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In his presidential address (printed in the names of genera and families have been SCIENCE for January 21 last) before the changed, while the number of described speZoological Section of the American Associa- cies has increased from a little over nine tion for the Advancement of Science at its thousand to a little less than nineteen thouChicago meeting Professor W. M. Wheeler sand. discussed the subject of organization in re- As a result of the publication of this catasearch as it appears to a biologist, and pointed logue, the American Coleopterists for the first out some of the dangers attending post-war time in many years know for the moment just efforts in this direction. He mentioned the where they stand. And what a joy it must array of instincts, emotions, and interests on be to them! And what a relief it is to all which the activities of the investigator de general entomologists! I can imagine the pend and the great diversity of mental apti- veteran, Samuel Henshaw, himself, sitting in tude which necessarily accompanies the genius the Director's Office of the M. C. Z. at Camfor different types of research. Professor bridge, heaving a deep sigh of satisfaction Wheeler claims that any organization dealing and saying to himself, “Good!
, My New with research should refrain carefully from England conscience is at rest. What I looked interfering in any degree with the free ex- forward to years ago is done, and excellently pression of the individual's exceptional apti- done.” tudes in his own way. In these days when There are catalogues and catalogues. The the amateur in scientific research is passing best ones are more than mere lists, but none we need to beware of fettering in any way by the less are based absolutely on the literature government or other interference the activities and do not reflect too much the individual of the professional scientific man.-Nature. views of the specialist author. Such is the
great synonymical Catalogue of the Coleop
tera of the World by Gemminger & Harold, SCIENTIFIC BOOKS
and such is the present catalogue of which we Catalogue of the Coleoptera of America North write. Its publication is an event! It is a
of Mexico. By CHARLES W. LENG. Pub- great big stepping stone! lished by John D. Sherman, Jr., Mount One like the writer, who knows the ColeopVernon, N. Y., 1920. Pp. 470; large octavo. tera only in a general way, is first of all im
I don't know how many collectors and stu- pressed by the excellent make-up of the catadents of Coleoptera there may be in the logue. It is printed upon excellent paper; United States—certainly not so many as in and it can be obtained from the publishers in several of the European countries, and they a very good binding. The topography is of a are probably not as numerous as the collectors high character. These, however, while worthy of Lepidoptera. But their numbers will surely of especial note, are only adjuncts to the main increase, and the labors of the present stu- appreciation. dents will be greatly facilitated by the appear
One who is not familiar with the enormous ance of Mr. Leng's long-expected and thor- amount of work which has been done by clever oughly admirable catalogue.
men of many countries, will not in the least A good, up-to-date catalogue is a tremen- appreciate the difficulties which Mr. Leng had dous help and stimulus. The Coleoptera of to encounter. Our conception of the general North America have not been comprehen- classification of the Coleoptera has undergone sively listed since the American Entomolog- fundamental changes from the LeConte and ical Society published Henshaw's list in 1885, Horn classification of 1883. Many new charmore than 35 years ago, and in the mean- acters have been used by subsequent writers, time large groups have been comprehensively and advanced schemes of classification, based monographed, the scheme of classification has upon these new elements, have been proposed been modified in important particulars, and by Lameere in Belgium, Kolbe and Ganglbauer in Germany, and Sharp in England, greatly increased interest in the group of and the general result in the Coleopterolog- beetles. It is an order of the greatest interest. ical world has been one of some confusion. The specimens are easily collected and are These systems down to the present time have easily preserved. Their compact form and not been thoroughly adjusted and Mr. Leng durable structure renders them much more had to make a compromise. This difficult available for collections than any other group work he has done in an admirable manner, of insects. They are much less fragile than as I am told by my expert friends and asso- the others, and, while they apparently lack the ciates, and in his introduction he has dis- esthetic qualities that attract people to buttercussed this subject at length. It is an enor- flies and the larger moths, their structure is mous improvement upon previously published beautifully adapted to their methods of life, North American lists from the fact of this and they offer an easy field for the study of painstaking and enlightening discussion which certain aspects of broad biological problems. must have taken an enormous amount of
L. 0. HOWARD work, as well as from the bibliographical references to original descriptions of new species and genera and the further citation of
NOTES ON METEOROLOGY AND synopses of monographs that have appeared.
