occupying the ground and form tree associations having a distinct physiognomy. One of the most important char acteristics of a forest type is its stability, its resistance to invasion by other plant forms. * * * "

THE FOSSIL ARACANIDA OF BOHEMIA. We are indebted to Professor Dr. Anton Fritsch for another important contribution on the Permian and Cretaceous fauna of Bohemia entitled Neue Fische und Reptilien.' This takes the form of a quarto appendix to his previously published volumes, and is illustrated by nine plates. The Cretaceous forms described are new teleosts, plesiosaurs, mosasaurs and pterosaurs.

In 1904 there appeared from the pen and brush of this ardent paleontologist a fine monograph on the Paleozoic arachnida, consisting of eighty pages of text and fifteen plates. The conclusions reached in this monograph are most striking, especially as to the very great antiquity of modern forms. The author observes “ If we examine the entire series of the forms described we must recognize that there are many which present no very striking differences from the Arachnida of to-day. They are to be regarded as the direct ancestors of families now existing in part as lateral branches which have later become extinct.” This is true of members of six families de scribed. The scorpions of the Silurian period show in their foot structure a primitive form suggesting that of the Crustacea whereas those of the Carboniferous and Permian formations exhibit close resemblance to the foot structure of the modern types.

H. F. 0.

at great heights above the American continent, appeared in SCIENCE, Vol. XXI., pp. 76-77 and 335. During the months of January, February and March, 1905, nine more ascents were made from St. Louis and every balloon but one was found and, with the attached instrument, was returned to Blue Hill in accordance with the instructions on each. Like the previous balloons, all of these fell within the eastern half of a circle having its center at St. Louis and a radius of 285 miles. The German expanding rubber-balloons, filled with hydrogen generated by the vitriolic process, were again employed, as were the French self-recording instruments, which gave at least partial records of barometric pressure and air-temperature in seven of the nine ascensions, although another record was obliterated by the finder. On January 25, when a high barometric pressure prevailed at the ground, a temperature of — 111° F. was recorded at the height of 48,700 feet, this being one of the lowest natural temperatures ever observed. The experiments last winter were conducted by Mr. Clayton, under the direction of Mr. Rotch, and their success induced Professor Langley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to grant Mr. Rotch $1,000 from the Hodgkins Fund, in order to continue the experiments this summer at St. Louis. These, like the first, will be conducted by Mr. Fergusson, of the Blue Hill Observatory staff. Soundings of the atmosphere made at different seasons should reveal the annual variation of temperature at great heights above the American continent, which is at present unknown.

However, kites are not neglected at Blue Hill, for, besides the flights made there each month on the days fixed by an international committee, they are also being employed to ascertain the conditions above the Atlantic Ocean in the trade-wind region. Thus the investigation which was first proposed by Mr. Rotch in SCIENCE, Vol. XIV., pp. 412-413, and which has been persistently advocated by him since, is now in progress, and this was rendered possible through the cooperation of the well-known French meteorologist, M. L. Teisserenç de Bort, who placed his steamyacht at the disposal of Mr. Rotch, on condi

EXTENDED EXPLORATIONS OF THE ATIOSPHERE BY THE BLUE HILL

OBSERVATORY. ACCOUNTS of the first experiments in this country with ballons-sondes, for the purpose of ascertaining the meteorological conditions

« PreviousContinue »