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surface condensation, that is, the steam to be condensed passes through a long and tortuous series of tubes, which are refrigerated by a constant flow of cold sea-water made to circulate by pumps worked by the engine; the great object of surface condensation being to leave the condensed steam free of any intermixture with the salt-water. The mechanical arrangement adopted by Messrs. Jack & Co. is curious. The framing of the engines is entirely tubular, and the condensers occupy the spaces between the plates that form the walls of the frames; this affords space within the latter for an immense extension of condensing tubes, and also for the use of a proportionately large quantity of sea-water as a refrigerant. Another feature is the "feed-water heater," by means of which the exhaust steam is made to part with its heat to the condensed steam which feeds the boiler, entering the latter at a high temperature. We need not inform our practical readers that the great problem of the day in marine engineering is the economy of fuel, and the consequent increase of the distance that a steam-vessel can run without coaling, and Messrs. Jack & Co. seem to have achieved an important step in that direction. The working of the model was admirably explained by a gentleman connected with Messrs. Jack & Co.'s establishment, and seemed to give great satisfaction. Some surprise was expressed that the Imperial Government should have preceded the English Admiralty in putting to a practical test the asserted advantages of this form of engines for screw men-of-war; but British inventors and manufacturers know too well that private firms are held in little honour in their own country, or at any rate by their own Government. Y.
PARIS, June, 1863.
FALSE MOONS, OR PARASELENÆ.
As the occurrence of paraselenæ, or false moons, is rare in these latitudes, I send a short account of the appearances which presented themselves to the inhabitants of this small town and its neighbourhood on the night of May 29th, 1863. I find no mention of the phenomenon in the local papers of this day (June 6th), or in the London papers of the week past, and imagine therefore that it was seen by comparatively few. The day had been hot, with a W.N. W. wind bearing dark, heavy masses of cumulus. In the evening the moon was bright, but slightly veiled by a thin layer of misty cloud. At about 9.40 p.m. two false moons of great brilliancy appeared east and west of the true moon ; they showed prismatic colours, and each was adorned with a comet-like tail stretching outwards. They were united by a circular halo of about 40° diameter, the upper arc of which was very distinct and beautiful. At about eleven o'clock a smaller halo very finely coloured encircled the moon; it had a diameter about three times that of the moon itself. These interesting phenomena continued visible with varying brilliancy until midnight.
I send a diagram of these appearances to help out my faulty description. THOMAS EDWD. AMYOT,
DISS, NORFOLK, June 6th, 1863.
PROVINCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND SOCIETIES.
MIDLAND SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION.
THE report of the proceedings of this society has reached us too late to admit of a lengthy notice. On the 8th April a meeting was held at Bank House, Burton-on-Trent, when the following papers were read by members:
"On the Benefits and Injuries to Agriculture by Small Birds," by Mr. Edwin Brown. The author advocated the exterminating work of sparrow clubs; these birds being, according to his views, very prejudicial to agriculture. Great difference of opinion prevailed on the subject amongst the members, some of whom supported whilst others opposed the views of Mr. Brown.
The Secretary then read a paper contributed by the Rev. W. Coleman, "On the Indications of Combustion prior to the Glacial Epoch, in a Bed of Coal near to its Outcrop," and afterwards exhibited a specimen of coal containing ramifying veins of galena, or lead ore, found in a disused colliery in Leicestershire.
Mr. Knobel next read a paper "On the Occurrence of Native Metals." Then followed an address by Mr. Edwin Brown, "On the Possible Effects on Vital Phenomena of Tea when used as a National Beverage." The author believes that the use of tea is calculated to lower the vital energy of the consumer, and that possibly in the course of time a large use of tea may reduce us "to the physical stamina of the Chinese."
After one or two remarks from medical men,
Sir Christopher R. Lighton jocularly expressed the hope that Mr. Brown had not been bribed by the brewers of Burton to bring on the subject.
"The general opinion of the meeting appeared to be that tea enables the mental worker to perform his task with greater ease, but that used as the sole beverage it has a lowering effect ultimately upon the human frame."
Thus ends the report. Did the discussion take place before or after a repast? And to what beverage were the members obliged to resort in consequence of Mr. Brown's paper?
