Floods Caused by Over-grazing AMONG the recent publications issued by the Forest Service is BuIIetin 91 entitled “Grazing and Floods; A Study of Conditions in the Manti National Forest, Utah,” Iby Robert V. R. Reynolds, Forest Examiner. The bulletin consists of a recital of the triumphs of strict protection of the cattle and sheep range on a typical region subject to floods and erosion. The facts brought out in this publication plainly show that the absence of floods in the Manti National Forest can be attributed only' to the pTotection afforded by the excellent crop of forage on the area closed to grazing. "The Manti National Forest in central Utah has for a number of years been subject to severe floods after all storms of more than usual violence, with corresponding scarcity of water during periods of drought. A careful study made during the spring and summer of 1910 showed clearly that this condition of erratic run-off had followed heavy overgrazing in the mountains, and that where grazing had been restricted the conditions were rapidly improving. The problem of securing an equable stream-fow is a vital one to the towns located along the base of the Wasatch Range. These are not only dependent upon the streams Icr their water supply, but they have also suffered heavily from floods in tho past and are still cons:antly in danger.” Again: “In 1910 a committee composed of two sheepmen, two cattlemen, and a merchant, representing ihe towns of OrangeviIIe and Castled ale and surrounding agricultural settlements in Imery County, expressed the belief that foods are due mainly to the denuded candition of the range which has resulted from over-grazing, and requested the protection of these watersheds. In support of their request they stated that for many years after the settlement of Castle Valley in 1878, floods were unknown. Soon after the ranges on the heads of the streams were heavily stocked with sheep and cattle, however, freshets began to occur with each heavy rain during the summer months, and these have steadily increased in volume and dtstructi veness." Mr. Reynolds contNsts the former conditions of grazing, distinctive in most of its aspects, with the well regulated methods now generalIy in vogue on all the principal water sheds where the government stilI holds title to the land. The period of strict grazing supervision is one of the most remarkable epochs in the history of forestry and conservation. Until one examines the entire ground carefully it is impossible to see why the Forest Service annually comes to Congress as a solicitant of favors. It has the right to demand support. This support it does not always have because its work in some parts of the West often runs counter to organized sheep and cattle men. Formerly it was the fashion in the West to ridicule the work of the Forest Service as being largely theoretical, and perhaps a part of the earlier work was fair game for the humorist in that day', but that day is past and great results arc being accomplished. One is obliged to admit that the triumphs of the Forest Service have been many and that a large paTt of its success is due to the original work of the ambitious young men who have entered the service dUring the last ten years and whose painstaking endeavors are beginning to bear fruit. The Earning Power of Chemistry IN a public lecture to business men, delivered recently under the auspices of the Indiana Section of the American Chemical Soeiety, ]1. Arthur D. Little claims for chemistry that it is the most fundamental and likewise the most comprehensive of all the sciences. Among the practical appUcations of chemj'cal re- search, Mr. Little mentions the work done by Brown and Mrs. Richard in the laboratory of the Massachus,etts Institute of Technology, “work which has been the means of saving countless lives throughout the world and has led to such understanding and made possible such control of sources of pollution as to almost justlHy the statement that for every case of typhoid fevr some one should be hanged." Mr. Little assures us that chemistry can now determine in advance the suitability of a given water supply for use in boilers or for the requirements of any special line of industry, as paper-making, dyeing, doth finishing, brewing and so on. "Chemistry pervades the packing industry, reducing the cost of food by utilization of by-products of the most varied character, from oleomargarine to glycer- ine and soap and fr9m soap to pepsin and adrenalin. “Carbon disulphide madB in the Taylor electric furnace has preserved the wine industry of France by destroying the phyIIoxera, as it is ridding our own felds of prairie dogs and our elevators of rats and mice. Bread-making and brewing arB coming each yewI morB and more within the recognized domain of chemistry, which is at the same time greatly enhancing the value of our staple crop by the increasing production of glucose, corn oil and gluten. Exactly one hundred years ago Kirchhoff discovered the inversion of starch to glucose by dilute acids. To-day the United States alone is richer by $30,000,000 a year by reason of that discovery." Among other instances of the commercial utilization of chemistry Mr. Little mentions increased crop yields by proper fertilization, increased profits by utilization of the cotton seed for oil, cattle feed, adaptation of the short fiber adhering to the ginned cotton seed hull to the making of smokeless powder and the stalks of the cotton plant to paper-making. There are also to be considered wool degreasing processes which convert wool grease into oleIc acid, soap, lubricating oils and potash and ammonia salts; the carbonization of cotton fabrics; the wonderful processes whereby coal tar is made to yield perfumes, dyes, aseptics, explosives, photographic developers and a host of other substances; the modern development of artificial silk from cellulose, the manufacture of artificial horsehair and of artificial bristles composed of cellulose acetate; the production of illuminating gas; the introduction of the modern gas mantle of the Welsbaeh type; the chemical research which has resulted in improving the incandescent lamp, so that in the last ten years there has resulted a saving of twenty-four million dollars a year in the cost of lighting, as compared with the cost of equal illumination by the older types of lamp; the analysis of flue gases, so as to save fuel. Mr. Little concludes with a quotation from Prof. Robert Kennedy Duncan: "During the next five years the small manufacturer who is swept out of existence will often wonder why. He will ascribe it to the economy of large scale operations, or business intrigues or what not, never knowing that his disaster was due to the application of pure science that the trust organizations and large manufacturers are already beginning to appreciate." Eye Color and Mental Traits IN reviewing in Science the third edition of Pun net's little classic “Men· delism,” W. E. Castle cites the following interesting passage: "A discnssion of eye color suggests reflections of another kind. It is difficult to believe that the markedly different states of pigmentation which occur in the same species are not associated with deep-seated chemical differences influencing the character and bent of the individual. May not these differences in pigmentation be coupled with and so become in some measure a guide to mental and temperamental characteristics? In the National Portrait Gallery in London the pictures of celebrated men and women are largely grouped according to the vocations in which they have succeeded. The ohservant wiII probably have noticed that there is a tendency for a given type of eye color to predominate in some of the larger groups. It is rare to find anything but a blue among the soldiers and sailors, while among the actors, preachers and orators the dark eye is predominant, although for the population as a whole it is far scarcer than the light. The facts are suggestive, and it is not impossible that research may reveal an inUmate connection between peculiarities of pigmentation and of mind.
This article was originally published with the title "Abstracts from Current Periodicals" in Scientific American 105, 22, 476 (November 1911)