CLIMATOLOGY The reference system is well handled, and the
METEOROLOGY AND BALLOON RACING bibliography, covering more than eighty pages, I am relieved from my anxiety by hearing that is remarkably complete and well arranged. the adventurers descended well; ... that they had
Of course, as one uses the catalogue from perfect command of the carriage, descending as day to day in his work, points will be brought they pleas'd by letting some of the inflammable air out which might suggest improvements, but escape. . Had the wind blown fresh, they might none have occurred to me in turning the
have gone much farther.-Franklin, pages. Undoubtedly certain useful changes The International Balloon Race of 1920.have occurred to the author and his colleagues These words were written by Benjamin in reading the proofs, but in the conditions Franklin after witnessing one of the first in the printing trade at this time the expense free-balloon Alights at Paris, and they are a of alterations is almost prohibitory; and at quaint epitome of the sentiment of freeany rate the defects, if there be any, must be ballooning, both from the standpoint of the relatively unimportant.
public and that of the pilot. When one has I have talked with several of my associates seen the start of a balloon race, with the great who are intimately familiar with this group silk-skinned bubles rising in the glow of the of insects, and all are enthusiastic in their lowering sun, and the ballast streaming down praise of the book. Mr. Leng gives generous from the baskets like slender cascades of gold acknowledgment of assistance from such au- dust, then he may well appreciate the emotions thorities as Messrs. Davis, Mutchler, Schwarz, of Franklin in his anxiety for the safety of Barber, Bequaert, Schaeffer, Lutz and Böving; the balloonists and in his admiration for the and the fact that he has had the assistance of skill and judgment required of them. But these men intensifies the confidence which we it is the pilot who can best appreciate the must have in his work.
significance of the last statement—" had the Although the price of the volume seems wind blown fresh, they might have gone much high ($10), it is one of those absolutely in- farther.” dispensable things. Every entomologist, in- No more convincing proof of this can be cluding the economic entomologist, must be adduced than that which lies in the distribuable to consult it; and all libraries must tion of landing points in the International have it.
Balloon Race for the Gordon-Bennett cup, The reviewer anticipates with assurance a which started from Birmingham, Alabama, late in the afternoon of October 23, 1920. service rendered to the aeronauts and the The balloons which departed from Birming weather conditions occurring before and at ham within half an hour landed at various the time of the race. One of the most strikpoints along a general line from Mason City, ing points in Mr. Andrus' discussion is the Ill., to North Hero Island, in Lake Cham- agreement between the predicted path of the plain. Why did the Belgian DeMuyter land balloons and the actual paths they followed. his "glorious Belgica” (as he proudly and A figure is given showing the landing points affectionately calls it)1 in Lake Champlain, of the balloons with respect to the predicted while the American, French and Italian en- path, and it appears that a smooth curve tries were struggling with adverse weather far drawn through these points would agree to the west? It was because DeMuyter found almost exactly with the predicted course. the level where the “ winds blew fresh." This is remarkable when it is considered that
Mr. Ralph Upson, the pilot who brought to forecast the probable route of the balloon. the cup from Europe to America in 1913, has it was not only necessary to forecast about this to say relative to the role of meteorology two days in advance, but also to take into in balloon-racing?:
consideration the probable behavior of the The history of balloon racing up to the present
upper winds at all levels during that time. time shows conclusively that it is taking on more Concerning the flights in general, Mr. Andrus and more of a meteorological character. In the says: past, races have been occasionally won by mere practical skill in operation of the balloon, but the
The balloonists took off from Birmingham just time when this is possible is rapidly passing, if
before sunset of the 23d, and floated north-northindeed it has not already passed. In the future,
westward the first night at elevations averaging 1 meteorological knowledge instead of being a sec
kilometer. During the following day they made ondary factor in the assets of a team, will be abso
only moderate speed, mostly toward the north, at lutely the controlling factor.