THE WARRINGTON FIELD NATURALISTS' CLUB.
This society, which was inaugurated in the spring of 1862, under the presidency of T. Glazebrook Rylands, Esq., F.L.S., held its first anniversary meeting on the 8th of April. The proceedings were rendered exceedingly interesting by the exhibition of geological, botanical, and other specimens, including some of great rarity and interest. The geological department was under the care of Mr. Paterson, manager of the gas works, who kindly lent a series of valuable fossils, chiefly from the Carboniferous formation of the North of England. Tables were also set apart for plants, both native
and exotic; and several microscopes, belonging to members and others interested in the society, revealed some of the beauties of the infusorial world.
The president delivered a very interesting address, in the course of which he set forth the advantages-especially to working men-of cultivating a taste for the study of nature, and gave instances of men who, after beginning life in a very humble way, had attained considerable eminence in the scientific world.
Mr. Peers, the secretary of the society, read the report for the past year, from which it appeared that forty-four ordinary meetings had been held. There were twenty-eight members on the books,-twentyfive ordinary and three honorary. The herbarium of the society contained about three hundred and sixty species of British plants, the greatest portion of them gathered in the neighbourhood by members during the past year. The thanks of the society were accorded to the Rev. R. Rolleston for gifts of specimens of plants, both fresh and dried; to Robert Davies, Esq., and Alexander Irvine, Esq. (editor of the Phytologist), for specimens of dried plants; to William Wilson, Esq., for several specimens, amongst which were Potamogeton lanceolatus and Carex divisa, which, coming from that source, must be considered authentic; and to the Mechanics' Institution for the use of a room for meetings. The expenses of the Society had been trifling, and the terms of membership were fixed at the lowest possible figure.
The report having been adopted, Mr. Peers read a paper on the botany of the district, illustrating it by means of dried and fresh specimens, especially pointing out the most important natural orders represented in the neighbourhood.
Mr. Cash (treasurer to the society) read a paper on "Microscopic Life in the Neighbourhood of Warrington," in the course of which he referred to examples of the more important Rotifera, Protozoa, and Protophyta, which had come under his observation. He exhibited living specimens of the rare and beautiful Stephanoceros Eichhornii, and several other interesting creatures; and mentioned, as common in the district, Melicerta ringens Floscularia ornata, and several others.
Mr. Green read an interesting paper, the object of which was to show the pleasure to be derived from a study of the works of nature. After which, Mr. Paterson, at the request of the president, made some remarks explanatory of the fossils which he had been kind enough to bring.
Mr. Cooper (curator of the Warrington Museum) afterwards read a paper on the subject of Entomology, the claims of which he warmly advocated.
At the conclusion, a cordial vote of thanks was passed to Mr. Rylands for presiding, on the motion of the Mayor of Warrington (James Shepherd, Esq.)
ROTHERHAM LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC SOCIETY.
The town of Rotherham and the adjoining parish of Masbro' have been, until recently, deprived of the benefits of a literary and scientific society;
but the enterprise of a few intelligent men has filled up the void, and on Monday, the 12th January last, the Rotherham Literary and Scientific Society was inaugurated in the Lecture Room of the Mechanics' Institute, with an able address from the Rev. H. Master White, one of the VicePresidents of the new society.
This gentleman, along with Mr. Percy Smith, Mr. Beale, Mr. Haywood, the "Greave of the Feoffees" (the leading functionary in Rotherham), and a few others, had been at work some time previously, as a provisional committee for drawing up rules and obtaining subscribers; and they had succeeded in enlisting the support of most of the friends of literature and science in Rotherham and its vicinity.
The opening address was upon "Literary and Scientific Societies," in the course of which the lecturer ably reviewed the history of these societies from the earliest ages. In Ancient Greece, he said, there were, strictly speaking, no literary societies; the followers of the various philosophers met rather as pupils than as equal members of a society. The Roman law was jealous of all voluntary associations. After touching upon the monastic institutions, and expatiating upon their value in the preservation of learning through the dark ages, the lecturer stated that the first "Literary Society," in our sense of the term, was founded about the year 1572, by Archbishop Parker; that it flourished during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, but was suppressed by James I. About the year 1718, however, its meetings were resumed at a tavern in London; but in 1750 it obtained a Royal Charter, and was placed on a firm footing.
