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"The

This river presents some interesting features which indicate that changes of elevation are taking place in that region. river all along looks as if something was choking the freedom of its flow, and even when the water is lowest, in summer, its channel appears brimming full. The condition reminds one of what takes place when a stream is suddenly dammed up and the water floods into the uneven ground on either side.” This condition can readily be accounted for by supposing that the land to the north is slowly rising, thus tilting up the river against its direction of flow.-Dr. Robert Bell, Bulletin of the Geol. Society of America, Vol. 8, pp. 241-250. H. B. K.

The Value of Water in Central Asia.-Major A. C. Yate, in an article on the Loralai in the Scottish Geographical Magazine for July, 1897, speaks of the value of water in Central Asia in the following words: "One thing must impress the traveller in all these countries, notably Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Persia and Central Asia, viz., the value and appreciation of water. On it, in the first place, depends the welfare and prosperity of the people. It is not land that is of value, as in countries where nature sends a rainfall of forty inches or more per annum. It is water alone that is inestimably valuable in countries where not one-tenth, or perhaps one-hundreth, of the soil can be cultivated. It is needful to travel in these arid, sun scorched countries to know what the luxury of a draught of pure cool water means. *** The native of Baluchistan shows no mean skill in the distribution of the water at his disposal. * * * These Pathans and Baluchis carry their water for miles in small channels, and so control the level that there is no under rapidity of flow. At the same time, of course, their irrigation engineering wants the exactness and finish of that of the scientific engineer. The banks are weak and tunnelled through and through with rats, and if heavy rains fall give way here and there and let the water run to waste. In this respect the Pathan and Baluch cultivator is very careless."

R. E. D.

The Nomads of Afghanistan.—In the article noted above, Major Yate speaks of the life of the natives from which a few ab

stracts are taken. "The nomads who frequent the Bori valley in spring and autumn are known as Ghilzais, Nasirs, Kharotis, etc. Either they are owners of large flocks of sheep and goats, or they are breeders of camels. They live under awnings of black haircloth, supported on poles five to seven feet high. In these are housed men, women, children, dogs and flocks. The camels to the best of my knowledge stay outside, though the tender young ones are probably brought inside in inclement weather. These tents are called variously kegdai (in north and east Afghanistan) and gezdai (in south and west Afghanistan). The nomads, of course, winter at low and summer at high levels. The sheep and goat owners make their money by the sale of milk, wool and certain fabrics of hair and wool probably manufactured by the women. The camel owners, presumably, realize by the sale of the young stock and possibly of camel hair fabrics-but of this I know nothing certain. I do know that in Central Asia the manufacture of camel hair cloth is a very valuable one. The best qualities are

perfect in their strength and fineness, and sell for about a toman (7s) a yard. The coarser qualities are very durable and camel hair saddle bags last forever. In contrast with these nomads, the settled residents of the Bori valley live in low mud houses enclosed in walls. They, too, own sheep and goats, also some cattle, donkeys, and a few poor specimens of equine stock. They culti vate the country around the village, the crops being principally barley and wheat. The law of the country forbids these settled races to have arms, but the nomads are all armed. It is an interesting and rather comic sight to watch the camel breeder's migration. The number of camels, from old to infantile, may be anything from fifty to five hundred; but they will certainly straggle over a distance of one to two miles. Camels interspersed with cows, donkeys, ponies, watchdogs, men (with swords and pronged flintlocks and quaint powder and shot belts), women and children form the line. The elder children straddle on bullocks and camels; the infants are, so to speak, buried among the loads, their towselled, half shaven heads and naked shoulders alone protruding. I believe they do not get sunstroke.

Wild as these people are, their manufactures are often remarkable in their excellence, just as are the celebrated Turcoman car

pets. The women of these Pathan and Baluch nomads produce very tasteful and delicate embroideries.'

R. E. D.

Life in the Coldest Country-The coldest region of the globe, that of Werkojank in Siberia, where the lowest temperature of -90° F. has been observed, and the mean of January is —48° F., is inhabited by about ten thousand persons of the Jakut and Lamut races. In a large part of the region, according to the representations of Mr. Sergius Kovalik in the Bulletin of the Geographical Society of Irkutsk, the air is so dry and winds are so rare that the intensity of the cold is not fully realized. Further east there are sometimes terrible storms. In the summer time the temperature sometimes rises to 86° F. in the shade, while it freezes at night. The latter part of this season is often marked by copious rains and extensive inundations. Vegetation is scanty. There are no trees, only meadows. The people hunt fur-bearing animals, fish, and raise cattle and reindeer. It requires about eight cows to support a family, four being milked in the summer and two in the winter. The cattle are fed hay in the winter, and are allowed to go out occasionally when it is not too cold, their teats being carefully covered up with felt. Milk is the principal food, occasionally supplemented with hares, which are quite abundant. The houses are of wood, covered with clay, and consist of one room, in which the people and their animals live together. The wealthier classes are better provided with lodging and food. The people are very hospitable, but exclusively punctillious concerning points of honor, such as the place at table.— Appleton's Pop. Sci. Mo., February, 1897.