various elevations. The following night was the
crux; at that time those balloonists who had made But the success of DeMuyter did not lie
the least distance westward had entered the freshalone in the fact that he is a meteorologist,
ening winds of the southeast quadrant of a lowand that, as he says, he made a careful and
pressure area and rapidly spread away from those critical study of the prevailing types of pilots who had not gained this advantage. The weather in the United States during the flying during the last 20 hours was for the most months of October and November: it was part made in clouds and occasionally in rain, these also, and largely, because he was able to take conditions finally requiring the balloonists to deadvantage of the splendid analyses of the scend. conditions in the upper-air that were made by
Upon what data were the conclusions of Mr. the United States Weather Bureau observer,
Andrus based ? In part upon the observations Mr. C. G. Andrus, who was detailed to Bir
of the Weather Bureau stations, both aeromingham to make upper-air soundings for the
logical and surface, these data being teleMr. Andrus has written an article in
graphed to Birmingham. He was equipped the Monthly Weather Review for January, 1921,3 in which he discusses the nature of the
with apparatus for making pilot balloon ob
servations, also. But what is quite as inter1 DeMuyter, E., “Comment j'ai gagné la coupe esting is that he interpreted these observaGordon-Bennett,” L'Aerophile, December 1-15,
tions in the light of the studies of the Nor1920, pp. 366–367.
wegian meteorologist, Bjerknes. The charm 2 Upson, Ralph H., “Balloon Racing—a Game of Practical Meteorology,” Monthly Weather Re
of the Bjerknesian interpretation is that it view, January, 1921, pp. 6–7.
enables one to get
ore satisfactory three3“Meteorological Aspects of the International
dimensional picture of the processes taking Balloon Race of 1920,” pp. 8–10.
place in highs and lows than has been usual.
It will be worth while, therefore, in these In the case of the individual cyclone, the notes to give the salient features of the phenomena along this line of discontinuity are Bjerknes papers.
about as follows: That part of the line which The Bjerknes Lines of Discontinuity.—The lies in a general easterly direction from the changes of weather which are associated with center of the cyclone is known as the steeringthe passage of highs and lows in the tem
line. South of it the air is moving from the perate zone are found to depend largely upon south; north of it the air is from the east. a line of discontinuity which marks the Along the line the warm southerly air rises boundary between polar and equatorial air. over the denser easterly air. Passing through In an individual cyclone, this line of discon- the center of the cyclone the line extends off tinuity consists of the steering line and the in a southwesterly direction and forms the squall- or wind-shift, line. Considering as western boundary of the warm tongue of large a portion of the northern hemisphere as southerly air, and the eastern front of an adpossible, this line of discontinuity can be vancing wedge of cooler northwesterly air. traced from one storm to another so that This line is known as the squall line, and its there is little doubt that it is continuous passage is frequently accompanied by consideraround the world. North of this line the air able violence, with thunderstorms and someis that which “has a low temperature for the times tornadoes, but usually with only a latitude, shows great dryness, distinguishes strong blow, a rise of pressure, a drop of temitself by great visibility, and has a prevailing perature, and, of course, a change of wind motion from east and north. On the southern direction. side of the line, the tropical origin of the air It was on the basis of the advance of these is recognized by the corresponding signs-its lines of discontinuity that Mr. Andrus was generally higher temperature, its greater able to predict the path and advise the balhumidity, its haziness and its prevailing loonists to make as little westerly progress as motion from west and south.” This line is possible during the first night, to stay as far called the polar-front line.
east and north as possible, even if it were necSometimes the undulations of the line are essary to disregard the usual practise in balsuch as to cause loops which may represent looning of staying as low as possible to avoid the cutting off from the parent mass, masses expenditure of ballast early in the race. The of warm or cold air depending upon how far winner followed this advice and had landed north or south the tropical or polar air may in Vermont many hours before the others who extend. If the warm air is cut off, the had reached no greater distance than Illinois cyclone decreases in intensity and disappears; and lower Michigan. This fact demonstrates or, in the case of a new outbreak of polar air very clearly that, as Mr. Upson frankly cona new front is formed behind a too far ad- fesses and as Mr. Andrus emphatically states, vanced one; isolated masses of polar air are
it was meteorology that won the race. formed at lower latitudes. This is the forma
O. LEROY MEISINGER tion of great anticyclones, which bring good WASHINGTON, D. C. weather.
4 Bjerknes, J., “On the Structure of Moving Cyclones,' Monthly Weather Review, February, 1919, pp. 95–99; “The Structure of the Atmosphere when Rain is Falling” (abstract), ibid., July, 1920, p. 401; Bjerknes, V., “The Meteorology of the Temperate Zone and the General At. mospheric Circulation," ibid., January, 1921, pp. 1-3; appeared also in Nature (London), June 24, 1920, pp. 522–524.