After giving a sketch of the origin and growth of the Royal Society, and illustrating from its earlier papers the ignorance which generally prevailed in the 17th century, Mr. White said that two principles had led to the formation of most "Scientific Societies." One was that, as the field of knowledge had been enlarged, it had been found impossible for single individuals to explore more than a small part of it thoroughly. Societies were therefore required, composed of the workers in special subjects. Such societies were the Botanical, Zoological, &c. The other was that the connection of the various parts of the natural world became more striking as the more abstruse laws of each were discovered. Societies were, therefore, wanted to bring together the students of different branches. Such a society was the "British Association for the Advancement of Science." But while he had been speaking of "Literary Societies" and "Scientific Societies," he said nothing of those which, like their own, professed to be both literary and scientific. He trusted, however, that he had said enough to show the boundless field before them, and the way in which even humble contributions may be serviceable to the general store.
Having concluded his review of kindred societies, the lecturer referred to the social and moral benefits to be expected from the one they were met to inaugurate; and at the conclusion of his address, one of the Secretaries. Mr. Percy Smith, announced the mode in which the proceedings of the Society are to be conducted. There will be monthly Lectures, to be delivered by private individuals residing in the town, which will be followed by discussions; and occasional paid lecturers will be engaged to deliver courses of lectures on literary and scientific subjects. The Secretary
encouraged the members of the Society to throw off that reserve which usually stands in the way of free discussion, and not to dread the results of what he humorously characterized as pugilistic sparring with their master, in the Science. He then called upon Mr. James Samuelson, of Liverpool, (who was present by invitation), to take part in the proceedings.
Mr. Samuelson, after expressing his wishes for the success of the Institution, drew the attention of its members to the movement which is now taking place for the popularization of Science in Great Britain, as exemplified in the Naturalists' Field Clubs and Science Classes daily springing into existence, and warmly recommended the founding of these in connection with the new Society. Having referred to their success in other towns, he said that he felt sure they would be attended with great benefit in the heart of so large a manufacturing district as that in which they were assembled.
An animated discussion followed.
Mr. George Haywood (Greave of the Feoffees) gave some account of the progress of the Rotherham Mechanics' Institute, and said that their great difficulty lay, not in obtaining pupils, but teachers. He thought this difficulty would be removed by the remuneration given by Government to teachers of the "Science Classes" mentioned by Mr. Samuelson.
Mr. Beale, the second Honorary Secretary, stated that the "Penny Lectures," at the Midland Institute, in Birmingham, to which reference had been made, owed their success to the practical nature of the subjects on which Lectures were delivered; and he recommended that the same course should be adopted at Rotherham.
Several other members followed: and the first Lecture and subsequent discussion certainly gave great promise of an energetic movement in the right direction, inaugurated by the Rotherham Literary and Scientific Institute.
THE WEST KENT NATURAL HISTORY AND MICROSCOPICAL SOCIETY.
This society reckons amongst its members some of the leading men of science in England. Its president is Frederick Currey, Esq., F.R.S. (one of the editors of the Natural History Review), and in the list of its committee and members we find the names of Mr. Glaisher, F.R.S., Professor Bell, Professor Morris, Rev. J. G. Wood, and others of known repute. The Report of the past year is highly satisfactory: the funds of the society are flourishing, the members (113) on the increase, and the meetings interesting and diversified. The excursions are not frequent, there having been only one during the whole of last summer. The soirées are well attended, and rendered interesting by the exhibition of microscopes, of which more than fifty were contributed on one occasion. The most interesting feature in the last year's proceedings of the society was a paper read in October by James Glaisher, Esq., one of the vice-presidents, on which occasion a very crowded meeting, at which many ladies were present, listened to him with much pleasure as he detailed the particulars of his late balloon ascents, made at the suggestion of the British Association, and conveyed to his hearers, in a pleasing and popular form, and by the aid of excellent diagrams, the scientific results obtained by his aërial