Islands Owned by the United States.-Distributed over the mid-Pacific, in the neighborhood of the equator, are quite a lot of small islands that belong to the United States. Most of them are from 1,000 to 2,000 miles to the south and southwest of Hawaii. Some of them are near the Gilbert archipelago, and there is a considerable cluster just about the lesser distance mentioned and directly south of the Hawaiian group, including America, Christmas, Palmyros, and other islands of large size. Christmas Island

is about thirty-five miles long. It got its name originally from the fact that the famous Captain Cook stopped there on Christmas Day for the purpose of observing an eclipse.

These isles of the Pacific belonging to Uncle Sam number sixty in all. They have all been annexed to the United States under an act of Congress, which became a law August 18, 1856. This law, which remains in force today, declares that whenever any citizen of the United States shall discover a deposit of guano on any island, rock, or key, not within the lawful jurisdiction of any other government, he shall be at liberty to take peaceable possession thereof, and such island, rock, or key may, at the discretion of the President, be considered as appertaining to the United States. The discoverer is required to give due notice to the Department of State, with affidavits, describing the island and showing that possession of the same has been taken in the name of this country. He is obliged at the same time to give a bond, which is filed in the Treasury.

The discoverer, at the pleasure of Congress, enjoys the exclusive right to occupy his island for the purpose of obtaining guano, and for this product he is allowed to charge only a certain fixed price—namely, $8 a ton for guano delivered at the ship's side, or $4 a ton for the privilege of digging it where it lies. Furthermore, he gives guarantee by his bond to deliver the guano only to citizens of the United States, and to be used in the United States. The law also provides, curiously enough, that all offences and crimes on such islands by persons who may land thereon, or in waters adjacent, shall be deemed as committed on the high seas, on board a merchant ship of the United States, and shall be punished accordingly. The President is authorized to use the land and naval forces of the United States to protect the rights of the discoverer or his heirs.

But Uncle Sam's ocean empire includes a great many islands of far greater importance than the guano isles referred to. In Bering Sea there are several very large islands, besides the little Pribylov group to which the fur seals resort. This country owns the entire chain of Aleutian islands, which separate Bering Sea from the North Pacific. The inhabitants of these islands, called Aleuts, are particularly intelligent, much more civilized than the

Eskimo, and bear a close resemblance physically to the Japanese. Off the coast of southern Alaska is a group of islands of great size, on some of which live the Thlinket Indians. These Indians are the most artistic savages in the world, being skilful wood-carvers. Off the coast of southern California is the Santa Barbara group, comprising a number of large islands.— Washington Post.

The New York and Massachusetts Boundary.-A glance at a map will show that the western and southern boundary lines of Massachusetts do not meet at a point as they would be expected to do. The reason is that the point of the State was ceded to New York in 1853. The part ceded includes the town of Boston Corners, which, was cut off from the rest of the State of Massachusetts by a series of rather high mountains. Thus isolated, it became a center for prize fights, as the New York officers had no jurisdiction over the region and the Massachusetts officers could not get there with ease. After a famous fight at this spot the area was ceded to New York and the boundary line now is determined by the high mountains rather than by lines with no natural relation to physical features. R. E. D.

Packing Goods for Mexico.-The following paragraph is from the annual report of Consul Oliver, of Merida, dated January 19, 1897; and appearing in U. S. Consular Reports, March, 1897:

This section of the Mexican coast, from Progreso to Veracruz, being absolutely void of safe harbors, compels me to again remind exporters to pack their goods more securely, so that they may stand the rough handling to which they are invariably subjected in their transfer from the ships to the lighters, by reason of the rough, open sea and the frequent "northers" which visit this coast during five months of each year. The merchants here are unanimous in their complaints regarding the careless manner in which all merchandise from the United States is packed. They further state that, by reason of this carelessness, they have lost a large amount of trade, which has gone to Europe, where all merchandise is skillfully and securely packed, with an eye single to the conditions referred to.

This illustrates very clearly, how a harborless coastal plain affects even a small detail of commerce. W. M. D.

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