National Geographic : 1899 Sep
GEOGRAPHIC MISCELLANEA " THE Geographic Board of Canada," which was created December, 1897, to bring about uniform usage and spelling of geographic names in Canada along the lines followed by the "U. S. Board on Geographic Names," has recently published its first annual report, covering the cal endar year of 1898. The report, which is mainly a history of the organ ization of the Board and a statement of the rules of nomenclature that will be followed, contains a list of some 600 names approved by the Board. WHILE recognizing that forecasts based upon legitimate data cannot be regularly made for a period greater than forty-eight hours in advance, the Chief of the Weather Bureau is encouraging the forecast officials to give to the public all information regarding unusual and severe types of weather permitted by their reports and experience. During periods of intense heat or cold or in the presence of drought or continued rains, information bearing upon the indicated duration of existing conditions is at times of incalculable value to the agricultural and commercial interests and also to the public at large. TH Alaskan parties that have been in active operation since July 1 have made material progress on the hydrography of the Yukon River bar and on the topography of the Copper River country. Detachments are also operating in the vicinity of Stuart island and Scammon bay, the former developing the 3-fathom curve around the island and through the passage between it and the mainland, and the latter making an examina tion with special reference to a harbor in the vicinity of Cape Dyer. Some of the Alaskan work is reconnaissance and of a preliminary nature. Most of it bears on the important question of shortening the sea route to the Klondike. THE War Department has in contemplation a general improvement of the roads and highways in Cuba, and orders will be issued shortly to General Brooke at Habana, directing him to secure reports from the dif ferent department commanders on the condition of the roads in their de partments and the probable cost of improving the same. In several of the departments roads are already in existence, but they have become almost impassable because of neglect and lack of use. Within the past six months several improvement companies have started the cultivation of farms in Cuba, but as they have been handicapped by the condition of the roads, the work has been carried on at a great disadvantage. THE Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia recently opened on the Lapland coast a new port, Catherine harbor, which will probably prove of great commercial importance as a depot for the hide trade with Siberia. It is situated at the extreme north of the Russian possessions, where by a strange freak of nature the Gulf stream keeps the water open during the winter, while the more southern ports remain closed by ice. The plan contemplates the development of the immense timber area adjacent to this region. The famous ice-breaker Yermak and other vessels of the same type are expected to ply between Catherine harbor and the mouths of the Obi and Yenisei rivers, 1,500 miles to the east, and keep the sea route open during the summer.