National Geographic : 1899 Oct
GEOGRAPHIC MISCELLANEA 423 Ox August 26 General Lord Kitchener formally opened for traffic the bridge, built by American engineers, across the Atbara near its conflu ence with the Nile. Trains can now be run to within 75 miles of Khar tum, and before the end of the present year the whistle of the locomo tive will be heard at the capital of the Sudan itself. Mr Cecil J. Rhodes has the utmost confidence in the completion of the proposed railway from the Cape to Cairo within ten years, and, in view of the energy displayed in the construction of the 700 miles that have been built since the project began to be seriously considered, there is little doubt that the completion of a line of railway across the Dark Continent will be one of the early achievements of the coming century. VARIOUS sites within a radius of 25 miles of Washington are being ex amined by parties under Dr Bauer's direction for the determination of the best location for the Coast and Geodetic Survey Observatory. The examinations thus far made have disclosed some interesting regional dis turbances, especially in the vicinity of Gaithersburg. In order to deter mine what influence such regional disturbances have upon the variations of the earth's magnetism, such as, for example, the diurnal variation or the secular variation, it is proposed to mount a sensitive Eschenhagen dedinetograph at Gaithersburg, with the aid of which the variations of the most sensitive of the magnetic elements-the declination-will be continuously and automatically recorded. THE election of Hon. John Gifford, of Princeton, N. J., to a Chair of Forestry in Cornell University, a department recently established at that institution, is in line with the growing realization throughout the United States of the necessity of the study and solution of the forest problems of the country. Mr Gifford was the founder and the first editor of The Forester (then the New Jersey Forester), the official organ of the American Forestry Association, which is doing so much to promote the protection and care of the American forests. Last year Cornell University acquired 30,000 acres of woodland in the Adirondacks for the exclusive use of her forestry department. Over a million small trees, it is stated, have been planted in different sections of this tract, and several seed beds have also been laid out. THE Division of Forestry of the U. S. Department of Agriculture has recently issued a handsome little bulletin (No. 26), entitled " Notes on the Forest Conditions of Porto Rico," by Robert T. Hill, of the U. S. Geo logical Survey. The bulletin embraces the results of observations made during a rapid reconnaissance through the military department of Puerto Rico by Mr Hill in January, 1899, and contains not only a clear statement of the forest resources of Puerto Rico, but also such succinct descriptions of the physical features of the island as are necessary to an understand ing of its forest problems. In the study and description of the native woods Mr Hill was assisted by G. B. Sudworth, Dendrologist of the Divis ion of Forestry. Fifteen of the woods are reproduced by a process by which the impressions are made directly from the woods themselves, a process designed by S. J. Kfibel and here used, it is believed, for the first time. An excellent feature of the bulletin is an admirable relief map of the island compiled by Mr Hill.