The more important physical and chemical properties of the respiratory metals-iron, copper, manganese and vanadium-have long
1 Contributions from the Bermuda Biological Station for Research, No. 123.
been known. Hitherto, however, the evident manganese without altering the activity of points of similarity which these metals pos- “ laccase."7 This latter fact serves sess have not been offered to explain their striking parallel to the replacement of iron singular activity in respiration.
by copper and manganese in certain of the In the first place, as Griffiths2 has pointed respiratory pigments. But this parallel may out, the atomic weights of these metals differ be pushed still further. When acting upon very slightly from one another: Mn=55; peroxides, these metals are serving in the Cu=53; Fe= 55.9; V=51.3 Is such a capacity of catalysts. Now, it is not wholly condition purely accidental, or does it indi- impossible that the respiratory metals serve in cate something concerning the chemical
the same way. affinities of the proteins with which these Alsberg and Clarks believe that the copper metals are associated ? It should be noted of hæmocyanin acts as a catalyst for oxygen, also that the valences of the elements in ques- and if this be the case, the oxygen would be tion are variable to an unusual degree (Cu, more readily given off to such acceptors as 1-2; Mn, 2–7; Fe, 2–3; V, 3-5). So marked are present in the tissues, thus making a degree of variation may be without theoret- hæmocyanin in reality analogous to a perical significance, yet it is an interesting coin- oxide-peroxidase system. As for vanadium, cidence. These metals also closely approxi- Hechto holds (on the grounds of the relatively mate one another in specific gravity. In ad- low binding power for oxygen which Winterdition they all form oxides with great facility. stein 10 reports for ascidian blood), that vanaBut perhaps the most suggestive property dium, too, probably serves the rôle of catalyst which they have in common is that of in the blood of tunicates. Also, from the catalysis.
description which Griffithslı gives of his pinIt is a commonplace of inorganic chemistry naglobin,12 it is not at all impossible that the that minute amounts of iron and of man- manganese of this pigment serves in a simganese hasten many reactions. This is like- ilar capacity. The fact that the metals are wise true of both copper and vanadium. But always present in very small quantities furit is much more significant that these same ther strengthens the catalyst hypothesis. elements also have a very profound catalytic Hæmocyanin, which has a molecular weight effect upon many physiological processes. of 18.762 (Griffiths), has in its molecule only One part of manganese in one million greatly 63.6 gram molecules of copper. Furtheraccelerates the growth rate of Aspergillus more, one should recall that in certain slugniger. Moreover, the salts of copper, iron gish animals respiratory pigments are present and manganese serve as powerful catalaysers
which are not associated with any oxidizing for peroxides, and will in some cases replace metals. These have been investigated extenthe enzyme peroxidase. Bertrand believed
sively by Griffiths,13 and are called by him that his enzyme “laccase” owed its activity achroglobins. An a-achroglobin is found in a to manganese, but it was subsequently shown
limpet, Patella vulgata, and a B-achroglobin by Bach that iron could take the place of
in chitons. A y-achroblobin was described for ?“Respiratory Proteids," London, 1877, p. 60. 7 Bayliss, “Principles of Gen. Physiol.," 1918, 3 Since Griffith's work, vanadium has been de
London, p. 585. scribed by Henze (1911–12, Zeits. physiol. Chem., 8 Jour, Biol. Chem., 1914, 19, 503, 72, 494; 79, 215) for the blood of ascidians. The
9 Amer. Jour. Physiol., 1918, 40, 165. writer includes it, therefore, with the list of 10 Biochem. Zeits., 1909, 19, 384. Griffiths.
11“Respiratory Proteids," London, 1897. * Bertrand, C. R., Acad. Sci., Paris, 1912, 154, 12 A respiratory protein containing manganese. 381.
It was first isolated from Pinna squamosa, from 6 C. R. Acad. Sci., Paris, 1897, 124, 1032.
which it derives its name. 6 Chem. Berichte, 1910, 43, 364.
13 "Respiratory Proteids,” London, 1897.